Celia’s Death Certificate – 1930

Celia's death certificateonlineI finally was able to see a copy of my great grandmother, Anna Celia Rice Cleage Sherman’s death certificate.  I had been searching for it for years, not realizing that her first name was “Anna”. It doesn’t have her parent’s names or tell where in Athens, Tennessee she is buried.  What it did was to tell me when and where she died and to verify some of the information I already have.

My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage Sr was the informant, he provided the information.  I thought his close friend, Dr. P.B. Gamble signed, but the initials are wrong.

Great grandmother Celia holding my aunt Gladys. 1923. Detroit.
Great grandmother Celia holding my aunt Gladys. 1923. Detroit.

She died on May 31, 1930 of Cerebral Apoplexy, a stroke, which she suffered on May 28, 1930.  That would have made my Aunt Anna 6 years old, the age she told me she was when she saw her grandmother suffer a stroke while sitting at their kitchen table.

Great grandmother Anna Celia married Roger Sherman in Athens, Tennessee  on April 25, 1897.  He was 51 and she was 42.  He was a carpenter and worked for himself.  It was the second marriage for both of them. His 4 children were all grown and living on their own. She had 5 children. In 1900 the oldest daughter, Josie was married with two children and was sharing the house with Roger and Celia Sherman, as were three of her younger brothers (Henry, Edward and Albert) who were all students.  Jake, the 2nd oldest, had been working in Knoxville as a waiter for several years.

Celia and Roger Sherman were living together in the 1910 Census, but by the time of the 1920 Census, Mr. Sherman was living with his daughter, Mamie Sherman Kennedy, in Winston Salem, NC.  Later that same year he died.  His body was also shipped back to Athens for burial in an unnamed cemetery.

Anna Celia lived in Athens with her son Charles Edward and his family in 1920.  In 1924 he died. She moved to Detroit where her other three sons lived.  In 1930 she is enumerated with my grandfather and his family.  Several months later, she died.

On the death certificate, my grandfather says that he doesn’t know when she was born but guesses her to be about 65.  He was 47 at this time.  His oldest sister was 57.  If their mother was 65, she would have been 8 when her daughter was born.  She was old enough when Freedom came to remember her life on the Rice plantation where she was born. If only she could have written it all down.  In the 5 censuses I find her, the date of birth is given as “about 1855”.  She was closer to 75 than 65 when she died.  He says that she was born in Tennessee. The information on the census records are split between Virginia and Tennessee.  All agree her mother was born in Virginia.

What else do I want to find out about my great grandmother Anna Celia Rice Cleage Sherman?  I want to know where she is buried.  I want to find her in the 1870 Census and I want to find out her mother’s name and what plantation they came off of.

In my minds eye, I see a large stone grave marker in Hammonds Cemetery that said “Sherman”.  I did not go up to it, just saw it across the grass. When I get back to Athens, I am going to go look at that marker and see if it has any other information on it.  Not to mention looking at every other stone there.

The header picture shows my grandfather and his family about 1930.


Jeanette McCall McEwen – Death Certificate 1897 – 1931

4744 Langley. Jeanette on stoop with son Robert with google maps photograph.

I received Jennette McCall McEwen’s death certificate in the mail this week.  I wrote about her earlier here and here.  Here is the new information I gleaned both from the death certificate and from a re-reading of other documents I have for this family.

According to both the 1920 census and Robert junior’s birth certificate, the family was rooming at 4744 Langley in Chicago, IL.  See a photo of the house above.  Little Robert was born at home on January 2.  Robert Sr. worked at the post office.

Provident Hospital

On December 16, 1923 second son, Raymond was born in Provident Hospital, one of the first black owned and operated hospitals in the United States.  Robert Sr. was a dental student while Jeanette continued to work inside the home.  The family had moved to 652 E. 46th St.

By the time of the 1930 Census Robert Sr was a practicing dentist.  Jeanette was not working outside of the home. When I first found Robert and Jeanette in the 1930 census several years ago, I wondered why they had no children because I had heard that they were the parents of two boys.  After looking at the neighbors I found that 10 year old Robert Jr and 7 year old Raymond were living as lodgers in the apartment of Harry and Zada McClatchey.  At the time I thought it must be a mistake, but after looking at the death certificate I realized there was a good reason for the boys to be out of the home.

Jeanette died at home of influenza on December 27, 1931.  The informant, the person who gave the personal information on the certificate, was her older brother Leon Roscoe McCall.  Her doctor was her brother-in-law Joseph Howard, MD.  He had begun treating her on Christmas day, although she became ill on the 20th of December. A contributory cause was “phthisis pulmonalis” or consumption.  Jeanette found that she had tuberculosis in February of 1930. The Census took place in April. Robert and Raymond were probably out of the house to keep them from being infected.  She had been unable to continue to do her usual work as a housewife since July 1931. Jeanette McCall McEwen was buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Cook County on December 30, 1931.  Now I’ll send for Robert McEwen’s death certificate to see if he also died of tuberculosis.


Deaths and Burials for the Cleage Family

Left to right: Albert, Josephine, Edward. Back L Henry, back R Jacob

I have been looking for my great grandmother’s, Celia Rice Cleage Sherman, death record for years.  I need to do a post just about that search but today I’m going to write about the death records and burial information I have found for most of the other Cleages I was looking for Here is my list for now.

Louis Cleage – my great grandfather – Born about 1852 in McMinn County, TN. Died 7 February 1918 in Indianapolis, IN and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery on 9 February 1918. The informant was his son, Jacob Cleage.
Celia Rice Cleage Sherman – missing

Their children and their spouses:
Josephine Cleage Cleage – born abt 1873 in Louden County, TN. Died 1956 in Detroit and buried in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery on 26 July 1956.  The informant was Lucille Cleage Watkins, her daughter.
Husband James Cleage – born abt 1870 in McMinn County, TN. Died early October in Indianapolis, IN. Burial date was October 12, 1933 in New Crown Cemetery in Indianapolis, IN. Information from New Crown Cemetery.

Jacob Cleage – born abt 1875 in Louden County, TN.  Died 7 December 1942 in Detroit and buried in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery on 10 December 1942.  The informant was Gertrude Cleage, his wife.
Wife Gertrude Cleage born NC and died in Detroit 28 June 1982 and buried in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery 3 July 1982.  Informant Richard Cleage, her nephew.

Henry William Cleage – born 25 January 1877 in Louden County, TN.  He died 4 October 1956 in Detroit and was buried in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery on 10 October 1956.  Informant was Willi A. Cleage, I think there is a typo, have no idea who Willi would be.
First wife Minnie Loving Cleage, B. TN 1878 and died TN after 1901. Death date and burial place missing.
Second wife Ola Mae Adams Cleage b. Danville, Kentucky 1888 and died in Detroit 3 July 1982.  Buried in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery.

Charles Edward Cleage – born August 1879 in Louden, TN.  He died 4 May 1926 in Athens, McMinn County, TN and was buried 7 May 1926 in Hammonds Cemetery, Athens TN.
Wife Mattie Cordelia Dotson Cleage born 4 November 1886 McMinn County TN. Died November 1966, buried Hammonds Cemetery, Athens TN.

Albert Buford Cleage Sr.(my grandfather) – born 15 May 1883 in Louden, TN.  He died in Detroit 4 April, 1957 and was buried in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery on 15 April 1957.  The informant was Pearl Cleage, his wife.
Wife Pearl Doris Reed Cleage – born 1886 Lebanon, KY. Died 16 July 1982 in Idlewild, MI. Buried 22 July 1982 Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery.  Informant Henry Wadsworth Cleage, her son.

Louis/Lewis Cleage’s Death Certificate 1852 – 1918

I recently found out that my Great Grandfather Louis Cleage died in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1918 through a listing for Crown Hill Cemetery.  I previously found him listed in the 1918 Indianapolis City Directory living son Jacob Cleage.

The death certificate says he died in Marion County, Indianapolis, Center Township at City Hospital and his full name is Louis Cleage.  He was Colored and widowed.  He was born in 1852 in Tennessee.  He was a laborer.  According to the informant, his son Jacob Cleage, Louis’ father’s name was Frank. Mother’s name unknown.

There was an autopsy performed and he died on February 7, 1918 in the P.M. of Lobar Pneumonia.  His son Jacob lived at 925 Camp Street and Louis’ last address is listed as 828 Camp.  He was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery Feb. 8, 1918.

What new information did I learn or have confirmed from this death certificate?  I found that his father’s name was Frank Cleage.  In the 1870 US Census Louis Cleage, born around 1852, was living with an older adult named Frank Cleage in Athens, TN.  I assumed that Frank was Louis’ father, but relationships were not noted in the 1870 US Census.

Poem for Poppy – Amanuensis Monday

Using Amanuensis Monday to transcribe some of the material aound that needs to be transcribed. Today I’m doing my Grandfather, Mershell C. Graham’s funeral program.  I’ve been looking for my grandfather’s funeral program for several months.  It wasn’t in the binder, where it should have been, or in the box with the not yet filed funeral programs.  Today, while looking for something else, I found it.  It was in my file cabinet in a folder having nothing to do with anything relevant.  The poem was written by my sister, Pearl Cleage.

Poem For My Grandfather

(for M.C. Graham)

The handing down of things

worn smooth between your fingers.

The handing down of parts of you

in hurried kitchen ceremonies.

The smell of biscuits

and the smell of heirlooms.

A story about trains.

A whisper of hard times

and magic in the face you hold so close to mine

and smile.

The handing down of things.

The handing on of you…

from his grandchildren
and great-grandchildren

In Memorium

Mershell C. Graham
Thursday, September 6, 1973, 12 Noon
Plymouth United Church of Christ
514 Garfield
Detroit, Michigan
Rev. Nicholas Hood, Pastor

Order of Service
Hymn          ……
Invocation   …….
Scripture      …….
Hymn          …….
Eulogy         …….
Benediction  …….

Detroit Memorial Park

In Charge
Charles T. Cole Funeral Home

Honory Pallbearers 
Friends of Mr. Graham

Active Pallbearers
Members of the Men’s Club

Mershell C. Graham was born December 25, 1887, in Coosada Station, Alabama, the adopted son of Mary and Joseph Graham.  He received his early Christian training in the First Congregational Church of Montgomery, Alabama.  He met his beloved wife, Fannie Mae, in the church.  They celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary in June of this year.  They had four children and shared a long and beautiful life.  He was one of the founders of Plymouth United Church of Christ and was a devoted member of the church all of his life.  He served as treasurer for many years and was Trustee Emeritus.  He was retired from the Ford Motor Company after over thirty years of service and was a member of the U.A.W. and the N.A.A.C.P.

Mr. Graham passed on September 3, 1973, at his home at 16260 Fairfield.  He leaves to mourn his loss his wife, Fannie, his two daughters, Mary Virginia Graham Elkins and Doris Graham Cleage, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Naomi’s father, Victor Tulane – Obituary

Victor H. Tulane Dead

 Montgomery, Ala., Jan, 16.

Victor H. Tulane, a leader of his Race here for many years, died at his home, 430 S. Union St., at the age of 57.  His rise to affluence, through his own industry and native shrewdness, was little short of remarkable.  Prior to his death he owned a mercantile business and operated a real estate agency of considerable scope.

Tulane first came to Montgomery when he was 15 years, old having walked here from Wetumpka, where he was born.  His first job was porter in a saloon, but later he opened a store at the corner of High and Ripley Sts. which he operated for about thirty years.  He later rented his store and entered the real estate business, and before his death had accumulated a comfortable estate.

For many years Tulane served on the board of trustees of the Tuskegee Institute.  He was also chairman of the board of trustees of the Hale infirmary.  He was widely known for his generosity and willingness to serve in charitable movement.  He was actively connected with the community chest and was one of the first to donate toward the Y.M.C.A. building for white (sic.) persons.

Surviving are his widow, Willie L. Tulane of Montgomery, and his daughter, Naomie Tulane Vincent, New York city.  Funeral arrangements will be announced later by the Loveless Undertaking company.


Transcribed from The Chicago Defender Jan 17, 1931 via ProQuest Historical Newspapers online database.

More about this branch of the family to come.  Victor’s wife, Willie Lee Allen Tulane, was one of Eliza’s daughters.

Wordless Wednesday – Inside cover of Mershell Grahams Bible

I have not found out how these people are connected to my grandfather Mershell Graham.

So much for wordless….
After posting this I decided to go look for Jacob Graham at Family Search. I used the pilot program and found a death record for Jacob Graham who died June 30, 1913 at the Salvation Army Fresh Air Camp. I googled the Fresh Air Camp and found several photographs in the Alabama Archives about Fresh Air camps the Salvation army ran in Montgomery for Old men and others for poor women and children. I also found a google book “By Alabama. Dept. of Archives and History”, Thomas McAdory Owen, an entry that mentioned under the section Benevolent Insititutions in Alabama, that the Salvation army had a Fresh Air Camp on the upper Wetumpka Road, founded in 1911 conducted by the Montgomery Anti-Tuberculosis League for tubercular cases.( Alabama official and statistical register.) I’m sending for the death certificate.