Jennie Turner

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

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Jennie Turner was Fannie’s mother and my great grandmother. I knew her for a few years before she died when she was wheelchair bound and not really talkative. I knew my aunts Daisy and Alice for many years.

The Emancipator – Sat- Jun 26, 1920

“Mrs. Jennie Turner and two daughter, Miss Daisy and little Alice, left last Friday for Detroit, Mich.”

L>R – Robert Pope, Jennie Allen Turner, Alice Turner, Daisy Turner. Back – Beulah Allen Pope. 1921 Windsor, Canada.

My great grandmother Jennie and daughters were coming to visit my grandparents and their new baby daughter, Mary Virginia, who was born in April of 1920.  They didn’t move to Detroit until 1922.  My grandmother was a seamstress who worked for herself in Montgomery. My aunt Daisy taught school. In the photo with them are my great grandmother’s sister Beulah, who was also a seamstress, and her son Robert.  The photo was labeled as being taken in 1921. Perhaps they came up again to visit when my grandparents second child, Mershell Jr. was born.

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My mother Doris Graham Cleage’s  memories of her grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner

Today I’m going to write about Grandmother.  Grandmother Turner was born about 1872, nine years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Don’t know if she finished high school – but she did go. Her mother taught her to sew and it was a good thing she did because grandmother worked the rest of her life supporting herself and her children at sewing.  That is, she worked after husband Howard Turner died. They married when she was about sixteen. Don’t know his age.  He looked something like grandmother’s father and also like my father, mother said.  He was a farmer’s son from around Hayneville, AL, but he preferred the big city – Montgomery.  His father had three sons and planned to give each one a large share of the farm when they married.  Howard and Jenny received their farm, but neither one liked the country. One day they were in Montgomery.  He was at a Bar-B-Q.  She was at her parents with their daughters, Fannie Mae, 4, and Daisy Pearl, 2.  someone brought word that he had been shot dead.  Apparently no one ever knew who did it, but mother always said grandmother thought his father had it done because he was angry that Howard would not farm and had even been talking about selling his part.  The father did not want the land sold, but wanted it to stay in the family forever.  (Bless his heart!).  He and the son had had some terrible arguments before they left to come to the Bar-B-Q. I often wondered why he was there and grandmother wasn’t.  She always seemed to like a good time.

I remember her laughing and singing and dancing around the house on Theodore. She was short, about five feet I guess, with brown eyes, thin dark brown hair that she wore in a knot. She was very energetic, always walking fast.  She always wore oxfords, often on the wrong feet, and never had time to change them.  We used to love to tell her that her shoes were on the wrong feet.  (smart kids!)

"Jennie Allen Turner funeral"
This photograph was taken in Montgomery during 1892 while the family was in mourning. Jennie holds two year old Daisy while four year old Fannie stands beside her.

She never did thing with us like read to us or play with us, but she made us little dresses.  I remember two in particular she made me that I especially liked.  My “candy-striped” dress – a red white and blue small print percale.  She put a small pleated ruffle around the collar and a larger one around the bottom. I was about Deignan’s (note:  that would have been about 5) size, I guess, and I really thought I was cool!  The other favorite was an “ensemble” – thin, pale green material with a small printed blue green and red flower in it – just a straight sleeveless dress with neck and sleeves piped in navy blue – and a three – quarter length coat of the same material – also straight -with long sleeves and lapels – also piped in navy blue.  She never used a pattern.  Saw something and made it!  She taught us some embroidery which she did beautifully but not often. She never fussed at us – never criticized – and I think she rocked me in the upstairs hall on Theodore when I was little and sick.  The rocker Daddy made stood in that hall.  I remember lots of people rocking in that chair when I was small.

Grandmother went to work when her husband was murdered – sewing for white folks – out all day fitting and sewing – and sewing all night – finishing while mother and Daisy stayed with their Grandfather Allen, who would tell on them when Grandmother came home and she would spank them.  Mother said she remembered telling Daisy to holler loudly so Grandmother wouldn’t spank them hard or long and it worked!

Grandmother stayed single until she was about 37 or 38 when she married someone Mother hated – looked Italian, hardly ever worked.  Liked a good time. Fathered Alice and left when she was very small.  Somehow when mother spoke of him I had the feeling he would have like to have taken advantage of her.  She was about 20 and had given up two college scholarships to stay and help Grandmother.

Sometimes after her husband’s death, Grandmother took the deed to the farm to a white lawyer. (was there any other kind?) and told him to sell it for her.  He went to see it and check it out – told her to forget it – her title wasn’t clear, but he never gave the deed back and she figured he made a deal with her father-in-law.

"jennie's shot gun house"
A shotgun house. My mother’ description is off.

 Aunt Abbie (note: Jennie’s sister) said the father-in-law built Grandmother and Howard a “shotgun” house on the farm.  She would turn up her nose as she said it.  You know that is a house like this – no doors on front or back, you could shoot a gun through hall without damage.  Animals (pigs, dogs) would wander into the hall and have to be driven out.  Aunt Abbie only stayed there when the plague was raging in Montgomery.  Yellow fever (malaria) and/or polio every summer.  Many people sick or dying.  Huge bonfires in the streets every night to ‘purify’ the air”, and closing the city if it got bad enough – no one in or out.  More than once they fled the city in a carriage through back streets and swamps because they were caught by the closing which was done suddenly to keep folks from leaving and spreading the “plague”

In Detroit, when they came in 1923 when Mother and Daddy had bought the house on Theodore and had room for them (room? only 5 adults and 3 children!)  Grandmother, Daisy and Alice got good jobs, (they were good – sewing fur coats, clean work and good pay.) at Annis Furs (remember it back of Hudsons?)  and soon had money to buy their own house much farther east on a “nice” street in a “better ” neighborhood (no factories) on Harding Ave. While they lived with us I remember violent arguments between Alice and I don’t know who – either Grandmother or Daisy or Mother.  Certainly not Daddy because when he spoke it was like who in the Bible who said, “When I say go, they goeth. When I say come, they cometh.”  Most of the time I remember him in the basement, the backyard or presiding at table. Daisy and grandmother were what we’d call talkers.

Grandmother got old, hurt her knee, it never healed properly. Daisy worked and supported the house alone. Alice only worked a little while.  She had problems getting along with people.  Grandmother was eventually senile.  Died of a stroke at 83 or so. Alice spent years taking care of her while Daisy worked. Daisy added to their income by being head numbers writer at Annis!! 

"Jennie Annis Furs"
Seamstresses at Annis Furs, Detroit 1920’s. Grandmother Turner far right, 2nd row. Alice next to her. Skip 1 + it’s Daisy.

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This information came from family information. The photo is from my photo collection. The news item is from Newspapers.com. The links within the story are to other blog posts about the topic.

Announcement

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.“Mrs. Jenine Turner Wishes to announce the engagement of her daughter, Fannie Mae, to Mr. Mershell C. Graham, of Detroit, Mich. The Marriage to take place in the spring”

“Pom, Shell & Fan” My maternal grandparents, Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham. August 1919 Detroit, Michigan two months after their marriage.
The Wedding – June 1918

Graham-Turner Wedding

On Sunday, June 15th at four o’clock Miss Fannie Turner and Mr. Mershell Graham were happily united in marriage at the home of the bride on E. Grove St. The home was prettily decorated for the occasion.

Just before the entrance of the bridal party, Mr. Lowndes Adams sang a beautiful solo, immediately after which the groom entered the parlor to the strains of Mendelson’s wedding March, with Mr. Clifton Graham, his brother, as best man. The bride entered with her uncle, Mr. V.H. Tulane, who gave her away, gowned in white satin with real lace and pearl bead trimmings the hat, a beautiful creation of white Georgette, the bride made a very pleasing appearance.  She carried a large bouquet of roses and fern.

The home was crowded to its fullest capacity, fully two hundred guests being present which bespoke the esteem and popularity in which the young couple are held.

The presents were many and varied, consisting of silver, cut glass, linen, wearing apparel, money, and many useful household articles.

Rev. E.E. Scott performed the ceremony and Miss Naomi Tulane presided at the piano.

The guests were served delicious refreshments.

The happy couple left Sunday evening for Detroit, Mich., their future home.

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Everybody mentioned in these articles will appear in this years challenge, plus a few others.
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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com. I also use Google Maps. The photograph is from my family photos.

Three Generations – 1939

Three Generations
Three Generations

From Left to right My grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, peeking over my greatgrandmother’s, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner’s, shoulder. My grandmother’s sister Daisy Turner. Behind and between Aunt Daisy and Aunt Alice Turner, is my aunt Mary Virginia Graham Elkins, although she was not yet an Elkins. At the end, behind Alice, is my mother, Doris Graham Cleage, although she was not yet married a Cleage either.

They are posed in Grandmother Turner’s backyard on the East Side of Detroit at 4536 Harding.  The house is gone now.  They look like they just came from Church, at Plymouth Congregational, however the photo is dated July 4, 1939 on the back.  July 4 was on a Tuesday that year. Maybe they went on a church picnic. My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham took the picture.

1940 Census – Where We Lived in Detroit

Several days ago Cassmob’s of Family history across the seas blog had an interactive map of places she’s been writing about in Papua, New Guinea. I immediately went to Google Maps to figure out how to do it myself. Below is a map of places my family lived during the 1940 Census in Detroit. If you click on the blue markers it will tell you who lived there and how they are related to my grandparents.


View 1940 Detroit, Michigan – Where we lived in a larger map

Detroit is divided by Woodward Avenue into Westside and Eastside. My Cleages are all clustered close on the Westside, which is also where I grew up. The Grahams are more spread out on the Eastside. Plymouth had a vibrant youth group program in the 1930 and that is where my parents met. The old Plymouth Congregational Church was urban renewed in the late 1970s and moved location but in 1940 it was located at Garfield and Beaubien, right in the middle of what is now the Detroit Medical Center.

There is a way to insert pop up photographs too which I am going to figure out next.

1940 Census – Jennie Virginia (Allen) Turner

4536 Harding Street, Detroit.

 In 1940 my 75 year old great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Turner, lived with her daughters at 4536 Harding, Detroit, Michigan. She lived about 10 minutes by car (not that they had a car) from her oldest daughter, Fannie Graham and her family on Theodore. Her first cousin, James McCall, lived about half way between the two with his family on Parker. She was listed as a widow and retired with 6 years of schooling. Everyone in the house is identifed as “Negro”.  Jennie gave the enumerator the information.

Aunt Daisy was 48 years old, single, with 4 years of high school. She was the only one in the house working outside of the home. She is listed as a stock girl at a retail fur company. It had been my understanding that Daisy was a seamstress but she was also listed as head stock girl at a fur store in the 1930 census so I guess she wasn’t sewing. My mother told me years ago that Daisy also collected numbers at Annis to supplement the family income. When she lived in Montgomery, AL, Daisy was a teacher for several years and worked in her Uncle Victor  Tulane’s grocery store as a clerk.

Aunt Alice was 32 years old, single and had completed 9 years of school. This answered a question I had about Alice, did she finish high school after she moved to Detroit at age 15.  I don’t think she did.  If she started school at 6, she probably stopped when she moved to Detroit.

"Daisy with friends from work"
Daisy (the arrow points at her) with friends from Annis Furs.

 

Getting An Education – Fearless Females

What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

On My Maternal Side
My 3X great grandmother, Annie Williams,  was born about 1820 in Virginia into slavery. According to the 1880 Census, when she was about 60, she spoke English and could not read or write.

Eliza - my 2x great grandmother

Her daughter, my 2X great grandmother, Eliza Williams Allen, was born in Alabama about 1839 into slavery. She was freed by 1860. According to the 1910 census, she was about 67, spoke English and could not read or write

"Jennie Allen Turner in hat"
Jennie - my greatgrandmother

Her daughter, my great grandmother, Jennie Allen Turner was born free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1866. According to the 1880 Census, she was 13 years old, had attended school in the past year, spoke English and was literate.  I found one of my favorite books at her house “Lydia of the Pines.”

Fannie - my maternal grandmother

 Her daughter, my Grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham, was born in 1888 in Lowndes County, Alabama. She grew up in Montgomery. According to the 1900 census, she was 11 years old, at school, spoke English and was literate. My mother told me that when Fannie graduated from high school – State Normal, was offered a scholarship to Fisk but refused it and took a job in her uncles store, which she managed until she married in 1918. Also according to my mother, Fannie could quickly add long columns of numbers in her head.

Doris - my mother

My mother , Doris Graham Cleage,  was born in Detroit in 1923. She graduated from Eastern High School in Detroit and received a full scholarship to Wayne State  where she earned a BA with distinction as a Sociology major in June/1944. She returned to school in 1951 and earned teaching certification. In 1958 she became a masters candidate in education, completing her Master’s of Education Degree in the fall of 1958.  She took postmasters classes in education during a sabbatical in 1963. She also took evening classes  in 1968, when I was a senior at Wayne State.

My great grandmother, Emma Jones Turner (My grandmother Fannie’s paternal grandmother) was born about 1840 in South Carolina into slavery.  According to the 1880, 1900 and 1910 census she spoke English and was literate. I wish I knew more about her. I never heard a story about her. After my grandmother’s father was killed when she was 4 years old, her mother broke all ties with her husband’s family.

On My Paternal Side

Celia - my great grandmother

My great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman was my grandfather’s mother. She was born about 1855 into slavery in Virginia and brought to Tennessee as a child. She was about 10 when freedom came. In the 1880 census she could neither read nor write. By the 1930 census she spoke English and could read but could not write.  I wonder if my grandfather or his siblings taught her to read when they went to school.

My 2X great grandmother, Clara Green was born into slavery about 1829 in Kentucky. She was my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s grandmother. In the 1880 census she was listed as about 55, spoke English and could not read or write.

Her daughter, my great grandmother Anna Allen Reed  was born  about 1849 in Kentucky into slavery.   According to the 1910 Census she spoke English but could not read or write. Anna’s four older children were illiterate while the four youngest were literate.

Pearl - my paternal grandmother

Her youngest daughter, my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage was born in Lebanon, Kentucky in 1886. In the 1900 census she was 16 and where it says if you were or were not in school it says “Book 1” I don’t know what that means.  At any rate she was literate and spoke English. My Aunt Barbara told me she finished high school. I remember my grandparent’s house being full of books.

 

 

They Worked at Annis Furs – Sepia Saturday #95

Seamstresses at Annis Furs in Downtown Detroit. Taken in the 1920’s.  My great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner is in the second row, far left. Her daughter Alice is next to her. Skip the next woman and her daughter Daisy is there, 4th from the left.  The three of them got jobs at Annis Furs soon after moving to Detroit from Montgomery, Alabama about 1924.  I remember a little teddy bear Daisy made for my younger cousin Marilyn Elkins out of scraps of real fur. To read more about my Great Grandmother Turner, click Jennie Virginia Allen Turner.

Below is a photograph from the Burton collection at the Detroit Public Library.  The Annis Fur Company is in the corner building. Although this was taken in 1917 I think the area looked pretty much the same 7 years later.  To see a photograph of the Woodward Ave in 1910 click at Shorpy. You can see Annis Fur Post and Grinell Bros Pianos on the left, looking down the crowded street, past the Eureka Vacuum sign.

For more photos of crowds of women and other fascinating subjects, click Sepia Saturday.

Just The Facts – Timeline For My Great Aunt Alice

1866 October 1 – Jennie Allen Turner born (Alice’s mother)
1888 March 12 – Fannie born (Alice’s oldest sister)
1890 May – Daisy born (sister)
1905 Jennie married Wright  (according to the 1910 census)
1910 Census – 7th Precinct, Montgomery     19 April 1910
Top of the page is Sallie H. Wright, a widow and a teacher
Address 712 E. Grove Street
Jennie T. Wright – age 40 2nd marriage, 5 years Dressmaker – 3 children, all living (44)
Fannie Mae Turner – age 20 book keeper (22)
Daisy Turner – age 17 clerk (20)
Alice Wright – age 2 father born North Carolina (after this census Alice’s last name is always given as “Turner”, Jennie’s first husband who died in 1892.)
1918 – Daisy taught school at Booker Washington Elementary
1919 – Daisy taught school at Booker Washington Elementary
1920 Census – Precinct 7 (part of) 19 January 1920 Montgomery Alabama
Address 712 Grove Street
Jennie Turner – age 52 – Widow Seamstress (54)
Daisy Turner – age 25 clerk at grocery (30)
Alice Turner – age 11 – attended school, can read and write.
1921 July 31, photo taken in Windsor, Ontario with Beulah and Robert Pope
1922 Nov. 23 Letter from Victor Tulane, he’s shipping Gr.Turner’s things to Detroit.
1924 Oct 11 – Certificate of Survey for Theodore applicant Fred L. Marsh
1920’s – Undated photograph of seamstresses at Anis Furs.  Jennie, Daisy and Alice are all in the photo.

1930 Census – Precinct 57 3 Apr 1930 Detroit, Michigan
Address 4836 Harding
Jennie Turner – age 62 – owns home. Worth $7,000  Widow. Not working (64)
Daisy Turner – age 30 – single Head portreress at a Fur Store (40)
Alice E. Turner – age 21 – single. Not working
1954 March 28 – Mother Jennie dies. Alice continues to live with sister Daisy in same house.
1961 November 24 – Daisy dies after a days illness. Alice moves in with her sister Fannie and her husband Mershell.
During this time Alice is diagnosed with schizophrenia.
1963 SSN issued 365-48-4560
1964 August 18 – Alice made her best/last cake (Entry in Fannie’s bible)
1966 April 18  Alice’s Aunt Abbie becomes ill and is moved to a nursing home. Dies on this date.
1968 Summer – Family moves to a flat with Doris (Fannie’s daughter & Alice’s niece)

1973 September 6 – Brother-in-law Mershell Graham Sr dies (Alice’s brother-in-law)
1973 – Sister Fannie has a stroke and is moved to a nursing home. Alice is moved to senior housing.

1974 August 13 – Sister Fannie Mae Turner Graham dies.
1974 September 27 – Guardianship of Alice Turner, a mentally incompetent person, to niece Doris
1982 April 30 – Niece Doris dies and guardianship turned over to niece Mary V.
1994 November 16 – Alice dies after being in failing health.
1994 November – Cremated and ashes buried in mother Jennie’s grave in Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery.

Finding Alice

Robert Pope, Jennie V. Turner, Beulah Pope (back) Alice Turner, my Aunt Daisy.

August 18 was my Great Aunt Alice’s birthday.  I decided to do a quick post about her. Found a few photographs.  Wrote out my memories. Something wasn’t right. I wrote a cousin and my sister asking for their memories. They both sent them and of course all of our memories both overlap and are different. I found my mother’s memories. I looked for more photos. I looked for documents. I realized some of what I “knew” I couldn’t document. So, I’ve spent the last week trying to figure Alice’s life out when there is no one left to ask about particulars. Now I’m working on a timeline to incorporate both the facts and the memories and the contradictions. Today I dug out a photograph I vaguely remembered as being of Alice and my great grandmother Jennie in Canada. As soon as I found it, I realized that the young man and one of the other women were also relatives. The woman behind my great grandmother was her youngest sister, Beulah Allen Pope and her son, Robert is the young man in the front. I recognized them because Robert’s daughter sent me a photograph of them that must have been taken the same day because they are wearing the same clothes.  The photo is dated “July 31, 1921 Toronto Windsor, Canada.” I did not realize they were there so early. More wondering and looking.  I have ordered Alice’s Social Security application and death certificate hoping to find more information.

Photo sent by cousin Ruth. Taken in Detroit.

A Family Photograph – 1892

This photograph was taken in Montgomery during 1892 while the family was in mourning. Jennie holds two year old Daisy while four year old Fannie stands beside her.

Howard Turner and Jennie Virginia Allen were married in June of 1887.  Howard’s father, Joe Turner gave them land to farm in Lowndes County, Alabama. Joe wanted the land to stay in the family forever. By 1892 Joe and Howard were arguing constantly about Howard and Jennie’s desire to sell the land and move to Montgomery. The day of the fateful bar-b-que the arguments had been particularly violent. Jennie was in Montgomery visiting her parents , with their two young daughters, when word came that Howard had been shot dead at the bar-b-que.

Jennie moved back to her parent’s house with her children, Fannie and Daisy. She took the title to the land to a lawyer and asked him to make sure all was in order so she could sell. When she returned the lawyer told her that the title was not clear and she didn’t own the land. Jennie believed that her father-in-law had paid the lawyer to get the land back for himself. She cut ties with the Turners and went to work as a seamstress, the trade her mother Eliza had taught all six of her daughters.

Many years later, when Fannie was grown, she ran into one of her Turner cousins. She asked the cousin about what her mother believed – that Joe Turner had his son killed to keep the land. It wasn’t true. The lawyer had stolen the land for himself. They didn’t know who killed Howard.

Fannie was my maternal grandmother. Howard and Jennie were my great grandparents. Joe Turner was my great great grandfather. I didn’t know his or wife’s name, nor any of Howard’s siblings names until I found them in the 1870 and 1880 census in Lowndes County, Alabama when I began to do online research in the 1990s. Joe and Emma Turner lived on the farm with their children, Lydia b. 1862, Howard b. 1863, Fanny b. 1864, Joe b. 1867, Anna b. 1869, Alonza b. 1873.