Today while looking for old Easter pictures, I found a partial answer to the question I asked at the end of my blog post on the migration from Montgomery to points north – Did Lowndes Adams and my grandfather ever see each other again, or keep in touch? I found a photo from 1965 of Lowndes and four of his sisters. I don’t know where it was taken, not at my grandparents house for sure, but it shows they did keep in touch. From L to R we have: Jessie, Maude, Jane, Alice and Lowndes.
Here is a list of household members in the 1900 census.
James M Adams 53
Ida Adams 41
Sarah Adams 18
Emaline Adams 16
Maud Adams 13
Ida Jessie Adams 12
Lowndes W Adams 9
James Russel Adams 6
Alice Adams 3
Although Jane doesn’t appear in this census, she does appear in the 1910 census as an 8 year old.
After reading the letters my grandfather’s friends wrote to him in Detroit from Montgomery, I wondered what happened to those he left behind. Did they stay? Did they leave? I know that my grandparents never returned to Montgomery once they married so I wondered if he ever saw any of them again. I didn’t find them in the photographs in the backyard of the house on Theodore but, if they had moved to Detroit there wouldn’t have been any backyard photos. Those were reserved for out of town guests.
The six young men mentioned were Lowndes Adams, Robert Blakley, Rufus Taylor, Lewis Gilmer, Edgar Speigner and Nathan. I was able to follow them with varying degrees of success. There were twists and turns and connections and dead ends. And always more information to look for and check. Today I decided to write up what I have found so far.
Lowndes William Adams was born February 11, 1893, in Montgomery, Alabama to James and Ida Adams. James was a grocer. Lowndes was the 5th of 7 children. They all were educated and several of his sisters were teachers. Lowndes worked as a stenographer and later was the branch manager of an insurance company. He never married and shared his home with his widowed mother, several sisters, nieces and nephews. He was in Montgomery in 1930. He died in Detroit in 1977. My grandfather died in 1973. I wonder if they had a chance to spend time together.
Lowndes older sister, Emma Lena, married Edgar Speigner before he registered for the WW 1 draft in 1917. Edgar was born September 17, 1882, in Montgomery. He and his brother Charles were raised by their mother, Carrie Taylor who was a cook. Tall and stout, he worked as a pullman porter all of his adult life. Edgar and his wife Emma, raised four children. He died in 1954 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Rufus Taylor was born January 19, 1886 in Montgomery. His parents were Jordan and Fannie Taylor. Rufus was a cousin of Victor Tulane. Victor was married to Eliza and Dock’s daughter, Willie Lee. Rufus lived with the Tulane family for many years and worked in the store first as a clerk and then as a salesman. He remained in Montgomery and married Nan Nesbitt Jones. As far as I know he had no children but helped raise Nan’s son, Albert, from her first marriage. Nan Nesbitt was the niece by marriage of another of Dock and Eliza’s daughter, the youngest, Beulah. That is, Nan was the stepdaughter of Beulah’s husband’s sister. (Are you confused yet?) Rufus died in Montgomery at the age of 51 in 1937.
I believe Nathan was Nathan Nesbit, a cousin of Nan but have not been able to follow a trail, yet.
Lewis Abram Gilmer was born in Alabama on May 18, 1885. I’m not sure if he was born in Montgomery but he was raised there by his parents Louis and Carnelia Gilmer, along with 7 siblings. His father was a porter, a butler and a chauffeur. Lewis worked as a bank messenger in Montgomery. He and his wife, Annie, had four children. The oldest was born in 1910 in Montgomery. The second was born in1924 in Mississippi and the two youngest were born in 1925 and 1927 in Detroit, Michigan. Lewis worked as a porter at a department store in Detroit. He died there in July, 1969. I tried to find a link between Lewis Gilmer and Ludie Gilmer, who was the son-in-law of Beulah Allen Pope. No luck. Both their wives were named Annie but not the same Annie.
John Wesley Blakley was born January 22, 1893 in Montgomery, Alabama. He married Virgie Dorsette Beckwith, who wanted to leave the south according to John’s letter to Mershell. He was a barber in Atlanta before WW 1 and in Chicago, Illinois afterwards. He and his wife do not seem to have had any children. John was in Chicago in 1942. I have not yet found a death record or census records for 1900, 1910 or 1920 so I do not know his parent’s names or if he had siblings.
Dear “Shell” – From my early acting in answering your letter, you may know or imagine how proud I was to receive a letter from the boy. I have thought of you often and wondering at the same time, if I was just to receive a postcard from you; for as you have said about me, I consider you one of my closest and most trusted worthy friends. It doesn’t seem that one can realize the feeling that exists until a separation, but after looking into the proposition, knowing that you had to get located, being in a new land, and being among strangers would consume lots of your time. I am certainly pleased to know that you are so well satisfied with Detroit and the surroundings. Yes, I would be tickled to death if I could be up there with you, for I am sick and tired of this blooming place. I know it must be an inspiration to be where you can breathe a little freedom, for every body down here are beginning to feel that slavery is still existing in the south. The Teacher’s Association has been in session here from the 4th to the 7th and quite a number of visitors are here. The boys thru my chivalry managed to give a subscription dance, and believe me I came in an inch of being fagged out. You know how you have to run a “jinke” down to get a $1.00 from him. We had quite a success as well as an enjoyable one. Cliff was to make the punch but on account of his training being too late for him to even come to the ball, it fell my time to do something and I did wish for you but managed to brave the situation and tried to follow as close as I could remember my seeing your making punch and for a fact I really made that punch taste like “a la Shell punch”, and it turned out to be perfect class. Alabama Medical Association will convene here on 9 and 10 and they are giving a dance at Tabors Hall on Randolph and Decatur Sts. No, not a full dress affair, so I think I shall attend. Sam Crayton is here from Chicago and he is very anxious for me to return with him, but I am afraid he will have to go and I come later. Well, the U.S. is really in War with Germany and we can’t tell what the next war may bring. It will mean suffering for humanity, and we people down here especially. I am just as neutral as can be and expect to stand pat in the idea. Yes, people are leaving here in droves for all directions and now you can miss them off of the streets. As many people that hung around the drug store on Sunday, you can scarcely find a dozen there now. I have seen Miss Turner but once and that was down town. I know she keeps you well informed of herself. There is no news of interest. My sister Jessie was married in February and is now living in Pensacola, so you see so far 1917 has been lucky for me. Now old boy, I shall expect for you not to allow such long gaps between our writing each. All of my family sends the best of wishes to you and Mrs Wyman and Hubby. The boys and girls join in with me and send their share.