Correspondence Relating to George Reed’s Estate

Note: Sarah Jane Busby could not write and one of her daughter’s wrote the letters that, I believe, her mother dictated. At the end of one of the letters, the daughter writes as herself, a little note to Aunt Pearl. She doesn’t sign her name though so I don’t know which one it was. Sarah and Sally were one and the same.

7:45 A.M.

Benton Harbor Mich

April 4-18-46

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am writing you again to see how you are. I am quite well and trusting you and family are the same.  The weather here is nice, only a little cool this morning.

I am sending these papers. I received this from Minnie yesterday. I am not paying any of her bills. She made it so therefor she will have to pay it. Her lawyer does not know anything about me. But if she signed my name on any of her papers I will know something about her. She is getting off easy with her lies.

When she came to me to help get a lawyer I told her then no. Because she said Ben paid $50.00 and want to know if I wanted to pay $50.00 an I told her no.  Minnie and her lawyer did not fight any case for me. George fought my case when he made his paper out the way he wanted them. She told the lawyer I did not know anything about law, and I don’t think she did either.

Will close. All send love to you and family.

Sincerely your sis Sally J Busby

_________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Jun 18-46

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. It found me not quite so well and glad to know you are the same. (Note; at first she said it did find her well.) No I was not affected by the bursting of water main.  I would love to go to Indianapolis but I am not quite up to it. I am having trouble since and bothers me quite a bit.

I won’t need to be there you have did a good job up to now and I know you will finish this job just as George would like and I know with God’s help you will come out more then (someone) (sic)

While you are out there you ask the lady what she would want to pay out for it. As long as she is the first to ask for it. And you can let me know just what you think it is worth.

What did Minnie say why she is going to Calif. and who is she going to visit. And they left her there in Detroit and they will do the same to her after her money is gone. I think she had better stay where she is at. But that is not any of my business.

I have no garden up yet and I have not got my house cleaned all up yet. Can’t get a man to take my storm windows down for me.

Did the tornado affect you any way? I just heard it on the radio.

Be good and take care of yourself. Your sister,

Sally Busby

P.S. Morris’ boy has twins girls – and a older son.

Benton Harbor Mich

Dec. 2-1946

1238  Broadway

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter this morning and was more then glad to hear from you. I am quite well. And was glad to hear that you & the family are the same. Yes I sent the receipt that the atty sent for. I don’t understand what he wants the hospital Bill for and it being paid. Pearl you have to see after my things until this estate is settled. He has not sent me any deed as yet. I have no deed yet.

I don’t know what to make of that atty. I don’t know what he is trying to do. I sent my things to him and I have not heard from him since. You know the Bond won’t be lifted until it is all settled. If George knew this is going on like this, he would turn over in his grave. I heard Minnie was gone and John went with her and I don’t know how true it is. All send love to you and your family.

Sincerely your Sis Sally

Note: There is no letter from Sarah Busby about the property not coming to her. I do not know if this was cleared up and it did go to her. The Mr. Frankovitz mentioned in this letter was the owner of the market located a block from George’s house on Kenwood.

1840 W. 20th St.

Los Angeles

Jan 1/47

Dear Pearl;

I arrived ok and the trip was very nice. The flowers are really pretty, so many are in bloom now in the dead of winter, one can imagine how it will be in the summer time. The last week has been very cold the coldest it has been in years so the people say. I have had a touch of the flu for the last week. But I am a little better now. I hope all of you folks are all right, and in the best of health. Peter seemed to take the trip very well.

Last week I heard Anny went back to Detroit after staying in Phoenix about two weeks. But I don’t think she is satisfy yet.

Say Pearl have you people heard or taken care of that rubber stock that George left. You said you were waiting for Albert to come back from Tenn. about a month ago. So I hope Grant hasn’t started any more of his tricks because I got very little of what George left anyway, I do need whatever was suppose to be mine very much.

Well that’s about all, I do hope to hear from you soon.  Tell Lou hello, and I do miss seeing him very much. Peter said hello also.

Your sister

Minnie

________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Jan. 2-1-47

Sarah Busby

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am sending you this letter and the address of the Real Estate Office addresses on the estate. I have sent for the tax and can’t get no answer. I don’t understand why I can’t hear about the taxes. I do hope you can get these things straighten out. Because that Atty is doing the same thing right over again and why is he doing it? Well, this is all. Hopen to hear from you soon. All send love to you and your family.

I remain

Sincerely your

sister

Sally

__________________

Sunday  2-6-1947

1238 Broadway St.

Sarah Busby

Dear Pearl:

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. glad to know that you and family are well. Every one here is quite well. Only I am have some trouble with my knees.

No I have not received any mail from Atty Grant since the last of October. You was supposed to look after this estate so you had to see this estate was carried out as George wished it. Now you know when you brought the Deed the old one the transferred was supposed to be attached to it. Here he sent money to see if I would let the people have it. I wrote to Davis and  they did not answer either. It looks like you are letting them handle it to beat me out of it. Now you say if you could you would go to Indianapolis and see about it yourself. Why don’t you and see after it. You was paid for that until the estate was finished and anyone received their part. What is wrong now? Where does Bonding Co. located at? I sent about the taxes and they turned it over to Grant. I don’t intend to stand it, but I will understand it. Why are you so afraid that I will lose this property? You told they it was only worth $2,000 and have him sell it. And George told you to watch Grant. Now what is he trying to do? You must have taken your eye off of him. What is the matter that Grant does answer your letters? There is not any bills. I want to hear from you at once.

I remain

sincerely your

sis Sara Busby

__________________

Benton Harbor Mich

Mar. 3- 12th -47

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I am writing you again to see how you are. I am quite well and trusting you and family are the same.

The weather is quite nice here now only a lot of water. How is it in Detroit? Nice I hope.

Pearl, you said in your letter everything would be settled up in ten days. I have received no papers as yet of any kind and I don’t know just what to think about this Mr. Grant. I don’t see why they can’t make him settle up this matter. I am going to make another stop. I want to know what they are holding up that deed and transfer. I want to know what the hold is. I can’t hear a word from Atty Grant. When you write to him he won’t answer you and why and he has never sent the rent money at all. and I want to know. Will you be so kind as to write where George paid his taxes and find out for me how much it is. Because this is a stumbling block there somewhere. I hope I hear from you before the last of the week because this is not settled up with until I get my papers.

This is all family send love to you and family.

Sincerely

Your sister Sally,

Answer soon.

PS and Atty Grant said I owe him some money and I want to know what I owe him any money for. Please tell me.

1840 West 20th St.

Los Angeles California

April 7, 1947

Dear Pearl,

This morning I received three checks from Townsend and Townsend for $4.19. I thought we were getting interest from the stock but it seems that he sold the stock and that is all we get. I am sending you the letter so you will understand better. When you have finished reading it please send it back to me and also the other letter that I sent you some time ago.

How is everyone? I hope they are all well. Harold’s baby is just fine. She is a very big baby. I heard Marie had her baby, girl, March 9th.

I dreamed of you the other night. You sent Henry to tell me to come for three days to help you make Gladys’ birthday party. I thought it was such a queer dream. There was you and Albert an another man there, but there was a mist between us and I couldn’t see too clearly. Well, that’s all for now. Everyone is fine here, Minnie

________________

Benton Harbor, Mich

April 4-22-47

1238 Broadway St.

Dear Pearl,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. This leaves me quite well and trusting you are still improving.

Yes, I receive a letter from Minnie and a check of $4.19 and she never told me the stock was sold. She said the atty sent it to her to send to me. and she told you that the stock was sold.

My Atty said it was not sold. Because he received a letter from stock Co. and it is not sold. And is that the first check you received?

As Grant I have never heard from him. And find out about the taxes from me and see about that transfer, you tell Minnie that I received the check because I have no address of hers. This is all and we all send love to you and family. I would like to get this all straighten up before there is a lot of scandal. Because people know you handled it. You know what I mean.

Aunt Pearl Excuse this writing I am in a hurry and tired. I worked my day and night too till 11:00 P.M. and I am so tired I don’t know which way I am going.

Will answer at once.

Sincerely

Your

Sally

Minnie Averitt Reed Mullins – 1878 – 1963

Minnie Reed Mullins
Minnie Reed Mullins about 1926 in front of the family home in Benton Harbor, Michigan

This is the 21st post in the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing ChallengeToday I will write about Minnie Averitte Reed Mullins who was my grandmother Pearl’s older sister.

Minnie Averitte Reed was born in Lebanon, Kentucky in 1878. She was the second child of Buford Avritt and Anna Allen Reed and Anna’s 6th child. Anna and Buford were never married and couldn’t have been even if both were willing as Buford was white and Anna was black.

Two year old Minnie first appears in the 1880 census living with her mother and five older siblings in Lebanon Kentucky. Her mother’s parents lived next door.

Anna's_Family
Click to enlarge.

By 1893 Anna Reed was in Indianapolis, Indiana. Minnie was 15.  Her two older sisters had already married and moved to Berrien County, Michigan.  In 1898, when Minnie was twenty years old, she married James Mullins. By 1900 they had one daughter, Helen who was a year old. Everyone in the household was identified as “B” for black. James was working as a fireman.  At that time the Indianapolis Fire Department with all the black fireman operating out of  the firehouse at 441 Indiana Avenue.

By 1910, there were 6 more children. James was born in 1900. Ben was born in 1901. Arthur was born in 1904. Pearl was born in 1906. The twins, Anna and Marie, were born in 1908 and Minnie was born in 1910.  The family was still living in Indianapolis and James Mullins had continued working as  a fireman. Everybody was identified as “Mulatto”.

By 1920 the family had moved to Detroit, Michigan.  My grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage, Minnie’s younger sister, and her family lived in Detroit. Three more children had been added to the family. William was born in 1913, Harold was born in 1914 and Barbara Louise was born in 1916.  James was working as a carpenter at an auto plant. Arthur was working at the Packer Auto Plant.  The two oldest boys were around 20 and no longer living in the home.

mullins_collage
The Mullins Family

In 1930 Minnie and her family had moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan where her two older sisters and their families lived. Minnie was identified as ‘white’ while the rest of the family was identified as “Indian”, specifically “Cherokee”. James was working as  common laborer. Son Arthur, who works at a foundry and is “Cherokee” and his wife were living down the street as was sister Louise Reed Shoemaker.  Youngest son, John was 9 years old.

You can read about the Mullins family in 1940 here 1940, Minnie and James Mullins.  They were back in Detroit and only three of the sons were still at home. Minnie died in Minneapolis, Minnesota of pneumonia in 1963. She was 84 years old.

1940 Census – James and Minnie (Reed) Mullins

Minnie Reed Mullins was my grandmother, Pearl Reed Cleage’s sister.  James and Minnie Mullins were the parents of 12 children. At the time of the 1940 census only the youngest 3 – William, Harold and John – were still at home. Minnie was the informant. The house they rented for $20 a month at 4345 Tireman is no longer there. Here is a shot from Google Maps looking down the street from the now vacant lot.

Looking down the street from 4345 Tireman, which is no longer standing.

In the 1960s I sometimes walked down Tireman on my way to school. At that time the houses were still there. They were a mix of brick and frame two family and single family houses.  My uncle Henry talked about riding his bike down Tireman and out into the country when he was a boy.   The one time my sister and I tried it, we ended up in Dearborn and were called “nigger” by some white teenage boys.  But that is not today’s story.

James Mullins was listed as 75 years old and had not worked during the past year.  He and wife Minnie both had 8 years of school.  She was born in Kentucky and he was listed as born in New York.  I don’t know if Minnie was joking with the enumerator or trying to give them false information on purpose or if it was a misunderstanding.   He was actually born in Georgia according to all the other documents I have. Well, except for the 1930 census where his race was “Indian”, his place of birth was “Cherokee” and Minnie was identified as “white”.  In 1940 everybody living in the household was identified as “Negro”.

Mr. Mullins holding John. William “Bill” and Harold in front, about 1924. Benton Harbor, MI
Minnie Reed Mullins about 1924. Benton Harbor, MI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A later photograph of William (known as Bill) and Harold Mullins.

William Mullins was 26 in the 1940 Census. He was born in Indiana. He had finished 4 years of high school. He had earned $960 wages in 1939 working 52 weeks as a machinist in an Auto Factory.

Harold was 24 years old. He was born in Indiana and had completed 4 years of high school. During 1939 he worked 52 weeks and earned $936 as a stock boy at a clothing store.

John Mullins

John was 18 years old, born in Michigan and had completed 3 years of high school. He was attending school so he was probably a senior at Northwestern High School. I know that John was also a musician and probably played during this time.

Just looking through other information I have collected for the Mullins family has shown me I need to plan another post where I pull it all together.

 Source 1940 U.S. Census. State: Michigan. County: Wayne. City: Detroit. Ward 14. Enumeration District: 84-788. Sheet number: 1-A. Household # 1. Head of household: James Mullins. Informant: Wife: Minnie Mullins.  To see the census page for the Mullins family click here.