The 4th Annual i Gene Awards at Finding Eliza (and My Cleages)

This time last year I didn’t know the i Gene Awards existed.  This year I am here to present the Awards for the best posts on my blogs in five categories.  First I would like to thank my ancestors for saving so many photographs, stories, letters, journals and scraps of paper and seeing that they got to me.  It has made my job so much easier. And now on to the awards.

The Best Picture Award goes to  My Mother – 1952  a Sepia Saturday offering that caused much speculation about why she seemed to be avoiding the camera.  Was she shy?  Was she coy?  Did she lose her earring?  Was there a cat under the chair?  We will never know but I would like to thank my mother, Doris Graham Cleage, for being so photographically mysterious.

The Best Screen Play Award goes to Eliza and the People in Her Life – a Chart  This would be a multi-generational saga that begins in slavery and ends in freedom.  We have slavery, lust, an escape to freedom while being chased by hounds, true love, vengeance, the surrender of Montgomery, reconstruction, family bonds, death in childbirth, hard work and much, much more. The chart is the cast of this drama.   I would like to thank my sister Pearl Cleage for being my casting director. Her picks are below:

  1. Young Eliza — Jurnee Smollett/played the debating girl in “The Great Debators” and was the young girl featured in “Selma, Lord, Selma!” and “Eve’s Bayou.” good actress.
  2. Old Eliza — Barbara O/Yella Mary from “Daughters of the Dust.” amazing actress and looks like she could be what Jurnee would look like old. (let’s say old Eliza is the one who starts telling the story in flashbacks so she’d start and then Jurnee would fade in as Eliza in her twenties when she meets Dock.
  3. Dock — Jeffrey Wright/played Muddy Waters in “Cadillac Records.” he’s a little old, but he looks like he could be Dock and he’s an amazing actor.
  4. Annie Williams — Viola Davis/in her 40’s, so she could be in a flashback/she was nominated for an academy award for her role as the mother in “Doubt.” last year, she won a Tony for playing Rose in “Fences” on b’way.
  5. Milton Saffold — here come the movie stars… maybe Jake Gyllenhaal he was in “Brokeback Mountain” and lots of movies. he’s a good actor. the right age, in his 30’s.
  6. Georgia Whitting —  Reese Witherspoon, usually comedic, but was really good playing June Carter Cash in the movie about Johnny Cash.  She’s from Tennessee so she could call on her roots.
  7. Edmund and Jane Harrison — oh, let’s throw in a couple of really BIG time movie stars for fun. how about angelina jolie and brad pitt?
  8. Martha Harrison —  how about Dakota Fanning? she’s young, blond, not a bad actress.
  9. Clara Bolden – Tariji P. Henson. got nominated for an Ocsar for a weird movie two years ago. was also a star of the awful movie, “Hustle and Flow”, but that wasn’t her fault. she’s pretty good and can play sad and angry, two emotions required of colored mistresses.

The Award for Best Documentary goes to In Which I Hit the Google Photo Jackpot, another Sepia Saturday offering.  In this one I wrote about the information I found trying to explain why the Tulanes might have been sitting so far apart on the porch, get side tracked into researching Victor Tulane’s family and then talk about all the photographs I found for this family, using google, while just trying to illustrate the original information.

The Award for Best Biography goes to the two part series about my Grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham 1888 – 1974 – part 1 and Fannie Mae Turner Graham 1888 – 1974 – Conclusion I would like to thank my mother, Doris Graham Cleage, for writing this series in 1976.

Last but not least, The Award for Best Comedy goes to a post for which I have to give credit to my Uncle Henry Cleage (Does it seem to you, right about now, that I wrote only half of these posts, at most??) for the short story Just Tell The Men – A short story by Henry W. Cleage.

A big thank you to Carnival of Genealogy hostess, Jasia, at Creative Gene for creating these Carnivals!

A letter to my grandmother Fannie

I am sharing a letter from Victor Tulane to my grandmother Fannie after her family moved up from Montgomery to Detroit.  Soon after she and my grandfather bought a house her mother and her two sisters joined them.  They had two children under 5 and my mother was on the way.  Read more about Victor Tulane here and about my grandmother here.
"Letter to Fannie Graham from Victor Tulane."
Letter to Fannie Graham from Victor Tulane

Rents Collected                                                                                     Homes Bought         
Loans Negotiated                                                                                            And Sold 
Estates Managed

Telephone 388
                                                                                                      Montgomery, ALA.,        Nov. 23, 1922

Dear Fannie,
I am enclosing check from this M.R. & Ins. Co; for ten dollars which the sec’y should have mailed you some time ago.

We are winding up the affairs of this company and will send you another payment on stock acct. pretty soon.  I think that the company will be able to pay off it’s stock holders dollar for dollar.

I trust this will find all well and getting along nicely.

Your mother’s things were shipped yesterday.  Trust they will arrive on time and in first class condition.  Remember me to all the folks.  Tell the kids hello!
Let us have a line from you when convenient.

Your Uncle,

The Whole Bunch – Sepia Saturday #59

Today I spread all my Cleage photos out on the table and began putting them into order by number or date.  While I was doing this, I found another photograph in the sequence that I posted about twice this week.  Click here to see the photo of my grandparents, where I speculate that it was taken soon after their marriage.  Several people wondered what he was holding over his shoulder.  Click here to read about my discovery of the numbers on the back of most of the photographs.

I can see the people more clearly in this group photograph but, it is in bad shape.  Starting from the left, are two headless women and I don’t know who they are. The little girl is my Aunt Barbara, next to her is my Uncle Hugh, Uncle Louis, Uncle Henry, Theodore Page (who looks like he has a double), a mystery girl, and the FLAG that my grandfather held over his shoulder.  Behind them are, an unknown man, my great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman, her son Jacob, my father Albert “Toddy”,  three people I don’t know then my grandfather Albert B. Cleage Sr.  In the background are some other people.  I don’t know who they are or where they are.

Click here to read other Sepia Saturday stories and to join in with a Sepia Saturday post of your own.

More Information About Yesterday’s Photo and a Discovery

Last night I posted an undated photograph of my grandparents.  I assumed it was taken soon after they were married in 1910.  Then one of my daughter’s asked me when it was taken and where it was taken.  I went back to my box of Cleage photos to see if I could find some others taken on the same day.  After going through quite a few pictures, I noticed that there were numbers on the back of the photographs.

Here is the back of the photo in question.  That is my handwriting.  I started looking for other photos with the number 573.  Voila!  I found two.  One says ‘Toddy and Theodore Page”, not in my handwriting.  Toddy is my father and Theodore Page was the nephew of  Gertrude, my great uncle Jacob’s wife.  He was living with them in Detroit, according to the 1930 census.

Taking a side trip, I began to look for information about  Theodore (Roosevelt) Page.  I found him at age 6 living with his parents, Jacob and Anna Eliza Page, and siblings William and Ophelia living on a farm in Mississippi in 1910.  By 1920 he was 16 years old.  He and his mother were living with sister his Ophelia and her husband, Henry Red, in Arkansas.  He worked on the family farm and had attended school in the last year. I’ve been trying to find Uncle Jacob’s wife’s maiden name for years.  Maybe finding her sister will help.

The other photo with the number 573 on it is a very blurry group photo.  I see my grandmother Pearl on the far left with little Barbara in front of her.  Hugh is next to Barbara,  My father is in the front row center, next to him is my great grandmother, Celia Rice Cleage Sherman, a little kid, probably my uncle Henry is next.  Behind Henry we see Theodore Page.  My grandfather is on the end.  Is he still holding the mystery object from the other photo?   

Now I’ll make another attempt to date the photo.  My father was born in 1911.  He could be 10 or 11.  Barbara was born in 1920.  She could be 2. Gladys was born the end of September in 1922.  Does my grandmother look pregnant?   My estimate is summer of 1922.

With this new information I will begin sorting, and scanning the box of photos in the near future.

Three sisters – Sepia Saturday #58

The Graham sisters were on my Finding Eliza blog, along with the next generation of Cleage sisters – my sister and me.  Here are my aunts, the original Cleage sisters in the early 1940’s.  Barbara, Gladys and Anna.  For more Sepia Saturday posts click here.

Picnic With Hats 1919

This photograph is dated September 1, 1919. The people from left to right are – my Grandfather Mershell C. Graham (aka Poppy), Mrs. Hicks from Chicago and Moses L. Walker. They seem to be having a picnic. I don’t know who Mrs. Hicks is. She only appears in the photos from this day. Uncle Moses wasn’t actually our uncle. He was the uncle of our cousins and an old friend of my grandparents from Montgomery, Alabama. My grandparents roomed with the Walkers when they first moved up to Detroit in 1918 and they were my Aunt Mary V.’s Godparents.

I have transcribed below part of an interview my cousin Margret did with Uncle Moses daughter, Mignon.

Today is May 15, 1986. I am going to interview Mignon Walker Brown, my cousin.

Margaret: So now where did your mother and father meet?
Mignon: In Memphis.
Margaret: And how did that come about? Have you any idea?
Mignon: Yes. My father was from Montgomery but he went to Tuskegee to School. And he became a protégé of Dr. George Washington Carver and he wanted to go to business school so Dr. Carver made arrangements for him to get a job at Iowa State University to go to the business school for a year.
Margaret: George Washington Carver?
Mignon: George Washington Carver.
Margaret: Not Booker T. Washington?
Mignon: George Washington Carver.
Margaret: I never knew that.
Mignon: As a matter of fact, my father was very disappointed when I was born that I wasn’t a boy because I was to be named George Washington Carver. (Laughter.)
At any rate, Daddy went to Iowa and stayed the year. He did not graduate because he thought he had made an A in one course and they gave him a B and he would not accept the diploma. But he left there and his older sister lived in what was then Indian Territory before it became the State of Oklahoma.
Margaret: Which sister was that? Susan?
Mignon: His oldest sister Annie.
Margaret: Annie?
Mignon: Not Annie, Susie, his oldest sister Susie who was married and living there. And his occupation was to…. he had a mule that he rode and sold Bibles to the Indians. And in his last illness we were sitting… there used to be a program on television. He would look at this town and say, My goodness, the people who did these sets certainly knew what they were doing because it looked exactly like that town because he had traveled throughout the West.
He came back and went to Mississippi and worked for a man who had a grocery store, a general store, and he used to go to Memphis to buy for the store and in those days he had just come from the West and he wore his hair like Buffalo Bill, long and they used to tease my mother about her boyfriend with the curls. But anyway, this is how she met him because he went to Memphis to buy for the store.
Margaret: And what did she do? What was she doing then?
Mignon: My mother?
Margaret: Umm humm.
Mignon: Just living with my grandmother. She didn’t do anything.
Margaret: Where did she go to school?
Mignon: Chicago. She finished high school in Chicago.
Margaret: I see.
Mignon: And she became a milliner. Then she decided to go back to Memphis and she didn’t have to work.
Margaret: Now they married in Memphis?
Mignon: They married in Memphis and went to Washington to live. They married in 1908. At that time my father was working in the Treasury Department in Washington.

For more Sepia Saturday offerings, click here

Click for today’s Sepia Posts.

Louis Cleage – Spelling His Name In Various Records

While looking for my great grandfather Louis Cleage I encountered various spellings of his name.

1870 United States Federal Census
Name:  Lewis Cleage
Home in 1870:  District 5, McMinn, Tennessee
Age in 1870:  16
In 1970 Louis Cleage was living in McMinn County with who I think are his parents and siblings.  I cannot be positive because relationships were not given in the 1870 census.  No job description but he was born in Tennessee. I can’t find them in the 1880 Census and by that time Louis was Clage and married.

Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002
Name:  Lewis Cloge
Spouse:  Sela Rice
Marriage Date:  25 Apr 1872
Marriage County:  McMinn

State of Tennessee, McMinn County
Marriage Bond
Lewis Cleage
23 day of April 1872

1880 United States Federal Census
Name:  Lewis Clage
Home in 1880:  Hackberry, Loudon, Tennessee
Age:  28

Tennessee Census, 1810-91
Year:  1891
Name:  Lewis Cleage
Township:  Dist. 7 Male Voters

1900 United States Federal Census
Name:  Louis Cleag
Home in 1900:  Precinct 8, Jefferson, Alabama
Birth Date:  Jun 1850

1918 Indianapolis Indiana City Directory
Living with his sons Jacob and Henry Cleage
Cleage, Lewis

I haven’t found him in the 1920 census and I haven’t found a death certificate yet. I do not know when or where he died.  I don’t have a photograph of him.

I later found his death certificate. You can see it here:  Louis Cleage’s Death Certificate and you may see his burial spot ->  Louis Cleage’s Burial Spot