Mary Vee On A Bike

Fan & Mary Virginia 8 months 12/12/20
The weather was warm for December

On a Sunday in December, when my aunt Mary Virginia was eight months old, my grandmother held her on a tricycle for a photo opp.

The baby doesn’t look very happy about it. She looks cold, or terrified.Even though the weather called for rain instead of snow which made it rather warm for Detroit, I imagine it was still pretty cold.

I don’t know if the tricycle was an early Christmas gift or if it belonged to another child, a friend of the family because Mary Vee was the first and oldest child of my grandparents, Fannie and Mershell Graham.

Another photograph with a story I don’t know.

This is not the first time Bicycles have been a sepia Saturday prompt. Here are some of my past responses:

Biking at Old Plank Road, 1962
Girl On A Bike -Sepia Saturday #162
Buffalo Soldiers on Bicycles
Girls Riding a Bike, From the Porch of 5397 Oregon, 1962

Click to see other Sepia Saturday posts

A Buggy, A Visitor and a Mystery – 1950

The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts
Nov 04, 1947 · Page 13

We were living in Springfield, Massachusetts where my father was the pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church.

One cool day in 1950 my little sister Pearl and I were playing with our dolls and buggy in the back yard. Perhaps it was one of those in the advertisement to the left.

I was four. Pearl was about 18 months. An older girl appears on the scene. I do not remember who she was. A neighbor? The child of a church member? No idea.

Me and my doll.
Pearl joins me.
Showing the guest my doll.
The guest looks suspicious while I explain things and Pearl looks on.
Uh oh!
Pearl is pointing at something in the guest’s hand. Are my fists balled up? My doll watches
Looking for …

For more posts about me and my family in 1950 go to this link- My family in 1950

For more Sepia Saturday posts, click picture

Riding the Clairmount Bus – 1969

Oddly enough, I do not have any personal photographs of buses. I do have an ancient journal entry chronicling a very bizarre bus ride I took in Detroit down Joy Road on the Clairmount bus in 1969. I had just graduated from Wayne State in December of 1968 and I was enjoying my freedom. I was living in my own apartment and working at the Black Star Clothing Factory. My cousin Barbara was living in New York City, the East Village. at the time and I was plotting and planning a visit with her. I did make it later that summer. I turned 23 that August.

Kristin and Barbara 1969, at her sister Dee Dee’s house.

I didn’t capitalize anything in the journal so I just left it like that.

journal entry

June 25, 1969

I don’t know what is going on, it isn’t good though. i was leaving friday for new york, but i don’t think so soon. i need a bit more time (for what?) i been listening to new leonard cohen record.  two days over and over at first it was tired, but now i really like it, after the old revolution, i liked best the partisan song about coming out the shadows. i am so sleepy .

everybody is mad/crazy, and i really don’t understand at all. i need pearl’s youth card so that I can leave, go to NYC.

 yesterday on the way to a photo show, I was on the clairmont bus on joy rd.  the driver was crazy, he acted like he was taking a pregnant woman to the hospital, he was weaving the bus in and out between cars.  that was bad enough – old ladies rocking, weaving and falling, when suddenly a red light backs up traffic, or just stops it. he pulls belligerently into the lane of oncoming traffic (which lucky for us was empty at the time) and raced two blocks in the wrong lane to pull and bully his way in front of some poor car when the light changed. I was cracking up. the people weren’t, just me.  I couldn’t control myself laughing, mouth open etc. they probably thought I was crazy or something. so ridiculous, can’t even imagine a regular car doing that shit. I just don’t know, I really don’t. some lunatic jehovah’s witness knocked on the door to give me a bible study tract. says god’s kingdom is eminent. we should be so lucky.

Click to see other Sepia Saturday posts

An “At Home” In Honor of Chicago Visitors

"At Home Eliza's descendents"
Hosts and guests posed for photograph. My mother, Doris Graham is the first on the far left. Her sister Mary V. is second from the right. Publisher James McCall is right in the middle.
"At Home Eliza's Descendants verso"
Verso of Photograph
From the Detroit Tribune

“This is not the picture of a family reunion, although all in the group, with the exception of one intimate friend, are relatives who stood in the receiving line or assisted otherwise at the “At Home” given Monday evening, December 26 from 6 to 9 o’clock, at the McCall’s residence on Parker avenue, the affair was in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Howard, of Chicago, brother and sister of Mr. and Mrs. J. E. McCall and Mrs Robert F. Johnson, a sister, greeted guests at the door, while Miss Mary Virginia Graham, a cousin, acted as registrar. Mrs. Moses L. Walker, a sister, introduced the guests to the host and hostess, who in turn presented them to others in the receiving line – Dr. and Mrs. Howard, the honorees; Miss Victoria McCall, daughter; Miss Louise McCall, niece, of Chicago; and Miss Mignon Walker, also a niece. Mrs. William Hawthorn, a friend of the family, presided at the punch bowl, assisted by Miss Doris Graham, a cousin of the McCalls; and Miss Margaret McCall, a daughter. At the close of the reception, the principals and assistants stood together and were snapped by the camera. They are left to right: Doris Graham, Mignon Walker, Louise McCall, Victoria McCall, Dr. and Mrs J. E. McCall, Mrs. M. I. Walker, ( not named was Margaret McCall) Mrs R. F. Johnson, Mary Virginia Graham and Mrs. William Blackburn.”

The Detroit Tribune, Detroit, Michigan 31 Dec 1938, Sat  •  Page 5

The Detroit Tribune was published by James E. McCall and his wife, Margaret Walker McCall. He was also a poet and had lost his sight while attending college after having typhoid fever.

The links below take you to more information about various people in the photograph.

Victoria McCall interviews Eleanor Roosevelt in 1945
1940 Census – James and Margaret McCall and Family
James Edward McCall, Poet and Publisher 1880 – 1963
Interview With Mignon Walker Brown & 3 Hats
Otillia McCall Howard
Louise and Ronnie
Mary Virginia Graham – Social Reporter
Doris Graham, High School Senior – 1940
F – FAMILY, MY GRAHAMS in the 1920 Census
My Mother in the News

Click photo for more Sepia Saturday photos!

The Cleages at home

My paternal grandparents Albert and Pearl (Reed) Cleage. Youngest daughter Anna in the background.

Albert and Pearl Cleage at home. This was a tiny photo, probably cut from a proof sheet my grandparents doesn’t have the best exposure.It was taken in the house on Scotten Avenue in Detroit, in the mid 1930s.

Anna Cleage with groceries and ice cream.

Here is a better photo of youngest daughter Anna holding a bag of groceries and eating an ice cream cone on her way into the house when one of her brothers stopped her to take a photo. I bet they didn’t offer to carry that bag in though.

Click above for more photos of couples with children or anything really.

Prologue: Montgomery

complete-montgomery-2
1916 shell cane
cliffgrahamyoung

Clifton Graham

Fannie Mae Turner before marriage
First_Congregation_Christian_Church_in_Montgomery_Alabama

Click to pause slide show. Click again to start.

Mershell Cunningham Graham

My grandfather Mershell C. Graham was born in Coosada Station, Elmore County around 1886. He was not given a middle name. He picked “Cunningham” as an adult. His father farmed. He had a sister and several brothers. At some point the brothers all left for the city, leaving their sister Annie, who stayed in Elmore County for her whole life.

The two older brothers, William and Crawford disappeared into the unknown after the 1880 Census. My grandfather left for nearby Montgomery and from there to Detroit. Jacob died young. Abraham moved first to Nashville, Tennessee and then to Cleveland Ohio, where he died in 1948 of tuberculosis.

Click all images to enlarge in a new window.

The 1910 Unitd States Census is the first census that my grandfather Mershell (Shell) Graham appears in. Twenty-two year old Shell worked at a railroad repair shop in Waycross Georgia. He was boarding with Irwin and Mary Warren and their three daughters. The Warrens owned their home free of mortgage. Irwin Warren worked as a car inspector for the railroad. Mary Warren did not work outside the home. She had birthed four children and three were living. The daughters, ages 18,15 and 7, attended school. Everyone in the household was literate and identified as black. Below is the household with Mershell Graham at the bottom as a border.

1910 Census form. Click to enlarge.

“Waycross began as a crossroads for southeastern travel. We were first a hub for stagecoach traffic, and then became a center for the railroad when it laid its tracks in the mid 1800’s. As the Plant System Railroad started to grow, so did the town surrounding it.”
Waycross Facts

Mershell was close friend with Cliffton John Graham, who was not a blood relative. He lived with the family for five or six years before migrating to Detroit. My grandmother referred to Mary Graham, Cliff’s mother as her mother-in-law. Cliff came to Detroit at around the same time as my grandfather

Joseph Graham. Born Dec. 25, 1850. Died Dec 9, 1909. He is not dead but sleepeth.

Death of friend Cliff’s father Joseph L Graham(1853–1910) December 28 1909. Montgomery, Alabama, USA

Cliff’s father Joseph Graham, his mother Mary, sister Mattie, Cliff. 715 S. Union Street, Montgomery.

Age 24 — In 1912 Mershell Graham lived at 715 Union Street. This was his close friend, John Clifton Graham’s family’s home. My grandfather was a waiter and Cliff was a bartender. Also living in the house were Cliff’s widowed mother Mary and his sister Mattie.

The asterisk in front of a name meant that they were black. The dots were added by me. (m) means married. (wid) means widow. The letter “h” before the address means “house”. The letter “b” before the address means boards. The Grahams that are not marked, are not in the household with my grandfather Mershell.

1912 Montgomery City Directory

My grandfather Shell’s brother Jacob was three years younger. Jacob died from TB at age 21, on June 30, 1913 in Montgomery County at the Fresh Air Camp. The Fresh Air Camp was set up to try and give health to those with TB.

Death Certificate for Jacob Graham
224 Tuscaloosa Street. Mershell on the railing, Mary in the rocking chair and Clifton seated on the steps.

In 1914 my grandfather was 26. The Graham’s had moved from Union street to 224 Tuscalousa. Mary Grham was working as a cook. Clifton and Mershell were both bartending. Mattie was a teacher.

1914 Montgomery City Directory


Age 27 – Residence 1915 • Montgomery, 224 Tuscaloosa bartender

1915 Montgomery City Directory


In 1916 my grandfather was living with the Grahams at  224 Tuscalousa. His employment is listed as “Farmer.” Clifton is now a funeral dirrector, Mary is a widow and Mattie is no longer in the home, she was studying nursing in Kansas City.

Mattie Graham in her nurses outfit in Kansas City.
1916 Montgomery City Directory

By late 1916, early 1917 my grandfather had made the move to Detroit. He received a letter dated February 16, 1917 from Seligman & Marx at 293 Catherine Street. Catherine Street was located in Detroit’s Black Bottom.

Other posts about Mershell C Graham going to Detroit

Bound For the Promised Land
One Way Ticket
Letters From Home
Those Left Behind
Founding a New Congregational Church
The Proposal
The Proposal Accepted
Rev. E. E. Scott
Winter In St. Antoine
The Steamer “Eastern States”

Theresa With Roses

“A Merry Xmas to you all. Here are some roses for your parting of 1915. Your little niece, Theresa P Reed. Age 1 yr. 9 months Dec. 1915.”

I had this colorized at MyHeritage in Color. The first on on the left is the one they colorized. The one in the middle is the original photograph with the flowers colorized by me. The one on the right is the MyHeritage colorization after I recolored the roses.

__________

Theresa Pearl was born in March 10, 1913 in Indianapolis Indiana. She was the third child of Hugh and Blanche Celeste Reed. Hugh was my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s brother

Theresa’s middle name, Pearl, was after my grandmother, Pearl.   That is probably why there are more photographs of her in the family photo collection than any of the other children. 

By 1928 the family had moved to Los Angeles, California where Hugh changed the family name to Averette (his father’s last name) and they began passing for white. In 1930 Theresa was a 17 year old student living with her family in Los Angeles California. She was identified by her nickname “Tut”.

https://sepiasaturday.blogspot.com/2022/08/sepia-saturday-635-20-august-2022.htmlAbout 1932 Theresa married Bennett Shaffer. Both of them had completed 2 years of college. Their daughter, Betty Jeanne, was born in 1934. Their son, Bennett Shaffer Junior, was born in 1935. The family lived in Los Angeles.

In 1940 Theresa and her family were lived in Glendale, California. Theresa and her husband, Bennett, were both 27 years old.  Bennett worked as distribution manager for a daily newspaper. Six year old Betty Jeanne was attending school. Bennett was only four and too young for school.

Theresa Pearl Averret Shaffer died in 1941 at age 28. She is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. Bennett died the following year.

Cousins on the Running Board

Cousins Annie Lee Pope Gilmer & Jeanette McCall McEwan and sons. The boys are Charles E Gilmer, Robert and Raymond McEwen. Photo taken 1923.

From the drafts file.

Annie Lee Pope and Jeanette McCall were first cousins born in Montgomery, Alabama. They were daughters of the oldest and youngest daughters of Eliza, for whom this blog is named.

Annie Lee Pope and her twin brother Charles were born January 31, 1902 in Montgomery, Alabama. She was one of the set of twins born to Robert and Beulah (Allen) Pope. Their younger, Robert Pope was born seven years later. Her father Robert Pope completed four years of college and worked as a clerk and a porter through the years at a wholesale drug business. Her mother Beulah was a seamstress.

Annie Lee completed two years at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi In 1921 at 19 she married Ludie Thaniel Gilmer, in Chicago. Perhaps she was visiting Jeanette. Soon afterwards he became a physician. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where their son, Charles E. Gilmer born in 1922. Annie Lee did not work outside of the home.

Jeanette was born on February 18, 1897 in Montgomery, Alabama. She was the youngest of the six children of Edward and Mary (Allen) McCall.  Her oldest brother, James McCall was the blind poet in She was owned before the war by…. Her father, Edward McCall, was the cook and turn-key at the city jail. Her mother, Mary Allen McCall, was a seamstress.  Jeanette attended Alabama State Normal school, a primary through high school for African Americans in Montgomery that all of her siblings and cousins attended.

Jeanette also attended Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi and met her husband, Robert Anderson McEwen there.  Robert and Jeanette were married on 8 April 1918, in Iowa while he was in the service. In the 1920 census they were living in Chicago as roomers.  On January 2, 1920 she gave birth to her first son, Robert Jr.  Robert Sr. worked at the post office.  By the time their second son, Raymond, was born  on December 16, 1923, Robert was a dental student.  Jeanette did not work outside of the home.

By 1929 Robert was a dentist.  Jeanette died December 22, 1931 of influenza, exacerbated by consumption. You may see another photograph of Jeanette here.  Robert remarried before 1938 to Ethel Martha Goins. She was his nurse during his hospitalization at the end of his life. He died of a heart attack on June 29, 1938.  

Click for more faces in search of a backstory.

Connections

Witherspoon Presbyterian Church Congregation, Indianapolis, Indiana about 1909. My paternal grandparents are in the backrow, 3rd and 4th from right. Also included are my grandfather’s brothers (next to him) and his brother in law 5th from the left.

“It’s as if somehow a groundwork has already been laid and is continually being laid, and all that we have to do is share information with one another and then the connexions would be revealed.”
Paul Lee June 8, 2009

I have found this to be so true while building my family history. Three of the photographs below were from my collection. The rest are from cousins in various branches of my extended family. I met them through sharing information on my Ancestry tree; my DNA; Facebook and this blog. Along with photos, I also received information that helped build the family story.

For more information about the people in the photographs, follow these links

Congregational Photograph – Witherspoon United Presbyterian Church Indianapolis Indiana – 1909
Joe Jackson Obituary
Poem for Poppy – 1974
Mrs. Annie Graham – Obituary – 1964
Mershell & Annie Graham Relationship Proved – DNA, photos, obituary

Finding Eliza Part 1
Fannie Mae Turner Graham Obituary-1975
She was owned before the war by the late Colonel Edmund Harrison of this county

Making Connections
Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage – Happy Birthday, bio and photos 1886-1982
Louise Reed Shoemaker

“Memories to Memoirs Chapter Two Early Years of Life”
H is for Henry William Cleage
Jacob Cleage 1874-1942
A is for Albert Buford Cleage
Josephine “Josie” Cleage


What’s in a Marriage License?

Another post from the Drafts folder.

I recently received some family information from one of my granddaughters. I’ve been using the information to see what I can find out. I have not done any research in New Orleans, LA before.

“My great grandmother was born on 2/26/24. Her mother whose first name was Agnes passed away at 18 or 19 due to Tuberculosis. At the time her mother passed, my great grandmother was only four months old. Her fathers name was Joseph Robinson and he passed away when she was twelve or thirteen. She had an older sister whose name was Irene who was approximately thirteen months older. Their mother, Agnes and their father, Joseph married when Agnes was 16 and Joseph was 21.”

I found two marriage records for Grace Robinson. In both, her parent’s were given as father, Joseph Robinson and mother, Agnes McGee. Grace’s birthdate was given as about 1922 in one and about 1924 in the other.

Next, I looked for a marriage license for Agnes McGee and Joseph Robinson. I found their marriage license on Family Search. The actual document was available for viewing and that was great because there is information on it that wasn’t available in the index on Ancestry.

In addition to finding that Joseph Robinson married Agnes on Dec. 11, 1922 in New Orleans, I also found that Agnes maiden name was McGhee and that she was born in New Orleans. Joseph Robinson was born in Jefferson, LA. His occupation was mail service. Was he working as a postman or a delivery man? Both sets of parent’s names were listed, taking the known information back a generation. All of the parents were dead by this date and guardians give permission for their marriage. Agnes’ guardian was Walter Prentiss, her mother’s brother and Agnes’ uncle. I have not found a relationship for Charles J. Sylvester.