The Cleages in the 1930s

The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.

The 1930 Census

Dated April 2, 1930

In 1930 the Cleage family lived on the Old West Side in Detroit, Michigan. In this neighborhood everybody was identified as Neg(ro) in the 1930 Census.

The trickle of Black people living outside of Black Bottom would grow exponentially in the decade following the Sweet trials. By the late 1930s, middle class African Americans are firmly ensconced in four other neighborhoods in Detroit:

Paradise Valley – the business and entertainment district north of Black Bottom in the area now occupied by Ford Field, Comerica Park, 36th District Court and the Chrysler Freeway

Conant Gardens – the northeast neighborhood between Conant & Ryan (west and east) and 7 Mile & Nevada (north and south),

The North End – the neighborhood situated Woodward (west), the city of Hamtramck (east) E. Grand Boulevard (south) and the city of Highland Park (north),

And the Old Westside – bounded by Grand River (East), Buchanan (South), Tireman (North) & Epworth (West).

However, those 4 neighborhoods primarily opened up for middle class Black Detroiters.” 

A Mighty Long Way: How Black People Moved In & Out and Around Detroit

On the enumeration sheet with the Albert and Pearl Cleage family were 50 people in six houses in seven households. Five had a few lodgers, five had extended family members – sibling, parents, cousins. All seven had radios. All of the houses were owned by people living there. One of the houses had another family renting part of their house.

There were 34 adults on the page. 30 of them had been born in the south.  One was born in Canada, one was born in Iowa and two were born in Michigan. They are all literate.  Three of the men were vets of World War 1. Ten were not vets. One of the men was an employeer. He was a contractor. Two worked on their own account, a barber and my grandfather, a physician . Eighteen people worked for wages.  Five women worked outside of the home. Three were married, one was divorced and one was single.

All of the children under 18 were born in Michigan. There were two eighteen year olds. One was born in Michigan and one was born in Alabama.  All of the school age children, including the two eighteen year olds, were attending school. 

Fifty people in the six houses on this enumeration sheet.
These are the houses where the families enumerated on this Census sheet lived.

The Albert and Pearl Cleage Family

My grandparent’s parents, my great grandparents, were born into slavery.  My grandfather was born in 1883 in Louden Tennessee. He was 46 when the 1930 census was taken. He was a physician working on his own account, that is he had his own office at 4224 McGraw, which was some blocks from the house.  He and Pearl Reed had married when he was 27.   Although it says Pearl was 21 when they married, she was actually 26.  She was born in Kentucky and did not work outside of the home.

They had seven children and all were still living at home and attending school. My father, Albert B. Cleage Jr. was the oldest and had been born in Indianapolis. He was eighteen. He had graduated from Northwestern High School in 1929 and was attending what is now Wayne State University.

Louis was sixteen and attended Northwestern High School.  Henry was fourteen and also at McMichael Junior High or Northwestern. Hugh was eleven and probably still at Wingert Elementary school. Barbara was nine, Gladys was seven and Anna was five. All three would have been attending Wingert Elementary. Anna was in kindergarten and only attended half a day.

Albert’s mother, Anna Celia Sherman lived with them and is listed as 76. She was born in Tennessee.  She died the following month after suffering a stroke. Her body was taken back to Athens for burial.

Two of Albert’s brothers lived in Detroit in 1930. One, Jake, lived several blocks from the house on Scotten. The other, Henry, lived further away although by 1940 he was in the neighborhood too.

The Cleages through the 1930s with news of the day

Cleage Posts from the 1930s

Scotten, Detroit – Paternal grandparents 1919 – 1948
Dr. Cleage Made City Physician – 1930 Detroit, MI
Uncle Hugh with friends George and Paul Payne
Celia’s Death Certificate – 1930
On the way to bury their mother… June 1930
James Cleage 1870 – 1933
Northwestern High School & Cleage Graduates – 1931-1939
Trying for shadows in this also? 1930s
Albert and Pearl Cleage late 1930s
Henry’s Journal 1936
Henry’s Diary Part 2 – 1936
Follow up on Henry’s Diary 1936
4 Men In Hats On Ice 1936
The Cleage Sisters at Home about 1937
Looking Over the Fence 1937
Mary Virginia Graham – Social Reporter – 1937
Albert B. Cleage Jr – Album Page – 1938
Grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage
Dr. & Mrs. Cleage Speak on Preventing Juvenile Delinquency – 1938
Thanksgiving 1939 – speaking at Plymouth Congregational Church
Where is Gladys?  – 1939
Hugh Fishing At the Meadows 1939
‘Rocco, Smitty – Getting a ticket for fishing! – 1939
Thanksgiving 1939

The Grahams in the 1930s

Fannie’s mother Jennie Virginia Turner, Mary Virginia, Fannie, Doris. In back Howard and father Mershell Graham.

My grandfather Mershell C Graham was the son of Mary Jackson Graham who we saw auctioned off with her family after the death of slave holder Crawford Motley Jackson in 1860. We move forward 70 years to 1930 and see what the life of the Graham family was like during that decade. Click on any image to enlarge in another window.

*****

The decade began with the Graham’s living in the house at 6638 Theodore where they had been for almost seven years. There were five family members – Mershell (42), Fannie (40), Mary Virginia (10), Doris(7) and Howard(almost 2). They owned their home which was valued at $8,000. They owned at least one radio. Everyone was identified as Neg(ro). Mershell and Fannie had been married ten years.

Both Mershell and Fannie had been born in Alabama, as had their parents. They were 32 and 30 when they married. Both were literate. The children were all born in Michigan. The two oldest girls attended school. Howard was too young.

Mershell was working as a stock keeper in an auto factory for wages. He had been at work the day before the census taker came to the house. He was a citizen and not a veteran. Fannie had not worked outside of the home in the past year.

There were 50 names on this census sheet. Aside from the Jordan family who lived next door to the Grahams, everyone on the page was white, a number having been born in other countries. None of the males on this census sheet had served in the armed forces. All of the school age children were attending school. Three men were unemployed. One of the married women worked outside of the home as a laundress.. There were three widows. One was 70 years old, lived with her son and did not work outside the home. One worked as a servant and one as a laundress. Both for private families. One single daughter worked as a telephone operator. One single sister-in-law worked as a “janitress” in a steel factory. All of the adults were literate. One household Had spoken Polish and one German & French, before coming to the United States. Fifteen people were born in Michigan. Others were born in Canada, Ohio, Scotland, Poland, Pennsylvania, England, Missouri, Washington, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama and Switzerland.

These statistics only include the people on the enumeration page. Not all of the people on the map below were included on the same page as my family.

My grandparent’s block.
As now there are so many things are happening in the outside world while we live our lives, so it was for the Grahams in the 1930s.

Posts for the Grahams during the 1930s
Mershell Graham’s Notebook – 1930s
Home Library 1931
Sisters and Dogs – 1932
Howard Alexander Graham Death Certificate – 1932
One Hundred and One Famous Poems 1933
Sisters 1933
13 Years Old, Mary Virginia Graham 1934
Going out 1937
Mary Virginia Graham – Social Reporter 1937
1937 Christmas Activities
My Social Butterflies – 1911 & 1937
The Social Sixteen 1937-1938
My Mother in the News 1937-1940
Mary Virginia Graham Colorized – 1938
Family Group – 1939
My Mother Smiling in a Hat – 1939
Thanksgiving 1939
Marian Anderson in Detroit, 1939

Auctioned

From the Digital Archives of the Alabama Department of History and Archives

Last spring I looked at the probate record of Crawford Motley Jackson and found the enslaved listed by family groups, all 135 of them. One of those groups was made up of my 2 x great grandmother Prissy and her children, including my great grandmother Mary. I wrote that up in Appraisement of the Negroes Belonging to the Estate of C. M. Jackson

C. M. Jackson died in February 1860. In December of that year, the administrator of the estate, Crawford M. Jackson’s brother Absalom Jackson and other family members who were heirs to the estate, agreed to sell land and 19 of the 135 enslaved, including the seven members of my family – Prissy and her six children.

The Autauga Citizen (Prattville, Alabama) 20 Dec 1860

State of Alabama
Aut
auga County

22 Dec 1860

This instrument following that on Thursday 20th December a meeting was held between Absalom Jackson admin of Crawford M. Jackson deceased who as distributor of said estate was entitled to one half there of, Mrs. Temperance E. Young, Nimrod W Long (represented under a power of attorney by James O. Long) James O. Long, Evans A Long, and Lunceford C Long each of the last being entitled as distributed to one fifth part of the other half of said estate – and Mrs. Temperance Jackson who by agreement with all the distributes above named had released her claim to the indebtedness due her by the estate for an assignment of all said distributes of one sixth part of the said estate – this meeting was held for the purpose in the first place of setting apart the slaves to be sold by the administrate for the payment of debts under the decree? Of this court of probate already made.

2. Secondly to set apart to Mrs. Temperance Jackson one sixth part of the negroes (sic) remaining for division – thirdly to set apart to Absalom Jackson and the other distributes above named their respective share of the negroes (sic) remaining for division during these – by agreement between the parties the ??? named slaves were set apart to be sold by the administrator for payment of debts under the decree above referred to, to wit

            names                         ages             estimate value

1.         Coosa                           13                    $1065.00
2.         Lucy                             13                     1030.00
3.         Fanny                          15                     1500.00
4.         Mathew                       31                     1400.00
7.        Justin & 2 children    26                     1400.00
8.         Naomi                           8                        550.00
9.         Rush                             6                        400.00
10       Jenny Lind                   5                        275.00
11       Anna                             2                        200.00
12       Prissy                          35                     1000.00. My 2X great grandmother
13       Harjo                             9                         900.00
14       Griffin                           8                         900.00
15       Frank Prince                6                         650.00
16       Jim Buck                     23                     1500.00
17       Delila child of Prissy   2                        200.00
18       Iba                  “          12                     1004.00
19       Mary               “             4                       450.00.
My great grandmother

Which negroes (sic) are retained by the audit for sale as above – stated, the value set down being taken from the appraisement, but it being appointed that slaves are not worth as much …

The Autauga Citizen (Prattville, Alabama) 20 Dec 1860

Things I wonder – Who bought them? A family member or someone else? Was the family kept together? Why were these particular people chosen to be auctioned off? In 1870, the first census after Freedom, the whole family appears together. Except for Harjo. Did he die? Was he sold away? Did he change his name?

If you can make out any of the words I skipped or any of the words I wrote but may have transcribed wrong, please let me know!

Mapping Montgomery (Part 2)

The houses of the members of the Edelweiss Club, numbered according to the order in which the members would have been covered during the A to Z. Schools are lettered in purple. The Centennial Community is outlined in yellow. The Alabama River is upper left.Click to enlarge

I looked at Sanborn maps to locate the members of the Edelweiss Club. First I had to find out where they lived. In the items in The Emancipator the address of the house where the meeting was to be hosted was often given, but that didn’t happen every time and it didn’t tell me where the other members lived, nor where they were in relationship to each other.  I did what I do when I am studying people, I made each of them a tree on ancestry.com. All 37 of them, or as many as I could find.

I searched for them in the Montgomery City Directory for 1919 or in the U.S. census for 1920. Those gave me their addresses and their occupation. If I found the census and they were living with their families (most were) I also found their ages, their parents ages and occupations and information about their siblings. With that information I could start a tree later to learn more. At the beginning, I just wanted to find basic information for my blog post and then I wanted to find where they lived. When I decided to write something about them for National Novel Writing Month, I created more complete trees to find out when they moved to Montgomery, if they married, if they moved out of Montgomery to points North, East and West.

Where did the women live in Montgomery? Were they spread out or did they live near each other? I have only been to Montgomery twice, once in 1975 and once in 2009. I knew where the neighborhood my grandmother had lived in was, and it was mostly torn down and absorbed into downtown Montgomery. The building that housed her uncle Victor Tulane’s grocery store, was still standing, but that was about it. What churches did the members attend? Were they active in church work? Did they sing in a group? For those that worked in a family business, as my grandmother Fannie Turner did, where was the business located? Was there (hopefully) an old and faded photograph of it in the paper? Was there, perhaps a photo of the young woman in the newspaper? And a question difficult to find an answer to, were the unidentified women in my grandmother’s photo album Edelweiss members?

While looking for information, I came across a document about gentrifying, they called it “rehabbing”. It the area where Victor Tulane’s store was and they gave me a name for the neighborhood where the store, my family and most of the Edelweiss members lived – The Centennial Community, a historic black Montgomery community. Some of the churches and schools and a few of my family had lived in the black community known as West Montgomery. That was where Washington Park, where the last dance was held, was located. It was on the other side of town from the Centennial Community. I found where the “Peacock Tract”, an early black, community was located and why there was a school way up in the northeast part of the city – another smaller, black community. Some of these questions I have answered – I found most of the members lived within walking distance of each other. At least so it looks on the map. I found all of my family members living within walking distance of each other. I located cemeteries, churches, drugstores, and private schools. There were a number of schools that were not a part of the public school system that had been started by northern missionaries after the Civil War. Aside from finding where the young women lived using the Sanborn maps, I was also able to find the relative size of the houses and schools. For the schools and churches, the type of heat and the source of light was given. If the streets were paved or not was more information. Most of the streets were not paved. Some of the schools had no heat. Lights were lanterns, or big windows in some cases.  Reading the news articles, there were many drives by black citizens to raise money to repair schools, buy equipment and even built new additions.

Members of the Edelweiss Club (Part 1)

Madeline Abercrombie and unidentified friend from my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s album.

During the time of the Edelweiss Club – 1918 – 1919, a flu pandemic raged. Schools were closed and then opened. Students returned to Montgomery from Fisk and Tuskegee due to the pandemic. People appeared on the sick list in The Emancipator newspaper. Some died.

The United States became involved in the first world war. Times were far from calm and peaceful, but the women met and ate delicious refreshments, played whist, went to work, and lived their lives a hundred years ago.

The Edelweis Club was entertained last Friday evening by Miss Jessie Freeman. After whist the members of the club were served to a delightful luncheon. The guests were Misses Alice Snow, Lucile Caffey and Opheloa (sic) Peterson. The prizes were won by Miss Juanita Davis and Miss Annie Wimbs.

Who were the members of the Edelweiss Club?  Thirty-seven women attended the monthly meetings judging from news items that appeared in The Emancipator, beginning on January 12, 1918 and continuing monthly during the school year, until May 3, 1919. Some were members and some were guests and not all were present at every meeting. Thirty of them were teachers. One was a seamstress. Three worked in family businesses.  The other three were not employed and were relatives of members. Most of the members were single, some married as time went on. Some moved out of town.  A good number never married.

All of them came from literate homes. Most of their parents owned their homes, either free and clear or mortgaged. Their fathers tended to work for themselves as barbers, carpenters and plasterers. Bertha Loveless’ father was an undertaker. Madge Brown’s father was a farmer. Alberta Boykin’s father was a mail carrier. Several lived with their widowed mother or an aunt.  Most had multiple siblings.

Their parents were born in the mid 1850s to 1870 and would have been teenagers when slavery ended or were born during Reconstruction. Several were from families that were free before the Civil war. There were several clusters of cousins descended from unrelated women who were free and living in Montgomery before the Civil War.

There were no more reported meetings after May 3, 1919. The last event was a picnic dance given on June 16, just 3 days before my grandparents, Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham married and immediately moved to Detroit.

Susan Richardson Abbott – Part 2 – 1867-1909

This is the 2nd and final post about the life of Susan Richardson Abbott. You can read part one here Part 1 Susan Richardson Abbott 1829 to 1866. Click on any image to enlarge in a different window.

Loyalty oath Randolph Abbott signed with his X in order to be able to vote. Found on ancestry.com.

In 1869 The First African Baptist church put up a new building. The women raised the money and fed the construction workers while the building was constructed. The The leader, Rev. Andrew Neal (Nyle), served as pastor for 28 years. Under his leadership in 1869, the beautiful framed, front gabled church building was artfully constructed with round arch windows, and an off center, pyramidal roof steeple by former slaves of the St. Simons plantations. First African Baptist church website.

1870 Census

I

In the 1870 Census, Susan and Randolph Abbott and their six children lived in Glynn County Georgia. The parents and two oldest children worked on the farm. Neither of the parents could read or write. The four children over age nine had attended school during the past year and were literate.

Randolph and Susan Abbott were both listed as 36 years old.  Lizzie Abbot, 15 and Eliza, 13 both worked on the farm, attended school and were able to read. Bristol, 12 and Louis 11 were not working and attended school they could also read.

Thomas, 9 and Joseph, 7 were at home and not yet attending school.

Susan’s brother Richard Richardson and his wife Dorcus lived in the next house with their four children.

Freedman’s Bank Records 1871 and 1873

Record from the Freedman’s Bank for Randolph Abbott. FamilySearch.com

On January 26, 1871, Randolph Abbott opened an account with the Freedman’s Bank. He was described as 40 years old with a dark complexion. His wife was Susan, age 41. Their six children were named. Betsey, 19; Lewis, 17; Eliza, 15; Bristol 13; Joseph 11 and Thomas 10. His father’s name was Tom. He died on the Atlantic & Gulf Railroad during the Civil war. His mother’s name was Betty.

He was formerly of CO A 33c, United States Colored Troops. He had received a bounty of $62.  $50 was deposited. . The pastor of their church, First African Baptist Church, Rev. Andrew Neyle identified them. First African Baptist Church was founded in 1859 by enslaved people who wanted their own church. Randolph Abbott died later that year.

United States, Freedman’s Bank Records, 1865-1874
(Familysearch.com)

On March 12, 1873 Susan Abbott, now widowed, signed up for an account at the Freedman’s Bank. She states she was born in Charleston, South Carolina and now resides on St Simons Island. She was 41 years old and had a dark complexion. Her husband, Randolph, was deceased.  The children are again listed. Betsy 29; Lewis 18; Eliza 15; Briston 13; Joseph 11; and Thomas 10.  Her father’s name was Thomas Richardson and her mother was Chloe. Both were deceased. She had eight sisters and brothers. One, Maria, was deceased. The others were Daniel, Stephen, Thomas, Richard, Sarah Kennon and Charlotte

United States, Freedman’s Bank Records, 1865-1874
(Familysearch.com)

The ages on various records are inconsistent because people often did not know exactly when they were born or how old they were.

United States, Freedman’s Bank Records, 1865-1874 (Familysearch.com)

Freedmen’s Bank Fails, Devastating Black Community
The Freedmen’s Savings and Trust Company, more commonly referred to as The Freedmen’s Bank, failed in June 1874, taking with it millions of dollars in Black wealth. The bank was first incorporated on March 3, 1865, the same day the Freedmen’s Bureau was created, and formed to help previously enslaved people economically transition to freedom.

During the next several years, Rev. Nyle of First African Baptist Church, officiated at the marriages of Susan Abbott’s children.

Susan Abbott filed for her widow’s pension in 1890

Susan Abbott was eligible for a pension as the widow of a soldier who fought in the Civil War.  She filed for her widow’s pension in in 1890. Apparently she received it, according to her obituary. When the National Archives reopens after the pandemic, I will be able to order a copy of the pension file. There is usually a wealth of information available in the files that contain the transcribed words of the person applying and their witnesses. Some of the people who were enslaved on the Hazzard plantation with her should have testimony swearing that she and Randolph were married and if there was a ceremony or celebration and about the birth of the children.

from Ancestry.com

In the 1900 census Susan Abbott was enumerated twice.  On June 1, 1900 she was enumerated next door to her Son Thomas and his family on St Simons Island.  She was listed as 65, living in a house (as opposed to a farm). She had given birth to six children and four were still living. Her daughter Betsey and her family and son Joe and his family lived on the same road.  She was still unable to read or write but her children and grandchildren were literate and the grandchildren of school age attended school. They owned their own farms free of mortgage.

She was also enumerated as housekeeper living with the white Crovatt family in the city of Brunswick, on June 2, 1900. A. J. Crovatt was 41, his wife Mary was 40. There were two sons, William 18 and Alfred 17 and one daughter Mary L. who was 14. All of the children were in school.

Susan Abbott was about 80 years old when she died in 1909. She lived a long life and came from slavery to freedom and saw her children and grandchildren grow up to become literate property owners.

Document giving Thomas Abbott, Susan and Randolph’s son the duty of making a list of her worldly goods in the absence of a Will. Peter Joseph was an emigrant from Barbados, W.I. who was a merchant/shopkeeper on St. Simons. He was identified on records as “mulatto”. I did not find any listing of the goods or their distribution.

Georgia Glynn County

Know all men by these presents that we Thomas Abbott principal and Peter Joseph security are held and firmly bound into the Ordinary for said county, and his successors in office and assigns, in the just and full sum of the fifteen hundred dollars full sum of fifteen hundred dollars for the payment of which sum to the said Ordinary, and his successors in office, we bond ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators in the whole, and for the whole sum, jointly and severally and firmly by these presents.

Sealed with our seals and dated this 3rd day of May 1909.

The condition of the above obligation is such, that if the above bound Thomas Abbott do make a time and perfect inventory of the goods, chattels, rights, credits , lands tenements of Susan Abbot late of Glynn County, deceased, which have or shall come into the hands, possessions of the said Thomas Abbott, or the hands of any person or persons for him and the same so made, do exhibit into the said Ordinary, when he shall be here until required; and such good chattels, credits, lands and tenements, do well and truly administer, according to the law, and to make a great and true account of his doings and acting there in when he shall thereunto be required by the court: Shall deliver and pay to such person or persons, respectively, as they may be entitled to the same by law, and if it shall here after appear that my last will and testament was made by the deceased, and the same proven before the court of ordinary, and the executor obtain a certificate of the probate there of and Thomas Abbott in such case, if required, render and deliver up said letters of administration, the this obligation to be void else to remain in full force signed, sealed and acknowledge in open court.

Thomas Abbot
Peter Joseph

Horace Dart Ordinary
Glynn County Georgia

Click to read Part 1 Susan Richardson Abbott 1829-1909

Susan Richardson Abbott – Part 1 – 1829-1866

Earlier this year my daughter shared this photograph of Susan Richardson Abbott and her obituary from a newspaper in 1909. I decided to see what I could learn about her in addition to the stereotypical “good old mammy” obituary. This is what I found.

Click any image to enlarge in another window.

Susan Richardson Abbott 1830-1909
©Hambidge Center for the Arts

Obituary

ABBOTT, Susan
The Brunswick Journal; Monday 18 January 1909

SUDDEN DEATH OF OLD SERVANT—For Many Years a Faithful Servant in Family of Judge Crovatt.
There will be genuine sorrow expressed by a very large number of white people when they learn of the death of “Mammy Sue,” who has been faithful servant in the family of Judge A.J. Crovatt for the past thirty years.
Everybody knew “Mammy Sue”; she had been so identified with the family of “her people” as to be one of them.
Born in Charleston, a slave, Susan Abbot [sic], as she was known, was brought to St. Simons Island and was the servant of the Hazzard family there.
At the close of the war, Susan became a member of the family of Col. C.L. Schlatter, the father of Mrs. A.J. Crovatt. After the marriage of Miss Mary Lee Schlatter to Mr. A.J. Crovatt, “Mammy Sue” went with her young mistress and was the nurse of three children of Judge and Mrs. Crovatt.
As the widow of a soldier in the Federal Army during the war, Mammy Sue was awarded a pension by the government. Though her husband fought on the Federal side, Mammy Sue staid [sic] with her “own people.”
Famous as a cook, devoted to the interests of those with whom she had been so many years, the death of Mammy Sue removes another of the rare ante-bellum negroes.
Her illness was of only a few hours duration; the young daughter of the house, Mary Lee Crovatt, had gone to see the old woman at ten o’clock to give her a cup of tea; Mammy did not complain of being ill, and had been about her usual duties all day yesterday. Though eighty years of age, Mammy Sue was remarkably active, and was in full control of all her faculties. At one o’clock another of the servants heard the old woman calling, and Miss Crovatt and her brother went to the room in the servant’s house. When the door was opened, Mammy Sue was unconscious and died with(in) a few minutes.
Four children survive, Thomas and Joseph Abbot and Eliza Cuyler, all of whom live on St. Simons. Another son, Randolph Abbot, being in Charleston (note: no Randolph found). The body will be carried to St. Simons where it will be interred tomorrow.

FUNERAL OF MAMMY SUE HELD ON ST. SIMONS
The body of Susan Abbott, or “Mammy Sue” the aged servant of Judge A.J. Crovatt, was carried to St. Simons this morning for interment.
Services were held last night in the First African Baptist Church, of which church, Mammy Sue had long been a member. The Brunswick Journal; Tuesday 19 January 1909; pg. 1

______________________________

Almost two hundred years ago Susan Richardson Abbot was born into slavery on the plantation of Thomas Boone in Charleston, SC. After Boone died 28 October, 1831, his wife began selling off land and people.

The Charleston Mercury Charleston, South Carolina 16 Dec 1831, Fri  •  Page 1

On 13 December, 1831, Mary Boone sold eleven people, including Susan, her mother Chloe and her brother Richard, from her husband’s estate in Charleston S. C. to William W. & Mary Hazzard.

On the right page is the bill of sale for eleven enslaved people, including Susan, her mother Chloe and her brother Richard. Mary S. Boone, widow of Thomas Boone sold them to William Wigg Hazzard and his wife Mary Hazzard.
State of South-Carolina

KNOW ALL MEN by these Presents, that Mary S Boone executrix of Thomas Boone for and in consideration of the sum of three thousand three hundred and eighty dollars to me in hand paid, at and before the sealing and delivery of these Presents by John Halsett & Corro B Lining trustees of Wm W Hazard & Mary Blake Hazard his wife (the receipt whereof do hereby acknowledge) have bargained and sold and by these Presents, do bargain, sell and deliver to the said Mr. Hazlett and Corro B Lining trustees aforesaid the following negro slaves – viz Sue – Chloe, Richard, Sue, Margaret, Maria, Hannah, Limas, Celia, Cyrus, Abe, Mily & Venus

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, THE SAID above named negro slaves with the future issue and increase of the said females-unto the said John Haslett & Corro B Lining trustees aforesaid them…

In Witness thereof, have herunto set my Hand and Seal
Dated at Charleston – on the twenty sixth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty three and in the fifty seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America.

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of J. H. Peters, South Carolina

Mary J Boone executrix of Thomas Boone by her atty H A Devaussure

Recorded 26 Feb 1833.

West Point (on the left side of the map) was the name of William Wigg Hazzard’s plantation.

___________

Ruins of tabby houses in the slave quarters. on William Wigg Hazzard’s West Point plantation.

William Wigg Hazzard was one of fourteen large slave holders on St. Simons Island. The much prized Sea Island Cotton, was grown on their plantations. Long staple-cotton had a different culture than the cotton grown inland. It required more hand work. In 1810 Hazzard enslaved 53 people. By 1860, he enslaved 93. They were housed in 16 slave dwellings, making a little over 5 people per dwelling.

The housing was built using tabby, composed of the lime from burned oyster shells mixed with sand, water, ash, and other shells. The buildings, about 18 ft x 18 ft, consisted of one room. A fireplace at one end, was used for cooking and heat in cool weather.

Furnishings would have been minimal. Blankets were given out once every few years. Food and clothing rations were sparingly distributed. They may have been supplemented by gardening, hunting and fishing in the time not taken up by work.

Susan Richardson Abbott’s husband, Randolph Abbott, was enslaved on the plantation of Captain Charles Stephens, located next to the Hazzard’s plantations.  Stevens made his money through shipping.

Randolph and Susan’s oldest child, was born in 1855, She was named Betsy. Over the next eight years five more children were born. Daughter Eliza was born in 1857. Son Bristol was born in 1858. Son Lewis was born in 1859. Son Thomas in 1861.

Susan Abbott and her husband were probably among the founders of the First African Baptist Church which was organized by enslaved people in their quarters below is the description From the church website.

The First African Baptist Church was organized at Pike’s Bluff Plantation in the year 1859. Members of this African American congregation traveled from all around the island to attend worship services every Sunday. The early pioneers worshiped in a little tabby church located near their quarters at West Point Plantation…

In December 1862, Susan Abbot’s husband, Randolph Abbott, joined the United States Colored Troops on St. Simon’s Island. At that time she was pregnant with the sixth child.  Joseph, who was born in January of 1863, the same month his father was mustered into the USCT. He served for three years. On January 31, 1866 he was mustered out in Charleston, SC.

Records from Randolph Abbott’s Military File

Civil War and Beyond

from the New Georgia Encyclopedia.

“The Escaped Slave in the Union Army,” Harper’s Weekly, July 2, 1864, p. 428. (Courtesy of the House Divided Project)

The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 put a sudden end to St. Simons’s lucrative plantation era. In January of that year, Confederate troops were stationed at the south end of the island to guard the entrance to Brunswick Harbor. Slaves from Retreat Plantation, owned by Thomas Butler King, built earthworks and batteries. Plantation residents were scattered—the men joined the Confederate army and their families moved to the mainland. Cannon fire was heard on the island in December 1861, and Confederate troops retreated in February 1862, after dynamiting the lighthouse to keep its beacon from aiding Union troops. Soon thereafter, Union troops occupied the island, which was used as a camp for the formerly enslaved. By August 1862 more than 500 former slaves lived on St. Simons, including Susie King Taylor, who organized a school for freed slave children. But in November the ex-slaves were taken to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Fernandina, Florida, leaving the island abandoned. After the Civil War the island never returned to its status as an agricultural community. The plantations lay dormant because there were no slaves to work the fields. After Union general William T. Sherman’s January 1865 Special Field Order No. 15 —a demand that former plantations be divided and distributed to former slaves—was overturned by U.S. president Andrew Johnson less than a year later, freedmen and women were forced to work as sharecroppers on the small farms that dotted the land previously occupied by the sprawling plantations.

Part 2 Susan Richardson Abbott 1867-1909

Appraisement of the Negroes Belonging to the Estate of C. M. Jackson

Recently while looking through my tree for the Jackson Family of Autauga County, Alabama, (which I have long suspected of being the slave holders for my maternal grandfather Mershell Graham’s family), I found the will and estate file for Crawford Motley Jackson who died in 1860. In the file I found my grandfather’s mother Mary Jackson listed along with her mother Prissy Jackson.

The list was arranged in family groups, with the names, ages and appraisement. values. I added the birth years. This is the full list of 135 people enslaved by C. M. Jackson at his death. The underlined names signal a new family group.

21 April 1860. Appraisement of the Negroes belonging to the Estate of C M. Jackson. No. 1, Book 7 Minutes 573

A list of negroes (sic) belonging to C. M Jackson deceased presented to undersigned, George Rives, John D. Graves and Philip Fitzpatrick appointed appraisers of said estate by Probate Court of Autauga County Alabama on the 15th of March 1860 by Absalin Jackson administrator of said estate with appraised value of same made by us opposite their names.

            Name                          Age     Birth              Valued

  1. Ned                             57       1803               $215
  2. Clem                           57       1803                    60  (unsound)
  3. Richard                      25       1835                    60  (unsound)
  4. Rachel &                   19       1841               1400
  5. Child
  6. Giles                            50       1810               1330
  7. Ester &                       35       1825                 750  (unsound)
  8. Child
  9. Katherin                     11       1849                 800
  10. Eliza                              9        1851                 550
  11. Giles Jr                        15       1845               1100
  12. Daniel                           3       1857                 300
  13. Edmund                     33       1828               1530
  14. Belinda                       35       1825               1000
  15. Ben                             15       1845               1130
  16. Coosa                          13       1847               1065
  17. Oran                           12       1848                 930
  18. Dorcus                        10       1850                 700
  19. Mark                              8       1852                 530
  20. Texas                             6       1854                 500
  21. Labun                            3       1857                 300
  22.  Peggy                            2      1858                 250
  23. Mathew                      31       1826               1400
  24. Julia &                         26       1834               1400
  25. Child
  26. Lud                             10       1850                  800
  27. Naomi                           8       1852                  550
  28. Rush                              6       1854                  400
  29. Jenny Lind                   5      1855                  275
  30. Anna                              2      1858                  200
  31. Clark                           30      1830               1300
  32. Amanda &                  18      1842               1400
  33.  Child
  34. Winter                             8        1852                500
  35. Katy &                           28       1832               1400
  36. Child
  37. Jim Polk                        6        1854                 450
  38. Maria                            8        1852                 550
  39. Archy                            4        1856                 300
  40. Peggy                           27       1833               1200
  41. Rocksy                          7        1853                 600
  42. Jim                              24       1836               1530
  43. Harriett &                   18       1842               1400
  44. Child George
  45. William                       48      1812               1100
  46. Vina                            47       1813                 850
  47. Denis                          18       1842               1500
  48. Charlotte                    16       1844               1400
  49. Sam                             13       1847               1150
  50. Nelson                          11       1849               1020
  51. Rebecca                        4        1856                  400
  52.  Nancy                            3        1857                  300
  53. Jacob                           30       1830               1200
  54. Martha &                    27       1833               1430
  55.  Child
  56. Eliza                              9        1851                 700
  57. Frank                            7        1853                 750
  58. Henry                           3        1857                 300
  59. Henry                         25       1835               1500
  60. Cloe                             19       1841               1500
  61. Abram                           12       1848               1300
  62. Jackson                       21       1839               1500
  63. Silva &                           24       1836               1500
  64. Child Winnie
  65. Franky                          6        1854                 450
  66. Laura                            3        1857                 325
  67. Laban                         37       1823               1100
  68. Aga                              21       1839               1300
  69. Billy                               2        1858                 275
  70. Mary &                       37       1823               1150
  71. Child
  72. Ellenboro                   38       1822               1200
  73. Davy                         18       1842               1300
  74. Fanny                       15       1845               1500
  75. Lucy                            13       1847               1030
  76. Solly                              9        1851                 900
  77. Isabell                           6        1853                  600
  78. Lewis                            4        1856                  400
  79. Prissy &                35       1825                1200  – my great great grandmother.
  80. Child Lizza                   2        1858                                      
  81. Ibi                               12       1848               1000              
  82. Harjo                             9        1851                 900              
  83. Griffin                           8        1852                 900           
  84. Frank Pierce                6        1854                 600   
  85. Mary                             4        1856                 450 – my great grandmother
  86. Allen                           40       1820                 900
  87. Disy &                         33       1827               1100
  88. Child
  89. Noah                           13       1947             1100
  90. Phillis                          11       1849             1000
  91. Allen                             8        1852               700
  92. Sopha                           5        1855               500
  93. Edna                             4        1846               325
  94. General August         3        1857               200
  95. B. Mary                       41       1819               800
  96.  Jessy                          17      1843             1400
  97. Dallas                         15       1845              1300
  98. Betty                           12       1848              1100
  99. Vina                            11       1849               1000
  100. Louisa &         24       1836               1500
  101. Child
  102. Jane                  5        1865                  400
  103. Josephine         3        1857                  275
  104. Little Aaron    30       1860               1300
  105. Amanda &      22       1838               1400
  106. Child
  107. Harrison           3        1857                  250
  108. Pamela             2        1858                  200
  109. Old Sy                                                 no valuation assessed
  110. D?? George     42       1838                  800
  111. Robert              36       1824               1300
  112. Cysue              28       1832               1450
  113. Joe                   26       1834               1500
  114. George            56       1804                 300
  115. Milly                46       1814                 400
  116. Charles           16       1844               1500
  117. John                12       1848               1250
  118. Menerva         10       1850                 975
  119. Georgiana         5       1855                 425
  120. Nick                 45       1815               1100_________\
  121. Violet &           41       1809                 900                  
  122. Child Richard   1        1859                                            
  123. Sarah &          21       1839               1000                        
  124. Child                                                                           Mrs. Tempe Jackson
  125. Brown             19       1841               1100               has a lifetime estate
  126. Peter               14       1842               1300               in these negroes (sic) at …
  127. Hanna             12       1848               1000               Can’t read the rest.
  128. Tennessee      10       1850                 850                         
  129. Pauline             8        1852                 700                       
  130. Jennetta           5        1855                 500__________ /
  131. Old Aaron       58       1802                 250
  132. Rose                56       1804                 225
  133. Joe Black         27       1833               1250
  134. Jim                  23       1837               1500
  135. Washington   19       1841               1000

State of Alabama } Personally appeared before me John Zeigler acting justice of the Autauga County  }peace in and for said county George Rives &, John D. Graves & Phillip Fitzpatrick appraisers of the Estate of Crawford M. Jackson deceased and being duly sworn , depose and say that the foregoing appraisement as agreed upon by them is just according to their knowledge and brief.

Sworn to and subscribed before me this the 5th day of April M. D. 1860

John J Zeigler J. P.

Vivian Vaughn McDonald 1926-2021

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge.

Vivian Vaughn McDonald was my second cousin. Her grandmother Josie Cleage and my grandfather Albert B. Cleage Sr. were siblings.

Thanks to Jody DeLoach for sharing photographs, and to Tanya Harris for sharing the funeral program with me.

C – Can’t Continue!

I started with high hopes for this years A to Z, way back in February. By the time April rolled around, I didn’t have one post written. Since then I’ve completed two and worked all day yeterday on the third. Last night I realized that this wasn’t the way I wanted to write up the Edelweiss women. I wasn’t enjoying it, I was dreading it. And it wasn’t just that I had to write each one right when it should be being posted, I’ve done that in the past. This year I just wasn’t feeling it.

Instead of soldiering on, coming up with posts I didn’t want to do for a project that’s become very important to me, I decided I needed to step back and drop out. And that is what I am doing. I may post about the same women in the future. Or I may not. I will still try and visit around, although I probably won’t comment as much as usual.

I will continue to post poems for the Global/National/Poetry Writing Month on my other blog, Ruff Draft.