On the way to bury their mother… June 1930

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage. About 1921 in Detroit, MI.
Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage. About 1921 in Detroit, MI.

Last night I visited Genealogy Bank. I spent several hours looking for items about any of the Cleages of Athens Tennessee.  I was just beginning to think this was a crazy way to spend Friday night when I saw another item mentioning my grandfather, Albert B. Cleage and his brothers on a road trip, stopping at the home of the Cobbs on the way to Athens.  I clicked through to read.  It was in the Colored Section of The Lexington Herald.

celia's death 6-8-1930“Dr. A.B. Cleage, Messrs. Jacob, Henry and Richard Cleage, of Detroit, Mich, were guests of Mr and Mrs. J.W. Cobb Tuesday for a short stay.  They were en rout to Athens, Tenn., their former home to bury their mother.”

I have spent years looking for a death record for my great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage Sherman without finding any.  My aunt Anna Cleage Shreve, who was born in 1923 and remembered that her grandmother had a stroke in their kitchen around 1930.  I am thinking that they shipped her body home to Athens, TN on the train while they drove down.

Richmond was a little over 5 hours from Detroit and 3 hours from Athens.  It was a good place to stop and get a nights sleep and a good meal during the time when public accommodations were not open to black people.

Now I have to find where she is buried and more about Mr. and Mrs.  J.W. Cobb of Richmond, KY.

Since finding this, someone told me the death certificate information was on familysearch.  It is, and the reason I haven’t been able to find it is before was that I didn’t know her first name was Anna.  I’ve been looking for Celia Rice.  The 1930 census is the only other place I have seen her listed as Anna and I thought that was a mistake!  I’ve ordered the Death Certificate and now will be waiting on pins and needles, hoping that her parent’s names will be on it and the cemetery where she’s buried will be listed. Can’t wait!

Other posts about my great grandmother.

Eight Generations of L3b MtDNA

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman

For more Sepia Saturday posts CLICK!
For more Sepia Saturday posts CLICK!

39 thoughts on “On the way to bury their mother… June 1930

    1. Yes you can. I found a couple of other death related stories too. Not for relatives but for my larger pool of Cleages.

  1. Newspaper items are so useful in our research and digitisation has made so much accessible 🙂 Good luck with the certificate.

  2. Your enthusiasm and excitement jumps off the page. I hope you’ll get the information you’re looking for. How difficult it must have been to travel when you couldn’t get accomodations anywhere.

  3. The delight of family history shines through your post – the almost chance discovery, the missing piece you have been looking for, the other pieces that begin to fall into place. It is always a joy to read of such finds as it is to read about the history of other families.

  4. So happy for you Kristin. I too now how it feels to finally find someone you’ve been looking for for years! Sure hope the certificate also provides some answers.

  5. I can’t wait to see what you learn from the death certificate! How exciting to finally get closer to your goal. And just think of the other stories you’ve learned on your way. Congrats!!

  6. Isn’t is funny how one thing can lead to another & an unexpected “another” at that. It’s like something longed for suddenly plops right into your lap. I hope the newfound info leads you right where you need to go!

  7. I hope you are able to find her parent’s names, but it is a longshot. In searching on ancestry.com, the only celia rice I found was living with a white family as a domestic servant, in Lauderdale county TN. They were Louisa Rice and her son Theodore. The 1870 census would be the only way to try to find her parents, if she was living with them in 1870. I wonder if this is the same Celia?

    1. I found that one but Lauderdale is a long way from Riceville in McMinn County so I don’t think that is her. If I knew her mother’s name… Her father was a member of the slave owning family so my grandfather (if he was the informant) probably wouldn’t put it on there even if he knew it because he was still angry about that.

  8. Well done, Kristin. I’ve found good clues on Genealogy Bank too that solved some mysteries. The way given names were changed in past times to nicknames or pet family names is a hard history to track down. With men’s names the challenge is breaking through the old code of using only initials for an entire adult life.

  9. How exciting for you. It’s so easy to go along the slightly wrong route due to Christian names being used differently. My great-grandfather has given us similar headaches as in some documents he has his two names in completely the opposite order and with different spellings. Thank goodnes you were so observant.

    1. Someone else helped me out, I was not that observant. I thought having her name as Anna on the census was a mistake. The lesson there is, assume there are no mistakes.

  10. How wonderful for your discovery after such a long search. It surely pays to keep searching.

  11. That Picture Spoke Volumns. I’m waiting patiently for that DC. I’m thrilled and Overwhelmed for you.

  12. Hi there Kristin, I found your very interesting page whilst looking for information on Mr. J.W. Cobb of Richmond. I can tell you the little about him that I know (hoping to learn more about him actually for a project). Maybe you’ve collected some information yourself since March and we can compare notes.


    1. I did find out more about him and plan a future post. I would be interested in what you found too. I will email you.

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