This is my 4th year participating in the A-Z Challenge. I am writing about people who were born into slavery and lived to be free and their descendants. They are not my ancestors.
Otis Graham was born in Elmore County in 1869, to John and Anna Graham. She grew up surrounded by family. Her grandparents lived next door and her uncles lived nearby. All of them were farmers. The family was recently out of slavery, which ended in 1865, and they were unable to read and write. Otis lived with her uncle Henderson after her father died. She attended school through the 2nd grade.
Otis was married to Edward Avery on October 21, 1885 at The Good Baptist Church in Elmore County by Elder Rames. Edward’s father, Frank Avery was a witness.
By 1900 Edward owned his farm, with a mortgage. He was 33 and could read, but not write. Otis, at 32, had given birth to seven children and all were still alive and living at home. The two oldest, 13 year old Willie and 11 year old Daisy attended school.
I do not know what happened during the next twenty years because I could not find them in the 1910 census. In 1920, the family was living and farming on rented land in Liberty, Autauga County. Otis was 50 and Edward was 54. There were four children at home. All of them had been born after 1900. That makes at least 11 children in the family. Mary was fifteen and the oldest child at home. She and thirteen year old Gertrude were both literate. Eleven year old Boss and eight year old Graham were not. No one had attended school in 1919.
Edward died before 1930. 65 year old Otis and her youngest son, Graham were back in Elmore County. They lived in a rented house. Graham supported them doing general labor. Otis was not employed.
In the 1940 census we learn that 23 year old Graham Avery completed 6th grade. He was doing farm labor. 75 year old Otis was a laundress working from home. She had completed 2nd grade. They were in the same area living in a rented house.
I found a death record for an 88 year old Otis Avery in Mobile Alabama for 1959. It does not include parents or husbands name because it is just an index entry and not the death certificate, so I am not positive it is for her.
Most of the children remained in Elmore county. One daughter and her family moved to Pittsburgh, PA. Graham ended up in Birmingham, AL.