No Longer Enslaved

Reading the post Freedom’s faces on the blog Scuffalong:Genealogy, reminded me of a post I did several years ago about my enslaved ancestors who were born into slavery and lived to be free. I am reposting it today, as I take a one day break from following the life of formerly enslaved Thomas Allen and his friends during the A to Z Challenge.

I have no photograph of Annie Williams (mother of Eliza Williams Allen) who was born about 1820 in Virginia and died after 1880 in Montgomery, Alabama.

I do not have a photograph of  Matilda Brewster (mother of Dock Allen) who was born in Georgia.

Eliza Williams Allen B. Alabama
1839 – 1917
Dock Allen B. Georgia 1839 – D. Alabama 1909








Eliza Williams Allen was my great great grandmother. She was born in Alabama about 1839 and died free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1917. She was a seamstress.  You can read more about Eliza here A Chart of the People in Eliza’s Life and Eliza’s Story – Part 1 with links to the other 3 parts.

Dock Allen was my great great grandfather. He was born a slave in Georgia about 1839 and died free in Montgomery, Alabama in 1909.  He was a cabinet maker. You can read more about Dock Allen here Dock Allen’s Story.

I have no photographs of  my great grandparents William Graham who was born about 1851 or his wife Mary Jackson Graham born about 1856. Both were born in Alabama and died dates unknown.  William Graham was a farmer. They were my grandfather Mershell C. Graham’s parents. You read more about him here William Graham, Alabama.

I do not have photographs of my grandmother Fannie Mae Turner Graham’s paternal grandparents.  Her grandfather Joseph Turner was born in Alabama about 1839. He died in Lowndes County, AL in 1919. He was a farmer and owned his own land. His wife Emma Jones Turner was born about 1840 in South Carolina and died about 1901 in Lowndes County Alabama.  You can read more about them here,  Emma and Joe Turner of Gordensville, Lowndes County, Alabama.

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman with grand daughter Barbara Cleage.
Celia Rice Cleage Sherman
grand daughter Barbara Cleage.

Frank Cleage was born around 1816 in North Carolina. He was enslaved on the plantation of first Samuel Cleage and then his son Alexander Cleage.  I do not have a picture of Frank Cleage and have no stories about him. His name appears on my great grandfather, Louis Cleage’s death certificate.

In the 1870 Census he was living with his wife, Judy and six children, including my great grandfather, in Athens, Tennessee. I also have a marriage record for Frank and Judy dated 20 August, 1866.  I don’t know if they were married before and the children are theirs or if they came together after slavery. Judy was born about 1814.

Frank is mentioned in a work agreement between Samuel Cleage and his overseer in this post – Article of Agreement – 1834.

They were both born in slavery and lived most of their lives as slaves but they lived to see freedom and to see their children free. You can read more about them here Timelines – Frank and Juda Cleage.

No photograph of Louis Cleage B. 1852 in Tennessee and died 1919 in Indianapolis, IN.  Louis and Celia were my grandfather Albert B. Cleage’s parents. Louis was a laborer. You can read more about Louis Cleage here – Lewis Cleage – Work Day Wednesday.

Celia Rice Cleage Sherman was born into slavery about 1855 in Virginia.  She died about 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. She was a cook. You can read more about Celia Rice Cleage here Celia Rice Cleage Sherman.

I do not have photographs of my great grandmother Anna Allen Reed who was born about 1849 in Lebanon, Kentucky and died in 1911 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She was my grandmother Pearl’s mother.  You can read about her here – Anna Allen Reed.

Anna’s mother Clara, my great great grandmother, was born about 1829 in Kentucky and died after 1880 in Lebanon, Marion County Kentucky.  You can read about her at Clara Hoskins Green, Thomas’ Mother You can see some of their descendents here My Father’s Mother’s People.


17 thoughts on “No Longer Enslaved

  1. I appreciate your diligence in this endeavor. It’s nice to know about the history of the family.

      1. I think it is marvellousyou remember these people and bring them to life. I too am saddened that people could enslave others.

  2. Just read Dock’s story — wow. “The tracking dogs came and he could feel their breath as they walked over him, but they didn’t find him because of the onion odor.” He had to have laid there holding his breath. Unbelievable.

    1. It is hard to believe, but there is a grain of truth there. And that’s how my cousin’s mother – Dock’s grandaughter – told it.

  3. Beautiful photographs. It’s a shame there aren’t more, but really it’s just a gift that you have any at all. A crime and tragedy that these people were enslaved, but what beautiful words: “lived to see freedom and to see their children free.”
    A-Z of Printmakers

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