Sarah IDENA Cleag

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

This year I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the files for this years challenge.

Today I will share some information and a few newspaper articles about Sallie Idena Cleag, Abram and Amanda‘s only surviving child.

Abram Cleag answers question about his marriage and children. Click to enlarge.

Sarah Idena Cleage was born in 1876 near Austin, Texas. She was named after her grandmother Sallie Cleage Marsh. She learned to read and write, something her parents never did, and moved to Los Angeles, California with them in 1888 when she was twelve years old. Two years later, at 14 she married Richard Pierce, a house painter nine years older than she was. They had a daughter, Avalon, when she was 18 and a year later she gave birth to a stillborn son.

The family continued to live with Abram and Amanda. Their relationship was a troubled one, more than troubled. Twice, husband Richard took shots at men Sarah was intimately involved with. They were finally divorced. Sarah left Avalon to be raised by her parents and went to San Francisco, where she died in the earthquake of 1906.

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The articles are from

12 thoughts on “Sarah IDENA Cleag

  1. Unhappy lives. Tying the knot in teenage is an unlikely recipe for stable relationships. Glad the days of marrying off young girls at 14/15 are over.

    1. I’ m sure they were miserable. At one point they separated and Richard Pierce talked her into coming back, but she kept going back to Romeo. There were quite a few more stories. Romeo was a pimp, an opium user/dealer and did time in prison.

    1. It helps to be in a big city. And then if there is as much drama as there is here, you would rather not get in the paper.

  2. Drama but no fun for those involved 🙁 I began reading with the thought about education making a great difference between the lives of daughter compared to her parents. That positive thwarted by an early and unhappy marriage it seems.

    I am following along with another A to Z about one name studies. It seems to me you have all the makings of the Cleage one name study. Sharing all these stories is a fantastic resource.

    Keeping company with your A to Zeds or Zees over the years

    1. No fun at all if it’s you. The granddaughter, Sarah Idena’s daughter had such beautiful handwriting, she signed one of the forms for her grandmother Amanda in her pension application. Then she died of TB before the pension hearing was complete.

  3. Almost a tragedy was very exciting 🙂
    You know, I love reading old newspapers because they sound so different from how they are written today. In a way there’s more humanity. I mean, articles somehow seem to focus more on the people than on the event.

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