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1920 Census A-Z Challenge 2020 Allen Detroit

J- JENNIE Virginia Allen Turner in the 1920s

Robert Pope, Jennie V. Turner, Beulah Pope (back) Alice Turner, Daisy Turnrt. 1921 trip to Detroit, with a side visit to Windsor, Canada

My grandmother Fannie’s mother Jennie Virginia Allen Turner and her two other daughters were still in Montgomery, Alabama when the census was taken on January 19, 1920. My great grandmother Jennie was living in the same house she had lived in during the 1910 census. She owned it free of mortgage. All three were listed as mu(latto) and spoke English.

Jennie was 52 years old. She had been born in Alabama and the census said her father was born in South Carolina, although other records say Georgia. Her mother was born in Alabama.

She worked on her own account as a seamstress from her home. The oldest daughter, Daisy, was 25 and occupation is listed as none, while younger daughter Alice, was 11 and listed as both attending school and working as a clerk in a grocery store. Actually, Daisy was working as a clerk in her uncle Victor Tulanes store. Alice just attended school.

All of their neighbors on the page were listed as B(lack). Thirteen of them rented their houses while three owned their homes. The school age children in these families all attended school, except for one 16 year old who worked as a laundress with her mother.

Some of the married women worked outside of the home and some did not. The single women worked. They held jobs as cooks, laundresses, elevator operators, house servants. With one seamstress and one clerk.

The men worked as porters, carpenters, one doctors keeper, a butler, laborers, a chauffeur, a fireman, a minister, a driver, and a proprietor of a retail store. Thirteen rented and three owned their homes free and clear.

Read more about The Emancipator here The Emancipator A to Z 2018

When her grandchildren were born in 1920 and in 1921, Jennie Turner and her daughters visited Fannie in Detroit. In 1922 when Fannie and Mershell were waiting for the birth of their third child, my mother Doris, Jennie, Daisy and Alice moved to Detroit. The two households bought a house together and eventually my great grandmother and her younger daughters bought another house further out on the East side of Detroit.

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1920 Census A-Z Challenge 2020 Detroit Grahams

F – FAMILY, MY GRAHAMS in the 1920 Census

I looked for the house my grandparents lived in in 1920 on the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, to no avail. I couldn’t even find the block. However, I do have the photos above which were taken at the house so at least we can see the backyard and their housemates.

Mershell Graham and Fannie Turner married on June 15, 1919. They left that same evening for Detroit where they boarded with friends from Montgomery, Moses and Jean Walker. Moses wasn’t related to my grandparents, but he was the brother of one of Fannie’s cousin’s wife, Margaret Walker McCall.

The Household of Moses and Jean Walker in 1920

Everybody in the household was wrongly labeled as “white”. They were all African American. Moses and Jean Walker, were old friends of my grandparents from Montgomery, Alabama. There were three family members and four boarders in the house.

Moses and Jeanette Walker owned their home free of mortgage. Moses was 38 years old and born in Alabama, as were his parents. He was literate, and had, in fact, attended business college. In 1920 he was employed by the US government as a Customs Inspector.

His wife Jeanette, was 38 and born in Tennessee, as were both of her parents. She was literate and not employed outside of the home in 1920.

Moses and Jeanette’s daughter Mignon Walker was born in Tennessee in 1909. She was 10 years old and was attending school.

My grandfather, Mershell Graham was 30 years old he and my grandmother, Fannie (Turner) Graham were both born in Alabama as were their parents. They had married the year before and Fannie was about seven months pregnant with their first child, Mary Virginia Graham. Both were literate. Mershell worked in an Auto plant as an inspector.

Harrold Gumble was 23 years old. He was born in Louisiana as were his parents. He was single and worked as a labor boss in a foundry. He was literate. Several years later he returned to New Orleans, married and raised three children there.

Mrs. Emma Davis Topp roomed with Moses and Jean Walker after her husband died in 1912. She was born in Mississippi and attended school through the 8th grade. She was a dressmaker.

All of their neighbors were listed as white. Most of them were immigrants or children of immigrants. Some worked in auto plants, there were two carpenters and several auto mechanics. All of the school age children, except one fifteen year old, attended school. None of the married women worked outside of the home. There were several unmarried women who worked in offices. Emma Topp was a dressmaker and there was a widow who kept a boarding house.

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You can see the letter from Fannie accepting Mershell’s proposal here The Proposal Accepted.
See the proposal letter here  The Proposal – Migration Story.
To read all about the wedding click Announcement



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1920 Census A-Z Challenge 2020 Cleages Detroit

C – CLEAGES in the 1920 Census

The photographs used in this series are from my personal collection. Please do not use without my express permission.

I got carried away writing about where my Cleages lived in the 1920 census. The pictured houses below are from Google maps. There were many houses gone. The red line goes from the house picture to the map version. Some houses did not have numbers and I could only guess where they were on the block, so no line.

Inside the Sanborn map, I put the head of household, his or her occupation, how many people lived in the house and their race. This information is from the 1920 census. My grandparents and their sons lived in the house in the red yard. Unfortunately, that is now a vacant lot. You can tell the shape and size of the house from the diagrams. My grandparents house was two stories with a porch across the front of the house. There was no garage or other building in the backyard.

In the 1920 Census 36 year old Albert B. Cleage was a physician working on his own account. He was born in Tennessee, as were both of his parents. His wife, Pearl was listed as 30, although she was actually closer to 34. She and her parents were born in Kentucky. She and her husband were literate. Although this was not on the census form, she was about three months pregnant with Barbara her 5th child.

There were four sons in the household. My father, Albert was eight. Louis was six. Both of them attended Hubbard elementary school, which is now gone. Henry was three years and nine months old, Hugh was one year and seven months old.

They owned their home, which was mortgaged, at 1355 24th Street in Detroit. Later that year all of the street numbers were changed and the number became 5237 24th St. This caused me some trouble in years past, before I knew the numbers changed and had placed the house in the wrong place. To learn more, click. Detroit Citywide Address Change

Everybody in the family was identified as “mu”, which stood for “mulatto”. This was the last census to designate people as “mu(latto)” or “B(lack)”. In the 1930 census, “Neg(ro) would be used for both.