Category Archives: African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research

Well, we is in Los Angeles…

“This is our house the square (unreadable) one. Aug. 1944 Los Angeles

Hi Folks:

Well we is in Los Angeles… (Typewriter is still on the way) Our last two weeks in San Francisco were a conglomeration of everybody sending us on our way. We had supper out almost everyday — and all of San Francisco’s Elite entertained us — quite a time was had by all. We also received several gifts in addition to the church’s gift of books — Cigarettes — Candy — towel set — 2 lbs of coffee — ash trays — and books (even a copy of Strange Fruit). People were very nice — with their regrets and hopes that we will return when Thurman leaves. Frisky kept smiling even though it seemed to hurt his face.

Just before we we left we met Rev. Roy Nichols who has another inter-racial church (Congregational) across the Bay in Berkley. His co-pastor is Rev. Gallager who was president of Talladega College before coming to the “Pacific School of Religion”. Nichols “offered me a job “working with him and Gallager — and tried to arrange a meeting with Gallager but I was too busy. (I’m tired of inter-racial churches for the present!)

President Imes of Knoxville College sent me an application blank which I returned (with a letter in which I re-organized Knoxville’s curriculum around religious education!) He said he had an opening for a Prof. of Religious Ed — and a college Preacher — the combined job paying $1,890 per year and house.

(The top corner of the page, where the return address would be on the reverse side is torn out, leaving four half sentences.

….ply to my application …happy to have …ine training and …Knoxville faulty – but he would have to work slowly to get the Elders of the church – and he does not want to seem to be forcing – the issue etc. He also admitted that the salary is very inadequate (with which I agree!!!) He said that he had mentioned my application to the President of Virginia State College who also is looking for a College Preacher but just for a year while the regular preacher is away studying. He suggested that Virginia State will contact me — giving me the opportunity to pick the position which offers the best position. (Nice, isn’t he!)

Anyway – I’m writing Imes and advising him to take his time — I’d rather stay here until next fall anyway I can finish two years work at the U. of Southern California by that time. As I told him, I’m looking for a permanent position which will still allow me time for study during the summer — with an occasional semester off for study etc. I don’t suppose anything will come of it!

Los Angeles is a fine town! Except for our present financial uproar we like it better than any place we’ve been yet.

Our financial-uproar is due to the fact that we have not as yet received our last — $200 — pay! Dr. Smith stopped payment because I insisted upon $200 instead of $135 –. So — I have turned a bill into the church for the balance of $65 due. I suppose I’ll get it all one of these days! (over Frisky’s dead body!)

Our apartment is Super-duper!!! It’s “on the hill”– which in Detroit would be the “North-End” — except its more like Boston Blvd — or Lake-shore Drive!!! — Big — fine houses, lawns and palm-trees. Negroes have not broken into the “hill district” A Mrs. Hammonds of Detroit owns the building (Husband a racketeer (?) or something in Detroit). Our living room is right out of “House and Garden” magazine — It is long with blue wall to wall carpet — and white walls and woodwork — and white walls and colored upholstered furniture — end tables — cocktail table ‘n that — (Ohhh yes and Venetian Blinds at the windows which are all the way across one end of the room with wine-colored drapes at either end!) The bathroom is pale-blue tile with white woodwork ‘n that. Shower — built in bath tub ‘n’ that!

The only catch is the kitchen which is an alcove between the living room and the bah-room. It’s shrewd, too but it ain’t got neither sink nor stove! We’re supposed to get an electric plate to cook on — and the land lady is supposed to put in a sink! The ice-box and cupboard are in. It was called a Bachelor-apt. — and so had no stove or sink.

Click for more information on in-a-dor beds

Both the kitchen living room and bath have built in automatic heating units (gas). The living-room has an “In-a-door-bed” which is very nice — and the closet for clothes! We also have a garage for storage, the building is new and shrewd! Thousands of Negroes within walking distance and all in nice homes – quiet and taken care of just like white-folks. I can see why Daddy wanted to move out here. It would be a fine place to live if you had money!

We’ve been here eating at the restaurant ever since we got here – There’s a very nice little colored restaurant within walking distance “The Faun” – very elite — ‘n’ that! But our pocket-books won’t stand much more of it, — fun though while it lasts!!!

I registered at the University of Southern California today. Its a fine campus and buildings — I can’t tell about classes yet. With the religion fellowship — my bill was $73.00 for 16 hours (full semester). Without the reduction it would have been over $200.00 (and I’d a been right home!) Most (all but one) of my courses are in Cinema — with one religion course to enable me to register in the graduate school of religion.

Doris starts job-hunting any day now! She has an appointment with the Red-Cross and the Urban League. Can’t tell how everything is going to turn out — quite an escapade however, if we can just last a year! and then move on to New York – authorities in the field of Cinema and Religious Ed. ‘n’ that.

Tell the Junior Doctor to keep his fingers crossed until we wire him for money — and then to wire the money — and send “the I told you so” on by air-mail!

Well so-long

Other Letters Home

My Parents Time in San Francisco January to July 1944
Its Friday afternoon August 18, 1944
I have a little problem in “Design” December 20, 1944
Christmas Day 1944 – Part 1
Christmas Day 1944 – Part 2
Christmas Day 1944 – Part 3
Guess we must be writing too much.. January 6, 1945
Thanks for the Springfield information January 13, 1945
We received your letters…March 3, 1945
The Missing Months – March to November 1945

“It Will Be Twenty Years…” Looking for Nancy Williams

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“Information wanted of my children. I was sold from them in 1860. At that time we belonged to a man named Jacob Certain. I was sold by him to a man by the name of Buren Wardell, then living in Memphis, Tenn. The oldest child’s name was Millie, in her ninth year; the second was Mary, nearly seven years old. It will be twenty years in October since I saw them, and I would be more than glad to hear from them. Their youngest sister, Martha, is now living at Cape Girardeau, Mo. Any information will be gratefully received by their mother, Nancy Williams, Abbeville, Mo.”

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After reading this advertisement asking for information about the daughters she had not seen in 20 years, I decided to see if I could find her and her daughters. Here is what I found using census records, newspaper items, death certificates and marriage records.

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Nancy Williams was born into slavery in Florida about 1835 to Millie Palmer, an enslaved woman. Nancy was sixteen when her oldest daughter Millie was born. I imagine she was named after her grandmother. Two years later Mary was born. Youngest daughter Martha was born when Nancy was 21. There was a fourth child born, but there is no record except for the census records that say Nancy Williams gave birth to four children So I don’t know if that child was male or female and born during or after slavery.

I wanted to find the man who sold Nancy Williams away from her daughters. I first found a Jacob Certain in DeKalb county, Tennessee. There was no record that he was a slave holder. His father, Asa, held five people in slavery in 1860. None were the right age or sex to be Nancy Williams or her daughters. Both men died in 1861, leaving no will or probate record.

I found another Jacob Certain in Huntsville, Alabama. His occupation was listed as “slave dealer” on the 1860 census. He turned out to be a brother of Asa Certain back in Tennessee. (For more information about the domestic slave trade, click this link.) I believe him to be the one who sold Nancy and Martha away from her daughters. As he was a slave dealer, there is no way of knowing if he sold the daughters to someone else or who they would have been, or where they lived.

I found Buren Wardell, the man that Nancy Williams named as the one who bought her, in Memphis. He was a lawyer, later a real estate agent. In 1860 he had three enslaved people listed in the Slave Census, two 40 year old women and a 60 year old man. Unfortunately the census was taken in August and Nancy was taken from her daughters in October.

Mapping Nancy Williams Life. Click to enlarge.

After Slavery I found Nancy Williams and family In the 1868 Missouri State Census. She lived in Cape Girardeau with her husband Jesse Williams and her daughter Martha Williams. They owned two horses and one cow.

In 1870, Nancy was listed as 35, keeping house and like the others in her household, was unable to read or write. Her husband Jesse, 36, worked as a teamster. Martha was 14 and attended school.

Widowed

Jesse Williams, her husband, died sometime between 1880 and 1900. In the 1900 census, Nancy Williams lived with two lodgers, neither of whom seem to be related to her. She was able to read but not to write, had given birth to four children, two were still alive, her parents were both born in Florida, as she was. She rented her home, as a widow and no occupation is listed.

In 1910, 74 year old Nancy Williams lived with her granddaughter, 18 year old Vassey Barber. Both were widows. Nancy did laundry at home. Vassey was literate and was a cook at a hotel, possibly at one associated with her aunt Martha’s husband Manuel Scott, a well know hotel proprietor and restaurant owner. Nancy had birthed four children and only one was then living. Vassey had no children. Vassey was born in Arkansas and her mother was born in Mississippi. Both were listed as “mulatto”.

Vassey Berry Barber

Vassey was the daughter of Armilda Hite and her husband Isom Berry. Unfortuantely, Armilda (who was listed as ‘Millie” on several of her children’s death certificates, died about 1893 in Randolph county, Arkansas, before death certificates were kept. However, Vassey was listed as Nancy’s granddaughter in the 1910 census. In 1930, Nancy’s granddaughter, Martha was living with another of Armilda’s daughter, Norma Berry Byrd. Martha was described as “Aunt”.

Martha Williams Scott

Martha, Nancy’s daughter, married Emanuel Alexander Scott in 1874. She was 18 and he was 22. In 1876 Missouri State Census, Martha and Emanuel lived next door to her parents. Martha’s husband was eventually a noted restaurateur in Cape Girardeau. They had two children. One son, Philip A., survived to adulthood.

Item from the 1892 Cape Girardeau Democrat
Item from the 1897 Cape Girardeau Democrat
Obituary of Martha Williams husband. Click to enlarge.
The obituary describes Manuel Scott as being comparable to Tony Faust of St. Louis.

I believe I found Nancy Williams and her daughter Martha and her daughter Millie. I was unable to find Mary. I hope she was in touch with her mother before her death.

I claim my Indian blood…

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David Gallimore was the second husband of Sally Ragan Hale the 4th child of my great great grandmother Laura Rice Ragan. Today’s testimony comes from his application to be recognized as a member of the Eastern Cherokee.

In 1906, the U.S. Court of Claims appointed Guion Miller from the Interior Department to determine who was eligible for funds under the treaties of 1835-36 and 1845 between the United States and the Eastern Cherokee.

Document found on Ancestry dot com

No. 1013

David Gallimore, being first duly sworn and examined, deposes and says:

My name is David Gallimore:  I was born in Roan Co., Tenn. 1838; I am seventy years old; I claim my Indian blood through my father, James Gallimore; my father was born in N. C. I do not know what county; 1816; my father got his Indian blood through his father; my grandfather’s name through whom I claim was James Gallimore; I think my grandfather, James Gallimore, was born in N. C.: I make no claim of Indian blood through my mother: I was about ten years old when my grandfather died; I am related to James Gallimore: James Gallimore is my third cousin: the grandfather of James Gallimore, David Gallimore, was a brother of my grandfather, James Gallimore: I have been married twice: the maiden name of my first wife was Mariah Baker; the maiden name of my second wife was Sally Hale; none of the ancestors through whom I claim were ever held as slaves; neither I nor any of the ancestors through whom I claim were ever enrolled and never received any money, land or other benefits; my grandfather and father told me that they lived with the Cherokee Indians as a member of the tribe in N. C. and came with them when they came to Tenn.; I never heard of my father and grandfather ever having as Indian name; none of my relatives ever went West with the Indians; in 1851 I lived in Roane Co., Tenn.

David (his mark X) Gallimore

SUBSCRIBED AND sworn to before me, at Harriman, Tenn., this 25th day of June, 1908.

Signed

Assistant to special Commissioner Of the court of claim.

George Hays, being first duly sworn and examined, deposes and says;

My name is George Hays: I knew the father of David Gallimore; his name was James Gallimore; I first became acquainted with him about 1846; I knew the grandfather of James Gallimore or his father in N. C.; I became acquainted in with him in Roane Co., Tenn. The father of David Gallimore told me that he had lived with the Cherokee Indiana as a member of the tribe in Cherokee Co., N.C.; he told me that he ought to have gone to the West with them: he told me they got a white man to be his guardian; the name of his was A. L. Green; he was never a slave; he looked to me to be a full blooded Cherokee Indian.

George (his mark x) Hays
SUBSCRIBED and sworn to before me at Harriman Tenn,. This 25th day of June, 1908.

FAB

David Gallimore, Rockwood, Tenn
Rejected. Ancestors not enrolled, were not living in the Cherokee domain in 1833-6 and 1846 and does not show genuine connection with the Cherokee tribe.

Physicians License – Dr. A.B. Cleage Sr.

Physicians License

My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage Sr. – 1909.

State of Indiana

County of Marion

I, Leonard M Quill Clerk of the Circuit Court of Marion County of the state of Indiana certify that Albert B. Cleage has complied with the laws of the state of Indiana relating to the practice of medicine, surgery and obstetrics in the County and State aforesaid.

Witness my hand and seal of said Court, this 1st day of Sept, 1910

Leonard M. Quill Clerk

ZONA Bayless

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.

Late last 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 pension files for this years challenge.

In the 1870 census, the transcriber saw this name as “Zona”.

I was afraid I would be unable to find a “Z” name or word related to the pension files. I was overjoyed to find in my family tree a Zona Bayless. She was the sister-in-law of George Cleage, the George Cleage who remained in Athens, Tennessee. After inspecting the only census record in which Zona Bayless appears, I discovered that there was a transcription error and her name was actually Missouri. Missouri is the name she appeared under in the 1880 census before disappearing from the record.

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Department of the Interior
Bureau of Pensions

Washington D.C.
May 12 1894

Sir

You are informed that the name George “Cleage” has not been found on the rolls of I.1st U.S.C.H.A. The correct spelling of clients name should be given and if he enlisted and served under any other name than this one he now bear he should state under oath what that name was and he should prove by at least two comrades that he is the identical person who so enlisted and served. His discharge certificate should be furnished if possible.

He also state whether other was any other soldier of the same or similar name in you Co. or Regt?

Very respectfully,
Commissioner

Joel I. Payatt
Athens, Tenn.

I wrote about the other George Cleage here George Cleage X 2. This post is about the George Cleage who lived in Athens, Tennessee.

George Cleage was born about 1845 in McMinn County, TN. His family was enslaved on Alexander Cleage’s plantation. His parents were Jim and Hulda Hurst and he had at least five siblings, including Abram Cleage who served in UscHeavy Artillary and Katie Cleage who was the widow of a U.S.C. Heavy Artillary soldier.

I was unable to find George Cleage in the 1870 census. About that time he married Jemima Bayless, who was born into a free family of color about 1854 in McMinn County. I could not find her in the 1870 census either.

In 1880, George and Jemima Cleage had three young daughters, Anna, 6, Mary, 4 and Lizzie, 2 years old.  George was employed as a laborer. Jemima was keeping house. Neither of them could read or write. In 1893, George applied for a pension. He did not follow through and it was dropped.

By 1900 George was a widower.  Two of his daughters were enumerated with him in the 1900 census.  Daughter Anna had married Frank Cunningham who died before 1900. Anna has one child with her husband, 2 year old Mazinia Cunningham.  George’s daughter Lizzie was working as a cook.  Both of the daughters were literate, George was not.

That is the last I found of George Cleage. Lizzie disappears soon after the 1900 census. She may be the Lizzie Cleage in Knoxville or she may not. Mary and Anna ended up in Indianapolis where they died in the 1920s.  Anna is listed in the city directories as “Anna Cleage (widow of Frank) and that caused me some confusion because I thought she might have been a wife of my great grandfather Louis’ brother Frank Cleage, but that turned out not to be the case.  She must have gone back to her maiden name after Frank Cunningham died.  My grandfather and three of his siblings lived in Indianapolis at this time. I wonder if the two families crossed paths.

Yorkanini 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.

Late last 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 pension files for this years challenge.

George Clegg (Cleage) had two children with his first wife Martha and seven children with his second wife, Hulda. Yorkanini was the sixth of the seven children George Clegg had with his wife Hulda. She died between 1900 when she appeared on the census and 1902, when she failed to appear on the form George filled out naming his living children. He actually had been married three times, but forgot to mention the first wife and the two children that stayed with his mother, Sallie Cleage Marsh when he left for Mississippi. He wrote a second letter to correct his omission. Unfortunately, he didn’t add their names to that letter.

1900 U.S. Census of George Cleag family, Corinth, MS
George Cleag’s family information 1902. Pension File.

Department of the Interior
Bureau of Pensions
Washington, D.C., March 1, 1902

So. Div
George Clegg
Co I. 1 Reg’t U.S.C. Vol. H.A.

Sir:
Will you kindly answer, at your earliest convenience, the questions enumerated blow? Th information is requested for future use, an it may be of great value to your family.
Very respectfully,

George Clegg
Hightown
Alcorn Co. Miss.

No. 1. Are you a married man? If so, please state your wife’s full name, and her maiden name. Answer: Yes. Miss Huldy Settle

No. 2. When where, and by whom were you married? Answer: July 6th 1899. Near Hightown Miss, Rev. John Dicky.

No. 3. What record of marriage exists” Answer: I have none – on record at Corinth, Miss.

No. 4. Were you previously married? Answer: Yes Rachel Garheart. Died Aug 16th 1895.

No. 5. Have you any children living? If so, please state their names and the dates of their birth. Answer: Yes. all by first wife no children by present wife. Marry Stovall born Aug 16th 1875, Corintha Willey born July 15th 1877 – George Clegg Nov. 16th 1879 Robert Clegg Dec 1st 1881 Clinton Clegg March 4th 1883 – Maudie Clegg born Nov 10, 1892.

Date of reply March 10, 1902
George (his X mark) Clegg
Witnessed H. Gammel

Dear Sir,
I mailed to you on the 10th of this month a blank executed by me in regard to my marriages, present wife and former wife. I did not execute the papers correctly. I omitted givig the name of my first wife, whom I married just after the close of the Rebellion at Athens Tenn. I only giv names of wives marriages contracted in this state – thinking that was all that was necessary. Please return said paper with another blank and oblige
yours truly
George Clegg

“X” Their Mark

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.

Late last 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 pension files for this years challenge.I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out an “X” name or word when I realized that almost all the witnesses and claimants signed their names with an “X” because they couldn’t write. Below is testimony from Sarah Cleage Morrison, Amanda’s mother. She sign’s with her X mark.

Deposition B Case of Amanda Cleag – Sarah Morrison          

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22 July 1909 Athens, McMinn, Tennesse

As near as I can tell – I am 102 years old. I live in Athens Tennessee.

Amanda Cleage who lives at Long Beach, California is my daughter. I haven’t received word that anyone was examining or was to examine her pension claim- I haven’t heard anything about it.

Amanda has been married twice – only twice. Her first husband was Lon Deadrick and her other husband was Abram Cleage.

Abram was raised up here and I knew him all the time until he went away. He and Amanda went away with old man Tucker’s family soon after the War. They went to Texas and I visited them in Austin, Texas. They had been gone from here for some years when I visited them – their oldest child was then eight years old at that time. Amanda and Abram were living as wife and husband and they recognized each other as wife and husband. They were married after they left here and I don’t know where they were married.

Abram had no wife here. He had no slave wife and he had no wife after the war until he had gone from here with the Tuckers.

Abe, Amanda and myself all belonged to the same man, old Alec Cleage.

There is none of our folks living who were in Chattanooga at the time Amanda went through there on her way to Texas.

I understood the foregoing as it was read to me by the examiner and it is correct.

Sarah (her X mark) Morrison

Attest
Annie B. Reynolds
Cora M. Cox

WILLIAM Roger Sherman

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.

Late last 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 pension files for this years challenge.

It was glimpsing W. R. Sherman’s name on the papers below that alerted me to Susan Rice Ragan being my xxgreat grandmother.

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William Roger Sherman was born into slavery in 1846 in Maryland. His mother’s name was Charlotte Blackwell. He ended up in Athens Tennessee and that is where he was at the end of the Civil War. On October 31, 1866 he married Jane Ewing. They had three children – Mary, Marsha and John. Sherman was a house carpenter. In 1870 he had $100 worth of real estate and $100 worth of personal property. Both Sherman and his wife could read. Seven year old Alice Cleage lived with them and attended school. As his children grew old enough, they also attended school.

William Roger Sherman is listed as the architect for First United Presbyterian Church, an historic black church in Athens, Tennessee built in 1892. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. It was the church that my family in Athens attended through the years.

William Roger Sherman married my great grandmother Celia Rice Cleage, in Athens, Tennessee on April 25, 1897.  He was 51.  She was 45.  It was a 2nd marriage for both. In 1900 all of his children were in homes of their own. I found two – Mary was a seamstress and John was a brick layer. Three of Celia’s children – Edward, Henry and Albert (my grandfather) were students and living at home. Everybody in the household was literate.  Celia’s daughter Josie and her family lived in the house next door. William’s son John and his family lived next door to Josie’s family.

In 1910, Sherman was 64 years old. He rented his house, which seems kind of sad for a carpenter. He hadn’t been out of work at all the previous year. Celia was working as a cook. Celia’s son Charles and his family were sharing the house, as was her son Henry’s eight year old son Richard.  Charles and his wife ran a restaurant. I imagine that is where Celia cooked. Richard was in school. Everybody except the 2 year old and the infant were literate.

By 1920 the household had broken up. Sherman, age 75 had moved in with his daughter Mamie Kennedy in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He was not working. Mamie was a steward (a person responsible for supplies of food) at a local school. She was the widow of Frank Kennedy and owned her own home. Also in the household were two of her stepsons and her brother John’s daughter. All of the young people were high school or college students.

Six months later, William Roger Sherman died of tuberculous of the bowels. He had been sick for a year before he died. His daughter was the informant on the record.

My great grandmother Celia lived in Detroit with her son Albert and his family in 1920. She died of a stroke in 1930.  According to their death certificates, both William R. Sherman and Celia Rice Cleage Sherman are buried in Athens, Tennessee. I have been unable to find in which cemetery (or cemetaries) they are buried.

Valvular heart disease

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.

Late last 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 pension files for this years challenge.

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My great great grandmother, Susan Rice Ragan died of Valvular heart disease at age 76. This document from her Widow’s Pension file contains a statement of the attending physician.

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STATEMENT OF ATTENDING PHYSICIANS

Give date of the pensioner’s death – December 6th 1911
Give date of commencement of pensioner’s last sickness: Valoula heart disease for years.
From what date did the pensioner require the regular and daily attendance of another person constantly until death? For several months.
During what period did you attend the pensioner? Oct 15th 1911 to Dec 6th 1911.
State nature of disease from which pensioner died: Exhaustion following valvular heart disease.
Does your bill include a charge for all medicine furnished the pensioner during last illness? yes.
I certify that the foregoing statement is correct.
Jan 23rd 1912
Jasion L. Proudfoot M.D.
Attending Physician

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“Valvular heart disease is characterized by damage to or a defect in one of the four heart valves: the mitral, aortic, tricuspid or pulmonary. The mitral and tricuspid valves control the flow of blood between the atria and the ventricles (the upper and lower chambers of the heart).”
Valvular Heart Disease – Johns Hopkins Medicine

UNDERTAKER

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.

Late last 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 pension files for this years challenge.

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This is one of the after death bills found in Susan Rice Ragan’s pension file.

In Account With

Mrs. L. C. Evans & Son
Undertakers and Embalmers
Telephone 44-2

Funeral expense of Susan Reagan $44.50. I here by certify that I hold W. R. Sherman responsible for any claims that I may claim have for funeral expense her deced supplies furnished for funeral expenses of Susan Reagan certificate No. 126.156

Mrs L. C. Evans & son

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I was surprised to find a telephone number on the bill sent in 1911. I could not find a local paper with an advertisement concerning telephones, but this one is for Tennessee in that year.


Mrs Evans and Son funeral home buried several of the people I have been looking at during this challenge. When her husband died in 1898, Mrs. Evans was left with eight children from the ages of 18 to 10 months. She was farming in 1900 but by 1910 she was identified as an undertaker and her older sons had taken over the farming. By 1930, she had retired and her son Harry was listed as the undertaker. In addition to farming, I think some of the sons were involved all along.