Category Archives: Allen

Who Was Eliza?

Who was Eliza?

The Search Begins

A Brief Explanation for Eliza’s Story

Eliza Williams Allen – a photograph

Eliza and the people in her life

Escape – Dock Allen

Finding Eliza Part 1

Finding Eliza Part 2

Finding Eliza Part 3

Eliza’s daughters part 4

She was owned before the war by the late Colonel Edmund Harrison of this county

The 4th Annual Gene Awards

Visit to Oakwood Cemetery

Seven Generations of L3e3b-My MtDna

Stolen From Africa

Cousins, Cousins and More Cousins

I haven’t participated Saturday Night Genealogy Fun lately but I came across this one and it seemed interesting so here is a tally of my 1st cousins, 2nd cousins and several degrees of removed cousins. I am several weeks late but you can find the original challenge at the link above. 

1) Take both sets of your grandparents and figure out how many first cousins you have, and how many first cousins removed (a child or grandchild of a first cousin) you have.

My Paternal Side

The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.
The Cleage family about 1930 in front of their house on Scotten. From L to R Henry, Louis, (My grandmother) Pearl, Barbara, Hugh, Gladys, Anna, Albert Jr (My father) and (My grandfather) Albert Sr.

My father had 6 siblings.

His three brothers had no children.
His oldest sister had one son.
His second sister had four children.
His youngest sister had two daughters. 
I have seven first cousins on this side.

My sister Pearl in the blue. Cousin Jan in the red. Behind Jan, Warren. Front right, Dale. Behind Dale, Ernie and behind him, me. About 1958.
Front are my other 3 cousins. In zipped coat on left, Maria. Center, Blair. On right, Anna.  Aunts & uncles in background.
  • Warren has two daughters. They have a total of seven children.
  • Jan has three daughters and one son. They have a total of five children.
  • Ernest has two children. No grandchildren.
  • Anna has four children and three grandchildren.
  • Maria has two children. No grandchildren.
  • Dale has one child. Unknown number of grandchildren.

I have 14 first cousins once removed on this side and 15 cousins twice removed here.

My Maternal Side

Mershell holding my mother Doris, Fannie Graham in front Mershell Jr. and Mary Virginia. 1927

My mother had three siblings. Both of her brothers died as children. Her sister had 3 daughters.

My mother Doris & her sister Mary V with their children – Cousins Dee Dee, Barbara & Marilyn with dark hair. Sister Pearl and myself with braids.
  • Dee Dee has three children. They have eight children.
  • Barbara has two children. They have five children.
  • Marilyn has one son, who has two children.

I have three first cousins on this side, six cousins once removed and 15 cousins twice removed. 

This makes a grand total for me of  ten first cousins, 22 first cousins once removed and 24 cousins twice removed.

2) Extra Credit: Take all four sets of your great-grandparents and figure out how many second cousins you have, and how many second cousins once removed you have.

Second Cousins are the children of your parent’s 1st cousin and the grandchildren of your grandparent’s siblings (your granduncles/grandaunts).

Howard and Jennie (Allen) Turner – Maternal great grandparents

My maternal grandmother had two sisters. Neither of them married or had children. 

"Jennie Allen Turner and Daughters"
Fannie, Jennie (mother) Alice. Daisy standing.

William and Mary (Jackson) Graham – Paternal Great grandparents.

My maternal grandfather’s sister Annie Graham
Annie Graham’s children.

My maternal grandfather, Mershell Graham, had four siblings.
Crawford and William disappeared from the records after 1880.
Jacob and Abraham died childless.
Annie had 4 children.  My mother had four first cousins.  That gives me four first cousins once removed.  Between them they had 20 children, giving me 20 second cousins.

Buford Averitt and Anna Ray Reed


My paternal grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage had 7 siblings.

  • Josephine had two children. Unfortunately the family lost contact with those children after 1900.
  • Sarah had nine children. Between them, they had 14 children.
  • Louise had two children.  Between them they had six children.
  • Hugh had four children. Between them they had 13 children.
  • Minnie had 12 children. Between them they had 30 children.
My father and his brothers with Uncle Hugh Reed Averetts sons.
Two Reed cousins.  My father and his brothers with Uncle Hugh Reed Averett’s sons. Front are Henry and Hugh Cleage. Back are my father Albert Cleage, Hugh Averett, Thomas Averett and Louis Cleage.
Mullins cousins

My father had 29 first cousins on his mother’s side. He had 63 first cousins once removed on his mother’s side.  Josie’s Branch disappeared.  That gives me 63 known second cousins on this side.

Louis and Celia (Rice) Cleage

Cleage Cousins – some of  Albert, Henry and Edwards children.

My paternal grandfather Albert B. Cleage had four siblings.
Henry had four children. They had a combined total of three children.
Edward had six children. They had a combined total of seven children.
Josie had five children.  They had a combined total of 22 children.

My father had 15 first cousins on his father’s side.  He had 29 first cousins once removed. That gives me 29 second cousins on this side.

So, on my father’s side I have 43 first cousins once removed and 93 second cousins.  On my mother’s side I have 4 first cousins once removed and 20 second cousins making a combined total of 47 first cousins once removed and 113 second cousins.

How Many Second Cousins Once Removed?

Then I realized that all of my parents second cousins were my second cousins once removed. So, I have been updating and looking at my ancestry tree. I think I’m about ready to take a count.

“A Sumptuous Christmas Dinner”

Edward McCall was the husband of my great grandmother’s oldest sister, Mary Allen McCall.  He worked as cook at the City Jail for 30 years, according to the article below. He was also listed as “turnkey” at the jail in several censuses.  Edward’s wife, Mary was a talented seamstress, a skill she learned from her mother, Eliza (who I named this blog after).

They were the parents of 7 children. Six of them survived to adulthood. One of their sons, James Edward McCall was a blind poet and publisher first in Montgomery and later in Detroit.  Their other children were Annabelle McCall Martin, Leon Roscoe McCall, William Gladstone McCall (who died as an infant), Alma Otilla McCall Howard and Jeanette McCall McEwen.

Edward McCall died in Montgomery, Alabama on February 2, 1920 and is buried there in Lincoln Cemetery. For many years this cemetery was horribly neglected and vandalized. Several years ago the Lincoln Cemetery Rehabilitation Authority was formed and has been working to clean it up and put the graves in order. I hear that it is in much better shape.

Only Fifteen Will Enjoy the Hospitality of the City on Christmas Day

ed mccall xmas dinner for prisoners

Twenty-six city prisoners whose sentences originally ranged from thirty days to six months, and who had a balance of time of from one to thirty days yet to serve, were given their liberty Saturday at noon as a Christmas present, upon an order to Chief Taylor of the Police Department from Mayor W. A. Gunter, Jr., this being, the annual custom in vogue for a number of years in Montgomery with reference to the city’s prisoners.

The release of the twenty-six left a remaining number of twelve, which together with three convictions at the Saturday session of the Recorders Court, who were unable to pay their fines, aggregate fifteen who will be given holiday Monday and a sumptuous Christmas dinner, which is being prepared today by Ed McCall, the negro (sic) who for thirty years has served as chef at police headquarters.

The dinner will be served in the regular dining room at headquarters and will consist in a menu of camp stew, bread, cakes, fruits, coffee and other good and tasty articles of substantial foods.

My Grandmother’s Aprons

In the 1950s, when my sister and I were in elementary school, my grandmother took us downtown to Kresge’s to pick out a mother’s day present for our mother. My grandfather must have driven us, because my grandmother didn’t drive. She suggested an apron. We picked out a beautiful red one with black binding trim around the edges and a picture of an old fashioned cast iron stove on the front pocket. I still remember going down the dark wood stairs to the basement and picking out that apron.  As we grew older we realized that my mother hated receiving gifts that had anything to do with housework. (Click this link to see a photograph of the store Kresge on Woodward Ave. in Detroit, 1950s.)

My grandmother often had an apron on when we were over because she would be cooking or washing dishes.  She kept them on even when posing for group photographs in the yard with out of town visitors.

"theodore backyard roscoe and stella"
Roscoe McCall (Fannie’s first cousin), Fannie Turner Graham (my grandmother), Stella McCall (Roscoe’s wife), Abbie Allen Brown (my 2X great aunt), in my grandparent’s backyard. Detroit, MI summer of 1960.  Roscoe and Stella were visiting from Chicago.
"theodore backyard bobbie visits"
Aunt Abbie, Aunt Alice, Nanny, Daisy, two friends, cousin John Allen’s wife, Bobbie. Bobbie was visiting from Chicago.
“The Women’s Missionary Union: The trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan is on June 24, Saturday cost $10, also, the apron sale is today May 7, come down and buy your favorite mother or mother-in-law a beautiful apron.”
Mershell and Fannie Graham, my grandparents are mentioned as shut-ins.
Mershell and Fannie Graham, my grandparents are mentioned as shut-ins.
For more Sepia Saturday Apron posts, CLICK!

Ransom Allen

Ransom Allen
Callie and Ransom Allen

Ransom Allen was the oldest son of Dock and Eliza (Williams) Allen.  He was born free in Alabama about 1860. He and his 7 siblings grew up in Montgomery. He was my great grandmother Jennie’s older brother. His father was a carpenter.  His mother was a seamstress.  He became a barber.

In 1883 Ransom married Callie Whitaker in Troup County, GA. I don’t know how or where they met, but she was born in Georgia.  In 1888 their son, John Wesley, was born in Montgomery. John was the only one of their three children to survive childhood.

The family relocated to Chicago, IL about 1917 where Ransom continued to barber and John worked as a Mechanic. John married Bobbie Conyer and their only son, Harold Thomas, was born in 1932 in Chicago, IL.

In 1933 Ransom’s wife Callie died. The following year Ransom died at age 74.  Their only grandson died in 1946 at 14 years of age. That was the end of Ransom’s branch of Dock and Eliza’s family.

Click for more Sepia Saturday

Escape – Dock Allen

While watching “Many Rivers to Cross” this week, an episode full of stories of resistance, escape and fighting back, this is the family story that came to mind.

Dock Allen
Dock Allen – tintype with frame attached.

It had been a wet spring, that 1861 in Dallas County, Alabama. Dock Allen was 21 years old and already a good carpenter.  He was a white man’s son, but the man who now held him in slavery was not his father.  His owner was known as a cruel man who kept vicious dogs to instill fear in his slaves. He wanted them to be afraid to run.  When Dock made up his mind to escape, he had a plan  to throw the dogs off of his track. There was a swampy area where wild ramps grew. He rubbed himself with them, poured the water on himself and rolled around in the field so the strong onion odor would hide his own human smell.

He had been running and running. He was bone tired. He could hear the dogs tracking him in the distance when he came to a small farm near Carlowville.  He couldn’t go any further. He climbed up into the hay loft, covered himself with hay and lay there barely breathing.  The dogs came into the hay room. He could feel their breath as they walked over him, but they didn’t smell him because of the ramps.  Eventually they left.


This was the same place where Eliza and her small daughter Mary, lived. Eliza had been freed several years before. She lived on the farm of Nancy Morgan.  Did Eliza hear the dogs and see Dock stumble into the yard?  Did she silently direct him to the hide in the hay?

Later Dock decided to give himself up. Nancy sent a message to his master.  It wasn’t long before he came to the house. He said that no one had ever out smarted his dogs and that any man who was smart enough to do that deserved to be free and he freed Dock.  Dock stayed on that place and he and Eliza married.  They stayed together until he died in 1909.  He was 69.

Doc Allen in the record.

Dock and Eliza (Williams) Allen’s grave.

I found Dock Allen in in the 1867 voter registration database living in Montgomery, AL.  He appears with his family in the 1870, 1880 and 1900 census in Montgomery.  According to the records he was a carpenter born in Georgia.  He owned his own home.  In the 1900 census he and Eliza had been married 40 years which puts the beginning around 1860.

I have three addresses for him, 237 Clay street, 216 Holt street and finally 444 S. Ripley street where he lived for the five years before he died March 29, 1909 of “inflammatory bowels” after being ill for several weeks.  His mother is named as Matilda Brewster on his death certificate.  No father is listed. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery.

I don’t know if this is exactly how Dock Allan escaped from slavery.  This is the oral history that we have. I never knew this story until my cousin Jacqui Vincent and I made contact years ago.  Dock and Eliza (Williams) Allen were my 2X Great grandparents.  I’ve written more about Eliza’s story in these posts.

Seven Generations of L3e3b – My Mtdna

This chart is adapted from the 23andMe website.
This chart is adapted from the 23andMe website.

The mtdna that I received from my mother, who received it from her mother and on back to the beginning lost in the mists, is L3e3b.  I have been told that I share this haplo group of L3e3b with the Mende people of Sierra Leone.  You can read more in this post Stolen from Africa – Fearless Females.

Annie Williams is the first woman in this ancestral line that I can name.  She was born about 1820 in Virginia. Her daughter, Eliza Williams Allen (who is the Eliza this blog is named after) and all of her children were born in Alabama. Eliza passed her mtdna to her 13 children.  5 died before adulthood. 2 were sons. Of her 6 daughters, I wondered, how many had daughters who had daughters, who had daughters?

Photographs and word cloud with names of all the known female descendents of Annie Williams.

Mary Allen McCall had 6 children, 2 sons and 3 daughters survived to adulthood.  Two, Jeanette McCall McEwen and Alma Otilla McCall Howard, had sons only. Annabell McCall Martin had 7 children. 3 were sons and 3, daughters, Anna Marie Martin, Geneva Martin and Thelma Martin. So far I have been unable to trace them beyond the 1940 census in Detroit when they were unmarried, childless, teenagers, so I don’t know if they had daughters.

Anna Allen (oval picture) had no children.

Below Anna is Beulah Allen Pope who had 2 sons and 1 daughter. Her daughter, Annie Lee Pope Gilmer, had 1 son.

Willie Lee Allen Tulane had 3 daughters. Only 1, Naomi, survived to adulthood. Naomi Tulane Vincent had three daughters – Sylvia, Jacqui and Barbara. Sylvia and Barbara did not have any children. Jacqui had 2 sons.

Abbie Allen Brown had 2 sons.

My great grandmother, Jennie Virginia had three daughters. Daisy and Alice had no children. My grandmother, Fannie, had 4 children. Her 2 sons died in childhood. Her 2 daughters, my aunt Mary V.  had 3 daughters. Barbara and Marilyn both had sons only. Dee Dee’s one daughter, Maricea, has no children.

My mother, Doris, had 2 daughters. I (Kristin) have 2 sons and 4 daughters. Jilo has 1 son and 2 daughters.  Ife has 1 son and 1 daughter.  Ayanna has no children.  Tulani has 1 daughter. All of their daughters are still children. My sister Pearl had 1 daughter. Deignan has 1 son and 3 daughters, all still children.

I have the mtdna haplo group from my father’s mother and for my grandfather Cleage’s mother.  I will be writing them up soon. I will also be writing about my total dna findings. Unfortunately, there are no men in my direct line alive to test for the Ydna.





O is for Off On a Tangent

a-to-z-letters-oThis is my fifteenth post for the April A-Z Challenge.  I began with the intention of writing about my first cousin twice removed, Alma Otilla McCall Howard. I started by going to my family tree page and pulling up her profile. I noted she was the 5th of 6 children and  that her wedding date was missing.  I opened my Reunion family tree software, hoping it was there. Her marriage date read 1911.   That couldn’t be right. Her husband’s son by his first wife wasn’t born until 1912. There was no date for that marriage either. In fact there wasn’t even a name for Otilla’s husband,  Joseph Howard’s, first wife.

Top row: Doorway to Otilla’s Chicago house. Siblings – Jeanette, Otilla, Roscoe, Annabelle, James.  2nd row: Students at Mississippi Industrial College(MIC) 1908; Otilla’s mother, Mary Allen McCall; postcard of the girls dorm at MIC; 1908 photo of MIC.  3rd row: Joseph, Jr. with drums and friends; Otilla’s apt house in Chicago; Otilla and her husband Joseph Howard about 1939.    4th row: MIC building now; my grandmother Fannie and friends in Holly Springs.

I searched on No luck. Tried Family Search, no luck. Then I remembered listening to an interview that my cousin Margaret McCall Ward did with Otilla’s step-son, Dr. Joseph H. Howard, JR, about his amazing drum collection. Maybe there was something there.  Looked for the interview in my itunes list and listened. Unfortunately, he speaks sort of quiet at the beginning when he is telling us his mother’s name and I can’t quite get it. I think he said “Evie” and then changed and spelled it out as “Dama”. Turned that off.

Joseph Jr.’s drum collection sounds interesting. Maybe there is something out there with biographical information. I google Dr. Joseph Howard drums. Several articles come up. I read them and learn the extent of his collection, his wife’s name and his two children’s name. And there are even photographs of him. Nothing about his mother.  Unfortunately, he isn’t even actually related to me and none of this is about Otilla.

I remember another interview that Margaret did with her Uncle Roscoe’s wife, Stella. Stella’s daughter and Joseph Jr. were both there and putting in comments. Maybe the information is there. It only takes a few minutes to find the transcript of the tape on my computer and open it up. Yay! That is what I was remembering. Right at the start of the interview, Margaret starts talking to Joseph and he tells where he was born and how his parents met in Guyana.  His mother lived there and his father was working on a ship. He gives his mother’s name and even spells her last name, Sempert.   I try looking for her using first name of first Evie and then Dama, hoping to find a death record. Nope.

About this time I decide to check in on facebook. I find that I was chosen by Family History Magazine as one of the Top 40 Genealogy Blogs! I was shocked and thrilled. I spent some time going to the Family History Magazine website, congratulating other bloggers I know who were on the list and thanking others for their congratulations.  But, eventually, I had to get back to the post.

Later in the transcript, Joseph talks about how his step mother, Otilla and his father, Joseph Howard met. She was teaching at Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs, MS.  Joseph Howard SR was a physician and I don’t know if he was practicing in Holly Springs or if he was in school.  Unfortunately, just as Margaret was getting ready to go deeper, she stopped herself and got back to her task of trying to find out where her grandfather was buried. I wondered what Mississippi Industrial College looked like? I googled and found a few photographs from 1908, a brief history, and a lot of information and photographs of how the beautiful, historic buildings are falling down before our eyes. There doesn’t seem to be any money to save them. An architect who worked on a rehabilitation project years ago writes about how he hated to stop when the funding ran out. Someone warns about walking up the steps of the auditorium and finding themselves looking two stories down to the basement.

Having read some articles about “ruin porn” while I was off on a tangent when writing a different post, I tore myself away from the wrecked buildings. Holly Springs? I remember a photograph of my grandmother and some of her friends that was taken in Holly Springs. I wonder if they were visiting Otilla? I find the photo and find nothing except place and names on the back.

I remembered an email exchange with my cousin, Ruth about her memories of Otilla and her large house in Chicago.  I go back and find the emails and re-read them for any interesting information. She talks about her parents bringing her home from the hosptial to that house and the other family members who lived there. It was a multi-unit dwelling. I found a photograph of the house on google maps when I was going to write Otilla and family up for the 1940 census. There was some confusion about whether the house I found was actually the house. I looked up the address on the 1940 census and googled it. I found several real estate descriptions and photographs of the house. I’m satisfied I found the right place.

At that point I started thinking about all the side roads I took and decided to write about that. I still owe Alma Otilla McCall Howard a post.  It shouldn’t be too difficult because there can’t be any other side roads to go down, right?


Watch Night – Born into Slavery and Died in Freedom

Angela Walton-Raji of the blog My Ancestor’s Name suggested that tonight we observe Watch Night by naming our ancestors who were born into slavery but lived to see freedom. I decided to join her.

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. I know very little about them but I have been gathering information which I will post soon.

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 with 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.

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.

Anna’s mother Clara, my great great grandmother, was born 1829 in Kentucky and died after 1880 in Kentucky.  I need to write them up. You can see some of their descendents here My Father’s Mother’s People.


Victoria McCall interviews Eleanor Roosevelt in 1945

This article is from my Grandmother, Fannie Turner Graham’s scrap book.  It was printed in the Detroit Tribune on November 24, 1945.  Victoria’s parents, James and Margaret McCall, were the owners and operators of the Tribune. My grandmother wrote the date and my mother wrote the identifying information.

The postcard on the left shows the Book-Cadillac Hotel, where the interview took place, in the 1940.

Part of the article is missing.  I think my grandmother trimmed one side and part 2 was on the other side. I combined her pink article with a scan from online.

You can read more about the Tribune and the McCalls in this post “James Edward McCall, Poet and Publisher“.