Category Archives: Allen

Jeanette McCall McEwen

Cousins Annie Lee and Jeanette with their sons.
 With youngest son.
  Jeanette and husband Robert

Jeanette was born on February 18, 1897 in Montgomery, Alabama. She was the youngest of the six children of Edward and Mary (Allen) McCall.  Her oldest brother, James McCall was the blind poet in She was owned before the war by…. Her father, Edward McCall, was the cook and turn-key at the city jail. Her mother, Mary Allen McCall, was a seamstress.  Jeanette attended Alabama State Normal school, a primary through high school for African Americans in Montgomery that all of her siblings and cousins attended.

Jeanette’s best friend was Stella Brown, who later married her older brother Roscoe McCall. Jeanette attended Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi and met her husband, Robert Anderson McEwen there.  By 1920 Robert and Jeanette were married and living in Chicago as roomers.  On January 2, 1920 she gave birth to her first son, Robert Jr.  Robert Sr. worked at the post office.  By the time their second son, Raymond, was born  on December 16, 1923, Robert was a dental student.  Jeanette did not work outside of the home.

By 1930 Robert was a dentist.  Jeanette died December 22, 1931.  I do not know the cause of death yet. You may see another photograph of Jeanette here.  Robert remarried before 1938 to Ethel, last name unknown at this time. He died June 29, 1938.   You can see more car related (or not) Sepia Saturday offerings here.

Sale of Stock, Negroes and a Fine Carriage and Horses

On Monday, 9th January next, we will sell at the Artesian Basin, in the city of Montgomery, at public auction, the following described personal property of the estate of John H. Murphy, deceased:
Seventy-five Shares of Stock in the Montgomery Insurance Company:
Fifty Shares of Stock in Alabama and Florida Rail Road Company
Six Shares of Stock in the Montgomery Gas Light Company.
Also, twenty-three NEGROES, among which are three good brick-layers, and plasters and several fine house servants, cooks, &c.  The negroes will be sold in families, and catalogues funished on the day of sale.
Also, a fine Carriage and pair of Horses.
The Stocks will be sold for cash.  The Negroes and Carriages and Horses on credit of 6 months, for approved Bills of Exchange with interest from date.
Executors of J.H. Murphy, dec’d.
dec 26 – d&wtds           [M.]

Edmund Harrison once owned my Great Great Grandmother Eliza Williams Allen and her mother Annie Williams.  The article that confirmed that information is here “She was owned before the war by Colonel Edmund Harrison of this county.” I found this article on Genealogy Bank.

Abbie Allen Brown

Abbie Allen Brown

Here are my mother’s memories of her great Aunt Abbie, who lived with my grandparents until I was twenty. Aunt Abbie became very frail and was no longer mobile. My aging grandparents were unable to care for her and she was sent to a nursing home where she died several months later. 

Abigail Allen Brown
By Doris Graham Cleage

Aunt Abbie married a Mississippi Riverboat gambler, swarthy and handsome and no good, who stayed home on two visits long enough to give her two sons and then sent her trunks of fine clothes to wear or to sell to take care of herself and the boys. Whenever she talked about him she sounded like she hated him.  She resented the lack of money.  Said once the oldest boy Earl (named for his father) screamed for days with toothache and she could not take him to the dentist, who didn’t want any fancy clothes or jewelry.  She resented raising the children alone.  I got the feeling she hated them and they hated her and she resented him being off having a good time while she stayed home with the problems.

She talked about him in a completely different way than she talked about her Jewish policeman, who bought her a house on Ripley St.  Spent much time there, for whom she loved to cook and keep house.  She came to live with Mother to take care of Daddy(!) so Mother could come to Springfield and help me when Kris was born.  In later years when they lived on Fairfield, Mother and Daddy used to argue about this and they would call me in to referee. He’d say he took Aunt Abbie in out of the goodness of his heart like all the rest of her family. And she was not supposed to stay on (!) them forever but was to go to live with Aunt Margaret.  Mother would say Aunt Abbie came to take care of him because (here she would make a mouth at me) he could not take care of himself and work even though he could cook better than she and do everything else in the house too.  (I think we are always angered at the way men can say this is the limit.  I can’t or I won’t do this or that and we seem to have lives where you do what is to be done since you have no one who will hear you if you say you can’t or won’t.  Hold my hand Charlie Brown!)  And that he knew very well she was going to live with them and visit Margaret occasionally. Mother was right.  He said Aunt Abbie came to have cataracts operated on and to be taken care of.  He was wrong.  Her eye operations came years later.  He said to me once that he had always taken care of Mother’s people and she would have nothing to do with his.  I know how Grandmother depended on him to fix things around their house. And he was most agreeable and I always thought he loved it.  They made over him when he came with his box of tools.  I was always there as helper, but he got very tired and mistreated about having both Alice and Aunt Abbie to take care of. He didn’t like either one.  But I never could get him to send them to a nursing or residence home to live. He always said “What would people say if I did that?”  When people talk like that I give up because they are obviously making the choice they prefer.

Back to Aunt Abbie.  She loved to cook and do everything else about the house.  Mother would not let her do anything except clean her own room and do her own washing and ironing…..and Mother hated everything about housekeeping except cooking; but she said her husband expected her to take care of him and his house and (she didn’t say this,) she’d be damned it she’d let anyone else do it as long; as she could.  I couldn’t talk to her about it.. Aunt Abbie tried to get her sons to let her come to NY and live with them. They wouldn’t even answer her letters. Sad.

Note: I remember her son Alphonso visiting several times.  Aunt Abbie was fixing him tongue because he really like it.  KCW

Aunt Abbie, Nanny, Poppy, Cousin Alphonso, Henry, Kristin (me), Doris


Here is another article I found recently on Genealogy Bank about Edward McCall and his family.  I appreciate the information I find in these articles, I had been unable to find the date of Annie Belle’s marriage to Jefferson Martin before.  I appreciate the atmosphere of the times that I get but I find the condescending racism very grating.  At any rate, this article certainly gave me a picture of their large house decorated with lights and flowers and glowing for their oldest daughter’s wedding.  Annie Belle was the first of the McCall children to marry and the first of Eliza’s grandchildren to marry.  Mary Allen McCall was a fine seamstress and I’m sure the wedding gown was beautiful.  Maybe one day a photograph will surface!

Daughter of Faithful Negro Presented With Watch at her Wedding.

As a mark of respect for Ed McCall, the faithful negro who has served more than thirty years as cook at police headquarters, nineteen patrolmen and Police Captain Miles Smith attended the wedding of his daughter, Annie Belle McCall, to Jefferson Martin of Nashville, Tenn. Wednesday evening at 7 o’clock, at the residence of McCall, 336 South Jackson Street.

“Uncle Ed” McCall, as the veteran patrolmen affectionately call the old negro has reared a large family.  He owns a comfortable home and he has educated his boys and girls.  When time came for his daughter to be married he celebrated the occasion in his own pecullar way.  He signalized the approach of the event by surprising the patrolmen with a fine dinner in their honor at headquarters Wednesday evening at 6 o’clock.

The wedding was to take place at 7 o’clock at the home of the old negro on South Jackson Street, and the patrolmen had reserved a surprise for “Uncle Ed”.  They had purchased a handsome diamond encrusted watch for the daughter of the old negro on her wedding day.

When the patrolmen reached the residence of McCall they found it brilliantly lighted and decorated with artistic effect.  Annie Belle McCall has been a teacher in the State Normal School and Principal W.B. Paterson of that institution had sent exquisite flowers from his own gardens to make the residence fragrant and beautiful.

Before the wedding ceremony John W.A. Sanford, Jr, as spokesman for the police, presented the watch to the young woman.

A large number of white citizens of Montgomery attended the wedding and warmly congratulated the bride, whom they said was well worthy of every happiness that life holds.

“Uncle Ed” McCall, who is the father of James Edward McCall, the blind poet now at school in Michigan, was grateful for the kindness shown him upon this important occasion to his household.  He said that the incident merely demonstrated that where a negro was faithful to his trust he would earn the respect of the best citizens of his community.

This article appeared in The Montgomery Advertiser, November 9, 1906
For photographs and more information about Annie Belle McCall Martin and her family click Their Own Marching Band and More About Annabell’s Family.

From Montgomery to Detroit

Dock Allen was born around 1832 into slavery in Georgia.  He died free in 1909 in Montgomery Alabama.  He was a carpenter.  His mother, Matilda Brewster was born in Georgia into slavery.  I don’t know when or where she died.

Eliza Williams Allen was born into slavery about 1839 in Alabama.  She died free in Montgomery Alabama in 1917.  She was a seamstress.  Her mother, Anne Williams was born into slavery in South Carolina about 1820 and died free in Montgomery before 1900.

Dock and Eliza’s daughter Jennie Virginia Allen Turner was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1866.  She was a seamstress.  She died in 1954 in Detroit, Michigan.  In 1887 she married Howard Turner.  He was born in Lowndes County Alabama in 1864.  He was murdered in Alabama in 1892.  His father, Joe Turner, was born into slavery in Alabama about 1839. He was a farmer. He died free in Alabama in 1919.  Howard’s mother, Emma Jones, was born into slavery in South Carolina about 1840 and died free in Alabama in 1901.

Jennie and Howard’s daughter, Fannie Turner Graham was born in Lowndes County, AL in 1888.  She died in Detroit, Michigan in 1974.  She managed a grocery store before her marriage to Mershell C. Graham in 1919.  Mershell and both of his parents were born in Alabama.  Mershell moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1918.  In 1919 he returned to Montgomery to marry Fannie.  They both returned to Detroit immediately following the wedding where they roomed with friends from Montgomery for several years.  Mershell worked at Fords Motor Co. in the parts section.  When they were ready to buy their own house they sent for Fannie’s mother, Jennie and two sisters.  All of Fannie and Mershell’s children were born in Detroit.  In 1946 Fannie’s Aunt Abbie came up from Montgomery and lived with Mershell and Fannie until her death in 1966.

By the 1960s all of Dock and Eliza’s children and grandchildren had left Montgomery and were living in Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Madison, Wisconsin and New York City.  Mershell’s relatives remained in Alabama but contact was lost and we don’t know what happened to them.  Joe and Emma’s children stayed in Lowndes County, some moving to Montgomery and Birmingham by the 1930 census.  Because my grandmother lost touch with them before leaving Alabama I only know by following the census where they went.  I believe some eventually moved to Chicago but I’ll have to wait for the 1940 census to verify.

My cousins and I grew up in Detroit surrounded by family on both sides, who had left Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee to end up there.  Of my grandparents five granddaughters, two remain in Detroit as do their children and grandchildren.  One now lives in California where the majority of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were born and live.  My sister and I, along with most of our children and grandchildren live in Atlanta Georgia.


In the past several months I have received several awards for my blogs. (I used to have two blogs, one for my maternal line and one for my paternal line.  I combined them awhile ago.)  I put off posting them because I am supposed to pass them on to 10 or 15 other bloggers and it seemed like almost everybody I follow already has received the awards, some multiple times.

Today I was determined to find ten bloggers to pass the awards on to and to be able to post my awards.  I spent several hours going from blog to blog and it started to be funny to me because I found that bloggers were receiving the Ancestor Approved Award just before I got there.  In one case two people passed on  the award right behind each other!  I don’t quite know how to handle this.  I have decided that I will fulfill the other requirements and not pass on the awards at this time.  If someone reading this has not yet received the Ancestor Approved Award, email me!  I’ve got to post so people will stop thinking I haven’t received the award and keep sending them to me!  So here goes…

Dionne Ford of Finding Josephine gave Finding Eliza two awards some months ago, The “Versatile Blogger Award” and “One Lovely Blog Award”.  I apologize for taking so long to respond. I have to list seven things about myself and link back to Finding Josephine.

1.  I can milk a goat.
2.  I swam across Lake Idlewild and back when I was in my 40’s.
3.  My third daughter, Ayanna, was born at home.
4.  I home schooled my four youngest children.
5.  I studied Spanish, French, Norweigian and Arabic with varying degrees of success.
6.  I recently began strength training with my sister.
7.  I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 29.

I received the Ancestor Approved Award at My Cleages and Reeds (Now combined with Finding Eliza.) from Nolichucky Roots,  Bill West of West in New England and Nancy at My Ancestors and Me   On Finding Eliza I received the Ancestor Approved Award from Nolichucky Roots and Missy of Fables and Endless Genealogies.  I must admit to fiddling around with the award in Photoshop and adding my own ancestors, photographs.

This award was created by Leslie Ann Ballou at Ancestors Live Here. Leslie asks that recipients list ten things they’ve learned about any of their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened them and pass the award on to ten other bloggers who are doing their ancestors proud.  Here are my ten things. I’ve linked to those I blogged about.

1.  I was enlightened to learn that the story my mother told about Eliza was true but not exactly in the way she told it.  Eliza’s story is here. There are 3 parts to the story and a chart.
2.  I was surprised to find that Annie Belle and her brass band ended up in Detroit after living in Florida and Tennessee.
3.  I was saddened to learn that my great grandmother’s sister, Willie Allen Tulane had lost two of her three children in infancy.
4.  I was enlightened and humbled to find that my great great grandfather Dock Allen tried to escape slavery by running and so met my great great grandmother Eliza and gained his freedom.
5.  I was moved to tears when I found my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham’s father with his parents and siblings in the 1870 census and was able to take the family back a generation.
6.  I was thrilled to receive copies of records from the Cleage plantation where my ancestors were slaves.
7.  I was surprised when I found my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage had a singing double.
8.  I was enlightened but frustrated to trace Jacob Graham’s little Bible to it’s first owners and to find his death certificate but I was still unable to connect Jacob with my grandfather Mershell Graham.
9.  I was ecstatic to find photographs of my first cousin once removed,  Naomi Tulane Vincent and her husband using Google.
10.  I was overjoyed when I was contacted by my husband’s cousin who took us back a generation or two on this mother’s side and shared photographs, stories, places… whoo hooo!