My paternal grandmother, Pearl Reed Cleage was born 135 years ago in Lebanon, Kentucky, the youngest of Annie Reed’s 8 children. She married Dr. Albert B. Cleage in Indianapolis, IN in 1910 and they had seven amazing children, including my father, who they raised in Detroit, MI.
She was a small woman who looked sweet as pie and had a backbone of steel. She didn’t begin to run down until she broke her hip in her 80s. In 1982, my grandmother Pearl died of congestive heart failure in Idlewild, Michigan.
This post covers the time from my father’s ordination, my parent’s marriage and the few months they spent in Lexington, Kentucky at Chandler Memorial Church. Click the link to learn more about the history of Chandler.
The news items below were transcribed from The Detroit Tribune (Detroit) and Colored Notes, The Sunday Herald-Leader (Lexington, Kentucky). Click the photographs to enlarge or to go to the websites where I found them.
Thursday February 4, 1943 Albert B. Cleage ordained at Plymouth Congregational Church, Detroit, Michigan, by Rev. Horace White.
October 2, 1943 Rev. Albert B. Cleage of Detroit, Mich., will preach at the Chandler Memorial church at 11 o’clock Sunday morning.
Sunday, Nov. 7, 1943 Chandler Memorial church worship and sermon, 11 a. m., preaching by the Rev. A. Rice, Sunday school 12:15; Y. P. meeting at 6 p. m. The annual “harvest-home” ingathering will be held Nov. 21-22 Donations may be forwarded, or call 1356-X. Roger Stewart chairman. The new pastor, the Rev. A. B. Cleage will take charge Nov. 21.
November 14, 1943 Chandler Memorial church, worship and sermon, 11 a. m., preaching by the Rev. A. Rice. Sunday school 12:15. Special program at 3:30 p. m., sponsored by Mrs. Louise Newman. Participants are Prof. W. T. Seals, Miss Hattie Lee, L. D. Mills, William Smith and Prof. W. J. Black. The annual “harvest home” ingathering will be held No. 21-22. Donation may be forwarded or call 1356-X. Roger Stewart, chairman. The new pastor, the Rev. A. B. Cleage of Detroit will take charge next Sunday.
Friday, Nov. 19, 1943 The Rev. A. B. Cleage of Detroit, new pastor of the Chandler Memorial Congregational Christian church, 548 Georgetown Street, will take charge Sunday morning.
Sunday, Nov 21, 1943 Chandler Memorial church, the Rev. Albert B. Cleage, pastor; worship and sermon 11 a. m., preaching by the pastor. Sunday school, 12:15, Young people’s meeting, 6 p.m. Theme of the morning sermon will be “Fruits of the Spirit.” The annual “harvest home” service will open today. All members and friends are urged to be present. Harvest home sale at 8 o’clock Monday night at the church.
Tuesday, Nov 30, 1943 Regular business meeting will be held Wednesday night at Chandler Congregational church, Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr., minister.
Sunday, Dec 5, 1943 Chandler Memorial Congregational Church, the Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr., pastor: worship and sermon 11 a.m., theme, “The Messianic Hope;” music by the choir, Miss Pearl Blackburn, director; vocal solo, Prof. W. J. Black; saxophone solo, Prof. William Smith. Sunday school 12.15; Young People’s meeting, 6 p. m. The pastor is preaching a series of pre-Christmas sermons.
Sunday, December 12, 1943 Chandler Memorial Congregational church, Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr., minister: worship and sermon 11 a. m., theme, “The Sin of Selfishness.” Sunday school, 12:15; Endeavor, 6 p. m. Important announcement by the trustees. All members asked to be present. The pastor is preaching a series of sermons dealing with the birth of Christ and its meaning or the individual.
Sunday, Dec. 26, 1943 The Chandler Memorial church, 548 Georgetown street, The Rev. Albert B. Cleage Jr. will preach his Christmas sermon from the subject, “Star Of Bethlehem.” The choir will render special Christmas music, and Mrs. Louise Newman will be featured as soloist, Sunday school and Christian Endeavor will meet as usual.
December 12, 1943
January 2, 1944 Chandler Memorial Congregational church, Rev. A. B. Cleage, minister: worship and sermon, 11 a. m., theme, “The Pentecost of Calamity.” Sunday school, 12:15; Endeavor, 6:30 p. m. The church annual meeting will be held Wednesday night at 8 o’clock.
January 7, 1944
January 9, 1944 Chandler Memorial church, Rev. Albert B Cleage, minister; Worship and sermon 11 A. M., theme “Winning the Peace;” Sunday school 12;15; Y. P. meeting at 6:30 p.m. Communion service. Business meeting to elect church treasurer.
January 16, 1944 Chandler Memorial Congregational church, Rev. A. B. Cleage, minister: worship and sermon, 11 a.m., theme, “Bitter Fruit;” Sunday school, 12:15 p. m.; Endeavor 6 p. m.
Saturday, January 29, 1944 The Rev. Albert B. Cleage, who recently resigned as pastor of the Chandler Congregational church, left Wednesday for San Francisco, Calif.
January 29, 1944 Toddy and Doris Cleage are due in from Lexington, KY this week. They have been there since their marriage in November. The young couple found the South’s dyed in the wool policy of segregation and oppression of Negroes most distasteful, and were glad when Toddy received a call to pastor a church in California. So they too will head for the Golden West.
Organized at Knoxville, Tenn., February 20, 1864. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Corps, Dept. of Ohio, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, District of East Tennessee, Dept. of the Cumberland, to March, 1865. 1st Brigade, 4th Division, District of East Tennessee, to March, 1866.
SERVICE.-Duty at Knoxville, Tenn., till January, 1865. Operations against Wheeler in East Tennessee August 15-25, 1864. Operations in Northern Alabama and East Tennessee January 31-April 24, 1865. Stoneman’s operations from East Tennessee into Southwestern Virginia and Western North Carolina February to April. At Greenville and in District of East Tennessee till March, 1866. Mustered out March 31, 1866.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, my grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage’s uncle Thomas Allen (formerly Thomas Ray, who later dropped his slave name of “Ray” and took his father’s name of “Allen”), served with the 5h Regiment USCT Calvary.
Organized at Camp Nelson, Ky., October 24, 1864. Attached to 1st Division, District of Kentucky, Dept. of Ohio, to February, 1865. Military District of Kentucky and Dept. of Arkansas, to March, 1866.
Participated in Burbridge’s Raid from Kentucky into Southwestern Virginia September 20-October 17, 1864. Action at Saltsville, Va., October 2. At Lexington, Ky., October 19. Harrodsburg, Ky., October 21. Stoneman’s Raid into Southwestern Virginia December 10-29. Near Marion December 17-18. Capture of Saltsville and destruction of salt works December 20-21. Duty at Ghent, Paducah, LaGrange, Crab Orchard and Camp Nelson till August, 1865, and in the Dept. of Arkansas till March, 1866. Mustered out March 20, 1866.
Regiment lost during service 35 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 151 Enlisted men by disease. Total 187.
So much new information waiting to be written up, but to see what I have already done, click on the underlined links above.
It was Katie Wiley who started me on the investigation that found Thomas and his pension records. When I found a letter addressed to my grandmother, Pearl Reed c/o Katie Allen, I began searching to find out who she was and discovered so much more than I had looked for.
Sometimes I have a problem finding enough documentation to build a picture of the person I am writing about. This time I had the opposite situation. I will try to be brief.
Kate Wiley was born free to Woody and Sarah (Daniels) Wiley, about 1860 in Virginia. In the record above it says Halifax, in other records it says Fairfax. She was part of the large family of Deborah Wiley. We find Deborah Wiley and her children described in the Pittsylvania County Virginia, Register of Free Negroes.1807-1865. I am only sharing Deborah and Woody’s descriptions.
Registration Number # 9, March 18th, 1816,
The said DEBORAH WILEY is a mulatto girl between18 and 19 years of age, about five feet four or five inches, has black bushy hair, aquiline nose, effeminate voice and rather pleasing countenance.
Reg # 406, January 16th, 1847, WOODY WILEY, a free born man of colour, is a yellow man, twenty eight years old the 4th day of October, last, five feet nine inches high.
Reg # 9, Sept 24, 1852, DEBORAH WILEY,a free negro born free who hath been numbered and registered in the Clerks office of the County Court of Pittsylvania is this day again registered.
The said DEBORAH WILEY, is a yellow woman five feet two & 1/2 inches, about fifty seven years old, (copies of Deborah’s reg. & all later Wiley reg. furnished by Court Clerk for move to Ohio).
Deborah and her children moved first to North Carolina and then to Athens County Ohio where they were living by the 1860 census. A ten year old Katherine Wiley was living with Deborah Wiley and her son Jackson and his wife. Another son, Israel Wiley lived next door. Katherine’s father, Woody and the rest of his family lived in the same county. The members of these households were all listed as mulattoes, born in Virginia, except for Deborah who was born in Kentucky and the younger children who were born in Ohio.
Some of the family was involved in the underground railroad – helping escaping slaves make it to freedom.
In 1870 an 18 year old Kate Wiley was working in Washington County Ohio, the next county over from Athens, in what appears to be a rooming house for students With Physician Benjamin F. Hart listed at the top. Kate is listed a domestic.
In 1880, Miss Kate Wiley, colored, appears in the Indianapolis, Indiana City Directory. That same year she married Thomas Allen, who was working as a laborer at that time. Not too long afterwards they bought the house at 2715 N. Capital where they lived for the next 40 years. Kate did not work outside of the home until after her husband died in 1907.
In 1907 and 1908, Kate had to go though hearings to determine if she was eligible to receive a pension based on Thomas’ service in the USC Calvary. She began to receive a pension in April 1908.
In the 1910 Census 54 widowed Kate was living in the house on N. Capital with her older sister, 68 year old Sarah Wiley. Kate was working as a domestic. She owned the house, which was mortgaged. She had given birth to no children. Sarah was single and did not work outside of the home.
In 1915 Katherine Allen appears in the Springfield Ohio City Directory at 34 W. Clark Street. In August of that year, the mailman returns her pension check with the information that she was dead. She died on June 9, 1915 and her body was returned to Indianapolis to be buried at Crown Hill Cemetery, where Thomas Allen was buried.
While investigating the life of Kate Wiley, I found that her family connected with mine in another way. Her older sister, Francis “Fannie” Wiley became the 2nd wife of Robert Augustus Busby. He was also born in Virginia and lived for some years in Athens, Ohio. They later moved to Berrian County Michigan. James Busby, son of Robert Busby and his first wife, Harriett (Francis’ stepson) married my great grandmother Anna’s (Thomas’ sister) daughter Sarah Reed. Their children were my father and his siblings first cousins.
Here is a link to the post from the 2014 A to Z Challenge where the envelope first appeared, although I did not mention Katy because I could not find anything about her at that time. L is for Lincoln Hospital
Rev. J. Raynor did not appear as a witness in the pension file. He is the man who married Thomas Allen and his 2nd wife Kate Wiley.
Jacob Roger Raynor was born in Tennessee around 1838. Or 1839 or 1842 or 1849 depending on which census you are looking at. He was in Indianapolis by 1870. In the 1870 census, Jacob, his wife Sarah and his mother-n-law made up the household. All were literate and he was attending school. Relationships between household members were not specified in the 1870 census, however Sarah and Jacob both gave the same last name. His occupation was listed as “cook”. His moterh-in-law, Jennie Harper, did laundry and his wife kept house.
In 1873 Jacob R. Raynor and Sarah Bennett were married in Indianapolis. I realize that this is three years after they were living as a married couple. Perhaps they had been married during slavery and decided to have their marriage recorded and legalized.
In the census for 1880, the year that he married Thomas and Katie Wiley, Rev. Raynor lived at 123 4th Street with his wife and mother-in-law. His occupation was given as Minister of Colored Baptist Church. His wife, Sarah, was an artist in a wax works. His mother-in-law kept house.
Rev. Raynor was a Baptist minister also working as a carpet layer to supplement his income. I found several small items in the Indianapolis Recorder, an Indianapolis black newspaper. The items usually mentioned funerals he preformed and Sundays when he preached. The article below gives a brief history of First Baptist Church and mentions Raynor as an early pastor. He continued to preach there through the years. It’s too bad the attached photograph was of a different pastor.
“The New Bethel Baptist church was organized in the year of 1875 in a house on Tinker street, known now as Sixteen No. 1209, the home of William Jackson. During the summer of that year they were successful in erecting a small house at the present location. Elder J. R. Raynor was pastor and superintended the work with much success. In the fall of 1883 Elder J. F Franklin was called but stayed but a short time. In the spring of 1884, the present pastor Elder N. A Seymour was called to lead them. He preached with telling effect and in the spring of 1885 the church called an ordination council and after a careful examination Elder Seymour was found eligible for ordination and on August 12 1885, he was selected for the work. With a few- faithful friends, a strong confidence and will power, he went into the work, took Christ for his council and the Holy Spirit to lead him. Rev. Seymour has been successful in paying the original debt and bought the adjoining lot, which gave them a space of 170 ft. deep and 65 ft. wide. A new church has been erected on this site, that has a seating capacity of 800, at the cost of $5,700 and is second to none in the city. The first services in the new church tomorrow. See program in church notes. MC”
In the 1900 census Raynor is living alone but there is no information about him. All the lines are blank. I am not sure what this means – had his wife and mother-in-law left or died? Was he not home when the census enumerator called and none of the neighbors knew more than his name?
By 1910 he was listed as widowed. He lived alone, rented his house and occupation was minister in a Baptist church. Items stopped appearing in the Indianapolis Recorder after 1915 and he does not appear in the 1920 census. Although I did not find a death record, I believe that he died around 1916, in his mid seventies.
“Aortic insufficiency is a heart valve disease in which the aortic valve does not close tightly. This allows blood to flow from the aorta (the largest blood vessel) into the left ventricle (a chamber of the heart).”
The same article says that rheumatic fever was the main cause of aortic insufficiency in the past. Also that diagnosis was made by hearing a heart murmur and the patient having other symptoms.
This is a copy of Thomas Allen’s death certificate from his pension file. Before I received the file, I found his death certificate on ancestry.com. Finding his mother’s name to be “Clara Green” made me realize that he was my great grandmother Anna’s brother and that is the reason I sent for the Pension File.
Thomas Ray Allen’s first wife Georgie Ann Martin/McDougal was about 1853 in Larue County Kentucky. Her mother was Fannie McDougal and her father was Ephriam Martin. In the records her surname is given as “Martin” although Thomas uses “McDougal”. She had a large number of siblings. One brother, Thomas McDougal, served in the United States Colored Troops, although in a different unit than Thomas Ray Allen.
In 1870 Georgie Ann was enumerated twice, once with her family in Larue County and then with her future husband Thomas in Marion County. Thomas Ray Allen and Georgie Ann were living with his sister Sarah Ray Primus and her family. Georgie’s occupation was given as “servant”.
Thomas Ray Allen and Georgie were married on March 9, 1871 in Larue county. They moved to Indianapolis about 1877 and were divorced there in 1878. I lost track of Georgie after that, finding her only once in the 1880 census. She was living in Indianapolis, divorced and doing washing. I found someone with the same name giving mandolin lessons and so wanted it to be her, but when I followed up that person in the census it was someone else.
I found this information in the Pension file and in census records.
I had never heard the name of Foster Ray before reading it in my 2X great uncle Thomas Ray Allen’s military papers. Foster Ray was born in Washington County Kentucky in 1796, the second son of Nicholas Ray Sr. and his wife Susan Sheckles. They were a large family with seven or eight children. In the 1820 census he was 24 years old and was the only person in his household. He had no slaves and was engaged in manufactures.
Foster married Marietta Phillips in 1829. In the 1830 census he was enumerated in Lebanon, KY. There were 9 people in his household. That included 4 enslaved. In 1837 he received a land grant for 50 acres in the recently organized Marion County. The new county included Lebanon and other parts formerly of Washington County. In 1840 Foster’s brother Nicholas died and his son Hugh Ray came to live with Foster, who seems to have had no children. In the 1840 census the household included three free white people – Foster, Marietta and Hugh, who was about five years old. There were also five enslaved which included one male under 10; one male and one female between 10 and 23 and two females between 24 and 35.
In 1850 when Thomas would have been about 2 years old, Foster Ray was enumerated in Hannibal Missouri. He was lodging at the Brady House with his wife and nephew. His occupation was listed as “Pork Packer” with real estate valued at $12,000. Hugh was attending school. There were 38 people staying at the Brady. This included nine families. This is the first census where slaves were enumerated separately. One fourteen year old girl was counted for Foster Ray. He had land in Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois. Thomas would have been about two and living back in Kentucky on Foster’s land there. I could find no list of his enslaved there.
In the 1860 census, Foster was enumerated in Lebanon, Kentucky again. He was 62, his wife Marietta was 47, Hugh was 24. They were all literate. Ninety year old Nancy Ray, black, was enumerated with the family. Had she been freed? Was it a mistake? I don’t know. She was illiterate.
Foster’s occupation was “farmer” with real estate worth $120,000 and a personal worth of $100,000. In 2015 dollars, this would come to over six million dollars. He owned 28 slaves between the ages of six months and sixty years. My uncle Thomas Ray Allen, now about 12 was among them. No names are given for the enslaved, so I can only guess. Hugh was a clerk with real estate worth $700 and personal worth of $24,000. He owned one 64 year old male.
Foster Ray died on January 15, 1863. He wrote a will and left everything, his lands and slaves and all to his wife Marietta Phillips Ray and his nephew Hugh B. Ray. Unfortunately for me, because he left his estate in order, there was no list of those enslaved on his plantation.
Thomas Ray Allen joined the United States Colored Calvary two years later. He considered that Foster Ray was the only slave owner he had.
The medical testimony that was given regarding the physical condition of Thomas Ray Allen over the years was covered in his pension file. I have chosen one testimony from the beginning of the process and one from near the end of his life to share. (Click to enlarge the handwritten reports.)
The first doctor’s testimony is dated December 13, 1894. At this time Thomas’ pension of $12 a month had just been reduced to $6 a month.
Indianapolis, Indian December 13, 1894
This is to certify that I am acquainted with Thomas Ray, who was a private Co D. 5th Reg. U.S. Colored Vol. Cavalry, and I have been his physician for the past two years. I know that he has total deafness of right ear. He also has chronic Dyspepsia, and Gastro-Intestinal indigestion. He is not able for manual labor, more than half the time. In my opinion he is entitled to more pension than he is receiving. Certainly it should not be reduced, in his present physical condition. This is in my own hand writing. (I have been a regular practicing physician and surgeon for 16 years. Graduate of the Medical College of Indiana.)
I have no interest whatever in the case.
Geo. H.F. House M.D.
State of Indiana
Subscribed and sworn before me the undersigned Notary Public in and for said County and state this 13th day of December 1894
Theodore F. Harrison Notary Public
Twelve years later, in July of 1907, Thomas was in even worse shape. His pension remained unchanged at $6 a month. Thomas died five months after this examination in November of 1907.Medical Evidence
State of Indiana
Personally appeared James M. Phillips whose Postoffice address is 427 W. 10 St. Indianapolis County of Marion and state of Indiana, who, being duly sworn, upon his oath declares as follows: that Thomas Ray or Allen came under his care and treatment on or about June 10th 1907, suffering as follows: catarrah of the stomach, & piles,& has catarrah of the bowels, kidney and urinary trouble & swelling of the lower extremieties . This man is generally broken down, and has not a perfect organ in his body. That the catarrah of the bowels has caused a bad case of chronic diarrhoea. This man is wholly & totally diabled for any and all work or labor & is confined to the house & part of the time confined to the bed, & my opinion he will not live to exceed two months. He will not be able to leave the house for an examination & will have to be examined at his house.
His case is an urgent one & deserves prompt & immediate attention, as he will not last long.
This affidavit is written at my dictation & I know the contents thereof.
That from the date of my discharge from the army (Co. D 2 Mass.) I practiced as a physician until about 16 years ago & since that time have given Indian (?) treatment exclusively.
Affiant has no interest in this matter. James M. Phillips
Subscribed and sworn to me this 24th day of July 1907 and I certify tht the party whose name appears signed the foregoing affidavit is the person he represents himself to be a good redible witness, so far as I know, and that I have no interest in this matter.
Finding my 2X great grandmother’s name – Clara (Hoskins) Green on Thomas Ray Allen’s death certificate made me realize that he was my great uncle. I had seen her name on my great grandmother Anna’s death certificate and on the family tree that my grandmother Pearl wrote out for me, but I had never heard any stories about her except that she was Catholic and a Cherokee Indian. Which, judging by the amount of Native American dna in her descendants dna, that was not the case.
On both Anna’s and Thomas’ death certificates, their father’s name is given as James Allen and Louis Allen. I have found no records, aside from the death certificates, to connect Clara with an Allen. I believe that is because it happened while she was enslaved. Thomas named his owner as Foster Ray. Both of Thomas’ sisters went by the last name of Ray. I believe that Clara was enslaved on the Ray plantation also, but have no records to prove it. There were ties between Clara’s family and Perry and Rachel Hoskins. Rachel Hoskins left money to Clara’s daughters, Anna and Sarah. I have no records to show what that relationship was. Here is what I have been able to find about her.
Clara was born in Kentucky about 1825. In 1870 she lived in Lebanon, Kentucky with her husband James Green, ten year old Benjamin Green and five year old granddaughter Josephine “Josie” Campbell. I do not know if Benjamin was their child, another grandchild or a nephew. He was attending school and was able to read. Clara did not work outside of the home. James was a carpenter. Both were illiterate. Her three children lived within walking distance of her home. The neighbors on both sides were also carpenters.
In the 1880 census James and Clara lived by themselves. James occupation was still listed as carpenter but he was also sick and disabled. Benjamin was no longer living there. I have not yet found him anywhere else. My great grandmother Anna Reed lived next door with the six children she had then, Josie 15, George 13, Sallie 10, Lulie seven, Hugh four and two year old Minnie. Nobody in either household could read or write. None of the children were in school. Several people who lived near her had tuberculous.
Clara died before her husband. I do not have a death date because Marion county did not keep death records at that time, however, on October 31, 1895, Frank White was appointed to administer the estate of James Green, deceased. Because there was no mention of Clara, I surmise that she was already dead.
As Clara was Catholic, I hoped that I might find her and her family in the Baptismal or Burial records for Marion County. I found her daughter Sarah and her children listed as being baptized at St. Augustine Catholic church. I did not find Thomas or Anna listed. A Clara was listed, but if Clara was born in 1825, I do not think she would have given birth ten years later.
“Ceremonies of baptism supplied, 6-21-1835, to St. Charles Catholic Church of Susanna Rebecca, servant of Widow Osking or Hoskins. Age 7 weeks. Sponsor, Teresa, servant of Th. Spalding. Mother: Clara, servant of Widow Osking or Hoskins.” from the CD “Marion County – Black Baptisms”