Amanda’s sister Liddie helped her during her injury, hospitalization and handled the burial details. She wrote to the government to be reimbursed for the money she had spent. She did receive it.
Application for Reimbursement
State of Tennessee County of Shelby
On this 18 day of Oct 1921
Liddie Glass, age 67 years, a resident of Memphis county of
Shelby, state of Tennessee, who, being duly sworn according to law, makes the
following declaration in order to obtain reimbursement from the accrued pension
for expenses paid (or obligation incurred) in the last sickness and burial of
Amanda Cleag, who was a pensioner of the United States by certificate No.
686390 on account of the service of Abram Cleag private in Co. I 1 Reg U. S. Col
vol H. A.
That pension was last paid to May 4, 1921 Was in hospital on August, 4 not at home and couldn’t return it.
1. What was the full name of deceased pensioner? Amanda
2. In what capacity was deceased pension? Widow
3 If deceasent was pensioned as an invalid soldier or sailor
a. Was s/he ever married? yes b. How many times and to whom? Abram Cleag. Once. c. If married, did his wife survive him? Yes
4. Was there insurance? No
14. Did the deceased
pensioner leave any money, real estate or personal property? No.
18. Did pensioner leave an unendorsed pension check? No
19. What was your relation to the deceased pensioner? Sister
20. Are you married? Yes
21 What was the cause of pensioner’s death? Fracture of left
22. When did the pensioner’s last sickness begin? 7/22 – 1921
26. Where did the pensioner live during last sickness?
Collins Chapel Hospital
27. Where did the pensioner die? At the hospital
28. When did the pensioner die? August the 9, 1921
29. Where was the pensioner buried? Mount Zion Cemetery
30. Has there been paid, or will application be made for
payment to you or any other person, any part of the expenses of the pensioner’s
las sickness and burial by any State, County, or municipal corporation? No
31. State below expenses
W.S. Martin physician – not paid $112.50 Medicine none Nursing care none McCoy & Joyner Undertaker – not paid $74.00 Livery none Cemetery $12.00 Other expenses none
Total $198. 50
32. Is the above a complete list of all the expenses of the
last sickness and burial of the deceased pensioner? Yes
Sallie Bradd Fannie Scruggs Liddie (her X mark) Glass Statement of doctor Reimbursement Claimant Liddie Glass Pensioner Amanda Cleag Widow Rate $30. Last paid to June 4, 1921 at $30 Last illness commenced July 22, 1921 Date of death August 9, 1921 Accrued pension $66 Physicians bill $112.50 Undertakers bill $74.00 Total $186.00
Deposition A Case of Amanda Cleage by Jerry Cleage
I am about 75 years
old, I reckon. I live in Athens, Tennessee.
In slavery I belonged
to David Cleage and Amanda belonged to Alec, David’s brother. I knew Amanda. In
the time of the war she was married to Lou Deadrick and she got a divorce from
him after the war. I knew Lou well; he went from here to Chattanooga several
After her separation from Lou Amanda did not marry again here; she soon afterward went away with a white family named Tucker, and I have never seen her since.
With the Tucker family
also went a colored man named Abe Cleage, who had been a soldier – his name was
Abraham had no wife here; he had had no wife here – I knew him and his brothers well. All of his brothers are dead. Abe never came back home and I haven’t known whether he is alive or not of late.
Amanda and Abram were not married when they left here; I don’t know whether they married afterword or not. I think I hear they did. Amanda’s mother lived here and I use to hear about Amanda sometimes through her.
I have lived in this
county all my life. Amanda had only one husband up to the time that she left here.
I have no interest in
this claim for pension. I understood the foregoing as it was read and my
statements are correctly recorded.
From my drafts. A letter stating that no marriage record was found for Abram and Amanda Cleag.
Department of the Interior Bureau of Pensions
Washington, D.C. Atlanta, GA., July 2, 1909
With this report are returned the papers in claim No. 893, 806, of Amanda Cleag, as widow of Abram Cleag, Co. 1, 1st U.C. Colored Heavy Artillery, referred to this division to determine whether the declaration filed May 11, 1898 was legally excuted and whether the claimant is the legal widow of the soldier. The case was received in this district, with right to notice waived, for testimony “as to lawful widow”.
The surname of the soldier is written Cleage in McMinn County, Tennessee.
The claimant was divorced from one Lon Deaderick in December 1867. See exhibit A and on Deaderick apparently was her only husband up to the time that she permanently left McMinn County. I searched the entries in the marriage records of McMinn County for December 186 and for the years 1868 and 1869 and I failed to find the claimants name as Armstrong, Cleage or Deaderick. I failed to find the soldiers name in the said records for the period from the year 1865 to the year 1870. And it appears that this soldier had no wife before he left McMinn County with the claimant.
I searched the indexes of the marriage records on file in the office of the County Clerk of Hamilton County, Tennessee, covering the period from the year 1865 to the year 1870 and I failed to find evidence of the marriage of the claimant to the soldier. Lon Deaderick (deposition D) has testified that he knows that the claimant was not married to the soldier as they passed through Chattanooga on their way to Texas, as the train on which they traveled did not make a longer stop than 10 minutes in Chattanooga.
Sarah Morrison (deposition B) has testified that she is about 102 years old. She is strong physically and mentally and her memory apparently is very good.
The several persons whose testimony I have taken in this case, with the exception of Lon Deaderick, are mulattoes; they are very fairly intelligent are of good reputation. Deaderick, I think, may be rated fair.
Another from the drafts folder. More testimony for Amanda Cleag’s Widow’s Pension hearing. His wife testified here Rented Land.
“Pomona, South Pasadena and Compton are incorporated as cities. Long Beach is also incorporated for the first time, but is disincorporated years later in 1897 (but then reincorporated before the end of that year). Heavy floods occur. The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is established at a meeting of the city’s principal boosters. Los Angeles Times publisher, Harrison Gray Otis, makes the motion. A small African American community forms in Los Angeles, initially centered around First and Los Angeles Streets. Occidental College is founded in Eagle Rock.” Click on map to go to page.
Deposition C in Amanda Cleag’s Widow’s Pension Claim
Mason Davis I am 57 My address is: 1239 Birch Street, Los Angeles California Occupation: Express man
I have been living in Los Angeles for about 21 years and I
lived in and around Austin, Texas, for 20 years before coming here to reside.
I first became acquainted with Abram Cleag and his wife
Amanda Cleag when they first came to Dr. Phillip’s plantation, near Austin,
Texas, all of forty years ago, and I knew them in and around Austin, Texas for
all of 20 years, and I knew them as long here in California. They came here a
little ahead of me and my wife, from Austin, Texas.
When they first came to Dr. Phillips plantation, they were a
young looking married couple, and said they had come from San Marcos, Texas, where
they had gone from Athens, Tenn. with the Tucker family, and that the Tucker
family had gone into the state of Virginia to live.
No, I do not know how long Abram Cleag and Amanda Cleag had
been married before they came to Dr. Phillip’s plantation, and I don’t
recollect that they ever told me where they had gotten married, but Abram Cleag
told me that he had been in the army during the civil war, and after he came
here he got a pension for his army service.
I know personally, however that Abram Cleag and Amanda Cleag
always lived together as man and wife all the time I was associated with them
in Texas for 20 years, and that they lived as man and wife all the time here in
California up to the time of Abram Cleag’s death in Long Beach, Calif., about a
year ago. Yes, sir, I attended his funeral in Long Beach, and saw him dead. My
wife and I used to visit the Cleags in Long Beach, and have styed at his home
for a week at the time.
I personally know that Amanda Cleag, this claimant for
pension has not remarried since the death of her husband, Abram Cleag, and that
she has had to work to support herself.
Yes, I know of my own knowledge that Abram Cleag and Amanda
Cleag always lived together as man and wife, never being separated or divorced,
during all the 40 or more years I knew them up to the time of Abram Cleag’s
death, and that they were known and recognized as man and wife by all who know
them both in Texas and California. I also know that the Cleags had two children
born to them, but none of them are alive. She had a granddaughter, Avalon
Price, with whom she lived in Long Beach, after the death of her husband Abram,
but that granddaughter died recently and Amanda is now alone in the world. She has no relations alive that I know of,
and I don’t know that Abram Cleag has any living relatives.
Question: Had Abram Cleag been married before his marriage
to Amanda Cleage, this claimant for pension, as you may have heard?
Answer: I never heard that he had been married before his
marriage to Amanda, and he never told me that he had been.
Question: Had Amanda, the claimant been married before her
marriage to Abram Cleag, the soldier?
Answer: Not that I know of. I never heard it said by either
of them that Amanda had been married before her marriage to Abram Cleag. If
either one of them had ever been previously married, I never heard of it.
It is my understanding that they had grown up in Tennessee,
but I never met anyone who knew them there.
No, I never heard that Amanda Cleag had been married to a
Lou Dedrick, from whom she was divorced before her marriage to Abram Cleag. I
can’t hardly believe that, as she was a young woman when I got to know her in
I know for sure, however, that they always lived together as
man and wife all the years I knew them, and that they were never separated or
Yes, that is my signature to that joint affidavit shown me.
No, I can’t fix the date any better that I have done to you, when I first got to know the Cleags.
Am not interested nor related. This has been read to me and
I have understood questions, and my answers are correct.
A post about finding my great great grandmother Susan Rice Ragan that I wrote several years ago and never published.
Riding home today after getting my ears dewaxed, my mind wandered to… pension files.
Recently I joined fold3 to find information about one of the people I wrote up in the Katie Cleage’s series – Lucy McCaury. I couldn’t find anything about her, so I decided to see if there were any interesting widow’s files from the same Troop with the Cleages. I found one yesterday for Susan Regan, from Athens TN. As I went through her file, I noticed a name I recognized – W.R. Sherman and thought, well, I know him. He was my great grandmother Celia’s second husband. He was writing concerning final expenses for Susan Regan and he listed himself as son-in-law. It took me overnight to realize that would make her Grandma Celia’s mother.
Susan Ragan and the three children of Nelson Ragan/Reagan were named in the file. They were born in 1857, 1860 and 1864. My great grandmother was born in 1855. Henry was born in 1854. They weren’t named in the pension file because they were not Nelson’s children and therefore didn’t qualify for any pension money. In the 1870 census, Susan Ragan appears with those three plus Ann and Henry. All were using the Ragan surname. I had looked at that file several times before when trying to find Celia in the 1870 census and discarded it because the names were “wrong”. This time I remembered that Celia’s first name was Anna on her death certificate.
Monday I was following my newly found 2X great grandmother Susan Ragan through the census records on ancestry.com. She was only appearing in every other census. I finally decided to go ahead and add her to my main family tree as my great grandmother’s mother. (I had set up a separate tree for them until I was sure.) Once I added her as my great grandmother’s mother, she appeared in the missing censuses as Susan Rice . “Rice” being the name of their former slave holder and my great grandmother’s father so “Rice” became one of Susan Rice Ragan’s surnames and she began to show up when she used that surname. The children identified as ‘Ragan” before, now appeared as “Rice” in those censuses. It’s all so amazing to me. I even found her grave on Find-a-grave and had it transferred to me.
I published part I of Amanda Cleag’s Deposition during 2019 at this link – Amanda Cleage. While going through blog posts I never published, I found this one and decided to publish it today.
Part II of Amanda Cleag’s Deposition
Question: What persons or person are in or about Athens,
Tenn. now who knew you and the soldier there before your marriage?
Answer – I don’t know of anyone in there. I have had letters written there to different persons whom I knew, but my letters have all been returned to me. Well, I knew Amos Jackson and his wife, colored; Mr. and Mrs. Ross, colored, and Mr. and Mrs. Blizzard, colored, and Mr. and Mrs. Turner, colored.
Question-Where had you lived after the war and before your
marriage to the soldier?
Answer: I worked for and lived with Mr. and Mrs. John
Bridges in Athens, Tenn., after we had been freed by General Sherman, and I
lived with them until I went to live with Mr. Ben E. Tucker and his family,
just above Athens, and left with them to go to San Marcos, Texas, for awhile.
We were in San Marcos, Texas for about a year with the Tuckers, then husband
and I went to Austin, Texas, on our own account, engaging in farming and where
we first became acquainted with Mr. Davis and his wife, on Dr. Phillips farm.
We all were on the same farm, renting land from Dr. Phillips.
Question: Where did your husband live after he came out of
the army and before his marriage to you?
Answer: He lived right there in Athens, Tenn. Working for
Dr. Atlee, and with whom he remained until he went with the Ben E. Tucker
family and myself to Texas, as aforesaid.
Question: Had your
husband, the soldier been married, before his marriage to you?
Answer: No sir, he never had been. I know it because I lived
right there with him. No sir, he did not have a slave wife. He never lived with
any woman in martial relations before his marriage to me, that I know of or
ever heard of. He may have run around with women, for all I know, but I never
knew or heard of his living with any women as man and wife live together. I lived continuously with the soldier from
the time of my marriage to him as aforesaid, never being separated or divorced
from him, up to the time of his death, which occurred here in Long Beach,
California, April 14, 1908, and he was buried here in the cemetery.
Before my mother married my father she was also owned by
Russell Hurst who owned the soldier, and mother told me that she had the care
of the soldier as a little boy, for some reason or the other, and my mother
always told me that the soldier never had been married before his marriage to
me. My father, mother and the soldier were afterwards sold to the Cleags. Yes,
father had been owned by the Armstrongs previously and used to go by that name
and also the name of Cleag. By which one he was ever called.
My father and mother are both dead. I had four brothers and
three sisters. Three of my brothers are dead, but I do not know where the other
one is, if alive. Two of my sisters are
also dead, but the third one, Mrs. Sallie Ross, wife of George Ross, was living
in Washington, D.C., when I last heard from her 5 or 6 years ago. If I am not
mistaken she was living at Tacoma, near Washington D.C.
Question: How many times had you been married before your
marriage to the soldier?
Answer: I was only
married once before my marriage to the soldier. I was first married to Lou
Dedrick in Athens, Tenn., while I was still a slave and owned by Thomas Cleag.
I was married about six months before the close of the war. My second husband, the soldier, had not come
out of the army then: I can’t fix the date better than that. I was married to
Lou Dedrick by a colored preacher named “Uncle Sam Armstrong”. He was an old man. I was married in “Cindy
Dedrick’s” house, sister of first husband. I only lived with my first husband Lou
Dedrick, for six months, when I got a divorce on account of cruelty and threats
on my life. “went before the Grand Jury” and got my divorce. Lawyer Blizzard my
divorce proceedings for me, and I was given a general decree of divorce by the
Court and it must be of record. No, I haven’t my divorce paper now. Yes sir, I was given one. It got misplaced and
lost with other papers in Tennessee. Yes, I went into court to get my divorce.
I know I did get a divorce from Lou Dedrick, and I was given a divorce paper.
Lawyer Blizzard saw that I got my rights and I got the paper.
Lou Dedrick went away after I got a divorce from him, and I
have never seen him since or heard of him. I don’t know whether or not his
sister, his sister is alive and if her so, her place of residence. He had no
other relatives that I know of. He never was a soldier, but had lived in
Athens, Tenn., for a long while. I was just a young girl when I married him,
about 14 or 15 years old. I was too young to marry him. I had one child by him,
which subsequently died. I had 2 children by the soldier, which also died. My
oldest child, a daughter, died during the San Francisco, Cal., earthquake.
I swear between God and man I was only married once before
my marriage to the soldier, as aforesaid, and that I never lived with any man
as his wife, without being married to him. I only had those two marriages. That
is the God’s truth. Yes, I was divorced from Lou Dedrick, and Lawyer Blizzard
got the divorce for me in Athens, Tenn.
The soldier had four brothers, Isaac, Charley, George, Jeff
and Jerome Cleag and two sisters Kitty and Sarah Cleag. The four boys lived in
Chattanooga, Tenn., and they all died there. Kitty also died in Chattanooga and
Sarah died in Atlanta, Ga. The soldier has no relatives alive that I know of. I
know that they all died before my husband, except Sarah, who died since his
death. Her name was Mrs. Sarah McMillan, and she died in Atlanta, GA.
After my marriage to the soldier as herein before set forth,
we went to San Marcos, Texas, with the Tucker family and remained there a year
with them. When they went into Virginia some place to live, as Mr. Tucker was a
sick man and died in Texas, and my husband and I went to Dr. Phillips farm, a
mile from Austin, Texas, and we lived there and in and about Austin, Texas,
until we came here about 22 years ago, and have lived in Los Angeles and Long
Beach all the time since then. Mr. and Mrs. Davis, whom we knew in Austin
Texas, came out here shortly after we did.
While in Austin, Texas, I can refer to Mr. and Mrs. L. Leverman,
Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Jenkins, Mr. and Mrs. Bantam, all colored people. Also the
following white people: Mrs. Mary Deets,
George Marcum, a storekeeper, Mr. and Mrs. Bertie Barns, grocery business, the
finest in the city, and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Freedman.
Question: you have stated in an affidavit that you were
married to the soldier in the year 1866 in Athens, Tenn. How about that?
Answer: That is a mistake. I was married to the soldier in
Chattanooga, Tenn., while on our way to Texas as I have told you, and it was
about two years after the war was over. The person who drew up that affidavit
Question; Can you write your name?
Answer: No I cannot. No, I never learned to write my name.
Question; who wrote your name “Amanda Cleag” to that pension
application I now exhibit to you?
Answer: My name on that pension application now exhibited to
me, was written by my deceased granddaughter, Avalon Pierce, at my
authorization. Yes sir, I told my granddaughter Avalon Pierce to write my name
to that pension application, because I could not write my name, and afterwards
I swore to the correctness of the contents of said application, and the notary
public, who drew up my pension application, and before and how it was executed,
said it was all right. He said my granddaughter could sign my name for me,
because I was unable to write it myself.
Mr. Spooner was the notary public I appeared before to execute only
application for pension. He didn’t tell that I had to sign by mark, because I
couldn’t write, but another notary public, before whom I appeared to execute an
affidavit in my said pension claims, said I would have to sign by mark, and I
did so. My granddaughter, Avalon Pierce,
also signed my name as aforesaid, has been dead for three months, having died
in this city on account of tuberculosis.
Question: By whom can you prove that the soldier was not married before his marriage to you, and that you lived continuously with him from the time of your marriage to him to the day of his death?
Answer: I don’t know as I can prove that he was never married before his marriage to me outside of my own statement, but I can prove by Mr. and Mrs. Davis that one lived together as man and wife in Texas from the first time they knew us there, and also they have known me all the time I have lived in California, or nearly all the time. No, sir, I have not remarried since the soldier’s death.
Question: By whom do you expect to prove that you were only married once before you marriage to the soldier, and that you were divorced from your first husband, Lou Dedrick?
Answer: I can’t get “no” proof of that, as I don’t know where any of those people are who knew me before my marriage to the soldier. Maybe some of those people can be located in Athens, whose names I have given you. I have given you all the information I possess in regard to that.
Question: How is it you stated in your pension application that you never had been married before your marriage to the soldier?
Answer: I didn’t think it necessary to say anything about that because I had gotten a divorce from my first husband. I know I did. No, I never was married in my life more than twice, first to Lou Dedrick, and the second and last time to the soldier. Mr. J.G. Parrish of Long Beach, Calif. is my pension attorney, but I have not paid him or anybody the any money for services rendered
This statement of mine herein made to you is the exact truth and I have not concealed any important facts. There is nothing more I can tell you.
You have explained to me all my rights and privileges, and I waive my right to be present or represented in the further examination of my claim.
Witness: J.G. Parrish A.C. McPeak Amanda (x her mark) Cleage 25th May 1909 Alford L. Leonard (special examiner)
Earlier this year my daughter shared this photograph of Susan Richardson Abbott and her obituary from a newspaper in 1909. I decided to see what I could learn about her in addition to the stereotypical “good old mammy” obituary. This is what I found.
SUDDEN DEATH OF OLD SERVANT—For Many Years a Faithful Servant in Family of Judge Crovatt. There will be genuine sorrow expressed by a very large number of white people when they learn of the death of “Mammy Sue,” who has been faithful servant in the family of Judge A.J. Crovatt for the past thirty years. Everybody knew “Mammy Sue”; she had been so identified with the family of “her people” as to be one of them. Born in Charleston, a slave, Susan Abbot [sic], as she was known, was brought to St. Simons Island and was the servant of the Hazzard family there. At the close of the war, Susan became a member of the family of Col. C.L. Schlatter, the father of Mrs. A.J. Crovatt. After the marriage of Miss Mary Lee Schlatter to Mr. A.J. Crovatt, “Mammy Sue” went with her young mistress and was the nurse of three children of Judge and Mrs. Crovatt. As the widow of a soldier in the Federal Army during the war, Mammy Sue was awarded a pension by the government. Though her husband fought on the Federal side, Mammy Sue staid [sic] with her “own people.” Famous as a cook, devoted to the interests of those with whom she had been so many years, the death of Mammy Sue removes another of the rare ante-bellum negroes. Her illness was of only a few hours duration; the young daughter of the house, Mary Lee Crovatt, had gone to see the old woman at ten o’clock to give her a cup of tea; Mammy did not complain of being ill, and had been about her usual duties all day yesterday. Though eighty years of age, Mammy Sue was remarkably active, and was in full control of all her faculties. At one o’clock another of the servants heard the old woman calling, and Miss Crovatt and her brother went to the room in the servant’s house. When the door was opened, Mammy Sue was unconscious and died with(in) a few minutes. Four children survive, Thomas and Joseph Abbot and Eliza Cuyler, all of whom live on St. Simons. Another son, Randolph Abbot, being in Charleston (note: no Randolph found). The body will be carried to St. Simons where it will be interred tomorrow.
FUNERAL OF MAMMY SUE HELD ON ST. SIMONS The body of Susan Abbott, or “Mammy Sue” the aged servant of Judge A.J. Crovatt, was carried to St. Simons this morning for interment. Services were held last night in the First African Baptist Church, of which church, Mammy Sue had long been a member. The Brunswick Journal; Tuesday 19 January 1909; pg. 1
Almost two hundred years ago Susan Richardson Abbot was born into slavery on the plantation of Thomas Boone in Charleston, SC. After Boone died 28 October, 1831, his wife began selling off land and people.
On 13 December, 1831, Mary Boone sold eleven people, including Susan, her mother Chloe and her brother Richard, from her husband’s estate in Charleston S. C. to William W. & Mary Hazzard.
State of South Carolina
KNOW ALL MENby these Presents, that Mary S Boone executrix of Thomas Boone for and in consideration of the sum of three thousand three hundred and eighty dollars to me in hand paid, at and before the sealing and delivery of these Presents by John Halsett & Corro B Lining trustees of Wm W Hazard & Mary Blake Hazard his wife (the receipt whereof do hereby acknowledge) have bargained and sold and by these Presents, do bargain, sell and deliver to the said Mr. Hazlett and Corro B Lining trustees aforesaid the following negro slaves – viz Sue – Chloe, Richard, Sue, Margaret, Maria, Hannah, Limas, Celia, Cyrus, Abe, Mily & Venus
TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, THE SAID above named negro slaves with the future issue and increase of the said females-unto the said John Haslett & Corro B Lining trustees aforesaid them…
In Witness thereof, have herunto set my Hand and Seal Dated at Charleston – on the twenty sixth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty three and in the fifty seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America.
Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of J. H. Peters, South Carolina
Mary J Boone executrix of Thomas Boone by her atty H A Devaussure
Recorded 26 Feb 1833.
William Wigg Hazzard was one of fourteen large slave holders on St. Simons Island. The much prized Sea Island Cotton, was grown on their plantations. Long staple-cotton had a different culture than the cotton grown inland. It required more hand work. In 1810 Hazzard enslaved 53 people. By 1860, he enslaved 93. They were housed in 16 slave dwellings, making a little over 5 people per dwelling.
The housing was built using tabby, composed of the lime from burned oyster shells mixed with sand, water, ash, and other shells. The buildings, about 18 ft x 18 ft, consisted of one room. A fireplace at one end, was used for cooking and heat in cool weather.
Furnishings would have been minimal. Blankets were given out once every few years. Food and clothing rations were sparingly distributed. They may have been supplemented by gardening, hunting and fishing in the time not taken up by work.
Susan Richardson Abbott’s husband, Randolph Abbott, was enslaved on the plantation of Captain Charles Stephens, located next to the Hazzard’s plantations. Stevens made his money through shipping.
Randolph and Susan’s oldest child, was born in 1855, She was named Betsy. Over the next eight years five more children were born. Daughter Eliza was born in 1857. Son Bristol was born in 1858. Son Lewis was born in 1859. Son Thomas in 1861.
Susan Abbott and her husband were probably among the founders of the First African Baptist Church which was organized by enslaved people in their quarters below is the description From the church website.
The First African Baptist Church was organized at Pike’s Bluff Plantation in the year 1859. Members of this African American congregation traveled from all around the island to attend worship services every Sunday. The early pioneers worshiped in a little tabby church located near their quarters at West Point Plantation…
In December 1862, Susan Abbot’s husband, Randolph Abbott, joined the United States Colored Troops on St. Simon’s Island. At that time she was pregnant with the sixth child. Joseph, who was born in January of 1863, the same month his father was mustered into the USCT. He served for three years. On January 31, 1866 he was mustered out in Charleston, SC.
Civil War and Beyond
from the New Georgia Encyclopedia.
The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 put a sudden end to St. Simons’s lucrative plantation era. In January of that year, Confederate troops were stationed at the south end of the island to guard the entrance to Brunswick Harbor. Slaves from Retreat Plantation, owned by Thomas Butler King, built earthworks and batteries. Plantation residents were scattered—the men joined the Confederate army and their families moved to the mainland. Cannon fire was heard on the island in December 1861, and Confederate troops retreated in February 1862, after dynamiting the lighthouse to keep its beacon from aiding Union troops. Soon thereafter, Union troops occupied the island, which was used as a camp for the formerly enslaved. By August 1862 more than 500 former slaves lived on St. Simons, including Susie King Taylor, who organized a school for freed slave children. But in November the ex-slaves were taken to Hilton Head, South Carolina, and Fernandina, Florida, leaving the island abandoned. After the Civil War the island never returned to its status as an agricultural community. The plantations lay dormant because there were no slaves to work the fields. After Union general William T. Sherman’s January 1865 Special Field Order No. 15 —a demand that former plantations be divided and distributed to former slaves—was overturned by U.S. president Andrew Johnson less than a year later, freedmen and women were forced to work as sharecroppers on the small farms that dotted the land previously occupied by the sprawling plantations.
My Great Great Grandfather, Frank Cleage, was born around 1816 into slavery in North Carolina. By 1834, Frank was enslaved on the plantation of Samuel Cleage in McMinn County, TN. Samuel Cleage and his traveling group of family and slaves passed through North Carolina moving from Virginia to Tennessee in the 1820s. Perhaps he picked up Frank as payment for one of the fine brick houses he sold along the way. After Samuel’s death, Frank went to his son, Alexander Cleage, as part of the estate. The photographs of the slave owners came from my cousin. I do not know their original source. I do not have a picture of Frank Cleage and have no stories about him. I decided to use a photograph of my Grandfather Albert B. Cleage Sr and his siblings – the first generation of black Cleages to be born free, next to some of the bricks from a Cleage building, built during savery, in McMinn County as the header for this story.
The earliest mention I have of Frank is in a work agreement between Samuel Cleage and his overseer in – “Article of Agreement – 1834“. It includes the paragraph below which mentions Frank. Click on any of the images below to enlarge. Click on links to see full document.
“… to keep the hands his Cleage’s negroes (sic) employed and make them work as would be right to correct them when they deserve but not to be cruel or abuse them but make them do their duty and not suffer them to run about from the farm at nights. The hands or negroes are Bill, Henry, Joe, Frank, Lea, Fannie, two little boys and Peter. Bill is not to be a hand until his master Cleage directs as he is stiller and is to remain in the still house which Cleage carrys (sic) on stilling. …”
My Great Great Grandmother Juda is first mentioned in the Will of Jemima Hurst Cleage’s father, Elijah Hurst. He gave her 4 slaves, including Juda. Alexander Cleage and Jemima Hurst married November 22, 1832. Juda and Jemima would both have been about 19 years old. Although I have found no record proof at this time, I believe that Juda and the other slaves were part of Jemima’s dowery.
“Dec. 2, 1844
… 7th I will and bequeath to my daughter Jemima Cleage and her heirs forever the four negroes (sic) she has had possession of Big Anny, Judi, Jane, and Matilda together with all the other property I have given her …”
Frank is mentioned again in the 1852 Bill of Sale after the death of Samuel Cleage and the division of his slaves and property between his children and wife. David Cleage, Walter Nutter and Elizabeth Cleage Nutter sold Frank to their brother, Alexander Cleage.
“Know all men by these presents that one David Cleage and Walter Nutter and his wife Elizaeth H. Nutter, have this day bargained and sold to Alexander Cleage and his heirs and assigns forever, Joe forty four years of age, Tom Eighteen, Lynd eleven, Frank thirty nine, Phillip forty, Lewis twenty six, Sam two, Martha twenty one, Lea thirty four, Julian forty three, Patey five.
For five thousand two hundred and fifty dollars being his distribution share out of the proceeds of the slaves of Samuel Cleage deceased, We warrant said negroes (sic) to be slaves for life and that we as the heirs, at law of Samuel Cleage have a right to convey them.
Given under our hands and seals this 20th day of March 1852.”
In 1860, Alexander Cleage wrote his Will. He leaves to his wife, Jemima Hurst Cleage, 13 slaves. Frank and his wife Juda and 5 of their children are in that group. Because he didn’t die until 1875, all of them were free before the will was executed.
“Second; I give and devise to my beloved wife Jemima Cleage for and during her natural life the following described negro slaves – to wit: Amy and her child a boy called Jeff, Juda and her five children to wit: Charles, Angelen, Lewis, Laura and Frank, Jane and her child Adaline and a negro man called Tom, they all being negroes that came to my said wife from her father and from her father’s estae and the increase of each negroes as she received from her father and from his estate. Also I give and devise to my wife Jemima Cleage for and during her natural life my home farm upon which I now live containing about eleven hundred and twenty five acres in addition to the negros above given to my wife for life. I also give and bequeath to her for her natural life a negro man called Frank the husband of Juda and another negro man called Tom known as Tom Lane, I also give to my said wife all my household and kitchen furniture, farming tools and farming implements, all of my livestock and provisions which may be on hand …”
The Commercial has a special dispatch from Nashville, which says:
“The Tennessee State Convention have unanimously passed a resolution declaring slavery forever abolished, and prohibiting it throughout the State.
The convention also pasted a resolution prohibiting the Legislature from recognizing property in man, and forbidding it from requiring compensation to be made to the owners of slaves.”
In 1866, soon after the end of the Civil War, Frank and Judy Cleage were legally married in Athens, TN.
In the 1870 Census Frank was living with his wife, Juda and six children, including my great grandfather, in Athens, Tennessee. I had been looking for my grandfather’s father, Lewis Cleage and found this census record on Ancestry.com. Although this Lewis was the right age, and there were no other Lewis Cleages anywhere in the right age range, I had no name for his father and relationships are not specified in the 1870 census. He could have been living with his uncle and aunt, I didn’t know.
Frank, age 54, worked as a laborer, was born in N. Carolina and nobody in the household could read or write. Juda, age 56, was keeping house. Their personal estate was worth $300. Juda and all the children were born in Tennessee. The children were Adaline 14, Lewis 16, Laura 11, Phillip 9 and Andy 7. There was no Charles or Frank mentioned, although there was a Charles Cleage living elsewhere in Athens, TN, I don’t know for sure if he was the Charles mentioned as one of Juda’s children in Alexander’s Will. Aside from Lewis Cleage, I cannot find family members again after this census. Did they change their names? Die in one of the several epidemics of cholera and yellow fever that swept the county during the 1870s? Believe me, I’ve tried every permutation of “Cleage” and searched page by page the McMinn County 1880 Census and the one for Louden county, where I find Lewis and Celia and their children living in 1880.
After searching a variety of spellings of Cleage, I was able to track Lewis/Louis Cleage from job to job and location to location up through the 1910 Census. I could find no death certificate for him. I finally found him living at the same address as his daughter, Josie Cleage and her family in Indianapolis, IN in 1918, while researching at the Indianapolis Library where I could check each Directory, year by year, on microfiche. Frank Cleage’s name appears on my great grandfather, Louis Cleage’s death certificate. Jacob Cleage, my grandfather’s older brother was the informant. He did not remember Louis’ mother Juda’s name or where his grandparents were born. This, along with the Will of Alexander Cleage of 1860, documented the names of my Great Great Grandparents, Frank and Juda Cleage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Department of the Interior Bureau of Pensions
Washington D.C. May 12 1894
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.