Category Archives: Tennessee

“Had the soldier been married before his marriage to you?”

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.

A page from the deposition

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 misunderstood me.

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)

Other posts about Amanda and Abram Cleag

Abraham and Amanda Cleage – this is the first one I published in 2015 before I ordered their pension files.

Sarah IDENA Cleag – Amanda and Abram’s daughter

RENTED land – a neighbor of Amanda and Abram talks about how they met

DEADRICK & DIVORCE – Amanda’s first husband gives his version of their marriage.

BOTH BURIED in Plot 40 – Both Abram and his granddaughter Avalon are buried in the same plot.

Frank and Juda Cleage – From Slavery to Freedom

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.

Samuel Cleage
Samuel Cleage
overseer_directions

“… 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.

Elija_hurst_will

“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.

Alexander Cleage 1866
bill of sale frank

“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.

alexander_will_exert
Jennimia Hurst Cleage 1866 age 52
Jemima Hurst Cleage

“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 …” 

 30th day of May 1860 Alexander Cleage

emancipation
Idealized view of emancipation from “Harper’s Weekly”

CINCINNATI, Saturday, Jan. 14, 1865

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.

marriage blog

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.

1870UnitedStatesFederalCensus frank blog

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.

Several years ago I found a mention of Juda Cleage in the testimony by Adeline Cleage Sherman during the pension hearings for Katie Cleage that occured in 1890. So I know she was dead by 1890 but that is all. No he did not tell us, the woman that was with her told that it was white. Aunt Juda Cleage was the woman, but she is dead.

lewiscleagedeathcertif_cropped

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.

I claim my Indian blood…

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

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

Document found on Ancestry dot com

No. 1013

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

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

David (his mark X) Gallimore

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

Signed

Assistant to special Commissioner Of the court of claim.

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

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

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

FAB

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

ZONA Bayless

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

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

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

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Department of the Interior
Bureau of Pensions

Washington D.C.
May 12 1894

Sir

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

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

Very respectfully,
Commissioner

Joel I. Payatt
Athens, Tenn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yorkanini Cleag

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

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

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

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

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

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

George Clegg
Hightown
Alcorn Co. Miss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“X” Their Mark

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out an “X” name or word when I realized that almost all the witnesses and claimants signed their names with an “X” because they couldn’t write. Below is testimony from Sarah Cleage Morrison, Amanda’s mother. She sign’s with her X mark.

Deposition B Case of Amanda Cleag – Sarah Morrison          

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

22 July 1909 Athens, McMinn, Tennesse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah (her X mark) Morrison

Attest
Annie B. Reynolds
Cora M. Cox

WILLIAM Roger Sherman

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Valvular heart disease

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

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

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STATEMENT OF ATTENDING PHYSICIANS

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

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

UNDERTAKER

This is my 7th year participating in the A to Z Challenge. In the 2015 challenge, I wrote about the Cleages formerly enslaved on the plantations of Samuel and his sons Alexander and David Cleage of Athens, McMinn County, Tennessee. Most of the people in these posts are not related to me by blood or DNA, however my ancestors were enslaved on the same plantations with them.

Late last year, I ordered the Civil War Pension files of the Cleage men who served in 1st Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery (USCHA), during that war. Through these files I learned that their lives were much richer and more complex than census, death and other records can show. I am using the information from pension files and records that I found through the pension files for this years challenge.

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

In Account With

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

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

Mrs L. C. Evans & son

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


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

TIMELINE: Susan Rice Ragan

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.

Today a timeline for my newly found GG grandmother with notation of where I found the information.

Susan Rice Ragan

Age 0: Birth  abt 1835 • Virginia

Age 19: Birth of Son Henry Rice (1854–) Tennessee. 1870 U. S. Census

Age 20: Birth of Daughter Anna Celia Rice: Feb 1855 • McMinn County. 1870 U. S. Census

Age 20: Marriage to Nelson Ragan:10 Dec 1855 • McMinn County. Widow’s Pension File

Age 22: Birth of Son Philip Ragan 26 Dec 1857 • McMinn County. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 25: Birth of Daughter Sarah Ragan:20 Jun 1860 •McMinn. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 25: Enslaved by William L.Rice. 1860 McMinn County Slave Census

Age 29: Husband Nelson Ragan mustered into the United States Colored Heavy Artillery in Knoxville, TN.

Age 29: Death of Husband Nelson Ragan (1838–1864)20 Mar 1864, Knoxville, TN Military Records & Pension File

Age 29:  21 Mar 1864 • McMinn County, TN Began to receive her $8 a month Civil War Widow’s Pension, back dated to her husband’s death. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 29: Birth of Daughter Mary Susan Ragan 20 Jun 1864 • Athens. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 34: 23 Jan 1869 • Susan applied for her Widow’s Pension. Widow’s Pension File.

Age 35: 1870 • Athens: Henry 15, Ann (Celia) 14, Phillip 10, Sarah 8, Mary 6. Celia can read, no one else can. Susan receiving pension. No outside work listed. 1870 U. S. Census.

Age 40: 25 Dec 1875 • Stops receiving  $2 per month for Phillip, has reached 16. Widow’s Pension File

Age 41: 19 Jun 1876 •  Stops receiving pension for Sarah as she has reached 16. Widow’s Pension File

Age 45: 19 Jun 1880 • Loses $2 pension for Mary as she reaches 16.

Age 45: 1880 • Athens, Widowed; Head; 2 children, Phillip(laborer) and Mary, who is literate and in school. 1880 U. S. Census

Age 55: Jun 1890  Census of Pensioners. 1890 Veteran’s Census

Age 65: 1900 Widowed; Birthed 5/3 alive;Sarah – cook, birthed 6/3 alive and her 3 – Frank (waiter), Blanch & Charles Hale (at school). 1900 U. S. Census

Age 75: 1910: Widowed; rents house, illiterate,Grandson Frederick Hodge, 18 laborer at odd jobs. 1910 U. S. Census

Age 76: 4 Nov 1911 Last pension payment of $12.00 Widow’s Pension File

Age 76: Death 6 Dec 1911 Died of heart disease. Doc. charged $4. Cared for by daughter Mary Hodge. Widow’s Pension File.

Burial Dec 1911 • Buried Hammond’s Cemetery, Athens. Find-a-Grave