Tag Archives: #Fannie Turner Graham

The Proposal Accepted

Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham. August 1919 Detroit, Michigan.

24 November 1918
Montgomery, Alabama

Dear Shell,

 This has been some cold day, but we went to church this A.M. and heard a splendid sermon on “Thanksgiving.”  Rev. Scott never spoke better.  He’s really great.  The people never will appreciate him until he’s gone.  Last Sunday was Harvest and it was fairly good.  Might have been better but for the flu.  They realized $12.50 from it.  Our club held it’s first meeting last Friday evening at Madaline’s.  She put on a strut, too.  We certainly had a good time.  We are all feeling okay.  Mama is so much better, though she complains yet.

 Now, Shell, about your question.  Willie Lee and several others have been telling me that we were to get married for a month or more.  I’ve been wondering where it all came from.  I know you wrote me some time ago that you had “something to tell me,” but I never dreamed it was on this subject.  It’s all okay though and if you will overlook my deficiencies, I’ll say yes. You know you like good cooking and I’d have to learn to do that, even after working in a grocery store all my life. Ha, ha!  Now that you know about my inability as a cook does it shock you?  Just let me know what you think about it.

 Now, Shell, please don’t write any of this to any one, for it’s our own business and we can keep them guessing awhile longer.  What do you say?  Do this for me as a special request.

 Well, dear, I’m so sleepy that I can’t write longer so you must let me off tonight with just one kiss.  Ha, ha!

              As ever,
              your Fan

To see the proposal letter click  The Proposal – Migration Story.

___________________________

Being in the middle of the corona pandemic 2020, I decided to look back at my family history and see if anything was mentioned about the spanish influenza pandemic of 1918. I remembered that my grandmother wrote in a letter to my grandfather that church attendance was down because of the flu.

Because my grandmother was living in Montgomery, Alabama at the time, I took a look to see what the Montgomery newspaper’s were saying about the flu in November, 1918.

The article below came out the same day as the Sunday service mentioned in the letter.

Click to enlarge.

Click for more about Dr. Bell’s Pine-Tar-Honey mentioned in the advertisement above.


Thanksgiving 1949

Time passed and ten years after yesterday’s 1939 Thanksgiving dinner, we find that Jennie Turner is in a wheelchair, having broken her hip in a fall. Her sister, Abbie Allen Brown is in town, the Graham’s are there with their daughter Mary Virginia, her husband and two children.

The Detroit Tribune, Dec 3, 1949

“Three generations were present at the festive board of Mrs. Jennie Turner on Harding ave. A delicious Thanksgiving dinner was served, which Mrs. Turner who has been an invalid for several years, enjoyed in her wheel chair, while surrounded by her daughters, Misses Daisy and Alice Turner, and her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Graham; granddaughter and son, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Elkins, and their two children, and Mrs. Turner’s sister, Mrs. A. Brown.”

Actually Four generations were present – my great grandmother Jennie Turner and her sister Abbie, her daughters (which included my grandmother), my aunt Mary V and her daughters DD and Barbara. My mother Doris and her family (including me) were in still living in Springfield, Mass, and missed this dinner.

Doris Graham Cleage with daughters Pearl and Kristin (me) in Springfield, MA

Baby’s First Photograph – Feb. 9, 1929

“Feb 4, 1929 – Dad snapped Baby and me through dining room sun window. Not very good – sorry as now he has whooping cough? Weather’s been too bad to take him out to have pictures made…”

Baby Howard and Mother Fannie in the window 1929.
1929 Doris and Mary V. and 1951 Barbara and Pearl
Dee Dee, Barbara, Poppy, Pearl and Kris – 1953 & Doris and Mary V. 1929

More about Howard: Howard Alexander Graham’s Death Certificate

For more Sepia Saturday, Click photo!

Announcement

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.

_____________

“Pom, Shell & Fan” My maternal grandparents, Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham. August 1919 Detroit, Michigan two months after their marriage.

“Mrs. Jenine Turner Wishes to announce the engagement of her daughter, Fannie Mae, to Mr. Mershell C. Graham, of Detroit, Mich. The Marriage to take place in the spring”

The Wedding – June 1918
Graham-Turner Wedding

On Sunday, June 15th at four o’clock Miss Fannie Turner and Mr. Mershell Graham were happily united in marriage at the home of the bride on E. Grove St. The home was prettily decorated for the occasion.

Just before the entrance of the bridal party, Mr. Lowndes Adams sang a beautiful solo, immediately after which the groom entered the parlor to the strains of Mendelson’s wedding March, with Mr. Clifton Graham, his brother, as best man. The bride entered with her uncle, Mr. V.H. Tulane, who gave her away, gowned in white satin with real lace and pearl bead trimmings the hat, a beautiful creation of white Georgette, the bride made a very pleasing appearance.  She carried a large bouquet of roses and fern.

The home was crowded to its fullest capacity, fully two hundred guests being present which bespoke the esteem and popularity in which the young couple are held.

The presents were many and varied, consisting of silver, cut glass, linen, wearing apparel, money, and many useful household articles.

Rev. E.E. Scott performed the ceremony and Miss Naomi Tulane presided at the piano.

The guests were served delicious refreshments.

The happy couple left Sunday evening for Detroit, Mich., their future home.

Everybody mentioned in these articles will appear in this years challenge, plus a few others.

________________

I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com. I also use Google Maps. The photograph is from my family photos.

Fannie Mae Turner Graham Obituary – 1888 – 1974

Grandmother Clock
From top, clockwise: My grandmother Fannie in the 1950s. My grandmother Fannie was 4 holding her hat. Her mother Jennie holding Daisy. Her father, Howard Turner had been killed. 1894. My grandfather Mershell pointing at Fannie about 1917. My grandmother holding my mother Doris up, 1923. My grandmother in the back, her mother in the front holding baby Howard, on the left my mother Doris and on the right my aunt MV, 1930. My grandmother with her daughters MV and Doris, about 1934. My grandparents Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham, about 1945.

 

On Being 12 & 70

My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, was born 129 years ago  on March 12, 1888, in Lowndes County, Alabama. She died on August 13, 1974 in Detroit, Michigan.  You can read more about my grandmother in this post  Fannie Mae Turner Part 1.

1958 augkris&fan
I was 12 and my grandmother was 70.  1958 in my grandmother’s backyard.

I am the same age as my grandmother was when we posed together on her back steps.  Looking at the photograph below of me and my granddaughter made me think about the endless circle and the passage of time.

My granddaughter was 12 and I was a  a few months shy of 70. 2016, we were at the beach in St. Petersburg, Florida and the water was freezing!

 

 

Three Generations – 1939

Three Generations
Three Generations

From Left to right My grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, peeking over my greatgrandmother’s, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner’s, shoulder. My grandmother’s sister Daisy Turner. Behind and between Aunt Daisy and Aunt Alice Turner, is my aunt Mary Virginia Graham Elkins, although she was not yet an Elkins. At the end, behind Alice, is my mother, Doris Graham Cleage, although she was not yet married a Cleage either.

They are posed in Grandmother Turner’s backyard on the East Side of Detroit at 4536 Harding.  The house is gone now.  They look like they just came from Church, at Plymouth Congregational, however the photo is dated July 4, 1939 on the back.  July 4 was on a Tuesday that year. Maybe they went on a church picnic. My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham took the picture.

My grandmother Fannie’s Fan

IMG_0487
Grandmother Fannie’s Fan today.

IMG_0484Only the skeleton remains. It used to be covered with gossamer thin white material with little sparkling threads, like the fan below. All rotted away now.

fan1895
The fan once looked similar to this one.  Click photo to see another fan.

I found this page with a short modern history of fans and the language of fans –

Photos of 1800s African American women & Church Hand Fans + the Courting Language of the Fan

 

Fannie Turner before marriage - 1909.
Fannie Turner before marriage – 1909.

I wonder if she carried the fan when she was married.

For more Sepia Saturday posts CLICK!
For more Sepia Saturday posts CLICK!

All Four of My Grandparents

fannie_mershell_young
Fannie & Mershell  after marriage in 1919.

Fannie & Mershell Christmas 1969
Fannie & Mershell Christmas 1969

My maternal grandparent’s names were Mershell Cunningham Graham and Fannie Mae Turner Graham.  They were both born in Alabama in 1888. Mershell was born in Coosada Station, Elmore County. Fannie was born in Hayneville, Lowndes County.  Both counties are near Montgomery.

Before moving to Detroit, Mershell worked on passenger trains in the dining car. After coming to Detroit in 1917 he worked on a Great Lakes Cruise ship as a steward and finally put in 30 years at Ford Motor Company in the parts dept at the River Rouge Plant, before retiring.

My grandmother Fannie, managed her uncle Victor Tulane’s store in Montgomery before her marriage. After their marriage in 1919, she didn’t work outside of the home.  They both lived until I was in my mid-twenties. My grandfather died in 1976 at 86 years. I was 26. My grandmother died in 1977 at 87.  They both died in Detroit.   We spent every Saturday at their house when I was growing up and for the last year of college, they lived downstairs from us. They lived in that flat until they died. So I knew them and also research them.

Albert & Pearl 1922. Detroit
Albert & Pearl 1922. Detroit

Albert & Pearl 1950s
Albert & Pearl 1950s

My paternal grandparents were Albert Buford Cleage and Pearl Doris Reed Cleage.  Albert was born in Louden county, TN in 1883. Pearl was born in Lebanon, KY in 1886. They were married in Indianapolis in 1910.  My grandfather worked on a Great Lakes Cruise line summers until he finished Medical school and became a family physician.

We lived down the street from them for several years when I was 5 and 6 years old. We saw them often.  My grandfather died in 1957 after being ill for awhile. He was 73. I was 11.  My grandmother lived until 1982. She was 96. I was 35.  I knew both of them. I also research them.

Below are links to some of the many posts about my grandparents on this blog.

G is for Grandmothers

 Poppy Could Fix Anything

The Steamer Eastern States