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A-Z Challenge 2020 Detroit Grahams

M – MERSHELL C. Graham Jr – 1921

After church about 1927. Grandfather Mershell Graham holding my mother Doris, Grandmother Fannie next to him. In front: Mary Virginia and Mershell Jr.
2nd baby -Mershell C. Graham born June 10th – 1921 at 7:45 P.M. on Friday. Detroit, Mich, Dunbar Hospital 8 1/2 # Dr. Turner . Died 11/1/27 killed by Auto

Mershell Cunningham Graham Jr was born at 7:45 pm on June 10 in 1921, a Friday, He was the first son and second child of Mershell and Fannie (Turner) Graham.  He was delivered at Dunbar Hospital by Dr. Turner.  Mershell was a big baby, weighing 8 1/2 pounds. He joined older sister, 14 month old Mary Virginia.  Twenty months later his younger sister, my mother Doris, was born.

Mershell was an active boy, falling down the clothes chute and breaking a window  during a game of “who can hit their head against the window the hardest” with his younger sister, Doris.  In family photographs, he shows no fear of the ferocious puppy or the family chickens.

On November 1, 1927, he was hit by a truck on his way back to school after lunch. He died just after midnight on November 2.  My sister, cousins and I grew up with warnings to be careful crossing the street and to remember what happened to Mershell.

Baby Mershell sitting on the picnic table with Grandmother Graham, big sister Mary Virginia, mother Fannie on the right and Clifton Graham at Bell Isle 1922
Mershell Jr and pal Toodles – 1923 , 2 years old
Clifton, Mary Virginia, Lewis and Mershell Jr. Siblings and cousin/friends
MV – MC Jr – Doris – Mother with chickens -1923
Doris, M.V. Mershell, Toodles. Dated 1926 and 1927. Maybe it was January.
May 1927. Mary V., Mershell, Doris. In back: Aunt Daisy, Grandmother Jennie T., Mother Fannie

Mershell’s school books 1927

My mother wrote on the page of practice writing above “Mother teaching him to write his name.”

Related links  –  Births, Deaths, Doctors and Detroit Part 1;   1940 Census – the Grahams – Supplemental Material

Categories
Detroit Grahams Great Migration

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.
To read all about the wedding, click Announcement

___________________________

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.


Categories
A to Z Challenge 2018 Detroit Grahams Great Migration Montgomery Alabama

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 1919
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.

Categories
Detroit Grahams

Did Poppy Go To The Theatre?

1958 behind the house on Theodore.  L > R Sister Pearl, Kristin (me), Mershell “Poppy”, Aunt Mary V. Cousin Marilyn in the front and Cousin Barbara in the back

While looking for news stories about my ancestors, I came across this little item at newspapers.com. Mershell C. Graham was my maternal grandfather. I do not imagine that he went to the play.  I wonder if he even saw this announcement and how they came to pick him.

Mershell C. Graham
6638 Theodore, Detroit

You have won two free tickets to “Once Upon A Mattress” at the Shubert Theatre. Call Miss Lee at Classified Advertising, The Free {ress, WO 2-9400, extension 13, between 8:30 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Monday.

The play was an adult version based on the fairy tale, The Princess and The Pea For an over view of the musical, click ->  Once Upon A Mattress.

The Shubert in 1963 – a year before it was demolished.  Photo from the Burton Historical Collection.
The Shubert was demolished in 1964. Photo from the Walter P. Reuther Library
Click to see more Sepia Saturday offerings

Other posts about Mershell C. Graham

Poppy Could Fix Anything
Mershell’s Notebook
Graham Turner Wedding 1919 Montgomery
From Montgomery To Detroit – Founding a New Congregational Church
Poppy The Worker
Poem for Poppy

Categories
Grahams memories sepia saturday

Poppy’s Garden 1953

 When I was growing up we spent Saturdays at my mother’s parents house, along with my cousins Dee Dee and Barbara and later, Marilyn.  When the weather was good we spent it outside in the backyard. There was a vegetable garden, lots of flowers and space for anything we could think of.

In the summer of 1953 I turned 7 in August. Dee Dee turned 10 in September. Barbara had already turned 6 in January. Pearl was 4.5 until December.  Poppy was 64. He would retire in December of that year when he turned 65. The yard was surrounded on all sides by a wooden fence that made it feel like a world apart.  In the photographs I can see the big house across the alley and a factory on Warren but when I was playing in the yard I didn’t much notice those things.

"collards"
In the collards – Pearl, Barbara, Kris with Poppy

Pearl and I are holding dolls and I have a purse I remember getting when we lived in Springfield, MA. A young lady who might have been the church secretary had a grown up purse just like it.  It was brown leather and had a golden metal clasp that turned to open and close. Looks like collards with the poison Poppy sprinkled to kill the cabbage worms. I think I see a little cabbage butterfly holding on to the underside one of the leaves.

"geni of the magic carpet"
Geni of the magic carpet go, go, go.

I am standing up at the table where Barbara and I are making something. Dee Dee is sitting on the arm of the swing. She was probably taking Pearl somewhere on the magic carpet (aka swing) the rider would have to say “Geni of the magic carpet, go, go, go!” and then Dee Dee would take you someplace magic.  She would tell you where it was when it was time for you to get out of the swing. Dee Dee was in charge of all the magic.  Each of our households had a little, invisible fairy that lived in the mud castle we built and rebuilt at the foot of the apple tree. Their’s was named Lucy and ours was Pinky. She also kept a box full of prizes that she gave out at appropriate times. I remember packages of soda crackers, prizes from cereal boxes and pieces of chewing gum.

"Pearl and Kris with saw horses"
With our horses.

Here Pearl and I are standing on the grassy part of the yard. The flowers are in full bloom behind us with the vegetables back behind them. We often made the saw horses into mounts. I see my purse over there on the grass to the left.

Greens in my Idlewild garden 15 yars ago.

___________________________

I have participated in Sepia Saturday for so many years that it is hard for me to come up with new photos when the same sorts of prompts come around. This week I am recycling a post from 2012.

To see other Sepia Saturday offerings, click.

For more recent sepia CLICK this

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Grahams sepia saturday

On The Way Home From Work – 1943

poppy sidewalk
My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham. “On the way home from work 1943”

poppy_the_worker_poemFrom my grandmother Fannie’s scrapbook. “That’s my Shell” 1-25-59.

River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.
River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

My grandfather, Mershell C. Graham came to Detroit from Montgomery, Alabama in 1917. He worked on the steamer “Eastern States” as a steward for awhile and then as a stockman in the library at the Ford River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Michigan until he retired in the 1950s. Although he had a car, he did not drive to work, he caught the bus, first walking to the bus stop and then riding over an hour to get to work.

Unknown Man Walking
For other Sepia Saturday offerings, CLICK!

 

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African-American Genealogy & Slave Ancestry Research DNA - Genetics Grahams

A Speculative Circle, Mershell Graham’s DNA

lunceford long connctions chart
A chart showing the other lines and the generations between me and my 4th great grandmother and the Long/Jacksons.
My grandfather, Mershell Graham.
My grandfather, Mershell Graham.

Ancestry.com has a new feature called “speculative circles”. They take groups of people that share DNA and who you do not have any matches in your tree.  They rate the DNA links from “emerging” (not enough people in the group yet.) to “very strong” which means that  the reality of a connection is high. My sister was recently tested and received several “speculative circles.” Most of them were “weak” links. I had also never heard of the people in the trees, nor could I see where we might match up. With one circle, however, there were strong links with 8 out of the 12 people in the circle.

My grandfather Mershell Graham’s sister Annie (Click for more information about Annie) and her children appear in the 1910 US census in Elmore county working as servants for Oscar and Emma (Jackson) Barron .  They were there in the 1920 census and until Emma died. Emma was the daughter of Absolom Jackson, a large slave holder in Autauga County (In 1866 Elmore County was formed from part of Autauga).

I began to think that my family may have been slaves on Absolom Jackson’s plantation. My grandfather was born in 1888 in Coosada, Elmore County, Alabama.  His mother’s name was Mary Jackson.  About 15 years ago a Jackson descendant sent me a copy of the 1832 Will of James Jackson in which he divided up the slaves between two of his sons (Absolom and Crawford) and his son-in-law (Lunceford Long).  1832 was before Mary Jackson (my grandfather’s mother) or her parents were have been born. All of James Jackson’s adult children had large numbers of slaves that, of course, weren’t mentioned in that will. Due to these reasons, I was not surprised that I recognized no names.

Who are they?
On the end it says “13/2/18 on Barrons farm.” I think some of these are Annie’s children.

I started a tree for James Jackson and his family on Ancestry.com. I do that for any people I think might have enslaved any branch of my family.  I use the information to look for wills and bills of sale, anything that might have my ancestors listed.

The circle. The grey lines are between various other circles but not ours.
The circle. The grey lines are between various other circles but not ours.  The orange ones share DNA with us.

All of this is leading up to the circle. We share Lunceford Long’s and his wife Nancy Daniel Jackson Long’s DNA with descendants who have a paper trail.  Lunceford (1797 to 1857) and his wife Nancy are the nearest common ancestors that all of the lines in the circle share. They are the 6th generation back from me. This means that we have DNA from both Lunceford and Nancy.  How could this happen?

At first I thought that meant that one of the sons had a child with an enslaved woman. But the sons are not the closest ancestor, Longford and Nancy are. I believe it means that Lunceford Crawford Long had a baby with an as yet unnamed enslaved woman?  And that said unnamed woman was related to Nancy Daniel Jackson so that they shared DNA?

I take all this to mean that I was right and the Jackson’s did own my ancestors.  Now to look for more wills and other records that might show names I can recognize and hopefully place in family groups.

Categories
Grahams Photographs

Just Pals-Shell & Clifton Jr

mershell & pal
Mershell C Graham and friends son, Clifton Graham Jr. About 1921.
kids_&_flags
Clifton Jr, Mary Virginia, Lewis and Mershell Jr. Clifton and Lewis are siblings and Mary Virginia and Mershell are siblings.
Belle isle grahams 1921
Gwen, Fan with Mary Virginia, Matt with Lewis, Cliff with Clifton. At Bell Isle 1920

Perhaps an answer to the mystery photograph from Sepia Saturday #303, also pictured below.  Cliff was my grandfather M.C. Graham’s play brother and their families first roomed together and after the first children were born, they both occupied a two family flat, 1 family per flat.  Their children were born close together. Looking at the little pal in the first photograph with my grandfather Mershell, I think he could be the child in the other photograph.  He is several years older in the line in the second photo.  His ears in all three pictures bend a bit at the top. Perhaps the woman was his mother, Gwen pictured in the last photo.  Or maybe I need to keep looking for her.

"Me and my pal." From the Graham family photo album.
“Me and my pal.” From the Graham family photo album.
Categories
Grahams sepia saturday

Two Men In Hats – about 1918

Mystery friend of my grandfather Mershell C. Graham.
Mystery friend of my grandfather Mershell C. Graham.

Another fine friend of my grandfather. Unfortunately also another unlabeled photograph.  I think it was taken in Montgomery, Alabama around 1917 or so.  You can see the scotch tape my grandmother used to fasten the pictures in the black paged album.

My grandfather Mershell "Shell" Graham.
My grandfather Mershell “Shell” Graham.

This photograph of my grandfather was taken in the same place as the one of his friend above. Wherever that may be is lost in the mists of time.

For more Sepia Saturday offerings CLICK!
For more Sepia Saturday offerings CLICK!

Categories
Cleages Grahams The Book of Me

Generations of Family Signatures

When I started looking for signatures, I thought it would be easy because I have many letters through the generations.  The problem was that they did not sign letters with both first and last names.  Some repeatedly used nicknames.  I was able to find most signatures by searching through documents – marriage licenses, social security cards, deeds, bills of sale and group membership cards. I finally found my sister’s signature in the return address on an envelope and if I’d thought of it sooner, might have found others in the same place.

missvirginia
The first page from my great grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner’s memory book. My mother’s, mother’s mother. The first generation born out of slavery and the first literate generation.  I believe that she and her siblings all attended schools founded by the Congregational Church in Montgomery, AL after the Civil War.

My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.
My great grandfather Howard Turner was born in 1862 in Lowndes County, AL. He was literate but I do not know what school he and his siblings attended.  I do not have a photograph of him but I did find his signature on my great grandparents marriage license.

ransom_handwriting
My great grandmother’s brother, Ransom Allen.

marymccall_handwritting
My great grandmother’s oldest sister, Mary Allen McCall.

pearl_cleage_signature

My paternal grandmother Pearl Reed Cleage. I found her signature on some legal papers because all of the letters I have from her were signed “Mother”.  I know that she graduated from high school in Indianapolis, IN and received all of her education in Indianapolis but I do not know the names of the schools.  Her signature came from a Marion Indiana Probate record for her older brother’s will in 1946.

 

My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN.

My paternal grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage Sr. He attended the Athens Academy in Athens TN, Knoxville College and the Indiana Medical School in Indianapolis, IN. His signature came from his marriage license in 1910.

 

 

 

fanny

My maternal grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham.  Jennie’s daughter, she was educated in Montgomery, AL at State Normal which was a school from elementary to high school, started by the Congregational Church for Black students.  Her signature came from the 1910 Montgomery Census form via ancestry.com. She was an enumerator.

 

Mershell

My maternal grandfather Mershell C. Graham. My mother said he taught himself to read. The 1940 census said he finished 8th grade. From Coosada, Elmore Countty, Alabama. His signature came from his WW1 Draft registration card in 1917 via ancestry.com.

 

 

 

 

My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.

My father Albert B. Cleage Jr. His nickname was Toddy and he often signed his letters home Toddy. He attended Wingert elementary, Northwestern High, Wayne State in Detroit and Oberlin University in Ohio.  His full signature came from a Purchaser’s recipt in 1957 for a building Central Congregational Church wanted to buy.

 

 

 

 

My mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.

 

Doris Graham Cleage, Fannie’s daughter, my mother was born in 1923 in Detroit, MI. She attended Thomas Elementary School, Barbour Intermediate, Eastern High and Wayne State University in Detroit.  Her signature came from a State of Michigan Teacher Oath in 1964.  The “Doris” came from a letter home from Los Angeles in 1944.

My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage. She attended Roosevelt elementary, McMichael Junior High and Northwestern High in Detroit. Also Howard and Spellman Universities.

My younger sister Pearl Michell Cleage is Jennie’s great granddaughter. She attended Roosevelt Elementary School , McMichael Junior High School and Northwestern High School in Detroit. She also Howard and Spellman Universities.  Her signature came from the return address on a letter in 1991.

 

 

My own signature. I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt elementary, Durfee and McMichael Junior high and Northwestern High school and Wayne State University, all in Detroit My own signature. Another great granddaughter of Jennie, I was raised in Detroit and attended Brady and Roosevelt Elementary Schools, Durfee and McMichael Junior High Schools, Northwestern High School and Wayne State University, all in Detroit.   The bottom signature came from my third daughter’s birth certificate in 1976.  The top one came from a deed for the sale of the house on Oregon where  I was a witness in 1968.