Fannie Mae Turner Graham 1888 – 1974 – part 1

In the late 1970’s after my grandmother Fannie died, I asked my mother, Doris Graham Cleage, to tell me what she remembered about her family.  This is one of the first pieces she wrote me.  Later she wrote about her grandmother and her grandmother’s sisters.  My mother died in 1982 at 59 from uterine cancer so I never got to talk to her about what I found out.  I am so glad she wrote her memories for me when she did.  Because it makes such a long post, I have decided to break her story up into 2 parts.

jennie&kidsJennie holds Daisy.  Fannie in white. 1892

Mother said she was born in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1888, but Daddy said she was born in Hayneville a small town not far from Montgomery.  I think he was right from the way the above exchange went.  She was the first child of Jennie Virginia Allen Turner and Howard Turner.  Jennie T. must have been about twenty when Mother was born.  I know nothing about the circumstances of the birth.  I heard Jennie T. speak many times on how “no good all men are” but I never heard her say a word about childbirth.  Mother never said anything about it either, although she had a very difficult time delivering Mary Vee.

Mother’s sister Daisy was born about two years later.  I know very little about their childhood except that they spent most of it in their Grandfather Allen’s house (which was in Montgomery) because their father died when Mother was about four and Jennie T. had to work to support them.  It was a big house, Mother said, with a big porch around two sides and pecan trees in the big backyard.  She never used the words “happy” or “unhappy” to describe her childhood and I have the feeling that it was happy on the whole.  She told several incidents:

Their Grandfather took care of them while Jennie T. worked and when they were bad, he told Jennie T., who would sometimes spank them.  Mother said she told Daisy to cry loudly when Jennie T. spanked them and so make the spanking short and not too hard.  She said this worked!  (This always surprised me because I never thought of Mother as a person who ever consciously manipulated people.  Whenever she told this…and she didn’t mention it until she was in her eighties…she looked very pleased with herself.)

Everyday her Grandfather swept the backyard “smooth as silk” (it was dirt) and told Mother and Daisy not to set foot on it.  (I hope this was just part of the yard and they had some space left for play, but I don’t know.)  They got spanked with the flat of his saw if they made footprints on it.  Mother said they would play on it when he dozed off, not realizing their footprints would give them away.

On Sundays they could do absolutely no work at all.  Dinner had to be cooked the day before and could be warmed up.  They couldn’t even sew a button on.  They all went to the Congregational Church (black, of course) every Sunday morning.  In the afternoons, Mother had to read the Bible to her Grandfather who would often doze off during the reading.  Mother would get up and play and watch and run back if he seemed to be waking up.(I don’t know if he still did carpenter work at this time.  Mother said he was a good cabinetmaker and would make furniture for people.  I don’t know if this is all he did or if he also built houses or what.  But I do know he made cabinets, tables, chairs, beds and whatever.  I don’t know if he had money enough…I doubt it…to just stay home at this time of if Grandmother supported them all.)

Jennie T.’s Grandmother, whom Mother called Nannie, lived in the house and Mother used to heat water and help her soak an arthritic foot.  I don’t know if Jennie T.”s mother was still living then.

Mother had hair like mine.  Daisy’s hair was thinner and more curly than wavy.  Jennie T. liked to curl it and would get up early every morning to curl Daisy’s hair around a broomstick.  I guess she braided Mother’s but I don’t really know.  When Mother and Daisy walked through Montgomery to school, Daisy always stopped at the town pump and held her head under it while Mother pumped until the curls were gone.  No one else at school had curls, so Daisy didn’t want them either.  Mother said they were often frightened on their way to school by herds of cows being taken to pasture.  (This was the Big Town?)  They always liked school and did very well.  They went to a private school staffed and run by good Congregational white folks from New England for black students.  They never went to public school.  Both graduated from Alabama State Normal (high school).  Mother was second in her class.  The school got her a scholarship to Fisk University, but she decided not to accept it and went to work to help Jennie T.

Continued here – Fannie Mae Turner Graham 1888 – 1974 Conclusion

My grandmother’s Loss

I saw a clock face on Finding Josephine this morning and it reminded me of a clock face I did a few years ago using photographs of my grandmother, Fannie Mae Turner Graham.  She and my grandfather, Mershell, lost their both of their sons at young ages.  Mershell Jr was run over by a laundry truck on the way back to school after lunch.  Howard was born the next year.  He died from complications of scarlet fever at the age of three.  I am going to begin posting writings my mother sent me about her family at the beginning of my search.

Hugh Marion Reed

Uncle Hugh Marion Reed

Not many in my family served in the military.  In fact several were conscientious objectors.  My grandmother Pearl’s older brother, Hugh, was the exception.

Hugh Marion Reed was born April 23, 1876, Lebanon, Marion County, Kentucky.  He reached adulthood in Indianapolis,  Indiana and spend his later years in Los Angeles, California.

According to my Uncle Henry, his uncle Hugh Reed passed for white and joined the Navy several times and was a stoker during the Spanish American War.  His uncle told them he would be so tired after his shift that he would just lay down and go to sleep until time for the next shift.  They were locked down there during the shift.

In the U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798 – 1914, it says that Hugh Reed enlisted 13 July 1898 in Indianapolis, IN for three years.  He was 22 3/12 and a Bridge builder.  He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy out of New York City on 8  December 1898.  He was discharged 2 December 1901 in Boston, MA.

In 1906 he married his wife Blanche C.Young.  They had four children.  Anna, Hugh, Thomas and Theresa.

In 1928, according to the U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866 – 1938, Hugh Reed, born in Lebanon, KY was admitted 13 December 1928 with rectal prolapse.

He is mentioned in his brother George’s Will in 1946 as living in Los Angeles, CA. So far I have not found a death record for Hugh Marion Reed.

Article of Agreement Between Samuel Cleage and Overseer – 1834

Transcription and Context

Earlier this year I met a new plantation cousin, Elbert Arwine, through the connect feature on  We started emailing and sharing information.  Elbert is not actually my cousin but he is a cousin of some of my cousins.  His people and mine were enslaved on the same Cleage plantation in Athens, TN.  His ancestor, Bart Arnwine changed the family name from Cleage to Arnwine after freedom.  He is related to James Cleage who married my grandfather’s  sister,  Josephine Cleage.  While visiting in Athens, TN, Elert met a woman who bought the house of the slave owner, David Cleage.  She  found some papers that dated back to the 1800’s with names and dates on them.  Some of those names were our people.  She thought he might be interested and of course he was!  She let him make copies which he shared with me.

The Agreement I have transcribed and posted here is the oldest document that names names.  Named in this document are Bill, Henry, Joe, Frank, Lea, Fannie and Peter.  The Frank named here is most likely my great great grandfather and Joe is my plantation cousin’s ancestor.  I will write about what happened to Joe and Frank and some of the others after freedom in a later post.  I have several bills of sale that I will be posting later also.

There are several words I was unable to make out.  I left blank spaces there.

State of Tennessee McMinn county January 17, 1834
Article of Agreement made and entered into between Samuel Cleage and Wilson Owens.  Samuel Cleage employs him as an overseer on his farm on Little Mouse Creek and his quarter in Whisteria Valley and Owens is to act as overseer and work with the hands until the work is completed and ordered. ____________got out/  commencing 20th instant to superintend all matters things relating to the working of the farm or farm improvements of every description that said Cleage may direct 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 while Cleage carrys on stilling.
Cleage is to have a hand to strike in the shop if he wants one by furnishing a plow boy to work in his place as he expects to have a wagon loaned Owens is to take the hands and go to the Westeria also and work that place to clear a piece of land between the fields and fence and work same and reset the old fences makes rails for farm where said Cleage may direct it and the said Owens is to take special care of farm land timber stock of every kind to be very careful of horses that work the crop and suffer no want of grain to feed as much grain as is now need or what Cleage may direct.  Owens is to have the ninth part of the crop for his services that is of the wheat now growing the oats corn rye fodder.

Cleage is to let Owens have 40 bushels corn for bread at 33 1/3 yards oats 7 bushels oats which said owens is to pay him for out of his share of the crop when said Cleage may want it.  The crop to be undisturbed as respects disposing of same by Owens his share until regularly divided, Owens is to furnish wood for stilling have some cut and hauled in due time and also firewood for the use of Cleage what he wants and for himself.  Owens is to have his wheat share ground toll free Owens to help have saw hauled while water is now flush to the saw mill for plank improving any thing Cleage may want.

Should it be a year that the peaches on said farm should hit said Owens is also to attend to preparing same for tilling and Cleage is to pay Owens what would be right for his actions labour of same.  What they could agree upon if they could not agree each one to choose and leave it to a good man what it is worth now the 9th gallon of same Owens to turpentine and have corn for stilling shelled in proper time as Cleage now attends to same with his hands.

In compliance of same we bind ourselves in the final sum of five hundred Dollars date above                                                                        Samuel Cleage
witness David Cleage                                           Wilson X Owens
                                                                                         his mark

My Matrilineal Line and More

 Today while visiting blogs I came across this  Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Matrilineal Line on Mavis Jones’ blog, Georgia Crackers.  Mavis got it from Randy Seaver’s, Genea-Musings.  Even though it’s only Friday, and not even the week when the challenge was given,  I decided to do it.   I added my grandchildren and children to the mix.

In the photo montage above, starting from top left are – My great grandmother Jennie  with her daughters, Fannie (my grandmother) Daisy standing and youngest, Alice with the big bow in her hair.  Next photo is of Eliza, my great great grandmother.  Top right is my mother, Doris Graham Cleage with my little sister Pearl and me.  Bottom row left photo is of my sister Pearl and I with our daughters – Ife, Ayanna, Jilo, Deignan and I am holding Tulani.  Last photograph is of my grandaughters – Kylett in purple (she’s my son’s daughter so not actually in my matrilineal line), Abeo in back, Tatayana in pink, Hasina in light pink and Sydney in front in green.  We have no photograph of Annie Williams, our earliest identifiable fore-mother.

1) List your matrilineal line – your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!

My Matrilineal Line – Forwards and Backwards
My granddaughters who are daughters of my daughters
My daughters
Me – 1946 (Springfield, MA)
Doris Juanita Graham 1923 (Detroit, MI) – 1982 (Detroit, MI)
Fannie Mae Turner 1888(Hayneville, AL) – 1974 (Detroit, MI)
Jennie Virginia Allen abt 1871 (Montgomery AL)- 1954 (Detroit, MI)
Eliza Williams abt 1839 (Alabama) – 1917 (Montgomery, AL)
Annie Williams abt 1820 (South Carolina) – after 1900 Montgomery, AL)

2) Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.

My first test was with African Ancestry in 2007.  They didn’t name a Haplogroup but said the variations matched the Mende in Sierra Leone.
In 2008 I re-tested with Family tree  to become part of a Black Belt Genealogy DNA study.  The results were – FTDNA HVR1 Haplogroup  – L3e3

3) Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Note or status line on Facebook.

8 Responses to My Matralineal Line and More

  1. Ms Vicky says:
    May 28, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Great pictures of your family and all good looking to boot. Thanks for sharing

  2. Leslie Ann says:
    May 28, 2010 at 5:06 am

    What a beautiful family you have!

  3. J says:
    May 28, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Very nice post. I too have an Eliza in my family. I love the way you presented your family lineage.Thanks for sharing.~Joann

  4. Luckie says:
    May 28, 2010 at 11:35 am

    What a beautiful Family Kristin! I am so excited to see you blogging & sharing!:-)Who is that on your Twitter icon image? She looks A LOT like my Great-Grandma Jackson!:-)Luckie.

  5. Kristin says:
    May 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for the compliments everybody. The twitter image is my great-grandmother, Jennie Virginia Allen Turner of Montgomery AL. she is the daughter of Eliza and Dock Allen. I’ll be posting something my mother wrote about her soon.

  6. Kristin says:
    May 28, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Luckie, my mother’s father’s mother was a Jackson but he was very secretive about his family and I know nothing about them aside from a few stories from his boyhood and a bunch of suppositions. He was born in Coosada Station, Elmore County, AL.

  7. June 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I love the matrilineal photos — and it’s a beautiful blog, Kris!! Christine

  8. Kristin says:
    June 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    thanks christine! so much easier then when i was doing ruffdraft :-D

The Search Begins

First posted on May 26, 2010

This is a tintype of Dock Allen, my great great grandfather.  He was born into slavery about 1839 in Georgia and died 29 May 1909 in Montgomery, Alabama.  It was in the dining room of my grandparents home in Detroit for as long as I can remember.  Eliza was his wife.  We had no picture of her.

In 1972 my husband and I relocated from Detroit to Atlanta. In 1973 our second daughter, Ife was born and my mother’s father, Mershell Graham, “Poppy” died.  In 1974 his wife, Fannie Mae Turner Graham, “Nanny”,  died.    And I became interested in family history.

I asked my mother to send me any information she remembered, as far back as she could go. She sent me the paper on the left.  She started with her mother and went back to Eliza’s mother.

2 Responses to The Search Begins

  1. May 27, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Kristin,How great it must have been to get this information when you started your research. It’s more than many of us get when were start this genealogical journey. I’ll be following along as your family story unfolds.Sandra

  2. kristin says:
    May 27, 2010 at 11:32 pm

    It was! I didn’t realize how great at the time. It has survived moves to five states during the last 30+ years lots of my stuff did not.

Who was Eliza?

Eliza Williams Allen

First posted on May 24, 2010

Eliza was my great great grandmother. We grew up hearing a story about her. In this blog I will talk about how I found her using a combination of oral history, records and lots of help from cousins and cousins of cousins.

This first post, though, is just to get my feet wet. Yesterday I heard Luckie Daniels talk about genealogical blogging during our AAHGS Metro Atlanta Chapter meeting. This morning I decided to dive in and set one up. I was pretty surprised to learn that I already had two accounts with Google Blogger. I set one up in 2007 and one in 2009 but never actually set up a blog. In my confusion I used the name I wanted for my blog on one account and set up to follow several blogs on the other account. I cannot find a way to delete one or the other so my plan is to use this blog and this account for everything.

Now, how do I get an interesting view, a couple of columns and some photographs on here…..


12 Responses to Who was Eliza?

  1. Luckie. says:
    May 25, 2010 at 11:58 am

    These are exciting times Kristin! I am so proud of the AAHGS members who have decided to make the genea-leap!:-)Definitely consider joining the Genealogy community on –> they will be a GREAT pool of info as you get started. I’m also including the URL to a “Blogger Cheat Sheet” created by Thomas at on the “Blogger” PDF link. This should answer some of your immediate questions.Just know that we are thrilled to have Metro Atlanta AAHGS repping online & are here to help!:-)

  2. May 25, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Kristin,I am so excited to see that you enjoyed Luckie’s presentation, and that you’ve joined the genea-blogging community. As Luckie said above, please also consider joining the genealogy community on Twitter; there are lots of bloggers there ready to welcome you aboard.I looking forward to reading about your journey to Finding Eliza.Sandra

  3. May 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Congratulations Kristin!I just I’ve added it to the blog list at GeneaBloggers. In addition, I’ve made sure your blog is listed in our search engine ( so that it may be searched along with over 1,000 other genealogy blogs. Finally, I will also highlight your blog in my weekly This Week’s New Genealogy Blogs post on Saturday, 29 May 2010.Is there anything you need from us in terms of tech assistance or other advice? Check out the GeneaBloggers Welcome Wagon for lots of info: And if you need technical help, I run a tech blog for bloggers:

  4. Renate says:
    May 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Kristin,Welcome to the blogsphere! I see you have Greens, and I do also, although right now, I don’t know of any connection to Kentucky. Good luck to you as you get started, and I’ll be following along! Renatewww.justthinking130.blogspot.comNadasue on Twitter

  5. May 25, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Welcome to the blogging community, and good luck with your search!

  6. kristin says:
    May 27, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks to all to all of you for the support. I really appreciate it.

  7. May 28, 2010 at 5:53 am

    This is great! It is in such nice little stories and pieces it makes it very easy to see the connections. I am not sure how to follow you but I will save to favorites and check back in.

  8. Kristin says:
    May 28, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Ayanna, great to have a daughter reading the blog. i think to get your picture there as a follower you have to have a blogger acct or some google acct. but you can still check in and follow me without that. wonder if you could do it with your fb acct?

  9. Angela says:
    May 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Hello Kristin and welcome aboard!Glad to see another member of the blogging community and I look forward to reading the stories of the family as well as the stories of how you have made your discoveries. Welcome to the blogosphere.

  10. Taneya says:
    May 30, 2010 at 1:43 am

    Welcome Kristen! I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading your future posts.

  11. June 2, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Welcome to the Genea Blogging community. I look forward to reading about your research and your family.

  12. June 2, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Hallo Kristin,Welcome to this wonderful community of geneabloggers! I recently re-set my blog and one of the best things I did was join Geneabloggers and have made some really great new friends. And I am learning a lot too.If you decide to join Twitter, it would be good to follow you – I am rootsresearcher there.I have found your blog very interesting so far and look forward to seeing further posts from you.Kind regards,Christine – (rootsresearcher) So That’s Where I Get It From and Ancestors at Rest Graveyard Rabbit blogs.