Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Can what your 3 X grandparents did predict what you do?  That was the question asked by Rebel Hand several weeks ago. Because the majority of my 2X great grandparents were born into slavery, and I do not know anything about their parents except that they were enslaved,  I used my 2 X great grandparents for this exercise.

My mother's side.
Eliza Allen
Dock Allen

Dock Allen was born in Georgia about 1839 and ended up in the Montgomery, Alabama area when he was freed.  He was a carpenter. His wife, Eliza Williams Allen, born in Alabama in 1839, was a seamstress.  They were freed in the 1860s, before the end of the Civil War. In 1870, they had real estate worth $500.  Living in the household with the couple were 6 children and Eliza's mother. By 1900, they owned their home, free of mortgage.  In the home with them were 3 of their grown daughters and 4 grandchildren. Another daughter and her family lived next door.  Everybody except Dock and Eliza was literate. All children old enough to attend school were attending.

Joe Turner was born in Alabama about 1841.  His wife, Emma Jones Turner was born in 1842 in South Carolina. They were freed at the end of the Civil War.  In 1870 they were farming in Lowndes County. They owned no real estate but had personal property worth $300.  Their 5 young children shared the home.  Neither Joe or Emma were literate.

In 1900 they owned their farm, with a mortgage. The children were all grown and living on their own or had died.  There were 2 grandchildren with them. Joe was still illiterate. Emma could read and write.  Emma died later that year.  The next year Joe married Luella Freeman and they had 9 children before he died in 1919.

I do not have much information about my Graham and Jackson 2X great grandparents.  I am not sure which families they are yet.  As I prepared to write this post, I realized how I had short changed my research for this branch and started off on research.  I had to draw back in order to get this written in a semi-timely fashion.  I do know the Jacksons were from Autauga County (later Elmore) Alabama and that they were farmers.  I do not know more because I know my great grandmother's name was Mary Jackson and there were 2 Mary Jackson's about the same age and in the same area and I don't know which family she belongs to. 

I haven't even found William Graham with his family yet and I'm not sure if he was from the same county or one of the surrounding ones. My great grandparents disappear after 1880 and so far their family continues to remain a mystery.

My Father's Side

Frank Cleage was born into slavery in North Carolina about 1816.  His wife Judi Cleage was born into slavery in Tennessee about 1814. They were freed by the Civil War. In 1870 they were living in Athens.  He was a laborer and she kept house.  They had 5 children at home. They owned no real estate and had $300 worth of personal property.  No one in the household could read or write.  I have not yet found them after 1870.

Celia Rice's parents are not known at this time beyond that her father was a member of the slave owning family and her mother was a slave.  I'm hoping that when her death certificate arrives I will be able to fill that in a bit more.

John Averitt was white, born free in Washington County, Tennessee in 1810. His wife, Elizabeth Marshall Tucker Averitt, was born in 1814 in the same county.  They were farmers.  In 1840 they owned 1 slave, a girl under 10. I don't find them in any later slave censuses.   

In 1870 the Averitt's were farming with land worth $14,75 and personal property worth $4,110.  There are 6 children living at home. Several have their own personal property worth $700 to $300.  The 4 children ages 20 to 12 were attending school.  An 82 year old infirm relative of Elizabeth was living there.  He owned $8,000 worth of real estate and $2,000 worth of personal property.  All of the above were literate.  There were also 3 black children, ages 8, 10 and 13 and 1 black man, age 30, living on the farm.  None were literate and none were in school.  The 10 and 30 year old work on the farm, the 13 year old girl is listed as a servant and the 8 year old has no work listed.

Clara Hoskins Green (b. 1829 in Kentucky) had no work listed in 1870.  Her husband, James Green (b. 1824 in Virginia) was a carpenter.  I'm assuming they were enslaved before the Civil War because I cannot find them anywhere before 1870.  They owned no real estate and had no personal property. Also living in the house was their 10 year old son and 5 year old granddaughter.  They were both illiterate.  In 1880 they were in similar circumstances. Their daughter and her children were living next door. All of them were illiterate.  I cannot find Clara or James after 1880.
So, how does all this reflect my life?  I have worked at a sewing factory for a year after college.  Later I made and sold dolls for some years. For 8 years I lived with my husband and children on 5 acres in Mississippi, milking goats and raising a large garden.  Later, I continued the large garden when we lived in rural Michigan. I raised 6 children and they have often shared often shared our home since they grew up.  Off and on, different ones this year and that.  Other family members have sometimes lived with us too.  Since 1976 we have owned our homes, with and without a mortgage. 

Education for myself and my children has always been important to me, as it was to many of my ancestors who didn't have the opportunity to learn to read and write themselves.  I have done paid work in the clerical/secretarial field and as a teacher and sewing.  I have never had a paying job I couldn't leave without looking back.  Being in charge of my life has always been important to me.  It has been more important than having things or money.  I have been able to live on little and make it work. Maybe that's something that comes down to me from my ancestors.


  1. In the End that is all that matters....Our Ancestors have taught us many lessons in life some more poignant than others. My Ancestors always wanted the next Generation to do better than what their Lives were. It always strikes me how close are relations to one another but different families. Lowndes County from previous research has a long and steep dangerous history. How my Family moved to Michigan and up North from Alabama. The pictures were Wonderful. I'm starting to see some of those traits that I have took from previous Grandmother's mostly Grandfather's and how my Life is somewhat a reflection of theirs. Loved this piece. Thanks for sharing this Valuable information. The Contrast of Lives. I hope you find those missing pieces.

  2. I think that once I start looking, missing pieces show up. Lowndes County was called bloody Lowndes for good reason.

  3. Kristin, as usual you manage to pull a really interesting & thought provoking post out of the bag. I really enjoyed this post.

    I have always admired how you manage to research & bring alive your ancestors who were enslaved & I often feel I would be frustrated belonged belief if I could not understand their lives & piece together earlier ancestry.

    I think all of us benefit from earlier generations - things passed down one generation to the next, we perhaps just do not realise the hardships there were experienced, of course for some it was harder for some more than others.

    It occurs to me that in this instance exploring the County would be a great way of researching those loose ends. Did after your ancestors were freed they remain in the same area?

    1. Yes, they did remain in the same county for the first and second generations, after that they began to head north. Researching the county is helpful for finding out about the slave masters. This is helpful when I am trying to find out the atmosphere of the area and also when I'm trying to pinpoint the plantation my ancestors were on. The census is good too, when the ancestors don't disappear.

  4. What a wonderful and thought provoking post, Kristin. I think that the importance of maintaining family connection and education most certainly were passed down to you. I too hope you find those missing pieces.

  5. This is a great post. Love the comparisons, always impressed by your research and writings. Thanks Kristin.

  6. Thanks Andrea and Carol. Appreciate that you read and commented! I was wondering how many people find there way over here.


  7. i like the the way you turn the names into real people. KeepOn ...keepinOn!!


  8. Replies
    1. Thanks Jim! I'm glad your comments started coming through.


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