Thursday, June 29, 2006

"Aunt Sally" Creigh/Sallie Woods

Profile:
"Aunt Sally" (Creigh) /Sallie Woods

(Note: In my work I put surnames in () when it is a "slave surname")
(Note: It is my understanding that Creigh is pronounced "Cree")

It is difficult to find a person who was formerly enslaved & it is even more difficult to find them when they change their "slave surname" post-emancipation. However, I think I may have made a match as it relates to "Aunt Sally".
In the HISTORY OF GREENBRIER COUNTY by Otis K. Rice (on page 295) he indicates that "Aunt Sally, an elderly Negro woman, handed her master (David S. Creigh) an axe, with which Creigh dispatched the marauder".
In the Journal of the GHS, Vol. 7, #4, 2002, p. 38 relative to the notes of Dr. Creigh, the doctor makes the notation that he "went down to Davy's to see a Black woman, Sally" (Davy is the doctor's brother, David "Davy" Creigh).
In the book GREENBRIER COUNTY PIONEERS AND THEIR HOMES by Ruth Dayton Woods, West Virginia Publishing Company, Charleston, WV on page 325 she states that "a Negro woman, old "Aunt Sallie" having secured an axe ..." & at page 328 "The colored woman, Sallie went for an axe".

I believe that post-emancipation "Aunt Sallie" became Sallie Woods.

In the 1870 Census for GC, Fort Spring District (FtSD), there is a 75 year old Black female named Sallie Woods, b. in Va, who is working as a domestic servant in the home of Emily Creigh. In the 1880 Census, Sallie Woods is 81 years old. She is a domestic servant for Alex W. Arbuckle (a Caucasian male farmer).
RESOURCES:
For photographs of WV Residents see: CELEBRATING LIVES: A GLIMPSE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN WV at http://www.wvculture.org/history/bhm8.html
My favorite photo is photo #89. When I first saw this photo, none of the ladies were identified. Now, they are all identified.

See DEATHS AT THE WV COLORED TUBERCULOSIS SANITARIUM AT DENMAR at
http://www.wvculture.org/history/journal/wvh/wvh56-6.html

See AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES IN WV at http://www.wvculture.org/arts/ethnic/african.html

See BIOGRAPHIES OF BLACK WEST VIRGINIANS at
http://www.wvculture.org/history/blackbio.html

See A TIMELINE OF AFRICAN AMERICAN'S IN WEST VIRGINIA
http://www.wvculture.org/history/timeline.html
The Monroe County Clerk maintains a WILL BOOK. By reviewing Will Books you can obtain the names of persons who were enslaved by the subject of the will at the time of the will. I have yet to find a Will for a Free Inhabitant in this area but I imagine that it might be possible. Fortunately, in GC, there is a researcher, Mary Frances Bodemuller who went through all of the GC court records looking for names of enslaved individuals and Free Black residents. She compiled this informaton in a book entitled African American Records & this booklet can be obtained from the GHS. I understand that the MC Clerk's office in Union is small and that research there may be difficult due to inadequate places to sit etc. (I've not been there). However, maybe some day someone will have the time to review all of the MC Will Books and publish/share their work.
The Will of James Ellison is contained in MC Will Book, # 3, p. 411. In his will he gives his wife, Elizabeth, his entire estate but he leaves instructions that after his death .. "To my two servant girls, Jenny & Barsheba and posterity, to them I give their freedom together with the use and sole control of the dwelling house I now live in including two acres of land".
Jenny & Barsheba were the daughters of Frances L./Fanny Ellison. Fanny Ellison was a Free Inhabitant of Monroe County in the 1850 and 1860 census records. She appears in the 1870 and 1880 census records.
Barsheba married Thomas Payne and she was the mother of Rev. C.H. Payne (and he appears with her at two years old as a free inhabitant in 1850 - although some reports say he was formerly a "slave"). Rev. C.H. Payne was elected to the WV legislature in 1896 (Fayette County).
See http://www.wvculture.org/history/payne.html

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

RESOURCES:
The Goldenseal Magazine is published by the WV Division of Culture and History. Two articles of interest are:
"Getting Along Together - Black Life in Pocahontas County" - Vol 22, #4, Winter 1996 by Maureen Crockett &
"Miss Ruby Never Quit" - Vol 22, #4, Winter 1996 by Virginia Steele

There is a reference to slavery & Greenbrier County (GC) in Put in Master's Pocket: Interstate Slave Trading and the Black Appalachian Diaspora by Wilma A. Dunaway in the book APPALACHIANS AND RACE: THE MOUNTAIN SOUTH FROM SLAVERY TO SEGREGATION edited by John Inscoe, University Press of Kentucky, 2000 and this can be found at http://members.aol.com/wadunaway/slavery.htm - "Over a five year period in the 1830's, Samuel Hall spotted twelve to fifteen such coffles, averaging forty slaves each, passing along the road near his home in Greenbrier County"

THE NEGRO CITIZEN OF WEST VIRGINIA by Thomas E. Posey, p. 78 "West Virginia, since its formation has had only six lynchings, three of these have been of colored persons and three of white persons".

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

WHY BEING A HAYNES CAN MEAN YOU ARE A PAYNE
In 1990 the Spotts-Payne Family held their 11th Reunion in Lewisburg, WV. The patriarch of the Payne family was Albert Payne. His wife was Ida Bell Dunsmore Payne.
Albert Payne was the son of Martha Ann Payne Haynes Jones. He was the brother of Socrates Haynes, Elizabeth Haynes, Dudley Y. Haynes, Charlotte Haynes, James Haynes & Purcey Haynes. He was the stepson of Solomon Haynes and Peter Jones.
Prior to emancipation, Albert's mother, Martha Ann was a "Payne". She may have been enslaved and carried the slave name Payne or she may have been a free inhabitant with the surname Payne. (Henry N. Payne was a free inhabitant in Monroe County as early as 1840). At any rate, Martha's first five children (Socrates, Albert, Elizabeth, Dudley & Charlotte) initially carried the surname Payne. After emancipation, Martha married Solomon Haynes on July 4, 1865 in Kanawha County. All of her children changed their surnames to Haynes and were recorded in that name in the 1870 census. Martha & Solomon had at least two more children (James & Purcey) who appear to have been the biological children of Solomon Haynes. By 1880, Albert appears in both the Haynes and the Payne surname. In the 1880 census he appears as Albert Haynes. In 1881 he signs as a witness for his sister's, Elizabeth's, marriage as Albert Payne but the city officials list him as Albert Haynes. When William Henry Brown & Relda Dunsmore marry at his house in 1888 he appears as Albert Payne. Thereafter, he consistently appears as Payne.
We will never know why Albert was the only one of Martha's children to keep the Payne surname and to not adopt the name of his stepfather.
To complicate matters, Albert's sister, Elizabeth, married a Haynes & became Elizabeth Jane Payne Haynes Haynes.
So, all of the descendants of Socrates, Albert, Dudley, Elizabeth, Charlotte, James, and Purcey are the descendants of Martha Ann Payne (of Fayette/Kanawha/Monroe Counties).
In at least one document Albert was referred to as "Albert Payne of Nickell's Mill" & this is in line with Eva Peter's assertion that Elizabeth (Albert's sister) was the seamstress for the Nickell family.
Albert Payne died on 5/17/1925 at 67 years of age at the McKendree Hospital in Fayette, WV. (His niece's granddaughter (Sandra Belton) would later write a children's book entitled "McKendree")
For the first five of Martha's children, then, they may have not been the biological children of a Haynes but only surnamed Haynes due to adopting the name of a stepfather. My greatgrandmother, however, did later marry a Haynes and I am, therefore, biologically a Haynes on at least one side. On the other side I am probably, truly, a Payne.
This genealogical discovery meant a lot to me as when I was a child my father would often tell me "You know, you really are a pain!". He said this, of course, because I was a difficult child. He had no idea that he was engaging in a double entendre/double meaning and I wouldn't know this either until I started looking into my past.
I didn't attend the Spotts-Payne Family Reunion but some other Haynes may have attended not knowing that they were also Paynes.
For more information on Albert Payne see:
--1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 census records
--WV Daily News, Lewisburg, WV, Thursday, 8/2/1990, 11th Spotts-Payne Reunion Held at Local Inn .
--Numerous marriages for which he was a witness/informant (Black Residents of GC ...)
--History of Brushy Ridge (Colored)
--Dr. Montgomery's papers at the GHS
--Journal of the GHS, Vol 7 #6
--Shuck's GC Birth Records
--MC Cemeteries - Neff Orchard Road (Black)
--African American Records by Bodemuller
--WV Death Certificates # 5862, 14063, 7985, 14063, 5862
HOUSEKEEPING:

A GHS representative has supplied me with information relative to Dick Pointer & his son Jonathan Pointer. (see June 22, 2006 post re: Dick Pointer) The Laidley book is "History of Charleston & Kanawha Counties and Representative Citizens" by William S. Laidley. Both Dick Pointer and his son are mentioned in this book. Another book which I didn't know anything about before being given a "heads up" by the GHS is "In the Wigwams of the Wyandots - the Story of Jonathan Pointer" by Myrtle Felkner. Once I received the information about Jonathan Pointer and the Wyandots I googled both subjects and came up with some good information about both.

The Jarret family genealogist/researcher is Phyllis Preston Jarrett & an article about her appeared in the Charleston Daily Mail on 2/25/1998. (see June 22 post re Anne Sidney Jackson Matthews Wade)
Community Based Genealogical Projects
I have three genealogical research projects. One is a family history which includes detailed information on each member of my family and which also includes information about the people who held them in slavery & their families (Haynes, Kincaid slaveholders). The second project is an abbreviated family history. This project contains a chronological history of the family (and some collaterals). The third project is a "community based" research project which endeavors to list every black/mulatto/native american person that ever lived in Greenbrier, Monroe, Pocahontas, & Summers Counties. Often, if I find someone from another county in an obscure source I also list them, and I list anyone who has an unusual name which is also found in one of my counties (i.e. Spriggs). If I should live long enough I will begin to compile information on other counties (Raleigh next).
I would have to say that the community based project is my favorite research project. For one thing, it is inclusive of my family history project. While listing names of the areas citizens from various sources I am constantly finding family members who I never would have found if I had purely done a family search. This is because the individuals may have married again and have a new name, or were erroneously listed under another name, or are listed with a nickname or with only abbreviations for a first name. (My grandfather was listed in one census with his first name (Mansfield) as his surname and I found him only b/c I was compiling information for the entire community).
The community based project has led me to be interested in what life was like for Black folks from the area from the time of settlement. (My ancestors - on one side - appear to be early residents of Lewisburg) There is no book that I know of that describes life in these counties from a Black person's point of view. Since nothing exists that I know of I am constantly on the search for snippets of information from other sources.
I now "mine" every book I can get my hands on about the area. I've found that there will be a few references about the Black citizens of the area in almost every book.
Information about this part of WV and its citizens can be found in unusual places. For instance, the July 1972 issue of the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE contained an issue entitled "Mountain Days, Mountain Voices" by Bryan Hodgson. The article contains a photo of a Black male who is standing in front of "C.D. Hanger Jeweler". The man is not identified by name but his picture is accompanied by the following statement:
"Emblems of patriotism brighten a shop front in Alderson where a citizen savors a moment of quiet after the 4th of July parade. During the days of the underground railroad, freedom bound slaves passed through the mountains of southern Appalachia aided by sympathizers who in 1863 helped make WV a separate state".

I will take the magazine to WV on my next trip to see if anyone can identify the gentleman by name.

Tip: If I were to do a community based project for a larger city/area I would take one enumeration district only. I would start with 1880 and then go backward and forward. I would then start "mining" other sources for information on the listed residents. Obviously, this project is easier when you are looking for a group of folks that only make up a very small part of the community.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

George Washington Haynes


This is a photo of my great-grandfather, George Washington Haynes

Profile:
George Washington Haynes -
The Sinks Grove Colored Cemetery (also known as the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery & the Neff Orchard Road Cemetery) is located in the Second Creek area of Monroe County, WV. My grandfather, William "Hubert Henry" Haynes is buried there as well as his father, George Washington Haynes. I had been told by a genealogist who I had hired that, although records indicated that George was buried at this cemetery, he had no gravestone.
On a visit to WV, two of my aunts and I made our way over to the cemetery which is located on Neff Orchard Road. As expected, I found my grandfather's (Hubert's) grave. Next to his marker my aunt saw the corner of a stone jutting out from under a bush. I picked up a stick and (with some difficulty) moved the rigid leaves of the bush. I saw a few letters of the first name and the entire last name. I realized that we had found my greatgrandfather's grave. It was a low rough boulder with one smooth side on which his name was engraved. It was a headstone that I felt was fitting for a former carpenter and stonemason.
I'm glad that I visited the cemetery to recheck the information that I had received. While my paid genealogist had actually made the effort to visit the cemetery she had not located the stone. It was, actually, very easy to miss. Folks more spiritual than I might say that on my visit my greatgrandfather wanted to be seen.
George Washington Haynes was born in March 1860 at Brushy Ridge, GC to Mansfield and Eliza Haynes. He was the husband of Elizabeth "Lizzie" Payne Haynes Haynes (Lewis). He was the father of 14 children: Mattie, Albert, Gilbert, Hallie, Nola, Cora May, Ethel, Daines, Edna, William "Hubert Henry", the twins Kenneth & Keith, Cleo, & Mary "Berniece".
On the 1880 Census he can be found in GC at age 20, working as a stonemason. The following year, he married Lizzie on 4/28/1881. The wedding was officiated by (the Caucasian Presbyterian) Rev. Samuel Houston at the home of Martha Ann Payne Haynes, the bride's mother. Martha gave permission for the marriage and Lizzie's brother, Albert Payne (aka Albert Haynes) was a witness. George can be found on the 1900 & 1910 census records. He is mentioned in the article HISTORY OF BRUSHY RIDGE (see below) where it says "G.W. Haynes who married Elizabeth Haynes bought a home in South Brushy Ridge about 1884. he was a good (stone) mason working at his trade far and near. They toiled and struggled, built up a nice home and reared a large family".
George was born into slavery and he was probably owned by the Joseph/Henry/George W. Haynes family of Wolf Creek. (Note: Although the book History of MC indicates that William Haynes chastised the enslaved couple who later committed suicide, the Second Creek study (see below) indicates that the slave holder was Joseph Haynes)
George's granddaughter, Eva O. Johnson Peters, stated in an interview with this writier that she always thought of her grandfather as "the Dutchman" as he had straight hair, a fair complexion, & a handlebar mustache. I actually have a picture of my greatgrandfather & in this picture he has what I would call a medium complexion, a handlebar mustache, and the most amazing eyes.
Although he was a stonemason and farmer, his granddaughter, Eva, remembers his carpentry skills. She says that she remembers an outhouse that he built which was "a masterpiece". It had five seats, two high, three low, so that different ages "could go out together". She maintains that the seat tops had hinges so that everything was covered. In the same interview Eva indicated that her grandfather was a big tease. He would, for instance, pretend to be a bear outside of the window.
An earlier interview with Eva, on 7/31/2002, was an attestation to George's abilities as a farmer as Eva indicates that George and Lizzie grew every kind of apple on their land that you can possibly imagine. Eva was first introduced to asparagus at her grandparents house as they had an asparagus patch. They owned a wagon and despite the fact that they had 14 children they had enough produce to be able to take it to Ronceverte to the grocers and sell it. George's wife, Lizzie, was a seamstress at Nickell's Mill & Eva states that she "made everything that the little girls wore except their shoes".
In a 12/6/2002 interview with Eva, (who at the time was 96 years old & living in Wheeling, WV) she indicated that her Granny Lizzie had a (piano or organ) which was close to the front door. There were alot of instruments in the household, mostly banjos and guitars. On summer nights the parents and children would go out on the porch and play all of the songs they knew. They had no formal musical training & played music by ear. Eva indicates that the 14 children were of all colors and all kinds of hair. The twins didn't look alike. They didn't even look like they were brothers.
George Washington Haynes died in 1914. He had been walking on a train trestle when a train approached. He was not able to get to the end in time and was either crushed or thrown into the river.
More information about George Washington Haynes can be found at:
-- Greenbrier County Deed Book (? Vol 61)
-- WV Death Certificate # 8903 (as the father of the decedent, Kenneth A. Haynes - Raleigh 1937)
-- the booklet MC CEMETERIES - NEFF ORCHARD ROAD (BLACK)
-- MC Death Book
-- Marriage Certificate, permission slip, & witness slip can be found in Black Residents of GC ... (see below)

More information about the area can be found in the Second Creek Study which is a study for folks attempting to make the Second Creek area an historical district. Included in this historical district would be the Sinks Grove Colored Cemetery which is the final resting place of a number of individuals who were formerly enslaved.

An idea for future research for this type of situation would be to obtain the death certificate. Also a search should be made to see if there are any newspapers describing George's accidental death.

One family has continuously maintained this Cemetery with some monetary contributions from other families & local churches.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Annie Matthews Perkins


Profile:
Annie Matthews Perkins
There is a headstone at the Old Colored Cemetery in Lewisburg that has a photograph of the decedent affixed to the face of the stone. Placing a photograph on headstones appears to be a very common practice in some areas of Louisiana. For instance, there is a Black cemetery in Eunice, Louisiana where almost every headstone bears a picture. It really adds something, for me, when I see the images of the deceased and can attach a face to a name.
A couple of years ago a mentally ill woman from the New Orleans area was discovered in the possession of a great many of these headstone photographs. The local authorities confiscated her treasure and had to secure a large room in order to put the photos on display so that families could come and reclaim them. Hopefully many of these objects were placed back onto graves where they belonged.
I've only seen one photo on a headstone in WV and it is affixed to the grave of Annie Matthews Perkins. The photo reveals a pretty young girl whose complexion is very fair and who has dark hair and dark eyes.
Annie Matthews Perkins was the daughter of William M. & Adonia Avery Perkins. Her death certificate (WV DC # 12685) reveals that she died on 10/28/1928 in Fayette County when she was 19 years old. The certificate indicates that her usual residence was Lewisburg and that her death occurred when a C & O Railroad train struck the car in which she was riding at the Montgomery crossing (in Fayette). In a phone conversation/interview with my aunt (who is now about 84 years old) she indicated that Annie was traveling with three friends to visit another friend who was away at school & that they were struck by a train and they were all killed. The accident occurred at a time when my aunt would have been 6 or 7 years old. She remembers seeing the four caskets and says that it was all very sad. Accompanying the photograph is an inscription which reads "Rock of Ages".
Annie Matthews Perkins is a member of the Perkins clan, as was the aforementioned Annie Sidney Jackson Matthews. I'm not sure how they are connected/related. The Perkins family genealogist is a Mrs. Jarrett and her contact information can be obtained from the WV Division of Culture and History (where she has placed her work on exhibit). An article appeared in the Charleston paper some years ago about Ms. Jarrett and her work.
As to the value of visiting cemeteries, my trip to the Old Colored Cemetery resulted in a treasured photo.
More information about Annie Matthews Perkins can be found:
-- in a later post on this blog
-- at The Perkins Family History which contains the photo (see below)
-- in Black Residents of GC ... which contains a photo of the headstone (see below)
-- by contacting the WV Division of Culture and History regarding the work of Ms. Jarrett

Samuel "Oscar" Johnson

This is a photo of Samuel "Oscar" Johnson, his wife, Ethel Celina Haynes Johnson, and their daughter Eva Otelia Johnson Peters.


Profile:
Samuel "Oscar" Johnson
One of my favorite tasks (when I visit WV) is to visit the historic Black cemeteries. I take photos of the headstones & I include the photos in my work. I've had a few strange looks while taking the photos to be recopied at the local Office Depot. It does seem strange to find myself trampling through cemeteries, looking out for snakes, and snapping photos of graves. However, I've had at least one incident occur which made me realize that this aspect (the "gravestone aspect") of recording our history is very important. The incident was that on my first visit "Oscar"'s stone was standing (though leaning), the next time it was cracked on the ground, the next time is was covered by leaves and I had to use the tip of my shoe to unearth it, and the next time it was gone (buried too deep for me to get to it). (In 2010 I learned from a descendant that it is back up).
One drawback to exploring through old cemeteries is that I'm a city dweller and not sure about the habits of snakes. A friend of mine recently gave me a pair of Chippewa snake boots and that will, undoubtably, help when I go for my next visit.
Another drawback of spending do much time in cemeteries is that my family in WV would like to see more of me and, it is true, I should spend more time with my "alive" relatives. I had been in Lewisburg for about four days on my second visit there in 2002 when I finally saw my cousin Dottie. I hadn't seen her even though Lewisburg is a very small town. She confronted me with this fact by saying "I told Ma that I was going to have to go and lie down in the cemetery because that would probably be the only way I'd ever get to see you!!". She was half correct.

On the visit in 2002 I took a photo of the gravesite of "Oscar" Johnson. He is buried at the Old Colored Cemetery and his grave is on the corner which is furthest away from Carnegie Hall & a little back from the angle of the intersection. (I edited the above on 1/11/2011 but this is what I had originally written: "My 2002 photo depicted a headstone which is precariously leaning backwards but still quite a bit off of the ground. By 2005, the stone was laying on the ground, broken in two pieces, and covered with grass clippings and soil. I didn't have a camera on this trip (as I had made my way to WV while running from a major storm) nor did I have a trowel or anything to scrape the debris away from the grave. I tried to remove as much debris as I could with the tip of my shoe. I imagine that it will be only a matter of years before the pieces of stone are completely buried underground. Perhaps someone will get some money together for a cemetery reclamation program. I have a picture though, and it has been donated to the various WV archives (and can be found in Black Residents of GC ...)" end of old quote).

Samuel "Oscar" Johnson was the son of Emma Braddock Johnson Cooley. He was the half brother of Myrtle, Henry, Herbert, & Marion Cooley and Ada Virginia Cooley Ellis. He was the husband of Ethel Celina Haynes (who he married in 1906 when he was 21 and she was 19). He was the father of Eva & Lillian Johnson. His daughter Eva indicated (in an 8/7/2002 interview) that her father was a coal miner & she assumed that he died of the Black Lung. Samuel "Oscar" Johnson is reputed to be a descendant of General Edward Braddock (British Commander in the French & Indian War who commanded both George Washington & Daniel Boone). (Note: There was a Black Samuel Johnson from Greenbrier County who was an aide to George Washington & this Samuel Johnson could have been an ancestor of Samuel Oscar Johnson but I have yet to establish the connection).
Information on Samuel "Oscar" Johnson can be found:
-- in the Intelligencer, which is the newspaper for Wheeling, WV, see 12/20/2003 for the obituary of his daughter Eva Othelia Peters.
-- in Black Residents of GC ... (with a photo of Samuel, his wife Ethel, and his daughter Eva)
--death certificate which can be obtained from the WV Division of Culture and History (this dc is not on the website since their dc's for GC start in 1914 & he died in 1910).

Another plus in cemetery searches is finding the inscriptions on the graves. "She was too lovely, too fair to live in this life ...."
Grave placements can raise or answer questions. For instance, the aforementioned (see previous post) aunt and uncle of Eliza Ann Littleton Davis share the same headstone. My impression is that they were brother and sister. Their being buried together, however, begs the question of whether they were actually husband and wife.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Eliza Ann Littleton - Abram Ellis - John Davis & marriage bonds available at the Greenbrier Historical Society

The Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) maintains a helpful resource for researchers in the form of MARRIAGE BONDS. These bonds are available for $4 each.

I ordered a marriage bond for a collateral of one of my ancestors & found a great deal of information in two sheets of paper. My greatgreatgrandmother was named Dora Littleton. There was a very small cluster of Littleton's in GC. (not more than 10 - 15). I knew that the matriarch and patriarch of this entire clan were Cook and Maria Littleton. However, I could not figure out the relationships between the various remaining Littletons despite having found them on a few early GC censuses (1870 & 1880). The marriage bond advised that Eliza Ann Littleton was the niece of Mary Ann Littleton Hughes & James Littleton. It was in the form of two affidavits. In the first affidavit the affiant was Mary Ann Hughes who swore that Eliza had never been "legally married to Abram Ellis or anyone else" & that there was "no reason why" ... she should not be issued a license to marry John Davis. In the second affidavit the affiant was James Littleton and he swore that he was the uncle of Eliza & that she had never been married to Abram Ellis and she should be free to marry John Davis.
The GHS published the names of the subjects of all of their marriage bonds in Appalachian Springs (Volume 10, No 3, 2004) & I believe this information (the list) can also be obtained via the net. (I'll try to give a link in a future housekeeping note)
Eliza Ann Littleton (possibly Ellis) Davis was also known as Eliza Ann Ellis and Elizabeth/Liza Davis. She was the wife of John "Jack" Davis & as I mentioned above she was the niece of Mary Ann Littleton Hughes and James Littleton. She was the mother of Mary Ellis. She was born in 1846 in GC (at a time when it was still the State of Virginia). She appears on the 1870 census as "Eliza Ellis" a BF, age 35, keeping house, and enumerated with Andrew Ellis. (His name is really Abram Ellis although he is enumerated as Andrew). John "Jack" William Davis married Eliza on 9/29/1876 (See the Greenbrier County marriage ledger maintained by the GC County Clerk). At the time of this marriage she was 30 y.o. & Jack was 54 y.o. (Larry Shuck records her marriage in his Marriage Records, pages 105 && 598 although he has her marrying an M. Davis from Augusta and then a John William Davis, age 54). Eliza shows up in the 1880 census in Lewisburg (in town) as a BF, age 45, with Jack Davis (55). Both of her parents are listed as having been born in Virginia. Also in the household is the Ellis family: Mary (19), Charles (16), Willie A. (4), & a child not yet named born 3/1880. The Ellis children appear to be Eliza's children as Eliza is the mother of Mary. (We know Eliza is the mother of Mary Ellis b/c she shows up on Mary's death certificate - See WV Death Certificate # 15537, GC, 1927. On the death certificate she is listed as Liza Davis). In 1900, Eliza is listed as a 50 year old Black Female (BF), born in Virginia, married for 30 years to Jack Davis. She is reported as having 3 children with 3 still living . In 1900 she is enumerated as Elizabeth. I do not yet have death information on Eliza Ann Littleton (Ellis) Davis though I am sure her death is registered in the Greenbrier County death records which are located in the Clerk's office in the courthouse. Note that there is also an Elizabeth Davis on the 1870 census in Greenbrier County at the Fort Springs District who is a Black female keeping house with John Davis. This begs the question as to whether she was between households at the time b/c she is enumerated twice in 1870, both with Abram Ellis and John Davis.
Eliza's daughter, Mary, appears to have been married but she retained the name Ellis. She had a son named Luther Ellis. In the 1880 census she is indicated as unacknowledged/illegitimate (actually they used another word which I'm not inclined to use here). She is listed as the stepdaughter of Jack Davis & the daughter of Eliza. Her death certificate (WV DC # 15537) indicates that she died on 12/19/1927 at 70years 2months 18days (70y2m18d). She was a widow at the time of her death. She is listed as a housewife and the daughter of Abe Ellis of GC & Liza Davis of GC. The informant was her son, Luther.
Eliza's son Charlie Ellis married a woman named Elizabeth around 1899. They had at least 4 children - Harry A., Charles W., Howard, and an infant born in/around 1910. Charles' wife Elizabeth later married John Campbell and her children became his stepchildren (see 1920 census entry for John Campbell).
I don't have further information on the female child Willie A. Ellis who was enumerated with Eliza and Jack Davis in 1880.
So, another way to research in this area is to locate marriage bonds. The marriage bonds appear to be information (in the form of affidavits) given at the time of the marriage to satisfy a marriage requirement. In this case it would have been to show that Eliza was free from any impediments of marriage.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Franklin Winfield Page - Enslaved man who "broke" the horse Traveller

Profile:
Franklin Winfield Page
Yet another important figure in Greenbrier County history is Frank Page. He was born on 11/2/1845 and died on 11/22/1901 or 1908. He is recognized as being the man who "broke" a horse named the Big Gray/Jeff Davis. The Big Gray's/Jeff Davis' name was later changed to "Traveller" when he was purchased by General Robert E. Lee. Traveller became a very famous horse. He outlived General Lee and was in his funeral procession.
Frank Page was married to (1) Nancy Gardner (2) Sarah Freeman & (3) Julia Truss. In the 1870 census he gives his occupation as "glove maker". In 1880 he is working on a farm. At the end of his life he was a custodian for the school system.
He can also be found in:
-- West Virginia Death Certificate (DC) # 19836 as the father of Harriet Olive Page.
-- http://www.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/wv/greenbrier.history
-- the Perkins Family History (which contains a photograph)
-- the Journal of the GHS, Vol 7, #5, 2003 & Vol 7, #6, 2004, p. 13 & 14 (A Colt Named Jeff Davis) & p. 29 (Frank Winfield Page)
-- the book CIVIL WAR IN GREENBRIER COUNTY by Tim McKinney
-- Confederate Veteran Magazine (1909), Vol 15, p. 548 &
-- Dr. Montgomery's papers at the GHS

My greatgrandmother was Mary Alice Kelly Knight. Her brother was Samuel Kelly. Samuel Kelly married the daughter of Frank Page. Some of my information about him was gained from
conversations/interviews with his granddaughter, Harriet Olive Kelly Miller Williams (my grandmother's first cousin, who is now deceased). It was this granddaughter who called the horse the "Big Grey".

Sarah Freeman Page was the second wife of Franklin Winfield Page. She was born on 10/9/1859 and she died on 10/14/1894. She was the daughter of James & Malinda Freeman. She is buried at the Old Colored Cemetery in Lewisburg. A picture of her can be found in the Perkins Family History. She appears as the mother of the decedent, Harriet Olive Page, on WV Death Certificate # 19836.

Richard "Dick" Pointer


Profile:
Richard "Dick" Pointer
In a previous post I indicated that the Old Colored Cemetery in Lewisburg, Greenbrier County (GC) is now called the Dick Pointer Cemetery.
Dick Pointer is probably Greenbrier County's most famous Black citizen (maybe the most famous citizen Black or Caucasian). However, even though alot is written about the event that made him famous, there is not alot of information to be had about the man himself.
Dick Pointer, an enslaved man, was emancipated due to his bravery against Native Americans at Fort Donnally in GC in 1778. There are many published reports of what he did but, essentially, the story is that he was able to alert the small number of men in his fort to an impending attack by Native Americans.
Information about this event can be found at:
--Introduction to the History of the Colony and Ancient Dominion of Virginia - Appendix in the Southern Literary Messenger, Vol 14, Issue 1, pages 17-26, Richmond
-- http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvgreenb/history/history2.htm
-- The Historical booklet of Greenbrier County's 60th Anniversary 1778-1938 (published in 1938)
-- http://www.greenbrierwv.com/history.htm - An article entitled "A Frontier Hero & Later Freed Slave"
-- The Allegheney Frontier: West Virginia Beginnings 1730 - 1830 by Otis K. Rice
-- Historic Cemeteries of Lewisburg - a pamphlet published by the Lewisburg Visitors Center
-- Journal of the GHS - Vol 7, # 2, 1993, page 16 - an article by Ancella Radford Bickley entitled "Searching for the Historical Dick Pointer" as well as another article by Joan C. Browing entitled "The "Dick Pointer" gun".
-- Journal of the GHS, Vol 7, #5, 2003, p. 90, an article by M.J. Cabell entitled "Historical Sketch of Lewisburg, WV, - "Through the Looking Glass". "
-- Journal of the GHS, Vol 4, # 1, 1981, p. 61
-- History of GC by Otis K. Rice, pages 71 & 72
-- GC Pioneers and Their Homes, p. 227
-- http://wvculture.org/history/settlement/fortdonnally01.html which states "and when he died a natural death was buried in the colored graveyard in Lewisburg with all the honors of war - volley after volley was fired into his grave in token of the signal service he had rendered".
As to the man himself, we know that he died in 1827 and is buried at the Old Colored Cemetery. We know nothing of any wife. It is now thought that he had two sons. The existence of one of the sons , Henry, was recently (2006) the subject of an Appalachian Springs article (and see the actual court records which are housed at the GHS). A book by a gentleman named Laidley indicates that another son was captured and raised by Native Americans. I believe that this son was freed for some time but went back to live with the Native Americans and acquired rank with the tribe. (I do not have a cite for this and have not personally reviewed the book or article)
Dick Pointer was emancipated in 1801 & the emancipation papers can be found in the GC Deed Book # 2 at page 400.

Diary of (Caucasian) Rev. Samuel Houston wherein he mentions Black members of his church

Resources/Tip:
Look for the diaries of local Caucasian residents. For instance, I found excerpts from the diary of Rev. Samuel Houston that gave me an idea of what life in 1861 may have been like for my family.
My greatgrandmother and greatgrandfather were married by the Rev. Samuel Houston (Presbyterian) in Monroe County in 1880. Rev. Houston's picture appears in the book HISTORY OF MONROE COUNTY by Oren F. Morton (1916). One chapter of the History of MC contains some 1860 - 1864 excerpts from Rev. Houston's diary - "A War Diary". In his diary he gives some information about what life was like in Union, MC in general and also what was going on with the enslaved residents. He speaks of "an intended insurrection on the part of the Negroes" & the fact that "free Negroes" were "enlisting in the Southern army".
My favorite entry, however, was posted on May 22, 1861. He writes "Have heard that the Negroes express a strong dislike for the sermon I lately preached, proving that the war on our side, being defensive, is a just one". I imagine that my greatgreatgrandparents & other relatives were a part of his congregation and I'm glad the Black members of the congregation let their feelings be known.
On June 29, 1861 he reports that "Negro leader at Lewisburg hung yesterday". (I have not yet looked for this newspaper article - probably held by the GHS or the WV Div of Culture) On June 30, 1862 he reports that "the enemy" offered "Negroes" from $10-$20 per month to leave the area and that "many Negroes refused to go". Since my relatives appear to have been in the area at that time and were still there in the early 1920's they were apparently among the folks who refused to leave.
In other chapters of this book Mr. Morten opines that the first Black and the first Caucasian in the area arrived about the same time (pages 185, 186); that in 1795 a white woman was ordered before the court for having a mulatto child (p. 75); that the Negro population was never very large in MC (p. 185); that master and hand worked side by side and equally (page 185); that Blacks, whether field or house hand, looked down on poor whites (page 186); that field hands lived in huts & suffered during the winter (page 186); & that in MC freeing of enslaved individuals by will was rather common (page 186).
Another chapter of the book is entitled "The Colored Element". In this chapter he lists a number of citizens by name, for instance "William Haynes chastised a man and his wife for some petty stealing. Because of their racial belief that after death one passes to some other land and lives more happily, they thought to go to Africa by suicide. Accordingly, they committed suicide in a cave and they were buried there". This incident is recounted in a slightly different way in the Second Creek Survey recently finished (?2005) which aims to promote the Second Creek area as an historic district. The unfortunate couple would have been related to me by blood or ownership as my family are Haynes from this very same area of Monroe County.

Charles Anderson

Profile:
Charles Anderson is one of the free inhabitants who appears on the 1850 Greenbrier County census. (See previous post re: early census records) In 1850 he is listed as a Black man, age 35. One year earlier he registered as a free inhabitant at the Greenbrier County Courthouse. He gave his age as 24. The Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) in Lewisburg, WV maintains the Registry of Free People of Color. They have published the contents of the Registry in various editions of their newsletter Appalachian Springs. (for instance see AS, 6/2002) The registry indicates that Charles Anderson was 6 feet tall with a dark complexion. Even though the ages are off I am pretty sure that this is the same person. The population of GC was very small (still is) & the population of free inhabitants was even smaller. I've reviewed every GC source that I know of for free inhabitants. The two main sources that I know of would be: (1) Census Records & (2) Registry entries. Also, some free inhabitants were named in Helen Stinson's book of court records (see entry below) & some may have been named in Larry Shuck's book of court records. For more information about Charles Anderson and for his full "description" see the Appalachian Springs Newsletter of the GHS, June 2002.
The Greenbrier Historical Society publishes a journal (Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society) and a newsletter (Appalachian Springs). They also have a website though, unfortunately, they do not have a section/tab of their website that deals with African American history & genealogy.
HOUSEKEEPING:
In the previous post I wasn't sure if the brother of Thomas Matthews, named Mason Matthews, had been a W.V. Governor. I'm still not sure. However, there was a Governor named Henry Mason Matthews from Frankford, WV who was born in 1834 and died in 1884 & this is the appropriate time period. There was also a Mason Matthews who was a delegate to the Democratic National Committee.

Anne Sidney Jackson Matthews Wade

Profile:
Anne Sidney Jackson Matthews Wade:
Another way to find Black residents of WV is to review all of the reported WV court cases.
An example of one such court case is THOMAS MATTHEWS v. JOSHUA WADE ET UX, Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, January Term, 1868.
This court case involved a child named Anne Sidney (b. 9/10/1861). After emancipation, Anne's grandmother petitioned the court for custody of Anne. Anne, her mother Sidney, and the grandmother had all been enslaved by Thomas Matthews of Greenbrier County. Thomas Matthews and his wife had kept Anne following emancipation and wanted to continue to keep her. Anne was age 6 at the time of the filing of the petition. The Matthews claimed that Anne's mother, Sidney, had, on her death bed, asked them to raise the child. The grandmother maintained that under the laws of the State (& following emancipation) the disposition of the child was with the mother & after the death of the mother it passed to the grandmother. The lower court agreed with the grandmother and granted her custody of the child. The former slave owner, Thomas Matthews, brought the case to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court found that Anne's mother died when Anne was two months old and at a time when the mother, the child, & the grandmother were enslaved by the Matthews. The court found that the mother, on her deathbed had asked the Matthews to take care of her child. They found that the grandmother left the area & did not return until 1866 (when the child was five years old). They opined that the Matthews had raised Anne as if she were their own. The child, the court said, was "highly intelligent and good looking". They felt that although the grandmother was an industrious and hard working woman who was a member in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church (and married to a man of good moral character who owned a wagon and two horses and some other property) she was not able to raise the child in the manner in which the Matthews would raise her. The grandmother and her new husband, the court said, were "not as capable of providing for her physical wants or moral or intellectual education as (the former enslaver, Matthews and his wife)". The Supreme Court awarded the custody of the child to the Matthews.
Note that Thomas Matthews was a banker and the brother of Mason Matthews (who I believe was the Governor of WV at one time - I'll check and report further in a future "housekeeping" note).
In the 1860 census Thomas Matthews is reported as enslaving five individuals (2 males and 3 females).
I tried to find out what happened to Anne following this court case and discovered that she was not listed with the Matthews family on the 1870 census for Greenbrier County (GC). I haven't found her yet in the 1870 census. However, I did find her in the 1880 WV census.
By1880 Anne had rejoined her grandmother Mary "Polly" Jackson Wade. She is listed in the household of Joshua Wade (Polly's husband) who resided in Kanawha County in the city of Charleston. Anne is listed as a mulatto female, age 19, born in WV. At this time Anne was working as a teacher. She is designated as the granddaughter of Joshua and Mary (Polly) Wade. I intend to do further research to find out if Anne ever married and when & where she died. I could not find her in the WV Death records which are available on the internet via the WV Division of Culture and History site.
Note that there is no Caucasian Thomas Matthews in the 1880 census. He would have been 74 years old and he may have died by the time of this census.
In the PERKINS FAMILY HISTORY (see below), Anne is referred to as Annie Matthews, daughter of Sidney. The Perkins/Matthews connection and their presence in WV is the subject of a number of documents/articles etc. held by the WV Division of Culture and History. A couple of the descendants of that family are/were very active researchers/historians and the WV Division of Culture and History can direct interested persons to these descendants. A member of my family married into that family. More information on the family can also be found in BLACK RESIDENTS OF GREENBRIER ... (see below). Also see http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvgreenb/aa/afriamer.htm & click onto the tab for the court case.
Reading court decisions is helpful not only for finding names of WV citizens but also to discover a little bit about what life may have been like for residents of the area.

In line with this there are two books about early Greenbrier County court records. One is written by Helen Stinson & the other is by Larry Shuck. Both are available at the GHS (see below).

Resources (continued)


HOUSEKEEPING:
In an earlier post I mentioned the WV Gen Web pages but did not give an adress. The WV Gen Web page is http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvgenweb/
This page will give you an option to visit any one of the WV counties.
The Greenbrier County address is: http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvgreenb
The African American Resource Page for Greenbrier County is:
http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvgreenb/aa/afriamer.htm

For some ideas of what early Black Greenbrier County residents "did for a living" go to the AA Resource page and click onto Occupations of Early Black Residents.

Cemetery Books

Resources:

There are a number of published cemetery books for the area:
Greenbrier County Cemetery books are available for the Lewisburg District, the Blue Sulphur Springs District, the White Sulphur Springs District, & the Williamsburg District. These books are available from the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) (see address & phone number below).
A book entitled CEMETERIES OF MONROE COUNTY can be obtained from the Monroe County (MC) Historical Society (see address below).
A book entitled SUMMERS COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY CEMETERY BOOK can be obtained from the Summers County Historical Society (see address below).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Census Records


Photo: On the road from Lewisburg to Charleston, WV.
EARLY CENSUS RECORDS FOR GREENBRIER, MONROE, POCAHONTAS, AND SUMMERS COUNTIES, WEST VIRGINIA:

1810 Census - GC records are missing & were probably destroyed during the war of 1812; MC census records exist and may contain the names of Free Inhabitants though the number would be very small. PC records do not exist nor do SC records as Summers County was not created until 1871. Note that enslaved individuals are not named in these census records but are shown in numbers held & by sex & age range.

1820 Census - GC, MC, & PC census records exist. Free Inhabitants are not listed by name. I could only find one name in GC. In MC, there was one person (Polly Hues) who was listed in the category of "All other persons except Indians not taxed". Note that enslaved individuals are not named but are shown in numbers held & by sex & age range.

1830 Census - GC, MC, & PC census records exist. Most of the free inhabitants are not listed by name as they are grouped with the Caucasian head of household. In GC, approximately 7 households were found with heads of households who were Free Inhabitants. Note that enslaved individuals are not named but are shown in numbers held & by sex & age range.

1840 Census - GC, MC, & PC census records exist. Note that enslaved individuals are not named but are shown in numbers held & by sex & age range.

1850 Census - GC, MC, & PC census records exist. Note that enslaved individuals are not named but are shown in numbers held & by sex & age range.

In his dissertation entitled THE NEGRO IN GREENBRIER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA, the writer, Earl Charles (see post below) indicates that in 1850 there were 75 males & 81 females enslaved in GC.

1860 Census - GC, MC, & PC census records exist. Note that enslaved individuals are not named but are shown in numbers held & by sex & age range.

For the names of Free Inhabitants gleaned from these early census records go to the WV GenWeb site for Greenbrier County, WV. Click onto the African American Research tab & then the Free Inhabitants tab.

Also see FREE NEGRO OWNERS OF SLAVES IN THE UNITED STATES IN 1830 by Carter G. Woodson, Negro University Press, 1968. (Although there isn't much about WV)

More resources

Photo: Maple Street, Lewisburg, Greenbrier
County, West Virginia
(predominantly African American neighborhood)

More resources:

Larry Shuck published a number of books following his review of various Greenbrier County, West Virginia (GC WV) records. These include:
Greenbrier County, West Virginia Birth Records - 1853-1899 (in two volumes)
Greenbrier County, West Virginia Marriages - 1782 - 1900
Greenbrier County, West Virginia Deaths Records 1853 - 1901 &
Greenbrier County Records (these are very early court records - late 1790's onward).

In his work, most Black residents are designated as "person(s) of color". However, some entries do not have this designation following the name(s).

Tip: If you see your ancestor's name but there is an incorrect racial designation do not take that to mean that it is not your ancestor. For instance, my greatgreatgrandmother and her husband (who were married in 1893) are not listed as persons of color in Shuck's Marriage Records or in the actual court records (which I personally reviewed). However, the officiant, Rev. Edward Saunders, was known to me to be a person of color. Because the officiant was Black I knew that these were my ancestors and not a Caucasian couple with the same names. I think it is unlikely that a Black minister would have married a Caucasian couple in WV in 1893.

I purchased my copies of Shuck's books from the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS). The books are published by Iberian Publishing Company of Athens, Georgia. I believe they can also be ordered on the net via the WV GenWeb site. I think there are people on the WV Genweb site who will do look-ups from Shuck's books.

Mildred P. Carter Bess

In the photo, Mildred Bess is on the far right (seated on the ground).
Profile:
Mildred P. Carter Bess was born in August 1895 to Ed and Willie Carter. For most, if not all, of her life she lived in the Lewisburg District of Greenbrier County. She appears on the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses at Lewisburg, GC. She was the wife of Forrest Bess. She was a member of the John Wesley Methodist Church (and she donated to the church at least one of the two pictures that are placed on each side of the altar). She died in 1985 and she is buried at the Lewisburg Cemetery. (There are two historically Black cemeteries in Lewisburg, GC. The oldest is the Old Colored Cemetery which is now known as the Dick Pointer Cemetery. This cemetery is in the middle of town near Carnegie Hall. The other is the Lewisburg Cemetery. This cemetery is a short distance from the center of town)
Mildred Bess was undoubtably one of Lewisburg's more famous citizens as she was a competent psychic/clarivoyant/fortune teller.
Information about the life of Mildred Carter Bess can be found:
(1) in the W.V. Division of Culture and History site in the form of her husband's death certificate (WV Death Certificate # 11071)
(2) in the following issues of the Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS)
-- Vol 2, # 1, page 33
-- Vol 7, # 3, 2001, pages 58 & 59
-- Vol 7, # 5, 2003, p. 93
(3) in the papers of Dr. Montgomery (which are housed at the GHS)
(4) in BLACK RESIDENTS OF GREENBRIER, MONROE, POCAHONTAS AND SUMMERS COUNTIES by Carol Haynes (which can be found at the GHS at Lewisburg, W.V. Division of Culture and History at Charleston, Amistad in New Orleans, & Drain Jordan Library, W.V. State University)
(5) in the Perkins Family History (which can be obtained from the GHS)

June 22, 2006
Suggested Reading:
---A HISTORY OF BRUSHY RIDGE (COLORED) by Frank U.G. Peck (1924) can be found at
http://www.wvculture.org/history/agrext/brushyrg.html
---THE NEGRO IN GREENBRIER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA - A SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND EDUCATIONAL STUDY by Edward C. Clay (1946). This was his thesis submitted to the faculty of the Division of Graduate Studies of Virginia State College. This thesis can be found at Johnson Memorial Library, Virginia State College & the Greenbrier Historical Society (GHS) at Lewisburg, WV.
---AFRICAN AMERICAN RESIDENTS OF POCAHONTAS COUNTY by William O. Lindsey is available through the Allegheny Regional Family History Society.
---DEATHS IN THE WEST VIRGINIA COLORED TUBERCULOSIS SANITARIUM AT DENMAR- HTTP://WWW.ROOTSWEB.COM/~WVGREENB/AA/AFRIAMER.HTM
(It can also be found on the WV Divison of Culture site)
---PACK SLAVES OF UPPER NEW RIVER WEST VIRGINIA & THEIR FAMILIES (2002) by Dr. John F. Vallentine which can be ordered from Dr. Vallentine or found at the GHS.
---HISTORIC LEWISBURG'S 64 ORIGINAL LOTS 1782 - 2001 by James Talbert which can be ordered from the GHS.
---COAL, CLASS, AND COLOR - BLACKS IN SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA 1915-1932 by Joe William Trotter, University of Illinois Press (can be found at the public library or obtained through inter-library loan)
---AFRICAN AMERICAN RECORDS IN GREENBRIER COUNTY - BIRTH, DEATHS, WILLS, & DEEDS by Mary F. Bodemuller can be ordered from the GHS.
also
I recently heard that a new book will be coming out soon called TO BE BLACK IN FAYETTE & it will be published by/available from the Fayette County Historical Society.
Suggested videos:
---BERTHA'S STORY - PAINFUL RECOLLECTIONS - produced and directed by Gail Jackson Fitzgerald (Singletone Productions)
Interesting internet sites:
There are 114 photographs of WV African Americans on the WV Culture & History site
http://www.wvculture.org/

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Photo: A street scene from Lewisburg, Greenbrier County, West Virginia.











June 21, 2006

Helpful contacts:
--West Virginia Division of Culture and History at 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV, 25305-0300 (304) 558-0220, http://www.wvculture.org/
--Greenbrier Historical Society, 301 W. Washington Street, Lewisburg, WV 24901, (304) 645-3398, http://www.greenbrierhistorical.org/
--Monroe County Historical Society, P.O. Box 465, Union, WV, 24983
--Allegheny Regional Family History Society, P.O. Box 1804, Elkin, WV http://www.swcp.com/~dhickman/arfhs.html
--Monroe County Court House, County Clerk, Union, WV, (304) 772-3096
--Monroe County Library, P.O. Box 558, Union WV 24983 (or Route 219, Union, WV 24933), (304) 772-3038, fax (304) 772-4052
--Pocahontas County Historical Society, 810 Second Avenue, Marlinton, WV, 24954, (304) 799-6659 (summer only), (304) 799-4973 (all year)
--Summers County Historical Society, P.O. Box 295, Hinton, WV
--Summers County Public Library - Hinton, (304) 466-4490
--White Sulphur Springs Public Library (Greenbrier County), 203 W. Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986 (304) 536-3801 http://www.raleigh.lib.wv.us/greenbrier/whtsul
--Williamsburg District Historical Foundation - Williamsburg Museum, Williamsburg, WV, (304) 645-2262, wdhf144@hotmail.com
--West Virginia State University - WV College at Institute, Drain Jordan Library, Archives Department, P.O. Box 1002, Institute, WV 25112-1002 (304) 766-3218

June 20, 2006
About ten years ago I started to look for the identity of my greatgrandparents in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. I immediately hit a brick wall. Not only could I not find my greatgrandparents, I couldn't even find my grandparents.
I knew that they were all from the area and I was puzzled by my inability to find them. I branched out to neighboring counties and found my father's paternal grandparents in Monroe County. My grandfather was known by various names & showed up as a child with my father's name though I had always known him by his middle name. I knew it was the correct family because of the names of his 13 brothers and sisters.
My maternal grandparents were harder to find. However, an archivist at the WV Division of Culture and History located my grandmother for a $10.00 fee*. My grandmother had been difficult to find as I had also known her by her middle name"Jane" and she was registered in her first name "Dora", a name that I had never heard **.
Somewhere along the line I decided that if I simply wrote down the names of every black/mulatto/native american that I could find in the area, then, by the process of elimination, I would locate my ancestors.
Every year I would send a copy of my draft notes to a historical society or museum. The first year I sent one tiny section consisting of, at most, forty pages to the Greenbrier Historical Society in Lewisburg and to the W.V. Division of Culture and History in Charleston. Now, there are 27 sections. Various versions of the notes are housed at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, the Greenbrier Historical Society, the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans, & WV State University in Institute, WV. Additionally, I assisted some of the "WV genweb" pages with their Black Residents sections. My notes are essentially an index of people who I found and the places where I found them.
I now feel that it might be of some help to folks who had ancestors in southeastern West Virginia to share some tips and information via a blog.
A disclaimer is necessary: I am not a genealogist ***. After ten years, however, I've learned to find some information in this area of the country. Because I'm not a genealogist I probably didn't adhere to a lot of "genealogical rules". I attempted to make my notes user-friendly. For instance names that sound alike are grouped together (e.g. the names "Lewis & Louis" are found together, as are "Payne, Pain, Pane, & Paine", and "Shovler, Shoveler, Shuffler, Shoffler"). Another disclaimer: Everything should be rechecked because mistakes can be made in typing or reading/interpreting the information****.

* Thank you Greg Carroll!
** I realized later that children were often named for an elder who was still living in the family home so they were called by their middle names (e.g. William Hubert would be called "Hubert")or a nickname, "Sissie", for instance.
*** I don't think that there is a license for this or a degree but I wouldn't hold myself out as one.
**** For instance, early on I read the name "Mepsenberg" as Mepsenberg. Later I learned that "ps" means plural s so the name is MeSSenberg.