Saturday, July 30, 2011

L. Haynes

This photo only says "L. Haynes" so I can't identify her further. I have been working for the last 24 hours to get my Haynes section (Part 9 of 30 parts) to the Greenbrier Historical Society and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Since this Part is about my own family - and since I have so many photos - it seems that it is taking me forever to get it finished. The good thing is that I had neglected my work for so long and this has gotten me invigorated and interested again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Elvira Hughes / Elvira Huse

Elvira Hughes was born in 1858 in (?Rader's Valley - near Williamsburg) Greenbrier County (GC). She is the daughter or granddaughter of Mary Ann Hughes. She appears as a 10 year old in the 1870 census as "Evaline Hues". In 1880 she is 22y, house help, niece of John Littleton. She is single. In 1900 she is in the Williamsburg District of GC. This census gives her birthdate as 12/1859. She is 40, single, head of household, a farmer. She has had 3 children & all are still living. (Louis - 22; Ray -20; and Annie 15). Also in the household are her ?nephews/cousins - Samuel Kelly (11); Randolph Kelly ( ); and her mother/grandmother Mary A. Huse (age unknown). In this census she is enumerated as Elvira P. She is listed in the GC Deed Book, 44, page 41 regarding real estate in GC. "northern slope of Brushy Ridge adjoining lands of Bobbitt, Brown and Fulwider, about 35 acres". In the 1910 census she is listed in three places (1) is single, age 51, a laundress, daughter of Mary Ann Hughes; (2) BF, 52, servant for Floyd and Emma Jannett; and (3) White Female, 52, servant for Floyd & Emma Jannet (she was probably living in with the Jannett family and, therefore, they gave her information when they gave theirs - & then she was reported at her own home). I don't have an entry for 1920. In 1930 she is in Allegheney County, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh). She is a Black Female, age 71, b. about 1859 in WV, servant for Emma Reed. Elvira and my greatgreatgrandmother Dora Littleton Spriggs were probably cousins but were raised as sisters. When Dora died, Elvira raised her children, Samuel and Randolph. Elvira's mother, Mary Ann, had been a servant for lawyer/politician/Lt. Governor of Confederate Virginia, Samuel Price. Mary Ann's brother, John Littleton, worked for the Price sisters. The Samuel Price home is near the center of town. I have walked by it a number of times and wish I could go in to see where my ancestor worked.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Joseph Lacy

Joseph Lacy was the husband of Ruth Thomas Lacy. He can be found on the Greenbrier County Register of Marriages in 1874 when he married Ruth Thomas on 3/6/1874. He was 24y. He can be found on the 1880 Census, Greenbrier County, Lewisburg District. He is a Black Male, age 35, shoemaker, with his wife Ruth (30) and with his children John (8), Henry (6), William (4), and with Mary Campbell (25) and Lucy Renick (21) and Charles Renick (infant). He died on 10/31/1895 at 47 years of asthma. He was the father of the decedent William Lewis Lacy (per WV Death Certificate #14269). (WLL died in GC in 1937). William Lacy was the husband of (1)? and then (2) Mary C. Poindexter Lacy. One of his children was Dover Lacy who married Juanita Geneva Haynes. (Juanita appears to have been the daughter of my grandmother Elizabeth's younger brother, James Haynes and his wife Loma Max Moore Haynes). (Juanita and Dover appear to have been the parents of Druscilla Lacy). Dover Lacy is buried at the Neff Orchard Road Cemetery.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gilbert Warner Haynes "Uncle Doc"

Gilbert was the son of George Washington Haynes and Elizabeth Jane Payne Haynes Haynes Lewis of Brushy Ridge (Greenbrier County). He was the 3rd of 14 children. He married (1) Nellie Barbour Haynes and (2) Jennie Ruth Coleman Haynes. He and Nellie had a child named Ernestine Langford Haynes and she married Charles Walker. He was born on 4/30/1889 at Nickell's Mill. He registered for WWI & WWII. He was a barber,violinist, butler.

What "unidentified church" looks like now

I am going to have to go back and find out who sent me this photo (so I can attribute it to that person) but it is what the church in Union looks like now.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Part 1 of 8 (note written in 2004)

I was very excited as I drove into Lewisburg, West Virginia for the first time in April 1999. Although I had heard of the place I'd never really "considered" it before. I had never been told much about its history or about my ancestors who were from there. But now, I was on a mission. For some inexplicable reason I had decided to document my family's past.

My heart jumped when I saw the sign announcing that Lewisburg was only a short distance away. I strangely felt that I was coming home.

Once in town, I stopped to ask for directions at the General Lewis Inn. Instead of asking for the name of the street, the woman in the reception area of the Inn asked me for the family name of the people I was going to see. I said one name and she looked at me as if it didn't register. A few seconds later she said "Are you African American?". When I answered "yes" she said "And what, again are the family names?" I recited a few. She exclaimed "Well one of your cousins works here, I'll go and get her". A few minutes later my young cousin came into the reception area. I hadn't seen her since she was a baby but I recognized her immediately from a high school picture she had sent me a decade ago. We hugged. "Mom's waiting for you" she said.

As I drove down Route 60, I overshot the bridge after which I was supposed to make a turn. I had been looking for a BRIDGE. In New Orleans (where I live) bridges cover large bodies of water, like the Mississippi River. New Orleans is the home of the longest bridge in the world. I didn't notice the wooden structure which crossed over the two lane road.

As I drove down Route 60 I found myself in what seemed like vast farmland. I flagged down a portly, red faced farmer who was driving on a tractor and I asked him if he knew "where Maple Street might be". He said "No" and that all he could tell me was that I was "driving west on 60". Another mile down I decided I was too far out of town. I made a U turn and headed back. This time it was the farmer's turn to flag me down. "Are you looking for a colored lady named Miss Edna?" he asked. "Yes, that's her" I said. He then gave me the exact directions to Maple Street where I eventually found Aunt Edna's home.

Part 2 of 8 (Note written in 2004)

Her house is on a hill and the area overlooks the town of Lewisburg. It seems to be the area where Black folks always lived. It was more than I had expected.

My almost four day stay in Lewisburg yielded a good deal of genealogical information. It also changed my focus from the very specific task of documenting my immediate family to an obsessive and impossible quest to document the names of every Black, Mulatto, or Native American individual who ever lived in Greenbrier, Monroe, Pocahontas, or Summers County.

During my first days in Lewisburg, my grandmother's first cousin, Harriet Olive Kelly Miller Williams (affectionately called "Aunt Harriet") recited what she knew of the family's history at my Aunt Edna's kitchen table. She tied up some loose ends but inspired a myriad of other questions. She shared her beautiful family scrapbook and promised to let me make copies of some of her photos. She seemed delighted to have met a kindred spirit.

Part 3 of 8 (note from 2004)

It is clear to me, from the information shared at that time and from information collected later on, that the Black residents of southeastern West Virginia (including Lewisburg) were intricately involved in the politics and daily life of the area. One had broken the horse that a Confederate General would later ride (Traveller). One had been the domestic servant for the Lieutenant Governor of Confederate Virginia. Another had been co-counsel in the only case (the SHUE case) in which a ghost helped to convict a man of murder. The famous entertainer "Bricktop" was from there as well as the most famous worker in U.S. history "John Henry". The esteemed photographer, James Presley Ball had registered in Lewisburg as a free man of color in 1847. The disputed child of President Thomas Jefferson (who was the oldest child of Sally Hemings and who was known as Thomas Corbin Woodson) lived in the area for a while.

Part 4 of 8 (note written in 2004)

Soon, and because it was such a short stay, an onslaught of "alive" relatives led me away from genealogy and toward the business of present day life. We spent a great deal of time eating at Shoney's but most of our time was spent sitting around Aunt Edna's kitchent table just enjoying each other's company.

Part 5 of 8 (note written in 2004)

By the time of my second trip to Lewisburg in 2002, I had studied the area a bit more. I had gotten the sense that "political correctness" might threaten to erase the "blackness" from the history of the area. I had read a number of articles where an individual who I knew to be Black was reported with no race. I understand this approach but I feel that I need to document the fact of their existence as well as their race. It is a way to say "We were here too". "We have histories too", and "We also have a claim to this beautiful place".

There were Blacks who owned property in downtown Lewisburg. One became a Congressman, another a Bishop, another was a fortune teller. There were two enslaved girls who inherited property from their master. A few were trustees (politicians). There was a lawyer, and there were laundresses, stonemasons, paupers, and persons who were insane. Most were just plain working folk who made their living in the same manner as we do nowadays -- by getting up in the morning and working hard every day.

Part 6 of 8 (note written in 2004)

Aunt Harriet died on the very evening of my second arrival there. Her death brought the gift of a great gathering of Lewisburg folk who shared information, family tales, and more photographs. Before the funeral services were held I was at Walmart's making a number of copies of treasured photos on the promise of their safe return.

Countless times, when I am on the verge of giving up this work, a packet of new information will fall into my lap and inspire me to continue. Other times, I will be surfing on the internet and some intriguing fact of the area's history will just pop up. It's as if the collective energy and spirit of all of the Black residents of the area (and I can admit this because of the SHUE case) have come together to push me forward at the precise moment when I have decided to quit.

Many (still living) individuals have also given me assistance in this project and I am eternally grateful for their input. I am not a genealogist. I am not an historian. I had no academic approach or system to what I was attempting to do. Because of my deficits, I couldn't have done this project without some help. Nevertheless, this compilation* is not a lofty effort but simply a list of names of people and the places where I found them. It is meant to be used as an index.

* Black Residents of Greenbrier, Monroe, Pocahontas, and Summers Counties by Carol L. Haynes

7 of 8 (note written in 2004)

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.

During that second visit, I made my way to a cemetery on Neff Orchard Road in Monroe County. There was not a soul to be found anywhere once I made the turn onto the road. The cows were numerous, however, and they seemed to come close enough to my car car that they could have licked my windows as I passed.

The setting of the Sinks Grove Colored Cemetery is idyllic. My grandfather, William "Hubert" Haynes is buried there and I located his grave. Next to his marker I saw the corner of a stone. I picked up a stick and moved the bush which obscured the stone and I found my great-grandfather's (George Washington Haynes') grave. As I was leaving the cemetery I looked down onto the valley. It was so green, so peaceful. The mountains beyond the valley were magnificent. was it my imagination or had I picked the perfect day? It didn't seem to match up at all - this place, and slavery.

It seems very strange to find myself trampling through cemeteries, looking out for snakes, snapping photos of graves, and spending hours looking through blurry documents for ancient names.

Part 8 of 8 (personal note written in 2004)

I've begun to talk about these people as if I know them, I cringe when I discover that a young woman has lost her only child. I am impressed that the Reverend C.C. Logan has officiated at a marriage once again. I'm elated when, while interviewing a descendant, I learn something as simple as that Nola excelled at making pies. I'm distressed that two men were forcibly removed from the Greenbrier jail and hung from the cross-arms of a telephone pole. It is amusing that the Caucasian Reverend Samuel R. Houston was concerned that the "Negroes" took exception to his sermon, even at a time when they were still enslaved. It is interesting how one Black skeleton took up almost permanent residence in the office of a Lewisburg doctor. I'm proud that a man who registered as "free" in Lewisburg in 1847 had a photo which fetched over $60,000 at an auction in the late 1900's. I am amazed that the fortune teller, Mildred Carter Bess, was able to find the young girl's ring.

I'm most intrigued, however, with questions which may never be answered. Why was Mahala Early charged with murder and later acquitted? Who were the Black members of the Presbyterian church? What REALLY happened to the Native Americans? Was the joining of my great grandparents (one Black, one White) a matter of love or rape?

Lewisburg as "home" was a fleeting, romantic sentiment. But half of my family lived there. Their remains form a part of the soil. They suffered and endured there. The part of me that is a part of them can call it home.

Like with my first trip into Lewisburg, this work has overshot its mark at times. I've gotten far afield of my goal and I have had to double back. I met another portly, red faced man and learned that he is a cousin of mine.

Assumptions are dashed, certainties are quashed, sometimes I am embarassed by my ignorance and yet, though wounded by my failings, I continue on. Had I known what I was getting myself into when I first set out on this path it might have never gotten done. It is a work that is driven by an inexplicable force, not volition, and work, which I fear will consume the remainder of my days.

Carol Haynes

Wedding photo - Dr. Robert J. Howard & Edna Haynes Howard

Edna Haynes was one of the younger daughters of the 14 children of George Washington Haynes and Elizabeth Jane Payne Haynes Haynes Lewis. A woman in Raleigh had invited a number of young Black recent medical school graduates to the Beckley area & many of them stayed and treated area residents. One such doctor was Robert Howard who was originally from Ruffin, North Carolina (he attended the Agriculture Institute at Lamberton, N.C., the Agricultural and Technical College at Greensboro, and Meharry Medical School in Nashville & he did post-graduate work at Howard University). Dr. Howard first set up a practice in Mullens (1920) but then he moved to Beckley (1921). The wedding party consists of many of Edna's siblings (to the right). I'm not sure but it looks like nieces to the left and I'm not sure who the little boy is. There seems to be another wedding party right behind them. As for Edna, her birth name was Lillian E.T. Haynes. She was called "Aunt Eddie". She taught school, See Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society Vol 7, #6, 2004, page 60 which states "Of the later generations the following persons have taught school ..." Edna is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Beckley. Dr. Howard died on the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assasinated, 11/22/1963. See Beckley Post Centennial Edition, Saturday morning, 8/26/1950.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cleo Caval Haynes Dickason Blakely

What an amazing night. Only a few days ago I told my younger sister how everytime I lose interest in my genealogy work I will get a photo in the mail - or someone would call me with information - and that I would be off and running again. Well, I haven't been very attentive to my family history of late and then, yesterday, a younger cousin contacted me and he had many many images of my family which I had never seen before. He had images of ancestors who I had never laid eyes on before. This particular photo is of one of the younger girls of George Washington Haynes and Elizabeth Jane Payne Haynes Lewis. She was born in 1899 in Greenbrier County, WV. She was the wife of William Blakely (who was a chauffeur). In Dr. Montgomery's papers he indicates that she "taught school". She had been the principal of an elementary school. Graduate of Bluefield State College. Member of Phi Delta Kappa Sorrority. Mother of Sidney Dickason and Frances Blakely. She died in 1966.