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I am a family historian writing about my genealogy research and  communities of color primarily in the Southeast, especially North Carolina, as those of you who followed my previous blog on backintyme.biz (Margo Lee Williams’s Blog – currently not available for viewing) or  read my books (Miles Lassiter and From Hill Town to Strieby) know. I will be continuing to do the same here. In addition, I will post information about DNA and its place in genealogical research as well as other topics of historical and genealogical interest. So stay tuned! For a free copy of 10 Tips for African American Genealogy Research, go here

#52Ancestors – In the Newspaper – An Interesting Ordination: The Rev. Islay Walden

The Rev. Islay Walden was a formerly enslaved poet from Randolph County, North Carolina. He had graduated from the Normal Department at Howard University in Washington, D. C. He then traveled to New Jersey where he was one of the two first African American students at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. The other young man was John Bergen. Interestingly, they were both vision impaired.

This article on Walden’s ordination appeared in the New York Evening Post, a paper of William Cullen Bryant. It detailed not only the events of the ordination itself, but also gave a substantial biographical sketch of Islay Walden’s life, most notably here, that Walden was the first African American to be ordained from the Seminary. A transcription of the article appears below.[1]

Figure 23-Islay Walden Ordination article Evening Post
An Interesting Ordination, Evening Post, 2 July 1879

 

An Interesting Ordination

How Islay Walden, a Young Colored Man Obtained His Education –

From Slavery to the Pulpit.

New Brunswick N. J., July 1, 1879

The ordination of Islay Walden, a young colored man, took place in this city this afternoon, the laying on of hands having performed by the classis of NJ in the Second Reformed Church. Considerable interest was manifested in the ordination in the fact that Mr. Walden was the first colored man who was ever graduated of the theological seminary of the Reformed church of America which is in this city, and from the fact that he is the first candidate from the colored race who has been ordained by the New Brunswick classis or any other classis in New Jersey.

Mr. Walden has had to struggle against apparently insurmountable difficulties to obtain an education. He was born in NC and he and his mother were several times sold as slaves. The price obtained for both when Walden was a babe in arms being $800. His father escaped from slavery by running away from his master and getting to Indiana on a forged passport. Young Walden was declared free when he was 22 years old and then he was ignorant of even the letters of the alphabet. At this age however, he formed a determination to become a teacher. He left home and traveled to Washington DC, where by force of his entreaties he was allowed to enter Howard University.  He remained there for more than six years and obtained a good education, notwithstanding that he was almost blind, defective vision being an infliction which came with his birth. After graduation at Howard University, he came north selling a small volume of poems of his own composition to obtain funds to pursue a theological education. He made applications to be admitted into the seminary at Princeton College, but Dr. McComb interposed some objection that very much disheartened Walden. He was more successful at New Brunswick, where Prof George W Atherton of Rutgers College interested himself in his behalf and introduced him to the faculty at the theological seminary. About the time Walden was knocking at Prof Atherton’s door, seeking an admission, the Rev. Dr. C. D. Hartranft, formerly of the Second Reformed Church of this city but now Professor of the Hartford Theological Seminary brought word that a member of the Rev. Dr. Coles’s Reformed Church at Yonkers N. Y. had just left a legacy of $8500 for the education of a colored man.  The Board of Education of the Reformed Church then took Mr. Walden under their care and he entered the theological seminary for three years course with another colored man named John R. Bergen. His innovation met with no opposition from the other students, but instead the utmost good feeling prevailed throughout the three years of his life there. The colored students although both suffered from defective vision kept their places in the classis and not infrequently distanced the white students in efficiency and aptness. They were both graduated last month and have been licensed to preach by the New Brunswick classis. Mr. Bergen will be ordained once his field of labor is decided upon. He has expressed a desire to go to Africa, but his physician thinks his constitution as not robust enough for that climate. Mr. Walden has been engaged by the American Missionary Society to go south and labor among the freedmen. The Reformed Church has no missionaries in the south or Mr. Walden would have gone there under its auspices.  At the ordination services this afternoon, the Rev. Dr. J. L. See, President of the Classis and Secretary of the Board of Education presided. The Rev J. M. Corwin, of Middlesex N. J., preached the services. The other clergymen who participated, were the Rev. Dr. W. H. Campbell, President of Rutgers College, the Rev. Dr. Lord of Metucheon NJ. The Rev. Messrs. Jacob Cooper and Doolittle of Rutgers College, the Rev. Dr.  D. D. Demarest, Professor of Pastoral Theology and the theological seminary, and the Rev. Dr. Van Dyke of Hertzog Hall of this city. The Rev. Dr. Strieby, Secretary of the American Board of Missions was also present.

Reference

[1] Evening Post. (2 July 1879). An Interesting Ordination. (New York, NY). Retrieved from: Fultonhistory.com

 

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#52Ancestors – Large Family: The Seven Children of Miles and Healy Phillips Lassiter

Miles and Healy Phillips Lassiter lived in Randolph County, North Carolina. They were my 4th great grandparents. Miles was born around 1777, and Healy around 1780. Miles was enslaved and Healy was a free woman of color. Thus, all seven children were born free, because a child took its legal status from its mother. The children were: Emsley Phillips Lassiter, Abigail Phillips Lassiter, Colier Phillips Lassiter, Susannah Phillips Lassiter, Wiley Phillips Lassiter, Nancy Phillips Lassiter, and Jane Phillips Lassiter. All the children, except Emsley, lived their entire lives in North Carolina.

The Children of Miles Lassiter and Healy Phillips

Emsley Phillips Lassiter was born about 1811, in Randolph County. About 1832, Emsley emigrated with a Quaker neighbor, Henry Newby, to Indiana.[1] He settled first in Carthage, in Rush County, but eventually moved to an area called “the Beech,” an independent community of mixed-race individuals mostly from northeastern North Carolina and Southside Virginia.[2] There Emsley met and married Elizabeth Winburn, daughter of Tommy Winburn and Anna James, originally from Halifax County, North Carolina.[3] They raised nine children: Sarah, Elizabeth, Nancy, Misa, Wiley, Cristena, William, Mary Anna, and Anna. Emsley died 10 March 1892, in Indianapolis.  His wife, Elizabeth, died 21 April 1908, in Marion, Grant County, Indiana.[4]

Beech Church (2)
Historic Beech Church, Rush County, Indiana. Photo by Margo Lee Williams, 2013

Abigail Phillips Lassiter was born about September 1812, in Randolph County.  She never married. She spent her whole life on the family farm. She died about 1920 (no death record has been found).[5] There is little information about her life. One detail about her life is that she was blind in her last years. Her grandniece, Kate, was often tasked with helping her get around. There is no way to know whether her blindness was due to cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration, all conditions that can afflict the elderly. Abigail is buried in an unmarked grave in Strieby Congregational Church Cemetery.[6]

Abigail Phillips Lassiter Ceramic Pot
Ceramic Pot belonging to Abigail Phillips Lassiter. Photo by Margo Lee Williams, 1982

Colier Phillips Lassiter was born 6 November 1815, in Randolph County, according to family records.[7] With Emsley having moved away, records indicate that Colier fulfilled the roll of eldest son. This was evident after their father Miles died in 1850. Although most of his siblings lived on the family farm, he was the one who handled all the legal and financial transactions.[8] Colier was a respected member of the Lassiter Mill community as evidenced by being a delegate to the Constitutional Congress of the State of North Carolina, after the Civil War.[9] Colier married Katherine Polk, daughter of Mary “Polly” Polk and John McLeod.[10] Together, Colier and Kate had five children, four of which lived to adulthood: Bethana Martitia, Spinks (who died in infancy), Amos Barzilla, Rhodemia Charity, and Ulysses Winston.[11] Colier died about 1887. Because the family says he was a Quaker, it is believed he was buried in the Uwharrie Friends Cemetery.[12] Kate died 19 December 1906 and is buried in Strieby Congregational Church Cemetery.[13]

Figure 18-Uwharrie Cemetery Marker-NC Yearly Meeting (2)
Uwharrie Friends Meeting Marker, Lassiter Mill Road, Randolph County, NC. Photo by Margo Lee Williams, 2011

Susannah Phillips Lassiter was born about 3 October 1817, in Randolph County, according to family documents.[14] Very little is known about her. She is not found in any records after 1850 and is considered to have died before 1860.

Wiley Phillips Lassiter was born about 13 May 1820, in Randolph County, according to family documents.[15] Wiley was a carpenter/cabinetmaker/painter. He had a thriving business, including making carriages for a community store-owner, Michael Bingham. In a lawsuit, Bingham claimed that Wiley owed him money, but Wiley counter-sued stating that Bingham had not paid for several carriages and horses Wiley had on-sale at the store.[16] To pay for his legal expenses Wiley mortgaged his land. The court ruled in Wiley’s favor at first, but when Bingham died, it reversed itself. Wiley lost all his property. He had to borrow money in order to pay his legal debts. He took his wife, Elizabeth Ridge Lassiter[17] and their children to Fayetteville, in order to find more work. He was partially successful, but not enough so. His inability to pay some of his loans resulted in one creditor publishing in the newspapers that he would have to sell Wiley, even though he was born free, in order to recoup his loan to Wiley.[18] The sale did not happen. Based on a letter written later from Wiley to his brother Colier, it appears he was able to get a loan from not only his brother, but also from a family friend. However, there was a new twist. Wiley and his family were very sick, possibly with scarlet fever which had become epidemic about 1858, which made it very difficult for him to work and make the needed monies to repay his loans. Exactly what happened after that is unclear. He was still alive and free in 1860,[19] but apparently died sometime after that and before 1870, when his widow and children were found living in Randolph County again.[20]  Wiley and Elizabeth had eight children: Parthenia, Abagail, Nancy Jane, Julia Anna, Martha, John, Addison B., and Thomas Emery.[21] Elizabeth was not found in any records after 1870 and is assumed to have died at that time.

Wiley Lassiter sale notice

Nancy Phillips Lassiter was born in February 1823, in Randolph County, according to family documents.[22] She was my 3rd great grandmother. She married Calvin Dunson, a blacksmith, about 1856, however, there is no record extant.[23]  Nancy had one daughter, Ellen (my 2nd great grandmother), before marrying Calvin. With Calvin she had four children: Sarah Rebecca, Harris, Mary Adelaide, and Martha Ann.[24] The family lived on the family farm. After her death, about 1890, her daughters Ellen and Adelaide began feuding over their shares of the land. The feud resulted in a lawsuit and legal division of the land among all the descendants of Nancy’s father, Miles Lassiter.[25] Nancy is buried in the Old City Cemetery, in Asheboro, Randolph County.[26]

Nancy Dunson Grave Marker
Stone Marker in the Old City Cemetery, Asheboro, Randolph County. Nancy Dunson’s name is included. Photo by Margo Lee Williams, 1982

Jane Phillips Lassiter was born 7 January 1825, in Randolph County, according to family documents.[27] There is not much information about her life. It appears she never married. She is not in the 1860 census, but Wiley Lassiter’s 1858 letter to his brother references her assistance to his family who were all sick. They were living in Fayetteville at the time.[28] Jane was apparently living in Salisbury, in Rowan County, in 1870.[29] She was awarded a share of the family farm in the 1893 court decision that divided the family property among all the heirs of her father, Miles Lassiter.[30] There is no reference to her after that.

References

[1] Williams, M. L. (2014). The Emsley Lassiter Family of Randolph County, North Carolina and Rush County, Indiana. Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, 32:59-78. See also: Williams, M. L. (17 February 2019) Blogpost: #52Ancestors – At the Library – Emsley Phillips Lassiter in the Lawrence Carter Papers. Personal Prologue.

[2] Vincent, S. A. (1999). Southern Seed, Northern Soil: African-American Farm Communities in the Midwest, 1765-1900 (Bloomington & Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press).

[3] Indiana, Marriages, 1810-2001 [Database on-line]. Emsley Lassiter and Elizabeth Winburn married: 28 March 1845, Rush County. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[4] Williams, M. L. (2014). The Emsley Lassiter Family of Randolph County, North Carolina and Rush County, Indiana. Journal of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, 32:59-78.

[5] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Abigail Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 105.

[6] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Abigail Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 107.

[7] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Colier Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 107.

[8] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Colier Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 107-110.

[9] Calvin [sic] Lassiter, in Delegates to the Constitutional Congress, North Carolina, Lassiter Mills District. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands, NARA #843-32:107.

[10] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011[Database on-line]. Calier Lassiter and Catherine Polk married: 26 September 1854, Randolph County. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[11] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Children of Colier Lassiter and Katherine Polk. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 120-123.

[12] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Colier Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 107-110.

[13] U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [Database on-line]. Katie Lasiter Memorial at Strieby Congregational Church Cemetery. Find A Grave. Retrieved from: Findagrave.com

[14] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Susannah Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 111.

[15] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Wiley Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 111.

[16] Randolph County Genealogical Society. (1981). The Willie Lassiter Petition. The Genealogical Journal, V(1): 38-42.

[18] Williams, M. L. (21 March 2018). Blogpost: #52Ancestors – Week #12, Misfortune: Wiley’s story. Personal Prologue.

[19] 1860 US Federal Census; Fayetteville, Cumberland, North Carolina; Wiley Lassiter (Index says “Sprister”). NARA Roll: M653-894; Page: 248; Image: 497; Family History Library Film: 803894. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[20] 1870 US Federal Census: Asheboro, Randolph, North Carolina; Elizabeth Lassiter, head. NARA Roll: M593-1156; Page: 287B; Image: 24; Family History Library Film: 552655. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[21] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Children of Wiley Lassiter and Elizabeth Ridge. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 123-126.

[22] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Nancy Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 116.

[23] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Nancy Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 116-117.

[24] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Children of Nancy Lassiter and Calvin Dunson. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 123-127-130.

[25] Anderson Smitherman, et al., v. Solomon Kearns, et Ux. Deed Book 348:156. Family History Library #0470851. See also: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [Database on-line]. William Dunston, Probate Date: 1892. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[26] U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1700s-Current [Database on-line]. Nancy Dunson Memorial at Asheboro City Cemetery. Find A Grave. Retrieved from: Findagrave.com

[27] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Jane Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 119.

[28] Williams, M. L. (2011). Some Descendants of Miles Lassiter: Wiley Lassiter. Miles Lassiter (Circa 1777-1850) An Early African American Quaker from Lassiter Mill, Randolph County, North Carolina: My Research Journey to Home (Palm Coast, FL & Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing) 114.

[29] 1870 US Federal Census, Salisbury, Rowan, North Carolina; Jane Knox, head; Jane Lassiter, Domestic Servant; NARA Roll: M593-1158; Page: 580A; Family History Library Film: 552657. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[30] Anderson Smitherman, et al., v. Solomon Kearns, et Ux. Randolph County, North Carolina Superior Court Orders and Decrees, 2:308-309. Family History Library Microfilm #0475265. See also: North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [Database on-line]. William Dunston, Probate Date: 1892. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

#52Ancestors – Bachelor Uncle: uh, Cousin, Charleton Joshua Williams, Jr.

Try as I might, I could not find a bachelor uncle. My father had only one brother, who married; my mother had no brothers. My paternal grandparents each had brothers, all who married. My maternal grandmother (I’ve yet to identify my maternal grandfather) had brothers who all married, and so it goes back to my fourth great grandparents, all known male siblings were married. However, I had a paternal, male first cousin who did not marry. He was old enough to be an uncle, so I’m substituting him as my bachelor uncle.

Charleton Joshua Williams Jr
Charleton Joshua Williams, Jr., circa 1918, Jersey City, New Jersey

Charleton Joshua Williams, Jr., called, “Son,” was the oldest son of my father’s only brother, Charleton Joshua Williams, Sr., whom we called, “Jimmy.” Son was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1917,[1] exact date unknown, to my uncle and his wife, Julia Sinkler, who was originally from Dorchester County, South Carolina, near Charleston.[2] In 1920, three years after Son was born, his younger brother, Earle, was born.[3] By 1930, the family was living with Julia’s sister, Ida Sinkler Sterrett, in New York City.

Charleton Joshua Jimmy Williams Sr
Charleton Joshua “Jimmy” Williams, Sr.
Julia Sinkler Williams
Julia Sinkler Williams

In 1932, tragedy struck the family when Earle was hit by a car and killed.[4]  I’m not sure what impact this had on the family. Surely, they must have been devastated, but there is some evidence it was more destructive than one might expect. In 1940, Uncle Jimmy and Son were living in New York, as lodgers, without Julia. Son was working on the railroad, as a waiter, like his father.[5] I assume they were actually working together. I have yet to determine where Julia was. Was she just traveling to visit family? Had she moved away? I don’t remember anyone commenting on any of this. I do know that Earle’s death would influence my life as well. As part of teaching me how to cross the street safely, my mother admonished me that if I was not careful to look in both directions could result in being hit by a car and killed, like my cousin Earle. I confess that I did relay that history to my daughter, but I didn’t recount it as mantra-like as my mother had.

Earle Williams
Earle Williams, 1920-1932

Wherever Julia went, she returned. Sometime in the 1940s the family bought a home in Queens, New York City, not far from where my parents bought our home. There the three of them lived the rest of their lives.

I don’t ever remember any discussion of Son dating anyone. In fact, there was a lot of discussion about how he had never left home and seemed unusually attached to his mother. My parents suggested that this attachment had prevented him from forming relationships with potential marriage partners. Somehow, I think it all went back to the death of Earle. I think Son felt he had to compensate. I think Julia clung to Son in fear that she would lose him, the same as she had lost Earle. I think it trapped them both. One indication that was true was that Son had changed his name from Charleton Joshua Jr. to Charleton Earl. In fact, I was in high school before I learned that his name was supposed to be Charleton Joshua Jr. Whenever he introduced himself, he said his name was Earl. Reflecting on it now, all these years later, I think young Earle’s death was toxic for Son and Julia both.

Charleton Earl Williams, WWII
Charleton Joshua “Earl” Williams, Jr.

Julia fell ill and died Thanksgiving weekend, 1966.[6] On the one hand, Son seemed somewhat lost without her, but several months later he seemed to be coming out of his shell. He began to date my mother’s sister, Verne (Elverna) Lee Means. Son and Verne were a year apart in age[7] and had known each other from the 1930s when my parents married,[8] and they were in their teens.

Elverna Elizabeth Lee
Elverna Lee “Verne” Means, 1918-2000

By early summer they were discussing getting married. Everyone was very pleased. By everyone I mean my parents, my father’s sister, and Uncle Jimmy. I was pleased as well, as I was very fond of them both. Now that Julia had passed, Son dropped by to visit more frequently and I got to know him better. He and my Aunt Verne seemed very well suited.  They both seemed happier and my mother was very happy for them both. She felt they had each had unfortunate tragedies and now they had a chance to be happy, together. Alas, it was not to be.

When Fourth of July came, Son decided he would drive from New York to pick up my Aunt Verne from her home in Washington, DC, and bring her back to New York to enjoy the holiday. I wasn’t there that night. I was away visiting a friend in Hawaii. My mother said that they got back late and despite being very tired, Son, Earl, went to work his overnight shift at the Post Office. Sometime in the early hours of the morning a phone call awakened everyone to tell them that Son, Earl, had died, suddenly, at his desk.[9] To say that everyone was devastated would be an understatement. This tragedy was so overwhelming for my mother that she was too overwrought to attend the funeral. My father said that he and Aunt Verne stayed up each night that week into the wee hours of the morning, mourning Son’s loss and discussing all that one discusses when a loved one dies.

Charleton Son Williams-portrait (2)
Charleton “Earl” Williams, 1917-1967

No one informed me of Son’s death. My mother reasoned that there was nothing I could do, so there was no need to burden me with sadness while I was away. It was a couple of mornings after I had returned from Hawaii, in early August, while I was eating breakfast that my mother, clearly ill at ease about something, suddenly walked over to the table and put a prayer card in front of me. It actually didn’t register right away. Once I realized what it was, I was in shock. My mother reminded me that Son had cardiovascular disease. She speculated that the round-trip car ride and lack of rest before going to work had been too taxing. It seems as plausible as any explanation. I noted the date, 4 July, on the prayer card. I told my mother that I had experienced a very disturbing dream that night and wondered what it meant. I speculated it was somehow tied to this tragedy at home. Who knows, but I’ve always believed so.

I think Son’s loss always hung over our family in some unspoken way. My aunt never contemplated marriage with anyone again. She wouldn’t die for another 32 years, oddly enough, also on a July Fourth weekend.[10] I think my mother felt that both my aunt and Son had been cheated of happiness. I think my father just simply thought it was a very sad turn of events. I think he felt sorry for my aunt. As for me, I’m sure now they are happy together.

References

[1] 1930 US Federal Census; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Ida Sterrett, head; Charlton Williams, relative, age 12. NARA Roll: 1576; Page: 35A; Enumeration District: 0985; Image: 156.0; FHL microfilm: 2341311. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[2] 1900 US Federal Census; Census Place: Dorchester, Dorchester, South Carolina; Florence Sinkler, head; Julia Sinkler, daughter, birth month/year, Dec 1895. NARA Roll: 1526; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0068; FHL microfilm: 1241526. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[3] 1930 US Federal Census; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Ida Sterrett, head; Earle Williams, relative, age 10. NARA Roll: 1576; Page: 35A; Enumeration District: 0985; Image: 156.0; FHL microfilm: 2341311. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[4] New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1948 [Database on-line]. Earl Williams, died: 1932. Retrieved from: Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[5] 1940 US Federal Census; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Grace Nailer, head; Charlton Williams, age 23, lodger; Charlton Williams, age 42, lodger. NARA Roll: T627-2667; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 31-1807. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[6] Find A Grave Memorial. Julia Williams, Died: 25 Nov 1966. Buried, Evergreen Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York. Retrieved from: Findagrave.com

[7] 1930 US Federal Census; Census Place: Elizabeth, Union, New Jersey; Louise Ingram, head; Elverna Lee, granddaughter, age 12. NARA Roll: 1387; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 0073; Image: 289.0; FHL microfilm: 2341122. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[8] 1940 US Federal Census; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Herbert Williams, head; Margaret Williams, wife. Roll: T627-2467; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 3-272B. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[9] Find A Grave Memorial. Charlton E. Williams, 8 [sic-this date is not correct, it was 4 July 1967, he was buried on 8 July] 1967. Retrieved from: Findagrave.com

[10] U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current [Database on-line]. Elverna L. Means, died: 2 July 2000. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

 

Minnie Moses, Mother of 1930s Dancer Fay Ray, and The US Expatriation Law of 1907

In response to a concern about dual citizenship, Congress passed the Expatriation Act of 1907.[1] One provision mandated that women who married foreign born men would automatically lose their citizenship and be considered citizens of their husband’s country. If they were not eligible for said citizenship, they would then be stateless. Either way, they were no longer US citizens. It is interesting that the concern didn’t extend to US men who married foreign born women. I only learned about this law within the past two years. I don’t remember anyone mentioning this to me prior to that. Just recently I found a real-life example in my own research.

Fay Ray
Fay Ray, August 2006, at the 100th Year Celebration of her sister-in-law, Kate Lassiter Jones, Randolph County NC. Photo by Margo Lee Williams

I was doing some background research on the nightclub singer and dancer of the 1930s and 40s, (and later, member of Silver Belles) Fay Ray. Fay was the second wife of my 2nd cousin, 3x removed, Clark Lassiter.[2] I learned from a biography written about her that her father’s name was Dave Moses and her mother was Minnie Parrot. They lived in Natchitoches, Louisiana.[3] I was hoping to learn more about her background. The article mentioned that her mother died when she was still very young, and her father then married an Alma Barnes. For reasons not stated, she was sent to live with another family.

Since Fay was born in 1919, I looked in the 1920 census for the family. I found them quickly. Dave, Minnie, and Fay were living in Natchitoches, Louisiana.[4] I noted something which was not mentioned in the biographies I had read about her, Fay’s father, Dave Moses, was born in Syria. I wanted to be sure that I had the right family, so I kept looking for additional information. I looked for a death record for Minnie, but I found nothing. I did find Dave and Alma, no Fay, in the 1930[5] and 1940[6] censuses. Each census noted that Dave was born in Syria. I was also able to locate Dave’s naturalization records.[7] It noted that he immigrated from Syria in 1912, by way of Brazil, but he didn’t remember the name of the ship. He said his name when he immigrated was Deeb Moussa.[8] He also mentioned his wife’s maiden name, Alma Barnes. I had the right Dave Moses.

I went back to look at the 1920 census to see if I could identify something that would tell me anything about Minnie, Fay’s mother. That’s when I saw it. Next to Minnie’s name, in the citizenship column it said, “Al,” Alien. Yet the places of birth for her and her parents were listed as Louisiana. In accordance with the Expatriation Act of 1907, Minnie had lost her citizenship as a result of marrying Dave. Dave had not been naturalized yet; he was still a foreign national. Thus, Minnie had become a Syrian national at best, stateless at worst. Did she realize that? I have no idea. Fay, on the other hand, was considered a citizen, by virtue of her own birth in Louisiana.

Fay Moses 1920 census
Fay Moses in the 1920 Census, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Another anomaly found

From everything I have read and those conversations that I did have with Fay, I believe she was estranged from Dave and Alma. According to her biography she was about eight when Dave married Alma and they sent her to live with another family. I found her in the 1930 census living with Albert Graham and his wife Gladys. She was eleven years old.[9] According to her biography, she was not treated well by the Grahams, so she ran away that year.[10] The census revealed yet another unusual piece to Fay’s background.

In 1920, Dave, Minnie, and Fay, were listed as “w,” white. In 1930 and 1940, Dave and Alma were also listed as white. On Dave’s naturalization papers, he was listed as white. However, in 1930, and for the rest of her life, Fay would be known as a person of color (exact terms changing with the times). What happened?

Fay Moses in 1930 census
Fay Moses in the 1930 Census, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Truthfully, I have no idea why or how Fay slid across the color line, but I can speculate. I have no idea what either of Fay’s parents actually looked like. Someone from Syria could be very fair or very brown. I am assuming that Dave was more on the fair side since he was able to live out his life during segregation as a white man. What about Minnie?

As noted even less is known about Minnie, but in the biography about Fay it states that Minnie was from Houma. Houma is an area that continues to have a strong Native American presence. It is possible that Minnie had a mixed Native background with fair enough coloring to pass for white, but with such “dark” features as black hair and dark eyes. This is purely speculation. The real-life Fay was “fair,” but swarthy, with dark hair and dark eyes. It’s entirely possible that Alma, who was white, with unknown features, did not wish to raise a swarthy complexioned girl, whose dark features would always raise questions about the family’s “whiteness.” On the other hand, Fay’s background was clearly divergent from that of the average African American. Fairer complexion has often carried questions of whether a person thought they were “better than” their darker friends or family members, thus creating tensions. Leaving the smaller rural communities for the more cosmopolitan cities could provide better acceptance for people of all skin hues. If I am right about this scenario, it is no wonder that Fay never reconciled with her father. I can’t imagine what pain she must have felt at being given away.

Fay Ray Lassiter on tour
Fay Moses (Left) on tour with the 1942 production, Ship Ahoy, with Ethel Love (Middle) and Olive Sayles (Right). From Celebrating Fay, by Kurt and Klaus

In the end, this is all speculation. What we do know is that Dave and Alma sent Fay away and she went from a white home to a black home. Fed up with bad treatment, she left, eventually becoming the dancer and star, Fay Ray, who married my cousin.

References

[1] Brown, T. B. (17 March 2017). That Time American Women Lost Their Citizenship Because They Married Foreigners. Code Switch: Race and Identity, Remixed. Retrieved from: NPR.org

[2] North Carolina, Marriage Collection, 1741-2004 [Database on-line]. Fay Moses and Clark Lassiter, married: 27 October 2002, Randolph County, North Carolina. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[3] Kurt and Klaus. (n.d.). Celebrating Fay. Unpublished manuscript (Copy in possession of the author).

[4] 1920 US Federal Census; Census Place: Natchitoches, Natchitoches, Louisiana; Dave Moses, head; Fay Moses, daughter. NARA Roll: T625-617; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 38. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[5] 1930 US Federal Census; Census Place: Natchitoches, Natchitoches, Louisiana; Dave Moses, head; Alma J Moses, wife. Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0003; NARA Microfilm Series T626. FHL microfilm: 2340534. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[6] 1940 US Federal Census; Census Place: Natchitoches, Natchitoches, Louisiana; Dore [sic] Moses, head; Alma Moses, wife. NARA Roll: M-T0627-01414; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 35-3B. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[7] Louisiana, Naturalization Records, 1836-1998 [Database on-line]. Dave Moss, Petition. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[8] The only record that the author has found so far that seems to match the naturalization information is: New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [Database on-line]. Diab Moussa, Arrival 7 Sep 1913, New York, S. S. New York, from Southampton, England. NARA Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: 2169; Line: 10; Page Number: 65. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[9] 1930 US Federal Census; Census Place: Natchitoches, Natchitoches, Louisiana; Albert Graham, head; Fay Moses, Adopted Daughter. Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0001; FHL microfilm: 2340534. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[10] Kurt and Klaus. (n.d.). Celebrating Fay. Unpublished manuscript. (Copy in possession of the author).

 

#52Ancestors – In the Courthouse: Assault with intent to murder one Randall Farnell

When searching for information on one’s ancestors on Google, one usually hopes to find obituaries, marriage notices, birth notices, stories of how one’s ancestor helped found a town or church, not how someone tried to murder them. Of course, in genealogy, any information is good information, even negative information, so I was excited to see my great grandfather’s name, “Randall [sic – usually spelled “Randel”] Farnell.”

Randel Farnell
Randel Farnell, 1844-1928

According to the Southern Reporter,[1] in 1887, some of my great grandfather’s livestock died. He believed they were poisoned. My great grandfather, who lived in Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida, sued a neighbor, Perry Davis, accusing him of being the one to poison the livestock. My great grandfather lost the case, Davis was acquitted. However, that was not the end of it.

Shortly after Davis was acquitted, a large number of my great grandfather’s geese tuned up dead. He assumed Davis was responsible. The dead geese were in a lane near both properties, attracting other neighbors who gathered around the geese. The report doesn’t say, but it could be assumed my great grandfather was loudly accusing Davis and those gathered were speculating also about Davis’ involvement. The speculation apparently angered Davis. He went and got his shotgun, came back and confronted my great grandfather. According to the report, Davis leveled the shotgun at my great grandfather at point blank range. He threatened to kill my great grandfather, telling him the shotgun was loaded. Ultimately, Davis did not shoot. My great grandfather accused Davis of attempted murder. The State prosecuted Davis in Circuit Court. He was convicted in a jury trial. However, his lawyer filed an appeal saying that the State had not proved its case and that Davis had been wrongfully convicted and should have been acquitted. The case went to the State Supreme Court.

Davis’ attorney claimed that 1) the verdict was contrary to the law; 2) the verdict was contrary to the charge of the court; 3) the verdict was contrary to the evidence and the weight of the evidence; and 4) the evidence was not sufficient to sustain the verdict.[2] According to Davis’ attorney, the most significant evidence against the conviction was that Davis had not killed my great grandfather. The attorney argued that Davis had the shotgun aimed directly at my great grandfather. He could easily have shot him if that was his intention. Thus, the fact that he had not shot him proved he had no intention of shooting him, even though Davis had said, and others testified that he told my great grandfather he intended to kill him. Furthermore, the attorney argued, there was no proof that the shotgun was loaded, even though Davis had said it was loaded. In the end, the Court agreed with Davis’ attorney:

Held, that this evidence does not show an assault with intent to murder.[3]

Davis v State-Southern Reporter
Davis v. State, Supreme Court of Florida, March 4, 1889

I would love to know what my great grandfather had to say about that.

References

[1] Davis v. State (Supreme Court of Florida, March 4, 1889). The Southern Reporter, 5:803-804. Retrieved from: The Southern Reporter

[2] Davis v. State (Supreme Court of Florida, March 4, 1889). The Southern Reporter, 5:803. Retrieved from: The Southern Reporter

[3] Davis v. State (Supreme Court of Florida, March 4, 1889). The Southern Reporter, 5:803. Retrieved from: The Southern Reporter

 

 

#52Ancestors – Family Photo – Easter Sunday 1907

I am fortunate to have a number of family photos of various family members, but I chose this one, which is a particular favorite, because my Dad is the little boy in front, Herbert Randell Williams, “Herbie.” He was three years old at the time. His older sister, Lute Odette Williams, “Aunt Lutie,” told me this was taken on Easter Sunday morning. It was she who identified the other family members in the picture for me when I was still very young.

017 (2)
Easter Sunday 1907, 312 Woodward Ave., Jersey City, New Jersey. L-R: Rear: Iva, Lute, Jessie, Lela, Charlotte Williams L-R in front: Herbert, ((seated) and Charlton {standing) Williams

In front: Herbert Randell Williams, “Herbie,” my Dad. He was born on 10 August 1904 in Jersey City, New Jersey. He died on 2 April 1982, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. He was married first to Emma Scott. They had two sons, Robert Arthur Williams, and Harvey Scott Williams. He married second, my mother, Margaret Lilly Lee. He was inurned at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, on K St. NW, Washington, DC. My Dad told me that he was sitting on his favorite stool that he took everywhere h could. It reminds me that I used to have a favorite stool I took around the house following my Mom or Dad.

Standing just behind and to the right: Charleton Joshua Williams, Sr. “Uncle Jimmy.” He was my Dad’s brother. He was born 13 May 1897 in Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida. He died May 1978, in Queens, New York. He married Julia Sinkler. 27 May 1917, in Manhattan, New York. They had two sons, Charleton Joshua Williams, Jr. and Earle Williams. Earle was killed by a car when stepping off a curb when he was still a child. His brother, who took on the Earl name, but we called him “Son,” never married or had children. Uncle Jimmy was buried in the family plot at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, New York. There are several amusing stories about Uncle Jimmy. One I remember is that he loved to walk and could walk great distances. Once he walked from Queens across one of the bridges to Manhattan. At some point a policeman stopped him because the dog looked so exhausted. When the policeman discovered how far they would have to walk to get home, he put them in a cab for the trip, reportedly saying he would lock my uncle up and take the dog away if he saw them in a similar condition again.

Standing Left to Right in the rear:

Iva Mae Williams, “Aunt Babe.” She was the youngest of my grandfather, William Gainer Williams’ (not pictured here) siblings. She was born 10 Feb 1887, in Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida. She died 22 February 1953, in New York City. She married first Milton Harry Johnson. They had one daughter, Helen M. Johnson, who died young. She married next Elmer Augustus Dade, a vaudeville star and agent. They had one son, Elmer A. Dade, Jr. He was not known to have any children. She is buried in the family plot in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, New York.

Lute Odette Williams, “Aunt Lutie.” She was my Dad’s sister. She was born on 25 August 1895, in Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida. She died 13 June 1985, in Jersey City, New Jersey. She was married to Guy Mann. They divorced. She never remarried. She had no children. She is buried with her parents in New York Bay Cemetery, Jersey City, New Jersey. I adored Aunt Lutie. She was the one to first tell me about my Williams-Farnell family history. You can read more about her here.

Jessie Williams, “Aunt Missy.” She was my grandfather’s sister. She was the next to youngest. She and Aunt Babe did everything together. She was born in May 1886, in Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida. She died 23 Feb 1954, in New York City. She was married first to Benjamin Austin Powell. She married second, Rex Wilson. She had one daughter with Rex Wilson, Norma Wilson, who died young. Aunt Missy was buried in the family plot at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, New York.

Lela Virginia Farnell Williams, my grandmother. She was born 28 September 1876, in Lake City, Columbia County, Florida. She died 28 March 1914, in Jersey City, New Jersey. She married my grandfather, William Gainer Williams, on 12 February 1893, in Live Oak, Florida. They had four children, Lute Odette Williams (Aunt Lutie), Charleton Joshua Williams (Uncle Jimmy), William Gainer Williams, Jr. (he died in infancy), and my father, Herbert Randell Williams. My grandmother is buried with my grandfather and Aunt Lutie in New York Bay Cemetery, Jersey City, New Jersey. You can read about her autograph book from her years at Florida Normal College (now Florida A & M) and its influence on me here

Charlotte Williams, “Aunt Trim.” She was my grandfather’s sister. She was born 29 March 1881 in Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida. She died in December 1965, in Elmira, Chemung County, New York. She married first, Sam Hadley, in Live Oak, Florida. They had one son, Henry “Harry” Hadley. She married second, Eddie Hall, in Manhattan, New York. They had no children. She married third, Josephus Silas. They had no children. She married last, Major Stewart, in New York. They had no children. She is buried in the family plot in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, New York. Aunt Trim loved horse-racing. A favorite activity was to go to Saratoga, New York for the racing season. She reportedly had a picture of her grandmother, Frances Gainer, but when Aunt Lutie went to retrieve it after Aunt Trim died, her husband, Major Stewart, said that he had thrown it out with other old “junk.” Aunt Lutie was heartbroken.

 

 

Will Anderson Walden Please Stand? Distinguishing between two men of the same name

Waldens in Randolph County and neighboring Moore County are sometimes difficult to sort out. Each of the family groups seem to use similar names for their children generation after generation. Walden and Lytle families’ researcher, Rik Vigeland has recently sorted out the two 19th century William Walden families of Randolph County in an upcoming article in the Genealogical Journal of the Randolph County Genealogical Society.[1] Similarly, there continues to be confusion between Anderson Walden of Randolph County, son of William Walden, a free man of color, of southeastern Randolph County and Anderson Walden of neighboring Moore County, an enslaved man. Time lines and attention to location, spouses, and children can help sort the two nineteenth century Anderson Waldens.

In the Census

The first Anderson Walden (herein, Anderson-1) was a free man of color born about 1800. He was the oldest of the four sons of William Walden and Levina Goins Walden.[2] They lived in the Southern Division of Randolph County in 1840[3] and 1850.[4] In 1860, the census divided the county into Eastern and Western Divisions, rather than Northern and Southern.  Anderson-1 was living in the Eastern Division of Randolph County, in the Foust Mills P.O. community.[5] In 1870, Anderson-1 was living in Wake County, in the home of his nephew, Haywood Walden,[6] son of Anderson-1’s younger brother, John Chavis Walden and wife, Martha Evans Walden[7], who were living next door.[8] Anderson-1 has not been identified in census records after 1870.

Anderson Walden, Haywood Walden & John C Walden in 1870 Census
Anderson Walden in home of nephew, Haywood Walden, next door to brother, John C. Walden, Wake County, NC, 1870 census.

The second Anderson Walden (herein, Anderson-2) was born enslaved about 1817, most likely in Moore County. There is no evidence he ever lived in Randolph County, but without knowing who all his enslavers were, there is no way to say definitively. His wife, Julia Ritter Walden, and children[9] were also from Moore County. Anderson-2 Walden never appears in any census records because he was known to be enslaved prior to 1865. He does not appear in the 1870 census, the first census to be taken after the end of slavery, because he died in 1869, as reported in the US Federal Mortality Schedules.[10]

Anderson Walden in Mortality Schedules-Moore Co.
Anderson Walden, blacksmith, died October 1869, Ritters Township, Moore County, North Carolina, 1870 US Mortality Schedules.

Family members

Anderson-1 married Sally Walden, 30 Nov 1830, in Randolph County.[11] Her parents have not been identified to date. Anderson-1 and Sally had the following known children: Thomas, Delana, Mosley, Brantley, and John W. Sally was apparently dead by 1850, when all names of household members are recorded on the census. In 1850, the household of Anderson-1 included all his known children, but Sally was missing.[12] In 1860, his household included “Bartley” [sic] and John.[13] In 1870, as noted previously, Anderson-1 was living in Wake County, with his nephew, Haywood Walden, son of his brother, John Chavis Walden.[14]

Anderson Walden in 1850 census Randolph County
Anderson Walden and family, Southern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina, 1850 census

Anderson-2 did not live long enough to be included with his family in any census records, having died in 1869.[15] He was known to be the husband of Julia Ritter Walden, of Moore County who had also been enslaved. Anderson-2 and Julia Ritter Walden had twelve known children: Bethania, Elizabeth, John W., Anderson Jr., James A., General B(ranson), Tima, Rebecca, Rhoda, Julia Ann, Margaret, and Henry Ruffin. In 1870, the first census after the end of slavery, Julia is living with eight of her children: Anderson, James, General B., Tima, Rebecca, Rhoda, Julia Ann, Margaret, and Henry Ruffin.[16] Bethania was already married to Jerry Ritter,[17] Elizabeth was married to Samuel Ritter.[18] John W. might be the John Walden, with Mary Walden (his first wife was said to be Mary Caveness[19]) and a small boy, McKay, on the 1870 census,[20] but in 1874, he married Margaret Ann Myrick, in Moore County.[21]

Julia Walden in 1870 Census
Julia Walden and children in Ritters Township, Moore County, North Carolina, 1870 census

Other Factors

Naming patterns.

The names of the children of Anderson-2 and Julia Ritter Walden point to possible other relationships. The name “Tima” was given to one of their daughters.[22] She may have been named for another family member named Tima Walden. There was a Tima Walden, born about 1820, an appropriate age to be a sibling of Anderson’s, who married Brantley Strickland in Randolph County.[23] Like Anderson-2 and Julia, she does not appear before 1870 and the end of slavery.[24] It is assumed she was previously enslaved.

Tima Walden Strickland in 1870 Census
Tima Walden Strickland (“Stricklin”), husband, Brantley, and children, Brower’s Township, Randolph County, North Carolina, 1870 census

Anderson-2 and Julia also had a son General Branson Walden. This child may have been named for another possible sibling, Branson Garner/Walden. Branson Garner/Walden was enslaved and the father of (Alfred) Islay Walden.[25] According to Islay Walden, Branson escaped west on falsified papers.[26] The potential sibling relationship between Anderson-2 and Branson is supported by the fact that Julia and her youngest son, Henry Ruffin Walden moved to Strieby after the death of Islay to help Islay’s widow, Elinora W. Walden, with the school.[27] Henry married Elinora in 1888.[28] Julia remained in the Strieby area, where she died in 1907, and was buried in Strieby Church Cemetery.[29] Julia and Anderson-2’s daughter, Tima Walden McLeod, and her husband, Jerry McLeod, also moved to Strieby, where she was named Postmaster in 1907.[30]  Tima and Jerry McLeod, were also buried in Strieby Cemetery.[31]

Julia Ritter Walden 1822-1907 (2)
Julia Ritter Walden, 1822-1907

Two sons named John W.

Both Anderson-1 and Anderson-2 had sons named John W.

There is no concrete information on what became of John W., son of Anderson-1. There are John Waldens in the records, but nothing to prove any one of them was this John Walden.

John W. son of Anderson-2, first married Mary Caveness, second, Margaret Myrick as noted above, after her probable death, he married Sarah Martin Ritter.[32] They lived in Moore County, but he died in Laurinburg, Richmond County.[33] He is buried in Moore County.[34]

Was there a relationship between Anderson-1 & Anderson-2?

There is no concrete information known to exist that can answer that question. However, it is plausible. Researchers have speculated for years that Islay Walden was a son of William D. Walden, Anderson-1’s brother. However, as shown, research has uncovered that Islay himself reported that his father’s name was Branson. He reported further that his father had been enslaved, but he had escaped from his enslavers by using falsified identity papers. However, it might be that the family oral history that Islay’s father was a free man, may have conflated the generations. Could it have been Islay’s grandfather, Branson’s father, who was the free man of color?  Again, all evidence is strictly circumstantial.

If it is assumed that Anderson-2, Branson, and Tima Walden were siblings, the fact that the two men have the same names as Anderson-1 and his brother, Stanford B., whose middle name is believed to have been “Branson,” points to potential family relationship. It could mean that one of the free Walden brothers had a relationship with a slave woman who was the mother of the presumed siblings, prior to a legal marriage to a free woman, but which brother?

Anderson-1 was old enough to be the father of the three presumed siblings, Anderson-2, Branson, and Tima. He was born about 1800,[35] making him about 17-18 when Anderson-2 was born. No age is known for Branson, but Tima was born around 1820,[36] making Anderson-1 about 20 when she was born. Tima was also found to be living in Brower’s Township in 1870,[37] where Anderson-1’s brother, William D. Walden was also living[38] and where he and his brothers had grown up. Branson was likely born about the same time period. Those facts combined with the fact that Anderson-1 did not marry until 1830[39] and the oldest of the presumed enslaved siblings, Anderson-2, had the same name as Anderson-1, potentially making them Senior and Junior, point to Anderson-1 being the likely candidate. What about the other brothers?

John Chavis Walden was born about 1807.[40] He was too young, being only 10 years old in 1817 and only 13 in 1820. Neither William D., born about 1817,[41] nor Stanford B., born about 1828,[42] were old enough. Thus, the most plausible candidate for the father of the three potential siblings, Anderson-2, Branson, and Tima, is Anderson-1. However, there is no evidence known to exist that can corroborate or refute this theory. Therefore, it is merely a working hypothesis.

Genealogical Summary

Anderson Walden (William1), called here, Anderson-1, was born about 1800, the son of William Walden and wife, Levina Goins Walden.  They lived in the southeastern part of Randolph County, North Carolina.[43] He died sometime between 1870 and 1880, most likely in Wake County, where he was last found living in 1870.[44] He married Sally Walden, 30 September 1830, in Randolph County.[45] She died before 1850. They had the following children:  Thomas, Delana, Mosley, Brantley, and John W. Walden.[46]

Family Record of Anderson and Julia Walden, by Henry Ruffin Walden, 1909
Family Record of Anderson and Julia Walden, by Henry Ruffin Walden, 1909.

Anderson Walden (father unknown), called here, Anderson-2, was born about 1817.[47] He was presumed to live most of his adult life in Moore County, where he died in October 1869.[48] He was married to Julia Ritter, date unknown. They were both enslaved.[49] Julia was born about 1822 in Chatham County.[50] She died, 15 January 1907, in Strieby, Randolph County, where she is buried in Strieby Church Cemetery.[51] Anderson-2 and Julia Ritter had the following children: Bethania, Elizabeth, John W., Anderson Jr., James A., General B(ranson), Tima, Rebecca, Rhoda, Julia Ann, Margaret, and Henry Ruffin.[52]

References

[1] Vigeland, R. (2019). Untangling Two William Waldens of Randolph County (Unpublished manuscript).

[2] North Carolina, Wills and Probate Records, 1665-1998 [Database on-line]. William Walden, Probate Date: 1842; sons: Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[3] 1840 US Federal Census; Census Place: South Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; William Walden, head. NARA Roll M704-369; Page 56; Family History Library Film: 0018097. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

And 1840 US Federal Census; Census Place: South Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Anderson Walden, head; and John C. Walden, head. NARA Roll: M704-369; Page: 57; Family History Library Film: 0018097. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[4] 1850 US Federal Census; Census Place: Southern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Anderson Walden, head. NARA Roll: M432-641; Page: 88B; Image: 182. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[5] 1860 US Federal Census; Census Place: Eastern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Anderson Walden, head. NARA Roll: M653-910; Page: 320; Family History Library Film: 803910. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[6] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: White Oak, Wake County, North Carolina; Haywood Walden, head; Anderson Walden, birth year about 1803. NARA Roll: M593-1163; Page: 439B; Family History Library Film: 552662. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[7] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [Database on-line]. Haywood Walden and Lucrettie Walden, married: 13 Sep 1893, Wake County; Father: John C Walden; Mother: Martha Walden. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[8] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: White Oak, Wake County, North Carolina; Haywood Walden, head; Anderson Walden, birth year about 1803. NARA Roll: M593-1163; Page: 439B; Family History Library Film: 552662. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[9] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: Ritters, Moore County, North Carolina; Julia Walden, head. NARA Roll: M593-1149; Page: 579A; Family History Library Film: 552648. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[10] U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 [Database on-line]. Anderson Walden, Blacksmith, married; died: Oct 1869, Ritter’s, Moore County, NC. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

11] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [Database on-line]. Anderson Walden and Sally Walden, married: 30 Sep 1830, Randolph County. Retrieved from:  Ancestry.com

[12] 1850 US Federal Census; Census Place: Southern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Anderson Walden, head. NARA Roll: M432-641; Page: 88B; Image: 182. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[13] 1860 US Federal Census; Census Place: Eastern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Anderson Walden, head. NARA Roll: M653-910; Page: 320; Family History Library Film: 803910. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[14] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: White Oak, Wake County, North Carolina; Haywood Walden, head; Anderson Walden, birth year about 1803. NARA Roll: M593-1163; Page: 439B; Family History Library Film: 552662. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[15] U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 [Database on-line]. Anderson Walden, Blacksmith, married; died: Oct 1869, Ritter’s, Moore County, NC. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[16] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: Ritters, Moore County, North Carolina; Julia Walden, head. NARA Roll: M593-1149; Page: 579A; Family History Library Film: 552648. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[17]  1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: Ritters, Moore County, North Carolina; Jerry Ritter, head; Bethany Ritter. NARA Roll: M593-1149; Page: 577A; Image: 273916; Family History Library Film: 552648. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[18] 1870; Census Place: Ritters, Moore, North Carolina; Samuel Ritter, head; Elizabeth Ritter/ NARA Roll: M593-1149; Page: 576B; Image: 273903; Family History Library Film: 552648. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[19] Walden, H. R. (1909). John Walden. Family Record of Anderson and Julia Walden: From 1822-1907. (Rockingham, NC: the author), pp. 8.

[20] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: Sheffields Township, Moore County, North Carolina; John Walden, head. NARA Roll: M593-1149; Page: 607A; Family History Library Film: 552648. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[21]  1900 US Federal Census; Census Place: Carthage, Moore County, North Carolina; John Walden, head; Margaret Walden, wife; married about: 1874. Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0068; FHL microfilm: 1241207. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[22] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: Ritters, Moore County, North Carolina; Julia Walden, head. NARA Roll: M593-1149; Page: 579A; Family History Library Film: 552648. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[23] North Carolina, Deaths, 1906-1930 [Database on-line]. Adline Chestnut, deceased, 7 Dec 1917, Randolph County; Tima Walden, mother; Brandley Strickland, father. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[24] 1870 US Census; Census Place: Browers, Randolph County, North Carolina; Brantley Stricklin, head; Tima Stricklin. NARA Roll: M593-1156; Page: 317B; Family History Library Film: 552655. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[25] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [Database on-line]. Alfred I.  Walden and Amelia Frances Harriss, married: 17 October 1867, Wake County, “Son of Branson Walden and Rutha Walden.” Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[26] The Evening Post (2 July 1879). An Interesting Ordination (New York, New York). Retrieved from: Fultonhistory.com

[27] Williams, M. L. (2016). From Hill Town to Strieby: Education and the American Missionary Association in the Uwharrie “Back Country” of Randolph County, North Carolina (Crofton, KY: Backintyme Publishing), pp 93-98.

[28] North Carolina, Marriage Index, 1741-2004 [Database on-line]. H R Walden and Eleanor W Walden, married: 13 Dec 1888, Randolph County. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[29] Strieby Congregational United Church of Christ Cemetery. Julia Walden, 15 Jan 1907 (Asheboro, Randolph County, North Carolina). Find A Grave. Retrieved from: Findagrave.com

[30] U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971 [Database on-line]. Tima S. Walden, 30 Dec 1907, Strieby, Randolph County, North Carolina. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[31]  Strieby United Church of Christ Cemetery. Tima S. Waldon McLeod, died 4 May 1908; Jerry McLeod, died 26 Apr 1908. Cemetery Census. Retrieved from: Cemeterycensus.com

[32] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011[Database on-line]. John Walden and Sarah Jane Ritter, married 8 Apr 1903, Moore County. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[33] North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1976 [Database on-line]. J W Waldn, died: 14 Nov 1926, Laurinburg, Richmond County. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[34] U.S., Taylortown Community Cemetery, John W. Walden, 18 Mar 1844 – 14 Nov 1926 (Taylortown, Moore County, North Carolina).. Find A Grave. Retrieved from: Findagrave.com

[35] 1850 US Federal Census; Census Place: Southern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Anderson Walden, head. NARA Roll: M432-641; Page: 88B; Image: 182. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[36] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: Browers Township, Randolph County, North Carolina; Brantley Stricklin, head; Tima Stricklin, wife. NARA Roll: M593-1156; Page: 317B; Family History Library Film: 552655. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[37] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: Browers Township, Randolph County, North Carolina; Brantley Stricklin, head; Tima Stricklin, wife. NARA Roll: M593-1156; Page: 317B; Family History Library Film: 552655. Retrieved from: Anceestry.com

[38] 1870 US Census; Census Place: Browers Township, Randolph County, North Carolina; William D. Walden, head. Roll: M593-1156; Page: 319A; Image: 87; Family History Library Film: 552655. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[39] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [Database on-line]. Anderson Walden and Sally Walden, married: 30 Sep 1830, Randolph County. Retrieved from:  Ancestry.com

[40] 1850 US Federal Census; Census Place: Western Division, Wake County, North Carolina; John Walden, head, age: 43. NARA Roll: M432-647; Page: 198B; Image: 400. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[41] 1850 US Federal Census; Census Place: Southern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; William D. Walden, head, b. 1817. NARA Roll: M432-641; Page: 88B; Image: 182. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[42] 1850 US Federal Census; Census Place: Southern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Stanford Walden, head, born 1828. NARA Roll: M432-641; Page: 88B; Image: 182. Ancestry.com

[43] 1840 US Federal Census; Census Place: South Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Anderson Walden, head; and John C. Walden, head. NARA Roll: M704-369; Page: 57; Family History Library Film: 0018097. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[44] 1870 US Federal Census; Census Place: White Oak Township, Wake County, North Carolina; Haywood Walden, head; Anderson Walden, birth year about 1803. NARA Roll: M593-1163; Page: 439B; Family History Library Film: 552662. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[45] North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [Database on-line]. Anderson Walden and Sally Walden, married: 30 Sep 1830, Randolph County. Retrieved from:  Ancestry.com

[46] 1850 US Federal Census; Census Place: Southern Division, Randolph County, North Carolina; Anderson Walden, head. NARA Roll: M432-641; Page: 88B; Image: 182. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[47] U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 [Database on-line]. Anderson Walden, Blacksmith, married; died: Oct 1869, Ritter’s, Moore County, NC. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[48] U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885 [Database on-line]. Anderson Walden, Blacksmith, married; died: Oct 1869, Ritter’s, Moore County, NC. Retrieved from: Ancestry.com

[49] Walden, H. R. (1909). Julia and Anderson Walden. Family Record of Anderson and Julia Walden: From 1822-1907. (Rockingham, NC: the author), pp. 4-5.

[50] Walden, H. R. (1909). Julia and Anderson Walden. Family Record of Anderson and Julia Walden: From 1822-1907. (Rockingham, NC: the author), pp. 4-5.

[51] Walden, H. R. (1909). Julia and Anderson Walden. Family Record of Anderson and Julia Walden: From 1822-1907. (Rockingham, NC: the author), pp. 4; And Strieby Congregational United Church of Christ Cemetery. Julia Walden, 15 Jan 1907 (Asheboro, Randolph County, North Carolina). Find A Grave. Retrieved from: Findagrave.com

[52] Walden, H. R. (1909). Her Christian Character. Family Record of Anderson and Julia Walden: From 1822-1907. (Rockingham, NC: the author), pp. 8-10.