Taliaferro

08 October 2011: Minnie Toliver ~ The Rest of Her Story

In February 2010 I wrote about my ancestor Minnie Toliver and a disturbing incident involving her former employer’s children.  If you missed that post you can read it here.  I wondered what happened to Minnie, as did others who read the story. Was Minnie arrested and charged? Did she serve any time?  I had no answers.

In the summer of 2010 I was on the phone with a friend, and wishing I could find out more about what happened to Minnie.  The ancestors must have been listening.  At the time I was browsing through the 1900 census for East Point, GA and there two household down from my great grand uncle Alex Tolliver (Taliaferro) was a Minnie Farley with husband James Farley and children Dave, Ida, Viola, and James.  That was Minnie, I just knew it!  The census indicated that Minnie was the mother of five children, but only four were living in 1900.  Minnie and James (or Genes) were married in 1893. (I recently verified this when I found the marriage license for Genes Farley and Minnie Tolliver on Georgia’s Virtual Vault. They were married 3 August 1893.)  I also found Minnie and Genes in the 1910 census in Hapeville, GA and in the 1920 census in South Bend District. These places are areas that my Taliaferro/Toliver ancestors resided in. The 1910 census list Minnie as the mother of eight children with seven living. The other children shown in census records are Luther, Annie/Anna, Junior, and Minnie Lee.  I have not located the family in the 1930 census.

I was extremely excited when I discovered Minnie in these census records. A lot of questions were answered; I knew she married and had a family, and probably lived a relatively normal life. But, for some reason I could not write about my findings and answer the question so many had asked – Whatever happened to Minnie? I think it was because I still didn’t feel like Minnie’s story was complete.  And it wasn’t, until now….

A few days ago while browsing on Ancestry.com I discovered a newspaper article that tells the rest of Minnie’s story. Minnie was apparently arrested and charged with attempted murder. However, a judge determined that the evidence was “not conclusive” and the case was dismissed.

Minnies-Story-13-April-1888

“The City Court” The Constitution, Atlanta GA, 13 April 1888, p. 13, col. 2; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: assessed 3 October 2011).

I will never know what pushed Minnie to such extremes, or if the incident, as told in the newspaper, actually happened that way.  What I do know is that things are not always as black and white as they may seem. What I do know is that my ancestor Minnie Toliver (Taliaferro) survived, got married, and had a family.  What I do know is that I can finally tell the rest of Minnie’s story with a smile on my face.

Advertisements
Standard
Taliaferro

03 October 2011: National Black Genealogy Summit, October 20-22, 2011, Fort Wayne, IN

NBGS

The National Black Genealogy Summit will take place October 20 – 22, 2011 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fort Wayne is home to one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of genealogy records, and an excellent source of documents pertaining to Black genealogy in particular. The three-day conference will feature a number of nationally-known genealogy and research experts, and a wide variety of workshops for everyone from beginners to experienced family researchers. The event is sponsored by the Indiana Genealogical Society; the Friends of the Allen County Public Library; and Ancestry.com. For more information, please visit http://www.blackgenealogyconference.info.

Standard
Middlebrooks, Taliaferro

03 April 2011: March Madness ~ Two New Cousins and A Slave Owner Identified!

March Madness wasn’t just going on in basketball last month. March was a very exciting month for my genealogical research.  Ancestor mojo was in full force!

First, I was contacted by a new cousin who is related through my maternal line.  Esther saw my tree on Ancestry and contacted me through another researcher that we have in common who is also a cousin to Esther and probably to me as well.

My maternal great, great grandparents were Albert Middlebrooks and Malinda [?] of Woodbury, Meriwether County, GA.  They had a daughter Laura Middlebrooks.  Albert and Malinda also had a son, Alexander “Alex” Middlebrooks who was my great grandfather.  Laura and Alex were siblings. Laura Middlebrooks married Salis Stinson and they had a daughter Leola Stinson.  Leola was Esther’s grandmother.  So, Esther and I have the same great, great grandmother. Yes, I said great, great grandmother, not grandparents.  Therein is the mystery.

Esther’s brother did very extensive research on the family.  According to his research, Malinda’s maiden name was Gill.  I had assumed that Malinda’s maiden name was Guise because that is the name listed on the death certificate for my great grandfather, Alex Middlebrooks.  According to family lore, Malinda was part white (probably by a slave owner) and had a child or children fathered by her Gill slave owner.  We don’t know which child or children, but one could have been Laura.  There are notes in the research that Malinda would go up to “the house” and say things like “here, take it, it ain’t mine no way” referring to her child who was fathered by the slave owner.  Fascinating stuff!!

Esther is full of family stories, and our conversations never fail to release another piece of the puzzle.  I am anxious to visit her and go through those “six big binders” of information that her brother complied during his 30 years of research.

During our first conversation, I told Esther about my 2011 resolution to find a slave owner for my Middlebrooks line.  So far, that has been a major brick wall.  Recently, I found my great grandfather, Alex Middlebrooks, in the 1880 census for Woodbury, Meriwether County working as a laborer on the farm of R.T. Powell.  His name was enumerated as “Elic Middiebrok”.   I didn’t tell Esther any of this, thinking it could wait for another time.

I guess the ancestors thought differently because…….

Later that night Esther called me back and said I have something I want to read to you.  She had found it in her brother’s research. Then she read this one sentence… Alex Middlebrooks was a slave on the Powell plantation.  I was speechless. Of course, there is much research to come before I can confirm this statement, but for now all I can say is WOW!!

And then…..

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a lady, Debra, who is a cousin on my paternal side.

Debra stumbled upon my blog when she googled to find information on Greene County, GA in preparation for an upcoming family reunion.  Debra is responsible for writing up the family history.  Reading my blog, she noticed that we had the same surnames in our tree, Brewer and Lawrence, and that my ancestors, like hers, were also from Greensboro, Greene County, GA.  After a few emails and a phone conversation we easily made the connection.

My grandmother was Fannie Mae Lawrence and her mother was Lessie Brewer.  Lessie’s mother was Fannie Mae Brewer.   Fannie Mae Brewer also had a son Whit Brewer who had a daughter Hester Brewer.   Hester was Debra’s grandmother.  So, Debra and I have the same great, great grandmother – Fannie Mae Brewer.   We were both thrilled to make this connection and quickly arranged to meet.  Debra is just starting her journey into genealogy and her enthusiasm is refreshing.

Debra was raised by her grandmother, Hester Brewer, and has breathed new life into my Greene County research, and the Brewer line in particular.  A few years ago while researching through some Greene County records at the GA Archives I found court papers concerning a custody battle for a child – Hester Brewer.   Along with Hester, the other parties involved were Fannie Brewer and Whit Brewer. My focus was on something else at the time, so I made copies of the papers and filed them away for another day when I could examine them more closely.  Of course, I never got back to them and they remained in that file until a few weeks ago when I met with Debra.  She was thrilled to receive this piece of history about her grandmother.  Debra had heard bits and pieces of the story, but the court papers pulled it all together.   What a great story to begin her family history!

As Debra and I have discovered, it seems the ancestors have been working their mojo in our family for years through the generations.  Follow along….Debra’s grandmother, Hester Brewer, was raised in the household with my grandmother, Fannie Mae Lawrence, whose mother, Lessie Brewer, was Hester’s aunt.  Debra has an Aunt Ruth –Hester’s daughter.  I have an Aunt Ruth – Fannie Mae’s daughter. Debra’s Aunt Ruth was told that she is named after my Aunt Ruth.  It gets better.  Follow along….I have a cousin Zelphyr.  Debra has a cousin Betty (who would be my cousin as well).  Betty has a daughter, Zelphyr.  Debra’s cousin Betty named her daughter after someone she worked with whose name was Zelphyr.  Betty and this Zelphyr became really good friends, so she named her daughter after that friend.  As it turns out, that friend, Zelphyr, is also MY cousin Zelphyr!  They were coworkers who became good friends, and never knew they were also cousins.  As it turns out….We are all COUSINS!!

Standard
Taliaferro

04 March 2011: The Maiden Name of Pleasant LAWRENCE, Wife of James “Jim” LAWRENCE

My paternal grandmother was Fannie Mae LAWRENCE. Her father was George Lawrence, and his parents were James and Pleasant Lawrence. They are all from Greensboro, Greene County, Georgia. I did not know the maiden name for Pleasant. Given that I am researching the LAWRENCE line “in the blind” so to speak with no prior knowledge of anyone and no living relative to assist, I am piecing things together as I go.

In the 1880 census for Greensboro, Greene Co., Rebecca TURNER, born about 1805 in Virginia, is listed as the mother for head of household James LAURENCE. This same census lists wife Pleasant as being born in Virginia also. So, being persuaded by another researcher that the census taker did not take the time to write mother-in-law for relationship to head of household, I recorded Rebecca as the mother of Pleasant, and therefore, Pleasant’s maiden name as TURNER. A recent discovery has proven this to be incorrect. Honestly, I was never really comfortable with making Rebecca the mother of Pleasant; it just did not feel right to me. But, the logic of the other researcher won the argument.

Something, or rather someone, spoke to my spirit and told me to look closer at the children of James and Pleasant for clues. I had discovered early in my research that Nellie LAWRENCE, daughter of James and Pleasant, had married a Robert WHITEHEAD. I decided to go to Georgia’s Virtual Vault and look for a death certificate for Nellie Whitehead.  Bingo!

LAWRENCE-Nellie-2

Nellie died 22 June 1925, in Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia. 1  The informant on her death certificate was her husband Robert WHITEHEAD. Nellie’s parents were listed as James LAWRENCE and Pleasant LITTLE, both born in Greene Co. So, Pleasant’s maiden name was LITTLE. I have looked at a lot of census records for Greene County, but I don’t recall that particular surname. Now I need to look more closely.

Now that I can document a maiden name for Pleasant, I need to revisit Rebecca TURNER.

I believe, as the census indicates, that Rebecca TURNER is the mother of James LAWRENCE. If I can find a death certificate for James maybe it will confirm my theory.  Stay tuned.

Nellie Whitehead, death certificate #1546, Death Certificates, Vital Records, Public Health, RG 26-5-95, Georgia Archives; digital image, Georgia’s Virtual Vault, Georgia Death Certificates, 1919-1927 (http://cdm.sos.state.ga.us/index.php).

Standard
Taliaferro

22 January 2011: Sepia Saturday ~ Cousins!

My cousin Peggy and I connected online in May 2007 through Ancestry.com.  According to Ancestry’s relationship calculator, Peggy is my 2nd cousin 1x removed.  My maternal great grandmother, Sudie Parks, and Peggy’s grandfather, Johnson Parks, were brother and sister.  Peggy and I had an instant connection, and we love exchanging and sharing family information and history.

Peggy shared some family photos with me, including this one her.

Peggy-sepia

The instant I looked at the photo I had this strange and tingling sensation go through my body.  She’s a cutie-pie – no doubt about it!  But there was something else…something familiar. How could that be? I had never met Peggy.  Although we both have relatives still living in Pike and Meriwether counties here in Georgia our paths had never crossed. But, I just could not shake that feeling – I kept thinking…”this picture looks so familiar”…so familiar.  It wasn’t that I had seen the photo before. No, it was just…just…I could not put my finger on it, and I could not shake the feeling. There was just something about that picture. It was driving me crazy.

I pulled out one of my photo albums and started looking through the photos.  Then, it dawned on me.  I finally realized why Peggy’s photo looked familiar. But, I thought to myself I had to be wrong…it must be just my imagination. I had not seen the photo I was looking for in years.  My mind and eyes were playing tricks on me; I just thought they were similar.  My search took on a new intensity.  I knew exactly the picture I was looking for, but where was it???  I had to find that picture.

Finally, there it was and that strange tingling feeling returned, but this time it was accompanied by a smile.   I scanned the picture and immediately called Peggy and told her I was sending an email with a photo attached. I wanted her to call me as soon as it came through and she had looked at the picture.

A few minutes later, Peggy called me screaming OMG!!!  We both laughed and went OMG!!  This is the photo I sent Peggy.

SandraSepia-234x300

Can you see why we were screaming??   IT’S ME!!

Standard
Taliaferro

21 January 2011: Friend of Friends Friday ~ Slave “Nelson” Named In Confederate Citizens File

Yesterday, I wrote about finding documents for some of my ancestors’ slave holders in the Confederate Citizens File on Footnote. You can read that post here. Last night as I continued to browse through the collection, I found several records that mentioned slaves by name.  The owners had been paid for labor rendered by their slave to the  Confederate government.  This particular document was in a 12 page  file for Joseph A Gates of Virginia and mentions “Hire of Slave Nelson, as Laborer” several times.1  As I said in my post, these records are a rich genealogy resource.  Take some time and browse the collection. You might be surprised by what you find.

Hire-of-Slave-Nelson-Page-8

  1.  ”Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-65,”  digital images, Footnote.com (http://www.footnote.com : accessed 20 January 2011), record for Gates, Joseph A, Petersburg, Virginia, 18 February 1864, page 8 of 12, citing National Archives Record Group 109, (also known as the “Citizen File” NARA M346).
Standard
Taliaferro

20 January 2011: Documenting Slave Owners Using The Confederate Citizens File At Footnote.com

Yesterday, Robin of Saving Stories posted an article on the We Contribute blog titled Confederate Citizens File. These records are mostly alphabetized vouchers that show goods furnished or services rendered by private citizens and businesses to the Confederate government. These records are digitized on Footnote.com. After reading Robin’s article, I surfed right over to Footnote to check out this collection. Robin had found info that documented the slave owner of one of her ancestors, and I hoped to do the same.

I searched in the Confederate Citizens File using the name Taliaferro and then added Georgia to narrow the results. After clicking through a few documents I found several for an “E. M. Taliaferro”.  I recognized the name immediately. E. M. is Edward Mobley Taliaferro. The Taliferros, Edward and his father Richard lived in Georgia and were the slave holders of my paternal great, great grandfather Miles Taliaferro and his son John Wesley Taliaferro, my great grandfather.  I have an 1856 Inventory and Appraisement that documents Richard Taliaferro as the slave owner of Miles and John. You can see that inventory in this previous post Wordless Wednesday- “Miles & son John”.

The document I found shows that on 9 July 1864, E. M. Taliaferro was paid 280 dollars for 8,615 pounds of oats sold at 31/2 cents per pound. 1

Page-3

Wait! As soon as I saw this image I realized I had actually found this document before and it was in my gallery on Footnote.  Lesson: Keep a research log and document what you find (and don’t find).

I continued to search; I replaced Taliaferro with “Gates” but kept Georgia as a search term.  Jack Gates was my maternal great grandfather; he was my grandmother’s father. I strongly suspect his slave owner was Benjamin Gates of Meriwether County, GA.  I found records for a Benjamin Gates in Meriwether and Troup Counties.  Then I substituted “Middlebrooks” for Gates. Alexander “Alex” Middlebrooks (my great grandfather) was born in Harris County, GA.  A possible slave owner is John Middlebrooks and I found a record for a John Middlebrooks of Harris County, GA. Harris County borders Alabama. I believe my Middlebrooks ancestors have an Alabama connection.  I saw several records for Middlebrooks in areas of Alabama around and near Harris County.

There is no shortage of records to pursue for more clues to possible slave owners.  The Confederate Citizens File is a rich genealogical resource. But, it will require patience and persistence to reap the rewards.

Several of the records I found mentioned other individuals and referenced additional records that can be checked for further documentation.  For example, there was a document for Gates, Benj K of  Meriwether Co GA that referred you to the case of Alfred S Greer, and a record for Middlebrooks, John A that referred you to the case of Henry T Huff.  These records could hold information that can help me identify and confirm my ancestor’s slave owners.

Of course, there is much more research to come before I can document, with any certainty, the slave owners of my Gates and Middlebrooks ancestors, and I continue to look for additional doumentation on the Taliaferro slave owners. The records I found do provide more avenues to pursue before I can add another piece to the puzzle.  My thanks go to Robin and her article for leading me to these records, and for motivating me to continue the search to document my ancestors.

  1. “Confederate Papers Relating to Citizens or Business Firms, 1861-65,”  digital images, Footnote.com (http://www.footnote.com : accessed 19 January 2011), record for E. M. Taliaferro, Atlanta, Georgia, page 3 of 3, a payment of 280 dollars on  9 July 1864, citing National Archives Record Group 109, (also known as the “Citizen File” NARA M346).
Standard