Friday, June 24, 2011

My Grandma's Sisters

As a kid, I noticed something magical always took place when my grandma's sisters and her were in the same room. They each had unique personalities as all people do but the thing that really sticks out in my mind most is that there usually was laughter in the room when they were around.

Here's a picture I came across earlier this year that I call "Hey girl, let me tell you something."

                                From left to right-- Loris, Mary (my grandma), Rosa,
and Eloise

I think this was at my Aunt Rosa's house in Queens, but I have to double check with my Mom. I just get the impression that my Aunt Loris is about to tell something funny to out top the last story that was just shared in the room.

Loris Melba Bryant Gwynn Helton (January 2, 1918--December 14, 1987)


Eloise Bryant Grigsby (July 5, 1927--May 9, 1999)

Grandma, my brother, cousin Bryan, and Aunt Rosa

 Rosa Bryant Sanders

 This last picture is what I so remember about my childhood. Whenever there was a family get together....the sisters would always drift together.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Eloise Thompson Bryant Grigsby-- July 5, 1927--May 9, 1999

Eloise Thompson Bryant Grigsby as a teenager. My grandmother Mary Bryant Horton's sister What a great background for a portrait!
Eloise Thompson Bryant Grigsby as a teenager.
My grandmother Mary Bryant Horton's sister
What a great background for a portrait!

Wordless Wednesday:  Eloise Thompson Bryant Grigsby --July 5, 1927--May 9, 1999  How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
Another picture of my Aunt Eloise with my mom and her brother.
And yes, this side of the family has Native American blood.
Out of the Bryant children you can see it the most in my Aunt Eloise.

© 2014, copyright Andrea Kelleher. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Talented Tuesday: William Henry Jones---African American Postmaster

I don't know this for certain, but something tells me that William Henry Jones, my second great grandfather's brother was a person who had personality and liked to talk. The reason why I say this is that I was amazed to find a brief mention of him in a book called, "A Pictorial Review of Morehead City--History Through 1981". This is a great book detailing the founding of Morehead City, prominent people, homes, etc.

From Page 72:

From February 15, 1890 until June 15, 1893, William H Jones, a negro, was postmaster.  He served in a small wooden building in the 900 block on the north side of Arendell Street next to R. T. Willis' store.

When I saw this for the first time, the first thing I did was said to myself, " Say What?!" A black man, who's postmaster. Back in 1890. That takes someone with some real personality.

On a side note I am so proud of my son another "personality" who will be graduating kindergarten tomorrow. Someone told me when I was pregnant with him, that enjoy being pregnant, because that is the only time they are truly yours.  That statement is so true. :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Okay, I Got Bored And Changed Things Up A Little.

Okay, I got bored. Started playing around with the template...Yadayadayada, here's what the blog looks like now. I need to look at a brighter background for awhile. So anyway, I talked about the kindness of strangers in my last post and how that made it possible for me to have pictures of the graves of many of my Morehead City ancestors. Here is a picture that provides  perspective regarding how the Jones family is grouped together in the cemetery:

The children of Cesar and Mary Jones are the furthest away---Oliver and his wife Esther, then my 2nd great grandfather, his brother Cesar M, and then sister Violet Jones Devaughn. Next you have the parents Cesar and Mary (my 3rd great grandparents), Fred Douglas Jones (August 13, 1883--February 17, 1915) was the son of William Henry Jones( 1852--October 30, 1919), another child of Cesar and Mary.  William Henry Jones's grave is not seen in this shot or perhaps it is and the stone is gone now or perhaps it is in a different location. I will get back to that last part in a minute. Emma Shepard Jones(April 17, 1864--February 18, 1941) was William Henry's wife. Her grave is the last one in the frame.

So there is another grave that may be William Henry Jones's grave (my William Henry Jones). You know how it is, names get recycled over and over again in families so this next picture I will show you may be might not.
Image courtesy of Find A Grave

So here's the dilemma. The grave appears to show William M Jones born July 5, 1854, died October 18, 1919. My William Henry Jones's death certificate shows something different.

On the certificate it reads that month and day of birth not known but year was 1852.  Date of death reads October 30, 1919 and burial took place on October 31, 1919. The grave is not in the line with the other Jones relatives. Perhaps this is my guy. Perhaps it isn't.  I am thinking maybe the stone wasn't placed until sometime later and the wrong date is on the stone. I don't know. It just seems like the dates are so close that it is likely that this may be my guy.

If it isn't my guy, well I love old graves anyway.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

I have to say earlier this year I had an absolutely amazing experience when a stranger to me did something wonderful and miraculous. This stranger happened to be from a town not far from where I am in upstate NY but happened to be down in Morehead City where my grandmother's people came from. She found this lovely cemetery that was quiet and easy to navigate thru and she noticed it hadn't been cataloged yet by Find A Grave. This kind stranger all of the sudden started taking pictures and stored them in her camera until it was getting close to the end of her Winter break down south and pretty soon she would be returning home. She started loading pictures to Find A Grave and then suddenly when I hadn't gone to the Find A Grave website for months I am drawn there a week after my cousin and Godmother passes away.  A beautiful cascade of pictures of the graves of my ancestors unfolds over the days that follow and I will always remember this. Call me crazy, but I think this was a sign from my cousin and the ancestors upstairs if you know what I mean. Here are the graves of some of my Jones side of the family who were laid to rest at Bayview Cemetery, Morehead City, NC.

Alexander Hamilton Jones--2nd great grandfather
(March 5, 1852--May 22, 1915)

Cesar Jones--3rd great grandfather
(1821--August 14, 1899)
Mary H Mitchel Jones--3rd great grandmother
(January 21, 1823--February 22, 1900)

Louis Oliver Jones--2nd great grand uncle--Alexander's brother
(January 14, 1838--December 28, 1925)
Esther Lincoln Jones --wife of 2nd great grand uncle.
(December 4, 1851--October 4, 1917)
Violet Jones Devaughn--2nd great grand aunt--sister to Alexander and Louis Oliver
(October 21, 1844--December 2, 1880)

I am so thankful to have these pictures. The only record I had of Cesar, Mary, and Violet was the 1880 census. Since all three died before the 1900 census I was left in limbo to wonder what happened to them. Now I know.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Keeping up with the Joneses

Okay we are going to jump back to look at my Jones line. As a refresher, my grandmother Mary Horton was the daughter of a Frank Bryant and Ophelia Jones Bryant. Ophelia's parents were Rosa Mitchell Jones and Alexander Hamilton Jones. So who was Alexander Hamilton Jones and how did he get to Morehead City.

Alexander Hamilton Jones (March 5, 1852--May 22, 1915) was the son of a Cesar Jones (1821--Aug. 14, 1899) and a Mary H Mitchel (Jan. 21, 1823--Feb. 22, 1900)

The other children of Cesar and Mary were:

Lewis Oliver Jones (Jan. 14, 1838--Dec. 28, 1925)
Violet Jones Devaughn (Oct. 21, 1844--Dec. 2, 1880)
William Henry Jones (1852--Oct. 30, 1919)
Lizzie Jones (born about 1863--no date of death could be found at this time)

Here is a screen shot of the 1880 census showing the family:  Alexander is referred to as A H Jones on the record with Rosa listed as Rosetta.

From this record I found out the family came from Onslow County, NC and probably transplanted to Morehead City after the Civil War.

Alexander Jones's occupation was listed as laborer on his death certificate and also I learned a bit more about where he and his parents were born. It shows Swansboro, Onlsow, NC. Okay a bit of humor now, my children are trying to destroy me. LOL. They are in the background playing Wii tennis saying every 5 seconds Mom, Mom, Mom...check this out. Look at my score....AHHHHHH! Okay, back to genealogy. Anyway, I wish I had a picture to share with you to show what he looked like but unfortunately there isn't one to be found at this time. I say at this time, since we all know with genealogy, something can pop up at anytime and usually when you least expect it.

Alexander and Rosa Jones together purchased several properties together. The people at the Carteret County Register Deeds have always been very helpful when I have made requests for deed information. Thanks to them I have copies of my 2nd great grandparents deeds.

Okay I am being challenged to a few rounds of Wii tennis. Got to make like Venus Williams now. Ha. Somehow I know I will be sore after this.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Speculation Regarding Dave Sampson's Parentage.

Okay, the disclaimer first. This is my speculation. I am in no way trying to say I know this for sure. I am working with circumstantial evidence but I thought I should put this out there. If you read my posts regarding Dave Sampson you were provided with two different stories regarding his parentage. The first version was provided by an excerpt of a book written by  Primrose Watson Fisher called "One Dozen Pre-Revolutionary War families of Eastern North Carolina" In the book we learn Dave's mother's name was Hannah and she was a slave of Michael Fisher Sr..  Apparently, the female slaves were warned that if they gave birth to a mulatto child, they then subsequently would be sold off. Here's an excerpt from the book:

Dave's mother claimed that a white man who came to the community as a school teacher and for a while had boarded at the Fisher home, was the father of her child.  As a result, she was sold.  However, the sale was to a planter well known to the Fishers and who provided well for his slaves.

Now when you read Dave's obituary from "The New Berninan" January 27, 1932,  you get a slightly different take on what happened.

Before the war between states, Dave was a Craven county slave.  When he was only 3 weeks old, both his father and mother were sold and sent to Mississippi, by their owner Michael Fisher.  Thereafter he was brought up in the house with white people and learned to wait on ladies of the household.  After the war he found that his mother had written to him but the letter had been destroyed.

Oh what I would give to be able to read that letter. Well, let's look at what we know. Dave Sampson was a mulatto. When he lived with the Fishers he did not live in the slave quarters but rather in quarters off the kitchen. The kitchen was a separate structure behind the main house. He had a very close relationship with the family. He was described  further in the obituary  as staying on as a "slave by choice for ten years after the war, learning how to cook and to wait on the table and help his white friends"  We know he lived near the Fisher family for his whole life.  Hmm...Maybe the Fishers were not just friends. I'm just saying.

Okay, I am going to put it out there. I think that Michael Fisher Sr. was Dave Sampson's father. The uniquely close relationship he held with the family seemed more of a familial quality.

Here's two pictures of Dave Sampson from another wonderful book from the Images of America series called "Craven County" by Lynn Salsi and Frances Eubanks. Somehow in the cosmic universe a couple of people from my tree managed to get themselves into books.  LOL. On page 81 and 84 there are images of Dave Sampson when he was the cook at Camp Bryan.  As I looked at the pictures again I noticed that the images were from the G.A. Nicoll Photo Album, from the New Bern Craven County Photographic Archive at New Bern Craven County Library.

Now I am going to show you a picture of Michel Fisher Sr.'s youngest child Abram Dudley Fisher from the book "One Dozen Pre-Revolutionary War families of Eastern North Carolina" by Primrose Watson Fisher.

I don't know but call me crazy but there is something about those ears and the context of their faces that seems to me that there is a genetic connection.  What's your opinion?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dave Sampson a True Riverdale Character --Part two

If you missed Part one of this series here's the link:

So where's this connection to Babe Ruth. Okay, here it is. Camp Bryan, Craven, NC used to be a popular hunting area and guess who used to come to this spot quite often? The Babe. Dave Sampson was the cook at the camp ground and knew all too well about the baseball player's huge appetite. Here's a section of Dave Sampson's obituary describing just that:

The New Bernian --January 27, 1932

During about 30 years at Camp Bryan and previous experience with the army, Dave served many famous personages.  His intimacy with these men gave him the rare privelege of being able to relate about them many interesting anecdotes.
The cook used to say the thing he remembered most about Babe Ruth, was the batter's appetite.  "No wonder he weighs so much," he would say.  "He shore kept me busy cooking. I just couldn't cook him enough collards and corn bread."

The obituaries for Dave Sampson were just absolutely wonderful to receive in the mail. My thanks go out to Victor T. Jones jr. at the Kellenberger Room at the New Bern Public Library again. They are filled with so much information and really flesh out who Dave was as a person.  It is also absolutely amazing to me that in 1932,  a man of color had an obituary that seemed to just go on for days. When I say that, I am referring to the second one.

The New Bernian --January 26, 1932

The New Bernian --January 27, 1932
 Click on image twice to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dave Sampson a True Riverdale Character --Part one

Dave Sampson a True Riverdale Character --Part one --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

So how do I have a connection to Babe Ruth? No I am not kin to him but there is a connection that goes back to the husband of my 2nd great grand aunt on my Mitchell line. Rosa Mitchell Jones's sister Mary, married a David Sampson who resided in Riverdale, Craven, NC.  Well this David Sampson (Sept. 5, 1852--Jan 25, 1932) turned out to be quite a character. Thanks to the kind people at the Kellenberger Room of the New Bern Public Library, specifically Victor T. Jones jr.,  I was able to find out quite a lot about him from an excerpt of a book called "One Dozen Pre-Revolutionary War families of Eastern North Carolina" by Primrose Watson Fisher. The excerpt describes a trip that the then slave Dave Sampson took with his  owner's sons to Carteret County to visit with relatives.

Having decided to go to see their relatives in Carteret County, Michael, Jr. and John Fisher hitched one of the horses to a carriage and set out over the course mentioned, taking with them one Dave Sampson, mulatto lad belonging to their father.  Dave had been born to one of the negro slaves who had given him the name Sampson.  Any narrative about this period of the Fisher family would not be complete without some more than casual reference to Dave for , in addition to maintaining a home near the surviving members of the family and working for them whenever possible to do so long after his freedom began and even in his later life, Dave Sampson was a versatile character who became well known over a wide area.  Dave's mother, Hannah, was sold when he was a small child and he had been given unusual attention by the family because of that fact.  It was not the desire or practice of Michael N. Fisher to sell slaves that resulted in the separation of the members of a family, but he had told the negro women belonging to him that in the event one of them gave birth to a mulatto child, he would sell her.  

Dave's mother claimed that a white man who came to the community as a school teacher and for a while had boarded at the Fisher home, was the father of her child.  As a result, she was sold.  However, the sale was to a planter well known to the Fishers and who provided well for his slaves.

To resume the trip to Carteret County, we find the two brothers and their seven year old negro companion going on a trip that because of the route and other conditions of travel, needed more than one day to reach their destination.  As a result, it was necessary to stop at the home of a farmer for food, lodging, and rest for the horse.  The identity of the farm at which this accommodation was secured and the name of its owner have not been kept but it was a fairly commodious place at which a number of slaves were owned, the quarters of those employed in the household being adjacent to the kitchen which was, after the custom, a building apart from the dwelling house.  Because of the war conditions, great care was taken by the owner to see that persons unfriendly to the Southern cause were not allowed to visit the slaves or otherwise molest the routine of the farm or the authority of its owner.  Accordingly, it was not only necessary for the Fisher boys to identify themselves but to satisfy their host of the allegiance of the mulatto boy for whom they also required a place.  It was this companion who did not feel the humility of his owners that stirred up a feeling of distrust in the mind of their host.  Any contact with Dave over his long life would convince one that he did not feel inferior and that he was intelligent and crafty.  It is not surprising that anyone at that time would have wondered about a negro lad who seemed to lack the docility expected in a slave of his or any age.  However, the over-night accommodation was secured.

Having been assured of the trustworthiness of Dave Sampson he was quartered for the night in the rooms adjacent to the kitchen in which the household servants lived, the brothers Michael, Jr. and John Fisher sharing with the owner and his family he main dwelling house for the night.  But, according to the testimony of Dave Sampson, the negro slaves whose quarters he shared were more distrustful of him than was the master of the main house.  Dave humorously told with much animation, in his later years, of how he, as a boy on this trip impressed the negroes  with his smartness and how he picked up a hand bellows which he mistook for an accordion and in his attempt to investigate its intricacies, blew ashes from the fireplace onto the floor of the room.  The fact that he displayed an ignorance of the use of the bellows did not embarrass him or lessen his aggressiveness.  In writing this incident we cannot but comment on the personal inward stability of Dave Sampson who seemed to be comfortable in any situation, to know no inferiority by way of comparative wealth, education, or station and to feel a companionship and equality with all his associates: a gift from his Creator!

Ya, think he was thought highly of? LOL. Now where's that connection to Babe Ruth? Stay tuned for tomorrow's post :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mappy Monday--So where was Mortimer Mitchell's land.

 I so love using Google Maps to get an understanding of where family lived. I was able to get a general sense of where the land that Mortimer Mitchell owned by looking for clues in the deed description. Here is a map from Google Maps that looks at the Riverdale, Craven, NC.  If you take West Fisher Road to the end where it meets County Line Road, you will find Mount Olive AME Zion Church. I use this as my starting point since in the deed  says 6 acres were to be excluded for a church and meeting house. Now Mount Olive AME Zion Church I believe is the current church that is as at this sight, but I believe that there was an earlier church for African Americans on this land going back to before Mortimer Mitchell purchased his land. Well back to the deed it says the following:  "lying on the northwest side of the Meeting house branch, Beginning Where the Main Road crosses said branch thence down the branch to the great branch and With the great branch to the said Vine A. Tolson Corner to a marked bay.  Thence the said Tolsons live to the Main Road thence with said to Beginning."

Now it took me a little bit to figure out the lay of the land but this is what it appears to be.  The meeting house branch I believe refers to what is now Fisher Road and the Main Road would refer to what is now Highway 70. So starting with the northwest side of Fisher Road from the Highway on down to where Fisher meets County line Rd and where Mt Olive Church is gives us our approximate starting line for the property. The next question to myself was "Now how far back from Highway 70 does the land go?"  Back to the deed, it reads "to the great branch." This was when I was stuck for awhile until I hit the terrain button on Google Maps. I remembered that physical land markers were used to describe boundaries in deeds of this time such as wooden posts, a certain kind of tree, body of water, etc. When I hit the terrain button this is what popped up.

So great branch referred to a waterway. I know from research that Vine A. Tolson, mentioned in the deed, lived off of what is now Catfish Lake Rd toward the south. "A marked bay" more than likely referred to some tree that was used as a land boundary reference point.  So with that said, I know approximately where the land was that my 3rd great grandfather owned.

Now this is only an approximation, but I think this is totally cool! And yes my formative years were during the 80's so I apologize in advance for any excessive use of "totally" or "like". (smile)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mt Olive AME Zion Church

Mt Olive AME Zion Church--Riverdale, Craven, NC

If you read my last post, then you saw deed information regarding Mortimer Mitchell's land. There is a reference in the deed regarding church land, specifically, "In the above tract of land those six acres to be Excepted for the for the use of Church and School house the Remainder the said part of the second parties."  I believe this is a direct reference to the land that Mt Olive sits on now. 

I remember earlier this year first viewing this church on Google Maps. If you take West Fisher Road directly to the end where it meets County Line Road, you come across it. I knew that our family had a connection to the Fishers that lived in this area so it seemed a logical jumping off point checking out Fisher Road. From the aerial shot I could make out that the land next to the church was cleared out long ago and that trees and brush had started to fill in the space, however it was clear to me it looked like there was a cemetery there. Somehow, I knew there was a connection to this place. I found out in April that indeed there was.
I had written to the Craven County Genealogical Society and they linked me up with a researcher who originally came from upstate NY, so she had an immediate interest in my request. Can I say that genealogy people are the best! So kind and curious, which is such a wonderful combination when it comes to the work that we do. Everyone who has ever assisted me has always gone the extra mile and for that I am so appreciative. This lovely lady who's name I will keep anonymous, went to the Craven County Register of Deeds and found land information for both Mortimer Mitchell and his son Alfred. In addition she was able to locate the cemetery records for Mt. Olive and promptly she mailed off copies of everything to me. When I received that first package in the mail, it was like Christmas. In black in white, there it was burial listings for Annie Mitchell, Mortimer's wife and their daughter Mary Jane Mitchell Sampson and her family.  The next package was even more amazing. The researcher drove out to Mt Olive, located the graves, and took pictures for me and now I am able to share with you.

View of the cemetery from a distance.

Annie Mitchell
(Aug. 1, 1832--June 5, 1911)

Mary Jane Mitchell Sampson
(Aug. 1, 1866--Aug. 21, 1945)
Mortimer and Annie's daughter

David Sampson
(Sep. 5, 1852--Jan. 25, 1932)
Mary's husband

Alfred Sampson
(Oct. 30, 1886--Oct. 25, 1948)
son of David and Mary Sampson

Effie Sampson (July 6, 1891--Aug. 6, 1969)
Annie Sampson (Dec. 7, 1888--Mar. 16, 1983)
daughters of David and Mary Sampson

 Eva May Sampson
 (Aug. 25, 1903--Nov. 14, 1903)
daughter of David and Mary Sampson

A fifth child, Rosa Sampson Blake (Dec 1899--Feb. 11, 1979) is also buried at Mt. Olive Church Cemetery as evidenced by her obituary.

New Bern Sun Journal Friday Feb. 16, 1979

For Mortimer Mitchell and his son Alfred, a stone or grave could not be located at this time. Mortimer died before 1900 as evidenced by the census of that year where his wife is listed a widow. Perhaps, his marker is long ago sunk in or missing. Alfred Mitchell (Jul. 31, 1858--Feb. 24, 1934)  lived his whole life in the Riverdale community and his death certificate reads he was buried in Riverdale. It would make sense that the whole family is at rest together.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Man Upstairs

Do you ever feel like your searches are steered by "The Man Upstairs". My bad, it should be "Man or Woman Upstairs" but anyway, you know who I am referring to. During the last 6 months, there have been far too many coincidences that I have come across or signs that have popped up while I have been doing research.

This is something I wrote about two months ago as part of my genealogy journal, that I've been keeping. My journal just describes how these events, details, bits and pieces of information that I find, have had an impact on my life. Well anyway, here's goes....

While Researching Mortimer Mitchell and Family.....

All I can say is, Oprah is so right. Whatever you call God or believe God is, he sends you signs constantly to help you on your way. I think the beginning of my journey happened when I saw the image of my great grandmother Ophelia in my grandmother's house. Once that happened, the seed was planted to research and find out who were these people who came before me. I just didn't know that the seed wouldn't take root until I started really searching two years ago.

It didn't take long to get to Mortimer, since I had a lot of good information provided by my mother and my late grandmother. Ophelia to Rosa to death certificate led to the next and then the next. However, for a year I was led to follow through on other branches of my family tree.  The shift started in January of 2011 to dive get more information on my main line. To flesh out these names I started to hold oh so dear. I started to look at Google Maps to look at where Riverdale, NC was in comparison to New Bern.  I went over old directories and reviewed Mortimer's name next to his son Alfred, listed as farmers in the 1880 Chas. and Emerson Business Directory for New Bern.  I was just drawn here. I didn't know why.  I started to look at East and West Fisher Rd on the map and I recalled that my great great grandmother Rosa's sister, Mary, married a David Sampson who was affiliated with some Fisher brothers from the area. Kind of figured out that David Sampson was probably their half-brother growing up alongside the other Fisher boys in the family store.  Then my cousin and godmother Melba who is also, descended from this line, became increasingly sick with cancer brought my attention back to Morehead City. My cousin Melba passed away on March 22, 2011 from throat cancer. The following week, for some reason I check the Find A Grave web-site.  I hadn't been on it in awhile, so I say what the heck.  It was late---after 11 pm, almost ready for bed and Bam! There they are the graves of Frank and Ophelia Bryant...their huge monument as plain as day in front of me. Whoah, right. I can't believe it. I send the researcher a huge thank you for posting the picture.

I just wanted to send you a personal thank you for posting the picture of Frank and Ophelia Bryant's grave.  I hadn't been on Find A Grave for awhile and what a wonderful surprise to find today.  Thank you so much.  Are you a relation?  Thanks again.

The following morning Tuesday, March 29th, 11:49 am

Thank you I am not related but spend half the year here.  It is a very pleasant cemetery and I have spent some time this Winter taking pictures and adding memorials that had not been added yet.

Mojo 8

Wednesday goes by--still so thankful to have a picture of Frank and Ophelia's grave.

Thursday night--drawn back to Find A Grave. Bam! I first lay eyes on Caroline Bryant's grave(Frank Bryant's grandmother) ...then I look further there's Cesar Jones and Mary Jones (Alexander Jones's parents) and there are others. I am beside myself. I tell my husband. He can't believe it.

I write again to Mojo 8

Okay, you are starting to freak me out here. But something in the cosmic universe sent you to photograph my peoples' graves for me.  Caroline Bryant that you added on 3/31 was one of my 3rd great grandmothers.  I know you said you were taking pictures this past Winter and you just uploaded them.  Do you recall if this grave was close to the Jones graves.  I am in shock right now.  Also, do you recall if you may have come across an unmarked grave on the Bryant plot.  I contacted the cemetery sometime ago and they did not have a record for a Rosa Jones--that was Ophelia's mother but they said it was probable that she was buried in the area where her daughter lies.  Wow, again so many thanks. 

 It's too much...just too much to take in at once.  Each image I try to take in and I try to comprehend what has just happened.  I look at the date for when Ophelia and Frank's grave was uploaded to Find A Grave.  March 21, 2011, the day before Melba passed away.

A sign? Yes.  Am I listening Lord? Yes. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Pay attention folks when he sends you a sign.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The audacity to own land.

So here's a recap of where we are.

Rosa M Jones and Alexander H Jones  were the parents of the following children.

Lovie Ann Jones Watson (Jan. 14, 1883--Jun. 2, 1948)
Cesar M. Jones (Dec. 6, 1885--Jun. 3, 1898)
Mary E Jones Wooten (Jan 1888--date of death unknown at this time.)
Ophelia T Jones Bryant ( Nov. 20, 1894--Feb. 20, 1939)---My great grandmother.

Here's a definition of the word audacity courtesy of

audacity:  1. The willingness to take bold risks: "her audacity came in handy during our most recent emergency". 2. Rude or disrespectful behavior; impudence: "she had the audacity to pick up the receiver and ask me to hang up".

The first thing that I thought about when I found out that my great-great grandmother Rosa Jones owned land back in 1907 was, "Where did she get the audacity to do that?" Not just one property, but several. Where did this idea..concept, mindset...whatever you want to call it come from. It didn't just come out of nowhere. Now one thing I want to mention here is that I am not trying to discredit my great-great grandfather Alexander Jones. They started this thing out together. He died however in 1915, leaving my great grandmother to carry on raising a family and renting out these lands to other African Americans of the neighborhood.

I started to gleam more of where this audacity (and I am referring to definition 1. not 2.) came from when I traced further back in time to Rosa's parents.

Rosa's parents were a Mortimer Mitchell (born about 1835--died before 1900) and Annie Taylor Mitchell (born Aug. 1, 1832--June 5, 1911)

Their children:
Alfred Mitchell (Jul. 31, 1854--Feb. 24, 1934)
Mary Jane Mitchell Sampson (Aug. 1, 1864--Aug. 21, 1945)
Nancy Mitchell (about 1873--date of death unknown)
and of course my Rosa Mitchell Jones my great-great grandmother.

Well this audacity came from apparently her father who purchased land back in 1878! Yup that's right 1878. The family resided in a small community about 10 miles south of New Bern called Riverdale.

 Here's a transcription I did of the deed.

Mortimer Mitchell Deed 1878—Purchase from Elizabeth W Williams

This Indenture made the first day of January in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and Seventy Eight between Elizabeth W Williams of the County of Craven and state of North Carolina of the first part, and Mortimer Mitchell of the County Craven and State of North Carolina of the Second part. Witneseth that the said parties of the first part in Consideration of the sum of two hundred dollars paid by the said party of the Second part the receipt Whereof is acknowledged do grant bargain and sell unto the party of the second part a certain parcel of land situate in the and bounded and described as follows lying on the North West side of the Meeting house Branch Beginning Where the Main Road (crosses) said branch thence down the branch to the great branch and With the great branch to the said Vine A Tolsons Corner to a marked bay. Thence the said Tolsons live to the Main Road thence with said to the Beginning. In the above tract of land those six acres to be Excepted for the use of the Church and School house the Remainder the said part of the second parties.

To have and to hold the aforegranted premises With the improvements and appointmances thereto belonging with the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever and the said Elizabeth Williams for herself her heirs Executors and administrators do Covenant With the said party of the second part her heirs and assigns that she is lawfully sated in fee of the aforegranted premises that they are free from all Encumbrances & that she has good right to sell and Convey the same to the said party of the second part as above said and that she will and her heirs Executers and administrators shall Warrant and defend the same to the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns against lawful Claims all persons.

In testimony Where of the said party of the first part the said Elizabeth W Williams in token of her release of all right of (unclear) do here onto set her hand and seal this day and year first above written the 11th day March 1878.

signed sealed & Delivered (signature ) Elizabeth W Williams seal
in presence of E H Williams & Alfred Mitchell (signature) R. B. Williams seal

North Carolina: Craven County—In the Probate Court

Best Remembered that on this 22nd day of March 1878, before the Undersigned Judge of Probate for said County personally came R. B. Williams and Elizabeth Williams his wife the persons described in, and who signed the foregoing deed and acknowledged the due execution thereof by them as this act and deed, and thereupon the said Elizabeth W Williams being by the undersigned privately examined separate and apart from her said husband, tending her free consent in the Execution thereof, doth declare on such her examination that she had executed the same freely, of her own free will and accord, without any force fear or undue influence of her said husband or any other person, and did still voluntarily (two words that are unclear) Therefore let the said deed with this certificate be registered.

(seal) E. W. Carpenter
Presented March 22nd 1878 at 11 a.m.
Recorded March 23rd 1878

Got to get dinner on the table y'all.  That's all for now.

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