Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Swim Kids

Kids are having a blast this summer with swim lessons. They both can now swim better than me. I love this shot with the two of them and how my ladybug is stealing a glance back at me. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ole' School Blog Challenge: The West Street Graded School

West Street Graded School
From "The Planet" 1915, Vol. 1 No. 1
Image courtesy of the New Bern-Craven Public Library

I have to send a huge shout out and thanks to Victori Bass of the Griot Gram Family History Group on Facebook for coming up with the "Ole' School" blog challenge this month. The idea was to choose an ancestor and find out where they obtained their education. Well, by signing up for this challenge and researching information regarding the school where some of my Whitney and Harrison ancestors went to school in New Bern, NC, I made an amazing discovery.

So you know I did some Googling and came across some helpful information.

First, here's a little bit about the West Street Graded School that I found in an article that was written by Arabelle Bryant and was featured in the April 17, 2010 edition of the New Bern Sun Journal.

Prior to 1905 there was a wooden structure on West Street which was the school for black students. This structure was referred to as the "Red School House." This building burned in a fire in 1905. A new two story brick building was built in 1907 that replaced the first. John Thomas Barber was appointed the first principal of this school.

So who was John Thomas Barber? It turns out he was quite the self made man. This is an excerpt from a book called The History of the American
Negro, Volume IV, Page 841, that describes him.

Conspicuous among the educators of Eastern North
Carolina must be mentioned Prof. John Thomas Barber of
New Bern, whose meritorious work has won for him the
principalship of the New Bern Public Schools. Prof. Bar-
ber is a native of the town of Trenton in Jones Co., where
he was born on Jan. 6, 1872. He came to New Bern at an
early age and it was in the public schools of that historic
town that he laid the foundation of his education. Much
progress has been made in the public schools of the city
since his student days and much of that must be credited
to Prof. Barber.

Image courtesy of the book, The History of the American 
Negro, Volume IV, page 841

Now here's a map of New Bern, NC and I have the approximate location of where the West Street Graded school once stood noted in orange. The yellow star shows where the home of my great grandmother, Carrie Whitney Harrison, was located.

 Orange star notes approximate location of West St Graded School
Yellow Star is 709 Hatties Lane, previously known as 709 Brown's Ave/10 Brown's Alley.
The Brown's Alley address was initially owned by Carrie's parents Samuel and Sarah Whitney.

The school Carrie attended as a child was just a block away. Amazing! There was no excuse for her not to get to school that's for sure. Being close to where there was a school, played an important role in the lives of my Whitney and Harrison ancestors and no doubt contributed to how successful these family lines were to become. 

Anyway you are probably saying right now, what about that discovery?! What was it?

Well, this is one of the things I came across while Googling. It turns out that the West St. Graded School put out a yearbook called "The Planet." This yearbook was digitized not too long ago online by the New Bern-Craven County Public Library. Here's the link:

I was so excited flipping through the pages. I carefully scanned each name looking for anyone familiar and lo and behold on page 3, I found someone.

"The Planet" 1915, Vol. 1 No. 1
Image courtesy of the New Bern-Craven Public Library

That's when my stomach started to flutter. Could there be a picture?
I didn't have to wait long to find out because when I turned the page, this lovely image came up.

"The Planet" 1915, Vol. 1 No. 1
Image courtesy of the New Bern-Craven Public Library

And here's a close up of my great grandmother.

Carrie E. Whitney

In May of 1915, Carrie was just 17 years old. She would turn 18 on October 11, 1915 and just three short days later would marry my great grandfather John T. Harrison. It appears that she completed her schooling through the 9th grade. The West Street Graded school would eventually go on to include a high school department, with it's first high school class graduating in 1925.

But wait there's more!  On page 13 of "The Planet"  I learned that perhaps Carrie had a bit of a green thumb. 

"The Planet" 1915, Vol. 1 No. 1
Image courtesy of the New Bern-Craven Public Library

Genealogy Happy Dance Anyone?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 43 --Emigration, Migration, and Immigration

How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

Prompt 43: Emigration, Migration, and Immigration

This week’s prompt is – Emigration, Migration, and Immigration

Have you ever lived overseas from your place of birth?
Would you want to?
Could you?
Did your ancestors or even a more recent generation?
Do you feel akin to another Country from that in which you were born?
If so have you found any ancestral links in your research that perhaps explains those feelings?
As always share (or not) examples, photographs and perhaps events or rationale

I have never lived overseas. I have to be honest, I don't really think I would want to. I would get too homesick. That's not to say that I wouldn't mind visiting someplace perhaps for two or three weeks. 

My paternal grandfather, Harold Murrell, immigrated to the United States in 1927. He was born in St. Philip parish, Barbados. He was trained as a carpenter but unfortunately there was a lack of work available on the island. He spent a year working in the oil fields of Venezuela before coming to the U.S.  How brave he was to leave everyone he knew and loved behind. I can't even imagine. 

You can read more about his life on these posts:

My Paternal Grandfather, Harold Murrell--Part one.

Travel Tuesday: My Grandfather, Harold Murrell--Part two

My Grandpa, Harold Murrell--Part three

The Book Of Me: Prompt 7 --Grandparents -- Part One

Military and Mappy Monday: Harold Murrell's National Guard Enlistment Card

Barbados Trip 1998 --How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey
One of my pictures from my Barbados trip.

I think it was in 1998 if I recall correctly, when my parents, brother and I took a trip to Barbados and I met cousins there. I have to say I did feel a sense of connection to that place on arrival. There was something about seeing that ocean breeze blowing through palm trees, the lush landscape, and those beautiful brown faces that whispered a voice in my head that said, "Yes, you are of this place."  That was pretty powerful. It gave me a better sense of who my grandpa was and the sacrifice he made leaving his family behind. 

Many of my ancestors participated in "The Great Migration." My maternal grandparents and my paternal grandmother left North Carolina in their youth and settled eventually in New York in search of work and better opportunity. This too had to have been an extremely difficult thing to do but as I write this I have started to realize that we all do this kind of break away in some way shape or form. The young have to go out and strike out their own path. For some that may be in their own hometown. For others their path may have a longer route. It really is in a way the same but at the same time different. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Those Places Thursday: Seeing Through The Eyes Of My Ancestors

I love Ebay finds! While I was vacationing on Cape Cod a couple of weeks ago, I purchased these two photographs which show the city of New Bern, NC circa 1895.

Many of my Harrison and Whitney ancestors would have seen these views. It's pretty cool being able to see the city as they would have seen it.

There was a third photograph I wanted to purchase but unfortunately it went for way more than I wanted to spend. It was a picture of the Masonic Theater in New Bern from around 1895.  Oh well, at least I have these two. 

52 Ancestors: #19 What Did Church Mean For Rev. Thomas Duke Harrison?

It's been awhile, but yes I am still participating in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge put forth by Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small. If you aren't familiar with the challenge be sure to check out her blog.  I am a bit behind on this prompt but I figure, I will just keep doing the best I can about getting these posts out there. It's summertime and it's been challenging to carve out time during the day to blog. This particular post I have had sitting in my draft section in Blogger going on two weeks. Finally, I said to myself enough is enough. Let me just get this thing out there. 

What did church mean for Thomas Duke Harrison? I have often wondered about this. What church means to me is spirituality and connection to those around me.  For him, it had to mean so much more though. 

According to his death certificate, he was born December 25, 1880 but based on information provided on Thomas's marriage license to a Mary Jane Williams, my 2nd great grandmother, I believe the year was actually around 1856. His mother was a Sophia Boyd of Beaufort, NC and a Simon D Harrison of New Bern, NC.  The family oral history that was passed down to me from my maternal grandfather Lemuel Harrison was that the original family surname was Dove and at some point was changed to Harrison. Supposedly, a man of possible Irish decent helped out Thomas and as a result he was able to attain an education. 

By 1880, Thomas Duke Harrison was residing in Rocky Point, NC which is northeast of Wilmington. He worked as a servant for a Benjamin and Mary Lee.  I believe he probably was already involved with the Methodist church at this time. In 1880, Thomas's father Simon Harrison was still alive and living in New Bern, NC. I wonder what their relationship was like. Did he miss his father? I have a feeling that the church gave him a sense of family and belonging.

I found signs of his rise in the ministry in newspapers of the time.

 The Wilmington Messenger, December 3, 1889, Page 5

This next article from January 2, 1897 noted T. D. Harrison's pastoral appointment to the Swansboro, NC district.

 The Gazette, (Raleigh, North Carolina)January 2, 1897, Page 3

By 1900, Rev. T. D. Harrison was living in Wilmington, with his wife and 6 children on land he apparently owned. In 1906 he made an additional purchase of land in Wilmington.

The Wilmington Messenger, October 27 1906, Page 5.

I wonder if this was a personal purchase or one he made on behalf of the Methodist church?

Over the next several years, he was appointed to different districts in North Carolina. 

In 1905 it was Maysville.

 The Daily Journal, December 6, 1905, Page 4

1907--1908 New Bern

Hill's Directory Co. City of New Bern Directory 1907--1908


New Berne Weekly Journal, January 1, 1909, Page 3

By 1910, Thomas Harrison's family had expanded to include 9 children:  Elizabeth, Mary Ellen, John Thomas, Charlie Lee, Sophia, Lilian,William Arthur, Edward, and Varina. I found it curious that Thomas was not listed on the census with his family. Perhaps he was in Kinston when the household was enumerated.  

Source Information: 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006. Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Wilmington Ward 5, New Hanover, North Carolina; Roll: T624_1124; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0096; FHL microfilm: 1375137.

Or was he was working the circuit back in his hometown of New Bern? 

Hill's Directory Co. New Bern, NC Directory 1911-1912

My great great grandfather certainly was a man on the move.

Thomas Duke Harrison's family eventually caught up with him and settled in New Bern sometime between 1911 and 1919. The family resided in a house that was once listed as 37 Lincoln St. but is now referred to 1510 Lincoln St. To learn who my 2nd great grandfather purchased the home from, check out my post Deed to 1510 Lincoln St Reveals An Interesting Connection.

Image courtesy of Google Maps.

What did church mean for Rev. T. D. Harrison?

These are a few of the words that came to my mind.

sense of family

but in the end I think it really was the place he truly called home.

(Born about 1856--died December 7, 1940.)

Here are some links to other posts regarding Thomas Duke Harrison:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Book Of Me: Prompt 42 --Handwriting

If you are not familiar with this wonderful project that was created by Julie Goucher of the Angler's Rest blog, please refer to this link:

This week's prompt is - Handwriting

Add to your Book of Me an example of your handwriting.
Share some examples of your ancestors - parents, Grandparents, etc
Has your handwriting changed over time?
Perhaps include some samples of younger generations?
In this digital age our descendants will marvel at our handwriting for very different reasons when compared to us marvelling at our ancestors handwriting. We take for granted that we can probably write. That in the past was not a given right.

Here's a sample of my handwriting from when I was a kid.  It's from a card I made for my paternal grandmother. 

And yes my handwriting has changed a bit from then. It's now messier. Only kidding :)

Here are some handwriting samples from a few of my ancestors.

Samuel H Whitney
Maternal 2nd great grandfather.

Augustus Whitney
Maternal 2nd great grand uncle (Samuel Whitney's brother)

Harold Murrell 
Paternal grandfather

John Harrison
Maternal great grandfather

Rev. T. D. Harrison
Maternal 2nd great grandfather (father to John Harrison)

Frank L. Bryant
Maternal great grandfather

I am still trying to play catch up so I am going to keep this post brief. On to prompt 43!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flashback Friday: Pictures From A Vacation Past.

Something made me take a trip down memory lane last night and I reviewed through tons of pictures I have saved to Dropbox. I had forgotten I had taken these pictures a couple of years ago when the family and I visited Pass A Grille, Florida. We have lots of good memories of that trip. It's nice be able travel back to that place and time through pictures. 

Perhaps I'll dig up old pictures and post them on Fridays. Maybe I'll make this a regular theme. We'll see. 
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