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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!!

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!

 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.

__________________________________

  1. 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 ().

Today is Friday, December 31st the last day of 2010.  Soon we will begin a new year – 2011.  In the New Year, I am looking forward to breaking through some of my many brick walls and wish you much luck and success in breaking down yours.  What has presented the most challenges in my past research, and what will mostly likely do so in the future, is identifying the former slave owner of my ancestors or finding documentation to support my theory of a likely slave owner.   One of my research goals for 2011 is to identify and document at least one former slave owner of one of my ancestors from either my Taliaferro line (paternal) or my Middlebrooks line (maternal).   

With that research goal in mind, I decided that my last post for 2010 would not be the typical list of genealogy “resolutions” for the New Year.  Instead, I decided to repost my favorite post from 2010 – A Friend of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad.  I believe we saw more sharing and mutual respect among researchers in 2010.   My wish is that the spirit and intent conveyed in the A Friend of Friends post carries over and continues to grow in 2011. 

Happy New Year to all!! 

I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time been ashamed. ~Ralph Ellison~

 

******************************************************************************************************************************************* 

(Originally posted on 15 January 2010) 

 A Friend of Friends: Lessons From The Underground Railroad 

One night during the holidays I watched one of my favorite movies, Roots: The Gift. The movie stars LeVar Burton and Louis Gossett, Jr., in their roles as Kunta Kinte and Fiddler from the television series Roots. In this movie, Kunta and Fiddler accompany their owner to another plantation at Christmas time for a party, and become involved in a plan to help some runaway slaves escape via the Underground Railroad to freedom. A simple, yet powerful story. There are many messages and lessons to be learned from Roots: The Gift.
 
In one of my favorite scenes, Fiddler and Kunta are helping the group of runaway slaves get to the river where they are to meet a boat that will take them further on their journey to freedom. Along the way they make a stop to pick up other “passengers” on the Underground Railroad. When they come to a farmhouse, Kunta approaches and knocks. The man asks…”who goes”? Kunta responds “Friend of Friends”…in acknowledgment, the man replies “Friend of Friends”. A group of “passengers” exit the house. Kunta, Fiddler, and the group continue their journey. 

This year, I was particularly moved by the Underground Railroad scene, and even more so by the phrase uttered by Kunta- Friend of Friends. The phrase, and variations of it, was used along the Underground Railroad as a password or signal to those assisting runaway slaves on their journey North…to freedom. The traditional response to the “who goes there” password is said to have been “A Friend of a Friend”. 

A Friend of Friends. Say it… A Friend of Friends, again…A Friend of Friends. It evokes such a comforting, welcoming feeling. A feeling of trust, of sharing, of caring, of kindness, and of friendship, however brief. At the same time, it is transient…adjusting and changing with the circumstances. I’m A Friend of Friends….you don’t know me, but I require assistance…I need your help, and guidance…some information to aid me on my journey…then I’ll be moving on…to the next stop along the way. 

The phrase, and the underlying concept, seems particularly appropriate and relevant for those of us in the genealogy community; aren’t we all on some level really just A Friend of Friends? Strangers helping strangers. Friends of friends with a common bond that ties us all together….the desire to know our ancestors, and to tell their stories. A common goal, with different methods, different paths that cross and intersect along the journey. As we travel this road to uncovering our ancestors and their stories we should all embrace the concept…we should be A Friend of Friends. Don’t be afraid or reluctant to share, to care, to guide, or to assist your fellow researcher along their journey. 

As an African American researcher my task is two-fold; I research my family, but inevitably I must also research the family of my ancestor’s slave holders if I want to know more about my roots. Often we must seek information (assistance) from those that we do not know to aid us on our journey. It is an unavoidable truth – the descendants of our ancestor’s slave holding families may hold the key to our enslaved ancestor’s past. Slavery is an ugly truth of our shared history. I am not angry with you because your ancestor held my ancestor as a slave; don’t be angry with me because I seek those records that may shed more light on the lives of my people, and help me to tell their story more completely. Some who were members of slave holding families assisted passengers along the Underground Railroad. I challenge you to be A Friend of Friends

We, as researchers of our African American ancestry, must also remember to share, to care, to guide, and to assist our fellow researchers; reach out, take time….no, make time. Can you request and expect the assistance of others, yet not expect the same of yourself? I urge you to stop being selfish with your research. Don’t miss out on a connection or a long lost cousin because of fear or uncertainty. Post It, Blog It, Share It, and Publish It. Many who were passengers along the Underground Railroad returned to assist others on their journey to freedom. I challenge you to be A Friend of Friends

True genealogists know all of this, and understand the necessity of it. Indeed, the concept is nothing new in the genealogy community. Random, and not so random, acts of kindness occur every day. So, consider this a wake-up call, my challenge to you. When a fellow researcher comes calling…for info…for guidance…for knowledge…for support – be there – to share, to care, to guide, and to assist. 

KNOCK, KNOCK!?! 

WHO GOES THERE? 

A FRIEND OF FRIENDS 

 

  

This past Friday me, my brother Bernard, and my sister/friend/cousin Luckie of headed to Greene County and Washington-Wilkes County on a research road trip.  My paternal grandmother, Fannie Mae LAWRENCE, her mother Lessie BREWER, her mother Fannie BREWER, and her mother Eliza ASKEW all have roots in Greene Co. So does my great grandfather, George LAWRENCE, and his parents James LAWRENCE and Pleasant LITTLE. The thought of exploring the area these ancestors once called home was extremely exciting, and my spirits were high on just the anticipation of that. The beautiful weather held the promise of good things to come.

The night before the trip, Luckie and I had one last phone conversation going over our plans for the next day.  Luckie’s home ground is Washington-Wilkes, so she was excited to be returning after a long absence.  You can read Luckie post; for a view of our trip as only Luckie can tell it. I wasn’t feeling too much apprehension knowing I would be in the company of this seasoned researcher.  Luckie’s advice – connect with the locals; once they know you have family from the area, they are more than happy to talk and share information.

Now, you have to know me, but this is way, way out of my comfort zone.  This Luckie knows all too well, but she was having none of it, and was not buying my “That’s just not me” and “I’m not comfortable approaching strangers” excuses.  After a few more words of encouragement and warnings of missed opportunities, she left me to my thoughts. Friday morning before leaving, I grabbed my Brewer and Lawrence folders, and printed out death certificates for Fannie Brewer and her son Green Brewer.  According to their death certificates, both were buried in “Hudson Grove Cemetery”.  I thought maybe we could find the cemetery and possibly locate their graves.

Riding around exploring downtown Greensboro was indeed a treat. The small town country look and feel was just what I’d hoped to see. I felt a tingle of something that told me the ancestors were stirring. “Oh, look Reid’s Beauty Shop. I’ve got the REID/REED surname in my tree.” Luckie said “You want to stop and see if they know your folks.”  I said, “No, but let’s get a picture.”  Was that a missed opportunity for a family connection? Maybe it was. 

Earlier, we had passed a small group of elderly men chatting in a parking lot, but passed without stopping. After striking out at the Greene County Historical Society and the local History Museum, we headed back to that group of men. Luckie introduced us, and we asked if any of them knew of Hudson Grove Cemetery. Yes, they did but, it would not be easy for us to find.  One of the gentlemen, Minister Marshall BAUGH, offered to ride with us as a guide, if we “trusted him”. We did. It just felt right.

The Greene County countryside was beautiful; wide open fields and lots of cows. I was hypnotized by the view, and filled with anticipation. Were we really going to the burial place of my Greene County ancestors? Minister Baugh talked all the way in true southern minister-style as we traveled the winding road. Turning onto the dirt road to the church, we were finally there. He was right; we never would have found it by ourselves. It was deep in the country.

The cemetery was located behind the church. Luckie and Bernard jumped out to explore while Minister Baugh and I sat in the car and talked. He told me the actual name of the church was Hutchinson Grove A.M.E. and it currently had only one member; he wasn’t sure if services were still held there-maybe once a month or so.

The cemetery is Hutchinson Grove Cemetery, not Hudson Grove as indicated on the two death certificates. It showed signs of neglect, but was fairly well kept.  I watched anxiously as Luckie and Bernard explored, and before long was lost in thought. The ring of my cell phone broke the silence of my daydreaming. It was Bernard screaming that he had found a headstone for “LESSIE LAWRENCE!” The excitement in his voice spoke volumes.  Not only that, he continued, there were other BREWERS there as well. We guessed it must have been a family plot.  There was no Fannie or Green for the death certificates I had printed out earlier, but still what an incredible find!

Lessie (BREWER) LAWRENCE was our paternal great grandmother. That’s her picture below, and below that the photo of her headstone. We did not come equipped with a spray bottle of water to clean the dirt from the headstone, but it is still very easy to read. 

 

The inscription reads:

Every joy to us is dead

Since mother is not here

Along with Lessie, there were 11 other headstones. After consulting my family tree, and searching records on Ancestry, I can confirm that 9 of those are BREWER descendants-no doubt about it. There are two surnames, HUTCHINSON and SMITH that are not familiar to me. They are most likely family I have yet to discover.  I suspect that this may have been the Brewer family church. The Hutchinson surname, which is also the name of the church, opens another avenue of family history to pursue. I am anxious to get started on that journey.

It was a beautiful day, and a wonderful trip.  Minister Baugh was as nice as can be, and the epitome of small town, southern hospitality. We were blessed to meet him. We will definitely be returning very soon.

The next time you take a research trip to an ancestral hometown, stop and strike up a conversation with some of the locals and tell them who your folks are. As I learned on this trip, you never know who you might meet or what you might find.  You might just be ~ Touched by the Ancestors!

2nd Edition, Carnival of African American Genealogy ~ Grandma’s Hand: Grandmothers and Their Influence On The Family

It’s Grandmothers Day at the Carnival of African American Genealogy.  The theme for this 2nd Edition of the CoAAG is Grandma’s Hand: Grandmothers and Their Influence On The Family. We invited you to tell your stories and share memories of your grandmother.  The stories we received pulled at our emotions and warmed our hearts.  They reflect the heart and soul that is in every grandmother.  Grandmothers are the cornerstone and foundations of our families; not just African American families, but all families.  Your stories and memories reflect the truth of that statement.

An array of grandmothers has shown up for this very special event, and the spotlight is shining on them.  A gallery of beautiful images starts this event followed by stories full of love and special memories.  We hope you enjoy this special CoAAG.  It’s all about our Grandmothers.  We are here to honor them.

The and are needed.

Vicky Daviss-Mitchell presents posted at . Vicky makes us laugh, cry, and smile with memories of her grandmother, Essie Dean Taylor.

Felicia Mathis presents Carnival of African American Genealogy: posted at Felicia shares memories of a summer in Chicago with her grandmother Lily.  Felicia’s Grandma Lily always said… “What’s done in the dark, will eventually come to light.”

Luckie Daniels presents posted at .  Luckie shares heartwarming memories of her great grandmother Annie.  Luckie’s Grandma Annie always said… “A cow will need his tail to fan flies for more than one summer.”  Meaning: Don’t worry if someone does you wrong, they will need you again!

Angela Walton-Raji presents posted at .  Angela honors her grandmothers with memories of quilts, sassafras tea, and “play pretties”.

Renate Sanders presents posted at .  Renate takes us on a sentimental journey with tributes to her grandmothers.

Mavis Jones presents posted at .  Mavis takes us on a last visit with her “Little Grandmother” Mary Magdalene Pierce Hosch.

Leslie Ann presents posted at .  Leslie Ann shares memories of her Grandma Piggott, on what would have been her 99th birthday.

Gini Webb presents posted at . Gini shares a beautiful tribute to her Oma who recently passed away in Germany at age ninety-six.  Gini holds dear loving memories and keepsakes from her dear sweet Oma.

Luckie Daniels presents posted at .  Luckie shares the poem written by her brother for their great grandmother’s 100th birthday.

Felicia Mathis presents posted at .  Felicia honors the memory of her NaNa- Odessa Amos.

Drusilla Par aka “Professor Dru” presents posted at .  Professor Dru writes about her memories of homemade biscuits made by her maternal grandmother.

Mavis Jones presents posted at .  Mavis shares special memories of her Grandmother Jones.

Kathleen Brandt presents posted at .  Kathleen shares memories of her grandmother and the beautiful quilt made with pieces from her grandmother’s dresses.

Joann presents posted at .  Joann shares loving and beautiful memories of time spent with her grandmother Ruth – shopping and “French Fryers”- “Great Day!”

Sandra Taliaferro presents Carnival of African American Genealogy, 2nd Edition: Grandma’s Hand ~ Julia Ann (GATES) MIDDLEBROOKS MINTER posted at I Never Knew My Father.  Come with me to Woodbury, GA as I share memories of my maternal grandmother.

Amy Cain presents posted at .  Amy shares memories of her Grandmother Para Lee “a tough-talking, no-nonsense disciplinarian”.

Luckie Daniels presents posted at .  Luckie pulls at our heartstrings with memories of her grandmother “Anbownes”.

Dionne Ford presents posted at . Dionne shares loving memories of her great grandmother Marie- “a perfect picture of composure and grace”.

George Geder presents posted at .  George shares memories of his grandmother, Willa Lenard Hancock.

Darlene presents posted at .  Darlene shares great family memories of living with her Grandma Clara.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

CoAAG 3rd Edition ~ They Served With Honor ~ In Memoriam, African-Americans In The Military 1914-1953

Host: Amy Cain of

Military research can yield important genealogical information. Yet, many overlook this valuable resource.  Have you researched military records for your African American ancestors? In your research, what did you find out about their service?  If you have not done any research in military records, this CoAAG presents the perfect opportunity to get started.

For the 3rd Edition of the CoAAG, tell us about your African American ancestor(s) who served in the military and write a post to honor them.  If you don’t have an African American ancestor with military service, but know of one who served honorably make this an occasion to honor that person.

Submissions deadline: 12 May 2010

HOW TO SUBMIT

There are two options:

  • By Submission Form. Use the quick and easy provided by provided by Blog Carnival.
  • By Email. Send an email to the CoAAG at CoAAG2010@gmail.com.  Include your blog name, the post title and permalink URL of your carnival submission.  Make sure to put ‘They Served With Honor’ in your email subject line!

Well, that’s it for this 2nd Edition of the CoAAG. I would say we did our grandmothers proud.  Don’t you agree?  Thank you for supporting the Carnival of African-American Genealogy!  You make it possible…You keep it alive!  See you next time – Wednesday, May 19th – when the 3rd Edition of CoAAG comes to town!

All the best,

** A special “Thank You” to Luckie Daniels for the image gallery, and for her guidance through this process. Your support and assistance were invaluable.

Last year I wrote about my search for , the burial place for my great grandfather John Wesley Taliaferro, his brother Bob Toliver, and Alex Poole another relative whose relationship remains undetermined. I am still trying to confirm the exact location of the cemetery. I thought if I found others who were buried at the cemetery their records might give some clue to the location. I did find other burials, but all that’s stated on these death certificates is the name “Rock Springs” – no exact location. In my November 2009 post I promised to find and honor others buried in Rock Springs Cemetery, specifically those who lived in the same communities as my ancestors. I have searched through hundreds of Georgia death certificates available online in the . So far I have found 15 persons, including my ancestors, whose death certificate indicates the burial place was Rock Springs Cemetery. Not a very large number, but I am proud. I wish I could identify with certainty their burial place. Maybe it is the Rock Springs Cemetery in Henry County, McDonough, GA that was the subject of my November 2009 post. It seems the most likely candidate. Yet, none of these names appear on any of the headstones. There is no finality. Maybe their remains are covered by the soil, weeds, and grass of the many unmarked graves. Maybe they lay beneath the graves marked only with a crude rock or stone. I picked this photo because of the little pink and white flower to the right of the stones that just happened to be there the day of my visit.  Maybe it was a sign that someone was buried there…Maybe he was…Maybe she could be…Maybe they are… Maybe….Maybe… Maybe….

Here, at the beginning of Black History Month, it seems an appropriate time to honor those buried in Rock Springs Cemetery. No, they are not the “typical” persons we think of during Black History Month. But, that does not diminish their importance as people- as African Americans who shared our history, our culture, our struggle. Each was someone’s child, and probably a mother or father, sister or brother. Some were most likely friends and neighbors. East Point and Hapeville were and still are neighboring communities here in the Atlanta metro area. No doubt some were probably related-Davis…Jackson…Wilson. Definitely, others were-Taliaferro…Toliver…Poole. All were God’s children who lived, loved, laughed, cried, and died. Gone, but remembered and loved by somebody, somewhere:

*DAVIS (née Ross), Mary Alice (d. 1926) East Point, GA


*DAVIS, James A. (D. 1926) East Point, GA


*DORSEY, Dennis (d. 1922) Atlanta, GA


*FULLER (née Jackson), Lizzie (d. 1925) East Point, GA


*JACKSON, Marry C. (d. 1923) East Point, GA


*JACKSON (née Johnson), Cornelia (d. 1925) Atlanta, GA


*JACKSON, Mary (d. 1927) East Point, GA


*POOLE, Alex (d. 1923) East Point, GA


*ROSS (née Jackson), Dollie J. (d. 1927) East Point, GA


*SEAGRAVES, Rueban J. (d. 1922) East Point, GA


*TALIAFERRO, J W (d. 1922) East Point, GA


*TOLIVER, Bob (d. 1920) East Point, GA


*WILSON, Ison (d. 1921) Hapeville, GA


*WILSON, Robert (d. 1923) Hapeville, GA

*WILSON, William (d. 1926) Hapeville, GA

Maybe someone will happen upon this post and reclaim their long lost ancestor.  THIS IS MY PRAYER.

This is a photo of my MIDDLEBROOKS family taken one Christmas in the mid to late 1960′s. Whenever I look at this picture it makes me smile and warms my heart. It makes me long for a FAMILY REUNION. When I was a little girl, we would go down to my mother’s hometown of Woodbury, GA in Meriwether County for Homecoming Sunday. Other than the vague memories of these events, I don’t recall attending a family reunion. One of my greatest desires is to have a TALIAFERRO family reunion. I’m talking about an “official” family reunion- meet and greet, cookout at the park, tee shirts, family worship-a weekend of family fun and fellowship. My brother and cousins tell me there has never been a TALIAFERRO Family Reunion. The idea has been bounced around, but no one has actually taken the initiative and put one together. Maybe that someone will be me.

My friend Luckie Daniels of has given me a wonderful Thanksgiving surprise. Today in my email were pictures of the Coca-Cola Cooperage Facility. This is one of those photos. Luckie has been assisting me in obtaining information on the factory where my ancestor David Toliver (aka David Taliaferro) worked as a barrel maker or “cooper” for the Coca-Cola Company here in Atlanta, GA. I don’t know what years David worked as a cooper for the Coca-Cola Company, or how long he was employed there; the 1910 census indicates that David was working for a cooperage company, and his 1951 death certificate indicates that he was a cooper for the “CoCola Co”.  I don’t know if David is among the employees pictured here. I’d like to think that he is. I hope to find more evidence to connect David with the Coca-Cola company, and his work as a cooper. In the mean time, I am blissfully happy and thankful to have these photos.

Luckie and Phil Mooney, the Director of Heritage Communications at the Coca-Cola Company, have come through big time with this one. I cannot thank them enough for this glimpse into my ancestor’s past.

[Image Source: Coca-Cola Archives; courtesy of Phil Mooney, Director of Heritage Communications; email from Luckie Daniels to Sandra Taliaferro, 25 November 2009.]

I got this idea for my first SURNAME SATURDAY post from my friend Gini over at .  Gini credits Cindy of for turning her on to this fun way to display surnames.  My thanks to both of them for this great idea. I played with it for a while before I could get TALIAFERRO to show up large enough to suit me.  Turns out TALIAFERRO (my paternal surname) and  MIDDLEBROOKS (my maternal surname) ended up with each other in the bottom right hand corner. How cool is that!! Give it a try.  It’s fun!

Category: Daily Themes, Surnames  

Proximity of polling place to residence plays a vital role in voter turnout. My voting precinct just happens to be right around the corner from my house in easy walking distance. But, for many of our ancestors such convenience was not the case.
 
In a September 11, 1881, issue of The Atlanta Constitution, a legal notice from Fulton County, GA, addressing the Commissioners of Roads and Revenues, contained a petition signed by citizens of old Blackhall district asking the Commissioners to sustain the new district laid out by the ordinary of said county. The petitioners were also seeking to have laid out another new district and requested that three commissioners be appointed to lay out the district. The first two names on the petition were S. M. Taliaferro and E.M. Taliaferro. They were Edward Mobley Taliaferro, former slaveholder of my Taliaferro ancestors, and his son Samuel Mobley Taliaferro. Also among the signers were my great, great grandfather Miles Taliaferro, and his sons John Wesley Taliaferro (my great grandfather), and Alex Taliaferro.

Edward Mobley Taliaferro was one of the three commissioners appointed to lay out the new district. Two of the commissioners, Samuel Hape and T.A. Poole, objected to the new district stating it would be “a matter of public inconvenience”; they gave their recommendation for a change in the lines between the two districts. Edward Taliaferro disagreed with his fellow commissioners stating “I beg leave to report that, in my opinion, it is the wish of a majority of the people of said part of the county, and it would certainly be to their convenience to have a district laid off,….” and he went on to give his recommendation for the lines of the district. Taliaferro further stated “[t]he reasons for wanting a [n]ew district are that a majority of the voters and the people are remote from the places of holding court and voting, to wit: East Point and West End.” The Commissioners approved the new district as recommended by Edward Taiaferro. The new district was known as South Bend district. My research shows that my ancestors and many of their relatives lived in this South Bend district.

One can only speculate as to the reasons why Commissioners Hape and Poole objected to the formation of the new district, or why Edward Taliaferro did not side with his fellow commissioners. The politics of this would surely make interesting reading. Considering the time period, a trip from South Bend to either East Point or West End was probably more than a mere “inconvenience”. Realistically, the eventual formation of this new district was probably not for the convenience of my ancestors and their African American contemporaries. Nonetheless, I cannot help but feel a certain sense of pride knowing that my people were actively participating in this process during a time when I am sure they continued to face many of the injustices of that era.

**Click on image to enlarge.

Source:The Atlanta Constitution, 11 September 1881, p.5, digital image, Footnote.com (http://www.footnote.com : accessed 31 October 2009).