Maternal Kin

Signature Saturday, no. 8: the McNeelys.

My great-great-grandfather Henry W. McNeely taught for a few years after Freedom and surely could read and write. His wife Martha, despite her transparent assertions otherwise, could not. Their children received educations that they had been denied, and when Henry’s brother Julius died without direct heirs about 1913, all signed off on the distribution of his estate. (All except Addie McNeely Weaver, who had recently passed.)


Several of Henry’s grandsons’ signatures appear on World War II draft registration forms, including Luther’s son Robert H.; Edward’s son Quincy; and Addie’s son James.




Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Celebus Thompson killed.

Celebus Thompson, was killed by gunshot in December 1913, leaving his widow, the former Lillie Beatrice Artis, and two small children.


Goldsboro Daily Argus, 15 December 1913.

The Wilmington paper’s coverage of the incident reversed the actors in its headline.


Wilmington Morning Star, 17 December 1913.



Celebus Thompson, 21, son of Wheeler and Ora Thompson, married Lillie B. Artis, 18, daughter of Adam and Amanda Artis, on 18 November 1908 at Adam Artis’ house in Wayne County.


In the 1910 census of Saulston, Wayne County: on Goldsboro and Snow Hill Road, Celepus Thompson, 23, wife Lillie, 20, and daughter Jenettie, 5 months. (Next door, Lillie’s half-brother Napoleon Artis and family.]

North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin, Photographs


I’m in D.C. for work this week, and I was able to steal away from my conference to spend a few hours with O.H.D., my grandmother’s first cousin. Cousin O. has lived in the District since 1940 and in her Capitol Hill row house since 1945. Our conversation was wide-ranging, but I, of course, drew out stories of our family’s history. Cousin O. spoke of my grandmother Hattie, of my grandfather, of her grandmother Louvicey Artis Aldridge (from whom she received her middle name), of her uncles Johnny and Zebedee Aldridge, of C.E. “Uncle Columb” Artis, of her aunts Lula and Frances Aldridge, of Uncle Fred Randall, of Alberta Artis Cooper, of C.C. Coley (in whose restaurants she occasionally filled in as cashier and in whose convertible she rode during Howard University homecoming parades), of Lucian and Susie Henderson, and of many others. She knows me well and had set aside a tiny treasure she’d recently uncovered — a postage stamp-sized photo of her first cousin, James Earl Aldridge. Cousin Earl, born the year before Cousin O., was the son of John and Ora Mozingo Aldridge. He passed away in 1975. As always, love and thanks, Cousin O.


James E. Aldridge Sr. (1919-1975).