Maternal Kin, Virginia

Hiding in plain sight.

I don’t understand how I have missed this:

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Almost exactly four years ago, with help from my late uncle Charles C. Allen and my new DNA cousin A.B., I identified Edward C. Harrison as the biological father of my great-grandfather John C. Allen Sr.

The screenshot above shows a portion of the 1880 census of Harrison township, Charles City County, Virginia. Household number 73: Wm. L. Harrison, 32; his mother C.R., 64; and siblings J.C., 24, and E.C., 31. That’s Edward C. Harrison, his brother William Lambert Harrison, his mother Caroline R. Lambert Harrison, and his sister Jane Cary Harrison. (His father William Mortimer Harrison died in 1865.) Household number 74, right next door: Gram Allen, 26; wife Mary; and children Namie, 5, John, 3, and Emma, 1. That’s my great-grandfather John, his mother Mary Brown Allen, his adoptive father Graham Allen, and his half-sisters Namie (Naomi? Nannie?) and Emma. I repeat: living next door.

Were the Allens tenants on the Harrisons’ farm? Graham Allen and Mary Brown married 22 June 1876, when she was just a few months pregnant by Edward Harrison. Were both of them already living on the farm? Why remain under the gaze (and, presumably, control) of the father of Mary’s oldest son?

William Lambert Harrison (1845-1919), John C. Allen Sr.’s uncle.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color

R.I.P. Ira Berlin.

Ira Berlin died this week. His Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South (1974) helped me make sense of the lives of my Henderson, Aldridge, Artis, Hagans and Seaberry ancestors, whose free status I had never suspected — or perhaps even heard of — when I began genealogical research. When I veered toward a Ph.D. in American History after law school, Professor Berlin tried to convince me to come to the University of Maryland. I chose Columbia University instead, though it pained me to miss an opportunity to study under him.

He is eulogized here and here.

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North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Edgar and James Broady Artis.

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Edgar J. “Buddy” Artis (1914-1988) and James Broady Artis (1912-1963), sons of June S. and Ethel Becton Artis, circa 1919.

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The Artis brothers were my double cousins. My great-great-great-grandfather Adam T. Artis was their paternal grandfather, and my great-great-great-aunt Amanda Aldridge Artis was their paternal grandmother.

The 1920 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County, recorded the family right around the time the boys posed for this portrait: on Stantonsburg & Wilson Road, farm manager June S. Artis, 30, wife Ethel, 26, and children James, 7, Edgar, 5, Manda Bell, 3, and farm laborer Edgar Exum.

 

Many thanks to my cousin Adam S. ArtisEdgar J. Artis’ grandson, for sharing this photo.

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