There were three uncles, and some male cousins, but the McNeelys were basically a family of women. My grandmother was the middle daughter of her mother’s three and grew up among six aunts who had many girls.
Janie McNeely, called “Dot,” was the youngest of Henry and Martha McNeely’s daughters. Born in 1894, she worked as a laundress and reared her children in Statesville’s Rabbit Town section before migrating to Columbus, Ohio, in the 1940s. Janie’s oldest child was Sarah Mae McNeely, born in 1911. She was followed by Frances V. McNeely (1913), Willa Louise McNeely (1918), Carl Graham Taylor (1923) and William Maurice McNeely (1925).
Sarah worked with her mother and sister at Statesville Laundry in the early 1930s. Soon after, she joined her grandmother, uncle John, aunt Emma and cousins in Bayonne, New Jersey, where she married a Mr. Green. (No one, including her obituary writer, seems to know his first name.)
Statesville Landmark, 3 May 1937.
A few days later, in the Statesville Record‘s “News of Our Colored People”:
[Was Sarah survived by Mr. Green or not? Who was her father? And who were the extra aunt and all those uncles?]
Photographs in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.