Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Photographs

Family cemeteries, no. 3: Boyden Quarters.

I doubled back through Iredell County on I-77 and exited on US-70. I crossed into Rowan County on backroads, cresting rolling hills on my search for the lands on which my McNeelys and Millers lived and worked. I came out just east of Mount Ulla, the hamlet that gave its name to the entire district. Finding nothing much to see, I headed toward Bear Poplar and Salisbury on NC-801, also known as Sherrills Ford Road. From the corner of my eye, I spied a cluster of church signs pointing up a side road. “Thyatira Presbyterian” I recognized from histories of early Scots-Irish in Rowan County. And “Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Boyden Quarters” — Boyden Quarters!!! That’s the area that many of my Miller-McConnaughey kin lived in in the early 20th century.  I’d thought they were AME Zions, but decided to have a look anyway. And there they were:


Mary Emma McNeely Leazer, daughter of Joseph Archy McNeely and Ella Alexander McNeely. This stone faces into, and has been overgrown by, a cedar.


Right next to it is a double stone for Mary McNeely Leazer and her husband George H. Leazer.


Addie Brown Sifford was the daughter of William C. and Mary Caroline Miller Brown. Her grandmother was Grace Adeline Miller Miller.


Sarah Ellis Sifford was the daughter of Callie McNeely Ellis and granddaughter of Joseph Archy McNeely.


James W. McConnaughey was the son of James R. McConnaughey and Mary Leazer McConnaughey (sister of George H. Leazer, above) and grandson of John B. McConnaughey.

Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

A final account.

Lula Mae Aldridge died 16 November 1919 in a state hospital after a battle with mental illness. She was 37 years old. Lula had a few hundred dollars, probably inherited from her father, John W. Aldridge, and her brother John J. Aldridge was appointed administrator of her estate.

ImageLula was the oldest of John and Vicey Artis Aldridge‘s daughters, and the second to die that month. (Amanda Aldridge Newsome has succumbed to influenza ten days earlier.) Her family spared no expense for her funeral — $140.00 paid to undertaker L.T. Lightner and $80 to Goldsboro Marble & Granite Works for her marker.

IMG_4675 Lula’s gravestone, Henderson-Aldridge Cemetery, Dudley NC

ImageThis, despite the considerable debt against her estate, primarily in the form of a $277 judgment against her by William Mozingo.  (What in the world?!? I’ll have to look this up.)  Lula’s brothers John and James Thomas Aldridge and her mother Vicey contributed  $337.95 (about $4600 today) to settle her affairs, and the estate closed in 1923.


North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

A welcoming stop.

I broke my drive home for the holidays with a stop near Greensboro, North Carolina. It rained much of the day, I was exhausted, and I sank gratefully onto the couch at Sister’s. At 88, she’s one of two surviving daughters of my great-aunt, Mamie Henderson Holt (1907-2000). She was the only girl to migrate North and that, plus her enduring beauty, gave her an alluring aura. Here’s one of my favorite photos of her:


Enslaved People, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Allie’s children.

Two of Lucinda McNeely‘s sons are accounted for, but what of her older children, John and Alice?

7 slaves

The record for Alice is frustratingly scant. I have found her exactly twice. Once, in the deed filed by Mary Kilpatrick when she sold Alice, Lucinda and John to Samuel and John McNeely in 1834. The McNeely’s slaves seem to have comprised a single extended family — Lucinda, her children, and grandchildren, and the grandchildren probably were all Alice’s.  The four listed in the 1863 Rowan County tax assessment above are Archy, Mary, Stanhope and Sandy.  Alice is not listed and is presumably dead.  (Though, possibly, of course, sold away.)

Alice’s son Joseph Archy McNeely was born about 1849. In the 1870 census of Atwell township, Rowan County, 22 year-old farm laborer Joseph A. McNeely is listed in a household with Lucinda McNeely, 54 year-old domestic servant, Henry McNeely, 29, schoolteacher, and Elizabeth McNeely, 13. Three years later, Joseph Archy McNeely applied for a license to marry Ella Alexander and listed his parents as Henry Courtney and Aley McNeely.  (This is the second known reference to Alice.)  Over the next 22 years, the couple had at least eight children: Octavia J. (1874), Lucinda (1876), Ann J. (1879), Callie B. (1885), Julius L.A. (1891), Mary E. (1893) and Joseph Oliver (1896).

I have not been able to locate Alice’s daughter Mary after 1863, but in the 1870 census, her sons Sandy and Stanhope appear in their uncle Julius McNeely‘s household as Alexr. and John S. This is the last record I have of either.

Some years ago I decided that Lucinda’s son John was John Rufus McNeely, generally called Rufus, who died 1870-1880 in Rowan County. He married Emeline Atwell about 1855 and was father of five children: Mary, Betty, Charley, Henry and Rufus Alexander McNeely. John’s absence from the 1863 list mystifies me, though, and I’m not sure how I came to this conclusion. For now, I’m withholding sanction.

UPDATE, 26 January 2014: John Rufus McNeely’s 1866 cohabitation registration noted that he was the former slave of John W. McNeely. As the rest of J.W.’s slaves comprised a single family, I renew my conclusion that John Rufus was Lucinda McNeely’s son.

Births Deaths Marriages, Paternal Kin

Misinformation Monday, no. 2.

The second in a series of posts revealing the fallability of records, even “official” ones.


The “true facts”: Richard Artis Sr. was born about 1850 in Wayne or Greene County to Vicey Artis and Solomon Williams.

Here’s his death certificate:


First of all, poor penmanship — a “bad hand,” as my grandmother would have said — will do you in. Based on that misshapen “S,” has indexed this document as the death record of Richard Artis Jr.  In fact, Junior was the informant, and his “J” is unambiguous. This is Richard Senior’s death cert.

Second, Richard’s father was certainly named Solomon, but not Artis, as unhelpfully pencilled in.

Third, Richard’s mother’s name is illegible, which is just as well, as it surely does not say “Vicey Artis.”

Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Virginia

Mary, Mary?

Mary Brown, born about 1849 in Amelia County, Virginia, married Graham Allen in Charles City County in 1876. She and Graham and their children appear together in the 1880, 1900 and 1910 censuses. Mary Allen, born in Amelia County to James Brown and Catherine Booker, died 1 April 1916 in Charles City County. Who, then, was the 30 year-old Mary Allen whose death Graham Allen reported on 8 December 1887 in Charles City County?

Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Photographs

Remembering Launie Mae Colvert Jones.

Launie at school

Grandma:  Launie Mae was a mama’s baby.

Me:  Aunt Launie Mae was a mama’s baby?

Grandma:  Yes, Lord.  [I laugh.]  With all her soul.


My mother:  I thought Aunt Launie Mae looked more like Grandma Carrie than anybody. She looked the most like of her all the sisters.



Remembering my great-aunt LAUNIE MAE COLVERT JONES (1910-1997) on her birthday.

Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Paternal Kin

The TB.

My grandmother:   Jay’s daddy had TB, and he just gave it to them.  To my aunt and Jay.  But he lived years and years and years after both of them died.


Tuberculosis, once also called phthisis, is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria. Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people with an active TB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit respiratory fluids through the air. The classic symptoms of active infection are a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats, and weight loss (the latter giving rise to the old term “consumption.“)  Tuberculosis has been present in humans since antiquity.  Tuberculosis caused the most widespread public concern in the 19th and early 20th centuries as an endemic disease of the urban poor and was the leading cause of death in many cities in the early 1900s. By mid-century, the development of the antibiotic streptomycin made effective treatment and cure of TB a reality.


In memory of members of my extended family who succumbed to this disease:

Annie Locust Artis, age 28. Wayne County NC, 19 April 1915.

Minnie Clyde Sauls, age 25. Snow Hill NC, 12 May 1915.

Frances Artis Newsome, age 21. Wayne County NC, 9 May 1916.

Appie Artis, age 37. Wilson County NC, 28 May 1916.

Cain Artis, age 66. Wilson County NC, 23 March 1917.

Nettie Barnes, age 22. Wilson NC, 9 May 1917.

Toltie Forbes, age 21. Greene County NC, 18 June 1917.

Jesse Swinson Jr., age 28. Goldsboro NC, 1 July 1917.

William Barnes, age 28. Wilson NC, 6 August 1917.

Harriet Artis Brown, age 44. Wayne County NC, 6 November 1918.

Pelia N. Artis, age 11. Wayne County NC, 24 July 1919.

Charlie Barnes, age ____. Asheville NC, 28 July 1919.

Walter Clinton Artis, age 23. Wayne County NC, 15 November 1921.

Jarod C. Miller, age 21. Rowan County NC, 4 December 1921.

Elethea McNeely Weaver, age 33. Statesville NC, 10 October 1922.

Johnnie Swinson, age 32. Goldsboro NC, 25 December 1922.

Estell Artis, age 15. Wayne County NC, 20 February 1924.

John Henderson, age 63. Goldsboro NC, 8 August 1924.

Warland Barnes, age 19. Wilson NC, 4 Dec 1926.

William Coley, age 61. Near Wilson NC, 26 January 1928.

Jerrell R. Barnes, age 19. Wilson NC, 14 May 1928.

Napoleon Artis, age 21. Wayne County NC, 9 September 1928.

Sadie Holt Farrar, age 35. Greensboro NC, 13 October 1929.

T. Alonzo Hart, age 63. Quewhiffle NC, 17 December 1929.

Alberta Artis, age 23. Near Eureka NC, 9 June 1931.

Blonnie Barnes Zachary, age 24. Wilson NC, 10 January 1932.

James A. Aldridge, age 42. Near Wilson NC, 3 July 1932.

Ora Artis, age 62. Wayne County NC, 8 August 1933.

Irving McNeely Weaver, age 22.  Bayonne NJ, November 1933.

Malinda Applewhite Artis, age 40. Wilson County NC, 5 March 1936.

Joe Artis, age 62. Wayne County NC, 29 November 1939.

Viola Barnes, age 48. Wilson NC, 3 July 1943.

Liberty P. Artis, age 11. Stantonsburg NC, 10 July 1945.

Alphonso Artis, age 38. Goldsboro NC, 2 May 1946.

Paul Aldridge, age 34. Dudley NC, 8 June 1947.

Annie Marie Artis Sampson, age 27. Fremont NC, 12 June 1949.

Minnie Belle Artis, age 20. Stantonsburg NC, 4 April 1950.

Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Where we lived: colored settlements.


Me:  And where was the area that was called Wallacetown?

My grandmother:  Mm-hmm. That was just out near where we lived. We lived out there.  And then there was like a stream or a branch or something where you crossed that thing, that was called Rabbittown.

Me: Okay.

Grandma: We lived in Wallacetown.


From the 1916 city directory of Statesville, North Carolina:

Popular Branch — a colored settlement southeast of Wallacetown [actually, it was “Poplar” Branch]

Rabbittown — a colored settlement southeast of Wallacetown

Wallacetown — a colored settlement southeast of the railway station

Rankinsville — a colored settlement to the right of the north end of Centre Street

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