But there was Aunt Minnie, and then after Aunt Lethea died, Aunt Lethea told her to take care of me, and she just took me on, you know. And she was always crazy about me. The first percale sheets that I ever had Aunt Minnie sent them to me, and I never bought anything but percale sheets. Boy, they were just so luxurious and so nice and everything.
Jay stayed with Aunt Min ‘cause Aunt Min reared him after Aunt Lethea died. And he was at this same house with Aunt Minnie and Grandma. Let’s see. It was Aunt Min and Grandma and Uncle Luther and Jay and I. We were all in the same house during the summer that I worked up there.
Ardeanur. And she had a brother named James. And their mother died when they were little children, and Min reared them. Reared the children.
Aunt Minnie, who had no children of her own, reared everyone’s. When her sister Addie McNeely Smith died in 1917, Minnie took responsibility for her children, Ardeanur and James. When sister Elethea McNeely Weaver died five years later, Minnie stepped in to care for her youngest boy, 11 year-old Irving “Jay” Weaver, and promised to keep an eye on Lethea’s favorite niece, my grandmother.
Aunt Min shared a home with her mother Martha Miller McNeely in Bayonne, New Jersey, and after her mother’s death, she and Ardeanur moved to Columbus, Ohio, to live near another sister, Janie McNeely Taylor. She was in her fifties when she defied her disapproving family and married John Hargrove. He did not live long to plague her, though, and in a reversal of roles, she spent her last years with Ardeanur. Minnie Beulah McNeely Hargrove died 2 December 1982 in Columbus. She was 93 years old.
Minnie in Bayonne, perhaps the late 1920s.
Minnie in later years, Columbus, Ohio.
Aunt Min marries John Hargrove, Columbus, early 1950s.
Minnie McNeely Hargrove at the 1980 Colvert-McNeely family reunion, Newport News, Virginia. I was not there. At the time, I was too callow to know what I was missing. Today, I kick myself. I never met her.
Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.