Free People of Color, North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Collateral Kin: the Carters.

One of the most rewarding results of my decades of genealogical sleuthing has been the development of a deep connection with many of my Carter cousins, descendants of Milford and Beulah Aldridge Carter. My grandmother talked often of the Carter family, to which she was connected both via the Aldridges and “Papa” Jesse Jacobs, who was Milford Carter’s uncle.

The Carters looked ‘bout like white folks. I didn’t really know all of  ‘em. I think it was nine of them boys. The three I knew was Milford and Johnnie and Harold, I think. They used to come to Wilson, but the older one [Willoughby] didn’t come up. But Milford, Harold — the two youngest ones come over and stayed with Annie Bell [Jacobs Gay, Papa’s daughter.] Johnnie – and Freddie, too.   When I’d go to Uncle Lucian’s, they lived not too far from there. But I never went to their house. I think Harold was the youngest one. ‘Cause that’s the one came to Wilson, and Albert, Annie Bell’s husband, got him a job down to the station driving a cab. And he got his own car, and he was down there for a long time. Harold. He’s the youngest one. Carter. All of them was great big.

There were indeed nine Carter brothers — Willoughby (1880), Ammie (1881), Freddie (1890), Milford (1893), Granger (1895), Lippman (1898), John Wesley (1899), Harold (1903) and Richard (1906) — plus a sister Florence (1887). (Florence’s son William Homer Camp Jr. married Onra L. Henderson, Beulah A. Carter’s niece and my grandmother’s double cousin.) The brothers were born in Sampson and Wayne Counties to Archie Marshall (or Marshall Archie) Carter and Margaret Frances Jacobs, sister of Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. Marshall Carter (1860-1926) was the son of William and Mary Cox Carter of Sampson County. (My grandmother also spoke of Marshall’s sister, Virginia Ann “Annie” Carter, who married Hardy Cox and was a close friend of “Mama” Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver.) William Cox (1833- ca. 1875) was the son of Michael Carter (ca. 1805-ca. 1875) and his wife, Patience.

As attached as Papa was to my grandmother, he did not take her with him on visits home to Dudley, very likely in deference to the feelings of his nephew’s wife Beulah, who had little use for the child her brother Tom fathered out of wedlock.

When Papa was living, he used to go to Dudley down there to the mill where they ground corn and all down there.   They’d carry him around down there on horse and buggy, wagon, whatever it was. He was their uncle. Their mama’s brother. He’d go there every once in a while. But he didn’t never say nothing ‘bout taking me down there with him. I guess ‘cause Beulah, Milford’s wife, was my daddy’s sister, but she was kind of cool toward me. And he know he wasn’t gon carry Mamie.  So we didn’t never get to go down there with him. 

Early in their marriage, Beulah and Milford Carter lived in Wilson in a small house on Green Street whose yard touched those of Milford’s uncle and first cousin Annie Bell. The Carters’ second child, son Dewey Belvin, who died before his second birthday, was born during their short stay there.

Beulah stayed in Cora Miller’s house there on Green Street. A little house down there ‘cross from where we were staying, first house behind the church, near ‘bout on the corner there. And she and Milford were there.

After a few years shifting between Wayne to Duplin Counties, Milford moved his family north to Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and then New York City — first Brooklyn, then Queens — where he pursued a long career as a chef.

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Milford E. Carter, during his time as a chef at H. Hicks & Son, 30 West 57th Street, New York City.

Freddie, Freddie was the one that went to Atlanta for a year and day. Moonshine. And Johnnie was fat. And rosy. Like, you know, like if somebody say like, seeing a baby and say that it was “oh so fat, look like you pinch they cheek the blood pop out?” And just fair, and just that red look.

Johnnie Carter was also the brother that cared for my grandmother’s great-uncle, J. Lucian Henderson, and his wife Susan Henderson in their final infirmity. In June 1934, John W. Carter was named administrator and sole legatee of Lucian’s estate. Johnnie and his family lived near Lucian just west of Dudley, but I am not sure of the genesis of their close relationship.

The Carter boys was always nice. They come up here, come to stay with Annie Bell, Papa’s youngest daughter. They wasn’t here at the same time. They was driving cabs. So they used to come over all the time. I went with Harold down to Dudley once ‘cause he was going and coming back that same day. See, Uncle Lucian was sick, so I went down with him and come back.

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Top: John, Ammie, Wesley (a cousin), Richard, Granger, Richard Jr. and Harold Carter; bottom: Milford, John and Harold Carter; both 1955. Copies of photos courtesy of Dorothy Carter Blackman and Daniel M. Carter.

Interview of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Photographs

Family cemeteries, no. 14: Pleasant Shade.

Cardinal direction can be difficult to gauge on a peninsula, but you leave my late grandmother’s house in Newport News headed west (I think) on 35th Street. After a couple of blocks, you’ll cross Chestnut Avenue, and the street becomes Shell Road. You are now in Hampton, and a cemetery is on your left. Don’t turn at the entry to the first part — that’s white. Go down a little further to the second — Pleasant Shade.

Pleasant Shade is, according to founder James East’s headstone, “the first cemetery to be operated and controlled by colored people in Tidewater Va.” My mother’s parents, John C. Allen jr. and Margaret Colvert Allen; her paternal grandparents, John C. Allen Sr. and Mary Holmes Allen; and her aunt Marion Allen Lomans are buried there.

I have never seen it looking wild (though it often feels desolate), but Pleasant Shade’s condition warranted the formation in 2011 of a restoration group. Its website mentions my great-grandfather John C. Allen Sr. among notable burials. Even had it not, I obviously need to contribute.

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Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2011.

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Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

A warrant charging forgery.

Shortly after my grandmother’s birth in the summer of 1910, her father, J. Thomas Aldridgedecamped for Shaw University.  Dudley’s colored school went only through eighth grade, so Tom, already in his mid 20s, had to start in Shaw’s preparatory division. (He shaved ten years of his age the rest of his life.) The family’s pride and joy, Tom was the first to pursue higher education. Near the start of his second year, however, Tom was arrested for forgery.  Ever vigilant for stories that cast colored people in a negative light, the story was picked up by newspapers across eastern North Carolina, no doubt amplifying his humiliation.

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Wilmington Dispatch, 8 November 1911.

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Clinton Caucasian, 9 November 1911. 

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 November 1911.

I don’t know the outcome of the prosecution. Presumably, Tom, at least, was not convicted. He is listed as an enrolled student at Shaw University each year from 1911 through 1917, as he worked his way through its preparatory and undergraduate divisions. (Early in his studies, Tom changed the spelling of his name from ‘Aldridge’ to ‘Aldrich.’ I don’t know why.) After Shaw, he went on to Meharry Medical School in Nashville, his brush with the law far behind him.

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37th Annual Catalogue of the Officers and Student, Shaw University, 1911.

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Business, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Demanded possession of the body.

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Wilson Daily Times, 12 August 1921.

This terrible dispute over the body of a dead 12 year-old girl took place in the early days of C.E. Artis‘ first undertaking business, Batts & Artis. The death certificate of Martha Lucas, who died of peritonitis, shows that Darden & Son prevailed.

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Business, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

What is Anti-Kink?

 

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Goldsboro Weekly Argus, 5 April 1900.

Mercifully, I didn’t find a single relative of mine among folk giving testimonials for Smith’s Anti-Kink. (However, on a very different note, Dr. Joseph H. Ward, son of Napoleon Hagans and first cousin of my great-great-great-grandmother Louvicey Artis Aldridge, was the personal physician to Madame C. J. Walker, pioneer of the modern cosmetics industry. See A’Lelia Bundles’ engaging On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker for details of Walker and Ward’s relationship.)

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