In October 1998, I received an email from P.M., who was seeking information about her Simmons forebears. During the antebellum era, the Simmonses were a large free family of color in Duplin and Wayne Counties. Though I am not one, I’ve researched them both in my free people of color work and because several Simmonses have intermarried into my lines. I quickly identified P.M.’s great-grandfather, George Robert Simmons, as the son of George W. and Axey (or Flaxy) Jane Manuel Simmons and, accordingly, brother of Ann Elizabeth Henderson Simmons‘ husband Hillary B. Simmons. I was also able to provide information about her Artis line, but came up blank when she mentioned her great-grandmother, Mary McCullin Simmons. Then: “Mary’s sister Susie married a Lucien Henderson,” P.M. wrote. “I think they lived in Dudley. My mother remembers visiting her when she was a little girl. Does his name ring a bell?”
It did indeed. James Lucian Henderson, whom I’ve written about several times, including here and here, was my grandmother’s beloved great-uncle. In the hours I recorded her talking about her people, my grandmother mentioned Aunt Susie several times:
And A’nt Susie was real light, and her hair was all white, and she’d plait it in little plaits, and then tuck ’em up. It didn’t grow that much, ’cause it wasn’t long. And she had a rag on her head all the time. Only time she’d comb it was — when she’d be combing her head, you’d see it. And it was just about like this. [Indicates the length of two finger joints.] Shorter than this. I don’t know whether she cut it off or not. But it didn’t grow, and it was white, and she’d put that rag back around her head. After she’d comb her hair. And it was doing like that all the time. Shaking. Her head was shaking, and I asked Mama, “What’s wrong with her?” How come her head was shaking all the time? And she said, “Well, it’s a sickness.” She said, “I don’t remember what they call it.” So I didn’t say nothing else about that. I used to go down there. She couldn’t cook. Like over the stove, like cook dinner, after twelve o’clock. Had to cook it before twelve o’clock before it got too hot. Because she couldn’t be over the stove, she’d fall out, if she was over the stove. So Uncle Lucian always got up and cooked breakfast.
So we come up there and stay, and Aunt Susie, she’d be out there in the yard to the pump or something. I never did see her with her hair. She’d always have a pocket handkerchief, look like, tied to the corner and out it up on her head and tuck it up under her hair. And it was white like cotton. And so, I don’t think she ever left the house. See Uncle Lucian always went to church right up there from the house. I don’t know what the name of Uncle Lucian’s church was. It had a funny name, but I don’t know whether it was Methodist or Baptist, but she didn’t go to church. She never left the house that I know of. I told Mama, “She’s gon shake her head off.” She said, “It was a palsy, that’s how come.” I said to Mama, I said, “That thing’s gon shake her head off.” And I said, ‘Hmm, why she have a rag on her head all the time and her head just shaking like that?’ It be a white rag up there. I wanted to ask her so bad. But I didn’t. Didn’t never ask her.
I recently heard from P.M. again and pulled out our old correspondence. Here’s what I now know about the McCullins:
Rose (or Rosa) McCullin was an enslaved woman born perhaps 1825. She is believed to have been enslaved by Calvin J. McCullin or his brother Benjamin F. “Frank” McCullin in Buck Swamp township, Wayne County, and to have been the mother of at least four daughters – Jane, Mary, Susan and Virginia – by Frank McCullin. Rose McCullin appears in no census records and seems to have died before 1870. The only known references to her are on the marriage and death records of her children, as detailed below.
- was born about 1850.
- In the 1860 slave schedule of Buck Swamp township,Wayne County, B.F. McCullum is listed with five slaves, all female, aged 35, 12, 8, 7, and 4. The woman is described as black; the girls as mulatto. Are these Rose and her children? [Benjamin McCullin’s mother, Amy Ann “McCullum,” wife of C.J. McCullin, is listed with 12 slaves. C.J. McCullin is not listed.]
- Jane McCullin married Irvin Manly on 20 January 1870 in Wayne County.
- In the 1870 census of Brogden, Wayne County: Irvin Manly, 26, Jane, 20, Rachel, 54, and Hosea Manley, 6. The family lived within a cluster of households headed by white farmer Allen Manly, 60, Henry Manly, 32, and William Manly, 28.
- In the 1880 census of Brogden, Wayne County: Irvin Manley, 40, Jane, 30, Fannie, 8, Joe, 7, Mary, 5, Nancy, 3, and Jesse Manley, 10 months, and sister-in-law Susan McCullen, 22.
- In the 1900 census of Grantham Wayne County: Irvin Manly, 57, Jane, 58, and children Mary, 24, Jesse, 20, Nathan, 17, and Arthur, 16. Jane reported 5 of 7 children living.
- In the 1910 census of Grantham, Wayne County: Irvin Manley, 65, and wife Jane, 64, with daughter Mary Flowers, 30, and her son Marshal C. Flowers.
- In the 1920 census of Grantham, Wayne County, 75 year-old Jane Manley appears to have lived alone, but next to her son Arthur Manley and family. On the other side of Arthur was Irvin Manley, 75.
- In the 1930 census of Grantham, Wayne County: Irvan Manley, 85, and Jane Manley, 88, were listed as in-laws in the household of Marshall and Mary Flowers on Grantham and Faison Road.
- Jane Manley died 19 July 1931 in Brogden township, Wayne County. Her death certificate reports that she was colored and married to Irvin Manley and that she was born 14 July 1839 to an unknown father and Rose McCullen. She was buried the next day at an unnamed location in Wayne County.
Mary Ann McCullin
- was born about 1853.
- In a 1863 tax assessment of property and slaves in Wayne County, C.J. McCullen reported owning Hardy, 62; Dinah, 54; Fereby, 40; Toney, 26; Phillis, 20; Jimmy, 17; Henrietta, 15; Grace, 14; Ballard, 17; Liza, 38; Creasy, 2; Susy, 4; T[illegible], 12; Ollin, 14; Henry, 9; Isabell, 8; Mary, 6; Clarisy, 3; Rose, 3; Isaac, 50; and Fountin, 10. [The sex and age of several men and women correlate roughly with those listed with Amy Ann McCullin in the 1860 slave schedule. Does this list show Mary McCullin? Susan McCullin? If so, where are Rose, Jane and Virginia? Also, there is no entry for B.F. McCullen, though he reported five slaves in the 1860 census.]
- In the 1870 census of Grantham, Wayne County: B.F. McCullin, 51, Penny, 28, Theophilus A., 9, Martha A., 6, Susan C, 5, Ordelia J., 3, Sarah B., 5/12, Mary, 17, and Susan, 15. Mary and Susan were described as black; the rest as white.
- On 28 December 1871, Geo. R. Simmons and Mary A. McCullin were married by John Scott, M.G. Her mother was listed as Rosa McCullin; her father, unknown.
- In the 1880 census of Brogden, Wayne county: Robt. Simmons, 33, Mary, 24, and children Nettie, 8, Stephen A., 6, and E. Robt. [Robert Elder], 2. [Mary’s last child, Bertha, was born in 1883.]
- Mary McCullin Simmons seems to have died before 1900.
- was born about 1855.
- Per above, “Susy, age 4” is listed among C.J. McCullin’s slaves in an 1863 tax assessment.
- In 1870, she and her sister Mary were listed in B.F. McCullin’s household in Grantham, Wayne County.
- In the 1880 census of Brogden, Wayne County, she was listed in the household of Irvin and Jane Manley, her sister and brother-in-law.
- On 4 April 1883, in Wayne County, Susan McCullin, 20, married Lucias [sic] Henderson, 24, son of Lewis and Margaret Henderson. She is listed as the daughter of F. McCullin and R. McCullin.
- Susie and Lucian’s daughter Cora Q. Henderson was born 2 February 1887.
- In the 1900 census of Dudley, Brogden, Wayne County: Lucious Henderson, wife Susan, and daughter Cora.
- Susan’s daughter Cora died 20 March 1907. She is buried in the cemetery of First Congregational Church, Dudley, Wayne County.
- In the 1910 census of Brogden, Wayne County, farmer Lucious Henderson, 52, and wife Susie, 50. Susie reported having had one child, but none living.
- In the 1920 census of Brogden, Wayne County, farmer Luchon Henderson, 62, wife Susan, 61, with Mary Budd, 56, her son James, 28, and grandson Vernell, 11 mos.
- In the 1930 census of Brogden, Wayne County, Luchion Henderson, 70, farmer, and wife Susie, 70.
- Susan’s husband Lucian Henderson died 22 June 1934. His death certificate lists her as Susie Manly Henderson. The informant, Johnnie Carter, was the beneficiary of Lucian’s estate: “to John Wesley Carter, … my home place, 8 acres, provided that John W. Carter care for me and my wife Susan Henderson …”
- An entry in my grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks’ Bible states that Susie Henderson died 15 March, 1940. She lived briefly with my grandmother in Wilson before her death, but I assume that she died in Wayne County, but have not found her death certificate.
Marriage license of Lucian Henderson and Susan McCullin, Wayne County Register of Deeds.
- Virginia was born about 1857.
- On 3 January 1877, Virginia McCullen, 20, married Isaac Raynor, 21, in Wayne County.
- In the 1900 census of Mount Olive, Wayne County: Isaac Rayner, 48, Virgina, 36, and children Mary, 20, Zekiel, 19, Florence, 16, and Grainger Rayner, 14; boarder Fountain Futrell, 20; and Sweena Rayner, 70, Isaac’s mother. The couple reported being married 21 years, and Virginia reported 4 of 4 children living.
- In the 1910 census of Fork, Wayne County: washwoman Virginia Raynor, 43, widow, with daughters Mary, 28, and Florence, 24, and grandchildren Lillie M., 5, and William D., 4.
- Virginia Bradley died 3 December 1914 in Fork township, Wayne County. Her death certificate lists her parents as Frank McCullen and Rosa (last name unknown.) [When did Virginia marry a Bradley?]
- Ezekiel Raynor died 8 February 1940 in Mount Olive, Wayne County. He was born 1884 to Isaac Raynor of Duplin County and Virginia McCullin of Wayne County.
- Daughter Florence Moore died 21 June 1945 in Goldsboro, Wayne County, aged 56. She was a widow and was born 30 March 1889 to Isaac Raynor and Virginia McCullens.
- Daughter Mary Lane died 23 April 1960 in Goldsboro, Wayne County, aged 76. She was a widow and was born 9 September 1883 to Isaac Raynor and Virginia (last name unknown.)
- Son Granger Raynor died 18 November 1964 in Goldsboro, Wayne County. He was born in August 1886 to Isaac Raynor and Virginia Manley.
Interview of Hattie Henderson Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved.