Business, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Politics, Virginia

Allen testifies and makes a good witness.

The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 19 April 1911.

In 1909, the churches of Newport News’ East End, known as Bloodfields for its violence, commenced a campaign to curtail liquor licenses in the neighborhood. In April 1911, Zion Baptist Church and the Colored League of East End (represented by J. Thomas Newsome) appeared in court to contest the grant of a license to William Gholsen to open a bar at “the old Sam Hall saloon” near 20th Street on Ivy Avenue. My great-grandfather John C. Allen Sr. spoke on behalf of the church — at some length and to good effect. Gholson was denied.

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Maternal Kin, Virginia

Hiding in plain sight.

I don’t understand how I have missed this:

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Almost exactly four years ago, with help from my late uncle Charles C. Allen and my new DNA cousin A.B., I identified Edward C. Harrison as the biological father of my great-grandfather John C. Allen Sr.

The screenshot above shows a portion of the 1880 census of Harrison township, Charles City County, Virginia. Household number 73: Wm. L. Harrison, 32; his mother C.R., 64; and siblings J.C., 24, and E.C., 31. That’s Edward C. Harrison, his brother William Lambert Harrison, his mother Caroline R. Lambert Harrison, and his sister Jane Cary Harrison. (His father William Mortimer Harrison died in 1865.) Household number 74, right next door: Gram Allen, 26; wife Mary; and children Namie, 5, John, 3, and Emma, 1. That’s my great-grandfather John, his mother Mary Brown Allen, his adoptive father Graham Allen, and his half-sisters Namie (Naomi? Nannie?) and Emma. I repeat: living next door.

Were the Allens tenants on the Harrisons’ farm? Graham Allen and Mary Brown married 22 June 1876, when she was just a few months pregnant by Edward Harrison. Were both of them already living on the farm? Why remain under the gaze (and, presumably, control) of the father of Mary’s oldest son? What relationship, if any, did John have his biological father? With other Harrisons?

William Lambert Harrison (1845-1919), John C. Allen Sr.’s uncle.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina

A birthday party in Rankintown.

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12 10 1937

The Record (Statesville, N.C.), 10 December 1937.

  • For an overview of the Petty family, see here.
  • Jacolia Hall was the daughter of Kermit C.J. Hall and Marjorie Petty Hall.
  • Delia Macheree Walker was the daughter of Gilmer and Eva Petty Walker (and thus Jacolia’s cousin, not niece.)
  • James Edward Walker was Macheree’s brother.
  • Delia Petty was Eva Petty Walker’s mother.
  • Eva Petty Walker was the daughter of Lon W. Colvert and Delia Petty.
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Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Collateral kin: the Pettys.

DNA evidence has firmly established that Eva Petty Walker (1911-1999) was the daughter of Lon W. Colvert and Delia Petty. What do we know about the Pettys?

Edmond Petty of Wilkes County, North Carolina, served in the Union Army. More details about that later.

In the 1870 census of Fishing Creek township, Wilkes County, North Carolina: farmer E. Petty, 28; wife Easter, 25; and children Linsey, 7, Lilah, 4, and Laura, 6.

In the 1880 census of Fishing Creek township, Wilkes County, North Carolina: farmer Edmond Pettey, 49; wife Ester, 47; and children Linsey, 21, Lilly 14, Deliar, 3, and Clary, 1.

On 6 April 1898, Edmond Petty, 68, married Lillia Barber, 19, at the bride’s house in Wilkes County in the presence of John Barber and Bill Jones.

In the 1900 census of Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina: farmer Edman Petty, 70, widow, and daughter Delia, 26, a tobacco factory worker.

On 22 August 1901, Edmond Petty dictated his last will and testament. To his daughter Delia Petty, he left all his real and personal property, including his household and kitchen furniture, a horse, a wagon, a buggy, a house and four acres adjacent to the James Mitchell’s land at Rankintown, north of Statesville, and an additional four-acre lot. Delia was also named executor. Edmond noted specifically that his wife Lillie Petty, formerly Lillie Barber, was to inherit nothing from his estate, having abandoned him in October 1898 [six months after they were married] and taken up with Vance Gentry, with whom she had had a child. “Resist any claim [by her] to the fullest.” The will entered probate in Iredell County on 24 June 1907.

Per findagrave.com, Edmond Petty is buried in Green Street cemetery in Statesville, and his gravestone shows birth and death dates of 23 July 1830 and 16 May 1907.

In the 1910 census of Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina: in Rankinville suburb, Adelia Petty, 31, and children John E., 4, and Irene M. Petty, 2. Adelia reported that she owned her home. [Rankinville, more commonly called Rankintown, was a community just north of what were then Statesville’s town limits. Current landmarks include Statesville High School and the Westwood neighborhood.]

John Eddie Petty died 23 August 1916 in Statesville. Per his death certificate, he was born June 1905 in Iredell County to L.W. Colbert and Delia Pettie. He died of epilepsy. L.W. Colvert is listed as informant. [I discovered this death certificate — and the existence of an additional child of Lon W. Colvert and Delia Petty — while researching this post. John’s birth more than a year before Lon married my great-grandmother, and Eva’s birth a year after my great-grandmother’s youngest child was born, certainly begs the question of Irene M. Petty’s paternity.]

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In the 1920 census of Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina: in Rankinville suburb, Delia Petty, 42, and children Rene M., 12, Eva, 8, and Margaree, 5.

Rena May Petty died 6 May 1924 in Statesville. Per her death certificate, she was 16 years old; was born “illegitimate” to Delia Petty in Statesville; and was buried in the colored cemetery.

In the 1930 census of Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina: cook Delia Pettie, 50, and daughters Eva, 17, and Margie, 14.

On 14 June 1930, Gilmer Walker, 26, son of Robert and Minnie Walker, married Eva Petty, 18, daughter of Lon Colbert and Delia Petty, in Iredell County. Delia Petty, Marjorie Petty and Sula Stewart were witnesses.

On 22 December 1934, Marjorie Petty, 19, married Kermit C.J. Hall, 24, in Iredell County. Gilmer Walker, Eva Walker and Gertrude Frost witnessed.

In the 1940 census of Statesville, Iredell County, North Carolina: in Rankintown suburb, rayon mill sweeper Gilmer Walker, 38; wife Eva, 26; children James E., 7, Delia M., 4, and Eva J., 5 months; and mother-in-law Delia Petty, age illegible. [Per a 6 August 1945 Record & Landmark article, Walker worked for the Duchess Throwing Company, a division of Burlington Industries.] Also in Rankintown: Kermit J. Hall, 30, odd jobs laborer; wife Marjorie, 24; and children Jacolia, 4, and Katie L., 1, with two lodgers.

Gilmer Walker Jr., age 10 weeks, died of head injuries suffered in an automobile accident involving Gilmer Walker Sr. and another driver, who was charged.

Delia Petty died 28 June 1949 in Statesville, Iredell County. Per her death certificate, she was born March 1876 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to Edmond Petty and an unknown mother; was a widow; resided on North Brevard extension [North Brevard and Hartness Streets]; and was buried in Belmont cemetery. Informant was Eva Walker.

Most of Delia Petty’s descendants moved to the greater New York City area after World War II.

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