Military, Newspaper Articles, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Cpl. Adam Artis, 366th Infantry.

I recently received an email from James Pratt, whose father, Charles A. Pratt, was in the Army’s 366th Infantry from the time it was organized at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, in 1941 until it disbanded in Italy in 1945. Pratt is retired and has devoted considerable time to researching the 366th.

“I had the opportunity to spend two days in Tuscany,” he wrote, “where the 366th is still remembered fondly by the citizens. In Sommocolonia, the townspeople have started a small museum about the ŒBuffalo soldiers. I went to the American cemeteries in Florence and Nettuno and took photos of all the grave markers for the nearly 120 men of the 366th who are buried in Italy.”  Pratt is trying to match the markers with photos of the soldiers and wants to do the same for the more than 130 soldiers of the 366th who were buried across the United States.

Gibbs-Ithaca Journal-reduced

Ithaca Journal, 19 December 2015.

One of the 366th soldiers was Adam Artis, who enlisted in New Jersey, but was born in North Carolina. “Adam … lost his life while training in the U.S. He died on January 1, 1943.” Pratt is trying to find additional information about Adam Artis. He believes he had a son, Adam Artis Jr., who graduated from High School in East Orange, New Jersey, but has not been able to locate him.

The Artis branch of my family tree holds at least seven Adam Artises, including our patriarch Adam Toussaint Artis (1831-1919). If 366th Adam is one of ours, he is likely Adam, son of Adam T.’s son Robert E. Artis and his wife, Christana Simmons Artis. That Adam was born in 1913 near Black Creek, Wilson County. He appears in his parents’ household in the 1920 and 1930 censuses of Wilson County, but not thereafter. On 16 April 1941, Adam Artis, born in 1913 in North Carolina, enlisted in the Army in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey. (His brother Robert Arzell Artis, born 1908, appears in the 1940 census of Newark as an unmarried restaurant cook.) That Adam is buried in Glendale cemetery in Bloomfield, Essex County.

AArtis grave

If this Adam had a son Adam Artis Jr., he may be the one born in 1942 whose senior portrait appears in the 1960 East Orange High School yearbook.

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He is listed as a student in the 1961 Boston, Massachusetts, city directory and in later directories as a teacher in Cambridge and Boston city schools. Here he is in a booklet titled “The Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools,” published in 1989.

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This blog about William Monroe Trotter Elementary School mentions that it was the second magnet school in the U.S., and a comment enthuses about the plays Adam Artis produced. His impact also shines through in a testimonial posted by a former student on the blog, http://www.myblackteacher.net. Adam Artis Jr. is surely retired by now, but it is not clear to me whether he is still living. If he is, perhaps Scuffalong will reach him.

U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

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Education, Maternal Kin, Other Documents

Candidates for degree of Bachelor of Laws.

Tailored to women from working-class families, Portia Law School was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1908.  Sensitive to the financial and time pressures these women faced, it offered part-time enrollment as well as the high school and college-level courses required to prepare students for legal studies. During the Great Depression, Portia Law School began opening up its programs to male students. The candidates for the Bachelor of Laws in the Class of 1932, however, were all female. And cousin Evelyn C. Kiner was one.

Portia Law School

Portia Law School 2

Portia Law School continues today as New England School of Law.

Many thanks to Peggy King Jorde and Peggy King Jorde Archive for sharing this document.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Your aunt-in-law.

Speaking of Caswell Henderson‘s wife Carrie, what do we know of her?

She was a young woman when she married the widowed Caswell, who was nearly 20 years her senior. Here is their marriage license:

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Caswell C. Henderson, 47 West 66th Street, age 42, widowed, customs clerk, born N.Y. City [not true], father Lewis Henderson, mother Margaret Balcum, married Carrie Louise Lowe, 200 East 99th Street, age 23, single, born Culpepper County, Virginia, father Warren Lowe, mother Annie M. Spillman, on 7 November 1907, by G.C. Houghton. (I’ve written of this here.)

The earliest sighting of Carrie is in the 1900 census of  Manhattan, New York County, New York: at 166 West 67th Street, Georgia-born Warren Lowe, his 35 year-old Virginia-born wife Annie, and their children Carrie L., 16, Elsie, 14, Lillie, 10, Walter A., 5, and Warren L., 3.  Carrie was born in Virginia, Elsie in New Jersey, and the younger children in New York. Warren Senior worked as a janitor, presumably in the building in which the family lived as the sole African-Americans. [Had Caswell and Carrie met in the neighborhood? 47 West 66th, a location now occupied by ABC New headquarters, lies between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. 166 West 67th seems to be in what is now the middle of the median of Broadway, a block west of Columbus.]

In the 1905 New York state census: at 200 East 99th Street, 68 year-old watchman Warren Lowe, his 42 year-old wife Annie, daughter Carrie, 22, a waitress, and sons Walter, 12, and Warren J., 8.

As noted above, Carrie and Caswell married in 1907.

Interestingly, in the 1910 census of Manhattan, New York County, New York, Carrie L. Henderson, 28, married, is listed in the household of 75 year-old Warren Lowe, his wife Anna  M., sons Walter A. and Warren Jr., and daughter Elsie Lightbourn, her husband Paul H. Lightbourn, and son Paul H. Lightbourn.

However, at 55 East 130th, telegraph company messenger Caswell C. Henderson, 44, and wife Carrie L., 26.

In the 1915 New York state census, at 446 West 163rd Street, apartment 21: chief messenger C.C. Henderson, 49, and his wife Carrie L., 32.

In the 1920 census of New York, New York County, New York: at 446 West 163rd Street, Caswell C. Henderson, 54, custom house messenger, with wife Carrie, 35. In another apartment in the building: steward Paul H. Lightbourne, 35, wife Elsie L., 33, and son Paul Jr., 13.

In the 1925 New York state census, at 308-10 West 147th, file clerk Caswell C. Henderson, 59, and wife Carrie L., 40.

Caswell Henderson died 17 January 1927 at 6 Belknap Avenue, 10th Ward, New York City NY.  His death certificate lists his widow as Carrie Henderson, but curiously her sister’s married name, “(Lightbourne),” is written beneath her name.

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In the 1930 census of Manhattan, New York County, New York: at 121 [East?] 100th Street, widow Carrie Henderson paid $20 to board.  She worked as a maid for a private family, and her age is listed as 28 — more than 15 years off.)

The 1933 city directory of Manhattan and Bronx carries a listing for Henderson Carrie (wid Carswell)  3778 3rd Ave [Bronx, Bronx County NY].

On 5 January 1934, Carrie L. Henderson married Fernando Borrero in Bronx, New York.

Almost exactly four years later, my grandmother Hattie Henderson Ricks sent Carrie a telegram notifying her of the death of Caswell’s beloved sister, Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver (who was my grandmother’s great-aunt and adoptive mother):

Sunday Jan. 9. 38

My Dear Hattie

I received your telegram to-day.  1 P.M.  it was certainly a shock to me you & family certainly have my deepest sympathy & also from my family.

I did not know your mother was sick you must write later and let me know about her illness.

It is so strange I have been dreaming of my husband Caswell so much for the past two weeks he always tells me that he has something to tell me & that he feels so well so I guess this is what I was going to hear about your mother.

I wish it was so that I could come to you & family but times are so different now seems we cannot be prepared to meet emergencies any more but you must know that my heart & love is with you & family

I am just writing to you a short note now will write you again.  Let me hear from you when you get time to write.

From, Your aunt in law, Carrie L. Borrero

32 E. 100th St. N.Y. City

In the 1940 census of Manhattan, New York County, New York, 54 year-old Carrie Borrero is listed sharing a household with her 86 year-old mother Anna Lowe. Carrie was described as white and Anna as negro. Carrie is also described as married, though Fernando does not appear in the household (or, apparently, elsewhere in the 1940 census.)

On 28 May 1953, Carrie L. Borrero filed a claim to receive Social Security benefits. An index lists her birthdate as 26 November 1885.

I have no further information about Carrie Louise Lowe Henderson Borrero.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

No information that the deceased left a will.

Little more than a month after his death, Caswell C. Henderson‘s widow Carrie applied for letters of administration for his estate.

005548449_00192

Her petition noted that he had been a resident of 1884 Belmont Avenue, Bronx; had died in Yonkers; and had left no will.

005548449_00193

She identified his next of kin and heirs at law as his brother Lucian Henderson of Dudley, North Carolina, and sister Sarah Henderson Jacobs of Wilson, North Carolina.

005548449_00194

005548449_00195

Bronx Probate Administration Records, #161-193; New York, Wills and Probate Records, 1659-1999 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

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North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Signature Saturday, no. 7: John Henry Henderson’s sons and grandsons.

John Henry Henderson (1861-1924) was the youngest of James Henderson‘s sons to reach adulthood. He married Sarah Simmons, daughter of Bryant and Elizabeth Wynn Simmons, in 1886 near Dudley, Wayne County. Census records suggest that Sarah gave birth to as many as twelve children, but only three survived — Frances “Frankie,” Charles Henry and John Henry. I have found no record of John H. Henderson’s signature, but here are those of his sons and grandsons.

John & Sarah Henderson Colorized

John and Sarah Simmons Henderson, perhaps the 1910s.

Charles H. Henderson, born about 1893, is something of a mystery. In 1900, he appears as “Charley” in the census of Dudley, Wayne County, with father John, mother Sarah and sister Frankie. There’s some uncertainty about the children’s identification, but this is a photo John and Sarah circa 1895. My best guess is that the image depicts Frankie and Charley.

John Sarah Henderson family

Charles was not living in his parents’ home in 1910, however. Nor can I find him elsewhere. In 1917, however, he registered for the World War I draft in Richmond, Virginia. He reported that he was born 21 July 1893 in Dudley; resided at 114 E. Leigh Street, Richmond; and worked as a self-employed barber. He was of medium height with a slender build, brown hair and eyes and was slightly bald. (His signature is from this draft card.) In the 1920 census of Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia, at 614 Baker Street, in Lee Ward, Charles H. Henderson, 32, and wife Maria R., 32, with Maria’s parents Henry and Mary B. Stockes, sharing a household headed by Eddie Seigel.  Charles worked as a barber and was recorded as being born in Virginia. (This and his age — he was actually about 27 — are erroneous.) It’s the last record I have for Charles Henderson.

Charles H Henderson Sig

Eight years after Charles was born, Sarah Simmons Henderson gave birth to her last child, son Henry Lee (1901-1942). Henry married Christine Lenora Aldridge while both were still in their teens. I’ve written of their sons here, and samples of their signatures (all from World War II draft cards) are shown below Henry’s.

Henry Henderson

Henry Lee Henderson, perhaps the very early 1940s.

Henry L Henderson Sig

Horace B Henderson Sig

Aaron Henderson Sig

Johnnie D Henderson Sig

On Christmas Day 1911, Frances Ann “Frankie” Henderson (1891-1985) married her first cousin, Israel Henderson Wynn (1890-1967), son of Washington “Frank” and Hepsey Henderson Wynn. I have no sample of Frankie’s handwriting, and Israel was unable to read or write. (At least, as a young man.) He signed his World War I draft registration card with an X.

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Frankie and Israel (called “H”) had at least 11 children, including sons John Franklin (1915-1981), George Roosevelt (1918-1986), Henderson B. (1924-1981), and Lawrence (1925-??), whose World War II draft card marks or signatures are shown:

John F. Wynn DRaft

Roosevelt Wynn

HB Wynn

Lawrence Wynn

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Free People of Color, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Photographs

A reunion.

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And with that introductory email began my fruitful and thoroughly enjoyable correspondence with B.H., my third cousin, twice removed. Our common ancestor was Levisa (or Eliza) Hagans Seaberry, mother of Napoleon Hagans (B.H.’s great-grandfather) and Frances Seaberry Artis (my great-great-great-grandmother). In the spring of 2010, B.H. and I entered into a mutually beneficial exchange of information about our shared family. I had little information about Napoleon beyond what I’d found in census records and deeds, I’d lost track of his sons Henry and William, and I was completely unaware of his son, the accomplished Dr. Joseph H. Ward. He cued me into William S. Hagans‘ post-migration life in Philadelphia, shared amazing photographs and documents, and lead me to “discover” Joseph Ward’s early years. In turn, I introduced B.H. to Wayne and Wilson Counties and the lives of the Haganses, Wards and Burnetts before they recreated themselves up North.

This past weekend, I traveled to Detroit for — astonishingly — the first time ever. Our primary purpose was to take in the city’s rich street art culture, but I added an item to the top of the agenda — meeting B.H. Friday night, he and his wife treated us to dinner at an old and storied restaurant near the city’s Eastern Market, and Levisa’s children came full circle.

me and Bill

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Military, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

Pvt. Aldrich.

On 28 May 1917, James Thomas Aldridge appeared before a registrar in Brooklyn, New York. I imagine Tom dragging his feet, and his reluctance to serve shows through his notably exaggerated response to Question 9 — “Have no father (dead) Mother and three sisters to help to support” — and the basis for his claim for an exemption — “Dependents and poor health.” Tom described himself as a “student (medical),” and evidence demonstrates that he had entered medical school in the fall of 1916. (He may have done his first year at Leonard Medical School, then transferred to Meharry, from which he graduated in 1920. But what was he doing in Brooklyn? He wasn’t a resident, as demonstrated by the home address and precinct listed on the card.) Tom also gave his birth date as 14 May 1895, which would have made him 22. His age, however, is listed as 27. Neither is correct. He was born in 1886, and was 31 in 1917, but always fudged heavily on his age, possibly to disguise the long years that passed between finishing eighth grade in Dudley’s local school and entering high school at Shaw. Either way, he was called up.

005152198_04713

Until a couple of days ago, my knowledge of my great-grandfather’s World War I service was limited to brief mentions in his obits that he had been in the Medical Corps. While looking for something else, though, I ran across an Ancestry.com database, “New York Abstracts of World War I Military Service 1917-1919.” And there, under his preferred spelling — more about that later — was James T. Aldrich.

Serial number 2,546,996. White.

Huh? How ever did Tom pull that off?

In any case, there it is — his World War I record. Service did not take him far from his home in East Harlem. (Maybe his health was poorish, after all?) Enlistment in the Medical Reserve Corps on Broadway in January 1918. Then about nine months at the Army base that Governors Island once was. (On 8 October 1918, just before leaving Governors Island, he married Athalia Freeman.) Then on to Camp Alexander in Newport News, Virginia, for six months until his discharge in May 1919. Camp Alexander, established in 1918, served as an embarkation and debarkation camp for African-American troops.

40808_1120704930_0015-01040 copy

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Maternal Kin, Military, Other Documents

Draft card revelations: McNeely.

Most of my grandmother’s male McNeely first cousins were too old to have served in World War II. They were required to register nonetheless, and the draft cards I’ve found offer interesting little snapshots of their lives:                                  RHMcNeely WW1

RHMcNeely reverse

The scars on Robert Henry “Jinx” McNeely‘s head were external evidence of the skull fracture he received when his bicycle collided with an automobile in 1937. His aunt, Mary Bell Woods McNeely Frink, was his mother Margaret Woods McNeely’s sister, but she was also his stepmother, having married (and divorced) his father Luther McNeely after Margaret’s death. She is an interesting choice for “person who will always know your address,” as, as far as I know, Jinx’ wife Katie Woodsides McNeely was living at the time. Jinx started working as a drugstore porter, making customer deliveries and running errands on a bicycle, in his teens.

QE McNeely

QE McNeely reverse

Though he was close to her age, my grandmother never knew her uncle Edward McNeely‘s son Quincy. Ed and his wife, Lucille Tomlin McNeely, divorced early, and by 1920 she and their son had moved 100 miles west to Asheville, North Carolina. Quincy married Addie Sims in 1930, then Elizabeth [last name unknown] by 1935. He does not appear to have fathered children, and he died in Detroit in 1966.

JG McNeely

JG McNeely rev

I’ve written of James “Red” McNeely alias Smith here. He was the cousin closest in age to my grandmother, but I heard her mention him only once. After their mother Addie McNeely Smith‘s death, aunt Minnie McNeely reared James and his older sister Ardeanur. He moved to High Point, perhaps in his early 20s, and may have been briefly married to a woman named Mildred.  (They appear together in the 1930 census of High Point, but I haven’t found a license or anything else about her.) It did not last, and he had no children. Red was a pool room operator and died in 1960.

CGTaylor

CG Taylor rev

This really wrecks my notions about when the Columbus, Ohio, branch of my McNeely family really put down roots in that city. The card shows that in 1942, 19 year-old Carl Taylor was living in Statesville — in the household of his first cousin, Louise Colvert Renwick — but his mother Janie McNeely (not Taylor?) was living in Columbus and working at a Children’s Home.  My inability to find Janie’s family in the 1940 census makes it difficult to pinpoint when she migrated north. In any case, she apparently moved back and forth between North Carolina and Ohio during the 1930s before settling permanently in Columbus, perhaps during the War.

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