Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Virginia

Voters League meets at Zion Baptist.

The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 10 September 1931.

It appears that the Citizens Civic and Welfare League quickly narrowed its focus and morphed into the Colored Citizens Voters League. By 1931, John C. Allen Sr. was president of the organization for several years. (Zion Baptist was Allen’s home church.)

The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 30 March 1936.

Education, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Virginia

The Allens make the honor roll.

5 9 1911

The Daily Press, 9 May 1911.

11 10 1912

The Daily Press, 10 November 1912.

12 10 39

The Daily Press, 10 December 1939.

My great-uncle J. Maxwell Allen, great-aunt Marion Allen Lomans, and first cousin once removed J. Maxwell Allen Jr. excelled in their elementary school studies at John Marshall School in Newport News, Virginia. John Marshall opened in 1896.

Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Virginia

The D.D.G.C.

I finally ponied up for expanded access to’s holdings and immediately tapped into a vein of articles about my Allen family in Newport News, Virginia. Expect a river of posts, starting with the earliest print references I have found to my great-grandfather John C. Allen Sr.

rp 3 7 1908

Richmond Planet, 7 March 1908.

rp 4 2 1910

Richmond Planet, 2 April 1910.

John Allen arrived in Newport News from Charles City County in 1899, an unlettered farm boy. Less than ten years later, he held high office in the Knights of Pythias of North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, an African-American fraternal organization founded in Richmond in 1869 after a black man was denied membership by the Pythians’ Supreme Lodge.

These notices, published in Richmond’s black newspaper, signaled to the public the fraternal organization’s trustworthiness and largesse and undoubtedly attracted new members and expanded its influence.

Business, Maternal Kin, Oral History, Other Documents, Photographs, Virginia, Vocation

Texaco liked the work.

In the summer of 2002, my uncle Charles C. Allen told me this about my grandfather John C. Allen Jr.:

[Daddy] had to get reestablished after the war. But he had a friend named Buster Reynolds. And Buster Reynolds was reputed to have made his money in the numbers, and so when the numbers were getting real hot and heavy, when it was reputed that the Mafia was trying to take the numbers over, Buster got out. And he built this service station, and he had a Texaco franchise, and he had Daddy to build the station. And Texaco liked the work so much that Daddy built two more stations for Texaco. And both of the stations that were built in the black community are still up. They’re not gas stations anymore, but the buildings are still up. And the one that was built Overtown is gone. But even the station that was in the white community, Texaco had him to build that one, too.

Today I found this:

2 1 1948

The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia), 1 February 1948.

My uncle passed away in January; I wish dearly that I’d been able to share this with him.

Texaco 2

The former service station at 28th and Chestnut, Newport News, 2002.

Education, Maternal Kin, Photographs, Virginia

Dorothy Whirley, Class of ’48.


1948 yearbook, Frederick Douglass Senior High School, Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Senior Dorothy L. Whirley listed “no discrimination” as the characteristic of a true democracy, “stocking runs” as her pet peeve, and “to become successful” as her plan after  graduation. Dorothy, the daughter of Matilda Whirley and McKinley Steward, was born in Charles City County, Virginia, in December 1929. Her grandmother was Emma Allen Whirley (1879-after 1930), daughter of Graham and Mary Brown Allen.

Births Deaths Marriages, Migration, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs, Virginia

Cousin Dollie.

Said my grandmother:

The house where Dollie, Cousin Min’s sister, lived, well, they had gone to Goldsboro to live.  I think.  First they were living in Mount Olive, then Dudley.  She married Yancey Musgrave. He was a brown-skinned man. And Dollie used to visit, too.  She had asthma real bad.  And she used to come home and have to sit up.   You had to take a quilt and fold it up and put it up in the bed for her to sit up on.  ‘Cause she couldn’t lay down.  She couldn’t breathe. I don’t know what become of Dollie. Her and Cousin Min’s mama was Ann Elizabeth.  Mama Sarah’s sister.  They had a brother named Daniel.  Yeah.  Daniel.  Daniel, he lived, he come to Wilson and stayed with us a while, and then went back to Goldsboro.  Got married anyway and had a whole bunch of children.  And come up to …  I believe he come up to Baltimore.  And he had a whole lot of children.

I’ve written of Daniel Simmons and Minnie Simmons Budd here. With Annie C. “Dollie” Simmons Musgrave, they were the only children of Ann Elizabeth Henderson Simmons to live to adulthood. My grandmother’s “Mama” was their aunt Sarah Henderson Jacobs Silver. Her mother Bessie was their first cousin.


Annie C. “Dollie” Simmons Musgrave, perhaps in Norfolk.

Dollie Simmons Musgrave died in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1946 after a battle with cervical cancer. (She apparently had remarried to a Green — she and Yancey divorced? — but I do not know who, where or when. Her death certificate erroneously lists her mother as Annie Green, rather than Henderson.)


Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014 [database on-line],