Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Virginia

Aunt Lizzie, found.

Cousin B.J., my partner in all things Aldridge, sent me this clipping a few days ago from the 28 June 1952 edition of the Norfolk New Journal and Guide:

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1612 Lovitt Avenue was the house in which Tilithia Brewington King Godbold Dabney had lived in her latter years. Who was this Elizabeth Aldridge? And who was in the family plot?

We quickly suspected that this was Lizzie Aldridge, sister of my great-great-grandfather John W. Aldridge and B.J.’s great-great-grandmother Amelia Aldridge Brewington, but knew little of Lizzie’s whereabouts as an adult. I’d wondered if our Lizzie was this woman, found in the 1900 census of Norfolk, Norfolk County, Virginia: North Carolina-born  dressmaker Lizzie Aldridge, 30, shared a household with a boarder, William Hendricks, 36, a divorced day laborer. So there was some precedent to the speculation that Lizzie had migrated to Norfolk. But why the “Mrs.”? We don’t know for sure, but quickly determined that this death announcement was definitely for Lizzie Aldridge, daughter of Robert and Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge, and she seems to have been the longest-lived of their children. In other words, Elizabeth Aldridge was Tilithia Dabney’s aunt.

In the 1870 census of Brogden township, Wayne County:  Robt. Aldridge, farmer, with wife Eliza, and children George, 18, John, 17, Amelia, 14, Mathew D., 13, David S., 12, Amanda, 10, Ella, 9 Eliza, Robert and Joseph, 7 months, plus farmhand Isham Gregory.

In the 1880 census of Brogden township, Wayne County: Robt. Aldridge, wife Elizar, and children Matthew, Sloan, Amanda, Louella, Lizzie, Robert, Joseph, and Fannie.

By 1898, Lizzie (and, it appears, her teenaged nephew Zebedee, John’s oldest son, and her sister Louella) had migrated to Norfolk, Virginia. Here are their listings in the city directory:

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In the 1900 city directory, Louella remains at 100 Henry, but Zebedee, working as a fireman, is living with his aunt at 17 Nicholson. Nonetheless, as noted above the census taken that year showed Lizzie sharing a household only with a boarder.

On 4 July 1902, Wayne County Superior Court set off a dower and partitioned Robert Aldridge’s land  among his wife and heirs. With Lot No. 10, Lizzie Aldridge received 32 acres on the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad and Stoney Run Branch valued at $193. (Louella, referred to as Louetta, received a similar share, but two years later it was divided among her siblings when she died without heirs.)

In the 1904 Norfolk city directory, Lizzie is at 17 Nicholson, but in 1906, she is listed at 100 Henry. As “Elizabeth Aldridge,” she is living at 100 Henry in the 1907 and 1908 directories, too.

In the 1910 census of Norfolk, Virginia: Elizabeth Aldridge is listed as the keeper of a lodging house at 100 Henry Street. She had nine lodgers, all born in North Carolina, and one of whom, 22 year-old Jessie Baker, may have been Jesse Frank Baker, son of Lizzie’s first cousin Mary Ann Aldridge Baker.

Per city directories, as early as 1913, Lizzie Aldridge was living at 852 Henry in Norfolk.

In the 1920 census of Monroe Ward, Norfolk, Virginia: at 852 Henry Street, Elizabeth Aldridge, 49, keeper of a lodging house, headed a household that included her 7 year-old adopted son Elisha Newton and eight lodgers aged 16 to 20, all North Carolina-born and working as longshoremen or, in one instance, a fireman on a boat.

In the 1930 census of Norfolk, Virginia: in rented quarters at 940 1/2 Hanson Avenue, 60 year-old laundress Elizabeth Aldridge, her adopted son Arther E. Newton, 18, and a boarder named Mack Rice, a longshoreman. Elizabeth claimed to be a widow who first married at age 21.

In the 1940 census of Norfolk, Virginia: at 938 1/2, Elizabeth Aldridge, 70, was herself a lodger in a household headed by Lena Forekey.

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As for the “family plot,” B.J. discovered the following (probably partial) list of Aldridge family members buried together in Norfolk’s Calvary cemetery: Elizabeth Aldridge, Section 22, Block 22, Lot 182, Space SW 0 06/15/1952; John Dabney, Section 22, Block 22, Lot 182, Space W CTR 0 12/29/1974; Tilithia Dabney, Section 22, Block 22, Lot 182, Space NW 0 11/24/1965; and Arthur Newton, Section 22, Block 22, Lot 182, Space SE 0 09/09/1979.

 

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Business, Migration, Newspaper Articles, Paternal Kin, Photographs, Virginia, Vocation

Home-cooking a specialty.

I’ve written of Cousin Tilithia Brewington King Godbold Dabney here and here. Her restaurant in Norfolk, the Strand Cafe, made a deep impression on my grandmother, who laughingly recalled waiting tables there on childhood visits and being dazzled by Cousin Tilithia’s menu offerings.

Thanks to B.J., great-granddaughter of Tilithia’s sister Mattie Brewington Braswell, who found these Norfolk Journal & Guide articles, we now know more about the cafe:

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12 March 1921.

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9 December 1922.

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28 May 1927.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Paternal Kin

In memoriam: Brent Aldridge Oldham.

My cousin Brent Aldridge Oldham, an esteemed pediatrician in Seattle, Washington, passed away on 22 December 2015. Born in Washington DC in 1950, he was the son of the late M. Brent and Virginia Aldridge Oldham. His grandfather Zebedee Aldridge was my great-grandfather James T. Aldrich‘s brother.

His family has created a fine tribute to his life and memory.

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Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Politics

Pre-election street fracas?

A “pre-election fracas”? What happened? And why did eight of black Goldsboro’s leading lights — including my great-great-great-uncle Matthew W. Aldridge and cousin William S. Hagans — feel compelled to take to the newspaper, hat in hand?

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Goldsboro Daily Argus, 18 November 1896.

I didn’t find anything in the Goldsboro papers to which I have access, but two weeks before this letter was published, newspapers across the country ran a sensational story about Negroes “taking control” of Goldsboro after a “clash with whites.” The alleged cause? “An incendiary speech” made by none other than John Frank Baker, “a colored Republican of Dudley,” and husband of Mary Ann Aldridge Baker.

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Independence Daily Reporter (Kansas), 4 November 1896.

Four months later, Frank Baker was assassinated, shot dead as he went about his work in a Dudley grocery.

Were Matthew Aldridge and William Hagans and their peers moved to pour oil on the waters because they feared the fallout from Baker’s outspokenness? (I have yet to find anything that touches on what he actually said.) Their letter is frustratingly vague about the events that gave rise to a “race riot” in Goldsboro, speaking only of the aftermath of a recent election. The message is difficult to digest, greased as it is with deferential supplications to the “better class of our white citizens” and anxious apologies for the “slight ripple upon the formally [sic] smooth surface” of race relations in Wayne County. Reading from a 21st century vantage point, it is easy to dismiss this letter as Uncle Tommery. There is an undoubted and substantial element of self-preservation and middle-class conservatism at work here, but their fear was surely real and well-placed.

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  • Clarence Dillard (1862-1933), Howard University Theology ’83, came to Goldsboro as a Presbyterian minister and was principal of the colored graded school during this period. He was active in Republican politics and was co-editor of a short-lived African-American newspaper in Goldsboro, The Voice. Goldsboro’s first African-American high school was named for him.
  • A. Sasser was likely Arnold Sasser (1866-1939), who was listed as an undertaker in the 1900 census of Goldsboro.
  • A.M. Smith, I can’t identify.
  • William S. Hagans (1869-1947), son of a prominent farmer, moved between Goldsboro and Washington, where he would soon serve as secretary to African-American United States Congressman George H. White.
  • B.G. Hogans was likely Benjamin H. Hogans (1865-1926), a teacher, a trustee of Saint James AME Zion Church and, later, a mail carrier. He was born in Orange County, North Carolina, and came to Goldsboro as a child. [Hogans’ niece Annie Irene Hogans married Daniel Simmons, first cousin of my great-grandmother Bessie Henderson.]
  • Matthew W. Aldridge (1857-1920) was a grocer and erstwhile teacher who was active in city politics as alderman and poll-holder in the heyday of the Black Second era.
  • William E. Highsmith (1851-1930) was a farmer.
  • Henry Williams, like Hogans, was a pallbearer at the funeral of William Hagans’ father Napoleon Hagans, conducted in part by Clarence Dillard just ten weeks before this letter was published. Beyond that, I have not been able to identify Williams.

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Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Case continued ….

Ummmm….

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I have so, so many questions about this little blurb from the 1 April 1890 edition of the Raleigh State Chronicle.

Number one: were these men the David, Robert Jr., and Joseph Aldridgeborn 1858, 1866 and 1869, who were the younger sons of Robert and Mary Eliza Balkcum Aldridge? (One and a half: if not, who were they?)

Two: Croatan Indians? (This is the name by which today’s Coharie Indians were known at the end of the nineteenth century.) The Aldridges?

Three: Voodooism?!?!! (For that matter, tramping and vagrancy? What were these Wayne County farmers doing in Wake County?)

Four: Can I find out what happened? I’ll need to get into Wake Superior Court records at the North Carolina State Archives.

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Business, Newspaper Articles, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Mound City Medical Forum gets ready.

Speaking of Tom Aldridge

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Pittsburgh Courier, 14 August 1937.

This is the earliest photograph I have seen of my great-grandfather, and he was 51 years old here. His hair, fallen over his forehead, seems thicker than in later studio portraits. Otherwise, disappointingly little detail can be seen. Twenty-four years later, he would be elected president of the National Medical Association.

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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.

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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.

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Education, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Cousin Mable meets Marian Anderson.

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I found this image in the digital Heritage of Black Highlanders Collection of the University of North Carolina-Asheville’s Ramsey Library. Taken in 1945, the photograph is entitled “Marian Anderson visits Stephens-Lee,” a high school in Asheville. Anderson was in town to give a recital at the City Auditorium. She is, of course, standing at middle, facing the camera squarely. Others on the front row, left to right, were Mable McCaine, teacher (in light-colored dress); an unidentified woman; Vernon Cowan, teacher; Frank Toliver, principal; J.D. Carr, editor of Carolina Times; and Isabell Jones, a music teacher at Allen High School.

Mable Williams McCaine was born 23 November 1912 in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Clarence J. Williams and Daisy Aldridge Williams. Her maternal grandparents were Matthew W. and Fannie Kennedy Aldridge. The Williamses relocated to Asheville before 1920. Mable married Irvin L. McCaine, and the couple lived in Asheville with their two young sons in the 1940s.

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Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, Paternal Kin, Photographs

In memoriam: Louise Daniel Hutchinson.

Louise Daniel Hutchinson, scholar of black history, dies at 86

By Emily Langer, The Washington Post, 26 October 2014.

WASHINGTON — Louise Daniel Hutchinson, who gathered, documented and preserved African-American history during 13 years as director of research at the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum in Southeast Washington, died Oct. 12 at her home in Washington. She was 86.

The cause was vascular dementia, said a daughter, Donna Marshall.

Mrs. Hutchinson spent much of her adult life working to collect and share with others the richness of African-American history in Washington and beyond. In 1974, after years of community activism, she joined the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, as it was then known. She retired in 1987.

Under the leadership of founding director John Kinard, she oversaw exhibits covering years of history in the Anacostia community, the movement of blacks from Africa to overseas colonies, and the life and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass, the former slave, abolitionist and distinguished writer.

She took particular interest in documenting the lives of African-American women such as Anna Cooper, who was born into slavery and became a noted educator and equal rights advocate. “Even black history hasn’t given black women their proper place,” Hutchinson once told the New York Times.

Gail Lowe, the Anacostia Community Museum’s senior historian, credited Mrs. Hutchinson with elevating the work of the research department and using individual life stories to illuminate broader history. “In telling the local stories,” Lowe said in an interview, “she validated community experiences.” Mrs. Hutchinson was “a stickler for accuracy and authenticity,” Lowe said, and insisted researchers keep magnifying glasses on hand for the close inspection of old photographs. Hutchinson, Lowe recalled, spotted Harriet Tubman and W.E.B. Du Bois in previously unidentified images.

“Because of the level and depth of her work,” Lowe said, “she was able to … provide accurate, documented information that other researchers and scholars relied on.”

Louise Hazel Daniel, one of nine children, was born June 3, 1928, in Ridge, Maryland, and raised in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington. Her parents, Victor Hugo Daniel and Constance E.H. Daniel, were teachers and friends of the African-American intellectuals and educators George Washington Carver and Mary McLeod Bethune.

After graduating in 1946 from the old Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, Mrs. Hutchinson attended colleges including Howard University and did secretarial work before beginning her career in historical preservation. In the 1970s, she assisted curators at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery with the selection of paintings featuring prominent African-Americans, her daughter said.

Mrs. Hutchinson’s writings included the books “The Anacostia Story, 1608-1930″ in 1977, “Out of Africa: From West African Kingdoms to Colonization” in 1979 and “Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South” in 1981.

Mrs. Hutchinson’s daughter Laura Hutchinson died in infancy, and her son Mark Hutchinson died in 1974, at age 8, of a brain tumor.

Survivors include her husband of 64 years, Ellsworth Hutchinson Jr. of Washington; five children, Ronald Hutchinson of Fort Washington, Maryland, David Hutchinson of Clifton Park, New York, Donna Marshall of Laurel, Maryland, Dana McCoy of Washington and Victoria Boston of Clinton, Maryland; two brothers, John Daniel of Washington and Robert Daniel of Atlanta; a sister, C. Dorothea Lawson of Bay City, Texas; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

In addition to her museum work, Mrs. Hutchinson participated in such initiatives as the development of D.C. public school curriculum in the 1980s, which incorporated the roles of black leaders in local events.

“I have real concerns about accuracy of history,” she told The Washington Post. “I believe it must reflect [the] participation of all.”

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I met my Dudley cousins in the fall of 1985, just in time to be invited to the first (and last, as it were) Henderson-Aldridge Reunion in July 1986. That weekend turned out to have been a fortuitous window of time, in which I was privileged to meet so many elders not long for this world. Had I been more conscientious and intentional, I could have learned so much more than I did, but that’s a genealogist’s perennial regret. So many kin I saw only that one time — Johnnie “Dink” Henderson, Freeman Aldridge Sr., H.B. Wynn, Evelyn Williams McKissick, Virginia Aldridge Oldham. With others, however, I built relationships that lasted years.
Last night, I found Louise Daniel Hutchinson’s obituary. Her husband Ellsworth Hutchinson Jr., my cousin, sent me a copy of her work on Anna Julia Cooper shortly after the 1986 reunion. It was my introduction to the incredible Cooper, though she is from my home state. It was also an introduction to the wonderful work that Cousin Louise did as a researcher and historian. As we traded information about our Aldridge links — Cousin Ellsworth’s grandfather Zebedee Aldridge was my great-grandfather Thomas Aldridge‘s brother — she challenged me to take seriously and document diligently the stories of everyday families. In 2001, I spent a few days with her and Ellsworth at their home in Anacostia, poring over and copying family photos and lapping up her wisdom and knowledge of D.C.’s African-American history. We had lost contact as her health declined, but I have always treasured her warmth and encouragement and hope that in some small way, Scuffalong:Genealogy honors her memory.
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Louise Daniel Hutchinson holding a photo of her parents. Courtesy of The Washington Post.
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