Education, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Cousin Mable meets Marian Anderson.


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.

Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Kinfolk?, no. 1.

In the 1880 census, Richard and Viree Morgan (John W. Colvert‘s sister) are listed in Eagle Mills, Iredell County, sharing a household with 20 year-old Squire Gray. Later that year, Squire married Rachel Way. Their marriage record lists Squire’s parents as E. Gray and R. Gray.

By 1900, Squire Gray, 39, his wife Rachel, 30, and daughters Hatty, 23, and Nelly Gray, 13, shared a household in Biltmore Precinct No. 1, Asheville, with Robert Jones, 50, his wife Caroline, age unknown, their grandchildren Robert, 10, Carrie, 7, and Valley Richardson, 8, and daughter Anne Richardson, 33. Both Squire and Robert worked as teamsters, and Rachel Gray as a cook.

In 1910, Square [sic] Gray, 61, Rachel, 59, Hattie, 18, and Nelly, 16, lived in the household of Dock and Lou Southern on Kenilworth Park in Asheville.

In 1920, Squire Gray, 70, wife Ratchel, 61, daughters Nellie, 40, and Ratchel, 35, and granddaughter Hattie, 1 ½, lived in Asheville on Kenilworth Park. [The names of Hattie and her daughter Rachel had been transposed.]

Squire Gray died 21 June 1921 in South Asheville. His death certificate noted that he was 61 years old, was married to Rachel Gray, and worked as a common laborer. He had been born in Rowan County to Orange Gray and Rachel Colbert. Squire was buried in South Asheville Cemetery.

Squire’s relationship, if any, to either Richard or Elvira Morgan was not noted in the 1880 census, but he may have been Viree’s cousin, a relative of her father Walker Colvert’s first wife, Elvira Gray.  (In fact, it is possible that Elvira Gray was Elvira Colvert’s birth mother.) Or, he may have been a relative of Walker himself, if Rachel Colbert were actually a Colvert.