Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Migration, North Carolina, Oral History, Photographs

Minnie Beulah McNeely Hargrove.

But there was Aunt Minnie, and then after Aunt Lethea died, Aunt Lethea told her to take care of me, and she just took me on, you know.  And she was always crazy about me.  The first percale sheets that I ever had Aunt Minnie sent them to me, and I never bought anything but percale sheets.  Boy, they were just so luxurious and so nice and everything.

Jay stayed with Aunt Min ‘cause Aunt Min reared him after Aunt Lethea died.  And he was at this same house with Aunt Minnie and Grandma.  Let’s see.  It was Aunt Min and Grandma and Uncle Luther and Jay and I.  We were all in the same house during the summer that I worked up there.

Ardeanur. And she had a brother named James.  And their mother died when they were little children, and Min reared them.  Reared the children.

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Aunt Minnie, who had no children of her own, reared everyone’s. When her sister Addie McNeely Smith died in 1917, Minnie took responsibility for her children, Ardeanur and James. When sister Elethea McNeely Weaver died five years later, Minnie stepped in to care for her youngest boy, 11 year-old Irving “Jay” Weaver, and promised to keep an eye on Lethea’s favorite niece, my grandmother.

Aunt Min shared a home with her mother Martha Miller McNeely in Bayonne, New Jersey, and after her mother’s death, she and Ardeanur moved to Columbus, Ohio, to live near another sister, Janie McNeely Taylor. She was in her fifties when she defied her disapproving family and married John Hargrove. He did not live long to plague her, though, and in a reversal of roles, she spent her last years with Ardeanur.  Minnie Beulah McNeely Hargrove died 2 December 1982 in Columbus.  She was 93 years old.

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Above: Minnie hovering behind her flock. From left, a Murphy boy, Bertha Hart Murdock, Bertha’s cousin Alonzo Lord, Aunt Minnie, and Ardeanur Hart Smith, Statesville, circa 1920.

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Minnie in Bayonne, perhaps the late 1920s.

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Minnie in later years, Columbus, Ohio.

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Aunt Min marries John Hargrove, Columbus, early 1950s.

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Minnie McNeely Hargrove at the 1980 Colvert-McNeely family reunion, Newport News, Virginia. I was not there. At the time, I was too callow to know what I was missing. Today, I kick myself. I never met her.

Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.

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Maternal Kin, Migration, North Carolina, Oral History

Finally they just trickled on.

Me: When did your aunts and uncles that moved to Ohio — when did they move?  And who was the first one to go.  Why did they pick Ohio?

My grandmother: Well, Mama had a sister named Janie, and she had three children by this man.  And he didn’t even –

Me [unfortunately, interrupting *sigh*]: That was J.T. and Charles and —

My grandmother: No, no, no, no, no.  That was –

Me:  Oh, Willa and them.  Okay.  Yeah. 

My grandmother:  Mm-hmm.  And he went to Columbus, Ohio, and he would want them to come, but they didn’t ever go.  So finally my Aunt Min and my cousin moved to Ohio — Columbus.  And my Aunt Dot and her family just trickled on.

Me:  Okay. So Aunt Min and who? 

My grandmother:  Ardeanur. 

Me:  Ardeanur.  Okay.

My grandmother:  Ardeanur. And she had a brother named James. And their mother died when they were little children, and Min reared them. Reared the children. So anyway after they went to Ohio, after she went, after Aunt Dot went to Ohio, I think.  Ardeanur and Aunt Min lived in Jersey City. But they moved out there.

Me:  Okay. So that’s how everybody wound up in Columbus.

My grandmother:  Columbus, Ohio.

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Janie C. “Dot” McNeely, born 1894, was the youngest of the McNeely sisters. I’m not sure who the man who moved to Ohio is, but he probably was James M. Taylor, whom she married in 1923 shortly before their son Carl was born. (They’d had a daughter, Willa Louise, in 1918 and had a second son in 1925. Janie and her children (including older daughters Sarah and Frances) appear in Statesville in the 1930 census without James Taylor.

It’s still not clear to me when the McNeelys moved to Ohio. My grandmother’s statements about who went first seem to conflict, but I am fairly certain that she meant to say that Janie and her children were there before Minnie and Ardeanur. Minnie and Ardeanur were in Bayonne, New Jersey, before 1930, when Janie was still in Statesville.  However, because all of them — wherever they were — seem to have been omitted from the 1940 census, it’s difficult to guess when the move to Ohio took place.

Unfortunately, the Ohio branch of the McNeelys is now largely unknown to my family. Janie’s daughter Willa may still be living, but last we heard was fighting Alzheimer’s. Few of Janie’s children had children, maybe only one, and links to them have been lost.
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