Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Photographs

Well done.

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My uncle Charles C. Allen passed peacefully last night, surrounded by love. I am grateful to have been able to say goodbye last week and to receive one last lesson — on living and dying with grace — from his bottomless well of wisdom.

His eldest son’s words speak loudest:

“Last night, we lost the rock of the family, my father Charles C. Allen. His illness was brief, and he died on his own terms surrounded by the people he loved. He was married to my mother for 57 years (they’d known each other for over 60 years) and leaves three children, three grandchildren, and three surviving siblings. Dad possessed a tremendous sense of dignity, integrity, and inner fortitude. He was a friend to many. If you needed advice, he’d offer it (sometimes you didn’t need to ask), if you needed a shoulder to lean on, he was there. If you had done him wrong, he turned the other cheek and looked for ways to meet in the middle. Over the course of his 81 years, he mentored literally dozens of people of all races and creeds. Dad lived a full and productive life, and he did it his way. We will miss him, but will also live our lives as a direct reflection of his values and work ethic.”

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My heroes — my father, my mother, my uncle.

——

 Charles Claybourne Allen

21 September 1935-20 January 2017

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Births Deaths Marriages, Oral History, Paternal Kin

When Grandma Mag died.

My grandmother was 5 years old when her great-grandmother Margaret B. Henderson died in 1915. This is what she recalled:

I remember when Grandma Mag died.  I don’t remember ‘em burying her.  But I was up to Nora’s house.  That’s how come I remember it.  Grandma Mag was living, well, she was in bed, she was sick.  I don’t remember her being up. Grandma Mag stayed down in Dudley. When she died, I was down there, and we went to Nora’s house.  And I used to ask myself, ‘Why is she in the bed all the time?’  

During Grandma Mag’s funeral, I stayed with Aunt Vicey and Nora and Beulah, the one that had the wen under her neck.  We called her A’nt Vicey, but she was my grandmama. I stayed up there with them, and I was scared to sleep in the bed by myself. So Nora told me, “Well, if you get in the back and I’ll get in the front.”  So she said, “Well, I’ll be in here right with you,” so I went on to sleep.  That’s who I slept with. 

So, I stayed up there in that house when Grandma Mag died.  I stayed up there.  And I slept in her room.  I remember that.  But I don’t remember … they didn’t let me go to the funeral, I don’t think. 

“Aunt Vicey” was Louvicey Artis Aldridge (1865-1927), her father’s mother. “Nora” and “Beulah” were Vicey’s daughters Lenora Aldridge Henderson (1902-1961) and Beulah Aldridge Carter (1893-1986).

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Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Oral History, Photographs

It was our aunt, screaming and crying.

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Hattie Hart Dead.

Hattie Hart, colored, wife of Alonzo Hart, died Thursday night at 9:30 o’clock at her home, death occurring at the age of 63 and resulting from a stroke of apoplexy.  The funeral took place at the Center Methodist Church at 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  — The Landmark, Statesville NC, 2 Jun 1924.

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This is how my grandmother recalled the death noted above:

“She was subject to high blood pressure, and she had this attack on this day, and we all had to go out there.  It was me — Louise was in Jersey — and it was Launie Mae, Mama and Papa.  And I think Golar went, too.  Anyway, I know we all went out there, and she was sick for a few days and then she died.  But the day that she died, we had gone to the store.  Some old country store, and we had to go a long ways, but we could see down the road, you know. So we went on down the road and when we came back, there were some people who lived across the pasture in some houses that belonged to Mr. Hart.  (That was the step-grandfather — stepfather of Papa.) He owned all these houses, and we saw these people running across the street, and Launie Mae said, “Lord, there’s something happening!” and I said, “There sure is.”  And the closer we got, the more we kept hearing this noise, you know?  And it was our aunt, screaming and crying, you know, ‘cause Grandma had passed.”

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Photo of Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart in collection of Lisa Y. Henderson.

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