Education, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

State Colored Normal School student.

I stumbled upon this catalog last night as I was researching for afamwilsonnc.com. As I scanned the list of students, I was stunned to see W.S. Hagans of Fremont, Wayne County. This is William S. Hagans, son of Napoleon and Appie Ward Hagans, and first cousin to my great-great-grandmother Louvicey Artis Aldridge (1865-1927.) William graduated from Howard University’s preparatory division in 1889 and went on to obtain bachelor’s and a law degree from Howard. Apparently, however, he spent at least a year of high school in Fayetteville, a little closer to home. A few months ago, I would have immediately picked up the phone to share this new information with my cousin Bill, William’s grandson. Bill is gone though, so I’ll just have to imagine his warm laugh and exclamations of surprise.

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Catalogue found here.

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Education, Maternal Kin, Other Documents, Virginia

To get up a school in the county.

On 19 August 1868, Thomas Leahey, Assistant Sub Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen & Abandoned Lands (better known as the Freedmen’s Bureau), took pen in hand:

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Leahey’s brief letter suggests deep familiarity with Joseph R. Holmes, my great-great-grandfather Jasper Holmes‘ brother. He is telling Holmes that he has moved his office from Farmville to Charlotte Court House and wants him to notify Holmes’ “people” — the community he represented — where they can find him. Leahey’s invitation to meet at any time implies previous visits, though to date I’ve found no evidence of them in Freedmen’s Bureau records. Leahey’s inquiry “whether there is a School for colored Children at Keysville, and if there is not what are the prospects of getting up one.”

Just three days later, in a clear hand and with fairly sound grammar speaking to years of practiced literacy — though he was only three years out of slavery — Holmes replied. He advised that a small for-pay school operated in the Keysville area and expressed pleasure at Leahey’s interest in education. He apologized for not having been to see Leahey sooner — “I have been so busey” — and mentioned that he was headed to Richmond the following day. (Who was “Lut. Grayham” A lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s First Military District?) If “life last,” he promised, he would see Leahey on the next court day.

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Apparently, Holmes and Leahey did meet, then and perhaps on other occasions. The next bit of correspondence found between them is dated 24 November 1868, when Leahey sent Holmes a voucher for a school’s rent. Whether this is the private school Holmes referred to in his August letter or a school established by the Freedmen’s Bureau is not clear. Leahey asks that “Mrs. Jenkins” sign the rent voucher as well as triplicate leases for the school. (I haven’t found copies of either to date.)

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Who was Mrs. Jenkins? Below is a short stretch of the 1870 census of Walton township, Charlotte County, Virginia. It shows part of Joseph Holmes’ former neighborhood, just west of the town of Keysville. “Former,” because Holmes had been shot dead on the steps of Charlotte Court House in May 1869, as detailed here. There are his children, Payton, Louisa and Joseph Holmes, living with the family of Wat and Nancy Carter, whom I believe to be Holmes’ mother and stepfather. Two households away is 30 year-old presumed widow Lucy Jenkins, “teaching school.” Jenkins, born in Virginia, was no Yankee schoolmarm; I’m searching for more about her. Her commitment to the little school at Keysville, even after Holmes’ assassination, evinces some mettle.

1880 Lucy Jenkins

Records from “Virginia, Freedmen’s Bureau Field Office Records, 1865-1872,” database with images, www.familysearch.org, citing microfilm publication M1913, National Archives and Records Administration.

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Education, Land, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin

The question of a half-acre in Fremont.

North Carolina, Wayne County    }         In the Superior Court Before A.T. Grady C.S.C.

A.A. Williams & R.J. Barnes          }

vs                                                               }         Complaint

John W. Moore & Isaiah Barnes   }

The plaintiffs allege

1. That the plaintiffs and the defendants are tenants in common of a lot of land situate in the town of Fremont in said State and County adjoining the lands of W.R. Ballance & others bounded as follows:

Beginning at a stake in the centre of Sycamore Street below J.P. Hopewell’s lot and running the centre of said street 47 yards; then at right angles with said street nearly East to R.E. Cox and W.R. Ballance line; then nearly North with said line 47 yards to a stake thence nearly west to the beginning containing one half acre.

2. That the plaintiffs and the defendants are seized and possessed in fee simple of said lands as tenants in common in the following proportions to wit   1. A.A. Williams to one third part thereof 2. R.J. Barnes to one third part thereof 3. Isaiah Barnes to one sixth part thereof 4. John W. Moore to one sixth part thereof

3. That the defendants Isaiah Barnes and John W. Moore refuse to [illegible] with the plaintiffs in a petition for the sale of said lands for division.

4. That the plaintiffs desire to have partition of said land made amongst the plaintiffs and the defendants according to their respective rights and interests therein so that each party may hold his interest in severalty, but the number of the parties interested it is impossible that actual partition thereof can be made without serious injury to the parties interested

Wherefore the plaintiffs demand judgment

1. That the plaintiffs and the defendants be declared tenants in common in said lands

2. That an order issue for the sale of said lands on such terms as this Court shall deem reasonable and that the proceeds of such sale may be divided among the plaintiffs and the defendants according to their respective shares and interests in the said lands.

   W.S.O’B.Robinson, Atty for plaintiffs

——

North Carolina, Wayne County    }   Superior Court Before the Clerk

A.A. Williams & R.J. Barnes

vs

Jno. W. Moore et als

The defendants Jno. W. Moore, Isaiah Barnes and R.J. Barnes, answering the petition herein say:

I. That paragraph I thereof is not true.

II. That paragraph II thereof is not true.

III. That paragraph III thereof is not true.

IV. That paragraph IV thereof is not true.

For a further defense defendants allege:

I. That on the [blank] day of 1888, the plaintiffs and defendants, together with Geo. Aldridge and Wm. Durden for the purpose of obtaining a school site for a free school in District No. 6 Colored, in Wayne County, which district had been in July 1888 created at the request of the said persons above-named, paid for the lot of land described in the petition and procured a conveyance thereof from R.E. Cox to themselves, it being the intent and purpose of all the parties thereto that the parties in said deed should hold the lot therein conveyed as trustees for the said district for use as a free school in the same, and that the said deed should be executed to them as said trustees.

2. That by the eventual mistake of the parties to said deed the same was executed by the said R.E. Cox to the parties individually and not as trustees.

Wherefore defendants pray that they be hence dismissed and that they receive their costs of plaintiff A.A. Williams and for such other and further relief is they may be entitled to.

                                   Aycock & Daniels, Attys for Deft.

——

These undated pleadings do not exactly speak for themselves, but I hesitate to read into them something that’s not there. I don’t know how the suit turned out, but if the answer is credited, something like this happened: my great-great-grandfather John Aldridge‘s brother George and five others purchased a half-acre from R.E. Cox to be used for the erection of a school for Fremont’s African-American children. (That’s how it worked then — communities had to donate the land for schools to be built upon.) Through mistake and oversight, Cox made out the deed to the six men individually, rather than as trustees. Subsequently, Williams and R.J. Barnes, seeking to take advantage of the tenancy in common, sought to force a sale of the land — which was too small to divide — so that each owner could cash out his share.

Who were these folks?

  • A.A. Williams was a teacher and principal of the Colored Graded School in Goldsboro.
  • John W. Moore appears in the 1880 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, as a 57 year-old farmer. He is named in Goldsboro newspaper as active in colored school affairs.
  • Isaiah Barnes appears in the 1880 census of Fremont, Wayne County, as a 30 year-old farm laborer.  By 1894, he is named in Goldsboro newspapers as a poll holder for Fremont voting district.
  • R.J. Barnes cannot be identified.
  • William E. Durden is most likely the “William Darden” who appears in the 1880 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, as a 29 year-old farmer.
  • R.E. Cox was a physician and Fremont town commissioner. Goldsboro newspaper show that he also owned a drugstore and was active in other business ventures. He was white; the other men were African-American.

Document found in School Records, Miscellaneous Records, Wayne County Records, North Carolina State Archives. 

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Education, Enslaved People, Land, Maternal Kin, North Carolina, Other Documents

Writing.

My grandmother tells a story:

… Jay and I were supposed to clean the house on Saturday. You know, do the vacuuming and dusting and cleaning and everything. And then I would play, and we would play, and Grandma would say, “I’m gonna tell your mama. I’m gonna write your mama and tell your mama how you act.” She said, “I can’t write her right now ‘cause I’m nervous,’ you know.” Couldn’t write a lick. [I laugh.] Couldn’t read …. I don’t think she could read or write, but I know she couldn’t write. Bless her heart. She says, “I’m gonna tell your mammy on you. You see if I don’t. And, see, if I wont so nervous, I’d write her, but I’m too nervous” – couldn’t write any more than she could fly! [Laughs.]

Martha Miller McNeely, born into slavery in 1855, may not have been able to read or write, but her children signed their names in clear, firm hands that evidence both their early education and their easy familiarity with penmanship. Their father Henry, the literate son of a slaveowner, may have taught them rudiments, but they likely attended one of the small country schools that dotted rural Rowan County. (My grandmother said that her mother Carrie finished seventh grade and was supposed to have gone on to high school at Livingstone College, but the family used her school money to pay for an appendectomy for one of her sisters.) The document below is found in the estate file of Henry’s half-brother, Julius McNeely, who, unlike Henry, was not taught to read during slavery. Julius died without a wife or children, and Henry’s offspring were his sole legal heirs.

Power of attorney

Signatures are often-overlooked scraps of information that yield not only obvious clues about literacy, but also subtleties like depth and quality of education and preferred names, spellings and pronunciations. They are also, in original documents, tangible traces of our forebears’ corporality — evidence that that they were once here.

——

 Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved. File of Jule McNeely, Rowan County, North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979, https://familysearch.org. Original, North Carolina State Archives.

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Education, Maternal Kin, Paternal Kin

Higher learning.

A running list of pioneers in education among my maternal and paternal kin.

Cain D. Sauls, Tuskegee Institute?

Henry E. Hagans, Howard University, prep.; Shaw University, BA 1890.

William S. Hagans, Howard University, prep. 1889; college division, 1893; BA, law department, 1898.

Julia B. Morton Hagans, Howard University, Normal School, 1888.

Mack D. Coley, Hampton Institute, prep. 1890; Lincoln University, BA 1895.

Joseph H. Ward, Physico-Medical College, MD 1897; Indiana Medical College, MD 1900.

Vera L. Baker Holt, Scotia Seminary; Freedmen’s Hospital Training School, 1902.

Diana A. Adams Artis, Saint Agnes Hospital Training School, circa 1913.

Golar Colvert Bradshaw, Saint Augustine’s School, prep., circa 1913.

Harriet Colvert, Saint Agnes Hospital Training School, circa 1915.

J. Thomas Aldridge [Aldrich], Shaw University, prep., BS ’17; Meharry Medical College, MD ’20.

Benjamin A. Harris Sr., Tuskegee Institute ’17.

Worth A. Williams, Biddle University [Johnson C. Smith University], prep., BS ’17; Howard University Dental College, ’21.

Hugh Jennings Williams, Biddle University, prep. (died 1913).

Oscar Randall, University of Illinois, BS Civil Engineering ’20.

Marion Allen Lomans, Saint Pauls College?

Arnetta Randall, Howard University, BA ’25.

Mary Louise Colvert Renwick.

Lena P. Jeffress Allen, Hampton Institute, prep., Ed. ’28; Virginia Union University.

Charles C. Coley, Howard University, BS ’30.

J. Maxwell Allen, Virginia Theological Seminary & College, BA; Howard University Dental College, ’34.

Margaret Colvert Allen, Hampton Institute, prep. ’30; Winston-Salem Teacher’s College, ’31.

John C. Allen Jr., Hampton Institute ’30.

Erskine G. Roberts, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS, MS ’32.

Mary Roena Ward Roberts, Tuskegee Institute; University of Denver, BA ’34.

Irvin L. McCaine, Howard University, BS ’34; DDS, ’38?

William N. Hagans, Howard University; Virginia State College, BA ’35.

Frances McCampbell Hagans, Virginia State College, BA ’35.

Frances Sykes Goodman, Bennett College, BA ’35.

Leon M. Braswell Sr., Lincoln University, BS; Meharry Medical College, MD ’36.

Nita Allen Meyers Wilkerson, Hampton Institute, Nursing School, 1930s.

Leroy T. Barnes, University of Pennsylvania, BS ’39, MD ’43.

Frederick R. Randall, Howard University, BS ’42; Howard University Medical School, MD, 1940s.

Leland Newsome, Johnson C. Smith University, BA 1940s.

Azzalee Mallette Hines, Fayetteville State Teachers College, 1944.

Eugene Derricotte, University of Michigan, BS ’48.

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Education, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

We, the colored people, are going to run a school.

Great_Sunny_South_2_25_1898

The Great Sunny South (Snow Hill), 25 February 1898. 

Cain D. Sauls revealed his civic commitment in this edition of his newspaper column. I need to research whether the efforts to fund and establish a ten-month school were successful.

(By the way, C.D.’s guests were primarily his relatives: first cousin Henry Artis Jr. and his sisters and first cousin Hannah Artis Randolph.)

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Education, Maternal Kin, North Carolina

Colored children of school age.

 

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Thirty-five years after Emancipation, the Miller-McConnaughey and McNeely families were still clustered in western Rowan County, working small farms that they owned or rented. Education was a prized advantage, and many children in the neighborhood completed at least a few years.  This school census, taken in 1900, lists all school-aged children in a household, though there is no way to tell if the children actually attended.

The six youngest children of Ransom and Mary Ann McConnaughey Miller are listed: Florence A., Ida L., Margaret Lina, Spencer Lee, Hattie A., and Thomas Eddie Miller.

Green and Grace Adeline Miller Miller‘s household included Walter, 10, and Bertha, 7. Both children were listed as the couple’s grandchildren in the 1900 census. Bertha Todd was the daughter of Green and Adeline’s daughter Margaret Miller and Alfred Todd. I don’t know who Walter Kerr’s parents were, but it seems likely that his mother was either Margaret or Mary Caroline Miller.

George Miller, by then in his mid-60s, is listed with a 13 year-old boy named Ernest. This appears to be the Earnest Hilliard listed in his household in the 1900 census and described as a grandson. Was he Maria Miller’s son?

Finally, Arch McNeely, nephew of Martha Miller McNeely‘s husband Henry W. McNeely, is listed with four of his children, Ann J., Callie, Julius L.A., and Mary E. McNeely.

Copy of document from School Records, Rowan County Records, North Carolina State Archives.

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