Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Migration, North Carolina

The Boston branch.

I’ve written about Angeline McConnaughey Reeves and her family — particularly her daughter Carrie Reeves Williams. But what of her other children?


A short notice appeared in the 14 March 1895 edition of the Charlotte Observer:

Frank Eccles and Ada Reeves, colored, were married Tuesday night. The groom is Farrior’s man “Friday.” He is a good citizen and deserves happiness and prosperity.

Five years later, the census taker trudging through Charlotte’s Fourth Ward knocked at the door of 413 Eighth Street. Forty-two year-old Angeline Reeves likely answered the door. In response to the enumerator’s queries, she identified her husband Fletcher as the head of household and detailed the three children remaining at home — 18 year-old Frank, 16 year-old Edna, and 12 year-old John. Daughter Ada, her husband Frank and 4 year-old son Harry were probably living in Charlotte, but seem to have given the enumerator the slip.

Frank married Kate Smith in Charlotte in 1902; their ill-fated story is told here. Edna was next to wed. In 1905, at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse in Charlotte, William H. Kiner applied for a marriage license for himself, age 25, of Boston, Massachusetts, colored, son of Anderson and Agnes Kiner, and Edna Reeves, age 20, of Charlotte, colored, daughter of Fletcher Reeves and Angeline Reeves.  Robert B. Bruce, minister of the AME Zion Church, united them in matrimony on 5 April 1905 at the bride’s residence. According to Kiner family researcher Peggy Jorde, William Henry Kiner, actually a native of Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia, had come to Charlotte to study theology at Biddle University.

William and Edna’s first son, Addison F., was born in Charlotte in 1906, but by the following summer, when son Carroll Milton arrived, the Kiners were permanent residents of Massachusetts. Carroll has two birth records, one listing his birth place as Oak Bluffs, and a second listing Cambridge. On the first, William’s occupation was described as theological student.

Edna Reeves Kiner was not the only one of Fletcher and Angeline’s children to pack up and move north to the Bay State. The 1910 census of Cambridge, Middlesex County, shows William H. Kiner, wife Edna E., children Addison F., 4, and Carroll M., 2, sister-in-law Ada Ecles, and brother-in-law John H. Reeves living at 8 Rockwell Street. William worked as a clothes presser in a tailor shop, Ada as a servant, and John as a hotel waiter. Ada’s husband Frank (and son Harry) are nowhere to be seen, but “Aida” Eccles appears a second time in Cambridge as a servant in the household of George W. Clapp, a self-employed chemist.

John Reeves’ stay in New England did not last long. In April of 1915, at the age of 26, he died of tuberculosis in a state hospital.

John H Reeves Death Cert

Meanwhile, it’s not clear that William Kiner was ever able to respond to his religious calling. When he registered for the World War I draft in 1918, he was working as a chipper in a foundry at Hunt-Spiller Corporation.

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Two years later, when the 1920 census of Cambridge was recorded, William was described as a chipper in a shipyard. His family, still at 8 Rockwell Street, included wife Edna E. and children Addison F., Carroll M., and Evelyn C. Kiner.  Ada Eccles and her 23 year-old son Harry Eccles, a laundry janitor, had found their own lodging and appear in the 7th Ward at 65 Grigg Street.

I have found no death certificate for William H. Kiner, but assume that he died between 1923, when he last appears in a Cambridge city directory, and 1930. In the latter year, the census taker listed his widow widow Edna M. Kiner, her children Addison F., Carrell M., and Evelyn C., plus aunt (sister, actually) Ada M. Eccles living on Essex Street in Cambridge in the household of Joseph S. Blackburn, a black Kentucky-born railroad porter, and his wife Cynthia, a beauty shop manicurist born in Maine.  Addison worked as a department store elevator operator and Carrell as a shoestore porter.

The Kiners emerged from the Great Depression decentralized. In 1940 census, Edna Kiner was over the river in Boston, Suffolk County, living in an apartment or shared house at 361 Massachusetts Avenue. Her son Carroll Kiner, a 32 year-old shoe store porter, lived in Cambridge with his Virginia-born wife Ella and three year-old daughter Caroline at 27 Pleasant Street. Addison Kiner was not captured in the census, but he seems to have remained in Massachusetts and was active in Cambridge’s small African-American social scene.

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The Afro-American, 20 June 1942.

Daughter Evelyn C. Kiner had completely escaped the Bay State orbit, however, having moved to New York City and begun work as a social worker with the Department of Welfare. She was living in the heart of Harlem at 172 West 127th Street, between Lenox Avenue and what was then Seventh Avenue. She quickly integrated into the Harlem world and over the next ten or years or so appears half-a-dozen times in the social columns of the New York Age. Evelyn’s primary social activities swirled around her membership in the National Urban League Guild, but she was also actively involved in civic outreach through the Church of the Master, a Presbyterian congregation at West 122nd and Morningside.

City directories show that Edna’s sons remained in the Boston area the remainder of their lives. She, however, moved to New York to live with Evelyn in her declining years and died there in August 1969. I don’t know exactly when Carroll died, but I’m a little haunted by how closely my path crossed with Addison and Evelyn. In the fall of 1986, I arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for my first semester of law school. My residence hall, a graceless, L-shaped brick hulk, was at the campus’ far northwest corner, at Massachusetts Avenue and Everett Street. (I lived on the fourth floor of Wyeth Hall that year. Michelle Robinson Obama lived in the suite one floor above.) Unbeknownst to me, if I had walked a mile straight up Mass Ave, turned left on Walden Street, and knocked at  No. 28, Addison Kiner would have answered the door. As far I can tell, he lived there for the three years that I was in Cambridge. He died 7 May 1990. After law school, I enrolled in graduate school at Columbia University. For the two years I was there, I lived in an apartment building on 121st Street, at the crest of the hill between Broadway and Amsterdam. Walking west down 121st led me to the edge of Morningside Park. Had I descended through it — and I didn’t in that era, which was crazy, crack-ravaged Manhattan at its nadir — I’d have landed on the plain of central Harlem just a block or two from Evelyn Kiner’s beloved Church of the Master. She died in February 2003, and the church was demolished six years later.

Agriculture, Land, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

No need for exodusting.

Napoleon Haganstestimony before a Senate committee was not his last word on the migration of African-American farmers out of North Carolina. Nine months later, he — or someone for him, in any case, as he was unlettered — penned a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, recounting his agricultural success and exhorting his “race” to cast down their buckets where they were. His sentiments were echoed by Jonah Williams, his friend, neighbor, pastor and brother-in-law’s brother. (Jonah, too, was illiterate. Both men, however, were strong believers in the value of education and saw that their children received the best they could afford. See here, here and here.)


Goldsboro Messenger, 30 December 1880.

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

Adam’s diaspora: Haywood Artis.

I’ve written here and here about the migration of Adam T. Artis‘ children Gus K. and Eliza to Arkansas. Though most of his 30 or so children remained in North Carolina, a few went in North. Or, at least, a little further north. One was Haywood Artis, born about 1870 to Adam and his wife Frances Seaberry Artis. He was my great-great-grandmother Vicey‘s full brother.


                          Haywood Artis

In the 1880 census of Nahunta, township, Wayne County, North Carolina, Adam Artis, widowed mulatto farmer, is listed with children Eliza, Dock, George Anner, Adam, Hayward, Emma, Walter, William, and Jesse, and four month-old grandson Frank Artis.  (I’ve never been able to determine whose child Frank is.]

Haywood’s whereabouts over the next 15 years are unrecorded, though he was likely still living in his father’s home most of that time. However, at some point he joined the tide of migrants flowing into Tidewater Virginia, and, on 13 January 1897, in Norfolk, Virginia, Hayward Artis, age 26, born in North Carolina to A. and F. Artis, married Hattie E. Hawthorn, 23, born in Virginia to J. and E. Hawthorn. As early as 1897, Haywood began appearing in city directories for Norfolk, Virginia. Here, for example, is Hill’s City Directory for 1898:


Haywood and Hattie and their children Bertha E., 3, and Jessie, 11 months, appeared in the 1900 census of Tanners Creek township, Norfolk County, Virginia. The family resided on Johnston Street, and Haywood worked as a porter at a jewelry store. Ten years later, they were in the same area. Haywood was working as a farm laborer, and Hattie reported four or her seven children living — Bertha, 12, Jessie, 11, Hattie, 8, and M. Willie, 2.

In the 1920 census of Monroe Ward, Norfolk, Haywood and Harriet Artis appear with children Elnora, 22, Jessie, 20, Hattie, 18, Willie Mae, 12, Haywood Jr., 8, and Charlie, 5.  Haywood was a farm operator on a truck farm, daughters Elnora and Hattie were stemmers at a tobacco factory, and son Jesse was a laborer for house builders.

By 1930, the Artises were renting a house at Calvert Street.  Heywood Artis headed an extended household that included wife Harriett, Haywood jr. (laborer at odd jobs), Charles, son-in-law Daniel Johnson (machinist for U.S. government) and his wife Hattie (bag maker at factory), cousins Henry Sample, Raymond G. Mickle, and Lois Sample, and granddaughters Mabel Johnson, 2, Olivia Washington, 15, and Lucille, 13, Bertha, 9, and Lois Brown, 6.

On 19 March 1955, Haywood Artis’ obituary appeared in the Norfolk Journal and Guide:

Haywood Artis, who has made his home in Norfolk for some 65 years, was buried following impressive funeral rites held at Hale’s funeral home March 7 with the Rev. W. H. Evans officiating.

Mr. Artis died March 4 at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Willie Mae Yancey, 2734 Beechmont avenue, after a long illness.

Mr. Artis, who was born in Goldsboro, NC, is survived by three daughters, Mesdames Elnora Brown, Hattie Johnson and Willie Mae Yancey, all of Norfolk, and a son, Hayward Jr., of New Jersey.

There are also 34 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and other relatives and friends.

Interment was in Calvary Cemetery.

Thanks to B.G. for the copy of his great-great-grandfather Haywood Artis’ photograph.

Migration, North Carolina, Oral History, Paternal Kin

The bread was all mashed up.

I won’t say this one of my grandmother’s favorite stories. It was too painful to be favored. But it was a story she told me over and over, without prompting and with little variation. It tears me up to read it even now, nearly a hundred years after the events it memorializes. I imagine that frightened little girl, a near orphan, left with this relative and that, yearning for comfort from a great-aunt who generally offered little in the way of emotion, but who, to provide, went North for short stretches for the extra money she could make doing “day’s work” for white families. Theodore and the bread and the doorbell. My heart breaks.


And I went over to stay until – Mama was working. And so Edward, that was – Edward or Theodore? Theodore. It was Carrie’s, Papa’s daughter Carrie, like Annie Bell’s sister Carrie. That’s where I was staying, over to her house. And Mama was working and staying on the lot with the people, and I was supposed to stay with them while I was up there. Until Mama, I reckon ‘cause she was gon be making a little money to buy something with, but I don’t know what she said she wanted. So by her being one place and I was in another. And then when her son, Theodore – we went to the store to get a loaf of bread, and I went with him, I wanted to go with him. And he took me on down to the store, got the bread, then he give me the bread to hold, and there was a place in the sidewalk of dirt, where wasn’t paved, and he stopped there with some children and started shooting marbles in little space, that little square. So I walked on down the street, and we wont too far from the house, but I kept looking and trying to figure out what house we were in. They were all joined together. And I had seen him go up there and put a hand upside the thing, and I said, ‘Must be a bell up there.’ And I went up there and mashed that button, and the door didn’t come open. And so then I went back down the street to where Theodore was, and he was still shooting marbles. And so, I said, “You better come on, I’m tired of holding this bread.” And so he said, “Okay, okay.” And so then he stopped, and we come on up there, and the door was cracked open. The door was cracked open. So when we got there, I said, “The door was open. And you didn’t even have to mash the button up there.” Mash the button where was to the apartment where you live in? And they would mash the button back to open the door. But the door was already open. But I had mashed it, see? I didn’t know. So when Theodore and I went back up there, and we went in, and I had the bread, and the bread was all mashed up where I had held it so tight holding it. And so she fussed him out and whipped him on top of that, and I went to crying ‘cause I thought she was gon whip me, too, ‘cause it was both of us. And so I said, “I want to go home. I want to go to where Mama is.” They said, “Well, she’ll be over tomorrow.” And I don’t know if it was tomorrow or the next day or two after, but anyhow Mama come and got me, and I told her that I wanted to come home. And she said, “Well, I thought you was doing all right. What’s the matter with you and Carrie?” And I said, “She beat Theodore.” And I said we were at the store getting a loaf of bread, and so we stayed too long. He was shooting marbles, and I was holding the bread, and I had mashed the bread up, and I thought she was gon whip me ’cause I forgot about the bread, and I couldn’t get in the house to bring it to her. And when I mashed the button, the door didn’t come open. So then when Theodore and I came back, went on up there, and honey, she took her husband’s belt, one of his belts he had, and she whipped him, and I was crying, and I’m still crying. I said, I reckon that’s where I started crying ’cause every time I see somebody else cry …. So I told them I wanted to go home, and she said, “Well, Mama’s coming over tomorrow.” And so I stopped crying, but I thought Carrie was gon whip me, just like she whipped Theodore, and I was the one that mashed the bread. But I didn’t tell it. But she said we stayed out too long. Bread’s all mashed up, said, “Should have come on home.” She was fussing with him, and then she took the strap and hit him two or three licks with that, and I thought she was ton hit me, too. And so Mama came and got me and took me back over Frances’ house. So then she said she was going back South. And I was just happy to go back there.


They said, well, [inaudible] get some bread, went to the store. I didn’t know where the store was, but I was just going with him to the store, you know? I got the bread, he give me the bread to hold, while he was shooting marbles in that little space was out there. And come on back, and I went way to the house and mashed the button ‘cause I’d seen him mash it. Didn’t want to ask nobody nothing. I said, I didn’t know them peoples up there. So the door didn’t open, and I went on back to find him and get him to come home. And I had held that bread so much and turned it from one end to the other under my arm holding it, and mashed the bread up. So Carrie looked at him: “Well, where y’all been so long?” And then she got that strap, ‘bout this long and ‘bout this wide. And she hit him a lick or two with that, and said, “I sent you out there after some bread, and you went off and stayed and stayed and stayed.” And so when she was hitting him, I went crying. So I thought she was gon beat me, too. But she didn’t. She didn’t even try to chastise me or talk nice to me or nothing. It was just simply ‘cause I’d done mashed that bread up – I had the bread when I went up there, see. She wont thinking ‘bout me. But I didn’t think that, nothing about it until it was later. I said, ‘No wonder she was gon beat me.’ ‘Cause I had done mashed that bread all up holding it up in my arms and changing it from one arm to the other, waiting on him shooting marbles. But I didn’t tell on him. But she knew he was shooting marbles.


... Mama took me to New York and everywhere she’d go. I stayed with Frances and her husband and son, when Mama went up there to work. And so I stayed with Carrie first. That was Albert Gay’s mama’s sister. She had one son, Edward. And she sent us to the store to get a loaf of bread. I’ll never forget it. And in the sidewalk, it was a block out the sidewalk where was closed up. And it just had dirt in it, and we went to get that loaf of bread. He handed me the loaf of bread, and when we got to that block it was boys shooting marbles in that little square where it was dirt. And so I got tired of standing there waiting on him. And I went on up to the house. And had seen them where they go up there and pushed the button. And the door didn’t come open then, and I went on back to where Ed was. And stood there waiting ’til he come to go in the house. And when we got to the house, the door was open. So when we got upstairs to the apartment floor, Carrie commenced fussing with him about ‘Who’s that coming in there playing with that bell?’ and opening the door, or something, I started to say it was me, and then I — she talked so hateful, and she beat Theodore, ’cause he got the bread all mashed up, with the belt. So I went to crying. I cried and I cried. I wanted to go home. I wanted to go where Mama was, but Mama wasn’t supposed to come over there ’til the next day or a day or two after that. I don’t know where she was working. Except that she was doing some day’s work. ‘Cause day’s work was plentiful then. People would clean up. So Mama wanted [inaudible] carried me with her and left Mamie there with Papa and knowing, too, Papa didn’t like Mamie. So, anyway, I cried so, and Mama took me over to Frances’ house. That’s where Mama come, after they took me over to Frances.’ I don’t think either one of ’em had no phone at that time and … but anyway, she come on over and got me, and I told her I didn’t want to stay there no more, I wanted to go home. I said I wanted to go where she was. She said, “Well, you can’t go right now,” said, “I got a job to do.” She said, “Well, I’ll take you over to Frances’. So that’s when she took me over to Frances’ house, and Edward.


“Mama” Sarah Henderson Jacobs (1874-1938) reared my grandmother and her sister Mamie, her great-niece. Sarah’s husband, “Papa,” was Jesse A. Jacobs Jr. (1856-1926). Annie Bell Jacobs Gay and Carrie Jacobs Blackwell (1890-1963) were Jesse’s daughters by his first wife, and Theodore Blackwell (1908-??), not Edward, was Carrie’s son.  At the time this story took place, the Blackwells were probably living at 37 West 112th Street in Harlem, just north of Central Park. In 1920, this was an all-African-American, fifteen-family building in a block otherwise occupied by Russian Jewish immigrants. Frances Aldridge Cooper Newsome was my grandmother’s paternal aunt, sister of her father Thomas Aldridge. Edward Cooper was Frances’ son.

Interviews of Hattie H. Ricks by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved.

Free People of Color, Migration, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Another Arkansas Artis.

Scrolling through old notes, I found two more Artises — Nathan and John — who migrated to Arkansas, probably in the 1880s.

Here’s what I know about them:

  • Nathan and John Artis were the sons of Charity Artis, daughter of Solomon Williams and Vicey Artis. I don’t know who their father was. They were first cousins of Gus Artis and Eliza Artis Everett and second cousins of Guy Lane Jr., all of whom headed west from Wayne County, North Carolina.
  • The 1870 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, shows Solaman Williams, 70 year-old farm laborer, with daughters Charity and Daliley and grandsons Anderson, Nathan, and John.
  • In the 1880 census of Pikeville, Wayne County, Nathan Artis is listed as a nephew in the household of farmer Jonoah Williams, farmer, his wife Pleasant, and children George, Cora, Clarissa, Willie and Vicey.
  • This is a notice of delinquent and insolvent taxpayers published in the Goldsboro Headlight on 28 September, 1893. Nathan Artis is GONE.


Goldsboro Headlight, 1893. 

  • In the 1900 census of Point, Woodruff County, Arkansas: Nathan Artist (born February 1852, NC, farmer), Nora (born Dec 1863), and children John F. (October 1877), Bicy Ann (December 1880), Nathan jr. (March 1883), Adalina (February 1885), James H. (October 1887), Lou (August 1890), Solomon (September 1891), and McKinley (November 1897); plus Nathan’s brother John Artis (May 1866, NC), nieces Parthena (December 1894) and Alsie (February 1899) and nephew John H. (February 1897).  Nathan’s last four children were born in Arkansas.  The nieces and nephews were born in Arkansas to a North Carolina-born father and Tennessee-born mother.
  • In the 1910 census of Point, Woodruff County, Nathan Artis (55, farmer, b. NC), wife Norah (50, b. NC), and children Solomon (16), McKenley (11), Markannon (11), Mittie Ann (8) and Anderson (6), all born in Arkansas.  Nora reported 10 of 15 children living. John Artis (47, born NC) appears in the same township with second wife Bettie (33, born Georgia) and children Parthenia (14), John Henry (12), Elsia Jane (11), Pinkie Ann (7), Josheway (5) and Daisy (3), plus Mary Artis (65), described as “mother.” [Who was this? A stepmother? Bettie’s mother?]
  • Nathan Artis died 3 August 1915 in Woodruff County, Arkansas, and was buried in Harris cemetery in that county. His headstone gives his birthdate as 23 January 1849.
  • Nathan’s five sons registered for the World War I draft: (1) Nathan Artis, born 12 March 1885; resided Brinkley, Monroe County, Arkansas; section laborer for St.L.S.W.Ry.; wife Mary Artis; tall, medium build, brown eyes, black hair; signed his name; registered 12 September 1918; (2) James Artis, born 14 November 1888 in “Goldsburg,” NC; resided Aubrey, Arkansas; farmer for self; supported wife and three children; medium height, slender, brown hair and eyes; registered 5 June 1917; (3) Mark Hanna Artis, born 6 November 1896; resided Audrey, Arkansas; employed by T.F. Turner; nearest relative, Nora Artis; medium height, slender, black hair and eyes; signed with X; registered 5 June 1918; Mark’s twin (4) McKinley Artis, born 6 November 1896; resided Audrey, Arkansas; employed by Angeline Steward; nearest relative, Frances Artis; tall, medium build, black hair and eyes; signed with X; registered 5 June 1918; and (5) Solomon Artis, born 16 November 1893; resided Aubrey, Arkansas; farmer for self; single; medium height and build, black hair and eyes; signed with X; registered 5 June 1917.
  • So did John’s oldest son John Henry Artist, born 8 April 1899; resided Gregory, Arkansas; farmer for John Artist; nearest relative, John Artist; tall, medium build, brown eyes, black hair; signed with X; registered 12 September 1918.
  • John Artis was alive as late as 1930, when he appears in the census of Mississippi County, Arkansas.
  • At least two of Nathan Artis’ sons migrated to the Memphis. McKinley, died there in 1925 of tuberculosis. His first cousin John Henry, who lived in Oakville, Shelby County, died three years later of the same disease brother. His brother “Jack,” however, lived into early middle age, dying in Memphis in 1939. The remainder of Nathan and John Artis’ children seem to have remained, at least till the eve of World War II, in eastern Arkansas.


Maternal Kin, Migration, North Carolina

William B. McNeely.

John Wilson McNeely‘s elder brother, William Bell McNeely, was born about 1804 in Rowan County. Their father was Samuel McNeely; their mother, Nancy Van Pool. The first known record of William’s life is John Van Pool‘s will, dated 13 October 1825 and probated in Rowan County at August term, 1827.  The document named John’s sons David, Jacob, and John Van Pool; his daughters Nancy [McNeely], Margaret [McNeely] and Maria Van Pool; son-in-law Samuel McNeely; grandson Elihu N. Pool; and granddaughters Eliza Pool and Margaret T. Pool. Samuel McNeely was named executor, and witnesses were John McNeely Sr. and Jr. and William B. McNeely. (“Senior” and “junior” did not necessarily mean father and son in that era. Rather, as “II” can today, a “junior” could simply be a younger relative with the same name. Margaret Van Pool married Samuel McNeely’s brother John McNeely, who was named after his father. However, John McNeely the elder died in 1801, so could not have been the Sr. here. If Samuel’s brother John himself had a son John, he would have been rather young to have been a legal witness in 1825. Long story short, I don’t know which John McNeely in the will is Margaret’s husband, or who the other one is. William B., of course, was Samuel’s son and may simply have been close at hand.)

Five years later, on 1 Aug 1832, William B. McNeely married Elizabeth McNeely in Rowan County. Undoubtedly cousins, their exact relationship is not known. Within just a few years, the family would leave North Carolina forever, headed west to Missouri to claim a land grant.

On 24 Jan 1837, William Bell McNeely of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, deposited a certificate with the registrar of the Jackson, Missouri, land grant office.  He registered a parcel described as the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 25 in township 33, north, of Range 12, east and measuring 40 acres.

RHUSA2007B_MO0620-00086 copy

On 17 September, 1839, William B. McNeely married Elizabeth McPherson in Cape Girardeau County. William’s son Samuel was then about 4 years old, and it does not appear that William and his second wife had any children together.

On 10 Dec 1841, William McNeely made his final payment on the purchase of the parcel, which was located in Perry County, and took title. He had not finished moving though. In 1850, the censustaker of Saint Francois County, Missouri, counted among that county’s residents farmer William McNealy, 46, wife Elizabeth, 46, and Samuel E., 15. William claimed real estate valued at $300. Ten years later, after the formation of a new county, the family is listed in the Middlebrook postal district of Iron County: North Carolina-born farmer William B. McNeely, 56, wife Elizabeth, 56, and 7 year-old Catherine Green.  William claimed $2000 in real estate and $500 personal property.  Next door, son Samuel E. McNeely, 26, and his young family —  wife Emily, 20, and daughter Elizabeth, 5 mos. — appear.  Samuel reported $50 personal property.

William was too old to serve during the Civil War, and I have found no record that Samuel did either. William did, however, sign a loyalty oath in 1864.

In the 1870 census of Ironton, Iron County, Missouri, in Township 32, Range 3 East: Wm. B. McNeely, 66, farmer, appears with wife Elizabeth.  William claimed $2500 real estate; $200, personal property.

Meanwhile, back in North Carolina, William’s brother John W. McNeely edged toward death. John’s demise in mid-summer of 1871 makes clear the totality of William’s break with his home state. John’s administrator, Joshua Miller, initially named his heirs as his widow, “Acenith McNeely a sister reported to be in Missouri and a Brother name not known and residence not known.” A little information trickled in, and Miller’s next report  identified “Wm. B. McNeely, age 65, residing in Missouri Post Office unknown.” Though William had been in Iron County at least twenty years by then, Miller never found him (or Acenith), and the estate was settled without him.

Sometime between 1870 and 1880, William was again widowed. He appears in the census of Liberty, Iron County, in the household of his son, farmer S. McNeely, 45, with wife E., and children Ellen, Thomas, Owen, Margarett, Nancy, Charles, and George D. Samuel’s daughter Elizabeth — El. Huff — and her children William, 2, and Sam, 6 months, also lived in the house.

By 1900, Samuel McNeely was an elderly hired man living and working in Shoal Creek, Bond County, Illinois, some 125 miles northeast of Iron County. Samuel’s children, by this time, have moved west to Arizona and California. His father is not with him in Illinois and does not appear in the Missouri census. Most likely, he did not live to see the new century.

Migration, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

That glorious climate of Arkansas.

Perhaps this sheds some light on Gus Artis and his sister Eliza Artis Everett‘s migration to Arkansas from North Carolina well after the Exoduster era:

Goldsboro_Headlight_11_6_1889_Arkansas_migrantsGoldsboro Headlight, 6 November 1889.

On 27 November 1889, the Wilson Mirror reprinted a Goldsboro Argus piece that described Williams and Herring as “railroad hirelings and speculators.” “However much the desire should be divided among our people — and by this we mean the white people — for the negro to exodus this country or remain, the solid, stubborn truth shall not be kept from the poor, deluded, half-informed negro, that this is his home, the climate of his nature; that our people are the most tolerant and generous in the world; and his best friends, and that, therefore, he should stay right here where his associations date back through the centuries; where his faults, and there are many (but who of us is without faults?) are borne with from custom; where his privileges as a free citizen are unquestioned and untrammeled, and where his destinies are linked by law with the whites, who, under a Democratic administration, have for twenty years paid 90 per cent. of his government and education, while he has furnished 90 per cent. of the crime and ignorance of the State.”

Best friends, indeed.

The 20 December 1889 issue of the Wilmington Messenger chimed in the mockery, noting that “Peg leg Williams and Silas Herring have not dissolved copartnership. Peg leg is now in [Goldsboro], and he and Silas are as active as bees in inducing the “coons” of this section to leave their homes of peace and plenty here, to go the far off miasmatic lands of the West, there to die like cattle with the black tongue.”

Robert “Peg-Leg” Williams is memorialized in 100 Americans Making Constitutional History: A Biographical History, edited by Melvin I. Urofsky. Described as the most famous and successful of Southern “emigrant agents, Mississippi-born Williams, a Civil War veteran, assisted 16,000 African-Americans in leaving North Carolina in the wake of discriminatory labor laws passed in 1889.

*Kizzy Herring Herring, who applied for her husband’s Civil War pension from Lonoke County, Arkansas, was another who left Wayne County for the West. So, I suspect was Guy Lane, Jr., son of Guy and Sylvania Artis Lane, who decamped from Wayne County to Memphis, Tennessee, sometime between 1880 and 1900. Did he just not quite make it to Arkansas? Or did he double back to the city after deciding that Arkansas did not suit?