Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Matilda Love Divine?

Back when I took terrible notes, I wrote this on a slip of paper: LUCY MATILDA LOVETT DIVINE.

All I remember about it is that my grandmother told me that this was the name of a Henderson relative. There aren’t any Lucys in the family, so I’m fairly certain she was talking about her grandmother — whose name actually was “Ludie” or “Loudie” and who died when my grandmother’s mother was a toddler. If I probed for more details, though, I didn’t record them.

A couple of days ago, I ran across this:


Wilson Advance, 27 July 1883.


I Googled “Matilda Love Divine” and found:

  • family trees containing Ann Matilda Love Divine Seymour Salmon, born maybe in Fayetteville, North Carolina, around 1900; Sarah Ann Caroline Matilda Love Divine Seymour Terry Bell Jones, born near Jones County, North Carolina, in 1915; and Lucy Matilda Love Divine Isabella Susan Caroline Bray, born Pike County, Alabama, in 1864; and
  • a snarky Tuscaloosa News article about “unique Southern Negro names,” dated 11 January 1938, that mentioned a Perry County, Alabama, girl named Melissa Ann Queen of Loaf Henry Foster’s Oldest Daughter Sarah Matilda Love Divine Seymoure Cyndie Caroline Foster; and
  • a snarky Raleigh Enterprise bit from 16 April 1906 about a local “chocolate”-colored girl named Lucy Matilda Love Divine Seymour Terry Belle Caroline; and
  • a marriage announcement in the Goldsboro Headlight, 15 July 1897, for Mary Margaret Lucy Levy Jane Sarah Matilda Love Divine Seymour Carrie Bell Caroline Bartlett; and
  • much further afield, a mention in Maine’s Daily Kennebec Journal, 1 August 1903, of Ruth Matilda Love Divine Seymour Terry Belle Caroline Finney.

So what to make of this? Was Loudie Henderson really another of the “Matilda Love Divine” sisterhood? Who in the world was the original? And how did her name seize popular imagination?

Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

She was named after …

As in many early American families,  the descendants of Solomon and Vicey Artis Williams honored their forebears and living kin by naming children after them. The practice did not begin with them, and it is intriguing to speculate about which of the names that Vicey bestowed upon her offspring had been handed down from earlier generations.

The chart below sets forth all known namesakes of Solomon, Vicey or their children Zilpha, Adam, Jane, Loumiza, Charity, Lewis, Jonah, Jethro, Jesse, Richard and Delilah.


Education, Maternal Kin, North Carolina


My great-aunt Golar Augusta Colvert, born in 1897. Her uncle Harvey Golar Tomlin, born in 1894.  My great-grandmother’s cousin, Goler Lee Miller, born in 1895.

Who were these people — all born within 25 miles of Salisbury, North Carolina — named for?

William Harvey Golar, the Canadian-born president of Livingstone College, a small, four-year institution in Salisbury affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Golar was appointed president in 1893 and was renowned for his energetic fundraising ability during his nearly 20 years of service.

Harriet Nicholson Tomlin Hart, mother of Golar T. and grandmother of Golar C., was an enthusiastic AMEZ, and I’m guessing that Goler’s parents George and Adline Miller were, too.