Births Deaths Marriages, Migration, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Rest in peace, Alice Henderson Mabin (1920-2017).

Zeke 2013

Cousin Zeke in 2013, age 93.

I happened to be in Wilson when the news came. Cousin Zeke had passed peacefully at the age of 97.

Bessie Jack Alice Henderson

Cousin Zeke at right, with sister Bessie and their father Jack, circa late 1920s.

Alice “Zeke” Henderson Mabin was born 22 January 1920 in Wilson to Jesse “Jack” Henderson and Pauline Artis Henderson. Despite their ten-year age gap, she and my grandmother were close pals in the years before Zeke relocated to Norfolk, Virginia — where she met husband Joseph W. Mabin — and eventually Baltimore, Maryland.

Alice Henderson Queen St

Cousin Zeke in front of the family’s home on East Vance Street in the early 1940s, with sister Doris Henderson Ward behind.

Cousin Zeke returned to Wilson four years ago as her health began to fail. She had no children, but was well-loved by her many nieces, nephews and cousins.


Right to left: Cousin Zeke, her husband Joe, and her sisters Bessie Henderson Smith and Mildred Henderson Hall in Mildred’s den on Queen Street in Wilson.

zeke & bessie

Sisters Zeke and Bessie on their sister Mildred’s porch, 1986.


Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, Paternal Kin

Dr. Randall dies.


R. Stewart Randall, 76, a Washington family physician whose medical career spanned more than 50 years, died July 17 at Washington Hospital Center of complications following a stroke.

Dr. Randall was a lifelong resident of Washington. He graduated from Dunbar High School and Howard University and its medical school. He began an internship at Freedman’s Hospital here, then served in the Army Medical Corps in France during World War II. He received a Bronze Star.

After the war, he returned here and opened a family medical practice, which continued until his death. He also was an instructor in the Howard University Medical School’s department of family practice and its preceptorship program in primary and comprehensive care. He worked part time at the Union Medical Center obstetrics and gynecology clinic.

He was a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, a life member of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and a member of the D.C. Medico-Chirurgical Society.

He received a community service award from the Lower Georgia Avenue Businessmen’s Association for his work in helping develop a complex of medical offices and clinics along Georgia Avenue NW.

He was a life member of the NAACP.

His wife of 42 years, the former Ethel M. Gibson, died in 1989.

Survivors include three children, R. Stewart Randall Jr., Anna Randall Allen and Mae Ellen Randall, all of Washington; his father, Fred R. Randall of Washington; a sister, Ada R. Reeves of Washington; a brother, Dr. Frederick R. Randall of New York; and four grandchildren.

— Washington Post, 22 July 1992.


Pittsburgh Courier, 18 April 1964.

Births Deaths Marriages, Newspaper Articles, Paternal Kin, Photographs

In memoriam: Louise Daniel Hutchinson.

Louise Daniel Hutchinson, scholar of black history, dies at 86

By Emily Langer, The Washington Post, 26 October 2014.

WASHINGTON — Louise Daniel Hutchinson, who gathered, documented and preserved African-American history during 13 years as director of research at the Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Community Museum in Southeast Washington, died Oct. 12 at her home in Washington. She was 86.

The cause was vascular dementia, said a daughter, Donna Marshall.

Mrs. Hutchinson spent much of her adult life working to collect and share with others the richness of African-American history in Washington and beyond. In 1974, after years of community activism, she joined the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum, as it was then known. She retired in 1987.

Under the leadership of founding director John Kinard, she oversaw exhibits covering years of history in the Anacostia community, the movement of blacks from Africa to overseas colonies, and the life and accomplishments of Frederick Douglass, the former slave, abolitionist and distinguished writer.

She took particular interest in documenting the lives of African-American women such as Anna Cooper, who was born into slavery and became a noted educator and equal rights advocate. “Even black history hasn’t given black women their proper place,” Hutchinson once told the New York Times.

Gail Lowe, the Anacostia Community Museum’s senior historian, credited Mrs. Hutchinson with elevating the work of the research department and using individual life stories to illuminate broader history. “In telling the local stories,” Lowe said in an interview, “she validated community experiences.” Mrs. Hutchinson was “a stickler for accuracy and authenticity,” Lowe said, and insisted researchers keep magnifying glasses on hand for the close inspection of old photographs. Hutchinson, Lowe recalled, spotted Harriet Tubman and W.E.B. Du Bois in previously unidentified images.

“Because of the level and depth of her work,” Lowe said, “she was able to … provide accurate, documented information that other researchers and scholars relied on.”

Louise Hazel Daniel, one of nine children, was born June 3, 1928, in Ridge, Maryland, and raised in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington. Her parents, Victor Hugo Daniel and Constance E.H. Daniel, were teachers and friends of the African-American intellectuals and educators George Washington Carver and Mary McLeod Bethune.

After graduating in 1946 from the old Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, Mrs. Hutchinson attended colleges including Howard University and did secretarial work before beginning her career in historical preservation. In the 1970s, she assisted curators at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery with the selection of paintings featuring prominent African-Americans, her daughter said.

Mrs. Hutchinson’s writings included the books “The Anacostia Story, 1608-1930″ in 1977, “Out of Africa: From West African Kingdoms to Colonization” in 1979 and “Anna J. Cooper: A Voice from the South” in 1981.

Mrs. Hutchinson’s daughter Laura Hutchinson died in infancy, and her son Mark Hutchinson died in 1974, at age 8, of a brain tumor.

Survivors include her husband of 64 years, Ellsworth Hutchinson Jr. of Washington; five children, Ronald Hutchinson of Fort Washington, Maryland, David Hutchinson of Clifton Park, New York, Donna Marshall of Laurel, Maryland, Dana McCoy of Washington and Victoria Boston of Clinton, Maryland; two brothers, John Daniel of Washington and Robert Daniel of Atlanta; a sister, C. Dorothea Lawson of Bay City, Texas; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

In addition to her museum work, Mrs. Hutchinson participated in such initiatives as the development of D.C. public school curriculum in the 1980s, which incorporated the roles of black leaders in local events.

“I have real concerns about accuracy of history,” she told The Washington Post. “I believe it must reflect [the] participation of all.”


I met my Dudley cousins in the fall of 1985, just in time to be invited to the first (and last, as it were) Henderson-Aldridge Reunion in July 1986. That weekend turned out to have been a fortuitous window of time, in which I was privileged to meet so many elders not long for this world. Had I been more conscientious and intentional, I could have learned so much more than I did, but that’s a genealogist’s perennial regret. So many kin I saw only that one time — Johnnie “Dink” Henderson, Freeman Aldridge Sr., H.B. Wynn, Evelyn Williams McKissick, Virginia Aldridge Oldham. With others, however, I built relationships that lasted years.
Last night, I found Louise Daniel Hutchinson’s obituary. Her husband Ellsworth Hutchinson Jr., my cousin, sent me a copy of her work on Anna Julia Cooper shortly after the 1986 reunion. It was my introduction to the incredible Cooper, though she is from my home state. It was also an introduction to the wonderful work that Cousin Louise did as a researcher and historian. As we traded information about our Aldridge links — Cousin Ellsworth’s grandfather Zebedee Aldridge was my great-grandfather Thomas Aldridge‘s brother — she challenged me to take seriously and document diligently the stories of everyday families. In 2001, I spent a few days with her and Ellsworth at their home in Anacostia, poring over and copying family photos and lapping up her wisdom and knowledge of D.C.’s African-American history. We had lost contact as her health declined, but I have always treasured her warmth and encouragement and hope that in some small way, Scuffalong:Genealogy honors her memory.
Louise Daniel Hutchinson holding a photo of her parents. Courtesy of The Washington Post.
Births Deaths Marriages, Free People of Color, North Carolina, Other Documents, Paternal Kin, Religion

He was faithful in all his houses.

The Wilson Daily Times was an afternoon paper in my day. It was lying in the driveway when I arrived home from school, and I could read it first if I put it back like it was — pages squared and neatly folded. (Even today, I shudder at a sloppy newspaper, flipped inside out and pages sprawling.) The Daily Times‘ roots are in Zion’s Landmark, a semi-monthly newsletter begun in 1867 by Pleasant Daniel Gold. Elder Gold (1833-1920), pastor of Wilson Primitive Baptist Church, filled the periodical with sermons and homilies, ads for homeopathic remedies, testimonials, altar calls and, most enduringly, obituaries of Primitive Baptists throughout eastern North Carolina.

African-Americans did not often make it into the pages of the Landmark, but P.D. Gold held Jonah Williams in considerable esteem. Gold preached my great-great-great-great-uncle’s funeral and published in the Landmark a lengthy obituary by Brother Henry S. Reid, clerk at Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Church:

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And what does this piece add to what I already know about Jonah Williams?

  • A marriage date for him and Pleasant Battle — 4 January 1867.
  • Some confusion about their children. I knew Pleasant had a slew of children from a previous marriage to Blount Battle. However, I had four children for Jonah and Pleasant — Clarissa (the surviving daughter referred to in the obit), Willie F. (1872-1895), Vicey (1874-1890), and J.W., whom I know only from a stone in the Williams’ cemetery plot. I’m thinking now that this is a foot marker, rather than a headstone, and I’ll revise my notes.
  • Jonah joined Aycock Primitive Baptist Church, part of the Black Creek Association, around 1875.
  • Around 1895, he and others were permitted to leave Aycock and form Turner Swamp Primitive Baptist Church, the first “organized colored” P.B. church in the area. The Black Creek Association ordained Jonah when he was called to serve at Turner Swamp.
  • Elder P.D. Gold preached Jonah Williams’ funeral.

Text found at

Education, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina

David C. McNeely’s erratum.

Eons ago, one of the first documents I found related to my great-great-great-grandfather John Wilson McNeely‘s family was an 1828 obituary for his brother David C. McNeely, a student at Yale College.


Western Carolinian, 22 April 1828.

Wow, I marveled. There could not have been many Scotch-Irishmen from the backwoods of Piedmont North Carolina studying at Yale at that time.  What a terrible loss this must have been for John and his family. I entered David’s name into my Family Tree Maker tree alongside Samuel McNeely’s other children William and Acenith (or Acintha).

And then the other day, I found this:


Western Carolinian, 29 April 1828.

Oh. … Okay. … So all my sentiments hold — except the loss to John. David was not Samuel McNeely‘s son after all, but James McNeely’s.

If there was one James McNeely in Rowan County in the first quarter of the 19th century, there were a dozen, and I have been singularly unsuccessful at teasing apart and differentiating them. Evidence shows that Samuel and his son John W. had close relationships with several James. However, the will of Samuel’s father John McNeely (1724-1801) lists no heir named James, only John, Alexander and Samuel and their sister Ellinor McNeely Bell. It is past time that I pull together a chart or a list or a something that summarizes links I’ve found among these McNeelys and may reveal previously unnoticed clues.


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

Nothing could swerve him.

I felt sure that Napoleon Hagans‘ death had merited more than the brief mention I’d seen in the Goldsboro Headlight, and last night I found it:


Goldsboro Daily Argus, 1 September 1896.

This shining eulogy was penned by Ezekiel Ezra “E.E.” Smith (1852-1933), college president, recent United States Ambassador to Liberia, and arguably the most accomplished of Wayne County’s 19th-century African American citizens. (Smith was born free in Duplin County, just to the south, but moved to Goldsboro as a young man, married a cousin of Napoleon’s daughter-in-law Lizzie Burnett Hagans, and was principal for a time of Goldsboro’s colored school.)  Side-stepping the indelicate issue of Napoleon’s parentage, E.E. painted a glowing portrait of his friend’s virtues — his hard work, his astuteness, his self-built wealth, his determination to give his children what he lacked. Napoleon’s business acumen and successes won relationships across color lines and among North Carolina’s colored elite, and E.E. listed those who took part in the funeral or had taken the time to reach out to pay respects:

  • Rev. Jonah Williams, Eureka. Jonah Williams was the elder of a Baptist church a few miles from Napoleon’s home (and a central figure in the establishment of Primitive Baptist congregations in the area) and had, like Napoleon, been involved in Republican politics. Jonah’s brother, Adam T. Artis, married Napoleon’s half-sister, Frances Seaberry.
  • Rev. Clarence Dillard, Goldsboro. Clarence Dillard, Howard University Theology ’83, came to Goldsboro as a Presbyterian minister and was principal of the colored graded school at Napoleon’s death. (It is said that he traded a teaching position at Agricultural & Mechanical College for the Colored Race [now North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University] to Napoleon’s son Henry E. Hagans for this job.) Dillard was active in Republican politics and was co-editor of a short-lived African-American newspaper in Goldsboro, The Voice.
  • J.L. Nixon, Goldsboro. John Louis Nixon (1855-1919) was co-editor and manager of The Voice and, later, secretary of the Goldsboro-based United Church Benevolent Society and a mail clerk for the United States Postal Service. He was a native of Wilmington.
  • C.D. Crooms, Goldsboro. Charles D. Crooms was a teacher and merchant.
  • Henry Williams.
  • William Chapman, Goldsboro. William Chapman (or Chatman) married Susan Burnett, mother-in-law of Napoleon’s son William S. Hagans.
  • B.H. Hogans, Goldsboro. Benjamin Harrison Hogans (1865-1926) was a teacher, a trustee of Saint James AME Zion Church and, later, a mail carrier. He was born in Orange County and came to Goldsboro as a child with his parents Haywood and Zilpha Latta Hogans.
  • E.E. Smith.
  • Mrs. W.J. Exum, Fremont. Mary Burt Alston Exum, white, was the widow of William J. Exum (1825-1885), a prominent farmer and former slaveowner in northern Wayne County. Napoleon bought land from William (and Mary, after William’s death).
  • Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Bardin, Fremont. John J. Bardin, white, was a druggist in Fremont.
  • Miss Clarisa Williams, Wilson. Clarissa Williams, Jonah Williams’ daughter, was a teacher in Wilson.
  • Mrs. E.E. Smith, Goldsboro. Willie Ann Burnett Smith, daughter of Dolly Burnett, was a cousin of Napoleon’s son William’s wife Lizzie E. Burnett. William Chapman was Willie Burnett Smith’s step-father.
  • W.H. Borden, Goldsboro. William H. Borden (1841-1905), white, was president of Goldsboro Furniture Company.
  • A.W. Curtis, Raleigh. Rev. A.W. Curtis, white, lead the Congregational Church mission in Raleigh.
  • C.D. Sauls, Snow Hill. Cain D. Sauls (1864-1938) of Greene County wore many hats — farmer, merchant, newspaper columnist, banker, justice of the peace, and all-around businessman. He was the grandson of Daniel Artis, who was a first cousin of Adam T. Artis.
  • W.H. McNeil, Greensboro. William H. McNeill was president of Suburban Investment Company of Greensboro and Piedmont Mutual Life Insurance Company. (The 18 July 1903 edition of Washington DC’s The Colored American reported that Mrs. W.H. McNeill had visited Mrs. F. Douglass at 1720 Fourteenth Street, NW.)
  • Mrs. F.A. Garrett, Greensboro.
  • J.E. Dellinger, Greensboro. J. Elmer Dellinger (1862-1920) was active in Republican politics and the development of Baptist Sunday Schools, was a physician, and taught chemistry at Agricultural & Mechanical College in Greensboro. He was also a manager of Suburban Investment Company. He was born in Lincoln County, North Carolina.
  • H.H. Faulkner, Greensboro. Henry H. Faulkner was a school principal in Greensboro.
  • Charles H. Moore, Greensboro. Moore was principal of the first graded school for African-American children in Greensboro.
Births Deaths Marriages, Enslaved People, Migration, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Mother Ward.

None of us knows the details of the arrangements, or the impact on their willing and unwilling participants, but it is clear that Napoleon Hagans had a messy personal life. His oldest child, William Coley, was born about 1860 to Winnie Coley, an enslaved woman who lived on the nearby farm of John Coley. Winnie had several additional children, fathered by Coley himself and by Napoleon’s brother-in-law Adam T. Artis. Around 1867 — no license has been found — Napoleon married Apsilla “Appie” Ward, born in 1849 to Sarah Ward, an enslaved woman, and her owner, David G. W. Ward, a wealthy physician living in northwest Greene County. Napoleon poured his ambition and wealth into his and Appie’s sons, Henry Edward (born 1868) and William Scarlett (born 1869). Both attended Howard University and settled into comfortable, distinguished livelihoods in farming, education and real estate.

Though Napoleon’s youngest was denied these advantages, he was arguably the most successful of all the sons.  Joseph Henry Ward was born 4 August 1870 in Wilson, North Carolina. (Or Wilson County, in any case.) His mother, Mittie Roena Ward, was Appie Ward Hagans’ twin. (Identical, it is said.) And Napoleon Hagans’ sister-in-law. I know nothing at all of her early years. In 1879, Mitty Finch (Finch? why?) married Virginia native Algernon Vaughn in Wilson. In 1880, the family’s household included Mittie’s mother, Sarah Darden; her husband Algie, a farm laborer; Mittie, a cook; and children Joseph, 8, Sarah, 6, and Macinda, 5 months.

By 1890, Joseph had struck out on his own and for reasons unknown landed in Indianapolis, Indiana. There, he went to work for a physician who would set him on his own path to a medical degree. Joseph’s half-sister Sarah married William Moody in Wilson in 1892 and, by the dawn of the new century, the Moodys and Mittie Vaughn were living in Washington DC. Soon after Mittie joined Joe Ward in Indianapolis, reverted to her maiden name (though keeping the title “Mrs.”), and began a peripatetic life that saw her in and out of the households of her children.

The Indianapolis Recorder, an African-American news weekly, kept close tabs on the mother of one of the city’s most illustrious residents:

Mrs. Mittie Ward, mother of Dr. J.H. Ward will leave today for Washington, D.C., to spend the winter with her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Moody. Her youngest daughter will remain in the city with her brother Dr. Ward.  [12 December 1903]

Ward-Artis.  On Wednesday June 22, at high noon the wedding of Miss Minerva Ward, the daughter of Mrs. Mittie Ward and sister of one of our prominent physicians Dr. Joseph H. Ward, and Mr. Dillard Artis, of Marion, will be celebrated in the presence of the immediate family and a few intimate friends. Rev. Morris Lewis assisted by Rev. T.A. Smythe will perform the ceremony. They will leave at 5 p.m. for Marion, where a wedding reception will be given from 8 to 11 p.m., at 920 S. Boot street, the home of the groom. The bride is well and favorably known in our city’s best circles and is a favorite in the younger social set. The groom is a prominent cement contractor of Marion and a highly respected citizen, owning a great deal of property, which he has accumulated by his industry and business tact. They will be at home at 920 S. Boot street, Marion.  [18 June 1910]

Mrs. Minerva Ward Artis of Marion, spent the holidays with her mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward, of the city.  [31 December 1910]

Mrs. Dillard Artis of Marion, was in the city a few days this week. Mrs. Artis is visiting her brother, Dr. J.H. Ward and her mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward.  [18 February 1911]

Dr. J. Ward of Indianapolis and Master Joseph were guests of his mother Mrs. Mittie Ward and sister Mrs. S.D. Artis of S. Boots street Wednesday.  [19 August 1911]

Mrs. Mittie Ward of Indianapolis, who has been the guest of her daughter for the past week Mrs. S.D. Artis returned home Saturday and on December 5, will leave for Washington, D.C. to spend the winter with her daughter.   [2 December 1911]

Dr. J.H. Ward of Indianapolis was called to this city [Marion, Indiana] the first part of this week to attend the bedside of his mother, Mrs. Mittie Ward, who is ill at the home of her daughter, Mrs. S.D. Artis, in South Boots street.  [25 November 1916]

Mittie Ward died of stroke in Washington, DC, in 1924. She was visiting her elder daughter Sarah Ward Moody and planning to travel to see the younger.


Pittsburgh Courier, 19 April 1924.