Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, Photographs, Virginia

Marion Allen Lomans.

She was the aunt for whom my aunt was named. She was a teacher. She married late and had no children. And she died when my mother was small. That was about all I knew about my grandfather’s oldest sister, Marion Ellen Allen Lomans.

My uncle let me copy a scarred and badly tinted photo:

Marion Lomans

She looked like an Allen sister, but I was no less mystified. (Frankly, other than Aunt Julia, they were all a bit mysterious — how did I never meet Aunt Edith?  Or Aunt Nita until I was an adult? Or even Uncle Buster, who lived right in Newport News?)

And then M., my mother’s first cousin, sent this picture, which charmed me to no end — Aunt Marion and her students at John Marshall School:

Marion Allen & class

And then I found her obituary:


Virginian Pilot, 15 November 1942.

And so I learned a few more things: that, despite her marriage to Mr. Lomans, a World War I veteran whom she had married “recently” and whose Christian names were actually Gillespie Garland, she was still living at home at the time of her death. That she was a member of the United Order of Tents (a secretive charitable organization founded by black women in the mid-19th century) and the Good Samaritans (another?). That she taught for only six years. That Aunt Tee — that’s Edith — was unmarried and living in New York City when Marion died.  That Marion died at Whittaker Memorial Hospital, an institution that her father served as a board member.  That she was buried from Zion Baptist,  the church that nurtured her father. Still, who was she?

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

She was smart, and she was musical.



Statesville Colored Graded School Closed Tuesday Night with a Very Creditable Performance.

The closing exercises of the Statesville graded school were held Tuesday night in the new building. Before the exercises began at 8.30, a representative of this paper had the pleasure of looking thru the building and inspecting the most creditable exhibits of the work accomplished by the pupils of the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades. The exhibit showed surprising skill in drawing, sewing, fancy needle work and other forms of handiwork.

When the exercises began, the auditorium and two adjoining school rooms were filled, and the good order maintained was a noticeable feature.  The opening chorus and duet by members of the graduating class were much appreciated by the audience.

“Resolved: That girls are more expensive to raise than boys,” was the subject of the debate discussed in an interesting manner by Eugene Harris and Harry Chambers, on the affirmative, and Guy B.Golden and Jettie M. Davidson, on the negative.


Class History.      Buster B. Leach

Class Prophecy.   Annie B. Headen

Class Poem.      Willie D. Spann

Solo — ‘Be Still, O Heart.’   Thomas R. Hampton

Class Will.   Maurie Dobbins

Valedictory.    Louise Colvert

Class Song – ‘Fealty’


Mary Louise Colvert, Maurie Catherine Dobbins, Lillian Gennetta Moore, Willie DeEtte Spann, Buster Brown Leach, Annie Bell Headen, Thomas Richard Hampton, Eloise Earnestine Bailey.  

Class Motto – We Learn Not for School, But for Life.

The colored people of Statesville take great pride in their school.  They have a modern school building, steam heated and supplied with the latest equipment, something which very few towns and cities of the State have provided for its colored population.  C.W. Foushee, the principal, has proven himself to be a good school man.  He is assisted by eight teachers.

— Statesville The Landmark, 7 June 1923.


Louise went up to New Jersey and finished high school.  They didn’t have a black high school in Statesville.  They just had tenth grade.  And she went to Jersey and finished high school in Jersey and then took a course in teacher’s education somewhere.  I don’t know whether it was Winston-Salem or Salisbury.  And then she taught at – Louise played an organ, I mean, she could play the piano. Yeah, she was just as smart as she could be.  And she not only could teach, but she was musical. And she had heard she could get a job anywhere because she could do that.  And I know Golar used to teach school, but Louise would do her commencement exercise for her.  She would, Louise would do that, and they would have concerts.  Not concerts, but the whole county would compete.  And Golar’s thing would always bring a group of children, ‘cause Louise would teach them, you know. I don’t know, I can’t remember the name of that place.  But she had a school out there.  Williams Grove. And Louise used to do all the playing for that school, and they would ask her to prepare them for the thing. They had these county somethings.  But it involved the whole county.  The schools were all over Iredell County.  And they would come together, and they would, it would be a big march, and then they would meet somewhere in particular, and then they would compete with the groups of singers and everything like that.  And, child, when Louise started that stuff, when she started teaching, she had groups singing – young people and the older people, and then Golar would take her to her school and get her to teach her children.

Happy birthday, Aunt Louise.
Mary Louise Colvert Renwick (6 October 1906-15 September 1989)

Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson; all rights reserved. Photographs in the collection of Lisa Y. Henderson. 

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

John William Aldridge.

John Aldridge and his brothers George and Matthew Aldridge were hired to teach in Wayne County in the late 1870s. For reasons unknown, they were assigned to schools in the far north of the county, some 15 miles north of Dudley:

ALDRIDGE -- Aldridge_School Records

ALDRIDGE -- Aldridge_School Records 2 

From the same unsigned family history:

John Aldridge met Luvicie Artis at the school where he taught; she was one of his students. He built a 7 room house for her when they got married. John was a stout man with a reddish brown complexion and wavy black hair. He stopped teaching when he married Luvicie and started to farm and run a general store. The store was burned down in 1911. He sent his children to a private school. He died in 1910 of a congested chill. He was 58 years old when he died, and was worth about $30,000 at that time.


If John was worth $30,000 when he died, it was all in realty. His personal estate was paltry:
JW Aldridge Estate Doc