Friday, October 21, 2016

Maxwell House: The Choice Is Yours

I went to my mentor Valencia King Nelson’s house before the AAHGS Conference in Atlanta Georgia started on October 12, 2016.

AAHGS is a genealogy based organization and hosts genealogy conferences in different states.

I had a wonderful time with MS V, Angela Walton RaJi, and B.J. Smothers.

            MS V, Angela Walton RaJi,  David Patterson 

But let me tell you when I was there,  I made an epic fail.

 I love my coffee and when at home in Phoenix I can pour a cup, put in a spoon of creamer and drink until my heart’s content.

Now there was coffee all right, but for the first time in my life I saw coffee in a small package. 

 I tore off the top and poured the coffee in the cup of hot steaming water. Put in the creamer and stirred and stirred and stirred.

After about ten mins I said, “what the heck is wrong with this coffee?” 

Good Grief, "I have been stirring this for a good ten minutes and the crystals will not melt . Look at All these little black coffee grinds swirling around"

Mentor: Did you use hot water
Me:         Yes
Mentor: Where’s the little bag
Me:         What bag?
Mentor: The bag that you use to put in the cup to steep the coffee
BJ, David, Angela and Mentor:  giggling!
Mentor:   Here, let me show you
Who ever heard of coffee disguised as a tea bag?

Maxwell House did and I have to admit it was good. In fact it was  good to the last drop.

That is without the coffee crystals ….LOL

When the conference was over and I arrived back in Phoenix I went straight to the kitchen to make a cup. 

What awaited me was coffee that looked like it was in an Acorn bag!

Where oh where is my Percolater?

What happened to my can of ground coffee?


Not to be confused with another Maxwell the R&B singer who brews out the soulful song Pretty Wings.

Speaking of House, let me introduce you to Wannel House, an awesome lady who gives of herself  with  loads and loads of information she posts on Find A Grave with Harrison County Texas roots.

 I have never met her in person but contacted her about  twenty years or more when I saw something that she had put online. We have been in contact ever since. 

Wanell has an ancestor by the name of Peter Choyce who was prominent in Harrison County.

Mr Choyce was born around 1823 in Jasper County Georgia, married  Ms Sarah Gilstrap and had several children.

Here is an 1880 census where the family is found in Harrison County

Source Citation

Year: 1880; Census Place: Precinct 2, Harrison, Texas; Roll: 1310; Family History Film: 1255310; Page: 467B; Enumeration District: 048

We are in the season now of voting for a President. We have to make a choice.

Peter Choyce has a voter story all his own in 1880 Harrison County Texas. 

Source Information Texas, Voter Registration Lists, 1867-1869 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data:
1867 Voter Registration Lists. Microfilm, 12 rolls. Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

Mr. Choyce on his way to deliver the boxes that held the names of the voters in 1880 was accosted by two men who wanted the ballot boxes.

Fortunately for him his horse took off thus saving his life.

Here is a snippet of the case mentioned in the Congressional Record  that can be found as a free e book 

Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the ... Congress, Volume 12
on page 360 online at link listed below

Peter Choyce passed away in Jonesville Texas. 

Rest in Perfect Peace Mr. Choyce. Your footsteps told a wonderful story in Harrison County Texas.

 Then along came DNA…Who did I see matching my children?... Wanell

And then her mother tested...Who did I see?... My grandkids!

We have no idea how they match but they  sure as heck do. If the link is Peter Choice I would be delighted.

To  further this good news, a cousin of Wanell on her mother’s Hubbard line is in my genealogy group.

Now to get  Khameelah Shabazz  to test !

Monday, October 10, 2016

Shoulders And Shoes Standing In The Gap

Soon the time will come when folks will hopefully vote for the person of their choice. It has been so much division these last eight years that it seems as if the forward strides have now gone backwards.

The shoulders that others have so unselfishly lifted us on and the shoes that others have worn have left footprints in are crying in shame. 

The Gap Band:

Tulsa Oklahoma can boast that they had a pretty popular group in the 1970’s and 1980’s headed by brothers Charlie, Robert and Ronnie Wilson.

 The group was initially named after Greenwood, a street and neighborhood in Tulsa and changed later to The Gap Band.

Some of the songs they put out were Early In The Morning and Yearning For Your Love. Charlie one of the brothers went on to become a solo singer. 

The band retired after about thirty years together and left a gap in Rhythm and Blues music with their unique style.


This case refers  to the popular show American Bandstand that started out in Philadelphia for years before they moved to California.  The host was the popular Dick Clark.

 I for one missed out in watching the show over a year because of the title. I assumed incorrectly that the show was one of those dull talk shows that included fixer uppers, gardening and other topics.

Boy was I wrong.

When I did start to watch, I fell in love with the dancing because to me, the Philly teens could really dance.

 Pat Mollitere was one of my very favorite dancers who passed away at the young age of 36. When the show moved to California they left a gap in Phillies dance styles.

                                       Rest in Peace Pat

Standing InThe Gap:

In July 18, 1867 in Harrison County Texas my 4th great grandfather Chas Dixon registered to vote along with my 5th great grandfather Jos Tolbert.  This is evidenced by the Voter Roll  found on Ancestry 

The roll states that Chas Dixon had  been in the precinct for 3 years, county for 6 years and also the state for 6 years.

Jos Tolbert  had been in the precinct for 6 years and the county and state for 14 years.

                                      Voter Registration List 1867 -1869 Harrison County

Source Information Texas, Voter Registration Lists, 1867-1869 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data:
1867 Voter Registration Lists. Microfilm, 12 rolls. Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

I have found no evidence that these two brave men actually voted after registering.

As for me, I do affirm that I have registered to vote and have voted in every election since I was old enough.

If  Chas and Jos were alive and could not vocally say that they voted, I stand  in the gap for them.

I  would bet my bottom dollar that they did cast their ballots and placed them in a voters box. Yes They Did!

In Grimes County Texas I also have found my 2nd great grandfather Louis Cooper had registered to vote on the 29th day of July 1867. That he was in the precinct  for 3 months the county for 12- years and state for 12 years .

I  have found no evidence that he actually voted in any upcoming election . 

I do make the claim that I would bet my bottom dollar that Louis Cooper also cast his vote in that wooden voters box in an upcoming election and I stand in the gap for you in saying Yes I Did!

                        Texas, Voter Registration List 1867 -1869 Grimes County 

Source Information Texas, Voter Registration Lists, 1867-1869 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data:
1867 Voter Registration Lists. Microfilm, 12 rolls. Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

As a symbol of the men  who may have worn these  shoes over the years, I stand in the Gap for you and call your name. 

I call the names of those who were here prior to 1870 and were known only by  negro boy or negro male .

Wade Spann, Alonzo Lester, Perry White, Fred Nelms, Moses Jefferson, Gordon Nelums, John Lewis, Griffith Thornton, Jerry Cooper and countless others.

As a symbol of the women who have worn these shoes over the years and were here in these United States prior to 1870 . They were known only as negro girl or negro female.

I stand in the gap for you and I call your name.

Mariah Wells, Tishe Young, Mary White, Sallie Jefferson, Sallie White, Lydia Cooper, Victoria White, Nancy Johnson, Easter Thornton, and many others.

As a symbol of those who are here after me and who may have worn these shoes,  please stand in the gap for me and call my name loud and clear so that I may not be forgotten.

Just like those who were our ancestors , they were strong and proud people. We shall never forget them. 

There are those who have taken a stand that with time there will be no such thing as a gap in finding all of our ancestors. I Thank You!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Name Game: Jimmy Jam's and Jacks

Here I go again, thanks to cousin Mauriette who read a blog I wrote about her grandparents Otto and Thelma Williams Whitfield. 

I told her that I needed to get on the stick and put something up soon. 

So when I passed a hamburger place I came up with Jimmy’s, Jams, and Jacks.

Jimmy Jacks:

We lived back behind the Capitol in Phoenix and there were several places we stopped to pick up some hamburgers, tacos, tostados or a hot dog. 

One place in particular was Jimmy Jacks, a long time staple on Van Buren on the west side of town. 

It has been years and years since I bought anything from there. My loose change went ther when I walked home from High School where I attended Carl Hayden. 

I thought I would google to see if it were still around.

Oh, it was there alright, but the place does not really look as I remember.  

Places make changes as well as people and things. Some stay as they are and some make changes for the better. 


Jimmy with a Y bought to mind a home-going celebration for another Phoenix Staple known to many in the Phoenix area as Jimmy Hunter. 

Jimmy was born as James Hunter in Laurens South Carolina to parents Ernest and Lulee.  
Here is a 1930 Census that shows Jimmy and parents at two years old.

Just to be sure I had Jimmie’s family I went to the 1940  census and found his parents and others. 


I think I was so intrigued not because of Jimmy alone but because of my search for great greats and beyond who were in South Carolina before they were in Texas.

And here I actually knew someone in the flesh who was from South Carolina. 

I wish that I had known that he was from South Carolina. I would have bugged the heck out of him for some of the history. 

Jimmy came to Phoenix and stayed after his stint at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler Arizona.

He married Willa Mae aka Billie who complimented him as a daughter in the Elks. They then complimented each other when they brought into their world a daughter Jimetta.

He got involved in the Elks Lodge #477 where he was voted in as the Exalted Ruler of the William H Patterson Improved Benevolent Elks of the World in Phoenix at least 5 times over the years. 

This guy always had a smile on his face and made people feel just as special as he was.

Phoenix lost a giant among giants when he clocked in at the eleventh hour to join his wife Willia Mae in heaven.

My favorite jam is strawberry but like all things I gave up on a regular basis was the sweet taste that I heaped on a slice of toast or between two pieces of bread.

                My other favorite jam is anything old school.

    Jam’s like Jackie Wilson’s Stop Dogging Me Around

Wolf-man Jack played jams at night from Del Rio Texas

 Jackie Moore sang the heck out of Precious Precious.

Songs like Rhythm Nation and Miss You So Much sung by Janet Jackson were produced by the very talented duo of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Who can’t forget when President Obama slow jammed the news on Jimmy Fallon’s show?

I know I have to start with these

 I have memories of my mother playing with me and she was pretty good. 
I must say though that she probably played with my sister more because I was more of a Hop Scotch and Red Rover, Red Rover kind of girl.

Jack in The Bean Stalk:  Everyone heard the story of Jack the poor lil English kid who had to sell his mother’s cow to make ends meet. Fe fi FO Fum.

Enough said about this fairy tale, listed below is the real deal, no fairy tale there.

Jack The Slave:

Aaron thanks you Jack for volunteering to serve in his place  in the United States Colored Troops. 

                                           Fold3  USCT     

You were both slaves of Robert Welch in Jefferson County Hays Springs Kentucky.

You signed up to take his place at 27 years old. I wish I knew what propelled you to switch places but whatever the reason Thank you for your service.

Kentucky Jack:

Thank you also Jack from Louisville Kentucky for also volunteering to take someone’s place and fight in the war. 

 An 18 year old who must have been awful brave to go and substitute for Wm A Smith. I don’t think he was a slave like you though because he had a full name. 
The good thing is that you signed up in January 7th 1865, the waning days of the war. But no way for you to know that.


I pray you made it home safely, married a good woman and had children who were proud of you. Thank you for your service also Jack

Those J’s sure bought out some good memories. 

I hope that the J’s who walked in this land during the civil war and fought in the United States Colored Troops know that you are not forgotten.  

Source Citation
Year 1930;Census Place:Laurens,Laurens,South Carolina;Roll:2202;Page:2B;Enumeration District:0023;image:916;FHL microfilm:2341936

Source Citation
Year 1940;Census Place: Laurens,Laurens, South Carolina; Roll:T627_3821;7B Enumeration District:30-24

The 26th U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry on parade, Camp Williams Penn, PA, 1865-C-692 National Archives Identifer:533126

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Remembering A Neighborhood Father

My Special Salute 

I grew up in a household where my mom was our sole provider. She doted on us and gave us everything we “needed”.

I would also say that growing up we did not dwell on our mother being a single parent. She had long been divorced and her main focus was her kids.

I could nominate my mother

I could nominate my mother for she was, in my eyes, both. From time to time us kids would do little things to say how special she was on father’s day for us. However this is a tad different.

This is behind the capitol different. From 21st to 27th Avenue different

There were many families that I knew that had fathers in the home. There are three that stand out in my mind as I go back in time. One of those three was in the military and was gone much of the time, but when he was there he was there emotionless.

I secretly said to myself that he acted like he would rather be back playing soldier than to be home with his wife and kids. 

The other father was there in the home but as I recall he was not a very affectionate person with his children. I just remember him sitting in a chair watching TV. Again another emotion-less father.

All the laughter and sounds came from his wife and his children to each other.


The third was an active father who when not working was in the home. He laughed and teased his children, all of them. Two of his children were born to this wife before he even knew her. However his love for them was the same as those four he had with the love of his life.

They worshipped together, ate dinner together and spent time with other family members together.

There are those of us who secretly or silently wish we had a father in our life just like this man I am speaking of.

I am not jealous that I was “not” lucky enough to have a father like that. I just marvel that my dear friends experienced a father’s love. You could tell in their eyes and faces that they felt the same way about their dad. This man I truly admire:

My Pick for The Back Behind The Capitol Father:

I take this time to say Happy Father's Day Wishes Mr. Fredrick Douglas Hurd.

 I bet your parents Henry and Theresa Conner Hurd were very proud of you when you entered into their life that January day in Richland Texas.

Oh, and thanks go to your children . They have been wonderful friends in my and my family’s life for well over fifty plus years.

What a resourseful person you were too. I say that because you were the first person I ever knew that cooked outside on the grill durn near every night in the summertime to save energy. 

Now everyone I know does that. See how you may have started a trend.

Just so you know, I remember you saying that you knew Lola Falana.
As a kid I would think "who in the world is Lola Falana.”I heard that name so much that I would sing, Lola, Lola Falana lalalalala Lola Lola Falana.

Then one day, I heard someone say Welcome Lola Falana!!!!

 I ran into the room where the tv was and saw her for the first time. She was very pretty. (Not as pretty as your wife though)  But she was real and you knew her….Lola, Lola Falana lalalalala.

I did get mad at Mr Hurd once because I thought I was going to get beat to death by my mom.

I went to Texas for a visit with my aunt who lived in Marshall. I was around 16 I think.
When it was my time to return, I called my mom to pick me up at the train station downtown.

On the way, the train had to stop in El Paso Texas because of a bad snow storm. We were already scheduled to get in late at night anyway.
Since there were no cell phones back then, there was no way to call mom to tell her we were stranded.

My mom waited and waited. The station was empty.

She called my aunt in Texas who told her that she had put me on the train.
Sometime during that time, mom saw Mr. Hurd who worked at the station and asked if he had seen me.

He then relayed to her that the train probably had come in and gone according to the schedule.

When I did get in, I called mom to pick me up and that I finally arrived. Boy was mama pissed. It took everything I had to get her to believe me. Mama did not play!

Mom finally talked to the people at the station, and found out that yes, the train was held up by a snow storm and that yes, there was no notice at the station of bad weather.

My moment of being mad at Mr. Hurd was over then too because he was reading what the board said. I promise you, I did not roll my eyes; I was too busy trying not to get a whipping.

 Speaking of families sticking together you and yours all were in Richland Texas in 1940. Wow and to think I was around all you guys in Phoenix in later years.

Here is a 1940 Newton County Texas Census via Ancestry

                        This is the excerpt of the same census 

You are also in my book of wonderful back behind the Capitol dads because you picked a wonderful partner to spend your life with.

I am sure your loving wife Carol Campbell Hurd is looking after you down here on earth. 

 Happy Heavenly Salute To Other Fathers From Back Behind The Capitol in Phoenix Arizona.

We always called them Mr.

Henderson Turner, Olen Mackey, Reginald Jones, Fred Gammage, Isom Stuart, Patrick Grant.

Then there was

Daddy Watee, Honey Hutchinson, Uncle Buddy, old man Slaughter, Mr Simmons, Mr Dixon, Mr. Cason and Rev. St. Clair.