Thursday, March 30, 2017

Charles, Ted And A Pocket Full Of Dimes

I remember one year that I went to Marshall to visit. I was not in high school at the time and loved going to Marshall.
Charles came by my aunt's house, picked me up and walked back to his house on Wilson Street.

Aunt Sedalia was there making hats and I of course was fascinated with that because she had several beautiful ones that she had finished.

All Charles  talked about was wanting me to stay in Marshall and go to school. I actually was fascinated by the thought of staying and going to H.B. Pemberton.

Charles took me to a football game that week-end where I fell in love with their marching band.

I was amazed with the way they danced and  marched to the tune of "Hit The Road Jack" a song that Ray Charles had sung.

We did not have that high speed marching band in Phoenix where I lived.

Speaking of songs:

 Charles took me to a cafe where we got a Dr Pepper and sat down at one of the booths . He reached in his pocket and pulled out a huge handful of dimes.

I don't remember if anyone else was in the cafe but I do remember that he put a whole lot of dimes in the Jukebox and played the same song over and over.

The song sung by Ted Taylor was called Be Ever Wonderful.

 I think cousin Charles thought he was Ted Taylor because he sang right along with it.  Not to mention they shared the same last name.😀

I was in awe of my cousin who was one of the most caring people persons in the world that I knew and one of the funniest who kept you laughing.

Over the years whenever I heard that song, I thought about Charles and  laughed about him having all those dimes just to play that song.

Be ever Wonderful, Stay as you are
Be ever Heavens, gift my guiding star
You are the only one who can break my heart
You are the only one who can tear us apart

I now believe that Charles was singing that song to an unknown love who came into his life years later in the form of Vivian Brown the love of his life.  I can say with certainty that he loved him some Vivian.
He stayed with me in Phoenix for a couple weeks and told me he was going to marry the girl of his dreams from Daingerfield.

Stay sweet and true
Be ever loving me as I love you
Darling please take my heart
Til the end of time

Well Cousin you are Heavens gift, and God's shining star. Those dimes, they are the twinkling stars that light up the night.  Rest well Cousin, rest well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

They Rose So We Could Rise

February is Black History Month.

It started out as Negro Week by Dr. Carter G Woodson and others in 1926 who wanted to highlight those African Americans who had given of themselves for the betterment of their race and give others encouragement to do the same.

Decades later Negro Week evolved into Black History Month, and celebrated nationally.

I do recognize those who fit in this category and have been blessed to know that many of them have made an impact on my life’s thinking.

My highlighted pick  just happens to be a group of men and women, and boys and girls.                             
They are found on numerous slave manifests by the thousands. 

They rose as the were identified on a one name basis and the color of their skin.

   source Information: New Orleans, Louisiana, Slave Manifests 1807-1860

This group of people knew the agony of defeat all too well but they rose.

They rose to the occasion to carry on despite the rushing of the cold waters of the ocean pounding in their ears.

They rose despite the call of the greedy yelling “Sold to the man over there” who was a lot more greedy.

They rose to the treacherous hot sun in the noon day to the howl of the animals at night as they bent to please the greedy.
Row by row by back breaking row and still they rose.

They rose to the sound of the galloping horses hooves, mounted by United States Colored Troops and some marching along in the back and some on the side. 

They rose as some gave nods of approval as if to bid them well in silence .

They rose even though they  had no choice but to be used as a suckling machine.
They toiled over hot biscuits and pork taking time to weave and spin before the nights end to get their rest.

They rose as they sent their children to one room shacks miles away from home early in the morning to pick up a shared and tattered reader.
They learned to read and count one plus one equals two, two by two equals four.

They rose against the battering of night sticks as John Lewis and others walked across the William Pettis Bridge.

They rose over hills in many a foreign land and took flight as giant wings escorted many a man to be able to make it homeward bound.

They rose to hear Shirley St. Hill Chisolm announce her run for President.

They rose for Mississippi’s Fannie  Lou Townsend Hamer words “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired” as she fought for racial justice.

They rose to bring forth the seeds sprinkled across this land to make many of us. 

They Rose So We Could Rise!

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