Friday, September 24, 2010

Merry Gean Hamilton: Child Of A Strong Heritage

1923 was a very good year for the residents of Ardmore Oklahoma. One more child had been born to the parentage of Herbert and Lillian Hamilton and one more child whose ancestry told a wonderful story.

That child was Merry Gean Hamilton!

Merry Gene and her family moved to Arizona in the late 30's and we claim her as our own. Those who knew her fell instantly in love. From her husband George Whitfield, her children and grandchildren, and to all those youngsters who were friends of their children.

I would venture to say her wonderful qualities came from a long ago people called the Hamilton's.

Merry's father Herbert was the son of William and Rhoda Abram Hamilton

Even though Merry Gean was not listed on this 1930 census, its a good bet she was with one of her grandparents while the parents took on employment.

Who would have believed that this little girl had ancestors that may have walked the Trail of Tears.

Merry's grandaddy Willy Hamilton was a Chickasaw freedman and his daddy and momma were all Chickasaw in one form or another.
Herbert was 15 years old the time they took the 1920 census in Carter, Berwyn Oklahoma

Marcus Hamilton is also living with his son Willy and is now a widow at the age of 72 on the 2nd continuation census sheet

As I was going back in time looking at the census I had to quickly call my good friend and genie angel Angela Walton Raji. The 1900 census was as far as I could go in Oklahoma and I needed her guidance. She steered me in the right direction.
I know she had to hear my voice filling with excitement as I started looking at all these wonderful gems located on the Dawes Rolls and Packets.

I thought I was playing 52 card pickup because everything I turned over had a match.

then there was this:

When Willie was 22 he enrolled his wife Rhoda and children on the Dawes rolls.

on the back of the card on the first line it tells you the name of Willie's father who is Marcus Hamilton and you can see Marcus owner
is a Chickasaw Indian. His mother is Barbary(Barbara) Hamilton!! Her owner is listed as Jane Grant

The second line on the back tells you the name of Rhoda's parents. My eyes see Benjaum Abram as being her father but I know that spelling does not count in this here old style writing (lol). His owner is Lena Thompson
Rhoda's mother is Lucinda Gaines. Lucinda's owner is James Gaines

Now Marcus the daddy of Willy solidified his right on the Dawes Rolls. Looking at his enrollment card, he was the slave of Holmes Colbert

He was also the son of Peter Hamilton

Peter's owner was not a citizen of the tribe. His mother was Louisa Hamilton and her owner was Holmes Colbert

This is another tidbit to behold: a birth certificate of one of Willie and Rhoda's children Taude from the Department Of The Interior, commissioned though the 5 civilized tribes. This document has Rhoda's signature and even has the mark of the midwife Susan Phillips

My feelings are really out on cloud nine even though these are not my ancestors. I would love to find these type of historical records for my own family.

I also won't begin to know the trials and tribulations these people must have felt.

I do know that they had to be strong to endure what they did through out their life time and to leave a legacy that their loved ones can take with them for generations to come.

Oh what a feeling!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

George Whitfield: Frank and Roxie's Son

I was reading a post on AfriGeneas, a web site devoted to african american genealogy when a surname caught my eye.

The person was looking for an ancestor of theirs by the name of Whitfield. After trying my best to help find the family the poster was looking for I had to take a break. My mind kept going into a different direction back in time to another Whitfield family.

George and Merry Hamilton Whitfield

I remember as a teen I would go over and spend some week-ends with the Whitfields. We would all pile up in the bunkbeds and talk until we got sleepy.
Come to think of it, we were whispering until we got sleepy.

Usually the next morning the house was bustling with everyone doing what chores they had to do, and off to the kitchen for breakfast.

I am always in stitches because Patty was trying to sing while she cooked. I can hear her now singing this one song "Peanut,oh oh oh oh oh oh Peanut".

Uncle George, one of the nicest people in the world didn't have to much to say but had the nicest smile you could imagine. He was also a very compassionate person.

I remember the time when I wanted to move to California. I did not have a job yet but planned on staying with my mother until I found one. After his daughter Ernestine asked him if he could drive me, the only thing he said was that we would have to wait until the week-end because he had to work.

True to his word, Uncle George gassed up his truck and the three of us headed to California.

We pulled up to my mothers house, unloaded everything from the truck
and put all my belongings in the garage. Uncle George and Ernestine then headed back to Phoenix.

Well I made the mistake of making a long distance call back to talk to Stine two days later.
I was so homesick that Ernestine talked Uncle George into driving back and get me.
If I had rented an apartment and signed a lease I would have been in plenty of trouble because I was not there for a good week.

Curious about his life, here is a tad bit of what I found:

George Whitfield was born to the parents of Frank (Ms) and Roxanne (Rockey)Settles Whitfield (Ark) in Boley Oklahoma. The Marriage License for Frank and Roxie shows they were married in Arkansas.

According to the 1920 census the family lived in Depew Oklahoma

You have to always pick up and move when you have mouths to feed, and it must have been hard to leave the memories of home along with the ancestors that I am sure were in Frank and Roxie's vision.

George along with his parents,brothers Otto and W C came to Arizona and took residence in Liberty Arizona. Their father Frank worked at the Gillespie Dam and his son were laborers doing farm work.

After losing his wife Roxie in 1924 Frank re-married a lady by the name of Harriett and found work as a general farmer.

George's father passed away April 28th 1940 at the Booker T Washington Hospital in Phoenix Arizona at the age of 76.

Frank and Roxie raised a good man who left an impression on me and I am sure to all those who came in contact with Mr George E Whitfield.

Aunt Mary was just the opposite of Uncle George. She could always make you laugh.
In fact I never saw her without that wonderful twinkle she had in her eye or that ability to tell a little joke or two.
She was also a church going lady who loved getting on on Sunday and head over to
First Institutional Baptist Church where she was quite active.

I took a look at her ancestors. Whoa, Uncle George!! What have we here. This wonderful lady who caught your eye has some powerful ancestors with a story to tell in her line...Stay tuned for Awesome

Monday, September 13, 2010

Memories And A Cup of Coffee

For the past 21 days my family and I have been on a fast. We were on a spiritual mission through our church ministry for those who wanted to participate along with our Pastor. We could pick something that we had or did daily that would be hard to do without.

My daughter and I picked sweet tea, bread and coffee. My grand daughter Taylor picked bread, sweet tea and vowed to be nice. (smile). My grandson Tyler chose to not play with his wrestlers, not watch wrestling on TV and refrain for the rest of his life to not tell a fib or be a bad boy.

When the day finally came to end the fast, my granddaughter and I headed for the local Quick Trip at 12:10 A.M. in the morning.

Sweet tea was the only thing on our mind. We each took a big gulp, put the lid back on and headed back home to get in the sack. We vowed to finish the next day, even if it was watered down tea.

That one gulp sure tasted good to me. LOL

The next thing I did when I got up this morning was to get my electric percolator, put it back together and brew me a good pot of coffee.

As that coffee aroma filled the room and the percolator made those sounds so typical of the brewing coffee hitting the top of the lid of the little glass fitting, you could see the coffee changing colors to a deep rich brown.

I suddenly started to smile because my thoughts went to two of my very favorite people who had graced my life at one time or another.

My Uncle John Morton and my ex - father in law Floyd Mitchell.

Now my Uncle John was my first exposure to how good breakfast was to a human being. He lived in Marshall Texas and worked for the Texas and Pacific Railroad.

When I was younger I went to visit for the summer. I would get up early in the morning just to eat breakfast with my Uncle John.

My Aunt Carmena would cook him rice, sausage and eggs with those good old home made biscuits.

Then there was his coffee. My oh My!! It was as if his eyes lit up when he took his sips. First he gently blew to cool and then he would sip.
I was intrigued because Uncle John would pour him a cup of coffee

He would then take that which he had just poured into the cup, transfer the liquid to the saucer and drink it like it was something special.

I asked him once why he did it that way. Was it to hot to drink,or what? Heck I figured if that was the case he could wait until it cooled down and then drink from the cup. His answer was short and sweet, "taste better this way" and as he smiled he then went back to his breakfast ritual, blow and sip, blow and sip.
My Uncle John was a man that was short with his words but those few words sure meant a lot to me.

Uncle John was born in Camp County, Pittsburgh,Texas on April 25th 1899 to the parents of Robert and Mollie Huff Morton. He passed away on June 15th 1975 in Harrison County, Marshall Texas.

Now my ex father in law Floyd Mitchell lived in Altus Oklahoma and he too loved his coffee.
In fact he could drink coffee all day long no matter if it was winter, summer, spring or fall.

The back burner on his stove at 720 West Wright stayed nice and hot as the old coffee pot slowly cooked to his perfection.

I called my father in law Dad. Now dad would pour him a cup of coffee into one of those old white thick cups which seemed to have an endless supply of strong black coffee.

I don't remember him pouring his into a saucer just from pot to cup to mouth. Hmmmm hmmmm,hmmmm.
I can see him now drinking that steaming hot cup of coffee as he was frying those delicious fried peach and apple pies he made to sell at the Cotton Compress.

Floyd Mitchell born 1901 in Saline County, Hempstead, Arkansas to the parents of Joe and Nancy Cryor Mitchell. He passed away in Jackson County, Altus Oklahoma in 1965.
I don't know when he arrived in Altus Oklahoma but thank God he did or I would not have met him.

I sure miss those two men and I am so glad that they were in my life.

Memories live on in our lives that cause us to smile and reflect. Especially the good Memories that tug at your heart.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Labor Of Love And All Who Labor

To All Those Who Labored And Labored

And Labored And Labored

To Those Who Helped Pave The Way For Them That Labored

A Phillip Randolph was born in Florida in 1889. He Organized the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925 and finally granted the rights to have a union in 1936. This bold and long venture helped the many black men working for the Pullman railway cars known as Pullman Porters.

Be They Female Laborers

Johnnie Tillmon was born in Scott, Arkansas,in 1926 to a migrant sharecropper.
After moving to California 1959 she went on to be a union shop steward in a Compton laundry. Tillmon organized workers and became involved in a community association called the Nickerson Garden Planning Organization which was established to improve living conditions in the housing project.

Or Male Laborers

Isaac Myers was born in Baltimore Maryland on January 13, 1865 to free parents. At the age of 16 Isaac went to work with a ships caulker and soon became a skilled worker. After a strike among white caulkers and carpenters against the black workers, Isaac helped to found the first union of Black Caulkers in the ship building Industry which eventually bought their own shipyard and railway.

The Proof is Undeniable

Nellie Stone Johnson a farm girl from Minn was born in 1905. She was a union organizer and the first African American Vice-president of Local 665 Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union in Minn.

And Selfless Beyond Measure

The daughter of a sharecropper, Moranda was born in 1915 in South Carolina but later moved to North Carolina where she helped to unionize the Tobacco workers to gain better working conditions.

To all those who fought for the rights of others so that they may have a better life, and better working conditions. To the American workers who no doubt are the best America has to offer be they union or non union.