Friday, March 21, 2014

O' Saliva, Tell Me About Grandmother Hazel Lee Roberts!

                  Gave my saliva up....twice. Waited forever it seemed, for my DNA Ethnicity Results. My Birth Certificate states I'm "Negro".....and my skin has been Black my whole life. "Colored", "Afro American" and "African American" are all boxes I've checked over the years
                                             No matter how often my designated label changed, one fact remained: the ink/pencil mark I left in the box was always Black, and THAT is what I call myself.
                                               It was time for my saliva to talk to me.

           I wanted to have a Profile Photo (above) showing my Black face to my DNA "Matches"  

                                                                     Another reason?

            MAYBE it would trigger some newly confirmed White, Red, or Olive skinned cousins  to notice a family resemblance among their known family members, dead or alive!

                                                                    Another reason?

             I hoped my paternal grandmother Hazel Lee ROBERTS' father's descendants would see themselves in these photos. John ROBERTS was his name, and he was a White man of Irish extraction, according to my grandmother. Hazel knew her father and his parents to be White. I have no documentation about her father. I know he was married, lived in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, impregnated a young Black girl in Alexandria or Cheneyville, and had parents by the name of Susan & John ROBERTS. I have this 1920 Census for Alexandria, Rapides, Louisiana, which places Hazel in her father's mother's home.

                         You can see that the Enumerator changed grandmother Susan Roberts' race from "W" to a very heavily scripted "B" over the "W". Hmmmm. A story there, and theories swirl in my brain. I do not know Susan's maiden name. All I know is that my grandmother Hazel lived with her from a VERY young age, until Martha, (Mrs. James De JEAN by then), came for daughter Hazel. Martha, husband James and 6 years old Hazel went to live in Beaumont, Jefferson, Texas.

                        Hazel was born 1913 in Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Her Black mother was Martha Ann CRITTLE (b.1897 Cheneyville, Rapides, Louisiana, d. 1937 Beaumont, Jefferson, Texas). The Crittle family was also enumerated on various U.S. Censuses as CRIDDLE, CRIDDELL, and CUTTLE. Martha's paternal grandfather "Moses" was listed on the 1870 U.S. Census for Cheneyville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana as Moses CRIDDLETON. Many spellings, but same people.

Fashionable Hazel in the 1940's

  My grandmother Hazel Lee Roberts COOK before her passing in 1998 Houston, Harris, Texas
(I see ME in later years. Insert eerie music, here)

                            A photo of myself. One that definitely shows the resemblance to my grandmother. My nose....chin...facial structure....hers.

                            We don't make ourselves. We're just weary travelers stopping for rest at points along the way. Who knows? Just like in a good ol' Horror movie, a photo or portrait may be hanging above the Coat Hook where you hung your umbrella.....and it looks like YOU. The person who opened the door for you? Looks like YOU.
                             We see people whose features look alike, but their skin tones don't match. We see people who  look nothing alike physically, but are as related as they can be. That's throwing a bunch of people ALL the way off. They don't grasp the concept that "Spit has spoken." Being thrown doesn't feel good, and I keep that in mind when dealing with others on this DNA-Genealogical Journey.

                            There's a "Generational Jump" thing at work in genetics. Grandchildren look like their grandparents, and someone with 5 siblings looks like NONE of them.....but, rather a dead ancestor's oil portrait from 1720 A.D.

                             I threw my saliva into the pool of other unknown close cousins. I've been swimming with a few who sincerely don't mind my being in the same pool as them. I have a few DNA cousins that feel our saliva has been thrown into a Ring, and they have their "Dukes Up."
Maybe, one day their understanding of some facts will help them to drop.

                              I have to say that I CHOOSE to SWIM, and I'll keep on singing:

                                               "O' Saliva, tell me some thaaaaaaannnnnng......"               


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Major Questions About 3rd Great Grandpa Major Perry

                 A few years ago, it started with finding this on

                           New Orleans, Louisiana, Slave Manifest

Name:Major Perry
Estimated Birth Year:abt 1829
Ship Name:Phoenix
Port of Departure:Richmond, Virginia
Port of Arrival:New Orleans, Louisiana
Date of Arrival:17 Nov 1847
First Shipper/Owner:David Cume
First Shipper/Owner Residence:Richmond
Second Shipper/Owner:Nathaniel Matthews
Second Shipper/Owner Residence:New Orleans
Record Type:Arrivals (Inward Manifests)

My maternal 3rd great Grandmother Amanda Perry's father was named...Major Perry. 

                                             Her Death Certificate reflects this

                        Months later I received an email from an associate of Nancy Jordan, 

                            a volunteer affiliated with Olivewood Cemetery in Houston, Texas


                                                  Sent: Friday, October 7, 2011 11:04 AM

Subject: Interesting find...

Hi Cecelia,
I was searching for Major Perry and all I found were business listings from 1882-1895 in Houston for a barber named Major Perry.  He worked for Ed Banks who was born in 1853 and coincidentally is buried at Olivewood.  Since no age is given on the business listings, this could be someone who was a contemporary of Ed Banks - rather, someone born about 1850, perhaps a brother of your Amanda Perry, or it could be her father born about 1830 (based on Amanda Perry Chappel's birth in 1848).   It could be either one.  BUT DARN, I can't find a single census entry for ANY Major Perry.  
The only census record I have for Amanda is 1900 in Columbus with both her boys and her 2nd? husband Charles Mcuen.  It states she was born in Texas in 1848 (on Wm Massey's death certificate it says Houston, Texas).    Interestingly, it says she had 10 children, 7 of whom are still alive in 1900.  We need to find the other children!  
But, in the meantime, I ran across a very interesting ship manifest...
Major Perry, age 18, black male, 
Ship Name: Phoenix
Departure: Richmond, Virginia
Arrival: New Orleans, Louisiana
17 Nov 1847 
First Shipper/Owner: David Cume,
Residence: Richmond
Second Shipper/Owner: Nathaniel Matthews
New Orleans


                            This is my maternal Great Grandfather William Massey Chappel and wife Cora Harvey. William's parents were Amanda Perry and Louis Chapple, although "Father" isn't noted on his Death Certificate. Much thanks to Marlive Taylor-Harris for supplying me with Louis Chapple's information! She and I are the great grandchildren of brothers William and Lewis Chapple/Chappel. Yes, the surname has a few spellings.

William Massey Chappel Death Certificate

Note "Columbus,Texas" as his birthplace. Columbus, Colorado County, Texas

Now, the fun starts. I researched "Nathaniel Matthews" from the Slave Manifest. An advertisement, "Negroes For Sale" was placed December 1, 1847 in The New Orleans Times Picayune a Nathaniel Matthews. 
I found an article after Google searching Nathaniel Matthews, about a town named "Matthews" in Colorado County, Texas.


MATTHEWS, TEXAS. Matthews is on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway at the junction of Farm roads 950 and 102, on the southeastern boundary of Colorado County. The community is named for John Matthewsqv, who came to the area in 1827 and bought the land from James Nelson, one of Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. Tax records indicate that John Matthews prospered during the years before the Civil War, and the community that grew around his holdings served not only his plantation but also others in the area. In 1860 he was listed as owning 140 slaves. Following the Civil War many of the freed slaves settled in the area and increased the demand for goods and services. By 1880 the community had a store, a blacksmith shop, and a cotton gin. The post office was established in 1895 with Mary McRee as postmistress, and it continued in service until 1905, when mail began to be delivered regularly from Eagle Lake, six miles north. By 1900 Matthews had four businesses, a school, and a population of 100. The population remained the same until after the 1960s, when labor-intensive cotton production was replaced by mechanized grain production, primarily of rice and corn, and cattle grazing. In the mid-1980s only one business remained to serve the large family-operated farms.
Colorado County Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book (La Grange, Texas: Hengst Printing, 1986).
Jeff Carrol

John Matthews?? Colorado County, Texas?? Slaves?? Is THIS man

connected to Nathaniel Matthews named on Major Perry's Slave

Manifest???? Oh, I was about to find out!

                                                    I found this:

MATTHEWS, JOHN (1796–1861). John Matthews was born in Campbell County, Virginia, in 1796, moved to Texas around the time of the Texas Revolution, and settled in Jackson County. In 1837 he moved to the east side of the Colorado River in southern Colorado County, where he bought lands granted to James Nelson in 1824. His first home was built in the riverbottom, but frequent flooding drove him to a higher site that became known as Matthews Prairie. His new home was built by slave labor with cypress lumber brought by ship from Florida to Columbia on the Brazos River and then hauled overland by ox-drawn wagons. The 1840 tax records credit Matthews with 2,222 acres and seventeen slaves. The 1850 census valued his property at $10,000 and showed ownership of fifteen slaves. As his holdings increased, a community named Matthews developed in the area around the plantation, and by 1860 his total property, including 140 slaves, was valued at $225,000. That year he produced 10,000 bushels of corn and 589 bales of cotton on 800 acres of improved land. Matthews never married. In January 1861, when he became ill, his brother Nathaniel took him back to Virginia for care. Before leaving Texas John deeded the entire plantation to his brother who, in turn, passed it to his children. John Matthews died in Virginia in 1861.

Colorado County Sesquicentennial Commemorative Book (La Grange, Texas: Hengst Printing, 1986).
Jeff Carroll

                           NATHANIEL!! ....."his brother Nathaniel took him back to

 Virginia for care." Hmmmmm.

                   Another point of interest is one James Nelson named in the

above article.                                             

NELSON, JAMES (ca. 1786–?). James Nelson, tradesman and farmer, was born about 1786 and traveled to Texas in November 1821 on the schooner Lively, having reached an agreement with Stephen F. Austin to work in the Austin colony building cabins and stockades and cultivating at least five acres of corn. By 1823 he was serving as tanner and currier in the community at Beeson's Ferry on the Colorado River, near the site of the present town of Columbus. He took the oath of allegiance to the Mexican government on April 20, 1824, and, as one of the Old Three Hundred colonists, received title to a sitio of land in present Colorado County on August 7, 1824. Later in the year, however, unable to pay his debts through inability to collect fees owed to him, Nelson journeyed to Louisiana to obtain employment as an engineer aboard the steamboat Natchitoches. By 1826 he had returned to the Austin colony to engage in farming and stock raising. County censuses for 1823 and 1826 describe him as a widower and father of four children.
Nelson served as a private in the Texas army from March 4 to June 4, 1836, in Capt. William J. E. Heard's Company F, First Regiment, Texas Volunteers. Nelson was among the wounded at the battle of San Jacinto. In recompense for his services he was granted a headright certificate in 1838 for one-third league of land in Colorado County. In 1837 and 1838 he served as coroner of Colorado County. He married Mary Slaughter in Colorado County on January 12, 1840. That year he reportedly held title to 300 acres of land and owned ten slaves.
Colorado County Historical Commission, Colorado County Chronicles from the Beginning to 1923 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1986). Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, The Heroes of San Jacinto (Houston: Anson Jones, 1932).
Charles Christopher Jackson

                  What is the significance of the surname "NELSON" ?

 Amanda Perry, my 2nd Great Grandmother had a firstborn son named Chet

CHAPPLE born about 1875 in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas. The

puzzling thing is, according to an Affidavit of Family History of Manda Chappel

aka Manda Chapple AND W.H. Chappel aka W.H. Chapple aka W. Henry

 Chappel..(whew!) he was also known as : John NELSON !!!! 

Now, small towns have ALL kinds of mingling going on. STUFF happens, but

I'm wondering why Great Grand Uncle Chet chose an alias so far removed from

his name! Was it an homage to a dear family friend? Was the NELSON name a

clue to a connection between the PERRY, MATTHEWS, and CHAPPLE families??

Maybe he was just fond of his mother Manda/Amanda and

younger brother W.H./Henry??? I really can't talk about them, as it is a trend

that has trickled down to me.

So, if I had a couple of Tin cups with something in them, I'd hand one to 3rd

Great Grandpa. The other, I'd press it to my lips....but not before asking

Grandpa Major some major questions. My first one being,

"Sir, WHO'S your Daddy?"....followed by

"Who's your Mama?"

"Were the other PERRY folks on your Slave Ship blood kin to you?"

"Was PERRY the name of the dude that owned and sold you to Nathaniel

MATTHEWS??" I'd have a few more choice questions, the last one being

"Grandpa, WHO named you "Major" and


The Dig continues.......


Monday, January 13, 2014

The Gumption of Harmon and Jake Marshall


                                        Summer of 1977 was when I first heard about brothers Harmon and Jake Marshall, from their niece Vera Cook Steptoe, my paternal grandfather Vernon V. Cook's baby sister. She was called "Aunt Baby Sister" by the family, but not by me. I LOVED her name, "Vera"....and "Aunt Vera" was how I addressed her.  Over the years, I'd hear about them again from my dad's siblings.

Harmon and Jake's parents, Cassius and Isabella Marshall

                                         Harmon Marshall was born 1879, Overton, Rusk County, Texas. Jake was born to their parents Cassius and Isabella Mayfield Marshall in 1890, Houston, Harris, Texas. They had other siblings which I'll feature in another blog.

                                          What blows my mind about these two is their GUMPTION to hobble..yes, HOBBLE on down to the WWI Registration Office, and sign up to fight....with THREE LEGS between them!  See, big brother Harmon and baby bro Jake were playing along the Railroad tracks. Maybe they were just walking, "chunking" rocks or something. The exact circumstances aren't known to me. The only thing I know is, Harmon went back to get Jake out of the path of an oncoming train.....a TRAIN!!!  


                                        Harmon lost part of his left leg above the knee

 .........And brother Jake lost part of his left leg, 6 inches below his left knee


                                            Jake ambled on down to sign up for soldiering in June 1917. Harmon followed in September 1918. Fighting was over as of November 11, 1918, so, whatever Harmon signed up for is between him and the U.S. of A.

                                            My theory is that both my great grand uncles adapted quite well with living without the parts of them left on the tracks. They HAD to be strollin', and struttin' like "It ain't nothin' but a thang, baby". I wish I had photos of them to share, but I was told that they were some "Good Lookin' Cats".
It's finding out facts like this that make me grin with amazement, and the utmost pride. I mean, Harmon and Jake HAD to know they'd be denied for service....but they strutted on up in the place ANY how.

                                            This is the stuff that movies are made of. I can hear them now.....
                                            Jake: "Hey man, I'm going down to register for the service"
                                            Harmon: "Alright baby brother. If anybody gives you any flap, call me on their payphone. I'll be down there faster than a man running with two feet, to come whup their asses with my GOOD foot. Love you baby brother"
                                              Jake: "Awww, man! Hahaaaa, I'll be alright. They don't want me to "Knee" 'em nowhere! Love you too, big brother"