SNGF: Remember When?

Tonight’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun prompts us to recall a day from when we were 12 years old.

1) Remember when you were 12 years old? On a summer day out of school? What memory do you have of fun activities?

2) Tell us about that memory (just one – you can do more later if you want to) in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a comment on Facebook.

Instead of writing about myself however, I asked my parents to recall a day from when they were 12 years old.  Here were their responses.

My Mother : The day that she shared with me was November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated.  She was 12 years old and in the 7th grade in Brooklyn, NY.  While she doesn’t remember the whole day, she does remember her teacher calling the classroom together crying, to let them know that the President had been killed.  My mother also remembers watching the funeral on television and that the horse drawing the casket “wasn’t acting right.”

Since she couldn’t remember much more about any particular day, this led us into a discussion about what her typical days were like at that age.  She grew up in the hustle and bustle of New York, living in the Cooper Park Projects.  Her and her brothers would take the city bus to school and her 7th grade year was the year she transitioned to junior high school.  After school, she’d go home, change, and they typically would spend the afternoon playing outside.  She did remember that she had to wear dresses at school, per school dress code. In fact, all the way through to her first job after my family moved to North Carolina she had to wear dresses, pants were never allowed.

My Father:  My father gave me flack about asking him – said he didn’t remember any particular day. So, I asked about what life was like in general.  He grew up in rural NC so back then, there was only one school black kids went to – Newbold.  He went to that school for all his school years.  He lived with his maternal grandfather, William Lawhorn.  Since my great-grandfather owned a tobacco farm, my father was one of the family members that helped work it, so Daddy would get up early before school to help, go to school, then come home and continue working until it was dark.    When my grandmother died in 2006, I had an opportunity to take a picture of the home so I can visualize exactly where Daddy grew up.

Home of William Lawhorn

Asking them this question was a nice opportunity to revive some of their childhood memories.  I also learned some other family tidbits, all the more to add to my collection of stories.

Now, what about me? I turned 12 years old in 1987 and would enter the 7th grade that year.  I attended Cochrane Middle  School in Charlotte, North Carolina.  We’d been in Charlotte a year now since my parents divorced.  This school year was particularly important for me because this was the first time I was going into a new school year already knowing other kids! My parents moved a lot and I’d been attending a different school each year.  I too have difficulty remembering any one specific day, instead I remember a series of events.

For example, one day I was outside and slipped on ice in front of a whole group of 9th graders; I was so embarrassed! My friend Leslie and I used to get picked on (well, maybe not picked on, but teased) by a 9th grade boy and he in particular would call me Raw Deal.  Why? Because I used to always wear a black jacket that said “Raw Deal” on the back.  To this day I always think of him whenever I listen to my favorite L.L. Cool J. song – “I Need Love.”  In that song, he has a line where he says “..and I know that I’ll never dish another raw deal….”   And, I also remember being in the guidance counselor’s office one day charting the courses I would need to take from 9th to 12th grade in order to prep for college. Ah, the memories!

I wish I could share pictures from my 7th grade yearbook; I only recently pulled it back out from our storage behind the house.  But, my scanner is not hooked up, so that will have to wait another day.  Also, in the course of talking to my mother we ended up talking about some other things and taking a virtual trip through Greensboro in Google Maps.  That shall be the topic of my next post!

My #15

I really enjoy Randy’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun assignments.  Sometimes they really give you an opportunity to look at someone in your file who may not get much attention, or at least you haven’t visited in awhile.   So, this week’s assignment was as follows:

1. Figure out the age of your father this year:  my father is 57
2. Divide the # by 4 and round to the nearest whole number:  15
3. Find that person in your files and write 3 facts about them.

My #15 in my file is my maternal grandfather, Herman Robinson.  He was born February 5, 1926 to Lewis Robinson & Lucinda Lennon.

My three facts:

– Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life” was one of his favorite songs. I’ve posted about that before.

– He was born and raised in NY and when my mother moved down south, he pretty much refused to come down because of all that he’d heard about how blacks were treated.  Ultimately, he made on visit down south, around 1983 to visit us. He rode the train down, and spent less than 36 hours before going back home.  He never met his father-in-law either because he wouldn’t travel down south and his father-in-law would not travel up north.

– He was a Steward’s Mate in the US Navy and would never eat in restaurants b/c he knew how badly they handled food.

    My grandfather died December 31, 1986 when I was 12 years old of prostate cancer.

    Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – My 16

    I’m going to take Randy up on his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for August 8, 2009.  Not because of the intent to document my ethnicity for that is very easy – to the best of my current knowledge, all (with the exception of 1) of my ancestors as far as I can trace have been black and former slaves. But for the intent of serving as a great way for others to find me should we have any shared ancestry I think this is an excellent idea!

    My 16 great-great grandparents are:

    1.  Unknown? – I am not exactly sure who the father is of my great-grandfather Barfield Koonce. No name is given on his death certificate, and I’ve only found Barfield enumerated with grandparents. Maybe if we had the 1890 census I’d know more, but this is one of my genealogy brickwalls.  Whomever it is, he would have likely been born around the 1850s in Craven County, North Carolina.

    2.  Caroline KOONCE was the daughter of James & Isaih Koonce. Caroline was born around January 1851 in either Jones or Craven County, North Carolina.  After having my great-grandfather and at least one other child, Caroline married George C. West on March 18, 1891 in Craven County.  She died August 12, 1928 in Dover, Craven County, North Carolina.

    3.  Thomas HOLLOWAY Jr. was born around 1853 in Wayne County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Thomas & Phillis HOLLOWAY.  He married Polly Hood around the late 1870s.  The family lived in Wayne County in 1880 and I do not know when he died.

    4. Polly HOOD was born abt. 1860 likely in Wayne County, North Carolina.  Her mother’s name was Caroline.  Polly died in Ft. Barnwell, Craven County July 16, 1916.

    5. Samuel Becton LAWHORN was born abt. 1871 in Craven County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Valentine & Harriett Lawhorn.  He married Cora Cox on May 28, 1899 and according to the Lawhorn Family Bible died April 11, 1917.

    6. Cora COX was born March 3, 1876 in Craven County, North Carolina.  She was the daughter of Robert & Amanda Cox. Cora’s first husband was Samuel Becton Lawhorn whom she married May 28, 1899. After his death, she married neighbor Willie Morton on December 23, 1924.  She died November 26, 1949 in Craven County, North Carolina.

    7. Randolph KILPATRICK was born September 2, 1885 in Craven County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Edward Kilpatrick & Violetta DONALD.  In 1905 Randolph married Mary Maggie HARVEY.  He died September 24, 1966 in Craven County, North Carolina.   (His mother Violetta is reported by family to be half Native American, and her grandson told me a few years ago that she had hair all the way down her back, a trait that was carried down to all of her daughters.  He remembers her from when she lived with him and his family and she died when he was about 15 years old.  So, this would make Randolph 25% Native American.)

    8. Mary Maggie HARVEY was born August 4, 1889.  Her exact parentage is not exactly known, but according to family information, she was the daughter of two individuals that were both married to other people.  Her father was Clayton HARVEY and her mother is said to be a DAWSON, but I’m unsure if that was her mother’s married name or maiden name.  Mary died August 21, 1940, likely in Craven County, North Carolina.

    9. William ROBINSON was born in September of 1830, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  He may have been the son of Bob & Hagar Robinson.  In 1855 he married Rebecca Toon. His date of death is unknown.

    10.  Rebecca TOON was born in May 1841, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina. Her parentage is unknown as is her date of death.

    11. John LENNON was born approximately in 1854, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  Another researcher has informed me that his parents were Josh & Barbary Lennon.  John married Etta Lennon March 30, 1882 in Columbus County, North Carolina.  His date of death is unknown.

    12. Etta LENNON was born approximately in 1862, likely in Columbus County, North Carolina.  The current thought on her parentage is that she was the daughter of Council & Elizabeth Abigail Lennon though I am not 100% sure on this.  She married John Lennon in 1882 and married Isaac ROBINSON May 25, 1905.  Her date of death is unknown.

    13. Andrew D. MCNAIR was born May 5, 1866 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He was the son of Rufus Tannahill McNair and Mariah Wimberly.  Andrew married Gracy Bullock around 1893, then after her death, married Bennie Slade.  Andrew died February 10, 1930 in Washington County, North Carolina.

    14. Gracy BULLOCK was born in March 1874 in Edgecombe County, North Carolina.  She was the daughter of Lawrence & Chanie Bullock.  Gracy’s date of death is unknown, but it was prior to 1910.

    15. Anthony WALKER was born in May 1850, likely in Washington County, North Carolina.  He was the son of Prince Walker & Lovey Boston.  Anthony married Martha Jane Baker on December 29, 1881.  He married Winnie Walker between 1910 & 1920.  Anthony died January 10, 1921.

    16. Martha Jane BAKER was born in August 1853, likely in Washington County, North Carolina.  She was the duaghter of Daniel & Frances Baker.  Martha died between 1900-1910.

    Saturday Night Fun This Week

    I’m feeling all inspired again with my genealogy blogging! I’ve gotten some great thoughts from reading others’ blogs. For this post, I’m taking Randy up on his last Saturday Night Fun quest, Where Were They in 1909?

    The task was as follows:

    1) Which of your ancestors were alive in 1909?

    2) Tell us where your ancestral families were living in 1909. What country, state, county, city/town, etc. Who was in the family at the time? Use the 1910 census as “close enough.”

    3) Have you found each of these families in the 1910 census?

    Here is a brief synopsis of my ancesestral families and what they were up to in1909. To keep it simple, I’m going to go three generations back to my great-grandparents.

    Barfield & Josephine (Holloway) Koonce - my father’s paternal grandparents were both alive and living in Craven County, North Carolina.  The family was from this area.  In 1909 they had been married for about six years and had two children, son Hampton and daughter Minnie.  The third child that appears in their 1910 census record would not be born until early in 1910.

    William Lawhorn Jr. - In 1909, my father’s maternal grandfather was not yet born! He was born August of 1910, so his parents, Sam & Cora (Cox) Lawhorn were close to his arrival as their 3rd child.  His parents were also living in Craven County, NC and I have located them in the 1910 census. His future wife, Pearlie Kilpatrick, was not born until 1912.  I’ve found her too in 1910.

    Lewis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson & Lucinda (Lennon) Robinson – my mother’s paternal grandparents have thus far eluded me in the 1910 census.  I periodically search for them, but I’m not sure where to look for them! They were both from the Columbus County area of North Carolina, but by 1920 they’d moved to New York.  I do not know for certain when they were married, but their oldest child, Ethel,  was born in 1908 in Wilmington, New Hanover County, North Carolina.   Their next child was not born for another 5 years. I have located a man that fits his description (age, race, state of birth) in the 1910 census living in Trenton, NY as a hired man, but I’m not sure if this is really him or not.  If it is him, I suspect perhaps Lucinda may have been living with family with their young daughter? In any case, I’ve still got some searching to do.

    Abraham Lincoln McNair- In 1909, my mother’s maternal grandfather was a 13 year-old boy living  in Plymouth, Washington County, North Carolina with his father and five siblings.  His mom, Gracy (Bullock) McNair seems to have passed by 1909 and soon after, his father would remarry.  His future wife, Martha Jane Walker, was 12 years old, living in the same town, with her own parents, Anthony Walker and Martha Jane Baker and 4 other siblings.  I have located both of them in the 1910 census.

    So, of my 8 great-grandparents, only two were not yet born in 1909.  I obviously have work to do tracking Lewis & Lucinda down in 1910.  Very interesting to reflect on this.  Thanks Randy!

    My New Found Cousin

    The past couple of weeks I’ve been more focused on my Koonce genealogy work than anything else.  Ever since having that flurry of Koonce activity, I’ve just been caught up in it.  I have decided to do a new blog devoted to chronicling my quest to research and findings; not just of my own Koonce line, but for Koonce’s in general – my very own Koonce surname project I suppose.  Since I’ve been so busy with school and work however, I don’t expect to begin any real efforts towards it until late summer.

    But, I did have a great week this week in that I was contacted by a new cousin! She commented on my Ancestry tree and we believe that our respective Robinson (of Columbus County, NC)  ancestors were brothers.  We don’t have any concrete proof yet, but are building up a theory based on several things such as proximity, shared names in the family, ages, etc.

    My Robinson line stems from William Robinson, born about 1830  North Carolina.  William married Rebecca Toon and they would have at least 9 children, their youngest being my great-grandfather, Louis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson.

    Yolanda’s line stems from John Robinson, born about 1842 who married Matilda Toon.  John and Matilda, or Tilly, would have at least 7 children. Their son Nathaniel is her great-grandfather.

    We suspect that John & William’s parents were Bob (born about 1800) and Hagar (born about 1815).  John had a son named William and William had a son named John.  Both men had sons named Nathaniel.  In 1880, the two families are only a few households away from each other.

    We are in the process of exchanging information and pictures, so I’m looking forward to learning more.

    Music Monday: For Once In My Life

    I’m writing this post as a pre-published post, but I was just flipping channels and ran across the movie The Temptations.  When I watch this movie, I think of my grandfather Herman.  My favorite scene from the movie is when actor Christian Payton (playing Paul), sings “For Once In My Life.”

    At the time, I did not know the song, so asked my parents about it and my mother told me that this song as done by Stevie Wonder was one of her father’s absolute FAVORITES! He would play it repeatedly.  So, this post is for my grandfather Herman.

    Driving the Train

    Today, Obama took  his train ride from Philadelphia to DC.  I watched some of the footage online and while looking at it thought about my uncle.  He drives for Amtrak and has in the past driven the route that Biden would take from Delaware to DC.  He’s talked to Biden on occasion and tells our family that he is quite down to earth. 

    Then, I realized I have a blog post worth doing as last year my uncle was in Locomotive magazine.  It was a special issue that came out in late 2007 I believe, and he is featured on page 9 with the following picture. 

    leonard_train

    At the time this picture was taken,  he was driving near Midway, NJ at 125 mph along the Northeast Corridor route, the route that Obama took today.  Time to put this magazine issue away with my genealogy items before I lose it again. Bad enough I had to think about where it was so I could do this post.  :-)

    Using Google Maps

    My mother was born in 1951 and when she was born her family lived at 100 Brooklyn Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.  Here is a picture of her uncle June, with her older brother Stanley that was taken around the time he was about 10 months old; my mother was not yet born. 

    One day, my mother sent me an email after she was playing around in Google Maps.  The building is still there!  We weren’t absolutely sure it was the same building until I realized the iron gate behind my uncles in this picture are in fact the same as what is there now. 

    When I and my brother were born in ’75 and ’78 respectively, my parents lived at 372 167th Street in Bronx, NY.  This picture of my mother with my cousin (born in ’77) was taken in front of the building. 

    Here is the Google Maps pic from now and the grocery store my mother tells me they would go to often on the 1st floor is also still there!

    The picture of my mother and cousin was taken from the opposite direction as what you can see in the above Google Maps picture, but when I turn the view around, you can see the same background as what is in their picture. 

    I love it! I think it’s cool that I’m able to use this technology to get a recent picture of the residences. I really need to do this for other places associated with my family.

    FindAGrave Photos

    Do you use FindAGrave? If not, you should!  Thanks to a wonderful volunteer, I today received notification that a picture of my uncle’s headstone had been fulfilled.  My mother has been wanting a picture of it for years now and she no longer lives in the city where he is buried.  

    We love you and miss you Calvin!

    If you get a chance, sign up for FindAGrave and check for photo requests in cemeteries nearby you. You may just make someone’s day!

    My mother and Calvin in the 1960s.

    Ethel May Robinson Rose (1908-1988)

    Today would have been the 100th birthday of my mother’s paternal aunt,  Ethel Robinson Rose.

    Ethel was born August 8, 1908 in Wilmington, North Carolina to Lewis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson and Lucinda (Lennon) Robinson.  She was their first of what would be eventually 9 children.

    As I review my records for Ethel, I see that I have not located the family in the 1910 census records – last time I searched I just could not find them. Now, Wilmington was not where the family was from, but on her Social Security Card application, she listed it as her place of birth.  The family was from the Whiteville area in Columbus County, NC and I do know for some time period after Ethel was born, they lived in Georgia as 4 of their children were born in Georgia.  But, finding them in 1910 has been tricky. By 1920, they moved up to Manhattan where my grandfather was born and where my mother was raised.

    Ethel was married twice, but we only know of one husband, Edward Rose.  I do not yet know when they were married and I do not know her first husband’s name or what became of him.  We don’t have any pictures of Ethel, but we do have this picture of her husband Edward with her sister-in-law Iris, wife of her brother George.

    From my mother’s descriptions of Ethel, she was always prim and proper. And, mommy says she had a “thing” about making sure the kids in the family’s teeth were clean.  Ethel never had children. I have a memory of being in Ethel’s house once around the time my grandfather died. I remember she had a town home that was one of many in a row on a cute block.

    Ethel died May 31, 1988, her husband preceded her in death in January of 1978.  Both are buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, though her name was never put on the grave marker.  She is buried near her sister Lucinda and their mother Lucinda.

    To follow-up on for the family records:

    • locate the Ethel in the 1910 census as a 2 year old with her family
    • locate Ethel in the 1930 census (but, i may need to find her 1st husband’s name before I can)
    • order her death certificate
    • look for her marriage records?
    • possibly search NYC directories?
    • and, since I’m looking at the family, I realize I need to order my grandfather’s (her brother) birth certificate