Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My 3rd Great Grandfather John Warren Avery (1835-1900) Was Probably Run Out of Winston County, Mississippi by the Ku Klux Klan

After some research I have come to the conclusion that this Rev John Avery, testifying about his experience with the Klan, is my ancestor.  "Affairs in Mississippi: To the Editor of the Chronicle," Macon Beacon (Macon, Mississippi), 12 August 1871, page 2, col 4; digital image, Chronicling America ( : accessed 7 December 2016).

John Warren Avery (1835-1900) was born in Winston County, Mississippi, and although he had moved around a little he had appeared in records in Winston as late as the 1870 Census as a farmer (no mention his being a reverend).  By January 11, 1873 he was a resident of Lafayette County, Mississippi (as evidenced by his court appearance and signature in claiming his small part of an uncle's inheritance).  We were not clear until now just why he had moved, except that maybe there were better opportunities elsewhere.  Thanks to the digitized newspapers at LOC's Chronicling America, I now realize that he was run out of the area by the Ku Klux Klan for running a free school (taxpayer funded).  Apparently the Klan did not want free schools for either black or white children and were brutal in enforcing this, and were clearly not above threatening family members.

From the same story, and includes statements made by Rev. Murff, who was Alexander W. Murff (1821-1880), a Methodist Episcopal elder, former guardian at litem for John Avery in 1853, and also John Avery's brother-in-law (he married John's sister Nancy Caroline Avery).

From statements by Cornelius McBride, another victim of the Klan, made to the Senate concerning the Klan activities.  In the index of this publication John Avery is referred to as John W. Avery.  "Index to the Reports of the Committees of The Senate of the United States, for the Second Session of the Forty-Second Congress. 1871-'72."  Government Printing Office (Washington, DC). 1872; digital images, Google Books ( accessed 7 December 2016).

I was dismayed, although not surprised, that I have these relations in the Klan, but I was also impressed that John Warren Avery had tried to make a difference in his community.  It also helped me figure out what his religious denomination was, something I wasn't quite sure about.

John must have had a hell of a time for many years, considering his Civil War experience on the losing side, and then the loss of camaraderie and support of many of his remaining relatives to the Klan.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Shelf: Historical collections of the state of New York, 1841

The subtitle to this tome explains why I'm posting about it here: containing a general collection of the most interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, &c. relating to its history and antiquities, with geographical descriptions of every township in the state. Additionally the book has 230 engravings so there's some chance you might find one that depicts some part of the town where your New York State ancestors were in 1841.

[Historical Collections of the State of New York; John Warner Barber, 1798-1885, Henry Howe 1816-1893, joint authors,
published by S. Tuttle, New York, 1841. Source: Internet Archive]

Here's what it has to say about Brownville in Jefferson County where my maternal fourth great grandfather Isaac Leonard (c. 1780-1862) was living according to the 1840 U.S. Census.*

The authors have less to say about Mexico, located in Oswego County, the home of my paternal third great grandfather William Porter (1792-1868) and his family.**

In contrast the section for the town of Oswego (in the same county) where Lyman Worden (1791-1883), another maternal fourth great grandfather***, was a resident covers 4-1/2 pages of text and includes two engravings. That's too long to insert in this post but if you're interested, it begins here.

*Isaac Leonard

**William Porter

***Lyman Worden

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Monday Is for Mothers: Nannie Freeman (1857-1934) Writes a Letter to Mrs Abernathy

From an issue of the Finders Keepers publication, page 90.
Page 91.

As more things are digitized and put online, more cool stuff pops up.  My 2nd great grandmother Nannie (Freeman) Warren's letter to a Mrs. Abernathy is an example.  I found it at The Portal to Texas History, under the search term "Nannie Warren" and located in the Johnson County Genealogical Society's publication, "Finders KeepersVolume VIII No. 3 and 4, starting on page 90 of the publication.

Nannie discusses her frontier experience, moving from a comfortable existence in the Cotton Valley, Alabama area to the rustic Johnson County, Texas in 1870:

South Bend Texas
August 24 1931
Dear Mrs. Abernathy
I'm very much afraid you will be disappointed in what I can write of our frontier experience of the long ago.  My Father and Mother Henry Hill Freeman and Elizabeth Turner Freeman were born in Ga. where they were married in 1840.  A few years later they moved to Tuskegee Alabama where they lived until they moved to Texas.
They arrived in Johnson County Texas Sandflat community in Feb. 1870. situated about equally distant from Cleburne Alvarado and Grandview.  Father Mother and daughters made the trip on train and boat--spending one night on the gulf.  The sons, J.C. and W.W. Freeman, came in a wagon in company with five other wagons.  We left the train at Calvert to complete the way in wagons as that was as far as the rail road extended.  There I heard my first cursing--the driver of the freight wagon cursing his mules.  We left a community of cultured people with lovely homes, fine churches and excellent schools--said to be an exceptionally good neighborhood.  At Sandflat we found few neighbors, primitive social companionship, inferior schools, poor church facilities, log cabins and many other provoking or laughable surprises according as one took them.  The country was being changed from a cattle range to homes and farms--some very small farms had been made a? log cabin with an enormous fireplace served both for church and school at Sandflat during winter, and brush arbors, or church services during summer.  Really the schools were very inferior often the teachers incapable and terms short.  The houses were open the seats uncomfortable.  It was not until time brought changes that our community produced some very fine people--none that I can recall that have achieved high honors but many good substantial citizens.  The farm wagons were the only conveyance for travel. At church everybody met, the people generally were helpful and kind--a custom I'm told always present in new settlements.  We got our mail from Cleburne until years later Cuba post office was established in the Millican and Donevant surveys.  Improving it was a task indeed--wire fencing had not come, rails from the trees had to be made for fencing, wells dug--land plowed with ox teams etc etc but the country was every new and healthy and every body was suffering almost the same inconveniences.  Our cotton had to be carried to the nearest railroad station at first over one hundred miles, which moved and got nearer as the years went.  When it was marketed supplies for family use were brought back.  Our family was always given somewhat to reading--news papers even taken and read and the church paper always.  We also had a lot of books.  Oh yes we had plenty singing schools where the young people met and sang and planned to get married.
I recall some of the people are found on arrival--The Laramores-Boatwright Boyd, Byars, Harrison, Powel and others.
My father was an intelligent christian gentleman and his influence for good was felt in the upbuilding of the community.  He attended faithfully to his church obligations and I think a church was hardly built in an adjoining neighborhood during his life there without a contribution from him--regardless of the denomin[ation].  I surely believe that if your own fine father was present he would bear me out in what I've said as my Father and he were each very appreciative of the other.  Mrs Abernathy Mary (my daughter) suggests that I tell you that our school seats were puncheons (I don't know how to spell it) and how we entertained our beaux in such small houses but we got married any way.
 I think you will be tired of this and will close, with kindest regards,
Mrs. Nannie Warren
(nee Miss Nannie Freeman)
When Nannie wrote this she was a widow (husband James Chappell Warren Sr had died in 1924) and lived with her youngest child, Mary (Warren) Nance (1899-1973) and her family.  Her first child, Mattie Lizzie Warren, had died in 1889 and her son James Chappell Warren Jr (my great grandfather) had died in 1923 (his child Tracy Warren, my biological grandfather, was living with his mother Letta Estella Porter and her family in Dallas, Texas).  Nannie's other son, Hill Freeman Warren (1891-1956), was a physician in New London, Connecticut.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday Drive: Norman Boat, Bayeux - 2009

It actually was a Sunday when Bonnie and I visited the most famous embroidery in the world at the Musée de la Tapisserie de Bayeux in Normandy. This recreation of one of the boats used in the Norman Invasion was displayed in the courtyard of the museum.*

[From my personal collection]

If you haven't seen it (or even if you have), this animated version of the Bayeux Tapestry done as a student project at Goldsmith's College, University of London, is fun to watch.

*When I checked out he street view of this courtyard on Google Earth the boat wasn't there--perhaps they store it indoors during the winter?

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Saturday Night Free Webinar: "Multi-Media Story Telling" presented by Devin Ashby

As genealogists we can sometimes get way down in the weeds and know so many details that it can be hard to present our non-genealogist family interesting stories and vignettes just by talking about them.  Devin Ashby, a project manager for FamilySearch, has some ideas in his webinar "Multi-Media Story Telling" to enhance our ancestors stories:
Stories are all around us but very few are captured and even fewer are shared. The technologies we have to tell stories today are unique and go way beyond just text. We'll discuss ways to capture audio, video, text, photos and use the internet to make your stories come alive with multi-media.

Presented November 30, 2016, and free to non-subscribers.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, December 2, 2016

From the Probate files: Jeremiah Warren Part 11, Hire of Negroes Belonging to the Estate, 1833

As executors of Great Uncle Jeremiah's will, John Graybill and Jesse G. Butts were required to report to the probate court annually. The excerpt from probate records shown below accounts for 14 of Jeremiah's enslaved persons who were hired out for the year 1833.

["Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Hancock > Wills and administration records 1831-1840 vol N >
image 153 of 376; county probate courthouses, Georgia.]

Hire of Negroes belonging to the estate of Jeremiah Warren dec'd
     for 1833 to wit,
     John Graybill            Man Jack                         $80.00
     Benjamin Harper          do Edmund                    70.00
     William Warren            do Hal                            75.00
     Eppes Warren               do Meredith                   75.00
     Prestley Harper            do Anderson                   70.00
     Wyatt Harper               do Dave                          70.00
     William Warren    Women Lucy & Lethe           60.00
     Chloe Roe                     do Amey & 3 children  20.00
     William Stembridge  Man Abram                      50.00
     William Warren             do Tom (insane) for food & clothing -----
Georgia Hancock County
     John Graybill & Jesse G. Butts Exec. of E. of Jerem-
iah Warren dec'd. being duly sworn says that the within
acct. of the hiring of the negroes belonging to the estate
of said de'cd for the year 1833 is just & true.
Sworn to & subscribed before
me this 29th. May 1833   }             John Graybill
    Henry Rogers C.C.O.  }             Jesse G. Butts

Below are the appraised values of these enslaved persons taken from the inventory of Jeremiah's estate which had been filed with the probate court on September 25, 1832.

Amy    [a woman & her]  four  [children]  Matt Caroline Joby & Mason*    1000.00
Abram a man                                                            400.00
Tom a man                                                                  50.00
Lucy " woman                                                          250.00
Letha  "  girl                                                             400.00
Dave a man                                                              575.00
Meredith a man                                                         600.00
Hal a man                                                                  575.00
Edmund a man                                                          600.00
Jack     "      "                                                             600.00

Jeremiah's brother William Warren agreed to provide food and clothing Tom who's described as "insane" which would explain why the man's appraised value was the lowest on the list.

Most of the people named as hirers are familiar ones--family** and neighbors who we've seen buying items from Jeremiahs' estate but there's a new one: Chloe Roe as her name is written here.***

Chloe Roe (1763-1845) was the widow of Revolutionary War veteran John Roe (although her application for a widow's pension was denied). The couple were early settlers in Hancock County and their farmhouse, built in 1804, still survives and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was moved from its original location to Milledgeville in Baldwin County in the early 1980s.

[The John Roe House-Specht Farm. Photos from its Facebook page]

So this is a house that Amey and her children would have seen, at least from the outside, during the year they were hired by Mrs. Roe.

*There's no indication which of Amey's four children wasn't included here and why not. You may recall that Jeremiah's codicil stated, "also it is my wish that my negroe woman Amey shall have fifty dollars to be paid when the final division takes place" so although she wasn't one of the seven people he hoped to see freed he did single her out for a bequest.
**I can't help wondering how Jeremiah, who didn't want his nephew Eppes Warren to benefit from the sale of any of his human property, would have responded to Eppes being allowed to hire Meredith for 1833.
***Alternate spellings include Row or Rowe.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

You Can Buy a Replica of the Sears Catalog on

No big surprise here, isn't almost everything now on Amazon?  Just seems kinda meta, since the Sears Roebuck catalog was the Amazon of its day.

Cyber Monday and Cyber Week sales enticements got me looking at Amazon the past few days.  So much stuff, so little money!

Being genealogically oriented, I naturally wondered what shopping was like in the past and thought about Sears (and about Montgomery Ward, it's older rival, both original to Chicago) and it's historical importance for the mail order industry which lead to the ultimate development of online retail giants like Amazon.  Sears Roebuck catalogs had an amazing selection (available at Ancestry's Historic Catalogs of Sears, Roebuck and Co., 1896-1993) of goods available to American consumers:

In a lot of ways warehouses don't change although the technology that Amazon uses for quick fulfillment was impossible back then, of course.

Sears Roebuck Hardware Department (Fall 1897 catalog).

Clothing Department (Fall 1897 Catalog)

Department of Boots, Shoes, and Rubbers (Fall 1897 Catalog).

Amazon warehouse (location unknown) (Robert Galbraith/Reuters image) from Business Insider's article "See what it's like inside Amazon's massive warehouses."

Dallas fulfillment center (from fulfillment center bringing 1,500 jobs to Dallas)

There were pages of testimonials published in the catalog (Fall 1897).  Sears controlled the message in this case to their advantage, as to be expected.

Amazon not only has a space for testimonials and reviews (one of their most compelling features in my opinion), but doesn't control the message, as evidenced by the tongue-in-cheek critical review of the 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalog.  We live in a much more amusing time!

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.