Surnames of Interest

Below is a listing of surnames I’m very interested in for my research as well as the timeframes and US states for each.  If any of these can be cross-referenced with your research, please don’t hestitate to reach out.  Thanks!

Name Soundex Qty Date Range State
BATEY B300 15 1848 – 1912 TN
BRADFORD B631 13 1876 – 1929 TN
BROWN B650 89 1829 – 1989 TN
BYNUM B550 85 1818 – 2007 FL, SC
COLEMAN C455 21 1815 – 1949 TN
CRUTCHER C632 8 1902 TN
GRAHAM G650 12 1805 – 1898 FL
KIMBRO K516 8 1845 – 1884 TN, TX
MURFREE M616 5 1833 – 1878 TN
NATTIEL N340 10 1927 – 1952 FL
POSEY P200 9 1883 – 1909 TN
ROSS R200 15 1825 – 1909 TN
SMITH S530 20 1851 – 1909 TN

Wordless Wednesdays

I’ve decided to adopt the gen-blog “tradition” of posting pictures instead of words on Wednesday…..starting, now…

2nd Great Grandfather

My 2nd Great Grandfather

Eye of the Beholder

Its always fascinating for me to read or learn about an historical account of the times in which my ancestors lived.  As you might imagine, the Slave Narratives are a treasure for me; as is the story book account of my own family history.

However, its rare to get a glimpse into the mind of southerners on the other side of the line.  I’m speaking, of course, of the slaveholders.  Today, I was reading one of the other Gen-Blogs I frequent and came across an excerpt of The Diaries of James Henry Hammond, A Southern Slaveholder. I’m sure Mr. Hammond would be surprised at the world we live in today.  But I found it eye opening to read his thoughts and worries as the world he knew began to crumble around him.

Joseph Ceasar Bynum

The eldest Bynum I’ve been able to find so far is Joseph Ceasar Bynum Sr. Joseph was born in 1830 somewhere in South Carolina. Probably born as a slave, Joseph’s first documented record is in 1870. Joseph is married to Phyllis (maiden name unknown) and has two male children; Ceasar and Smart. Joseph is a farm laborer who can neither read nor write. The family is in Columbia County, FL. Joseph lived to at least 65 and eventually owned farm land in Columbia County.

US Federal Census Bureau, 1870 Census – Lake City, Columbia County, Florida, USA,Rec. Date: 25 June 1870, Farm Lot 306. Cit. Date: 16 Feb 2006 page 1 (lines 39-40), 2 (lines 1-2)

US Federal Census Bureau, 1880 Census – Lake City, Columbia County, Florida, USA,Rec. Date: June 1880, Cit. Date: 21 Feb 2006  (lines 4-8)

US Federal Census Bureau, 1900 Census – Lake City, Columbia County, Florida, USA, Rec. Date: 1 June 1900, Cit. Date: 16 Feb 2006  (lines 4-8)

Matthew James Bynum II

Matthew James Bynum, or M.J. as just about everybody knew him, was my grandfather. I didn’t know him that well. By the time I was old enough to understand who he was, he was a much older man and dealing with the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. M.J. was not a perfect man; none of us are. I don’t plan on writing about any of that here. Instead, I’m going to focus on things about my grandfather that I heard, but never been able to prove true…. until today. Anyone who has done this family exploration for any length of time will appreciate the “happy dance” I did when I found not one, but several accounts of my grandfather’s days as a semi-professional baseball player in the negro leagues and a bit of a civil rights activist. Apparently, M.J. was quite the baseball player and played for multiple teams including the North Carolina Stars and the St. Petersburg Pelicans. Both of these teams were part of a negro minor league farm system back in the 30s and 40s. I haven’t been able find out much about them so far, but my grand-dad always told stories of playing against the lies of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson. All unsubstantiated , but I’m looking….

MJBynum-small

Matthew James (Dada) Bynum

Matthew James Bynum , or “Dada” as I grew to know him in countless stories, was born in early 1894.  I know very little about his upbringing, other than what I’ve discovered in the census records.  By all accounts, by the time Dada was an adult, he was a hard man.  In fact, every time I see The Color Purple, I think of ‘Mister’ as my Great-Grandfather.

Dada had two or three wives.   My Great-Grandmother was Ethel Graham.  As the family story goes, one day, living with Dada got to be simply too much.  So, with one child in hand and one on the way, Ethel took off down the dusty road leading away from the family farm…. and Dada stood and watched from the porch as his wife and two of his children disappeared in the horizon.

One of the other stories I remember had to do with the circumstances surrounding his death.  There were two versions of the story that pasted down through the years…. both disturbing because my Great-Grandfather was murdered.

What is known for sure is that Dada was found slumped over in his rocking chair in the middle of a field on his farm; shot in the back.  The family has always suspected that where he was found was not where he was killed.

Story one suggests that Dada’s third wife was secretly dating the local pastor.  Together they conspired to kill Dada and run away together.  Story two concludes that local whites, angry and the “injustice” of a black man owning a productive farm (and I’m sure if this story is true, spreading his own brand of charm), shot and killed him in order to force his family to sell his land.

In either event, my father often spoke, most of the time fondly,  of the time he spent as a little boy working the farm and growing in the shadow of his Grandfather, Dada.



Minnie (Batey) Brown

Minnie Batey was born on September 30, 1905.  She grew up with her mother, Mamie Kirk and her sister, Tennie.  She only went to the fifth grade, but she was very smart, both with intellectually and with common sense.  She gave birth to her son, Wash William Brown, alone at the age of fifteen and placed him in a trunk.  She didn’t tell her mother about the birth for two days but cared for her son alone.  After two days, she contacted her paternal grandmother Liza and told her of the birth and went to live with her grandmother and her father, Wash Batey.  Minnie had a hard time for the next few months because her mother insisted on whipping her for having a baby and there was constant friction between her father, her mother and her.  Baby Wash’s father, Iss William Brown, found out about the birth, went and took Minnie and their son to live with him and his mother, Jennie Kimbro.  They were married June of 1921, their son was five months old and they both adored him.  Minnie, now a wife and mother, showed extraordinary judgment and sensibility at that time for such a young woman.  She could cook almost anything without measuring the ingredients.  She enjoyed cooking and keeping house for her family.  She kept an immaculately clean house, everything had a place and everything should be in its place.  Her husband, Iss, did not share this passion and many arguments ensued over the years regarding same.  She was not a trusting woman and often exhibited signs of that mistrust with friends and distant relatives.  If she did not want people to return to her house, after their visit she would sweep red pepper out of the door behind them.  For her family which included her husband, son, granddaughter and first daughter in law, Violet; Minnie would go to the ends of the earth,   they helped to raise their granddaughter after her parents were divorced.  They, both, adored that granddaughter and taught her many things about life and how to handle life problems.  Iss and Minnie were very much in love with each other and remained married until Iss passed away in 1977.  Although their son, Wash, chose not to tell Minnie of Iss’s death, she instinctively knew.  She often said “I know Iss is dead.”  But, in her more lucid moments, she hoped that she was wrong.  Minnie died in January, 1983.  Most people in Murfreesboro remember “Momma Minnie.”

Minnie (Batey) Brown – est. 35 years old


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