Holloway High School, Class of 1940

I recently received a copy of the photo composite for the 1940 graduating class of Holloway High in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (Thanks cousin!).  Why is this set of photographs important to me?  Well my grandparents were members of this class and I’ve just added two new late teen aged snapshots of them to my collection!  For those that have followed this site for a while, you’ll note the handsome young man in the lower right hand corner is Wash William Brown, my grandfather.  My grandmother, whom I’ve written about before on this site, has her identity protected here because she is still happily with us in mind, body and spirit!

Holloway High was founded in 1928 and was the only black high school in Murfreesboro, TN at the time.  Many members of my maternal line walked the halls at Holloway High and still attend the annual ‘Red and Black’ affair in Murfreesboro.

Re-Post – Alice (D’King) Kimbro

The section below is re-posted from my maternal ancestor tab.  Partially because it’s one of my favorite ancestor stories.  The other reason is my discovery this weekend that I validated the story told in the pages of Ed Bell’s book with my independent research online.  I’ve sourced marriage of George and Alice, the Castle Street address, the number of children and their son Iz (or Iseral).  For those interested, I’ve included the pages from Mr. Bell’s book.

Alice reference in the The Lonely People

The Lonely People Page 2

Based on my research, most of my maternal line can be found in or around Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  One of the earliest ancestors I’ve found so far actually migrated (at some point) from Texas.  I believe this because I actually have a document which is almost as good a the slave narratives.  Ed Bell, the editor of The Rutherford Courier, penned a book in 1948 called, The Lonely People and their strange ways.  The book was about people living in Murfreesboro that Ed met during his time there.  My 3rd Great Grand-parents, George & Alice Kimbro (Kimbrough) were the subjects of one of his chapters, particularly Alice.  A copy of the text has been passed down for a couple of generations and I’m re-printing it here….

An afternoon in February with yellow winter sunshine coming down the small hill on South Walnut and reflecting across the shanties of Blackbottom…

A great bony Negro woman rocking on the porch of a house at the bottom of the hill, a dingy poodle dog at her feet, its belly turned up to the friendly sun… Aunt Alice Kimbrough, who had been living ninety years, talked about her youth, about when she was known as D’King, the champion wrestler of anywhere there is.

She was the most wrestling fool that ever wore a shoe polish skin, and no man nor woman could throw her down…  Except one man and she married him…The folks came from 500 and sometimes 5,000 miles to see D’King…They would flock on the fences like blackbirds to watch her grab them up and lay them on the cold, cold ground… When a nigger man or nigger woman got mean and talked to much, they said, “We get D’King to han’le you” and the bragger ran away and never come back again…

On D’King’s wedding day, when they were fixing her up with fine clothes to marry the only man in the whole world who could throw her down, a bigmouth yellow woman from the north country come along….The yellow said she never been throwed by anybody…”We get D’King to han’le you,” And the wedding guests said…But D’King was a busy woman…The barbecue was cooked, George and the preacher waiting…George was her true love…

D’King told them to go tell that fool ‘oman she had no crow to pick with anybody anymore except George…She was not wrestling again until she was a married woman…but her father said, “You no ‘oman less you kin.”…Which made her courage rise up till she laid by her bridal veil and went out to throw the bigmouth yellow from the north country…She made one pass at her middle and threw her so hard she hit the ground like a shook apple…Before the woman could get up D’King was back in the house ready to marry the only man.

D’King and her good friend who was name Cassie Ann were the strongest niggers anywhere there is…They could stand in a half-bushel measure and shoulder three bushels of wheat…If D’King hestitated, her father said, “You no ‘oman less you kin.”…Then she lifted it without one word more.

She was the healthiest pickaninny slave down in Texas…It was because she got so much sugar to eat…And the way she got all the sugar was by busting her bare big toe against a rock and running to the Missus to medicine it with turpentine and sugar…D’King ate the sugar off the toe and got fat.

After her marriage to George Kimbrough, she settled down because George done her good…He never called her fool or liar like all the other nigger’s husbands who called their women everything but a cedar bush…The night of the wedding there was happy doings at the white folks’ house and D’King and George got so many chickens for presents they had to get two somebodies to help carry them home…They lived together many years doing good and having seven children… Of these she was proudest of a double-jointed nigger named Iz… Iz hit a Kentucky mule in the head with his fist once and the mule didn’t live any more.

That was the tale Aunt Alice told me on a yellow winter afternoon a long time ago—I saved it to tell when she died.

George and Alice also had a daughter named Jennie.  Jennie’s son, Iss William Brown is likely Iz’ namesake.

Wordless Wednesday

Sisters-in-law Great Aunt Fannie Irene and Mama Tennie (my Great Grand mother)

Wordless Wednesdays – I’m back….

Wash Brown

After a wonderful holiday with family and friends, I’m back.  Life is hectic, so I’ll ease back in with a WW post featuring my wonderful Grandfather – Wash Brown.

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Got a great comment a few posts ago about my great aunt Chitika.  She was, indeed, a beautiful child.

Great Aunt Chitika

Sadly, she did not live past the age of 6.  Both she and her mother, my 2nd great aunt Violet Odahlia (namesake of my grandmother in the earlier post), are pretty tragic figures in our family’s history.

2nd Great Aunt Violet Odalia

 

Wordless Wednesday

Violet, Hobart & Chiteka

Wordless Wednesdays

The current "signage" at Benevolent Cemetery - Murfreesboro, TN

The current "signage" at Benevolent Cemetery - Murfreesboro, TN

Wordless Wednesdays

My Great Grandaunt Ellen Lorrelle Brown at 17

My Great Grandaunt Ellen Lorrelle Brown at 17

in her 30s

in her 30s

at 86

at 86

A Tale of Three Docks…

I think this is another example of a really interesting story that was probably a pretty taboo subject at some point in the last hundred years.  Oh well, here goes….

Another of my 2nd Great Grandfathers was a gentleman by the name of Dock Ross (b. 1859).  Dock was married to the former Bettie Coleman (b. 1863) in Murfreesboro, TN in 1879.  I’ve located Dock and Bettie (by the way, that’s Dock up there in the banner behind the word ‘journey’ and that’s Bettie between the words ‘My’ and ‘family’) in a combination of census and tax records from 1880 to 1891.  Prior to 1880, I haven’t been able to find either.  While I generally believe Dock was born a slave, I don’t believe he (unlike the majority of others in my maternal line) was born in Tennessee; more on that in a minute.

Dock and Bettie had 5 children including my Great Grandmother, Tennie Ross (b. 1897?).  She was quite a woman and, although this post isn’t about her, there is no doubt that a few later ones will be.  Dock and Bettie also had a son named after his father, Dock Jr. (1887).

Well, it seems that my Great Grand Uncle…. I’ll let the public record speak for itself:

Your petitioner, Sallie Ross (col.), would show the Court, that she, and the defendant, Dock Ross (col.), were married in Rutherford County in, or about the year 1909…. The petitioner, before the marriage, and under the promise of marriage, allowed the defendant certain privileges which resulted in her being with child and in the defendant being forced, by her parents to marry her…

This is an excerpt from a divorce petition presented to the Hon. Walter S. Bearden on the third Monday of January in 1916.  Once Dock participated in the shot-gun affair described in the document, he left town for parts unknown leaving behind his new wife and soon to be born daughter; Cressy.  Later in the document we find that Dock Ross cannot be found anywhere in the county and did not appear in front of the court to defend himself.  It seems certain that Sallie nor Cressy ever saw Dock again….

That would be the end of the tale were it not for the miracle of the internet and online access to priceless records (and a little supposition and detective-work on the part of yours truly).  I BELIEVE Dock relocated to his grandfather’s farm down in Plaquemines, Louisiana.  Why do I believe that you might ask.  Well a couple of pieces of evidence to lay my hypothesis on:

1) An older Dock Ross (b. 1825) lived in Plaquemines, Louisiana.  Clearly, not a definitive tie by itself.

2) Although his father disappears by the 1900 census (Bettie lists herself a widow), Dock II is in the household at about 13 years of age (ancestry.com lists him as “Doe” born May 1886, but given the rest of the household this is an almost certain conclusion).  I have not been able to find him in Tennessee after 1900.

3) A World War I draft card from Vernon Parrish Louisiana documents a Dock Ross, born in Murfreesboro, TN registering for the draft roughly a year after the divorce petition was filed in Rutherford County.  This Dock’s birth date was listed as June 1887.  He does list himself as a single man with no dependents, but that would certainly be expected given the circumstances.

4) Finally, Dock Ross died in Caddo Parrish (d. 1945) according to the Louisiana Statewide Death Index, 1900-49.  The birth date given in the index is estimated as 1884.

None of this, even in combination, could be held as conclusive.   It does make for some fun CSI-style investigative work during my research.

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

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