Tuesday, April 27, 2010

They Served with Honor: The 809th Pioneer Infantry---"Quiet Heroes of the Brawny Arm"

Samuel Walton - Ft. Smith, Arkansas

My grandfather Samuel Walton served in World War I. He was drafted like other able bodied men of his age. He enlisted in the 809th Pioneer Infantry. He sailed on the USS President Grant and served in France during the War.

Not much is written about the experiences of black men in World War I, but like all men who served in the war, they formed friendships that lasted both during and after the war. But there are a few facts that have emerged about those men who served in the 809th Pioneer Infantry. While sailing to France many of the soldiers black and white on the ship became ill with influenza. And with so much illness around them, those who remained in good health became even closer. Upon arrival in France, many men of the 809th Pioneer Infantry at least75 men of the unit had the morbid task of pulling bodies of soldiers that had died of Spanish Inflenza. Afterwards their assignment was to work as a supply unit on the docks and to provide construction also when needed.

The unit was not allowed to engage in direct combat and they were assigned to a construction crew.  At one point, according to an interview with Thomas Davis who served in the same unit, they ended up working for 10 days without a resupply of food. (http://www.worldwar1.com/sftdavis.htm )   The Pioneer units had some function of the infantry, some of those of engineers and some of those of labor units. (History of the American Negro in the Great World War  p. 241)

In that same book it spoke of the Pioneer units and stated: "The Negro Service of Supply men acquired a great reputation in the various activities to which they were assigned, especially for efficiency and celerity in unloading shipes and supplies of every sort at the base ports. They were a marvel to the French and astonished not a few of the officers of our own army."

During the 14-day voyage aboard the troop ship President Grant, about half of the 5000 men on board fell ill with "Spanish flu". They were from many regiments being posted to Europe. So many men died en route that their bodies had to be buried at sea. (The best evidence indicates that this disaster began at Camp Funston, an army base in Kansas on March 8, 1918. An influenza virus mutated into a lethal strain. It arrived in Europe on American troop ships in early April 1918, and perhaps mutated again. The epidemic traveled fast in three waves of infection, reaching almost every corner of the world by the spring of 1919, when the virus played itself out. Influenza killed over 20 million people in the span of a year. This was more than twice the number of people who died in the horrific battles of World War. (Source: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ship/ap.htm)

But for the most part--so much of the work  of the Pioneer Infantry consisted of loading and unloading the supplies off of other ships coming into France and long hours of labor working essentially as stevedores When America's poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, traveled to France to entertain the US soldiers she noticed the work of the black men at the ports. They labored at the docks as stevedores and she wrote a poem dedicated to these black men:

The unit served honorably throughout the war. These men of the 809th returned with honor, having served their country.

Because of the high death rate on the way to France the men in the 809th became immediately close to each other and formed what would become life long relationships. Upon his return from France, my grandfather Sam maintained contact with some of his army buddies for some time. They exchanged photos of each other and these photos of his comrades remained with my grandfather till he died in 1940.

I have occasionally looked at them over the years, and this Carnival of Af. American Genealogy honoring those men and women who served our nation between 1915 and 1953, provides the perfect opportunity for me to share these photos.

My grandfather was Pvt. Samuel Walton of the 809th Pioneer Infantry, and this is an image of his headstone in Oak Cemetery in Ft. Smith, Arkansas.

His Army Buddies
These images reflect the men with whom he served and with whom he became close. Because he treasured them, I too, treasure them.  Most of them are identified and so their names are also listed here, so that they too can be honored.

Seles Bates (His Bunk Mate) of New York, New York

Henry Steward, St. Louis MO

William E. Turner, Indianapolis IN

Cobe Sides, Allenville Missouri

Oliver W. Bragg, Macon MO

Lewis A. Brown, Indianapolis IN

E.W. Rogers Martin, Tenn

One Friend, No Name Provided

USS President Grant took 809th Pionner Infantry to France.

Although they were still treated as second class citizens upon their return, they served proudly and many of their own sons would later follow their father's footsteps and serve in the next World War.  (His son, my father Samuel Lewis Walton would serve in World War II.)

Thankfully Samuel Walton and his mates returned from the War safely 

He returned to Oklahoma where he married Sarah Ellen Bass of Horatio Arkansas.  To provide better educational opportunities for his sons, he eventually moved his family across the river into nearby Arkansas. He remained in Ft. Smith Arkansas till he died in 1940. He is buried at Oak Cemetery in the Walton family plot. 

I send a special thank you to Grandpa Sam and his army buddies and all of the men of the 809th Pioneer Infantry for their service to our nation during World War I. 

They are my heroes, and they were truly men who served with honor.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Carnival of African American Ancestry: Remembering Harlem's Hellfighters Upon Their Return

I am compelled to submit two posts for this Carnival! This first post contains some rare footage of Black Soldiers from World War I.

They were known as Harlem's Hellfighters, and not enough is known of their story. They were honored in a parade down 5th Avenue when they returned.

Most black soldiers from WWI fought with hopes that America would see their courage and give them status as full citizens. Sadly most would not live to enjoy the fruits of their efforts. But we honor these men nevertheless for they gave their all, and many paid the ultimate price.

May these brave men never be forgotten!

An Ancestor Approved Award

I was recently approved the Ancestor Approved Award, for which I am honored and grateful.  After researching for more than 20 years and only having recently joined the blogging to share my personal data, I am truly grateful and send a special thank you to Joann of J-Macs Journey. (I have taken the liberty of inserting one of my ancestor's images on the award on the right, nav. bar.)

As a recipient of this award I am happy to share 10 things that I have learned from my own journey into my past.


 1) I was surprised to learn that my ancestors were enslaved by Indians--my gr. grandparents Sam & Sallie Walton were Choctaw Freedmen, having been enslaved in Indian Territory.

2) I was surprised to find the records of Lydia Talkington a name that rested for many years in an old family Bibile and unknown to the family as to who she really was. She was my gr. gr. grandmother. Her son was Samuel Walton the first of 4 men to carry that name. 

3) I was surprised to learn about the story of Uncle Sephus, a gr. uncle whose only known reputation was to have shot a white man and fled to Texas for his life.  I learned about the family being attacked by the Klan in 1888 in Giles County TN.  He shot the Klansman who had killed his father---my gr. gr. grandfather Irving Bass.   

4) I was surprised to FIND Uncle Sephus who was indeed in Texas, and learned about his life prior to the incident in 1888.  He had served in the Civil War as a soldier in the 111th US Colored Troops.  

5) I was surprised to learn about another uncle previously unknown---a brother to Uncle Sephus and to my gr. grandfather Louis Mitchell Bass.  The brother was Braxton Bass who was a Sgt. in the 111th US Colored Infantry.

6) I was surprised to be able to research my mother's line. She was an only child, who had lost both of her parents to tuberculosis before she was 2 years old.  She was raised by her Grandmother Harriet Young Martin, and her Aunt Viola Martin.  She knew little about her ancestors other than they were from Ripley Mississippi and were slaves of a Tandy Young and her grandmother's mother's name was Amanda Young. I found Amanda Young, and was surprised to learn about her life, and to learn the name of her husband Berry, who joined the Civil War, and the names of Amanda's parents---Martha and John both from Virginia, and born in the 1790s.

7) Thanks to a fellow researcher who has also become a good and dear friend, I have learned more about my ancestors in NW Arkansas.  Through this friend, I learned where Lydia is buried and I learned more about Patrick Drennen a mulatto slave of town founder John Drennen. Thank you Tonia Holleman.

8) I have had the opportunity twice in the past 3 years to meet a direct descendant of John Drennen 3 years ago.  Although she was originally nervous at our meeting, I was pleasantly surprised to see her attend an reception for me recently in Ft. Smith Arkansas where I spoke at the first Black History conference sponsored by the University.

Caroline Drennen & Angela chatting at the Black History Conference, Feb 2010

9) I met a direct descendant of the Choctaw family that were slave owners of my gr. grandmother Sallie.  The meeting was cordial and we have remained in contact.  We now are working together to document the history of both families further and are assisting me with locating the burial site of Sallie's mother and grandmother.

10) My niece who now has young children of her own has asked me when I can start to tell her the stories of the family history.  She is the first person of the next generation to express this interest, and I am thrilled to know that at last, the family legacy will be carried forth to the next generation.

I am happy to pass this award to the next 10 bloggers to receive the Ancestor Approved Award:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Two Interesting Books for Children

Remember Dick and Jane?  And remember Fun with Dick & Jane? These were the fictional children upon whom a generation of children in America learned to read.

But how about Johnnie Mae and Floyd?  Or Clara, Rosa Lee and Harold?

These are children found in a series of books produced in 1938 as part of the Negro American Series and these are the children whose real lives are depicted in these supplementary readers.  And these two books are among some of the historical "treasures" in my personal libary.

My mother managed to "rescue" these books from being destroyed when Howard Elementary School, was cleaning out old books, and had set aside several boxes of books to be thrown away.  Knowing my love of books and appreciation of Black history, she saved them for me. And what a treasure they were!  An entire community, a black community in Drumright, Oklahoma is depicted, and instead of drawings---they consist of the images of the children! 

In addition, to the many children depicted who all attend Dunbar School, the life stories of well known figures such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, Roland  Hayes and the Fisk Jubilee Singers are told in these two books.  The first chapters are directed towards beginning readers and the second half of each book focuses on more complex stories directed to more advance readers. 

The story provides a wonderful glimpse into the lives of those who coped within a very segreated school system that is seldom seen.  The pride and dignity of the parents is also reflected as the parents of the children are also pictured.

This treasure also reflects the impact that Jeanes teachers and supervisors had on the education of black children in the Deep South in the years of segregation.  So much more can be learned by studying these text books.  I have a strong interest in learning if any of the children captured might still living today and this becomes one of the many on-going projects that take up my time.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Remembering Patrick Drennen

Grave of Patrick Drennen

Stone for Patrick Drennen

Patrick Drennen was my gr. gr. grandfather. He was enslaved in Crawford County Arkansas by John Drennen the founder of the city of Van Buren.  He courted my gr. gr. grandmother Lydia Walters, and they lived and loved each other when with permission, of John Drennen, Patrick could go and spend time with her in Dripping Springs.

He was described as a light skinned mulatto man, and was said to have traveled quite often with his master John Drennen.  He became ill in the early spring of 1858, died and was buried in the Drennen family plot in Fairview cemetery. Lydia later remarried John Talkington, and she lived till the 1890s and was buried in the same cemetery in 1898.

I learned more about the life of Lydia, when I located her second husband's pension file.  She spoke of her first love Patrick and how they had courted, but had not been allowed to marry.

With the help of researcher Tonia Holleman, I located Lydia's burial site marked only by a field stone.  Since she was in a family plots I obtained a small marker for her. I also learned that Patrick her first love, was buried about 75 yards away in the Drennen Family plot.  Resting in the same cemetery, but still separated by enslavement.  When I went into the Drennan plot, I noticed that his grave was outlined by bricks, but no marker was placed there.  No name, just bricks outlining his body. His burial was noted in the sexton's record simply as "Negro man belonging to Mrs. Drennen."   But he did have a name----his name was Patrick!  I wanted his name to be there.

When I had decided to obtain a small marker for Lydia, I realized---he deserved a marker as well. His short life, spent entirely in sevitude, deserved to be remembered and his name deserved to be said.  So, I obtained a marker also for Patrick. Since I did not have permission to access the Drennen plot to place his name there I had no idea who to ask.

But where Lydia was buried---that was a family plot---and since the marker was small, I would put his name down where it should have been---next to the woman, the only woman he had loved.  Their names are now side by side, though his body rests "up the hill", their names are together where, had times been different, they would have been all along.

I visited Fairview cemetery this winter, and noticed that some of the bricks that outlined Patrick's grave had been overgrown with grass.  My Patrick was disappearing!  As a recent snow was melting, there were many pine cones on the ground, so I took some of the pine cones and outlined his grave over the bricks that I was able to see.  I wanted his burial site to still be visible in the Drennen family plot.

Patrick Drennen was my gr. gr. grandfather, and I want to say his name and I want the world to know that he lived.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Amanda Douglass, Dripping Springs Arkansas

While on a visit to an historic cemetery in western Arkansas with another genealogist and close friend, I was hoping to find ancestors gravesites, who onced lived there at one time. Instead we came upon a headstone in the old "colored" section.  It was a beautiful hand made stone, and the work and care that went into the stone captured my attention. It was the grave of Amanda Douglass. Clearly her survivors could not afford an elegant marker, yet her own marker still spoke to me.  In its humbleness, it is also elegant, reflecting the care and concerns of her family to insure that her final resting place was marked. The very elegance of this stone told me stories---of loved ones who cared for Amanda and wanted to insure that her final resting place would not be forgotten. 

My colleague later found descendants of Amanda Douglass, and learned more about the stone. After
Amanda died, in 1904 one of her sons, located this stone and worked on it so that the base was formed into a point.  He then chiseled her name onto the stone and then placed the base of the stone with the pointed end, at least 3 feet into the ground, and tightly packed the soild around it, so that no windstorm would ever topple the stone.  Still after more than 100 years, her marker quietly stands in peaceful dignity reflecting the love of her children and grandchildren.  And to this day, visitors still come to the resting place of this woman, born on the cusp of freedom in 1865.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Easter Morning

This was taken in the late 1950s.  All I can recall is that Grandma made me a duster to wear over my Easter dress because it was going to be chilly. I do remember that the duster wasn't warm enough, but because it was Easter I had to dress like it when I really wanted to put on my car coat with the hood.  My mom must have been operating the camera, as there I am with my brother and with Daddy in the middle.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Carnival of African American Genealogy: Grandma's Hands - - Remembering Grandma, Nanny & the Ladies

Sallie Walton aka "Nanny"  (left)  &  Sarah Ellen Walton aka "Grandma" (right)

My childhood was rich with memories of wonderful old ladies cooking dumplings, quilting, feeding chickens and dipping snuff. Grandma and Nanny lived only 3 short blocks away and their home was as much home to me as my own, especially in my early childhood. And with home their being close to “The Junction” was the place where many of their friends would stop to visit on the way to Mr. Canady’s grocery store. They were so grand, these beautiful women from dark chocolate brown, to butterscotch brown--- they were the frequent visitors and faces that I loved from my youth.

“Grandma” was Ellen Walton. Her full name was Sarah Ellen but she was just Grandma to me. The only person I ever heard call her “Sarah” when he came to visit was Uncle George, her youngest brother.

“Nanny” was Sallie Walton, who was Grandma’s mother in law--my grandpa’s mother, and she was my great grandmother. Grandma lived in the front part of the house Nanny lived in the back part of the house. But when it was quilting time they came together.

Those two ladies were a daily part of my life till I went to school. The year I went to kindergarten meant school in the morning, but afternoon at Grandma’s and Nanny’s. Those two women were as different in personality, but so similar in lifestyle. It was the quilting that always brought them together. Grandma was born in Horatio Arkansas, the daughter of former slaves, and a strong southern black culture. Nanny was a Choctaw freedwoman, born a slave and raised in the Choctaw Nation. She knew the land, and the country, and would let you know it. Both of them filled my life with the wonders of their country ways and country living.

In the back of their house, they cultivated an incredible vegetable garden together with everything in it from greens, turnips, tomatoes, radishes, beans, corn, onions, and so much more. Chickens provided fresh eggs, and I l loved to watch the chickens eagerly run for the grains of feed that Nanny would toss out to them in the back yard. I had no fear of those chickens, till one day I heard that the rooster had spurred Grandma, and  afterwards I rarely ventured into the back yard, unless someone was with me to watch out for that rooster.

I remember that in the afternoons when it was time to go home that I always would awaken from my afternoon nap in Nanny’s bed and never in Grandma’s bed. As much as I spent time with Grandma in the front of the house, it was Nanny to whom I turned for comfort if scared, for food if hungry for a bed, if sleepy. Plus Nanny would always make me “play pretties”. These were lovely pieces of stitched cloth in pretty designs that she would give to me, and I would use them as anything from doilies, to skirts for my dolls, covers for my head, hankies or anything else my 4 year old imagination could come up with. I would always marvel at the colors. (Of course I would later realize that to simply get me out of the way, when she worked on her quilts, she was simply giving me a quilting square of my own to play with.) And I would be content at least for an afternoon to take my “play pretties” and enjoy myself. How I wish I still had at least one of them, now.

In the mornings, I would have my grown up moments with Nanny, when she would let me taste some of her coffee. She would lace the coffee with lots of “Pet Milk” and lots of sugar, and then pour it into the saucer allowing me blow on it “to let it cool” and I would enjoy sipping Nanny’s coffee from that small saucer. But I would only get to have 1 saucer , and could not have any more because if I had too much, well as she put it, “sugar you won’t grow.” Not sure why the coffee might not let me grow or what that meant, but, it was enough to keep me satisfied. In the afternoon, I would get to sip something else---a taste to this day I still have an appetite for and that was sassafras tea. Nanny would get the sassafras bark from someplace in the area, and she would boil the bark which gave the house the sweetest scent, and that the tea had a flavor that takes me back to my childhood every time I taste it.

Those childhood years were special. And how appropriate to have a theme of Grandma’s hands---for the hands of both of those old ladies bring back so many memories.

With Grandma I would always watch her hands while she quilted, making those tiny stitches and the rocking motion of her right hand through 3 layers of cloth.

With Nanny, from her hands, I would taste the wonderful things that she cooked, and when I awakened from my afternoon nap, hers were the hands that comforted me, as I tried to steal another moment’s sleep.

I recall always touching the veins on the back of her hands, and would watch them roll as I touched the back of her hands so softly. Years after Nanny died and Grandma came to live within our house I would watch her as her hands would turn the pages of her Bible that she read in the afternoons. When we would talk, it was Grandma’s smile that I enjoyed, and when we would have our chats I would watch as her hand would play with the curve at the top her “walking stick”, and old cane that she used in the last 10 years or so of her life.

These are the hands that comforted me during my early years. From their guidance and care, I learned to appreciate quilt making and gardening, and so much more. When I quilt I can almost hear Grandma & Nanny talking, and I can also hear the voices of their friends who came over as well, Mrs. Isabel Dodson, Mrs. Callie King, and Mrs. Zonie (Arizona Folks) who came to help with the quilting. All of them were part of life at Grandma’s house and they would sit in the back of house in Nanny’s room, to work on the quilting frame together.

I miss them both, and I know that from the hands of both of those ladies, I was put on a steady course in life, and I like to think that perhaps their hands are still guiding me in so many ways.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Night the Stars Fell - My Search for Amanda Young

This is a story of how two interest's of mine, merged. I love family history and learning more about the stories of my ancestors. I also am an amateur quilter. My grandmother and gr. grandmother were quilters and I have several of their hand made quilts in my possession today. Imagine my surprise when my love of quilting, would reveal a small piece of data that would help me tell the story of an ancestor and to learn about an incident in her life.

Many of the interviews with ex-slaves taken in the 1930's often spoke about "Night the Starts Fell" and this story is also part of my own family's Oral History. Fortunately, for me, while on a trip to Chicago, I met and visited with an elderly cousin, Frances Swader. As a girl, cousin Frances heard the family matriarch, my gr. great grandmother, Amanda Young, speak about this same event--the night the stars fell.

Cousin Frances, told this story to me and I place it here for further generations to read about and to know of as a pivotal event in the lives of many 19th century slaves.

Since Gr. Gr. Grandmother Amanda continally told this story, I have, as a result, been able to make a more accurate estimate of her birth year for she was about 7 years old when this happened. The story comes from Tennessee, on the estate of Robert Campbell. Amanda was born a slave on Campbell's estate, in Maury County, Tennessee, not far from Columbia. Amanda said she was a small girl, when one night while sleeping in the quarters, someone started screaming outside. Her story continues in the manner in which she told it and how it has been passed down:

"Somebody in the quarters started yellin' in the middle of the night to come out and to look up at the sky.

  We went outside and there they was a fallin' everywhere! Big stars coming down real close to the ground and just before they hit the ground they would burn up! We was all scared. Some of the folks was screamin', and some was prayin'. We all made so much noise, the white folks came out to see what was happenin'. They looked up and then they got scared, too.

"But then the white folks started callin' all the slaves together, and for no reason, they started tellin' some of the slaves who their mothers and fathers was, and who they'd been sold to and where they took 'em. 

The old folks was so glad to hear where their people went. They made sure we all knew what happened.........you see, they thought it was Judgement Day."

Unfortunately, it would be many years before Amanda would be free from enslavement, and she and her parents remained slaves until the Civil War ended. Her husband and son left and joined the Union Army with the US Colored Troops. Her sister shortly afterward emancipated herself and went to a contraband camp in Memphis. But Amanda remained behind waiting for family to reunite. The turmoil of war took her back to that night, when the stars fell.

Perhaps the white slave owner's fear of Judgement Day may have been the one thing that kept Amanda and her family together and not sold apart, but that will not be known. But she was fortunate to have stayed with her family, and her children were never sold from her. But this incident and the events that later brought freedom stayed with her. When she spoke of the past, she would start with the night the stars fell.

My Story, Years Later
Only a few years later, while reading a book of African American quilt makers, I learned about a slave woman called Harriet Powers. She made some of the most unusual and her quilts now hang in the Smithsonian. One of the panels of her quilts described in the book, told the story of the Night the Stars Fell. I was immediately excited to see this referenced!

I quickly took note of the footnotes that gave a detailed description of the Leonid Meteor shower of 1833, and thus the real date of this event was learned. Between November 10th & 12th in 1833, for 3 consecutive nights, North America was witness to this dramatic shower of stars from the heavens. Amanda was only a child in the fall of that year. Her exact birthdate has never surfaced in any records, but this historic reference to a spectacular astronomical event, in addition to our oral history of the Night the Stars Fell, somehow made an estimate of the time of her birth more realistic. Since she was a young girl when this event occurred, I have approximated her age to have been between 7 & 8 years.

This would put her year of birth to be approximately 1826. The Leonid Meteor event of the 19th century has been recorded in many astronomy journals as the most spectacular meteor shower to have been recorded over North America to this date. It was also the most vivid memory of Amanda's childhood, which she spoke of, over and over till her death, in 1920.

Every year on the evening of November 12, in honor of my ancestors I drink a special toast to Amanda and to her family, and to her spirit that continues in our family today, and then I go outside, and watch the stars.

Addendum,  I shared that story with a number of genealogy buddies on the AfriGeneas mailing list.  Some had read slave narratives about the same incident as many former slaves would refer to the night the stars fell. That night that astronomers said would be the best viewing night, several of us bundled  up after midnight and made our own private toasts and prayers to the ancestors.  The meteor shower was indeed spectacular and getting a chance to see what our ancestors saw was a moving experience. We got to see what our ancestors saw and to this day if the skies are clear on the night of the 12 of November, I still go out and watch the stars.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Pages from an Old Bible

Wonderful information can be found in old family Bibles. This entry was made by my gr. grandfather Samuel Walton in 1898.

The Bible came to our family after his widow, my great grandmother Sallie died. For many years I never knew who Lydia was. Not until I discovered a Civil War pension file did the life of Lydia Talkington emerge. I am so thankful for this entry from the old Bible that kept the name of Lydia on my mind.

In addition, I never knew exactly who Houston was, and the notations of his being born in Indian Territory for many years was not clear. Houston was my grandfather's brother.

Now I can not only call their names but I can also tell their story.

My Ancestor's Name

This is my first venture into a new arena where I can share more information about a 20+ year journey I have made seeking the names of my ancestors.

My childhood was sprinkled with the stories told to me by my mother Pauline Moore Walton. She spoke about her grandmother Harriet, who raised her, and of Harriet's life as a slave in Ripley Mississippi. Harriet's mother was Amanda Young, whose husband was a soldier in the Civil War. "What was his name" I asked.  She did not know.  Harriet also had a brother who died in the War, who never returned.  "What was his name?" I asked. She did not know.   I always wanted to know their names.

My father's mother Sarah Ellen Bass Walton was in my life for the first 28 years of my life.  She spoke of her parents Louis Mitchell Bass and Georgia Ann Bass.  I asked her about his family.  She mentioned a brother who had moved to Texas.  "What was his name?" I asked.  She did not know, and could not recall if it was mentioned.  I wanted to know his name.

My dear great grandmother Sallie, was my heart.  She lived with my grandmother Sarah Ellen, and they were the grand old ladies from whom I heard so many stories.  Sallie, like Sarah Ellen was a master quilter and when their friends, other ladies in the community would join them in their quilting projects, I as a young child, would sometimes crawl under the quilting frame that they had set up, and play on the floor with my dolls, they thought.  I was listening to their stories.  They spoke of people and of times I did not understand, but this was important for there were names mentioned that I did not know and I tried in my child's imagination to put those stories together. 

Who were these people about whom they spoke?  I wanted to know their stories and to call their names.

Years have passed and I have found some answers, though many more I still seek.  I have decided to join this arena of blogging to share some of the wonderful stories I have found as I have researched my own family history.

I rearch ancestors from Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi & Tennessee.  I shall post stories pertaining to those searches, each line being so unique. 

From Arkansas, I find my mother's line taking me into Tippah County Mississippi, into Murray County Tennessee.  I search for Amanda Young, and her husband, her son and her parents and have found them. 

From Tennessee, I also find my Bass family from Giles County.  This line eventually landed in SW Arkansas from which three large family clans emerged: Bass, Martin & Dollarhide.  I can call so many more names

From Mississippi, Tippah County takes me on a venture into not only Civil War, but into a network of extended families I never knew.

And Oklahoma the most unique excursion into history, takes me down a path into Indian Territory, where slaves were embedded in Indian tribes.  My own family, extends into the Choctaw Nation, as I explore Sallie's life beginning with documents folded in the family Bible.  I learn of her life as a Choctaw raised woman, and whose traditions and circumstances pointed me to her mother, and grandmother, for I can now call their names as well.

Join me on this venture as I seek to call, My Ancestors' Names.