Posts Tagged With: alabama

The Lynching of Reuben Sims

Mr. Reuben Sims is the only documented lynching victim in Baldwin County, Alabama between 1877 to 1950.

Since he was the “only one” I wanted to try to find out a little more about the circumstances surrounding his lynching. Mr. Reuben Sims’ lynching made it in to newspapers across the country.

Below are some articles I found relating to Mr. Reuben Sims’ murder.

reuben simsFri, Apr 29, 1904 – 4 · The Prattville Progress (Prattville, Alabama) · Newspapers.com

 

Fri, May 13, 1904 – Page 2 · The Atmore Record (Atmore, Alabama) · Newspapers.com

 

Sun, Aug 28, 1904 – 15 · The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Newspapers.com

 

Thu, Nov 3, 1904 – 3 · The Baldwin Times (Bay Minette, Alabama) · Newspapers.com

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Day trip to Montgomery

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Last week I traveled to Georgia to visit some family, since the part of Georgia I was in was under a three hour drive from Montgomery, Alabama. I decided to take a day trip there. I planned to go to Alabama Department of Archives & History, the Legacy Museum, the National Memorial For Peace and Justice and to visit my cousin Frank.

Our first stop was the Legacy Museum  located at 115 Coosa Street.

“The Legacy Museum:  From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration opened to the public on April 26, 2018, in Montgomery, Alabama. The 11,000-square-foot museum is built on the site of a former warehouse where enslaved black people were imprisoned, and is located midway between an historic slave market and the main river dock and train station where tens of thousands of enslaved people were trafficked during the height of the domestic slave trade. Montgomery’s proximity to the fertile Black Belt region, where slave-owners amassed large enslaved populations to work the rich soil, elevated Montgomery’s prominence in domestic trafficking, and by 1860, Montgomery was the capital of the domestic slave trade in Alabama, one of the two largest slave-owning states in America.” (museumandmemorial.eji.org)

I went through a number of emotions while in the museum, I went from sad once I entered, then I begin to get mad half way through viewing the timeline on the wall. Before exiting I was happy that this museum exist, I definitely recommend visiting the Legacy Museum while in Montgomery.

Photo from museumandmemorial.eji.org

 

Next, we went to the National Memorial For Peace and Justice located at 417 Caroline Street. I believe there is free shuttle service from the museum to the memorial, if you feel like driving your car, there is plenty of parking at the memorial (well I went on a Monday and there was plenty of parking for me) you can also walk to the memorial which will take you about 16 minutes.

“The Memorial for Peace and Justice was conceived with the hope of creating a sober, meaningful site where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality.  EJI partnered with artists like Kwame Akoto-Bamfo whose sculpture on slavery confronts visitors when they first enter the memorial. EJI then leads visitors on a journey from slavery, through lynching and racial terror, with text, narrative, and monuments to the lynching victims in America. In the center of the site, visitors will encounter a memorial square, built in collaboration with MASS Design Group. The memorial experience continues through the civil rights era made visible with a sculpture by Dana King dedicated to the women who sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  Finally, the memorial journey ends with contemporary issues of police violence and racially biased criminal justice expressed in a final work created by Hank Willis Thomas. The memorial displays writing from Toni Morrison and Elizabeth Alexander, words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a reflection space in honor of Ida B. Wells.” (museumandmemorial.eji.org)

It was eerily quiet walking under the steel monuments, it was 95 degrees and I got chills.

 

Below are some of the picture I took while at the memorial.

 

Next stop was Alabama Department of Archives & History located at 624 Washington Ave. It was about 1:30 PM by the time we got to the archives and I planned on getting an hour of research in. To my surprise the research room is closed on Monday’s (I should have checked the hours of operation, rookie mistake) but I did learn the research room will be now be open every Saturday.

 

Our last stop was to visit cousin Frank, we met about five years ago through our cousin Sonny, whom I met via ancestry.com. My great great grandfather and cousin Frank’s grandfather were brothers.

 

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Newspapers.com find

My 2x Great Aunt Rebecca E. Burke Tompkins is featured in this article I found the other day on newspapers.com I felt really proud and happy when I found this article, I could only imagine how she felt or the rest of our family felt.

 

If you are not utilizing newspapers in your research you should really think twice about it because you can really find some gems and get a better look into your relatives lives.

 

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02 Sept. 1909

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 An Honest Man’s the Noblest Work of God. Pt. 1

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Photo taken by Monika Cantrell (for findagrave.com)

My Great Uncle Duffie was only 25 years old when he was died, the circumstances of Uncle Duffie’s death was sort of a mystery to me for many years. I knew he had been shot but didn’t know by whom or for what. I’ve heard family stories of a family member being behind his death but I didn’t and at this point I still don’t have any real proof that family member had anything to do with his murder.

While at RootsTech 2018 I stopped by the Genealogybank.com exhibit booth and was able to search on their computers and during my search I came across an article in The Macon Daily Telegraph Newspapers from 01 Jul 1923 about Uncle Duffie’s death. This was the first time I had seen anything regarding his murder. The article was a little difficult to read due to a fold in the paper. I contacted Washington Memorial Library in Macon, GA which houses The Macon Daily Telegraph archives but they had the same folded copy I had. I did some more searching this time using Newspapers.com. I   had to played around with keyword before I found another article in The Montgomery Advertiser also dated 01 Jul 1923. The article is almost identical to the one I found in The Macon Daily Telegraph. 

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Clipping from The Montgomery Advertiser Sunday, July 1, 1923 via Newspapers.com

 

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Clipping from The Montgomery Advertiser Sunday, July 1, 1923 via Newspapers.com

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Clipping from The Montgomery Advertiser Sunday, July 1, 1923 via Newspapers.com

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Clipping from The Montgomery Advertiser Sunday, July 1, 1923 via Newspapers.com

 

 I intend to continue the search for more information regarding Uncle Duffie’s murder.

 

 

 

 

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Clotilda

 

“Relying on historical records and accounts from old timers, AL.com may have located the long-lost wreck of the Clotilda, the last slave ship to bring human cargo to the United States. What’s left of the ship lies partially buried in mud alongside an island in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta, a few miles north of the city of Mobile. The hull is tipped to the port side, which appears almost completely buried in mud. The entire length of the starboard side, however, is almost fully exposed. The wreck, which is normally underwater, was exposed during extreme low tides brought on by the same weather system that brought the “Bomb Cyclone” to the Eastern Seaboard. Low tide around Mobile was about two and a half feet below normal thanks to north winds that blew for days.” For more on this discovery visit (al.com)

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October 25th

Jesse Cox

98 years ago today my Grandpa, Jesse Cox was born and 65 years ago today he was hit by a car and killed.

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Source: The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) · Mon, Oct 27, 1952 · Page 1

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The “Mayor of Douglasville”

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Photo obtained via Ancestry.com

Last night I was doing a research and came across the Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves; Volume: I; State: Alabama (click here )Compiled by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, there are over 2300 individual accounts of slavery, and 500 photos of former slaves. Information may include surnames of interviewees, birthplaces, ages, parents names, former slave owners, and interview location.

I found Mr. Abe Whitess on page 423 he was born in Mississippi and worked on Colonel Rupert’s plantation in Butler County, Alabama after he was freed. Mr. Whitess moved down to Bay Minette, Alabama. I have a large portion of family down there so of course, I wanted to know a little bit more about him. Mr. Whites worked odd jobs and became the chairman of the republican party, according to his interview. Mr. Whitess even owned 14 acres of land, he donated part of his land to open a part Douglasville, the area of Bay Minette he resided in, for a public road. After doing that the people pf the community, mostly African American dubbed Mr. Whitess the “Mayor of Douglasville”. I plan to read more interviews, I find their stories really interesting and it gives me a glimpse into what life was like for an enslaved person.

Checkout Mr. Whitess’ interview below.

 

 

Source Citation

Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.; Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves; Volume: I; State: Alabama

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The Little Red Schoolhouse

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Photo By:Tasia

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Photo By:Tasia

The Blakeley School also known as the Little Red Schoolhouse was built in 1920 in Bromley Baldwin County, AL by the families in the community. The school’s  first teacher was Mrs. Rebecca E. Burke Tompkins and my grandmother’s grand aunt. The last time I was in Bay Minette, my mom, aunts and uncles and I stopped by the Little Red Schoolhouse which is on the property of Baldwin County Board of Education in Bay Minette. Soon the school will be moved to the Bicentennial Park in Stockton. I think this was the first time they had seen the school since they each attended many, years ago. I am always glad to be a part of moments like this as well as share them with others.

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Dock Walker’s Homestead

This past October I took a trip with most of my mom’s siblings to Bromley, Baldwin County, Alabama. In an earlier blog post I posted pictures of them going to the Westview Cemetery,(Click Here). The seven minute video shows of two of my mom’s order brothers visiting the homestead of their grandfather Dock Walker Sr.

 

Bromley from Tasia on Vimeo.

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Research Road Trip:Touching HerStory


One of my stops was to the Westview Cemetery in Bromley, Baldwin County, Alabama. I had been to the cemetery two times previously but this time was special. This was the first time since my mother and six of her siblings had been back to Bromley to visit all at the same time. Most of them had not even been to this cemetery where both their father’s family and mother’s family were buried. Me being the genealogist of the family I explained certain relationships to them since some of those folks they never even heard of. It was kinda cool looking at them taking pictures of their ancestors. I made sure I touched all of my female ancestors headstones buried in the Westview Cemetery, I am truly blessed that they have headstones and the cemetery is for the for most part kept up. Some people don’t know where their grandparents are buried and I am able to put my hand on and still read the headstone of Diniah Burke my great great great grandmother. Minnie Belle Stacks, my great great grandmother and Diniah’s daughter. Lillie Walker my great grandmother and her mother Emma Watson, my great great grandmother. Next time I go visit the cemetery I hope I have some of the younger folks with me so I can show them their history.

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