migration from Alabama

Studio shots, no. 212: Minnie Bell Florence Barnes Bolton.

Minnie Bell Florence Barnes Bolton (1905-1986)¬†at Sparrow’s Beach, a Black-owned resort on Maryland’s Annapolis Neck Peninsula that catered to African-American families across the mid-Atlantic states.

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In the 1910 census of Dothan, Houston County, Alabama: washwoman Lizzie Larry, 37, widow, and children Florence A., 15, Jeff, 12, Anna B., 11, Claudie, 9, Thomas, 8, Rosa B., 6, and Minnie B., 3.

On 1 January 1918, Ardella Florence, 24, of Wilson, daughter of Dave and Lizzie Larry of Alabama, married Jackson Matthews, 22, of Wilson, son of Precious and Sarah Matthews of Alabama.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jackson Matthews, 24, farmer; wife Adelle, 24; daughter Minnie, 12; and brother Adol, 19; all born in Alabama.

Om 25 December 1923, James M. Barnes, 23, of Black Creek, married Minnie Bell Florence, 19, of Black Creek, in Black Creek. Primitive Baptist elder Robert Edwards performed the ceremony in the presence of L.E. Grice, Murray Dew, and Calvin Woodard.

In the 1930 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: laborer James M. Barnes, 29; wife Minnie, 23; and son James, 5.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Pine Street, private family cook Minnie B. Barnes, 24 [sic], and son James, 15.

In the 1950 census of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Maryland: at 1032 Monument Street, 2nd Floor, domestic worker Minnie Barnes, 42, separated, born in Alabama, and son James, 26, born in North Carolina, laborer at bathtub manufacturing company.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Barnes_PA.

Studio shots, no. 211: Adele Lawrey Florence Matthews.

Adele Lawrey Florence Matthews (1890-1960).

Migration into Wilson County from Alabama was relatively unusual. However, Adele Lawrey Florence arrived around the time of World War I (as did Jackson Matthews, whom she would marry in Wilson), and a few years later her mother Lizzie Lofton Lawrey (also spelled Larry), siblings, and grandmother Amanda Lofton also came. The family remained in Wilson for a few decades before migrating further north to Baltimore, Maryland.

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In the 1900 census of Precint 6 Rutledge, Crenshaw County, Alabama: day laborer Dave Lowery, 45; wifee Lizzie, 40; and children Addell, 10, Jeff D., 8, Annie Bell, 7, Claudie, 4, and Thomas, 1.

On 2 May 1904, Adele Lairy married Jink Florence in Crenshaw County, Alabama.

In the 1910 census of Dothan, Houston County, Alabama: washwoman Lizzie Larry, 37, widow, and children Florence A., 15, Jeff, 12, Anna B., 11, Claudie, 9, Thomas, 8, Rosa B., 6, and Minnie B., 3.

On 1 January 1918, Ardella Florence, 24, of Wilson, daughter of Dave and Lizzie Larry of Alabama, married Jackson Matthews, 22, of Wilson, son of Precious and Sarah Matthews of Alabama.

In the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: Jackson Matthews, 24, farmer; wife Adelle, 24; daughter Minnie, 12; and brother Adol, 19; all born in Alabama.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 405 Pine Street, laundress Adele Matthews, 45, and lodger Sarah McMullen, 23.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Lee Street, Lizzie Larry, 49, widow; mother Mandy Lofty, 100, widow, born in Virginia; daughter Anabel Larry, 28, laundress; and grandsons John H., 12, and M.C., 13. All the Larrys were born in Alabama. [In the 1920 census of Bradleyton township, Crenshaw County, Alabama: Filbert Lofton, 75, farmer, and wife Mandie, 85, born in Virginia. Mandy Lofton had most likely been carried south during slavery and had made a reverse migration of sorts.]

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 204 Lee Street, Annabel Larry, 36, laundress, and mother Lizzie, 65, both born in Alabama.

Photo courtesy of Ancestry.com user Barnes_PA.

Australian?

Fourteen year-old Lessie Manor, described as “colored,” died of heart disease in April 1927. She was a student living in Saratoga township, and her parents were listed as M.E. Manor and Minnie Henderson. Of Australia and Arizona. … What?

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Lessie’s birthplace was also listed as Arizona, though the person completing the form had begun to write “California” in the field. It is not impossible that Australians and Arizonans were living in Saratoga in the 1920s, but it’s unlikely. Did “colored” mean Aborigine? Native American? What is the story here?

A little digging turns up Lessie’s sister’s death certificate.

Lena Mainor died 16 October 1923 at the Colored Hospital in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was Negro and was born 17 August 1908 in North Carolina to M.E. Mainor of Milburn, Australia, and Minnie Henderson of Arizona.

Lessie and Lena’s mother’s death certificate yields important answers. Minnie Maynard, colored, died in March 1920 in Wilson township. Her birthplace? Troy, Alabama. Her parents were described as Alabama-born as well. M.E. Maynard was informant. The Arizona attribution, then, began after Minnie Maynard’s death.

M.E. Mainor remarried quickly. On 10 October 1920, in Black Creek, M.E. Mainor, 31, colored, of Wilson, son of Charles and Julia Mainor of Alabama, married Rebecca Blackman, 19, colored, of Black Creek, daughter of Green and Lizzie Blackman. A.M.E. Zion minister B.J. Kornegay performed the ceremony in the presence of John Ellis, Lira Clay, and Joseph Clay. (Per the 1920 census of Black Creek township, Blackman was a Georgia native and was black.)

Rebecker Maynard died 7 June 1928 in Black Creek township. Per her death certificate, she was colored; was born 13 May 1903 in Wilson County to Green Blackwell of Caseda, Georgia, and Lizzie Burk of Steward County, Georgia; was married to M.E. Maynard; and farmer for Wade Brooks.

Evilla Rebecca Brown died in 1973 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Her death certificate, with information provided by sister Lucille Speight of Stantonsburg, identified her parents as Moyed Efford Maynor and Rebecca Blackmon. And she was Negro.

Evidence of Lessie and Lena Maynor’s death certificates notwithstanding, it appears that the family was African-American and its roots were in Alabama.

He supposes it’s a boll weevil.

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Wilson Daily Times, 24 December 1919.

By 1922, there was no longer any question that boll weevils could thrive in North Carolina. The rapacious insect was not eradicated in the state until 1987.

  • Jim Summerlin — in the 1940 census of Saratoga township, Wilson County: Jim Summerlin, 59, farmer, born in Alabama; wife Rosa, 57, born in Alabama; and son Lucius, 14, born in North Carolina; plus, lodger Olvin Horne, 17, farm laborer.