Thriller Thursday: John Culley Drowned

I ordered Newspaper Obituaries from the Kellenberger Room at the New Bern, NC Public Library, with the Culley/Cully Surname.  I believe that John Culley is a relative, and still looking for the full family line link. One obituary really had me questioning if the drowning of John Culley was really an accident, because the way the story was told.  I felt like it was a cover-up!  What do you think?

New Bern Weekly Journal 2/28/1905, pg 4 col 1

[Transcribed]

Well Known Colored Man The Victim of an Accident Thursday Night

John Culley, a well known colored man was drowned in Swift Creek near Vanceboro at about 8 o’clock Thursday night.  The news did not reach here until late Friday night when two of the young men who were with him arrived and announced the tidings.

The circumstances of the accident are that Culley was intoxicated in Vanceboro and the officer had threatened to put him under arrest.  His companions, Claude Gilerist and Tom White were anxious to get him into a boat so as to avoid having him arrested.  They had two boats, one a small row boat with which the went from a large flat anchored mid stream to the land.  They got Culley in the row boat all right but in endeavoring to put him on the flat, the smaller boat was pushed away and in their efforts to get back the boat was turned over.  All three men and the contents going into deep water.  Culley, although a good swimmer sank and was drowned.  The two men had hard work saving themselves.  A quantity of ammunition, one shot gun and two or three bottles of whiskey were lost.

The men spent all day Friday and yesterday in trying to recover the body but up to a late hour last evening they were unsuccessful.  A tug was sent up from this city to assist in finding him.

 John Culley was a cripple and was one of the best known colored men in the city.  He has followed the occupation of raising sunken logs from the river bottom and was very successful in it.  He often returned to the city towing a big raft of logs that he had taken in this way.  He was a very industrious man and had the respect of the entire community for his thrifty habits.

There was an apparent court case surrounding John Cully’s death.  I am really interested in knowing how the jurors came up with their verdict.  Today’s technologies may have proved these two young men guilty of murder.

New Bern Weekly Journal 3/28/1905, Pg 4, Col 1

[Transcribed]

The verdict in the John Cully drowning was death by
accidental drowning.  The remains were buried at

When I have the opportunity, my next step to find out more about the investigation and the court case, is to request the information from the New Bern County Court House.  I am also interested in knowing if the men with him were White and what their actual relationship was.  Normally, I would not pose that question, but placing the incident in historical context as to what the racial environment of the day was, I believe it to be very important.

Wedding Wednesday: The Greene’s and the Porter’s

 Mr. and Mrs. William and Yvonne Greene
William Bradford Greene and Yvonne LaFargue
William Bradford Greene was my Godfather, and served as California State Senator for 17 years.  He represented South Central Los Angeles and the cities of South Gate, Cudahy, Compton and Bell.  The couple was probably married in the early 60’s.
 My Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Walter and Betty Porter
Parents Wedding announcement
Parents Wedding Certificate

Married August 18, 1957

Walter J. Porter and Betty Mae Peters

Wordless Wednesday: Henry Hodge

Henry Hodge: Born November 21, 1929
Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri
Adopted: Left on doorstep as a baby, and raised by his grandparents.
Henry Hodge, abt 2yrs old
Henry Hodge at 8 years old

Photos found in Henry’s Garage.  Henry is 81 years old and still going strong!

Tombstone Tuesday (Wendell Culley and Zara Cully Brown)

My Daughter Tori and I placing flowers on Wendell Culley’s unmarked Grave

Summer of 2010, My daughter and I went to locate my Great Uncle Wendell Phillip Culley’s grave and headstone.  Wendell was born January 8, 1906-May 8, 1983. Wendell was a jazz musician from Worcester, MA and played trumpet for Sissle Noble, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and played on over 200 recordings for many other singers and musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn. Wendell was one of Zara Cully Brown’s from the “Jefferson’s” younger brothers.  Much to my surprise there was no headstone.  There will be some family efforts to get Wendell a marker on his Grave. Our loved one’s should never be forgotten.

Location of Grave:
Rose Hills Memorial Park
Whittier
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Garden of Affection, Sec 9, Lot 3149 Grave 4

Zara Cully Brown, listed are her husband and two of her children.

Photo by Scott Michaels

Location of Gravesite:  Photos from Findagrave.com
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Glendale
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Freedom Mausoleum, Columbarium of Victory

Photo by A.J. Marik: Zara Cully Brown’s wall nitch

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

Amanuensis Monday: Newspaper Articles Agnes Cully Peters (My Grandmother)

My Grandmother Agnes Cully Peters was a Fashion Designer in Harlem, New York. I grew up knowing this fact about my Grandmother, that she sewed for Marian Anderson and other well known performers, but the only hard evidence that I had was my Mother’s stories, and a couple of pictures.

When I went on my Family History Research Trip to Harlem, one of the first places I went was the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. I immediately went searching for any and all articles on my family and their very close friends.  I had great success!  Below are a few articles of documentation.

New York Amsterdam News, Nov. 18, 1939
[Transcribed]
Marian Anderson’s Modiste
MARIAN ANDERSON, America’s Number 1 contralto, has engaged
Mrs. Agnes Cully Peters, Modiste, of 460 West 147th Street, to
design an make her clothes for a year.  For a long time the singer has
had many of the European experts to attend to that important detail
for her and they certainly have done an excellent job.  However, since
she could not go abroad this season, Miss Anderson has decide to
give that job to one of her own race-and she should be commended
for doing so.

(Modiste, a maker of fashionable clothing and accessories, with the implication that the articles made reflect the current Parisfashions.)

The article above stated that Agnes would design Marian’s clothes for a year, but she did many years after, and through the 1950’s.  Below is another article dated in 1949.
 [Transcribed]
MARIAN ANDERSON, best dressed women, is proud no end of the talents of Agnes Cully Peters who designs all of her street clothes. She considers Agnes a blessing to keep her in style since she has so little time for shopping. Miss Anderson will be a guest of honor when Agnes stages her “New Look” fashion show at the Club Sudan on the 23rd……