Wordless Wednesday: A Visit at Hope Cemetery, Worcester MA

A visit to Hope Cemetery, Worcester MA on April 2, 2011. Visiting my Great Grandmother Nora Ann Cully and her son Willie E Cully. One headstone for two Ancestors; engraved on both sides.

Nora Ann Cully
Nora Ann Cully
At Rest
William “Willie” E. Cully
Died Young
Willie Cully

What Happens to A Dream Deferred?

When I think about the process of writing my mother’s memoirs of Sugar Hill, my mind reflects on  Langston Hughes and one of his famous poems, “A Dream Deferred”.

What Happens to A Dream Deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over?
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

I will not allow my mother’s dream of being published die and rot.  I feel the urgency of her stories wanting to be shared.  Did she feel like Langston Hughes when he scribed these words on paper? She deferred her dreams of pursuing her career in journalism, because as she put it, “Discrimination was live and well” and “I must be practical.”  She took no risk…Why?

I could hear her say, “One day I will…”  “One day when I have time..”

That time never came…or did it?

“Does the Dream come first or does the dreamer?”

Is it the dreamer that moves on?  Is it the Dream that remains?  Who will pick up the mantel of the dream?

Will it be you?

I will not listen to the word, “wait!”  “We have waited far too long!”

“Why must we wait?”

“If not now?


Tombstone Tuesday: Joseph A. & Jane B. (Ellis-Nelson) Collins

On April 2, 2011, My daughter and I arrived at the Hope Cemetery in Worcester, MA. We were on our Family History Trip to research and visit the gravesites of our Cully, Collins and Gilliam Ancestors.

It had been a wet, cold and windy day, but it happened to warm up a little bit when we arrived at the cemetery.  I prepared a few months before coming to Worcester, MA from San Diego, CA by printing a map and inquiring to the office the locations of where my ancestors rested.  

When I began looking, I thought that I was not going to be able to find the location as the weather kept shifting.  Even though I had a map, it was still very difficult to see the signs and compare them to the map.

Hope Cemetery was spread out, and I had to drive around to find the location. I am so thankful for my daughter Victoria, as she read the map much better than myself and guided me to where I needed to go.

Of course, we eventually found some of the headstones.  The headstones for my family were very tiny and the engraving was difficult to read as they were limestone markers.

Here is a headstone of my Great Grand Uncle Joseph A. Collins, born in North Carolina and migrated to Worcester, MA in the early 1870’s after the Civil War.

Joseph A Collins
According to the marriage registrar of Craven County, NC,  Jane B. Ellis was married to Joseph A. Collins prior to Aug 20 1866. They were cohabitating as husband and wife.  In the 1900 Census, they reported they were married in 1860.

In the 1900 Census, Joseph is listed as being born in 1831 and Jane being born in 1830.  The year is difficult to determine as I have found various years.
Jane B Collins
Jane B. Collins was the sister of my 2x Great Grandmother Hannah D. (Singleton-Nelson) Gilliam.  They both carried the Nelson surname, but they both had different slave-owner surnames.

When My Great Grandmother Nora Ann Gilliam Cully, Sr. passed away in 1911, my Great Uncle Raymond Mansfield Cully, Sr. and Great Aunt Nora Ann Cully, Jr. were raised by their Aunt Jane Collins.  

According to my Cousin Ray, his father Raymond Cully dropped out of school as a teenager, so he could help provide for his Aunts household. He also took care of his Aunt Jane when she became ill.

(Note)  Jane B. Collins was mentioned in First Fruits of Freedom, by Jeanette Greenwood.

Finding Burton Deane

I wrote the first draft of chapter #1 for “A Taste of Sugar Hill” a few days ago. The first chapter was in my mother’s words; a recollection of a date she went on with Burton Deane around 1948. Now I don’t recollect of ever hearing of Burton.

After transcribing Betty’s story, I decided I wanted to know more about this man.  I decided to research Burton through genealogy records and city directories.

Burton was born in New York and went to school with my mother Betty.  Burton was born the same year as Betty, and from my mother’s notes, he had served in World War II.  I went online to Ancestry.com and found Burton’s 1930 Census in New York.  I also looked up his WWII record, and found it.  From there, I decided to look up his name in the death index before trying to find him through city directories.

I could not find Burton in the death index, so I felt confident that he had to still be living.  I decided to put a family tree together for Burton, which included his parents from the 1930 Census.  I attached the WWII document to his tree and then I began to look for information in the various city directories.  Burton Deane showed up in a Florida directory from 1998.  The number was listed, but I was unsure if this was the correct Burton as there were many others, and I was unsure if the phone still belonged to this Burton.

I waited till the next day to call.  When I called a lady answered the phone, who identified herself as his wife, once I had told her who I was and why I was calling.  I shared the story with her, and she informed me that he was busy and I would need to call back.

I called back that evening and Mrs. Deane answered the phone.  She was very excited that I called back, and started to share with me about her husband.  She then had me speak with him.

Without revealing anything, he confirmed the story my mother wrote, and we talked for a little while.  Mr. Burton shared with me that he was a retired Biochemist/Clinical Chemist.  We exchanged emails so that we could share family photos.  I received these photo’s on February 24, 2012.

The Deane’s
Their three children in the photo in background

Burton Deane

Mr. Deane was very glad that someone who knew someone from his past had contacted him.  We promised to stay in touch.