Amanuensis Monday: Leander Singleton Gilliam, Knights of Pythias

This is an updated post for Amanuensis Monday

Leander Singleton Gilliam
Singleton Family Photo Collection

This is an article that my cousin sent me of my Great Grand Uncle Leander S. Gilliam.  Leander passed as white  during his life in Worcester, MA. He and his family identified with the white population even though they knew they were of African descent.  Leander’s wife was white, and his boys distinctly had “African” blood. However, they lived in the predominately white neighborhoods, and the boys each married white women.Across town, yet not too far away, Leander’s mother, Hannah Singleton-Nelson Gilliam, being very fair herself, lived in the Negro community, served as an active member, and worked for a prominent White family “The Higgins”  as a laundress.  Leander’s mother had been a slave

However, Leander still continued to the end of his days, along with his family descendant line, to continue to pass as white, not knowing their full ancestry. [Of course by now, from this blog post and research, it has been revealed to them.]  Their family was intertwined by the slave owner and the slave…Leander’s father had been a child of the slave owner.

Leander still associated with his family only at night or during times that the family would not be found out.  My grandmother Agnes was sent to Leander’s when she, out of spite, threw black coffee, dregs and all on her grandmother Hannah’s freshly hung laundry.  She stayed there until the wrath of anger simmered down and Agnes could go back home, as Hannah provided care to the family.  Agnes was not introduced as family to strangers, but as a friend, or viewed as a maid.

It is interesting how this happened in many situations throughout history.

Race Gleanings

Freeman Newspaper
October 14, 1905

At Washington D.C. and other cities that have a large Negro population a recent decision of Charles E. Shiveley of Richmond, Ind., supreme chancelor of the Knights of Pythias is causing much comment.

Leander S. Gilliam, a Negro, who is so light of complexion that few people are able to detect his African blood, joined Freedom Lodge, Knights of Pythias, of Worcester, Mass.  Gilliam was such a good fellow that Freedom Lodge refused to drop him from its rolls, even after the fact of his surreptitious advent into the lodge were known.  Charges against the lodge were preferred by K. Warner Kelso, and now, under a decision of Mr. Shiveley, unless the lodge drops Gilliam, it may lose its charter.




The Singleton name is the surname of the Slave Master my family belonged to.  My Great Great Grandmother, it was told me was a child of her Slave Master as were her son a child of the slave owner’s son.  I am still in the stages of proving this, but it is very clear that my Gilliam’s were of African and European descent.    I hope to uncover more of this information so that our families can have a coming together.  It is time for us to embrace our histories, heal and forgive the past.

Amanuensis & Mappy Monday: Hope Cemetery Map And My Ancestors Buried There: Part #1

     I prepared a year before taking my trip to Worcester, MA, as I went for the specific purpose of researching and walking in the spirit of my ancestors.  I was pleased with my results even though my research in the cemetery is not complete.  

     The first thing I did was to print out this really cool map of Hope Cemetery and get the address.  On the Hope Cemetery website, I made inquiries to the Friends of  Hope Cemetery as to specific family members that were possibly buried there.  They do an initial search without a fee.
The Hope Cemetery Map helped me locate the gravesites
of my Ancestors once I arrived on the premises.
119 Webster Street, Worcester, MA
(508) 799-1531

      It was a very cold and rainy day when my daughter and I went to the Hope Cemetery the first day.  We drove around looking for the basic area of where my ancestors were buried.  We were able to find My Great Grandmother Nora Ann (Gilliam) Cully and her son William E. Cully as their tombstone inscriptions were both written behind the other.  We were unable to locate Nora’s husbands headstone Ambrose E. Cully.  At this point, I figured it might have sunk.  A few feet away, I located Jane B Collins headstone with her husbands name inscribed on the back.  I took some photos but most were accidently lost.

Ancestors Headstones
The first two in the front and across from each other.

  On the second day to the cemetery, I went to the cemetery office and inquired about family burial records.  I gave the names of Hannah Gilliam, Jane B. Collins, Ambrose E. Cully, Nora A. Cully and two  male stillborn babies that my Great Grandmother Nora had given birth to.

     Below are the documents that were given to me.  There were other names on the record cards that I had not researched before the trip. 

Section 6767-76
Owner of the Plot: Ambrose E. Cully
Area 108, Paid Nov. 11, 1911 $35
William E. Cully was buried on Sep. 17, 1912 in grave (R F 3).  Nora Ann Cully was buried on Nov. 11, 1911 in grave (R F 2).  Ambrose E. Cully (according to this record was 53.  Not the correct age was buried on May 11, 1925 in Grave (R F 1).

Bottom writing of top card
If you can help with what it says, let me know.

     I tried to interpret what the wording says above.  What I have: F? of L?  B? W? from east side Marker & number on south side

Section 5817-76
Owner: Gilliam, Hannah D. wid Daniel
Perpetual Care: $50
Date May 8, 1905, Price $25

Hannah Gilliam (75) was buried on Feb. 25, 1914, in grave (R F 2).  Sarah A. Moore (60) was buried on Nov. 3, 1909  in grave (R F 1).  Jane Foreman (29) (daughter of Hannah Gilliam) was buried on April 26, 1905 in grave (L F 2)

The last names of the two stillborn infants (Scully) were mis-spelled, should be Cully.  Their grave was a mass grave for babies at the time and it was the generous contribution of a donor that paid for the burials. (Info given by the Hope Cemetery office clerk).
Section  5395-74 P.C. $50 Area 31 1/2
Owner $6  #6909  Paid July 9, 1902
The father of the stillborns were Ambrose E. Cully.  On May 25, 1910 Infant Cully was buried and on July 8, 1902 Infant Cully was buried.  The mother was Nora Ann Cully.  I did not get the opportunity to see the gravesite as I got this information on my second visit, which was a Sunday and did not have time to locate it.

Section 6772-76  Area 117
Owner: Collins, Jane B. widow of Jos. A
Paid $30 on Dec 12, 1911.
Representative: Osborne A. Cully, 504 Wilson Street, Clinton, Mass 1936
Joseph A. Collins (80) was buried on Nov 27 1911 in grave (R F 1). Jane B. Collins (85) was buried on Sep. 14, 1925 in grave (R F 2).  Nora, Cully* (24) was buried on April 1, 1936 in Grave (L F 2).

Note: Reserve L F 1 for Floyd O Cully on order of Osborne Cully.  Notify him of any other burial.

This last card answered some questions for me.  I did not have a death record for Osborne Cully but knew he died young.  I know for sure that he died after April 1936 since his sister Nora Cully died on April 1, 1936.  *Nora Cully was named after her mother Nora as her mother died after giving birth to Nora Jr.  Another interesting fact in this last card is that Floyd O. Cully is not buried at Hope Cemetery in Worcester but a cemetery in Lynn, MA, as he died in later years, and much after his Uncle Osborne Cully.  Floyd O. Cully was Nora A. Cully Jr.’s son.

My relations to each of these ancestors below:

Buried @ Hope Cemetery

Ambrose E. Cully: Great Grandfather
Nora A. Cully: Great Grandmother
William E. Cully: Grand Uncle
Joseph A. Collins: 2nd Great Grand Uncle
Jane B. Collins: 2nd Great Grand Aunt
Nora Cully, Jr.: Grand Aunt
Hannah  D. Gilliam: 2nd Great Grandmother
Sarah A. Moore: No relation documented
Jane B. Foreman: Great Grand Aunt
Cully, Infant #1: Grand Uncle
Cully, Infant #2: Grand Uncle

Mentioned on Burial Cards:

Osborne A. Cully: Grand Uncle
Floyd O. Cully: 1st Cousin 1x Removed
Daniel Gilliam: 2nd Great Grandfather

Hannah D. Gilliam and Jane B. Collins are sisters.
Hannah’s children are: Nora A. Cully, Sr. and Jane B. Foreman

I will be researching the relationship of Sarah A. Moore.  

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Amanuensis Monday: Christmas Letter 1981, Christmas Memories

My mother wrote a Christmas letter every year. It is really cool to read these letters becasue frankly I forgot many of the years of my childhood and these definitely sparks my memory. Here is one I found and decided to share.

Season’s Greetings”I was hungry and you formed a humanities club to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned and you crept off quietly and prayed for my release.
I was naked and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick and you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless and you preached to me the spiritual shelter of God’s love.
I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me.

You seem so holy, so close to God.
But, I am still very hungry and lonely and cold.”

December 21, 1981

Dear Friends and Relatives,
     Here’s another Christmas letter from “old reliable.”  There are a few of you I haven’t heard from in quite some time.  Too bad!  We are interested in you and in the events in your lives.  For most of you, however, your yearly (or more often) communications give us a warm feeling crossed between “social security” and “Roots”, and we love you dearly for helping to keep our relationships alive!

     Walter’s job category has changed.  He’s now Dean of Student Services at the same institution-The Educational Cultural Complex.  It makes for a much better family life, because now he doesn’t have to work so many evenings.

     Marshall is in the tenth grade.  He attends Patrick Henry High School.  He “made” the Jr. Varsity basketball team!  This keeps him quite busy, and the feeling of succeeding is great for his self-image.  At age 15, he’s around 6 feet 3 inches tall, and still growing!  His clothing bill is staggering!

     Yvette is a very pretty thirteen and one-half year old in the eighth grade at Lewis Jr. High School.  This past summer a very silly boy shot her in the leg with a “BB” gun!  It was considered wise not to remove it, so we keep a careful watch.  She is very interested in dramatics, and we’re going to try to get her into our “Junior Theatre” program in Balboa Park.

     I’m at the same school in the same room.  This year I have a 5/6 Gifted Cluster class.  I just finished training a terrific Student Teacher and will start-in on another one in January-and so it goes!

     We couldn’t resist returning to Lake Tahoe for our family vacation.  This time we stayed in a cabin in West Lake Tahoe.  “Wally” hit the Jackpot in Carson City, Nevada on our anniversary!  Such fun!  We also went to cute, quaint Virginia City, Nevada and saw Mark Twain’s desk, among other things.  Our friends, Ed and Yvonne Crute joined us in Tahoe.  It was great!

     Best wishes to you all for health, safety, love and security.  Let’s all hold good thoughts for world peace.  Much love,
Walter, Marshall, Yvette and Betty Porter, by B

Amanuensis Monday: The Death of Mattie Bernice Dove

Researching People, their names, their relationships, their communities, and the places they live, I discovered this death certificate of Mattie B Dove. I have come across many documents of the sort, but I rarely see a Certificate of Death that lists homicide as the cause.

Mattie B Dove Death Certificate
     In The County of Craven, Township #8, of the City of New Bern, North Carolina, Mattie B. Dove of T-2 340 Craven Terrace, New Bern, NC died at the Craven County Hospital on 08 March 1967.
     Mattie was a female, negro and married.  Her date of birth was 18 August 1933 and she died at the age of 33.  Her mother was Ethel Morris with no father named. Her husband was Alvin Dove.
     Mattie’s immediate cause of death was *Decubitus ulcers and emaciation due to transection of the spinal cord.  The interval between onset and death of both was five (5) months.  Her death was determined to be a homicide as a man pushed her on the back of her head and neck.  The date of her injury was *15 October 1966, and happened probably on the street in New Bern, NC.
     Mattie was buried on 13 March 1967 at the Trenton Cemetery in Trenton, Jones County, North Carolina.

Mattie’s death certificate was filed on April 6, 1967.

*Decubitus Ulcers are “bed sores” or pressure sores from being in a laying down position for long periods of time.  For more information on transection of the Spinal Cord go to this link Here

This is a supplemental report to the cause of death (Homicide)
Mattie Dove.
Information on Ancestry

Item 20a completed for HOMICIDE

As per newspaper clipping attached (from Sun Journal New Bern N.C. of 5/24/67.

Grand Jury Cites
Negro in Murder

A true bill of indictment charging Franklin Hoskins, Negro of New Bern, with murder was returned here this week by the Craven County Grand jury, according to court records.
He is charged with the capital crime in the death of Mattie Dove, Negro of New Bern here on *October 14, 1966.

*There is a conflict between the Death Certificate and the newspaper article as to the date of the crime by one day October 14, 1966 or October 15, 1966.

Further investigation I found that Mattie’s middle name was Bernice.

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Amanuensis Monday: Daddy of Forty-Seven, Not My Daddy…

     I am spending my days reading newspapers from 1790-1960’s, and looking at the historical attitudes and happenings of the days in the areas of Massachusetts and North Carolina.  I came across this article and was kinda shocked at the number of children this man procreated.

25 March 1922
Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, North Carolina

NEW BERN, March 24-

A.S. Shields, a negro preacher who is the father of 47 children, celebrated his 72nd birthday today with a fair gathering of his children around him.  All but five of his children are living.  He married a second time 18 years ago and has had 17 children by this marriage.  Shields was a slave in a family of which representative Claude Kitchin and former Governor W.W. Kitchin are members.  He preaches his sermons  in a church he owns himself.