From Jacksonville: Zara Cully Brown

I made travels to New York in 2010 and copied pages and pages of articles, advertisements and announcements that pertained to various ancestors.

Some of these ancestors I knew, and some I did not..and for some, I was fortunate to hear stories about them.  I however knew my Aunt Zara.  She was an actress in Hollywood and played Mother Jefferson on the “Jefferson’s”.  I  was 10 years old when she died.  I didn’t  know the early life of Zara as she was born in the 1890’s…so piecing the puzzle together, and putting skin on the bones of who she was has been most rewarding.

Here is an article written in the Chicago Defender (National Editon) on December 24, 1927 where my maternal Great Aunt, Zara Cully Brown is mentioned.

 

[Transcribed Top portion]

FROM JACKSONVILLE

By CAPANA

The presentation of Damon and Pythias was a great success recently in Jacksonville, Fla.  The participants did their parts well and the huge audience showed their appreciation by heartily applauding.

Dr. R. L. Brown, one of the leading physicians of the town and a very able dramatic actor, did the role of Damon and really was at his best.

Miss Thomas cleverly did the part of Calanthe and  Mr. Hines as Pythias was perfect in casting.

The play was elegantly costumed and was abundant with scenic splendors.  The presentation was ably directed by Mrs. Zara Cully Brown.

 

 

In the article above, Zara Cully Brown is a participant as a dramatic reader at the St. James Presbyterian Church in Harlem, New York.  This is the church my mother was a member of and had her confirmation here.  I visited this church in April 2010.  The Church was amazing!

I could sense my ancestors as I walked and worshiped in the very place they acted out their weekly routines.  Zara was a dramatic reader in Worcester, MA, in Florida, and she continued doing this in New York in December of 1939.  Zara also was faithful to helping others that were sick and shut-in.

I have so many articles to share and will continue to do so.  If you are interested in seeing more, you can go to the Category “Family and Friends in the News” under the Picture Tab.

 

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 2-Photograph

This is one of my favorite older photo’s of my Great Aunt, Hannah Sidney (Cully) Brown. She was born on December 10, 1891 in Worcester, MA. She was a pianist and Jazz singer. She was the second to the oldest child of the Ambrose & Nora Cully Clan.

I chose Hannah’s photo today because I have always been drawn to her, and my mother always talked about her Aunt Hannah, as she was with her when she died. Hannah died on November 25, 1932 in Jacksonville, Duval, Florida of Breast Cancer and I want to remind all women that we must get our yearly mammograms, and do our monthly self-exams to ensure we are taking the right preventions against Breast Cancer!

Hannah and her sister Zara (who played on the “Jeffersons” the tv sitcom) both married Brown brothers. Hannah was married to Elvin Wesley Brown, who my mother called “Unkie”.

Document Day: Elvin Wesley Brown, World War I & World War II Registration Cards

     Elvin Wesley Brown was the husband of my Great Aunt Hannah Sidney Cully.  After Aunt Hannah died of breast cancer in November 25, 1932, Elvin moved in with my grandmother Agnes Cully Peters and my mother Betty.  Elvin was known as “Unkie” to all those that knew him well.  He was an excellent gourmet cook and always had to try out the latest cooking supplies.  Elvin was also a Barber by trade.
     Hannah was one of the elder Cully siblings along with her sister Zara [Cully] Brown.  They both married Brown brothers.
World War I Registration Card
Ancestry.com

     Elvin was born on July 29 1884 in Duval County, Jacksonville Florida.  This WWI Registration Card was completed on September 12, 1918 in Worcester, MA, and Elvin was 34 at the time.  Hannah and Elvin were married and lived at 4 Pelham Street, which was one of the well talked about addresses that the Cully family resided of which I visited in April 2011.

  Elvin was employed as a Barber at 4 Pleasant Street, Worcester MA at this time, and his employer was Parteur J. N. Harmon.

     Elvin had a medium built, and was of medium height.  He also had Brown hair and black eyes.

Pelham Street where the Cully’s resided
Worcester, MA Family Research Trip
Photo from my Cell Phone Camera

    Elvin Wesley Brown was living in New York when he completed the World War II Registration Card in April of 1942.  He was living at 460 W. 147th Street, NY, NY, where my Mother and Grandmother resided.  (When I went to NY, I had the opportunity to tour the building and also went inside the actual apt my mother lived in.  I did not take pictures of the inside apt. as for the tenants privacy)

     Elvin was documented as being 5’6″ and 163 lbs.  He was Negro, with Brown eyes, black hair and a light brown complexion.  He was also 57 years at the time.

WW-II Registration Card (Side #1)
Ancestry.com

World World II-Registration Card (Side #2)
Ancestry.com

 

Me outside of the Apt Building @ 460 W. 147th Street
Waiting to be buzzed in.
Harlem, NY Family Research Trip
Photo by Vanessa Moore

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