Memories of My Grandmother Helen Bunn- Part #2

This is a continuum of Memories of my Grandmother Helen Bunn, Part #1.  Go here  if you would like to follow my train of thought.

My brother and I used to call my grandmother Helen “Granny”, and she seemed to fit that name perfectly.  Some of my memories of her:

  1. She loved to watch wrestling on Television.  I could never figure out what made her like it so much, but she would laugh and cheer her favorite wrestler on.  I swear it was comedy!  I don’t know if it was so much comedy watching these men wrestling with masks and tight underwear on as much as it was watching my grandmother have a ball laughing at them.  She really got into it.  Sometimes she would try to put a move on me, by putting me in a head lock…and she would just laugh as I would be yelling for her to let me up…lol
  1. Another pastime was my grandmother loved to watch the Roller Derby.  Since she lived in Los Angeles, her team was the Thunderbirds.  She was always rooting for Gwen Miller aka “Skinny Minney”; she was always doing a stunt and skating under someone else’s legs.  It was a special treat when we would go to the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium to see our favorite skaters.  Of course, I always had to have cotton candy when we went.
  1.   So you see, my grandmother liked Wrestling, she liked Roller Derby, and she loved the “Hee Haw” show.  I spent many a day watching this show with her.

Helen was a church going woman and a leader in her church.  I spent every summer at her home and every Sunday we were at church.  Going to church was a weekly ritual when I lived at home, but the type of church I went to at my grandmothers was the African American Episcopal (AME) Church.  What I liked most about attending her church, was the music. They had the soulful gospel music and the old-time spirituals.  The tambourines, foot stomping and clapping and raising of hands excited me, something I was not accustomed to as I was brought up in a Presbyterian  and Methodist church, whose musical style came off as pious and self-controlled.

When I reflect back on my childhood, I can picture my grandmother’s bedroom and on her dresser sat an offering box that was shaped like a church.  This is where I would withdraw some funds to take to church and give for offering.  She told me that it was important to give tithes and offerings as this is what God would want us to do.

So, if you read my last post, you see, I had a grandmother whose father was a sharecropper, and Helen picked many a day of cotton.  She loved tobacco, and I learned this firsthand.  She ran off the farm to ensure that my father got an education; which was well worth the run as he earned a Ph.D, became an educator himself, and had two SD City Schools named after him.

My grandmother loved the rough and tough type of entertainment and she was a very soulful individual.  I can remember everyday tunes that she would sing around the house such as “Go Tell It on The Mountain, and Amazing Grace.”

There is so much more to this woman I called “Granny.”  I have good memories of these formative years of my life at my grandmother’s home and there are more memories to share such as the old health remedies, community activism, and discipling….follow me next time to part #3.

Harlem-Sugar Hill, New York Family Research Trip

This is the first trip I took to dig a little deeper into the life of my mother and her parents.  The trip was life-changing for me. Here is a slide show presentation that I did for research group, “The African American Genealogical Research Group.”  It is very long, but I hope you enjoy it.

Document Day: Izora “Whittington” Martin Carter

 “Document Day” is a daily post for any day of the week.  I have a large saved collection of Shoebox Documents from to be evaluated over time as I am building my family tree.  I felt it necessary to share  and post what I have so that it might be helpful to myself and to those who might be searching the same surnames in the same locale.  

     Izora “Whittington” Carter was my Great Grand Aunt’s daughter, making her my 1st cousin 2x removed.  Sarah F. Cully/Culley (1860-1922) was her mother and Allen Whittington (1853-1932), was her father.  Izora had been married twice.  Her first husband was Jacob Martin and her second husband was Sylvester Wallace Carter, and she was widowed when she passed.
      According to the attached North Carolina State Death Certificate Izora was born on May 25, 1884 in Craven County, NC and died on July 31, 1974 @ 8:15 pm at her home in Havelock, Craven, NC.    She was dead on arrival at the Craven County hospital and pronounced dead at 10:25 pm. The informant was her daughter Mrs. Maude “Martin” Fields.
     Izora was buried at Hyman Chapel Church Cemetery in Havelock, NC.
Izora “Whittington” Martin Carter
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© 2010-2011

“Family Recipe Friday”: NEW ORLEANS SHRIMP GUMBO



There is also a writing of “Shrimp Wiggle on this recipe, so those ingredients are: Green Peas and Corn.
(Also looking at this recipe, I feel that my mother left some of her seasonings out as she made her food spicy and cooked with lots of Garlic.  I know her rue was slamming!)

     My mother Betty Mae “Peters” Porter loved to cook!  She considered herself a gourmet cook, and many of her friends thought so too.  She became known as the “Soup Girl.” She loved to entertain, and in her own words she would say, “Cooking helps me to unwind after a long day at work.”

     One of my mother’s specialties was File’ Gumbo, but I do not have the recipe in reach, but knew exactly where her New Orleans Shrimp Gumbo recipe was.  My mother who’s family was from New England did not make Gumbo, but about 50 years ago my mom’s friend Yvonne Greene from New Orleans taught her how to make it.  We would have Gumbo for special occasions such as Christmas or even Thanksgiving.  There would be a large pot cooking on the stove to feed about 40 to 50 guests.  The recipe below will serve six adults.  I hope you enjoy!

New Orleans Shrimp Gumbo (Serve 6)
2 lbs Shrimp
1 red pepper pod
1 tsp. salt
1 cup green onion tops chopped
2 tbsps. bacon fat
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. file powder
6 cups chicken broth or bouillon
1 bunch of green onions
1 tsp thyme
2 cups okra chopped
1 green pepper
2 cups chopped tomatoes

Lightly brown chopped okra and chopped onions in bacon fat in Dutch Oven.
Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes over low heat.
Add chicken broth, chopped red pepper and chipped green pepper, bay leaf shredded fine, chopped onion tops, thyme, and salt.  (My Mother would also add garlic and other seasonings to taste).  It would be bland if you did not add seasonings.
Bring to a boil.
Then add shrimp in halves, shelled and cleaned.
Cook over very low flame about an hour-and-a-half.
Turn off burner, add file powder
Serve with rice.
(I noticed my mother did not add the okra, in the cooking of the recipe, but I remember her telling me that I should add the okra towards the end of the cooking so that the Gumbo would not be slimy.  Some people do not like the way okra is and will become slimy if it is cooked too long.)
(Also, not everyone like File’ Powder, so it is wise for each individual to add it according to their taste.)

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved


Treasure Chest Thursday: Rev. William Henry Cully (abt 1830-1902)

I have known for the past six years the name of my 3G-Grandfather, but really knew nothing about him.  With today’s technologies, I have been able to trace my pedigree of the Cully family back to the 1800’s, which is usually difficult when you are searching for someone that is a “Person of Color” before the Antebellum Period. 

I discovered that my family on the Cully line were a “free people of color” in the early 1800’s, as my 4G-Grandfather, William Cully, Sr. had been bonded to William Dove of New Bern, Craven County, NC as an apprentice in the trade of a Cooper.  (I have reason to believe that the Cully’s were related to the Dove’s in the 1800’s, but I have not found any proof, except in later generations the Dove’s married into the Cully line.”  The link below will show proof of William Cully and his brother James Cully being bonded at a very young age.

Below is the 1850 Census of my 3G-Grandfather’s family.  In this census William Cully, 17, son of William Cully, is who I began focusing on so I could put some skin on his bones.

Name: William Cully
Age: 17
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1833
Birth Place: North Carolina
Color: Black
Gender: Male
Home in 1850 (City,County,State): Craven, North Carolina
Family Number: 710
Household Members:
Name Age
William Cully 50
Mary Cully 40
William Cully 17
Jessy Cully 16
Phebe Cully 14
Mary Cully 3
Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place:  , Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M432_626; Page: 311B; Image: 185.
(Then in the 1860 Census William Cully Jr., was listed with his wife Nancy.)  Following are the other Census Reports.

1860 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Culley
Age in 1860: 29
Birth Year: abt 1831
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1860: Reevs, Craven, North Carolina
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
William Culley 29
Nancey A Culley 25
Sidney A Culley 5
Julia A Godett 12
Jeremiah Godett 3
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Reevs, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M653_894; Page: 6; Image: 11; Family History Library Film: 803894.

1870 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Cally
[William Cully] 
Birth Year: abt 1835
Age in 1870: 35
Birthplace: North Carolina
Home in 1870: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Value of real estate: View image
Household Members:
Name Age
William Cally 35
Nancy Cally 33
Sarah Cally 9
Ambrose Cally 7
Melvina Cally 4
Mary Cally 2
George W Cally 5/12


Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina; Roll: M593_1132; Page: 283B; Image: 18; Family History Library Film: 552631.

 The Census of 1880 shows my Great Grand father Ambrose Cully along with Williams wife Nancy and their other children.

1880 United States Federal Census about William Culley

Name: William Culley
Home in 1880: Township 5, Craven, North Carolina
Age: 47
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1833
Birthplace: North Carolina
Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
Spouse’s Name: Nancy Culley
Father’s birthplace: North Carolina
Mother’s birthplace: North Carolina
Neighbors: View others on page
Occupation: Farmer
Marital Status: Married
Race: Mu
Gender: Male
Cannot read/write:


Deaf and dumb:

Otherwise disabled:

Idiotic or insane:

Household Members:

Name Age
William Culley 47
Nancy Culley 43
Ambers Culley 18
Melviney Culley 14
George H. Culley 10
Metildie Carter 22
Mary J. Candey 3


After 1880, I was not able to find information on my 2G Grandfather as very few US Census reports of 1890 did not survive a devastating fire.

So after more investigation I discovered on the New Bern, NC Public Library website at The Kellenberger Room, there were listings of Obituaries.  William H Cully was listed and so I ordered his obit.   With this piece of evidence of William H. Cully’s life, I was able to pinpoint his actual date of birth and his date of death and learn a little more about what type of individual he was.

[obit Below]

New Bern Daily Journal Aug 6, 1902
Rev. William H Cully, a highly respected colored man of this city
Died Saturday morning at the advanced age of 72 years. The
Deceased was noted for his piety and other traits of good character,
And many friends.  By his Industry and steady habits, he accumalated
A very good bit of property.

This was my treasure Chest item, which now will lead me to land deeds.

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved