First Fruits of Freedom: Index #2 (Jane B. Collins)

     This is a continuum of an index series of First Fruits of Freedom, by Janette Thomas Greenwood to see prior posts go here.

     Looking through the index of First Fruits of FreedomI came across the name Collins, Jane, 152 on page 228.  Could this be my Great Great Grand Aunt?  I immediately went to page 152 and here is an excerpt of that page:

“As the Worcester Telegram so delicately put it, such institutions “In the city have always drawn the line on the race questions with distinctness,”  In response, twelve women from the AME Zion Church organized “the Woman’s Progressive Club, of Worcester, Mass.,”  In October 1898 and incorporated the organization two years later.  Like the city’s many fraternal organizations, the Progressive Club incorporated both southern-and northern-born members.  Of the twelve founders, three were from the South: Jane Collins hailed from North Carolina…”

     Jane Collins most definitely had to be my Great Great Grand Aunt.  Through prior research of my Great Grandfather Ambrose Cully’s in-laws, this is what I found in the records.  Jane Collins was known as Jane B. “Ellis” Nelson and was born in January of 1840.  Jane was born to Zara Humphrey Jones & Benjamin “Ellis” Nelson in North Carolina. Jane’s sister was my Great Great Grandmother Hannah “Singleton” Nelson Gilliam.  A later post will be dedicated to the “extra” surnames as the Nelson family were born into slavery, and the adoption of the various names has its own history.

     According to the Craven County marriage registrar, Jane married Joseph A. Collins prior to August 1866, as they were cohabitating before emancipation.

     Prior research and my research trip to Worcester this past April 2011 revealed to me that the Collins, Gilliam and the Cully family were active members of the Zion AME Church in Worcester, Massachusetts.

     So to keep this post to the point, my question was, “Is this my Aunt Jane Collins?”  A few years ago, I came across this newspaper article from The Worcester Spy, Jan 2, 1902.  Even though this article was written a few years after the forming of the Woman’s Progressive Club, it is very relevant to answering the question.

Worcester Spy
Jan 2, 1902

DINNER AND CONCERT FOR HOME OF THE AGED
     The Woman’s Progressive Club gave a turkey dinner yesterday afternoon from 12 to 6 o’clock which was well patronized.  The proceeds will go to the Home for Aged Colored People on Liberty Street.  The committee in charge of the dinner was Mrs. Minnie Lee (chairman), Mrs. Ida Wilson, Mrs. Amos Walker, Mrs. Sylvester Kennard, Mrs. John Kennard and Mrs. Jennie Everett.  The dinner was served by the younger members of the club.
     In the evening there was a concert under the auspices of the club, in charge of Mrs. Jane B. Collins.  There were songs by the chorus of the club readings by Miss Ada Bell, Miss Jessie Brogden, Miss Annie May Bell, Miss Jane Gilliam and Miss Virone Dudley; Solos by Joseph Gilliam; prayer by Rev. Hiram Conway; address by Rev. W. H. Coffey; reading of the Emancipation Proclamation by George Dominus; duets by Misses Harriet and Georgiana Shannon, Miss Marie Kennard and Miss Inez Dudley and Misses Hannah and Zara Cully.


You could imagine my excitement when I linked this article with the information in First Fruits of Freedom.  In this article my Great Grandmother’s siblings were listed Jane Gilliam and Joseph Gilliam.  Also My Grand Aunts, Hannah and Zara Cully were in the article and this confirmed to me that I had made the family connection.  Aunt Zara had played on the Jefferson’s TV Sitcom.  Last in my list but first in the article was my Great Great Grand Aunt Jane B. Collins.  The Women’s Progressive Club was an auxiliary of the AME Zion church, so I knew the information from First Fruits of Freedom was on the exact trail I needed to be on.


     Jane B. Collins was the Aunt to my Great Grandmother Nora Ann “Gilliam” Cully


     I will reveal more family connections from the index of First Fruits of Freedom in Index #3.

Copyright
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

First Fruits of Freedom: Index #1

     One of the first things I do before reading a non-fiction book (for research purposes), is to glance at the table of contents, as it gives a general idea of the subject matter to be covered and it is a road map as to where the book will lead.  

     Secondly, I page through the index, looking to see if  there is familiarity with the names, places, ideas and subject matter that will be read in the book. If I find anything in the index that peaks my interest as it relates to the research, I will go directly to that page and read a paragraph or two.  Reading ahead allows me the opportunity to familiarize myself with the subject matter, and it tends to help me with my overall reading. 
     
     My interest in reading First Fruits of Freedom, by Janette Thomas Greenwood as stated on the back cover of the book:

“It offers a rare glimpse into the lives of African American men, women, and children on the cusp of freedom.  First Fruits of Freedom chronicles one of the first collective migrations of blacks from the South to the North during and after the Civil War.

     First Fruits of Freedom breathes life into the migration of African Americans leaving Eastern North Carolina for Worcester, Massachusetts through a series of networks.  By reading this book, I figured I could put flesh on the bones of my ancestors.
     
     It was told to me that my Great Grandfather Ambrose Cully (a single man) was sent by his father to Worcester so he could get away from the race issues in North Carolina. So, naturally my focus was on Ambrose.  
     
     My theory is that Ambrose met my Great Grandmother Nora A. Gilliam in Worcester, got married and started a family.  (This theory may or may not be so.)  Maybe their families knew each other in North Carolina, and they left at the same time to start a new life. (It is possible the families knew each other, but I discovered Ambrose’s in-laws were in Worcester by 1880 or the later part of the 1870’s).  Maybe Ambrose’s father knew the leaders within the network and insisted that his son leave with them. (Very Possible.)

     I am realizing that looking at the women in the family (in-laws of Ambrose) is very important to my study.  I have gathered information via U.S. Census reports, newspapers, documents, etc., but I had not analyzed the material with my varying theories. (At least not until, I began reading First Fruits)
     
     The next post: Index #2, I will share one of the names that popped out at me,  so I can begin to answer my questions.   
     

Copyright
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

Not so Wordless Wednesday: Outdoor Places in Worcester, Massachusetts

I love old postcards.  I wanted to share some of the postcards I bought through e-bay.  My Great Grandfather Ambrose E. Cully migrated to Worcester, MA in the late 1880’s.  His in-laws, (My Great Great Grandmother and Great Great Aunt) migrated in the 1870’s and were members of the Old African American Community during Reconstruction.  They were active participants in building their community in hopes of opening opportunities for their children and their children’s children.

Lake Quinsegamond
Worcester, Mass
My Aunts & Uncles would row a boat in this Lake
Green Hill Park, General View
Worcester, MA
1940
Hello, After the fair & a day in NY, we drove along the coast of Conn & R.I.
and are now going thru Mass to N.H.-Guess we won’t get to
Springfield but I’m thinking of you.  Alice
A Shady Path
Green Hill Park
Worcester, Mass
March 6, 1911

Sympathy Saturday: Jane “Gilliam” Foreman

     Jane “Gilliam” Foreman was born in October of 1876 to my Great Great Grand-Parents Daniel & Hannah “Nelson” Gilliam in New Bern, North Carolina.  When Jane was approximately 2 years old the Gilliam family moved to Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her regular occupation was that of a servant for the Raymond family.
     Jane died of Fibroma of the Uterus (tumors) with Peritonitis at Worcester City Hospital.  John H. Foreman was her husband.  They had only been married since October 22, 1902 (2 1/2yrs).  They had no children.  The informant was her sister Mrs. A. Cully [Nora Ann Cully] who was my Great Grand Mother which would make Jane My Great Grand Aunt.
     Wow!  Jane died at the young age of 28 1/2 years.  I think about my Aunt Jane, and it saddens me to think that she did not get to live a full life.  She had no children and she had no decedents to carry her direct line.  The cause of death was a medical condition that many people today will not die from.  The medical field has come a long way, and I am so glad that we live in this time in history.
Jane Gilliam Foreman
Commonwealth of Massachusetts DC
FamilySearch.org