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

Treasure Chest Thursday: Wendell Phillip Culley in Lionel Hampton’s Band

Wendell Phillip Culley (trmpt) in Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra
other artist shown: Duke Garrette

Howard Theatre, Washington
Summer of 1948
Courtesy of The Otto Flueckiger Collection
via www.crownpropeller.wordpress.com


As time beats on, history can be forgotten and the people that made history happen may be long gone and their own stories may not ever be told.  I have a friend that is a photographer and one that documents history through his lens.  He mentioned that every 25 years we must ensure that the history is written down so that it will not be forgotten.  

When I first started looking for photos of my Grand Uncle Wendell P. Culley, It seemed almost impossible to locate anything.  I have done a few posts on Wendell, presenting a snapshot, a few ads, and photo’s from his yearbook when he attended High School Commerce in Worcester, Massachusetts.  I had to travel to get a few of these photo’s as they were not readily available.  It was shared to me that Wendell did not like pictures being taken of him, so that may explain why it has been difficult to locate many.

Since Wendell was not famous, but was well known in Jazz circles and had worked for famous Jazz artists, it would become clear that I needed to continually look and see if there were any immediate photo’s online of the bands he played for.  (mind you, I did not even know what he looked like).  

Wendell Culley was born and raised in Worcester, MA on January 8, 1906 and died on May 8, 1983 in Los Angeles.  He was a sibling of thirteen documented children.  He and his brother Raymond Mansfield *Cully, Jr.  played in local bands in Worcester, MA and the New England area together. Raymond played drums and had a big influence on Wendell in how he played the tempo of his horn.

At this time travel is not possible, so my resources at hand are the internet and looking at finding aids and key archives that hold these artists photo’s and records; and of course inquiring further about the contents.  

The contents of websites change all the time and this time I struck gold.

Lionel Hampton Orchestra
Wendell Phillip, Trumpet
New York Strand Theatre
Courtesy of The Otto Flueckiger Collection
via www.crownpropeller.wordpress.com

Wendell Culley had played for Lionel Hampton between 1944-1949.  I happened to come across a website Crownpropeller’s Blog that was featuring Lionel Hampton at Strand Theatre.  There was a very nice band photo, and upon clicking on the photo, the outside border of it had my Uncle’s name!  BINGO!  I was too excited! It was very difficult to see the detail of Wendell’s face, but when I clicked (read more)…There were sections of the photo blown up for the purpose of seeing the details. 

 I immediately contacted the blog administrator to get permission to use the photo from the collection.  Permission was granted. 

The purpose of this post was to share the photos I discovered, and I know it doesn’t do complete justice to Wendell.  As time goes on and I do more research on Wendell Culley and his siblings more will be discovered.  The lives of our families are so multi-faceted, so therefore another post will be necessary at a later date to share more.  

I hope you enjoyed these photo’s as much as I do.

Now for some music….

*Culley or Cully..Wendell always added “e” to his last name.
**The photo at the top was sent to me by Armin Buettner as a Courtesy of The Otto Flueckiger Collection 
via www.crownpropeller.wordpress.com. (Thank you for your kindess)

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

Sundays Obituary: Willie Roy Godette

    When studying and researching our family surnames, we find collateral family members that may or not be related, but sometimes will hold the clues to our own families as family sometimes stretches beyond blood lines.
     After adding Willie Roy Godette to my “Yvette’s Family Tree” where I add people that are from the same locale and have the surnames of my family, I was able to attach documents to Roy’s name.  Willie Roy Godette was born on December 8, 1926 and passed away two days after his 83rd birthday on December 10, 2009.
     In the 1930 Census of Township 5, Craven County, North Carolina, Willie is listed as the Grandchild of Issac and Sarah Carter.  Willie’s parents were not listed in the same household at the time.  I went to the Craven County Deeds website and found that Willie’s parents were Mattie J. Carter and Willie D. Godette.
     What I have discovered is that in Willie Roy Godette’s father’s (Willie D.) household in 1920 according to the Census there was a Luviney and Hulda Cully as his father’s nieces.  So without inputting the connecting information on my tree, I know that Willie Roy Godette is a  1st cousin 1x removed to these Cully’s.    Upon further investigation, I will discover who the Cully girls parents were as they are not listed in Willie D. Godette’s household in 1920.  (I have a direct family line of Cully’s, and would like to see if there is a connection. I will do a further investigation of the parties mentioned).
     My hope is that if anyone is tracing Willie Roy Godette’s family line, that this might be helpful.
Willie Roy Godette
     Willie Roy Godette, 83, of 855 Blades Rd., Havelock died Thursday, December 10, 2009 at Whispering Pine Nursing Facility, Fayetteville.

     He served in the U. S. Army during World War 11 and was honorably discharged and was a retiree of NADEP as a motor vehicle operator. 

     The funeral service will be 1:00 PM Wednesday, December 16, 2009 at Piney Grove AME Zion Church with the Rev. Robert Little, officiating. The interment with military honors will be at Hyman Chapel Church Cemetery.

     He is survived by his two sons, Douglas Godette of Atlantic, Highlands, NJ and Danny Carter of Germany; two daughters, Mattie Sidney of Atlantic Highlands, NJ and Nadine Carr of Fayetteville; 13 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

     The family will receive friends at the residence. Viewing will be held Tuesday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM at Oscar’s Mortuary and at the church an hour prior to the service.

Photo courtesy of Bernd Doss

P.S. 186–Historical Educational Site in Harlem: What Will Be It’s Fate?

PS 186 in it’s Hey Days.

I have searched for historical information online regarding P.S. 186, A Harlem NY Elementary School of which my late mother Betty Peters attended between the years of 1932-1938. I have been pleasantly surprised to find any mention of the school, as I have googled P.S. 186 on a couple of previous occasions with no success. Very recently, I discovered that P.S. 186 had been abandoned for over 30 years and that currently a local movement has been ensued to save the structural building from demolition and deem it as a historical building as it has been around for over 107 years.I had written one of my mother’s dear friends Muriel Ferguson requesting information on Sugar Hill and things that she could share with me about my mother between the years of 1926-1950. In Muriel’s letter, she questioned if my mother ever mentioned P.S. 186. She also stated that the school probably had been demolished by now, since the school had been closed for many years.As I continued looking for answers regarding the fate of P.S. 186, I came across Nathan Kensinger, A Professional Photographer, who documents a world that the average eye does not have the opportunity to penetrate. He enters buildings that have not seen the light of day, and have been ultimately abandoned while being a victim to the elements. These buildings and outside structures that Kensinger captures with his lens possess very distinct architecture characteristics. Nathan gives us the vision to see how these buildings and structures were used in their heyday, and what they could be if they were revitalized. For a clearer picture of P.S. 186 and Kensinger’s other photographs of art go to:

As I continued researching online, I came across Dr. Faith (Jones) Ringgold, a world-renowned quilter, who was raised in Sugar Hill. I discovered that she attended P.S. 186, and thought to myself that if she attended this school, that there must be other well-known individuals that attended this school and should give credence to the historical value of the school building and the importance of saving such a structure. Dr. Ringgold’s 6th grade graduation picture is posted on her blog @ http://mjsoulpictures.blogspot.com/2009/08/faiths-6th-grade-graduation-in-1942.html.
Betty Mae Peters graduating class of 1938 at PS 186
Top 2nd Row, 5th person on left

Other’s that might have attended this school are: Harry Belafonte and Alan Greenspan. There are many well known individuals that lived in Sugar Hill, that the likelihood of other mover & Shakers being developed from this area and attending PS 186 is quite possible. I believe that we should make an effort to save the school by notifying NY local politicians, and pleading with those that have the ultimate decision on retaining the historical value of the neighborhood.

There was a petition to Save PS 186 that was posted online, of which 300 people signed, closed as of March 2010.
Uptownflavor has posted details of PS 186 and if you would like updated information on the progress of the petition and decision of the building to link to:

Update:  I had the opportunity to travel to Harlem and see firsthand the condition of PS-186.  The buildings architect was amazing…To see post click here. 

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