Sympathy Saturday: James “Skin” Octavius Culley

James Octavius Culley was the child of Lucindy Culley and William Godette.  He was born on November 16, 1920 and died July 18, 2001.  He was raised by his Grandparents James H. Culley and Lucinda Dove. 
James O Culley was a black farmer and owned his own property.  He was a sociable individual and enjoyed talking to his neighbors about the days gone by.
James’ nick name was “Skin” and that is what most people knew him by. James is my 3rd Cousin 2x Removed.
James Octavius Culley
Piney Grove AME Zion Church Cemetery
Craven County, NC
Courtesy of John47 at findagrave
James Octavius Culley
Piney Grove AME Zion Church Cemetery
Craven County, NC
Courtesy of  John47 at Findagrave

Sympathy Saturday: Johnny Roy Mitchell, Sr.

     Your name, Johnny Roy Mitchell (my birth father) and the few items on this blog post is all I would have had of you, but somehow by the age of 21 you had three other children, my younger siblings whom I have gotten to know and love.  I have no memories of your existence, as the relinquishment papers were signed before I took my first breath.  I searched for you, and couldn’t find you.  You were a brick wall that finally came tumbling down when I found your sister Aunt Debra, may she rest in eternal peace.
     This was the first photo Aunt Debra gave to me of you….A splitting image of my youngest son, Michael.  When I saw this photo, I knew I was your child.
Johnny Roy Mitchell, Sr.
10 May 1951-14 Oct 1972

   I am not really sure why your life had to end so young, but the newspaper article about your death is what led me to you.  It was like you wanted to be found, and since then my world opened up and my family expanded.

Johnny Roy Mitchell
News Pilot, San Pedro, CA
Pg. A2

      I heard various stories of why you died.  We know it was an overdose, but it was a possible homicide.  The investigation did not go too far, and the decision was made that it was an accident.  We will never really know the truth.  Living the life you led sent you to an early death.  I grieve for you because you became a statistic at a time when it took a prayer and a blessing for  black males in the “ghetto” to make it to 21 without either dying, or living life in prison.  I just hope and pray that you have peace as you slumber into eternity.

Death Certificate Deferred

Final Death Certificate


Johnny Sr. and Mary Mitchell

      With the union of Johnny Roy Mitchell and Rosemary Lara (deceased) I was blessed with siblings that I would get to know (Herlinda, Johnny and David) and cherish.  (I had a different mother). I could not imagine my life without them.

David & Me
Our first photo together

Johnny Roy Mitchell, Jr

Herlinda Mitchell & Me

Sympathy Saturday: Osborne Ambrose Martin

Sympathy Saturday – While Funeral Card Friday and Sunday’s Obituary revolve around a clipping related to the death of an ancestor or relative, with Sympathy Saturday you can post about any aspect of the passing of a person. This is an ongoing series by Anne Kruszka at GeneNotes and Generational.

Osborne Ambrose Death Certificate

     Osborne Ambrose Martin was my Second Cousin 1x removed.  He was born to Jacob Martin and Izora C. Whittington on August 29, 1911 in Township 5, Craven, North Carolina.  Osborne was named after my Great Grandfather Ambrose E. Cully’s son Osborne Ambrose Cully, who was born March 29, 1899.  My Great Grandfather’s Sister Sarah Frances Cully was Osborne Ambrose Martin’s Grandmother. Our common ancestor is William Henry Cully. Jr who is my Great Great Grandfather and the father of Ambrose and Sarah F. Cully. 

Osborne was married to Jennette Moore and they were blessed with children.  Osborne died of a Brain Tumor on June 26, 1971 in Durham, North Carolina at Duke Hospital in Durham, NC.  He was buried at the Hyman Chapel Church Cemetery in Craven County, NC  on July 1, 1971.

Osborne Ambrose Martin

     I recently posted Osborne’s son’s (Julian Martin) obituary on my blog and I was contacted by Osborne’s grand-daughter (Tracy Martin).  I was very excited because my side of the family were not connected with any of the North Carolina family members of this branch of our tree for over 60 years or more.

     So I say, post and document about your ancestors on the internet, because it only takes Google and luck to link you up with family.

Sympathy Saturday: In Loving Memory of Zara Frances (Cully) Brown

Zara Frances Cully
(Copyright Protected, Not to be used without permission)

I was asked recently if I had a younger picture of Zara Cully Brown.  So I have decided to post a few of her pictures.  I am pretty sure Zara’s Great Grandson has some pictures of her, and will make a request and post at a later date.

Zara F. Cully was my Grandmother’s, Agnes Cully Peters oldest sister.  Aunt Zara was born February 26, 1892 in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her parents were Nora Ann Gilliam and Ambrose E. Cully, who were born and raised in New Bern, Craven County, North Carolina, and in 1890 relocated to Worcester, MA.  Zara’s mother gave birth to numerous children.  The number has been told through the years to be about 21 children, but as of date, I am only able to document twelve, as some of her children died in childbirth, through miscarriage or at a very young age.  Aunt Zara died February 28, 1978.

Aunt Zara and my Aunt Hannah both married a set of  Brown brothers.  Zara married James M. Brown, Sr (Daddy J) and with their union they had four children, and one died in childbirth.  Their children were: James M., Jr., Mary Gale (Polly), and Emerson, whom are all deceased.

Here are the other two Photo’s in my Collection:

Aunt Zara’s Press Photo
Copyright Protected, Not to be used without permission.
Aunt Zara with my Dad’s mother Helen (Bunn) Porter Thompson in my parent’s living room.
Copyright Protected, Not to used without permission.

I remember Aunt Zara very well, even though I was ten years old when she died.  I remember how my mom would get excited when she would call us on the phone. My mother would put me on the phone to talk to her, and Aunt Zara would always ask me how I was doing in school, and if I was enjoying my extra-curricular activities.  She would let me go after she told me she loved me.

I attended Aunt Zara’s funeral, (I was 10yrs old) and I was amazed by the many people that came to her funeral.  The cast from the “Jefferson’s” were in attendance, and I had the opportunity to meet them during the Repast.  My favorite cast member at that time was Harry Bentley (Paul Benedict).  He kept me and all my little cousins running around laughing.

I will always remember my Aunt Zara as a wonderful woman.  She was very kind to me and our family.  Let me tell you one thing that might be a little trivia…My Aunt Zara on the “Jefferson’s” loved Bloody-Mary’s….Well in real life she really did!  That was her drink of choice!  So, I know that Zara has her Bloody-Mary in heaven while my mother is drinking her Martini’s.