Cully Family Update

     On Wednesday, November 30, 2011, I will be interviewed by Richard Falco, director of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Jazz Department.  The interview will be about the life and family history roots of Wendell Phillip Culley, who was an American Trumpet Jazz musician and played on over 200 recordings.

     I will be taking a break until Wednesday as my computer crashed and I will be spending some time to prepare for the interview that will take place online.  When I decided to do family history and genealogy, I had no idea as to all the other avenues that the stories of my family would come to life, and that I would have the opportunity to share them with the public.

     Once the interview is completed, edited and posted online, I will give a link so you will have the opportunity to see it.

As Always!  Happy Researching!!!

Lionel Hampton with Joe Wilder: Wendell Phillip Culley

       Instead of saying “Where is Waldo?” I have been saying, “Where is Wendell?”  As I completed a post today on Wendell Culley and the Count Basie Orchestra, I again was given permission to post the following photo on my blog from Monk Rowe through Joe Wilder-Trumpet Player, who will be 90 in February 2012.
Lionel Hampton Orchestra, 1946
Joe Morris, Trumpet Player, Johnny Griffin-Sax Player
Wendell Culley sitting to Left of Joe Morris in back
Courtesy of Joe Wilder
Chicago Famous Band Box, 1946
Courtesy of Joe Wilder
(Arrow) Wendell Phillip Culley

Monk Rowe is a professor at Hamilton College and director of the Jazz Archives who has interviewed and researched many jazz artists extensively.  To listen to an interview of Joe Wilder go here.

Monk Rowe also has a wonderful Blog at Jazz BackStory, that may be of interest.

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

Wendell Phillip Culley in Count Basie Orchestra

    The journey to find pictures of my Grand Uncle Wendell Culley has truly become fruitful.  I have searched the World Wide Web, searched e-bay, looked at online photo’s of band’s Wendell played in, traveled to Worcester, MA and Washington D.C to search libraries and archives, and even made requests from family members to search their personal photo collections.  I was met with some success and some disappointments.  My greatest success came when I connected with Armin Büttner, the writer and researcher for CROWNPROPELLER’S Blog. (Click Link to see blog)
     I came across a post featuring Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra.  In the photo that was posted, Wendell Culley was situated in the back with the Trumpet section.  When I inquired about the photo, I was granted permission to share on my blog for my family history.  I was so thrilled with this, and with much surprise was sent another photo of a close-up with Wendell.  Check out this post Wendell Culley: Treasure Chest Thursday.
    When I thought Christmas was over, I received another email with a photo attachment of Wendell Culley from the “Otto Flueckiger Collection.”
Wendell P. Culley
photo by Ernest Zwonicek via the Flueckiger Collection
Photo possibly taken in Geneva, Switzerland, 1956

Wendell Culley played trumpet with the Count Basie Orchestra from 1951-1959.

Other photo’s and story of Wendell and the Count Basie Orchestra on the Crownpropeller Blog (Link)

     Here are a couple more photo’s of Wendell Culley by Ernest Zwonicek via the Flueckiger Collection”

Benny Powell (???), Wendell Culley, Marshall Royal
Count Basie, Wendell Culley, and others.
Joe Williams
At the train station
Others may or may not be band members.
(If you can identify anyone please contact Crownpropeller’s Blog)

In regular and on-going research, I came across one of the passenger lists of 1956 of Count Basie’s Orchestra. I was hoping that it was the travel record of the Basie Orchestra to Geneva Switzerland in 1956, but the one below is to Prestwick, Scotland.  I hope that eventually the passenger lists will be posted on

Travel Record of Count Basie Orchestra
Prestwick, Scotland
Driggs Collection

I have another blog: The Cully Family-An African American Legacy that will include a detailed history of Wendell Culley and all of his siblings.  This blog is currently being worked on, so check back often.

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

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


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

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 (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

The Colored Men, The Part They Took in the War of the Rebellion

     When I first started searching out for my Great Grandfather Ambrose E. Cully, I found this article in the Worcester Daily Spy at the Worcester Public Library.  I was interested in knowing if the Cully family were  community leaders in Worcester, or active participants in their community.  Also knowing that the Cully family was musically talented, I began searching.  I have found various articles mentioning various members of the Ambrose Cully Clan, and will share as I have the opportunity to do so.

     I am going to be interviewed in November of 2011 by Professor Falco of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts.  Professor Falco is the Director of Jazz Studies at WPI and has a New England Jazz Database online.  He is interviewing me about the background of the Cully family, and wanting to know more about my Grand Uncle Wendell Culley who played with Count Basie and other greats.  Wendell had a solid musical upbringing in Worcester and Boston and he influenced many musicians in New England and beyond.
Worcester Daily Spy
Worcester, Massachusetts
August 14, 1896
The Colored Men. The Part They Took
in the War of the Rebellion
The Part They Took in the War
of the Rebellion.
Their Bravery Rehearsed by
Those Who Were There.
Colored Jubilee Singers and a Quartet of
Little Ones Add to the Pleasures
of the Evening
      It will be a long time before Post 10 will hold as unique and pleasing an entertainment as “the colored men’s night,” which was held Thursday evening.  Shortly after 8’oclock the doors were thrown open and friends of the post were admitted.  The entertainment was as delightful as it was novel.  A chorus from the Zion A.M.E. Church sang a number of choruses, a quartet of children gave several selections and the colored veterans of the late war recited experiences while fighting for freedom and the flag.  Those who knew nothing of their work in the rebellion except in a general way, went away impressed by the fact that the colored soldier played his part nobly and with as much devotion as many others who carried guns in the great battles.
     The Jubilee singers were under the direction of Ambrose Cully.  The singers were Mrs. Hanna Gilliam, Mrs. Jennie Cooke, Mrs. Nora Cully, Miss Lizzie Kennedy, Aaron Cooke, Samuel Latham.  The quartet of young people was made up of Master Arthur Wilson and Misses Etta Moore, Wilmina Wilson and L. Williams.
     Among the selections were “Rolling rocks,” “Happy people,” “Slave chains are broken,”  “Babylon has fallen.”
     Commander Roe spoke to a hall full of people when he called the gathering to order.  All the seats were filled, and it was necessary for the comrades to place many additional seats to accommodate the crowd.  Many prominent people were present.  The exercises opened with a song by the chorus, which was well received.

     Commander Roe then made a few remarks.  He said that at the time of the formation of the 54th Massachusetts regiment of colored troops, the matter was looked upon with much disfavor by many, and Gov. Andrews was one of the first to recognize them.  As a result the 54th was formed and the colonel chosen was Robert G. Shaw, then a colonel in the army.  In due time, the regiment was reviewed before the state house previous to its departure for the south.  No such crowd ever saw a regiment go off.  The result proved that the fighting qualities of the colored man was not an experiment.  He acquitted himself with credit and no one can deny the great work he did.  Everybody grants it now.  From first to last there were 100,000 colored soldiers.  About 1500 were killed upon the battlefield.  About the same number were wounded and 3300 died of diseases.  Their bodies are found in the national cemeteries and other parts of the country.  They are a part of our history, members of our posts and veterans of the war.  In closing he referred to the large number of veterans in the 54th Massachusetts who were members of Post 10.  He should not call upon them in order, but first age should come before beauty and he was glad to call upon

Alexander Hemenway, one of the bravest. 
     Mr. Hemenway said that his regiment was in service 19 months before it was recognized by the government and received pay.
     Amos Webber of the 5th Cavalry gave a talk which amused his hearers very much.  He related something of the surprise of the southerners to see a Negro on horseback and other incidents of the campaign.
     Commander Roe told how before the war only American soldiers were in the militia and a company of Irishmen had disbanded in consequences.  It was something of a surprise for the average Massachusetts citizen to see a negro in a uniform.  He said that there were three colored regiments.  One of the crack companies of the militia today was colored, and he believed it deserved all the praise they got at the last camp.
     After a song, Sergeant John Walters of the 8th United States was called upon.  He told how the regiment happened to be named and gave an interesting account of his experiences.  Emory Phelps of the 54th read a war poem.
     The children then sang, “There’s one more river,” and were encored.
     Entertaining remarks followed by Charles J. Clark of the 26th New York, J. B. Scott, Samuel Wiggins and Thomas Moler of the 20th New York.
     Comrade Childs of the 5th Cavalry said that he wanted to express the thanks of his people for the warm reception tendered. He knew that it was appreciated.
     Rev. J. Sulla Cooper was next called upon.  He said that he was a son of a veteran, and related experiences in the South after the war.  In closing, he hoped that every colored man in the city would take an interest in the coming campaign, and would vote not as a republican, not as a democrat, but as an American citizen.  He was roundly applauded.

     Comrade Cobb of Leicester command, who was in the audience as a visitor, was called upon and spoke of the bravery of the colored soldiers in the war.  The singers then gave a chorus, “O freedom,” and after remarks by Capt. Smith of this city, who commanded a colored company during the war, in which he spoke of the bravery in the highest terms, the party broke up after singing “Climbing Zion’s hill” by the chorus
A vote of thanks was extended by the audience for the splendid entertainment.
Next month’s open meeting will be upon “The navy.”

Hannah Gilliam was my Great Great Grandmother, Nora Cully my Great Grandmother and Ambrose Cully, my Great Grandfather.

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