Monday, August 21, 2017

Jackson, Gordon, Harrell, Temple, Richardson Family Reunion

Emma Vining Offsprings
This past weekend our family came together to celebrate our family in St. Helena Parishes, Louisiana. There were many new family members to meet. It was good to see family members who hadn't seen each other, spending time together.  Lot's of family history was shared by genealogist Antoinette Harrell, a descendant of Thomas and Emma Vining Richardson. Over a hundred offsprings of Thomas and Emma Vining Richardson and, Jim and Emma Vining Williams was in attendance. Emma was born in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana to Allen and Rosa Hart Vining on October 1, 1885.  She passed away in June of 1964 at the age of 78.  Emma lived at Rt 3 Box 93 N. Amite, Louisiana. 

Thomas Richardson was born in on September 20, 1853, to Carrie Richardson. Carrie and her child Thomas were slaves on the Benjamin and Celia Bankston Richardson plantation. Thomas married Amanda Breland Richardson, they had five children; Thomas, Annie, Golene, Sophia, and John.  Thomas and Amanda both are buried in Rocky Hill Cemetery in St. Helena Parish.  Thomas is my direct lineage, he was born around 1884. 

Emma had eight children, four from the first married to Thomas and four from her second marriage to Jim.  The children of Thomas and Emma were; Alexander, Josephine, Rosabell and Alma "Mandy" Richardson. The children of Jim and Emma were: Jimmy, Ethel, Dorothy, and Arthur. 

Oliver Jackson, Jr., chaired this year's family reunion, he is the son of Ethel William Temple.  When his mother died my grandparents Jasper Harrell, Sr. and his wife Josephine Richardson Harrell adopted Oliver as their son.

Christopher Gordon spoke briefly talked about his grandparents Willie K. Gordon, Sr, and Alma "Mandy" Richardson Gordon.  Willie and Alma had seven children; Willie, Frank, James Earl,  Charles, Adam, Robert, and Barbara.

Emmitt N. Richardson, Sr. talked about his family. He is the son of Alexander and Melissa Wheat Richardson. Alexander and Melissa had ten children; Thomas, Walter, Helestine, Samuel, Pete, Emmitt, Joseph, Nathaniel, Earl Lee and, Darnell Richardson. 

Amanda Breland Richardson
Isabel Harrell Cook, the daughter of Jasper and Josephine Richardson spoke about the family. Jasper and Josephine Richardson Harrell had ten children; Jasper, Jr, Catherine, Roosevelt, Frank, Isabel, Leon Charles,  Henry, Herbert, Raymond, and Delores. 

Johnell Temple talked about his family, he is the son of  Walter and Ethel Williams Temple. Two sons were born to the marriage; Johnell and Cleveland Temple. Oliver Jackson was reared by Walter, just like he was his biological son.

Eddie Jackson, III  spoke about his family. He is the grandson of Rosabell Richardson Moore. His father Eddie Jackson, Jr., was the only child Rosabell had. Eddie had his mother, sisters, niece, and nephew joined him. Eddie Jackson, Jr. was the person in our family that took all the family photographs and videos. After he passed away no one could find any of his images or video footage. 

It was great seeing so many young people there who wanted to know more about their family history. Alex Richardson, III, and Shan Gordon shared so many photographs with us. Many family members brought delicious food and good tasting dessert to eat.  The family reunion committee worked very hard to make your reunion a success. Every table displayed 8x10 photographs of the Richardson and Williams family.  On Sunday morning we all went back the church our ancestors attended. The church was known as Gordon Chapel Church of God in Christ. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Gordon Chapel Church of God in Christ 1975

Photo Courtesy: Tangi Talk Newspaper
Vacation Bible School at Gordon Chapel Church of God in Christ, Elder Alex Richardson, pastor. The stated by the director, Mrs. Samuel Richardson was "Jesus Touch Me".

There were 26 cars and two floats. One float carried the King and Queen for Vacation Bible School. They were Sheila Hampton and Thaddeus M. Richardson; both children are members of Gordon Chapel Church. The second float was a boat that depicted " Fishermen of Men".

The following participated in the parade with us: Bishop & Mrs. W.K. Gordon, Bishop of the  Eastern State of Louisiana; Rose Valley Baptist; Morris Chapel Church of God in Christ; and Community Church of God in Christ.  During our Vacation Bible School we had an average of 100 children daily. The teachers who worked very hard and untiringly with the children were: Mrs. Helen P. Edwards and Miss Mirah Bennett, Mrs. Betty Richardson, Mrs. Priscilla Richardson,  Miss. Catherine Frazier, and Mrs. Dorothy Richardson

West Side Jr. High Girls' Softball Team

Back Row: left to right, back row Coach Mrs. Katie Simms, Lynell Thompson, Valarie Thomspon, Emma Thomas, Tidie Litton, Stella Battiste, Gloria Tillis, Kathy Trabona, Gladys Nagy, Sonia Battiste, Ora Spears, and Becky Cox. 

Front Row: left to right, Madelyn Walker, Sharon Noto, Janice Bennett, Willie Mae Lee, Cheryl Huges, Helen Gaston, Joyce Curry, Georgia Warford, and Sandra Coleman.

Source: Tangi Talk Newspaper: 1975

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Kentwood Train Wreck Killed 75 People in 1903

A few months back Marcia Wilson called me and asked me if I had any knowledge of a train wreck that took place in 1903 in Kentwood, Louisiana? She told me that she heard that many of the bodies were buried at Oak Grove AME Church, in a mass grave.

The accident happened on November 14, 1903 on a Saturday. Two extra work crews from various points up in Mississippi had been working below Amite on the construction of the double railroad track, according to a letter from the railroad office in Chicago. 

There were about 100 men in each gang, they filled the last two wooden coaches of the north bound local Number 32. They had just been paid and many were playing cards as they went toward home for the weekend. The paymaster used silver dollars to make robbery more difficult for anyone who might be tempted by the large payroll, it would be too heave to carry money off. 

No. 32 stopped in Kentwood at the depot. Two northbound passengers boarded and were seated in the third coach from the rear. There was a colored woman named Sallie Jones and April "Boy" Washington a brother of Boy Washington who worked at the ice plant. 

The Picayune Newspaper said that dead negroes are numerous and the odor of burning flesh is something dreadful and caused several strong men to faint. People raced north to help. Doctors rushed from Tangipahoa, Osyka and Mccomb. A special train was arranged to carry the injured to New Orleans where they were met by ambulances from Charity Hospital. 

Many of the work gang had died with cards in their hands. Dice and silver dollars and cards were scattered all over the area.  Carpenter crews from the McComb railroad shop were sent with boards of rough 1 by 12 lumber and they built coffins at the north end of the depot. 

Some men were badly burned so that they were placed two and three in a box. They started hauling before day Sunday morning and hauled all day to the cemetery of the African Methodist Episcopal Church where a long trench has been dug near some cedar trees,  north and south of the road. 

Bob Washington, was about 10 or 11 years old at the time. Pointed out where the unmarked graves where. 

White Dead.
ANDREW KISEG, Crystal Springs, Miss.
Negroes Dead.
KING HAYES, Tugaloo, Miss.
JOHN SMITH, Tugaloo, Miss.
JOHN WILLIAMS, Brookhaven, Miss.
JERRY AUSTIN, Canton, Miss.
Unknown Mulatio (Penn's crew).
Eighteen unidentified negro men.
One unidentified negro woman.
White Wounded.
BUD WILSON, fireman No. 6, McComb City, Miss.
HENRY STARKEY, Nathalbany, La.
Negroes Wounded.
EUGENE McDANIELS, Gilchesberg, Miss.
ERVIN LOVE, Rogue Chitto, Miss.
MONROE WALBUR, Hazelhurst, Miss.
JOHN THOMAS, Canton, Miss.
V. S. GRANT, Eutah, Ala.
W. COLEMAN, Canton, Miss.
CHAS. NASH, Madison, Miss.
W. SMITH, Crystal Springs, Miss.
WILL TILLMAN, Brookhaven, Miss.
WILL MAY, Canton, Miss.
HENRY WRIGHT, Calhoun, Miss.
MARLON, McMullen, Brandon, Miss.
The Times-Democrat New Orleans Louisiana 1903-11-16

Source: Local  Lore and Legend: Written by Irene Reid Morris
List of Dead and Injured: The Times-Democrat New Orleans, Louisina, 1903-11-16

The Quarters Terminology African American Communities

Slave Quarters
As long as I can remember, African American people in Tangipahoa Parish called their communities the quarters. Communities such as  Ried, Clemmons, and Hyde, are often called quarters by African Americans who live in the community.  I often think about the slave quarters when I hear people refer to their community as the quarters. I came across an article that was written and published by Irene Ried Morris. Here is what she wrote;

The Quarters is a phrase which was sometimes used to refer to the area toward the Dillon High School where there are a large number of color residences. The phrase comes from early days. 

Slave Quarter were villages of slaves located on plantations. A place where enslaved Africans lived. Many tenant farmers and sharecroppers also lived in the quarters.  The buildings were designed and constructed for the expressed purpose of housing slaves on a plantation.

I hope that one day African American people who live in these predominantly African American communities will come together to consider changing the terminology from quarters to communities and perhaps on day rename the community to that of a prominent African American pioneer for each community.

Orange Grove Addition in Kentwood, Louisiana

Amos Kent
Orange Grove Addition has one of two possible origins. The Kent family once owned a slave named "Orange" and another called "Green." Or it could have been named for the early efforts of Mr. Fred Woolver to encourage the planting and growing of fruit trees, including oranges. He had a greenhouse at his home north of Kentwood High School, with Dr. Ellis and a Mr. Evans of Tangipahoa was among the first to ship milk from this area to New Orleans.

Source:  Reprint from the Local Lore and Legend

Written by Irene Reid Morris