Sunday, November 5, 2017

Unidentified Photographs of African-American People in Lanier-Fajoni Collection

There a couple dozen unamed photographs of African-American people in the Lanier Fajoni Collection. His collection is at the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies,  I hope by posting them, someone may recognize their family member and post their name. Over a decade ago, I met a contributing writer, who's name I can't remember contacted me about a man named Robert Vernon who had the collection in his care. I sitting here typing and trying to recall her name. I know she was a school teacher who wrote about genealogy and family history in the Tangi Digest Newspaper weekly. She published a different photograph weekly to see if anyone could identify someone in the photograph or identify the person in the photograph. Please email me at afrigenah@yahoo. com, if you have any information that could be helpful.

Photo Credits

Photo Credits: Lanier Fajoni Collection

Photo Credits: Lanier Fajoni Collection

Photo Credits:
Lanier-Fajoni Collection

Photo Credits:
Lanier-Fajoni Collection

Choctaw Indians Were the First in Tangipahoa Parish

A Choctaw baby peeks out of a handwoven Choctaw
rivercane pack basket at Lacombe, LA. The picture
was taken in 1909, appeared in David Bushnell, Jr's
article. "The Choctaw of Bayou Lacombe. " Photo
courtesy Center for Regional Studies, SLU
One of my favorite collections at Southeastern University Center for Louisiana Studies is the Irene Morris Collection. When I first moved to Kentwood, Louisiana I was told if you want to know any local history, go see Irene Ried Morris. I had the pleasure of sitting in her home and chatting about all the history and genealogies of the many families who lived on the North end of Tangipahoa Parish. Her weekly column in the Kentwood News called Local lore and legends was known for documenting local  community news and family histories. 

She talked about her collections but she quickly pointed out that there were still so many boxes with files inside her home. After talking with her, my next step was to make plans to go to Southeastern University to look in her collection. She recorded a lot of history about the local people as well as noted African American people on a national level. 

One the folders I looked in,  had an article she had written and published on the Choctaw Indians of Tangipahoa Parish. The first inhabitants of the Parish of Tangipaoha were the Choctaw Indians. A woman by the name of Mrs. Robert D. Hillis, who was well versed in local Indian lore spent countless hours researching the history and culture of the Choctaw Indians in Tangiphaoa Parish. Please let me point out women were identified by their husband's names back in those days and Mrs. Robert D. Hillis identified by her husband name.

Tangipahoa means corncob gatherers," or "corncob people." Tangipahoa Parish was formed in 1869, it was carved from Livington, St. Helena Parish, St. Tammany Parish, and Washington

Hillis made note that the  Choctaws would gather the sassafras leaves to make gumbo filĂ©. They made blowguns out of cane. She noted that their baskets were handmade out and colored with red oak and other natural resources.

After they went hunting for wild game they would bring their games into the local merchant in exchange for groceries. Hillis said the Choctaw Indians were peaceful folk. I know of a family that has Choctaw heritage. I learned of Malinda Lawson the daughter of Tom Swain also known as "Indian Tom," through my cousin Andre Richardson. Andre is the grandson of one of Esau and Malinda Lawson's daughters.  In a community called Ried's community the descendants of Indian Tom can still be found today. I was told by Mark Conerly that there was a theater in the City of Amite, called the Choctaw theater.  You won't find many people talking about the Choctaw Indians in the parish. 

Over in Washington Parish in Bogalusa, there were the Choctaw Indian Village. In an article posted on Rootsweb, Choctaw-Southeaster-L Archives. Rumor was told of full-bloodied Indians who ended up being killed and buried in peoples backyards. The source had to be protected, it was a little old lady, who fathered committed such acts when she was a child. 

A book entitled, "Pistols and Politics, the Dilemma of Democracy in the Florida Parishes. 1810-1899 was written by Samuel C. Hyde, Jr.,  This book documents the bloody history of this region in Louisiana. Dr. Samuel Hyde, Jr., is a Professor of History at Southeastern Louisiana University, and the Director of the Center of Southeast Louisiana Studies.


Please visit the Antoinette Harrell Collection

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Unnamed Slave in the City of Hammond Name Was Gaston

The Unnamed Slave Gravesite
Last year while researching African American history in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana., I came across an article written and posted by Dr. Charles Smith about an unnamed slave buried in a Hammond Cemetery on Charles Street. Laying behind the white picket fence in a corner close to the E. Charles street is the gravesite of Gaston. 

In the cemetery on East Charles Street, Peter Hammond the founder of the City of Hammond and several of his family members are buried there.  His wife Caroline, his unmarried daughter Maria. His daughter Sarah and her husband F. Robertson; and another daughter Clorinda, wife of E. DeSouge, and a granddaughter Elisa and her husband W.S. Wall.

A couple months back, Kenneth Harris, Councilman Lemar F. Marshall, a descendant of Peter Hammond and I had a conversation about the unnamed slave and finding his name. The blog post I wrote last year started African Americans in the community to at least talk about slavery and some went to visit the cemetery. Many African Americans in Tangipahoa Parish had no idea the gravesite was there.

An article was written and published in the Hammond Vindicator by Velmarae Dunn indicated that his name was Gaston. The article also stated that Gaston died of yellow fever. Gaston died in the early 1860s and was buried before Peter Hammond and his family. The Hammond Preservation Commission Director Leah Solomon and  Commission Shauna Seals organized today memorial event to place a wreath on Gaston's gravesite. Hammond President Councilman Lemar F. Marshall was present. Historian Howard Nichols, who is also a Commission Member join in for the discussion at the City Hall.
Pouring of Libation

At the gravesite, Mayor Peter Panepinto spoke to the occasion followed by Prayers by Rev. Shelton Myers of St, James A.M.E. Church. The pastor of Grace Memorial Episcopal Church laid the wreath at the grave.  Mayor Panepinto has committed to replacing with a headstone that has Gaston's name on it. 

We are hoping to learn more about Gaston life through genealogy and historical research. I talked with my colleague Bernice Alexander Bennett who specialize in Livington Parish research about Peter Hammond. She may have some research tips that could be helpful.  I'm happy to see that the community leaders and others in the community are embracing this long overdue subject. I would like to see more African American historians not just locally get involved with the people in the community. As we approach the 2018 Black History Month, we are looking forward to an event that would commemorate the discovery. 

I've visited several slave cemetery in St. Helena Parish with Mrytis Johnson who's mission is to preserve the abandoned cemeteries and slave cemeteries. Now our mission is to find out as much as we can about Gaston. Some of the questions I want answers to:

Where did Gaston come from?
Did he have family members on the plantation?
What did he do on the plantation?
Was he purchased from someone else?
Was anything ever recorded about him?

 I was hoping to see the pouring of libation in memory of Gaston, African dancing, and drumming. This is an African tradition that dates back to the book of Genesis.  Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He has spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he out a drink offering on it; he poured oil on it.  Gen 35:14

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Obituary of Stine Temple

Stine Temple, a dock worker for United Fruit Co., died Tuesday of a heart attack at United Medical Center. He was 52. Mr. Temple was a lifelong resident of New Orleans. Survivors included three daughters, Angela, Carla and Yvette Powell; his mother, Cora W. Temple; two brothers, Bobbie and Alvin Temple; a sister, Betty T. Steptoe; and five grandchildren. A funeral service was held Saturday at 9:30 a.m at Second Zion Baptist Chruch No. 1, 2929 Second St. Vistiation will be at 8 a.m. Burial will be in Temple Cemetery in Amite, D.W. Rhodes Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

Source the Time Picayune Newspaper, the clipping didn't state the year.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Connecting Our Vining Family Genetic Through Ancestry DNA

Isaiah Vining
Photo Credit: Antoinette Harrell
Several months ago my cousin Belinda Vining Trepagnier and I talked about having her father Isaiah Vining to take the Ancestry DNA and African Ancestry DNA test. We want to find out about our family history as much as possible. 

Isaiah is the descendant of Leon and Hattie Vining. He was born in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. He is one of six siblings; Leola, Eddie Lee, Johnny, Mary Lee, Rosedale, and Thomas. His father Leon as born about 1906 to the union of Benjamin and Annie Richardson Vining, he lived in Ward 3, in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana. 

 Leon's sibling were;  Carrie, John, Leon and Luellea Vining.  I met cousin Luella over twenty years ago in New Orleans, La., She was in her eighties when I met her. I would often visit with her and talk with her about our family history. She talked about her mother Annie Richardson Vining every chance she got. She told me that her father Benajmin has contact the smallpox and had to be quaratine in a little shack in the woods. She remember going in the woods and placing food under a tree and leaving. He died in the woods due to the smallpox. No one couldn't come in contact with him. 

Cousin Luella spent a lot of time with her grandmother Amanda Breland Richardson and Thomas Richardson. At one time she and her family was living with her grandparents. She had a picture of her grandmother Amanda and her mother Annie hanging on her wall. Cousin Louella was a amputee and she spent a lot of time crocheting blankets, caps and baby items for the family. 

Thomas and Amanda Breland Richardson has five children; Annie, Thomas, Golene, Johnc and Sophia Richardson. Cousin Luella told me that her mother was accidently shot by her brother John. She said her mother died of lock jaw and the family didn't talk about that subject at all. Matter of fact, not to many people knew of Annie, not even my mother who was the family griot. Most of the people who would have known about Annie had died. Annie was my grandmother's Josephine Richardson Harrell's aunt. 

Cousin Isaiah is in his eighties and agreed to take the DNA test. Surrounding by his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and other family members as well as friends. Isaiah and his family get together every fouth Sunday of the month for fellowship, family fun, games and lots of home cooked food. 

I really enjoyed myself watching the family really enjoy each others company and having fun playing a game of spoon. Most of all, cousin Isaiah was right there playing with games with his children and grandchildren. They are planning to go on their annual cruise this years. Cousin Isaiah is truly patirach of his family. I'm happy that I met Leon's branch of the family.  Matter of fact Isaiah is double related to me on the Richardson and Vining side of my family.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Rev. Charles Daggs Ran for Office in Tangipahoa Parish in 1872

State of Louisiana

Parish of Tangipahoa

Before the undersigned (?) appeared Charles Daggs, Emanuel Daggs, who being duly sworn according to the  law (?) that he was employee by J.P. Harrison when he went for his pay he Harrison refused to pay him. Daggs was running for office and that his life was not worth it and said he would never give him any more work, because Daggs voted the (?) ticket and had been working (?)
said Harrison interest for five years

Jackson Stapleton told me that Mr. J.P. Harrison said that if Stapleton voted the Republican ticket he Stapleton would  be taking bread out of his children mouth and after receiving this information he Stapleton refused to vote the Republican  ticket. 

Charles Daggs

Sworn to before me by said Charles Daggs, and by him subsribed in my presence this 7th day of December 1872. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sarah Nicholson Kidnapped and Sold Into Slavery in St. Helena, Louisiana

Edna Jordan Smith
Many people watched the movie "Twelve Years a Slave," or read the book. Over a decade ago I came across an article that was published in the Time Picyaune Newspaper. The article was written by Joan Treadway. Treadway has intereviewed Edna Jordan-Smith about her research discovery concerning a woman named Sarah Nicholson who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in St. Helena Parish, Louisiana in 1826. 

Smith reseach didn't reveal who kidnapped Sarah, her research revealed that white people and free people of color was involved. It was through a lawsuit that was filed on August 20, 1826 in St. Helena Parish Courthouse that Smith learned of the case. While looking through a summary of abstracts of cases during her employee at the Bluebonnett Library genealogy department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

An attorney named Thomas S. Lloyd, whom Smith believed to have been based in New Orleans. The document stated that Sarah had been kidnapped from the Pine Stree Wharf in Philadelphia and taken on board a hermaphrodite rig, they then transferred her to a oyster boat. "A storm rose in which the boat sprung a leak," Sarah said in the lawsuit. Sarah and nine other African descent people was but back on the rig. A total of fifty-people was enslaved there. She was put in irons, around her right foots, and a rope was fastened around her neck to the neck of another.

The ship made several stop while  enroute to Louisiana, where Sarah was transported to land, in St. Helena Parish. "A slaveholder by the name of Presley Stephenson a cotton farmer possibly used her for a field hand," said Smith. I research his name in Ancestry, I found him in St. Helena in the 1830 United States Census. His name was spelled Stevenson. Stephenson later sold her to a "Captain Thompson," who was a slave dealer on the corner of Canal and Camp

Sarah talked about how Thomspon beat her and was very mean and cruel. He beat her at the police station in the New Orleans for saying she was a free person. In her suit she wanted to be paid for unspecfied amount of damges she recieved from Thompson. 

I went to the St. Helena Parish Courthouse searching for the lawsuit. I will make a visit to the library in Baton Rouge to look at the abstract and have it transcribed.  Preserving Our History in Tangiphaoa and St, Helena would like to thank Edna Jordan Smith for this ground-breaking researh and bring it to the forefront.

Edna Jordan Smith holds a Masters of Education Degree with emphasis in Historical Research. She taught Genealogy Research at the Bluebonnet Genealogy Library in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Major Bibligraphical Sources: 

Time Picayune Newspaper " Woman Fought for Her Freedom in La.