Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The History and Legacy of Alice L. Irving Vernon

Alice Luberta was one of eleven children born to Lemuel and Susie Irving.  Her siblings were Lucy, Robert, Thomas, Wilbert, Alma, Ethel, Edward, Lemuel Jr, Ralph and Roscoe. She also had one stepsister by the name of Luvenia, born to Lemuel and Millie Harrell. It has been said that great grandpa Lemuel given name was " Green," but was later changed to his slave name Irving."

Lemuel had 37 acres of land in Roseland, Louisiana where he and Susie farmed and raised their 11 children. He donated land to the Big Zion School and Church where the family worshipped. He was and entrepreneur and he hired help for his farm and had a shipping boxcar business used to ship vegetable up North. His children followed in his footsteps as business owners. Their business included farming, carpentry, seamstress, midwife and school teachers.

Grandma Alice met and married Fred Vernon, Sr., around 1917 in Roseland, La., This union produced five children: Norman, Felton, Fred, Jr., Dorothy and Osborn. Alice and Fred operated a very large farm that required the whole family's participation along with the hired help.

In addition to her cutie on the farm, grandma Alice had a seamstress business. On and old singer sewing machine that was manually operated by a floor foot paddle, she would sew anything and never used a store bought pattern. Instead, she used a Sears catalogue to have customers select a style, and she would used newspapers to design the outfit and cut out a perfect copy. She had amazing sewing talent with a large clientele having to sometimes work around the clock to couple orders and in addition she made her granddaughter's dresses.

Grandma Alice was also musically talented. She used to play the organ at Big Zion Church and directed the choir. She had a natural ear for music and taught her oldest granddaughters how to harmonize. She was a great cook, she made delicious blackberry cobblers, rice pudding and there was always a cake on the dining table. Anyone visiting her home would not leave without a meal, she made certain of that whether you were hungry or not.

Grandma Alice suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes in her later years. She was a lovable  person who always greeted everyone with a friendly smile. Two week prior to her death, she gave me a long talk about life in general. I left her feeling that conversation with her would be my last, and on January 3, 1963, I received a while attending college that my grandmother had passed away. She died at the age of 73 years old.

Written and Submitted by
Jacqueline James Pendleton-Dukes
1st Granddaugther.