Collateral kin: Barnes & Ellis.

Collateral kin: Barnes & Ellis.

My uncles migrated North. My father and his sister stayed put. (Since the late 1970s, they have lived across the street from one another and, during my childhood, within a couple of blocks.) My father graduated high school in 1952, and in his class was the man my aunt would marry, Theodore Roosevelt Ellis Jr.

3915_490944984269391_672465952_nTheodore Roosevelt Ellis, Jr., 1950s.

Uncle Roosevelt, a nut-brown man with…

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She might have gone off with him.

She might have gone off with him.

$10 Reward.

RANAWAY from the Subscriber, about the 15th ult. a negro woman named HANNAH; formerly the property of Col. Edward Williams, of Onslow County, but more recently owned by Richard Saunders, Esq. Hannah is above the ordinary size, black complexion – about Forty years of age. – She has relations in Onslow county and at Rocky Point.

She has, for some years past, been living with a free…

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Daniel Artis, Union soldier?

Daniel Artis, Union soldier?

Daniel Artis’ pension file arrived today, and I was puzzled. Was this either of “my” Daniels?

As detailed here, Daniel Artis, believed to be the brother of Vicey and Sylvania Artis, allegedly went to war as a body servant for Confederate officer Christopher C. Lane. This Daniel was born about 1820 and was well into middle age when he trudged off to battle. On the other hand, his nephew Daniel…

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Happy birthday, Daddy.

Rederick Henderson 003

I’m feeling incredibly blessed to be able to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday with him today.


I love you, R.C. Henderson!

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The rise of the Grand Chancellor; or “There was something unusual in that green looking country boy.”

The rise of the Grand Chancellor; or “There was something unusual in that green looking country boy.”

In which the Indianapolis Freeman enlightens us regarding Joseph H. Ward‘s journey from Wilson, North Carolina, to Naptown:

Joseph H Ward Grand Chancellor Ind Freeman 7 22 1899

Joseph Ward early years 7 22 1899 Ind Freeman_Page_1

Joseph Ward early years 7 22 1899 Ind Freeman_Page_2

Joseph Ward early years 7 22 1899 Ind Freeman_Page_3

Indianapolis Freeman, 22 July 1899.

A few notes:

  • Joseph Ward’s mother might have been too poor to send him to school, but his father Napoleon Hagans, had he chosen to acknowledge him, certainly could have, as he sent his “legitimate” sons to Howard University.
  • The school…

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Remembering Hayden Bently Renwick.

Remembering Hayden Bently Renwick.

HB Renwick 001

Hayden Bently “Benny” Renwick was my great-aunt Louise Colvert Renwick‘s middle son and my mother’s favorite childhood cousin. He was a beloved and well-respected dean at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and kept an avuncular eye over me during my four years there. His death was sudden and unexpected, and I miss him.

HB Renwick 003

Hayden B. Renwick (10 February 1935-2 September 2009)

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Mother and son.

The heartbreaking record of burial preparations by Oliver H. Bair Company for William S. Hagans‘ wife and infant son. First the arrangements for little Henry:

Henry E Hagans Funeral Record 1914

Then for his mother:

Lizzie E Hagans Funeral Record 1914

 Source: Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985,

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Higher learning.

A running list of pioneers in education among my kin.

Cain D. Sauls, Tuskegee Institute?

Henry E. Hagans, Howard University, prep.; Shaw University, BA 1890.

William S. Hagans, Howard University, prep. 1889; college division, 1893; BA, law department, 1898.

Julia B. Morton Hagans, Howard University, Normal School, 1888.

Mack D. Coley, Hampton Institute, prep. 1890; Lincoln University, BA 1895.


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Registered nurses.

Many thanks to Renate Yarborough Sanders for bringing to my attention to “Early African American Registered Nurses in NC,” The page lists all known African-American nurses in the state, including my grandmother’s paternal aunt Henrietta Colvert and three other relatives.

The number presumably refers to…

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William Scarlett Hagans.

William Scarlett Hagans, born about 1869, was the second of Napoleon and Appie Ward Hagans‘ sons. He is first found as “Snowbee” in the 1870 census of Nahunta, Wayne County, North Carolina, in a household headed by “Poland Hagans” with wife Apcilla.  (Next door was Jonah Williams, brother of Adam Artis.  Artis and Napoleon’s half-sister Frances Seaberrywere my great-great-great-grandparents.) Two…

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