Slave Name Roll Project: RELEASING Sarah’s Name

True's statementMy series of posts for Black History Month on the slaves owned by my 5th
great-grandfather James SIMS 1754-1845 gave Schalene Jennings Dagutis of
Tangled Roots and Trees the wonderful idea of creating a Slave Name Roll Project. I plan to do a similar post with slaves names on a monthly basis until I’ve been able to RELEASE all of the names of slaves owned by my ancestors. Today I am RELEASING Sarah and 19 other slaves.

My 5th great-grandfather Joseph LIVELY (1735-1793) died intestate in Amherst County, Virginia, in 1793. (Note: The area he lived in is now part of Nelson County, Virginia.) Letters of administration were granted his son Mark LIVELY on 22 October 1793 with John HILL and William HILL as bondsmen.

An inventory of the estate of Joseph LIVELY made on 16 December 1793 included a considerable number of livestock, an old negro woman Sarah, a negro woman Betty, and a negro boy George.

I don’t have the original documents or a transcript which would most likely include, if the slaves were sold, the names of the purchasers. Or did they remain with the widow and/or the children? On 19 August 1797 the Joseph LIVELY estate sale was held and a few relatives and many neighbors bought items. Subsequently the estate was settled but no record of final partition was included in the Amherst County probate records.
[Source: Amherst Co. Wills, 3:282, 293, 450]

Moving back in time, Joseph LIVELY paid personal property taxes in Amherst County from 1782 to 1793. Personal property included one slave who was most likely the  “old negro woman Sarah” mentioned in the inventory of his estate in 1793. I believe this name and her being an older woman are important. Was Betty her daughter and George her grandson?

Joseph LIVELY was married to Mary L. CASH, a daughter of Robert Howard CASH and Ruth Walker EPPINGTON. Howard CASH left a very detailed will in 1772 in which he named 17 slaves, including “a negro wench named Sarah” who was given to his daughter Mary LIVELY. Was the “wench named Sarah” in 1772 the same person as the “old woman Sarah” in 1793 and was she sold in 1797? If Betty and George were part of her family, did they remain with her?

Below is the abstract of Robert Howard CASH Sr.’s will which includes the slave names: Joseph, Cate, James, Charles, Sall, Dinah, Dick, David, Phil, Dick, Sarah, James, Fillis, Peg, John, Ralph, and Nell. This brings the total to 20 slave names for this post.

WILL OF HOWARD CASH of Amherst County, Virginia [Will Bk 1:228-231].
As abstracted from microfilm by Thelma Faye Cain Prince

In the name of God Amen.  I, Howard CASH, of the county of Amherst, being sick and weak of body, but of sound and perfect state of mind and memory and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last Will and Testament.

First, I lend my wife, Ruth, eight negroes during her natural life, namely, Joseph, Cate, James, Charles, Sall, Dinah, Dick, and David.

Item.  I lend to my beloved wife during her life the land and plantation whereon I live, which said land and negroes  I lend to my wife during widowhood or natural life.

Item.  I give to my son, Joel, one hundred acres land joining the land on which he lives and 2 negroes named [at this point there is a slight error in the transcription, a condensed version found includes the name Phil. It is possible that more than the name is missing, perhaps an entire line] Dick, a boy, I give to my grandson, Howard, the son of Joel CASH, after the death of my son, Joel, to him and his heirs forever.

Item.  I give to my daughter, Mary LIVELY, a negro wench named Sarah.

Item.  I give to my son, Benjamin, 400 acres land adjacent to land that is at present the property of Capt.  Aaron Higginbotham, and the land whereon I now live, also a negro fellow named James, whom I purchased of W. Thomas Mitchell.

Item.  I lend to my daughter, Rosanna, a negro wench named Fillis during her life and after her decease to my grandson, Micajah (her and her increase to him and his heirs forever).

Item.  I lend to my daughter Ann POWELL, a negro wench named Peg during her life and after her decease to the heirs of her body and if she dies without issue my will is that the said negro her increase may descend to the children of my daughter, Rosanna.

Item.  I give to my son, Robert, 240 acres land lying between the land whereon I live and Stephen Cash’s  land, moreover, I give to my son, Robert, 400 acres land which I left to my wife, after her decease, a negro boy named John and also a bed and furniture and 2 cows.

Item.  I give to my daughter, Mary Ann, a negro boy named Ralph and also a bed and furniture and a cow and a calf.

Item.  My will and desire is that my daughter, Elizabeth NUCKLES, may have 30 pounds to be raised out of my estate which I have willed to my wife, to be paid in ten years by an order for 3 pounds a year upon some merchant as soon as it becomes due.  I give to my daughter, Ruth, a negro girl named Nell and her increase to her and her heirs for ever and also a bed and furniture and a cow and a calf.

Item.  I give to my son, Stephen, 5 shillings and I give to my daughter Sarah MANZE (sic, MAYS), 5 shillings.

Item.  My will after the decease of my wife, Ruth, is that two negroes, James and Charles, may descend to my son,  Joel, and Joseph and Cate to my son, Benjamin, and two negroes, Sall and Davie, to my son, Robert.

Item.  My will is that after the decease of myself and my wife, the increase of Sall if any may be equally divided between my daughters, Mary Ann and Ruth, and if either of said daughters should depart this life unmarried or before they arrive to lawful age, the survivor of them should possess the issue of the negro woman.

Item.  The residue of my estate which I have not already devised may go to my beloved wife during her life and after her decease to be equally divided between my three sons, Joel, Benjamin, and Robert.

Item.  I do not desire that my estate be appraised and I appoint my beloved wife, executrix, and my sons, Joel, Benjamin, and Robert, executors of this last Will and Testament.

Test:  Roderick McCulloch David Crawford           s/Howard CASH (seal)
28 Feb. 1772

Sworn to by the oaths of Roderick McCulloch and David Crawford and ordered to be recorded.  To executors, Ruth CASH, Joel CASH, Benjamin CASH, and Robert CASH, a certificate granted them for obtaining probate in due form, which they with Richard Powell, Gabriel Penn, their securities, entered into and acknowledged bond of 2000 pounds.   s/Edmund Wilcox, Clerk of Court.
6 Oct. 1772.  Amherst Co. Va.

ADMINISTRATION OF RUTH CASH [Amherst Co. Va.  Order Bk 1782-84:205-206] On the motion of Hendrick Arnold, Adm. of the estate of Ruth CASH, Dec’d is granted him, who with Caleb Higginbotham, his Security entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of One Thousand Pounds, took the Oath required by law and ordered to be recorded.
March Court 1784

Jacob Symth, John Karr, Nathaniel Hill and John Hill (or any 3 of them) they being first sworn are appointed to appraise in current money the slaves and personal estate of Ruth CASH deceased and return an inventory thereof to this court.

Note: The will has been found attached to family trees without credit being given to the person who transcribed it. I believe that Thelma Faye Cain Prince originally did the transcription work and would like to give her credit. Permission to use this abstract was requested 28 March 2015 through Thelma F. Prince’s guestbook on her site. The entry does not show up in the guestbook as of 29 March and is most likely awaiting moderation. I also sent an email to Mrs. Prince at an address used in 2006 on the 29th – it has not bounced.

If you have images or photocopies of this will, I would appreciate hearing from you. I believe a line may be missing in the will abstract as noted in red above. I have not done very much research on my CASH and LIVELY lines as documentation is not easily accessible due to my location.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Posted in Black History, Brick Walls | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

52 Ancestors: #12 The One Who Went To Paris

Week 12 (March 19-25) – Same. What ancestor is a lot like you? What ancestor do you have a lot in common? Same name? Same home town?

To give me a little break from serious research and writing, I’m sharing documents my husband’s cousin re-discovered a few weeks ago while cleaning out their Rumpelkammer or débarras [one of those catch-all rooms].

JohannPeterIIIIn 52 Ancestors: #5 The MEDER-FABER Family of Diekirch 1846-1954 I wrote about my husband’s great-grandparents Franz MEDER (1846-1930) and Elisabeth FABER (1846-1915). They had three sons with the same name - Johann Peter MEDER. The middle one was born 14 October 1876 and died 29 September 1877, shortly before his first birthday. The two other sons, with the same name, lived to marry and have children so it was not the case of a child being named after a child who had died. The youngest of the two was my husband’s grandfather (left) Johann Peter MEDER (1888-1954) who I wrote about in 52 Ancestors: #2 The Brewery Worker and the Midwife. The other one was . . .

The One Who Went To Paris

Johann Peter, the elder, remained in Paris, married and had at least one child, a daughter Pierette who was born ca. 1920-1925. I suspected this but needed confirmation. I met Pierette and her husband in the late 1970s or early 1980s when they came from France to visit with my husband’s uncle Fritz and we saw them several times before Pierette’s death. At the time I knew that she was Fritz’s and my father-in-law’s cousin. By process of elimination I figured out that she had to be the daughter of the elder Johann Peter. My husband’s cousin confirmed that Pierette was the daughter of the brother who lived in Paris but she does not know when he died.

After talking to my husband’s cousin, she and her husband began cleaning out a room in their house and found documents that she share with me. What a find!!

As mentioned above, the elder Johann Peter MEDER, born 12 June 1873, lived and worked in Paris. He was known as Jean MEDER and worked as a Maître d’Hotel or butler for the family of the Marquis Gustave Lannes de Montebello (1838-1907), French Ambassador, like his father before him, to Russia in Saint Petersburg in 1891-1902. Following the death of the Marquis, Jean remained in the employ of the Marquise de Montebello and her family.

1915Dominica 1915Jean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Paris, France, on 27 September 1913 Jean MEDER married Dominica PEYRÉ. At the time she was without an occupation. Jean’s parents François MEDER and Elisabeth FABER gave their consent on 30 August 1913 in Diekirch, Luxembourg, in an Acte de Consentement à Mariage:

1913acteAn extract of the original 1913 marriage record obtained on 31 May 1940 by Jean and Dominica for an unknown purpose.

1913marriageOn 16 August 1915, during World War I, Jean and Dominica obtained permission to travel in Switzerland, Italy, and France from the Consulate of the Netherlands in Geneva. The Consulate issued these papers.

1915Jeanpass

1915DominicapassThey appear to have then travelled to Paris, France, where on 27 September 1915 they obtained a passport for travel in Switzerland for a one year period.

1915passfrontReverse side of the passport with the stamps from Paris and Lausanne.

1915passbackOn 7 July 1920 Jean, maître d’hotel,  and Dominica, femme de chambre or maid, became the parents of a daughter Marie Pierette MEDER born in Paris, France. This is an extract they obtained on 29 May 1940.

1920birthThe extract of the 1913 marriage record, this extract of the 1920 birth record of the daughter, as well as Dominica’s extract of her 1878 birth record (below) were all obtained the end of May 1940. As this was during World War II it is very likely that the family was once again in need of passports to travel with their employer.

1878birthFollowing the war Pierette married René MEYER on 27 October 1947. It is very likely that they met in the diplomatic circles that her parents’ employers belonged to. René and Pierette lived in Russia while René served a tour of duty there.

1947marriageI located Dominica’s original birth record in the Archives des Pyrénées-Atlantique in Biarritz > Naissances 1873-1882 > image 200 of 379. These records cannot be reproduced without permission. In the margin of the birth record her date of marriage to Jean MEDER as well as her date and place of death were recorded. Dominica died on 29 January 1952 in Kremlin-Bicêtre, Val-de-Marne, Île-de-France, France. It is not known when her husband Jean died.

Pierette, the only child of Jean and Dominica, and her husband René did not have children and this line ended with her death in October 1986.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

Posted in 52 Ancestors - 2015, Luxembourg, Luxracines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

52 Ancestors: #11 Lucky in Love

Week 11 (March 12-18) – Luck of the Irish. Do you have an ancestor who seemed particularly lucky? Do you have a favorite Irish ancestor? This is their week.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!

 

Why Lucky in Love? My husband and I are celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary on the 16th, the day before St. Patrick’s Day, AND on the 18th, the day after St. Patrick’s Day. The first date was our civil marriage and the second our religious marriage.

1978weddingA Luxembourgish groom and his redhead DEMPSEY bride

Dempsey is an anglicised form of Ó Diomasaigh, from the Irish adjective diomasach, meaning “proud”

If we had not been so lucky to see each other twice on the first day we met, we may never have gotten together, married, and had our two wonderful children who are the focal point of our MEDER-DEMPSEY family tree.

fan9 generation fan chart courtesy of TreeSeek.com

My husband and I are not our ancestors however the knot we tied brought together all of our ancestors.

I’m doing the stories of the families in Luxembourg this year for my children. I thought that it would be easy going as the records for Luxembourg are available online at FamilySearch. The family groups are large, often with as many as a dozen children. But the records are not indexed. As long as I know what town they lived in I have no problem with the civil records.

However the census records are doing me in. I have to go through them page by page unless they have a listing for the neighborhood which I have to locate in a batch of 500-600 images. I love FamilySearch but hate slow loading while browsing. And I’m not talking about one  census every ten years. Luxembourg did 19 censuses from 1843 to 1900 – in 1843, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1851, 1852, 1855, 1858, 1861, 1864, 1867, 1871, 1875, 1880, 1885, 1887, 1890, 1895, and 1900.

Last year I spent a week at a time on an American ancestor and on a family group this year for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. This hasn’t giving me any time to get ahead on my posts. I research, scan paper documents and photos, cite sources, write the story during the week, just making my imposed Monday deadline. Last week I posted a day late and without the source citations (now done!). It was hard for me, considered so perfect by others, to admit this. Is that my proud Irish blood?

It turns out that I need to sneak in a little break and cheat a bit so I can get ahead. So this week I’m posting a photo of the two lucky people who found each other. Next week I’ll post some wonderful original documents that were loaned to me for scanning by my husband’s cousin.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

Posted in 52 Ancestors - 2015, Luxembourg, Luxracines | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

52 Ancestors: #10 The FOURNELLE-FRANTZ Family (1871-2005)

Week 10 (March 5-11) – Stormy Weather. This is the time of year that the northern hemisphere starts to see severe storms. (As if the blizzards in New England this winter haven’t been bad enough!) What ancestor endured a particularly severe storm? It could be something like a tornado or blizzard or it could be a “storm” of bad things.

What storms did the FOURNELLE-FRANTZ family have to weather through? Living in a European country bordering on Germany during two world wars would definitely be conducive to stormy times. Holding fast with that theme, I’m flooding this post with photos from those times before giving the facts! Enjoy!

fournelle1

My great-grandfather Jean Joseph FOURNELLE, Grandpapa, in 1957 at the age of 86.

fournelle2

Grandpapa in 1945 at the age of 74.

fournelle9

Grandpapa, my great-grandfather with Bomi, my grandmother.

fournelle10

Grandmaman, my great-grandmother, with her granddaughter Ginette.

fournelle8

My great-grandmother Catherine FRANTZ, Grandmaman. A portrait made in 1938 after her death in 1934.

fournelle11

Group photo from 1920s that was used as a model for the portrait of Grandmaman.

marriage

In the 1920s son André married Marguerite HUESMANN. Don’t they look young?

fournelle3

Jean Joseph FOURNELLE, 4th from right, at the train station in Echternach.

fournelle4

The FOURNELLE-FRANTZ family ca. 1920 in front of the high school (lycée), formerly the abbey of Echternach. From left to right: Lucie, Joseph, Marcelle (Bomi), Catherine, André

fournelle5

André and Lucie ca. 1906

fournelle6

The FOURNELLE-FRANTZ family (ca. 1906) before my grandmother was born. The children André (left) and Lucie (right) with (from left to right) their father Joseph, mother Catherine and aunt Pauline FRANTZ.

fournelle7

Jean Joseph FOURNELLE ca. 1900

A Little Geography Lesson

Map_Boulaide

Father’s place of birth: Boulaide[Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]

Map_Echternach

Place that the family lived: Echternach [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]

Map_Mamer

Mother’s place of birth: Mamer [Public domain via Wikimedia Commons]

Commune: 0range; Canton: red+orange; District: darker grey+red+orange:

My FOURNELLE-FRANTZ couple lived in Echternach from the time they married until their deaths. The husband was born in the commune of Boulaide[1] and the wife was born in the commune of Mamer[3]. Luxembourg is divided into three districts: Boulaide is in the District of Diekirch (toe to throatline of the shoe), Echternach is in the District of Grevenmacher (collar of the shoe), and Mamer is in the District of Luxembourg (heel of the shoe). To do research in Luxembourg you need to know that most towns are known by their French, German, and Luxembourgish names. At FamilySearch when you browse the Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1662-1941 collection you will have to know the French name of the town BUT you will find that most records are in German and the town will have the German name listed on records. The FamilySearch Wiki is very helpful when you need help with the Luxembourgish commune that a town belongs to.

Birth Records of Joseph and Catherine

1871birth

1871 Birth Record No. 6 [1]

Johann Joseph FOURNELLE was born on 20 February 1871 in Syr (Sir, Surré) in the commune of Bauschleiden (Bauschelt, Boulaide) in the canton of Wiltz, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. He was born at 6 o’clock in the morning to André FOURNELLE (32) and his wife Lucie SCHLOESSER (30). His father’s occupation was Grentzaufseher or border guard.[1]

1871birth

1871 Birth Record No. 6 (conformed copy) [2]

Bauschleiden as seen on the map above is in northwestern Luxembourg, on the border to Belgium. Much damage was done in that area during World War II. When I looked into getting a copy of my great-grandfather’s birth record I was told that all records were destroyed during the Battle of the Bulge. The records in the Luxembourg, Civil Registration, 1662-1941 collection at FamilySearch are the copies that are in the archives in Luxembourg City. On 20 July 1955 it was decided to make copies of the lost records for the town hall. On 10 January 1956 the birth record of my great-grandfather was typed up and returned to Bauschleiden. I was able to get a copy of it in 2010.[2]

1875birth

1875 Birth Record No. 57 [3]

Catherine FRANTZ was born on 17 November 1872 in Mamer in the canton of Capellen, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. She was born at 4 o’clock in the morning to Johann FRANTZ (34) and his wife Maria MAJERUS (21). Her father was identified as “der Jungere” to distinguish him from another person of the same name in the community, most likely his cousin Johann FRANTZ b. 1836 who was 6 years older. Catherine’s father was Leinenweber or linen weaver.[3]

The Marriage of Joseph and Catherine

On the 9th of July 1900 at 10 o’clock in the morning Joseph age 29 and Catherine age 27 were married in Mamer. Joseph was a Rosenzüchter, rose culturist, and Catherine did not have an occupation. The parents of the bride and groom were present and consenting to the marriage. On the 24th of June the marriage banns were read in the churches of Mamer and Echternach. Two of the witnesses, Johann MULLER and Johann JANS, were from Echternach, one from Mamer, and the last, a cousin of the bride, was from Bartringen.[4]

1900fournelle

1900 Signature of the groom [4]

1900frantz

1900 Signature of the bride [4]

 

 

 

Less than three months later on Sunday 23 September the annual fruit exposition took place in Echternach. It was fairly well attended as the Obstbauverein, fruit growing club, planned it to coincide with the Kirmes, an annual fair, in Echternach. It also helped that they did not charge fees for stalls or for visitors. Joseph FOURNELLE took 2nd place in the category apples, pears, and other fruits for table use and processing.[5]

The Children of Joseph and Catherine

Odilia Luzia was born on 30 March 1902 at 9 in the evening in Echternach at the home of her parents in the Luxemburger street. Her father Johann Joseph was 31 years old and a Rosenzüchter. Her mother Catharina (German and French spelling were often interchanged) was 29 years old. Johann (Jean) JANS, 29, and Jacob MULLER, 26, Schuhmacher or shoemaker, both witnesses at the marriage of the parents of the child, were witnesses for the birth record.[6]

1902signature

1902 Signature of the father [6]

On 15 September 1904 Andreas FOURNELLE was born at 4 in the morning. His father reported the birth the same day at 11 o’clock in the morning. Joseph, Rosenzüchter, was 33 and Cathereine was 31. Andreas, later seen as André, was born at home in the Luxemburger street. Johann JANS, 33, Schankwirt or barkeeper, and Jacob MULLER, 28, Schuhmacher or shoemaker, were once again witnesses on the birth record.[7]

1904signature

1904 Signature of the father [7]

Maria Marcelle, my Bomi, 21 March 1909 at 7 o’clock in the morning at the house called Mühlenacht in the Luxemburger street. Joseph (38) reported the birth the same morning at 11 o’clock. He was still working as a Rosenzüchter. The child’s mother Catherine was 36. The witnesses were Peter STEINMETZ and Mathias PRIM.[8]

1909signature

1909 Signature of the father [8]

I love how my great-grandfather’s signature changed over the years. By 1935 the flourish in his signature had once again disappeared.[9]

1935signature

1935 Signature of the father of the bride [9]

The Homes of the Fournelle Family

The home that the FOURNELLE family lived in during these early years in the Luxemburger Strasse was known as Mühlenacht or Millenoacht (in Echternacher Luxembourgish). I don’t know if Joseph’s parents owned the home. His parents lived in Mühlenacht with Joseph and his family until their deaths in 1908 and 1911.[10],[11]

In 1914 Joseph was still seen running the nursery when chlolera was raging and his produce was inspected and said to be safe for consummation.[12] My grandmother told me that she was very young when the family moved to house number 26 in the André Duchscher street and that it was just before World War I (1914-1918). It was also about this time that Joseph began working for the railroad.

1957 002

1957 – The house(s) belonging to Joseph FOURNELLE. Two buildings were combined to make the home. The doorway of the house on the right (middle) was closed up after the war.

1963-07-11 Echternach

1963 – The house owned by Joseph was passed on to his daughter Marcelle.

2015-01-23 13.57.38

2015 – After the death of my grandmother in 2005 the house was sold. The house no longer looks like the home we visited as children.

Joseph and Catherine’s Children Marry

Lucie married Virgile WENDLING before 1921. My mother does not know how it came to be that Lucie met Virgile who lived in Strasbourg, France. I believe that like many young people Lucie went to France to work. No record of marriage was found in Echternach. She had a daughter Yvonne, son René (died in 1944 in Serbia), and daughter Ginette. Since Lucie was working full time in Strasbourg her youngest daughter lived in Echternach with her grandparents and her aunt Marcelle, my Bomi, until she was old enough to go to school. Lucie suffered in later years from diabetes, had to have a leg amputated in early 1970s and died 9 Apr 1977 in Strasbourg.[13]

Joseph and Catherine’s only son André married Marguerite HUESSMANN in the 1920s. I have not looked for the marriage record in Echternach or Hollerich were the bride’s parents lived. They were married after 1921, the FamilySearch cut-off year for most civil records for Luxembourg. In their wedding portrait (seen above) they appear to be quite young. They did not have children.

Joseph’s wife Catherine only saw her two older children marry. She died on 16 March 1934 in Echternach.[14]

1934obit

1934 Death Notice of Catherine FRANTZ, wife of Joseph FOURNELLE [14]

Following the mother’s death the youngest daughter Marcelle married Johann WILDINGER on 26 July 1935.[9] Their story continues in The Plumber/Tinsmith and the Seamstress.

After the death of his wife, Joseph lived the rest of his life with his youngest daughter Marcelle who stayed in her parental home after her marriage. Lucie was living in Strasbourg with her family but often visited her father and siblings in Echternach. Before World War II Joseph was known for riding his bike from Echternach to Strasbourg to visit  Lucie and her family. Today this would be a 2 1/2 hours drive by car, how long did it take him to ride the 260 km or 162 miles?

World War II

On 10 May 1940 German troops marched into and occupied Luxembourg. On 6 October 1944 the Germans occupying Echternach announced that all the people of Echternach must leave the town at 11:00 in the morning. Everyone was to take the same route towards Osweiler where they were met by American soldiers waiting to move into Echternach. The people of Echternach continued their journey on foot pulling wagons with their belongings or in wagons pulled by horses to Bech. My mother was travelling with her mother Marcelle WILDINGER-FOURNELLE and her grandfather Joseph FOURNELLE. Grandpapa had his German Shepherd with him as well as his bike with a shopping bag filled with their papers. Gunfire scared the dog as they were walking up a hill and he ran off. Grandpapa dropped his bike and the bag full of papers and ran after the dog. Mom remembers the papers fluttering around but her grandfather was more concerning with the dog. They remained in Bech a week or two. From there families moved on to places where they had relatives or friends in other parts of Luxembourg. Mom, her mother and Grandpapa were in Helmdange for a short period of time before they joined a family who had relatives in the Lorentzweiler area. They stayed in Lorentzweiler until May of 1945 when they returned to a town that lay in ruins.[15]

MRIN01117 1945 ca. Nic. Wildinger's atelier - side street

1945 side street that ran along the left side of the Fournelle home in Echternach. The writing on the wall was the advertisement for the workshop of my grandfather Nik. WILDINGER (d. 1941). The woman on the left in front is my grandmother Marcelle FOURNELLE.

1946obit

Necrologie from the Escher Tageblatt dated 4 Dec 1946 [17]

Moni André, as Joseph’s only son was known to his nieces, was a dog trainer and the president of the Hondsportverein Dideleng (dog sport club of Dudelange).[16] I remember stories of his wearing a bite suit to train the dog to attack and also that he trained dogs for the blind. This was his hobby. He worked as a technician for ARBED (Aciéries Réunies de Burbach-Eich-Dudelange) a major steel and iron producing company created in 1911.[17]

André died of a short and painful disease on 3 December 1946 in Dudelange. He was buried in the cemetery in Hollerich.[17] This makes me wonder if he and Mathilde, as his wife was known by the family, may have had babies buried in that cemetery. Or he was very close to his in-laws and was buried in the HUESSMANN plot. His widow Mathilde outlived him by 25 years and died on 4 April 1971 in Luxembourg-Hamm.[18]

1958obit

1958 Death Notice of Joseph FOURNELLE, widower of Catherine FRANTZ [20]

Fournelle Jean Joseph
N 16          Dcs          Feuille 5
L’an mil neuf cent cinquante-huit, le douze du mois de mars huit heures trente minutes par devant Nous Joseph Relles, bourgmestre, officier de l’état civil de la commune d’Echternach canton d’Echternach, Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, a comparu Marie Marcelle Fournelle veuve de Wildinger Nicolas agée de quarante-huit ans, couturière domiciliée à Echternach; fille du défunt.
Laquelle Nous a déclaré que Jean Joseph Fournelle âgé de quatre-vingt-sept ans, employé de chemin de fer en retraite né à Surré commune de Boulaide, domicilié à Echternach; fils des défunts épouse André Fournelle et Lucie Schlechter; veuf de Catherine Frantz; les trois décédés à Echternach; est décécé le onze mars à seize heures quarante-cinq à Echternach à la maison Nr. 26 rue André Duchscher.
Le présent acte a été signé avec Nous par le comparant, après que lecture lui en a été faite.
Marcelle Fournelle             J. Relles

My great-grandfather Johann Joseph FOURNELLE died on 11 March 1958 in Echternach.[19],[20] I was two months old, lived on the other side of the Atlantic, and didn’t get to meet him.

Sources:
[1] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Boulaide > Naissances 1838-1890 Mariages 1798-1823, 1798-1835 > image 459 of 1498. 1871 Birth Record No. 6; (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-12330-116084-50?cc=1709358&wc=M9QN-T56:1193074600 : accessed 23 Mar 2010).
[2] 1871 Birth Record No. 6, conformed photocopy obtained 5 August 2010 from the Administration Communale de Boulaide. This is a substitute, produced on 10 January 1956 from the copy held in the archives in Luxembourg, to replace record destroyed during World War II.
[3] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Naissances 1834-1890 Mariages 1796-1837 > image 746 of 1504. 1871 Birth Record No. 57. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-12585-52481-73?cc=1709358&wc=9RY7-FM9:130065401,130365601 : accessed 23 March 2010).
[4] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Mamer > Naissances, mariages 1895-1923 > image 547 of 819. 1900 Marriage Record No. 18. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32045-16170-78?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-LQS:415858536 : accessed 6 March 2015).
[5] Luxemburger Wort, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlage der St-Paulus-Druckerei, Luxembourg), Thursday, September 27, 1900, page 2, column 4. (http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=1031961&search_terms=obst#panel:pp|issue:1031961|article:DTL71|query:obst : accessed 29 January 2013).
[6] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Naissances 1895-1902 > image 179 of 202. 1902 Birth Record No. 13. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32027-19546-87?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-J47:129623201,129766201 : accessed 29 December 2014).
[7] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Naissances 1903-1923 Mariages 1895-1905 > image 44 of 604. 1904 Birth Record No. 71; online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32040-10861-46?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2V1:n702239153 : accessed 14 Jan 2013.
[8] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Naissances 1903-1923 Mariages 1895-1905 > image 176 of 604. 1909 Birth Record No. 41. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32040-10270-1?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2V1 : accessed 15 January 2015).
[9] (1) 1935 Marriage Record No. 13, photocopy of original page in the marriage book at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 21 Jun 1996.
(2) Commune d’Echternach Nr. 13/1935, Wildinger-Fournelle Family Book. This is an official document given to the bride and groom at the time of their civil marriage. It is used to record births, christenings, and deaths of children as well as death of one or the other spouse. Scanned copy of the original, in possession of their daughter.
[10] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages 1906-1923 Décès 1895-1912 > image 584 of 675. 1908 Death Record 68; online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-32043-12126-76?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2VR:n1397300048 : accessed 11 Jan 2013.
[11] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Mariages 1906-1923 Décès 1895-1912 > image 644 of 675. 1911 Death Record No. 54. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-32043-11951-69?cc=1709358&wc=M9M6-2VR : accessed 12 March 2015)
[12] Luxemburger Wort, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlage der St-Paulus-Druckerei, Luxembourg), Friday 10 April 1914, page 3, column 1.  http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=1114386&search_terms=fournelle#panel:pp|issue:1114386|article:DTL108|query:fournelle : accessed 25 January 2013
[13] Luxembourg, Registres d’état civil, 1793-1923 (images), FamilySearch (original records at Luxembourg National Archives, Plateau du Saint-Esprit, Luxembourg), Echternach > Naissances 1895-1902 > image 179 of 202. 1902 Birth Record No. 13, includes annotation with date and place of death. (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-32027-19546-87?cc=1709358&wc=9RTY-J47:129623201,129766201 : accessed 29 December 2014).
[14] Lettre de faire-part, Mme. Joseph Fournelle, née Catherine Frantz, 16 March 1934
[15] Narrative written in 1996 from information received during a conversation with my mother.
[16] Escher Tageblatt, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlag Editpress S.A., Esch-sur-Alzette), Wednesday, December 4, 1946, page 6, column 2. Announcement of death of Monsieur André Fournelle, President of the Hondssportverein Dideleng; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=120714&search_terms=#panel:pp|issue:120714|page:6 : accessed 6 March 2015.
[17] Escher Tageblatt, digitized by the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg, http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu (Verlag Editpress S.A., Esch-sur-Alzette), Wednesday, December 4, 1946, page 6, column 2. Avis Mortuaire – Monsieur André Fournelle; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=120714&search_terms=#panel:pp|issue:120714|page:6 : accessed 15 Jan 2013.
[18] Luxemburger Wort, newspaperclipping from 5 April 1971
[19] 1958 Death Record No. 16, photocopy of original from records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 21 Jun 1996
[20] Lettre de faire-part, Monsieur Joseph Fournelle, veuve de Catherine Frantz, 11 March 1958

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Johann Joseph (Jean Joseph) FOURNELLE
Parents: André FOURNELLE and Odile Lucie SCHLOESSER
Spouse: Catherine FRANTZ
Parents of spouse: Johann FRANTZ and Maria MAJERUS
Children: Lucie, André, Marcelle
Whereabouts: Echternach, Grand Duché de Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: great-grandfather

  1. Joseph Johann FOURNELLE
  2. Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE
  3. Living WILDINGER (my Mom)
  4. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

Posted in 52 Ancestors - 2015, Luxembourg, Luxracines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

52 Ancestors: #9 Close to Home and Close to My Heart

Week 9 (Feb 26-Mar 4) – Close to Home. Which ancestor is the closest to where you live? Who has a story that hits “close to home”?

The WILDINGER- PÖPPELREITER Family (1874-1984)

MRIN01118 1909 ca. Wildinger family cropped

The Wildinger-Pöppelreiter Family (ca. 1909). From left to right: mother Catherine Pöppelreiter, daughter Marie, son Jean-Pierre, and father Johann Wildinger. The little boy in front of Marie and Jean-Pierre is their son Nicolas, my maternal grandfather.

The WILDINGER-PÖPPELREITER family couldn’t get any closer to home. They lived in Echternach, Luxembourg, my hometown, the place I’ve lived for the past 40 years.

My great-grandfather Johann WILDINGER was born on 25 February 1874 in Ernzen, Eifel, Rheinland, Preußen (Germany) to Bernard WILDINGER (1838-1896) and Maria WEIMANN (1839-1915). Johann’s godparents were his maternal uncle Johann WEIMANN and his paternal aunt Elisabeth WILDINGER.[1][2]

My great-grandmother Catherine PÖPPELREITER was born on 16 September 1874 in Mettendorf, Eifel, Rheinland, Preußen (Germany) to Mathias PÖPPELREITER (1843- aft. 1891) and Magdalena WAGENER (1842-1884).[1]

1901marriageJohann WILDINGER and Catherine PÖPPELREITER were married in Ernzen on 4 June 1901.[1] Nine months later their first child, a daughter Marie, was born on 21 March 1902 in Ernzen[3] were the bridal couple lived after their marriage. Almost a year later, on 16 March 1903 Marie’s brother Jean-Pierre was born, also in Ernzen.[4]

The family moved from Ernzen to Mettendorf in 1904.[1] That is where their third child, a son Nicolas, my grandfather, was born on 25 August 1906.[5]

When Nicolas was 8 years old times were getting harder and harder for his father Johann, a mason. In July 1914 the family moved to Echternach, Luxembourg. Johann found a job in Wasserbillig and worked as a mason for ten years in Luxembourg until his death in 1924.

Johann WILDINGER died on 11 January 1924 in Echternach in their house in the Neigass. He was only 49 years old. Two of his neighbors were the informants on his death.[6] His children at the time were 21, 20, and 17 — old enough to support their mother who was also 49.

1924death

Photocopy of original death record in Echternach.

After Johann’s death, life went on and in the 1930s his sons married. Jean-Pierre married Suzanne WAGNER before 1933 and went to live and work in Esch-sur-Alzette and then Schifflange. Nicolas married Marie Marcelle FOURNELLE on 26 July 1935[7] and lived next door to his mother and sister Marie.

Jean-Pierre and Suzanne had a daughter F. in 1933. Nicolas and Marcelle had a daughter J. in 1936. These are the only grandchildren born to this family.

010 Papa (back) et Josette (front)

Nicolas WILDINGER playing with his niece Felicie (middle) and his daughter Josette (front)

MRIN01117 1941 Nicolas Wildinger death

1941 Death Record

Wartime came to Europe and Luxembourg in 1939. In 1940 the Germans occupied Luxembourg.

And while life was getting more and more difficult, Catherine PÖPPELREITER, the mother of this family, watched her youngest son get weaker and weaker from tuberculosis. Nicolas WILINDINGER died on 25 October 1941[8] in the hospital in Echternach leaving his widow Marcelle, their daughter J., his mother Catherine, his sister Marie, his brother Jean-Pierre, his sister-in-law Suzanne, and his only niece F.

During World War II Catherine’s oldest child Marie was seriously thinking about renouncing her German citizenship and becoming a Luxembourg citizen. She wrote to family in Germany asking for information on the genealogy of the family and received a reply in July 1942 from her mother’s half-sister Regina. There is one word in the letter that I am not quite sure about and have marked it with question marks in the transcription.

regina1

Photocopy made in 1996. Need to scan the original!

Mettendorf den 17.7.42
Liebe Verwandte!
Euern lb. Brief haben wir dankend und mit Freuden erhalten. Wir hätten Ihnen schon länger geschrieben wir wußten die Adresse nicht richtig. Uns geht es noch sehr gut was wir ja auch von Euch hoffen und auch bestens wünschen. Jetzt will ich Ihnen schnell das schreiben was Sie wissen wollen, von Vater seinen Eltern und Großeltern haben wir gestern noch von ?Steuerbuch? bekommen.
Geburturkunde             Standesamt Körperich
Mathias Pöppelreiter ist am 22 Juni 1843
in Mettendorf geboren.
Vater: Theodor Pöppelreiter, Taglöhner
Mutter: Maria Katharina Groelinger.
Geburturkunde                    Standesamt Körperich
Magdalena Wagener ist am 21 März 1842
geboren in Mettendorf.
Vater: Johann Wagener, Schäfer
Mutter: Anna Maria Kaerscht

regina2

Photocopy made in 1996.

Sonst kann ich Ihnen ja nicht viel schreiben. Hoffentlich ist der Krieg bald zu Ende.
Also seid hiermit recht herzlich gegrüßt von uns allen besonders von Regina.

In the letter Regina, who was 45 at the time, greets her relatives saying how happy she and the family were to hear from them. She would have written sooner if she had had an address to write to. She says that they are doing very well (which surprised me) and wishes and hopes the same for her relatives in Luxembourg. She gives information on her father and his first wife (Regina was from his marriage to his second wife). She goes on to say that she doesn’t have much to talk about but hopefully the war will soon end. She sends heartfelt greetings from all especially from Regina. Imagine! Regina wrote to her sister Catherine’s family living in German occupied Luxembourg and this letter survived the war and was saved by Marie all these years.

1950death

1950 Death Record[9]

Johann WILDINGER’s widow Catherine Pöppelreiter died in Echternach in house number 24 in the rue André Duchscher on 4 September 1950 at 6 in the evening after a short and painful illness. She was 76 years old.[9]

MRIN01118 Catherine Wildinger-Pöppelreiter obit

Obituary from the Luxemburger Wort 6 September 1950[10]

The funeral service was held Thursday the 7th  at 9:30 a.m.. She was survived by her daughter Marie, her son Jean-Pierre and his wife and daughter, and her widowed daughter-in-law Marcelle Fournelle and daughter. Catherine’s deceased husband’s name is seen as Jean instead of Johann as French names were more commonly used following World War II.

On 17 October 1950 the family placed an announcement in the Luxemburger Wort thanking everyone for the prayers, flowers and cards of condoleance received following her death.[11]

After the death of her mother, Marie continued to take steps to become a naturalized Luxembourg citizen. By the law of 18 December 1950, naturalization was granted to Miss Marie WILDINGER, born on 21 March 1902 in Ernzen, Germany, and a resident of Echternach. The naturalization was accepted on 23 December 1950, as noted in a report drawn up the same day by the mayor of the town Echternach. This became effective three days after publication on 6 January 1951.[3]

In 1962 Marie’s brother Jean-Pierre WILDINGER who was living and working in Schifflange was also naturalized.[4]

In 1957 when my mother married my father Fred Roosevelt DEMPSEY she was the first of the grandchildren of Johann and Catherine WILDINGER-PÖPPELREITER to marry. Her cousin F., the older of the two granddaughters, married the following year in 1958 to Jean-Joseph “Ernest” HOFFMANN (1932-2002).

Everyone in the family was now married except Marie, the oldest child and only daughter of Johann and Catherine. Marie or Tata, as we called her, was never married. She was the person in this family who was closest to my heart and close to home as she lived in the same street we lived.

sewing

Tata’s well-used treadle powered Singer sewing machine.

Tata, my mother’s aunt and my grandaunt, became a seamstress and made her living by making, mending, and altering clothes, sheets, tableclothes, napkins, anything made of fabric. She was skilled enough to make coats, suits, and dresses for women from her own patterns. When times were hard she would take apart old pieces of clothing and make a new outfit out of the scraps for clients who needed new clothes but did not have the money to buy new fabric. She had a young woman apprentice, Margarete, who worked for her from a very young age until 1984.

1957 003

Marie WILDINGER standing in the doorway of her home, house number 24 in the Rue André Duchscher in Echternach in 1957.

She turned the living room of her house into her atelier where she sewed for and fitted her clients. It was a long, narrow room with only one window (on the left of Marie in photo above) which looked out on the street. Two Singer sewing machines with treadle power were set up by the window, facing each other. Near the door that opened into the front hallway was a coal stove that was used to heat the room. Different sized irons used to iron open seams, more fragile fabrics, and press suits and coats were heated up on the top of the stove. Along the opposite wall was a long table that she used as an ironing board as well as a workspace to lay out, pin the patterns, and cut out the material. Against the back wall was a small bench usually filled with bolts of material. In the back corner of the room she had a little closet to hang the clothes that were being worked on or were finished and waiting to be picked up by their owners.

irons

Irons, scissors, thimbles and darning eggs.

During the many years that Marie worked as a seamstress there were plenty of people who were happy to pay for her services. Enough for her to support herself and her mother even though her sister-in-law Marcelle, who lived next door, also worked as a seamstress.

From 1962-1966 when my siblings and I were young and living in France we would visit Tata whenever we were in Luxembourg. While she sewed and visited with Mom, she would let us play with her collection of buttons on the floor in front of the oven. Wooden buttons, metal buttons, covered buttons, glass buttons, pearly buttons, sew through buttons, shank buttons, old buttons, plain buttons, pretty buttons, even ugly buttons – none were thrown away. To keep us busy she would also give us a large magnet. We would crawl around her work area picking up pins and needles that had fallen on the wooden floor and into the cracks.

In 1973 Jean-Pierre’s wife Suzanne WAGNER died and was buried in the cemetery of Echternach in the WILDINGER family plot where her parents-in-law and brother-in-law Nicolas were buried.

Tata did not like to have her picture taken. I think this was because she was always working, wearing her apron which was usually covered with pieces of thread, pins and threaded needles, or lint from running the sewing machine. Here she was all dressed up, even wearing a brooch, when she came by for coffee and the traditional Bûche de Noel, at Christmastime in 1978.

1978-12 Tata_edited

Coffee and the traditional Bûche de Noel at Christmastime in 1978

1984-03-22 Marie Wildinger

Clipping from the Luxemburger Wort

My grandaunt Marie WILDINGER died the day after her 82nd birthday. The funeral service was held at the basilica in Echternach on Saturday, 24 March 1984 at 4 in the afternoon. She was buried in the cemetery in Echternach. She was survived by a brother, two nieces, 3 grandnieces and 5 grandnephews.

1984-10 Jean Pierre Wildinger

Clipping from the Luxemburger Wort

The last surviving child of this couple, my granduncle Jean-Pierre WILDINGER died in October 1984. His funeral service was held in the church of Schifflange on Tuesday, 23 October 1984, at 4 in the afternoon. He was survived by his only daughter, his son-in-law, three grandchildren, a niece, 2 grandnieces and 3 grandnephews.

Although his name is on the plaque with the WILDINGER family, he is not buried in Echternach.

MRIN01117 Wildinger grave closeup

Closeup of Wildinger family gravemarker.

MRIN01117 Wildinger grave

Wildinger family grave in cemetery of Echternach, Luxembourg.

Sources:
[1] Richard Schaffner from Kordel, compiler, Familienbuch 2 der Pfarrei St. Marcus Ernzen bei Irrel, Daten bis 1798 aus den Kirchenbüchern der Pfarrei Echternach (damals fur Ernzen zuständig); mit: Ernzen-Hof, Fölkenbach und teilweise auch Prümzurlay (Häuser der rechten Flußseite) 1680-1899 (compiled in 2000), page 245-246, family #867. Book viewed and pages photographed in Archiv Peter Daus (Wittlich) on 4 May 2013.
[2] “Deutschland, Geburten und Taufen, 1558-1898,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NFD4-6LB : accessed 23 February 2015), Joh. Wildinger, 25 Feb 1874; citing ; FHL microfilm 462,714.
[3] Mémorial (Journal Officiel) du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, A N° 1, Samedi, le 6 janvier 1951, online http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1951/0001/a001.pdf
[4] Mémorial (Journal Officiel) du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg , A N° 40, 24 juillet 1962, pg. 617, online http://www.legilux.public.lu/leg/a/archives/1962/0040/a040.pdf
[5] Commune d’Echternach Nr. 13/1935, Wildinger-Fournelle Family Book. This is an official document given to the bride and groom at the time of their civil marriage. It is used to record births, christenings, and deaths of children as well as death of one or the other spouse. Scanned copy of the original, in possession of their daughter.
[6] 1924 Death Record No. 12, photocopy of original page in the death register at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 10 July 1996.
[7] 1935 Marriage Record No. 13, photocopy of original page in the marriage book at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 21 Jun 1996.
[8] 1941 Death Record No. 49, photocopy of original page in the death register at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 10 July 1996.
[9] 1950 Death Record No., photocopy of original page in the death register at the records office at the city hall in Echternach obtained 10 July 1996.
[10] Luxembourger Wort, digitized by Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=833934&search_terms=catherine%20wildinger#panel:pp|issue:833934|article:DTL387|query:catherine wildinger
[11] Luxembourger Wort, digitized by Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg; online http://www.eluxemburgensia.lu/webclient/DeliveryManager?application=DIRECTLINK&custom_att_2=simple_viewer&pid=835266&search_terms=catherine%20wildinger#panel:pp|issue:835266|article:DTL332|query:catherine wildinger

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Johann WILDINGER
Parents: Bernard WILDINGER and Maria WEIMANN
Spouse: Catherine PÖPPELREITER
Parents of Spouse: Mathias PÖPPELREITER and Magdalena WAGENER
Whereabouts: Ernzen and Mettendorf, Germany, and Echternach, Luxembourg
Relationship to Cathy Meder-Dempsey: Maternal Great-grandparents

  1. Johann WILDINGER and Catherine PÖPPELREITER
  2. Nicolas WILDINGER
  3. Mom
  4. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52ancestors-2015This is my weekly entry for Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge:
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. It was so successful in 2014 that genealogists wanted to continue or join in on the fun in 2015. Be sure to check out the other great posts by visiting Amy’s blog No Story Too Small where she’ll be posting the weekly recap on Thurdays and allowing all participants to leave a link to their post(s) in the comments.

 

Posted in 52 Ancestors - 2015, Luxembourg, Luxracines | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

DISCOVERY: Slave Name Roll Project

Cathy Meder-Dempsey:

Thank you Miss Donna of “Daughter of Slave Ancestry” for this wonderful post. It nearly brought tears to my eyes and made my heart beat faster. And when I saw the image she used I was blown over!! It shows that she knows exactly what Opening Doors in Brick Walls means to me.

Originally posted on Daughter of Slave Ancestry:

The 1870 brick wall is no less surmountable in cyberspace than it is in the analog archives of today’s courthouses. Court records from times past divulge varieties of slave/slaveholder relationships. Knowing the records exist is not the same as locating and examining them for myself. I do realize this problem is not exclusive to African Americans. But the fact still remains that it is more difficult due to the fact that my enslaved ancestors were considered chattel property; and, prior to 1870, they had no surnames. And even their given names are inconsistently recorded in the census records that followed.

Some have managed to scramble over their brick walls — only to find . . . yet another. Then what do we do? We dust ourselves off and rescale to the other side to devise another way.

Insurmountable? Maybe. Impenetrable? Not if Cathy Meder-Dempsey and Schalene Jennings Dagutis have anything…

View original 311 more words

Posted in Brick Walls | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Introducing the Slave Name Roll Project

My series of posts for Black History Month on the slaves owned by my 5th
great-grandfather James SIMS 1754-1845 gave Schalene Jennings Dagutis of
Tangled Roots and Trees the wonderful idea of creating a Slave Name Roll Project.

Please read her post Introducing the Slave Name Roll Project for more information.

True's statement

My series of posts:

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 1
Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 2
Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 3

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Posted in Black History, Brick Walls | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 3

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

If you missed the first installments, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Isaac Sims, a Free Man

As seen in the petition drawn up and signed by the residents of Nicholas County, Isaac Sims was considered trustworthy and industrious. He was allowed to reside in Nicholas County where he remained until his death.

Several newspaper articles have been written about Isaac Sims. Some of the information in these articles may have been word of mouth or the storyteller laid it on thick.

Isaac Place On Gauley Settled By Old Slave, a newspaper clipping that was shared with me, does not have a date or name of the newspaper. I believed that it was written before 1951 as it was clipped by Edward Sims (1878-1953), a great-great-grandson of James Sims.  Similar information was found in several articles written by Clarence Shirley Donnelly (1895-1982) in his daily column “Yesterday and Today” for the Beckley Post-Herald.

As the wording of the first article was so similar to Mr. Donnelly’s later writings I searched again for the original source of the information. And I found the same article with a slightly different title, History of “Isaac Place” – A Bit of Pioneer History Relating to Slavery. It was contributed (unknown date) to the Nicholas Republican by A. J. Legg and reprinted in the Raleigh Herald on 4 February 1916. The Nicholas Republican was a weekly paper which started up in 1903. I could not find it on the Newspaper Archives or Chronicling America.

Yesterday Amy from Brotmanblog: A Family Journey wrote this comment:

I do wonder how Isaac managed to obtain the money necessary for emancipation. Did James pay him wages?

I haven’t found documentation to prove this but the pioneer history by A. J. Legg gives a good account of how Isaac (may have) earned the money to buy his freedom.

1916 History of Isaac Place A Bit of Pioneer History Relating to Slavery

The Raleigh Herald (Beckley, West Virginia), Friday February 4, 1916, page 2, column 1 (bottom) and 2 (top). [http://newspaperarchive.com/ : accessed 26 Feb 2015]

I did find one record that confirms that Isaac, when he was still a slave, was allowed to have business dealings. When the storekeeper Mr. Landcraft died his store inventory and appraisal were received and recorded by the Fayette County court at the September 1834 term. Isaac’s account is included on this list, two years before he was emancipated.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-57447-29?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 26 February 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 26 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

On 20 October 1837 Isaac Sims was granted 17 1/2 acres of land in Nicholas County on both sides of the Gauley River.

By 1850 Isaac was seen on the census in the household of James Sims’ son-in-law Mathew Hughes, widower of Margaret Sims. Next to Isaac’s name in parenthesis is the word Free. His real estate, the 17 1/2 acres he was granted in 1837, are valued at $87.

1850census

1850 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Fayette > 43rd District > Sheet No. 371A > HH #407-407 [ancestry.com]

In 1855 Isaac bought several items at the estate sale of Joseph McNutt. Sadly, also on McNutt’s inventory were Isaac’s children George Addison and Harriett Jane. The estate items sold are found following the inventory however the fate of Isaac’s children is not mentioned. Tradition is (also seen in article above) that they were bought by Robert L. Neil, husband of Jenetta McNutt, a daughter of Joseph McNutt.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18271-57923-52?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5NG:179689901,179689902 : accessed 26 February 2015), Fayette > Will book, v. 001 1832-1866 > image 273 of 292; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

In 1860 and in 1870 Isaac Sims was listed on the census in his own household. He did not have anyone living with him. In 1870 he was listed as a mulatto instead of a black person as seen in 1850 and 1860. His real estate was valued at $1000 in 1860 and $500 in 1870; his personal estate was valued at $200 in 1860 and $400 in 1870.

Isaac Sims died before 9 Jun 1875 leaving a last will and testament in which he lists more land that he acquired after the 17 1/2 acres in 1837. He left the land to Robert L. Neil in exchange for his supporting Isaac’s granddaughter Rebecca Jane (Sims) Johnson. He also named Mr. Neil his executor. I have not transcribed or extracted all facts from the will.
[Source: “West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-22175-57?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5MS:179686001,179686002 : accessed 26 February 2015), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 90 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia. and
“West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18231-22099-66?cc=1909099&wc=M6DN-5MS:179686001,179686002 : accessed 26 February 2015), Nicholas > Will book, v. 001 1820-1899 > image 91 of 158; county courthouses, West Virginia.]

Rebecca Jane Sims, daughter of one of Isaac’s two children, was raised in the Robert L. Neil family. She was listed as a mulatto on the 1870 census in his household. She married David Johnson on 1 May 1874. It is possible that the 5 year old mulatto child named Myrta E. Johnson, living in the Robert L. Neil household in 1880, was the daughter of Rebecca Jane who died in childbirth on 1 November 1878 as reported by her neighbor Robert L. Neil.

I have not been able to locate Rebecca’s husband in 1880 or later. No trace of Myrta E. Johnson, who I believe was Isaac’s great-granddaughter, has been found.

Hopefully, if Tom, Juda, George, Jinncy, Jude, Fanny, July Hulen, Robert and Isaac Sims’ lines did not die out, a descendant will find this and be able to fill in the missing pieces in their family tree.

My blog sister True A. Lewis of NoTe’s To MySeLf… commented on my post:

“It’s Honorable to do… You’re RELEASING their Names and their Souls for their Descendants to hopefully find them one day. Every time this Happens they are Rejoicing. They have been in a book or what have you for so long.”

True’s statement about this being honorable may change people’s minds about sharing what they might be ashamed of.

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Posted in Black History, Brick Walls | Tagged , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 2

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

If you missed the first installment, go here.

Isaac Sims, a Slave

James Sims to Isaac Sims Deed

By March 1836 James Sims had disposed of all his real and personal estate including his slave property except for his Negro man Isaac who he intended to emancipate and set free. The steps he took were not as easy as one would think.

James had a deed drawn up detailing the conditions. Isaac had to pay James $150 in three instalments of $50 for his freedom. This sounds like a lot however he continues to note that if he (James) should die before all three instalments were paid Isaac would not have to pay the rest. Further if Isaac should die before him then James would use the monies received for Isaac’s children who were mentioned in this document as was their deceased mother Emily.

MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 1MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 2MRIN02312 1836-03-09 James Sims to Isaac Sims 3 cropped“1836 James Sims to Isaac Sims
(note in margin “Delivered to Isaac Sims Sept. 9th 1842″)

Know all men by these presents that I James Simms Sr. of the County
of Nicholas and State of Virginia having heretofore made my last
Will and Testament in which I have disposed of all my Estate real
and personal including my slave property except one slave ….
my Negro man Isaac which said Negro slave Isaac I heretofore
intended to emancipate and set free according to the laws of this
Commonwealth upon certain Conditions thereafter to be mentioned
and put to writing. Now this Instrument of writing Witnesseth
that in Consideration of the premises and for others ……
good causes moving me thereto. I do hereby and by virtue and force of these
presents emancipate and set free forever my aforesaid Negro slave Isaac upon
the following condition to wit that is to say that the said Isaac causes to be
paid to me one hundred and fifty dollars good and lawful money of Virginia
fifty dollars of which is to be paid in hand which said fifty dollars is this
day paid to me and the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged fifty dollars
of which the said Isaac shall cause to be paid on or before the 1st day of
April 1836 and fifty dollars the last payment thereof the said Isaac
shall cause to be paid to me on or before the first day of May 1836 and
it is furthermore agreed to on my part and which I hereby in addition
to the foregoing make known that in the event of my death before the
payment of the fifty dollars which is next due after the date of this writing
that then and in that case the said fifty dollars nor the aforesaid fifty
dollars the last instalment or payment above mentioned nor either of
said payments or instalments shall be required or exacted by my heirs,
Executors, administrators or assigns nor shall they or either of them
cause the said Isaac to pay either of said payments or instalments of fifty
dollars nor shall his failure to pay the same in any manner affect or
do away with the force of these presents in emancipating and setting free
the said Isaac after my death according to the laws of this Commonwealth
now in force. And it is furthermore agreed to on my part that in the
event of my death after the payment to me of the aforesaid fifty dollars
which next becomes due after the date of this writing as above mentioned
that then and in that case the last payment or instalment of fifty dollars
the said Isaac shall be exempt from the payment of in the same manner
and to the same effect as I have exempted him from the payment of the
fifty dollars which first becomes due as is mentioned and set forth in the
preceding paragraph. And it is furthermore agreed upon my part
that in the event of the death of the said Isaac before my death that then
and in that case I do hereby promise and agree that any money or monies
or payments which the said Isaac may cause to be made paid to me
or which may have been in any way paid to me on account of the promises
shall be appropriated by me or my heirs Executors ? in cause of my
death, in the following manner: That is to say that whereas the said Isaac
has two children named George Addison and Harriett Jane by his wife
Emily now dead and owned in her life time by Joseph McNutt
and feeling a natural love and affection for his aforesaid children and wishing
to provide for the comfort and happiness of the same I do hereby
promise and agree as before mentioned to appropriate the money
paid to me after his death that happening before mine as above
stated to such use or uses for the benefit of the above named children
of the said Isaac as will best promote their spiritual and temporal
welfare agreeable to their condition and character in this state and
according to the Laws and usages of this Commonwealth. To the
true performance of the above I do hereby bind myself my
heirs Executors Administrators
as witness my hand and seal this 19th day of March 1836
James Sims
Witness
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Bernard Hendrick

I have this day received this full consideration
in good and lawful money cald for in this foregoing Instrument of
writing as witness my hand & Seal
James Sims
Witness
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Bernard Hendrick”

Isaac Sims Manumission Letter

Below the “Information” sign at the Nicholas County Courthouse in Summersville, West Virginia, there is a framed letter written by James Sims freeing his slave named Isaac.

Isaac Simms emancipation

Photo © Rock Foster. Used with permission.

Sims Manumission Letter-1836

Know all men by these presents that I James Sims
of the County of Nicholas in consideration of a large
sum of money paid to me by my slave Isaac
as for the additional considerations of his fidelity
to me I have on this day manumitted and let
him the said Isaac free. To remain and continue
from hence forward to all intents and purposes
entirely free and discharged from servitude to
me my heirs and assigns forever. And for the purpose
of removing any difficulty as to the identity of the said
Isaac and to enable him to enjoy his Freedom in
the most absolute and perfect manner. I also hereby
certify and state that the said Isaac was born my
slave, that he has resided with me up to this date
that he is very black, his stature about five feet
five inches, of slender make and about forty three
years old, that he has had his right leg broken
just above his ankle. In testimony whereof I
have hereto set my hand and seal this 26th day of
September 1836.
                                                       James Sims
in the presence of
Andrew M. Dickinson
Joseph McNutt
John Huddleston
Edward Rion
Bernerd Hendrick
John Hill”

Petition to Grant Residence to Isaac Sims

Nicholas County residents signed a petition to the Legislature of Virginia to grant permanent residence to Isaac Sims. The original can be found in the archives division of the Virginia State Library. It reads as follows:

A PETITION FROM NICHOLAS COUNTY, VIRGINIA
TO GRANT PERMANENT RESIDENCE TO ISAAC SIMS
1836

To the Legislature of Virginia

Your Petitioners humbly represent that JAMES SIMS
of the County of Nicholas has recently emancipated ISAAC
a blackman who is desirous of remaining in the Commonwealth,
your Petitioners represent that there are but very few
slaves in the County of Nicholas not exceeding sixty –
nor is there more than one other coloured person in the
County who is free — your Petitioners further state the
said black man ISAAC is an exceedingly honest industrious
and useful man addicted to no vicious habits whatsoever,
but peaceful & inoffensive & meek in all his intercourse
& business with the country — your Petitioners would be
truly gratified should this Legislature in its wisdom think
proper to grant his application — your Petitioners are
well convinced that no mischief can result to the country
by doing so and as a precedent in this part of the state
nothing of evil is to be apprehended.

Saml Price                              David Mays
John H. Robinson                 William Sims
E. S. Duncan                          Robert Hughes Jr
Johnson Reynolds               Edward Sims Jr
Benj. H. Smith                       Jeremiah Sims
P. B. Wethered                       Martin Sims
John McWhorter                   Co. John Sims
Ro Hamilton                          Anderson Sims
L. D. Wilson                           Charles Sims
Addison McLaughlin         William Morris
John McDermott                   Joshua Morris
Thomas Miller                      John H. Morris
Jacob D. McClain                  Thomas Elliott
Thm. Hill                                Aron Loyd
Mathew Hughes                   G. C. Landcraft
Charley Reynolds                William Sims
Robert Hill                              Edward Rion
Harrison A. Low                  William R. Summers
George Reynolds                  Edward Campbell
Andrew Odle                         George Rader Sr
John Kincaid                          John Foster
James Nichols                       Jas. G. Murray
James Walkub                       James Bryant
William Hamrick                 G. W. Grose
John Dunbar                          David Bare
Robert McCutchen               Lemasters Stephenson
William Miller                      Jacob C. Chapman
Allen Ewing                           John Groves
Jacob Drennen                       John G. Stephenson
Joseph Darlington               Jacob Chapman
J. D. Sutton                              Michael Rader
J. M. Alderson                        John Linch
J. McClung                              Andre Skidmore
James R. Henderson           Isaac Gregory
James a. Walker                    Fielding McClung
R. Duffield                              Abner Stephenson
Seth Thayer                            Wm. Bell
Thomas Legg                         Cortes Stephenson
Joshua Stephenson              John Rader
Wm. D. Cottle                        J. G. Neel
Samuel Nichols                    T. B. Thomas
Joel Hamrick                          Alexander Grove
David Stuart                          James Simany
Jefferson Grose                      Joseph McClung
(?) Dorsey                                Daniel Falkler
J. Warren                                Henry (?)
Richard A. Arters                 William Chapman
William Taylor                     David Moore
Wilson Arters                        David R. Hamilton
Philip Duffy                           Moses Hill
R. Kelly                                   Ira Davis
Elij. Lightner                          Jacob Odell
James Lightner                      Wm. Hughs
James Kelly                            Wm. Bryant
J. M. Hamilton                       George Fitzwatters
John McCue                           Andrew Neil
John McClung                       Robert Neil
S. A. Hamilton                      Samuel Hutchison
Edward McClung                George Hardweg
Nathan Groves                     John Morris
Peter Duffy                             John Duffy
J. McMillian                           B. L. Boggs
Wm. Livesay                          M. A. Triplett
Jacob Hutchison                   William M. Boggs
David Hanna                        John Trout
David Peebles                        James Grose
Adam Given                          Robert Keenan
Elverton T. Walker               Isaac Fitzwater
Thomas M. Fitzwater         Nathaniel Hughes
Thomas B. Morris                Hiram S. Marsh
W. Summers Sr.                    S. Backhouse
Henry Morris                         Jos. Montgomry
John Smith                             L. C. Buster
Thomas T. Marton               Thos. Hawkins
Peter Coleman                       Thos. Hines
John Backhouse                    Cyrus Hedge
William Bird                          John Slack
Cornelius Dorsey                 James B. Cole
Pascal Backhouse               Austin McCorgil
Joseph Backhouse                Nathan Huddleston
Jeremy G. Odel                      William Kincaid
Joseph Backhouse                James Settle
William Hillard                    Bolen Ballenger
William Smith                      John Johnson Jr.
Bernard Hendrick                James Likens
Mathew Kaincaid              John P. Huddleston
John Dorsey                           W. Tyree
John Fitzwater                       Hiram Curry
John Dorsey Sr                      P. Keenan
Dryden Sims                          E. Hutson
Hudson N. Dickenson       Henry Montgomery
Miles Hansen                        John Huddleston
Jas. H. Miller                          John Hill
P. W. Buster                            Joseph Huddleston
Pleasant Hawkins               Henry Tritt
Seaton B. Prowsy                  William Huggins
James B. Murray                   Robert Huggins
James J. Sims                         Robert Heuse
(Name Illegible)                    John Heuse
Leonard Cury                        S. A. Masterson
William Johnson                  Joseph W. Nutt
Jno. McNutt                            Jno. Carton
F. T. Hughes                           Adam Johnson
Fenton McMorrow               Wm. Kelly
Job Huddleston                     Taswell W. Hues
Nelson Sims                          Andrew Kenan
Joseph Reams                        (?) Price
Francis Cincaid                    E. R. Hutchison
William Loyd                        Joseph Young
Thos. S. Buster                       Edda Young
Moses Coleman                    William Martin
T. B. Hamilton                       Thos. L. Lewis
John Kincaid                          Wm. Myles
Thos. J. Huddleston            William Kincaid Jr.
John Johnson                         Gataspher Kincaid
Me_?_ J. Conly                      Benjamin Darlington
Levi B. Murrey                       H_?_ Long
Edward Hughs                     Joel Alexander
Joshua Foster
[Source: Webster County Historical Society, Nicholas County, (West) Virginia Records of the Pioneers, 1818-1860. Upper Glade, West Virginia, Webster County Historical Society, Inc., 1985. 929.3 N597w.]

Isaac Sims, a Free Man

continued in Part 3…..

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Posted in Black History, Brick Walls | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Black History Month: The Slaves of James SIMS, Part 1

Celebrating Black History Month – I did not want February to end without giving recognition to African-Americans in the United States. I hope that by sharing this information I may help someone open the door to their African-American brick wall.

My 5th great-grandfather James Sims (1754-1845) of Nicholas County, (West) Virginia was a former slaveholder at the time of his death. Over a dozen years ago I had the privilege to work with several other researchers who shared their information and documentation that I used to write a detailed biography for James SIMS in 2002.

James, born in Culpeper County, reportedly brought eighteen slaves with him to Nicholas County (then Kanawha County) when he moved there from Bath County, Virginia, sometime around 1798-1800. The number may be exaggerated as he had 5 slaves in 1810, 9 slaves in 1820, 5 slaves in 1830, and 1 in 1840.

The known names of nine slaves owned by James SIMS are:

Tom, Juda and George

Jeremiah SIMS, the father of James SIMS, wrote his will on 4 March 1768, it was probated on 18 August 1768 in Culpeper County, Virginia. In his will he left one half of his estate to his wife Agatha and the other half to his son James. There was no mention of slaves in the will however the inventory returned to the court on 19 October 1769 listed:

One Negro man Tom £60. One negro Woman Juda & her child George £70

The slaves were valued at £130. The entire inventory totaled £195 making Tom, Juda, and George the most valuable part of Jeremiah’s estate.

Jinncy

John Nalle, the maternal grandfather of James Sims, wrote his will on 16 September 1780. It was probated in Culpeper County, Virginia, on 19 August 1782, and mentions amongst his legatees his daughter Agatha Hill, wife of Russell Hill and widow of Jeremiah Sims, and mother of James Sims.

“Item. I Lend to my daughter Agatha Hill half the Service of a Negro Woman named Jinncy During my Daughters life the other half of the said Negroes Service to my Grandson James Sims from the time of My Daughters marriage to Russel Hill, and after My Daughters Descease I give the Said Negro Woman Jinncy and her Increase to my Grandson James Sims to him and his Heirs for Ever also Ten Shillings to my Daughter Agatha Hill and her Heirs for Ever.”
[Source: Culpeper County, Virginia Will Book B, pg. 519.]

Jude and Fanny

William Griffee Brown in his History of Nicholas County, West Virginia (Dietz Press, 1954, 425 pages) mentions on pgs. 165-166 while discussing the Bethel Methodist church that he owned an old class-book dated 1821 which includes the names of members of the class in 1821 including black Jude and black Fanny, slaves of the Sims family. James Sims “brought the first negro slaves to Nicholas County” according to Mr. Brown on pg. 30. Note: Jude and Fanny were “slaves belonging to William Simms,” a son of James Sims.

July Hulen and her mother

Lawrence M. Huddleston, author of The Huddlestons My Kin had in his possession the original bill of sale from James Sims to John Huddleston for the slave July Hulen when June Settle Ciocca visited him at home in 1990. At the time she did not realize her relationship to James Sims. On 9 February 2002 in an e-mail in which she shared the photo of this bill of sale, she wrote: “Larry told me that James Sims had previously sold July Helen’s mother to the Huddlestons and that both mother and daughter were so heart-broken, he agreed to sell them the child also. Larry had no children and my understanding is that his immense genealogical collection was donated to the archives in Charleston. I would assume that is where this document can now be found.”

MRIN02312 1833 Sims bill of sale for slave

Robert Sims

Clarence Shirley Donnelly (1895-1982) wrote in his column “Yesterday and Today” in the Beckley-Post Herald:

“Isaac’s brother, Robert Simms, ‘flew the coop,’ as a saying of that day had it. Keeping his eye on the north star as he traveled at night, he reached Canada and freedom.”

Isaac Sims, a Slave

continued in Part 2….

© 2015 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

Posted in Black History, Brick Walls | Tagged , , , , , , | 28 Comments