Tag Archive | Treasure Chest Thursday

Treasure Chest Thursday: Wendell Phillip Culley in Lionel Hampton’s Band

Wendell Phillip Culley (trmpt) in Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra
other artist shown: Duke Garrette

Howard Theatre, Washington
Summer of 1948
Courtesy of The Otto Flueckiger Collection
via www.crownpropeller.wordpress.com

As time beats on, history can be forgotten and the people that made history happen may be long gone and their own stories may not ever be told.  I have a friend that is a photographer and one that documents history through his lens.  He mentioned that every 25 years we must ensure that the history is written down so that it will not be forgotten.  

When I first started looking for photos of my Grand Uncle Wendell P. Culley, It seemed almost impossible to locate anything.  I have done a few posts on Wendell, presenting a snapshot, a few ads, and photo’s from his yearbook when he attended High School Commerce in Worcester, Massachusetts.  I had to travel to get a few of these photo’s as they were not readily available.  It was shared to me that Wendell did not like pictures being taken of him, so that may explain why it has been difficult to locate many.

Since Wendell was not famous, but was well known in Jazz circles and had worked for famous Jazz artists, it would become clear that I needed to continually look and see if there were any immediate photo’s online of the bands he played for.  (mind you, I did not even know what he looked like).  

Wendell Culley was born and raised in Worcester, MA on January 8, 1906 and died on May 8, 1983.  He was a sibling of thirteen documented children.  He and his brother Raymond Mansfield *Cully, Jr.  played in local bands in Worcester, MA and the New England area together. Raymond played drums and had a big influence on Wendell in how he played the tempo of his horn.

At this time travel is not possible, so my resources at hand are the internet and looking at finding aids and key archives that hold these artists photo’s and records; and of course inquiring further about the contents.  

The contents of websites change all the time and this time I struck gold.

Lionel Hampton Orchestra
Wendell Phillip, Trumpet
New York Strand Theatre
Courtesy of The Otto Flueckiger Collection
via www.crownpropeller.wordpress.com

Wendell Culley had played for Lionel Hampton between 1944-1949.  I happened to come across a website Crownpropeller’s Blog that was featuring Lionel Hampton at Strand Theatre.  There was a very nice band photo, and upon clicking on the photo, the outside border of it had my Uncle’s name!  BINGO!  I was too excited! It was very difficult to see the detail of Wendell’s face, but when I clicked (read more)…There were sections of the photo blown up for the purpose of seeing the details. 

 I immediately contacted the blog administrator to get permission to use the photo from the collection.  Permission was granted. 

The purpose of this post was to share the photos I discovered, and I know it doesn’t do complete justice to Wendell.  As time goes on and I do more research on Wendell Culley and his siblings more will be discovered.  The lives of our families are so multi-faceted, so therefore another post will be necessary at a later date to share more.  

I hope you enjoyed these photo’s as much as I do.

Now for some music….

*Culley or Cully..Wendell always added “e” to his last name.
**The photo at the top was sent to me by Armin Buettner as a Courtesy of The Otto Flueckiger Collection 
via www.crownpropeller.wordpress.com. (Thank you for your kindess)

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Peters In the Newspaper Part #1

     It has been a difficult process trying to find information from my mother’s direct Paternal Peters line as I have not found much documentation. My mother did not have much to do with her father after she was five years old.  The next time she saw her father Charles I. Peters was when she was 22 graduating from NYU in 1950.  
     Remembering a conversation I had with my mother years ago, she mentioned her dad’s sisters and some of her Uncle’s family in Washington, D.C., but those family members passed between 1953 and 1970.  So this leaves me with a mystery.
     I renewed my Genealogy Bank Newspaper subscription a few days ago, so I have been searching away and came across quite a few various society type articles.  They are a treasure to me as they bring my ancestors to life and give me more clues as to where to search.
The Week: Society
Washington Bee
District of Columbia
August 19, 1905

     Mr. Y. D. Peters (Yancey)  is my Great-Grand Uncle.  Yancey was born in Henry County, Virginia and at a young age joined the military and relocated in Washington D.C. to have his own family. This posting revealed that Yancey had been connected with the Navy, a fact I had no knowledge of.

  The fact that the Peter’s were going to be visiting family in Janesville, NC, has given me more clues to discover family somewhere else.  I am unsure if the family that the Peter’s were visiting were Yancey’s family or Alice’s (Ray-her maiden name).

    Yancey was a business owner and owned a grocery store which had been documented in the U.S. Census and various community directories.

     This part of my Peters family were of the Black Socialite Elite as many of the articles will reveal.

    Next postings will be the articles I have found in various newspapers pertaining to the Peters Family.

Addendum:  After looking at my family tree, I have answered the question that Alice E (Ray) Peters was from North Carolina…But now my question is was it really Janesville or Jonesville?

Treasure Chest Thursday: Remnants of a Slave Name Hannah "Nelson-Singleton" Gilliam

Stories and facts about our families are handed down through written and oral history.  With today’s methods of online access to records, it has made it easier for family historians & researchers to find some documents without having to leave the comfort of one’s home.  With the documents discovered, it allows the researcher to confirm and collaborate that the stories told are accurate.

Hannah Gilliam or sister Jane B. Collins
(Gail Cully Middleton Collection)

     My mother shared with me that my Great Great Grandmother’s name was Hannah Gilliam, and she had been born into slavery.  She also shared that she was very fair complected, and that her father had been the slave owner (This has yet to be confirmed).

Hannah had helped care for her daughter Nora’s children, as Nora had many and was continuously trying to recover from one pregnancy to the next.  It was not difficult for me to find information about  Hannah during this time period (1900-1910) as she was residing in her daughter Nora’s and Son-in-law Ambrose Cully’s home in Worcester, MA.  I even made a trip to Worcester, MA to get more information on Hannah such as her place of rest.

Cemetery where Hannah and many family members are buried
Worcester, Massachusetts
     My online treasures for Hannah Cully was her death Certificate, and a Freedman’s Bank Record as they were all revealing.
     Hannah was born December 3, 1842 and died February 23, 1914.  She was married to Daniel Gilliam, and I have no idea what happened to him.
     Since I did not know what Hannah’s maiden name was, this death certificate helped me with the information that I needed.  Hannah’s father was listed as Benjamin Nelson and her mother was listed as Zara Humphrey.  I took note of Hannah’s mom’s first name as the name Zara has been handed down from every other generation.  Now that I know that Hannah’s last name is Nelson, I had further research to conduct.
     Knowing that Hannah had been born into slavery, I knew that there was a possibility for other surnames that she was connected to, and that there was a possibility that her parents had other surnames connected to them, depending on who their slave owner was.
     One day I came across information from Freedman Bank Records:  This is what I found.
Freedman Bank Records Jane B. Collins,
Hannah Gilliam’s sister
     I knew that my Great Great Aunt’s married last name was Jane B. Collins as she was the one who cared for my Great Uncle Raymond Mansfield & Nora Jane Cully when their mother died.  I had found this information in a Census Record of 1920, Worcester, MA.
     This Freedman Bank Record helped me confirm information I knew and also gave me some more info by which to research.
     My Great Great Aunt Jane was married to Joseph A. Collins.  What I found interesting is that Jane & Hannah’s parents had two other surnames I had not seen before.  Zara had the last name “Jones”..I am not sure if this was a maiden name, slave master’s surname or a married name, as I did not know if Zara remarried and carried the last name of her last husband.
     I also noticed that Jane & Hannah’s  Father Benjamin had a different surname of Ellis.

     I have listed Singleton as one of the Slave Owner’s surname’s as I have found in other documents as Hannah being listed as a Singleton.

Researching on FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com, I have been able to find documents by inputting surnames and locals without adding a first name. This is one way I have discovered relatives such as children, cousins, and siblings.  The document below is one I found on FamilySearch by using this method.

     I discovered Hannah had a son by the name of Joseph Daniel Gilliam and that he married a Mary Frances Boswell.  It is possible they had children, and will do further investigation so that I could possibly locate their descendants, and my cousins.

     It is to my knowledge that Hannah Gilliam never remarried and she was widowed by or before 1880.  This link “Recollections of my Slavery Day-By William Henry Singleton.” which gave me some hints and or clues that it is possible that my Great Great Grandmother Hannah had been a Singleton slave.
     Quoted from Link above, “ When a plantation changed owners the slaves changed their names. Our plantation had formerly been owned by a Mrs. Nelson, a widow. The slaves were then known as Nelson’s slaves. When Singleton married Mrs. Nelson he succeeded to the plantation and all of the slaves, including my mother, were called from that time on Singleton.”

     It is possible that my family pretty much held on to the surname Nelson and then at times used the surname Singleton.  A further investigation will be ensued.

     I feel excited that I may be one step closer in documenting My Great Great Grandmother’s life in slavery.  I hope to in the near future to go to New Bern, North Carolina for further investigation.

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Alan Greenspan

Alan Greenspan
Photo from Time.com

 A treasure is a thing or a person highly valued.  I believe that what is considered valuable may vary from one person to another.  I have been on this long journey to learn more about my mother, and in doing so, I have been reaching out to people I would not normally contact.  One of those such persons was Alan Greenspan.  Alan Greenspan is the former chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Board, which oversees the Federal Reserve Bank from 1987 until 2006.  

Before I went to New York for my research trip, I was interested in learning more about my mother’s High School. My mother attended George Washington High School located in the neighborhood of Washington Heights in Manhattan, NY.  So as I was searching the internet, I came across Wikipedia that had a listing of noted individuals that attended GW High.  On the list was Henry Kissinger, Harry Belafonte and Alan Greenspan.  I had remembered my mother stating that she attended the same school with Alan, but she was not too keen on him, so I did not push her.  

So, I decided to locate Alan Greenspan, and this is the transcribed letter I wrote him:

September 7, 2009

Mr. Alan Greenspan
Greenspan Associates
Washington DC 20036

Mr. Greenspan:

My name is Yvette Porter Moore and I am doing research for a book that incorporates some of the writings of my late mother, Betty Mae Peters who was born in Manhattan, New York in 1926.  She grew up in the Sugar Hill area to to 1950 at which time she moved to Los Angeles.  My mother attended Washington High School and was a graduate of NYU.

During my research for the book, I discovered that you were born in 1926, raised in the Washington Heights neighborhood and also attended the same schools as my mother.  These little known facts really intrigued me, and this is when I read a short biography about you online.  My mother spoke of the cultures that resided in the neighborhood.  I remember her telling me she went to school where it was predominately Jewish.  I could truly see the cultural influences of her upbringing as I was exposed to Kosher foods growing up and also lived in a predominately Jewish neighborhood in San Diego, California.  My mother was fond of the Jewish culture.

My mother also stated that she resided in “Sugar Hill” and that it was considered a posh African American neighborhood that has deep historical roots during the period of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1910’s, 20’s and 30’s.  I’ve also read her journal that made mention of World War II, and the Air Raid drills that occurred in New York.  My mother was going to write a book of her memoirs in Manhattan, but she died before her dream was realized.  As her daughter, it is my desire to writer her story.

This is why I have written you this letter.  I humbly come to you requesting that you would share with me, from your perspective what Manhattan was like growing up.  What were the race relations between the Jews and the Blacks during the 30’s 40’s and early 50’s?  I would like to know what the environmental landscape was in Washington Heights, Manhattan.  I understand that we may never meet but anything you can share with me would not only be wonderful, but I would be eternally grateful to you.

I am including my mother’s obituary in hopes that you will feel compelled to write me back personally or possibly call me. [Contact info removed for privacy].  If you would like to meet in person, please also let me know so I can arrange my travel. I appreciate anything that you can do to help.

Humbly Written,

Yvette Porter Moore

Mr Greenspan responded to my request quickly:

September 18, 2009
Dear Ms. Moore,
Your letter brought back many memories.  I wish I had the time to sit back and chat about my growing in Washington Heights, but my schedule is so tight that I am unable.
My best wishes on your project

Sincerely yours,
Alan Greenspan 

Even though he graciously declined my opportunity to interview him, I decided to read his books.  By doing so, I learned as much as I would have if I had the chance to speak with him.  I feel that this note is treasure for my chest as he still gave me well wishes for my continuing project, (this is how I took it) because no matter how disappointed I was, he did respond back to me.

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Essay by Daughter about Grandpa

This essay written by my daughter Vanessa is a treasure of my heart..As I was reading, tears welled up because my father loved to dance and to know that my daughter Vanessa experienced and will always remember her dance with her grandfather. Reminds me of “Dance With My Father,” by Luther Vandross.

Writing assignment
Prompt Title: An Adult I Admire

Directions for Writing:  There are many adults who have played an important part in your life.  Pick one adult who may have helped, supported, or encouraged you.  Write an essay about this person.

The Second and Final
Father Dance with her Grandfather

(pardon all misspellings)

Page 1


     I will never forget how my extra nice helpful grandpa taught me how to dance.  It was in 1994 in Kindergarten on a Friday at 3:30 to 9:00.  I was at Highlands Elementary at the Father Dauter dance.
     It all started when I just about imbarressed my grandpa.  I was dancing with 4 brades in my hair.  I was short like a big dog.  That night I was wearing a prettey vieolet dress that went to my neas.  My grandpa was tall wearing his nice strait picth black suit that was so cool.  I was out there dancing with me grandpa all of a sudden my hands were swinging my legs were jumping off the floor  my Four long brades were not still they were swinging like snakes moving a lot.
     My grandpa saw how I was dancing.  He started to dance like me excsept he looked funnyer.  I asked him, “Why are you dancing funny?”  He said, “Because it gives me alot of energy to teach you how to dance, and I wanted to dance esaclly as my baby.”  I asked my grandpa if he can teach me how to dance before he did loose all his energy.”
     He grabed one of my hands, told me to put my leg and move it to the right, then he told me to swich them to the left. Step by step he was teachng me how to do things.  Before the fun night was over he told me that I will be a pro-

 Page #2

Page 2

…dancer from him, and when he said that I repeated what he said.  My grandpa taught me how to get his finger in one of his hand and let him twirl me like a hurrcane, and also taught me how to fall back in his arms and not fall.  Imagine me that little dancing like a woman.  My grandpa picked me skinny little hips up and through me in the air like a pizza getin cooked by a cooker, and caught me.  He also taught me how to do the election slide.  The second time we did it I fell on my shoe lace and started all over again.  My grandpa just about taught me 6 dances and more.
     I ispire my grandfather because he taught me how to dance he also loved me more than money.  He tooked care of me I want to be just like him when I’m a grandparent.  I will hopefully teach my grandkids and be a good person just like him!!!

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved