“I swear to the Lord I still can’t see why democracy means everybody but me.” — Langston Hughes
It’s Thanksgiving Day 2012, as well as, “Those Places Thursday!” This blogging prompt gives me a chance to reminiscence about how and where my ancestors lived and to write about “those places” via stories and/or photos.
This past Sunday I came upon this wonderful news story on DallasNews.com about Pelham, Texas, a small Freedman community that’s fighting hard to preserve its legacy for future generations. As far as I know, I don’t have any ancestors who lived in Pelham. But I have had ancestors who lived in similar communities like the historic Houston’s Fourth Ward, the site of Freedmen’s Town, which was a post-U.S. Civil War community of African-Americans, that no longer exist today due to gentrification.
So I’m very thankful that this community’s story is being told and I share it with you on this national day of thanksgiving. Enjoy!
Colorado Citizen, August 27, 1891
Eagle Lake Item
Carey Blanton, one of our best freedmen, died at his residence in town last Saturday night, after a long illness. Carey was an honest faithful and industrious darky and will be missed by the community.”
I truly appreciate Gina Hefferman, the Texas Archives State File Manager, and all the volunteers who donate their time transcribing records and contributing to the Texas USGen Web Project! As a result of their work, I was able to locate the obituary for my maternal great-great-grandfather – Carey Blanton – that appeared in a local county newspaper via the Colorado County TexGen Web Project where over 11,000 obituaries are now online!
Carey Blanton is my great-grandmother, Carrie’s father who was born into slavery around 1838, but died a Freedman on August 22, 1891 in Eagle Lake, Colorado Country, Texas. Though the obituary above is not very flattering with regards to calling him an “industrious darky,” – it is, what it is, and those were the times in which he lived. But despite the reference to his race and physical features, he was a man of “good character” and appreciated by those in the Eagle Lake community.
“Obituary of Carey Blanton,” Colorado Citizen, Columbus, Colorado County, Texas, Tuesday, November 18, 1922, Eagle Lake Item section, available in print and available online at <http://www.txgenweb5.org/txcolorado/obits/obits_b/obitsb1b.htm#Blanton,%20Carey>, accessed 10 April 2011.