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Page County’s Appleberry/Applebury men in the USCT

July 10, 2011

Whether they were brothers or not is left to further research, but, what we do know is that, from approximately 30 men who documented the fact that they were born in Page County, Virginia (meaning, there may have been more who were born in Page, but did not document the fact on their enlistment papers), and served in the USCT , two men by the name of Appleberry/Applebury served in two different USCT organizations. Both appear to have been freed (or, perhaps, self-manumitted/”ran away”) from slavery on or before April 19, 1861 (two days following the Virginia Convention’s decision to secede), and both moved into Pennsylvania following freedom.

Battle of Olustee

Albert Appleberry first appears in military-related records as an unmarried resident of Hopewell, in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, when he enrolled for the draft in July, 1863. Called-up by the draft within a month, he was enlisted for three years in Co. I, 8th United States Colored Infantry, on August 4, 1863, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Listed as 25 years of age, 5’6”, with black complexion and hair, Albert listed himself, by occupation, as a laborer. Albert’s military service documents a good deal of action, at the Battle of Olustee, Florida, on February 20, 1864; Chaffin Farm, Virginia, September 29, 1864; and Chaffin Farm (Darbytown Road), again, on October 13, 1864 (when he was wounded in the right thigh by a shell). Though recovering from his wound  in the hospital until March 17, 1865, his record states that he was again in action “before Petersburg” April 2, 1865; and at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 9, 1865. Records also show his listed as a deserter, in June 1864, but that charge being dropped without trial or loss of pay, under Special Order No. 165, dated August 2, 1864, and signed by Gen. William Birney, as commanding officer.  Albert Appleberry was honorably discharged at Brownsville, Texas on November 10, 1865.

Like Albert, it appears that Daniel Appleberry (born ca. January 1831) was residing in south-central Pennsylvania in 1863. When he enlisted as a volunteer in Co. H, 22nd United States Colored Infantry, he did so at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Listed as a farmer/laborer, Daniel enrolled for three years of service. Service continues from that point without interruption, until June 28, 1864, when he was listed as having been wounded in the head. Though absent briefly, he was again on the rolls by the next muster. Absent sick on Brownsville, Texas, on July 16, 1865, he was back in the ranks when the regiment was mustered-out at Brownsville, on October 16, 1865.

Neither Albert nor Daniel appear to have applied for pensions (nor their widows… if Albert actually married after being discharged), and nothing more can be found about Albert through the census records. On the other hand, Daniel appears to have returned to Pennsylvania, and married to Mary/Marin L. (born in Delaware in May 1850) in 1866. The couple had at least three children, including William (born ca. 1872), Annie (born ca. 1873), and George (born ca. 1877). Daniel was listed on the 1890 Veterans’ Schedule Census for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and in the 1900 census, residing in Ward 7. He was also listed in Boyd’s Directory for Harrisburg, as a laborer, residing at 318 Muench (from ca. 1875-1882). Daniel died sometime between 1900 and 1910, as Marin/Mary appears as a widow in the 1910 census record.

It’s been quiet here for a while, but…

July 3, 2011

As one of my micro-blogs, this is a place to archive info as I find it, and, much in need of finding something new, there hasn’t been much to go in here in quite some time. However, good news is, I’ve come into some new material that will be of interest. Given the time to do a little more research, I’ll be posting some info about the former slaves and free blacks who left Page County, during the war, and enlisted in various United States Colored Troops regiments. I thought I found 35 names, but that number has come down a bit, having realized that there are several duplicate entries (about 9) for the same person. But, I promise… some good info to come. See this link to my main blog site about what I’ve found.

The memory of slavery in a family artifact?

January 27, 2010

I consider myself truly fortunate to have a range of family “artifacts”, though I wish I had more that related to the Civil War era… sigh…

Anyway, for your consideration today, I have, well, let me simply call her “Aunt”. I say this, of course, because in the days of slavery, so many slaves were referred to as “Aunt” or “Uncle” ___. Please understand, I don’t do this to demean, but rather, I have a hunch that what you see in the photo that follows was referred to as “Aunt ___.” I have no idea what my great-great grandmother called “her”, but suspect I’m on the right path.

What is it exactly? It is a doorstop, and it dates to sometime before 1930, but I suspect it wasn’t created before 1900. I tried to clean it up before the photo, but I need to spend considerable time in doing so as the piece is getting more fragile with age (especially the cloth). I plan on getting a display case for it sometime soon, and thus, I brought it out again today and figured it would be an interesting item for discussion. It’s especially interesting when we consider the culture (in relation to slavery) of the Shenandoah Valley as conveyed through the movie Shenandoah (which also happens to be a focus in Kevin’s blog yesterday and today) and the impact that slavery had (though not as many slaves lived in the Valley as opposed to the Tidewater region). As you can see, the outside is made of a variety of cloth materials, excepting the broach and eyes, which are made of plastic (the eyes and broach are all made from buttons and the fact that they are plastic would probably help to date it a little better). Hidden underneath is a mason jar, filled with rocks. Regretfully, the mason jar cracked years before I came into possession of this family item, but it still holds-up quite well. No, I don’t use it as a doorstop…

As you may have gathered from what I mentioned above, my great-great grandmother made the doorstop. She was born in 1853 and died in 1930, but before your imagination gets the best of you… her family (Painter family) did not own slaves. In fact, I find more Unionists sentiment AND “leave-alone’r” sentiment with her line of the family than I do with any of my other lines. She was from Page County, Virginia and her name was Sarah Ellen Painter, daughter of Noah Painter and Susan Huffman. Two of her mother’s brothers were Confederate soldiers, one in the 7th Va. Cav. (part of the Laurel Brigade) and the other in the 33rd Va. Inf. (part of the Stonewall Brigade). In fact, Sarah’s husband (James Harvey Mayes, one of my gg grandfathers) was also a Confederate soldier in the 7th Virginia Cavalry and was wounded west of Winchester, Va., in November 1864. Again, none of them owned slaves. So, I’m taking it that this may have been a culturally induced artistic creation. No doubt, she lived in the time of slavery… in fact, she just turned eight in February 1861, and would have been twelve by the end of the war. I just find this piece one of my most fascinating ones, especially for the fact that it shows how slavery touched whites who did not even own slaves. Also, by serving as a doorstop, I wonder if it sent a message describing where, in the social hierarchy, this branch of my Southern family saw blacks, even well after the Civil War. Or was it merely a reflection of what she remembered from her youth?

Hmmm, note the hand on the hip… it looks like Sarah added this to convey something that we might not fully understand today. Truly interesting.

This is also posted in my main blog, Cenantua’s Blog.

General Ulysses Simpson Grant Fry’s restaurant in Luray

January 8, 2010

From the May 11, 1922 issue of the Page News and Courier.

General Ulysses Simpson Grant Fry, colored, is advertising his restaurant ‘on the hill’ for rent in this issue of the News and Courier. General is prepared to give some real fact and argument about the question, ‘What’s in a name?’ and he concludes that a name is a matter of real importance. Not for moment does he believe that a rose smells as sweet if you give it another name. General knows better than that.

Eighteen years ago [1904], General went into the restaurant business in the colored part of town on the road to the Luray Caverns. Business was not extra good, but one day Fry got a pointer from the late A.L. Jamison, a shrewd businessman of Luray. ‘General,’ said Mr. Jamison, ‘your name should be your fortune. Spell it out fill on your restaurant sign and try its effect on the Yankees who come to see the Caverns.’

General was impressed by this advice, put up his sign in big letters, ‘General Ulysses Simpson Grant Fry Restaurant’ and waited for results. A few weeks later along came a Caverns party from Maine. They halted in front of the restaurant shouted and laughed and yelled for the General. Fry, whose complexion is fully as dark as that of his ancestors of the equatorial jungles of Africa, was for a time afraid to go, vaguely fearing that perhaps his name was going to get him into trouble. Finally, he decided to show himself and stepping out in the road gave the party from Maine a brisk military salute. He was greeted with cheers and huzzas and the entire party filed into his restaurant to be fed. This process has been repeated a number of times in the years that have fled. General says that he has always been careful to give food and service worthy of the great name he bears. His guests always receive the most approved military salute. Probably no soldier in town can give the salute as well as General. In parting with his restaurant business he is in doubt whether he should rent out the name that has brought him prosperity. One thing is sure, if his successor uses that name, he must keep up the reputation of the place.

There is no sham or commercialism about General’s name. he was the first baby in the family after the civil war and his father, Wesley Fry, of Madison county, who was a soldier in the Northern army [likely a private in Co. E, 2nd U.S. Colored Infantry, but possibly Co. K, 64th U.S. Colored Infantry], insisted that this offspring should be named general Ulysses Simpson Grant Fry, and it was done. Wesley Fry was a slave of Mrs. Matt Graves of Madison county, mother of Robert A. Graves of Syria. At first he was sent to the Confederate army as a teamster, later joining the Federals at Culpeper.

General Fry is a good citizen and has cared for the gifts fortune has bestowed upon him. He has combined farming and janitor work with the restaurant business, sleeping from midnight till five a.m. and working the rest of the time. He objects to working on Sunday any longer. He loved the farm and the babbling of the brooks and the rustling of the trees. He is able to quit and is going to quit.

“Colored Folks of the Antebellum Days”

July 6, 2009

From the Page News & Courier ca. 1937

The veteran colored folks of Luray were born before the gory days of the sixties but lived in the memory of later generations. They were Fred Lacey, Nimrod Bruce, Harrison Carpenter, Ned Harris, John Smith, Wesley Hill, Tom Jackson, Joe Hill, Ben Robinson and perhaps others.

In the major part they were an honorable aggregation of colored citizens. They set the pace that was followed by the better element of their race. They lived at a time when politeness was an outstanding characteristic. Fred Lacey and Nimrod Bruce were two of the one-horse wagoners in the days that are now local history. Each had his one horse wagon. They went from the crack of day till the cadence of the whipperwill. Harrison Carpenter was the ‘right hand’ man of the late Andrew Broaddus for many years clerk of the Page County court. He groomed the Broaddus steeds and was ready at every beck and call to do his master’s bidding. Ned Harris played the same role for Sam Ritchie, late County Treasurer. He once went to Mount Sterling, Kentucky for a thoroughbred. He rode the horse back through the mountain of West Virginia and declared that he had ‘rather ride an old plug than to have his arms pulled off by a Kentucky race horse.’ This Kentucky thoroughbred soon became more than a match for Ned and was turned over to the late J. Victor Renalds for taming. The Renalds process worked to perfection. In the long, long ago, John Smith was one of the principle hog killers for Luray people. In hog killing seasons sometime he went from daylight ‘until all the lard was rendered,’ the ponhoss was to perfection and the pudding and sausage were stuffed. He carried his butchering equipment in a belt around his body, and prided himself with immaculate aprons and when he had finished salting and peppering meat no skippers dared to tamper with it. Wesley Hill., a bowlegged tobacco chewer, was a one time the principle shoemaker on the hill. He got lots of work and did it in a workman like manner and kept his wife, ‘Aunt Betsy’ as a paragon of splombness even when white folks called on her. Tom Jackson was at one time Luray’s only tonsorial artist. He had his shop for a long time in a building on the present site of the Shandelson Ladies Store building in West Luray. At another time Tom held forth in a basement one door west of the Mansion Inn. He is said to have dispensed carious things for the needs of his customers at both ‘joints.’ Joe Hill was a product of Madison County, was a hard worker and the husband of the inimitable ‘Nish’ Hill, of West Luray, and of placatorial fame. Joe was a quasi-farmer. ‘Nish’ gave all the points in their agricultural life when he came to the working side.

Obituary of John P. Washington, Slave of Koontz Family

May 22, 2009

From the December 29, 1929 issue of the PN&C:

John P. Washington, Slave of Koontz Family, Dies

John P. Washington, one of the patriarchs on the hill, died on Dec. 21st at the home of Homer Tyree in Egypt Bend, at the age of 82 years. Washington was one of the few old colored people of Page county who were born in this county. He was a son of Aaron and Lucindy Washington, slaves of Daniel Koontz, of Alma and was himself born a slave. In his boyhood he was bound out to Perry Broyles, of Luray, who had the benefit of his services until he was twenty-one. He lived for thirty-five years at Steelton, Pa., where he was employed in a steel plant, made good wages and was an active and enthusiastic member of colored fraternal organizations in which at that palmy period of his life he took a huge delight . He was injured there and the steel company retired him on a pension. He lived for many years in single blessedness but in the latter part of his life he married Eliza Coleman, widow of Yancey Coleman, of Luray. She died some years ago.

Ten years ago Washington having returned to Luray joined the Old School Baptist Church and thereafter became the leader amongst the colored Old School Baptists at this place. He was instrumental in holding regular preaching on the hill and boosted his cause in many ways. At the same time he attended churches of other denominations, was a participant in their services and did some preaching. Washington was a man of big stature, jet black, good natured, harmless, honest, talkative, self-assertive in a crowd, one who had been around and seen much but was entirely uneducated. He leaves a daughter who married Robert Cyrus. Secret orders and public functions were his hobbies, He was feeble and failing in mental power for a long time, but was physically active till two weeks before his death, when his last illness began. He was buried in the Odd Fellows cemetery on Dec. 23rd, Eld. Allen Williams of the colored Old School Baptists conducting the services. Eld. Arthur Campbell, a white minister, talking briefly at the funeral.

About a former Kite family slave

May 15, 2009

From the March 21, 1933 issue of the PN&C (Article from the “Home of the Birds” column written by Jacob R. Seekford)

Devotion to an Old Negro Mammy

About 135 years ago, George Kite lived in the big brick house that now stands half way between Alma and Honeyville on the east side of the road now owned by William Martin. By Mr. Kite’s first marriage was born three daughters and three sons: Hiram Kite, who went West; Noah Kite who was drowned in the flood of 1870; Hardy Kite who was found dead in a piney field about a mile southeast of Alma. After Mr. Kite lost his first wife, he married again and because of family differences, he divided his large estate here and moved to near the Rapidan river, not far from Graves’ mill, buying property there. In the same brick house, Siram Kite and Charlie Kite and James Kite were born. They were by the second marriage. In a little log house, which stood near the big brick house, was born a hundred and thirty-two years ago a little negro baby girl. She was the slave girl of old George Kite when Mr. Kite moved from Page county. He took the colored women with him. She had nursed all of the Kite children. When she was set free she never left the Kite home.

Thirty-five years ago I went over to Charlie Kite’s place to move a large store building for him. I went on the porch and noticed a little room screened in. I wondered what it was for and looked in through the screen. In there was the most pitiful sight that I had ever beheld. There was an old woman with a snow white head. Her eyes reminded me of the eyes of a large black spider. This old woman had been in this little cage for six long years. No kind of an insect could get to her. The Kite family fed her with a spoon as she had no use of her limbs. I have seen Mr. Kite go to the spring and dip up fresh water and hold it to the old woman’s lips for her to drink. I have seen him take water and a towel and wash her face and hands. I finished up the job and came home. Later I went back to Mr. Kite’s stayed all night and left just as the sun peeped over the hills. This old human spider had passed into the great beyond.

Three Old Men Weep at Her Funeral

Siram Kite lived about six miles away from and Jim Kite lived about two miles but it wasn’t long before they arrived at the Charlie Kite home. In the meantime the old woman had been washed, dressed and laid out. I saw those old men stand around that old woman and cry like children. When the coffin came in she was placed in it. I saw on the top in a silver plate, the word ‘Mother.’ That night, those three old men, with Howard Lillard and Geo. Lillard sat up and watched the lifeless body of this old woman. They sat and talked of her useful life. I would like to be there when this old woman and sits in God’s golden witness chair and tells of her life that she spent around old Honeyville and Alma and on the banks of the old Rapidan. I was there lead to believe that there is a power in man that cannot be controlled.