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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.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. Perri permalink
    November 2, 2016 5:03 pm

    Siram was my great great grandfather. Thank you for this beautiful story. It inspires more chapters I can write for a children’s book that takes place in Syria and Criglersville, VA. If you have more info I would love it!

    • Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
      June 26, 2017 7:15 pm

      Perri….Your grandfather was who? Siram had 11/12 children?

      • Perri Zepeda permalink
        August 31, 2017 1:46 pm

        His daughter Rose was my great grandmother.

        • Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
          September 1, 2017 12:23 am

          Rosa Lynn Kite 1888-1957…Spouse Hubert Brown??

          • Perri Zepeda permalink
            September 1, 2017 10:54 am

            Yes, that’s her bday and date of death, married to Hubert Brown.
            I would have loved to have known them.

            • Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
              September 1, 2017 11:59 am

              Rosa Kite was my great aunt I guess? Her brother John Walter Kite was my grandfather. He married Eva C Clore who was descended from George Kite also… not sure how that all plays out. George Kite’s son Noah from first marriage…was my great great grandfather…….very confusing.

            • Perri Zepeda permalink
              September 1, 2017 12:02 pm

              It makes sense that Rosa was your great aunt. Do you know what work your grandfather did?

  2. Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
    June 26, 2017 7:12 pm

    Kinda confused as I thought from George Kites first marriage were 4 sons? Noah,Martin,Hiram.and Harden (Hardy?) Siram Kite was my great grandfather. John Walter Kite his son my grandfather.

    • Chris permalink
      August 31, 2017 7:47 am

      George had a second wife named Susan Housden. They had 4 sons and 2 daughters ( 1 daughter likely his step-daughter.

      • Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
        August 31, 2017 8:15 am

        My records show George and Susanna Housden had 3 sons, James Polk, Charles Edward, ard and my great grandfather Siram William Kite. With Mary Elizabeth Long his first wife 4 sons, Noah, Martin. Hiram, and Harden Kite. From both marriages I found no daughters…..strange??

        • Chris permalink
          August 31, 2017 8:35 am

          See His first wife was Mary Susanna Long. I am fairly sure the link to Elizabeth Long is incorrect. Their daughters were Catherine 1830 to 1861 and Jane 1834 to 1838. For his second marriage see Henrietta Housden born 1833 and Amanda born 1836.

      • Perri Zepeda permalink
        August 31, 2017 2:00 pm

        Siram was my great-great grandfather. His daughter Rose was my great grandmother. Rose’s daughter Dorothy, one of ten, was my grandmother. They grew up in Syria, VA.

        I am writing a children’s story (6th gr.+) about how a child learns about the big events of history and researches family history ties to the those big events, and the influences on a child forming his/her world views.

  3. Perri Zepeda permalink
    August 31, 2017 2:12 pm

    I am interested in talking with any related Kite kin who have knowledge of Siram Kite family history. Thank you!

  4. Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
    September 1, 2017 10:11 am

    I have found Siram’s Civil War background record.

  5. Perri Zepeda permalink
    September 1, 2017 12:03 pm

    I would like to see a copy of Siram’s War background record.

    • Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
      September 1, 2017 12:56 pm

      Siram enlisted as a private in company K (Page Co.) 10th Va regiment in Culpeper Va. in 6-2-61. Was listed as AWOL 3-8 1862. POW at the battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse 5-12-64. POW at Pt. Lookout Md. and Elmira NY. Released 6-19-65 after taking an Oath of Allegiance. My grandfather John Walter Kite was in the service during the Spanish American War and after was a Washington DC mounted policeman. Years of service unknown to me.

      • Perri Zepeda permalink
        September 1, 2017 10:31 pm

        This is fascinating. I will get back to you after finding out more information myself. Thank you for all you are sharing.

  6. Perri Zepeda permalink
    November 12, 2017 10:20 pm

    I want to thank you again, Clayton, for contributing information about Siram Kite. After some putting two and two together, I believe my grandmother’s Uncle John Kite was your grandfather who was a mounted police in Washington D.C. It turns out that thirty-some years grandmother Dorothy Brown (whose mother was Rose Kite, the sister of your grandfather) died, my mother sent me a trunk she inherited from her mother, My mother said the trunk was given to my grandmother, Dorothy Brown, from her Uncle John Kite. So, I have the trunk that was your grandfather’s!

    • Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
      November 13, 2017 7:27 am

      Very nice. The Kite line is somewhat confusing to me as George Kite’s ( Siram’s father) son Noah from a first marriage bore Ann Victoria Kite who married James C. Clore. Their daughter Eva Clore married my grandfather John William Kite. So I guess Siram and Noah were half- brothers.Rachel Graves was kind enough to allow me to visit the “KITE” homeplace now owned by the Graves family. The family cemetary contains Siram and wife but unknown who else.

  7. Perri Zepeda permalink
    December 20, 2017 8:12 pm

    Thank you for responding again. I am late to returning here because I missed the email. I, too, have been to the homesite and saw the gravesite. I plan to go again this next year in the summer and hopefully stay in the house there. Of course, that means make reservations with a chunk of change. I will be coming from Oregon where I live and go to WV first, and then go with some family to visit Syria. Are you close enough to visit and meet us there?

    • Clayton Wayne Kite permalink
      December 23, 2017 6:48 am

      I’m in Harrisonburg Va. and only an hour or so from there. Let me know on the visit.

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