Monday, March 31, 2008
I was not around Aunt Mary that much, but we communicated through letters. Unfortunately I don’t have any of those letters now. She also gave me money when my family couldn’t afford things such as my high school class ring and things needed for high school graduation. I have been told by older cousins that she also helped them financially when they were growing up.
Aunt Mary moved to White Plains, NY when she was a young woman and joined the Little Mount Zion Holy Church in White Plains, NY. This church was started by her paternal aunt Pennie Johnson Higgs. Aunt Mary remained in White Plains, NY until she died on January 5, 1986. She was buried in the cemetery of the Union Chapel Holy Church in Ridgeway, NC on January 11, 1986.
My cousins and I miss her and talk about her often. Gone but not forgotten.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Morning Star Holy Church, current church building
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Bell Bullock Johnson (1890-1982)
My great grandmother Bell Bullock Johnson was born 118 years ago on March 29, 1890 in the Drewry area of Vance County, NC to Andrew and Luvenia Jeffress Bullock. She was the mother of my maternal grandmother Emma. Three siblings were born before her: Mollie (1883-1977), John (1885-1957), and James (1887-1931). Six other siblings were born after Grandma Bell: Channie (1892-1966), Mima (1894-1960s), Nancie (1896-1950), Andrew (1899-1972), Bessie (1901-1991), and Joseph (1905-1932.)
On February 11, 1914, Grandma Bell married George Johnson (1893-1932,) the youngest son of Plummer Johnson (1846-1917) and Susie Jerman Johnson (1858-1939) of Ridgeway, NC. Grandma Bell settled in Ridgeway and remained there the remainder of her life. Her husband’s ancestors lived in Ridgeway for many years possibly dating back before the Civil War
Six lovely children were born to George and Bell Johnson: James (1915-1915), Willie (1917-2000), Charlie (1919- 2004), Emma (1922-2011 ), Mary (1927-1986), and George “Richard” (1932-1992).
On February 28, 1932, during the Great Depression, Grandma Bell’s husband died leaving her with four children and pregnant with another. After the birth of their son on April 30, 1932, her mother Luvenia took care of her three youngest children. Grandma Bell returned to Ridgeway and worked as a Cook for Charlie Herring, the son of German immigrants in Ridgeway. Her two oldest sons, Willie and Charlie, were ages 12 and 14 at the death of their father. They returned to Ridgeway with their mother and worked to help support the family.
Like her mother Luvenia, Grandma Bell was a strong believer in holy living and faith healing. She was a member of Pentecostal Holiness churches and testified of being “saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost.” In 1912, she became a founding member of Union Chapel Holy Church. Prior to that she was a member of Morning Star Holy Church in Middleburg area of Vance County. She believed strongly in the ministry of Oral Roberts, an Oklahoma evangelist, and his teachings on faith and healing. She didn’t believe in watching television except to watch Oral Roberts. She only used her radio to listen to Oral Roberts and other religious broadcasts. Grandma Bell believed in keeping the Sabbath holy, which meant not doing any work or cooking on Sundays. She hated listening to gossip and would tune it out by humming a song.
When interviewed in 1980 by a reporter for a church publication about her life, Grandma Bell said, “I don’t want my light to get dull, I want my light to shine bright so men can see the good works and glorify the Father. I ain’t got no bad works, but I want my light to shine bright. I let my light shine so that black and white can see Jesus in me.”
Grandma Bell Bullock Johnson died on July 4, 1982 in the Warren General Hospital located in Warren County, NC. Her funeral was held on July 9, 1982 at Union Chapel Holy Church, Ridgeway, NC and she was buried in the church cemetery.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Luvenia Jeffress Bullock
(1864 – 1951)
Every since I was a little girl, I remember your granddaughter Emma Johnson Thornton (my maternal grandmother), telling me about the way you entered the church shouting “Holy, Holy, Holy!” and about the bonnets, long skirts and dress, and lace-up boots you wore. Although I was born 12 years after your death, I have gotten to know you through listening to the memories of several of your grandchildren and others who knew you, and by studying the numerous legal papers left on this earth documenting your existence.
Many people still recall your grand entrance into Saints Delight and Morning Star holiness churches. Some say you began your shout of “Holy!” as soon as you stepped on the church ground, then you would stomp at the church door, and dance down the aisle speaking in tongues or shouting “Holy!” If the spirit of praise had died down in the church before your arrival, many say that it would certainly liven up when you arrived. When you got to your seat, they say that you would always kneel and pray.
I have also spent many hours during the past 12 years studying your life through legal papers in Warren and Vance counties and have learned that you were born during the Civil War to slaves Green and Ella Scott Jeffress; in 1882 you married Andrew Bullock, the son of Ottoway and Mimmy Bullock, and to this union were born ten children--Mollie, John, James, Bell (my great-grandmother), Channie, Mima, Nancy, Andrew, Bessie, and Joseph; you served the Vance County community as a Midwife from 1920 to 1937 delivering over 300 babies; in your old age, you had a church built next to your home and called it Veanus Chapel House of Prayer, and that the land where you lived is now part of the Kerr Lake and Bullocksville Park area.
Thank you Grandma Ven for living a life of holiness and dedication to God, for the prayers you prayed, and for the spiritual legacy you have left for our family and others to follow.
Drusilla Octavia Pair
Your Great-Great Granddaughter
Friday, March 21, 2008
- African American genealogy
- Free Negroes
- Genealogy presentations
- Oral history
- Research methods Virginia and North Carolina records
- Slavery and my enslaved ancestors
- Southern History
My pursuit of family history began on the first Sunday afternoon in November 1994. Prior to this time, three events influenced me to want to know more about my family history. These events will be discussed more in depth in future postings in this blog.
- Oral history from my maternal grandmother.
- 1987 death of my paternal grandfather.
- 1989 Bullock family reunion in which a one page family history was distributed.
I thought I would be finished researching by now, but 13 years later, I am still pursuing my history. Through this pursuit, I have met so many people, both face-to-face and online. I never cared too much about history when I was in school, but now history has taken on a different meaning and I now understand its meaning and purpose.