20 June 2010

The Storms of Vermont, part 1

My favorite ancestors these days seem to be the Storms. Originally from Panton and Vergennes, Vermont, several members of the family moved to Worcester and Boston, Massachusetts in the 1870s. Once in Worcester, the Storms and other transplanted Vermonters of color formed the Vermont Club at John St Baptist Church, one of the few Black churches in Worcester.

Hattie Storms, my great-great grandmother, was born on 8 October 1871 in Vergennes to (Jonathan) Robert Storms and Orphia Mason. She married Walter St.Clair Bostic, the son of William Bostic and Rachel Ann Steemer of Pennsylvania on 6 Feb 1890 in Boston MA. She married twice more – the marriage record to Richard Taliaferro on 20 May 1901 lists her as a Hettie E. Perkins, widow. It also lists the “Talioferro” marriage as her second when it should be her third.
hettie storms

I haven’t located a marriage record for Hattie and Mr. Perkins. It is possible that the marriage record is wrong and her last name was “Bostic” at the time but I think it would be difficult to mix up the names Perkins and Bostic on an official record. Another puzzle in Hattie’s marriages is what happened between her and her first husband, Walter Bostic. In the 1920 Federal census, Walter St. Clair Bostic is listed as divorced. I have not yet found that record either.

Hattie died 28 Apr 1926 and was buried by her son, my great-grandfather, Walter Andrew Louis Bostic in Hope Cemetery in Worcester, MA.

Cheryll Toney Holley

15 June 2010

What Freedom Means to Me

This post is in response to the Carnival of African-American Genealogy, 4th edition.

I have always lived in the Northeast of the United States, except for the 10 years that I lived in the Washington, DC area after college. I never thought much about freedom growing up. I lived in a small city where minorities had always been present and few. In fact, most of us lived in one of two neighborhoods in the city. While I had been called the N-word every now and then through the years, I never thought that being who I was gave me less freedom than others.

During my senior year in high school, I accidently found an application to Howard University in Washington, DC in the school library. DC seemed far enough away so I applied. I had never heard of Howard before that moment. I got accepted to Howard and more than a few other schools but Howard gave me a full scholarship so I accepted and my parents made plans to drive me down to DC.

My mother had never been out of our city before and I had never been further than Long Island. Driving down Georgia Avenue, we were stunned. The sidewalks were full of Black people – the whole sidewalk! We had never seen such a thing. We were awestruck! We had lived our entire lives in a place where most of the people didn’t look anything like us and neither of us ever even considered that there might be a place where everyone looked like us.

That is when I knew what freedom really was. I didn’t have to be smarter or prettier or quieter or better than anyone else. I could just be me. I was in a place where the color of my skin didn’t matter (much). And there were plenty of folks my shade. Growing up I always felt different even if I didn’t really know why.

I loved my years in DC and the surrounding areas. I moved back to Massachusetts for family reasons several years ago but go back frequently to visit. I hope to retire to Maryland if I live that long.

So What is Freedom to Me? The Opportunity to Be Me.

Guess I Need an Intro

This is a new blog so that I can document my own ancestries (Native American and African-American sprinkled with a bit of European) and other African and Native American families from here in New England.

Family names I hope to document here include:

Toney, Scott, Hazzard, Hazard, Pegan, Quow, Harry, Storms, and Bostic.

Hopefully I will update on a regular basis with new and exciting info. And maybe even meet some distant cousins researching the same names.

Aquene, Cheryll