The Ceremony is upon us!

Historical Marker for DeWitty is installed.in remembrance of Nebraska’s largest and most well-known African-American rural community, off U.S. Highway 83 near Brownlee.
DeWitty was the town that had the audacity to think they could, and so they did.
Although the town didn’t survive and most of the land reclaimed itself, the legacy of those who came is evident by the descendants who will stand with us Monday, April 11. The driving force behind every plow, every nail driven, every sod wall built was with one purpose in mind. Not to build a lasting farming town but to be the stepping stone for their children’s futures. Each family ensured that education both religious and academic teaching were primary and the support to choose their direction was indeed encouraged for they were taught to believe they could grasp whatever star they reached for. Freedom to seek out adventure that beckons the bright and spirited minds.
So April 11, 2016
Just south of Brownlee turnoff, Highway 83 – we the descendants, neighbors, and friends will come together and shall honor the hard work of our ancestors, their drive, devotion, and visions. Remembering DeWitty pays homage to those who confronted racial barriers in the pre-civil war of United States, in Canada and in the Nebraska Sand Hills with a ‘we can overcome’ attitude. Remembering DeWitty gives anyone who knows their story a reminder that they can, too.” Contrary to various accountings for the reason of the demise of this town, DeWitty renamed Audacious centered their energies, visions, and struggles to achieve the American dream. They achieved their mission, and this is a fitting memorial for all their struggles.

So by chance you can come and plan to share at 10 am, April 11, 2016, please do; for after the ceremony, there is a planned potluck luncheon by the folks of Brownlee in the Community Center for all to meet and greet.

Our Own Black History

 

How many can you identify?

If you can’t identify them, then you need to read our history book “Yes We Remember“!

or look through this website and find the stories that relate to these photo’s.

Loving being Black!

Joyceann

 

 

 

Isle of Wight Deed Book 17 1791-1796 LVA Reel # 10

From http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vaisleof/IW%20Slaves%20Freed%20after%201782.htm

p. 180–Thomas Uzzell Sr of I of W–freedom is natural right and doing unto others etc–frees 8 Negroes viz:Keter aged 60; Pegg, abt 30; Jemima aged 20; Isham abt 14; Lewis abt 6; Rhoda abt 3, Milla aged abt 1 yr and Sarah aged abt 9 months–those in their minority at lawful age–6 Jan 94–rec 3 Feb 1794

p. 226–Shemuel Godwin of I of W–freedom is natural right and do unto others etc–frees Negro woman Pegg aged abt 40 yrs–6 Oct 1794–rec same

Hatter Family

 

The earliest Hatter found so far is Frances Hatter b.1735, he was originally from the West coast of Africa. Our largest DNA concentration is from Benin/Togo.Frances Hatter freed after the death of John and Elizabeth Ariss, along with Charlotte  and Sarah. All slaves of this 1700 group maintain the name of Hatter Slaves.

We found that Charlotte by the time she was freed, had four sons John, Reuben, George, and James. James and Reuben had been sold to Samuel Walter Washington, who in turn reluctantly sold Reuben to Christian Blackburn, who sent him and his wife Elizabeth after manumitting both to Liberia. click here for more on them in Liberia.Reuben Hatter

James was a jack of all trades and ensured his position by being efficient and hard working.He jumped the broom with Matilda and they had numerous child but we can only speak on George b. 1818 and Franklin b 1820.

Dedication Ceremony for DeWitty Historical Marker

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dedication Ceremony for DeWitty Historical Marker Set for April 11, 2016, at the Marker site on Hwy 83 near Brownlee turnoff

 Location of Marker in Ne

A dedication ceremony for a new Nebraska State Historical Marker in Cherry County commemorating DeWitty, the state’s longest and most successful African-American rural settlement  in the state is scheduled for Monday, April 11 at 10 a.m. at the site of the marker, near the Brownlee turnoff road on U.S. Highway 83.

The ceremony will be held in the Cherry County Historical Society Museum in Valentine in the event of inclement weather.

The ceremony is expected to draw descendants of the original DeWitty settlers from all over the nation.

“I’ve already heard from descendants from as far away as Delaware, Virginia and California who are planning to come,” said Stew Magnuson, the author of two books about Highway 83. Last year, Magnuson, the Cherry County Historical Society and DeWitty descendants coordinated efforts to raise the $5,100 needed to pay for the marker.

 North Loup River scene about 40 yards from the turnoff
North Loup River just south of marker site

“Donations came from descendants, Cherry County residents, history buffs in Nebraska and members of the Fans of U.S. Route 83 page on Facebook. It was a wonderful gathering of different people who believed that this unique community should be remembered,” said Magnuson.

Black settlers first arrived in the area about 1880 to take advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862, the Timber Culture Act of 1873, and the Kinkaid Act of 1904 Act, which granted homesteaders ultimately 640 acres of land in the counties that comprised the Sand Hills of Nebraska. DeWitty, also known as Audacious, grew as more settlers came to take advantage of this offer. The Homestead Act only granted 160 acres of land. Some settlers had roots in Canada and were the descendants of escaped slaves. Others came from big cities to try their hands at farming. The town barber, Robert Hannahs, had been born into slavery.

 DeWitty Turnoff facing directly westDeWitty Turnoff facing southwest
View of Sand Hills west of marker site

They built homesteads along the North Loup River, extending some 14 miles west of the town of Brownlee, a mostly white settlement. Relations between the two communities were excellent, Magnuson says. They came together to celebrate Independence Day, shared one-room schools and helped each other whenever needed.
“This is really the story of two communities: DeWitty and Brownlee. The marker text notes the bond the communities shared,” says Magnuson, who wrote a chapter about DeWitty in his latest book, The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: Nebraska,Kansas, Oklahoma.

Joyceann Gray, a DeWitty descendant now living in Sterling, Virginia, said, “My sister Khadijah and I are so excited to attend the DeWitty-Audacious Historical Marker Installation ceremony. What a humbling honor to be a part of recognizing our ancestors, their struggles, and their lives.”

Joyceann Gray is the author of “Yes We Remember” Available on Amazon.com and Blurb.com This is a historical novel based on the events of the time, historical records, and family stories of our ancestors and how the struggles, adventures, and travels of 4 families culminated on a ranch in Cherry County Nebraska.

Stew Magnuson is the author of The Last American Highway: A Journey Through Time Down U.S. Route 83: The Dakotas, and  The Last American Highway: Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma edition. Both are available online or in museums, bookstores and gift shops on Hwy 83.

Happy New Year Everyone!

This past year has been extremely busy one and blessed to be sure!

facebook New year

We got a chance to travel to Negril to refresh from a cold winter.

Kenny & Joyceann Negril 2015 Underwater at Negril 2015

We came home to enjoy the wonderful feeling of Spring, bringing forth the freshness and newness of growing flowers and budding trees.

We enjoyed with pride (and fond memories of our own) watching our youngestPV2 Dominique M. Gray graduate from Basic Training at Fort Jackson.  We enjoyed traveling across the country; to visit family and friends while the weather held up. Late in the summer, after solving the question of who enslaved our 2x great-grandfather Franklin Hatter,  and sharing with other historians at Harewood plantation in Charles Town, West VA.,

harewood gathering 1 - Version 2

I finished writing the family history book ” Yes We Remember” and  spoke on the Hatter part of the family at the AAHGS convention in Richmond. My Book Photo 1

Marilyn developed a course she will teach at NOVA this year.  I received a new titanium knee and was able to walk without a cane by Christmas!  We watched our grandchildren grow sooo tall and get drivers licences, jobs, and good grades in school. They are sprouting up and maturing and trying their best to make us feel old. But all in all, 2015 was a very good year for our family, we didn’t lose anyone, all of us are busy, healthy, and feeling good.

We welcome the new year by wishing for peace, happiness and goodness throughout the world.  Resolving to Pay it forward – Be kind each day and give of yourself to help others less fortunate.  We only have the here and now so let us make the best of life by being kind.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy New Year 2016-1

Yes We Remember Our Ancestors -This coming Friday

This coming Friday Octobert 16, 2015,  

I’ll share the story of the “Hatters” during the

AAHGS Conference

Meanwhile here’s a preview of my new book:

We’re heading to Richmond!

Friday, October 16, at 4 pm, I’ll be speaking about the life and times of the Hatters’ during the conference. Coming with me will be my sisters Adjunct Professor M. Morton and AAHGS Past President of New York Chapter, Dr. K. Matin.

http://www.aahgs.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.ViewPage&pageId=677

COME JOIN US!

I made the changes!

http://www.blurb.com/bookshare/app/index.html?bookId=7044313

sure hope you all enjoy my labor of love!

Putting the pieces of the puzzle together!

Hatter photo's

“Nov. 11, 1855 – Emily Hatter, George William Hatter, Hamilton Hatter, Sarah Frances Hatter – children of Frank Hatter, a colored man of Mr. A. Hunter.”

Hatter children baptized Barbara Ellen Hatter Died 1858

Sarah Brown, Descendant of John Augustine Washington
“I wandered into the Zion office to see if the Washingtons sponsored any baptisms of those they enslaved. They gave me an old ledger. I thought it might shed some light on the Sanders/Saunders family. Lo and behold, the second or third page listed the Hatters, big as day. I don’t have enough Hatter info memorized to know if this support or conflicts with what you found previously. But at any rate, it’s a fascinating twist on your story. So glad I noticed it!–I’m going back with my cell tomorrow. The Zion Episcopal Church is in Charles Town, and where most of the 19th & 20th century Washingtons are buried.”
I was just reading a history of the church, and as was the sad custom, the black congregants sat in the balcony. Then some benefactors built a separate church for blacks, “St. Phillips.”
the second picture has the notation of July 10, 1858, Barbara Ellen Hatter died.
Shumpert Land

Trying to put all the pieces of the Shumpert family in place.

Site Title

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou

People's Court

See, what had happened was...

victori7's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Majic 102.1

Houston, R&B, Soul, Radio, Texas, KMJQ

Gathering Family Untangling Roots

From Texas To The Carolinas, A Never Ending Search For My Ancestors

J.Gray Discovery Photos

www.jgraydiscovery.com

%d bloggers like this: