The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)

{February 29, 2012}   The Newest Fuel To My Fire

Since there is an extra day in February, today is my last day to post for Black history month.  I saved this one for this day for a reason.  It is leap year so it comes once every four years.  It seemed only fitting to post and honor my little cousin Kaiwon Connelley.  You see he was special too.  He was on this earth for three years and he impacted my life as much as everyone else that I honored this month.  Now some may wonder; how can a three year old have such a lasting impact?  Especially one I’ve never seen, met or even knew existed until the day I heard of his death.  I first heard of Kaiwon through my mother.  She called me and asked if I had seen the news about a baby boy being killed by his father in West Virginia.  It was the first death of the year in that town.  She said that the little boy was the great grandson to one of my cousins.  I was so shocked.  I told her I would look it up on the internet since I missed it on the TV.  Well I found it and the baby was beaten pretty bad.  He was tortured actually.

Now I didn’t choose him to go into specifics about his death this is about his impact on my life and how he inspired me.  He is probably the strongest Yeldell I honored this month.  He went through so much pain not feeling love the way he was supposed to at his end.  But through his pain he was able to spread love to his mom that the majority of us never even knew. He made me reach out more to my family, pray more for my family and try to understand my family.  Because of him and his strength I am more determine to find information about our family and to learn about the strength that he had at just the young age of three.  As I have stated so many times before that strength is not easy to have we were born with it and not many are.

To my family have you recognized our strength?  What we can do?  I hope that I was not the only one who learned this month about our family.  I hope that you all know that I was not bragging even though it would not have been hard to do.  I hope that you looked deeper into my postings and saw how strong we are and what we are capable of.  Kaiwon you are the newest fuel behind my fire.  Although I didn’t know you the love I have for you is the same as I have for my children.  I will follow your trial I will support your mom and I will try my best to be strong for her when she needs the strength the most.


Well today is the 28th of February that would normally be the last day of the month.  This project that I did was very rewarding and as always a learning experience.  Which is why today’s honorees were saved for this day.  You see my Grandparents had everything to do with all of the people that I honored this month.  Not just because they are all biologically attached to them but because of our make up. They are the reason why we are so very intelligent, why we are able to do the things we can do.

My grandparents were involved with history from the beginning and they taught their history to there children.  They taught it by the way they reared them. Being founders of a church they taught it with there belief in GOD.  I realized that my grandparents had that belief the way slaves had it back in the day (why not there grandparents were slaves).  They taught what was necessary to take care of their family while trusting that GOD would continue to keep them and watch over them.  Because of there trust and love of GOD they produced thirteen of the best people to ever walk the face of earth.  Because of that they produced the best grands, great grands, great great grands and so on.  Thank you Jeff and Annie for teaching us, instilling in us and continuing to watch over us. We still have a lot to learn.  We as a family need to in some way get back to that teaching of old.  We are an example of the greatness it can produce.

Annie and Jeff because of you we are great at what we do because of you WE ARE A PEOPLE OF EXCELLENCE.

{February 22, 2012}   MaMa Lula Peterson Senior

And now to my next honoree.  Mama Lula Peterson Senior.  This is where our beauty comes from.  If you look in my family album you will see two of her other daughter and my strikingly beautiful grandmother.  Mama Lula owned a farm in Edgefield County, SC.  That farm back when she was young was a huge source of food for the entire county.  Her father Enoch Peterson was owner of that land and he had everything.  It was his source of income for his family and he passed it on to my great grandmother.  She died there in edgefield and is buried at the church that my grandparents named the church here in dc after.  That land is still in my family to this day

Before I post my next family member I MUST tell you about new info I have found.  So yesterday I posted about my Great Great Grandmother Martha Brooks.  If you didn’t read it she was owned by Whitfield Brooks and was given to his son Preston Brooks by him.  It also stated that she was a breeder so she had more children than we know about. A couple could have been by one of them.  Well….I want to take you back to high school.  The picture you see above is a picture of a southern congressman beating a northern congressman.  We learned about the man being beat.  His name was Charles Sumner the abolitionist who fought against slavery along with Lincoln.  He was beaten because of a speech he gave on the Senate floor on May 20, 1856.  This speech was to put it lightly downing Senator Andrew Butler (D-SC) and Senator Douglas (D-IL). Well two days later a young man also a senator from SC approached Senator Sumner letting him know that he didn’t like what was said about his state nor his fellow colleague and uncle. Yes Butler was also a relative of this young man.  The young man proceeded to strike Senator Sumner several times over the head with his cane.  Hitting so much and so hard that the can broke.  That young man was Preston Brooks the man who owned my GG grandmother.

This is an amazing story to me because you just never know who you are related to.  Is there proof we are related not yet but we all know that black women were constantly raped and had children by their masters and I believe if he didn’t his father or brother did at least once.  How would they know she is a breeder.  But I am not mad I can’t be.  It is past and instead of being mad you learn about it, you learn from it.  My family has that fighting spirit as Preston Brooks.  My family comes from a long line of successful men and it seems every generation that I have found so far black or white there was a politician.  Preston Brooks is one of the main causes of the Civil War or as southerners called it the War Between the States.  Ironicly because of his stupidity and arrogance something that he almost killed a man over, something that he believed so passionately in (slavery) was eventually ended.  Thank you Mr. Brooks, Cousin Brooks, Uncle Brooks or Grandaddy Brooks whatever you are to me for doing what you did.

{February 21, 2012}   The Journey Continues…

My journey has been long, hard and definitely rewarding. I have learned about illnesses that run in the family, a family member who died during the Vietnam War and spoken with new family members from my Granddaddy side. The most rewarding thing I have learned was the connection between the church in Edgefield and the Church here in DC. To get to the connection I first need to give you a little background.

My grandparents left the Edgefield area in or around 1925. They had six children with the oldest estimated age being 11 and the youngest 2.They lived in Asheville NC and had their seventh child David there. For whatever reason they did not stay in Asheville long so they decided to move to DC. To show how strong and powerful my grandparents were between 1927 and 1939 they had six more children owned two houses and founded Springfield Baptist church along with 5 other people.

Now most of the information I get comes from my mommy but with her being, the youngest there were things told that… well… could be incorrect. I mean let’s face it she was the last-born and we all know as information passes down something is added or taken away. She told me one thing that definitely sparked my interest. She told me that my grandparents named the church they founded in Washington DC after the Church they attended and eventually married in Edgefield SC. I decided to look into this. I tried time after time to reach the church with no answer. I couldn’t even leave a voicemail message. It angered me so much. My mom said, “Baby that is the south so working in the church is not a 9 to 5 job.” I told her “I guess” but it was frustrating. So finally, sometime last year I found an email address and sent the church a message. While waiting for a response I looked at the history of the Edgefield Springfield Missionary Baptist Church. The website talked about the first pastor Ned Starks, and how he brought Springfield Missionary into existence, along with four other associates. The site also spoke about a Rev. W.M. Peterson.

W. M. Peterson was the second and longest officiating pastor of the Edgefield Springfield church. He was the pastor from 1882 to 1947. Getting this information let me know he married my grandparents. Then I read more into the history and I realized the Peterson’s were there from the beginning. It raised a question is it possible one of the four unknown is a member of my family? Peterson is my great grandmother’s maiden name and she was born in 1867.  The church was established in 1870. In addition, one of the first deacons of the church was Josh Peterson. Moreover, momma Lula (that is what they called her) had a brother with that name born 3 years before her.  Is it possible they were all connected?  Edgefield is to small a place for them not to be especially in that day and age. In my ten years of researching, nothing would be more exciting to find that my family was responsible for founding not one but TWO churches! Now because my family is so large it is not hard to meet someone and they be a part of my family especially if they are from the Edgefield area. When I learned there were two sisters and a man that lived in the same building as my mother from Edgefield I knew we had to be kin. The man who I am talking about is Johnnie Peterson.  He is confirmed to be my cousin on both my grandmother side and my grandfather side of the family. He would share great stories with me about the Petersons and their rich history. He said to me the same thing I assumed. One of those four unknown founder’s was a Peterson family member.

Learning this information, I understood. I got it. I got why Springfield in DC was so important to my grandparents. Their roots ran deep on a spiritual level in Edgefield and they continued those roots here in Washington. They instilled the same teachings there parents gave to them. By the time Jeff and Annie established Springfield in DC the children born in Edgefield were grown, out of the house and had their own families.  This left seven in the house to take care of and out of those seven; I am going to say four were the most active in the church. My Uncle Rob and Aunt Margaret were representatives for the church.  They attended seminars and conferences in different states. Uncle Rob was president of every organization established for his age group at Springfield. Aunt Evelyn chaired the Mr. and Mrs. Springfield contest and my mom (Juanita) who was the baby grew up in the church. When they marched in to the church building, she was 8 months old. She sung on the choir and paralleled her brother Rob by being the leader of every organization in her age as well.  She was active until she became an adult and left DC. It is safe for me to say that all of my Aunts and Uncles played some type of roll in the Springfield of DC.

Because of my grandparents, my family was among and surrounded by people who we now look at as the reason why black history month exist. People like Addison Scurlock, Aretha Franklin, renowned gospel singer Edna Gallmon Cooke and Thurgood Marshall to name a few. These people in one way or another played a roll in my family life. Whether it was singing at the church with Aretha and Edna or posing for a picture taken by Addison my family knew them personally.

I am so proud of what I have found so far. I now know that my strength did not come from just my mom but from everyone. Every action made in their life had a reaction in my life. From my Grandfather moving his family to DC to my Uncle Brother being appointed by the president of the United States in 1967 Lyndon B. Johnson to the first DC council. To my Uncle John having an award named after him by the Distinguished Gentleman of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity to still trying to find out what happened to my great grandfather Peter Yeldell. My strength, intelligence and the way I carry myself-runs deep. Oh and by the way, I did get that call from Springfield finally and it has opened a new door with new things to discover. My journey is ongoing with new information for me to find.  So stay tuned and be blessed.

My next honoree is my great great grandmother Martha Brooks Yeldell.  I am going to put her bio up and you will see why she should be honored for Black History month Martha Brooks is the grandmother to Jefferson Davis Yeldell.  She was born in 1834 in Edgefield, S.C.  The first time I found her was in the 1870 census.  She had 6 children Rebecca 18 Robert and David 6, Peter 4, Thomas and George 2….   Everyone’s last name is Brooks.  It doesn’t state whether she is married or not but she is head of household and both she and Rebecca are farm laborers.  It seems that only she and Rebecca are the ones that are taking care of the home.  The next time I see her she is on the 1880 census.  This time Rebecca has been married and widowed and her last name is now Rainey.  David, Robert and Peter’s last name is now Yeldell, Martha has a younger sister named Martha Yeldell living with her and a cousin. I sent an email to the Edgefield County Archives about Martha asking several different questions.  Below is the response:   In 1857, Preston Brooks estate inventory (74/2990) lists Martha, a female slave.  She was valued at $1,205 which was very high for that time.  If this is your Martha she was obviously considered a prime “breeding” woman.  She was sold to Lemuel Brooks that same year.   Prior to this time, in 1852 and obviously younger, (before Preston Brooks owned her) she was the property of Whitfield Brooks – Preston’s father.  The Brooks family in this area had a very good reputation with their slaves.

{February 20, 2012}   Did I say we Were Heroes Too!!!

Today’s Yeldell Honoree cousin Specialist Four David Yeldell B BTRY, 2ND BN, 11TH ARTILLERY, 101ST ABN DIV, USARV recipient of the Purple Heart and other medals Army of the United States.  Well just look at the Vietnam VirtualWall DAMN I LOVE MY FAMILY.

{February 17, 2012}   The Biggest Part of Me

I bet you are wondering why my Aunt Lula is back up here.  I mean I did already do my aunts for black history month.  Well this picture this morning is not about Aunt lula but what she represents.  See the descendants of Annie Mae and Jeff …are well over 450 people.  The bulk of those people are my aunt’s family. One of the main reason’s I decided to honor different people in my family was to provide the opportunity for us as a whole to get to know who we are.  That is why I choose the Robertson Family as my next group of honorees.  Simply put they know each other. They know all two hundred plus of each other.  I find that to be amazing and more inspiring than some of the stuff I have posted this month.  I know what you are saying “I know my family too” but it is easy to know 30 or 40 family members but with this family I am talking 6 generations maybe 7 if my auntie was alive today.  That’s damn near amazing.  I have seen them plan trips and tours together. They are the closest as a group but probably the most separated from the Yeldell family as a whole. So today I charge us as a group to get to know each other like the Robertson’s do.  You guys were the beginning of my family search I started my count with ya’ll and I am not finish yet.  Please know that I love all of you and I am so glad that you are the biggest part of my family

{February 16, 2012}   Edna Pedna is what I call Her

My next honoree is Edna (Edna Pedna is what I call her)  If my count is correct she is the largest part of my family.  she is the only woman I know that has four generation of women in her family.  Edna has 7 children, 28 grandchildren over 15 great grand, and at least 2 great great grands (sure wish I could give an accurate count hint) She took care of her siblings and her children.  They love he…r like I do my mommy so for those that don’t know them you have a clearer picture of how much she is loved.  Edna overcame certain demons in her life and it just made her even more beautiful.  Her strength parallel the women before her.  I love my Edna Pedna.  For some reason I can’t get a picture to upload for her but you see my Edna Pedna in my profile and my cover.  love you Edna.

{February 15, 2012}   The spokes in my Wheel

Ok it is february 15 and I am half way through the month.  I have learned so much about individuals in my family.  Some post have made me cry.  Ok one post did. But in that post I spoke about how she was a spoke in my wheel.  Now I want to …talk about my other spokes. Theo, Lina, Nikki and Demetria. These four ladies are the cousins that I grew up with.  They each know something about me know other cousin knows.  We all have some kind of secret with each other.  These are the cousins that are more than just cousins. Theo Malloy and Camille took me to me to my first ballet Lina was the fighting one and I could always depend on her Dashaun Lanham (Nikki) well we could finish a conversation in our sleep in two separate houses (don’t ask how just know that we did it) and DeMetria Michelle we were always close but it didn’t get to where it is until after Millie left us and I am so glad for it.  So these four women along with Camille complete the spokes in my wheel.  Even though we don’t talk as much I need you to know I love you guys and I am so glad you are more than just my cousins.

et cetera