The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)











{April 23, 2012}   Hey!!! What About Us?

I seem to have become a tiny bit obsessed with my great great grandmother Martha that I have forgotten about my maternal grandmother side of the family.  Mama Lula and her family have shouted at me this weekend.  First by contacting me thru a new found relative about her father Enoch’s brother Joshua.  Then by the same relative contacting me about her daughter Aunt Essie.  They want recognition.  They have a voice and dog gone it will  be heard!!! Ok Ok Mama Lula attention is now being paid to you.  So here we are.

Lula Peterson Senior a.k.a Mama Lula was born in 1867 in the Blocker Township of Edgefield County SC.  I saw Mama Lula on the 1870 census and she was described as a mulatto.  You must remember mulatto is mixed with something not necessarily white.  Looking at the only picture that we have of her I think it was Indian.  However, after that census was taken other census records marked her as black/negro/colored.  She married Johnie Senior and they had at least 10 children.   I say at least because there are two I am not sure about and one that died when he was 12 years old.  Our aunts and uncles may not have even known about him.  In 1940 they lived on a farm off of highway 25.  Mama Lula and Papa Johnie were 68 and 63 years old (Papa Johnie being the oldest) and they had four grandchildren living with them.  They were James – 14 (believed to be Aunt Jennie’s son) Letha – 14 (Aunt Essie’s daughter) Jimmie – 12 (Aunt Essie’s son) and Eddie – 10 (Aunt Essie’s adopted son).  I only say adopted because this is what was said in the census.  My personal belief if you are legally adopted you are family the word adoption goes away.  Anyway Mama Lula didn’t live far from her daughter Essie.  At this point and time Essie was married to Willie “Buster” Ryans and they had four children together.  They were Willie Jr. – 8, Annie Lou – 6, Thomas – 4 and Jennie B – who was 6 months.  My mother said Jennie B was very sickly and did not live long but she was the only one my mother played with when they went to visit the farm.  She may have made it to the double digits. 

When I told mommy about what I had found.  It seemed to be unfair they had four teenagers living with them when at least one of their mother’s lived up the road.  Mommy said Papa Johnie wanted it that way.  I say mommy was to young to really know.  Papa Johnie died 4 years after this census was taken in 1944 suddenly he had a cerebral hemorrhage.  I am also thinking there was another relative in the area by the name of Ras Peterson.  Ras Peterson was the son to Mama Lula’s brother Enoch Jr.  He stayed between Aunt Essie and Mama Lula.  Ras definitely kept the family tradition of having a good number of children by having 6.  They are Annie – 14, Mattie – 13, Thomas – 10, Geneivieve – 9, Bernice – 8 and Robert Lee – 6.

The good thing about living on a farm is your family could be right next door without being right next door. All three families stayed like two doors away from each other.  It makes you wonder though.  My mom knew Essie’s children (both the one’s that stayed with Mama Lula and the ones that did not) but I never heard her mention Mama Lula’s nephew’s children.  Were they estranged?  Did they even know each other existed?  I was told by a possible relative that Mama Lula’s parents had enough children that it was possible for the younger ones to not know the older ones if they left early.  More that I need to look into.  Ok well that’s all for now Until Next Time…



{April 21, 2012}   A Good Research Day

Well in all instances it was a good research week considering my mommy being hospitalized I received a lot of information yesterday on the Yeldell/Brooks family from the feelers I put out at the beginning of the week.  I started out with an email to the Edgefield Archives and learned that Martha Brooks was a child when or while with Whitfield.  They are sending me his and his son Preston’s real estate files as well as their will’s.  That was told to me on Wednesday so I should be getting that info soon.  I also sent out emails to two possible relatives of the Brooks and heard from both of them yesterday. Sharron Brittain and Laura Henderson are both descendants of the Brooks.  Because of sharron I have learned the name of Lemuel’s father and how he is or was related to Preston Brooks.  Laura on the other hand will be able to put me in contact with those that knows more about the slavery side of the Brooks.  Both women seems like two great assets to my search.

Brooks/Yeldell that seems so strange to me.  I said that in my first paragraph.  I have never thought of my family with a different name other than the names my aunts and mother took on when they married.  I have learned the subject is touchy to some that I have spoken to when I say we might not be “Yeldell’s.  In my research I have spoken with several different Yeldell’s (white and black) and we have some of the same similarities.  We are all very proud, religious, strong willed sometimes arrogant and even cocky type of people.  All of the men white or black are original woman magnets.  But then I learned about the Brooks and saw us yet again. But this time I saw the military side, the political side even the temperment. I am just not sure.  I mean with learning that Martha was with the Brooks as a child and also still not finding out how or when the white Yeldell’s and the white Brooks coincide with each other, it all keeps leaning toward us not being Yeldell’s.

I need to find out more than ever what Martha’s husband’s name was.  She (personally) was a Brooks in the 1870s and a Brooks in the 1880s. I mean her daughter kept her husband’s name after he died. Why didn’t Martha.  I am holding on to the belief that we are related to the Yeldell’s but not through my great grandfather Peter but through his little sister Martha Yeldell.  Then again because she was a breeder anybody could be their daddy.  I have to find out more about breeding.  I mean was it with one man or a different man each time?  How many children did most women who were breeders have?  Martha wants me to find her and her story I just wish she would give me more.  Maybe she has with my new contacts.  Until Next Time….




Roselands Plantations

A professional geneaologist that I have had the chance to be in contact with via email said this in his blog “As long as you are remembered, you never die.”   This statement came from an African proverb.  It means in short “remember me”.  My family wants to be remembered for so many reasons.  The most important reason is to remind the current Yeldells of who we are and of where we came from.

For those that follow my blog I have really been trying to find out more about my Great Great Grandmother and her children.  The South Carolina Archives gave me information that Martha was a breeder, she was originally owned by Whitfield Brooks, who then passed down to his son Preston Brooks.  We also learned who Preston really was and that he died in January 1857.  Maybe a month before his death he sold my great great grandmother Martha to Lemuel Brooks.  I then learned from a fellow Geneaologist (I guess I can call myself one) that Martha was sold on December 21, 1856 along with two children.  Their name Scylla (probably short for Priscilla) and Dave.  We are not given ages or if they are her children but I am guessing they are.

To some this maybe a lot but to me it just opens up more questions.  Things like: What happened to Priscilla and Dave? Were they her children? How many more children did Martha have?  When exactly did Martha die? and the most important question Why did she give her remaining children the last name Yeldell?  Well I have not answered those questions and to be honest I may never do so.  But I can say this.  Like most geneaologist I feel doing this research is a calling.  It is as if your ancestors are begging you to tell their story.  Well my ancestors are no different.

Martha knows that I am looking for her and today I was hit with the biggest revelation.  I have read the name Roseland so many times on a list of plantations that is online about Sout Carolina.  But it wasn’t until just now when on Ancestry.com that I connected the name with another members photo.  The picture above is the plantation that my great great grandmother lived. Yes the Roseland Plantation, located in the Edgefield District of Greenwood County, was where Martha worked.  Whether it was cook or clean or work in the fields it was done right here until 1856.  Knowing this information I am now looking more into Whitfield and his wife instead of Preston and Lemuel (a possible relative).  I know that Whitfield’s wife had a church built, the Episcopal Church in Edgefield, inside this church are three tablets in memory of them.  I think if I can find more info about them I can find more about Martha.  Until Next Time…



{April 5, 2012}   Pictures are IMPORTANT!

As you would guess I watch the TV show Who Do You Think You Are every friday. I watch it mainly to learn how to research my own family.  Yes it is great to hear about others and their find but my family is very interesting and in some cases more than others.  One of the main things that I have learned in watching the show are how important pictures are.  I find it amazing how they find so many pictures during the search for our white sisters and brothers but for the black families you are lucky if you find one.  That is because pictures either weren’t taken or my family really was on the run.  I am glad that my grandparents took the pictures they did of themselves and their children.  Maybe it is because there are no pictures of their parents (with the exception of Mama Lula).

But seriously I write this to say please document your life and your families life through photos/videos.  Having a visual to remind you of that special moment just cements the memory in your head.




April 2, 2012 meant some thing to someone in this world just like any day.  It was someone’s birthday or Anniversary, maybe even a day someone lost an important person.  But to all geneaologist amateur or professional that day was very important.  It was the day the 1940 Census came available for the public to view. We were now able to see new people or in my case see the mommy as a baby.

Before the 1940 Census the last person who was born in my family was my Uncle Rob in 1929.  He had just made the cut to be on the 1930 census.  In 1930 my grandparents and their 5 boys and 3 girls lived at 822 1st Street, NW in Washington, DC.  Including my grandmother’s sister and husband there were a total of 12 people living in the same house.  4 adults, two teenagers and the rest children ages ranging from 12yrs old  to 1 yrs old.  the 1930 census let’s us know how long Jeff and Annie were married by giving us the age of their first marriage.  It also tells us where each child was born.  This is a big deal because my Aunt Jeannell (affectionately called Mama Nell) said she was born in North Carolina but she wasn’t, instead as you all know from reading other post she was the last of the first six children born in Edgefield. It tells us whether my grandfather owned or rented the house they lived in.  He was renting and he paid a whopping $40 a month for rent.  With that many people in one house it had to be at the least a six bedroom for $40 a month.  We also learn that grand daddy was a truck driver, grand mother was a housekeeper. Uncle Tommy was an Asst. Janitor at church and Uncle John was a paperboy. Yes, the 1930 census does its job of taking a snapshot  of a person’s or families life.

The 1940 Census is different.  It tells the address but it also gives the address of where they lived 5 years earlier but doesn’t ask anything about how long or when a couple were married.  Below is our family. I have a copy of the original and then a blown up version. 

As you can see in a ten year period the household grew from 12 to 18 people.  That is alot.  The people that were in the house: 

Jeff and Annie(46) & (42), Uncle Tommy (25), Edward(22) (Uncle Buddy) , Aunt Jeanell(16) (Mama Nell), Davis (13) (Uncle Dave), Robert Lee (10) (Uncle Rob), Aunt Margaret (8), Joseph (7) (Uncle Brother), Aunt Evelyn (6), Aunt Josephine (3), Aunt Juanita (1) (my mommy), James Robertson (22) (Aunt Lula’s Husband), Aunt Lula (18), James (1) (Monk), Edna (2 months old) Clarence (3) and Naomi (2)

Can I just say thank you GOD for placing me in the time and decade you did because I don’t think I could have lived with all of those people in one house.  So with that many people there is a new address so here’s the 4-1-1:

In 1940 they lived at 718 13th Street NE he did not own this place either so it was a rental and he paid $43 a month. With the amount of people how many bed rooms definitely went up so of course the rent went up.  There is an “X” by grandma’s name that is because she is the one who gave this information. They were living at this same address 5 years earlier in 1935. As for jobs granddaddy and Uncle Buddy were unskilled Laborers.  Granddaddy a brick layer Uncle Buddy’s job is hard for me to read.  Uncle Tommy was a census taker LOL.  Uncle John was not living at home as well as Aunt Sis.  So now I get to look them up later.

So that is my family.  Through the years we continued to grow.   Before the 1940 left they added two more grandchildren making the grand total six.  Before the new decade came along their children gave them 15 more grands making the grand total of 13 children and 21 grandchildren by 1950.  Until Next Time….



{April 3, 2012}   Help!

This journey started out to see how large my family is.  To do that I needed to find out more about the original Yeldell my grandfather Jefferson.  During my research I have switched some but my goals are pretty much the same.  For example, I still want to know how big we are but in doing that I now have to try and connect all of these Yeldell’s that I didn’t know existed.  With that being said I need all of the new Yeldell’s and names associated with Yeldell’s help.  I am just going to say everything that I know so far and if you have ANY CLUE or ANY INFORMATION please contact me.  Here we go:

Martha Brooks:

She is my first problem.  I was given information and I confirmed that there were two more children that may be hers.  Dave and Priscilla.  They were sold with her in 1857 to Lemuel Brooks.  It is highly possible they were sold to him as a family.  I don’t see them in the census because by the time the slaves are freed they were old enough to live on their own.  It is also possible they died and there is no record of it.  This puts the number of biological children by Martha to 9.  Now this is not unexpected.  In fact it seems more reasonable since Martha was considered a breeder. For those that don’t know what breeder means Slave breeding was the mating of black men and women in order to produce children who can be sold on the slave market.  Slave owners considered it no different from breeding dogs, horses, cows or any other animals so they will give birth to young which can be marketed.  This could be why the name changed from Brooks to Yeldell.  Given the fact that she belonged to the Brooks family and if we judge them by his methods of how he treated people on what he did to Charles Sumner on the Senate floor, I would have changed my name too. I also must mention that during that time former slaves were allowed to change there last names to something different than there former masters.  I also don’t know who her husband was.  Not knowing the husband name could also be why the name change.  What I do know is that she never changed hers just her children. Another issue is that she probably had a child at 40 and named her Martha after herself.  Young Martha was had in the mid to late 1870s so she was six when I first saw her in the 1880 Census.   The 1890 Census was burned so I wouldn’t see her again until the 1900 Census but by that time she has probably married and that’s right you guessed it her name is no longer Yeldell.  I think it is safe to say that Martha had 6 boys and 3 girls.  There names from oldest to youngest: Dave, Priscilla, Rebecca, David and Robert (twins) Peter (our great grandfather), Thomas and George (twins) and Martha. Final issue on this end; you know the saying “never the paths shall cross” or something like that well the Census shows they all lived around each other (all meaning my great and great, great grandparents) but the Yeldell families (the white or black) did not seem to cross paths with them.

Next: Peter Yeldell

This is my great granddaddy and Jefferson Yeldell’s father.  After the 1910 Census he disappears which seems to be the norm for this family. I am assuming he died between then and 1915.  I say that because South Carolina started to record deaths and give death certificates as of 1915. Now sure they may not have done it for all blacks but they did for some and as the years went on it got better.  But with him I have a feeling there is something more.  Maybe in some kind of paper about him. I just have no clue on how to go about finding it.

Then there is Mrs. J Holloway-Adams.  This is my great great grandmother and Katie’s (Jefferson’s mom) mother.  I say “J” because I don’t know her first name not only is it illegible (sp) on the census record when you look at a different one it is a different name.  So I have no clue about her except that she is my great great grandmother. I know that she shows up beside katie’s dad on each census but her name is different. It is possible that it is not the same woman but then I don’t have a death certificate and if I did I wouldn’t know who it was.  I mean I am still searching I may luck up as Ezra (katie’s father) being the informant on the certificate but that is a long shot.

In my research I have learned several different surnames and with that being said I believe everybody in Edgefield is related. You can mention Ryan, Kemp, Senior and Peterson and you betta bet some how they are related.  Well the thing about the Peterson and Senior side is I think they are Indian.  I mean I can find out about my grandmother’s side a little easier (pinching my fingers real close together) but after finding my great, great grandparents name only they disappear.  We complain about black folk history and trying to trace our roots but try your hand at Native American.

In a nutshell the names I am researching

Ezra Adams – father to Katie Yeldell (my grand daddy’s mother)
J Holloway – mother to Katie Yeldell (my grand daddy’s mother)
Martha Brooks – mother to Peter Yeldell (my grand daddy’s father)
Enoch Peterson – father to Lula Peterson (my grandmother’s mother)
Anne Sheppard – mother to Lula Peterson (my grandmother’s mother)
Johnnie Senior (possible Native American) – father to Johnnie Senior (my grandmother’s father)
Jane Williams (possible Native American) – mother to Johnnie Senior (my grandmother’s father)

So, there is my dilemma the quick version. If you are associated with the names or if you recognize anything please send me a message and I will get back to you immediately.  Until Next Time…



et cetera