The Yeldell Family (Through My Eyes)

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{January 10, 2013}   Two Cities, One Church

Does your church have a unique name? What I mean is can you go outside of your state and find the name of your church somewhere else?  More than likely you can.  Did it ever make you wonder if those two churches were connected? I never would have thought like that had I not researched my family.  There are two Springfield Baptist Church in two different states that are connected.  One is located in Edgefield SC and the other in Washington DC. Both happen to play a huge part in my life.  These two churches didn’t even know they were connected until I started to research my family.  Who am I, my name is Donya Williams and my ties to both Springfield’s run deep may be even to both of their beginnings.


Springfield of DC

When I first started my research I already knew my connection with the Springfield of DC.  It was organized in 1939 by my grandparents and three other people. The first church was a store front on 7th street NW in Washington DC.  Although the suggestion of the first pastor came from a friend my grandfather was the one who acquired him, the Late Reverend Eddie Gallmon.  From the beginning granddaddy was the go to man.  His name is on the cornerstone as Chairman of the Deacon Board, I have documents that had to have his signature and from stories I have been told they went to him for everything.  Finally there was my grandmother. I am sure she held her own when it came to the founding of the DC Springfield but the most important part was naming the church after the same church she attended as a child. You guessed it The Springfield of Edgefield. My grandparents involvement was so instrumental that one person said the Yeldell’s were the glue that held the church together. In Edgefield SC the history of Springfield was not that different.  With the exception of how long both have been around their story is very close to identical.

The Springfield of Edgefield was organized in 1870.  The history tells us that the first pastor and four other men brought it to light in a blacksmith shop on the Major Bowles Property.  Natonne Kemp a friend, family member by marriage and fellow genealogist was able to dig up the deed and get the name of the men.  Joshua Peterson, who we are not sure if he is both of our relative, Andrew Harrison, Pickens Rearden, Miles Holloway and Nelson Shepard were all involved with the organization and founding of that church.  With the exception of Pickens Rearden I know that Harrison, Holloway and Shepard are all connected to my family.  Like my grandfather in DC they were deacons of the church in Edgefield.  Both churches are still in existence.  The Springfield of DC just celebrated 73 years while Springfield of Edgefield has been around for 142 years.

I met my cousin from Edgefield in September 2012 and he sent my mom two pictures. One picture was of the original Springfield that was built in 1870.  The other was of what the Springfield of Edgefield looks like today.


1870 Springfield of Edgefield

When I viewed the older picture several thoughts popped through my head.  For example, the Springfield of Edgefield history teaches us that the second Pastor W.M Peterson was and still is their longest-serving pastor.  He served for 65 years.  Knowing this information and looking at that picture the doors are the same doors my grandparents walked through.  They met there, fell in love there, got married there.  They started their first six children spiritual walk there.  I realized my great-grandmother was three years old when this church was brought into existence.  She grew up there and probably met my great-grandfather there and definitely married there possibly by the same pastor who married her daughter.  That picture captured my mind and my heart.  I am so glad to be doing what I am doing to learn about my family and the spiritual connection that spans within two cities.  Nothing is more exciting to find my family responsible for founding not one but TWO churches!



{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