Monday, January 23, 2012

Zara Cully Brown: Sugar Hill- Mama Maitresse

Zara Cully Brown, Marki Bey & Don Pedro Colley
      A few months ago I watched the movie Sugar Hill with my Great Aunt, Zara Cully Brown playing the part of Mama Maitresse.  I was about six years old when she did this film in 1974.  I was interested in the film because I thought it was about Sugar Hill in New York, as my mother was born and raised on Sugar Hill.  I almost thought it ironic Zara would be playing in a film on the Hill.  
     I soon discovered that the movie was about a woman named Diane 'Sugar' Hill, who wanted revenge on her enemies who brutally murdered her boyfriend after refusing to be shaken down by a gangster racketeer.
     Zara was my mother's Aunt, who was her mother's (Agnes) sister.  I wish I could include a note that my Aunt Zara sent to  my mother of how she was not going to accept this job because she would have to hold a snake in the movie and she was scared of snakes.  The note is at the Malcolm X Library with my family display, so once I get this, I will post.
     I am including a clip below of Zara in action. (Please be patient with the short commercial)

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday: On Lake Chauncy, Westborough Mass

     I inherited a scrapbook of my Great Uncle Osborne Ambrose Cully (A Treasure).  He was the son of Ambrose E. Cully and Nora Ann Gilliam.  Osborne was the sixth child born into the family (documented) on March 29, 1899 and passed away approximately after 1936.

     The photo's below are of Osborne's sisters Hannah S. & Agnes Mae and their close family friend Alan T. Busby.  Hannah was my Great Aunt and Agnes was my Grandmother.  When I received this scrapbook, I did some research on Alan T. Busby.  He was the first African American to graduate from the University of Connecticut, previously called Connecticut Agricultural College (in 1918).  In 2003, the University of Connecticut named student suites after him, "Alan Thacker Busby Suites."  I have more information on Alan Busby's family and their advocacy in Worcester, Mass., which is quite impressive.  To see what the University wrote about him click Here.

     The photo's below are of Alan, Agnes, Hannah and Osborne on the water of Lake Chauncy in Westborough, Mass which is open during the summer months.  These photos were taken between 1918-1919.

Alan T. Busby, Agnes (behind Alan), Hannah and Osborne
(l. to Right)

Canoeing on the Lake

Lake Chauncy, Westbourogh, Mass

I found this very cool video of RC Cooper fishing on Lake Chauncy.  Enjoy the scenery of the lake.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Talented Tuesday, Wendell Phillip Culley on Trumpet

Wendell Phillip Culley
Photo by Ernest Zonicek
via Otto Flueckiger Collection
Photo Possibly taken in Geneva, Switzerland, 1956
          I woke up a few days ago, very early in the morning; picked up my smartphone to look at my inbox and was pleasantly surprised by an email from Amin Buettner, who is a Jazz enthusiast and the curator of a Jazz Archive where he posts at Crownpropeller's Blog. He stated, "Go to my website. There is a little treat for you." There was a video of Count Basie featuring my Grand Uncle, Wendell Culley playing "Lil Darlin' on trumpet. I was ecstatic to say the least.  This was the first time I had ever, and I mean ever, seen him perform.

         'Lil Darlin' will be the second tune played. Both are worth listening to.

     Wendell is the tenth child (documented) born to Ambrose E Cully and Nora Ann Gilliam.  Wendell was born January 8, 1906 in Worcester, MA and died in Los Angeles on May 8, 1983.  He is the brother to the well known television actress of the "Jefferson's" playing the part of George Jefferson's mother.

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Monday, January 16, 2012

Amanuensis & Mappy Monday: Hope Cemetery Map And My Ancestors Buried There: Part #1

     I prepared a year before taking my trip to Worcester, MA, as I went for the specific purpose of researching and walking in the spirit of my ancestors.  I was pleased with my results even though my research in the cemetery is not complete.  

     The first thing I did was to print out this really cool map of Hope Cemetery and get the address.  On the Hope Cemetery website, I made inquiries to the Friends of  Hope Cemetery as to specific family members that were possibly buried there.  They do an initial search without a fee.

The Hope Cemetery Map helped me locate the gravesites
of my Ancestors once I arrived on the premises.
119 Webster Street, Worcester, MA
(508) 799-1531
      It was a very cold and rainy day when my daughter and I went to the Hope Cemetery the first day.  We drove around looking for the basic area of where my ancestors were buried.  We were able to find My Great Grandmother Nora Ann (Gilliam) Cully and her son William E. Cully as their tombstone inscriptions were both written behind the other.  We were unable to locate Nora's husbands headstone Ambrose E. Cully.  At this point, I figured it might have sunk.  A few feet away, I located Jane B Collins headstone with her husbands name inscribed on the back.  I took some photos but most were accidently lost.

Ancestors Headstones
The first two in the front and across from each other.
  On the second day to the cemetery, I went to the cemetery office and inquired about family burial records.  I gave the names of Hannah Gilliam, Jane B. Collins, Ambrose E. Cully, Nora A. Cully and two  male stillborn babies that my Great Grandmother Nora had given birth to.

     Below are the documents that were given to me.  There were other names on the record cards that I had not researched before the trip. 

Section 6767-76
Owner of the Plot: Ambrose E. Cully
Area 108, Paid Nov. 11, 1911 $35
William E. Cully was buried on Sep. 17, 1912 in grave (R F 3).  Nora Ann Cully was buried on Nov. 11, 1911 in grave (R F 2).  Ambrose E. Cully (according to this record was 53.  Not the correct age was buried on May 11, 1925 in Grave (R F 1).

Bottom writing of top card
If you can help with what it says, let me know.
     I tried to interpret what the wording says above.  What I have: F? of L?  B? W? from east side Marker & number on south side

Section 5817-76
Owner: Gilliam, Hannah D. wid Daniel
Perpetual Care: $50
Date May 8, 1905, Price $25

Hannah Gilliam (75) was buried on Feb. 25, 1914, in grave (R F 2).  Sarah A. Moore (60) was buried on Nov. 3, 1909  in grave (R F 1).  Jane Foreman (29) (daughter of Hannah Gilliam) was buried on April 26, 1905 in grave (L F 2)

The last names of the two stillborn infants (Scully) were mis-spelled, should be Cully.  Their grave was a mass grave for babies at the time and it was the generous contribution of a donor that paid for the burials. (Info given by the Hope Cemetery office clerk).
Section  5395-74 P.C. $50 Area 31 1/2
Owner $6  #6909  Paid July 9, 1902
The father of the stillborns were Ambrose E. Cully.  On May 25, 1910 Infant Cully was buried and on July 8, 1902 Infant Cully was buried.  The mother was Nora Ann Cully.  I did not get the opportunity to see the gravesite as I got this information on my second visit, which was a Sunday and did not have time to locate it.

Section 6772-76  Area 117
Owner: Collins, Jane B. widow of Jos. A
Paid $30 on Dec 12, 1911.
Representative: Osborne A. Cully, 504 Wilson Street, Clinton, Mass 1936
Joseph A. Collins (80) was buried on Nov 27 1911 in grave (R F 1). Jane B. Collins (85) was buried on Sep. 14, 1925 in grave (R F 2).  Nora, Cully* (24) was buried on April 1, 1936 in Grave (L F 2).

Note: Reserve L F 1 for Floyd O Cully on order of Osborne Cully.  Notify him of any other burial.

This last card answered some questions for me.  I did not have a death record for Osborne Cully but knew he died young.  I know for sure that he died after April 1936 since his sister Nora Cully died on April 1, 1936.  *Nora Cully was named after her mother Nora as her mother died after giving birth to Nora Jr.  Another interesting fact in this last card is that Floyd O. Cully is not buried at Hope Cemetery in Worcester but a cemetery in Lynn, MA, as he died in later years, and much after his Uncle Osborne Cully.  Floyd O. Cully was Nora A. Cully Jr.'s son.

My relations to each of these ancestors below:

Buried @ Hope Cemetery

Ambrose E. Cully: Great Grandfather
Nora A. Cully: Great Grandmother
William E. Cully: Grand Uncle
Joseph A. Collins: 2nd Great Grand Uncle
Jane B. Collins: 2nd Great Grand Aunt
Nora Cully, Jr.: Grand Aunt
Hannah  D. Gilliam: 2nd Great Grandmother
Sarah A. Moore: No relation documented
Jane B. Foreman: Great Grand Aunt
Cully, Infant #1: Grand Uncle
Cully, Infant #2: Grand Uncle

Mentioned on Burial Cards:

Osborne A. Cully: Grand Uncle
Floyd O. Cully: 1st Cousin 1x Removed
Daniel Gilliam: 2nd Great Grandfather

Hannah D. Gilliam and Jane B. Collins are sisters.
Hannah's children are: Nora A. Cully, Sr. and Jane B. Foreman

I will be researching the relationship of Sarah A. Moore.  

The material, both written and photographic on these pages is the copyright of Yvette Porter Moore unless stated. Material on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Yvette Porter Moore
© 2010-2011

Older African American Neighborhood in Worcester, Massachusetts: Mappy Monday

     Researching the neighborhood my Cully, Gilliam, and Collins families resided, I came across a website "Homes and Housing Patterns of People of Color in Worcester 1888,"  with research by Kathryn Mahoney and Jacqui McEttrick who presented the neighborhood map of the Older African American Community during that time.  The two street names that popped out at me were John and Bowdoin Streets.  During a research trip to Worcester, MA public library in January 2011, I went through every city directory (1879-1932) of Worcester and documented that my family had resided in homes on John and Bowdoin Street.

     On this map there is a listing of head of households, their occupation and their address.  My Great Great Grandmother Hannah Gilliam is listed as (Hannah Gillum) as a laundress and residing at 66 John Street.

     I love it when I find information on the World Wide Web that helps to confirm and document information that I have discovered.  This information is also very important to me as I also want to know more about Hannah's neighbors.

© Yvette Porter Moore-All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 13, 2012

Worcester, Postcard History Series

     I love looking at old postcards of the cities and towns where my family resided.  I purchased this really cool book on Worcester that published old postcards of the town in Massachusetts.  I am  posting a few of the postcards of the places that I know my family were present on a regular basis.  The book's authors and contributors are Frank J. Morrill, William O. Hultgren, and Eric J. Salomonsson.

Front Cover of book

Postcards Below:

Worcester Boys Trade School
My Great Uncle Osborne Ambrose Cully attended Worcester Boys Trade School in Massachusetts.  He graduated in 1917 at the top of his class learning the trade of electrician.  Osborne was born in 1889 and died in the early 1930's.

High School of Commerce: At one time it was Classical High School, which
was located on Walnut street.  It had been designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson.
The School was dedicated on December 30, 1871.

My Great Uncle Wendell Phillip Culley attended and graduated from High School of Commerce in 1925.  He was the band leader at his school, and played the coronet and trumpet.

Worcester Country Club
I am not very familiar with Worcester Country Club, but I had found in earlier research a listing of members to this club.  I am not positive if they allowed Black members, but my Great Grandfather Ambrose E. Cully was so fair that he passed for white.  At the time of his membership, he had been widowed and his children were grown.  He would be mistaken as a White man, so I gather in 1920, they thought of him as such.