visit_church_hill

Church Hill Oral History Project: Edna Mitchell Loundes

June 17, 2014 6:55 am by

The Church Hill Oral History Project was until recently hosted on the VCU Library website. A redesign made the material unavailable. Ray Bonis (Archives Coordinator of Special Collections and Archives at the James Branch Cabell Library) was able to help me out in getting the transcript for Edna Mitchell Loundes as bit of a companion piece to this morning’s post about Sara Perkins Tuttle’s Church Hill Project.

— ∮∮∮ —

Church Hill – Loundes

Virginia Black History Archives

Church Hill Oral History Project

Transcript of Interview with Mrs. Edna Mitchell Loundes, September 9, 1982.

This is a taped interview with Mrs. Edna Mitchell Loundes. Mrs. Loundes has agreed to share her remembrances of life in the Church Hill area with us. Mrs. Loundes lived for many years on Pink Street between Venable and Carrington Street. She recalls her grandmother talking about the Howards (on tape but should be Harwood) who owned property along Venable Street, and believes that one of her grandparents may have been a slave on the plantation of this Howard family. This interview is being conducted by Akida T. Mensah in the home of Mrs. Loundes, 615 North 25th Street. The interview is being conducted September 9, 1982.


I = Interviewer

N = Narrator

I – Mrs. Loundes, when were you born?

N – December 16, 1892.

I – December 16, 1892. And where were you born?

N – Washington, D.C., in northeast Wyley Street.

I – When did you come to Richmond? How old were you?

N – 13 months.

I – You were 13 months old when you came to Richmond. And where did your parents live?

N – 980, no it was 1130 Pink Street. Corner of Pink and Carrington.

I – So this would have been around 1894 or there about.

N – Yes.

I – And they moved on Pink Street?

N – No. Yes he owned that house, he had been, I think, he had had that house ever since Annie was a baby. Annie has two sisters between Annie and I. But he was working in the Printing Office in Washington.

I – Was this a government job?

N – Yes.

I – Well he was a …

N – Veteran, Civil War Veteran.

I – Your father was?

N – Yes

I – And what was his name?

N – Edward Mitchell.

I – Edward Mitchell. And your mother’s name?

N – Elizabeth Mitchell.

I – Elizabeth Mitchell. And what did your mother do?

N – Nothing but keep house and…

I – So she was a housekeeper?

N – Yes.

I – How many children are there?

N – Seven. Seven that lived.

I – So you grew up on Pink Street?

N – Yes.

I – How long did you live on Pink Street?

N – All of my life until I think it was 1912, I think it was 1912, no it was later than that. No it wasn’t any later than that. And my brother carried me to Norfolk to stay a little while with him and his wife and his children.

N – So you 1912, you would have been about 16 or 17?

N – Let’s see, 92, and 102 is 10 years old and 112 would be 20, wouldn’t it? No, 1892 and 10 years would be 102 wouldn’t it? and 10 more would be, would be, would be …

I – Well you said you came to Richmond about 1893 or 94, and so that is 6 years and 12 years, that would have been about 18. So you went to school in Richmond?

N – Yes. Went to an old brick two room school that sat up on the corner Cedar Street. And right down the hill from that was Mosby, but that was on the corner of Cedar and I reckon you should say Mosby, I don’t know, but Mosby ran, you know how that little hill that went up there.

I – So you, what was the name of the school?

N – I don’t know. It did not have any name, we just called it school, that’s all. I don’t think it had a name.

I – But it was located on Cedar Street?

N – Yes on the corner of Cedar, but right down the hill would be Mosby Street. Do you remember? No you wouldn’t remember.

I – Well do you remember some of the teachers or the Principal?

N – Yes. A Reverend Paynes’ wife. She was a Mrs. Evans then. She taught one there. And Miss Susie Dabney who married Mr. Scott; she taught there when they moved us from that school to 29th and S, or 29th, no 28th, I think it was 28th, 29th, 30th. Do you remember a four room brick school was over there which had been a county school for white children, but they gave it to us?

I – This would be 29th Street in the 1400 block?

N – Is that it?

I – Or East End School, I think it was called.

N – Oh that old school was called East End?

I – I believe it was.

N – It wasn’t at that time, I don’t think, but I don’t know, we didn’t have no name for it.

I – But it was a part of George Mason?

N – Yes.

I – …

N – Later on it was a part of George Mason.

I – So you. Could the school that you first went to have been Buchanan?

N – Oh no. Twas this little old school there on Cedar and Mosby, about a little two room school. It didn’t have, it miaht have had a name but I can’t remember no name.

I – How far did you go in that two room school?

N – Oh, I don’t know when they went over there. Then it was Mrs. Susie Dabney and Mr. Epps.

I – So this would have been …

N – No, Mrs. Susie Dabney, wait a minute, let me get it straight, Mr. Stewart I think. You know the Stewarts where use to live on P Street? I think he was over there. Him and Mrs. Susie Dabney was in that school as teachers.

I – You were about six when you went to school? Started to school?

N – No. I think six or seven, I don’t know.

I – OK. So it would have been around …

N – When I left there, the school, when I went to Norfolk I guess I was about seventeen, sixteen or seventeen. And I stayed in Norfolk then for years until twenty eight. I got married in Norfolk.

I – I was trying to pinpoint the date of that school and maybe we can find out what kind of name, if it had a name, yes. Probably around 1898, ’99 that you probably went to school. And then you went to the school on 29th Street?

N – That was the four room school.

I – And did you walk to school?

N – Yes. You did not have any way to get there. Now my sisters never went to those schools. My sisters went to Woodsville School from the time they started until they stopped. Elizabeth went to the Valley School on…

I – The Valley School was located down under the viaduct?

N – Yes. And she graduated from there, and then she went to a school, a high school that was up there on 12th Street or 10th Street, where it was the Normal school.

I – I am not sure. I think it was 12th Street, but I’m not sure …

N – And she taught school until she got married.

I – What do you remember about growing up on Pink Street? What was it like?

N – Oh it was lovely. I didn’t know no other street. Everybody there practically owned their own homes. My Daddy had a little store and he put up between his brick house and the house next to it, which was bought by Mr. Davis. Do you know Mr. Jake Davis?

I – Jake Davis? No I don’t think I know him.

N – Well he owned a whole lot of property and he had hogs out on Woodville. We use to could have hogs on Pink Street, but it wasn’t but one block from the City. They stop us from having hogs or anything like that, but it wasn’t incorporated. We couldn’t go to the City school unless you paid.

I – So you were in the County?

N – I was in the County.

I – And this was just across Venable Street?

N – Yes.

I – And I think that area came into the City around 1906.

N – No.

I – It wasn’t 1906?

N – No. Because it wasn’t City, it just… Was it City when I went there to 29th Street School?

I – I would think it was.

N – No, I don’t think so.

I – Well if you …

N – They still had them County teachers.

I – They had County teachers?

N – Yes.

I – Well then it depends on when you went to the 29th Street School.

N – I went to the 29th Street School in 19 what, what. When I went to 29th Street School, my Daddy was dead. He died in 1906. He died in 1906. OK. Well I could be wrong but I am thinking that the area north of Venable Street and Q Street which was called the 1867 corporation line, was Fairmount and Fulton Hill would annex into the City in 1906. So I’m thinking that area was included.

N – No it wasn’t though. Because 1906 was before I went to any school wasn’t it? No. 1906 I was about 12 years old. Wasn’t I in 1906?

I – Well in 1906 you should have been about 14.

N – Well it wasn’t annexed then to my knowledge but you got the records there and I am just trying to put my …

I – I think it was 1906 because my family bought a house on 24th Street, 24th and S. Or 24th and Fairmount, in 1906, and that’s when …

N – Do you mean Polly?

I – Yes. Pollard and your Daddy then.

N – He wasn’t named Ben was he? Because we called him Ben.

I – Isaiah.

N – Everybody called him Ben, Ben Howard.

I – Right.

N – A big fellow.

I – Right. So you grew up, you’re saying in that area was rural when you were growing up. It was in the country?

N – Yes. It was in the country when I was growing up.

I – What kinds of things did you do? You, earlier you …

N – I use to mind white folks children and my mother use to do laundry work. You know everybody did laundry work then, for 50cts a basket and you would have everything in there, you’d get a few cents a basket though. And I use to carry clothes or go to the store, just things like that. And it was Windale Park. You know Windale Park where the colored people had, right down here in Fairoaks.

I – Windale?

N – Yes, Windale Park. We use to go down there get 25 cents for a half a days work and your car fare was a nickel. Go down Windale Park and dance all evening for 15cts.

I – And this was in Fairoaks?

N – Yes.

I – How did you, you got on the streetcar?

N – Got on Seven Pines.

I – And went down …

N – You know where Fairoaks is, 29th Street ran into and come on right on down to Fairoaks and then you’d get Seven Pines. 29th Street car that went to Seven Pines well then before you get to Seven Pines, all that settlement around where your people and all them folks was, that was called Fairoaks, that won’t Seven Pines.

I – Down where the church is?

N – Yes.

I – You mentioned keeping whitefolks children. Can you remember some of the families?

N – Let’s see now, the Lukhards, they had two stores there, and Mr. Lukhard’s sister, now what was her name? I can’t think of it. I can’t think of it now. Her name goes from me. And up on the corner was two stores. One of them was Glicks. He was a Jew and the other one was, now what was that womanis name? She was gentile and they stayed there, Glicks …

I – Oh what corner?

N – On, Glicks was on the corner that I was on. The let’s see now, I’d be going down Pink Street, left hand corner, the right hand was Mrs. who? Oh Lord, I can’t think of her name to save my life, but it will come to me I guess. And t-ben cross in the front of him was another store.

I – On 25th Street? There were two barrooms on 25th Street.

N – Yes. One of them faced Carrington Street because 25th was one way up into Carrington, you know, and that was by the Hubbards. The Hubbards run that.

I – Were they black or white?

N – All them white. Won’t no black folks up there and the other one was ah, oh what was? Bagley, he married the Hubbard girl and Bagley had the big barroom where Everett Price funeral parlor is now. Hubbard had the one right in face of him.

I – So, this would be…

N – And then there was another barroom right down there at 25th and R. And in that all them was white people, all them blocks until you got to Mount Olivet Block and Mrs. Barbara Harris, she was very light. All of them was light people. She lived in that block, and who else?

I – The Silngletons?

N – Colored? She was, Barbara Harris was.

I – I asked was the Singletons in that block.

N – The Singletons was on this side. The Singletons lived down on the corner in front of Mount Olivet. Mount Olivet wasn’t built then because when they built Mount Olivet Mr. Davis, Jake Davis and his wife, Fannie Davis and Ruth Davis, a girl my size and age, same age, we use to go down there every Saturday. She’s make a churn of cream and she’d go down there and sat out there on the lot while they was building the church and sell it. Two cents worth, three cents worth, and five cents worth.

I – You mentioned ah, and I don’t know if you knew this family. They lived where the House of Happiness is. Do you remember a family living there? Where the House of Happiness is?

N – Early?

I – The Earlys.

N – Yes.

I – Ah.

N – Old lady Early was white. But she raised them colored boys, Joe, Willy Price. She raised the Price boys and their mother worked for her. She use to make yeast cake. Early yeast cake was all the yeast cake out there that I knew anything about.

I – I am not sure whether it was Mrs. Early’s father, I believe it was her father whose name was George Howard. You mentioned that some Howards owned some land on that street.

N – No I was under the impression that they owned it going up to 25th Street, cross Pink Street, in which would be, the opposite part of Pink Street. Pink Street ain’t but one block, you know. Just one block.

I – So you’re saying from Pink Street to 25th?

N – Yes. All up back, back up that way, that’s where my mother was born, right in there.

I – Do you remember the name, the first names of the Howard that..? You don’t remember.

N – No, but they were called Harrisons until after the war. And then they called them Harwood. That’s the understanding I had, but then I don’t know.

I – They were called Harris?

N – Harriets?

I – That’s H-A-R-R-I-E-T?

N – Yes, that’s the way I would spell it.

I – And you said your mother was born on their land?

N – Yes. And my grandmother must have been on there too, not my great grandmother. Her name was Jane Sully and she married Willis. She married the father of the grandfather to Owen Willis, because Uncle Williams was Cousin Billy’s Daddy, you see.

I – So you’re saying this is your great grandmother or grandmother?

N – Great, great grandmother. She raised my mother, my grandmother. Wait, the understanding I got about it that Uncle William and my grandmother and she had a lot of children. Was her children, was her children, but they were slaves then and they took them and sold to you know anybody. If they wanted to sell them, they sold them.

I – But.

N – But my mother didn’t know her people. My mother found her sister about five years before she died and my mother died in 1926. About five years before she died, a woman came from Petersburg and said that she was my mother’s sister.

I – So your great grandmother, Mrs. Sully.

N – Yes, was Jane Sully. And Jim Sully, he lived right in the front of 24th Street because 24th Street run right into Carrington you know.

I – Right.

N – Well he lived right there, Uncle Jim Sully and his first wife was Kizzie Mitchell. My poppa’s sister, that was his first wife and then she died. And then he married Lou Bingham, you know Marcelus Bingham. You have heard about them, the Binghams.

I – I’ve heard about the Binghams.

N – Yes. Well then he married Mrs. Lou Bingham and that was Stewart Sully’s mother. Stewart Sully is Magdelene Sully Howell’s daddy. Uncle Jim use to live there because I was a little bitty girl and I use to go up there all times and mother use to send him soup and things. He was paralyzed when I first seen him.

I – And you said he use to live where?

N – Right in the front of 24th Street on Carrington. He had one daughter. Her name was Sally Sully and she married Jim Bowler. And they had three boys and I think it was two girls, but the girls up north before I was bigger enough to know them. Yes, up north working. And the oldest boy was up there but the second boy, named after his grandpa, Jim Bowler, he died here. And the youngest boy, when he was about 22 years old he fell dead. Folks won’t falling dead then like they do now.

I – So the Early family did you ever do any work for them?

N – No.

I – But you remember…

N – Old lady Early was old, old from the first time I ever known her. I ain’t never known her, but use to see that old white woman there at that house. That was a house sitting, just like the House of Happiness, by itself in that whole lot. All the way from 22nd to 23rd. That’s on 23rd ain’t it?

I – Well it’s between 22nd and 23rd. The House of Happiness …

N – Well that one house set there and it belongs to old lady Early. She use to sell yeast and she raised them Prices there and their mother, what was their mother name? What they called, somebody. She had Joe Price, Willy Price, Charlie Price and not the Charlie where you might know, it was his uncle, because he was Willy Price son and one, two, three and it was another one, but I have forgotten his name.

I – Well they were raised by …

N – Raised there by their mother. Who was a servant for old lady Early.

I- Oh, OK. And are these the same Prices that have the funeral home?

N- No.

I- A different set of Prices.

N- Yes. These Prices kind to your church folks, what you know the what is Hunter’s name, Louise Thomas and Clyde Thomases, their folks. And Inez Price, she married the youngest one, Charlie Price. She was one, you remember her don’t you?

I -Yes.

N -She just died not too long ago.

I -Well what about church life? What did you..?

N -Oh I been, I don’t know, no church but Fourth Church and Mount Olivet. I’ve been in Fourth Church all my life. Been there 72 years. I had a paper round here, but I can’t put my hands on it, so I’m going to ask for one to send my nephew, where is in Washington because it’s the service of the old people in Fourth Church, and they got me there, Edna Mitchell Loundes, 72 years of service. I been there 72 years.

I – That is quite a number of years.

N – Nw 1906 to 1980, or 81, how many years is that?

I -That would be 75.

N -Yes, but I was in there 72 years when they took the record.

I – Ah.

N – Do you remember when they first commence to having the members to come there and take the pictures? And put down how long they been in church and all that?

I – Yes.

N – I think they got the record, from there.

I – What other things do you remember about growing up in Church Hill?

N – In Church Hill? Nearly anything if you could bring it to my remembrance, you know, I’m forgetful, Akida. I can’t remember nothing.

I – You’ve named some of the families that lived on…

N – Where do you want to start? Buchanan Street, 17th Street, all the way up is that considered Church Hill?

I – It wasn’t at that time. I think now it is called Greater Church Hill,…

N – Dog Bottom. You know what it was called–Dog Bottom.

I – Was that 24th Street?

N – 24th Street, right there where your folks live. That was called Dog Bottom. The Coys lived in there, the Merrys, the Coys, and let’s see who else, the Joneses where married all them preachers, you know them girls, that married the preachers.

I – Magnolia, Gay, and Mary?

N – Magnolia and all of them. Mary, the man Mary married is living now, married somebody else, you know she, the one that fell dead and Alberta. Alberta is long with me, but she dead, that’s Reverend Collins’ wife, and yeah, they lived in 24th Street and let’s see now who else, the Coys, and the people that raised up, on that corner, a colored man had a store and he raised this girl. Ain’t been dead long. She right long with me. What would have been her name? She lived on 31st Street

I – Are you talking about Mr. Winston?

N -Yeah, Mr. Winston. Did you know him?

I – Yes, I remember him when I was younger.

N – Yes, well he raised, you know the girl that he raised,

I – You’re talking about Mrs. Essie Yates?

N – Yes. Essie Yates and her sister lived next door. She had a little boy, was married to a sailor. Her sister was a grown woman and she had a little boy named Bipney Perry. of course, she and I, we both was little then. And she use to carry over to Fourth Church Sunday School. And it wasn’t any houses on that side at the time, just houses on this side. Is houses on that side now? of 24th Street?

I – Both sides, yeah.

N – Yes, because that boy had them sleepy eyes, he lived over there, him and his bother and sister on that side of the street. After the colored people moved the white people use to live across there.

I – In the 1200 block you are talking about?

N – Yes. And the old families, all the Murrays lived in that block, you know. Old lady Murray and one of her daughters was Charlotte Drake and Bunchy was, she was what? I forgot her name and then the Washington’s you know that was, Inez’s mother, she was Mrs. Murray’s daughter. Then Mrs. Maggie married where taught school and she had a son they called Bubble. He got married and he had a son.

I – The Murrays apparently lived in that block a long long time?

N – Oh they still in there now and they still in there because what’s the child name?

I – Elsie Robinson.

N – Elsie.

I – Yes she was a granddaughter. Did you know them well, the Murrays, did you know that family?

N – Oh yes, Pearl is younger than my sis, Lizzie, but she older than I was. Pearl Purnell was. And she married Purnell before I married anybody.

I – You mentioned, was it your father or grandfather, that was in the Civil War?

N – My Daddy. Yes.

I – Your Daddy was in the Civil War?

N – Yes. He was a minister. He didn’t have a church but he was a minister. He was Reverend Edward Mitchell.

I – And he was in the Civil War? Which side?

N – the children got his paper or discharge or whatever. They got it in Washington, D.C.

I – So your father’s name again was..?

N – Edward.

I – Edward Mitchell. And he was in the what regiment now?

N – 54 Massachusetts Infantry.

I – And so he fought in the Civil War, and then he come here and bought that house. He build that little store and he kept store, but whenever an election he was Republican, or he died Republican, and I was Republican up till about two years ago. But I don’t know how the other folks voted. I don’t even know whether they voted or not. But by me living, leaving home so early and being around folks that voted, you know, and they would have him to come down, let’s see, what is the name of that road now where the Episcopal Church is, Mechanicsville Turnpike? They use to have a stand there and he would stand there and of course the country people colored coming from the country would see this little black man standing there, and then he would tell them that was the right place to vote. Because everybody then was Republican, practically won’t no Democrates. They got in and stayed in 36 years, before they got out. I think I heard that night before last, or something. I can’t read now, Akida, so I just listen to news.

I – But you remember your family?

N – Yeah, I remember my daddy used to go out there, yes. And how I use to have to carry him dinner.

I- And you said he was a messenger in the Printing Office in Washington?

N- The Printing Office in Washington.

I- And this was..?

N- After that, way after that.

I- Well what I am saying but this was probably during, you said, probably during the administration of, or just before the administration of Grover Cleveland.

N – No. Yes, he was before Grover Cleveland. Who did Grover Cleveland follow? Grover Cleveland, let me see now. I use to have them presidents down, just as happy as anything. The only thing I can remember now, them 8 where born in Virginia. I use to have all them presidents down. I was a good history scholar. Grover Cleveland didn’t he follow–Cleveland, Cleveland. That was before my I could remember. Well you see he came then on to Richmond, and he stayed. Because that was before I could, bigger enough to remember, but that’s, I guess, that’s when he came out. I’m guessing at that, I am not sure. the children have the record, but I don’t know.

I -Well that is interesting, that your father was, you know, involved in politics and things like that.

N -Yes. And a determined man. Longed to every branch of Masons, he was, him and Mr. James Barrett. You know the Barrett.

I – You knew James Barrett. Did you know Mr. Barrett?

N – Old man Barry, him and poppa was just like that.

I – Well the reason that I asked that question because I talked to his daughter, Mrs. Eggleston, and she was saying she thought her father may have been one of the first or the first black postman.

N – Yeah but he weren’t the first. Him and my father was the first two blacks, Negroes in the State of Virginia to get the 33rd Degree Mason.

I – First to get to be 33rd.

N – Degrees, yes, a man came from England to give it to white people and just give it to them two little black things in there. You know, they was the first two and where they get round here that Charlie West. Charlie West, I ain’t never heard nothing about Charlie West being nothing but Charlie West. Is you, you have any record on him?

I – No I don’t have anything on Mr. West. No. But you are saying that your father Edward Mitchell and James Barrett was the first …

N – Two black men in the State of Virginia to get the 33rd Degree.

I – Well that is interesting. Do you have pictures of your father, or do anybody here in..?

N – No. When I left I took and tore up all my pictures, cause I was blind and I didn’t want them thrown from place to place you know. And when I broke up housekeeping, I tore all the pictures up. But he was small and dark with perfect features, good looking, but real dark, real dark.

I – This Mr. Barrett seemingly was …

N – Was a mailman, and …

I – Was he popular?

N – And both of them belonged to everything. My father use to wear that Odd Fellows with the plume back here, you know, you seen them hats ain’t you?

I – Yes.

N – And them gauntlet gloves they were for the high up, you know, muck the muck.

I – What you called them? Muck the muck?

N – Yeah. Christians, Christians only thing I could tell is by the uniform.

I – But your father belonged to several organizations?

N – Oh yeah, everything that was old. Saint Luke, he was a big thing. Luke, honey. Saint Luke, did men belong to Saint Luke?

I – I think they must have, I was talking to a Mr. Samuel Jackson who said as a boy he was a in the group Saint Luke, whether grown men belonged to it or not, I am not sure.

N – I don’t know, I really don’t know. I don’t know. But I was grown. I was married to Dickie Roach when they, when the banks failed.

I – And you have any idea about when that was, when the banks failed

N – I came back here in ’28 and I came back and got a job, and Dickie didn’t have no job then, that must have been around’28 or’29, or it must have been somewhere around there. Because I use to have my money in the American Bank, down there on 10th and Main.

I – Oh you’re talking about the Stock Market Crash of 1929?

N – Yeah, under Hoover. Won’t Hoover president then? Or Wilson which one?

I – Yes it was Hoover, I believe.

N – I don’t know what I did with it but I had everything that I had all the money that I had worked for up on Long Island and I had in that bank and I went into this American Bank. And I don’t know how I did it, clare before God, I don’t know why I did it, and drew out all my money, so the lady said “Why you drawing it out?” I said, she said, “You’re going back up north,” and I said, “Yeah I’m going back up north.” Lied about my own money. I said, “Yeah I’m going back up north.” And went right cross there and put my money in First and Merchants Bank. I was working up at Kingan’s.

I – Up at where?

N – Kingan’s. I worked up there as a cook, pastry cook, and then after it closed the cafeteria down, I went I was a butcher. I went to work in the plant because Dickie Roach died while he was up there.

I – What, where was this located?

N – You know where. Sauer’s Factory.

I – Yeah.

N – Well go down there, you went way down that road. I tell you who use to work there, oh Lord, Preston, you know Preston’s father? Preston where use to be with Scott? You know Preston where use to work for Scott? You know Preston who use to work for undertaker Scott so long. His father, Pres use to work there, plenty folks from Church Hill.

I – But you are talking about C. F. Sauers, up on Broad Street and they was back behind there that you worked you said.

N – Yeah, use to get off right there at that corner, that’s Meadow and Broad. And you go all the way out to the stockyard and we use to work up there.

I – Kingdom’s. Is that Kingdom’s?

N – Kingan’s. But folks would say Kingan where they killed the hogs, the cows, lambs, everything.

I – Oh yeah.

N – I worked up there 17 years. I always worked where I could make the biggest money except the tobacco factory, that’s a wonder I didn’t go there, but I never did.

I – Never did go to the tobacco factory?

N – No. I use to cook pastry there. Then after they closed the cafeteria down I was a butcher. I worked over in the plant.

I – What about? I am getting off the subject somewhat, but getting back to Carrington Street.

N – What about it?

I – CCA Ball Park. Do you remember when it was built, or was it built ?

N – Yeah, I remember when it was built. I wasn’t living here. I was just coming backwards and forward home then.

I – About what time was it built do you remember?

N – I don’t know. It was way back there. It use to have a dance hall right in the front of it on, what street was that? 20th?

I – That would be 20th Street. 20th.

N – 20th, 21st and they had at 21st. Yeah that would be 20th Street. You remember that little wooden place where they had a dance hall and they made a church out of it? And Crump was the first person I think that preached there. Reverend Crump where married Mrs. Gillism’s sister, married Mary Gilliam, no, Martha Gilliam, Mary Crump. You know Rev. Crump, a bow legged man, belongs to Fourth Church. He’s from one of our sons. He had the first, I think he had the first church. I know he had a church and then they there was CCA Ball Park. And then when they took it from the Ball Park, they got houses, they tell me in there now. Who told you about the Park?

I – Well I can remember it in the 1940’s when they use to have the carnivals and things like that.

N – Did they have carnivals out there?

I – Yes.

N – In the 40’s I wasn’t living here. I was living down in Norfolk.

I – But they use to have baseball games out there too.

N – I know it.

I – And I was talking to a lady who, in fact, I talked to a gentleman, Dr. Hicks, white doctor, who practices down in Highland Springs, who would played in that Park, early years, and he was saying, was asking what does CCA mean. And he said Christ Church Association, I believe. But I was just trying to get some history because I know that, you know…

N – Christ Church. Is that the church there one block up from Great Hope that use to be Christ Church, ? I think Smallwood Williams got it now.

I – Yeah.

N – I think that used to be Christ Church. No, Great Hope used to be Venerable Street Baptist.

I – What about Burley’s Hill?

N – Burley’s Hill belonged to an old white woman, named Mrs. Burley, and she use to have a store right there on the corner. I think a store is on the corner now, of P and 20th. And what happen that Mrs. Burley was riding around laughing and folks thought she was crying. It must have been a fire or something around there. And the Stokes they was supposed to be, tried to be I reckon, muck the mucks. And they lived in that block. And the Stokes and Fannie Dungee. Did you ever know who Joe Dungee?

I – I’m not sure. I know a Dungee.

N – You heard of him. And I remember one time, we went to Buckroe and I struck up Mr. Moon, Moon Bright and Shiny Moon, Won’t you Please Shine Down on Me. The boys said you’ve been hanging out with Joe Dungee. Joe Dungee used to plunk that thing. Lord we use to have plenty fun going down to Buckroe-

I – And you went down on the train?

N – Yes.

I – So this Burley’s Hill was named after Mrs. Burley?

N – She owned the whole place. She owned all the way from down there where Mosby Street, clean until you get all them houses by the park, all of that belonged to her. And the white people used to live at the from the brick house from the peak to Carrington Street. White people lived there. I mean late in years. White people lived there and colored people lived right in that neck in there. But I reckon white people was living in there. Once you know Burley’s Hill and Dog Bottom was 24th Street. Sugar Bottom was over there over this way, over here on Church Hill, down 32nd Street or 34th Street. Ain’t nobody ever told you about Sugar Bottom? That’s where the Beverlys come from, down Sugar Bottom. Well Sugar Bottom to my remembrance is at the, when you go down 29th Street to Libbie Hill Park, or we call it 29th Street Bottom. But at the end of 29th Street, right down that hill.

N – Is that Sugar Bottom?

I – That’s what I’ve always called Sugar Bottom.

N – Where was Rockette?

I – Well, Rockettes was, yeah, yeah, down I think across Williamsburg Road or in that area.

N – She had, her daughter had, two boys. Dr. Anderson T. Scott, a great surgeon down there in Hampton. And Daniel Scott, Daniel is still living and I think Daniel had some twin girls, but they are grown now and married and…

I – These were the Bentleys. And they lived down …

N – Mrs. Bentley, she was, but the Scotts in they was old people of our church. They help. Her husband was like my daddy. He was a minister but he didn’t have church. And Anderson Bentley and her daughter was Alma Nevels. Nevel was the second husband. Who was the first husband? I don’t know. Both of the girls got married twice. And Olivia Scott, they was Scotts. And of course Anderson Scott was a noted surgeon, very thin, he was a thin child all his life. And he was younger than I was. And Daniel about younger than I. Daniel had a big job somewhere, but they lived up there in Carrrington Street. 2409.

I – The parents name you said Bentley.

N – Bentley was the grandmother’s name. She was Mrs. Bentley and Mrs. Scott …

I – Do you remember her first name?

N – Fannie.

I – Fannie Bentley.

N – Yes and Anderson T. Bentley. And their father was deacon of the church when he died. But it was Daniel Scott and he married Annie Bentley. And Olivia, Olivia, oh Lord what was that man she married because this man he won’t no good. And Alma was a Nevel when she died. But she married somebody else too and she had a daughter. We, I use to play them, we use to play with them.

I – What was social life like? What was the social life in Church Hill like?

N – Well it seemed to be the Davises and the Mitchell girls and the Davis girls and all them and Almita Williams Fields where got the house down there, the big house on the corner of Carrington and 22nd.

I – Yes.

N – You don’t.

I – I do.

N – Well all them was friends. They had a nice little social life. Use to have a lot of young ministers. And all them folks and Fields and all of them use to go ’round together. I won’t big enough to go round with them

I – Ah, ah, hello. [End of transcript.]


TAGGED: , , , ,

4 RESPONSES



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By commenting you are agreeing to this site's PRIVACY / USE / COPYRIGHT / DISCLAIMER