Dedicated to

Clifton Bruce Whitworth

Dec 8, 1891 - Jan 22, 1989

Great-grandson of Catherine “Kitty Bird”  Roberts


     This website is dedicated to my grandfather, Clifton Bruce Whitworth, and four generations of his slave ancestors.  Silvy Fulenwilder, her daughter Kitty Bird Fulenwilder, granddaughter Betsy Roberts and her great-granddaughter Lizzie Webber were slaves all or part of their lives. Nonetheless, they, along with “Daddy Bruce”, Lizzie’s devoted son and part of their first American generation to be born free,  remain as much a part of my psyche, my soul and my DNA as the one free line of ancestors in my heritage, that of Daddy Bruce’s partner of seventy-two years and his life-long love,  Lily May Brooks Whitworth.  It is with great pleasure and pride that I add this website as an addendum to the excellent genealogical research and family history that has been documented by and for my ROBERTS-BORDERS-MAUNEY-HOWELL-BRIGGS cousins world-wide.

      My goal is simply to augment the fantastic achievements over the last 108 years of continuous recovery, documentation and celebration of this family’s humble, but very proud, beginnings.   There is no saga more American than that of Silvy’s  descendents as it embodies the struggle, commitment, dedication, ethics and progress to match that of any immigrant family arriving in the Western Hemisphere  in the last five centuries.  We have literally progressed from cotton field to Congress as surely as slave Silvy passed her DNA down to our cousin, the Honorable Melvin Watt former meember of the United States House of Representatives and currently Director of the FHFA .  In between, there are literally hundreds of stories of ancestors and cousins, whose first life lessons surely embraced learning to make lemonade from the bitter lemons  strewn in their paths by malicious individuals, neighbors, institutions and governments determned that they not live free.  God bless all of them for learning, then teaching,  the three things that matter most to humanity, love of family, discipline and survival.  

    Whenever I think of individuals whom I encountered along  life’s way that I admire most,  my four grandparents and my parents dominate my thoughts.    The more I learn of Daddy Bruce’s ancestors, the better I understand how and why his “soul” was crafted, how his life made perfect sense and fell in perfect harmony with what I now know about the lives of his ancestors.  That love of family and the unbreakable will to survive so characteristic of his ancestors are surely the meanings behind his favorite, oft-repeated, encouragement to his children and grandchildren of whom he was so proud….

“Keep on keepin’ on !”

A devoted grand-son and cousin,

Thomas R. Dudley

Whitworth,Clifton Bruce 1891-1989.JPG 21 - Six Shovels For Daddy Bruce.JPG 1914 Whitworth, Clifton - Marriage License.jpg Back