Pictured above is the family of free-born Daniel Brooks (1837 - 1933) and Lucy Clements Brooks (1861 - 1901). Shown are daughters Lola Brooks Curtright (1886 - 1972) and Sara Brooks Davis (1888 - 1974). Not shown are four brothers that came later, John Clinton (1890 - 1943), Milford Daniel (1892 - 1926), Luther Wilbur (1895 - 1943) and Charles Wesley (1895 - 1943). To avoid conscription as the son of a land-owner, Daniel volunteered in 1861 for the Confederate Army. He served as a cook and wagondriver in 15th and 49th NC Infantries from 1861 - 1865, but rooted for the North the entire time.
Pictured above is the family of free-born William Isaac Brooks (1856 - 1932) and Katie Irene Brooks (1862 - 1947 ). William Isaac was the grandson of mulatto Sarah Brooks, the little mulatto girl who was the subject of the 1808 court document above. His father was Jerry, the oldest of Sarah’s five children by a slave living nearby in Rutherford County. Three older sons were not included in this 1900 photo. Infant Melrose, sitting in his father’s lap, is shown in the hunting photo on the cover of this scrapbook with older brother, Essie. My grandmother, Lily May, is standing in the front, 2nd from right.
Ann Guerrant, standing 4th from left (1854 - 1930) and William Armisted Claytor, standing 4th from right (1843 - 1939) in 1923 photo with ten of their thirteen children. Ann and William were born slaves in southwest Virginia, but their families flourished after gaining their freedom. College degrees became the norm for every generation born free, The family specialty was medicine. John Bunyan Claytor, standing immediatelly behind his parents, set up his medical practice in Roanoke around 1911. He was the grandfather of many of my schoolmates and two playmates, Richard and Lewis Claytor, with shared sandlot softball and summer camp memories.
Camelot - 1857
Pictured above are Lelia and John Lattimore, descendent of “Big John Lattimore” (1803-1877). Though slaveowners, the Lattimores’ compassionate bonds with their slaves and and free African-American neighbors are well documented. “Big John” sold land believed to be the original Brooks homelands to blacksmith Nathaniel Brooks. Third generation Brooks brothers, Milford and Daniel, Nathaniel’s nephews, joined the Confederate Army in Shelby, NC in 1861 along with Lattimore brothers, Joseph and Daniel. John and Lelia, current day owner/occupants of the restored house that Big John built around 1832 hosted three Brooks descendents, including myself, with a wonderful lunch and tour of the house, grounds and cemetery in 2014. Theirs is the only cemetery I have seen that includes slave markers within the bounds of the family cemetery. Those concrete markers, not fieldstones, are not engraved but they have been maintained.
John William Dixon, seated, (1868 - 1923) and Alice Wellmon Dixon, standing at center, (1869 - 1963) with their seven children in 1905. Both of John’s parents were born slaves; Alice’s father was born a slave, but her mother was a free woman. John William was the youngest brother of my great-grandfather George William Whitworth, who chose a different surname upon freedom than his parents and siblings. Maude (1897 - 1980), at the far left, who lived in Roanoke after her marriage to Grady Davis, was like a third grandmother to my siblings and me.