Tag Archives: toledo police

Early Black Toledo Families – GATLIFF/GATLEFF

As was shared in the post regarding basketball legend William (Bill) McNeil JONES, his parents were William A. JONES and Jessie L. GATLIFF.  Both the JONES and GATLIFF families lived in the Toledo area prior to 1900 before the Great Migration got into full swing and the black population of Toledo swelled like many other Midwest industrial centers.

I thought it would be interesting to explore some of the families of early black/colored Toledoans and due to my curiosity regarding those families from my transcriptions of the 1840 through 1900 census information (I am currently working to transcribe the 1900 census).  Unlike other persons I mentioned in this blog, a majority of these other black/colored individuals and families weren’t well known in the community.  However, the history of regular people’s lives is just as important and interesting as more well known persons and a review of the family of Jessie GATLIFF is well worth sharing some information.

Jessie L. GATLIFF/GATLEFF  was born in Chillocothe, Ohio in approximately 1882.  Her parents were John H. GATLIFF/GATLEFF Jr. and Amanda GOINS/GOINGS/GOENS.  She was the second of three children born to John Jr. and Amanda.  She was the middle child between older brother Clark and younger brother Everett James.

The GATLIFF/GATLEFF family had lived in Chillicothe since approximately 1870.  John H. GATLIFF/GATLEFF Jr. was originally born in Rockcastle County, Kentucky  and was the son of John H. GATLIFF Sr (1823-1910) and Cynthia GATLIFF (1824-1913).  This couple threw me for a few loops in researching them due to both Cynthia and John Sr. having the same surname.  A review of Milton GATLIFF/GATLEFF’S death certificate – a son of John Sr. and Cynthia, and due to a clue revealed in a book about Cynthia’s mother Rose, it was shown that John Sr. took the surname of his wife when they were married.  Due to that, I have not been able to track his family back further than John Sr.  On his death certificate, shown below, his parents were unknown.

Cynthia GATLIFF/GATLEFF was also born in Kentucky in approximately 1824.  Her mother Rose GATLIFF/GATLEFF was held as a slave and had to sue for her freedom in the courts of Kentucky.  It took her nearly 20 years but she was eventually set free.  As a free woman, she was enumerate on the 1850 census in Rockcastle County, Kentucky with some of her children and grandchildren.  Rose was born in Virginia in approximately 1772 and was the daughter of a “mullatto” allegedly of mixed European and Native ancestry.  She was described as having blond hair and blue eyes.  Her case was based upon her stating that her mother was a native American and therefore she could not be held as a slave.  In the late 18th century, indigenous people were no longer considered slaves and if she had been born to a Native mother, she would automatically be free.  According the book “Rose, a Woman of Color:  A Slave’s Struggle for Freedom in the Courts of Kentucky,” by Arnold Taylor, Rose, through her attorneys claimed that she was made a slave through illegal maneuvering.  Jenny, Rose’s mother thought that she was putting Rose into an indentured servitude period, it was Rose and her attorney’s position that instead, Rose was instead enslaved.  Documents were drawn up labeling her as a slave.  The prosecutors alleged that due to the records of Virginia, as they discovered paperwork that supported that Rose was sold as a slave as a girl, that she was indeed a slave.  They also alleged that her mother Jenny was not a Native American and instead a mullato with some negro ancestry.  Many witnesses were brought forth for both Rose’s and the state’s case.  Her attorney’s position was, that of course the persons who profited off of Rose would take advantage of her position as a mullatto child of Indian and white ancestry and make her a slave for their benefit, so the jury should not accept that the documents of Rose’s alleged status as a slave should be believed.

The book above was very interesting and gave a good genealogical account of Rose’s family, including her mother Jenny and her suspected father who was a white man that Jenny worked for. It also discussed that one of Rose’s daughters – Nancy GATLIFF/GATLEFF had been freed due to winning a case in Indiana, whereas her owner had taken her to that “free” state for more than 6 months and left her there.  Nancy also won her case.  One of the arguments against Rose, ironically was that since Nancy was freed due to Indiana’s laws regarding slaves, that Rose herself, must legally be a slave and not eligible to be freed based on her mother’s ancestry.  Rose GATLIFF/GATLEFF died died a free woman around 1870 and at that time most of her children moved to Ross County, Chillicothe, Ohio including Cynthia and John Sr.

Due to John Jr. and Amanda being listed on the 1880 Census in Ross County, City of Chillicothe and because both Jessie L, born in 1882 and Everett, born in 1885 had birth records on file in Ross County, it can be determined that John Jr. did not move away from Ross county until after 1885.

John Jr. was one of 10 known children of John Sr. and Cynthia GATLIFF/GATLEFF.  Two of his brothers – James and Frank GATLIFF showed up in the Toledo City Directory in 1892 and 1895.  By 1900, John Jr. and his sons Clark and Everett GATLIFF/GATLEFF were living  in Toledo.  Clark GATLIFF was also listed in the city directory in 1899 so we can conclude that members of the GATLIFF family moved to Toledo between 1890 and 1900.

Per the census document below, John Jr., Clark and Everett were living in a boarding house in 1900 located at 132 N. Erie Street.  That address is now a parking lot located near the corner of Erie and Jefferson Ave in downtown Toledo.  In 1900 John Jr. was working as a laborer.  His oldest son Clark was a Porter in a barber shop  while younger brother Everett, who was only 14, had “At School” listed as his occupation. By 1910, Jessie was also living in Toledo and was married to William JONES.

1900 CENSUS – GATLIFF/GATLEFF

There was never a record of Amanda GOENS/GOINS GATLIFF in Toledo and I have yet to find a death certificate for her.  John Jr. re-married in 1914 to a woman named Martha YOUNG.  He is last found in genealogical records on the 1920 census where he lived with his second wife Martha.  John Jr. died in Toledo in 1921.   His last known residence was 580 Norwood Ave, which was listed as his residence on both the 1920 census and his death record in 1921.  That address currently is just an empty lot very close to interstate 75 in Toledo and the home probably was demolished to make way for the freeway.

John Jr.’s daughter Jessie GATLIFF married one of my 4th great uncles – William Allen JONES on April 27, 1907.  Together they had nine children, eight lived to adulthood.  Both Jessie and William were active members of Toledo’s black community from the early 1900s until their deaths in the 1950s.  Jessie’s obituary labeled her as a “Church and Organizational Leader” and listed the many organizations that she worked and lead during her lifetime.  Her obituary is listed below.  She died on April 18, 1959:

As stated earlier, Jessie was the mother of William (Bill) McNeill JONES one of the first black basketball players who integrated professional basketball.  Her youngest child – Elizabeth JONES WILSON died in Toledo in October of 2014.

Additional information regarding the brothers of Jessie GATLIFF JONES was also discovered, including an obituary of Everett James GATLIFF whose daughter Dorothy GATLIFF BROWN was hired as one of Toledo’s first black female police officers in 1946.

 

Below is a lint to a short family tree of the GATLIFFs.  Please note that these particular descendants of Rose GATLIFF/GATLEFF are the Toledo branch.  If there is any inquiries about this family please email me for a complete tree at blackintoledo@gmail.com

GATLIFF family link

REFERENCES:

1850 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 3/3/2017 (Household of Maragret GATLIFF)

1860 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 2/26/2017 (Household of Cynthia GATLIFF)

1870 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 2/26/2017 (Household of John GATLIFF)

1880 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 2/26/2017  (Household of John GATLIFF)

1900 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 2/26/2017 (Household of John GATLIFF)

1900 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 3/31/2017 (Household of Albert SPEAD – boarding house)

1910 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 2/26/2017 (Household of Cynthia GATLIFF)

Ohio Deaths  1908-1953, via familysearch.org; accessed 2/26/2017 – death record of Cynthia GATLIFF

Ohio Deaths 1908-1953, via familysearch.org; accessed 2/26/2017  – death record of John GATLIFF Sr.

1910 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 11/15/2016 (Household of William JONES)

1920 US Census, via familysearch.og; accessed on 3/31/2017 (Household of John GATLIFF Jr.)

1920 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed on 11/15/2016 (Household of William JONES)

Ohio Deaths 1908-1953, via familysearch.org; accessed 2/26/2017 – death record of John H. GATLIFF Jr.

Michigan Marriages 1868-1925, via familysearch.org; accessed 2/26/2017 – marriage record of John H. GATLIFF Jr and Martha A YOUNG.

Ohio County Marriages 1789-2013, via familysearch.org; accessed 11/15/2016 – marriage record of William A. JONES and Jessie L. GATLIFF

1930 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed 11/15/2016 (Household of William JONES)

1940 US Census, via familysearch.org; accessed 11/15/2016 (Household of William JONES)

Toledo Blade Obituary Index, via Toledo Lucas County Public Library 2/28/2017; Jessie L JONES published April 20, 1959

Toledo Blade Obituary Index, via Toledo Lucas County Public Library 2/28/2107; Everett James JONES published January 20, 1953

Toledo Blade; “Blazing a Trail” published 2/26/2003

Toledo Race Riot of 1862

Transcribing the 1860 Census made me wonder if any of the people that were on that spreadsheet was affected by the race riot that occurred in Toledo in the summer of 1862.

Current events over the past few years have made riots become more heavily featured on news media. Naturally people have intense emotions and reactions to these occurrences. I, many times react in the same way to historical events of the same nature and this one that occurred in Toledo is one that personally effected me, especially after doing research on early black and “colored” citizens of the area.

The Toledo Race Riot of 1862 occurred in the month of July. It started due to a group of dock workers going on strike over wanting an increase in wages. Per the Toledo Blade’s article titled “Lawless Proceedings” published on July 8, 1862, the group of white men worked as “Stevedores” at the “Wabash Freight” company. They wanted an increase in their wages from 12 cents an hour to 15 cents per hour or they were threatening to strike. The supervisors on duty refused to pay the increased wage and the company hired other workers, both black and white to come and work on the docks at 12 cents per hour due to the striking Stevedores. When the striking workers saw this, they made threats to the agents of the company. The supervisors of the company contacted city officials and law enforcement due to the threats and threatening actions of the striking workers.

The mayor and law enforcement came and attempted to get the crowd to leave. The crowd began to have more mob like behavior with more threats and violence. The mob threw sticks, rocks, and bricks at dock worker and especially at the black workers who were employed. The Blade article stated that the mob used the above as “missiles” and that they surrounded the black workers and began physically attacking them. Many of the black men at the docks were beaten and attempted to flee. Most were able to get inside of the warehouse at the docks for protection where the company closed the door. During the melee, three black men were reported to have been injured at the docks, two had their arms broken, and one was stated to have his “head split open.” One of the black workers who was surrounded and being heavily beaten, took out a knife that was in his possession and stabbed one of the white attackers. He slashed two other white men with the knife then ran down the street to try to flee the mob. The white man who was stabbed was injured on his right side just below the lower rib. The injured man was reported to be named FITZGERALD.

Due to the anger over the white men being injured, the mob pursued the black man who stabbed the white men. Along their way they attacked all the black people they saw on the street and “pummeled” them according to the Blade accounts published on July 9th. The mob also attacked the homes of black residents.

As was stated in the post A Brief History of Toledo Public Schools, the City of Toledo was not segregated in earlier eras like it became in the 20th century. Black citizens lived among white citizens and there were no concentrated “negro” areas.

Someone in the mob was aware of a home where an “industrious black woman” lived. She was not named but it was stated that she lived in a house at the “edge of the city” near the canal. She was a widow and took in clothes and linen to wash as a business. The mob went to this woman’s house, and destroyed her house. The article in the Blade stated that they “demolished” her home and pulled apart placards and “threw them in the canal.” They then sought to kill her and her children. The woman was not at home as she had been working at the home of a white female citizen. The mob learned that the black woman’s children were being watched by her “German neighbors” and they attempted to get the children from the German neighbors. Word got to the neighbors in time where they were able to “steal the children away” with “one under each arm.” The mob attacked the home of the German family and destroyed much of their home and furnishings.

The mob continued to ransack the homes of all of the other known black citizens in the city at this time. They came to the home of William H. MERRITT (mentioned in the article Early Black Toledoans – William H. Merritt). Mr. MERRITT was the wealthiest black man in Toledo and lived at the corner of Jefferson and Erie Streets. One of his neighbors notified city and law enforcement officials who were trying to calm the mobs and they dispatched Reverend F.M BOFF a Catholic minister to the scene. He persuaded the mob not to destroy the home of Mr. MERRITT, the mob instead went across the street, on Erie Street and broke all of the windows out of the home of Benjamin TALBOT who was a negro blacksmith listed on the 1860 Census. The mob then entered Mr. TALBOT’s home and ransacked the inside of his home and destroyed all of his furnishings.

The mob continued their journey up through the Uptown district of Toledo. They attacked all the black people they saw on the street, including a black man who was walking down Monroe Street who was “severely beaten.” The mob also chased a black man who sought refuge at the home of a white attorney by the name of BASSETT who also called for city authorities and Reverend BOFF to come and talk down the crowd. The black man was safely able to escape the mob due to Mr. BASSETT’s assistance. Another black man was “pummeled” at 11th Street and Lafayette.

The city authorities finally were able to arrest over 20 individuals for rioting and assault. Articles regarding the court proceedings stated that the mob rioters were primarily Irishmen. One, by the name of Francis GAVIN was stated to have been the “ring leader” of the mob. The Blade published that Mr. GAVIN was new to the Toledo area and had solidified himself a “negative introduction” to the city. Other men named as perpetuators of mob violence were Patrick EARLY also described as a ring leader, James SHANNON, John HOOPER, James SMYLEY, Thomas TIERNAN, and James ROSS.

The city punished these men and others with what was considered a “severe” sentence of 30 days hard labor and a fine of $50 each.

Other newspaper accounts published accounts of the race riot that occurred in Toledo that day and stated that the rioters attacked black workers because companies were hiring negros over whites in Toledo.  Also that they felt they should not be paid the same wages as negros.  In a response to one of these publications, the Toledo Blade refuted those accounts of events.  The Blade published that whites and “colored” citizens had always worked side by side at the stocks and in various industries.  Also that due to the ongoing war, many white men had left Toledo to join the Army.  This resulted in a lack of available white men to be employed by area industries and so any man and especially any white man who was available to work would be able to easily find employment at a decent wage.

 

The Story of Mrs. Julia King – Former Slave/Toledo Resident

During my research and due to my interest in black history, I discovered the Federal Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) slave narrative collection about 15 years ago.

During “The Great Depression” of the 1930s, President Roosevelt created the WPA in order to put educated Americans, especially in the arts, back into the workforce due to the extreme unemployment and economic conditions faced by Americans during this era.

Luckily, the WPA took an interest in recording the lives of black Americans who were former slaves.  The year 1935 marked seventy years since the end of the Civil War.  Those persons interviewed by WPA workers were primarily in their 80s and 90s.  Some were centenarians (aged 100 or above).   Two individuals who lived in Toledo and who attended Third Baptist Church were interviewed – Julia King and Hannah Davidson.  Both of their interviews provide a wealth of information about slavery, escaping slavery, and black history in Toledo.

Mrs. Julia King was approximately 80 years old when she was interviewed in 1937.  She was the wife of Toledo’s first black police officer – Albert King picture below.

Albert King

At the time of her interview, Mrs. King lived at 731 Oakwood Ave.  A search on googlemaps shows that her house has been demolished as an empty lot is now at that address.

She spoke of how both of her biological daughters died, one as an infant and one at 13 years of age.  Black children in Toledo had high mortality rates in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  During the time of the interview, Mrs. King lived with her adopted daughter Elizabeth KING KIMBREW (KIMBROUGH).

In her interview she spoke of how she was the first black “colored juvenile officer” in the city of Toledo.  She worked in this position for 20 years.  The first 3 years she did it on a volunteer basis and was not paid for her work.

Mrs. King’s maiden name was Julia WARD.  She was born in Louisville, Kentucky to Samuel and Matilda WARD.  She had a sister named Mary WARD who was about 1.5 years older than she was.  Her parents were slaves in Kentucky.  Her father ran away via the Underground Railroad to Canada and left her mother, herself, and her sister in Kentucky.

Later, Mrs. King’s mother also decided to run away and join Samuel in freedom.  Mrs. King spoke of how her mother was happy that on the day that she planned to run away, Matilda’s mistress decided not to take Mary to the market with her.  The mistress usually had Mary accompany her to the market.  Matilda was prepared to run away and leave Mary behind, but due to the mistresses decision, she took both Julia and Mary to freedom.

They made it all the way to Detroit via boat and then went up to Windsor to meet Mrs. King’s father, who had been working there as a cook. They eventually settled in Detroit and she spent her childhood there prior to moving to Toledo.

In her narrative, Mrs. King also relates lots of information about the conditions faced by slaves on their plantation and about a song her mother sang to her.  The WPA had a specific list of questions that they were supposed to ask their interviewees and one was to ask them to sing a song from their childhood.  During the 1930s there was a large interest in black folk music for anthropological study and the interviews reflect this interest.

Mrs. King mentioned that she was a member of Third Baptist church and was drawn to the church due to them having a requirement of an “immersing baptism.”  She also mentioned that she was involved with national colored women’s clubs and had met Booker T. Washington and his wife and had heard a reading of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poems in Toledo.  Dunbar lived in Toledo for about a year while he was ill with tuberculosis, an extremely common disease in the late 19th and early 20th century.  He would eventually succomb to the condition as did many of my own family members.

I loved Mrs. King’s interview.  Mostly due to the wealth information obtained from her recount of the escape from slavery, a topic which is now a heavy focus for historical research.  I also loved that she seemed to come alive to me, mostly due to my favorite quote from her interiew when she was asked about Frederick Douglass (as mentioned a man I thoroughly love)

“The only thing I had against Frederick Douglas was that he married a white woman.”  LOL!  I thought it hilarious that she exhibited the same feelings many people have about interracial marriages even today amongst older black women.

That said, Mrs. King seemed like a formidable woman.  She had been through a lot and it is amazing to me that she went to the same church that my family attended.  I had read Mrs. King’s interview prior to my step great-grandmother passing away and asked her if she knew Mrs. King and Mrs. Davidson, another former slave interviewed in Toledo.  She said she knew of them at church and had seen both but didn’t know them personally since they were older members and she was just a young woman during this time period.  It is fascinating to me that she knew actual slaves and I knew her.  She only recently died in 2008.  This goes to show that we are not as far removed from slavery as we think we are.

The Story of Mrs. Julia King – Toledo Ohio

GENEALOGICAL INFORMATION ABOUT JULIA WARD KING AND FAMILY

A review of records from www.familysearch.org showed the following in regards to Mrs. King’s listed family members from her narrative:

Mary WARD born appx 1856 in Kentucky, died in Detroit, MI in 1891 – listed parents were Samuel and Matilda WARD (Michigan Deaths 1800-1995)

Julia KING born appx 1856 in Kentucky, died in Toledo, OH in 1938 (one year after interviewed – they made it in time!) – listed parents were Samuel WARD and Matilda MACALVIN, listed spouse Albert KING (Ohio Deaths 1908-1953) buried at Forrest Cemetery

Albert McKinney KING born 1/21/1851 in Toronto, Canada, died in Toledo, OH 1934

Samuel WARD born appx 1830, died in Detroit, MI 1890 (Michigan Deaths 1867-1897)

Matilda WARD born 8/3/1844, died in Toledo, OH 1916 lived at 731 Oakwood Ave, buried at Forrest Cemetery (Ohio Deaths 1840-2001)

Marriage record of Betty(Elizabeth) KING KIMBROUGH (spelled KIMBREW in the narrative) married on 8/12/1935 to Samuel KIMBROUGH both were divorced at time of marriage and this was the second marriage for both parties

Marriage record of Elizabeth KING married on 9/14/1928 to John LYTLE.  This was the first marriage of both parties.  Elizabeth KING listed as 21 years of age at date of marriage.

Marriage record of Albert KING and Julia WARD married on 10/20/1875 in Toledo, Ohio