Honoring Those Interred at the Mount Sinai Cemetery — Part III

Loudoun County aerial photo of Mount Sinai Cemetery site, April 2019. Church foundation is on left, cemetery on right.

By Claudette Lewis Bard

Portion of Mt. Sinai cemetery today. Samuel Timbers military marker is upper far left. Paris family foot stones are center front. Photos by Edward Spannaus.
Portion of Mt. Sinai cemetery today. Samuel Timbers military marker is upper far left. Paris family foot stones are center front. Photos by Edward Spannaus.

This month we are continuing our series about those interred at Mount Sinai Cemetery. Among those discussed are an early civil rights activist and registered voter and several children whose short lives bring to light how perilous it was giving birth to a child in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Gilbert Timbers, a descendent of Samuel Timbers who served his country as a member of the U.S.C.T (United States Colored Troops) during the Civil War and is buried at Mount Sinai Cemetery, will share his memories of his aunt and uncle, Emma and Jesse Moten. He and his family visited them on many occasions at their home in Little Britain. His memories are a snap shot of what life was like in this once-flourishing African-American community located near Lovettsville. His aunt and uncle lived well into their 80s and witnessed heartbreak as well as a better life for their descendants.

We will talk about Eugene Mathew Hogan, Elizabeth/Lizzie Hogan, George Washington Curtis, Elizabeth and Henry Howard, Alice L.B. Morgan, Infant Moten, Rose May Moten Trammel, Sarah Jane Beaner Jackson, and Russell Hainsworth Jackson.

                                                            *****

Eugene Mathew Hogan: date of birth, April 30, 1916; date of death, May 6, 1916, age 6 days.

Elizabeth/Lizzie Hogan: date of birth, unknown; date of death, March 27, 1917, age 22 years.

Eugene Mathew Hogan and Elizabeth/Lizzie Hogan

Eugene Mathew Hogan only lived six days. He was the fifth child of Jesse W. Hogan and Elizabeth Timbers Hogan, according to Eugene’s birth certificate. However, I could only locate three and not four siblings: George, born 1911; Samuel, born 1913; and Maria, born 1914.

Jesse W. Hogan married Elizabeth Timbers on November 4, 1909, and by 1910, lived most likely on Mountain Road in Britain. Through previous research and looking on the 1910 census, it appears that they lived near the Arnold family who operated a store in Britain, the Mountain Road community where the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church was located. In the 1910 census, Jesse was 27-year-old, Mulatto. His wife, Elizabeth, was 17 years old, Mulatto and they had no children. They had been married for one year, and Jesse was a farm laborer. Both could read and write.

By 1911, they had begun a family with their first son George, born 1911. Samuel Wesley came along in 1913, and Maria was born in 1914. On April 30, 1916, Eugene Mathew Hogan was welcomed at around 12:30 a.m. and delivered by a midwife whose name is illegible on the birth certificate. Eugene’s father was 33 and his mother was 22. But something went wrong and their precious Eugene only lived until May 6. There was no physician present when he passed, and the cause of death was illegible on the death certificate. He was laid to rest at Mount Sinai Cemetery on May 7, 1916, and there was no undertaker. Instead written on the death certificate where the undertaker would be listed, was the name “Robert Timbers,” which leads me to believe Elizabeth’s father buried the child. Through further research and by viewing other death certificates, we see that Robert Timbers was a sexton at the Mount Sinai Cemetery. By definition, his duties would have included caretaker for the church’s property, ringing the church bell for services, and digging graves. Perhaps the family may have not been able to afford an undertaker, and Robert Timbers took care of the burial. [source: Loudoun County Birth and Death Certificate, Ancestry.com; Loudoun County Historical Births and Deaths, 1912-1917, loudoun.gov; Merriam-Webster.com]

The following information about Jesse and Elizabeth Hogan was too coincidental to ignore. I have concluded that Elizabeth and Lizzie are the same person and Jesse W. Hogan is J. W. Hogan.

On February 14, 1917, “Lizzie” Hogan checked into the Leesburg Hospital. On February 27, 1917, a baby boy was born to J.W. Hogan, age 34, and Lizzie Timbers, age 23. The baby was never named; only his gender was listed on the birth certificate. He was the fourth living child born to the couple. Two weeks later, their baby boy died on March 16, 1917. The child was born prematurely and suffered from marasmus, which is caused by a nutrient deficiency where the infant is not getting the proper protein, calories and other important nutrients to survive. This is often due to poverty and scarcity of food. The burial was possibly at Mt. Zion (unable to read on death certificate) on March 17, 1917, and the undertaker was Elijah Goodhart, the local undertaker in Lovettsville.

Lizzie Hogan was confined to the Leesburg Hospital after that heartbreaking event and remained there until her death a few weeks later, on March 29, 1917. The wording for the cause of death is illegible. This illegible wording is followed by, “following confinement.” Elijah Goodhart was the undertaker and the informant. She was buried in Lovettsville and I can only conclude she may have been buried at the Mount Sinai Cemetery alongside Eugene Mathew Hogan. There was quite a bit of personal information missing from her death certificate (i.e., parents’ names, etc.), but the informant was the undertaker, Elijah Goodhart, and he may not have known a lot of her personal information. [sources: Loudoun County Birth and Death Certificates, Ancestry.com; Loudoun County Historical Births and Deaths, 1912-1917, loudoun.gov]

Jesse Hogan, father and husband, had buried two children and a wife. He, like all men his age, registered for the draft between 1917 and 1918 during World War I. However, according to his draft registration, he was a patient at Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia. His draft card has his permanent home as Lovettsville, Loudoun County, Virginia (Loudoun was misspelled). He was 36 years old and born in 1882. His race was Negro. [source: World War I Draft Card, Ancestry.com]

The story of Central State Hospital is an interesting one. Shortly after the Civil War, a former Confederate facility known as Howard’s Grove Hospital became part of the Freedman’s Bureau initiative to establish hospitals, schools and other facilities to help the newly-freed slaves. In 1869, this facility was designated a mental health hospital for African Americans, and its name was changed to the “Central Lunatic Asylum.” When blacks obtained political power under the black-and-white alliance called the “Readjusters” during the 1879-1883 years, the Readjuster-controlled state legislature turned the Asylum into a state-funded institution for blacks. In 1882, the black-controlled municipal government in the city of Petersburg purchased a farm property on which the new Central State Hospital was built as a modern facility, replacing the old Asylum. This was part of the major transformation of Petersburg at this time, which included a progressive public health system and urban infrastructure. The Readjusters lost power after 1883, but many of their public improvements endured, even as a rigid “Jim Crow” segregation system was reimposed in Virginia over the next 20 years.  [source: csh.dbhds.virginia.gov, Central State Hospital website; Wikipedia; Edward Spannaus, “The Readjusters: The Black-White Alliance that Once Governed Virginia,” Bulletin of Loudoun County History, 2019 Edition.]

Central State Hospital
Central State Hospital

By 1896, Central State was expanded to care for patients with other chronic illnesses, including tuberculosis and epilepsy. In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Jesse Hogan remained a patient at Central State Hospital in Dinwiddie County Virginia. He was enumerated as a 37-year-old patient and his marital status was widower. His place of birth was Virginia. This could not have been a pleasant circumstance for Jesse Hogan.

Jesse Hogan’s circumstances seemed to have changed for the better as the years went by. By 1930, he was no longer a patient but had moved to Washington, D.C. He was renting a home at 3512 P Street and his occupation was street cleaner. He was the head of household and the following persons were enumerated as living in the home: his son Samuel Wesley, 17, single; Jesse A., his 81-year-old father; Sarah C., his 78-year-old mother; Arrah V. his 41-year-old sister. Arrah was doing housework for a private family. All were born in Virginia. Also living in the household were Virgie Perry, listed as a roomer. She was enumerated as a 26-year-old married laundress who worked for a private family. She got married at age 18; her husband was not living in the household. She was born in Virginia. Rebecca E. Perry was five years old and was listed as a roomer, and her birthplace was Washington, D.C. She may have been Virgie’s daughter. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]

Jesse Hogan and his family settled in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. During the 1930s, it was a thriving community that consisted of many institutions that were established by its African-American residents. Blacks had lived there for decades, extending to colonial times as free people of color and enslaved persons. His residence was surrounded by established Black churches, businesses, and home to many Black professionals as well as working class families. [source: Black Georgetown Remembered: A History of Its Black Community from the Founding of “The Town of George” in 1751 to the Present Day, by Kathleen M. Lesko, editor, author; Valerie Melissa Babb, author; Carroll R. Gibbs, author; copyright 2016]

*****

George Washington Curtis: date of birth, May 18, 1916; date of death, June 20, 1916; age 1 month, 2 days

The Short Life of George Washington Curtis

George Washington Curtis was brought into this world on a Thursday in the spring of 1916 at around 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon. He was the ninth child of Jacob and Eliza Hardy Curtis, who had been married since 1901. Jacob was a farm laborer and Eliza was a housewife. Jacob was about 43 years old and his wife was 30. Baby George’s sisters were Mildred, 13; Mary, 8; Maggie, 5; Sarah, 3 and Virginia, 1. His brothers were Edward, 12; Robert, 11, and William, 10. is

Sadly, George only lived one month and two days and he lost his life on Tuesday, June 20, 1916. The cause of death was meningitis. The grieving parents buried their son on June 22nd at Mount Sinai Cemetery. Jacob and Eliza buried another child sometime after 1910. Further research may show he or she may be buried at Mount Sinai as well. [sources: Loudoun County Birth and Death Certificates, Ancestry.com; Loudoun County Historical Birth and Death Records, 1912-1917; U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]

On April 24, 1917, the Curtis family welcomed a set of twins, a boy and a girl. They named the two babies Howard Fenton and Frances Catherine Curtis. They were brought into this world by a midwife, Mrs. Frances Anderson. It appeared the baby girl was named after the midwife. The twins lived to adulthood. [source: Loudoun County Birth Certificates, Ancestry.com]

*****

Elizabeth and Henry Howard

Elizabeth Howard: date of birth, unknown; date of death 1895

Henry Howard; date of birth, about 1834; date of death September 7, 1900, age about 66 years old.

Elizabeth and Henry Howard

The gravestones of Elizabeth and Henry Howard lie beside each other in the Mount Sinai Cemetery. They died within five years of each other.

Henry Howard grave marker
Henry Howard grave marker

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, H.B. Howard was listed as living in Lovettsville. He was a 55- year-old farm laborer. Living with him was his 59-year-old wife Eliza. Her occupation was “keeping house.” When calculated, the ages indicated that H.B. Howard was born about 1825 and Eliza in about 1821. No children were enumerated as living in the household. I can only speculate that this was Elizabeth and Henry Howard. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]

A few years later, on May 14, 1883, 17 African-American men of Loudoun County gathered in Leesburg and held a Mass Meeting where they decided to petition the courts for recognition of their rights under the 14th and 15th amendments to the United States Constitution. They petitioned county Judge James B. McCabe for their right to serve as jurors and election officials which were rights guaranteed them by these two amendments. These brave civil rights pioneers took this action despite the risk of being jailed or lynched; lynching was not outlawed in Loudoun until 1928. Additionally, their names were printed in the local newspaper.

Henry Howard was among those courageous men gathered for this meeting. He represented Lovettsville along with Joseph Rivers. The others who attended were James Ball, James Bowman, John Brooks, Lee Bryant, Gregg Furr, Fielding Green, Alfred Grigsby, James Hicks, William Jackson, William Morland, Jesse Moton, John Neal, Joseph Waters, William Waters, and Thomas Williams. Each of these men represented various parts of Loudoun County.

The court’s response was as follows as reported by the local newspaper, the Mirror:

“Judge McCabe granted all of the above Petition except the right of being Judges of Elections.”

The Delegates of the 1883 Mass Meeting disagreed, citing the fact that for over twenty years, the Black citizens of Loudoun County have been “trying to qualify ourselves for the duties of citizenship…” [source: Donna Bohanon (Chair of the Black History Committee of the Thomas Balch Library), A Study in Civil Rights: The Delegates of the 1883 Mass Meeting,” Bulletin of Loudoun County History, 2019 Edition]

Nevertheless, a few years after the Mass Meeting and despite the disappointing outcome, Henry Howard exercised his right to vote by registering on July 24, 1888 in Lovettsville. He was one of the voters listed in the List of Colored Voters found at the Lovettsville Museum that we recently chronicled in this newsletter. The voter list had him as 54 years old. That does not agree with the age of H.B. Howard in the 1880 census which had him at 55 years old. However, I believe H.B. Howard and Henry Howard were the same person and the age in the voter record may have been due to the person recording the information given by these voters. There could possibly be errors. [source: List of Colored Voters, Registered at Lovettsville Precinct, Lovettsville Historical Society and Museum, c.1888-1900]

On the same day, Charles Howard, at age 32, registered to vote. Was he Henry’s son? I was not able to link the two as father and son. Referring back to the 1880 census, Charles was enumerated as 24-year-old, single and a laborer who lived in the household of John Roof (white) and his family. John was listed as an 87-year-old retired farmer. [sources: List of Colored Voters (cited above); U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]

Elizabeth Howard grave marker
Elizabeth Howard grave marker

Henry Howard remained in Lovettsville. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was listed as a day laborer. His birth month was listed as October, but his age and year of birth were missing. He was a widower, having lost his beloved wife, Elizabeth, in 1895. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com; Find-A-Grave.com]

There was one interesting item about his household that got my attention. May E. Brooks was enumerated as a 20-year-old adapted daughter of Henry Howard and she lived in the household. Her birth month and year were missing, and she was born in Maryland, as were her parents. She could both read and write. Her surname attracted my attention: Brooks. I thought of John Brooks, one of Henry Howard’s fellow delegates to the 1883 Mass Meeting. John represented Leesburg. According to Donna Bohannan’s article on the Mass Meeting cited above, John Brooks may have left Loudoun County in 1888, reportedly before he was sentenced on charges of selling liquor without a license. This was according to an article dated June 15, 1888 entitled “Made Himself Scarce” which appeared in the Loudoun Telephone. John was known as a community leader in Loudoun and may have been thought of as “dangerous” by white citizens, given that the relationship between Loudoun’s African-American citizens and whites were, at best, strained at this time.

This 1900 census was dated June 25, 1900 and Henry Howard died a few months later on September 7, 1900. This Loudoun County civil rights pioneer and conscientious voter took strides to make life better for his fellow Black residents by seeking to enforce the guaranteed rights afforded to Loudoun’s African-Americans citizens by the U.S. Constitution. In an act of compassion and drawing from Christian values, since he was most likely a member of the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church, he may have cared for a fellow Mass Meeting delegate’s daughter despite his advanced age. He was probably in his 60s. Henry Howard was buried beside his wife in Mount Sinai Cemetery. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]

*****

Alice L.B. Morgan

Alice L.B. Morgan: date of birth, May 23, 1893; date of death, May 19, 1894, age 11 months, 26 days.

Alice L.B. Morgan marker, with Gates of Heaven carving. Inscription reads: "Alice L. B., dau. of James H. and Annie Morgan, died May 19, 1894. Age 11 mo. (?) and 26 d."
Alice L.B. Morgan marker, with Gates of Heaven carving. Inscription reads: “Alice L. B., dau. of James H. and Annie Morgan, died May 19, 1894. Age 11 mo. (?) and 26 d.”

Alice L.B. Morgan survived 11 months and 26 days. According to inscriptions on her hard-to-read gravestone, she was the daughter of James and Annie Morgan. “An angel goes home…” was inscribed on the stone as well. I wanted to find more information about her parents. I looked in the next U.S. Federal Census which was 1900. James Morgan, born about September 1869, was a 30-year-old farm laborer. His wife, Annie, was a 27-year-old housekeeper born about March 1873. The couple had been married for 10 years. In this particular census, women were asked how many children they had given birth to and how many survived. Annie had given birth to one child and that child had not survived. That child was Alice. Annie had not given birth to any other children. [sources: Find A Grave.com; U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]

When researching Alice Morgan’s parents, I could find nothing on her mother, Annie Morgan. However, on her paternal side, there were many members of the Morgan family enumerated in the census who lived in the Lovettsville area and the following is the most probable record of James Morgan.

I believe Columbus Morgan could possibly be the father of James Morgan. According to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Columbus Morgan was a 35-year-old laborer and his wife, Amy, was 30 years old. In the household were four boys and two girls and the children were enumerated using their first and middle initials. H.J. Morgan was a 10-year-old son. Another one of the children was a five-month-old daughter named Rose. Elizabeth Coleman lived in the household and was listed as Columbus’ mother. She was 49 years old. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com] Columbus Morgan was a Civil War veteran, having enlisted in Company A of the 43rd Regiment, United States Colored Infantry, at age 19 – probably in 1864. He was mustered out in Brownsville, Texas in October 1865. (This means that, like Mount Sinai’s Pvt. Samuel Timbers, his regiment was deployed to the Mexican border after Appomattox). In 1896, after Columbus’s death, Amy was granted a widow’s pension on account of Columbus’s military service. [Source: Ancestry.com; U.S. Federal Census of Civil War Veterans, 1890]

By 1893, many of Columbus Morgan’s children were enrolled at the Lovettsville Colored School which was located at S. Loudoun and S. Locust Streets. Rose M. Morgan was 14 by then and was accompanied by her sister, Lily, and her other brothers. [source: Lovettsville Colored School Ledger, Lovettsville Historical Society]

Some male members of the Morgan family exercised their right to vote and were listed on the List of Colored Voters. Columbus Morgan as well as his sons, Charles and Marshal/Marchal all registered in the latter part of the 19th century. I was not able to locate and confirm that James was a registered voter. [source: List of Colored Voters cited above]

Rose Morgan, James’ sister, by 1900 had moved to Pittsburgh and was a 19-year-old servant living the household of Charles Bruce (white) and his family. He was a 34-year-old plumber. Rose was single, had no children and could both read and write. I thought it was interesting that Charles was from Virginia. Did he know the Morgan family in Lovettsville? [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]

Top of Alice Morgan marker, inscribed "An Angel Goes Home....."
Top of Alice Morgan marker, inscribed “An Angel Goes Home…..”

Unfortunately, Rose’s life ended on April 18, 1906. She died from typhoid fever, which is contracted by drinking or eating the bacteria in contaminated food or water. She died at St. Francis Hospital in Pittsburgh. She was 24 years old. James Morgan was the informant listed on the death certificate. The death certificate listed Columbus Morgan as her father and the mother was listed as unknown. Rose’s place of birth was Virginia. The older brother, James, brought his sister back to Lovettsville for burial and she was buried on April 21, 1906. She appears to be buried at the African Chapel AME Cemetery in Lovettsville. [sources: webmd.com; Allegheny County, Pa. Death Certificate, Ancestry.com; Find-A-Grave]

While researching James, I was unsure about his connection to the Columbus Morgan family until I saw this death certificate naming him as the informant and Columbus Morgan as Rose’s father.

During these few years when James Morgan’s sisters and brothers attended school and his male relatives participated in the voting process, James was married and he and his wife lost their daughter after only 11 months of life. Then a few years later, he traveled to Pittsburgh and brought his younger sister home to Lovettsville to be buried in her home town. Alice L.B. Morgan is buried at Mount Sinai Cemetery.

*****

Members of the Moten and Jackson Families

Infant Moten: date of birth, June 14, 1918; date of death, June 14, 1918, age seven hours.

Ruby May Moten Trammel: date of birth, October 26, 1916; date of death, August 26, 1935, age 18 years, 10 months.

Sarah Jane Beaner Jackson: date of birth, unknown; date of death July 20, 1955, age 70 years.

Russell Hainsworth Jackson: date of birth, November 26, 1899; date of death, November 19, 1954, age 54 years.

Infant Moten

Jesse Stringer Moten, 32, married Emma Mae Beaner, 23, on August 25, 1915 in Leesburg. They settled in the Little Britain area on Mountain Road near the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church. Both could read and write. Emma received her primary school education at the Britain Colored School where she was enrolled as a student in the late 1890s. The school ledger has her uncle Thomas Timbers as a guardian for both Emma and her older sister, Sarah. Emma was enumerated as living with her Uncle Thomas in both the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Federal Census. I would conclude she was raised by her Uncle Thomas and Aunt Elizabeth Timbers. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com; Britain Colored School Ledger, Lovettsville Historical Society and Museum]

The couple welcomed their first child, Ruby May, on October 26, 1916. She was born at about 8:45 p.m. and delivered by Dr. G. Simpson.

Two years later, on June 18, 1918, at around 11 o’clock in the morning in Lovettsville, Jesse and Emma Beaner Moten welcomed their second daughter. The family made their home in the neighboring town of Purcellville but due to unknown circumstances, they were in Lovettsville that morning. Jesse Stringer Moten was a 37-year-old farm laborer and Emma May/Mae was a housewife. The baby was brought into the world by the same physician who delivered her sister two years earlier, Dr. G. Simpson.

But the couple suffered a terrible loss on that day because seven hours after the baby girl was born, she passed away. She was never named. The cause of death was premature birth. Dr. Simpson remained with the couple but could not save this precious life. The “Infant Moten” was buried the next day at Mount Sinai Cemetery. The undertaker was listed as Robert Timbers, sexton. As mentioned earlier, Robert Timbers’ duties as a sexton included caretaker for the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church and Cemetery. Another one of his duties was grave digger. [sources: Merriam-Webster.com; Loudoun County Birth and Death Certificates, Ancestry.com]

Ruby May Moten Trammel

Jesse and Emma Moten’s first daughter, Ruby May, married Henry Trammel on January 10, 1933. The couple welcomed their first son on March 26, 1933, William Henry Trammel. Tragically, the child only survived 29 days and was “buried by parents,” as noted on the death certificate, at a cemetery in Lewisville, Virginia. The cause of death was marasmus which is defined as a condition of undernourishment that occurs mainly in children. Also noted on the death certificate was “immature developed at birth.” Contradicting that statement, it was written on this document that the “birth certificate states full term,” apparently meaning the baby was a full-term baby according to the birth certificate. Jesse Moten, Rose’s father was the informant of the death.

Henry and Rose welcomed their second child Charles Henry Trammel on August 20, 1935. Once again, the Moten family suffered another loss. A few days later at age 18, Ruby May Moten Trammel died of complications of the child birth. She was buried “in the colored cemetery near Lovettsville.” Her final resting place was most likely Mount Sinai Cemetery. Both daughters of Jesse and Emma Moten were laid to rest there.

Sarah Jane Beaner Jackson

As noted earlier, Sarah Jane Beaner was Emma Beaner’s older sister. Sarah went on to marry Uriah Jackson and by 1920, had eleven children. In many of the census records, Sarah’s race was noted as “Mulatto.” At some point, she and her family moved out of Lovettsville and made their home in Leesburg. In 1955, she was admitted to Loudoun County Hospital (in Leesburg) and after several hours was pronounced dead at age 70. She died on July 20, 1955; her husband predeceased her. The race on the death certificate was listed as “white.” Sarah Jane Beaner Jackson was brought back to Lovettsville and buried at the Mount Sinai Cemetery alongside her two nieces, Ruby May Moten Trammel, Ruby’s sister, an unnamed infant girl and her oldest son, Russell Hainsworth Jackson. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]

Russell Hainsworth Jackson

Russell Hainsworth Jackson was the first-born son on Uriah and Sarah Beaner Jackson. At age 18, he registered for the draft during World War I. On his draft card was stated, “obviously physically disqualified…tuberculosis.” It appeared he did not serve during World War I. Sadly, he lost his life on November 19, 1954 at age 54 and the cause of death was an acute coronary occlusion. His mother, Sarah Beaner Jackson was the informant. He was buried alongside other relatives at Mount Sinai Cemetery. [source: Loudoun County Death Certificate, Ancestry.com; World War I Draft Card, Ancestry.com]

*****

In the narratives of those interred at Mount Sinai Cemetery, I tried to capture the lives of the African- American residents of the Little Britain Community in this part of Lovettsville, Virginia. Where did they receive their education? How did they earn a living? What was family life like in this area located next to the Short Hill? How were they involved in the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church?

Emma Moten and friends around 1966. Back row left to right: Mae Long, Hannah Daniels, Jannett Smith, Patience Corbin, and Emma Moten. Front row left to right: Ethel Curtis, Jesse Lucas, and Myrtle Moten. (Hannah Daniels was a school teacher at Hillsboro school; Mae Long is the daughter of Ethel Curtis; Myrtle Moten married Emma Moten’s brother Richard.) Photo courtesy Howard Timbers.
Emma Moten and friends around 1966. Back row left to right: Mae Long, Hannah Daniels, Jannett Smith, Patience Corbin, and Emma Moten. Front row left to right: Ethel Curtis, Jesse Lucas, and Myrtle Moten. (Hannah Daniels was a school teacher at Hillsboro school; Mae Long was the daughter of Ethel Curtis; Myrtle Moten married Emma Moten’s brother-in-law Richard Moten.) Photo courtesy Howard  G. Timbers.

Gilbert Timbers provided me with his recollection of the life of his Aunt Emma Beaner Moten and Uncle Jesse Moten. Emma Beaner was born on April 30, 1889. She was the daughter of Harriet Timbers and Robert Beaner. Emma had two siblings: Sarah Jane Beaner and Robert Washington Beaner. She could read and write, having received her early education at the Britain Colored School and she worked primarily as a domestic. As mentioned earlier, she gave birth to her first daughter, Ruby Mae on October 26, 1916; her second daughter born on June 14, 1918, did not survive.

Gilbert’s family visited them regularly and his remembrances would most likely be in the late 1950s when he was about ten years old. They lived very frugal lives and I would suspect this was typical for those living in that community. They owned their home which was a small, two-room house on Mountain Road near Little Britain. They did not have electricity nor running water in their home and did not own a car. They lived off the land. A garden was planted every year which provided vegetables and his Uncle Jess raised hogs and chickens. Since the house was located in a wooded area, wildlife meat was quite plentiful. Now his Aunt Emma talked about eating raccoons and opossum. Gilbert and his siblings often wondered about the meat his Aunt Emma served because they may be eating something captured in the surrounding woods. A large black wood stove was used to cook those meals and heat the home as well.

Gilbert mentioned how kind, considerate and hospitable his Aunt Emma was, always asking if his family wanted something to eat when they visited. They were fed meals but Gilbert’s mother knew how scarce food was and that there was no extra food to be had. Gilbert’s mother strongly warned her children not to ask their aunt for snacks or extra food.

Gilbert recalls shopping trips his aunt made to Hill Tom Market in Hillsboro where she would purchase postum, cheese/crackers and one of his aunt’s favorite things, snuff. Another favorite of Aunt Emma was Midget Wrestling which was a professional sport popular in the 1950s and 1960s and it was broadcast on television. Gilbert’s family would pick them up and drive them to his home to view the broadcast. His aunt and uncle also joined his family for Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.

After Uncle Jess died on March 12, 1967, Aunt Emma lived alone for a while, then moved in with her niece near Sterling, Virginia, and Gilbert and his family continued to visit up until her death on October 1, 1977. Jesse and Emma Moten’s final resting place is at the Mount Olive Baptist Church Cemetery in Lincoln, Virginia.

 

Research assistance provided  by Edward Spannaus.

Next month we will continue our inspirational stories of those interred at Mount Sinai Cemetery.