By Claudette Lewis Bard
This month we are continuing our series about those interred at Mount Sinai Cemetery. Among those discussed will be a family who were among the several thousand African Americans in Loudoun County who were free people of color before Emancipation. Additionally, we will talk about a gentleman who exercised his right to vote despite obstacles put in his way and two young women who met early deaths, one the victim of a crime.
We will discuss Matilda Payne, Martha A. Young, Luther M. Young, Kate Redman, and members of the Timbers family: Ruth Ann Timbers, Thomas Henry Timbers, and Elizabeth Timbers.
Matilda Payne: date of birth, about 1881; date of death, March 28, 1913, age 32 years
Matilda Payne was most likely born Matilda Lucas about 1881 to Philip and Ann Lucas. When researching Matilda, I could only find limited information about her life and could not find her husband or any children born to her. There was a record of her in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, living in the Jefferson District with her mother, Ann Lucas, 27, and her brother, John E. Lucas who was three years old. Matilda was enumerated as two years old. Living nearby was Philip Lucas, a 30-year-old farm laborer who was married to Caroline Lucas and had four sons. I could not link this family to the family of Ann Lucas even though “Philip Lucas” was noted on the death certificate as Matilda’s father. Ann Lucas’ marital status in 1880 was single.
By 1910, Ann Lucas lived in the household of Edgar Gregg, white, his large extended family, and several other servants. Her occupation was listed as cook, presumably for that large household. The household was located in Mt. Gilead. She was 60 years old and had given birth to three children and two had survived, Matilda and John E. Lucas. She was listed as a widow.
A few years later, Ann Lucas buried her daughter, who was now known as Matilda Payne. She died from lobar pneumonia on March 28, 1913 at age 32. Her place of death was Lovettsville, her occupation was a housewife and she was married. Matilda Payne was buried at Mount Sinai Cemetery. [sources: Loudoun County Death Certificate, Ancestry.com; Loudoun County Historical Birth and Death Records, 1912-1917; United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com]
A little more than a year later, Ann Lucas died of paralysis at age 64. She died on May 24, 1914 and the informant was Arthur Lucas of Purcellville. Her occupation was a cook. She was buried in Lincoln, Virginia. [source: Loudoun County Death Certificate, Ancestry.com; Loudoun County Historical Births and Deaths, 1912-1917]
Martha A. Young: date of birth, August 6, 1837; date of death, November 15, 1896, age 59 years, 3 months, 9 days.
Luther M. Young: date of birth, about 1870; date of death, December 5, 1949, age about 78 years.
Martha A. Young was one of the earlier burials at Mount Sinai Cemetery. Her gravestone (left) has on it an image of the gates of heaven opening up to receive her soul. “At Rest” is inscribed above the gates. There is also a footstone with her initials inscribed, M.A.Y. [source: Find a Grave.com; Loudoun County Death Certificate, Ancestry.com]
Luther M. Young was most likely the son of Martha A. Young. Through all accounts, Luther Young led a life dedicated to his community and to his faith.
In the September and October 2020 issues of this newsletter, we talked about the Lovettsville Colored Voters and how a group of Lovettsville’s African-American men exercised their right to vote in the late 19th century. Luther M. Young was among those voters. In the ledger, he was listed as having transferred from Bolington in 1899 and registered to vote in the Lovettsville Magisterial District.
By 1900, he was enumerated as Martin Luther Young and was a 31-year-old single man living in Lovettsville. In 1910, now listed as Luther M. Young, he was still single and 40 years old. Enumerated in the household was a housekeeper by the name of Lizzie Brooks, single and 35 years old. She was born in Maryland as were her parents. She had no children. Both could read and write.
According to the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Luther M. Young was about 50 years old and was married to Mary E. Young, 40. Since Mary’s middle initial was “E” (Elizabeth or Lizzie), I would conclude that Lizzie Brooks, and Mary E. Young were the same person. Mr. Young was a farm laborer and also living in the household was his 11-year-old cousin, James Edward Bell. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]
James Edward Bell was enrolled at the Guinea Colored School in 1921 as a third-grade student. As previously noted in our newsletter, the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church served as the Guinea School (or sometimes called the Britain School) during the week and held church services on Sundays. In a short biography in this historical report, James Edward Bell, referred to as Edward, lived a mile from the school, was 12 years old and attended 34 of the 43 days the school was opened. He studied spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, grammar, and drawing. He did not study U.S. history, the history of Virginia, civil government and morals. The brief profile confirmed he lived with his cousin, Luther Young and Luther’s wife, and confirmed Luther Young’s residence was on Mountain Road, near the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church. Young wanted his cousin to get an education and he enrolled him into the school. [source: The Guinea Colored School Ledger, dated 1921, courtesy of the Edwin Washington Project]
Luther M. Young is enumerated as a 45-year-old farm laborer in the 1930 U.S. Federal Census which contradicts his true age which should be about 60 years old. Mary E. Young was listed as 40 years old which was her same age in the 1920 census; her true age in 1930 should be 50. They had been married 18 years or since 1912. There were no children listed in the household and James Edward Bell was not living in the home. The Youngs appeared to be childless. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]
There was little doubt Luther Young was a conscientious voter and citizen. He demonstrated that commitment back in 1899 by registering to vote. Unfortunately, by 1902, Virginia had a new Constitution that restricted the voting rights of Virginia’s Black citizens as well as poor Whites. In 1902, it installed both a literacy test and a poll tax of $1.50, which was more than most Black citizen’s daily wage. The number of voters who participated in the presidential election dropped from 4,800 in 1899 to 2,072 in 1903. The decline in Black voters is unknown. [source: Timeline of Important Events in African American History in Loudoun County, Va. by Eugene Scheel, Historian and Map Maker]
In the 1930s, the Lovettsville Magisterial District kept track of those who paid the poll tax. The list was arranged alphabetically and it included both men and women, since women were granted the right to vote a few years earlier. At the end of each alphabetical list was a separate entry entitled “Colored” and had the names of those African Americans who paid their poll tax. Luther M. Young was listed in the separate “Colored” section at the end of those whose surname began with “Y.” This list truly demonstrated the abhorrent separation of the Black and White societies that existed in 20th century Virginia. But it also brought to light those Black men who perhaps had the means as well as the fortitude to exercise their right to vote despite measures taken to disenfranchise them. This does not diminish the desire to vote by so many more African Americans in Loudoun County who wished to do the same but were denied the right granted to them by the 15th amendment. There could have been a number of factors including intimidation from an employer where the employee would lose their livelihood or passing the literacy test. [source: Lovettsville District poll tax list located at the Thomas Balch Library (Leesburg, Virginia) vertical file]
During the 1940s, Luther M. Young was enumerated as Martin Luther Young, as he was known in the 1900 census. He was reported in the census as a 63-year-old farm laborer and he was married to Mary L. Young who was 60 years old. There were some slight discrepancies in the ages between the 1930 and 1940 census. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]
By 1947, the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church had located on that site for over a half century and had served as a church and school through the 1920s. On September 20, 1947, the remaining church members held a meeting presided over by Rev. W.M. Clayborn from the Mount Moriah Baptist Church located near Knoxville, Maryland (Frederick County). Martin Luther Young and Luther Evans were appointed Trustees and the measure was signed by Rev. Clayborn. This appointment started the legal proceedings for these two men to officially become Trustees. In the following year on May 4, 1948, a deed was executed conveying the property to Luther Evans and Martin Luther Young as Trustees for the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church. [source: Time-Line for the Mount Sinai Free Will Baptist Church and Cemetery prepared by Ed Spannaus, Lovettsville Historical Society]
Sadly, Mr. Young died a little over a year later on December 5, 1949 at about age 78. The name on his death certificate listed him as Luther M. Young. The cause of death was coronary thrombosis. His parents were listed as Willis Young and Martha Beavers (maiden name). Luther M. Young was buried at the Mount Sinai Cemetery. [source: Loudoun County Death Certificate, Ancestry.com]
Kate Redman: date of birth, about 1869; date of death, November 24, 1914.
Kate Redman’s life was cut short at age 45 and the cause of death was homicide. The following is what I have found of Kate Redman. In the following narrative, I will use the spelling of “Redmon” and “Redman” as it is reported in the document of which I am researching.
The earliest record I could find for Ms. Redman was in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. From all accounts, she was born Katie/Kate Curtis in about 1869. By 1900, she was enumerated as a 34-year-old servant living in the household of Lydia Filler, 69, white, probably on the property now known as Linden Hall. Ms. Filler was the widow of prominent Lovettsville businessman Armistead Filler, and she was living with several generations of her family including adult children and minor grandchildren. Gaither Curtis was enumerated in the household and was presumably Ms. Curtis’ seven-year-old daughter. She was also a servant. Arthur Berry was living in the household as well. He was a Black 17-year-old servant. This census record had Kate Curtis as being married for eight years, having given birth to four children and all four were living. Her husband was not living in the household nor were any of her other children. [source: U.S. Federal Census, Ancestry.com]
Kate Redman died on November 24, 1914, the victim of a homicide committed on Saturday, November 21, 1914, allegedly by Mason Redmon. Kate was either his “wife or his mistress.” Despite the viciousness of the murder, Kate managed to survive until the following Tuesday when she succumbed to her wounds and died. Mr. Redman was arrested immediately by Deputy Sheriff Lindsey and taken to Leesburg for trial. He attempted to escape but was immediately apprehended. The reason for the killing was unclear, although there was speculation that the couple had quarreled. [source: “Tragedy at Lovettsville,” The Frederick News, November 25, 1914]
This was a summary of the murder trial as reported by the local newspaper, the Loudoun Mirror: In February 1915, Mason Redmon was found guilty of first-degree murder by a Loudoun County jury and was sentenced to the “penitentiary for the balance of his life.” As to Mason’s actions after hearing the sentence, “the prisoner took his sentence very philosophically and showed no signs of collapse.”
The murder was committed on the Filler farm near Lovettsville and, sadly, Kate Redman’s two daughters were “eyewitnesses to the bloody tragedy.” Mason Redmon was defended by two court-appointed attorneys, named Hall and Martin. They were able to save their client from being executed, through “the hardest work and the most intelligent application of every possible doubt,” and through this effort, Mr. Redmon avoided being sentenced to death by electrocution.
The trial attracted quite a bit of attention in Leesburg in February 1915. But up until then, the facts and news of the shooting were generally not known in Leesburg and had not been much covered by the local papers. Judge Turner, the presiding judge, commented that he had never seen a jury so quickly empaneled, and he believed this was due to members of the jury not having heard of any details or news of this shooting when it occurred in November 1914. [source: “Redmon Given Life Sentence,” Loudoun Mirror, February 12, 1915, courtesy of the Thomas Balch Library; Circuit Court Historic Records Division: Criminal Cases, loudoun.gov]
Mason Redmon was 21 years old when he was convicted of murdering 45-year-old Kate Redman. I could not locate a record of the marriage between Mason and Kate. According to his World War I draft registration card, when he registered, by this time, he was an inmate at the Virginia Penitentiary. In or around 1924, he was transferred to the Central State Hospital in Petersburg, which was used to house those regarded as mentally ill, including the “criminally insane,” as they said in those days. As mentioned in an earlier article in this newsletter, this was a hospital located in Petersburg, Dinwiddie County, Virginia and its patients were all African American. He died on December 31, 1953 and his cause of death was coronary thrombosis. Extraordinarily, his marital status was listed on the death certificate as “widowed.” He was not immediately buried in a cemetery, but his remains were sent to the Virginia Anatomical Board which used human bodies for mdical research. [source: Dinwiddie County Virginia Death Certificate, Ancestry.com]
From all accounts, Mason Redmon never saw freedom again, after being imprisoned. Kate Redman was buried at the Mount Sinai Cemetery in 1914.
Thomas Henry Timbers
By Howard Gilbert Timbers
My great-great grandfather, Thomas Henry Timbers, was born December 19, 1849, as a free African American in Loudoun County, Virginia. [Source: Loudoun County Record of Free Negroes 1844-1861). He was one of eleven children of Charles and Margaret Nelson Timbers. Thomas, who was not able to read or write, was raised and lived in the Lovettsville and Hillsboro areas throughout his life. Though Thomas was unable to read or write he assumed an active role as guardian for his nieces (Sarah, Mary and Emma Beaner) and nephew (George Timbers) who attended the Britain Colored School. [Source: Britain Colored School ledger, Lovettsville Historical Society].
Thomas appears in the 1860 census for Loudoun County (with his post office as Hillsboro), in his mother’s household along with his siblings: Ann M. (17), Margaretta (12), Thomas (10), Harriett (4), and Hannah (3 mo). Margaret appears to be renting her home, with personal property valued at $75.00. Living next door is Ruth Timbers (age 70) and Bettie Timbers (40). Ruth could be the mother-in-law of Margaret, and Bettie is most likely Ruth’s daughter and Margaret’s sister. The census shows Ruth has accumulated personal assets valued at $50.00. Living in the house next to Ruth and Bettie is Maria Timbers (possibly the daughter of Ruth and sister of Margaret and Bettie). Maria has also accumulated personal assets valued at $50.00. Living in the household with Maria are her children: Ruth Timbers (age 22), Elizabeth Timbers (age 4), Eliza Timbers (age 3), and Thomas Williams, age 25 – occupation day laborer. [Source: U.S. Federal Census – Ancestry.com].
When the 1870 census for the Northern Division of Loudoun was completed, Thomas, age 20, had left his mother’s home and was working as a farm laborer, living in the household of John Crim, who appears to be a prominent farmer with real estate and personal property totaling $10,000. Residing in this household are: John Crim (54), John J. Crim (16), Wesley Crim (15), Emma Crim (13) and Florence Crim (11). [Source: U.S. Federal Census – Ancestry.com]. The 1880 Lovettsville census had two districts: 59 and 60. Interestingly, there was a Thomas Timbers living in both districts. First, the Thomas Timbers family living in household #37 in Lovettsville District 59, is Black, age 27 and working as a laborer with a wife named Mary E, Black, age 22 along with three whites: Ebon Simpson (14), Anna Wright (27), and Leroy Wright (12). In the second district — Lovettsville District 60 — Thomas Timbers is enumerated as a mulatto, age 30, laborer (though he did not work for three months), head of household and married in household #172 along with his wife E.H. Timbers, mulatto, age 22, keeping house, and their only child, James R. Timbers, mulatto, age 7. I suspect that the middle initial recording for Elizabeth is incorrect but, I believe that this is probably my great-great grandfather. Though the 1880 census noted Thomas and Elizabeth to be married, discovered marriage records reflect he was officially married on December 29, 1881. [Source: Loudoun County Register of Marriages 1850-1866].
In 1886, at the age of 37, Thomas purchased property. A deed was executed between David Conner and Thomas Timbers on June 2, 1886. Thomas paid two hundred dollars for his Property, and signed the document with his X. The property was described as: being at the east base of the Short Hills being a fraction of the (lease lands formerly) adjoining the lands of C. Nisewarner, Cole and others beginning at a stake in Cole’s line 12 feet east of stone corner to Nisewarner and running thence with Cole’s & C.W. Baker’s lines in a southward direction 43 3/100 poles to a planted stone corner to C.W. Baker, thence in a north west direction 30 poles to a planted stone in Nisewarner’s line, thence with Nisewarner’s line 20 30/100 poles to the beginning, containing four acres of land be the same more or less.
I find this transaction to be interesting because of the way the deed is written. Had Thomas previously leased this land that he was now buying? That’s a question that I don’t have the answer to but, I suspect that Thomas probably leased this property under the auspices of a sharecropping agreement. [Source: U. S. Federal Census – Ancestry.com; Loudoun County Court Records – Deed book 6Y 154].
On July 2, 1889, Thomas and his wife Elizabeth sold a parcel (one acre) of their land which was free of having been mortgaged to Charles W. Timbers and his wife Luanna Timbers for the sum of $50.00. Charles appears to be Thomas’ nephew and the son of Ann Timbers Thomas’ sister. An interesting fact about Charles is that he registered to vote in May 1889, two months before he became a landowner. Strangely, Charles and his wife Luanna sold their lot to George T. Cooper for $60.00 just a few months later, on November 26, 1889. [Source: Loudoun County Court Records –Deed Book 7C 478].
Thomas retained ownership of his remaining three acres, as reflected in the 1900 census for Lovettsville. Household #202 lists, along with Thomas – head (age 52), his wife Elizabeth A. Timbers, age 42; and James R. Timbers, son, age 29. In addition, his mother Margaret A. Timbers, age 83; George W. Timbers, nephew, age 16; and Emma Beaner, niece, age 10, are also living in the house with Thomas. [Source: U. S. Federal Census – Ancestry.com]. By 1910, Thomas’ mother Margaret had died, and he is about 60 years old, with his wife Elizabeth is, age 55. His niece, Emma Beaner, age 20 stills lives with him and his wife; plus his granddaughter, Ruth Ann Timbers, age 8, has moved in. Thomas’ occupation is listed as ditching farm work. [Source: U.S. Federal Census – Ancestry.com].
The Timbers family structure had changed once again when the 1920 census was taken. Thomas’ niece Emma Beaner, now about 30, has moved out of his home and married Jess Moten. Thomas’s granddaughter Ruth, age 17, continues to live with her aging grandparents, who are now about 70 and 68 years old respectively. Thomas continues to be listed as owning his home. [Source: U. S. Federal Census – Ancestry.com]
Thomas and his wife Elizabeth had welcomed four grandchildren to their home when the 1930 Lovettsville was taken. Thomas is now age 80, his wife Elizabeth age 78, along with his granddaughter Ruth, age 24, and her four children: Rosie (age 7), Alberta (age 6), Charles (age 5), Howard G. (age 10 months – my father). Thomas died November 26, 1934 at the age of 84 years old, and was laid to rest in the colored cemetery near Lovettsville (Mount Sinai). His death was related to chronic nephritis. Chronic nephritis can lead to kidney failure, a condition that Thomas apparently had endured for over ten years. He had been under the care of a physician for several weeks prior to his death [Source: U. S. Federal Census – Ancestry.com]
Thomas’ wife Elizabeth A. Timbers, now 79 and unable to work, is listed as the household head in household #200 in the 1940 Lovettsville census. Her granddaughter Ruth (age 37) is now married (1938) to her husband Berkley Evans (age 31), and they continue to live and care for her grandmother along with their four children: Charles R. Timbers (age 15), Howard G. Timbers – my dad (age 10), Barbara A. Timbers (age 9), and Ruth’s and Berkley’s first child Shirley M. Evans (age 1). Rosie, Ruth’s first daughter, now about 17 years of age, and her second daughter Alberta, now about 16, are no longer living in the household. [Source: U. S. Federal Census – Ancestry.com].
Elizabeth A. Beaner Timbers died six years later on December 15, 1946. Her obituary, which was printed in the Blue Ridge Herald newspaper, described Elizabeth as a respected colored resident near Lovettsville, who died on Sunday, December 15, at the home of her granddaughter Ruth Evans of Purcellville. It is believed that Elizabeth was buried at Mount Sinai alongside her husband Thomas. Ruth and her husband and children remained in Loudoun County for another two years before the family relocated to Rockville, Maryland where her father James Robert Timbers was living. James died on March 15, 1952, Ruth died November 16, 1978. Both are buried in Lincoln Park Cemetery in Rockville, Maryland. [Source: Death Certificate Ancestry.com].
Berkley Evans was a son of Luther Evans, one of the Trustees appointed in 1947 to hold the title to the Mount Sinai Church and Cemetery property (as described in Claudette Bard’s article above). At the congregational meeting at which Luther Evans and Martin Luther Young were appointed, Ruth Timbers Evans, as clerk, signed the minutes of the meeting which were submitted to the Circuit Court in support of their petition to be named Trustees for the church property. Unfortunately, eight years later the property was given to new Trustees from Harpers Ferry, in a court proceeding that we are still trying to unravel.
— Gilbert Timbers, firstname.lastname@example.org