I was so fortunate to meet so many wonderful people and spend time with them. I was so blessed every step I took. I was well fed and taken care of! I miss Jean, Alice, Grace and Freddy so much. I've never spent that much time with them at once in my whole life. I feel like I need to call them more often now.
Jean...I don't even know where to start. I know I couldn't have done this without her. I am SO grateful and feel so lucky to have her! The same goes for Florence...she is is an invaluable resource. I still can't believe we had her up until 3am talking about what she knew. That taped recording is going to be worth so much! If I could have, I would have taken Raymond the dog home with me.
In all, I, with the help of many, collected the following information:
- From the children of King Atlas and Rachel Day, to date, I have been able to trace to present four of their six children: King, Jr., John, Sr., Andrew, William, Sr. I have been able to trace Sarah Atlas' line to at least 1938, and have still not found any information on if there was a son named Thomas born to King and Rachel. I still believe that this was a mistake, as King Atlas, Jr. had a son named Thomas and I believe people thought he had a brother with the same name. http://www.atlasfamily.org/firssecgen.jpg
- I discovered the whereabouts of two lines of the family: The descendants of Rachel Atlas-Hearns (Daughter of King Atlas, Sr. and Alice Smith) and the descendants of Rachel Atlas-Ferguson (Daughter of John and Sabina Atlas). These two Rachels were first cousins and named after their paternal grandmother Rachel Day.
Rachel Atlas-Ferguson's daughters are still living and live next door to each other in the Inland Empire in CA. I grew up not even 10 miles north of where they live; my family has been in that area for more than 20 years and had no idea they were there until now. These sisters have a letter that is over 130 years old from a family member from VA that use to be in the possession of their aunt until she died in 1973. Another cousin had read and seen this letter but didn't know where it had went once the sisters aunt had passed away. He didn't even know who came from CA to bury her, as he had been told that information from neighbors. Now we know who it is. This over 30 year mystery was solved by a visit to the grocery store by Florence. The butcher at Jongs in Lake Providence is the nephew of the two sisters mentioned above. He's lived in Lake Providence nearly his whole life.
I found Rachel Atlas-Hearns descendants after searching through online obituaries, which is something I haven't relied on doing. I discovered that one of Rachel's great grandaughters had died only two weeks before I found her obituary. I placed a cold call to the only name in the state that she lived in that matched in a free white pages search on the Internet. (Remember, up until this trip, I haven't paid for any of the research that I've done and didn't have a Family History Center that I could use while on my trip) It was the right person!!! Two weeks earlier, this section of the family thought that they had no one left on this side, for me to only call two weeks later. They were so excited to hear from us and couldn't believe that I found them.
- Transcribed information from the obituaries/funeral programs of 8 people that family that I visited had.
- Photographed and videotaped family burial sites at both Evergreen Cemetery (Lake Providence, LA), Southside Cemetery (Oak Grove, LA)
- Photographed and videotaped some of the instruments used by King Atlas, Jr., Louis Bareford Atlas, Sr. and Francis Joseph Atlas, Sr. to make tools. King Atlas, Jr. was a blacksmith, the father of Louis Bareford and the paternal grandfather of Francis Joseph.
- Searched the East and West Carroll Courthouses for documents noting the names of slaves at plantations owned and operated by The Hood Family (Harbrid, Govy and Letitia) and the Balfour Family. No information was found naming any family members as slaves.
- Found many entries in the Conveyance Books in East Carroll Parish documenting sales conducted by family members; of note, King Atlas, Jr. sold two horses for $175 in or around 1870.
- Searched the Mississippi State Archives and did not find any documents noting the names of slaves purchased by the Balfour Family that matched the names of family members in all of Issaquena County and part of the documents for Madison County.
- Found no information leading me to believe that King Atlas, Sr. was creole, never a slave and from Egypt.
- Discovered that King Atlas, Jr. served as a juror for two separate terms in Carroll Parish, LA. He was also a registered voter. King, Jr. was probably a slave and was freed at about age 16. By 1870, he had $1000 worth of personal estate in addition to serving in the capacities outlined above. He named his son (Louis Bareford/Balfour) after the son of a major slaveholder in Carroll Parish (Louis Gartley Balfour), although I haven't been able to make the tie that would document that he was held by that slaveholder.
- Discovered that Louis Gartley Balfour lost the Balfour family plantation in or around 1880.
- Transcribed marriage information for at least 30 marriages within the family in East and West Carroll Parishes.
- Visited and photographed the Registrar of Voters, where Francis Joseph Atlas, Sr., Nancy and Frank Nervis and many other people were denied the right to vote until the Voting Rights Act was passed. Francis Joseph Atlas' testified in front of the Civil Rights Commission which helped pass the Voting Rights Act. I also read his testimony before the Civil Rights Commission for the first time and have tape recorded myself reading it. His struggle is documented in the book "Witness To the Truth" by Cleo Scott Brown and John Henry Scott. To preview and purchase, please visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1570034893/qid=1142964467/sr=1-3/ref=sr_1_3/102-8593710-1832961?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
- Interviewed and videotaped Jean and Alice who were apart of the New Orleans Chapter of NAACP and CORE about their participation in the Freedom Rides and involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Disocvered and purchased the book "Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice" by Raymond Arsenault. To preview and purchase, please visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195136748/qid=1142583603/sr=2-2/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_2/104-6784507-1419169?s=books&v=glance&n=283155 . These two family members, as well as their sister (who is now deceased) are mentioned in many pages of the book. They say that it is probably the most comprehensive one written, to date. Ironically, while in Atlanta, we discovered that CSPAN was at the Bookstore of the Black Madonna only a week before we went there and will air the book signing of the book noted above. The workers at the store put their back room back the way it was for the book signing and took pictures of Jean and Alice with the book once they found out they were in it.
- Visited the campuses of Spellman and Clark Atlanta and took pictures. My father went to Clark College and played football there.
- Visited the King Center; photographed and took pictures of it.
- Met 22 family members that I had never met before and photographed them.
Two of them are the ONLY people in the 9th generation of the family; a brother and a sister. The sister is truly a princess! **Laughs** She was always the last person on my 130+ page family report, and something told me she was a special little girl when I noticed that. Now I know why. **Smile** I can also add her brother there so she's not alone!
I know this is probably not it, but the major stuff that happened. I know I needed to recap so it could be documented.