Alexandria Own Three-time Baseball Hall of Famer

Behind the Alexandria Gazette story on Leon Day dated July 5, 2018.

Combing through the cemeteries in Baltimore, Maryland, I came across a grave with a large flat headstone at the Arbutus Memorial Park Cemetery in Baltimore. This grave belonged to Leon Day who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Prior to finding Leon’s grave, I did not know who he was. I decided to research Leon and behold, I found that he was a native Alexandrian.

I asked several old timers in Alexandria about Leon Day; they were aware of Leon’s baseball abilities, but they did not know that he was one of their own native Alexandrians.

Leon’s parents were Ellis Day and Hattie Lee. Ellis was adopted by James Washington and Susie (Susan) Washington in Alexandria. On 14 April 1864, James Washington married Susan Johnson in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1900, Ellis Day lived in the Washington’s household at 512 North Royal Street. By 1906, Leon was married to Hattie Lee. They were living in Baltimore, Maryland in 1920. In their household were their children Ellis Day age 13, William H. Day age 10, Ida M. Day age 5, Leon Day age 3, Robert Day an infant. Also Ellis’ step-daughter Marian Lee age 20 and his sister-in-law, Eva Lee age 20 lived in the household.

A copy of Leon Day’s birth certificate was obtained to verify whether he was born in Alexandria. He was born in Alexandria on 30 October 1916. His birth certificate is showed.

Leon Day’s 1916 Birth Certificate

Leon’s first wife was Helen Johnson. She travel with Leon when he played in Puerto Rico, South American and in Canada. He was on the Passenger and Crew List of 1936 on the Vessel Coamo which arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico. On the 1940 Puerto Rico’s census, Leon and his first wife, Helen lived in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Leon was listed as a Professional Baseball player.

After the death of Helen, Leon married Geraldine Ingram. Leon was born in 1916 and his second wife, Geraldine was born in 1953. Geraldine loved baseball as much as Leon. After his death, she continued to represent him at all the local baseball games and she attended two of his Hall of Fame ceremonies; these ceremonies were The National Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and the Negro League Hall of Fame. On 6 April 2005, Geraldine died ten years after Leon.

You can read the Alexandria Gazette’s July 5, 2018, article on page 13 at http://connectionarchives.com/PDF/2018/070418/Alexandria.pdf.

Posted in Black People of Alexandria, Migration | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Family Traditions on Memorial Day

Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery at Washington and Church Street

Check out page 10 of the Alexandria Gazette Packet newspaper at http://connectionarchives.com/PDF/2018/052318/Alexandria.pdf my article on “Celebrating Family Traditions on Memorial Day.

Posted in Acknowledgement, Cemetery | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Martha Miller’s Kindergarten School (1930s – 1950)

Behind the scene of the Alexandria Gazette story published 3 May 2018 on “Martha Miller’s Kindergarten School” (1930s – 1950).

I was encouraged by Mrs. Martha Napper-Miller’s former students to share their fond memories of Mrs. Miller.

When I started researching Mrs. Miller last year, only one person I talked to knew that Mrs. Miller was married. Mr. James E. Henson was one of Mrs. Miller’s students and she was also his babysitter. Mr. Henson shared with me that he stayed with Mrs. Miller during the week and his mother picked him up on the weekend. He remembers Mr. Miller being a quiet man.

Thelma Lucas stated, “Martha Miller taught me and all my siblings.”

Besides the three people I mentioned in the article, others shared their stories of their private Kindergarten School:

Mrs. Bernice Lee stated that her kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Alma Pinn-Murray who had her school around the same time as Mrs. Miller. Mrs. Murray was also a public school teacher.

Dwaine E. Terrell remembered his kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Mary Howard-Penn.

Also Deborah Ford-Nelson and Rosie Ford remembered going to Mrs. Mary Howard-Penn’s Kindergarten School. Rosie stated, “She taught me how to read and much more.” Rosie has been friends with Mrs. Penn’s daughter, Sandra, since they have been four-years-old. Also to note that Mrs. Mary Howard-Penn had several siblings who were teachers in the Alexandria Public School system in the 1950s through 1980s.

Gail Arrington-Jones’ kindergarten teachers were Mrs. Ethel Nelson and Mrs. Mary Burgess. Gail stated, “We honored Mrs. Nelson in 2015 for her operation of the Kindergarten School in 2015.” It is noted that Mrs. Nelson still lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

In the newspaper article, I stated that Mrs. Miller had two other teacher aides, Saretta Norton and Christine Butler. Christine was Mrs. Miller’s niece. Thank you Becky Mays for confirming that information.

Becky also stated, “Ms. Christine Butler held her kindergarten classes in my Mom’s house on Princess Street. It was awesome.” After the death of Mrs.

Martha Napper-Miller’s
Death Certificate

Miller in 1952, Christine continued to teach. She moved the School from Oronoco Street to Princess Street.

Mrs. Martha was multi-talented. Not only did she have her Kindergarten School, she was a dressmaker and a laundress. Her husband, Pierce S. Miller migrated from North Carolina to Alexandria where he met and married Mrs. Martha. Many of her close relatives are deceased. They were:

Cora Marshall Napper (mother): 1856 – 1922
Samuel Napper (father): 1853 – 1930
William Napper (brother): 1888 – 1913
Richard Russell Napper (brother): 1890 – 1928
Anna B. Woodlawn David (adopted daughter): 1914 – 1975
Frederick David (son-in-law): 1907 – 1983
Christine Butler (niece): 1935 – 1986

Over and over again, the African Americans of Alexandria historically proved that they did everything possible to improve their lives. Education was a priority for their children. Education was so important that many African American mothers left their children with their teachers for the whole week while they worked, so that their children can get a good education. That in itself is remarkable!

Posted in Black People of Alexandria, Education | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alexandria World War I African American Veterans

Behind the scene of the Alexandria Gazette story on “Alexandria World War I African American Veterans dated April 19, 2018.

About a month ago, I inquired about information on Alexandria African American World War I Veterans. Amy Bertsch responded to my request and sent me an article on African American World War I Veterans in Alexandria. Thanks Amy!

With the names of these veterans, I was able to research them. For the Alexandria Gazette’s newspaper, I focused on three of the 52 veterans that were drafted. Out of these three veterans, two of them had children: Private Ulysses Garnett Bell and Private Courtney Hauls.

Ulysses G. Bell’s WWI military card

Private Ulysses Garnett Bell was the son of Thornton Bell and Georgianna Brown. Thornton was born around 1840 and his wife, Georgianna was born around 1848. They married 17 September 1874 in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1880, they were living on West Street. Thornton was a laborer for the brickyard. He and his wife had the following children: Edward T. Bell, Mary A. Bell, William H. Bell, Robert Bell, Albert Bell, Silas Bell and Ulysses G. Bell. In 1900 Georgianna Bell was listed as a widow, she and her children were living at 1307 Queen Street. In 1910, Georgianna’s grandson, Charles Henry Bell lived in her household with his mother, Mary E. Bell. Georgianna’s son, Ulysses married Beatrice Brown on 9 March 1914. Beatrice died giving birth to their son, Edward Ulysses on May 6, 1915. Ulysses’ in-laws raised his son, Edward.

In 1917, Ulysses was drafted into World War I. Private Ulysses G. Bell died on 18 December 1945 in Washington, D.C. His son, Edward Ulysses Bell was a World War II Veteran. After serving in the military, he came back to Alexandria. Like his father, he worked for the Federal government at the General Accounting Office. He married Noreen Day and they had one daughter, Beatrice, who was named after Edward’s mother. Edward died on 12 May 2001 in Alexandria, Virginia. His daughter, Beatrice had four children. Two of her children are living today.

Private Courtney Hauls was the son of Cyrus and Sarah Harris Hauls (Halls). Cyrus was born around 1847. He fled his master’s plantation at the age of sixteen; he joined the Colored Troops. He served as Private Cyrus Buckner

Cyrus Hauls (Buckner)
Civil War Veteran

(Hauls) in Company D 118 regiment. The surname Bucker was his alias’ surname. After the Civil War, Cyrus met Sarah Harris. On 13 September 1871, Reverend Fields Cook of Third Baptist married Cyrus and Sarah. The Hauls had the following children: Molly Hauls, Cyrus Hauls, Emily Hauls and Courtney Hauls. By earlier 1900s, Cyrus, Sarah and their children moved to 1010 Wythe Street. Their son, Courtney, married Sarah Tasco in 1909. Courtney’s father, Cyrus died on 13 July 1912. He is buried at Thomas Mann Cemetery (Silver Leaf Association) which is now called the Alexandria African American Heritage Park. Prior to Courtney being drafted, he and his wife had several children. All of their children died but one daughter, Viola Hauls.

Courtney was drafted in 1917. When he returned to Alexandria, his mother and siblings started migrating to New Jersey. Courtney and his wife did not survive his absence during his military duties. His wife deserted him. In 1920, Courtney received his divorce from his wife, Lucy on the grounds of desertion and abandonment. Courtney decided to leave Alexandria first for New York City but later settled in New Jersey. He met his second wife, Viola H. Crawly in New York. They married on 4 November 1926. Courtney and his new wife migrated to New Jersey. Courtney’s daughter, Viola Hauls Brown, from his first marriage, migrated to Orange, New Jersey in the late 1930s. In June 1982, Courtney died in Burlington, New Jersey. Courtney had a son from his second marriage, Herbert Courtney Hauls, Sr. Herbert served in the United States Air Force as a Master Sargent in Korea and Vietnam. He was born in 1928 and he died in New Jersey on 23 February 2000. He is buried at Brigadier General William C. Doyle Memorial Cemetery in New Jersey.

Posted in Black People of Alexandria | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments