The Other Alexandria: A 160-year-old Road Map

Annie Lee Wheeler’s death certificate

Many people came to Alexandria during the civil war from Maryland, North Carolina and other parts of Virginia. Few African American families talked to their children about their lives prior to the civil war. These stories were lost and never passed down through the generations. However, one of these families who migrated to Alexandria during the civil war did share their family history with their younger generation.

Annie Lee Wheeler shared her father’s family history with her daughter, Helena Wheeler and her grandchildren, especially her granddaughter, Shirley Gilliam Sanders Steele.

Check out their story in the Alexandria Times’ newspaper dated April 14, 2022, at

Behind the Scene – “A Teacher Made A Difference – Joseph (Joe) Lovelace”

Joseph Lovelace and his siblings who settled in Alexandria, all came from Halifax, Virginia. There roots go back to Halifax, Virginia into the late 1700s.

Joseph’s father Andrew Lovelace’s parents were Jacob (Jake) Lovelace and Alice Terry. Both Jacob and Alice were born enslaved. They lived in the Meadville and Staunton areas in Halifax, VA. Meadville and Staunton are on the border of Pittsylvania, Virginia. Alice was born in Pittsylvania.

Andrew Lovelace and Ludora Hawkins married in Halifax, VA. They had twelve children and all of their children migrated out of the area but two, which was Kate and Alice. Andrew and Ludora’s children were:

Obie Lovelace who was born in Halifax, VA migrated to Baltimore, MD then to Washington, D.C., and finally settled in Alexandria, VA. He had two children Obie, Jr., and Edith who are now deceased. Obie, Sr., grandchildren and great-grandchildren are living in Albany, NY, Richmond, VA and Charlotte, NC.

Sevela Lovelace died as an infant in Halifax, VA.

Kate Virginia Lovelace spent her entire life in Halifax, VA. She had two children that died as infants. Her children who made it into adulthood are Felix, Mary, Martha, Bernice, Charlie and Gladys. Kate has numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren that are living today. Her daughter Bernice migrated to Alexandria. Bernice had five children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

John Henry Lovelace migrated to Alexandria, VA then to Philadelphia and then to New Jersey. He spent his last days in Philadelphia. His children were born in Halifax, Virginia but they grew up in Alexandria. His three children are Juanita, John and Howard. Only one of his children are living today. Howard lives in San Diego, CA.

Left, Anthony Lovelace and right, Pee Wee Lovelace – 2010 Lovelace Reunion Host by: Dorella Lovelace Blount

John’s daughter, Juanita had 11 children. Her children are listed with the number of children they had: Van (2 children) born in Washington, DC, Eddie (no children) born in Washington, DC, Anthony (3 children) born in Washington, DC, Freda (4 children) born in Saginaw, Michigan, Lee (1 child), Valerie “PeeWee” (3 children), Tommy (4 children), Winnie (3 children) Wayne (3 children) Jerome (1 child), and Jeff (3 children). The last seven children were born in Alexandria.

John’s son, John Jr., had one daughter, Dorella. Dorella has four children, Waynette, John, Jomaine, Joseph and twelve grandchildren. Dorella was born and raised in Alexandria.

John’s son, Howard grew up in Alexandria and graduated from Parker-Gray. He has one daughter, Tameka. Tameka has two children. She was born in California.

Albert James Lovelace died as an infant.

Alice Lovelace Bass had three children. They were born in Halifax and Pittsylvania, Virginia. Her children are Ernest, Madeline and Lola. Two of her children are deceased. Lola lives in New Jersey. Some of Madeline’s children live in Maryland. Alice has numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Clarence Edward Lovelace was born in Halifax, Virginia. He was a World War II veteran. He lived in Alexandria a short time before migrating to Philadelphia. He had no children.

Charlie Wilson Lovelace was born in Halifax, Virginia. He migrated to Philadelphia. He had no children.

Gladys Christine Lovelace was born in Halifax, Virginia. She migrated to Philadelphia. She had three children Maxcile, Mary Jane, and her son. Christine has a number of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Left: Judy Lovelace (deceased) and her daughter – 2010 Lovelace Reunion

William Henry Lovelace was born in Halifax, Virginia. He migrated to Alexandria. All of his children were born in Alexandria. He had nine children Ann, Betty Lou, William, Joseph, Obie Lee, Vastoria, Judy, Marilyn, and Ricky. William had numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. His daughter Ann had seven children: Carlton, Marie, Michael, Brenda, Tawana, Zachary and Antonio. All of them have Alexandria roots.

Joseph B. Lovelace was born in Halifax, Virginia. He migrated to Alexandria when he was a teen. He settled in Utah and then in Colorado. He has four children, which includes Wanda and Pattie and one stepchild, five grandchildren, one step-grandchild, four great-grandchildren, and one step-great-grandchild. His daughter Wanda has two children Joseph, Brionna and a grandson, Joseph III. Wanda lives in Maryland.

You can read more about Joseph B. Lovelace in the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper, “A Teacher Made A Difference – Joseph (Joe) Lovelace,” on page 6, dated November 11, 2020 at

Behind the Scene – “The Cigar Man Made a Better Life – James Thomas Ford”

James Thomas Ford
1913 – 1999

Mr. James Thomas Ford was a hardworking man. He was determined to make a better life for himself. At the age of 17, he knew the value of supporting a family. He along with his other siblings help earn money to support their mother and his younger siblings.

James was the second child of eleven siblings. His parents were Thomas Osborne Ford and Rosa Ellis. Thomas, his siblings and parents, Osborne and Elizabeth migrated from Fairfield, South Carolina to Richmond, Virginia.

Prior to 1930, Rosa and her children returned to her birthplace, Victoria, Lunenburg, Virginia. James spent a short time in his mother’s birthplace. Eager to have a better life, James Thomas Ford migrated at the age of 17 to Alexandria, Virginia.

James will make Alexandria his home and become a federal employee, cab driver and after retiring from the federal government, he became an entrepreneur. You can read more about Mr. Ford in the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper, “The Cigar Man Made a Better Life – James Thomas Ford,” on page 5, dated October 28, 2020 at

Behind the Scene – Annie Withers’ Losses: Influenza Pandemic Article

Annie Johnson Withers
(b. 1850 – d. Aft. 1920)

Sammie Shanklin, a fourth generation Alexandrian on his paternal family side migrated to Alexandria from King George, Virginia prior to the Civil War. On Sammie’s grandmother side of the family, the Withers and Johnson came to Alexandria during the Civil War.

Sammie and his cousin, Helen Shanklin Coles remembered family members telling them about the death of their grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Withers Shanklin and her sister, Annie Maria Withers Gray who both died in 1918 from the Influenza Pandemic.

These two sisters’ parents, Archibald and Annie Johnson Withers migrated from Culpeper, Virginia during the Civil War. Archibald and Annie got married in Alexandria in 1869. After their marriage, they continued to live in Alexandria, Virginia with their four children, Preston (b. 1874), Andrew (b. 1883), Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) (b. 1886) and Annie (b. 1893).

By 1890s, Archibald was a landowner. On the 1900 census, Archibald stated that his house at 706 South Columbus Street was mortgaged. In 1906, Archibald Withers died leaving Annie Withers a widow.

You can read more about Annie Johnson Withers in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper dated September 16, 2020 at

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