Happy New Year to all my readers. I want to thank you all for your e-mails to my editor in 2020 about my column, “The Other Alexandria.”
Last year, was a challenging year with the COVID-19 and the unprecedented elections. We all have experienced someone we know or someone that we are related to who have died from COVID-19.
In additional, we have experienced a national election like no other. We are witnesses to history that will be shared with future generations to come. Through my column, “The Other Alexandria,” I write about the history of African Americans in Alexandria, Virginia who came before us. These individuals had also witness’ unprecedented historical events in Alexandria and in our nation. Their stories have been lost overtime; but these stories have resurfaced through my articles.
As we beginning a New Year, I look forward in continuing to bring these historical and local articles about Alexandria’s African Americans. Your continuous support of my articles have ignited me in researching and writing about the achievements of your family, your neighbors and your community.
The Alexandria Gazette Newspaper has given me the opportunity to write about us and I indeed thank them for that and I thank you for supporting me.
Also, please read several other important articles in the newspaper on COVID-19 vaccinations on the front page; Vote to Boost Black History Museum Project on page 4; and, the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper fundraiser on page 9. Thank you.
I was born in Alexandria, Virginia in the 1950s. I attended Charles Houston Elementary School when it was segregated. When it was time for middle school in the 1970s, Parker-Gray was already integrated.
The only thing I remembered about African American (Black) History from elementary to middle school was the one-liner about slavery.
One year after high school, one event changed my life for every. In 1976, Alex Haley’s book “Roots” came out and the movie followed in 1977. I never thought that it was possible to research my family who had been in the United States since the 1700s, but Alex Haley made me think I could.
Forty-four years later, I am still just as passionate about genealogy as I was in 1976. I have found so many family members during these forty-years of research. Those individuals that I located never knew the achievements that our family members made. These achievements were in their local community. Because of my relatives, I have expanded my research into uncovering local histories about African Americans in Alexandria. My readers have let me know through their many e-mails how my articles have resonated with them.
I would like to thank my readers for their many e-mails of gratitude for my local history articles. I know how my readers feel because I was in their shoes when I found out about my relatives and their contributions to their community.
I would like to thank the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper for giving me the platform to write about the local histories of African Americans.
Recently, the Zebra newspaper featured me in their newspaper. I like to thank Audrey P. Davis, the Director of the Alexandria Black History Museum for interviewing me and the Zebra Production and Sale Assistant, Shenise Foster.
Behind the scene of the Alexandria Gazette story on Mr. Ferdinand T. Day dated February 8, 2018.
Prior to 2009, I made weekly visits to the Alexandria Black History Museum (ABHM). In my weekly visits to the ABHM, I saw Mr. Ferdinand Day. Unlike many Alexandrians, I did not know Mr. Day. I am a first generation Alexandrian; and, the history of Alexandria was never highlighted in the City School system in 1960s and 1970s. So seeing and hearing about
Mr. Day and his contribution to the City of Alexandria made me wanted to know more about him. I inquired about Mr. Day in the community; and, I asked the Director of the ABHM to introduce me to Mr. Day. After arrangements were made for me to meet with Mr. Day and his daughter, our friendship grew. Those years with Mr. Day were precious years. He was the professor and I was the student. The knowledge that I gained from my visits with him will last me a life time.
For about three years, we spent six to eight hours a month, talking about the history of Alexandria and all of the people that he knew throughout his life. Somehow, I felt that he was preparing me for a journey that I will soon take. What is obvious to me now, the journey that Mr. Day guided me through, was to tell the story of Alexandria’s African Americans in the context of the history of Alexandria. This was indeed a rare opportunity to sit at the table and learn from a man who had spent his life in making his beloved City a better place.
For Mr. Day’s family history in Alexandria, it started with his grandfather, George Day. George was born in Culpeper, Virginia in 1850. He and his brother, Taylor Day, were living in Culpeper in 1870. After 1870, George Day migrated to Prince William, Virginia where he married his first wife, Lucretia Robinson, on 14 October 1873. On his marriage license, he stated that his parents were Robert Day and Rosetta (Rose) Day. By 1880, George and his brother, Taylor, were living in Alexandria on Gibbon Street. On 24 December 1886, George married his second wife, Mary J. E. Vaughn. He and his wife had the following children: Edmonia V., Ferdinand T., Robert W. Jr., Emma, and Rose M.
Robert W. Day was Ferdinand T. Day’s father. Ferdinand was named after his uncle, Ferdinand. Robert W. Day married Victorine Johnson. They had the following children: Lawrence D., Quentin B., Robert W., Ferdinand T., George W., Mary V., and Clarence.
Mr. Ferdinand T. Day’s brother, Robert, was named after his father Robert. Robert Jr., gave up his seat at Armstrong High School so that Ferdinand could attend. Robert late enlisted in the military and served during World War II. He died 7 March 1966 at the age of 48.
Ferdinand T. Day married Lucille Peatross. They had one daughter, Gwen Day.
Prior to Mr. Day getting married, he lived at 402½ South Royal Street. His childhood was made up of family, friends, neighbors, teachers, and clergymen. Those people were the main focus of our monthly talks. He enjoyed talking about his childhood and his community activism. Although he came from humble beginnings, he really enjoyed his life and the people of his beloved City.
Behind the scene of the Alexandria Gazette story on Estelle Lane dated January 25, 2018.
In 2008, I was introduced to Estelle Lane’s column at the Barrett Special Collection and Local History Library in Alexandria. The library had a descendant genealogical chart on Estelle Lane’s family from 1870 – 1920s. Unfortunate, the library had no additional information about Estelle beyond the 1920s. I was extremely curious about Estelle and I wanted to know more about her.
I reached out to one of Alexandria’s elders, Mr. Robert Dawkins to see whether he knew any Lane family members from Alexandria. Mr. Dawkins was able to connect me with someone who knew the Lane family and that person was able to connect me to Estelle’s niece, Jean who lives in Maryland. When I talked to Jean, I told her what I knew about her aunt Estelle. Jean was overly surprised about her aunt’s life in Alexandria and that her aunt had a column in the newspaper. Jean connected me to her cousin, Nancy Lane in New York. Nancy was also surprised that Estelle wrote a column in the Alexandria Gazette. She wanted to include her cousin, Grace who lives in Florida, on the discussion of their aunt Estelle.
Working with Estelle’s nieces, we were able to uncover her life from Alexandria to Boston, Massachusetts. Her nieces educated me on Estelle’s life in Boston and I was able to educate them on Estelle’s life in Alexandria.
In researching Estelle, I found information on her father, Sidney prior to his migration to Alexandria. This information included his parents, John and Caroline and Sidney’s siblings, Rachel, Adaline, George and Thomas. Although this information was not put into the article on Estelle, this information provides the family with addition family connections.
1870 Census – Randolph District of Cumberland, Virginia
John Lane age 56
Caroline Lane age 55
Rachel Lane age 33
Adaline age 18
Daniel age 10 (Sidney Daniel Lane)
After the death of Sidney’s parents, he migrates to Alexandria to be with his older brother, George Lane. George was born in Cumberland, Virginia in the 1840s. He was in Alexandria by 1870. George married his first wife, Margaret (Maggie) Anderson on 6 February 1876 in Alexandria. By 1880, George was working at the lumber yard in Alexandria. He and Maggie were living on Cameron Street and they had two children John and Mary. In 1881, George was a laborer for J H D Smoot. Shortly before the death of Maggie, George and his wife had a son, Wesley George Lane. After Maggie’s death, George married Julie Jones on 22 July 1886.
George and Maggie’s son, Wesley George Lane migrated to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wesley died in Pittsburgh on 8 November 1925 at the age of 39. He was married to Louise Mickey Lane.
Sidney Daniel Lane probably had other relatives in Alexandria. There were several other Lane families in 1870s and 1880s. Sidney left relatives behind in Randolph District of Cumberland, Virginia. Thomas Lane was John and Caroline’s son. Thomas married Tamer Carter in Cumberland County, Virginia on 24 March 1873. They had the following children Daniel, John, George and Louisa. Louisa married James Watkins. On 7 September 1885, Thomas (Tom) Lane died in Cumberland, Virginia.
Sidney and Mary Carter Lane had many children. Their children migrated to several northern States which included Florida, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. For every generation of the Lane family I researched, I found that they repeated the same given names over and over. These given names were John, Daniel, and George.