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

Betty Garrett Scott: Memories of My Grandfather

Backstory of the article that was published in the Alexandria Gazette Newspaper on July 15, 2020, gives insight into Betty Garrett Scott’s Roy family history.

Betty Garrett Scott

Betty Garrett Scott is the oldest child of Lucille T. Roy Garrett and Isaac Garrett. Betty’s parents met in Manhattan, New York. They were married on September 14, 1935. Shortly after Lucille and Isaac’s marriage, Lucille received word from her father, Norman that her mother, Elnora Lewis Roy had died. Elnora died in 1936. Lucille immediately left New York and went home to Seminary to help her father raise her siblings. Lucille’s daughter, Betty grew up with her extended family. The family consisted of her mother, siblings, grandfather and her aunts and uncles. Lucille’s siblings were Earnest, Estelle, Sylvester, Stanley, Beatrice, Norman Jr., Mary Ella, Harold, Carol (Carroll), Elnora, Phyllis and Ann Delores.

After the divorce of Betty’s parents, her mother Lucille married Wilbert Ocie Morgan on

Lucille T. Roy-Garrett Morgan

August 25, 1948. Lucille and Wilbert had two daughters, Carolyn and Linda.

Betty was extremely close to her grandfather, Norman Roy. Norman was the son of James P. Roy and Harriett Wanzer. Norman’s father, James was born in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Norman’s mother, Harriett was a Wanzer. Harriett’s father, Wallace Wanzer had been in the Seminary area since the Civil War.
Betty’s grandfather, Norman died seven days after his birthday at the age of 95 in Arlington, Virginia.

Betty’s grandmother, Elnora Lewis Roy died before Betty was born. What Betty knew about her grandmother, she learnt from her mother and her grandfather but thanks to research, additional information was added to her grandmother’s family history.

Elnora Lewis Roy’s parents were Mack Lewis and Maria Foley. Mack and Maria married on December 29, 1869. Mack’s parents were William and Lucinda Lewis. Maria only listed her mother, Lucinda Foley on her marriage certificate. Mack owned land in Prince Williams, Virginia. Maria died after 1900. Mack remarried in 1909 to Mary Anderson. On August 7, 1925, Mack died at the age of 81.

The Roy, Lewis and Foley’s families have a rich history in Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fauquier, Prince Williams, Virginia.

You can read more about Betty Garrett Scott in the Alexandria Gazette newspaper dated, July 15, 2020 on page 10 at

Eugene Shanklin: Buffalo Soldier, WW I Veteran

Behind the scenes of the article on Eugene Thomas Shanklin

Eugene Shanklin Drayton notified me that his great-uncle, Eugene Thomas Shanklin, was a World War I veteran. The only information he shared with me was that his great-uncle

VA Hospital at Kecoughtan – Hampton, Virginia

lost his sight due to the mustard gas he was exposed to in World War I (WW I).

The research started with documenting Eugene’s great-uncle. First, I located Eugene Thomas Shanklin in the United States Censuses from 1900 – 1940. Secondly, I obtained his WW I and WW II draft registration cards. Third, I obtained his death certificate. Fourth, I contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs. Fifth, I contacted the National Arlington Cemetery. Sixth, I researched at the Library of Virginia (Archives) for any information on Eugene’s military service including his WW I discharged questionnaire. Seventh, I obtained information on the Veterans Hospital in Hampton, Virginia. Eighth, I researched the Library of Congress concerning Eugene’s great-uncle’s military Company, Infantry Regiment and Division. Ninth, I researched information at the United States Army Historical Archives’ databases. Tenth, I researched him through the Alexandria City’s directories. Using all of these resources, I was able to write the article on Eugene Thomas Shanklin.

In doing this article, the golden nugget was finding out that Eugene served with the 92nd Division known in France as the “Buffalo Soldiers.” My great-great uncle, John Henry Muse (Lovelace), was a Buffalo Soldier who fought in the Indian Wars and in WW I. Maybe they knew each other.

If you want to share your African American family’s contribution to the history of Alexandria, Virginia with me, contact me through my blog. If I decide to write about it, I will do the research and make their history known.

You can read the Alexandria’s article on Eugene T. Shanklin: Buffalo Soldier, WW I Veteran on page 9 at

Mount Jezreel Baptist Church 1908 Membership List

Mount Jezreel Baptist Church
Mount Jezreel Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA

Washington (Wash) Jackson is back on the scene again; he was one of the founders of Mount Jezreel Church.

In April 1890, several members of Shiloh Baptist Church, located at 1401 Duke Street in Alexandria, Virginia, left and founded Mount. Jezreel Baptist Church. Some of the members were Moses Stevens, Tilman Giles, Wash Jackson and Harriett Giles. The group met at a meeting place on King Street until Reverend Coleman and the founders secured a lot at 317 North Payne Street.

In 1908, Mount Jezreel Baptist Church was experiencing some leadership problems that led them to court. The Court asked the Congregation to settle their disputes by the ballot. Ninety-seven members of the church voted.

This 104-year old list contains some of the early members of the Church. Thanks go out to two members of Mount Jezreel Baptist Church who assisted with the church history: Deborah Ford Nelson and Barbara Williams. I obtained the membership list from the court case at the Alexandria Circuit Court.

The 1908 Voting Members of Mount Jezreel Baptist Church:

Irene Simms
Ada West
Estella Lewis
Moses Stevens
Thomas E. (T.E.) Arrington
Loula Spence
William Alexander
Susie Vass
William Sheppard
William Fortune
Melvina Hamilton
Lawrence Baker
Alice Hargrave “known as Alice Washington”
Alice Cashon
Christina Derrix
Estella Ferguson
Annie Carter
E. J. Anderson
Harriet Gyles
Louisa Vass
Lettie Palmer
Viney Green
Lizzie Moore
Ann Jackson
Amanda Williams
Mary West
Courtney Wilson
Jennie Williams
David Green
William Thomas
Irene Williams
Lemon Roy
Benjamin Morris
G.S.M Butler
Wash N. Jackson
John A. Wilson
David Shanklin
William Triplet
Sarah Green
Hallie Richards
Alberta Bryant
Delia White
Blanch White
Rose White
Cordelia Scott
Francis Dixon
Francis Simms
Emma Hall
Rebecca Anderson
Mary Snow
Alberta Anderson
Mary Fudd
Sarah Berry
Fannie Watson
Rachel Smith
Ella Braden
Eva West
Delcy Fane or Fare
Isabella Champ
Mary Sheppard
Thomas Beard
Maggie Baker
Richard Johnson
Missouri Baker
Chauncey Randolph
Blanch Parker
Pricilla Palmer
Anges Johnson
Fannie Butler
J.M. Frazier
Ida Triplett
D. Sadie White
Millie Grigsby
Daisy James
William Richardson
Frank Dorsey
Floyd Wise
John Harris
Susan B. Hall
William Robinson
Emma Jackson
Bessie Marshall “now Bessie Harding”
Lafayette Hall
Catherine Ford
Nora Wilson
Martha Butler
Loula White
Lucretia Vass
Andrew Lomax
James Churchill
Jacob Jones
Edward Snow
Nancy Derrix
Maria Roy
Sarah Jackson
Fannie Stewart
Christina Fultz

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