Thursday, July 10, 2008

We are family…

Last weekend, my family and I were in Memphis, Tennessee for the Lovelace Family Reunion. Most of this branch of the family tree live in the South (Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia), although there is still a fairly large contingent of us in the Chicago area and in parts of Ohio. However, having been raised by Southern-born-and-bred people, I always feel right at home in the South. We had a great time.

This reunion was a gathering of the descendents of Robert and Harriet Lovelace, my great-great-great-great grandparents. As slaves, they arrived in Florence, Alabama in 1833. Most of those present at the reunion, including myself, come through Robert and Harriet’s son and daughter-in-law, Sam (1849-1921) and Mollie Rice Lovelace (1852-1926).
A few interesting facts about Mollie Rice Lovelace: Mollie was the daughter of her slavemaster, Mr. Rice, through his slave Sarah. Mollie was, what was commonly termed in those days, a mulatto: the offspring of one white and one Black parent. That, in part, accounts for the very light complexion of the older generations of Lovelaces.
Between 1871 and 1899, Mollie gave birth to 16 children by Sam Lovelace. Three died before the age of 3, but the other 13 all lived to adulthood.
Also, through Mollie Lovelace’s family, we can trace back to an African ancestor, Betty Rice—Sarah Rice’s mother and Mollie’s grandmother. Betty Rice (also called “Granny”), according to her own testimony, was a Hottentot. The Hottentot were a tribe from the area in and around what is today the country of South Africa. It is a testimony to the remarkable providence of God that captured Africans, like “Granny”, and their descendants not only survived slavery, but have thrived as a people.

Here is the only known photo of Betty “Granny” Rice:

Below is a photo of last weekend’s reunion gathering:

Finally, here are some photos of Sam and Mollie Lovelace and 12 of their 13 surviving offpring:

Back row (left to right): Cornelia, Mollie, Mattie Sue, Ella and Ada Lovelace. Front row (left to right): Jim Lovelace, Jim Hawkins (a cousin), Sam Sr., George, Sam Jr. and Albert Lovelace. This photo dates from about 1905.

(Left to right) Sisters Lizzie Lovelace Duncan (1874-1962) and Frankie Lovelace Duncan (1876-1946). Frankie is my great-great grandmother. Some trivia: These two Lovelace sisters, against their father’s wishes, eloped and married the Duncan brothers, Barney and Richmond (my great-great grandfather) on Frankie’s 20th birthday, February 5, 1896. All indications are both marriages were happy, and lasted until Barney’s death in 1945 and Frankie’s death in 1946.

Robert Lovelace (1871-1957) and Cornelia Lovelace Mosby (1895-1958).

Albert Lovelace (1892-1943), Ada Lovelace Ingram (1897-1953) and Andrew Lovelace (1899-1939).


Harriet Lovelace said...

Great page! I'm starting up a family tree and this interested me as my name is Harriet Lovelace. Loving the photos. Cherish them forever

Anonymous said...

Do you know anything about a person named Betty Sue Lovelace? She's my grandmother but died when my mom was 15 and even she doesn't know too much about her side of the family.

Wyeth Duncan said...

The name Betty Sue Lovelace sounds familiar. Would you know Betty Sue's parents' names? I have all the obituaries and funeral programs my great-grandmother saved so, if Betty Sue Lovelace is a relative, it's quite possible I have something related to her death or funeral. Unfortunately, since I moved almost 2 years ago, all those materials are packed away in boxes somewhere in my basement, and I can't put my hand on them right away.

Anonymous said...

Her father is Willie and her mother is Eula. And Betty died in Waukegan,Il.

Wyeth Duncan said...

Okay! I believe Willie Lovelace was also known by the nickname, "Buddy". I never met him, but he lived in North Chicago, Illinois (my hometown), and was born in Florence, Alabama. I remember when "Buddy" Lovelace died (early 70s), and have his obituary packed away in a box somewhere in the basement of my house, along with all the rest of my great-grandmother's collection of obituaries and funeral programs. He was one of my great-grandmother's first cousins.

Willie "Buddy" Lovelace was the son of Robert Lovelace (1871-1957), who was my great-great grandmother's oldest brother (my great-great grandmother was Mary Francis "Frankie" Lovelace Duncan, 1876-1946). They were two of 16 children born to Sam Lovelace, Sr (1849-1921) & Mollie Rice Lovelace (1852-1926).

Sam Lovelace, Sr was one of 9 children born to Robert (c. 1825-?) and Harriet (c. 1830-?) Lovelace. That's as far back as I know on the Lovelace branch of the family. Mollie Rice Lovelace was the oldest child born to Sarah Rice Fowler (c. 1832-?). Mollie's father was her slave master Rice. Sarah Rice Fowler was the daughter of Betty who, according to family oral history, was an African--a "Hottentot"--which is a name given to a tribe of people in southern/southwest Africa. That's as far back as I know on the Rice brach of the family.

The Lovelace, Rice, and Duncan families all lived in Florence, Alabama. But 6 of Sam & Mollie Lovelace's children migrated to Chicago and North Chicago, Illinois in the 1910s & 20s. Several of the grandchildren also followed suit after World War II.

If you're interested, Willie "Buddy" Lovelace has a grandson who is on Facebook--Elder Willie Lovelace. Elder Willie Lovelace lives in the Chicago suburbs. I am also on Facebook.

I hope this little bit of family information helps.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information. Yes I know Elder Willie Lovelace, he is my cousin.

Elder Willie Lovelace said...

Hello Anonymous, I am Elder Willie Lovelace, the eldest grandson of Willie aka Buddy & Eula Lovelace. Betty Sue Lovelace was the second youngest of 5 kids (Robert being the youngest). Betty (now deceased) married James Sawyers and have 6 children (Darryl, Dennis, Sonya, Andre, Jimmy jr.(In Illinois & Wisconsin)Ronnie Turner(Florence AL.)Betty was always a cheerful and happy woman, with a contagious laugh, and laughed a lot. A beautiful woman inside and out. I would like to know who you are, so contact me on fb so we can chat. God bless you my cousin.