Savannah, Georgia: 1st Sgt. Samuel Gordon Morse, 33rd U. S. Colored Infantry

Grave of 1st Sgt. Samuel Gordon Morse, Laurel Grove South Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, December 13, 2014. All rights reserved.

1st Sgt. Samuel Gordon Morse was born enslaved on July 25, 1832, in Harris Neck, McIntosh County, Georgia. He was the son of Richard Morse, also born enslaved. The family was owned by William H. Bennett (ca. 1824-1884), a prominent planter in McIntosh County, Georgia.1

Portsmouth, Virginia: The life and death of Rosebud Rudolph Douglass Aggrey (1882-1961)

Mrs. Rosebud “Rose” Rudolph Douglass Aggrey, Livingstone College, ca. 1927.

Anyone who briefly reviews my blog knows I’m a longtime researcher of African American cemeteries throughout the South. Ever since 2007, cemeteries have remained some of the primary sources through which I’ve learned priceless bits of information, details that helped complete our family’s historical narrative often in ways no other sources can. So you’d think it’d be no surprise to me that one can still glean interesting details from years-old cemetery photos, yet this is exactly what happened during a recent routine newspaper dive for family history.

Richmond, Virginia: Honoring family, the Ortons and Youngs of Church Hill

The Young Family, Portsmouth, Virginia, ca. 1927. All rights reserved.

One never knows where priceless bits of family history can be found. In 2012, we visited the household of the Parkers, paternal cousins, in Portsmouth, Virginia. They shared with us a great photo of my paternal grandmother, Lillian Vann Young Orton, who was born in 1927, Portsmouth, Virginia. She is featured in this photo, the infant in the center, surrounded by several of her siblings.