This is my dad’s mother, Lucy Ann Payne. One of my sisters is named after her. In the picture with her standing on her way to church, you can see Aunt Lucy Mae in the background. In the picture where she is hiding her face from the camera, that little boy is my older brother. (You’ll meet him, too). So this picture was from about 1950 or 1951.
If Aunt Lucy Mae was born in 1926 or 1927, my grandmother was born approximately 1897. Her husband’s name was Will Payne. I never saw even a picture of my grandfather. And oddly, I never met my grandmother in person before she died in 1963. I only have these pictures of her and what we learned that was passed down by word of mouth. A great woman, she was.
Go with me:
Her husband died in his early 40s.
She bore and raised at least 11 children
She buried many of her children
She was beaten by white men more than once
She was driven from her farm and land
She had to settle somewhere else in Florida so that she and her two children could live
She had memories of her dead sons hanging from the end of nooses
She never saw all of her grandchildren, just a few of them
She smiled in the picture above, anyway
A woman of strength is a formidable person to reckon with.
Also, the Scriptures say in Proverbs 31:30 “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”
This is my dad’s brother, Amos Payne. He is the only uncle that I knew and visited and loved until he passed away in 1998. He was the youngest boy in my dad’s family. I really loved being around him in those later years. He lived in Syracuse, NY with his sister. He was a navy man in his younger years.
Suffice it to say that my Uncle Amos was a lady’s man.
Even though I may have talked to him on the phone from time to time, it was on the occasion of a death in our family that my uncle came and visited us. That was the first time I remember seeing him. He has the distinction of being the first to introduce my 3-year old daughter, Erika to coffee. I came over my mom’s house after work because she baby sat Erika, and Uncle Amos and Erika were sitting at the table talking and drinking coffee, and eating KFC. He had his cup of coffee and Erika had her cup of coffee and they were chatting like two old people. I’ll never forget that.
Here’s a picture of one of his daughters, Cousin Fannie. I just love her and we talk on the phone about once a month.
As I’ve already said, my dad and his siblings all were born before the turn of the 20th Century and early into it. During that time my family owned land and it wasn’t looked upon ‘nicely’ at that time. They grew crops, even cotton. They were farmers and the land was fertile. It made people want that land. They didn’t sell their land to those “interested parties.”
Picture a night in the late 30s or early 40s when my young Uncle Amos grabbed his mom and younger sister and ran through the woods, scared and desperate to get away from those “interested parties” who wanted to kill them and take their land from them. Some of those “interested parties” wore white sheets. My family members got to the road and there was a bus coming. It stopped and let them on. My Uncle Amos pulled out his knife and put it to the driver’s throat and said, “Don’t stop ’til I tell ya to.” They made it off their farm with their lives.
Sadly, they never returned to their farm for fear of being killed. They settled in another part of Florida and lived. I am glad my Uncle Amos made it out with Grandma and Auntie. Otherwise, I might not have known him. More tomorrow.
I love history and the children of historic figures, whether well-known historic figures of rarely know historic figures. One woman, whom I loved and knew since my oldest child was just six months old, and who passed away 16 years ago at the age of 86 or 87 knew Civil War scout and freedom fighter Harriet Tubman when Ms. Tubman was an old woman. When I heard that, I began panting and my heart started beating faster. When she told me that I exclaimed, “You knew Harriet Tubman? WOW. ”
Family and friends are important. I want you to meet a member of my family. He was a historic figure, too. My dad’s brother. His name was Jesse James Payne. You can Google my uncle’s name and find out a lot more about him. You see he was lynched on October 11, 1945 in Madison, Florida.
I never knew Uncle Jesse personally. He along with my dad and his other siblings lived in Florida before the turn of the 20th century and early into it. As records were not kept well for anyone during those times, I suggest to you that my Uncle Jesse was born between 1915 and 1918. When he died he was between 20 and 30 years old. This is the only picture we have of him, too. I’m glad otherwise, like many other of his sisters and brothers we wouldn’t know anything about him.
He is a famous historical figure from those times because the Florida governor had to address the lynching of my uncle and of three other high-profile black men that year. Tourism was good in Florida. They didn’t want anything to happen to those revenues.
Out of 11 to 13 children that my grandparents had, I only knew of five of them, one being my dad. And I only had contact with three of them; one being my dad. I’m not angry, just sad that I never got a chance to meet Uncle Jesse, his wife or my cousin, his only child that I know of.
In this picture he looks a little like Dr. King, don’t you think. He has a noble face. More tomorrow.