Monthly Archives: December 2013

Shirley Matt Edmontson

ShirleyI met Shirley in person on the day that I married her son in West Chester Pennsylvania. She and her husband Paul drove into town that day from Kansas City Missouri. They made it time to see us taking our vows. They were lucky, because the wedding was running late due to the minister was running late. I had a home wedding at my father’s home. So the first hug from Shirley, when I was officially her daughter in law. David was her second son and the first to get married. David and I stayed in the area for our honeymoon to spend time with his folks and my mother who flew in from California. I had visit Shirley about three times within the first two years of our marriage. The third time was when we brought our first son and her first grandson to meet his grandparents. He was about three months old. She was so excited to see him rolled over in the bed. Who would have known that would be the last time that we saw her alive. I can remember that call from David’s brother to say that Shirley is being rushed to the hospital. The next call, I heard my husband scream. With that scream I knew that a part of my husband had died right along with his mother’s death. Her funeral was the same week of her first grandson’s first birthday. We celebrated Shirley’s homecoming and my son’s first birthday together. Shirley is deeply missed by her family. The four grandchildren that followed my first son from us and David’s siblings were to never see her in person, but her life will never be forgotten.

It was the year of 1933 that Shirley Matt Edmontson was born in Tennessee.  Her parents Daniel Edmondson and Rheota Warfield  married in the year of 1930. Shirley’s only sister Avie Dean Edmontson was born in 1930.

Daniel parents : Reverend Elbert Henry Edmontson and Mary Elizabeth Ward. They both were born in Tennessee.

Rheota parents: Monroe Warfield and Annie James. Monroe was born in Kentucky and Annie James was born in Tennessee.

In 1930 Annie James and Rheota Elizabeth Edmontson were teachers at a public school. Monroe worked at the saw mill and Daniel worked at the rail road. They all lived together on Bates Street in South Fulton City, Obion County in Tennessee.


Rheota Warfield delayed birth certificate.

In 1940 Rheota had divorced Daniel and was living with her mother Annie. They both were still public school teachers. Rheota’s daughters Avie and Shirley were not listed with them in the household. Rheota’s name eventually became Rheoda. It might have been Rheoda from the start and wrong on the birth certificate.

The 1940 census had Daniel still married but he was not residing with Rheota, he was an inmate at the Tennessee State Prison. 1953 Daniel appear to have not been in prison and requested his delayed birth certificate.


Shirley followed her mother and attended Lane College and graduated in 1955. She also became a teacher.

During her senior year at Lane, she met a junior student and fell head over heels for him. She married my husband’s father in May of 1955. He graduated from Lane a year later and then went to law school.

Shirley had three children. She worked closely with husband with his law practice. Shirley loved to laugh. She did not like the Three Stooges shows on television. She love to travel. Her signature perfume was Channel #5. My husband David was her ten pound baby and she would always say that he was a happy baby. Besides her husband, her closest friends were her mother and sister.

Shirley 2

Happy 80th birthday Mom


Posted by on December 18, 2013 in Edmontson, Tennessee, Warfield


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

15 Minutes of Fame~ Downes, Cephas, Flamer, Replanted Zion M.E>

Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: , , , , , , ,

My Long walk to freedom (and still walking)


A personal experience of the apartheid by child at the time.

My Long walk to freedom (and still walking).

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Uncategorized


Louisiana’s Code Noir (1724) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed

Listed are excerpts from the Louisiana’s Code Noir (Black Code/Slave code) 1774:

II. Permits the exercise of the Roman Catholic creed only. Every other mode of worship is prohibited.

My ancestors were only to practice Catholicism. 

IV. Negroes placed under the direction or supervision of any other person than a Catholic, are liable to confiscation.

You converted to Catholicism if you wanted to keep your Negroes without the fear, that they will be confiscated by the government.

V. Sundays and holidays are to be strictly observed. All Negroes found at work on these days are to be confiscated.   

Negroes did not work on Sunday nor holiday

VI. We forbid our white subjects, of both sexes, to marry with the blacks, under the penalty of being fined and subjected to some other arbitrary punishment. We forbid all curates, priests, or missionaries of our secular or regular clergy, and even our chaplains in our navy to sanction such marriages. We also forbid all our white subjects, and even the manumitted or free-born blacks, to live in a state of concubinage with blacks. Should there be any issue from this kind of intercourse, it is our will that the person so offending, and the master of the slave, should pay each a fine of three hundred livres. Should said issue be the result of the concubinage of the master with his slave, said master shall not only pay the fine, but be deprived of the slave and of the children, who shall be adjudged to the hospital of the locality, and said slaves shall be forever incapable of being set free. But should this illicit intercourse have existed between a free black and his slave, when said free black had no legitimate wife, and should said black marry said slave according to the forms prescribed by the church, said slave shall be thereby set free, and the children shall also become free and legitimate ; and in such a case, there shall be no application of the penalties mentioned in the present article.

Marriage is not allowed between white folks and black folks. Whites, manumitted or free-born blacks cannot shack up/have sex with slaves. Now if they did not listen to this law and had a baby, the slave master has to pay 300 livres (France currency) Now if the master was the parent of the child, the master paid the fine and the slave mother and child would be removed from the master and lost any rights of being free. But if a free black man is the parent of his slave’s child and he is not married, he will married the slave woman. She and her child will become free.

VIII. We forbid all curates to proceed to effect marriages between slaves without proof of the consent of their masters; and we also forbid all masters to force their slaves into any marriage against their will.   

Priests are forbidden to married slaves without their masters permission. 

IX. Children, issued from the marriage of slaves, shall follow the condition of their parents, and shall belong to the master of the wife and not of the husband, if the husband and wife have different masters.

Slave marriages can occurred between two slaves of different masters, their children would belong to the wife’s slave master. 

X. If the husband be a slave, and the wife a free woman, it is our will that their children, of whatever sex they may be, shall share the condition of their mother, and be as free as she, notwithstanding the servitude of their father; and if the father be free and the mother a slave, the children shall all be slaves.

If a child is free or slave depends whether the mother is free or slave. Father’s status does not matter.

XV. We forbid Negroes to sell any commodities, provisions, or produce of any kind, without the written permission of their masters, or without wearing their known marks or badges, and any persons purchasing any thing from Negroes in violence of this article, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of 1500 livres.

slave badge

LIII. We command all manumitted slaves to show the pro foundest respect to their former masters, to their widows and children, and any injury or insult offered by said manumitted slaves to their former masters, their widows or children- shall be punished with more severity than if it had been offered to any other person. We, however, declare them exempt from the discharge Of all duties or services, and from the payment of all taxes or fees, or any thing else which their former masters might, in their quality of patrons, claim either in relation to their persons, or to their personal or real estate, either during the life or after the death of said manumitted slaves.

Once a slave is free, he better not act like a fool and show disrespect to the ex-master, his wife and children or he will be punished more severe than he could ever imagined.

LIV. We grant to manumitted slaves the same rights, privileges, and immunities which are enjoyed by free-born persons. It is our pleasure that their merit in having acquired their freedom, shall produce in their favor, not only with regard to their persons, but also to their property, the same effects which our other subjects derive from the happy circumstance of their having been born free.
In the name of the King,
Bienville, De la Chaise.

I have not found a direct line ancestor that was manumitted in Louisiana.

Photo courtesy of


Tags: , , , , , ,