Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Great-Grandfather Calvin Bracy

I never met my great-grandfather, but growing up it seemed as if he lived,  he "lived", at least, in the heart and memory of my mother.  His name was Calvin Bracy.  He was the father of my maternal grandmother, Lena Bracy.

I believe he was born in 1870, but my mother used to say he was born one year or three years after Emancipation, which was in 1863, but because they lived in Texas, Emancipation came two years later in 1865, so it could have been 1866, or 1868.  If I were to say where he was born based on census records - I'd still be confused.  The 1900 Census says he was born in Mississippi, but thereafter census records show he was born in Louisiana.  My mother and grand aunt often spoke about Hammond, Louisiana, but no records have shown up to prove this.

I often wonder how he and my great-grandmother met.

He was a retired minister, I think he may have been a Baptist minister.  He had six children with my great-grandmother, Julia.  My grandmother being the eldest, but she also had older half brothers.  My great-grandfather had other children with Lizzie (Elizabeth), and perhaps other women.

After the death of my grandfather Gillie Peters in 1938, my grandmother, and her children would live with several relatives. My mother often spoke about living with her step aunts, and other times she spent with her grandfather and his current wife Sallie; my great-grandmother died in 1922.  She had had three children from a previous relationship.  Oral history, as I say, rumors that he fathered over twenty children.  Other relatives say 15-18 children. While, it is not impossible, I have not found any records to substantiate those stories.  I explain it, that he may have fathered that many children some who may have been stillborn or died prior to my grandmother and her sister were born; children unfortunately never mentioned.

According to census records he moved around quite a bit.  In 1900 I found him with his wife Lizzie, two sons C.B. and Josh Bracey in Quintana, Texas - a town in Brazoria County.  From there I found him in Walker County in the town of Dodge.  Then in 1940, he is enumerated twice, once with my grandmother in Harris County in Houston, and in San Jacinto County.

When I interviewed his youngest daughter about her father, my grandaunt, she described him having the skin complexion of peanut butter.  She described that he was a hard-working man who once owned a grocery store, and a farm.  She told me his mother's name was Lena Cline.  In addition, both she and my mother told me he had a sister, but I cannot recall her name.  She lived in Louisiana.

He died in 1945.

His name continues to resonate and be respected, and honored throughout the family.  My mother named my youngest brother in his honor, I have a number of cousins with the same first name - Calvin.