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Anita L Wills

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Pieces of the Quilt: The Mosaic of An African American Family
by Anita L Wills   

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Category: 

History

Publisher:  booksurge ISBN-10:  1439235856 Type: 
Pages: 

238

Copyright:  March 26, 2009 ISBN-13:  9781439235850
Non-Fiction

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The history of an African American Family, and it's diversity. A narrative of the authors ancestors, who were mixed raced Native/White/African.

     Follow the author as she goes on a journey of self discovery, and learns about her family history. The author details the lives and history of her ancestors who lived extraordinary lives. They resided throughout Colonial Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as in the surrounding areas. They were natives who resided in Eastern Pennsylvania, Free Blacks and slaves who were brought from Africa, and Europeans who owned slaves. Throughout the book the achievements of these people are Chronicled.

     One ancestor, Elijah Johnson was born in Virginia about 1785, and lived in New Jersey and New York.  He fathered two children with his first wife,  one of whom was the Geat-Great Great Grandmother of the author. Her name was Sarah Johnson, and she resided in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  Her father, Elijah Johnson was a member of the American Colonization Society and one of the Free Black settlers of Monrovia Liberia. Ancestors Charles and Ambrose Lewis were Free Blacks who served as Seamen and Soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Ambrose survived being shot nine times and bayonetted clean through, before being taken prisoner by the British.  These are some of the stories chronicled in Pieces of the Quilt: The Mosaic of An African American Family.  

     
Excerpt
“The examination of Indian Hannah, (alias, Hannah Freeman); who saith that she was born in a Cabin on William Webb’s place in the township of Kennett about the year 1730 or 1731. The Family consisted of her Grandmother Jane and Aunts Betty and Nanny. Her Father and Mother used to live in their Cabin at Webb’s Place in Kennett in the winter and in the summer moved to Newlin to plant Corn—she was born in the Month of March. The family continued living in Kennett and Newlin alternately for several years after her birth as she had two brothers born there younger then herself. The Country was becoming more settled and the Indians were not allowed to Plant Corn any longer; her father went to Shamokin and never returned.
The rest of the family moved to Centre in Christiana Hundred, New Castle County and lived in a Cabin on Swithin Chandler’s place. They continued living in their Cabins sometimes in Kennett Square and sometimes at Centre till the Indians were killed at Lancaster (1765), soon after which, they being afraid, moved over the Delaware, and then to New Jersey. There they lived with the Jersey Indians for about Seven Years after which her Granny Jane, Aunt Betty, and Nanny (her Mother), and Self came back. They lived in Cabins sometimes at Kennett (Square) at Center at Briton’s Place and at Chester Creek occasionally as best suited.
This mode of living was continued until the family decreased her Granny died abt. [ove] Schuylkill her Aunt Betty at Middletown, and her Mother at Centre. She lived about two years worked at Sewing and received three / six [three shillings, six pence] per week wages. She worked a few weeks in some other places at Gideon Gilpin then went to her Aunt Nanny at Concord.
Nevertheless, having almost forgot to talk Indian and not liking their manner of living as well as white peoples, she came to Kennett Square and lived at William Webb’s place. She worked for her board sometimes but got no money except for baskets, besoms, etc. She lived at Samuel Levis three years that is made her home and worked sometime, and received for her board no wages, but made baskets. She stayed the longest where best used but never was hired or received wages except for Baskets.”

Hannah lived as her ancestors had for thousands of years, and refused to separate herself from the land. Her family were intact until forbidden from planting corn, (the main food staple), when the father left. They were forbidden to grow corn, and the fields went fallow, so of course the father left. Then the land was given to a European Settler, who more than likely grew corn. One of the main staple crops grown in Chester County is corn and it was a cash crop for many years.
Indian Hannah’s Village was in the same area where three generations of our Martin Ancestors lived. There were several recorded generations of Martin’s who lived in Newlinville, in an area known as Doe Run. They moved back and forth from Lancaster County to Chester County beginning in the 1700’s. According to my mother an Indian woman married, a white man named Charles Martin (in the 1700’s). By that time, they identified themselves as Mulatto in the census records. In Chester County, there was an Indian Village in the area now known as Newlinville.


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