Plantation living quarters for blacks


Jake Bostic Jr
Jake Bostic Jr

January 9, 1895 – October 22, 1963

When I hear the name Jacob Bostic or Uncle Jake, I immediately envision a man with star like qualities.

I see uncle Jake as a mixture of Carey Grant, Billy Dee Williams, Denzel Washington, all the cowboy/gunslinger characters that Clint Eastwood played and last but not least, my all-time favorite, Doc Holliday when he get’s ready to shoot Johnny Ringo, and he says, “I’m your Huckleberry”.

Yes, to me uncle Jake was made for the “Big Screen”.

There is a quote of Clint Eastwood’s that comes to mind when thinking of uncle Jake.

“There’s a rebel lying deep in my soul.”

My imagination might be running wild when I think of him but I’m sure only slightly. The one thing that I have noticed about the people that remember uncle Jake is that they all get this glazed look in their eyes and they ALL say, “That Jake”.

It would take Johnny James Bethea to give the facial expression and the words, “That Jake” in order for you to get my meaning of what I’m trying to describe.

So, who was Jacob Bostic Jr?

Uncle Jake was the last child of Jacob Bostic Sr and Sophia McCullough-Bostic. He was the adored baby brother of all his siblings.

He was a HELLION!!!!

He was born in Marlboro County, SC on January 9, 1895 on the Appin Plantation that was owned by Col. C.S McCall. His father, Jacob Bostic Sr., died in 1895 the year that uncle Jake was born; Sophia, uncle Jake’s mom, died in 1901.

Jacob Bostic Jr - delayed birth record
Jacob Bostic Jr – delayed birth record

Uncle Jake was raised by his father’s sister, Fanny Bostic-Wilson and her husband Cornelius Wilson. They raised and loved him as if he were their own. Jake was everyone’s baby and in fact he was referred to as “baby Jake” for years.

EVERYONE!! And I do mean EVERYONE in town knew Jake Bostic. They knew his family adored him and that he could do no wrong. Nothing was to ever happen to Baby Jake “Bostic”.


There is a story that has been passed down through our family for years. I assure you that it is true.

One day uncle Jake was coming back from town and he passed two white women who were walking along the road. What on earth would possess them to speak disrespectfully to Jake Bostic? He was a man before his time; no one was going to call him out of his name.

Uncle Jake hopped down off the buggy!!!!! Didn’t even bother to reign in the horse!!! He proceeded to give those women the weapon he felt they deserved. The whip was used on more than his horse that day.

Naturally the women reported him to the law!!! Something along the lines of, “That Jake” Bostic attacked us!!! He buggy whipped us!!!

When the sheriff came out to the house to ask uncle Jake and the family about it, uncle Jake told him that he didn’t do any such thing and that he could go and ask Mr. So and So if his buggy had ever stopped along the road.

The sheriff investigated, speaking to people black and white alike, all of whom said they had seen Jake on his buggy and that it had never stopped. ONLY “Baby Jake”, could get away with that, especially back then.

They say that all good things come to an end and even for “Baby Jake” that was the case.

I guess uncle Jake had a few too many incidents throughout the town, he was finally given an option by the “law”.

Jake Bostic!!! Go to the army or go to jail!!!!!

Parlez-vous français?

301st Stevedore regiment #43
The Stevedores
We are the Army Stevedores, lusty and Virile and strong;
We, are given the hardest work of the war, and the hours are long;
We handle the heavy boxes and shovel the dirty coal;
While the soldiers and sailors work in the light,
We burrow below like a mole.
But somebody has to do this work, or the soldiers could not fight;
And whatever work is given a man, is good if he does it right.
We are the Army Stevedores and we are volunteers;
We did not wait for the draft to come, and put aside our fears.
We flung them away to the winds of Fate, at the very first call of our land,
And each of us offered a willing heart, and the strength of a brawny hand.
We are the Army Stevedores, and work as we must and may,
The Cross of Honor will never be ours to proudly wear away.
But the men at the front could not be there
And the battles could not be won,
If the Stevedores stopped in their dull routine,
And left their work undone.
Somebody has to do this work;
Be glad that it isn’t you!
We are the Army Stevedores; give us our due!

Uncle Jake found himself on a ship headed for France. What would become of “Baby Jake”?

Uncle Jake left the south the beloved baby brother, unable to read or write. I always laugh at the thought that his older siblings could read and write but not “Baby Jake”. He wasn’t required to know these things. He had the power of the Bostic’s to handle that stuff for him.

ooh la la, what a French woman can do.

Uncle Jake had a true French Connection!!!

il a trouvé sa femme amoureuse. il a appris l’art du baiser français ; He did more than that!!! He also learned to speak French and write French.

During his time in France his Dame amour would write letters for him. The day my great-grandmother received a letter from uncle Jake that was written in his own hand, albeit in French, was total excitement. He had written his letter and then his girlfriend had written below his writing the words in English.

One of uncle Jake’s requests to my great-grandmother, who was expecting a child at the time, was to name the baby. If the child was a girl he wanted her to be named Jemusseller or Brigidetta. There is a part of me that wants to leave it at that, but if you are anything like me, you won’t be able to concentrate on any other part of this blog because you will be wondering what she named the baby. DRUM ROLL PLEASE…………Jemusseller!!! Or as we lovingly referred to her, “Aunt Jem”. Aunt Jem always said, “why could she not have been named Brigidetta”.

Aunt Jem and Uncle Art
Aunt Jem and Uncle Art


Bostic’s Always Get Their Man!!!

You’ve got to get up pretty early in the morning to pull one over on a Bostic, and even then it might not be early enough.

Uncle Jake managed to make great use of his time in France. Have you ever met that person that is always in the right place at the right time? That would be Uncle Jake.

It was the wee hours of the morning and he had gotten up to start his daily tasks. I am sure that somewhere along the line I have mentioned that my great-grandmother and her siblings where sharpshooters. Bostic’s never missed their target.

In a Clint Eastwood movie, Harry Callahan says, “nothing wrong with shooting as long as the right people get shot”!

Well on this specific morning, Uncle Jake got two birds with one stone or should a say, two of the enemy with one bullet.

Truly he did!!!!

He looked up as he was performing his early morning tasks and he saw something though the morning fog, as it got closer he realized what was happening. Yes, the enemy was coming!! He was in the middle of doing the tasks for the men that were the actual fighters and here it was, he was the one that saved his regiment that morning.

Uncle Jake initially thought that there was only one man sneaking up on them, a man who he ended up shooting through the heart. When the man fell dead another man who had been behind him also fell. The bullet passed through the first man and into the second man, killing them both.

In a time when black men very rarely received a medal, uncle Jake received one. I think they say that more black U.S. soldiers received medals from the French during WWI than from the U.S. military. It was virtually impossible to be awarded a medal during WWI as a black man, sad but true.

As time went on another incident presented itself to uncle Jake. During times of war even fast friends can be killed. Uncle Jake’s friend was killed in front of him as they were on the march, he wanted to stop and grab his friend but he was required to keep moving. As he stepped over his friend the shock of seeing him laying there and having to step over him almost made his heart give out.

Uncle Jake was eventually given a medical discharge for his heart.

Uncle Jake's Transport Papers
Uncle Jake’s Transport Papers

They say that once he got home he recovered in no time at all and was back to being the HELLION that was loved by all.

He was no longer “Baby Jake” he was now called “Mr. Hard Time” because he sure knew how to give a person a hard time. THAT JAKE!!!


Bostic, Grains of Sand

BOSTIC’S THERE ARE SO MANY OF US!!!!! I feel like we are as numerous as grains of sand!!!

Finally, I found Peter’s family!!! Still haven’t pinned down his death year, but definitely after 1910 but prior to 1920.

I feel like the personification of the words below:

I come as One, I stand as Ten Thousand ~ Maya Angelo

I feel like I am continually in a cat and mouse chase or on an emotional roller coaster; as all you Bostic’s know.


Genealogy Research is a lesson in perseverance (you’re looking for someone and each day you go to bed with the words, I haven’t found you yet, but I’m closer I will find you). More than that, it’s a blessing!!

Through documents, pictures and stories told, you get to know these people. People that become a part of you.

The other night, I sat with my son Ryan as he read my blogs to his wife, my grand-kids and myself. Everyone coming away with a wow moment. Reading about your own family, it was cool!!!

Bray, Sissy, Amy and I


I always tell myself don’t post when you are feeling emotional, but the thing is, isn’t finding love and losing love emotional? Holding on, letting go or safely packing it away as a keepsake. This is every emotion I experience with Genealogy Research.

Every family member found is like that feeling you get when you meet that special someone. You know, the butterflies in the stomach, the rapid beating of your heart and the smile that seems to be permanently plastered on you face.


Bostic's Give Me Butterflies
Bostic’s Give Me Butterflies

Every death certificate is love loss. Not the love lost that when you sit back you say, “I’m so glad that’s over”. Not the kind of love lost that says, “wow, I can breathe again”.

It’s the love loss that says, “I would choose you every time, it was worth every moment, I would do this over and over again”. It’s the kind of love loss that you unfold every so often and place up to your nose, just to catch the scent of him, her or them.

Keepsakes -Loving Memories
Keepsakes -Loving Memories

I am totally in love with my BOSTIC FAMILY, I would choose you every time. You are worth every moment, I would do this over and over again.

On a lighter note, never ask a “Rock Star” to write a blog post for you!!!! Aunt Vicky Alfred, I want uncle Jake’s story by Sunday, or you are FIRED!!!! LOL!!!!!! The one person who I had no qualms about sharing in my blogging experience is out of control!!!!! That Ukulele Band Life!!!!


GENEALOGY RESEARCH TIP!!! Create Online Folders, keep documents scanned and saved as you go along.


Oak Tree By the River - Bostic genealogy, family found

This week’s blog was supposed to be about Jake Bostic Jr, born January 9, 1895, in Marlboro County SC, died October 22, 1963. The son of Jacob Bostic Sr and Sophia McCullough-Bostic. We are going the scenic route to uncle Jake. Come back next to week to read about uncle Jake….

Jake Bostic Jr
Jake Bostic Jr

After all, I am “All Things Uncle Jake”.

This week I wanted to share my excitement over the latest Bostic Family Connection, as cousin Anthony Little Jr would refer to it.

I would imagine that if Anthony Little Jr, Sheila Williams and I started calculating the hours spent on Bostic family genealogy research in “2017” alone, we probably have a combined total of 4380 hours invested in “All Things Bostic”, give or take an hour, LOL!!

Not to mention our other family members who have helped us along the way. Offering family information, preparing for family reunions, fishing trips and much much more. To all of you, THANK YOU!!

We recently laughed about staying up way too late and having to work the next morning. You suffer through the day knowing you should have gone to bed much earlier the night before.

FOUR THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED EIGHTY HOURS is a lot of time spent researching, documenting and contacting people.

All those hours invested brought us to this moment in time!!!

It’s crazy to think that 4380 hours provided three people with “ONE” leaf, a leaf!!!

Ancestry Leaf
Ancestry Leaf

I was thinking about that “ONE “leaf and laughing to myself.

I thought, no one in the world would hire Leah, Sheila and Anthony to build them a house. LOL!!! But that is only if you look at it on the surface.

The reality of it is like an analogy I once heard, it goes like this. A man prayed for an Oak tree and God gave him an acorn. The man said, “God, I did not ask you for an acorn, I asked you for an Oak tree”. God said, “I gave you and Oak tree, the tree is in the acorn”.

Long story short, our ancestry leaf is so much more than a mere leaf, and yet, like a leaf it represents a family unit, something bigger than ourselves.

Our ancestry leaf was a hint or clue to let us know that there is so much more to this Bostic line than what we have found thus far.

The excitement of one Bostic connection after another is indescribable!!! I am in a constant state of being “OVER THE MOON” with excitement.

I tried to describe this feeling in a previous blog. It was about the first email that I received from “our” cousins Dot and Pat from Bennettsville SC. The subject line of their email read, Family Found.

Family Ancestry Search
Email Response to my Letter to the Editor

To this day, those two words, “Family Found”, are still the most beautiful words that I have ever read.

The email Sheila and I exchanged was equally exciting!!

Sheila and Leah's email
Sheila and Leah’s email
Then to add the icing on the cake, was to open my email and see one from Anthony.
Anthony's email
Anthony’s Email

Just when you think things can’t get any better, you get “THE CALL”.

There is nothing like a “BOSTIC” phone call.

I’ve attempted to describe a Bostic call in a previous blog entitled, yes, you guessed it!! “The Call”. A call between Pat, Dot, my mom (Marlene), Aunt Vicky and myself. Oh yes, “OVER THE MOON”. When you are talking to your blood it’s never like talking to a stranger, ask mom and Aunt Vicky!! LOL!!! Whether it’s the first call or the hundredth.

We come from an amazing family. Boston Sr & Fanny……their offspring, Dicey, Solomon, William, Scipio and Boston Jr.


Anthony, Sheila and I, and I would imagine all the rest of the Bostic’s reading this are connected from two of Boston Sr and Fanny’s sons, Solomon and Boston Jr.

One of Solomon’s sons was named Jacob Bostic and one of Boston Jr’s sons was Simon Bostic.

Half of us refer to ourselves as the descendants of Jacob Bostic Sr and his wife Sophia McCullough-Bostic; and the other half of us are the descendants of Simon Bostic and Sallie Brock-Bostic.

The references mentioned above as to who we are, are absolutely correct, but at the end of the day, we are “all

The house that Boston Sr and Fanny made.

Yes, from the outside looking in, Anthony, Sheila and I might look as if we spent thousands of hours and only managed to produce a leaf.

Family, I would advise you to take a step back and look up in order to see where the leaf came from.

Oak Tree - Our Roots Run Deep
Oak Tree – Our Roots Run Deep

We are the descendants of a mighty Oak tree.

We are Jeremiah 17 vs. 8:
They will be like a tree planted by the water the sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it’s leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

We are Bostic’s and in the words of Angela Williams, “Our Roots Run Deep”.



Bostic Coat of Arms, Family Found Genealogy

THOMAS BOSTIC – Watching By The Gate, by Vicky Alfred was the initial introduction to Thomas.

She explained:

  1. You would be hearing more about Thomas, and
  2. Next week’s regular blog series would introduce you to Thomas’ baby brother, Jake Bostic.

Today we will take care of item #1. More about Thomas Bostic.

Thomas Bostic had something stolen from him…….HIS HEART!!

Thomas Bostic the man who was known for having a “heart of gold”, gladly handed it over to the woman who had already stolen it, Bynella Townsend.

Thomas and Bynella Bostic, Family Found Genealogy
Thomas & Bynella Bostic, The King Maker

Thomas, age 20 and Bynella, age 18 married in 1907. They had their first child, David Bostic in 1908. Solomon Bostic followed shortly thereafter in 1910.

Yes!!! Thomas Bostic was the “King Maker”.

Thomas and Bynella referred to their sons as “King David” and “King Solomon”. What could be more fitting for the sons of Thomas Bostic?

I imagine that when you hear the names King David and King Solomon certain characteristics come to mind. Power, Passion, Zest for Life and of course WISDOM.

Thomas Bostic was a man that encompassed all those characteristics. He had the makings of a “King”, or better yet, TWO “Kings”.

Thomas Bostic had so much to give and he gave it all!!!

He was as smart as he was kind. If you needed the answer, Thomas was your guy.

Thomas was a hard worker and took pride in all his accomplishments. He was a farm laborer who became the land overseer during a time when a black man was looked upon as incapable of; or not intelligent enough to handle managerial responsibilities.

When it came to “Thomas” everyone knew differently. Everyone knew that Thomas was the right man for “ANY” job. You could place a book on top of Thomas’ head and the knowledge would be absorbed. (Thomas was one of those Bostic’s), they are in every generation of the Bostic family. If you are a Bostic in the Sophia and Jacob lineage, you know who that person is in your family line that has that extreme ability to learn everything effortlessly. We all have one.

Thomas showed both of his sons, “King David” and “King Solomon”, what it was to be a true leader. Not   just outside of the home, but within the home as well.

Thomas Bostic was a hard act to follow. He provided for his wife and children in such a way that most men would say, there was nothing more to do, he was doing it all.

Thomas was not most men.

Thomas never saw a job as complete, he viewed everything with a question of what’s next? Or, how do I make this better? Whatever the final answer was, is what Thomas did.

They say behind every good man is a good woman. In Thomas case he knew this to be true. The woman behind him and beside him was Bynella Townsend-Bostic.

They say that home is where the heart is, and Bynella was that “one” woman who had a heart that matched Thomas’ heart. Together they created a home that was a haven and a castle for all the people that they loved.

To attempt to count the number of Bostic’s and Townsend’s that were housed, fed, clothed and comforted by Thomas and Bynella would be a foolish undertaking at best. Just know that the list goes on and on.

One of Thomas’ nephews, Nathaniel Bostic, was known for the statement, “I was born a man, and I will die a man”. Nathaniel certainly accomplished this, and In retrospect, if Nathaniel was here today and thought back on his uncle Thomas, he would say that Thomas was the “O.G” when it came to being a man.

Thomas Bostic touched all our lives in ways we will never know; but one thing is for sure and I think that Nathaniel would agree, being a man when you are a Bostic is an inheritance because Bostic men walk in the footsteps of the “King Maker” and his brothers.

RESEARCH TIP!!! Join a Genealogy Society!!! Knowledge is power and they can provide lots of tools and resources to set you on a path of genealogy success.


***NEXT WEEK’S BLOG**** Jacob Bostic!!! Don’t miss it!!! Jacob Bostic…That Jake…….


Bostic, Thomas Bostic, Family Found Genealogy

The death certificate of Thomas Bostic says….

Bostic, Family Found, Genealogy
Thomas Bostic’s Death Certificate

What it does not tell you is that Thomas was the family’s Gate Watcher. (That person who traditionally watched by the gate for you to come home, and was anxious when you were late.)

Whenever I hear stories about Thomas I’m reminded of a  poem that I once read……HOLD WIDE THE DOOR……

Thomas Bostic Family Found
Hold Wide The Door Poem

Thomas, in every sense of the word, exemplified the poem quoted above.  He provided nourishment and shelter for many of his family members.

That is what he did for my grandmother, his sister Mattie.

When an agent for the steel mill asked my grandfather, James Bradford, if he wanted to go north, my grandfather said yes. He told someone to tell his wife that he was going north and that he would send for her.

My grandfather knew without a doubt that she would go to her brother Thomas, and that is exactly what she and her young daughters did.

Thomas Bostic, ever faithful, ever loyal and always there. Because of this, our family has always held Thomas in high regard.

A special remembrance of Thomas’ life is a story my grandmother told me about him. Thomas was only a year older than she was. He loved her so much that he gave her his name, he never called her Mattie. He called her Tommy.

I cannot tell you in this short space of all his acts of kindness, but you will no doubt hear more about him as we soldier on.

Our next blog will tell you about the baby of the family, Jacob. He also lived in Thomas’ household at one time.


There are several types of death records. Don’t limit yourself to only thinking death certificate. Much information can be gained by reading obituaries, tombstones, cemetery records (contact the cemetery office), and Probate Records (probate records are held at a county level).

The Reunion (Part 2) My Genealogy Search and Research Tips

Bostic Family Reunion

In my previous blog I mentioned that I went back and forth on what this blog post would be entitled. As you can tell, I settled on The Reunion.

Why? You might ask.

Because that is exactly what it was, a reunion. There were no strangers among us. Pat, Dot, Redd, Renay, Valarie, Lala, Sheila, Sharon and the list goes on and on.

They were us!!

They were Ellen and Solomon, they were Jacob and Sophia, they were Solomon, London, Thomas, Edmund, Sally, Mary, Jacob Jr., Zilla and Mattie. They were all the Bostic’s past and present, and so were we.

Surely you see what it was, do you not? It was a reunion of all the Bostic’s who had survived the harrowing journey from Africa to America and the plantation life of Society Hill, SC and Marlboro County.

We’ve all  heard of the South Carolina Cotton Trail.


Cotton Field of South Carolina
Cotton Field of South Carolina

This reunion was the living example of Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise. This reunion was Langston Hughes poem, Still Here.

As I looked at all the lovely faces of my Bostic family, the realization hit me. It was all for us!! Right here in this moment in time!! People had survived just for us!! Can you imagine the enormity of knowing that someone survived just for “You”?

Family Reunion
Bostic Family Reunion

It reminds me of the bible verse in Jeremiah 1:5 that says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you”.

Our ancestors had set out to leave a living legacy and we were it.

Everything about the reunion was wonderful. The “Meet and Greet” still gives me butterflies. Sitting and talking to family members who we hadn’t physically met before; but knew them nonetheless.

Reunion Meet and Greet
Reunion Meet and Greet

A roomful of people with the same bloodline running through our veins.

Solomon and Ellen, Jacob and Sophia. AMAZING!!

One of the most memorable moments of the “Meet and Greet” was when Pat and Dot showed us a picture of my great-grandmother Mattie Bostic standing beside her brother Jacob. (My mother cried).

Siblings...Mattie and Jacob...Family Found
Siblings….Mattie and Jacob… Family Found

We were back!!!!

Back to where it all began. We had answered the call. No, not that call. Not the call that took place between Pat, Dot, mom, Aunt Vicky and me.

We answered, “THE CALL”, the call of the “BLOOD”. The Bostic blood that has been absorbed within the fibers of South Carolina. The call of the “Blood” that had now said, “it’s time to come home…. if only for a moment”.

Home we had all come, and it couldn’t be more evident as it was on the day of the Reunion.

Food, fun, prizes, stories told, introductions made, and addresses exchanged.

Family Reunion Family Found
family reunion banquet
Family Reunion 2015
Reunion – Food….Food….. and more Food

Did I mention food? Yes? No? LOL!!!

Food…Food and more Food!!! It was so good and there was so much; you knew you could only be in the South!!

Oh!!! I almost forgot!! My very first “SELFIE” with my cousin LaLa!!

Now that’s what family reunions are all about.

Sunday, the last day of the reunion, I can only imagine that the heavens opened up. Solomon and Ellen, Sophia and Jacob in the grandstands of heaven cheering us on, saying, “we did that, yes, we did that”.

And the response they heard was, “well done good and faithful servants”.


Genealogy Tip: Compare, Compare, Compare!! Never take one record as fact. Review all records to make sure you are pulling your relative and not someone else. Just because you find someone with the same name and date of birth doesn’t mean that person belongs to you.

I hope you have enjoyed this week’s Family Found Reunion Story. Please come back next week as we begin introducing you to the children of Sophia and Jacob. Thomas will be first, not because he was first born, just because we chose him first. LOL!!!

The Reunion (Part 1)- My Genealogy Search and Research Tips

Family Reunion Society Hill

Emails, phone calls and yes, you guessed it!!!  The Reunion!!

It was absolutely amazing, September 4th, 2015 through September 6th, 2015; the long awaited family reunion.

A reunion with family we had never physically met.

I went back and forth with the title of this blog. Should I call it “The Reunion” or a “Uniting and Reuniting”. I spent more time thinking of the title than I did putting words to paper. As you can tell, I settled on “The Reunion.”

My first Bostic reunion and my first time in Bennettsville, SC and Society Hill, SC.

I had heard about Society Hill all of my life. To be able to go to Bethesda  Baptist Church Cemetery was a dream come true. To see the headstones of people whose names were as familiar to me as is my own. Great-grandma Mattie’s people, the Bostic’s.

Bethesda Union Baptist Church Cemetery
Bethesda Baptist Church Cemetery

As soon as mom, Aunt Vicky and I arrived in Bennettsville our site seeing adventure began. We had a few hours before the Meet and Greet so Bethesda Baptist Church Cemetery was on the top of our list.

I had never experienced  a cemetery at the back of a church before. Well, not in real life anyway.

I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie and every western ever made so a cemetery behind a church wasn’t foreign to me.

I’m not sure if it was frustrating or funny. I had imagined going to the cemetery office and getting my printout of the plots and rows. Finally I  would be touring the graveyard that had become the final resting place of so many of my Bostic ancestors.

Solomon & Ellen Bostick
Solomon & Ellen Bostick
Bethesda Baptist Church Cemetery

Not exactly as I had imagined. 

  1. There was no office.
  2. No one was at the church

Mom, Aunt Vicky and I saw a lady going into the church next door; we asked her about the Bethesda Baptist Church Cemetery, where exactly was it located? I knew I had to be in the wrong place because there was no cemetery from what I could see. Mom and Aunt Vicky didn’t see it either.

The woman we talked to was more than willing to help in anyway that she could. She began pointing to Bethesda Church and saying how their church had given Bethesda the land for the Bethesda Cemetery and that both church cemeteries were next to each other.

Bethesda Baptist Church
Bethesda Baptist Church

She told us that if Marie wasn’t at Bethesda, then we should go to Palmetto Furniture Store next door and have the girls over there call Marie from Bethesda.

The entire time she’s talking, as nice as she could be, she’s pointing at these cemeteries that I still couldn’t see.

We made our way to the furniture store which is basically next to the church. The women there were as nice as the women who had instructed us to go to the store.

Finally!!! We would get the information that was needed. I explained to them that the lady from their church had told us to come to the furniture store and have them call Marie from Bethesda.

The furniture store had the phone numbers to everyone in town!!!

Southern hospitality at it’s finest.

They began calling around to several of the Bethesda church members after trying to reach Marie and only getting her voicemail. They were having leisurely conversations with people on the phone as if this was the norm.

Unfortunately, they were unable to get in touch with anyone from the church who would be able to assist.

I said to one of the women who had just ended her call with one of the Bethesda congregants, “it’s okay, the only thing that I need is the office location of the cemetery.

Meanwhile mom and Aunt Vicky are having a field day talking to all the other friendly people in the furniture store. Everyone became quiet once they heard my request for the office of the cemetery.

They all looked at each other and looked at me. The main furniture store lady said, “the office?” “Yes”, I replied, “the office”.

I explained I wanted to get grave site information and the actual location of the cemetery. Once I had that information I would be able to handle the rest.

“The location?” asked the furniture store lady. “Weren’t you just at Bethesda?” I confirmed that I had just been at Bethesda but I needed the address of the cemetery.

She started telling me what the previous lady had told us, about how their church had given Bethesda the land for the cemetery and that it ran adjacent to theirs.

That’s when I realized that I had obviously been at the wrong location and that’s what I began explaining to the furniture store lady.

“Yes, that’s exactly it, I’m at the wrong place,” I said.

“Honey,” she said, (as only a southerner can, you know you have to put that southern drawl on the word “honey” or it loses something in translation), “you are not in the wrong place,” your Bostic’s are buried at Bethesda.

I pointed in the direction of the church and said, “OK, at Bethesda Church Cemetery behind the church?”

“Yes, that’s right”. Finally you could see the relief on her face that I had finally gotten it.

Well, until I brought up the non-existing office again. I explained that all cemeteries have an office where the records are kept and surely Bethesda had an office; and that they were probably just not aware of it’s location.

By now, we’ve been in this furniture store with the nicest people ever for close to an hour. Meanwhile, mom and Aunt Vicky are still talking to people including some of the other furniture store employees.

They are telling the people about their Aunt Fanny Bostic-Wilson who was actually their grandmother’s aunt.

I could here them going on about how Aunt Fanny’s Store was burned down several times and on the third time she didn’t rebuild. Just old friends shooting the breeze.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog, mom and Aunt Vicky have never met a stranger. They were having a grand old time. LOL!!!!!

I thanked the ladies for their time and told mom and Aunt Vicky that we should get going.

The furniture store lady said we might as well wait a little longer because she had left the message for Marie and she would no doubt call back any minute.

I was thinking to myself, really?!!! We’ve been here an hour already.

I said, “that’s okay and if she calls back just thank her for calling”. We thanked the furniture store people again and prepared to leave.

As I was turning to leave, the furniture store lady said, “Honey, don’t go looking for an office!!”

GUILTY AS CHARGED!! That was exactly what I was going to do because this situation was CRAZY!! You had to be there. LOL!!!

I said, “I don’t understand what’s going on here, you can’t have a cemetery without an office.”

With a few brilliant questions directed a the furniture store lady, LOL!!! I laid out the reasons why you had to have an office for a cemetery.

  • Who keeps track of who’s being buried?
  • Who is taking care of the grounds?

and then the MOTHER of all question…..Perry Mason couldn’t have done better.

  • WHERE IS THE CEMETERY? Baam!! take that!!!! LOL!!!

She said:

  1. There is no office.
  2. The families keep track of whose buried there.
  3. The families take care of their cemetery.

and then she came with the COUNTER PUNCH!!

  • The cemetery is right behind the church!!!

By now, I’m done!! This was the craziest stuff I had heard.

I said, “basically you are telling me that no one knows who on earth is buried at the cemetery.”

“The families know,” she said.

This was totally over the top. I told her that I had been behind that church and didn’t see a cemetery. ( I was beginning to wonder if the church was built on top of the cemetery).

She asked me if I had seen the road. I shook my head in the negative and then said, “no”.

I was thinking to myself, “OK, I know my sense of direction isn’t the best but to miss and entire cemetery behind a church?”

Thankfully a man came into the furniture store,  yes, we are still in the furniture store. He had been listening to us and smiling.

He explained that what they were describing as a road wasn’t exactly a road but a little path behind the church that a car could fit through.

By now the phone is ringing and it’s the lady from Bethesda. Needless to say, there wasn’t an office and they didn’t have organized records but were starting the process of creating a log of those buried.

An interesting story of Recovering and Preserving African American Cemeteries. http://forum.savingplaces.org/blogs/special-contributor/2016/06/02/recovering-and-preserving-african-american-cemeteries

Last I checked, the log is still not available. LOL!!!!

Well, we finally made it to the cemetery. I really don’t know what I was expecting to find? Our cemetery at home is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country.

People are there all the time, myself included, walking, jogging, taking graduation and wedding pictures or just sitting and reading books.

Union Cemetery http://www.unioncemeterysteubenville.com/photo-gallery/

Bethesda Church Cemetery was not the Union Cemetery of my hometown, but it was a vision of loveliness in it’s own right because of who was there….My Family.


I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog about another highlight in my Family Found Genealogy Search. Please come back next week as I finish my family reunion adventure.

** ANCESTRY RESEARCH TIP OF THE WEEK** Make sure you use all of your family resources. Speak to all family members starting with the oldest first, you will be surprised at how much information you can learn. 

When documenting dates, write out the complete year. If you just put 89, or something to that effect, it can cause confusion for yourself and others. Is it 1889, 1989? You can see how this can leave an opening for misinformation. 






The Call – My Genealogy Search and Research Tips

The Call - My Genealogy Search
The Call – My Genealogy Search

January 21, 2015 was the evening of “The Call”.

In my previous blog I mentioned that January 20th was one of my most memorable evenings due to the “Family Found” email that I had received from Dot and Pat.


All that I can say is, if I was floating on a cloud after receiving that email, can you IMAGINE my feelings on the night of “The Call?”

This was an epic event!! I don’t know how I got through the work day.  “Nervous Excitement” are the only words that can describe how I felt.

After work I picked up my Aunt Vicky and we headed to my mom’s house to make “The Call”.  Initially there was no answer.

To think that a letter to the editor had paid off so quickly. 

A letter that Pat and Dot had not seen!!

Someone their brother knew had read the letter and told  him about it.  The possibility of my family not seeing my letter wasn’t in the forefront of my mind. My thoughts were more on the lines of when would they see it? To think that my letter almost slipped past my family.

In true movie fashion wouldn’t you say?………We all know the scene in the movie when a letter falls between the cracks in the floor and isn’t found for 30 years. I hate movies like that!!! I always find myself yelling, “the letter, get the letter!!”

Old Tattered Letter
An old tattered letter that is unreadable.

Thankfully the letter pictured above wasn’t the case with my letter. My letter made the January 15, 2015 addition of the Herald Advocate on page 6, entitled “Ohio Resident Seeks Info!” It’s only now while typing this blog that I realize that my letter published on “MY BIRTHDAY!!!”


Letter to the editor
Ohio Resident Seeks Info!

As I’m sharing this experience with you, I am sitting here with the same silly smile on my face that I had the night of “The Call”.

I can recall three things from that phone conversation:

  • The trembling of my hands when I dialed the number the second time.
  • The warmth and excitement in the voices of Pat and Dot.
  • Nathaniel Bostic’s name being mentioned.

Nathaniel Bostic
(Fun Fact)..Diane Bostic-Buggs (Nathaniel’s granddaughter) said, “When Nathaniel drove his car he would take his time – he would say that the driver who was racing along side of him was only going to the next traffic light.”

What I “can’t” remember about “The Call” is anything else that was said. I mean NOTHING, nothing at all. LOL!!!

Thank goodness for mom and Aunt Vicky because those two ladies have “NEVER” and I mean “NEVER” met a stranger. They can talk to anyone as if they’ve known them for years and can recall the details of every conversation.

After the phone conversation mom, Aunt Vicky and I were smiling at each other. For a brief moment they looked as if they were reflecting on memories of the past; as if they had their mother and grandmother back.

Whimsical and Wonderful is how I would describe that evening; it all seemed too good to be true.

The magical moment was broken with what I’m sure seemed like the craziest question ever. I asked, “What if they’re strangers? What if they’re not our Bostic’s?”

That was the cold water on the moment of bliss. Mom and Aunt Vicky looked at me as if I was nuts, they were “ALMOST” rendered speechless.

They asked, “Are you crazy? Of course they’re not strangers!!” Now keep in mind that mom and Aunt Vicky have never met a stranger; so just because they said, “of course they’re not strangers” wasn’t necessarily the ringing endorsement that I was looking for.

I must have  looked doubtful because in that moment mom and Aunt Vicky turned into Sadie’s daughters and Mattie Bostic’s granddaughters!!

The one thing that every child and the spouses of my mother and her siblings learn very quickly is that you “NEVER” and I mean “NEVER” doubt anything that pertains to:

  1.  Mama!!
  2.  Grandma!!

If someone was skating on thin ice that night it was definitely me.

I was back in their good graces once I explained that even though the phone was on speaker, I had heard nothing because I was so excited that the call had even taken place.

They assured me that all the people, places and things discussed all lined up.

“THE CALL!!!” We were another step closer!! The descendants of Mattie Bostic-Bradford and her brother London Bostic had made the connection.

Some say life is a cycle and others say the circle of life, call it what you like,  either way I agree because past and present were coming full circle.

The children of Jacob Bostic Sr. and Sophia McCullough-Bostic were making their way back home to where it all began.

My hopes are that you have enjoyed another portion of my genealogy journey. Please come back next week for more of the journey.

***ANCESTRY TIP OF THE WEEK *** don’t forget to look for Delayed Birth Records during your genealogy search. You can find a wealth of information in a Delayed Birth Record. Please use the link below to learn more about delayed birth records.


The image below is a copy of the delayed birth record of my great-uncle Jake Bostic; and as my family knows, “I’m All Things Jake” so I’m thrilled to be able to share his birth record with you. 

Delayed Birth Record
Delayed Birth Record



Family Found – My Genealogy Search and Research Tips

Bennettsville Visitor's Center

One of my most memorable evenings was January 20, 2015.  I opened my email and on the subject line of one email in particular were the words Family Found! That email would prove to be the long lost key to opening many doors in my genealogy search.

I sat there stunned just staring at the subject line. Could it really be what I had been hoping for? A response to my “Letter to the Editor” of the Bennettsville, SC newspaper?

As you can see below it was indeed the response to my letter.  That email blossomed into so much more than just a mere response. It became the fulfillment of so many hopes and dreams, not just for myself but for other family members as well.

Family Ancestry Search
Email Response to my Letter to the Editor

Several months prior to receiving that email I had begun researching my family tree. Genealogy research was something that my aunt had been encouraging everyone to do.

Throughout the years she would hand out sheets of paper or cute little scrolls that she had made with the names of family members from times long ago. Two of those names were Solomon and Jacob and she also included a brief description of how it all began.

Genealogy Search where it all began
Cotton Fields surrounding the Bostic’ ancestral home.

If you were to ask me where those sheets of paper or little scrolls are today, my answer would be, “I do not know.” Who would have known that the day would come when I would long for those little pieces of treasure that held the key to who I am?

I remember picking up the phone one evening and calling my aunt. The conversation went something like this, “Aunt Vicky!! Do you remember those little scrolls that you made with the names of the two brothers?” Her response was, “Hi Leah, yes honey”, before she could get another word out, I said, “oh good, I need to find my family.” LOL!!!

Genealogy Search
Bostic Family Tree

She actually gave me the information that I was requesting while still on the phone. Prior to ending the call she said, “I knew the time would come when someone would be ready to know their family and I would have the information waiting so that they would be able to begin their journey of discovering who we are.”

The phone conversation with my aunt and the email that I mentioned all took place several years ago. From that point forward many wonderful things have occurred.

  1. Relationships have been formed that will never be broken.
  2. Two family reunions have happened.
  3. ancestry.com and old newspapers have become my reading material of choice. (old newspaper articles and obituaries can give you a wealth of information when searching for your ancestors).
  4. I’ve become the go to person for other people who are beginning their genealogy search.

With each week, month and  passing year, I’ve learned something new about my “Bostic” family, a name that is music to my ears. I guess the words of Dale Carnegie still hold true today, “There is no sweeter sound to one’s ear than the sound of his name.”


This ancestry journey has helped me to discover so many things, especially about myself.

Prior to genealogy research whenever anyone would asked me that “dreaded question of what my passion was, my answer would  always be, ” I don’t have a  passion.” After making the statement of not having a passion, I would begin to tell them all the reasons why it’s okay not to have a passion.

Whether I believed those reasons or not is neither here nor there; because if you were to ask me that question today my answer would be, “genealogy research of my family and YOURS!! Not that I’m nosy or anything.” LOL!!!

I love bringing people back to life, imagining what they looked like, sounded like and what they may have gone through to make them who they were.

Throughout our lives we all make a footprint in the sand; and there will come a  time when someone will begin their journey of discovering who we were and what our lives were like.

Please continue to follow my weekly blog as I share my genealogical journey and numerous tips on researching your family tree.