Weaving Together the “Pages”

Carpenter, Activist, Minister, Entrepreneur, Artist…

2nd Great-Grandfather David Page at his general store in Macon, Mississippi
My 2nd great grandfather, King David Page (1891-1983) was a man of many talents.  He was well known in his hometown of Macon, Mississippi where he lived for most of his 92 years. David was licensed as a minister in 1918, and furthered his studies in theology at the M&I (Missionary and Industrial) College in Macon. He served as the pastor of the Savannah Baptist Church in Paulette, Noxubee County, MS and the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Macon. David built his house with his own two hands, and from the small attached vestibule, ran a general store. 
“Serenity to Accept Things I Cant Change”: Morning Compass, Columbus, MS (1980)
One of the interests that prided David most were the baskets he made. In the 1980’s the local newspaper, the Columbus, Mississippi Morning Compass wrote an article about him. This was around the same time he was asked to give basket-weaving lessons at a local University. His technique was simple, yet intricate.
“There are so many things you have to do before you can even start. You have to go to the woods and find a piece of wood that you can use first. Not always the ones that look straight and smooth can be used….After you find the wood, you’ve got to cord it up in small pieces so you can split it.
Then he started to weave.
“You start off with 16 pieces. Put them down first. Then start weaving the bottom as wide as you want it. When you get it as wide as you want it you bend the splits and start coming up with it.” 

A man of 89 years old at the time, David Page was continuing a hobby he had learned almost a century ago during his childhood.

David Page with one of his baskets
David Pages Home c. 1980; Labelled affectionately by family as “The House that Papa Built”

Not only was my 3rd great grandfather known for his work with his hands, he was also pragmatic member of the African American community in Macon. He was not impervious to the pressures of the the Jim Crow South that surrounded him. As the story was relayed to me by some family members, one day, a friend of David had a disagreement with a White man in town. A mob of White men showed up at his church, and threatened to lynch him. Armed with his pistol in one breast pocket and Bible in the other, David stood his ground in the face of danger, and was able to diffuse the situation, without harm.

I wanted to know more about the family that made a man with such dexterity and resolve. When I started my genealogical research for my Page family, I first turned to David Page’s obituary. He passed a few years after the article was written at the age of 92.

David Page Obituary (1983, Macon MS)

“Rev. K. D. Page was born on August 10, 1891 to the late Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Page….He leaves to mourn his passing…three (3) brothers, Mr. Thomas Page, Ohio, Mr. Johnnie Page, MS and Mr. Joe Page, MO”

David’s obituary gave me the name of his father Lawrence Page of Macon, MS, and his brothers, Thomas, Johnnie and Joe. 

I took to the census records and found David living with his family in 1900.

1900 Census, Beat 4, Noxubee County, MS

Page,  Lillie (24)
Johnnie (11)
David (8)
Thomas (6)
Hannah (4)

I found David living with his mother my 3rd great grandmother Lillie Page, and two of the siblings from the obituary Johnnie Page and Thomas Page. Lillie was listed as a widow, so at the time I assumed that David’s father Lawrence had died at this point.

Then I noticed something interesting. At the same time of the 1900 census, in the same county a few miles down the road was Lawrence Page. 

1900 Census, Prairie Point, Noxubee County, MS

Page,  Lawrence (36)
Dolly (33)
Carrie (8)
Lawyer (6)
Robert (4)
Mattie (3 mos.)

Lawrence Page had a completely different family and a different wife, Dolly. Lawrence was not in fact widowed but started a new family a few miles down the road from his old one. I confirmed this later after speaking with family members and noticing that Joe Page from David’s obituary was actually a child of Lawrence and Dolly, who I found living with them 10 years later. I also learned from this record that Lawrence was skilled as a Carpenter, a trade he likely passed on to his son, David.

1910 Census; Columbus Ward 3, Lowndes County, MS

Page,  Lawrence (45)
Dolly (32)
Carrie (17)
Lawyer (16)
Robert (14)
Mattie (13)
Maggie (9)
Willie M. (6)
Joe (2)
Richard L. (5/12)

Altogether Lawrence had 15 children, three of whom lived to be over 90 years old (Johnnie, David and Thomas). Lawrence himself lived to be 92.

Now that I had a solid birth date for Lawrence, and knowing he was born during the Civil War, I wanted to find him in the 1870 census. On December 16, 2012, I received an email from my 4th cousin and fellow genealogist, James Sanders on Ancestry.com. James is the 2nd great grandson of uncle Johnnie Page. James had already been researching the family for years at that point and had interviewed  Mary Bell “Maydonna” Page-Powell, his great-grandmother’s sisterJohnnie’s youngest daughter about her family.

James pointed me to the 1870 census in Noxubee County, where Lawrence was living with his parents Joshua and Patsy Page. 

1870 Census: Township 14, Noxubee County, MS

Page, Joshua (40) 
          Patsy (30) 
          Lucinda (10) 
          Lawrence (7) 
          Joseph (5)
          Joshua (3) 
          Isaac (1)
          Delphia (65) 

There was Lawrence at age 7, with a group of brothers and sisters that shared the names of some of his children! Furthermore, there was 65 year old woman living in the household, old enough to be the mother of Joshua or Patsy. We likely found our 5th great grandmother, Delphia Page! 

Note from the Author:

I want to thank everyone who has stuck with me so far! In the next post I will explain how DNA testing has helped us to connect the Page family, in ways that would not be possible before. The next post will be my 10th and last for the month of February, Black History Month. But don’t worry, there’s more to come! In my blog so far, I have only focused on my maternal side from Maryland and Mississippi.  I have a lot of research that I continue every day on my father’s lines in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, and my mother’s family in North Carolina, and Virginia. Please stay tuned, and don’t forget to follow the page by email or through Google Plus. You can also send any questions/comments/corrections/information to my email amay@afriroots.net.

Thank You Again,

Anthony May