[ecaagen] AYERS from Boloxm, VA to Snowhill, MD. to Today!
- **Unfinished Draft**
The Ayers Family: An American Journey
The Beginnings: The earliest known member of the Ayers family is John Henry
Ayers. It is my belief that John Ayers may have been born in Bloxom,
Accomac County, Virginia in 1843 (United States Colored Troop, 7th Regiment
Infantry Company Muster-In Roll, November 12, 1863). His enlistment form
has him at age 20, height at 5"3 with black eyes and hair. His occupation
at the time of his enlistment in the military was that of a farmer.
The War Years:
"Who would be free themselves must strike the blow.... I urge you to fly to
arms and smite to death the power that would bury the Government and your
liberty in the same hopeless grave. This is your golden opportunity." -
Frederick Douglas served at the forefront in urging President Lincoln to
admit colored soldiers among the ranks of the Union troops. By war end,
the valor of the colored soldiers that served in the Union forces and
fought for freedom during the Civil War was unquestioned. Approximately
209,000 African-Americans served as members of the United States Colored
Troops (USCT). These colored soldiers fought not just to save the Union
but to free themselves and families from slavery.
On November 12, 1863, John Ayers joined his fellow countrymen and enlisted
as a member of the U.S. 7th Colored Regiment Infantry Company at Camp
Stanton in Charles County, Maryland. Since northern troops fought in
segregated outfits, he was assigned to Company K of the 7th Colored
Regiment as a Private. Camp Stanton was the training ground for
African-American troops during the War Between the States.
The winter of 1863 was spent at Camp Stanton in Benedict, Maryland, in
drilling and preparing the regiment for active field duty. By March 4,
1864, a streamer transported the regiment to Portsmouth, Virginia, finally
moving on to Hilton Head, South Carolina. By March 14 of the same year,
the regiment had proceeded to Jacksonville, Florida where they remained in
On May 6, 1864, Confederate troops attacked outposts of the 7th Regiment
but were speedily repulsed. By early June, the 7th Regiment had gained a
reputation "(as) the best colored regiment in the service of the United
States" (Statement by the Inspector-General of the Department of the South,
General (?) Gordon, 1864).
From June 27th to July 14th, the 7th Regiment was engaged in several
skirmishes with Confederate troops in which causalities were high. By the
end of August, the regiment had returned to Virginia to become a part of
the First Brigade, Third Colored Division, Tenth Army Corp, and Army of the
James, Department of Virginia and North Carolina to December 1864.
During the Battle of Chaffin's Farm in Virginia on September 28-30, 1864,
John was wounded during the two-day skirmish against Confederate troops.
John's regiment also saw action at the fall of Petersburg on April 2, 1865.
Furthermore, along with General Grant's army, the regiment pursued Lee's
Army of the South beginning on April 3rd through 9th and finally to
Appomattox Court House.
With the war near close, John's regiment was transferred to Indianaola,
Texas for service with the First Brigade, Second Division, Twenty-fifth
Corps to January, 1866. The regiment served the nation at Rio Grande and
several points throughout the Department of Texas. John finally mustered
out on October 13, 1866 in Baltimore, Maryland holding the rank of
Sergeant. During their service in the Civil War, the regiment lost one
officer, 84 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded, and 308 men killed by
The Emerging Family: At the close of the War, John settled in Snow Hill,
Maryland. John Ayers married a Leara Desheild of Snowhill, Maryland. To
their union, the following children were born: John Henry Jr., Joseph Pete,
Daniel, Jesse, Priscilla, Eliza, Martha, Sadie, and Viola.
Of Viola's siblings, the only two I have received oral verification
regarding their children are Joseph Pete and John Henry.
John Henry Ayers' children were Benjamin, Jr., John W., Thomas, Norman,
Hillary, Reece, Edgar, Clifford, Maggie and Annie (as told by Maggie Ayers
Townsend, June 1, 1998).
Joseph Pete had at least one daughter by the name of Eloise Ayers (as told
by Eliza Cornish, June 1, 1998).
The Ayers-Cornish Connection: Our g-grandmother, Viola, gave birth to Paul
Ayers on March 10, 1907 in Quantico, Maryland. The name of Paul's father
is unknown at this time. Viola later married an Isaac Cornish.
To the union of Viola Ayers and Isaac Cornish were born the following
children: Virgie on March 3, 1910, Handy on March 9, 1912, Raymond on July
15, 1915, Mabel on March 16, 1917, Arthur on January 31, 1920, Eliza on
November 5, 1921 and Amanda on June 11, 1924.
Virgie married (?) in (?). To their union were born the following
children: Milbrun in (?), Lettia in (?), Nettie, and Pearl in (?).
Raymond and his wife adopted the following eight children:
Handy married (?) in (?). To their union were born two children: Handy,
Jr., in (?) and Marlene in (?).
Arthur "Bootsy" married Thelma (?) on (?). Their union produced the
following children: Monroe on (?), 1943, Nathan on (?), 1945, Evella and
Floretha on (?), 1949, and McKinley on (?), 1953.
Amanda had one child, Edward Deshield on (?), (?).
Neither Mabel nor Eliza had children. As with most African-American
families, these stately and lively women I am told enjoyed taking care of
their nieces and nephews.
The Four Wives and Three Families of Paul Ayers: Paul, who lived most of
his childhood with Mattie Gattis, moved to Selma, Clark County, Ohio with
her at the tender age of thirteen. It is believed that Mattie Gattis came
to Selma from Maryland to teach school.
Paul's First Family: By 192(?), Paul had married his first wife, Mary
Roberts of Springfield, Ohio. The two had one child, Pauline Ayers on S
eptember 2, 1928.
Pauline Ayers married (?) on (?), (?). To their union was born Donald on
June 2, 1950, Carlton on July 31, 1951, Paul Steven on April 22, 1953, Bill
on March 2, 1954, Beverly on June 10, 1955, Brian on September 10. 1958,
and Lisa on June 2, 1962. Pauline's oldest child was Darlene Ayers.
Darlene was born on March 20, 1946.
Pauline later married William Dapp of Selma, Clark County, Ohio on (?),
(?). Their union produced Teresa Dapp on February 14, 1967.
Paul's Second Family: Paul later married his second wife and my
grandmother, Virginia Stroder in the 1920s. The two had one child,
Franklin Reginald on November 3, 1928 in Springfield, Ohio. Franklin
"Crud" was named after two of his mother's brothers, Franklin and Reginald
Stroder. The Stroder family was one of many African-American families who
migrated from Kentucky to Springfield, Ohio at the turn of the century.
Betty and Frank "Crud" had seven children: Mark Christopher on February 2,
1951, Franklin Reginald on May 13, 1953, Adrianne Kay on January 27, 1955,
Randall Duane on April 16, 1956, Judith Ann on May 26, 1957, Timothy
Frederick on November 19, 1958, and Melanie Lynn on January 8, 1960.
Betty's oldest child, Harry Douglas Basey was born on August 21, 1944, and
was raised by her parents, Fred and Kitty Basey on the old farm place in
Harry married Linda Marie Andrews on (?) in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Harry
and Linda gave birth to three children: Kimberly Ann on February 27, 1970,
Lori Michelle on March 29, 1972, and Michael Douglas on January 1, 1975.
All three were born in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Kim married Frederick Dane
York of (?) on (?) in Columbus, Ohio.
Mark, Frank and Betty's oldest son, married Stephanie Jones of (?) on
January 14, 1996 in Sacramento, California. Frank, their second child,
married Sandra Williams of (?), South Carolina on January 1, 198(?) in
Washington, DC. The two had a son and daughter: Ahmad Sheheed on August
12, 1986 and Aneesah Sheheed on October 21, 1987. Both children were born
in Washington, DC.
Adrianne, the oldest daughter and third child, married Kenneth Leonard of
Washington, DC on May 26, 1984 in Springfield, Ohio. The two have three
children: Lauren Elizabeth, who was born on March 30, 1984, Kimberly
Michelle on November 23, 1985, and Terrence Jason "TJ" on April 17, 1989.
Lauren and "TJ" were both born in Phoenix, Arizona. Kim was born in
Randy, the third son and fourth child, married Carol Denise Peery of
Columbus, Ohio on June 18, 1983 in her hometown. They have two sons: Ryan
Vincent and Cameron Alexander, who were born July 16, 1986 and September
18, 1991 respectively.
Judith, the fifth child, married Dale Carr of Springfield, Ohio on (?) in
(?). She has three children: Melissa Paige, who was born on March 3, 1977,
Stephanie on May 26, 1979, and Brandon Jason on October 1, 1984.
Timothy, the youngest son and sixth child, married Lisa Jennifer Henry of
Springfield, Ohio on August 31, 1985 in Springfield, Ohio. Their child was
born Katheryne Lindsay on July 25, 1988 in Springfield, Ohio. Katheryne
received her name from my grandmother's childhood friend and a friend of
her mother's family, Katheryne Jones of Springfield, Ohio.
Tim later married Robin Latrice Brown of Fort Knox, Kentucky on October 1,
1994 in Columbus, Ohio. Their son and Tim's second child was born Joseph
Paul Alexander on May 14, 1996 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Joseph's first
name came from his mother's grandfather, Joseph Brown. His two middle
names are from his father's grandfather and ggg-grandfather, Paul Ayers and
A second son, Perry Christopher Frederick Ayers was born on August 28, 1998
in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Perry's first name comes from his father's
gg-grandfather, Perry Murphy. His two middle names are taken both from his
paternal uncle, Mark Christopher Ayers, and his paternal g-grandfather,
Tim served as Mayor and a member of City Commission of his hometown from
1984 to 1990. Tim is a graduate of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio
and served as an Assistant Clerk in the Ohio House of Representatives from
1980 to 1984.
Melanie, the youngest daughter and seventh child, married Luther Henson of
Sandusky, Ohio on June 4, 1984 in (?). Their only child was born Alicia
Nicole on June 4, 1984 in (?).
Frank's step-granddaughter by Betty's son Harry, Kim and John Ober of
Falmouth, Massachusetts had one daughter: Karrissa Ann Ober on May 12, 1989
in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Harry's son, Michael has one son named Shane
(?). Shane was born on July 1, 1995.
Judith's two daughters, Melissa and Stephanie both gave birth to daughters:
Tayler (?) on July 1, 1995 and Tyia (?) on July 11, 1997 respectively.
Paul's Third Family: Paul briefly was married to Francis Hargrove of
Springfield, Ohio from (?) to (?).
Paul's Fourth Family: Paul married his fourth wife, Margienell Riggins of
Urbana, Ohio on July 16, 1955. Paul and Margienell legally divorced in
1970. The two had one daughter: Julia Ann Ayers on April 3, 1956.
Julia and Michael Richardson of Springfield, Ohio had one daughter: Trena
LaShay Ayers on October 27, 1971 in Springfield, Ohio. Julia married Rick
Dennis of (?) on (?) in (?). The two had a son named Julian Alexander
Dennis on (?) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Julia's second husband was Tony King of (?). The two were married on (?)
in (?). From that union, a daughter by the name of Jennifer Estelle King
was born on April 14, 1988 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Trena married Tim Pearson of Bellport, New York on October 26, 1991 in
Atlanta, Georgia. To their union, the following children were born: Jordan
Shakir on June 13, 1993, JaVanti Nakira on October 28, 1994, and Trinity
Nakole on August 26, 1996.