Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mitchell Heath: The Greatest Man on Earth in my Lifetime

Greetings family, friends, fellow genealogists and a special hello to the Ancestors! It has been several months since my last post in March, and yet there is so much to share and sometimes it seems like so little time. The Ancestors have been hard at work and the pathways have been ever so clear with so much more unfolding day by day. I have been truly blessed through an outpouring of new and exciting information regarding my Georgia lineage through my maternal Great-Grandfather with whom my maternal Georgia lineage begins through the Heath and Frazier families.


In the beginning of discovering what blogging was about, I created this blog as a means of sharing the rich legacy of my Ancestors. I first began with one of the biggest discoveries and special woman in our family, my 2x Great Grandmother Annie Elizabeth Nelloms-Barrow. She is my maternal Great-Grandmother, Anna Lue Barrow-Heath's mother. Annie was affectionately called Grand Annie by her family and Anna Lue to me was always Granny. I share this story again as this has a special connection with my Great-Grandfather, Mitchell Heath (Granddaddy) who was married to the love of his life none other than Granny. Granny shared so many memories with us about her Alabama and Georgia family, and it is from Granny I found my niche and my calling to bridge the gaps between the past and the present. Granddaddy too left me with a rich legacy to share, uncover, and to honor. I thought I knew a lot, but my journey from March 2014 till now has proven I have only just begun. With the Ancestors guiding me along the way, I sincerely pray I am honoring them as I share their story.



Mitchell Heath
cir. 1959 Beulah Baptist Church
Usher Board Anniversary
Mitchell Heath, Granddaddy as he was affectionately called was born January 19, 1910 in Crawfordville, Taliaferro County, Georgia to the union of Phelps Heath III and Eunice Frazier-Heath. Granddaddy was truly a man after God's own heart and taught his family that faith in God and good works was key to making it to Heaven. Granddaddy did not talk much about his family, but what he did share was key to finding amazing discoveries about the Heath family. Granddaddy had many brothers and sisters and always said by the time he was born, some of his siblings were already grown and married themselves. His oldest sibling was his sister, Lena who was born in 1890 and his youngest sibling was his sister, Mattie Jane who was born in 1916. That is a huge span of years for siblings, but Phelps III and Eunie had several children. Granddaddy said that his mother had about 20 children, but he did not know all of them. There were several children he said had died before he was born. This is not hard to believe but yet it is difficult to find records for the deceased children as Georgia was not the best at good record keeping. My quest continues to identify Granddaddy's siblings who died young. Granddaddy's known siblings were Lena (previously mentioned as the oldest born in 1890), Nina born in 1893, Allen born in 1898, Essie born in 1900, Percy born in 1902, Martha born in 1903, Nancy born in 1905, Earnest born in 1906, Luna born in 1908, Earl born in 1913, and Mattie (previously mentioned as the youngest born in 1916). It is an amazing discovery of my southern roots to find that many of my Ancestors produced large families. Another amazing discovery has been the various family lines Granddaddy descends from and all connecting to Taliaferro, Hancock, and Warren Counties in Georgia through his parents, Phelps III and Eunie.


When it comes to relationships, Granddaddy was very fond of his sister, Essie Mae (nee Heath) Patterson-Tillman. I do not remember much except the family preparing for her homegoing services in 1981 and Granddaddy speaking of his fond memories of his older sister. He was also very close with his brother, Earnest Heath, and his baby sister, Mattie Jane (nee Heath) Montgomery. Out of all the family members on my Heath side, these were the names I heard the most. As I grew older, I began to hear more about Uncle Allen Heath, Aunt Nancy (nee Heath) Carter, and cousins Anna Bea and Casper (Uncle Allen's children). Granddaddy was man of few words when it came to his family, but he truly embraced his family with love and instilled in his daughter, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to love and cherish family.


As a young boy, Granddaddy and his family had relocated to Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. By 1924, Granddaddy's parents were documented as Cincinnati residents living at 544 George Street which was then in the old historic West End community near downtown Cincinnati. There were many black families living in the West End who had migrated north from the south. Granddaddy would have been 14 years old in 1924 and own his way to becoming a man and establishing his place in Cincinnati. On September 16, 1928 Granddaddy married the love his life, my Granny and his precious Anna Lue Barrow. Together, their love story is amazing. Mitchell and Anna only had one child, their one and only Jessie Mae and my beloved Grandmother. Granddaddy worked hard to provide for his family as well as establish a strong sense of giving back to his community. By the mid to late 1960s, Mitchell and Anna had purchased their home located at 218 Donahue Street in the Corryville community of Cincinnati. This home was a part of the family through fives generations, and their are so many precious memories of family gatherings in which Mitchell and Anna ensured all the family enjoyed through their labor of love.


Granddaddy was a faithful member of the Beulah Missionary Baptist Church also located in the old West End area of downtown Cincinnati. Granddaddy was instrumental in many church ministries to include the Male Chorus and the Usher Board. As a senior member of the Male Chorus, Granddaddy was a lead vocalist who certainly stirred up the church with his melodious rendition of "Have I Given Anything Today" and oh the memories that are flooding my mind and soul right now. Just as much as he loved singing, he was a faithful and dedicated usher for many years and instrumental in Beulah establishing a Senior and Junior Usher Board. Many church members as well as community members looked up to Granddaddy and he was an inspiration to all he came in contact with. Granddaddy was a true man of God, a man of distinction, a man of honor and integrity, and a legend in his own right. He is the greatest man on earth in my lifetime as he taught me to be a follower and believer in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you Granddaddy for the message of faith!


Today, I am singing "Have I Given Anything Today?"
Have I given anything today?
Have I helped some needed soul on the way?
From the dawn till setting sun, have I wounded anyone?
Shall I weep for what I've done today?


Oh today, oh the day, oh the day
Have I failed some greater flame on the way
Just to know I've done my best as I go to take my rest
Let my name be blessed today.


Have I made some person glad today?
Did I help someone who had a mortal day?
Did I cancel with the sad try to make some poor heart glad.
Answer wisdom what I had today.


Oh today, oh the day, oh the day
Have I failed some greater flame on the way
Just to know I've done my best as I go to take my rest
Let my name be blessed today.


Thank you Thomas A. Dorsey for these words of a powerful testimony and thank you Granddaddy for singing from the heart! As I continue to my ancestry journey in discovering more of my Heath family, I continue to reflect upon Granddaddy's lifelong lesson of FAITH and FAMILY, the tie that binds! Granddaddy, thank you for asking "Have I given Anything Today!"

8 comments:

  1. Hello my friend! Once again, you have inspired me! I know your ancestors would be so proud of your work. My family also moved from Georgia to Ohio and I continue to try to put those pieces together that were lost in that separation. I can tell that you have a deep connection that guides you, and I can't wait to see where it leads! Thanks for sharing and don't keep us waiting so long next time!

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    1. Thank you so much Tiffiny for the kind and thoughtful words! I am trying to keep up with you!!! ;-)

      I am learning more and more to trust the Ancestors' lead and they truly have lead me on an incredible journey over the past six months that is just unbelievable!!! I feel very fortunate to have had engaging conversations with my great-grandparents. It is because of Mitchell and Anna that I know so much. It is my goal to make them proud as well as honor all the Ancestors! I promise it will not be long before the net post!

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  2. Beautiful job Dante! You piece was moving, well written and inspirational. I love the closeness of your family. You are giving a strong, vivid voice to your Ancestors.

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    1. Thank you Bernita!!! It is an amazing and incredible opportunity to be able to bring their stories, their history, and more importantly their legacy to light! Thank you for all the encouragement these past few months!!! And I sure do miss AAGSAR!!!!

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  3. Lovely tribute! Your profile photo looks amazingly similar to him :)

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    1. Thanks Sally! And thank you for the compliment!

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  4. Two years later and this blog post and tribute to Granddaddy touches my soul deep within! Thank you Granddaddy for inspiring me to have faith as well as to cherish family! Faith and family indeed is the tie that binds us all!

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  5. Two years later and this blog post and tribute to Granddaddy touches my soul deep within! Thank you Granddaddy for inspiring me to have faith as well as to cherish family! Faith and family indeed is the tie that binds us all!

    ReplyDelete