Family Affair

Keitt|Sapp|Shumake|McRae|McMillian|Clark|Ryal - All from Georgia

“Over the course of the millennia, all these ancestors in your tree, generation upon generation, have come down to this moment in time—to give birth to you. There has never been, nor will ever be, another like you. You have been given a tremendous responsibility. You carry the hopes and dreams of all those who have gone before. Hopes and dreams for a better world. What will you do with your time on this Earth? How will you contribute to the ongoing story of humankind?” ~ Laurence Overmire

Irene Sapp Keitt

Posted by Tonya Keitt Kalule

Irene Keitt in the 1940's. Most of the portraits are taken by Cecil Kelsey, who was a family member, and the first black photographer in Savannah, Ga.

Irene Sapp Keitt grew up in Millen,Jenkins County, Georgia with her parents and three siblings, she was the third born of the four. She moved to Savannah at the age of 17 to stay with her Aunt Ada, (whom I have not found any record of), to finish her education.

She then met and married Nathaniel Hawthorne Keitt, and still did not finish her education.  She told me that she worked as a domestic for three days after getting married, but soon discovered that domestic work was not for her.  She came from a family that was very independent and self-sufficient, so being a domestic was against everything that she was made of. So she starting doing the hair of the women in the neighborhood,  without a license and made her money. She bought houses in the neighborhood and moved in, and when she bought the next house, she would move into that house, and rent the one that she moved out of. She did this until she own about 5 houses in a two block radius,
Yes she did get her cosmetology license and built a shop onto the last house she bought in the neighborhood, 1101 East Bolton Street.

She went on to own several businesses, a convenient store, a cab company, East Side Cab Co.,a gas station, an orange grove in Florida and pecan orchard in Millen.  She owned property from Deland, Florida to Victorville, California. She was from a family of property owners, so some of the property far from her home was passed down to her from the Sapp side of her family.

I learned a great deal about business from my grandmother and I did not even realize that she was teaching me anything other than how to work.  It was not until later in my life that I realized how much I actually learned from her.  She was a treasure and I am grateful for her passing along that desire to own something.


Maurice Merriweather said...

Wow, Grandma was a Diva even back in the day. Tonya Thanks for posting this web site, I know you have wanted to do this for a long time. Good work and keep following your heart. You are bound to find happiness.

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