Family Affair

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“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

Amanda Clark Wise 1852-1934

Posted by Tonya Keitt Kalule



The parents of Martha Clark McMillian was Wesley and Kizzie Swain Clark.  In the 1870 census they are listed as 25 years old with three children in the household.  There was Amanda 17, William 6, and Betsey 2/12, which is two months old.  When examining the original document it says that Betsey was born in May, because the census was taken in June of that year.  Now there are two mysteries here.  The first is that Amanda is 17 years old, therefore could not be the child of Kizzie and Wesley, so I assume that it is possibly Wesley's sister.  Now after researching and finding Amanda in another family tree, and judging on looks, dates, and the fact that this other family tree has the same 1870 census attached to Amanda on their tree I feel as though I have hit the jackpot.  After cross referencing all of the information on Amanda Clark Wise, and her children, which is quite interesting by the way, I go back and look closer at that 1870 census and they have her listed as 'idiot'.  This indicate that the census taker thought her to be mentally handicapped.
This could be the reason why she was living with her brother, or there could be any number of other reasons.
Amanda did not get married until she was 26 years old in 1878, but it shows that she had her first child before that in 1876, at the age of 24. Maybe she was what we would consider a little slow, or maybe not at all.  Maybe this is why she got married and had children much later than most mulatto women in that time.  It also shows that her daughters were also in their late 20s when they were no longer living at home.  The photo to the left is one of Amanda Clark Wise.




Now the next mystery is Betsey/Martha Clark in this 1870 census.  We have been told that Martha Clark was born March 1870, the year of this census, but she is not listed here as you would think, because this census is taken in June of that year. In the 1880 Census, Martha is shown as 10 years old but there is no Betsey. So that leads me to believe that Betsey and Martha are one in the same.  Possibly her name was Martha Betsey Clark or Betsey Martha Clark.  She was older in this census and would probably decide at this time what she was to be called.

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