When Bossier Parish split in 1871 and became Cotton Valley, LA this couple were some of the first settlers of that area.

Acorrding to to records, the couple came from Alabama and when the left the area they sold there land to Edmund W Hodges for $15,000.00.

(source:  The USGenWeb Project-Louisiana Archives Index of Webster Parish)


As I sit here this evening in my room, in my home and as healthy as I think I am. I wnat to thank the volunteers that gave there time and money for the Free Clinic that was held this weekend in New Orleans, LA.

Over a thousand volunteers, doctors, and nurses gave up their Saturday to help those in need of Healthcare. Without their efforts a women who came in with numbness, high blood pressure and a headache might not of  been able to see a doctor. A women diagnosised with stage 4 breastcancer decided not get any further treatment, but was glad that she was able to find out why she was not feeling well. A man with high blood pressure might of ended up having a heart attack or a stroke.

Whatever your political views are, there should not be anyone without Healthcare. Most of the patients that showed up were hard working individuals, that employers did not offer Healthcare and they could not afford Healthcare on their own. A nurse that works in a hospital was not there as a volunteer, but as a patient for high blood pressure. He worked two jobs, but did not work enough hours on either job to get Healthcare.

See thats the problem, most employers only offer Healthcare for those that are more than likely full-time employees, so instead of the paying fo Healthcare they only offer part-time hours and we need a job so we take what is offered. Or they offer the employee Healthcare, but you will have to pay for you family, husband, wife, and children. Prices so expensive that you can’t afford it and pay rent and buy food etc…

I ask to you, WHAT WILL YOU DO? I know what I’m going to do. Whatever it is I can’t just sit here anymore. Especially after watching a Free Health Clinic being held in the same Convention Center that housed so many after Hurricane Katrina.

Living in such a Rich Nation, and with so many kind a giving people, Why not HEALTHCARE for ALL?
(not one politician from the state showed up for this event)


Thank you Sandra of I Never Knew My Father for nominating my Blog! It lets me know that my hard work is being recognized!!

Now I’m supposed to tell 7 things about me, then nominate seven blogs. Here goes:

1). As I stated in my profile, I love spending time with my family. My mom and my boys are the most important things in my life. When we get together we always laugh(at each other). Thats so important, sometimes we all need a good laugh.

2). I love genealogy, researching my family has been top priority for me. There is so much that I don’t know. I have always been interested in the past and the where, when, how, and why are really what i’m after. I know I might not never find out everything, but to get close is good enough for me.

3).I love to read!! Before my research began, I use to read all the time. I still read, but it is for a different reason. I need to get back into it and will. Mysteries are my favorite and Walter Mosley is one of my favorite authors.

4). I love to cook! While I am researching I am watching the cooking channel at the same time.The Neelys and Paula Deen are my favorites(love Sunny too). The Neelys made some Pasta Lemon Chicken(you have to try this, you can get the recipe online). Wow my boys just love this dish. I like to bake also. Really like trying different recipes and cooking dishes that are sometime way beyond my reach.

5). I plan to get back into my travels. My mom plans a trip every year and this is the 3rd year in a row that I have not went with her. She will be in GREECE for Thanksgiving and I will miss her dearly as always.The last trip we took together was to BERMUDA. We had a Ball. I really Miss spending time with my mom, and as we all know those memories are so important!!

6). I do plan to to broaden my horizon within the next year. I have met my limit at my current employment and might really need to do something about that soon.

7). I really love Tweeting with my Genealogy Family!! I have really met some really nice People that have guided me and taught me to follow the SPIRITS of the Ancestors!!

I nominate these Blogs for the Kreativ Award:
1. I Never Knew My Father
2. Family Stories
3. KinFolk News
4. Find Your Folks
5. Herstoryan
6. Spence-Lowrey FaHistorymily
7. Little Bytes Of Life
Thanks Again for the nomination, and I hope you learned something about me that you did not know!!


During research of African American Ancestors, sometimes we come up against all kinds of brick walls, because our ancestors were property and were not enumerated until 1870.

One of my easiest lines to research after 1870 was the ROBERTSONS. Only because the family literally stayed in the same area in Webster Parish, LA. I was able to find to all the sisters, sisters children, sisters children-children, etc…(still no info on Henry or Thomas), but the other ROBERTSON boy Corneilus, stayed in the area and Mandy was living with him in 1910. She was living alone by 1920.

Makes for such easy research, but at some point we do have to go back further and it can be difficult at times(I will say 85% of the time).

I previously wrote a post on Edmund W HODGES as being a possible owner of my ancestors, boy was I so wrong. Although he was a neighbor to Ben and Mandy, thats all he was. Could not find anything further.

The real problem was that I was thinking that the HODGES owned Ben not Mandy. One day on one of my long trips home from work, I thought lets look at the research that way and see what happens. So my research began.

First I revisited my notes and emails between myself and LCAfricana. We both were able to see that the HODGES name was all over Bossier Parish as slave owners during the 1950s and 1960s (I believe this family were the biggest slaveowners and witnessed a lot of Bill of Sales) in the area.

I concentrated more on the 1860s since Mandy was born abt 1850(GA). There were 4 HODGES slaveowners in Bossier Parish in 1860:
John L HODGES owned 129 slaves
John C HODGES owned 9 slaves
E W HODGES owned 50 slaves
E W HODGES JR and his partner D P BECK together owned 15 slaves.

E W HODGES did not come to the area until 1858 (source: thunder88 public tree on Ancestry.com named Edmund Kennedy HODGES), so those two HODGES were eliminated from my list. That left John L and J C HODGES, which J C only owned 9 slaves and none of their ages matched with Mandy. That leaves JOHN LITTLE HODGES!

John L HODGES was born September 1, 1803 and died March 24, 1866 in Haughton, Bossier Parish, LA.
Father was: Edmund K HODGES: 1765-1843
Mother: Patience HODGES: 1763-1835
John L was brother of Mathew and Robert HODGES. Mathew was father to E W and grandfather to E W Jr., which were neighbors to the ROBERTSONS in 1870.

What really caught my attention was that John was married to a Mary Bryan Hamilton HODGES and Bryan was Mandy’s maiden name.

There were 3 Bryan slaveowners in 1860:
J N Bryan owned 55 slaves
J J Bryan owned 79 slaves
J D Bryan owned 23 slaves
They all were neighbors to John L HODGES in 1860.

I remembered seeing some notes that I had written up on the HODGES from NO LAND…, ONLY SLAVES!! (by: Edith Smith & Vivan Lehman), they were as follows:

Book 4 page 455 18 Dec 1858/21 Dec 1858 nr Hodges, Edmund W to Hodges, John L abt 9 or 10 slaves, $6,900.00 witnessed by Hodges, John L Jr., and Hodges, John C, and Hodges Nat

Book 2 page 255 nr 25 Apr 1851/5 Dec 1851 Bryan, Joseph D to Hodges, Robert and Hodges John. Bill of Sale for 45 slaves, $23,000.00 one named ELIZA(Mandy was listed on 1870 census with this name).

There you have it, I believe JOHN LITTLE HODGES was my true ancestor owner of Mandy not Ben. Oh Yeah!, John was also neighbors in 1860 to: Lewis Monzingo and John F Applewhite. These names will only make since to LCAfricana. Thanks so much Toni. I really appreciate all of your time and support and truly letting me figure this out on my own. I DID IT!! Will be sending the book and my notes soon.

There also was an M C ROBERTSON that was a slaveowner in Bossier Parish, LA in 1860(New research project).

Now that I have all this information: WHATS NEXT?


As I read the Blogs from yesterday, Oh, how I was so inspired!!

When I read this poem this morning from Maya Angelou, it reminded me that if we can have a conversation with our ancestors about our research, especially those of us that come up against brick walls or have Bloggers Block, or just feel like we have nothing to say. This is what our ANCESTORS would say to us:

“Still I Rise”

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

Whenever we feel like we have come up against something in our research or our everyday lives, know that our(their) stories will be told, because Still We Rise!! Our Ancestor’s SPIRIT lives in us, and it is our duty to tell their story!
(Source: Poem Written by: Maya Angelou, not sure what year, but just love the words)


Left to Right: Augustus Banks Jr.(some say my son Jayson act just like him), Gloria(Earl’s girlfriend), Earl C Banks. Sitting: NaNa Odessa


I have been researching my ROBERTSON line for some time now, and when I read this story I thought “This could be one of my ancestors.” I found the story interesting and I hope you do too!!

On October 1, 1871, Nancy ROBERTSON a freed slave, was found dead at her home in South Bossier Point. Mysteriously, the house was locked from the inside. Neighbors could see her lying dead on the bed through a window and called for the parish coroner.

Earlier another freed slave had collapsed while plowing a field, from what white doctors diagnoised as fluid on the brain brought on by the heat of the summer. But fellow freedman were not convinced by the doctors diagnoses and remembered that the summer before this, Nancy had fell out with the man and had made vague threats against his life. The freedmen decided that Nancy had bewitched the man with a curse. The man lingered for a few days and died.

The local coloreds quickly arrested Nancy ROBERTSON and sent for Charles Steele, a freedman and a celebrated witch doctor to have her tested for being a witch.

Charles Steele had gained fame earlier for invoking a “miracle cure” upon another colored women. This women had been sick for months with chronic chills and fell into a general state of poor health. Charles informed her she was bewitched, and that he could cure her. He prepared a nauseous dose that caused her to vomit freely. Afterwards, he held up the vessel in which she had purged and showed her several lizards, toads, crickets, and such therein. He told her that they had caused her sickness, pronounced her cured and she did indeed become well.

While on their way to get the infamous witch doctor they came across a fellow white neighbor who warned them that they may face consequences for taking the law into their own hands. The white neighbor told the freedmen to have a post mortem examination to see if the man was poisoned. When physicians examined the man, they announced that poison had nothing to do with the death (they believed it had been caused by fluid on the brain.)

Apparently the freedmen were not happy with this explanation and still presumed the death to have been caused by Nancy ROBERTSON and her “bewitching.”

When the coroner, with his jury and physician arrived, the mystery of the locked house murder was solved. They broke into the house and quickly deduced that the woman had been shot through a crack in the wall with a shotgun. Indeed several of her neighbors had heard that shot, but had failed to investigate. Three of the pellets penetrated her heart and killed her instantly. An arrest warrant was soon issued for Anthony Williams for the murder of Nancy ROBERTSON.

Although Nancy was murdered, I can not dismiss the fact that she was suspected as being a witch and her last name is ROBERTSON. My research on this family is not complete, but I feel like she is apart of my family and in some way in me. How may times have we just wanted to say to people “Drop Dead” in this case Nancy would say it and it would happen.

It kind of makes since to me since my mom said someone had put a root on my great grandmother Amanda for messing around with married men or a married man, not sure which one. I know someone has the true story and would love to meet the ancestors of the person that put the root on Amanda, and ask why?

I know there are some that don’t believe and are skeptical, but it is always the unknown that gets the most none believers. Thats why we research, to make the unknown known.

(Disclosure: The article is from Bossier Parish History The first 150 years 1843-1993 by Clifton D. Cardin pg. 204-Witch Found Dead in a Locked House. Sources; Buried Treasure; Atlanta Times, (Georgia) February 13, 1872, Sunday Edition, Ray B Fults and Witch; Bossier Banner, October 7, 1871.)


The date on this card was September 1964. My brother was born in March. I will assume NaNa Odessa decided she wanted to make the city a little bit better for her grandson.


Earl C. Banks, more than any other man, put Morgan State University on the map and single-handedly shaped the lives and destinies of hundreds of young black men. He was a legend in his time and one of the greatest college football coaches in the United States posting a fantastic .839 win-loss percentage.

There were numerous lofty accomplishments in his 14 years at the helm of the Morgan State football program, including a 31 game winning streak, three unbeated regular seasons, five Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships (CIAA) and four bowl games. Twice under Banks’ tutelage, the Bears led the nation in total defense.

It was Banks who sent Willie Lanier to the Kansas City Chiefs, Leroy Kelly to the Cleveland Browns, Mark Washington to the Dallas Cowboys, John Fuqua to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Raymond Chester to the Los Angeles Raiders.

Turning out top notch professional players was a minor part of Papa Bear’s job as he saw it. “I want to develop a good citizen, a man who can contribute something – give something back to society,” he stressed. I try to treat my players like they’re my sons. I want them to tell me their troubles.”

Coach Banks amassed enough citations, plaques and other awards to literally fill a room. To list a few: he received the “Man of the Year” Award from the Baltimore Sports Writers Association, the Maryland Football Hall of Fame; the Pigskin Club of Washington; and the Washington Touchdown Club; he was the CIAA Coach of the Year – 1962, 1965, 1966; Pittsburgh Courier National Coach of the Year; Sportsman of the Year – Baltimore Sports Reports Association; and Coach of the Year, Pigskin Club of Washington DC.

He was inducted into five Sports halls of Fame, which are as follows: 1982 – MSU Varsity “M” Club, Inc; 1987 – Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association; 1992 – National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA); 1993 – Mid-Eastern Athletics Conference. The crowning star was his induction into the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, which he considered his “Closing Chapter.”

From his experiences, Coach Banks coined a motto that he often repeated to his players: “I shall rise from that whence I came.” Only a few men can give the gift of giving, and Coach Banks gave himself. With that, he gave a lot of young men hope for the future.

Thanks to: http://msualumni.wordpress.com/  for sending me the link. Again, I knew my uncle had many accomplishments, but never even knew how extensive they were, as someone said to me “Your Uncle is so Famous”!!

Thats why doing this research is so important to me. There is so much that I just don’t know, by my mom and Earl being so far apart, when I met him he was retired. One thing for sure, my uncle would have been proud to know that his great nephew gives back. Although Jayson is into Basketball, he takes much pride into his team. His motto to his players is “Go Hard or Go Home”!! Jayson coaches for a High School here in our community, he respects his players and they respect him. Sometime thats what our young men need today. Just for someone to care and say “I am Proud of You and Good Job”. I say it to my BOYS all the time!!

I wonder what he would have thought about his great nephews playing Flag Football?  I can hear him now saying “Flag Football, what is that? Flag Football is not real Football”, you have to get out there and do some serious hitting!!

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