HARRIS FAMILY HISTORY
In the report of the family history for the last reunion, we had discovered William (Willie) Oscar Pugh Harris, the father of Landis, Percy, Gertie, Ertie and possibly Hubert. We now have numerous cousins that were previously unknown. In that same family history for the last reunion, Ester Alston’s family was a closed book just as the Wille Harris family had been for so long. This year we can unlock another door to meet Emily Green Alston and John B. Alston, the parents of Ester.
We knew a little about Emily but unlike in earlier reports she was probably not a slave. Emily was born in 1855 and married John Alston on January 14, 1874 at the age of 19. Her mother, Lucy Green, and possibly another relative, Charles Green, were present at her marriage. Her father was listed as unknown on her marriage license. In reports on Ancestry.com relating to the Green family they were a family of free blacks. More research is needed to find out if Emily and Lucy are related to that family.
John Alston was born in 1832, aged 42 at the time of his marriage to Emily Green. His mother, Lizzie Alston, was deceased at the time of his marriage and on the marriage license there is a dash beside the name of his father, Isaac Evans, although he was living at that time. Although we don’t know if his father had an active role in John’s life, we do know that Isaac Evans (1805 – 1880) was married to Winnie Dale (1806 – 1880) at the time of John’s birth with whom he had ten children. John did have one full sibling, Isaac Alston, a minister and who performed the wedding ceremony for John and Emily. John and Isaac Alston appear to be the result of along time relationship between Isaac Evans and Lizzie Alston.
For Lizzie Alston we don’t currently have anything except her name but Isaac Evans has an interesting story. He was the youngest of eight children born to Matthew Evans (1760 – 1844) a.k.a. Nathaniel West and Mourning Evans (1760 to between 1820 and 1830). Although born during the time of slavery, Isaac was born a free person of color because his mother, Mourning Evans was free. The law of the land was that children born of a free woman were free. Unfortunately her husband, Isaac’s father, was a slave. To insure that their children remained free even if she died, Mourning bought and emancipated Nathaniel West. He dropped his slave name and took the name Matthew Evans, sometimes using Evans-West.
We currently have no further information for Matthew Evans but we can continue with Mourning Evans who was born to James Evans (1720-1786) and Elinor/ Elizabeth Walden (1730-1786). Her father was a free person of color and her mother may have been white. Elinor/Elizabeth may also have been charged with adultery with James Evans 14 years before Mourning was born. Unfortunately, we have to end here but might be able to continue the story at the family reunion.
Ancestry.com was used for most of the research. Through DNA testing we have been able to verify many relationships including that of William Oscar Pugh Harris. The day that this was written contact was made with a DNA cousin with the surname Evans. The search continues . . .
Judy Hill & Charlie Harris
Harris Family Historians