Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Jun 29

Self-Discovery after Slavery: The Alexander Raymond Story

Posted on June 29, 2018 at 1:03 PM by Melissa Dalton

The Archives is a fascinating place. You can be going about your usual business of prepping records for imaging, and then run across a record that doesn’t seem to fit. Damien, one of our volunteers, came across an Application and Affidavit to Supplement Marriage Record for Alexander Rayman mixed in with estate records (Fig 1). He realized it was out of place and went to Joan, who promptly showed everyone in the office. So what makes this Application and Affidavit so interesting? Alexander Rayman (or Raymond in other documents, which is the spelling I will use for the remainder of this blog) was also known as Alexander Scroggins when he enlisted in the Civil War, because that was the last name of his slave owner. After the war, Alexander decided to take on his father’s name, Rayman (or Raymond), which was the name assumed for all other matters. The need for the Affidavit was to ensure that upon his death, his wife would receive his war pension.

Application and Affidavit to Supplement Marriage Record (JPG) Application and Affidavit to Supplement Marriage Record (JPG)
Fig 1. Application and Affidavit to Supplement Marriage Record (for Alexander Rayman) (Greene County Archives)

After finding this, we had to dig deeper and find out more about Mr. Raymond, and Robin went to exploring FamilySearch and Ancestry for anything she could find. According to his death certificate, Alexander was born on March 18, 1847 in Kentucky. It was determined that he was in Jessamine County, and on the 1850 Slave Schedule for said county, John Scrogin (or Scroggins), a merchant, owned six slaves, one of which was a three-year-old male (Fig 2).

1850 Census (JPG) 1850 Slave Schedule (JPG)
Fig 2. 1850 Census and Slave Schedule (HeritageQuest)


I was unable to definitively identify Alexander in the 1860 Census, but in January 1864, Alexander Scroggins volunteered and enlisted in Ypsilanti, Michigan to serve as a soldier in the Union Army. He originally was assigned to the 1st Regiment Michigan Colored Infantry, but in May 1864, the regiment was organized into the 102nd Regiment of the US Colored Infantry (Fig 3). The 102nd was mustered out in September 1865 in Charleston, SC. From there, I’m unable to find Alexander for about 30 years. I tried all variations of the last name “Raymond” and “Scroggins”, but to no avail. He doesn’t appear on any of the subsequent censuses (1870, 1880, or 1890).

1864 Volunteer Enlistment State of Michigan (JPG)1864 Volunteer Enlistment State of Michigan (JPG)
Fig 3. Volunteer Enlistment of Alexander Scroggins, dated January 13, 1964 (Fold3)

Raymond reappears in 1892, and it is here in Greene County that his story picks up again. He married Elizabeth Henry on December 26, 1892 (Fig 4). The Raymonds appear on the 1900 Census still in Greene County, along with their four children, ages ranging from 2 to 9 years old, and Alexander’s mother, Malinda White, was living with them as well (Fig 5). That same year, Elizabeth Raymond purchased an empty lot in Xenia, and in 1901, they built a house (Figs 6 & 7).

Marriage Record for Alexander Rayman and Elizabeth Henry (JPG)
Fig 4. Marriage Record for Alexander Rayman and Elizabeth Henry (Greene County Archives)

1900 U.S. Census (JPG)
Fig 5. 1900 U.S. Census with the Raymond family outlined in red (HeritageQuest)

Deed Record Vol 91, p 349 (JPG) 1896 Greene County Atlas (JPG)
Figs 6 & 7. Deed Record Vol 91, pg. 349 / 1896 Atlas with approximate location of lot outlined in red (Greene County Archives)


The family remained in Xenia, and they were featured in the Xenia Daily Gazette “Colored Society” section frequently – be it a family reunion, births, improvements to their home, or illness in the family (Fig 8). The 1910 Census (Fig 9) shows that the Raymond family grew, with two additional children (twins!), and Elizabeth’s mother, Eliza Henry, was living with them (however, newspaper articles demonstrate that they lost at least one child between 1900 and 1910 due to typhoid fever).

Excerpt from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated July 7, 1903 (JPG) Excerpt from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated March 3, 1914 (JPG)
Excerpt from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated July 7, 1915 (JPG)  Excerpt from Xenia Daily Gazette, dated July 10, 1913 (JPG)
Fig 8. Various newspapers articles featuring the Raymond family (Newspapers.com / NewsARCHIVE.com)

1910 U.S. Census with Raymond family outlined in red (JPG)
Fig 9. 1910 Census with Raymond family outlined in red (HeritageQuest)

In December 1918, Mr. Raymond contracted the flu. Unfortunately, the illness advanced and he developed pneumonia. On December 24, 1918, just two days shy of his 26th wedding anniversary, Mr. Raymond passed away at the age of 71 (Fig 10). Alexander Raymond was buried on December 28, 1918 in Cherry Grove Cemetery.

Death Certificate of Alexander Raymond (JPG)
Fig 10. Death Certificate of Alexander Raymond (FamilySearch.org)

Elizabeth lived the remainder of her life in Xenia, with several of her children and grandchildren living with her at various times. From what I learned from the census records, it appears Elizabeth outlived most of her children. Elizabeth passed away on September 23, 1958, at the age of 85, and was buried in Cherry Grove Cemetery.

I think this story just goes to show what one can learn because of a mere piece of paper! This is a story that could have been lost, but because the Affidavit was in an unlikely place, it came to light. Again, you just never know what you’ll find in the Archives!

Until Next Time…

Sources:

Ancestry.com
FamilySearch.org
Fold3.com
Greene County Archives
HeritageQuest.com
NewsARCHIVE.com
Newspapers.com


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