Wayzata, Minnesota

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sepia Saturday - 22 February 2014

The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes. - Arthur Conan Doyle, From the Hound of the Baskervilles.
.....and so it goes, generation after generation.

Sadly, there are events, and horrifying situations that have occurred in our history, which often times go completely unnoticed, as if the accounting of it has been permanently, vaporized.  Unless, those events are important enough to someone closely affected.  This is a story about such a sad occurrence.

On the road.  Natchez Trace Parkway Mississippi.

There was a man named, Carson (don't know if that's his first or last name) or, whether or not he's still alive.  But, he lived someplace near Natchez, Mississippi and his days were consumed with one particular ship, the schooner Clotilde, (slave ship)  and especially the shipwreck of Clotilde in 1859.   The Clotilde was the last known U.S. slave ship to bring captives from Africa to the United States, and arrived at Mobile Bay in autumn of 1859.  Other sources list the date as, July 9, 1860 with 110-160 slaves. 

Does the date matter?  Not to Carson.

You may already know about this disaster, and one well known passenger, Cudijo Lewis (1835-1935) also aboard that ship.  But Carson was searching for a person unknown to most. 


Sepia Saturday this week is all about- Mystery men, or just men in general, or possibly, hats as well as any other theme one could sail away with from Alan's photo above. 

For my post, a mystery is about to unfold.

Where in the world is this?  Follow along.

Photo by Carol Highsmith.

Beginning from Natchez, Mississippi, where Carson, a determined researcher (as far as I know) loaded up supplies for a lengthy stay away, stuffing in as much as possible inside an old and borrowed station wagon.  It was a humid day when he headed toward Alabama.   However Carson, still being obsessed with the story of the Clotilde, trudged on, prepared to let nothing stand in his way.  His destination, a grave that we see in the photo above, with the name barely legible.

Carson's Ride.

The entire trip from Natchez to his location outside of Mobile, was about 244 miles.  He wasn't the only person interested in the back story.  Even now, after Clotilde's fatal ending, from the hands of Captain Foster who burned and sank the ship upon arrival in Mobile Bay, archaeological searches still continue for the wreck of the Clotilde in the bay.  

About half way there, Carson entered the town of Hattiesburg.  If you've never been to Hattiesburg or are unfamiliar with Hattiesburg, you can view it here, and if you haven't heard the Hattie jingle, you should.

How about a few more mystery men?

I wonder if Carson ever ran into these men?  All happily due for a fresh haircut at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg.  Photo taken about June 1941.

Getting back on the road again, and Carson's mission, his station wagon continued from Hattiesburg, to Africatown, Alabama.  Once Carson arrived outside the gate to Plateau Cemetery, in Mobile County, Alabama, there are conflicting stories describing his search inside.

The cemetery is located at Bay Bridge Road and Cut-Off Road near the Cochrane and Africatown Bridge.

Sources say he spent two solid days reading grave stone after grave stone, until he finally stumbled upon this graveside here.

Apparently, there was much care taken in preserving this grave, as many had been destroyed by vandals and other weather related events.  Many of the buried remains were even exposed.
The full name reads, Keeby, as in husband, Osia Keeby, and wife, Innie Keeby, a survivor of the Clotilda crossing.  Story of repairs to her graveside here.
The name Innie, is corrected as Annie, in other historical documents, and Osia is described here, as Ossa.

It seems Carson found another grave for Mrs. Lottie Dennison, also listed as a Clotilde survivor.

Did this satisfy Carson's hunger for the truth regarding at least the Keeby ancestors aboard the Clotilde?

It does seem it has, for now anyway, as he turned the station wagon around and returned to Mississippi.

Will he, or has he written a book about his discoveries?  I'm still searching for that answer.  

Natchez Trace Parkway Mississippi

Venturing out-

You Just never know where the road my lead you.


Titania said...

Karen a very interesting mystery. I have followed the trail you left, such a sad beginning for the Africans to be transported into a new world as a slave, a very sad fate. I agree most roads are a mystery some end in happiness and some are just forgotten. A thought provoking post in your fine writing style.Enjoyed it very much. Have a nice Sunday, dear Karen S.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

What an interesting story - it makes me want to know more!

Postcardy said...

Carson seems like a mystery man. Any references for him?

Rosie said...

I'm sorry, I don't see the pictures you posted...must just be me, no one else has commented....

Karen S. said...

Rosie, I'm not sure what happened, I just clicked on here too, and the photos seem to be showing. It must be a Blogger thing! So sorry.

Mike Brubaker said...

A great history and mystery story. It's got me hooked for the sequel.

Bob Scotney said...

A fascinating post, Karen. Now I want to know more.

Rob From Amersfoort said...

Amazing, I thought the slave trade had already ended in the 1850s. It's sad to read people were still slaving and importing African people back then.

Patrica Ball Morrison said...

The Natchez Trace runs across the south and was originally an old old Indian pathway. We have been aalong most of it on our travels. And from time spent in the south knew about the Clothilde. It stirred up memories of prior travels reading all this today. Did he publish, don't know?

Tattered and Lost said...

Okay, I'm hooked. Why'd he do it and what did he do with what he found?

Alan Burnett said...

There is nothing like a mystery - unless it is a mystery illustrated with old photographs.

Little Nell said...

I love a mystery like this, especially where new facts are 'dug up’! Sounds like we need a sequel. Nicely told and illustrated.

Wendy said...

This reads like a ballad.

Kristin said...

It's sad that the grave stones have been defaced.