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Our Family History
The above family tree is an illustration. However, we do have an accurate Family tree chart of our Families which goes back to 1780 and covers more than 36 square feet in two sections.
This web site will, hopefully, be a beacon for all of us but especially for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will follow in our footsteps. Our Home Page shows some of the ways that our Family members migrated from the Cross-Green Community in Emanuel County Georgia. Some had enough money to buy a train ticket and take the "Yellow Brick Road" to better paying jobs in the North and elsewhere in the South. Others had to leave town by jumping on a slow moving freight train because they had little or no money.
This web site focuses on the descendants of the Cross and Green families. The Smith family members are descendants in the Cross Family Tree. On the Cross side of the Family tree, we go back as far as Amelia Green who was a slave. She had five children by Augustus Cross who was White and the Master or owner of the plantation. Their children were: James Cross, Nathan Cross, Madison Cross, Elizabeth Cross and Dennis Cross. Amelia was born in 1834 and Augustus was born in 1823.
Since this is a historical summary of these two Families, we need to go back as far as we have some information. This place would be Africa. The Writer, Randy Cross, submitted a saliva sample to Dr. Rick Kittles, Director of African Ancestry, Incorporated, who analyzed his DNA sample. The sample was compared to many other DNA samples taken from different locations in Africa. Dr. Kittles stated that the DNA sample from the Writer is found in the Mende people of Sierra Leone Africa.
Fast-forward to America from Africa. Augustus Cross’ parents were Isaac Cross (born 1780) and Elizabeth Cross; slave owners. Augustus was one of their nine (9) children; most, if not all, were born in Burke County, GA which is adjacent to Emanuel County, GA. It has been said by a few of our deceased relatives, but not proven with records, that Isaac came from England. One of the ways that these Cross Family members accumulated wealth, very early, was through “Land Lotteries” (a total of five) held in Georgia. The Writer also refers to the “Georgia Land Lotteries” as the "Georgia Land Grabs” because the land being offered in the Lotteries across Georgia was “grabbed” or stolen from Native American tribes. After acquiring the land, the next phase in the process of accumulating their wealth was to acquire slaves to work their land and pay them no wages or benefits.
There was another phase of acquiring wealth for the slave-owning Cross family. Augustus had a number of sisters and one particular sister was named Calcedonia Cross. Calcedonia married Robert Green in 1826 at the age of 14 years. Mr. Green owned some slaves and gave an unknown number of his slaves to Calcedonia. After Mr. Green and his wife, Calcedonia, got divorced, Mr. Green sued Calcedonia in an attempt to have his slaves returned. The Author did not see the final outcome of this lawsuit in his research in the Swainsboro, GA library. This appears to be the point in history when the first connection was established between the Cross slaves and the Green slaves. So, one can see today, looking back, how it was difficult for the Cross and Green slaves to know, and remember, about this early, legal connection between the Cross and Green slaves. These Cross slaves and these particular Green slaves were on the same plantation and were all essentially under the control of the Cross family at the time of Calcedonia...and many, many years after This is the Writer's theory as to why there has always been a strong connection, or relationship, between the Cross and Green slaves....and also with Cross and Green relatives in the 21st century and beyond.
It is important to remember that there were a total of five (5) Cross brothers in this small area (Cross-Green Community) and undoubtedly, they all owned slaves. Therefore, there were other slaves in Emanuel County who had the same surname, Cross, but were on different plantations owned by one of these other four brothers or Calcedonia. The names of the other brothers are: Littleton, Aenon, James and Isaac, Jr. So, if you ever meet another African-American who has the surname of Cross, and traces his/her roots back to Georgia, their ancestors could have been slaves on one of the plantations of the other four (4) brothers since we know about Augustus and Calcedonia. The Writer believes, with no factual evidence, that his Father, James Cross, had ancestors who worked the fields of James Cross, the brother of Augustus. The records clearly show that many slaves and ex-slaves, named their children after the slave master. Slave owners also named some of their children after their brothers, sisters or parents. Augustus named one of his Children, that he had with Amelia, Elizabeth. His mother’s name was Elizabeth also. Furthermore on this point, Augustus named one of his children, that he had with Amelia, James. Augustus also had a brother named James.
Some of our ancestors, Solomon Green and his sister, Violet Green, were given approximately 1,000 acres between the both of them by Augustus Cross. The Writer believes that both of them, and other freed slaves, were GIVEN this land because of Field Order 15 which was issued by the Union General, George Sherman. Field Order 15 required that thousands of acres, owned by slave masters in Georgia, would be distributed to freed slaves. This land that was acquired under Field Order 15 was eventually taken back from the freed slaves through violence and the cooperation of President Andrew Johnson who rescinded the Field Order in order to appease angry Whites and get their votes. Some relatives, for many, many years believed that Solomon and Violet bought the land that was recorded in their name(s). The Writer can demonstrate that it would have been financially IMPOSSIBLE for two slaves to have bought that many acres... only about 10 months after slavery ended. Look at two very important factors to make your determination:
1. The cost of land per acre in Emanuel County 10 months after the Civil War ended.
Land cost about $0.70 per acre in 1866. $0.70 per acre times 287 acres =$200.90.
2. The wages that were earned in Emanuel County 10 months after the Civil War ended.
Black men earned about $180.00 per year. Solomon, at that time, had 14 children. Even if Solomon had saved every penny during these 10 months, which is IMPOSSIBLE with 14 children, it would have taken him 13 months to save only $195.00. It would have been financially IMPOSSIBLE for them, or any other recently freed slave, to have BOUGHT the land in question.
We have a significant amount of information about the descendants of James, Nathan and Madison, Sr. Nathan Cross married Lizzie (aka, Betsy) Moore (or Moring). Madison Cross, Sr. married Ana Sturges. Our cousins from the Madison Cross, Sr. branch of our Family had been separated from our Family for about 120 years and discovered us, for the very first time, on this Family website, in 2008. We do not have very much information about Elizabeth's descendants and absolutely no information about the descendants of Dennis. Some of Elizabeth's descendants still live around the Wadley, GA area. The late Billy Johnson was the mayor of Wadley, GA and a descendant of Elizabeth. So, if anyone knows any of Billy's relatives who are still alive today, have them contact us...reunite with us. The same message is true for any descendants of Dennis.
The 1870 Census is the first Census available, after the Civil War, which would show our ancestors as people and NOT on property tax rolls. The 1870 Census shows that Amelia could read and write. This does not sound like a major achievement, today, but it was for two reasons. First, it was very, unusual to even find a significant number of White people, in the 1870 Census, who could read and write. Secondly, this accomplishment was also outstanding because it was against the law to teach a slave how to read and write and yet, she learned somehow...anyway...in spite of the danger of receiving a severe beating if the authorities found out. So, the foundation of education and self-education within our Family, as a virtue, goes all the way back to Amelia Green. It is the Writer’s belief that Augustus had to know that Amelia, and her children, knew how to read and write and used it to his advantage in terms of keeping his records related to maintaining a plantation out in the middle of nowhere in Emanuel County. When we think of Amelia and the educational foundation that she started at the very beginning of our Family's history, we are reminded of the saying, "We stand taller today because we stand upon the shoulders of our ancestors."
On the Green side of the Family tree, in addition to Amelia, we go back as far as Solomon Green and Violet Green. Solomon and Violet were brother and sister. We do not know how Amelia was related to Violet and Solomon Green. However, based on their ages which are within a few years of each other, they were probably sister and brother...no hard evidence to verify this point. One (1) of Violet Green's daughters, Laura Green, married James Cross. Violet had another daughter, Harriet Green, whose descendants are recorded well in our history also. Harriet married Anthony Williams. As others in our Family continue to research our Family's roots, remember that the name, "Violet" sometimes appears in some Census records as "Violette." Researchers need to also check records in BURKE COUNTY before the original Cross Family (slave owners) migrated to Emanuel County.
We have learned the names of many, many other ancestors of ours but there is not enough space in this summary to mention all of them. However, the names of many additional ancestors from the Cross and Green families have been placed in a 32-page “Family History Booklet” which was developed in 2010 by Randy Cross. This Booklet was printed and bound by a professional printer; also shows some actual 1870 Census records showing Solomon and Violet Green. This Booklet may be purchased from Randy Cross for $15.00 plus $3.50 postage. This link shows the Table of Contents for the Booklet... Booklet Table of Contents. One can order the Booklet by sending a money order to:
P.O. Box 33
Fairburn, GA 30213
You can also click the "Help" link; then click the "Contact Web Manager" link to send an email directly to Randy.
Lucille Green-Jones developed a Family tree specifically designed to show as many names as possible for the descendants of Solomon and Elizabeth Green. Randy developed a separate Family tree specifically designed to show the descendants of Solomon and Katy Green. The info related to the children of Solomon and Katy is NEW information and was obtained from 1870 Census records.
Even though Randy's initial intent was to capture as many names in the Cross Family as possible, the reader needs to understand that it is impossible to do a genealogy search of the Cross Family tree and not find a significant number of members from the Green Family tree because of the close proximity of the Families which was stated above. The "Cross-Green community" was not a nickname for the community where our ancestors lived. One can go to Emanuel County, Georgia, today, and see a very, small community with the same name... the "Cross-Green Community." In the above mentioned Family Booklet, there is a map which clearly shows how to reach this Community.
In Search of our family's roots...
Randy Cross would not have been able to gather and record many of the names related to James and Nathan Cross without the information that he received from Elvira Smith King, our Family Griot. Her daughter, Bessie (Betty) King Merritt, deserves a lot of credit for making the research project happen also because she was the one who took the time to write the names and Family relationships down on paper when Aunt Elvira "got on a roll" and recited many of our Family's ancestors. Bessie would then mail them on to Randy for his research. Elvira's son, Eugene, also assisted in a few places. However, without the help from Elvira and Bessie, predominantly, the Family names that are recorded now, in our records, would have been lost FOREVER. And, this is not an exaggeration. This is an important part of our why we know our Family's history today.
Betty (Bessie) King-Merritt
We also owe John Smith a big, big "thank you" for letting us stand upon his shoulders today. Uncle John organized our 1st Family Reunion, EVER, in Jersey City, NJ in 1960.
Our initial Family Reunion started out as strictly a "Smith Family Reunion" because of the initial planning and organization of John Smith. This fact answers the question, "Why is the Family name, Smith, included in our Family Reunion name?" Perhaps 10 Years later, the Smith Family Reunion evolved to include members from the extended Cross and Green families.
For those who do NOT know the Writer today, and for the unborn cousins who will NEVER meet the Writer in the distant future; his image is shown below for these historical reasons...
Randolph (Randy) Cross
Albert Cross is responsible for gathering a significant amount of information about the descendants of Nathan Cross and reuniting these relatives with the James Cross Branch who were already meeting. Albert accomplished this when he attended the 1992 Reunion in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. This Branch of our Family was disconnected from the other Family branches for all of these years since the early 1900's or there about.
Woodie Durden McLean is responsible for gathering practically all of the information about the descendants of Harriet Green. Her daughter, Dr. Lillian McLean Beard, deserves all of the credit for transcribing the names from her Mother and then forwarding the information for recording.
Dr. Lillian McLean-Beard
Lynn Cross Bryant is responsible for gathering the majority of additional information about the descendants of Madison Cross, Sr.; especially after he left Emanuel County around 1890 or so. When Madison Sr. left Emanuel County, the overwhelming majority of his relatives did not know that he had moved to the Savannah, GA area and resumed his life.
Hopefully, some of you will not rest and be satisfied with the information presented here and in our Family tree charts. Hopefully, some of you will also accept the challenge to discover more facts and perhaps question, with scholarly research and improved technology, some of the facts that you have heard and read here and elsewhere.
This web site was developed with our FAMILY MOTTO in mind, "EACH ONE REACH ONE...EACH ONE TEACH ONE." It has always been a major goal of the Author/Researcher to find a way for our Family members to share their knowledge and talents with other Family members. This web site can possibly be a big step in that direction if all of us use our imagination to further develop the content of this web site. Let's make it educational as well as entertaining. In order for our Family to prosper and grow, we also need to have volunteers to step up and do the tasks that must be done behind the scenes. When contemplating whether or not you should volunteer for a task that our Family needs, to better its condition, please remember the expression, "To Whom much is given...much is expected in return."
Randolph (Randy) Cross...
the son of Lillie Smith-Cross...
who was the daughter of Maple Cross-Smith ...
who was the daughter of Laura Green-Cross...
who was the daughter of Violet Green
January 4, 2014
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