This blog is composed of images and writings related to the life and work of Faith Ringgold, her mother Mme. Willi Posey, and her daughters Michele and Barbara Wallace. There are pages with links to blogs composed of the materials arranged by decades. The blog, itself, will ultimately be composed of materials related to the life of the family in the 90s and the 21st century.


Chronologies and Documents: 1900s--Posey Family Chronology

Mme. Willi Posey was my grandmother, and Faith Ringgold's mother.  Posey was her maiden name, and the name of her father Benjamin Bunyon Posey who was educated in D.C. and a teacher in South Carolina and in San Mateo and Palatka, Florida in the late 19th Century and the early 20th century.  He had a great many siblings and he had six children, one of whom was Willie, Faith's Mom.  

Not sure why the census says BB Posey is a drayman in 1900 except that in those awful days it was not unusual for blacks who were professionals (ministers, teachers) to engage in more than one occupation with the second one being more menial such as being a laborer of some kind or a farmer.  Being a black teacher in the public schools in the South then was far from a secure or reliable line of work from what I gather from reading some of the histories.  It has occurred to me as well that descriptions recorded in the census or in city directories may have been distorted by racist competition, and that considerable inaccuracies might creep into the records.  

The Binghams are the family of MJ's mother.  There were two generations of Peters and three generations of Hilliards, which can get confusing.

1900s—Posey Family

1900—Benjamin Bunyon Posey, enumerator of the 12th Census of the U.S. Precinct #24, Palatka, Florida, 6th Ward, Putnam County. Peter Bingham (Ida’s father) “can read, can write, can speak English, Drayman. Owned land and business.”

1900—Susan and Robert Shannon (Willi’s maternal great-grandparents) residing at Waller Street near Day Avenue, married 60 years. Susan had borne six children, three of whom survived—Betsy, Peter and Hilliard), Jacksonville, Florida.

1900—Peter Bingham II (Willi’s Uncle) and Janie marry in Jacksonville.

1900—12th Census of the United States
Schedule No. 1—Population
Precinct #24 Palatka, 6th Ward of city, Putnam County
Enumerated by me on the 21st day of June 1900,
Benjamin B. Posey, Eumerator
Enumeration District 151
Supervisor’s District #2

Peter Bingham, Black Male, Born March 1841, 59, Married 38 years. Born Virginia
Drayman, Can read, Can write, can speak English, Owned land, mortgage, business

Bessie (or Betsy) Bingham, Black Female, Born May 1850, Married 38 years, Borne 8 children, three of whom survive (Ida, Peter and Hilliard or Hillyarde), Born in South Carolina, Can read, can write, can speak English.

1900 Census, Putnam County
B.B. Posey, 40 years old.
Spouse: Ida, born 1869 in Orange Springs, Florida
Isaac C. Posey (45), BB’s brother living with them.

1901—Andrew Jones born in Alauchua County, Florida to Walter Jones and Baby Doll.

1902—Gainesville, Florida—March 20, 1902.
Dear Brother: This will inform you that Babe (not sure who this is, maybe Mary E. Knight) is dead and buried. She died Sunday night March 16th. She had the pneumonia, had been sick about three weeks. I arrived in Tallahasee Monday 3:30 p.m. and saw that she was nicely laid away. Rev. JB Hawkinson preached the funeral at the cemetery.

She was buried late Monday afternoon. (maybe William Knight) had a good Dr. treating her, and she seems to have been well cared for. She looked natural. She was speechless about three days before she died. She asked her husband was Joe going with her. Sunday during the day she though speechless called me loudly, and that was her last talking. She leaves three beautiful little girls to mourn her loss. Her husband expects to keep the children. It was a sad funeral to me. I am your brother J.W. Posey.

I do not know Bingham’s address. Please send this letter to him after you’ve read it.

1903—Evelyn born to Peter II and Janie Bingham in Jacksonville.

1903—March 22nd, Willi Posey born in Palatka to Ida and BB Posey in Palatka, Florida West side of Peck Street at #203, Block 58, Sheet 13.

1907, August 27--Letter from lawyer Wm. L. Pollard, Attorney in D.C. to Bunyan B. Posey, Esq. (the father of Willi Posey) Palatka, Florida. This list refers to all of B.B.s siblings, as well as their children and husbands in those cases in which the sibling is deceased, together with the place of their most recent address.

Concerning Lawrence O. Posey’s death. Unmarried. No children.
Silbings who are alive:
Mrs. Aklin Stroman, Springfield, SC
Mrs. Annie L. Frazier, Blackville, SC
Mr. Bunyan B. Posey, Palatka, Florida
Mrs. Emma Blasengale, Salley SC
Mrs. Frances Simons, St. Augustine, Florida
James N. Posey (deceased)
• Mary Posey (wife) Kitching Mill, SC
• Aquilla Posey, Kitching Mill, SC
• Priesta Posey, Jacksonville, Florida
• Belle Posey, Kitching Mill, SC
• --- Posey, Kitching Mill, S.C.
Viney Dunbar (deceased)
• Washington Dunbar (Husband) Aiken, SC
• George Dunbar, Texas
• Della Stroman, Dupont, Florida
• Chas. Dunbar, Aiken, SC
• Dorsey Dunbar, Aiken, SC
• Eddie C. Dunbar, Palatka, Florida
Issac Posey (deceased):
• Sarah Posey, Palatka, Florida
• Pauline Posey Palatka, Florida (deceased)
• Daniel Posey Palatka, Florida
• Lenora Posey Palatka, Florida or Federal Point
Mary E. Knight (deceased)
• William Knight (husband), Tallahassee, Florida
• Alwillie Knight, Tallahassee, Florida
• Sally Knight, Tallahassee, Florida
• Mabel Knight, Tallahassee, Florida

1907, Aug 26 Letter from Rev. Jacob Posey from Washington D.C. concerning the death of their oldest brother Lawrence who had no wife. All of his things had already been claimed by the city authorities.
$2800 worth of real estate
$700 in cash in the bank.
Safety vault had $100 in cash including gold, and two gold chains. Some stock. Some mortgages and notes.
5 or 6 lots, the most valuable of which was assessed for $916.
He was once worth $25,000. Should be able to find $7000 all told.
Location: 609 F Street, Washington D.C.

1907—Letter from Jacob to B.B. He will need to publish all debtors and creditors in the paper in response to Bunyon’s complaints of immediate financial need.

1907. December 31st—Jacob thought he would be
able to send a check by now but the Judge allowed the lawyer Pollard a fee of $300, another judge revoked it and allowed $150. He paid the first order and now Pollard says he will not repay the $150 unless ordered to do so.

1908--Letter January 10, 1306 22nd Street, NW
Concerning the problem of brother Frazier who wants a promissory note for his portion of the estate in exchange for paying some of the expenses.
He says he’s found about 3 acres of land out in Mt. Pleasant. He had begun to see one of the Anacostia properties, and it is almost paid for. He claims that none of the creditors wish to pay.

1908, January 17, 1908—Letter from Jacob Posey continuing to track down parcels of land and determine their status. He goes to visit a piece of land at Mt. Pleasant, which is 5 or 6 miles from the city. The car runs within half a mile of the land. There is an open road from the cars to the front lot. The back lot has a stream running through it. Before Lawrence bought it, it was sold for 1903 taxes. It might cost $100 to redeem.

He hasn’t gone to Delaware (not sure what is there) but he says he’s been to Alexandria, Va., found $500 in furniture, clothing, books, etc. “I have all of his clothing and books here in my room. They can be divided at any time. The money comes to slightly more than $1000 dollars.” This is for money owed, which he may not be able to collect.  He mentions a letter that Daniel Posey wrote to the lawyer, which he hasn’t seen and didn’t ask to see.

1908---January 11th--“I can’t see how a man of your intelligence can speak as you do.” I think he is saying his share is $172. He is still waiting on the $150 refund from Pollard.

1909—March 16th, Letter from Denmark (where Jacob lives?)
“Booker T. Washington spoke here today to an immense audience. He is touring this state for the next week or so.”

Chronologies and Documents: 1910s--Posey Family Chronology


1910 Census—Alachua County, Florida, Tampa.
Walter Jones can read and write, married to Baby Doll with 7 children recorded: listed Walter Jr. 15, Mary, 12 and Andrew 9, Erwin 7, Laura 4, Anna 3.

1910 Census. Duval County Florida, Election Precinct 27.
13th Census of the United States. Population.
Peter Bingham Head of Household, 49, married 20 years, from Florida.
Janie Bingham 39 married 20 years from South Carolina.
1 child: Evelyn Bingham, Daughter 7.

Jacksonville 1910 Directory, Volume 1 & 2
Elizabeth Bingham ,Waller near Day Avenue.
There is also Hilyard Bingham, laborer, at 1116 W. Ashley
Peter Bingham, laborer, Owen Avenue near Waller
Lydia Bingham (wid of Elisha P), 1015 E. Duval
Ella Bingham 605 Main

Susan Shannon
Died March 22, 1910, Article from the Metropolis Newspaper, pg. 17
dated March 23, 1910.
Survived by 2 sons and one daughter (Betsy, Peter and Hillyard)
Mrs. Shannon’s body was shipped by Geter and Baker undertakers to Reddick (Marion County), Florida.

Cardoza Posey note: “a part of two letters to me, father to son while in school at Florida Baptist Academy, Jacksonville, Florida. A letter from Papa, Feb 19, 1911
6 pieces of a handwritten letter from B.B. Posey, hardly legible.

1911—from Anna L. Frazier: Sister Emma died on the 12th of February in 1911 in Blackville SC. This letter is from Anna L. Frazier.

1912--B.B. Posey of North 7th Street died this morning. Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, Rev. William Bell presiding. Resolutions read by Mrs. D. Drakeford of the Central Academy recognizing him as a teacher.

1912--A letter to BB Posey from the Fessenden Academy, English and Industrial Departments, Martin, Florida. Principal.

1912--Letter to Mrs. Ida Posey in Palatka, Florida. Sympathy note D.A. Thomas. May 13th—B.B. Posey dies in Palatka, Florida.

1913—August 16th, Letter to Mrs. Ida Posey, Palatka. The Posey case has been referred to the auditor of the court, to state the account and determine what is due each one of the heirs out the fund now in hand. One month after he files his report in the clerk’s office, the distribution can be made. Thomas Walker Attorney at law in D.C.

Letter from W. Walton Edwards—Attorney and Counsellor
August 9, 1913—Mr. Bunyan B. Posey, concerning the property of brother L.O. Posey.

1912—Benjamin Bunyon Posey dies at home of appendicitis in Palatka.**
B.B. Posey—birth January 16, 1860,married Oct 15, 1891 and died May 15th 1912.
B.B. Posey of North 7th Street died this morning. Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, Rev. William Bell presiding. Resolutions read by Mrs. D. Drakeford of the Central Academy recognizing him as a teacher.

Photographic Portrait of B.B. Posey taken by the Nugent Studio at Fourth and Lemon Street in Palatka, Florida.

Notice in the Paper—Gem City Paper:

While lying . . . . Monday night . . . . to the Sweet singing of the children at the graduating exercises being held in Bethel Church only a half block away, and as hundreds of hearts were beating with joy and ecstacy at the success of each number, and while one graduate whom had performed her part well, was awaiting her diploma. Hark! There breaks in on the stillness of the night, the solemn toil of Mt. Tabor Church bell a block away, heralded to the citizens that the grim reaper had stalked into the city.

About 9 a.m., word was received of the death of Prof. B.B. Posey of N. Seventh Street, whose daughter Edith was the graduate. The end came unexpectedly, as but very few knew him to be but little indisposed. Prof. Posey was well known, having lived here a number of years, and having lived here a number of years, and having been a school teacher for some time. He was a man who stood by his judgement, and dared to do the right as he saw it for this cause as all good men do. He had some enemies, nevertheless he feared them not. The funeral was held on Wednesday at Mt. Tabor Baptist Church at 2 pm. Rev. Wm. Bell officiating, words of eulogy by Revs. T.E. Debose, MD Potter and LW Robinson. An excellent set of resolutions were read by Mrs. M. Drakeford on behalf of Central Academy, recognizing him as an ex-teacher.

A letter to BB Posey from the Fessenden Academy, English and Industrial Departments, Martin, Florida. Principal.

1914—Bessie Posey marries Henry Austin at 1607 Davis Street, Jacksonville, Florida across from 8th Street.

1916—Inez Posey marries George Washington in Jacksonville.

1917—Willie comes to New York to stay with Bessie who has married a seaman.

1919—Willie Posey graduates from Wadleigh High School.

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Barbara, MJ, Michele and Mom in the background in sunglasses at a fashion show in the early 60s