Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Eliza Patten Washington's Life in Pictures

My grandmother's life was documented in various photographs. This is my first attempt to present some of those pictures as a short film.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Cornelia Bellinger Chiles" meet Photo Investigator

Who is this woman?

I have a ton of family photos. The problem is that many of them are not marked as to identification. Some of them offer clues as to who they maybe. For example, if a photograph has a printed post card back, it is known that the first photographic postcards were introduced around 1900. Thus any photo with such a back must have been taken after 1900. Unfortunately, this one does not have a back. In fact it is a photograph of two different photographs of what appears to me to be the same person taken about 20 years or more apart. I have blended the two pictures together to see if the features sort of match. Since the photos were not the same size, they sort of line up. Oh well.

Potential Photographs of Charlotte

Although I might be able to match an earlier photograph, the earliest photo of the same person, in my opinion, is here:

Any one paying attention might notice that I have previously identified this picture was being one of Cornelia Chiles Washington. I was told that was the case, but after careful consideration, I have decided that is NOT the case.

Another is here:

The next photograph is here:

What I believe to be the latest version is here:

In my next post, I will discuss my clues and why I believe these are pictures of Charlotte Bellinger Chiles. More to be revealled!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Charlotte Bellinger's Brother, Charles

Charles Bellinger, was born in Caldwell County, Texas, on April 15, 1875. He was the younger brother of Charlotte Bellinger. His sister, Charlotte Bellinger, married John Childs and was the mother of Cornelia Childs Washington, my great grandmother.

Charles Bellinger became active in San Antonio Texas city politics during 1918 when he joined African American ministers to organize black voters for several successful candidates for mayor and other local offices.

The Bellinger House (taken July 28, 1928) San Antonio Texas
Bellinger's house in San Antonio Texas circa 1928

These city leaders responded with water and sewers, street paving and lighting, a library and auditorium, and better schools and playgrounds in African American neighborhoods.

Charles BellingerCharles Bellinger

In the 1930s, he was charged with income tax evasion, afterwhich he was sent to Levensworth Federal Prison in Kansas. A attorney, C.K. Quin (who was purportedly was also a Klu Klux Klan member, when he wasn't acting as Mayor of San Antonio), sought a presidential pardon for him.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt granted Bellinger a parole because of illness, and pleas from San Antonio leaders and his family.

Franklin D RooseveltFranklin D Roosevelt

The Pardon papers cited Charles Bellinger's rallying of black voters on behalf of Democratics, and such black voters voting for the Dems in any significant numbers for the first time since reconstruction as a reason to grant the pardon.

Charles Bellinger died June 14, 1937.

Additional References
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "," (accessed January 16, 2009).

Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "," (accessed January 16, 2009).

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Clarence Washington, Sr.


Clarence Washington, Sr. was the husband of Cornelia Chiles Washington. He was on May 22, 1885 in Wharton Texas to Aleck Washington,Jr. and Emma Grey. His Grandfather was also an Aleck. He married Cornelia Chiles and had several children, one of whom was my grandfather.

Instead of continuing the Aleck tradition, Clarence named his son Clarence who in turn named his son Clarence, etc.
Three Generations of Washingtons

Big papa as we knew him, was a handsome man. He worked as a cabinet maker in a lumberyard. He died on July 23, 1958 from cancer at age 73.

Big Papa's Ride
Big Papa and Helena and his car

Although Big Papa died when I was only two years old, his having cancer is what I remember most about him. It was a very big secret. My mother told me that she and her siblings were told that they could not tell a single soul that Big Papa had cancer.
Clarence Washington, Sr.