History of the Kyles, Mackey, Hunter and the Wright Families of Chambers County, Alabama
To date, I have been successful in tracing my genealogy back to the freeing of slaves. My great grand mother, Mary Wright, was born the year slaves were freed. However,
Africans in America is a wealth of historical documents. And can give you an understanding of the flavor of the world up to the emancipation of slaves.
My family comes out of a little town by the name of Lafayette Alabama, which is located within Chambers County. Most of the Negro children (those who were allowed to go to school) went to Chambers County Training School. And then only after the crops had been gather in the Fall.
My family's surnames are Kyles, Kyle, Hunter, Wright, and Mackey.
My paternal great-grand father, Anthony Kyles, married Mary. Anthony was an educated man who was not afraid to speak his mind. He became quite prosperous.
Mary was of Native American decent. She was of the Cherokee Nation.
Anthony and Mary parented six boys; Ollie, Ale, John, Ned, Charlie, and Will. Anthony and Mary had four daughters, Mary, Liz, Eula and her twin. Eula's twin died as a teenager.
Anthony purchased what was once know as "The Kyles Place" which was located just out side of Lafayette, Alabama.
The Kyles' Place was a huge farm that rivaled any in the area. A little before Anthony died, he owned a top of the line buggy with Racking Horses (these horses were named for the way that they stepped when they walked). When he drove this beautiful buggy to town, people would stare at it the way we do limousines today.
His affluence was so envied by some of the white people in this small town in Alabama, that a group of them paid his son-in-law, Jim, to kill him. Jim was their oldest daughter Mary's husband.
Jim served less than two years in prison for the murder. That was a normal sentence for one Negro killing another Negro.
In defense of her husband, Mary said that her father was beating her. To end the beating, her husband came to her rescue and killed her father.
In fear of retaliation by her brothers, Mary and Jim moved to Chattanooga, TN where she lived until her death.
There were many attempts by members of that group to take The Kyles Place following Anthony's death. None of them succeeded. Many thanks are owed to Anthony's oldest son Ollie.
Ollie, was successful in paying off the deed. Ollie had tried to pay off the deed several times. Each time he went to the bank to get his (what he called) "free and clear" he was told that the balance was more than what had been quoted to him previously. At that time, there was not an understanding of finance charges. The last time he went to the bank to get his "free and clear" he was told that the balance was $500.00 dollars.
He wired his brother-in-law, who lived in Florida, for the additional money. His brother-in law wired the money back the same day.
Ollie returned to the bank later that day and demanded that they give him his "free and clear". Ollie was so proud of his achievement that he went from one family member to another showing them the paper.
In 2007 most of the Kyles Place was finally sold. This was heirs property and was never meant to be sold. However, it was sold and what little money was acquired was divided between hundreds of relatives. The relatives who lived on the property were allowed to keep the ackers they lived on.
My grand father Charlie Kyles married Hattie Mackey. He was a farmer who fathered five children; Lizzie Mae, Annie Maude, Alice, Edward, and Charlie Jr. He was shot in the leg while hunting. His wife, Hattie, was pregnant with Charlie Jr. The leg was removed but he died from complications. Charlie Jr. was born a
few months later.
In 2007 I learned that my grandfather, Charlie was actually shot by the husband of the woman he was having an affair with.
He was reportedly shot early in the morning and left in the woods all day. Later in the day my grandmother, Hattie, was told that there had been an accident and that she needed to go get her husband. No doubt, by the time she could get someone to find him, he had lost too much blood.
In later years, my grand mother, Hattie, would tell my mother of the horror of that day. How in an attempt to save her husband's life, she could hear the doctor sawing off his leg.
Hattie later married Willie Clark. He fathered Macie, Willie Eva, and Orie.
Following Willie's death, Hattie married Anderson Holloway who fathered Jessie Louis and Loette.
Following the death of Anderson, Hattie remained single.
Hattie, in her latter years, became a diabetic. Eventually, she lost both of her legs. I only remember her in her wheel chair.
When we were in the process of being disciplined, she would tell us "You better get up here. She (our Mom) is going to get you." We would run to her wheel chair and jump into her arms-our sanctuary.
She died in Gadsden AL. She was living with her daughter, Alice. I remember her death. My mother was too sick to go to the funeral. We three girls were too young to get ourselves ready to go. And our brother, Jimmy, was in college at Tuskegee University.
So, my father went alone. I also remember the sadness of thinking of my father having to go through the funeral without any of his immediate family members there.
Charli Kyle, my father, married Dorothy Ruth Hunter. Charlie is a handsome figure of a man, but humble.
He left home at the age of sixteen and came to Chattanooga, TN., where he secured a job working in the foundry at Muller Co.
A few years later he was drafted into the army. He served in W.W.II and the Korean war.
While serving in the army, he married Dorothy Hunter and they parented four children.
Following Dorothy's death, he married Jannie Williams and adopted the youngest two of her four children, Angela and Shawna.
At the age of 65 he retired from Muller Co. and continues to live a comfortable and healthy life.
My maternal great grand father, Charlie Wright married Mary. Out of twenty one children, only eight survived birth. The eight surviving children were; Bessie, Hattie, Eula, Athelean, Fred, Robert, Charlie Ace, and Zemania.
Mary Wright lived well into her nineties.
married RK Hunter ( It was not unusual for children to have names that consisted of letters only).
RK worked as a construction worker when he moved to Chattanooga. He helped build the first school I would later attended, James A. Henry Elementary School.
The big city, proved to be too much for RK. He left his family, and a few years later was found dead on train tracks in another city. There was speculation that he may have been ho-boing. But there was never an investigation into what actually happened.
Looking for a better life for her children, Hattie followed her husband to Chattanooga. She worked in private homes as a maid and later at White Star Laundry. She worked at White Star Laundry until her death from cervical cancer in 1951.
Bessie was a honey-colored-complected lady with beautiful long black hair. She and RK. had four children; Tilman, Dorothy, Robert and Fannie Mae.
At the age of six (6), Tilman drowned in the Tennessee River. Today that area is called Ross' Landing. It was a hot summer day, my mother told me. The children had been eating frozen cool aid. They decided to go swimming, as they so often did on hot days. They saw the current take him under, He never came back up.
Some adults came and eventually pulled his body from the river. They tried to revive him. But, they were unsuccessful. My mother recalled the red liquid running out of his mouth. She never drank anything red after that day.
Robert was a man who loved to have a good time. He worked hard. He worked construction. In those days that meant anything heavy or filthy that needed to be moved, he or someone like him would be told to do it.
Robert kept good women, but he never married. He did not father any children. I liked being around him. You could bet on having fun with uncle Robert. He, however thought he was keeping what he was doing from the children.
He moved to Dalton GA where he died. He was in his thirties. He had been out partying and went to sleep on his front porch. Apparently, that was as far as he could make it. He froze to death. He was discovered the next morning by the lady he was living with.
Fannie Mae was the youngest of the four children. She worked in private home. She was fortunate enough to travel with the families for whom she worked. She would send us cloths from every where.
That is how my mother kept up with her. She would not write or call. One day we would receive these boxes of children's clothes from where ever she was living.
When her employer's children would out grow their cloths, they would tell her to send them to her nieces.
After she began working in public jobs (factory work) we would not hear from her for years. My mother would start to worry.
She would contact the FBI and they would actually track her down. Where ever they found her, they would take her to a phone and tell her to call her sister.
Aunt Fannie Mae would be so upset with my mother. But, it did not take but about two times of them pulling her off her job to make that phone call. she learned to keep in touch with my mom. She moved back here and for about sever (7) years, she even moved in with us.
Fannie Mae became ill with lung cancer. Eventually, I placed her in a nursing home. It was horrible to watch her die that away. But, she did not appear to be afraid to go.
My mother, Dorothy Hunter married Charlie Kyle(s) Jr. Dorothy was a tall attractive and deeply religious lady.
She moved to Chattanooga as a young girl with her mother and three other siblings.
She quit school in the ninth grade but continued to self educate herself by reading everything she could get her hands on.
She and Charlie parented four children; James Edward, Velda McKaye, Pamela June, and Amilda Ann. The birth of six children including two miscarriages took a toll on her health but did not deter her from performing volunteer work at her children's school. She was a homemaker who never worked a public job.
She lived with hidden diabetes for years. The diabetes finally took her life by weakening her heart. She died of a massive heart attack at the age of 50.
Who am I? I am a the sum of all who have come before me.
I am Velda McKaye Kyle.
I was born in a now extent Negro Hospital named Carver Hospital on August 28, 1952. For the first six years of my life I lived on the West Side of Chattanooga, Tennessee at 612 East Terrace. I have so many memories of living in this house. I was allowed to be a child. I remember playing all the time. At the age of five, I started school at James A Henry Elementary School. In the second grade, we moved to make room for the new freeway, Highway 27.
For the next two years we lived at 1202 College Street. It was a beautiful two story home that was owned by a prominent Negro doctor in the city, Dr. Callier. Two years later we were again forced to move to make room for Highway 27.
This time we moved to 1316 West 46th Street where I attended Louis Sanderson Elementary School and Alton Park Junior High School. Far-far away from Highway 27.
In the eight (8th) grade I was personally introduced to integration and was one of the first Blacks to attend Lookout Junior High School. I graduated from Chattanooga High School in 1970 at the age of seventeen.
After graduation, I signed up to join the Air Force but met Ernest Gene Duke over the summer. I was In love.
We married and I soon became pregnant with our only child, Ernest (Tre) Eugene Duke III. He was born on January 2, 1972. His birth still remains the best thing I ever did. Six months later we bought our first house at 2420 North Briar Circle. We lived there for eighteen years.
It was around that time that my husband, Ernest, was laid off from his job at Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a draftsman. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia in search of employment.
He lived there for three years. We grew apart. He moved into a new apartment and I moved into a new home. Tre went off to college at Edward Waters in Jacksonville, Florida.
Three years following my husbands move to Atlanta GA, I filed for divorce.
For the first time in my life I would learn to truly trust my faith in God, to understand my instincts as an African American Woman and to Love ME and those who came before me!
FIND WHO YOU ARE LOKING FOR
Dorothy and Charlie Kyle
Me and My Mom
Me and My dad Charlie
Me and my brother Jimmy
Me and my sister Pamela
Me and my sister Amilda Ann
This site contains genealogical material about my family and some links to historical records that reflect the culture and language of certain periods and places of that time. My goal is, and has been, to create a site that will enable others to find their family roots. I hope that I have succeeded in that goal.
THANK YOU for your valuable time and informative input. What wonderful memories you have. Without you, with time passing, the stories of our ancestors may have been lost forever.
Alice Bledsoe of Gadsden AL
Charlie Kyle of Chattanooga, TN
Johonnie Gunn of Milwaukee WI
Loette King of Gadsden AL