African American Lives
Analyzing the Evidence
The Science and the Investigators
Who am I? A Genealogy Guide
Sharing Stories
For Educators
About the Series

Sharing Stories
One Families Story: Read a story matching the term you chose:
STORYTELLER: Great Grandmother LOCATION: Anquilla, Mississippi and Greenville, Mississippi YEAR TOOK PLACE: 1860s
TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN: Anquilla, Mississippi HOW HEARD: Great Grandmother

My great great grandfather was named Fred McGary, but he was raised by a Civil War solider under the name Fred Brown. When he was about 9 years old he helped the Southern armies as an errand boy stacking and cleaning guns. Once he became an adult he changed his name back to Fred McGary.

He lived in Anquilla, Mississippi where he started a general store with a white man with the last name of McKinney. Fred McGary was a very popular man in the town because he could read and write and do math. He was known to have crowds gather around him as he read the newspaper. He fathered 36 children between two women. He sharecropped and sold molasses to provide income for the family and from that he may have produced liquor, "moonshine."

One of his wives was named Idabel and they had my great grandmother Rosella McGary. She was born on the Myles Plantation in Anguila, Misssissippi. He picked cotton there until she was 12 or 15 years old, then she picked cotton at the Hall Plantation. She said they moved there after a Mr. Gates tried to rip her father off in a dispute with the share cropping and molasses operation after Mr. Gates bought the plantation from the Myles Family.

My great grandmother was baptized in Deer Creek and she had a sister named is Melinda McGary-Blue. Rosella McGary married J. Simon Brantley at the Hall Plantation. My great grandmother eventually moved to Greenville, MS where her daughter Catherine Brantly married Issac Patterson (a triplet).

I also have a relative named Albany who presumably was the nanny to Senator James Eastland and lived either in or near Bolton, Mississippi.

If you have any information you would like to tell me I can be reached at

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