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Colored People in Bay County History.

Names Listing of Colored Persons from Directories.


  • Source: Directories for 1866, 1878 & 1893.
  • Abbrev.: [Year]; res – residence; bds – boards; h – home; rms - rooms; WBC - West Bay City.
  • Comment: Portsmouth and Wenona were villages early on. Portsmouth was the first to merge into Bay City. Wenona merged with the villages of Bangor and Salzburg to form West Bay City, which in 1905 merged into Bay City.

Listing are for Bay City unless otherwise indicated.

BAKER, James H - barber, shop w s Water, bet 34th and South Center, res e s Broadway, bet 32d and 33d.[1878]

BAYNERD, Gilbert – lab, res 804 19th [1893].

BECKS, John – barber J B Jacson, rms 5 Birney blk. [1893]

BIRD, Andrew – lab, res 408 Williams [1878-Wenona] [1884-WBC]

  • (Note: A. BIRD bds 310 Second, Portsmouth “not listed as colored.” Also, listed at this address is Mrs P. BIRD and John BLACK.)

    BROOKS, Mrs. Carrie M – laundress, laundry basement Watson Blk, 103 n Water, res Griswold Blk. [1878], also: John W.

    BROWN, Isaac – salt-packer, e s Fraser, bet 15th and 16th [1878]

    BROWN, Mary A. - wid Wm, res 712 5th [1893].

    BROWN, Sterling – sailor, bds Frank BANKS [1878-Wenona]

    CARTER, Walker – lab, n s 8th, bet Farragut and Lincoln. [1878]

    CHAPMAN, Samuel – dryer, bds 314 S Saginaw, also: W. R., dryer. [1866]

    CHRISTOPHER, James – janitor Phoenix Block, res 709 11th. [1893]

    COPPY, Mrs. Mary – wid Stephen, res w s William, bet Jenny and Jane [1878-Wenona]

    CROSS, Eugene F – fireman, res 1602 14th [1893].

    DAVIS, Minneus – cook Fraser House. [1878]

    EASTER, Charles – fireman, bds Andrew BIRD.

    EASTER, Charles – fireman, res rear n s Backus 1 e of Morton. [1893]

    EDMONDS, Martha – wid Isaac, res 101 Fitzhugh [1893]; also: Willis R., student; Cornelius, printer.

    FAIRFAX, Daniel E – drayman, res 1420 8th. [1893]

    GRANT, Wm W – teamster, res 901 James [1893-WBC], also: Nettie.

    GROEFFORT, William – barber, 311 Water. [1866]

    HAMILTON, Beverly – barber, res 221 S Farragut [1893]

    HANSON, Benjamin F. - flagman F & P M R R, res 1111 Jefferson [1893]; also: Lizzie; William – lab, bds.

    HARRIS, David – edger, res 524 N McLellan [1893].

    HARRISON, George A – fireman, res 2144 2d [1893].

    HIGGINS, Andrew J – barber T De Mount, res 801-1/2 Saginaw [1893].

    HIGH, Lillian M – hairdresser, bds 909 9th [1893].

    HILL, Elisha – cook, s w cor Henry and John. [1878-Wenona]

    HURST, Solomon W – barber L. N. Brazzelton, bds St. James restaurant [1878]

    JACKSON, James – lab, bds Andrew BIRD. [1878-Wenona]

    JACKSON, James – lab, bds Frank BANKS. [1878-Wenona]

    JACKSON, John B – barber, 200 5th ave, res 232 Adams [1893].

    JACKSON, Wm E – barber, 214 3d, rms 210 S. Jackson [1893].

    JOHNSON, James – barber W E Jackson, bds Jefferson House [1893]

    JOHNSON, Rev. Thomas C – pastor 2d Baptist Church, rms 1010 16th [1893].

    JUSTICE, Samuel – fireman, bds Andrew BIRD. [1878-Wenona]

    LAUCHIE, Milton J – confectioner, 512-1/2 ed, and barber, 515 3d, res 505 Broadway [1893].

    LEERIGHT, John H – plaster, res 411 s Williams [1893 WBC], also: Miss Bertha B.

    LEWIS, William H. - fireman, bds Andrew BIRD [1878-Wenona]

    LEWIS, Wm H – engr, res 1301 Webster [1893]

    LITTLETON, Christopher – pattern maker, h Washington [1866]

    LYONS, Rev James – pastor A M E Church, res 505 Broadway [1893]

    MAHAN, Thomas – barber J B Jackson, bds Jefferson House [1893]

    MCLAREN, George – porter J B Jackson, bds 205 5th ave. [1893]

    MITCHELL, James – fireman Fitch Salt Co., res 702 24th [1893], also: Viola.

    PIERCE, Joshua – fireman Fitch Salt Co., res 314 Wilson [1893], also: Miss Minnie.

    POWELL, Alfred - porter, res 1417 Park ave, res same, also: Mrs Alfred F, hairdresser.

    PRATT, Stephens – fireman, bds Andrew BIRD. [1878-Wenona]

    RICHARDSON, Joshua J – barber, 105 S Water, h Seventh [1866]

    ROBINSON, Daniel – lab, res n s 5th, bet Van Buren and Grant [1878]

    ROMAN, James F – broommkr B C Broom Co, res 1205 15th. [1893]

    SANDERS, Peter – lab, bds 708 15th. [1893]

    SEBASTIN, Marshall D – porter, res 907 9th.

    SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH – e s N Monroe bet 10th and 11th. [1893]

    SMITH, David T – h 705 S Washinton [1866]

    SMITH, Wm J – barber, 107 Madison, res same [1893].

    STEARN, Charles – barber, res n s 5th, bet Van Buren and Grant. [1878]

    SUSAND, Elizabeth – wid Peter E, bds 1417 Park ave [1893]

    TALBERT, Mary – wid Sidney, res 206 N. Sherman; [1893] also: Robert, cook; Wm., painter.

    TOLBERT, Henry B – porter, res 407 S Monroe [1893].

    TOYER, George – lab, res 515 N Monroe. [1893].

    WALLACE, Wade H – porter F & P M R R, res 604 N McLellan [1893].

    WASHINGTON, Mrs. Susan L. - wid Willis R., dressmaker, res e s Van Buren, bet 11th and 12th [1878]

    WASHINGTON, Wheeler L – Washington & Smith, res 101 12th. [1893]

    WILLIAMS, Mary – wid James W, res 211 S Jackson [1893].

    WILSON, Mrs Lucinda – res 305 Broadway. [1893]

    WOODARD, Thomas – fireman, bds Andew BIRD [1878-Wenona]

    WRIGHT, George H – bds 305 Broadway [1893].

    YOUNG, H – barber, 123 S Water [1866]

  • Local Black History
    The bondage of unfavored groups of people has an ancient history that persisted as long as powerful individuals were allowed to ignore the moral and political reality of its unjust condition. Today black people have legal rights to their freedom, but altering the minds of the masses has yet to be overcome. The human condition of bondage through separation of minds, remains the silent injustice that permeates relationships among neighbors, businesses and other civil activities.

    History is full of similar ethnic conditions that have to a large extent been disappear over time. Not so much by will, but by acceptance based on knowledge, and facts that eliminate previous beliefs. Perhaps the most significant force has been in intermarriages among ethnic groups, which was typically perpetuated by young lovers who rejected their up bringing to follow the strength of their feelings, and in doing so establishing the fact that love has no barriers associated with family tradition that does not fit comfortably in their own life choices. As a result we seldom hear a complaint, such as when a Pole marries a German, or a Protestant weds a Catholic, etc.

    One of the founders of Bay City, was a former slave owner himself. He turned to his faith and with an open mind questioned what right humans have in owning a lesser class of citizens. That person was James Gillespie Birney, who came to what is now Bay City, in the later of years of his life, after spending most of his adulthood as a nationally recognized leader of the abolitionist movement. He died after living here only a short time, but by then he had set in motion the convincing arguments that resulted in a growing alliance of citizens that ultimately led to the abolishment of slavery. He is well regarded in the black history books for his unrelenting efforts for human justice.

    Unfortunately, there has been little written about the contributions of local black citizens. While Bay City has not had a significant black population, a number of them would have been more than worthy of a recorded history of their life. Such as the a few who were born into slavery on plantations, or those who became prominent and well to do citizens. Most, however, were relegated to positions of the enforced social standard of their times -- cooks, porters, barbers, etc.

    Below are histories that are currently known, and more will be added as the come to light.
    Bay City Black History
    Personal Histories
    BAKER, James H.
    Born in Richmond, VA. Owned barber shop and restuarant businesses.
    {BAKER, Oscar & Family}
    Son of James H., and prominent attorney.
    {BIRD, Andrew}
    Born slave in Virginia, worked at H.W. Sage Mill.
    [BIRNEY, James G.]
    Famous white abolitionist, founder of Bay City.
    {CHILLSON Family}, Participate in underground railroad.
    {BROWN, Isaac}
    Born slave in Kentucky.
    {JONES, John & Family}
    Prominent Hampton twp. farming family.
    Subjects Referenced
  • A.M.C. Church
  • Baptist Church
  • Bay City Broom Co.
  • Birney Block
  • Fitch Salt Co.
  • Fraser House
  • F&PMRR
  • Griswold Block
  • J.B. Jackson co.
  • L.N. Brazzleton
  • Phoenix Block
  • St. James restaurant
  • Second Baptist Church
  • T. De Mount
  • Washington & Smith
  • Watson Block
  • Occupations Referenced
  • Barber (16)
  • Broom maker (1)
  • Confectioner (1)
  • Drayman (1)
  • Dryer (2)
  • Edger (1)
  • Engineer (1)
  • Fireman (10)
  • Flagman (1)
  • Hairdresser (1)
  • Janitor (1)
  • Laborer (9)
  • Laundress (1)
  • Pastor (2)
  • Pattern maker (1)
  • Plasterer (1)
  • Porter (5)
  • Sailor (1)
  • Salt-packer (1)
  • Teamster (1)
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