Family Histories

AMHERSTBURG FREEEDOM MUSEUM

Lucas Family

                                                    Lucas Family History Part 1 – Born in Pittsburgh

For this month’s family history, I wanted to do something a bit different. While researching this month’s family, I came across several family trees in the Museum’s family history collection for the Lucas family who will be featured this month. With further research I discovered that many of the Lucas family members were from Chatham-Kent, so I reached out to our friends at the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum to see if they wanted to collaborate on this month’s family history. Being the fantastic people they are, they said yes and were able to share photographs and obituaries from Chatham newspapers, which helped me a great deal. I would like to send a big thank you to Sam and her team at the Black Mecca Museum for everything they shared. Let’s get started!

Richard Alexander Lucas (1839-1931) married Rachel Jones and according to his death record, he was the son of Isaac Lucas and Susan King, and was born in 1839 in Pittsburgh. This record also states that he was a farmer and passed away on October 4, 1931, in Chatham at the age of 92. Richard and Rachel had at least 7 children: Susana (1867-1959), Barbara Lillie (1869-1899), Richard A. (1870-1957), Ida Adora (1874-1973), Annabelle (1876-1973), Melvina Julia (1878-1970) and Jennettie (1887-1971).

Susana, the first child of Richard and Rachel, married Benjamin Richardson, the son of James and Mary Richardson, on August 29, 1886, in Gore of Camden, Kent. Benjamin’s obituary titled “Chatham Township Farmer Passes To Great Beyond” shares a few more details and says “DRESDEN, July 28 – Funeral services are being held this afternoon for Benjamin Richardson Chatham Township farmer, who died on Sunday. He was in his 79th year. The funeral cortege is to leave the residence, on Concession 9, at 1 p.m., and will proceed to the Prince Albert Baptist Church where services will be held at two o’clock. Rev. M. Brown is to be the officiating minister, and interment will be in the Dresden Cemetery. Besides his wife, Mr. Richardson is survived by five sons, Richard of Pontiac, Mich.; Archie, of Jackson, Mich.; John of Detroit; Benjamin of Detroit, and Wellington, at home. There are six daughters, Mrs. George Highgate of Chatham Township; Mrs. George Millben, of Jackson, Mich.’ Mrs. Earl Henson of Chatham; Mrs. Clarence Smith of Chatham Township, Mrs. Irvine Handsor of Windsor, and Mrs. Paul Moss, of Pontiac.”

Benjamin and Susana (sometimes listed as Susan Francis) had several children including James Alfred, Richard, Arnetta (Jenneta), Kathaleen, Archie, John, Lavina Melvina, Wellington, Nellie Belle, Benjamin Jr., Mary, Margaret, and Barbara Lillian. James Alfred was born in July 1887 in Chatham. He married twice. His first marriage was to Julie Stark, the daughter of William and Mary Stark, on April 29, 1916, in Chatham. His second marriage was to Nancy Jurelia Highgate (1894-1962), the daughter of J. Henderson Highgate and Emily Snooks, on September 3, 1919, in Chatham. James Alfred’s death record was also available and states that he was born circa 1887 in Chatham Township, and he died on March 6, 1928 in Kent at the age of 40.

James Alfred’s children include James Leonard (1920-1975) who married Violet E. Buschmeyer and had a son named James Leonard Richardson Jr.; Douglas Henderson (1921-1969), Ruby Irene who married Donald Roy Carter; Audrey May who married Gordon Milburn and had two daughters named Patricia (m. Leonard Hayward) and Debra; and Velma Annie who married Harry Judah. Velma’s children include Kathryn, Nancy (m. Jerry Rice), Jonella and Michael.

The next child of Susan Lucas and Benjamin Richardson is Richard Alexander (1889-1969) who was born on December 31, 1890, in Chatham. Richard later married Edith Simmons, the daughter of Edward Simmons and Lillie Johnson, on January 13, 1912, in Kent. Richard and Edith had a daughter named Relda who married Eugene Scott (1907-1959). Relda had a daughter named Vera Leola Scott who married Mack Rodgers, and a son named Orland Eugene Scott (1930-1964) who married Roseina Blanche Shoemaker. Vera Leola Scott Roger’s children include Larry, Lorraine, Loretta, and Leonard. Orland Eugene Scott’s children include Marcia Deborah, Benita Yvonne, Orland E. Scott Jr., Sharron, Dena Marie, and Richard Keith.

Relda Richardson married more than once. As mentioned, Relda married Eugene Scott, but another marriage record was found for her which says she married Edward Grady on March 25, 1949, in Indiana. It also mentions that Relda was born on April 12, 1912 in Chatham, was living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and had been married two times before. A separate record states that they married in St. Joseph, Indiana. On a ‘Resident Alien’s Border Crossing Identification Card’ for Relda Richardson Grady it lists her occupation as Maid. The 1930 Census for Pontiac, Michigan lists Eugene and Relda with their daughter Vera and the 1940 Census, also for Pontiac, Michigan, includes the addition of Eugene and Relda’s son Orland in addition to Eugene’s mother Anna Scott who was 94 years old.

The next child of Susan Lucas and Benjamin Richardson is Arnetta, who is sometimes referred to as Jenneta. She later married George Highgate, the son of James Highgate and Emma Snoles (could be Snookes), on June 3, 1908, in Camden, Kent County. George and Arnetta/Jenneta’s children include George Oliver Highgate, James Garnet Highgate and Irene Highgate. George Oliver Highgate was born on September 29, 1908 in Chatham and he married Eva Mae Harris. Their children include Edsel C. (m. Ruby Alicia Lawson); Sydney Garnet Highgate (m. Sheila Isabel Munn); Alan G. Highgate (Yvonne); Kaydon O. Highgate (m. Doreen Peters); Janet M. Highgate (m. Eize Bos); Marvin A. Highgate (m. Pamela N. Payne); Benjamin L. Highgate (m. Sharon Anne McMurdo); Eva Mae Highgate; Murray J. Highgate.

James Garnet Highgate’s children include Judith Lorraine Highgate (1939-1940) and Richard Robert Highgate. James Garnet’s sister Irene Highgate married Kingsley Travis and their children include Emily Travis (m. William Robinson); Cecil Travis (m. Doreen Franklin); Floyed Travis; Marvin George Travis (m. Mary Marie Taylor); Heddie Elaine Travis (m. Clifford Allen Solomon); Robert Travis; Richard Travis (m. Irene Chandler) and Keith Travis.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 2. 

Lucas Family History Part 2 – “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue”

The next child of Susan Lucas and Ben Richardson is Kathaleen who was born on August 30, 1893, in Chatham. She married George Millben (1893-1960).  According to a funeral pamphlet, Kathaleen passed away on April 16, 1997 and the pamphlet also contains the wording: “A mother holds her children’s hands for a while … their hearts forever.”

The pamphlet also includes: “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, But you surpass them.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; But a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, And let her works bring her praise at the city gate. -Proverbs 31:26-31”

An obituary is also included which says “Kathaleen was born August 30, 1893 and departed this life April 16, 1997. She was born in Chatham Township, Ontario, Canada to Benjamin and Susan Richardson. She is the last to pass of twelve children. Kathaleen was preceded in death by her husband, George A. Millben. Surviving are her daughter, Mildred N. (James) Jones of Lake Elsinore, California, her son, G. Archie (Martha) Millben of Jackson, Michigan, six grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren and a host of relatives and friends.”

The Museum’s family history collection shares further details about Kathaleen’s children and records that her daughter Mildred M. Millben married Dr. James Edward Jones. Their marriage record states that Mildred and Sgt. James E. Jones were married on February 25, 1943 in Comanche, Oklahoma. Kathaleen’s next child, Dr. George Archie Millben married Martha Marie Chavis and their marriage record states that they were married on March 23, 1943 in Miami, Ohio. Their marriage record also states that Martha was the daughter of Ora B. Chavis and Margaret Elizabeth Wade, and that Martha worked as a typist and George was a factory employee. A Michigan, Detroit Manifest for George Archie Millben adds that his occupation was a Soldier at the time he immigrated on March 24, 1924.

Kathaleen’s brother Archie is next. He was born on March 8, 1895 in Chatham and he married twice. The first was to Myrtle Irene Highgate (1906-1964) and the second was to Luverne Latham. On Archie’s marriage record to Myrtle Irene Highgate, it states that they married on February 23, 1924 in Chatham and that Myrtle was the daughter of James Highgate and Emma Snooks.

On November 25, 1974, the Jackson Citizen Patriot printed Archie’s obituary which provides more details. It says “Richardson, Archie – Of 1105 Backus St., passed away at Mercy Hospital, Saturday evening, November 23, 1974 aged 79 years. Surviving are his wife Luverne; one daughter Mrs. Gloria Weatherspoon of Jackson; four sisters Mrs. Kathaleen Milbin, Mrs. Lavina Hanson, Mrs. William (Margaret) Hazard, Mrs. Lillian Moss; two brothers John and Wellington Richardson; several nieces and nephews. He was a World War I veteran of the Canadian Army a member of the N.A.A.C.P. Mr. Richardson is at Patience – Montgomery Chapel, 406 First St. where funeral services will be conducted Tuesday 7:30 p.m. Additional services will be held at the Grass Funeral Home, Dresden, Ontario, Wednesday 1 p.m. Interment Dresden Cemetery.”

Archie’s brother John and the next child of Susan Lucas and Benjamin Richardson was born on September 7, 1896, in Dresden. He later married Doris Iona Smith, the daughter of Horace Smith and Elizabeth Burnett, on December 22, 1920, in Chatham. John’s obituary shares further details and says he resided on “Windsor Ave. Retired from the Kodak Co., Detroit & a member of the B.M.E. Church. Beloved husband of Ona (nee Smith). Dear brother of Mrs. Katherine Millben, Jackson, Mich; Mrs. Lavina Hanson, Chatham; Wellington Richardson, Chatham Twp; Mrs. Margaret Hazard, Windsor; Mrs. Lillian Moss, Pontiac, Mich. Friends may call at the James H. Sutton Funeral Home, 1567 Ouellette Ave. from 2 p.m. Saturday till 9p.m.”

A funeral pamphlet refers to him as John (Jack) Richardson and says he “was born on September 7, 1896 in Chatham Township and departed this life on August 11, 1982 at Grace Hospital suddenly. He was married to Iona Doris (Smith) on December 22, 1918.

Along with his beloved wife he leaves to mourn his passing, four sisters; Kathleen Milben of Jackson, Mich., Lavina Hanson of Chatham, Ontario., Margaret Hazard of Windsor, Ont., Lillian Moss of Pontiac, Mich., and one brother, Wellington of Dresden, Ont. He was predeceased by his father Benjamin Senior, his mother Susan, three sisters Arnettie Highgate, Nellie Belle Smith and Mary at a very young age. Also, four brothers James, Richard, Archie and Benjamin the II.

A host of nieces, relatives and friends also mourn his passing. He was a member of good standing for over forty-five years in the B.M.E. Church, Windsor, Ont. He served as one of the founders of the present Usher Board. For many years he served as a Steward and was also a Trustee of the General Conference.”

John’s sister Lavina Melvina Richardson was born on June 6, 1897 in Chatham and she married Earl Augustes (sometimes spelt Augustin) Hanson who was born on January 23, 1894 in Chatham. Earl was the son of Dwight Leon Hanson and Minnie Willamine Cook who was born November 27, 1869, the daughter of Daniel Cook and Mary Daga, and died November 26, 1934, in Dresden. The 1901 Bothwell Census for Dwight and Minnie Hanson records some of Earl’s siblings including Johnie, Willie, James, and Joseph.

Earl and Lavina were married on July 15, 1914 in Chatham. Thanks to help from the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum we can share both Lavina and her husband Earl’s obituaries. According to Lavina’s obituary, she at “age 86 of the Canadianna Nursing Home formerly of 6 Daniels Place, Chatham passed away Sunday, April 22, 1984 at the Public General Hospital, Chatham. Her husband Earl Hanson predeceased in 1968. Surviving are one daughter; Minnie Seevers of Chatham, one son Harold (Bus) Hanson of Windsor, four grandchildren, nine great grandchildren, three sisters; Kathleen Millben of Jackson, Michigan, Lillian Moss of Pontiac, Michigan and Margaret Hazzard of Windsor, one brother Wellington (Wink) Richardson of Chatham Township. She is predeceased by two sons, two sisters and five brothers. Funeral service will be conducted at the Thomas L. DeBurger Funeral Home, 620 Cross St., Dresden on Wednesday, April 25 at 1:30 p.m. with Rev. G.N. Burns officiating. Interment in Dresden Cemetery.”

Earl’s obituary, which was printed in The Chatham Daily News on December 26, 1968, says “DRESDEN – Funeral Services were held Monday for Earl Hanson, 74 who died Friday at his residence on 6 Daniel Place Chatham. Rev. G.H. Richardson conducted the services at the Grass Funeral Home in Dresden. Flower bearers were Stanley Dudley, Leroy Poole, William Richardson, William Hazzard, Garnet Lucas, Benjamin Smith, Clarence Smith and George Highgate. Pallbearers were Archie Ladd, Grant Smith, Leon Carter, Donald Hanson, Richard Moss and Lionel Hanson. Burial was at Dresden Cemetery.” Earl’s death record adds that he was born in 1894.

Earl and Lavina’s children include Minnie Eva Hanson and Harold (Bus) Hanson. Minnie Eva married Wilfred Harold Seevers (1916-1971). We could not find any details for Harold, but thanks to the Chatham-Kent Black Historical Society & Black Mecca Museum we have a copy of Harold’s wife Lottie Terrell Hanson’s obituary. It says “HANSON; Mrs. Lottie (Terrel) Hanson, beloved wife of Harold Hanson of 1018 Windsor Ave., Windsor, died in the Hotel Dieu Hospital on Friday, December 30, 1983 at age 70 years. She is dear aunt to Kingsley Terrel, Ben Talbot and Gary Jefferson all of Chatham and is predeceased by all her brothers and sisters. Resting at the T. Brady Hinnegan Funeral Home, 156 William St. S., Chatham where friends may call from 2-5 on Sunday and 2-5 and 7-9 on Monday. Funeral service will be conducted in the Kent Chapel of the Funeral Home on Tuesday at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Fr. S.E. McGuire of St. Joseph’s Church officiating. Interment will be in St. Anthony’s Cemetery.”

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 3.

                                         Lucas Family History Part 3 – Active in Her Community

Next up is Lavina Melvina’s brother Wellington, who is the next child of Susan Lucas and Benjamin Richardson. The only record available for him, other than being mentioned in obituaries for his siblings and father, was a birth record which states that he was born on April 22, 1901, in Chatham.

There was more information available for Wellington’s sister Nellie Belle Richardson. She married Clarence Ben Smith, the son of Harris and Ethel Smith, on September 8, 1920, in Dresden. According to a death record for Nellie, she died in 1962 in Dresden. Nellie and Clarence’s children include Grant E. and Ernest Beverly. Grant married Blanche Vincent, while Ernest married Labirtha Burks, the daughter of Kennedy Burks and Dicie Kidd, on August 8, 1955, in Steuben, Indiana. Their marriage record also states that Ernest Smith was born on July 8, 1925 in Windsor and Labirtha Burks was born on January 15, 1931 in Detroit. A note in the Museum’s family history collection states that Ernest also married Etta Mae Douglas, but we could not find a record to accompany this information.

Nellie Belle’s brother Benjamin Richardson Jr. was born on October 6, 1905, in Chatham. He later married Velma Marie Bissell. According to a naturalization record from November 27, 1933 in Flint, Michigan, for Benjamin (also listed as Bennie) Richardson, it states that Benjamin and Velma (born April 18, 1909) were married on May 28, 1928 in Chatham and they had two children named Bernice (born December 19, 1931) and Benjamin Jr. (born January 28, 1935). This record also states that he went to Michigan on the D&W Ferry. The Museum’s family history collection also shares that Bernice married Edward Brayboy and Roosevelt Johnson, while Benjamin Jr. married Ruby Rozina Adams.

An obituary for Benjamin’s wife Velma was also available and says Velma, who was from Chatham “formerly of Dresden passed away Tuesday November 23, 1993 at her residence. She was born in Chatham daughter of the late Thomas Bissell and Margaret Highgate. She is predeceased by her first husband Benjamin Richardson Sr. in 1966 and her second husband William Richardson in 1989. She was a member of the Union Baptist Church, Past President of Missionary Convention, Past President of Ladies Aid Mission society, Sunday School Superintendent, Deaconess, and treasurer of the Sunday School. Surviving are one daughter Bernice (Richardson) Johnson and her husband Roosevelt of Marianna, Arkansas; three grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Several nieces and nephews also survive. She is predeceased by one son; Benjamin Richardson Jr., three sisters; Emma Dudley and two infant sisters, one brother William Highgate and two grandchildren. Visitors will be received at the Thomas L. DeBurger Funeral Home.”

The only information available for Benjamin’s sister Mary is a death record which states that she passed away on February 20, 1908, in Chatham at the age of 9 months, 1 week, 4 days. Mary’s sister Margaret was born on December 8, 1908, in Chatham. She married twice. Margaret’s first marriage was to Vern/Irvin Handsor (1903-1974) and the second was to William Chester Hazard. According to their marriage record, Margaret and William married on December 26, 1946 in Lucas, Ohio. William was the son of William O. Hazard and Harriet Hansen. Margaret and her first husband Vern had a son named James Handsor and he married Ruth Mitchell.

Margaret’s sister Barbara Lillian Richardson was born July 1, 1910, in Chatham. Barbara married twice. Her first marriage was to James William Highgate (1906-1972) and her second marriage was to Paul Clarence Moss (1897-1969). According to their marriage record, Barbara Lillian, listed as Lily, and William James Highgate, married on October 18, 1924, in Chatham. William James was the son of James Henderson Highgate and Susan Richardson. According to the Museum’s records, Barbara and James’ children include Kelsey Lavere Highgate (m. Kathryn Guest) and Benjamin Shirley Highgate (m. Patricia Rhodes). Barbara and her second husband Clarence had the following children: Milton David Moss (m. Minnie Louise Campbell); Barabara Jean Moss (1937-1943); Charles Leonard Moss (m. Marva R. Keel); Richard Merlin Moss (m. Willa Lee Winton) and Alma Arnetta Moss.

Now that we have discussed Susan Lucas and her family, we will move on to discuss her siblings Barbara Lillie, Richard A., Ida Adora, Annabelle, Melvina Julia, and Jennettie. We will start with Barbara Lillie. She married William Davis (1864-1938), the son of Absolom and Elizabeth Davis, on June 10, 1896, in Chatham Township. Barbara Lillie and William Davis had a son named John Davis who was born on June 2, 1897 and sadly passed away in 1918 while serving in the military. According to Barbara Lillie Lucas Davis’ death record, she passed away on March 28, 1899, in Dresden. An additional marriage record reveals that William married a second time on December 27, 1899 in Dresden to Julia Lucas, also the daughter of Richard Lucas and Rachel Jones. A family tree located in the Museum’s collection lists the children of Rachel Jones and Richard Lucas including two daughters Barbara Lillie Lucas (1869-1899) and Melvina Julia Lucas (1878-1970) who are both listed as marrying William Davis. No children are listed on the chart for Julia and William.

Barbara Lillie’s brother Richard A. Lucas is the next child of Richard Lucas and Rachel Jones. He married Lillie/Matilda Proctor on May 9, 1895 in Camden, Ontario. Lillie was the daughter of William and Annie Eliza Proctor. Lillie and Richard’s children include Norma and Clarence Lucas. Norma married Frank Handsor (1866-1966) on December 1, 1919, in Chatham. Frank was the son of Perry Handsor and Mary Pope. At the time, Frank was a widower and farmer, while Norma was a housekeeper. A reference on ‘Find A Grave’ states that Norma Odora Lucas Handsor was born on August 9, 1896 and passed away on February 10, 1947 in Dresden. Their children include Mildred O. Dora Handsor who married 1st Luverre Johnson (1915-1942) and 2nd married Morley John J. Ladd; Clarence Ellwood Handsor (m. Carrie Isabel Johnson); Henry Handsor/Hanson (1923-1966) who married Mary Harasen (1923-1966); Jean Handsor who married Chan You Willie Funn; Wilfred Handsor who married Norma June Rickman; Beulah Handsor; Charles Handsor; Roy Handsor (born April 1, 1936, passed away on April 7, 1936 in Dawn); and Betty Marie Handsor who married Donald Stockley Prestage.

Norma’s brother and the second child of Richard Lucas and Lillie Proctor is Clarence. He married Lavina Timbers and they had two daughters named Lillian (m. Richard Jones) and Ileen Lucas.

What we publish is not a complete history of any family and is based on the documents that are available. We welcome photos and information to fill in the gaps. See you next week for part 4.