Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blog 83 - Meet the Late Leila McPherson Davis

Blog 83
Meet the Late Leila McPherson Davis
Vernon M. Herron

The Late Leila McPherson Davis
“She is not dead who is remembered”

Herron Speaks blog honors the late Mrs. Leila McPherson Davis, my beloved aunt and sister of my mother. She was born 1907 and passed 1990 at the age of 83 after 20 years of illness. She was the youngest of 13 children and the only one to finish high school and college.

Leila attended the Myers Street School which was the first school established for Blacks in Mecklenburg County, NC where she taught for 40 years. She was my second grade teacher. She also taught for one year at the First Ward Elementary School and for two years at Lansdowne.

Having attended Second Ward High, Winston Salem Teachers College, Johnson C. Smith University, Leila received a Master of Arts Degree from Columbia University in New York in 1958. In 1935, Leila was united in Holy Matrimony to the late Alexander Davis who preceded her in death in1983.

At an early age, Leila was a member of the Galilee Baptist Church of which her    father was a deacon. In adulthood, she was a member of the Grace A. M. E. Zion Church for over 55 years. She was an ardent supporter of her family, humanitarian causes and her church. She is remembered because of her ministry to others. How well has it been said, “she is not dead who is remembered.” Then again-
One has but one life to live.
What one does with it determines
Whether one lives or dies
If one decides to serve others and give-
No death but immortality.

Leila used her education, resources and influence to enable others and this had a trickle-down effect on other family members. She was an unstinted supporter of her sister and family (my mother). She underwrote the educational cost of her nephew who along with the help of his late wife underwrote the cost of educating three daughters, one of which is named “Leila McPherson.” “Aunt Leila” further underwrote the educational expense of a niece in nursing education which tripled in many respects. She contributed to the music education of a great nephew who is a Ph.D. and is the father of two highly trained children.

In a 1970 interview, Leila revealed the following:

Her most rewarding Moment:
“To see the molds which I have made developed into productive citizens…paved the way for progress, good human relations, and a better

Her great hope:
“ I want the family members to do great things for themselves, the race and the nation; always being successful and respectful.”

Her wish for posterity:
“I would want them to be honest, courteous, truthful and hard-working with a sense of need to save a portion of earnings; strive to make other
happy, to eradicate hatred and to love all.”

Her conclusion of life:
“Live day by day in such a way, that you will know that you have helped someone. Do good now because once you are dead, that’s it! We will not pass this way again.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Blog 82 - The Power of Reflection

Blog 82
The Power of Reflection
Vernon M. Herron

The Case

Reviewing graduating high school statistics has caused me serious reflection which  is powerful and intriguing. When I finished the Second Ward High School at Charlotte, NC 64 years ago, I was 19 years of age in a class of 78. Of that number, 62 persons have passed, while 16 persons still live including 6 males and 10 females. Percentage wise, this means that of the 100 % graduating class, 80% has passed while 20% remains. I am one of the six males still living along with Willie Davis, T. B. Haynes, John Massey, Connie Patton and John Robinson. The living females include Bertha Dancy, Mary Grier, Julia Howey, Rose Jefferson, Imogene Kendrick, Hattie Leeper, Marion Manigault, Willie Pinckey,Sidney Stewart and Elizabeth White. And oh yes, our homeroom advisor, Mrs. Alene McCorkle is still with us, along with Mrs. Bernidene Pinkney. The question is—why are 16 persons still permitted to live while 62 former classmates have fallen  “asleep?”

The Arbitrator

The answer rests with a Holy God who is the maker, the giver, the sustainer of life and the One who settles differences. This leads us to the attributes of God. With His omnipotent power, God in his omniscient love made us all subject to no limitation or external determination. He knew our destiny and end from the beginning.
I cannot expound a theory nor logic for this disparity but only can give a reflection of a holy and just God who shows love, mercy and grace. All that I know is that,

Our Times are in Thy Hand

Our times are in Thy hand,
Father, we wish them there;
Our life, our soul, our all,
We leave entirely to thy care.
Our times are in Thy hand,
Whatever they may be,
Pleasing, or painful, dark or bright,
As best may seem to Thee.

Our times are in Thy hand;
Why should we doubt or fear?
A Father’s hand will never cause
His child a needless tear.

Our times are in Thy hand,
We’d always trust in Thee,
Til we have left this weary land
And all Thy glory see.

The power of reflection not only produces a sense of gratitude with awe but encourages one to make a difference in this world through creative change. People are still hungry, homeless, without comfort of family or friends and above all mankind is still unsaved.

The Resolve

We who remain are privileged not because of good works, rank or luck but because of His grace and mercy. (God’s unmerited favor.)

The Finality

Your grace and mercy, brought me through,
I’m living this moment because of you.
I want to thank You and praise You too.
Your grace and mercy brought me through.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Blog 81 - Historical Sites Destroyed on NC Rt 160

Blog 81

Route 160 Expanded and Improved
Historical Sites Destroyed
Vernon M. Herron

As a part of the orientation for the new Herron family griot (family historian), a tour of the original community of the Herron family’s ancestors as located in the Dixie-Steele Creek area was suggested to the neophyte. The suggestion was accepted with glee. A Saturday date was established and the Friday before was used as a “dry-run” time to refresh my memory before the grand finality of revelation.

Twelve years ago, Friday 26 November 1999, I conducted a historical tour of the Steele Creek community for the Mark Woodson family (cousins). The tour program listed 14 sites which gave “the eager-beavers” a good educational view. It was my intention to follow the same route with the new griot. 

I remembered that NC Rt. 160 ran from Charlotte’s West Side community into the heart of Dixie. But what I did not know, was that N.C. Route 160 had been expanded and changed, Urban Renewal was now in affect; the Charlotte-Douglas Municipal Airport had redeveloped communities, land and streets into new run ways and landing strips; while business and highway construction had replaced the heart of the Steele Creek community.

I literally got lost and had to return to familiar territory just to get home safely, to e-mail the following to the new griot.  I have just returned from making a “dry run” to the Dixie-Steele Creek community paving the way for our proposed visit scheduled for tomorrow. However, because of development and expansion by the airport, business and community, many of the historical sites which I wanted you to see, have been destroyed…Considering the above, let me suggest that our planned trip scheduled for tomorrow be cancelled until I get a better bearing…. Wisdom dictates this action.”

Changes Noted

The Mt. Olive Presbyterian Church is an integral part of the Dixie community. It was co-founded by the Rev. Samuel C. Alexander, the former pastor of the Steele Creek Presbyterian Church (See blog 20). Many people with the Herron name still live in Dixie; lived, died and are buried in the Mt. Olive Presbyterian Church cemetery. I am sure that Church still stands but now, highway construction has cut off direct access to the church community with no posted directional signs on how to get there.

The main plantation house of the late Dr. Isaac Herron, the slave master and many surrounding slave huts had given way to new home development. The burial ground of our forefathers, is now new run ways for the airport. What I did find, still standing and intact, were the Steele Creek Presbyterian Church (home church of the slave master) and its cemetery with the tall monument at the grave site of Dr. Isaac Herron and his family.

McClintock Presbyterian Church (see  blog 20) plays another big part in our family history and undoubtedly still stand in the southern part of the city. But because of heavy business growth and development, I could not find the church, nor did I see any guiding markers to this historic site.

Maybe, I will soon find some knowledgeable person who will refresh my memory on “what’s happening.”

I fully understand that the “march of science” continues; that urban development and highway construction are here to stay but not at the expense of desecrating the graves of our loved ones. Yet, in that process, family history must continue to be researched, rehearsed and preserved.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Blog 80 - New Griot is Designated for The Herron Family

Blog 80

New Griot is Designated for
The Herron Family
Vernon M. Herron

“In preparation for death, the aged family ‘griot’ (French: pronounced, gree-o) selected a younger person to learn the family history. After the family’s logs and stories were told and learned, that younger person became the new griot, thereby preserving many years of family history.” Such was the recording of the renowned Charles Blockson, retired professor of genealogy at Temple University.

I, Vernon M. Herron have served as family griot for 62 years. When my family had its first family reunion in 1949, I set out on my own, to make that occasion, “more than a picnic.” I insisted on learning the “origin and descent” of our family. That determination paid off.

Several attempts were made to find interested family members to take up the mantle but to no avail. In depth genealogical study has been made, (including conferences, workshops, classes, structured courses) much traveling at my expense, significant and powerful relatives found, books published, great reunions held but found no one willing nor interested in succeeding me as family griot. Then as last, the story broke, a great discovery was made. (See blog 76 for details.) Felicia Thornton Moseley agreed, with commitment, to become the new griot for the Herron family.
Felicia Moseley

Recently, once identification was made, relationship discovered and verified, and interest shown, Felicia Moseley, the great, great, great granddaughter of Richard and Minerva Herron has been designated the new griot of the Herron family.

Vernon and Felicia

Such person should have knowledge of the 201 years of family history, including the pre-Civil War, the enslaved and the antebellum periods. This historical coverage reviews a statistical summary of more than 10 generations and over 500 line- descendants. It also shows the birth, rise and growth of the Catawba Presbytery, USA., while family members run the gamut in Service Occupation and Professions, including Mel Watt, US Congress representing the NC 12th Congressional district.

Felicia was born in Queens, NY in 1972 and grew up in the Bronx. She was reared by a single Mon, who is now a retired school teacher, with six children. She moved to Charlotte, NC (Mecklenburg County) in 1998, not realizing that her ancestors settled here and her possible relation to the city’s name sake. Felicia now lives in Concord (Cabarrus County). She is married to Brian Moseley. Zaniya is the daughter’s name.                                                         

             Vernon and Felicia                                                Vernon and Felicia
Vernon and Felicia
As an act of transference of designation, Vernon Herron presents to Felecia many of his family reunion and genealogical related books and posters. Felicia has agreed to enroll with the National Genealogical Society’s study course in American Genealogy: A Basic Course as a way to serve her family more efficiently.