I took artistic license in recreating this story—hopefully you will enjoy a brief snapshot of history.
Ransom Lewis leaned back in his chair on his porch of his home in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He knew today was June 1, 1830. He was part of the census, as the census taker barraged him with so many questions. His wife, Hattie Lewis offered the taker a hot cup of coffee. The steam of the coffee fogged the older census takers spectacles. His young partner just took notes as the man asked him about his family history.
What was the white man’s fascination with the past? Here he was a freedman and his blood flowed with a white father and a Negro woman. He would choose today and be known as a Negro. He felt he at least needed to owe that to his mother. She was taken against her will—by the then young Mr. Ned Lewis. It was by the grace of God, that the youngest daughter of Ned’s daughter Mary Lewis had the decency to give him freedom. He praised the Lord daily for his favor.
Being in his fifties, and realizing his namesake was now in Tennessee participating in the same census. He believed his son would pass down the family history to the next generation.
Nan Lewis grew up and married Anderson Wiley. In their union they had several children and they had a daughter named Lucille Elizabeth Wiley. She would become my grandmother.