GEORGE MACE SR.

(1862-1944)

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George Mace Sr.

Source: Photo courtesy of Sheila Cohen

Who Was George Mace Sr?

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George Mace Sr. grew up free and, frankly, had not known much of slavery. He was only about three years old when the war ended and all the slaves were declared free. George Mace Sr. had come to Hinds County, Mississippi with his mother from Kentucky, but he wouldn’t have remembered much. All he knew was Mother Harriet, her husband and his step-father Nat, and the Montgomery plantation. 

 

The family’s relationship with the Montgomery’s probably shielded them from the muck of Reconstruction in the state of Mississippi, even though William Alexander Montgomery himself must have had a hand in it while serving on the Mississippi State Senate. They passed a set of Black Codes that made freedpeople feel like they were still in chains. They couldn’t move about as they pleased or worship where they wanted…and they’d better find some to work to do or end up on the chain gang—or back picking cotton.

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Even after emancipation, Black families would toil all day long in the fields. SOURCE: Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

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Chain gang working on a railroad circa 1915. Copied from a postcard. Courtesy of North Carolina Office of archives and history, Raleigh.

George Sr. tried to start a family with Molly Proctor and she became pregnant. She was a fine enough young woman, could keep a good house, and she could read and write. But she was very young, and no one seemed to approve of the couple being together. Molly ultimately raised George Jr. with her husband James Doaks. George tried again with Hattie “Amy” Ryland… In the end, at least she had given him Illinois, his beautiful daughter. George would eventually take Illinois and raise her with his forever family. He and Pattie/ Patsy Sublett who, our research suggests, is a woman of native ancestry (mulatto), had another seven children.

 

It wouldn’t get easier for black folks in Mississippi in the decades after Reconstruction. Mississippi holds the record for the most lynchings carried out in a single state between the years 1882 and 1968. The white folks there were still fighting a war. A war for memory, a war for history.

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Lynchings — both by vigilante mobs and official courts — terrified the United States' African American population.(Univ. North Carolina At Chapel Hill, Wilson Special Collections Library)

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1919 newspaper article where Mississippi Governor Bilbo says lynching of Blacks is unavoidable

George Mace kept his head down and continued to strive. He knew he was better off than so many of these poor freedpeople, and he took nothing for granted. It didn’t hurt that he and his children were very fair-skinned and able to play the color line.

In 1890, he purchased 238 and ¾ acres of land right in Hinds County, Mississippi. All before he turned thirty. He and William Alexander must have maintained some aspect of their relationship because William Alexander is indicated as a trustee in George’s land deed. But the land he looked out onto was his own. George must have beamed with pride watching his children build their homes from the ground up. And he turned the whole production into a family business. They made good money selling timber and letting those companies dig in the ground looking to strike black gold. Not to mention the fact that George had set it up so that cousins, other relatives and community members could lease portions of the land.

This probably brought the family and the farm through the Depression of the 1930s. It's been reported that on one day in the Spring of 1932, one fourth of the real property in the state, including twenty percent of all the farms were auctioned off to pay taxes. Fortunately, the Mace Family property had not been for sale. 

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The Great Depression hit the poorest areas of the U.S. hardest of all, and the American South was no exception. Tenant farmers and migrant workers were already living in extreme poverty and suffering under Jim Crow laws of the region, but during the Depression things became even more starkly dire. These photos were captured by photographers working for the United States Farm Security Administration (FSA) and later the Office of War Information (OWI), mostly in 1939, 1940 and 1941. These are more unusual in the fact that they are presented in full color, while most of the vast number of FSA and OWI images from the same era are in black and white.

Courtesy of Library of Congress

George Mace lived into his eighties and he got to see his children do great things. George had raised them all to be believers and most of them stayed in the church, and what’s more, they got educated or at least found good honest work.

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George Mace Sr. purchased 238 acres more or less of land in 1890 for $1500 with $433 to be paid yearly on the 1st of December 1891, 1892, 1893 with 10% interest.

Source: Mace Family Archives, Lynette O’neal copy of original land deed.

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Source: Mace Family Archives, Lynette O’neal copy of original land deed.

In 1895, George Mace Sr. continued to pay Dr. Robert Elliott in the sum of $598 for his land and W.A. Montgomery is listed as his trustee.

Historically, when an owner executed a trust deed, he conveyed the “whole estate” he owned to the trustee. Modernly however, the law holds that only a lien is imposed on the property. The trustee’s sole function is to conduct a foreclosure in the event of a default.

The trustee’s main function is to hold title to the property in trust until the debt is repaid, or until other acts promised have been performed.

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This 1900 Hinds County, Mississippi census record is the first official record of George Mace Sr. and his family. On June 6, 1900, the census-taker recorded the Mace household, headed by George Sr. In the house were his wife Pattie (Patsy) and children, Illinois Mace (age 9), Virgil Mace (age 2), 5-month-old DeAtny Mace, and his brother Lee Mozique, his niece Margaret Scott, cousins Margie Ryals & C. Douglass Ryals, and John Johnson a boarder.

Parents: Harriett Mozique (1845–1915) & Nat Mozique (1825–1904) stepfather

*biological father unknown

Spouse: Patsy Sublette (1873)

Born: 1862 in Hinds County, Mississippi

Died: 1944 in Hinds County, Mississippi

 

Children of George Mace Sr. & Molly Proctor (1866 - 1936):

  • George "Usie" Mace Jr. (1883–1939)

 

Children of George Mace Sr. & Amy Hattie Ryland (1862 - 1892):

  • Illinois "Daughter" Mace (1890–1979)

 

Children of George Mace Sr. & Patsy Sublette (1873 - 1914):

  • Virgil Mace (1894–1991)
  • Atward Mace (1898–1985)
  • Theodore Roosevelt "Cooney" Mace (1902–2005)
  • Indianapolis "Annie" "Lil Sis" Mace Wallace (1904–1976)
  • George William "Beau" Mace (1905–2009)
  • Pattie Marie "Rea" Mace (1908–1993)

PATTIE MARIE MACE

(1908 - 1993)

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Pattie Marie Mace (1908-1993).  Youngest child of George Mace Sr.

Source: Pattie Mace (great-niece)

Pattie Marie Mace was the youngest child of George and Patsy/Pattie Mace. She attended elementary school in Vicksburg, MS and after graduating high school, she attended Southern Christian Institute in Edwards, MS. She later received a bachelor degree in education from Jackson College, now known as Jackson State University. She was an elementary school teacher and upon high recommendation of the superintendent of Hinds County Public Schools she was promoted to principal. Pattie remained a teacher and a principal until she retired in 1971.


She held membership in many civic and professional organizations including The Order of the Eastern Star, The Hinds County Teachers Association, Mississippi Teachers Association, and Mississippi Retired Teachers Association. She was a pillar in her community and church.

GEORGE WILLIAM "BEAU" MACE

(1905 - 2009)

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George William “Beau” Mace was the youngest son of George Sr and Patsy/Pattie Mace. After briefly attending Alcorn College and farming on his family’s estate, in 1933 Beau applied at the Illinois Central Railroad for the position as porter. He was probably hired around the time the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first African American labor organization to receive a charter in the American Federation of Labor, were in the middle of a war with the company men over wages and working conditions. He was probably honored to work alongside those black men and full of gratitude and respect for what they had done to make sure that by that time, he was only called “George" instead of “boy”, because that was his name. They paid him so well that he was able, more than once, to save the family in a bind. And he loved to do it—it was that Mace pride. Being the upstanding man he was, George William thrived as a porter, he stayed in that industry until he retired in 1972 after over 30 years. He was also a self-employed businessman while residing in Minneapolis, MN. He owned his own barbershop and employed others to work with him. Beau returned to the farm in retirement. He became a cattleman along with his brother, Theodore Roosevelt “Cooney”.

He, like his brothers and nephews, was also a member of the Masonic Family, Newman Lodge No. 522. He became a part of and joined the Mississippi Soil Conservation Association. He was a blessing to his community, touching the lives of many family and friends.

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Members of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). The BSCP fought a three-front battle against the Pullman Company, the American Federation of Labor, and the anti-union, pro-Pullman sentiments of the majority of the black community. The BCSP is a significant institution in both the labor and civil rights history of the 20th century USA.

The role that George "Beau" Mace played as a Pullman Porter and contributor to the advancement of the Black middle-class is acknowledged and celebrated in the Pullman Porter Museum in Chicago, IL.

 

Pullman porters were men hired to work on the railroads as porters on sleeping cars. Starting shortly after the American Civil War, George Pullman sought out former slaves to work on his sleeper cars. Their job was to carry passenger's baggage, shine shoes, set up and maintain the sleeping berths, and serve passengers. Pullman porters served American railroads from the late 1860s until the Pullman Company ceased operations on December 31, 1968, though some sleeping-car porters continued working on cars operated by the railroads themselves and, beginning in 1971, Amtrak. The term "porter" has been superseded in modern American usage by "sleeping car attendant," with the former term being considered "somewhat derogatory."

Until the 1960s, Pullman porters were exclusively Black, and have been widely credited with contributing to the development of the Black middle class in America. Under the leadership of A. Philip Randolph, Pullman porters formed the first all-black union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1925. Formation of the union was instrumental in the advancement of the Civil Rights Movement. Porters worked under the supervision of a Pullman conductor (distinct from the railroad's own conductor in overall charge of the train), who was invariably white.

GRAVESITES

The Mace Family Cemetery located in Edwards MS is the grave sight of many the Mace family ancestors as indicated by the following tomb stones.

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