Episode 1: Unearthing Easter

This podcast is part of the Trask 250 series which documents the lives of more than 250 formerly enslaved of the Trask and Ventress families of Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Players 

My father, Jackie Darwin Sewell, 1937-2001. He was a graduate of DuSable High School in Chicago, IL.
My father, Jackie Darwin Sewell, 1937-2001. He was a graduate of DuSable High School in Chicago, IL.
He was definitely Jack Sewell here. LOL
In his store, Gail's Certified Market on the west side of Chicago.
Me, and Cousin Morrie Turner during the opening reception for his art exhibit in Sacramento. September 2010.
Jack Oscar Sewell, or ahem, Oswald Sewell, my paternal grandfather, son of Honey and Nannie.
Circa 1958, Chicago, IL
Theresa Holmes Sewell, my great grandmother, also known as Nannie. Wife of James Benjamin Sewell, Sr, also known as Honey.
Circa 1980, Chicago.
Lettie Fountain Reeder, my 3x great grandmother, Easter Parker Williams, my 2x great grandmother, Aunt Elnora Spears Turner and Smith Reeder circa 1900 in New Orleans, LA
Easter, Aunt Elnora (holding a grandchild), and Elnora's daughter in law. Circa 1945, Berkeley, CA.
Easter Parker Williams' headstone at Evergreen Cemetery, Oakland, CA

Putting the Pieces Together

1930 US Census

My grandfather as Oswald Sewell, line 34. The family relocated from New Orleans to Chicago in 1925. Honey was working selling insurance for Metropolitan Funeral Home, Nannie was working at a flower factory. 


Source: FamilySearch 

1920 US Census

My grandfather as Oswald Sewell, line 6. This is the first census my grandfather was enumerated on. 
Source: FamilySearch

Honey's WWWI Draft Card, At the time, the family was living in New Orleans, but his birth place here is noted as Concordia Parish, LA, more than 200 miles north.
Source: FamilySearch
April 6, 1910 marriage of Honey and Nannie in New Orleans, LA. One of the witnesses, Nettie Holmes, was Nannie's sister.
Source: FamilySearch
Death certificate for Aunt Elnora. It notes her mother's name as Easter Williams, unknown birth place.
Source: Alameda County Clerk's Office, Oakland, CA.
Social Security Application for Aunt Elnora. It notes her mother's name as Easter Parker Williams ("now"), and that her father was Tony (Anthony) Spears.
Source: Social Security Administration.
1900 Census in New Orleans. Honey, noted as James Sewell, is on line 100 and his sister, Elnora Spears, is on line 99. Both were living with their maternal grandmother, Lettie Fountain and her husband, Smith Reeder, a carpenter.
Source: FamilySearch

Easter Parker Williams on the US Census

The Lead to the Trask 250

Death certificate of Easter Parker Williams, noting her mother was Lettie Fountain and father was Daniel Parker. She had been sent to Agnews State Hospital because her dementia was hard to manage by family.
Source: State of California, Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Statistics.
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2 thoughts on “Episode 1: Unearthing Easter”

  1. Joyce McClendon

    Nikka
    Thank you so much for sharing your family history—the pictures and documents are priceless. You have done so much to advance genealogical research especially for me and others whose families have been difficult to explore. Keep on keeping it real!

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