Growing my roots:

Interlocked and Interwoven by common ancestry & DNA

The story of Anderson and Malinda

The last post I wrote was written in a 2AM haste. Here is a more concise account of the life of my second great grandparents, Anderson and Malinda. To see the only photos I have of them, please refer to this post.

Eating watermelon on Paw Anderson and Mama Linda’s Farm

Anderson was born in Lexington, Holmes, Mississippi to a slave named Virginia and a white slavemaster named Samuel Moore in 1862. In the 1870 census, Anderson Moore, age 8, is living in a house with Richard Moore, age 9. I highly suspect that this was my Anderson living with a possible brother. Why they were alone with no adults is a mystery, but 40 pages away on the census are Samuel Moore with his family, and Virginia with her other children (both older and younger than Anderson and Richard) are three houses away.

Malinda Baker was born a slave in 1864 to Jacob and Amanda Baker. In the 1870 census, her family lived a few houses away from Anderson’s mother. Anderson and Malinda had planned to wed later but Malinda’s pregnancy at 16 with Mamie (my great grandmother) forced 20-year-old Anderson to marry her earlier. His will would suggest, although Anderson had some fidelity issues, that Malinda was the love of his life.

The next we see of Anderson and Malinda is in 1910. Per my aunts and newly found cousin, Anderson’s father left him some land that Anderson allowed his family (children, brothers, and sisters) to live on rent free as long as they kept it up. Sadly, I did not see Richard. In every census from 1910 to 1930, Anderson and Malinda are living with a revolving door of children. I am told that they were always willing to take in a niece or nephew when a family member couldn’t take care of them from time to time. There were also what my aunts called “outside” kids. Anderson had a few kids outside his marriage that Malinda demanded he take care. When Malinda got wind of them, Anderson was forced to sleep in the barn for three months.

I am not sure if this was before or after the birth of Oscar, Let me back up a bit. Anderson and Malinda’s kids were (in order of birth) Mamie (my great grandmother), Jacob, Sue Hallie, Telitha, Olivia, Ora, Occie and Obbie (twin girls), Benonia, and Charley. And although, the “outside” kids and nieces and nephews were always welcomed to stay with Anderson and Malinda, they usually went home to their mothers. These three who were raised by Anderson and Malinda together were George (Anderson’s sister Dollie’s son), Harvey Alexander, and Oscar (the youngest). Harvey and Oscar were both from affairs that Anderson had. Another family story is that Oscar’s mother was dying after giving birth to him. She sent for Malinda and asked her to raise him. So, since birth, Malinda regarded Oscar as her youngest baby and Oscar, although he knew his biological mother was not Malinda, regarded Malinda as his mother.

In 1909, tragedy struck:

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Now, my aunts swear up and down that one of Anderson and Malinda’s daughter’s husbands (not my great grandpa) somehow framed George and that Anderson believed the son-in-law did it, but he did not want his grandkids to grow up without a father and for his daughter to be on her own. My aunts said this was known throughout the family. He did try to help George. I am not sure what became of George, but he is mentioned again in Anderson’s will that is still to come.

Anderson died in 1939. I found his will on Ancestry. He wrote it like a man who knew he was dying. He confessed his love for Malinda, which I thought was sweet, and gave her everything upon his death. Anderson stated in his will that upon Malinda’s death, which was in 1943, the children would each be given equal shares of his land, but George would be given a $1. Now, I cannot decipher if he was trolling George for killing Jacob or if George was jailed and much more would have done him no good. (I am not sure how much he really believed George was innocent and the son-in-law was guilty.) One dollar in 1939 was worth $17.25. Oscar had made some money in Chicago and would eventually buy everyone’s land. The farm is still with Oscar’s  direct descendants this day.

There will be a Moore Reunion in Chicago in August. Although I am from Chicago and only been gone for less than two years, I will not be able to attend. One of my aunts said that the last Moore Reunion she attended was in the late ’80s, and it was boring. I asked why. Her verbatim response was:

“Sunday morning they wanted us to get up early and go to Paw Anderson’s farm. Oscar’s grandson ran it. Anyway, they wanted us to go to Paw Anderson and Mama Linda’s farm and sit out in the hot Mississippi sun eating watermelon like some slaves. At that time, most of us had been to Paw Anderson’s farm many times growing up. Our grandparents hadn’t sold all the land to Oscar until most of us were teenagers, and even Uncle Oscar let us visit. So why the hell these bougie folks want to sit around like slaves eating watermelon on a farm in all that heat? I told D (another of my aunts whose identity has been concealed) let’s go home, and we went back to Saint Louis Sunday morning.”

I wavered on adding my aunt’s sentiments, but family is colorful. And her comments, though I do not agree, are beautifully bold and full of personality that a descendent one day will look back on and have a sense of her personality, hopefully, a chuckle. I heartily laughed.

I, for one, would love to see that farm and eat watermelon in the hot Mississippi sun on it.

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June 20, 2017 - Posted by | Anderson Moore, Baker, Lexington, Holmes County, Mississippi, Malinda Baker, Moore

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