A Second Look: The Parents of Robert Lee Terrell, Sr.

The search to find who the parents of my maternal great-grandfather, Robert Lee Terrell, Sr. are and what happened to them is still ongoing.

I turned to the few remaining family members that may have recollections of conversations, or anything.  The numbers of these family members are dwindling rapidly and I’m grateful for anything that I can get.

The first person that I reached out to was my grandfather’s second son, my maternal uncle, Robert Terrell.  He confirmed what I had already suspected.  My grandfather did not know his grandparents.  What happened to them?  Illness?  Considering this was the Jim Crow South, could they have been lynched?  The fact that my grandfather did not know either one of them leads me to believe that they lost their lives to something tragic.

My mother was able to find and reach out to her first cousin, Linda Nell Davis, which makes her my first cousin, once removed (I think).  She had a useful memory.

Before I go into the details of the conversation, I should probably explain the family ties.  Linda Nell Elder Davis is the daughter of my grandfather’s older half-sister, Lucille Terrell Elder, making her my grandaunt.

Linda recalled my grandfather, David Terrell, Sr. visiting with aunt Lucille and reminiscing about their father, Robert Lee Terrell, Sr.  Linda remembered them talking about how he had a brother named Gabe and a sister named Mae (it could also be “May”).  She said that aunt Lucille talked about how my great-grandfather often told her (aunt Lucille) that she was built like Mae.  My mother and I also learned something new from this conversation.  My grandfather’s people were from Morgan County, Georgia!

After learning this, I decided to expand my census record search for Robert Lee Terrell, Sr. to all counties surrounding Walton County, Georgia.  In Newton County, I got a match.

Enumeration District: 0088; Description: Militia district 477 Hays and 546 Gaithers

A Terrell, Robert is recorded on line 34 as the nephew of Terrell, William.  He is a Black male, born Jan 1883 and is 17 years old.  He works as a farm laborer and can read and write.

Eighty-five percent of Black ancestry research is guess work.  I cannot be certain if this is an accurate lead, but will follow the trail anyway.  If it is accurate, it means that Robert Lee Terrell, Sr.’s father had a brother named William, and I may have found my grandfather’s granduncle.  Let’s see where he leads me.