Our Family Matriarch Catherine WINGFIELD DORSEY [my 4th Grandmother] was born into slavery in Georgia the year of 1850.
Catie was owned by Madison Derrelle CODY of Warrenton, and sometime between 1859-60, was sold/loaned to James Madison DICKEY, a Methodist Minister assigned to oversee the reconstruction of the Smyrna Church, and brought to Washington-Wilkes.
Catie survived two husbands – James WINGFIELD [my 4th Grandfather] and Joe DORSEY, said to have been a full-blooded Cherokee. She gave birth to at least 10 Children – Marrie [my Great-Great Grandmother], John, Fannie, Vandora, Elbert, Saile, Missie, Mack, Goldie and Daisy.
Grandma Catie endured the murder of my Grandfather James in 1885, while pregnant with my uncle Elbert.
It’s unclear how long Catie remained in Washington-Wilkes after the death of James. I do know she and Uncle El lived on “Norman Street”, and Mingo WINGFIELD called her “Cousin Catie”. Although never confirmed, I still believe Mingo’s Father, John/Jack WINGFIELD and my Grandfather James, were brothers.
It was 1998 when I first heard from cousin Elbert STRINGER, the story of how Grandma Catie would reflect on being owned by “Master Cody” in Warren County and how she left behind her Sister, Ailey.
And from there I’ve been blessed to recover many missing pieces of Catie’s before Washington-Wilkes story…
Catie’s Mother [my 5th Grandmother] was also “Ailey” & her Father, Elbert CODY [my 5th Grandfather], whom I can only assume she named her son, Elbert WINGFIELD, after.
The 1870 Warrenton Census shows a 90 year old “Rachael” living with her son, Elbert CODY and family. This would make Rachael, born about 1780, Catie and Ailey’s Grandmother — my 6th Great Grandmother!:)
It appears their Mother Ailey most likely died before 1859, after which their Father Elbert CODY married Dorothy (Dicey), who would birth at least 7 children: Pierce 1859, Jenny 1865, Charlie 1867, Benjamin 1868, Missy 1872, Gussie 1873 and Baby 1880.
Catie and Ailey’s half-brother Pierce CODY provided a slave narrative for the Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives Project 1936-1938, detailing his life on Robert CODY’s plantation. I’m not sure if Catie ever knew of Pierce, it seems he was born about the same time she was purchased/loaned to James Dickey. I do believe Ailey knew her brother Pierce given she would later name her son, Pierce E. DORSEY.
Catie was dearly loved by her children and grands, and lived in Atlanta until her passing in 1933.
The above picture of Catie was taken at Rensler’s Studio in 1930 Cincinnati, OH. She’d traveled there to take her terminally ill Daughter, Marrie to visit our family for one last time. Grandma Marrie passed April 5, 1930.