ROSE CODY: She Saying Something Now!:)

It has been a SURREAL few days.

On Monday night, deep in the midst of final #DREAMFORWARD preparation I found myself on GOOGLE poking for family slave document leads on Emory University’s President James Edward DICKEY, son of James Madison DICKEY, the Methodist minister who was the second owner of my 4th Grandmother Catie WINGFIELD-DORSEY.

How I landed on the AJC article referencing Emory’s slave history and research work by Emory Professor Leslie HARRIS, I cannot tell you. However that lead to my emailing Ms. HARRIS, which lead to additional outreach to Mark AUSLANDER, author of The Accidental Slaveowner. Which leads to a currently running research email thread on its 12th iteration!:)

On the other side of my Ancestor breadcrumb trail there’s Lisa HENDERSON of Scuffalong: Genealogy (our newest AAGSAR member) who inadvertently connects me to an acquaintance, artist Lynn Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier of Miss Kitty’s Cloak believing our Emory, Oxford, Methodist-church research might somehow be connected.

And guess what? It is! Every person I’ve bumped into over the past two days leads back to the exact same Ancestor — Rose CODY!:)

Rose was the first slave purchased by Michael CODY of Warrenton Georgia and many of the CODY slaves descend from her. Rose summoned me in 2009, and I produced these now archived posts […]

Always Reach Out…

James Edward DICKEYI’m in the process of restoring all the archived Our Georgia Roots blog posts, online BEFORE I allowed the domain and hosting to lapse in 2011.

Clearly I’m shortsighted. I never really intended to research again when I walked away in August 2011, and felt , I could live with my research surviving in archives (online) and in binders (with me).

I was wrong on all counts. When Mom passed on 8/5 the Ancestors called me back to the research. And I cannot willfully remove a decade long narrative of the WINGFIELD, CARTER, DORSEY, DICKEY and JACKSON Ancestors from the online genealogy landscape.

Cut and paste is my future until the work is complete!:)

But there’s hope in my effort too. Hope old historical gaps will be filled. Hope the few remaining research hurdles will move aside. Hope in the more to come.

This brings me to the DICKEYS — 1999, 2002, 2009 (twice) and today. Encouraged by my AAGSAR Community and Linda of Between the Gate Posts, I’m reaching out yet again.

My request over the years remains unchanged. I want to know what Rev. James Madison DICKEY wrote in his personal journal and bible regarding his time with my 4th Grandmother Catie. So adding nothing, I repost — Acceptance: No Word From Dickey’s Descendants…

21 August 2009

Well it’s been 3 weeks since I emailed the living descendants of Rev. James Madison DICKEY in a final attempt to encourage them to […]

To Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil & Have My Say – Part II

Madison D. CODY - 1858 AugustaTo Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil – Part I

In September 2009, I discovered the The Claude Carr Cody Collection, a special collection of Madison Derrell CODY’S personal papers available at Southwestern University.

At the time I found the collection online, I’d chased M.D. CODY, the once believed first owner of my 4th Grandmother Catie WINGFIELD DORSEY for 10+ years through Ancestry.com, numerous emails/threads with CODY descendants, the National Archives and Warren County’s Probate Court records.

As a result, I found Pierce CODY, the 1/2 brother of my Catie in the WPA Slave Narratives. I discovered my 5th Grandfather Elbert CODY and a 6th Grandmother, Rachel CODY (b. 1780).

In Michael CODY’S (M.D.’s Father) and Edmund CODY’S wills I confirmed more family — my 5th Grandmother Ailey, 1st wife of Elbert and Mother of Catie.

And finally, after 11 years of research divine intervention allowed me to find Ailey CODY DORSEY, the sister Catie left behind in 1859 when given to Rev. James M. DICKEY in route to Wilkes County, GA.

So when I found the C.C. CODY Collection, I just […]

To Tell the Truth & Shame the Devil – Part I

Pierce CODY ~ WPA Slave NarrativeInteresting enough, this is a challenging post for me to pen.

I’ve always been respectful of Ancestors — both their flawed nature and their personal journeys. I’ve never written to deliberately expose an Ancestor’s faults or failures. I’ve recognized there are some stories appropriate for the Internet, and others not.

I have though always vested in telling the truth and not “interpreting” history to make myself or other family members more comfortable. I stick to the facts of what I know and learn, leaving interpretation — and judgement — to the reader.

I have reservations/conflicts writing today about the CODY family that owned many of my Warren County Georgia Ancestors — including my 4th Grandmother Catie and her Sister Ailey.

So know this documentation isn’t about vengeance — slave owning CODY Ancestors have had to answer for their actions themselves.

Today’s post is for posterity of record, so should someone in my line pick-up the work, they’ll know which questions remain and which have been answered.

I also write to make sense of it all, as much of the information I’ve learned over the past 24 hours, I’ve chased for 14+ years! A very surreal experience, I need to “see” it mapped out.


9/11: I wrote about the reunion of Sisters Ailey and Catie, separated at ages 12 and 10 years, when Catie was loaned to Rev. James Madison DICKEY as he traveled to oversee the reconstruction of the Smyrna Church in Wilkes County. As I put […]


Catie WINGFIELD-DORSEYMystery of The Smyrna Church: Retracing Rev. DICKEY’S Historical Footprints

Challenge: Under what conditions was Catie given and/or sold to J.M. Dickey in 1859-60 & which CODY owner was involved in this transaction?
Ancestor(s): 4th Great Grandmother Catherine WINGFIELD DORSEY (b. abt 1850 – d. 1933)
Others: Slaveowners – Robert Donnelson CODY & Rev. James Madison DICKEY
Years: 1859-1865
Tribe(s): Georgia – Wilkes & Warren County
Summary: Mystery of The Smyrna Church: Retracing Rev. DICKEY’S Historical Footprints


  1. Did Minister Dickey purchase Catie or was she loaned by her CODY owner?
  2. Where did Catie go, once Reverend DICKEY left Wilkes in 1862 — still 3 years before Emancipation?
  3. Who Pastored Smyrna Church AFTER Rev. DICKEY? Could Catie have been given to another family in 1862/63?
  4. How did Minister DICKEY cross paths with Catie’s owner anyway? What was their connection?


Luckie Daniels – What Reference Materials Do I Need?

  • Estate Inventory for Robert Donelson CODY
  • Will of Robert D. CODY
  • Confirmation of HARDSHELL BAPTIST church attendance by Robert CODY
  • Insurance Policy if Catie was “loaned” to DICKEY
  • Smyrna Church Roster/Minutes
  • DICKEY bible […]

Mystery of The Smyrna Church: Retracing Rev. DICKEY’S Historical Footprints

The Smyrna ChurchIf you’ve been on the Our Georgia Roots journey since its inception, sometime in 1998/99, you know I sought Ailey, my 4th Grandmother Catie’s Sister for a very long time before discovering her in 2010 via the 1870 Warrenton Census married as Ailey DAWSON, and then eventually being connected to Ailey’s descendant Gwen and my DAWSON/DORSEY/JONES family in 2011.

Even longer than seeking Ailey, I’ve sought to understood how it came to be a family not known for selling slaves (CODY) somehow allowed a 10 year old Catie to leave Warren County Georgia in 1859, to accompany Rev. James Madison DICKEY as he traveled to Wilkes County to oversee the reconstruction of The Smyrna Church.

Did Minister Dickey purchase Catie or was she loaned by her CODY owner? Where did Catie go, once Reverend DICKEY left Wilkes in 1862 — still 3 years before Emancipation? How did Minister DICKEY cross paths with Catie’s owner anyway? What was their connection?

So no one could have been more surprised than me when recently working on the Ailey & Catie post, the Sisters began whispering in my ear. Subtle thoughts yes, but clear as a bell — “you know Madison Derrelle CODY didn’t own Catie, it was Robert Donnelson CODY. That’s the connection you’ve been missing with the minister. Go back to Pierce’s narrative, it’s there…”

Just like that, in the […]

1860 GA Annual Conference: Rev. James M. DICKEY


This image is from the December 11, 1860 Daily Federal Union Newspaper & was captured from the Milledgeville Historic Newspapers Online Database.

It shows Rev. James Madison DICKEY {Catie’s owner} receiving his 1860 Appointment to Wilkes County from the Georgia Annual Conference. Specifically, the “Wilkes and Colored Mission”.

My question to historians/experts, what does the notation “one to be supplied” reference?

What will be supplied? A slave? An indenture? A second minister?



By |August 26th, 2009|Dickey, Mysteries|0 Comments

Pretty Doggone Surreal! What A Week, Huh?!

Emory Pitts LibraryAs I walked through the campus of Emory University in torrential rains {yes TORRENTIAL!} in search of the Pitts Theology Library, it resonated with me what a surreal moment-day-week-life this is…

I’m walking the university campus that in 1902 the Son, Bishop James Edward DICKEY, of the man who owned my Grandmother Catie DICKEY, Rev. James Madison DICKEY, helped to establish!

That some 107 years later, in 2009, my Son & his Fiancée are beneficiaries of the nurturing care provided by Emory’s Nursing staff {Hi Carol & Shelley!} & blessed to be under the care of Emory’s gifted Transplant Surgeons, Doctors Larsen & Tso!

And long before Genealogy was my passion or James Madison DICKEY a notion, in 1991, Emory was a safe-haven for my Grandmother, Fannie Louella Barwick & our family, during her challenge with Lung Cancer.

Who would have EVER known that Emory University would play such a prominent role in my family’s past, present & future history?!

As I sit here, blogging from inside Pitts Library, I am convinced that this is just the way it was supposed to be. The Emory “connection” is as much MY family’s destiny & inheritance, as it is James Edward’s.

I may never know HOW James Madison came to own my Catie but I DO know that his actions shaped the destiny of ALL those to come – be they black or white, free or enslaved.

The Church manuscripts were minimal but moving nonetheless. No membership rosters or minutes mentioning my […]

A Wing & A Prayer…

After a long {but blessed} week, I’m going to wake up tomorrow & head over to Emory’s Pitts Theology Library in search of a few old, dusty records from The Smyrna Church in Washington, GA.

In 1860, Rev. James Madison DICKEY traveled from Augusta, through Warren Co. {I assume this was his route} & into Wilkes Co. to oversee the reconstruction of The Smyrna Church.

What I know…

  • Along his way, Rev. Dickey acquired my 4th Grandmother Catie from a CODY in Warren Co.
  • The Smyrna Church of today, has no records from the period 0f 1860-61 when Rev. Dickey pastored the church.
  • The UMC NGC Local church histories, 1812-. MSS 028 collection contains a box I am very, VERY interested in – 27/31 Smyrna United Methodist Church, Washington; 1788-1974. Photo enclosed.

What do you think it contains?

Maybe church minutes or membership rosters? Maybe somehow proof that my Catie continued to “work” in the church when Rev. Dickey departed in 1861? Maybe an old, archaic image of the Minister or the church as it appeared in the mid 1800s?

I have no clue! All I know, is that when all you have is a wing & a prayer, you just have to be prepared to take a leap of faith.

The next time I post I may be ecstatic with a new find or thoroughly disappointed that the keys to Rev. Dickey & Catie’s relationship still remain in the hands of Rev. Dickey’s living descendants – who to date, have been less than forthcoming.

It’s a toss-up!


History Time Stamp: Rev. James M. DICKEY 1859

Augusta GA 1859I’ve literally read the transcribed version of the 1859 Augusta, Georgia {Richmond Co.} City Directory {page 61} a few dozen times!

I know that it reflects the time period when Rev. James Madison DICKEY, owner of my Catie DICKEY WINGFIELD, resided in the St. John’s Parsonage while Pastoring Ashbury Mission {now Ashbury Methodist Church}.

I’ve even gone as far as to outreach Ashbury in the hope that records from its first Pastor still exist but nope, there is nothing of Minister Dickey’s tenure at the church.

However seeing the original version of the Augusta Directory, complete with water stains & the marks of aging, made me pause  & acknowledge – this is a historical time-stamp – not only for James Madison but for my family too.

Sometime between the time when James Madison ministered at Ashbury, married Ann Elizabeth THOMAS EVANS in May 1859 & relocated to Wilkes Co. in time to be counted in the June 1860 Census, he acquired my Catie.

I don’t know how or from whom {although I believe it was a CODY in neighboring Warren Co.}. Can’t imagine how a man who from all appearances, never owned any slaves until that time, felt about becoming the owner of a 10 yr. old girl or when he acquired his 2nd slave, a much, much older woman. Who was she? Was she any relation to my Catie?

I just know that this is the physical time-stamp of one of those actions that shaped the landscape of my family.

My Catie never saw […]