madison derrell cody

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.

Chronology…

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 […]

Sisters Ailey & Catie CODY: Separated By Slavery, Connected By Love

Ailey & Catie CODY“You & Gwen are the glue holding this family together… Keep Sticking!” ~ Cousin Ed, Family Patriarch

Though I’d attempted to research a few random Ancestors, my “calling” didn’t really kick-in until the day my cousin Elbert STRINGER, 1 of 2 living Grandchildren of my 4th Grandmother Catie WINGFIELD DORSEY, shared the story of how Catie would reflect on being owned by “Master CODY” in Warren County. Grandma Catie told of how she’d been sold, leaving behind her Sister Ailey. The year was 1859. My Catie was 10 years old and Ailey 12 years old.

That was 1998/99 and aside from knowing Catie had been taken to WILKES County and somehow acquired the surname WINGFIELD, I had no more real information about our family history.

Over the years with the assistance of Elbert, Johnnie Mae (the 2nd living Grandchild of Catie’s and Elbert’s baby sister), Washington-Wilkes hometown elders and the WINGFIELD Family Society, I discovered and introduced my living family to our Washington-Wilkes and Warrenton heritage.

I progressed fast, filled many historical gaps and collected BEAUTIFUL vintage images that gave me a glimpse of the proud, hardworking folks I’d descended from.

But still no Ailey.

From 1999 until 2009 I researched numerous CODYS of Warrenton, Georgia to find the original slave owner of my Catie. Without question, Madison Derrell CODY and/or Robert D. CODY. And though I would find many family members, Ailey was not among them.

In 2010 by way of Ancestry I helped another non-related DORSEY confirm that his Rachael DORSEY of Rockdale, Georgia was not my Rachael DORSEY, Daughter of Ailey […]