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Husband

Caroline Johnson married Steve Gully about 1868. They had 12 children. The two unknown children were born between 1870 - 1880.

Steve was a successful farmer who was tragically killed by a neighbor. See articles shared on Caroline's main page.

Children:

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1. Ann J. Gully [Hicks]

was born October 29, 1872 and died June 10th, 1928 in Kemper County, MS. The census lists her birth month as May. She was married to Till Hicks.

Children:

1F: Dailey Hicks [ Kirk] ( September 1, 1894(5)
2F: McGairy Hicks [Coleman div] ( March 15, 1896(8) - November 6, 1987 )
3F: Estella Hicks [Coolidge unv] ( May 1897 )
4M: John Hicks ( June 1897 )
5F: Ardelle Hicks [Watkins] ( October 20, 1899 - October 1, 2000 )
6M: Henry Hicks ( February 12, 1902 )
7M: Melvin Hicks ( April 21, 1904 - December 18, 1980 )
8M: Murdock Hicks ( April 1, 1906 - August, 1967 )
9F: Eunice Hicks ( August 6, 1907 (reported 1910) - April 20, 1933 ) * Please see article below.
10M: Dove LaMar Hicks ( April 10, 1910 - August 8, 1984 )
11M: Infant twin unv ( April 10, 1910 )

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2. Charlotte Gully [Stennis]

was born March 1874 and married a Stennis who died before June of 1900. Charlotte died between 1908 and 1910.

Children:

1M: Fester Stennis ( 1890 ) Fess was last documented living with cousin Henry Hicks in 1940 Detroit MI. There is a Fester Stennis that died in August of 1963 Michigan. I cannot verify at this time if it is the same person.
2M: Dave Stennis ( 1895 ) Dave and Lilly had 16 children. I am finishing verifying this information and will list soon.
3M: Rufus Stennis ( 1899 )
4F : Cornelia "Neelie" Stennis Clark (1900 ) A Neal Clark is listed as her adjunct in the Steve Gully estate papers*.
5F: Pearl Stennis Gully Grady ( 1906 ) [McCrory] Grady is listed as Pearl's surname in her grandfather's estate*.
6F: Mary Stennis Gully Mason ( 1908 ) Mary is listed as an orphaned minor in her grandfather's estate*. Mason may be her legal guardian.

*The estate papers were shared by Karen B. from her research trip to Mississippi in November of 2019.

The children's father Mr. Stennis died before 1900. Charlotte Hicks died before 1910 and the orphaned children were adopted into their maternal grandparents home (Steve and Caroline Johnson Gully). The females surname in the census became Gully by 1920.
Although Vester was listed in the 1900 census, the given name appears to be Fester according to other documents.
In addition, the census birth months do not match up with other documents for some of the children.
It is unclear why Cornelia, Pearl and Mary carried the Stennis name except to say it was their widowed mother's married surname. Their paternity is unknown.

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3.Mary Mena Gully

was born November 1873. Mary married Jack Coolidge aka Jackson C. Clemmens, Clemons, Clement(s) born 1874. They appear living next to Mary's sister, Anna Jane Gully Hicks with a Coolage surname according to the 1900 census. In the 1910 census Jackson and Mary Clements are living with their five children. Mary is apparently deceased between 1911 - 1913 based on the youngest child that received an inheritance following Steve's 1922 death. The children are living in Tunica County, MS with their father, stepmother and new brother Zeb in the 1920 census with a surame of Clemmens.

Children:

1F: Mena Jackson Clemmons [McCaskell] [Armstrong] (July 14, 1903 - May 7, 1942 )
2F: Lovey Clemmons [Hodges] ( 1903 )
3M: Lester Lamar Clemmons ( 1905 )
4M: John Tolbert Clemmons ( May 10, 1907 - November 1979 (0))
5M: Willis Howard Clemmons (1909)
6M: James Durant Clemmons ( September 24, 1913 (11) - March 1, 1949 )
A Mary Empress born 1919 is listed as an heir. This child is not listed in the census with the others. May be Mena's child. It is unknown at this time.

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4. Rufus Gully

was born November 4, 1875 and married Josephine "Joe" Constantine . He died January 6, 1957.

Children :

1F : Velma Gully ( April 1900 )
2M : Varnon Gully, Sr ( 1902 )
3M : Roosevelt Gully ( November 25,1903 - February 21, 1975
4F: Vever Gully [Hall] ( October 14, 1904 - October 26, 1998 )
5M : Teddie Roosevelt ( September 2, 1906 - July 6, 1960 )
6M : Rosco "Jake" Gully ( April 8 (9) 1908 - May 28, 1977 )
7F : Inez Gully [Willis] ( July 9, 1910 - August 13, 2012 )
8F: Irene Gully [Grasty] ( November 26, 1912 - January 8, 2001 )

Please note that the census errored on given names especially in 1910.

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5. Pinky Gully

was born November 26, 1878 and died August 5, 1895 according to her gravestone.

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6. Cornelia Gully [Lenton]

was born November 10, 1879 and died December 5, 1956 ). She was married to Floyd Lenton ( 1879 - 1949 )

Children:

1M : Brickiel Elisha Lenton ( 1902 - )
2M: Gully Lenton ( December 21, 1905 (3)(7) - March 22, 1993 )
3M: Curtis Eugene Lenton ( October 29, 1906 -January 10, 1981 )
4F: Christina Lenton ( 1907(8) - April 28, 1960 )
5F: Lilly Lenton ( 1909 - )
6M : William Lenton ( May 24, 1912 - June 29, 2000 )
7F: Thelma Beatrice Lenton [Johnson] ( December 3, 1913 - 2000 ) Married to Welch Johnson, son of Johnnie and Daisy Welch Johnson.
8F : Eddie Lenton ( 1916 - )
9M : Woodrow Lenton ( 1918 - )
10M : Elisha Lenton ( )
11F: Edna Menerva Lenton (July 14, 1919 - April 12, 2002 )
11: Infant deceased before 1910.

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7. John Elisha “Lish” Gully

was born March 26, 1882 and died May 4, 1960 in East St. Louis, Illinois where he was a deputy sheriff. He was married to Rena, Arleana Parks and Erie Windham.

Children:

1M: Claudie Willie Cotton (December 25, 1904 - March 13, 2006 ) His mother Rena divorced Elisha and married Joe Cotton. Then changed her son's surname from Gully to Cotton .
2M: Steve Douglas Gully (September 23, 1912 - October 23, 2009 ) Mother Arleana Parks ( 1894 - 1943 )

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8. Rose Anna Gully [Maury]

was born a twin with Lish on March 26th, 1882. She married Henry T. Maury ( 1881 - 1950 ) and died in 1952.

Children:

1M : Foree Maury ( May 18, 1908 - September 30, 1957 )
2M : Darphus Maury ( May 4, 1910 - June 19, 1962 ) Darphus married first cousin Flora Coolidge and they used the surname Maury and Murray.
3M: George Maury ( March 11, 1913 - October 27, 2001 )
4F : Callie Bell Maury [Dixon] ( May 4, 1914 - October 20, 2009 )

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9. Eli Gully

Eli's birth varies in documents. The most common birthdate used is September 1, 1884. His social security has a claim listed as July 11, 1956. He was married to Ella. Eli's name has also been noted as Elisha, Elige. This causes confusion in records with his brother being named John Elisha "Lish" Gully.

Children :

1F: Viola . Also listed as Lola. Unable to verify birthdate of May 5th, 1907 and death April 1985. A marriage is marked to Quincy Maury.
2M: Mosie Lee Gully. In one census marked as Brady. Possible enumerator mistake. Born April 10, 1910 - August 1982 in East St. Louis. Not verified.
3M : Earvie, Ervin, Everette. Possible birthdate of March 31, 1912

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10. Callie Bell Gully

Callie was born August 31, 1888 and died September 10, 1986 in Los Angeles, California. She was married to Eugene Sudberry, Lawson, and Wesley James. Her children were with Eugene Sudberry.

Children:

1F : Bessie Doris Sudberry [Fleming] (11 Jun 1911 - 8 May 1993)
2F : Ruth Sudberry [Owens] [Keeling] (17 Mar 1912 - 12 Nov 1995)
3M : Charles Eugene Sudberry (4 May 1914 - 8 Mar 1990)
4F : Carrie Ella Sudberry [Byrd] ((13 May 1917 - 5 May 2004)
5F : Mildred Sudberry [Marcy] (1919 - December 1998)
6M : Hu(e)bert Sudberry ( November 15, 1920 (18-22) - April 21, 1978 )
7M : Calvin Sudberry ( February 9, 1925 - December 2, 2010 )
8F : Alice Lana Sudberry [Welch] (16 May 1927 - 21 Feb 2002)
9M : Leon Sudberry (18 Nov 1929 (7) - 31 Dec 2006 )

Listed is a Steve Gully Estate Paper from a research trip of Karen B., Phyllis B. and her husband:

Steve Gully List of heirs - Research papers gathered by Karen B.
  • Please see articles about this historic African -American cemetery that is the resting place of Eunice Hicks:

Ten Years Later, Burr Oak Scandal Still Haunts Chicago

By Phil Rogers- Published July 3, 2019

 

Ten years ago, Chicago-area residents woke up to a story that sounded like the plot line of their worst nightmare.

Employees of Burr Oak Cemetery in suburban Alsip were accused of digging up bodies and re-selling the burial plots, disposing of bones in a remote area on the cemetery’s northern edge.

Investigators raided the cemetery July 8, 2009.

“I don’t think anybody was able to get their arms fully around just the magnitude of it,” said Sheriff Tom Dart, whose office coordinated the investigation.

“The reason we caught them, was they got so reckless toward the end but if they had not done that, I don’t know when we would have found this thing out,” he added.

The cemetery was legendary in Chicago’s African-American community. Tracing its origin to the twenties, it was the final resting place of figures like civil rights icon Emmett Till, and boxing legend Ezzard Charles.

Dart noted the crime was rather simple, especially in cases of older graves that were often rarely visited.

“It wasn’t hard then to walk someone over to a lot, a plot, and say, ‘listen this is gorgeous, you can have that,’" he said. "People had no idea there’s someone already in there.”

The case had come in as a complaint from the cemetery’s owners of potential improprieties. Sgt. Jason Moran, who led the investigation, recalled his first visit to the property on June 3.

“The very first skeletal remains that I saw was the upper and lower jawbone containing teeth of a deceased individual,” he said. “I saw there were skeletal remains coming out of these piles of dirt.”

Moran says he next began to interview employees, family members of decedents, even neighbors of the cemetery.

“That’s when we knew that graves were being desecrated,” he said. “Remains were being crudely removed to make room for new burials.”

But the question was how many. The Sheriff’s office called in the FBI, which used infrared cameras to survey the entire site—roughly the size of six football fields. Those images quickly revealed areas of disturbed soil, which gave investigators a better idea of where to search.

“First thing we wanted to do was figure out how big is this crime scene,” said FBI’s Doug Seccombe. “This six-football-field crime scene went down to two football fields in one night.”

But there were further complications. as the cemetery’s records were a mess, literally caked with mold. Investigators found it difficult to determine where people should have been buried, let alone whether they were actually there.

In addition, recovered evidence needed to come from the preceding five years, for charging purposes.

“You look for things inside the grave that give you a date stamp,” said Seccombe.

He noted investigators kept finding traces of a certain type of moss, which was dated by a scientist from the Field Museum. Broken mulberry branches were analyzed by the Morton Arboretum and buried grass fragments by the University of Illinois.

The evidence recovery effort lasted over a month and it was tedious work, complicated by the fact that investigators said the remains had been smashed to pieces by the suspects.

“This wasn’t a surgical procedure,” Dart said. “They would get a backhoe and just dig it up, and then dump it, literally, in a pile with other remains.”

Over 1500 bones were eventually recovered; using an index of right femurs from the main crime scene and tibias from a second search area, Seccombe said he could establish a minimum number of victims at 29. Moran indicated a later search turned up more bones--at least nine more individuals.

Investigators however, agreed that there were many more victims.

“Hundreds of graves had been desecrated in this crude way and there was theft and money going on, it was just a new low,” Moran said. “One defendant in particular shared with us that it was probably more like three to 400 graves that were affected by this scandal over the years.”

As news of the scandal broke, hundreds of worried relatives began descending on Burr Oak, worried that their loved ones were among those who had been dug up and discarded.

“All the families that came in, they were torn apart by this,” Seccombe said. “That was hard to see because nobody wants to see their loved one just mistreated, disrespected and dug up like that.”

Among the revelations, investigators discovered the deteriorating casket of Emmett Till covered with a tarp amid other debris in a garage behind the cemetery’s main office. Till had been exhumed in 2005 and reburied in a newer casket. Though his original casket was considered a relic of the civil rights movement and the public was shocked to learn it had been left to decay in such deplorable conditions.

“That really upset the Till family,” Seccombe expressed. He noted that the wife of one of the FBI anthropologists worked for the Smithsonian and that the restored casket now has an honored spot at the Museum of African American History in Washington.

“They agreed to give it to the Smithsonian,” he said. “It finally has a very respectful place to be.”

Cemetery manager Carolyn Towns drew a 12-year prison sentence for her role in the crimes. Backhoe operator Maurice Dailey was sentenced to three years of probation, foreman Keith Nicks drew a six-year prison term, and his brother Terrence Nicks was sentenced to three years.

Terrence Nicks did his time in prison, but recently his conviction was thrown out by the Illinois Appellate Court, which found that the original indictment against him was too vague. The court did not suggest that he had not committed the crimes, and there has been no word from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office on whether they intend to pursue a new indictment in the wake of jail time he has already served.

After all cases were adjudicated, Cook County authorities decided to re-bury the recovered remains in a common grave on the site where they had been discovered amid so much heartbreak. Police investigators served as pallbearers.

“We had clergy present who prayed over the graves, the community was there,” recalls Moran. “It was kind of the best we could do, to make it right.”

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Caroline Johnson Gully Page

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