Families trace roots to formation of the U.S. at reunion

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Approximately 100 family members attended the reunion, in which they learned how their descendent was instrumental at helping free millions of African Americans.

BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer

Over 150 years ago, in the deep-south, Vicksburg, Mississippi, to be specific, Henry Johnson Sr. fired the first cannon to begin the start of the Civil War. Although it was in the south, Mr. Johnson was fighting for the Union Army. Soon after, he began to be called, “Vicksburg Johnson,” for his gallant actions.

That was the historical account given to approximately, 100 members belonging to the families of Vall, Thomas, Johnson, and Sessions by the Matriarch of the family, Mattie Taylor-Brown.

She also proudly spoke of her family having six doctors, lawyers, nurses, and other successful people in her family.

“When you put Christ first, you will succeed in life,” Ms. Taylor-Brown said.

Themed, “A Day of Love,” the families converged on the Aria Banquet Hall, 5969 Telegraph Rd. on Friday, November 25.

Spearheading the reunion was Katie Bonds-Hancock. She told The Toledo Journal that it had been years since everyone came together.

“We wanted to have a get together that wasn’t funeral related. So before another family member passes away, I wanted us to enjoy one another under favorable circumstances,” she said.

Taylor-Brown, left and her sister, Dr. Mary Louise Oaks, show they still have moves, as they dance down a Soul Train line.
Taylor-Brown, left and her sister, Dr. Mary Louise Oaks, show they still have moves, as they dance down a Soul Train line.

Ms. Bonds-Hancock said she felt so proud and honored hearing how about the richness of her family history. “I felt so proud knowing my descendant, ‘Vicksburg Johnson,’ fired the first cannon to start the liberation of our people,” she said.

In addition to sharing family history, and pictures, Ms. Taylor-Brown was presented a plaque as the Matriarch of the Johnson Trambler Family.

“I didn’t know I was going to receive anything,” she said. “But I feel so great, and blessed to receive the plaque, and be the oldest living member of our family; which there’s no reason to tell my age,” Ms. Taylor-Brown said, while laughing.

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