Know Your Family History!

Excerpt From Whitley - Collins June 1, 2016 Facebook Post
Whitley Collins Family Reunion - July 20 - 22, 2018 - Moss Point, Mississippi

How Much Do You Know About Your Family History!



1. Question:  Who was the oldest family recorded on a legal death certificate, died at what age and where, buried, and who were the parents and were slaves in what city and state? What year died, the old name for the cause of death and the famous doctor that attended her throughout her sickness?

Answer:  Adelia Davis Whitley, died at the age of 116 in New Orleans, buried on the Glade in Jonesville, Louisiana, parents Ceasor and Ruthy Davis, slaves in Baltimore, Maryland. died in 1926, Adelia’s illness was “Nephritis”, meaning kidney disease. Her doctor was Dr. G. H. Tichenor, inventor of the Dr. Tichenor’s antiseptic.

2. Question:  After Ceasor’s death, his wife Ruthy married in Jonesville to what surname?

Answer:  Carter

3. Question:  How far do we go back in ancestors? The name of the ancestors, and the name of their slave master and what plantation?


  • We track our history to 1795
  • Ancestors: Twins, Bristow and Dolphin Whitley
  • Slave Master: Dr. Sam Gustine of Vidalia, Louisiana in 1850
  • Plantation: Rifle Point Plantation
4. A slave master pinned a note to what family when selling them off to another slave master. What did the note say, and which surnames, and what noted minister in Jonesville was the Great Great Great Grandson?


  • The ancestors of: Plenty
  • The note said: “keep the family together and do not separate”
  • The surname: Mays
  • The noted minister: Reverend Dave Mays
5. Name all fourteen (14) lead surnames of the Whitley Collins Ancestors.


  • Whitley
  • Collins
  • Matthews
  • King
  • Wright
  • Woods
  • Swift
  • Davis
  • Turner
  • Ebeck
  • Square
  • Spillers
  • Bennett
  • Dunbar
5A. Question:  Name three (3) famous family members from three of the surnames in any order and what are they are noted for?


  • Louis James Dunbar, AKA Sweet Lou Dunbar #41, one of the most famous players in Globetrotter’s History, and now Head Coach of the Harlem Globetrotters.
  • Michael Boatman, Actor – TV shows- Spin City, The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy, Instant Mom, China Beach and many more credits. He is also an author.
  • Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins, first black quarterback to start and win in a super bowl. He is now an executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • Ann Nesby, famous R&B singer and three (3) time Grammy nominee, former member of the Songs of Blackness gospel group, and actress.
6. Question:  Name the house slave that was brought to Jonesville in a wagon in 1850, for a prominent family in Jonesville, and what was her master’s name and, did she carry his last name as part of her name?


  • Cassade Whitley Matthews
  • Noah Reddick
  • Yes, her full name on her daughter’s legal death certificate was Cassade Reddick Whitley Matthews. Yes she carried his name.
7. Question:  What year was Cassade born, her master?


  • Cassade was born in 1834
  • Cassade’s master was Noah Reddick, 1818.
8 Question:  What year was Lucy Collins born, and who was her husband and where did they come from?


  • Lucy Collins was born 1798
  • Her husband was Sam Collins
  • They were from Richmond, Virginia
9. Question:  Who had 15 Children, two sets of twins and died at the age of 38? What was her birth year and the name her half brother?


  • Bertha Turner Spillers
  • Bertha was born in 1880
  • Her half brother was Peter Reddic Turner

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10. Question:  What tribe in Africa did the Whitley’s originate from, and name the place in Africa that they originated? What is special about the Whitley’s to be a part of and why they are noted for this special thing?


  • The tribe was the Yoruba, from Lagos, Nigeria.
  • What’s Special – Twins, the Yoruba have more twins than anybody in the world. When the women eat a special yam grown in Nigeria, the yams possess a substance called phyto estrogen. When the woman get pregnant, this causes the woman to have multiple births by splitting of the egg.
11. Question:  The last count, how many twins and multiple births in the Whitley/Collins Family?

Answer:  Over 200 sets of twins and about 6 sets of triplets.

12. Question:  Name the first set of twins recorded to our knowledge.

Answer:  Bristow and Dolphin Whitley born in 1795.

13. Question:  Name the place of origins for the Whitley’s in the United States and the Birthplace of most Whitley’s.

Answer:  Jamesville, North Carolina, Virginia, Lagos, Nigeria

14. Question:  

a)   What family found in the 1850 census when no slaves were mentioned with last names or first names;

b)   How were they recorded; and

c)   What nationality of the person they lived with, and

d)   Where were they recorded and their race.


a)   Free people of color not slaves

b)   Person

c)   Ireland

d)   Recorded in Natchez, Adams County, Mississippi; Race was Mulatto

15. Question:  

a)   Who was the first black man to own a cotton gin in Catahoula Parish,that also owned an oil well?

b)   He got royalties from what oil company?

c)   He died in what year?

d)   He also owned a plantation. What was the name of the plantation and where was it located.


a)   Briss Whitley

b)   Carter Oil Company out of Alexandria, Louisiana.

c)   Briss Whitley died in 1919.

d)   Briss also owned the Nebraska Plantation located in Eva, Louisiana right outside of Jonesville, Louisiana.

16. Question:  Where did the Collins originate other than Richmond, Virginia?

Answer:  Wilkinson County, Mississippi, Centerville, Woodville, Amite County, Mississippi, and Liberty, Mississippi,

17. Question:  How did the Hattens get into the Whitley/Collins Family?

Answer:  Arlene Matthews born around 1864, married the first Stephen Hatten.

18. Question:  How did the Fagans get in the Whitley Collins family?

Answer:  A Fagan married a Whitley descendent.

19. Question:  Who started the Whitley/Collins kinship?

Answer: Anthony Collins number one, son of Hamp and Fannie King Collins born 1839 married Briss Whitley number one daughter, Ellen Whitley around 1868, and after that Whitley’s started marrying Collins’ and vice versa.

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20. Question:  How did the Squares get into the family?

Answer:  By Will Whitley nephew of Briss Whitley.

21. Who was hung in Catahoula Parish in 1903 for murderous assault?

Question:  What was special about this person?


  • Lambus Whitley, AKA known as Lamb son of Briss Whitley #1.
  • He had a twin brother name Tom.
22. Question:  Can you recite a verse of the first draft of the family song, and who it was written by, what year, and in the tune of?


  • Briss and Hamp saw the glory of a wonderful family as they traveled across the country to settle and be free. They married two beautiful women, who would create the perfect family, the Whitley’s and Collins live on.
  • Ruth Spillers, 1998 and in the tune of Battle Hymn of Republic.
23. Question:  

a)   What ancestor was kidnapped from a reservation in Washington, DC and brought to Jonesville?

b)   She had a first child. The name of the child was?

c)   Who did she married, and the place the husband was born?

d)   What was special about him?

e)   What kinship did he bring to the family?


a)   Ancestor: Indian Ann

b)   Name of Indian Ann‘s child was Rueben Dunbar Number One.

c)   Indian Ann was married Dennis King number one. Dennis was born in Louisville, Kentucky.

d)   What’s Special About Dennis: Dennis was a free man of color.

e)   Kinship: The King kinship.

24. Question:  Name the family that brought in the Ben Wilkerson, Murphy, Cotton, Turner, Spillers kinship to the family.

Answer: Slaves Nicholas and Lizette Ebeck from Tennessee.

25. Question:  What Whitley slave was worth $2,000 and why? He was the highest valued slave in the family.

Answer: Alfred Whitley, occupation – a blacksmith. In today’s world that is like an automobile mechanic.

26. Question:  What was the name of Jonesville, before the name Jonesville?

Answer: Troyville

27. Question:

a)   What master brought in one of the first set of blacks to Jonesville and started a church and the name of his hometown?

b)   The black’s surname?

c)   The name of the church?

d)   The master’s wife name and who she later married after the death of her husband?


a)   Master Sam Wilmoth of Virginia.

b)   Whitley

c)   Moss Grove

d)   Caroline Cotton, Noah Reddick, number two.

28. Question:  Right after slavery, what family brought the first piece of land in Jonesville?

Answer:  Andrew and Phyllis Early number one.

29. Question:  What was the name of the plantation owned by Ben and Cassade Reddick Whitley Matthews in the late 1800’s.

Answer:  Hardscrabble, known to others as Hardscramble but the true name was Hardscrabble.

30. Question:  What plantation did Cuff Whitley born 1825 live on?

Answer: The Smithland Plantation

31. Question:  Name some of the plantations our ancestors lived on, married on, died on, buried on.

Answer: Moss Grove, Nicholia, Elmly, Glade, Security, Chevy Chase, Llanada, Frogmore, Smithland Plantation, and many more.

SPECIAL NOTE:  This web site is continually under development. While we try to keep the information timely and accurate, we make no promises or guarantees. For original Whitley Collins Desendants posts and related information, please visit the family’s Facebook site at

Family History Questions & Answers
Repost from the Whitley Whitley Collins Descendents Facebook Post
May 16, 2016 8:22 AM  |  Reposted June 1, 2016 |

Have Questions?  Contact Ruth Spillers at (228) 475-1936, or Inbox Ruth at


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3 thoughts on “Know Your Family History!

  1. sarita -

    How can I get in contact with you.  There are some common names with DNA matches. I need to find the connection

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