Treasure Chest Thursday: The man who met my enslaved ancestor

Peter Rene Monrose 1917-2011. He met my great, great-grandmother, Tempy Burton, when he was a little boy.

If ever I had a top 10 list of genealogy moments, speaking to Peter Monrose would be right up there along with finding the picture of my ancestors pictured in the header of this blog and the newspaper ad my great, great grandmother Tempy Burton wrote looking for her family whom she’d been separated from through slavery. When he was a little boy, Peter Monrose met Tempy Burton.    He said he didn’t remember much about Tempy except that she was very old  (probably nearing 100) and that he’d heard that her son had been lynched in the bayou near where she lived in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. In our brief telephone exchange, I felt like I’d reached out and touched my great, great-grandmother via his memories. From his distant recollection almost a century later, I was able to find a newspaper article that seems to corroborate the rumor of the lynching. While all knowledge about my ancestors is welcome, that discovery was bittersweet just like my connection to Peter Monrose.   His distant cousin Elizabeth McCauley Stuart owned  my great-great grandmother Tempy. We’re linked through slavery.

One of the things that has happened to me on this journey of researching my ancestors is that my idea of family has expanded. On the phone, he called my great, great-grandmother Aunt Tempy. Now, in grateful acknowledgement of the treasure of his shared stories, I can’t help but call him Uncle Peter.

He passed away in December. May he rest in peace.

Peter Rene Monrose 1917-2011

The photos are courtesy of Peter’s daughter, Renée Monrose.

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5 thoughts on “Treasure Chest Thursday: The man who met my enslaved ancestor

  1. I am in such awe that you have been able to unearth all this history. To speak to someone on the phone who actually met your ancestor is beyond anything I could imagine. A treasure indeed!
    (And happy 15th anniversary!)

  2. Ocean Springs, MS – I have been researching Ocean Springs, MS for years while trying to find info on William Winkley Lowd 1820-1880+. William W. Lowd moved to Ocean Springs, MS from New Orleans, LA, with his wife, Elizabeth Winter Lowd 1824-1891, and their children, Elizabeth E., Benjamin Franklin, and a married daughter, S. E Foster and two grand daughters, Francis and S.E. Foster. (Source: 1880 U.S. Fed. Census)
    Benjamin Franklin Lowd married Cassandra Ramsay, daughter of Enoch N. Ramsay 1832-1916 and Nancy Holder . Cassandra , an early Ocean Springs school teacher, moved to Biloxi, MS in 1937 from Bayou Puerto, MS. William W. Lowd had another son, William Winkley Lowd, Jr., 1850, who died 1n 1866 and is buried in New Orleans,LA. The stories of Tempy Burton, who son was lynched in the bayou where she lived in Ocean Springs, MS has added new dimension to my search.

  3. Another good story from you. What a interesting and long life Peter had. I’m so glad you were able to speak with him. Also, I remember the lovely wedding photo you posted last year, so I join Lisa in sending anniversary wishes.

  4. George, how amazing that is that you got to talk to this man who talked to your ancestor! Even such a tenuous memory is to be treasured, and I know you do treasure it. Isn’t it amazing that you were able to leap such a span of years and forge a connection to the Long Ago in this way. I’m happy for you!

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