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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Genealogy Trail: Napier/Langston/Watkins Family

Subject: A Genealogical Trail of Mr. Carroll Napier Langston, James Carroll Napier, John Mercer Langston, Watkins and Other Family Affiliations.

Dear Afrigeneas Researchers,

Upon the recent submission of the wedding announcement of Mr. Carroll Napier Langston to Ms. Minnie Vivian Cashin in Decatur Alabama, 31 July 1906 by Mr. Robert Evans and publication on Afrigeneas’ website, subsequent follow up with Mr. Evans and my cousin Anna Williams, who is also related to the Napier’ revealed the existence of family tree information and linage gaps driven by the issues and circumstances that are well known to us in search of our past. Thank God for Afrigeneas’ information exchange forum that helps in the sharing of information so that genealogical and historical gaps are bridged.

As little bit of information has the potential to go much farther than one would expect or hope for, the wedding announcement’s posting and fantastic pictures provided by Mr. Evans and Afrigeneas is greatly welcomed, appreciated and jump-started another genealogy research journey.

As a follow up exercise to the posting of the wedding announcement, the “coincidental” hunch of an existing link between Mr. Carroll Napier Langston, my Great Uncle – Mr. James Carroll Napier and Mr. John Mercer Langston, former Howard University Law School Dean was another piece of the puzzle worth exploring culminating in the following Genealogical Trail submission that I hope will fill some of the missing pieces of the puzzle for others as well. Though I do believe that the following presentation will bridge the gaps for others including my own, questions still arise and I hope with this submission many of the family tree gaps that have been elusive to date will be bridged by your contributions in response.

After corresponding with Mr. Evans and Mrs. Williams I decided to do some research on Carroll N (Napier) Langston. His marriage to Minnie Vivian Cashin 31 July 1906 in Decatur Alabama was my starting point which led me to determine his presence per the 1910 Census. With the realization that some of my assumptions may be incorrect, I defer to any descendants of this lineage to place us all on the correct historical pathway. Though most of my analysis appears to be on the mark, concluding questions at the end of this presentation are posed with hope that they will result in answers. Please enjoy:

A Genealogical Trail of Mr. Carroll Napier Langston, James Carroll Napier, John Mercer Langston and Other Family Affiliations.

(1)1910 Census: Nashville City-Davidson County TN– Carroll N. (Napier) Langston Head of Household, Born: about 1881 in Missouri working in a bank in Tennessee as a Cashier. (No coincidence that he is working in a bank. This is most likely the same One Cent/Citizen’s Bank founded by James Carroll Napier who was a lawyer, politician, U.S. Treasury Register to President William Howard Taft, founding member of the National Negro Business League and Uncle to Sophia Napier Watkins- married to Rev. Fred W. Watkins of Tuscumbia of AL- my Great Grandparents).

Household members according to the 1910 Census are as follows: Wife: Vivian C Langston. (Note that although she is listed on the wedding invitation as Minnie Vivian Cashin, she’s listed on all subsequent Census records as “Vivian C” (with the “C”, I presume, representing her maiden name). Other household members include the following: Felix Foster, George Foster and Lucy Napier (Aunt) (est. year of birth 1865)

(2) 1920 Census: Nashville City-Davidson TN .Carroll N. (Napier)Langston is listed as Head of Household. Family members are: Wife: Vivian C and son: Carroll Langston Jr. Carroll Napier Langston’s occupation is still listed as Cashier in a Bank, (still residing in Tennessee). Felix Foster is now head of his own household with brother, George Foster and Lucy Napier (listed as an Aunt) residing with them.

(3) 1930 Census: Chicago, Illinois- Cook County. Carroll N. (Napier) Langston has moved from Nashville and is now Vice President of State Bank in Chicago. He’s head of household with Wife: Vivian C., and Son (12 years old) Carroll N. Langston Jr. It appears that banking was generated and remained within the Napier family as a tradtion.

(4) As 1940 Census won’t be released until around 2010, the exercise now reverts to retro mode starting with the 1900 Census to determine who Carroll Napier Langston’s parents were.

(5) 1900 Census: St. Louis City Missouri. Carroll N Langston is listed as an 18 year old son. His Father, Head of Household is Arthur B. Langston born in Ohio 1856. Occupation: Teacher. His mother is: Ida M Langston. Born: Tennessee -1856. Sons of this union are: John M Langston (born: Dec 1899) and Carroll N (Napier) Langston- (born: Aug 1881) and both are listed in the Census attending college. Living in the household is a Beatrice Napier (18 years old and is a niece), attending high school. Does the middle initial “M” appearing for Ida (wife/mother) and son, John, stand for Mercer?

(6) As there is no 1890 Census due to loss of Census records at Federal level to fire, we revert to the 1880 Census.

(7) 1880 Census: St Louis, Missouri.. Carroll N (Napier) Langston’s father is listed as Arthur D (instead of “B”) Langston (25 years old) with wife, Ida. A child in the household is listed as Mercer Langston (6 months old) born in 1880. Carroll Napier Langston was born approximately 1882 and since there was no 1890 census, he’s not on record until the 1900 Census.

(8) 1870 Census: Oberline Village – Lorain Ohio. Arthur Langston is now listed as 14 years old) and his Father is: John Langston (40 years), a lawyer, originally from Virginia while Arthur’s mother, Caroline (36 years old) is from North Carolina. Arthur is listed as having been born in Ohio. Arthur’s siblings are: Ralph, Nettu(??), Frank, Jennie, with a Jane Percival listed as a Day Servant (from England).

(9) 1860 Census: Oberline Village – Loraine Ohio. Arthur Langston’s father is listed as John M. Langston (I believe that this is John Mercer Langston, born in 1829 who subsequently became Howard University Law School Dean and who recruited James C. Napier to study law. Wife Caroline is listed as Caroline M, followed by Arthur (now 5 years of age), Ralph, Chigne (daughter), Sara Wall (Teacher), Susan Reed (Student) and Louisa Williams living in household.

(10) 1850 Census: Miami County, Ohio. John (M) Langston is listed as 20 years old living with his parents as follows: John Langston’s father Leonard Langston (45 years old with listed occupation as farmer, and head of household). Wife: Francis Langston, with the following children: Benjamin, John (Mercer Langston 20 years old), Martha Langston, David, Henry, Mary, Leonard Langston Jr., Elizabeth and T(??) Langston.

(11) 1840 Census: (Township: Union – County: Miami- State: - Ohio). 1840 Census lists a Leonard Langston (Schedule 4) with age and gender aggregated. Leonard Langston’s age appears in the Free White Persons Including Heads of Families in the 30-40 age-groups coinciding with subsequent year’s census data. There were no entries in the Free Black Persons columns of this schedule. At this point, John Mercer (M) Langston, who eventually became Howard University Law School Dean, would have been 10 years old as he appears as a male in the 10-15 year of age column.

(12) 1830 Census: (Township: Union – County: Miami – State: Ohio)
Leonard Langston is listed in the 20-30 year old group with wife (no listed names of family members during this period – only heads of household) in the same age category. There is one son listed in the 0-5 age category column. As John Mercer Langston, who became Dean, Howard Univ. Law School was born 1829 this completes the genealogy profile.

Some Genealogical Gap Bridging Questions:

(1)John Mercer Langston (1829-1897) and James Carroll Napier (1845-1940) were good friends, lawyers, politicians engaged in civil rights and business activities. What is the relationship between John Mercer Langston, James Carroll Napier and Mr. Carroll Napier Langston (Born 1881- died: ?) who married Minnie Vivian Cashin?.

(2)As Mr. Carroll Napier Langston was born in Missouri. I think there is a family connection with Hattie Napier (my Great-Great-Great Grandmother) who died in Pleasant Hill Missouri (presumably during the 1920s). There is a connection to a Thomas Napier, married to Harriet Beecher (maiden name: Williams) Napier who lived in Pleasant Hill Missouri. Thomas and Harriet had 3-4 children. One son was Robert Napier (born: 10 Oct 1884 – no other known information); another son, Barney Napier (born/died:Unknown). Thomas Napier died 1901 (Pleasant Hill, Missouri) and was cited in an Editorial Note of The American Star, an Afro-American newspapr published and edited by Professor Trenholm (1901-1912) in Tuscumbia Alabama as a brother to my Great Grandmother Sophia Napier Watkins (Tuscumbia AL). Widow Harriet Beecher Napier (nee Williams)after Tom's death moved to Alliance, Nebraska and lived with her son Barney Napier until her death May 25, 1928. Her body was returned to Pleasant Hill Missouri for burial in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Cass County Missouri (Plot 5BB – along with Hattie and her husband, Thomas. No headstones exist for any of the Napier'. Question: Does anyone have connections or information concerning these Missouri as well as the Tennessee Napier'?

What was the connection between the Napier’ and the Langston’s in Missouri?

(3)The 1920 Census for Mr. Carroll Napier Langston lists Lucy Napier living in household (born: 1865 –Tennessee)listed as an Aunt. Can anyone shed more light between the Napier and Langston ties and Lucy?

(4)The 1900 Census (St. Louis, Missouri) lists Arthur B Langston as Head of Household with son, Mr. Carroll Napier (N) Langston (18 years old in household). Living in this household, is a niece, Beatrice Napier (born TN est. 1882). What is the Napier – Langston connection and from where?

While the questions appeal to those having the answers, I hope the Trail exercise provides some guidance and serves as an anchoring point leading to answers to all of our questions.

Best regards,

Tom McKnight


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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