Unbelieveable! I just received a copy of this information which appeared on Rootsweb.
I never dreamt that I could find this much information about the slave days of Nathan Christopher, who was my GGGFather.
The excerpt from the book,
Black without Malice by Bill Bell
was simply icing on the cake.
William Christopher living in Coweta County, Georgia,
that married the two Hardy sisters and moved to
Alabama seems to have had a connection to John
Anderson Christopher of Blairsville, Georgia, it seems
that John was in Alabama to visit William and his
family sometime around the end of the Civil
War, and a freed slave(John Nathan Christopher(assumed
the Christopher name when set free)), that had been
with William Christopher many years, came
back to Blairsville with John Anderson to Union County in some sort of Gold mining operation. .........
excerpt from "Black without Malice" by William Bell.
William Christopher was born in 1813 in Halifax. Va
-, Later he moved to Newnan, Ga., then finally
settled in Gadsden, purchasing 120 acres in the
downtown area that included the site of the current
Christopher purchased the Elliott home on Broad
Street and later sold it to R.B. Kyle. He then built a
home for his family on Walnut Steet, on the site of
the building now occupied by the Etowah Baptist
By this time, John Nathan Christopher (born 1826) and
his family were part of the Christopher household.
William Christopher apparently was not bound to
convention and the prevailing philosophy among slave
owners of that time. He defied the laws prohibiting
the education of slaves and taught John Nathan to read
and write, and the crafts of black-smithing and
And prior to emancipation, William Christopher gave
John Nathan and his family the ultimate gift
freedom, complete with identification cards attesting
to their free status. Soon after, the former slave
added the skill (self-taught) of furniture making to
his many talents.
It was John Nathan who loaned the Christopher family
$2000 to refurnish the home when it was rebuilt.
Later, he accompanied John A. Christopher to
Blairsville, Ga. to help in a gold mining venture- It
was there after the Civil War that John Nathan
Christopher served two terms as justice of the peace.
>From that point Bill Bell was easily able to trace his
great-grandfather through still available records. It
was John Nathans time ir. en that had been a mystery
until Bell's recent contact with Jones and the
The descendants of John Nathan Christopher eventually
settled in Polk County, Ga. near Cedartown, where Bill
Bell was born in 1913. Bell's family moved to Akron,
Ohio during World War I.
Bell says he feels he owes a certain debt to William
He taught John Nathan to read and write and so many
other things. And gave him his freedom. My
great-grandfather in turn taught my father all his
skills, and my father taught me.
William Christopher had a direct influence on my life
and everything I have accomplished,
The accomplishments of Dr. Bell . now professor
emeritus and special assistant to the
chancellor for development of Fayetteville State
University (NC.) cover nine typewritten
Among his accomplishments are:
BA., MA. and Ph.D.
Director of athletics and head football coach, Florida
A&M, 1936-43, preceding the legendary Jake Gaither.
Bells teams won three national championships and
three conference championships among
black colleges. The 1938 team was unscored on during
the regular season.
Director of athletics (1946-1968) and head football
coach (1946-1957) at North Carolina A&T State. His
tennis team won one national and one CIAA
Associate dean of students and professor of physical
education, Iowa State University,
Professor and chairman, department of physical
education and recreation, Fayetteville State
In World War II Bell rose through the ranks to become
an Air Force officer. He served as football coach at
Tuskegee Army Air Field and its famed Tuskegee Black
Fliers Warhawks team.
At present he holds the rank of lieutenant colonel in
the U.S. Air Force, retired services.
Dr. William McNeil Bell has enjoyed a distinguished
career, rising from his beginning as a
Georgia farmboy to became an outstanding athlete,
coach and educator.
And much of that success stems from the relationship
between William Christopher and John Nathan
Christopher, the great-grandfather from whom Dr. Bell
inherited the sense of dignity and values that
has served him well throughout his life. -