Exodusters Reconnect in Kansas 17 April 2009. Celebration of Black Colonies in Kansas. Do you know a descendant? Who lived In one of the 26 (known) colonies of former slaves in 1878-1915 ?
This is
a reconnection
If you know of anybody, please tell Votaw Colony Museum Inc, dedicated to cultivating the history of black colonies in Kansas.
click here to comment on video or to learn more about the next Reconnection in 2009 or to notify us if you know more descendants. 7 minute video

Video on Mr. Fitz helping people cherish their ancestry as he discovers his own.

The colonies included:
Little Caney Colony, Rattlebone Hollow, The Bottoms, Chautaqua, David City, Hodgeman, Wabunsee, Juniper Town, Nicodemus, Morton City, Morris County Colony, Mud Town, Summit Township, Mississippi Town, Sedan, Shuffletown, Redmonsville, Wayside, Singleton’s Colony, Tennessee Town, Burlington, Richie’s Addition, Hoggstown, Bloomington, Groves Center, Quindarro, Dunlop, Votaw Colony

Who do you know whose Great Great Grandparents lived in one of those colonies? Please help us find the descendants and celebrate our history.

In August of 2004, Mr. Nathaniel Fitz invited several great, great grandchildren of residents of Votaw Colony in Coffeyville, Kansas to join together. They participated in a ritual to commemorate a monument erected on the land where their ancestors had established a community with several farms.

People traveled thousands of miles to this event in 2004 and 2007. The 2009 Reconnection event invites you and descendants from any and all of the 26 known colonies of freedmen and ex-slaves to converge in Kansas on 17 and 18 April.

Look for photos of the 2004 event here at www.votaw.biz .

"Exodusters" was a term applied to freed slaves who migrated out of Southern states to escape sharecropping and to find better educational and business opportunities in the late 1800’s. The mission of the non-profit organization, Votaw Colony Museum, Inc. concerns the gathering of stories & artifacts pertaining to Exoduster colonies in Kansas in the post-emancipation era of the late 1800's.

Mr. Fitz, now a piano teacher, had worked for decades in non-profit housing recovery and mortgage education, primarily for the Urban League.

web page author and video producer -- BEN SWETS

celebratereconnect celebratereconnect celebratereconnect celebratereconnect
Votaw Colony Museum Inc.   established in 2003   invited its descendants to reconnect on 22 Aug 2004   in Coffeyville, Kansas.   Dedication of a marble monument to memorialize the site of Votaw Colony took place after the 135th annual   basket dinner and service at Wesley Chapel. Group photos were taken.   Come find your place in history.
Paul Davis
African-American Paul Davis, living in Shelby County, Texas made the decision to lead his family and friends away from the drudgery of sharecropping. Paul Davis and his wife, Martha, led their 16 children and 25 other families on a long journey north to the "promise land" of Kansas. Some walked. Some rode horseback. Others rode in ox-drawn wagons.

Votaw Colony Museum & Mr. Fitz
Paul Davis's house
They settled on a parcel of land in 1885 and built a farming community in Montgomery County near Coffeyville, Kansas. The land was acquired for the emigrants through the generous assistance of Daniel Votaw, a Quaker Attorney and humanitarian who lived in a Quaker settlement and spent a tremendous amount of time aiding the "Exodusters."   The colony was disbanded after a flood in 1915. votaw00001i.JPG
Daniel Votaw,   1818-1894   apparently posed to pretend he was painting
Dr. Miller's home
The museum and community are indeed grateful to Mrs. Claudia Walls for her role in our legacy. She owns what used to be the home of Dr. Miller, one of Coffeyville’s first black doctors. He delivered babies and performed minor surgeries there.
Mr. Nat Fitz is the founder of Votaw Colony Museum Inc. It was an old newspaper article found among the books of his deceased parents that sparked his interest in Votaw Colony in 1998. Mr. Fitz was in his 70’s at that time. He made his way to the small town of Coffeyville to discover a heritage. His research has brought together several people who did not know what they shared.

Mr. Fitz personally ordered the construction of a marble monument for the colony site, engraved with the names of the original families. Mr. Fitz and the officers of Votaw Colony Museum Inc. continue to seek people and stories from across the United States that are connected to this colony.
Mr. Nat Fitz, 81    votaw00001Q.JPG
  the Reconnection of Votaw descendants
There were 18 original colony families. Descendants of the following families are included in this 2004 group photograph.
the Robert Hopson family
the Alford Teal family
the William Gilbert family
the Abram Gudden family
the Minor Coleman family
the Paul Davis family
the Ancrun Goodwin family
the Fitz family
descendants at the Reconnection on 22 Aug 2004       image votaw00001c.JPG
Here are descendants of Daniel Votaw, who facilitated the acquisition of the colony land.
Votaw family descendants      votaw00001s.JPG
Votaw family descendants       votaw00001G.jpg
Vernon & Paula Votaw, Mr. Fitz   votaw00002F.jpg
Vernon & Paula Votaw, Mr. Fitz   votaw00002E.jpg
last remaining Votaw Colony house   votaw00001U.jpg
Paula Votaw, Mr. Fitz   votaw00002G.jpg
watching the ceremony at left is Hoite Caston   votaw00001Z.jpg
Mr. Fitz at 135th annual "Basket Dinner"   votaw00001T.jpg
receiving plaque is Robert Campbell   votaw00001Y.jpg
watching ceremony   votaw00002A.jpg
plaque for Robert Campbell   votaw00002d.jpg
plaque given to Vernon and Paula Votaw   votaw00002c.jpg
some Votaw Colony descendants   votaw00002c.jpg
some Votaw Colony descendants   votaw00001W.jpg
Mr. Nat Fitz   votaw00001V.jpg
marble monument by a soybean field   votaw00002H1.jpg
Hoite Caston receives recognition by monument   votaw00002i.jpg
Veron Votaw ceremoniously provides deed to Bishop Paul Teal, a colony descendant, by monument   votaw00002J.jpg
Ms. Aleane Fitz-Carter, a colony descendant   votaw00002K.jpg
Mr. Vernon Votaw receiving plaque from Mr. Nat Fitz   votaw00002L1.jpg
Bishop Paul Teal, a colony descendant   votaw00002M1.jpg
Rev. Cornel Teal, a colony descendant   votaw00002N1.jpg

Ben Swets's art main page _ Ben's menu of short videos
composed by B.A.S Last updated 24 Jan 2009