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Wakefield Family History

 

Long ago, back during the horse and buggy days on a beautiful spring day, April 23, 1901, was just the time God had set aside to begin the journey of Theodore Roosevelt Wakefield, Senior into this land. He was born in Calhoun County; Dickey, Georgia to Reverend Sidney and Zenobia Wakefield. He was their eighth child. As described by his sister, Ollie Simpson Whitfield, he was an obedient little boy while growing up. He always liked to attend Sunday school and church. Eager was he to learn in both Sunday school and public school. He enjoyed reading the Bible often, and as things got difficult he questioned his father about that which he did not understand. He was also an outdoor recreation fan. He enjoyed fishing and playing ball. Even though he was very young, he was quite helpful around the house. Due to an illness the doctors described as Growing Rheumatism, Theodore Roosevelt (T.R.) helped his mother with many of the chores around the home. At times when circumstances called his mother away from home, in her absence, he attempted to carry out responsibilities just as she did. He joined the Saint Mark A.M.E. church in Calhoun County at an early age. He also completed his elementary education in Dickey, Georgia. In the year 1919, he came to Archery, Georgia (near Plains, Georgia) to the home of Bishop William Decker Johnson, Sr. There he and his younger brother, Alfonso, attended Johnson’s Home Industrial College at night and worked on the farm during the day. Miss Hattie Simmons and her sister, Miss Ruth Louise Kynett, were their teachers. He finished his education at Johnson’s Home Industrial College. The late Bishop William Decker Johnson, Sr. founded the Johnson’s Home Industrial College. This college was located in Archery, Georgia for educating Negro youth in that section of the country. T.R., his brother Alfonso, and Winifred Johnson were drivers of a two-horse wagon that moved Reverend and Mrs. Sidney Wakefield and family to Archery. In 1922, he was united in marriage to Miss Arrena Raven. They were married for fourteen years before her untimely death on April 16, 1936 at the age of 30. He was called into the ministry and pastured in the South and Southwest Georgia Annual Conference for a number of years.

 

In matrimony to Arrena, ten children were born:

Vera --------April 17, 1923 Willie------------------December 16, 1928

Daisy -------March 27, 1924 Mary ------------------ July 23, 1930

Naomi ------April 27, 1925 Theodore, Jr. ------- June 16, 1932

Thomas----April 15, 1926 Franklin --------------February 24, 1934

Samuel ----July 9, 1927 Herman --------------October 4, 1935

 

On April 16, 1936, six months after the birth of Herman, Arrena died. T.R. was left with ten children to rear. Not too long after the death of the children’s mother, the Lord blessed him with another wife and mother for the children. Bertha Schley Wakefield was a special person. She in fact was the only mother the younger children ever knew. There was a God-given love implanted there in the family. Bertha was God sent to the family. She moved right in and began to help rear the children as if she had given birth to all ten of them. She never gave birth to a child of her own, but she was a special mother. This wonderful woman was born January 26, 1902. Bertha and T.R. shared 35 wonderful years together. She journeyed with him to and fro as he pastored throughout the South and Southwest Georgia Conference. T.R. pastored throughout the South and Southwest Annual Conference for almost 40 years. He retired in 1976 from the Oglethorpe circuit where he pastored for fourteen years, building two churches under his administration. They were Saint Paul A.M.E. in Andersonville, Georgia and Davis Chapel in Oglethorpe, Georgia. In 1941, the children began to marry and start families of their own. Some of the boys went into various branches of the military before marrying. On March 4, 1942, the first  grandchild was born, and at present there are fifty-eight grandchildren. In May 1969, illness struck Bertha. There were rough moments for the family, but knowing that God was the source of strength all things were met with confidence. In 1970, the last attack of a stroke and heart attack left her paralyzed all over and without her voice. She remained in this condition for about two years before death finally came her way on February 2, 1972. She died at the age of 70 years. Again God had taken a wife and left T.R. and ten children, and many grandchildren. Fortunately, the children were all grown. Bertha spent her last days in the Plains Convalescent Home. When that structure was known as the Wise

Hospital, Bertha worked there as a registered nurse. She also did private duty nursing. On October 9, 1972, he was married to Mrs. Jewel McLendon, whom he preceded in death. At the age of 76, T.R., Sr. died in the Americus and Sumter County Hospital, Saturday August 20, 1977 at 7:30 p.m. Although he and two of the women that trotted the earth with him are gone, he leaves a long legacy to carry on. Ten children, fifty-eight grandchildren, 116 great-grandchildren and 53 great great grandchildren. He was a believer in God, he preached God’s Word. He was the instrument God used to give us all life. Therefore, we should steadfastly look to God and in Him be victorious. As a family, lets meet all things with confidence, knowing that God is our strength. We are never alone in any situation; we are never without help. Underneath are the everlasting arms of a Father who cares for us always. It is His Spirit that goes before us, His love that enfolds us. It is in Him that we live, move and have our being. The first Wakefield Family Reunion was held in 1947. Because of the fruitfulness of

Theodore, Senior and Arrena Raven Wakefield, it is with great joy that we share some of the historical memories of the ten siblings in order of their birth. 

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