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Thomas Coleman was born 2 Jan 1901 in Mobile, AL. He met Isabel in Chicago, and she became the love of his life. I’m not sure where they married, but he took the train to Mobile to introduce his new wife to the family. Isabel was so light-skinned, she passed for white and they made her ride in the front of the train. Thomas went to the back of the train.
Thomas Coleman worked as a Pullman Porter on the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio (GM&O) Railroad. He directed guests to their rooms in the Pullman car, served drinks, cleaned, and helped people with their luggage.
Library of Congress Pullman porters, known for their white jackets, played an important role in luxury train travel for a century.
Alice Ruth Coleman (left) and Her Sister Elouise Parker (right)
Alice Ruth Coleman, mother of Melzar Williams, was born 20 Feb 1893 in Mobile, AL. She married Ervin Williams, from Mobile, AL, in 1909 at the age of 17 yrs old, and Melzar was born in 1912 (at age of 19 yrs old). They had another child, but he died from pneumonia after only living two months. According to the 1910 census, Alice Ruth and her husband lived with her parents, and by the 1920 census, they lived with Ervin’s parents. She was a laundress, and Ervin was a truck driver for the Grain Mill. Alice Ruth had four sisters and two brothers. Continue reading →