[13 minutes of a male minister on television or radio preaching a sermon on “broken pieces”]

MARSHALL: —do, is to establish—first of all, let me tell you what we’re doing with this. These of course are in addition to being my notes.

ROACH: Yeah.

MARSHALL: I am planning to put those in the historical society, in the historical commission, or in the historical archives.

ROACH: I hope you make sure they are correct, though.


ROACH: if you can.

MARSHALL: Before I do that, you have a chance to go over them. See, when I take this down,

ROACH: [I’ll see]

MARSHALL: the next thing you, next time you see this, it will be typed up.

ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: You’ll be able to go over it, make any corrections you want,

ROACH: What do you mean, me—what I—what I tell this morning?

MARSHALL: Yeah, right.

ROACH: Oh, what I’m telling you.

MARSHALL: You’ll be able to go over it and make any corrections that you want, and just keep the thing from being misleading, and then we’ll make those corrections, and that’s what goes into the society. See what I mean?

ROACH: I’m going to tell you to make any co—[eh, no].


ROACH: I hope.

MARSHALL: Well, I, eh, sometimes when you say things, you see,

ROACH: [When I have said a mo, in a no].

MARSHALL: they don’t, they don’t, when they, when they’re written, they don’t come out exactly.

ROACH: [Well my aim is not] too good, y’know [I see that] [laughs]

MARSHALL: Yeah, right, well, that’s, that’s true of all of us. So, so, whatever we say today, I’ll have that typed up,


ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: and you see, then that will, then you’ll have a chance to see that. And, uh, in other words, we don’t just, uh,

ROACH: Well, the main thing first. I—’course, I know you already got a lot. Did you get it from the library, or…different, different

MARSHALL: Well, I’ve gotten information from everywhere,

ROACH: Everywhere.

MARSHALL: everywhere. Ah, before we start, let’s, let’s let’s start off, at the beginning of the tape, I always like to set up with the, the basics. Give me your name. First name, and I know your last name is Roach.

ROACH: Yeah, I got an initial, M. Versa. V-E-R-S-A. Versa.


ROACH: M for May.

MARSHALL: Now what was your—M for what, May?

ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: What was your maiden name, family?

ROACH: Ham—Hamilton.

MARSHALL: You were a Hamilton.

ROACH: Sure, Hamilton.

MARSHALL: OK. Now. You married a Roach.

ROACH: That’s right.

MARSHALL: What was his first name?

ROACH: L.C. He called himself Louis, but his name was L.C.


ROACH: That’s right.

MARSHALL: Where was he from?

ROACH: He was f—, s—, uh, well, at the time, said Fuller, Kentucky. But now they call it South Fuller, Tennessee. It was on the Tennessee side.


ROACH: South Fuller Tennessee or Fuller, Kentucky.


ROACH: [Whatever you want]


ROACH: I think he born in, he was born in is Fuller, Kentucky, I think.


MARSHALL: I see, uh-huh. Now, where were you from originally? Were you born in Ypsi?

ROACH: I’m from Fuller in Ken—Fuller, Kentucky, South Fuller, Tennessee, but I really was born in Dresden, Tennessee.

MARSHALL: You born in Dresden.

ROACH: But about a year when I left.

MARSHALL: I see. What, did you come here? Your parents bring you here when you were a child?

ROACH: You mean here? Ypsilanti?


ROACH: Well no, I came 1955, Ypsilanti.

MARSHALL: Oh, you came, you just came in 1955.

ROACH: My family came here, 1955.

MARSHALL: I see. 1955. Uh-huh. And uh, uh, OK,

ROACH: Me and my husband together at that time.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh. All right, now you have some children.

ROACH: I have five.

MARSHALL: Five children.

ROACH: That’s family back there. I got five.

MARSHALL: Can you, can you, can you name them off in order, the oldest one, and birthday?

ROACH: Yeah. Well, [never had a little problem with the] birthdays. I, I have started writing the, the Bible there,

MARSHALL: Oh yeah?

ROACH: And, uh, I think I, I got them all right though. I, I was kind of, I don’t know how they go straight from oldest to the youngest.

MARSHALL: OK. Yeah. Right.

ROACH: So, anyway, uh, the first one, the oldest one, Ethel, Mae,

MARSHALL: Ethel Mae.

ROACH: [Virgil] Osler, who the married name.

MARSHALL: Yeah. And her married name.

ROACH: Well, I’ll say it like this. Ethel Mae Roach Osler, O-S-L-E-R.


ROACH: Osler.



ROACH: And the next one is Louis DeVore.


ROACH: Louis Edward.

MARSHALL: Louis Edward, uh-huh.

ROACH: Louis Edward Roach.


ROACH: [he was] birthday, though, [I didn’t need a] birthday [to get us]

MARSHALL: Yeah. Give me the, the birthdate of the girl.

ROACH: Ethel [law]. November the first, 1935.

MARSHALL: November first, 1935. OK.

ROACH: And Louis.

MARSHALL: Louis is

ROACH: May the 23rd, uh, 1920—38.


ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: OK. Now, the third one.

ROACH: [Now, to somebody] I think, I’m not sure, I got, I think I got them all [within the Washingtons] [call look private missive]


ROACH: Ethel Mae Roach, also. I got that right.


ROACH: Louis E., Edward Roach, that’s right. [I didn’t face] the rest of them. Shirley Jean Roach.


ROACH: [oh say Russ] February 10th.

MARSHALL: OK. Was that the third one, now?

ROACH: That’s right. 1940.


MARSHALL: Her first name was what?

ROACH: Shirley Jean Roach.

MARSHALL: Shirley Jean.

ROACH: called Reed. She married Reed.

MARSHALL: Do you spell that, do you spell that, uh, G—


MARSHALL: J-E-A-N. And how—she is now a Reed? R-E-A-D or


MARSHALL: R-E-E-D. OK. All right.

ROACH: And a [Nixon].

MARSHALL: And the fourth one?

ROACH: Well, he was, uh,

MARSHALL: Oh, I’m sorry—I didn’t get the birthdate on that one.

ROACH: [Mershitt, mershitt call] February 10th, 1940.

MARSHALL: February 10th, 1940. OK.

ROACH: You know, he—I really [do miss] I think [that compare a] date. I’m, I’m, I’m going to get the [Nixon] in front of him.

MARSHALL: [laughs]

ROACH: I’m going to call and ask and I forgot.

MARSHALL: That’s all right. You’ll get a chance, see you’ll get a chance to correct.

ROACH: OK. Yvonne, I think Brenda Yvonne [Brewish].

MARSHALL: Brenda Yvonne.

ROACH: [She was the Mary Clark’s].

MARSHALL: Brenda Yvonne. Brenda Yvonne Roach.

ROACH: Brenda Yvonne Roach.

MARSHALL: What’s her parent name?

ROACH: [First in] now?


ROACH: Williams.

MARSHALL: Williams. Brenda Yvonne Roach Williams. Now, what is her birthday?

ROACH: You know, I can’t think of it. Isn’t it terrible?

MARSHALL: OK. That’s all right.

ROACH: 1942, though, she was, and she was a two-year difference [step Lou it was].

MARSHALL: OK. All right.

ROACH: Two years. 1942.

MARSHALL: And then, the last one.

ROACH: And, uh, the last one, Joyce,



ROACH: [one that married, one at the bank in] Detroit.


ROACH: Joyce A. Roach. Joyce Annette.

MARSHALL: Joyce Annette?

ROACH: Annette Roach.



MARSHALL: E-T-T-E. OK. And she is not married.

ROACH: May [one it] I don’t know why it[’s bad as that now].

MARSHALL: But she’s not married.

ROACH: That’s right.


ROACH: She was born May 13, 1944.

MARSHALL: May 13, 1944.

ROACH: 1944.


ROACH: That’s the last one.

MARSHALL: Are they all born here in Ypsilanti?


MARSHALL: No, no, no, that isn’t right, is it?

ROACH: None born here in Ypsilanti. They’re all born in [55].

MARSHALL: No, but she didn’t come here until 53, yeah.

ROACH: So, all were born in Fulton.

MARSHALL: All born in Fulton, Kentucky.

ROACH: Right. [And then,] y’know, at the time I found the birth certificate, proper, I [got some fall in].


ROACH: And then, ain’t no date, it seemed, didn’t seem to—I don’t know what they did. They didn’t, they didn’t take it to the coroner like they should.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah.

ROACH: So. Anyway, I went and forgot [folk] for some of them, except two, ’fore I left.


ROACH: The two that was—all there was at home.


ROACH: But two had—two, one live in Chicago at the time, Champaign, and then Shirley was up here.


ROACH: At that time, before, she came before we did.


ROACH: So, uh, they all born in Tennessee.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh, OK. Um, OK. Now, um, when you, when you moved here, what was 6:00the thing that brought you and your husband and your family here?

ROACH: You want to know that?


ROACH: [laughs] Well, kind of a sad story, really. Her husband acted so bad and everything, so. He had a brother lived up here.


ROACH: And so, he came up here try to get a job. He always was a mess, mess-up, so, so anyway, he came up and try to get a job. So he finally got a job [up] at the hospital, University Hospital.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah. Uh-huh.

ROACH: And so, they came and got us.


ROACH: That was…

MARSHALL: Did you live in Ann Arbor at first, or did you—?

ROACH: No. No, we lived here.

MARSHALL: You came here first.

ROACH: Yeah, my brother lived here at the time. We [had Paul Nord brother service, Joey].

MARSHALL: Is your husband dead?

ROACH: No. He’s living. In Ann Arbor.

MARSHALL: Lives in Ann Arbor.

ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: Oh, I see, uh-huh.

ROACH: We was divorced.


ROACH: So, now, I got the family; is that, is that enough of the family?

MARSHALL: That, that’s the family, that’s the family. Did you ever—


ROACH: Except that one age.

MARSHALL: How many siblings did you have?

ROACH: Many what?

MARSHALL: Siblings, I mean brothers and sisters.

ROACH: Brothers and sisters?

MARSHALL: That you had.

ROACH: Oh, so many. There’s eleven of us in our family.

MARSHALL: Eleven. That’s, that’s, I don’t need the names of them, I just want [to have…]

ROACH: Eleven in my family, you know. Yeah, that’s—[Paul’s name,] mother’s name, [I think]

MARSHALL: You were the, you were the what?

ROACH: Well, I’m the youngest, they did have one died, y’know, baby after me.


ROACH: I was the youngest.

MARSHALL: But you were the youngest.

ROACH: That’s right.

MARSHALL: What was your, what was your, uh, father’s name?

ROACH: Robert Hamilton.

MARSHALL: Robert Hamilton.

ROACH: I think it William Robert Hamilton.

MARSHALL: William Robert Hamilton.

ROACH: so I got that here.

MARSHALL: And what was your mother’s name, maiden name?

ROACH: Uh, King, she was a King.

MARSHALL: What was her first name?

ROACH: Callie. C-A-L-L-I-E.

MARSHALL: Oh, Callie.

ROACH: She told us she had such a long name, [but I want it at] birth. I mean, I had nothing, but…


ROACH: They call her Callie. Callie King.

MARSHALL: Callie King.

ROACH: C-A-L-L-I-E. I think it’s a free name, Callie, I think.


ROACH: Callie King. K-I-N-G.

MARSHALL: King Hamilton.

ROACH: That’s right.

MARSHALL: Right, uh-huh. Now, I’ve heard the name Callie uh, uh, a lot from my own youth. Uh-huh. I’ve never heard of white folks named Callie, but I’ve 8:00heard plenty of black folks named Callie.

ROACH: I heard that man was in [that on—] was in prison, someone [out], his name was Callie.


ROACH: Remember that? I can’t think what he done. [It felt, felt] the name Callie. He was a Callie. He spelled it like my mother’s name.


ROACH: But I know that it’s in the—I went to Ann Arbor for something, to get, I had to get something, I don’t know what it was, and I had to fill out something or tell her something, and they put down, they won’t spell it exactly, C-A-L-L-I-E.


ROACH: I know it’s on like C-A-L-L-I, I told them, I spelled it,


ROACH: They don’t put it, no, they don’t want to put it exactly like it was.

MARSHALL: Yeah. [laughs]

ROACH: You know, a lot of people, [on her for some days I aren’t this].

MARSHALL: [laughs]

ROACH: [Yeah, some dance]. You can’t—[well, dang,] I’m gonna do things exactly how you tell me. And I’ll do it different.

MARSHALL: Ah, sure.

ROACH: Anyway, I…

MARSHALL: Now, you got interested in, uh, well, it was just a natural interest, uh, you, you, you, when you got here, you got interested in the history of Ypsilanti.

ROACH: Well, I didn’t get interested in history, uh, when I first came.


ROACH: I got interested in, in history was when I have, uh, bought, before I bought the—I discovered something, after I bought this [piano] on the place, I 9:00discovered. Well, I, aw, I was working with some lawyers, a lawyer,


ROACH: And uh, then, I, y’know, I didn’t, when I bought my place, I didn’t have no lawyer to help finish, I just paid them off. I don’t mean when I [trying] when I first bought it. Uh, the real estate man, that’s all I had, and the, the people that at real estate, well, they had a letter written, and the people, two people I bought it from,


ROACH: Two ladies. So, after that, anyway, [the final was wrecked] for these—this lawyer, I thought I’d ask him now because I didn’t have no lawyer, I asked him, think after I after I think everything, I asked him, do you think everything will be all right, ’cause I didn’t have a lawyer when I bought the place. When I bought the place, what I asked him then, do you want to see the abstract, do you want to see the abstract, not the abstract but the contract, so I let him see the contract, when he—when I let him see the contract, he tell a lot of dirt. He, he, he discovered what the contract was 10:00saying. Then I had told him about, [uh, a second,] I told him how, let’s see, I told him about the place, buying the place. But anyway, he got to [ramming], searching, you know, he found a lot of problems. What it was, I have my original deed and, uh, abstract, was 25,000 acres, [hot pat and a plot].

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

ROACH: So he got to [ramming and milling], you know, seeking, I, searching, you know,


ROACH: searching everything, all those, I had a copy, I had an old original deed, had a copy, what all the whole state [I’m] probably, 25,000 acres.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

ROACH: 25,000 acres. And that’s how he got to searching, so,


ROACH: trying to find—he told a lot of dirt, too.


ROACH: Then he got Vanzetti helping, dig up more dirt.


ROACH: It’s a shame what he done, but I don’t know what a, think I reckon it work out all right for him or not, I don’t know. Anyway, uh…after I had discovered what is happening, I don’t know why, God showed a lot of things. I, I don’t mean no harm,


ROACH: but a lot of things was shown at me and, and just, it’s the truth, he 11:00showed me just exactly a lot of things.


ROACH: And, uh, so anyway, I got, when I got, when I got [certain] get ready to finish paying off my house, with Vanzetti, I, I gets him to help me, you know, although this time I got a lawyer,


ROACH: [laughs] I was sorry I got him, ’cause he really don’t allow [draper,] done me wrong.


ROACH: So, when, in first this is all, selling this place, that I bought,


ROACH: in 1974, I ask him, wha—when, when I went back to him to, for him to help me, I’d already made a deed before, I mean a will before then. I’d made a will before then.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah. Yeah. Uh-huh.

ROACH: before this closed on the place.

MARSHALL: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

ROACH: He began—you may not understand this, I don’t know.

MARSHALL: No, I, I get it.

ROACH: ’Cause I can’t [add it] all, you know.

MARSHALL: That’s all right.

ROACH: So anyway, uh, I got in a—close a deal on the place.


ROACH: And when, during that, he discovered [two or] I had, you know. So he t—he, I, I told him that I had asked the lady, I want, I told him, that the lady had, the mom had died [from under], was two sisters,


ROACH: his mom died before I had closed the deal.



ROACH: So her daughter was setting up [this heart]. She was setting up this for her and her sisters.


ROACH: And so, she was [the one] with sending primary receipts for payments and everything. And signed a contract, who I had to sign each time. The contract. Every time I make a payment,


ROACH: she would sign the contract. And so, anyway, uh, I told her, she asked me before [too it in on] times what did I want. I said, well, I want a warrantee deed. I want a warrantee deed and all the original papers. I told her that. And she know I told her that.


ROACH: I want all the original papers. So she wanted to find out before I close, to see what I wanted. And I told her what I wanted. So when the time come to close, I thought I’d get a lawyer. She said, well, my, I would get the papers to the—my lawyer, my lawyer will give them to you, your lawyer. Talking about me.


ROACH: I said, OK, that’s, y’know, that’s what I expect.


ROACH: That’s what you get a lawyer for, to help you.


ROACH: Instead of work against you. I’d have never have got one, if I knew he work against me.


ROACH: And so, so when time come, he’s, I went out to see Van’s daddy. So 13:00he was…so he asked me, I don’t know exactly what, I got to, I don’t, well, then I got this deed again, but I got a lot of things written down, what I said and everything, but I have to find them.


ROACH: I don’t [have witness more], I think I put them in a safe place,


ROACH: call myself safe place,


ROACH: have to get them, [call them out]. And so, anyway, he, uh, he told me, I asked him a lot of questions, I said, now, I want to make sure that this, these papers are all right. I said I don’t want nothing against the place,


ROACH: no taxes, or nothing, [I want to] make sure everything paid up.


ROACH: So he told me to go [file it this, by God, here] look, it don’t look like it here.


ROACH: But he told me everything’s paid, and everything’s all right, he told me. He made me so many promises. And not that you could sue him for breach of promises.


ROACH: He really done it.


ROACH: And, uh, but if my kids every agree[ment], that they don’t go in, get and fool with it,


ROACH: they don’t want to spend no money.


ROACH: So that’s why I haven’t done anything.


ROACH: I tried to do something, but they don’t help me [sitting up here, running to Floridas]. And so, anyway, even when he, uh, I told him, I wanted to, 14:00I told him about original papers, and, from, the latest that he would give, she would give to her lawyer, her lawyer would give them to him. So a time come, he had to, abstr—I still wrote him an abstract, I didn’t think of the deed, the original deed, at the time that I was talking to him about the paper.


ROACH: So I told him, uh, I wanted the, original deed, I wanted the original deed, so he had the original deed. I want you to see it, it was [opp toe septic],


ROACH: oh, it was something, it was really something else.


ROACH: It was from the beginning, of 1823 up to 1957. And 1957, after that, should have been all recorded, in 1974, in my name, y’know,


ROACH: a copy of the deed,


ROACH: but he didn’t do it.


ROACH: I thought I’d try to get him to do it, he never did do it.


ROACH: And so, so he—when I went back, he had the original deed there. So I took and looked at it, he put the type of something, I can’t think of what-all it was he typed, I gotta read it [now and then]. [And then he typed up, what is typed up, so I got scared so] y’know, [was prepped] the abstract. I don’t 15:00know where’s the abstract. So I didn’t have time before he got back, I didn’t have time to look at everything, you know, ’cause it’s too thick, and so I got, I got the, the first deed and the second deed, and I saw a few more, but I can’t remember all of them.


ROACH: But I really got the dates of the, I remember the dates of the first deed, and the second deed, that’s the main thing I wanted,


ROACH: ’cause it’s two which you want.


ROACH: And the first deed was, this land was given to Mr. Eric—Gabriel Godfroy, in 1823, by the U.S. government, and uh, signed by James Madison,

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

ROACH: in small writing, It was written, really written in his real handwriting. 1823. So I think I got two of each one of them. Two of them. I think it was two of each one, so. Anyway, the next one, then Mr. [Beerdrum] sold his land to Mr. A. B. Woodward.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

ROACH: You see, they got them, there that there Woodward, you see. Mr. Woodward was the man that named the street.


ROACH: He’s the one they sold the land to. Mr. A. B. Woodward. Woodward. And, 16:00uh, there was two days of those, I think it was two, ’course, why I can’t remember two, I think it was two, I know at least two, [at least it was those] and that was 18…that was, that’s, let me see, did I tell you the date of the other one?


ROACH: Yeah, I didn’t tell you the date [go], though.


ROACH: Uh, August the 3rd,

MARSHALL: August 3rd.

ROACH: 1823. And the date of the second one, September the 12th, 1825. That’s two years’ difference. He just kept it—he just had the land two years, then he sold it to Mr. Woodward.


ROACH: And um, so those were the first two deeds. And then from all came on down, those old people. Why I know the names of the old people.


ROACH: They had those days, y’know. So, he wanted to give them my abstract, but he kept my abstract. He probably gave—it was given to somebody. I feel that. ’Cause, John Murphy, and Wine, the Wine, Mr. Wine was the lawyer I first had.


ROACH: That led the papers. He know all about it, you see. He probably checked the abstracts and uh, deeds in Ann Arbor, probably. Ypsilanti, probably are.


ROACH: Different places, y’know, they’re in different places. And national, 17:00probably. And so, anyway, um, forget where I stopped now.

MARSHALL: Well, the the, the, the deed,

ROACH: Anyway, I’ll tell you about the original deed,

MARSHALL: Yeah, uh-huh.

ROACH: the copies of the deeds.

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

ROACH: And, so, um, the original abstract had [a may] two times, so last time, oh, I remember the last time to get the abstract, thought he done, had did it, second time you know, last time do it, I make sure I do it, I thought I could trust the man. He’s working for me, I thought.


ROACH: But he wasn’t.

MARSHALL: You mean you couldn’t get your deeds back, then?

ROACH: He didn’t give them back to me, he wouldn’t give them back to me. He kept them and sell them, do what he want to, whether he let somebody [have them], probably give them to somebody, so I think. I feel like it was. So I don’t know.

MARSHALL: Well, what kinds of papers do you have?

ROACH: I wish you see what I got here. I got some, just a recent, some papers, some old modern deed, not the old, old deed.

MARSHALL: Not the old deed.

ROACH: Not the old one, the first ones. The eight—1800s. I [got] none of the 1800s. They all came down I think nineteen-something,1940, I think, something like that. And hurt me so bad, when I got home and checked the thing. I didn’t want—I shouldn’t have took it. But I thought—I told him, I said, I, I kind 18:00of saying like I told you, [another like I], I said, that’s not the deed that I had [in telling] that’s not the deed that I had [money on me to] abstract that I had in my hand, the original abstract. He said, oh yes, I did, yes, well, I just had to tear it apart and do it, y’know, fix it over. ’Course, it wasn’t thick enough, and some of the papers had, was, some were turned, one was turned bottom side up. He done it so quick I rushed out, said, why did it take you so long to get these? He said, I’m done. And he, I guess he had it done, he just—oh, it’s just a shame what he did, did what he done, it’s a shame.


ROACH: So I, I, I didn’t, I tried, I got to tell you something, lawyer, but I never could get none to help. See though, they had this all planned.


ROACH: Feel like this—whoever wanted these papers, had [onto] all the lawyer, not [happening].


ROACH: I feel like. ’Cause they wouldn’t, wouldn’t do it, any of them.


ROACH: I even called a lady in Ann Arbor, she’s a [jury] now.


ROACH: She says she won’t fool with it, y’know. So that’s why I don’t—I really don’t have my pap—my original papers.

MARSHALL: Yeah, mm-hmm.

ROACH: So all I got is some junk to give. But I know what they done; I know what was in there. I know, y’know, some of the deeds, y’know, I know that. And I told them that, at the county, I mean the City Hall out there, [I mish 19:00think] out there, [an original].

MARSHALL: Now, you say now that, you say now that this was the beginning of your

ROACH: That’s the beginning of the history.

MARSHALL: interest in the hi-history. Started off in the history of your own place.

ROACH: Guess I got the thing about it, uh, I don’t have no thing about it, I felt suspicious about something so I have, I, I wrote a special person too about it. So he told me what to do. He told me be sure to have my place recorded when I pay for it at, at this, at the county.


ROACH: And so, I know he should know. He was a main person of the state, so anyway. I did it. So I took on suspicion, I said now [say something, I play] I’m just going to try it—excuse me, [press thing gonna do] [GETS UP TO WALK AWAY] [TAPE RECORDER RESTARTED?] Something, somebody’s trying to do somebody, [or turn trying to go] I felt suspicion, you know?


ROACH: So anyway, I wrote this man and told him what do you all do? So he told me what to do, and I paid for him to—see, I, one thing, Vanzetti gonna [miss] my, my abstract of [black] past, I wish I had tracked that back down, ’cause surely gonna give it to them,


ROACH: y’know, act like he should. You come hand me that little piece of thing, I’m, oh, you can look at it, I’ll show it to you, what he got here. It’s that—it’s not the [really], not the old one, it’s just all some] 20:00[most a resolution], stuff like that, y’know, mortgages, things in here. Was such a man, that’s a shame, [took a] map, had another piece of map in there, with a map drawn up in there.


ROACH: He had another piece of map, so it’s all right, it’s just tore but I can keep it together. It’s just a shame, he got [nothing true], [got all, and the last] the lady that, well, these two ladies [of patient all] he got something, he got two, [just got something her, uh, her, is uh, whatchacallit] like number one


ROACH: He got, two sets of my maps. I read that and I say, I would definitely have no this [police story] the truth. That’s wrong…[had I had I begin and gone in the truth] [wonder]


MARSHALL: Y’know, I think, uh, this part here that deals with, uh, United States to Gabriel Godfroy,

ROACH: Mm-hmm. That’s not right.

MARSHALL: This is typed.

ROACH: I know it’s not, it’s not true, either.

MARSHALL: Ah, the thing I wondered is who typed it, because they didn’t have typewriters in 1823.

ROACH: Is that [the old one], or is that, is that [the old one]. Well, I tell you, they didn’t have them in 1823, I tell you about that. Yeah, some of it, it’s been typed, it wasn’t, it wasn’t probably handwritten.

MARSHALL: Oh, it wasn’t originally, uh-hmm.

ROACH: It wasn’t handwritten, you know. It was original too, [or for we have a] but it was, it was signed by, uh, that man, his handwriting,


ROACH: it was really signed, by his, what’s his name, James Madison?


ROACH: That was his signature on there. They could have had some kind of typewriter, because that sure was his signature.

MARSHALL: Yeah, well, this is the thing I was wondering, because this can’t possibly be the original, because they didn’t have typewriters in 1823.

ROACH: Well, I mean, I’ve been there but sure, he [shows his hand, and] signed it, and that’s the handwriting.

MARSHALL: Well, I mean, I’m, I’m so—but typewriters didn’t come until about 1870. So everything—I’ve seen, I’ve seen, some, um, some, some deeds 22:00going all the way back to 1823, but this one is, this one got me because it’s typed.

ROACH: Typed.

MARSHALL: See, I’ve seen some others, that go even beyond nine—1823,

ROACH: [they probably was]

MARSHALL: but they weren’t typed, they’re written.

ROACH: Mm-hmm. Well, [they had—]

MARSHALL: This one is typed, which means that,

ROACH: What I, I, feel is

MARSHALL: this has been done, well, probably in this century.

ROACH: Yes, probably so, well, I, I think maybe, I, I wonder what happened to the original. You [had] wondered [that], some lawyer took the original ones, or, and typed them for s—for these, y’know. All the other ones typed, all the other,

MARSHALL: You know what I—

ROACH: all of the originals was typed.

MARSHALL: you know, uh, I think if you’re really interested in getting the original,

ROACH: I tell you already, just a minute, eh, uh, that first one was not typed. Little black print. I


ROACH: don’t care about this one. I got the whole written down in my paper.


ROACH: It wasn’t typed, the first one.

MARSHALL: Right. It couldn’t be.

ROACH: [It was in] little black print, [the he bull]

MARSHALL: It couldn’t be, because they didn’t, they didn’t have typewriters.


ROACH: [that’s right, that’s right, he bone middling on] he wasn’t, he wasn’t typed, the first one.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, they didn’t have typewriters in those days.

ROACH: Well, I can’t remember the second, but was typed it up. I know the first one what had little black print, I remember that. And it was signed by James Madison.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Uh-huh.

ROACH: Right, I remember.

MARSHALL: Well, uh, then, then, of course, the thing I’m wondering is, uh, I know you like to know where that original is,

ROACH: I know it’s somebody [at the]

MARSHALL: Have you checked with, uh,

ROACH: You know, I called him, many times,

MARSHALL: Have you checked with, uh, Foster Fletcher?

ROACH: No, I haven’t checked with him, but I, I had found, when I found out where my deed was, um, I told, I went up to the museum, told the lady that. My [uh, these amazing] did you all [put it] I said that my deed is there, I got a prac—place right here and everything. Put an [apartment] in there.


ROACH: At the City Hall, at the—well, it was at the, name, I got the [cross-written] name written down somewhere. Now I can’t think of the [how prize here].

MARSHALL: You mean the, the, where the museum is?

ROACH: Where the—no, yeah, where the, no, not—well, no, no, the house. I 24:00got that written down somewhere here. Where it’s [not normal brad in awe, it’s on my branding] You know the name of the houses down there, old houses?

MARSHALL: I don’t know them by name. I just know, I just know, um, the, the, the, the museum is right next door to where the old City Hall was.

ROACH: I think I seen [I saw it in all these books]. I, thought [writing] something wrong, I’m not sure, now I thought I saw that, in one of these books.


ROACH: Archives.

MARSHALL: Well, that would be the only thing I thought I’d have, because I have seen some originals.

ROACH: Mm-hmm. I told her all this—

MARSHALL: And they are written.

ROACH: [I mean there are]. I told them—

MARSHALL: You see, all of these are typed.

ROACH: Well, that first one, now, this here, I remember little black print. It was not, had,


ROACH: It was not, it was not typewritten. I remember that.

MARSHALL: I just think that’s where it is, I suspect it’s down there at the museum.

ROACH: That’s probably so, that’s probably so, ’cause Vanzetti’s trying to get it to somebody. And mister, I think mister, [Dad low go] mister, [mister ain’t go back] I think. Hm. [Ain’t call it in]. Oh, gee. [oh, that statement 25:00there, he must have a] lawyer in there.

MARSHALL: Oh, the lawyer, I don’t know the lawyer. I just know Miss [Dudly].

ROACH: Jean, what’s her name, Jean [Hart]? [I don’t, I think I can call her hope I want to]. [May come too]. He had, he was their lawyer. I think he had, I really had that original abstract. Don’t think Vanzetti ever got his hands on [me]. That abstract [go on]. Deed.

MARSHALL: The deed.

ROACH: Vanzetti had the abstract.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Uh-huh, uh-huh.

ROACH: And so,

MARSHALL: Well, I would say, I would be willing to bet you that the original is at the Historical Society.

ROACH: It probably is, yeah, it probably on down there. I tell you, I think it’s somebody I think [vetted] a [forgiveness] for. And they think they’re selling land, or they probably think I made money, uh, what’s [her] name, this, uh, this uh, at the [mallah, at the] lawyer [Dallah] used to work for, Mr. Wines, his wife Nancy who came in, Murphy, John Murphy, he was, he was, I think he was [African], [see, he said for some reason] he may have it, or he don’t, if he don’t have it, the Historical have, uh, Museum may have it.


ROACH: [but remember he, I think they were one, they were one episode]. Anyway, even though they try to sell all this land, y’know, make money from it, that’s what they did.


MARSHALL: I don’t think they could do anything like that.

ROACH: Oh yes, yes, they done it.

MARSHALL: I don’t think they could do that.

ROACH: Yes, ’cause I know, uh,

MARSHALL: If your, where your deed

ROACH: No, I told them about it. See, all they’d get, [all that’s ready to get me just is like] the house.

MARSHALL: Oh, I see.

ROACH: See, he ain’t got none of the rest of that at all.

MARSHALL: I see, yeah.

ROACH: Well, there may be two, maybe, uh, some acres, two, that’s right, there’s some acres I think.

MARSHALL: Yeah, yeah, uh-huh.

ROACH: But there’s not 25, 25,000 acres.

MARSHALL: Yeah, uh-huh.

ROACH: Yeah, but this land—I read some history, [right, and it ran into old Howell],

MARSHALL: Oh yeah.

ROACH: Mm-hmm. And, uh, I thought I meant to ask you.

MARSHALL: Well, I guess the thing that I’m trying to get at now is, uh, when I came in you was saying something about the history which had been written and was so incorrect.

ROACH: That’s right.

MARSHALL: And I guess that’s that I’m trying to get after.

ROACH: That’s what I want, make sure you get it straight.

MARSHALL: I want to know,

ROACH: Make sure you get this straight.

MARSHALL: what, when you talk about the incorrect history,

ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: just what are you talking about?

ROACH: [Well,] I mean at the beginning first.


ROACH: Yeah, 1820—and, and this is about this Wood—Mr. Woodruff, [said a] Woodruff. You see, [I’m a master too].

MARSHALL: Well, there were two of them.

ROACH: Yeah, [so bad]


MARSHALL: See, there was a Woodruff,


MARSHALL: there was a Woodruff,

ROACH: There’s [one a stand, though]

MARSHALL: and then Woodward was a judge out of Detroit.

ROACH: That’s right, he be the one. That’s right. But understand this. Woodward had all the land first. And he sold some of the land to Mr. Woodruff. And this—

MARSHALL: No, no, the man who had the land first was Godfroy.

ROACH: Well, I know but he sold it to Mr. A—Woodruff, I know.

MARSHALL: Not all of it.

ROACH: 25,000 acres. This, this wasn’t [Mr. Man had], Mr. Woodruff had, came from Mr. Mortimer too. Woodruff out by the village, Woodruff, y’know? All this land, [belonged to] 25,000 acres. [See, that’s what I’m] trying to tell you. People haven’t been printing this [history] right, straight, and I know.

MARSHALL: Well, then what about all the other people that came in at the same time? What did they [make]?

ROACH: Well, they bought a lot of stuff from Mr. Woodward too.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Woodward, I know Woodward,

ROACH: Woodward.

MARSHALL: Woodward was a speculator.

ROACH: He’s the one, he’s the,

MARSHALL: Woodward lived in Detroit,

ROACH: he’s the main, main one that started Ypsilanti. Him and his two men, and

MARSHALL: Well, no, Woodruff, that was Woodruff.

ROACH: No, it wasn’t, uh-uh.

MARSHALL: Woodward was a judge.

ROACH: I know it, but he’s the one that had the land.

MARSHALL: Yeah, he, he, that’s what I say, he was a speculator.


ROACH: The [detail], the [detail],

MARSHALL: But he didn’t live here. Woodward never lived here.

ROACH: He lived right in this house.

MARSHALL: No, not Woodward.

ROACH: Oh yes, he had a log cabin.

MARSHALL: Maybe some of his descendants, but Woodward never lived in Ypsilanti. He was a judge,

ROACH: That’s what they tell you-all.

MARSHALL: He was a judge, at the time, at this particular time, and he lived in Detroit.

ROACH: Detroit, yeah, Detroit.

MARSHALL: And he had a lot of land here,

ROACH: he lived in Detroit.

MARSHALL: because he was a speculator.

ROACH: How about I can hold all of those papers if he didn’t live in this house?

MARSHALL: He didn’t have to live here, to have, to have,

ROACH: Somebody, he he let somebody have it somebody lived here, those papers. You see that? He let somebody have those papers. How would they know, how would we know? You see? And another thing, you have been misled, so, people have been misled, that’s why I want to get the history straight.

MARSHALL: You—and then what you’re saying then,

ROACH: People have been misled.

MARSHALL: is that you’re saying that Woodward lived here in Ypsilanti.

ROACH: Woodward, [I really] I, I, I don’t know, I just, I just feel like Woodward lived here in Ypsilanti. This is, this—

MARSHALL: Well, how is he going to be a judge in Detroit if he live here in Ypsilanti?

ROACH: Well, this is, maybe this is, this could have been, uh, he could have been judge before he came o—got this part of Ypsilanti. He could have been 29:00judge there. It could have been after, too, but he could, he could live here and then been judge there too, probably.

MARSHALL: No, he was the judge at the time Ypsilanti was established.

ROACH: He was the judge. But he [won’t] have the land.

MARSHALL: Well, then he came in here as a speculator and bought up a lot of property, but he didn’t live here.

ROACH: Oh, he wasn’t, he wasn’t no spec—

MARSHALL: Because he was still a judge—yeah, he was a speculator.

ROACH: He was a speculator but still he owned this property.

MARSHALL: Yeah. Well, a speculator, that’s what a speculator does. He comes in and buys up property.

ROACH: That’s what he done.

MARSHALL: And then he sold the property to other people.

ROACH: He didn’t sell it all. He didn’t sell it all at one time.

MARSHALL: He didn’t sell it all at one time, but he cut it up into lots.

ROACH: The paper said [that thinks he sold 12] yeah, 253 lots, it was deeded.

MARSHALL: Yeah, he sold a lot of lots

ROACH: Yeah, some probably never have sold.

MARSHALL: Yeah, probably so.

ROACH: Some never sold. You take this down here, what they’re talking about, uh, French Claim, down here on West Michigan, down here on the right side?


ROACH: That could not have been sold,


ROACH: You see?

MARSHALL: Well, you may be right there.

ROACH: I, I, I know. Now, I know what the paper said, I’m looking right at it, I’m reading it,


ROACH: and this is the first deed, was little black print, and that man hand was signed, because somebody asked me one day, Mister, uh, Doctor, oo, uh, Harris, I know he [done] seen it. He asked me, was it, that was a hand, a big 30:00handwriting or a small one. I told him it’s a small one.


ROACH: He didn’t say nothing. You know [though he had art all day and] he didn’t say nothing. He think, I, want to make sure I seen enough. That’s what he’s after, he said. See,

MARSHALL: Well, now,

ROACH: he could have, he could have [got you on] this land.

MARSHALL: OK. Now, you’re saying then, what you’re saying is wrong with the history is that—

ROACH: The beginning is not correct. What I’m trying to tell you now. The beginning is not correct. [What you want is people coming now].

MARSHALL: And [when] you’re saying that Woodward

ROACH: [It’s] Woodward I said Woodruff.

MARSHALL: Woodruff or Woodward?

ROACH: Woodward. I can’t—

MARSHALL: There’s two of them.


MARSHALL: Yeah, there’s one that was Woodward. That’s the judge.

ROACH: I, I saw the deed! [coming a Woodruff]

MARSHALL: Now Woodruff is W-O-O-D-R-U-F-F.

ROACH: That’s right. That’s right. That’s right.

MARSHALL: Now he was the one who settled here in 1823.

ROACH: He may have, but he bought this land from Mr. Woodward.


ROACH: Land that he had, he bought from Mr. Woodward.


ROACH: All these people, bought this land from Mr. Woodward.

MARSHALL: Now, well, well,

ROACH: He’s the one that had the land.

MARSHALL: you’re saying that, you’re saying that Woodruff didn’t buy his land from Godfroy.


MARSHALL: Godfroy was here before all of them.

ROACH: Woodward, Woodruff or—what, who are you saying that? Woodward, or,

MARSHALL: Godfroy. When Wood, when Woodruff, when Woodruff came here in 1823, 31:00according to the record,

ROACH: He didn’t come here, he didn’t come here in 1823.

MARSHALL: Yes he did.

ROACH: If he came here, he came here after Mr. Wood, Mr. Woodward.

MARSHALL: No, Woodward was not here. Woodruff, Wood-ruff, is the man who settled Ypsilanti.

ROACH: Mm-mm, no he didn’t. No, he didn’t.

MARSHALL: Wood-ruff. Wood-ruff. Came in here from Ohio.

ROACH: [He been telling, he telling, that’s why I set it straight]

MARSHALL: and he, he bought the land from Godfroy.

ROACH: Woodruff? Woodruff?

MARSHALL: Godfroy was already here.

ROACH: Woodruff did?

MARSHALL: No, not Woodward, Woodruff.

ROACH: No, I’m saying, Woodruff. That’s what [I don’t know], Woodward [one did that] not Woodruff.

MARSHALL: No, I, I think you got your, you got your times mixed up.

ROACH: I, no, I, mm, no I’m not, mm-mm.

MARSHALL: Well, anyway, when they settled here, then Woodward was the judge.

ROACH: Mm-mm, that’s the problem.

MARSHALL: and Woodward, Woodward saw to it that Woodruff was appointed postmaster.

ROACH: Well, that’s all wrong. Woodward was a judge before Woodruff even [body left men].

MARSHALL: Woodward was a judge before Woodruff even came here, yes. That’s why he never lived here.

ROACH: No, that’s why, those people got you all fooled, it’s pitiful. It’s a shame. A disgrace. That’s all, a disgrace, a shame, these people got you all fooled, and that’s what they want.


MARSHALL: What I want—

ROACH: There’s some old people here—

MARSHALL: What do you have to show, what do you have to show that—

ROACH: I have the deeds, the copies of the deeds.

MARSHALL: But that wouldn’t show he lived here. That shows he owned the land.

ROACH: Well, he, well, he, I bet you anything—

MARSHALL: Nobody denies that he owned the land, but he didn’t live here.

ROACH: First, anyway, I, I saw some history, did you ever get this book, read this book about, I think it’s Washtenaw county? Atlas? Green?

MARSHALL: history of—oh, yeah, I have that.

ROACH: Green, you got that? 1911?

MARSHALL: Yeah, I have that.

ROACH: I think it tells you in there that, uh, uh, I was going to say something…

MARSHALL: Yeah, you’re right, you’re right, he owned the, he owned the property,

ROACH: He owned 25,000 acre.

MARSHALL: Yeah, that’s all right, I can go with that.

ROACH: That’s what the deed said. That’s what the deed said.

MARSHALL: But he never lived here, though.

ROACH: Well, I don’t know. I think he lived here.

MARSHALL: Now, Woodruff lived here.

ROACH: Well, I thought—

MARSHALL: Not Woodward. The man for, this, this street is named for never lived in Ypsilanti.

ROACH: How was the street name [on the street] then?

MARSHALL: Because—well, he’s the man who even suggested the name. He’s the man who name—gave it the name.

ROACH: No, no, don’t, he didn’t, Ypsilanti, he named it, he, he, he probably suggested the name, but—

MARSHALL: He suggested the name Ypsilanti.


ROACH: Now you know,

MARSHALL: But he didn’t live here even then.

ROACH: You know Mr., uh, [Wontler], Marshall, most all people the street named after [they on live once they hit the last street] or, in this town

MARSHALL: Not necessarily,

ROACH: No, in this town, it’s, y’know, in this town,

MARSHALL: Well, you’ve got Ypsilanti; he never lived here [laughs]

ROACH: Well, he named, Mr. Woodward named him. I mean, got him, he taught him, to be a—

MARSHALL: Yeah, Woodward did,

ROACH: Name, name, [it’s sixty, right?]

MARSHALL: Woodward suggested it. Woodward suggested it.

ROACH: I read all that somewhere.


ROACH: And, uh,

MARSHALL: And they, didn’t, and they, and they didn’t particularly like it but Woodward was such a powerful man and so they didn’t fight it.

ROACH: That’s right, he going to have the land, that’s what he want, he’s on, he’s on the rest [of them]

MARSHALL: But he didn’t live here, though.

ROACH: [I know where he live]

MARSHALL: He had come out here from Detroit.

ROACH: He may have come out here, but he had a—

MARSHALL: And he was still a judge.

ROACH: I, I think he lived here too, I really believe he lived here,

MARSHALL: No, he didn’t live here.

ROACH: I really do.

MARSHALL: Now, Woodruff did.

ROACH: And these people always keep you all fooled, ’cause you believe it.

MARSHALL: Woodruff lived here.

ROACH: Mm-mm. Wood—[be living, but he didn’t, he didn’t]

MARSHALL: I don’t know about this house.

ROACH: He sold, he sold the land to Mr., Mr. Woodruff. Mr. Woodward sold the land to Mr. Woodruff. They bought, see, all the people, they bought some of this land, they bought some of this, plots, those [G. W. H. I. C. double D]


MARSHALL: Well, [all that’s down in the east office’s side.]

ROACH: You know that deed that’s in that—that thing I had.

MARSHALL: [Well, they all down the east office’s side,] all that stuff.

ROACH: All, Woodruff, Woodruff deed, all that.

MARSHALL: Who they bought, who bought what, when it was bought, all of that’s down there

ROACH: I mean, [if they true, too] some are, [have been], that aren’t exactly true.

MARSHALL: Well, maybe not, I mean, I can’t say about that.

ROACH: Well, see, all those deeds was in that abstract I had, all those deeds. [Whole bunch a papers someone a lend to] Mr. Woodruff, uh, oh, then I can’t think of all the names now, all names. [Sticks]. [Bacambrey]. Oh, just a lot of names. There’s a lot of—I tell you, somebody el—else a, was a, should be a big important part in this, in this history, in this city. The Francois.


ROACH: Francois should be.

MARSHALL: Yeah, but he didn’t come here until 1940.


MARSHALL: By nineteen thir—thirty

ROACH: What was, what was he from?

MARSHALL: Louisiana.

ROACH: Well, Francois name was in the, in, in some of the old deeds, Francois. [Thought don’t believe it].

MARSHALL: Well, Francois came, Francois came here around nineteen-thirty something, in the nineteen-thirties.

ROACH: I thought he was born here. Raised here.

MARSHALL: Oh no, he was born in Louisiana.


ROACH: Oh. I was saw the name there, Francois.

MARSHALL: No, he was, they were all born in Louisiana, even his sister. His sister’s married to, uh, Lou Freeman.

ROACH: Uh, I don’t know.

MARSHALL: You know Lou Freeman?

ROACH: I’ve heard of Lou Freeman, I don’t, I [may see]

MARSHALL: Great big fellow? That’s his sister.

ROACH: Oh, man, Lou Freeman?

MARSHALL: May, May Freeman, at the beauty shop up there?

ROACH: Not heard of her.

MARSHALL: May Freeman is his sister.

ROACH: I heard of them, I don’t know them personally.

MARSHALL: ’Cause no, Francois was born in Louisiana.

ROACH: I don’t know. I saw Francois [named in, Texas, Francois]

MARSHALL: Well, he didn’t come here until nineteen—in, in the 30s, in the 1930s.

ROACH: Francois [Pepperson,] I saw the name in it, Fran—in the deed. Well, anyway, all these names you talking about, Mr. Woodruff, Mr., Mr. A. B. Woodruff, sold him the land like did everybody else.

MARSHALL: No, he didn’t sell Francois any land.

ROACH: No, I ain’t talking about him, I’m talking about Woodruff.

MARSHALL: Oh yeah, right. OK. I’ll, I’ll go along with that.

ROACH: I, I had, I had the abstract, I saw those things.

MARSHALL: Now, what I’m concerned about, and I’m not really writing the history of Ypsilanti, what I’m doing, I’m writing the history of Afro-Americans in Ypsilanti.

ROACH: Uh-huh, my son asked me, he wondered were you were interested in black Americans, I thought, history period.

MARSHALL: I’m interested in black history.

ROACH: Well in that, I got it written down too.

MARSHALL: The first black


ROACH: Well, I got it written down somewhere, I think one, what, I thought, I be it seen it in the paper, I seen it

MARSHALL: The first black was a man by the name of Day. D-A-Y.

ROACH: [Eh, eh, oh, my I see, I don’t think]

MARSHALL: Day set up a barbershop on the corner of Washington and what, and, and, and what is now Michigan Avenue, in 1838.

ROACH: Yeah, where, where, where’d you get that from, then?

MARSHALL: Where’d I get it from?

ROACH: [At a hoop, at a hoop, yeah, at a hoop]

MARSHALL: Well, I’ve, I can’t ex—tell you at this particular moment where I got it; it’s just I’ve got so many facts now that I’ve been digging. I’ve been digging through things for three or four years.

ROACH: I think, I think one that I, I have, I can’t think where I got it from but it’s different, a different name, first man, black man in Ypsilanti.

MARSHALL: Well, there was one other one. I want to say the guy’s name. I think the name was Smith.

ROACH: Can’t remember. I got it written down somewhere. I got more papers.

MARSHALL: There was a man here when Day came, there was a man here they called 37:00him he had a nickname, and it was “Old Black Sam.”

ROACH: I think that they, I think this man you’re talking about, he did have a nickname. And then I wrote that thing, I wrote that down.

MARSHALL: That nickname, “Old Black Sam.”

ROACH: I think, I’m not sure,

MARSHALL: Now he and his family were the only Afro-Americans living here.

ROACH: I think that’s right.

MARSHALL: In the census of 1840. Because they did not live in the city.

ROACH: Yeah, they, they did, ’cause—

MARSHALL: When they came here, when Day started his shop, this other guy, I can’t recall his name at the moment, but anyway, he tried to run Day out of town. He went to his shop, jumped on him, fight him [soo], and then they where he was taken to court, where he had to pay a $10 fine and the damages that he did to the man’s shop. And the second, the next Negro to come here came here in 1842. That was a family by the name of Morton, and there’s still some 38:00Mortons around.

ROACH: I think I [ran off, sickle back to], I saw that somewhere, I saw that somewhere, I…

MARSHALL: There’s a Morton in Ann Arbor. Well, that could have been something that I wrote, I don’t know.

ROACH: No, I saw this in, no you didn’t write this, [or rass so] I can’t remember. I wrote down a lot of stuff, I produced a lot of things.

MARSHALL: Well, see, I’ve been going back to the old census records, the old records,

ROACH: You been to Ann Arbor? [any going back?]

MARSHALL: Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. I was in Ann Arbor yesterday.

ROACH: You [don’t even] let me see those groups?


ROACH: You going to let me see now [eighteenth throne, Traderick Brouk?]


ROACH: They won’t let me see it! I’d like [get] to have it. But I was wondering, I have a letter [rough for the call] it was either they have it or [in the cola less].


ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: What book?

ROACH: Uh, census book. Census, I’m not, census, whatchacall?

MARSHALL: Oh, eighteen—no, your census is every 10 years.

ROACH: Yeah, census, not census, but you know—

MARSHALL: Census every 10 years.

ROACH: the books that they got the record of. That’s what I’m talking about. Where they put the record.

MARSHALL: I’m don’t know what record you are—now, what I looked at was census records.

ROACH: I don’t know what the records are, but these records are [all they’re real] old, they’re about so practically so old they’re about to break, y’know.

MARSHALL: Well, see, we, these things, we [was such a] librarian, see, we, we 39:00don’t like to let those things out, we put them, we have copies of them, but [we full them body].

ROACH: No, [they let you]

MARSHALL: I have them on microfilm.

ROACH: They let me see 1824, they let me see 1823. And eighteen, eighteen [on] twenty four, I saw a deed, a deed in there where, [zid it], the, after I got here. I saw it.

MARSHALL: I’m [not sure] what you were looking at, but I haven’t looked at that.

ROACH: Yeah, eighteen—why, whatchacall these books, I don’t know, I can’t think of nothing. But from the beginning, and, and the records there, I, somewhere, in the, was that in the, in that, uh, abstract I had, they said that some of this was done in Detroit, some of these records was done in Detroit, before Ypsil—when there was no Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor, you know. So Mr. Woodward, when he down here, what he done, that my abstract told me that, that he did that in Detroit. What year I think it was and everything.

MARSHALL: Well. I know they don’t have all the records at any one place, so, but I find that—

ROACH: They’re, they’re, they’re,

MARSHALL: I can’t find them in Ypsilanti, then

ROACH: They, they, done so put the record there.

MARSHALL: I go to Ann Arbor, and sometimes I have to go to Detroit to see.

ROACH: Uh-huh. Well, anyway, they [did] submit those records, so many records, I only made, [part of the fact] now.



ROACH: [Trouble] might have sold them, for maybe I couldn’t stand, or somebody in my family, yeah, even the national, know what they done, years back at the time when I first began to get interested in history? They done something oh—done away with this James Madison [whoa]. What he done, in the United States. Done something with that, they couldn’t find that.

MARSHALL: But you have it.

ROACH: That was [down soam], that was, they had,

MARSHALL: Thought you know they had it.

ROACH: What they had, they had all of the others. I’m sure they had his, when he was the President.

MARSHALL: Not necessarily. Not necessarily.

ROACH: Oh, I [would think they had it], but anyway, they must have had it, ’cause when they [say about they did], old TV, I heard her say that. Oh, this, that James Madison book had been something, had, mis, misplaced. They had it, way it sounded, had been misplaced. That was announced over TV. Oh yeah, they, they-uh, they [done a lot of parcels on] me, had to find out about this land, [the top that I had to really rehearse], they tried to do something about it. Yeah, they, and—

MARSHALL: Well, let me see now, I guess that’s all interesting, but that’s not really what I’m interested in.

ROACH: Well, I don’t know too much about black history, that’s what you’re talking about, black history,

MARSHALL: I’m just writing about black history.

ROACH: Well, I, I [sohm may] you say you maybe what you after, I say, well, I 41:00want to learn black history but I thought you meant history, period, y’know.

MARSHALL: No, I’m interested in the black history. I’m interested in, you see, in the history of Ypsilanti, in the history of Ypsilanti, uh, none of them have indicated any contributions made by blacks. The only thing that they say in there about any contributions made by blacks is McCoy.

ROACH: McCoy is a black man. McCoy…[right].

MARSHALL: Elijah McCoy.

ROACH: I’m trying to think. Seems like I saw that somewhere in, um, the abstract, and I thought it was a white man, and uh, something about his place, was out here, I read it somewhere, a place somewhere I [this] or he was back out that way, his place was right back out that a way.

MARSHALL: No, back this way.

ROACH: Well, one all the way in the country somewhere, I don’t know where it was.


ROACH: And, so, I was riding along one day, [really got awful mean] out there, my [aunt said], you don’t where the McCoy place was? I thought we know, now. Tell he would tell him we know, Mc—McCoy place was. I told him what I saw about there about the McCoy place. He didn’t know.


MARSHALL: No, McCoy, George McCoy, had been a slave in Kentucky.


MARSHALL: And he escaped, well, he didn’t escape, he bought his freedom. But then he fell in love with a girl who was a slave. And he didn’t have the money to purchase her freedom, so they escaped,


ROACH: [I told her yesterday here what to do, how come he back up, and carry her back upstairs?] My brother’s he’s old, and he can’t tell his [some feckish] from his nose.

MARSHALL: So they escaped by way of the Underground Railroad,

ROACH: He come back down though.

MARSHALL: through Ypsilanti, into, into, into Canada.

ROACH: Yeah, I know.

MARSHALL: But he had learned how to make cigars in Kentucky. He came back to Ypsilanti, and started raising tobacco, and making cigars. Now, that was in the 1850s. So, that was really the second business you had in Ypsilanti, operated by 43:00blacks. He had quite a, quite a big tobacco factory, cigar factory.

ROACH: Now where’d you get that from, [day of meshing].

MARSHALL: I don’t know.

ROACH: You mean you searched around different places.

MARSHALL: I got it in various places.

ROACH: [I tell someone ever mention mar, this is modern]

MARSHALL: I’ve been, actually, I’ve been thinking this stuff out for four or five years, see?

ROACH: [someone’s been mod—modern, there too] Here’s my brother here.

MARSHALL: How are you doing, sir? How are you?

ROACH: Mr. Marshall.

MARSHALL: Nice to know you. [laughs] I’ve been thinking this out for so many years now, I, I can’t always tell you

ROACH: I need. Come on up and I might find it.

MARSHALL: exactly what I found. But I have copies, I have it all down. I have a file. But anyway, uh, uh, uh, McCoy was, McCoy was also a conductor on the Underground Railroad.

ROACH: Well, I know, I heard about the Underground Railroad. I read—

MARSHALL: Well, he was the conductor on it. He had a son named, his name was Joy. But he had a son named Elijah. Elijah wanted to be an engineer. Well, meantime, another family that was interested in the Underground Railroad were 44:00these people who had just come here by the name of McAndrew, and they had just come here from Scotland.

ROACH: Uh-huh.

MARSHALL: Mrs. McAndrew had gone to New York and had become a doctor, and had come back—meantime, she’d had two children.

ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: The McCoys and the McAndrews knew each other,

ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: so when the McAndrews heard that McCoy had this son who wanted to be an engineer, and there was no place for him to go to school in the United States, they helped him to find a family in Scotland, that’s why he went to Scotland, and he was apprenticed over there. And he stayed over there until after the Civil War was over. Then he came back here and he worked for the old Michigan Central Railroad, here in Ypsilanti. And that’s where he made his first invention. Now, he is known as an inventor. And what they, when they say ‘the real McCoy,’ it was people who were going to the store to buy the oil 45:00cup, they didn’t want any imitations, they wanted the real McCoy. Now he stayed here until about 1876 or 1877, and the reason he left, he had tried to start a business to, to manufacture the things that he invented. He invented a lot of things. He had about 50 different things that he invented.

ROACH: Patented.

MARSHALL: But he left here and went to Detroit after his business failed here. He couldn't get financial backing. He went to Detroit and he still didn’t get financial backing, and he died in Detroit in 1929.

ROACH: Wouldn’t give him a chance at all.


ROACH: They wouldn’t give him a chance at all, trying…

MARSHALL: Well, I would say he didn’t get, he didn’t, yes, he, yeah, he was unable, yeah, he, he was unable to get the money to, to do it. Now, you also had in the meantime, you had a lawyer practicing down here, on Michigan Avenue. That 46:00was around 1880.

ROACH: What’s his name?

MARSHALL: Fox. Fox. He didn’t live very long, he died [in life] think he was around 36 years old when he died. He was here also. And then you had some Bows here who were in business. There’s still some.

ROACH: Some Bows here, yeah.

MARSHALL: And uh, uh, they had a grocery store down here on Washington Street, not far from here. And it wasn’t just a Negro grocery store, it was a grocery store that served everybody. But uh, that’s the phase of history that I’m interested in.

ROACH: Yeah, that’s good.

MARSHALL: I’m trying to show that in the development of this town,

ROACH: Mm-hmm.

MARSHALL: Black folks made contributions and can be proud, too, of what they have done. And, uh, I haven’t really gotten into it, and in fact I’m not really interested in getting into the

ROACH: Complete, complete history.

MARSHALL: total history of Ypsilanti.


ROACH: Well, I thought maybe you want the complete history, because it’s not, it’s not, it’s so messed up, people don’t tell the truth about it. I think it’s some old people here, they [act and do] things for themselves and doing them for their children. They don’t [argue] even know about it. ’Cause I know. I know some of these old people, and I know what they’re after. Used to work for them.

MARSHALL: Well, I have run into a lot of information, and I—


0:00 - Introducing Versa's family

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL:—do, is to establish—first of all, let me tell you what we’re doing with this. These of course are in addition to being my notes.

ROACH: Yeah.

MARSHALL: I am planning to put those in the historical society, in the historical commission, or in the historical archives.

ROACH: I hope you make sure they are correct, though.


ROACH: if you can.

Segment Synopsis: Vera details the names and birth dates of her children and gives her own family background of growing up in Dresden, Tennessee before coming to Ypsilanti as an adult in 1955.

Keywords: Brenda Yvonne Roach Williams; Callie King; Champaign, Illinois; Chicago, Illinois; Dresden, Tennessee; Ethel Mae Roach Osler; Fulton, Tennessee, Fulton, Kentucky; Joyce Annette Roach; L.C. Roach'; Louis Edward Roach; Louis Roach; Shirley Jean Roach Reed; Versa May Hamilton Roach; William Robert Hamilton.; Ypsilanti, Michigan

Subjects: African American families

Hyperlink: 1980s photo of Versa May Roach.

8:40 - Disagreement over Ypsilanti history

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Partial Transcript: MARSHALL: Now, you got interested in, uh, well, it was just a natural interest, uh, you, you, you, when you got here, you got interested in the history of Ypsilanti.

ROACH: Well, I didn’t get interested in history, uh, when I first came.


ROACH: I got interested in, in history was when I have, uh, bought, before I bought the—I discovered something, after I bought this [piano] on the place, I discovered. Well, I, aw, I was working with some lawyers, a lawyer,


Segment Synopsis: Versa describes her difficulties with a property lawyer and her interests in Ypsilanti history sparked by the history of the deed on her house. She discusses how her property was passed to speculators in the beginning and wonders about its legality. A.P. Marshall and Mrs. Roach have a disagreement about Ypsilanti history.

Keywords: Augustus Woodward; Foster Fletcher; French Long Lots in Ypsilanti; Gabriel Godfroy; James Madison; John Murphy; Michigan French Claims; Mr. Wine; race real estate; Vanzetti Hamilton; Ypsilanti Historical Archives; Ypsilanti Historical Society; Ypsilanti, Michigan

Subjects: Lawyers. Real property

Hyperlink: Original 1819 survey map of Ypsilanti Township showing the French long-lots.

34:40 - Early African-American history of Ypsilanti

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Partial Transcript: ROACH: Well, see, all those deeds was in that abstract I had, all those deeds. [Whole bunch a papers someone a lend to] Mr. Woodruff, uh, oh, then I can’t think of all the names now, all names. [Sticks]. [Bacambrey]. Oh, just a lot of names. There’s a lot of—I tell you, somebody el—else a, was a, should be a big important part in this, in this history, in this city. The Francois.


ROACH: Francois should be.

MARSHALL: Yeah, but he didn’t come here until 1940.


Segment Synopsis: Versa and A.P. Marshall discuss the early history of African-American Ypsilanti and the first black residents of the city. A.P. Marshall discusses the story of the McCoy's family flight to freedom and life in Ypsilanti.

Keywords: "Old Black Sam"; abolitionism in Ypsilanti; Ann Arbor; Augustus Woodward; Canada; Day; Elijah McCoy; first black Ypsilantians; George McCoy, Mary McCoy; Great Migration; Herbert Francois; James Madison; John H. Fox; Louis Freeman; Louisiana; McAndrew family; researching black history in Michigan; Robert Morton; Underground Railroad; Valsine Francois

Subjects: African Americans--Michigan--Ypsilanti--History. Ypsilanti (Mich.)--History.

Hyperlink: A 1888 Ypsilanti Press advertisement for a talk by Ypsilanti's pioneering African-American lawyer and political leader, John H. Fox.
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