Skivlen’s Migration Story

Skivlen left Georgia as soon as he was old enough to strike out on his own. To hear the oral stories in the family, he left home at 14 years old. He was heard to have said our (family) skin is light but those closest to white were more favored than those who were just light skin (in the family).You see, his mother was full Cherokee Indian and his father was mulatto. He first went to Jacksonville, Fl. His older brother Dudley was there. Dudley was in World War I. After the war Dudley migrated to Jacksonville where with help from his two brothers, Skivlen and Sam, he bought land for growing oranges. Skivlen met Daisy and married her. They had a son Skivlen Jr. The marriage fell apart and Skivlen left Florida for Pittsburgh.

His brother Buddy lived in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was a steel mill town in those days. There were mills up and down the three rivers. There was plenty of work to be had in 1918. Buddy lived in East Liberty/ Homewood area of Pittsburgh. Skivlen got a job right away in the Steel Mill in Braddock. He met his next wife during this time, Eleanor.

Eleanor’s family lived next door to Buddy and his family. So, here we have the preverbal girl next door romance. Skivlen was 29 years old divorced man and Eleanor was 19 years old and living with her adopted mother who happen to be her mother’s best friend. Eleanor’s mother died when she was 3 years old. As Eleanor’s mother lay dying she asks her best friend to raise her daughter and she also took in Eleanor’s brother, Richard who was 6 years old. Eleanor and Richard had a baby brother Harold, 6 months old, who was raised by their maternal grandmother.

Once married, Skivlen and Eleanor lived in Pittsburgh for 5 years. Their first son was born in Pittsburgh. Then Skivlen took a position in Beech Bottom, WV, with Pittsburgh – Wheeling Steel Corporation. The area was rural right off route 2 if you blinked you would miss it if not for the steel mill sitting on the Ohio River side of the highway. Community of Beech Bottom stop 45 (bus stop 45) consisted of about 200 white families and 3 Black families. A lot of folks white and Black had migrated to the area for jobs. A lot of the white families had migrated from Alabama. Skivlen left the caste system of Georgia to end up living along side a white family from Alabama. God likes a good joke!

There Skivlen and Eleanor raised 7 children and few grandchildren who all scattered to big cities like Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and beyond.  Both are buried in Beech Bottom’s 49 hill.

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