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Historical Rootworkers

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:38 pm
by the9minds
I am trying to find a comprehensive list, or even compile one of conjure men and women from slavery through the 1950s. I know Aunt Carolyn Dye, Marie Laveau, and that's where it pretty much stops. Thank you so much in advance.

Re: Historical Rootworkers

Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:48 pm
by catherineyronwode
the9minds --

That list would be many thousand names long -- and due to the conditions that prevailed, many names will never be known. In my youth, during the 1960s, there were at least twenty professional conjure doctors in the East Bay alone and more than fifty each in Chicago and Atlanta.

Slavery ended in 1865 and your cut-off date is 1950, so that's 85 years. But if you want to go back *during* slavery, which began around 1500, that's 365 years earlier than emancipation. So let's just stick with the 19th and 20th centuries.

Newbell Niles Puckett cited 400 sources in the 1920s. Harry Hyatt interviewed more than 1,600 rootworkers from 1936 though 1940, and although he lost his "names book" that correlated names with interview numbers, we still have the names of dozens of his informants in part or in full.

Okay, so here are a few conjure doctors, all of them working before 1950 (and some working after that as well). The earliest on this list were born around 1830.

Jim Jordon
Allen Vaughn
Myrtle Collins
West Leland
Madame Wiley
Dr. Griffin
Sara Murphy
Dr. Sam
D. Alexander
Rev. Charles P. Colbert
Dr. Jack Kerry
Dr. E. P. Read
Ed Murphy
Sister Powers
Mr. Matthew Murray
George Jackson Dennis
Zippy Tull
Rajah Rabo (Carl Z. Talbot)
Madame Fu-Futtam (Dorothy Hamid)
Joshua Wilson
Madam Pauline
Dr. Buzzard
Robert Bryant
Daddy Snakelegs
Root Doctor Johnson
Aunt Dinah (Chattanooga, Tennessee)
Ethel Waters (Wilmington, NC)
Doctor Paul Bowles
Rev. Arthur C. Foster
Madame Popalouse
Aunt Caroline Dye

So ... that's more than 30 names for you. And the list goes on and on and on.

Re: Historical Rootworkers

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 7:20 pm
by the9minds
Thank you Ms. Yronwode.

Re: Historical Rootworkers

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:46 pm
by Miss Aida
Hello, the9minds,

We all learned something from your question.

Re: Historical Rootworkers

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:57 pm
by catherineyronwode
Hello, the9minds --

I know that i was not be able to answer in full. I have a lot of stuff memorized, but not everything. Good luck in your research. :-)

Aunt Caroline Dye's grave in Newport, Arkansas

Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 7:57 am
by MemphisRoots
Me and a few friends visited Aunt Caroline Dye in Newport a couple weeks ago. It's about an hour drive from home. If anyone could appreciate current pics I figured it would be someone on this forum lol. I've been lurking here for a while and thought I'd make a profile so I could share.
I added six new photos here, on 4/28/18: ... -tracy-dye
Blessings to y'all.

Re: Aunt Caroline Dye's grave in Newport, Arkansas

Posted: Wed May 09, 2018 5:52 pm
by catherineyronwode
MemphisRoots --

Thank you very much. That is a nice addition to the FindAGrave site.