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African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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Simpson County, Mississippi 1857 Mississippi Family and Research

Lemuel Quinn, also known as Lem, was born July 15, 2857 in Westville, Mississippi in the county of Simpson. Lem was fathered by a white Irish small-scale farmer named John William Quinn (1832-1916). In addition, John served in the Confederacy during the Civil War as a Sergeant in the 39th MS Inf. Co. F.. Lem’s mother was named Caroline Hutson Larkin who was a Choctaw Indian and part black. Caroline was also a slave of John W. Quinn. Caroline was born in 1840 in Mississippi. Lem Quinn became a prosperous farmer in the county, owning hundreds of acres of land and was well respected in Simpson County. However, his success extended beyond economics as Lem, along with five other men founded the New Zion Mount Baptist Church in Pinola, Mississippi in 1895. He also owned a general store while he lived in Tallhatchie Co. Mississippi. He married his second wife, Amanda Jane Quinn, also known as Mandy, on January 31, 1889 in Simpson County, Mississippi. Amanda was the daughter of Joseph Quinn and Martha Williams. She was born on May 18, 1859 in Westville, MS. After emancipation in 1865 Amanda’s family were tenant farmers on farm of Charles Bingley Banks in Simpson County. Banks was the Captain of 39th MS Inf. Co. F during the Civil War and was a sheriff in the county. It was during this time that a relationship developed between the landowner’s son named, Frank Wilkes Banks, and Mandy would have three children by him. This relationship ended in the mid-1880s and soon she met and married Lem Quinn. The two would have nine children together. Lem Quinn being such a prominent figure in the county began to experience problems from some whites in the town. The situation grew tensed and soon erupted into violence. The violence became the primary catalyst for the family relocation to the Mississippi Delta in Sumner, Mississippi. The family would remain there for nearly twenty years until the family began moving north. Lem and Amanda would migrate to the city of Toledo, Ohio and lived out their days in that city. In November 2005 a Y chromosome test was done on one black male Quinn descendant and one white male Quinn descendant. The men tested and were a genetic match to one another, confirming the relationship between John Quinn and Caroline Hutson.

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