Meet Elder Lillie Bell McLean, My Great-Grandmother

As 2015 draws to an end, we journey into a new year we leave many memories, both disappointments and accomplishments, behind. About two weeks before Thanksgiving, I received the news that my great-grandmother had fallen ill. If you are a follower of my blog, you know my dream was to spend the summer writing my family’s history with her. My great-grandmother, Lillie Bell or “Bill Buck”, was able to celebrate her 95th birthday on Tuesday and Thanksgiving in her home surrounded by family; however, on 28 November 2015, she passed away. My mother, sisters, and I joined family and friends at her home to comfort one another, I was also able to kiss her goodbye. Her body was still warm and it seemed as if she was simply sleeping. There were so many heart-broken and tear-streaked faces. Watching my great-aunts, my own grandmother, and cousins cry–there are no words to describe this feeling. It hurts, she was the glue in our family, the one everyone turned to and leaned on. I returned from work and school the next week for the wake and funeral and as tradition holds the grandchildren and great-grandchildren sang for their Bill-Buck one last time. She is in no more pain and she lived a full 95 years.  This post is dedicated to my great-grandmother, the matriarch of our family and our Lily in the Valley.



I started my family’s history last Christmas. My Nana and I filled in small pieces here and there, yet after a small mishap on a military draft I decided to stop my research. It was my hope to spend next summer with my Nana, great-grandmother, and one of my great-aunts who is the family’s “historian”. I put it off for too long; however, it is not too late.

My great-great grandmother’s parents were Douglas(s) Gilchrist and Dannie (Donnie) Jane Douglas. According to my great-grandmother and her sister’s obituary, Douglas and Dannie had a number of children: Lillie Bell, Rosetta, Viola, Dannie, Mary, Lonnie, and James. This is affirmed through the 1930 Federal Census for the Household of Donnie Gilchrist, Douglas passed away earlier within the same year. The family resided in Stewartsville, Scotland County, North Carolina.


According to this census, Mary was 12, Vinela (Viola) was 10, Lillie (my great-grandmother) was 7, Rosa was 5, and Foster who was 1 year old. I am unable to locate the 1930 Federal Census record for Douglas and Dannie. From the NC Marriage Index, Douglas and Dannie held their wedding on November 28, 1912. Douglas was 21 years old and Dannie (listed as Jannie) was 18 years old.


It was within Douglass’ death certificate in which I determined more about my family’s tree. He passed away at the age of 37 from lobar pneumonia on November 2, 1930. He was born on January 3, 1893 in Scotland County, North Carolina and worked as a farmer. His parents–Jasper Gilchrist and Sarah Stockhouse–which lead me to my great-great-great-great grandparents Charles (1852-1925) and Easter (1851-1919) Gilchrist, which lead me to my great-great-great-great-great grandparents–Elbert and Mary Gibson, whom I believe my great-great aunt was named after.

I will be giving my Nana the greatest gift I can this holiday season, her family’s history.

Until the next post,



ELLISON, PASTOR MARY E. Pastor Mary E. Ellison, 94, of New Haven passed away on January 17, 2013. Pastor Ellison was born to the late Douglas Gilchrist and Dannie Jane (Douglas) Gilchrist on June 09, 1918 in Roberson County, NC. She leaves to cherish her memory, son, Michael Jeffery (Donna) of New Haven; sisters, Rev. Lillie B. McClean of NC, Rev. Dr. Rosetta Wheeler Paris of Hamden; granddaughter, Rev. Seesa Harris-Ellison of New Haven; and a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. She was predeceased by sister, Mother Viola Blue; and brother, Bishop Dannie Gilchrist. A Celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 9AM at St. Matthews UFWB Church, 400 Dixwell Ave., New Haven, CT. The calling hour will be from 8-9am. Interment will be held at Beaverdale Memorial Park, New Haven, CT. Services by Howard K. Hill Funeral Services, 1287 Chapel St., New Haven, CT 06511. – See more at:

Obituary-Fayetteville Observer

Elder Lillie Bell McLean, 95, went to be with the Lord on Saturday, November 28, 2015 at her home in Maxton, NC surrounded by her family. She is survived by her children Eva, Frances, Johnny (Susie), Rose (Lenzie), Ronald, Evera (Dwight), and Gladys. Also to cherish her memories is 1 sister, Rosetta, and 2 sister-in-laws, Ann and Gladys F. She was preceded in death by her loving husband of 53 years, Tommie, her son, Tommie Jr. (Mary) and daughter, Myrtle. She was also preceded in death by 2 sisters, Mary and Viola, and 3 brothers, Dannie, Lonnie, and James. She is survived by 33 grandchildren, 70 great-grandchildren, 5 great-great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and a host of relatives and friends.

Visitation will be held from 3-6 p.m. on Friday, December 4 at Purcell Funeral Home located at 301 N. King Street in Laurinburg, NC. Homegoing Services will be held on Saturday, December 5 at 1 p.m. at The Jesus Loves You Crusade Outreach Ministry Incorporated Church located at 308 Hubert McLean Avenue in Red Springs, NC where Pastor Randy Galbreath will be officiating. Burial will follow at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Laurinburg, NC.




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