A Brief History of the Henry Toomer and Bertha Walker Family
The son of John Morris Jackson, Sr. and Lucy Toomer, Henry was born April 1, 1877 in the town of Perry, Houston County, Georgia.
From Georgia, Henry moved to Jacksonville, Florida to work as a musician. He and three other gentlemen played music in the ?Sportin District? during the evening. Henry was gifted and played several instruments, the piano, guitar and the mandolin being among them.
Born Roberta Walker on May 3, 1890 in Palatka, Putnam County, Florida, she was the second child born to Robert and Florida Walker. Roberta was named after her father but as she grew to adulthood she changed her name to Bertha, the Christian name by which we all know and identify her.
Bertha attended the West Louisville School which was located in the suburbs of Jacksonville. As a teenager she worked on various jobs and assisted her mother in running the household.
Upon their marriage in the early 1900?s, Henry and Bertha lived in Jacksonville where their first six children were born. Henry, 1906; James, 1908; Lucy (Lucille) 1910; Charles, 1912; Robert, 1914; and Clarence, 1916. When the family moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1917, Nadine was born. The next five children were born in Philadelphia, Pa; Albert, 1919; Susie, 1921; an unnamedstillborn male, 1922; Ida, 1924; and Nathaniel, 1926. The remaining four children were born in Berlin, New Jersey, Cornelius, 1928; Donald, 1930; Gertie, 1932; and Stanley, 1933.
In 1917, Henry came North in search of a job. He left his wife and children in Florida and joined his father-in-law and mother-in-law in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Soon, he sent for his family and they resided in that area until 1919. The primary reason for the move was due to the family?s size. Landlords did not care to rent to families with a good number of children. Henry and Bertha decided to move to Philadelphia, Pa. where her sister Susie and her family resided.
While in Philadelphia, the family lived on Nectarine Street. Henry and Bertha were protective and concerned parents who were interested in the welfare of their children.
After receiving a tip from a friendly neighbor, Henry and Bertha came to Berlin, New Jersey and purchased lots so that they could raise their family in the country with plenty of space. At that time they also engaged two lots for Bertha?s sister and brother-in-law, Ida and Lewis Parson. Eventually, both families moved to the small town of Berlin and built homes.
After their arrival in 1926, Henry attended Green Grove Baptist Church. Henry and Bertha joined Mt. Carmel Church of God in Christ in 1928. Bertha later changed her membership to the United Body Disciples of Christ in Camden, New Jersey. A few years later a sister-church was erected in Berlin, known as Pilgrim Rest Disciples of Christ and Henry and Bertha served as Deacon and Church Mother until their deaths in 1950 and 1955 respectively.
Henry and Bertha Toomer have left an enriched legacy consisting of reverence for God, positive family values, high morals and respect for mankind. Their descendants are challenged daily to apply them to their lives.
Tje background picture is of Bertha Walker Toomer.