The purpose of this site is to explore the history of African Americans in and around Des Moines Iowa. Here you will find stories, census, newspaper clippings, birth and death notices and more. Our goal is to share the treasure of the African American experience in Des Moines, Iowa, and to hopefully assist those on their genealogical journey to and through this part of the country.
This is a picture of my great granmother Lela May Sutton-Owlsey. She was born in Platte County Missouri in 1874. By the 1890's Lela May had relocated to Levenworth Kansas where my grandmother Bertha Morgan, and her sister Lizzie May Morgan were born to Lela and Willis Morgan. After Willis died Lela May married John Banks in 1900. By 1910 Lela and John parted ways and Lela along with , Bertha, and Lizzie May moved to Des Moines. Again Lela May married, and her new husband was G.B. Smith, however G. B. passed away and Lela May married for the last time to Ernest Owlsey. Lela May was an East sider, as that is where she started when she moved to Des Moines, and other then a few brief sojourner to the West side she lived out her life on Wayne Street. Being an East Sider she also attended Maple Street Baptist Church where she attended until she passed in 1953.