- The 1930 Census reports that Rosa B. Billings is the daughter of Charles Franklin Billings. In fact, at about 16 years of age, Rosa was broken hearted to discover that she wasn't the daughter of Rosena Dorothy and Charles. Katie Keyes is her real mother who died from complications from Tuberculosis abt a year after Rosa's birth.
Hezekiah was married to Annie M. according to the 1920 census. The death certificate for Katie Billing Keyes, reports that they were married as well. Rosa B. was born 6 months later to a Katie Keyes with Hez as the father. Shortly after, Hezekiah moves, with child, to live with Bertha in Memphis, Tennesse.
There Hez found a woman to care for the child while he went to work (construction). However, this woman seemed more interested in gambling than Rosa's needs. Seeing this, while Hezekiah was at work, Bertha took Rosa to Mississippi, where Rosa D. raised her as her own.
HER HAND: As a child, she was involved in an accident when Rosa D, left a needle out protruding in such a way that it pierced Rosa's hand when she fell upon it. The needle embedded itself and wouldn't come out. Rosa's wound became infected and physicians wanted to cut her hand off to stop the infection. Hezekiah intervened and bought some salve to draw out the infection, to everyone's surprise it worked. The infection was halted and the needle was drawn out, but Rosa's nerves were permanently damaged.
LIFE: Rosa was a hard working mother that did whatever she could to take care of her children. She was a struggling mother much of her life. Her first children were born in the early 1940's. Cynthia and Algernon Day matured quickly and learned to be self-sufficient as their mother had to work at various times throughout the day and evening to put food in their stomachs.
After she divorced Algernon Day Sr, Rosa later had Eleanor Antone. The product of a union with a man from Cuba, a Mr. Castro.
Rosa, who is named after her great maternal mother Rosena Gaylor, married multiple times throughout her life. Rosa longed for a stable family but unfortunately, stability wasn't something she was able to see very often.
It's believed that Rosa meet Anthony Finley Sr who was in the Navy around 1944. Anthony got stationed in California and so Rosa reluctantly followed. Anthony stayed out at sea for very long periods and Rosa eventually fell in love with another sailor, Raymond Penn. Their union produced Virginia Olivia Penn, b. May 28, 1946. Oral tradition states that Raymond later died at sea.
Anthony returned from duty and exited the Navy and moved the family back to Chicago. Rosa and the children weren't very happy, but Rosa was growing tired of moving and stayed. Their union produced Anthony Jr and Kathleen Finley. During this time, she decided to give all of her children the surname of Finley. Facing her and her children's unhappiness, Rosa left Anthony but did not officially divorce him until 1960.
In 1952 Rosa met Dr. Ali Meisha Leiboubey. An immigrant from the British Guyanese Islands. Family remembers remembered that he was a very nice guy who did things for the family that he really didn't have to do. Unfortunately, due to pressure from the government he was forced back home and was unable to practice medicine in the US any longer. Their union produced, Ali Meisha Leiboubey Jr, now Finley.
In Dec 1963, Rosa was involved in a fatal car crash on an icy winter evening involving an incorrectly placed fire hydrant. She was the passenger. The driver survived. It's currently a mystery who the driver was and why she was in the vehicle with him. The night she left she informed family she was "going to the store again".
She left this world all too early. She never got to see the brilliant men and women that she brought into this world and all that they became... thanks to her.