The Black Syracuse Project

June Dixon

In Oral History Interviews on April 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm

June Dixon was born in Syracuse, New York in 1921 and has lived in Syracuse ever since.  Her mother was Mohawk and her father was Mexican.  Her maiden name, Rohadfox, is unique to her family.  Here she is being interviewed by Tasneem Grace Tewogbola.

And when’s your birthday?

My birthday will be coming up pretty soon.  We’ll hit 90!  January 27th, 1921.

1921.  And where were you born?

Syracuse, New York, 940 and a half South State Street.  Right where the police station is now down there.

So was there a midwife at your house or something?

No.

Who delivered you?

My mother had thirteen children.  Seven boys and I was the first girl.  They were all born, everybody was born at home.

 Who helped her deliver?

Her sister.  I had one aunt.  And then a doctor, some doctor, can’t think of his name anyway, they told me later in years, came to see that she was ok.  But she had thirteen children, seven boys and then me and then the rest boys.

Wow, you’re the only girl?

No.  After me there was twins, a boy and a girl.  My sister Mary.  Pauline Mary and Paul Emmanuel.  After me.  And then the rest were girls, I have a sister Mary who has passed away. She was a twin.   Twins, boy and a girl.  Paul Emmanuel and Pauline Mary.  Both deceased.  And after that, my sister Thelma.  She passed away, of course, I have a lot of nieces under my sister Thelma.  Connie Peconic and oh, there’s so many, I’ve lost track.

Now, your mother, you said that your mother was Mohawk.

Mohawk Indian.  And my father-

What’s her name?  And what’s her name? 

Her name was Nellie Mills.

Nellie Mills. And was she raised to?

In Syracuse.  Well I don’t know, a hundred years ago ,I don’t know what Syracuse was like.  But really, yes, around here. My mother being a Mohawk Indian, I believe, they told me, they would come from New York City or around that area.  And they all migrated here, you know, around Syracuse.

And your father, what was his name?

My father was born in Silver City Mexico.

What’s his name?

Clifford.  Clifford Hayward.  He changed the name, he made up the name Rohadfox.  That’s why no one has it but the family.

He made it up?

Yes.  He told us.  He told my brothers and everything.  He made the name up because in Silver City, Mexico, this fox had crossed his path.  So where he got the Road-Fox from but he decided to put an H in there and the H is silent so it’s Rohadfox.  That’s why no one has it.  No one has the name.  He made it up.

So whoever has the name is related to you.

That name is related to me.  I’m the oldest living member right now.

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