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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Obituary: William McKissack

Nashville Globe – 25 Oct 1918

William McKissak Passes Away

Pulaski, TN (Special to the Globe) – On Saturday, Oct. 12, 1918; William (Will) McKissack breated his last breath while in a private hospital in Charleston, W. Va., where he and four other of his brothers were at work.  He was taken to the hospital from his temporary residence after becoming very ill.  He was the son of Mr. Gabriel and Mrs. Dolly McKissack, who were pioneers and highly respected here by both white and highly respected here by both white and colored.  Will, as he was familiarly called, was married a few years ago to Miss Oneal Frazier who was at that time teaching in the city schools of Nashville.  

The people of Pulaski were shocked when the news flashed over the wiere announcing the death of Will McKissack.  He had undertaken many enterpises to make good and had been fairly successful.  He was a member of the C.M.E. Church and was a loyal and consistent member until the time of his death.  His remains arrived here from Charleston over the L. & N. on Monday, October 14, 1918, accompanied by his four brothers, Messrs. Moses, Abraham, Arthur and Prof. Calvin McKissack, also his sister, Mrs. Mary Utley; his wife, Mrs. Oneal McKissack, and a lady friend of theirs. 

They were joined here by another sister, Mrs. Annie Maxwell, of Birmingham, and a host of relatives and friends. Other out-of-town relatives here were Mr. Willis James Bramlette, a cousin to the McKissacks and his distinguished parents.   Mr. and Mrs. William Bramlette live here. 

The funeral was in charge of the Pulaski Undertaking Co., under the special direction and management of Prof. T.P. Turner.  The procession was long, and while there were no exercises at the church, the whole ceremony was complete and representative people from all walks of life were out and showed their respect and appreciaion.  Rev. M.E. Jackson was the officiating clergyman.  the following were pallbearers: Mess. John Abernathy, Walter McNairy, Will Tears, Harvey North, A.D. Howell Jr., and Prof. B.H. Morrell.  The following out-of-town friends of Colubmia, Tenn. were present: Dr. T.W. Stephens, who made some remarks at the funeral; Mr. H.D. Merrell Jr. and another friend.

Wordless Wednesday – May 28, 2008 Folow-up

The picture that I included in my first Wordless Wednesday post for this blog is that of Dr. Robert Fulton Boyd (1855-1912). The photo comes from the December 9, 1899 issue of the black newspaper, The Colored American.

Along with the picture is a short article informing readers that Nashville has two Dr. Boyds. “…R.F. Boyd, a doctor of medicine, who is a professor of gynecology or something like that, in Meharry Medical College. This Dr. Boyd has a singular hobby – buying property, farms and things and building great big office buildings right in among the white folks. This fellow has just finished a building, a pressed brick structure, with something like 50 rooms in it and sandwiched it right in between a Cathedral and the leading hotel in the city. Then he had the irrepressible nerve to hire a Negro stone-mason to chisel his black name “Boyd” on a big piece of marble and to put it way up high, between the fifth and sixth stories, so everybody could see it. Now, what do you think of this chap?”

That’s great! I am pretty sure I’ve seen a picture of this building, but will have to dig it back out. Maybe not. I wonder if the black stone-mason was McKissack (whom I have blogged about before.)? I have previously added a picture of Dr. R.F. Boyd’s headstone to FindAGrave and I have just added this picture. Should be of interest to anyone who has him in their family tree.

The other Dr. Boyd mentioned in the article is Richard Henry Boyd (1843-1922). From the article “…this Boyd runs a publishing house and employs seven five Negroes and pays his proof readers and big dogs in his house $20 and $25 a week. This Boyd has a hobby – buying fine printing material. The other day he put in a big Babcock press worth $4000. He now has four big presses running constantly, and the only complete bindery for the product of big books owned by Negroes. The publishing business is conducted in two magnificent buildings, and the property, which the Board owns, and the plant, is valued at $80,000.”

Interestingly enough, this weekend as I was adding burial listings to the Greenwood Cemetery, I added the grave of Sadie B. Wilson who “served under three generation of Boyds at the National Baptist Publishing Board.” Richard Henry Boyd is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, but I have not yet found him. I will be going back to do more pictures this weekend, so maybe I’ll find him soon.

A Delectable Mask Party

Nashville Globe
22 Feb 2007

A very enjoyable mask party was given at the residence of Prof. W.S. Thompson, 1305 Demonbreun street, Monday evening.  the costumes showed a deal of originality as to conception and execution, the best of them by far being that of Mr. Nathan Wallace, who appeared as Shylock.  Mr. Wallace’s  hump and limp were so well assumed that his identity almost defied detection of the ladies. Misses Willie Page and Jennie Childress, as Mary Jane and Samantha Ann, two maiden ladies of questionable age, though their hair showed considerable of the white, were probably the best.  Though in fact the make of all the ladies was excellent.  Eugene Page as Mrs. Belfry and Frank Hawkins as Mrs. Shoefling, attracted a deal of attention.

Though the majority of those present thought the best make up were as described above, several were of the opinion that the honors should have gone to Miss Grace Lucile Price, who appeared as a baby.  Her make up was simply superb in the estimation of some.

Light refreshments were served.  Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. A.G. Price, Mrs. Turner Page, Misses Grace Lucile Price, John D. Thompson, Esther Pinkard, Ethel Jordan, Anna Tate, Emma Owens, Georgia Watkins, Lula Polk, Laura Polk Smith, Willie Page, Jennie Childress, Alberta Davis, Messrs. Wm. Tate, W.S. Thompson, Eugene Page, Robert Polk, J.O. Battle, Fred Trapp, John H. Kelly Jr. , Haven Moores, Oscar Wilson, Nathan Wallace, A.C. McKissack, H.A. Lohgley, J.J. McKeever, Wm.  Boger, W.B. Davis, George O. Boyd Jr., George Haden.

And Just in Time for MLK Holiday

I just learned that the McKissack & McKissack law firm designed the National Civil Rights Museum. If you don’t know, the National Civil Rights Museum is in Memphis, TN and is attached to the Lorriane Hotel, where MLK was assassinated.  I had the opportunity to visit the hotel twice when we were living outside of Memphis.

It is interesting to read some of the projects the firm has worked on, from the Maxwell House hotel here in Nashville, the Carnegie Library at Fisk University and even the Tuskegee Air Force base.

Greenwood Cemetery (West)

Today I took a field trip over to Greenwood Cemetery West and took pictures. My original goal was to go back to Mt. Ararat, but they had that side locked. Greenwood was right next door so I went there.

Greenwood Cemetery (& the West division of it ) is the final resting place for a number of Nashville’s black citizens. The cemetery is pretty large and will take me some time to get through, but I took close to 150 pictures today. I will be adding them over time to the FindAGrave listings so that they may hopefully be of use to others.

As I was leaving the cemetery, I did see this mausoleum and had to go and see it. While I recognized the McKissack name, it didn’t come to me immediately who they were. The oldest black-owned architectural firm in the US is McKissack & McKissack, founded in 1905 is still in operation today. The firm was founded by Moses McKissack III and many family members were involved. For more information about the history of the firm, there is information online in the Profiles of African Americans in Tennessee book and the Tennessee Encyclopedia of History & Culture.

In the mausoleum are buried:

I’ll be adding the McKissacks to my surnames to watch out for in my research. I have already started a family tree for them on my site.

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