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

Miss Helen Hortense Tildon

The July 29, 1944 issue of the Chicago Defender carried this photo of Fisk student, Miss Helen Hortense Tildon of Tuskegee, Alabama.

Miss Tildon is the daughter of Lt. Col. Touissant T. and Margaret Tildon. The family is from Tuskegee, where this picture was taken, where I find 4 year old Helen H. enumerated with parents and brother Touissant Jr. 

Her father is enumerated as a physician and was born in Texas.   He was a pyschiatrist and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1923 and would spend most of his career in Tuskegee.  [Black Psychiatrists and American Psychiatry].  Harvard has an online resource called Against All Odds that includes a biographical sketch about her father – click on the “Part Two: Biographical Sketches” to find it.  It appears though that the family last name may have been Tilden.

Tombstone Tuesday: Sampson W. Keeble

Sampson W. Keeble was the first African-American to serve on the TN State Legislature. He represented Davidson County from 1873-1875.  Earlier this month I was out at Greenwood Cemetery and happened upon his grave. 

coxbenjamin

As you can see, he is buried with his daughter and son-in-law.  The Tennessee State Library & Archives has an online exhibit of black legislators from Tennessee in which Keeble is included. His bio has several details about his personal life and legislative career. 

The bio mentions that he last appears in the Nashville City Directory in 1886, and now that Ancestry has Nashville City Directories now from 1879-1899, I was able to quickly look him up.  Looks like he lived at 100 N. Spruce St. 

keeblesampson_directory1886

Given how new his headstone is, and given that a previous bio of him indicates it was now known where he died, I suspect this marker may have been recently done, perhaps in conjunction w/ the TSLA exhibit?

Southern Trip by Preston Taylor

In the March 1, 1907 issue of the Nashville Globe, Rev. Preston A. Taylor recounts a trip to Tuskegee, Alabama.

Southern Trip

Tuskegee is an international word known and read by all men on either side of the waters, and everybody feels the keenest interest in the institution, be he white or black, for education is blended into all nations alike.  If the brother in black is ignorant his shadow falls on his white brother and God has made of one blood all nations though the skin may be white, black or red and yet the blood unchanged and that is what is the interest of one man must be the welfare of all.  From the time the Emancipation Proclamation was put in force until now the races have been contending for more light and wisdom and it believed to be the best money a parent can spend on his children.  The same money given to a heir might be used as the Prodigal used his; but an educated person can’t spend his education.  He must hold to it.   Though he may not use it to the best advantage, yet he can’t be counted as one without refinement.  Education is good for all; though he may be a prisoner of a free man, rich or poor, white or black, he can find enjoyment in intelligence.

If education made George Washington a great man, why should it be thought strange that it should make Booker Washington a great man?  The same advantage given to all alike must surely produce a nation of great and useful people.  Some nationalism will be greater than others, the same as ours, some seed sown produces greater harvest than others.  Some soil is better, some has a greater advantage in the season and some has better attention than the other.  This is well illustrated by our great men and women of the race.  Any one can easily use what education has done for our race.  Will it not compare favorably with any other people under the same circumstances?  We have furnished our ratio of farmers, merchants, business and professional men.

The race has always stood side by side with other races to do its duty whether in the time of peace or war, and if our good deeds were as widely published as our bad ones, in what a different attitude it would place us before the world.  I for one would not object to our bad being told if the good we are doing could only be known; as it is told of Martin Luther while bound in prison, the “devil” wanting to add to his misery said, “Don’t you know you are a sinner, an insurrector, a preacher of false doctrine and a bad man in general?”  Luther said, “Grant all you say is true if you will add these words, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleansed from all sins,’ granting that all is said of us is true.”  If the world could only know what Tuskegee is doing for the uplifting of humanity, we would be willing to rest our case with them.

Tuskegee is a city of schools, consisting of twenty-three hundred acres of land with eighty buildings, and the grounds are inhabited by about three thousand people of the race.  Tuskegee, Ala., is forty miles east of Montgomery and is one of the most beautiful towns in the state, situated on a site overlooking all the adjacent territory.  The scenery about it is not excelled in all the South and seems just adapted for the purpose it is used for.  The farming is done largely by the students on a scientific plan, with heir hundreds of mules, horses, plows, barrows, wagons, carts and other implements.  They cultivate this immense tract of land and raise and consume all their wheat, corn, vegetables, etc.  To visit their large kitchen and dining hall and see eight or ten hundred pounds of meat and the great bakery, turning out hundreds of loaves of bread for each meal, besided bushels of onions, potatoes, turnips, etc., to feed sixteen hundred seated at the table at once, one would judge it is no ordinary family Tuskegee has to provide for.

The dairy contains one hundred and seventy-five milk cows, and last year they made 16,332 pounds of butter.  Every cow has a name and a stall as cleanly kept as care can make it, the students study the cow, the milk, the butter, as well as the food.  The whole analysis of the dairy is studied to protection and the results are no dairy in the country can excel it.

The students make the furniture used in the buildings, such as bedsteads, dressers, washstands, chairs, tables, book cases and mattresses, and nowhere have we seen schools so well furnished as the building at Tuskegee.  The machinery, wagons, plows, buggies, harnesses, etc., are all manufactured on the grounds.

Last year the tailor shop turned out over 1,000 new pieces: the millinery 1,412 hats and other articles; the dressmaking 1,309 pieces, besides 2,300 pieces of plain sewing, and the mattress division 5,118 mattresses.  1,367 brooms and baskets were manufactured.  Besides Tuskegee makes its own brick and builds all of her own buildings.  Among her students are all grades of mechanics such as architects, stone masons, brick layers, carpenters, tinners, plasterers, painters, etc.   They have one of the finest electrical plants that can be found anywhere.  All the instruments are installed, lines run and buildings wired and lighted by her own boys; in the foundry they mould all castings in use.

The landscape gardener has charge of the greenhouse and the grounds are as artistically arranged as in any city in the south.  The young men are organized in a regiment of cadets and are drilled in the latest methods used in the United States army.  Special attention is given to gymnastics for the young women and they have a well arranged gymnasium filed up and two large pools are connected with the men and women’s dormitories.

The Library building is the gift of Carnegie; the architecture is colonial and cost $20,000; It is two story and ais 50 x 110.  An effort is being made to secure every pamphlet, book, newspaper, magazine and other works published by our people, so that this library will be the center of Information regarding literature published by the race.  The Bible training school has an enrollment of seventy-three this year and has sent out fifty three graduates.  The chapel seats over 2,000 persons and it is one of the grandest delights to see the auditorium filled with young men and women, and their choir of over <..can’t read number…> voices accompanied by the orchestra of 18 pieces, all join in singing anthems of praise to our God, who has redeemed us and given us such a privilege to worship him under the guidance of Tuskegee.

The constant aim is to correlate the <…> and industrial training that the student cannot get one without the other; hence the students go to school one day and the next day works at his trade and skill to accommodate all, the school is operated day and night.  You never find an idler in Tuskegee, every hour must be accounted for.  There is a great demand for the “Tuskegee graduates.  A position awaits them and as soon as they receive their diplomas they are placed at the head of some enterprise.

The Tuskegee school opened about twenty-five years ago in a rented house with thirty pupils; today the total value of property, equipment and endowment is about $2,075,000 with an annual payroll of $102,152.03 for teachers’ salary and current expenses.  Tuskegee is not only a great manufacturing school, but is is the great money center, and it is the magnet that has attracted the wealthiest and best people of the land.  At the head of this institution stands Prof. Booker T. Washington, who has made the school the greatest normal and industrial institution of the age, and year by year he and the school have increased in popularity and usefulness, and before them stand today a vast multitude of people anxious for a continuance of this great work.

– Preston Taylor

Franklin Notes (1 Mar 1907)

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

Franklin Notes

  • Miss Mittie Halfacre, of East Franklin, who has been spending some time in Nashville, has returned home and entered upon her school work last Monday morning.
  • Miss Lula Halfacre, who has been visiting friends and relatives at this place and in Nashville, has returned to Rochester, New York.

*****************************************
Additional Notes

  • Araminta “Mittie” Halfacre was born in March of 1876 in Tennesse. She is the daughter of Archer & Peggy Halfacre. Lula is her sister, (born in October of 1877).  See the family in the 18701880, 1900, 1910, 1920 census records.  They were the eldest of many children born to the couple.
  • Mittie died May 8th, 1915 in Williamson County.
  • Her mother, Peggy, died March 11th, 1915.

Untitled

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

Mrs. P.J. Ewing entertained in honor of Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Williams and their little daughter, Ethel.  Those present were Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Williams, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Harris, Mr. and Mrs. Mack Balke, Misses McCants, Eugenia C. and Mattie D. Walker; Messrs. Scott, Smith, Andrews, Sawyer, McFall and King.  The hostess did all in her power to make things pleasant.  At half past eleven they were ushered into the dining room, where a two course menu was served, after which many lovely toasts were given.  Mrs. Williams left the next day for Birmingham, Ala., Mr. Williams for Chicago.  We wish them much success and hope to see them next fall.  Mrs. Sam Harris left for Kansas City, Kan., to visit her mother.

Dr. Roman at St. John

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

Dr. C.V. Roman, the talented specialist, will address the Allen Christian Endeavor League at St. John A.M.E. Church Sunday evening at seven o’clock. Dr. Roman is one of the leading thinkers of the age. He has traveled and studied abroad, and is clean reasoner and a pleasant entertainer. It is always a rare treat to hear Dr. Roman and no one can listen to his words of instruction without being benefited. The endeavor league is making strenuous of the National Convention of Endeavors in July, and they feel highly complimented in having Dr. Roman to address the league on next Sunday evening at seven o’clock.

Shelbyville Notes

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907
pg. 2

Shelbyville Notes

  • Mr. William Greer and wife are very ill.
  • Mrs. Sarah Sutton who has been very sick, is much improved.
  • Mr. Joe McChristian, of Louiseville, Ky., is visiting relatives in the city.
  • E.J. Cannon, of Nashville, is here this week.
  • Miss Mary Birkeen, of Nashville, is visiting relatives here.
  • Mr. Pleasant McChristian, is indisposed.
  • Mrs. Vicey Garrett, who had been very ill for five months, has recovered.
  • Mrs. Mary Cannon, who has been in ill health for twelve months, has gained her health again.

Visiting Fisk

At the end of June/beginning of July, I was on vacation and my family and I did various things around Nashville – one of those items being a trip to Fisk University.  My husband wanted the kids to see the HBCU campus and we talked throughout the day about the importance of education.  I found the trip very rewarding, for it has helped solidify my interest in blacks in Nashville and helped me further appreciate the rich history here in town.  I blogged about our trip on my main blog.

It was neat to walk the campus and hear the history, and hear many names that I’ve learned of through my activity on this blog.  For example,  now that I’ve seen and been inside the Fisk Memorial Chapel and learned of it’s history, it makes it easier to place stories like the report on the Merchant of Venice production in a more real setting.

I hope to continue to learn even more as I continue this project.

Professor F.G. Smith

Yesterday’s Wordless Wednesday post contained a picture of Prof. F.G. Smith – a former principle of Pearl High School.   The picture was taken from the August 23, 1903 issue of the Colored American, a black newspaper out of Washington D.C.  Prof. Smith was from Selma, Alabama and attended Fisk University graduating in the class of 1877.  At the time of this article, he had been principle at Pearl High School for 8 years.

This article mentions several accomplished businessmen of Nashville, one of which I have blogged about before.   The accomplishments of Prof. F.G. Smith are many; some taken from the article include:

  • through the combined efforts of his and the teachers the school was ranked as one of the first high schools in the south for the exclusive education of blacks
  • Prof. Smith liked continuing education – took a course at Meharry in Medicine & Pharmacy, as well as a course in Shorthand & Typewriting from Fall’s Business College
  • was the first man in the state of TN to pass the State Board of Pharmacy held at Vanderbilt University
  • held three degrees but was humble, never attaching degrees to his name
  • was an accomplished orator

In looking through posts I’ve made so far, I found one mention of Prof. F.G. Smith from notes of Pearl High in February 1907 noting that he’d named the high school’s valedictorian and salutatorian.

Tyree Camp Fifth Anniversary

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1908

Residence of Mrs. E.G. Coffey Scene of Gala Meeting. Spacious Parlors Crowded to Their Utmost – Members and Friends Listen to Addresses and Reports with Keen Interest – Much Good Accomplished.

Tyree Camp, a branch of an organization of societies of the St. John A.M.E. Church, celebrated its fifth anniversary at the residence of Mrs. E.G. COFFEY on Thirteenth avenue North, last Friday evening. A large number of friends had been invited, and when Mrs. Sara ROSE called the meeting to order the parlors were crowded with the Camp members and the guests. Mrs. RHODES stated the purpose of the meeting, and announced the first number on program which was an instrumental selection by Miss Brucie Mai EWING, the talented organist of the St. John A.M.E. Church. Miss EWING was equal to the occasion, rendering her selection with grace and ease. Prayer was offered by Rev. C.E. ALEXANDER, pastor of the Hubbard Chapel M.E. Church. Miss Mattie E. ALEXANDER, daughter of the Rev. ALEXANDER rendered an instrumental solo which was highly enjoyed by all.

Mrs. E.C. COFFEY, president of the Tyree Camp, was then introduced. She gave a brief history of the camp, noting its accomplishments during the five years it had been in existence. She told of the efforts put forth, and how friends of other churches had helped them in the struggle.

Miss Lizzie DICKERSON was the next to speak. Miss DICKERSON is secretary of all the several camps working in the interest of the church. She gave the statistics of money collected and how the same had been expended. Her statement showed that the camps have raised nearly $2,599 and had paid the whole, less expenses, on the church debt. Mrs. Lula ALLEN, who was one of the first to join in the Camp work, spoke words of praise and encouragement. Dr. M.J. GREGG, D.D., of Jacksonville, Fla., who is the corresponding secretary of the Allen Christian Endeavor Department of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was the next speaker He said the twentieth century promised to be the woman’s age. The coming of Christ brought her emancipation, and in this age she has ceased to be considered as a beast of burden, but as truly man’s companion and helper. He spoke in glowing terms of the great accomplishments by the women of the St. John. A.M.E. Church and wished for them continued success.

Miss Vera L. MOORE, a member of the faculty at Walden University, rendered an instrumental solo. Miss MOORE’s rendition was above the average and brought forth great applause.

Bishop E. TYREE, for whom the Camp is named, was the next speaker. He said he had watched the work of the Camps with much interest and was proud to have his name identified with them. Bishop TYREE said since the time he received a telegram from Dr. WATSON, the secretary of the Church’s Extension Board to represent at the sale of the church, several years ago, and to save the property he had received many for acting as he did; but he considered the telegram from the Church Extension Secretary to mean what it contained and he acted. However, all were compelled to admit now that it was the best investment that had been made by the board during its history. He said the fact that the Baptists and other friends had helped the Camp members to save St. John A.M.E. Church was as it ought to be and it should be so in every struggle the race has. The dominant race has taken everything from us but the churches and school houses, and when one of them is in peril every Negro, irrespective of creed, should put his shoulder to the wheel and help push.

Dr. T.W. HAIGLER, pastor of the church for which the camp is working, was the last speaker. He said he has been given the new name of fussy pastor, but as long as the dollars continued to roll in he would continue fussing. He said he was very much concerned about the “something else” he had heard mentioned and would not be lengthy in his remarks, but would get out of the way for the “something else.”

Miss Vera L. MOORE rendered another of her choice selections and the exercises were brought to a close. The guests were invited to the dining hall where all were served to the sumptuous repast served in buffet style in courses, after which the fifth anniversary of Tyree Camp celebration passed into history.

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