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

Arsenic in their Coffee

Trenton Evening Times (New Jersey)
29 Jul 1889

Dastardly Attempt to Poison the South’s Richest Colored Woman.  Nashville, Tenn., July 29 —- Lucy Bedford, aged 85, and Emily Parsons, her niece, both colored,  have been poisoned by arsenic which was placed in their coffee.  Miss Parsons died last night and Miss Bedford is in a critical condition.  Lucy Bedford is probably the riches colored woman in the south, having been given an estate worth $100,000 by the will of her former owner.  Four negro servants of Miss Bedford are under arrest on suspeicion of the crime, the object of which is unkonw.   It is said that on Miss Bedford’s death her property is to revert to relatives of her former master. 

Catherine Small a negro woman who had formally been employed as a cook, confessed that she put arsenic in the coffee in order to kill Gracey Hunter, a negress who now cooks for the old women, and whom Catherine accused of taking her place in their employ.  She is in jail. 

A Nashville Boy’s Good Record

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

As the closing days of the Meharry Medical College draw nigh, and as the senior class begin to make preparations to bid adieu to old friends and familiar scenes, one begins to look around to see the personalities of the class.  Many familiar faces are seen therein.  Some of the young men have spent seven and eight years attending school in Nashville, but as a rule they come from distant cities.  It is often the case that the home boys go elsewhere to finish because of the old maxim, “A Prophet is not without honor save in his own country.”  This however, has not been the case with Richard Cheatham Hunter, the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. James L. Hunter of 1309 Hynes street, who finishes with the class of 1907, Meharry.

Young Mr. Hunter has spent all of his life in this city, having been born corner Fifth avenue and Broadway just twenty-five years ago.  He finished his grammar school education in the city schools of Nashville, then entered Fisk and finished the college department with the class of 1903.  While looking around to see what profession he would like to take, he was absent from Nashville only about two years, then returned and decided to take a medical course.  He entered Meharry and from the beginning has shown remarkable ability as a pupil.  He has studied hard in order to get all there was to be had out of his studies.  He has been recently offered a position as one of the interns at the Freedman’s Hospital,  Washington, D.C. and will probably leave this week to accept.  This will give him a wonderful opporutnity to further fit himself for the profession.  But, in accepting the intern, he must reject the recent honor thrust upon him by the class in making him their salutatorian.  But in the face of the advantages to be derived from the stay in the hospital at Washington, and because he must go at once, if he expects to accept the offer, the class decided that they could allow him to go with their best wishes.  Hence they unanimously agreed.  Just who will be elected to succeed Mr. Hunter as the salutatorian has not been learned.  All of Nashville will no doubt feel proud to send forth into the medical profession such a promising young man, who was so singularly honored by such a large class.  He stands well not only in his class and at school, but with the people of the city, many of whom have known him since boyhood.  Just where he will locate after leaving the Freedman Hospital is not known.

One of the beautiful characteristics of his career has been that he has been one of the few self-supporting young men, notwithstanding his long college career at the two schools, he has managed to make his own way.  His future will be watched with the deepest interest by his friends and acquaintances at home.

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Additional Information

  • See Richard in the 1912 Fisk Catalogue. By 1912, he was living in Chicago, Illinois.
  • See Richard in the 1912 Meharry Catalogue (go to page 43 of 80).  Here, he is listed as being in Edwington, Alberta, Canada.
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