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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.
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Funeral of Myrtle Callahan Chadwell

Impressive Funeral Services Held Over Remains of Mrs. Myrtle Callahan Chadwell, Monday, January 18th

Mt. Ararat Baptist Church Jammed to Capacity with Friends and Acquaintances of Deceased

22 Jan 1960, Nashville Globe Newspaper

Mrs. Myrtle Callahan CHADWELL died at a local infirmary, Wednesday morning, January 13th at 10:45, after a short illness.  Mrs. CHADWELL was born in Lincoln County, at Dellrose, Tennessee, July 12, 1912., the daughter of Marshall and Mattie CALLAHAN.  She grew up under a noble Christian influence, which early inspired her to look forward to the better things in life.  Attending the school of her community, she grew in knowledge and understanding and imbibed the spirit of her mother and father and mother, which influenced her life in the way of noble living, which she clung to, to the end of her earthly career.

In the year of 1924, she moved to Nashville, a young and energetic woman; she attended the schools in Davidson County.  Professing a hope in Christ early in her young life, at the First Baptist Church in Rock City, under the Rev. William PITT, who was a the time, the pastor.  In 1930 she was wooed and won by Mr. Sora W. CHADWELL, and united in the holy bonds of matrimony, then she moved her membership to the Mt. Ararat Baptist Church.  To this happy union six children were born, of this number, two preceded her in death.

Her pastor, Rev. Felix H. NEW, delivered an impressive and worthy Mrs. CHADWELL, throughout her membership career; and said the pastor, “Myrtle was an asset and not a liability to Mt. Ararat.”  Papers and resolutions read attested the esteem and love held for the deceased: her friends and acquaintances were in attendance from all walks of life and all parts of Nashville.  Rev. L.R. HALL, assistant pastor of Mt. Ararat; Rev. William PITT, and Rev. Samuel H. SIMPSON, made brief remarks giving words of comfort to the bereaved family.

Mrs. Myrtle CHADWELL leaves to mourn her passing, a husband, Mr. Sora W. CHADWELL, two sons, Wayman N. and John N. CHADWELL; two daughters, Mrs. Cornelia BAIRD and Mrs. Ethel JOHNSON; one steps-son, Sora W. CHADWELL, Jr., four sisters, Mrs. Jerena MERRITT, Mrs. Lucy HARDING, Mrs. Wynona HARDING and Mrs. Elease HARRIS; seven grandchildren, seven nieces; two nephews; two aunts, one great-aunt; one uncle; father-in-law; mother-in-law; two sons-in-law; two daughters-in-law; and

“Sunset” and evening star,
a best of relatives and friends.
And one clear call for me;
And may there be no moaning at the bar;
When I put out to sea.”



It has been awhile since I posted to this blog, but I just had to share this story.  This morning as I was perusing my Google Reader items, I came across a blog post from the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections blog.  The blog post discusses a hymal of gospel songs originally published by Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, that was republished in the book Gospel Pearls by the National Baptist Convention Sunday School Publishing Board.

Given my experience with the African-American history of Nashville, I immediately recognized the name of the company as it was founded here in Nashville and I’ve read many a newspaper article about them and their employees; I’ve even visited the grave site of the company’s founder, Rev. Richard Henry Boyd.

As I kept reading the blog post, Nashville is never mentioned, but then I read the name of the woman who compiled Gospel Pearls — her name was Willa Townsend, and she even included one of her own hymnals in the publication.  I recognized her name immediately too as I’d done some work on Willa’s family tree as I’d been contacted a couple of years ago by descendants of hers who found me via this blog.  Willa Hadley was married to Dr. Arthur Townsend, a graduate of Meharry Medical College.   A notice of their marriage appears in the 1902 issue of the alumni newsletter of Meharry, available on their website.

I cannot wait to share this new information with her descendants!


In Loving Memory: Mrs. Mary Holt

From the May 20, 1960 issue of the Nashville Globe

Mrs. Mary Holt

In Loving memory of my dear wife; Mrs. Mary HOLT, who passed away one year ago, May 25, 1959.  Sis.  HOLT was the wife of the Rev. R.E. HOLT, pastor of the Olive Baptist Church.  And a devoted member of the said church.

Sleep on dear Wife
” ‘Tis God who thought best
To take you from this world of sorrow
To a lovely place of rest.”

Day by day I’m striving to meet you
In that fair Heavenly home,
” ‘Tis the land where all is happiness
Up there where sorrow is unknown.”

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Angels guard thy sleeping clay.
I am working forward
To see you resurrection day.

Rev. R.E. Holt, husband
Church and Family

City Items – March 1, 1907

From the Nashville Globe – 1 Mar 1907

  • Mrs. P.R. Burrus, Mrs. N.J. Anderson, Mrs. Ligon, Mrs. R.S. White, Mrs. Ferguson and Miss Lena Jackson, representing the esteem and love of many of their friends, came laden with good things Saturday night to the parsonage of Howard Church, making the hearts of the pastor and wife glad.  Rev. J. Bond says  “Come again.”
  • The Misses Franklin, of 78 Claiborne street, were called to North Nashville Tuesday morning to attned the funeral of their cousin, Carrie E. Cleveland.
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Becton, of 819 Stevens street, left for Battle Creek, Mich., Saturday night.
  • There will be a parlor concert on Wednesday evening, March 6, at the residence of Miss Mattie Matthews, 440 Eigth avenue, North, by the Willing Workers Club for the benefit of Tabernacle Baptist Church.
  • Miss Zenith McKatherine, who waited on her sick father until his death, never wearied, her kind hands were willing to do all they could to add to his comfort.  One year ago she left Walden University, and went to Lake Providence to attend her father, Mr.  Thom. McKatherine.  She did her duty lovingly and faithfully until the end.
  • Mr. I.W. Hydye, of 1606 Alberta Avenue, is suffering from influenza.
  • Mr. John Watkins arrived from New Orleans Tuesday night.
  • Mr. Jno. Langston Poole, of Meharry Medical College, leaves this week for Chicago.
  • The Meharry commencement has been changed from the first of April to the 29th of March.
  • Mrs. I.J. Jordan, of 514 Watkins street, who has been ill, is much improved.
  • Mr. William D. Boger was called to Marietta, Ga., last Saturday to attend the funeral of his grandmother who died last Friday.  He returned to the city Monday.
  • Prof. W.L. Cansler, though still confined to his room, is improving.
  • Quite a large number of Meharry boys left last Saturday for Chicago.
  • The Fisk Literary Club will hold its next meeting at the home of Miss Laura Stump, Twelfth avenue, North and Jackson street, March 7, at three o’clock.
  • Mrs. Myrtle Hicks and children have returned to their home in Indianapolis after a visit to her mother Mrs. Hill.
  • Mr. Eugene Clayton, of East Nasvhille, will leave in a few days for New York, Buffalo and Washington, D.C.  Mr. Clayton will be out of the city for about two weeks.
  • Attorney G.F. Anderson took a brief trip to Gallatin, Tenn., on legal business and it was quite successful.  He also made a trip to Livingston, Tenn.
  • The young ladies’ club of the First Baptist Church, East Nashville, will give their entertainment March 11.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Frank Carter were called to their home in Evansville, Ind., on the account of sudden illness of her mother.
  • The young men’s club of First Baptist Church, East Nashville, gave an entertainment Monday night which proved quite a success.
  • The death of Mrs. Mary Mason, mother of Miss Queenie Arnold, of East Nashville, was very sad.  The funeral took place Tuesday.
  • The Ladies’ Imperial Needlework Club met in regular meeting with Mrs. Napoleon Ransom, Wedndesday afternoon.  Several important topics were discussed, after which an article on “What women are doing” was read by Mrs. Herrod, which was very effective.  The ladies adjourned to meet next week with Mrs. J.H. Smith, of Phillips street.
  • Mrs. A.C. Gibson, of South High street, who has been reported very sick, is much improved.
  • Mr. Louis D. Bumbrey, who for some time was in the employ of the National Baptist Publishing Board, is in town.
  • Mrs. A.E. Montague, of 526 Fourth avenue, South, is slightly indispose this week.
  • The many friends of Mrs. A.J. Dodd will regret to learn that she is confined to her bed again.  At this writing she is improving.
  • Miss Annie May Neely has returned to the city after a month’s stay with her uncle in Columbia.  Mr. Harry McLawrine, who has been visiting his mother in Mt. Pleasant, accompanied Miss Neely back to the city.
  • Mrs. William Dopson, of 1892 Fourth avenue, North, is going to spend the latter part of the month in Columbia, Ohio.
  • Mrs. Ella Brown Beard passed away on the 22nd of this month.  Her funeral was held on the 24th at the Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church.
  • Mrs. James Dismukes entertained Wednesday at her home, 516 Fourteenth avenue, North.  Mrs. Wm. Richardson, of 1207 Phillips street, and Mrs. W.M. Cannon and little daughter, Glenora, with a one o’clock dinner.
  • Born to Mr. and Mrs. George L. Stratton, of 1507 Fourteenth avenue, a girl.  Mother and daughter are doing nicely.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Richard Jackson were entertained at her home 315 Eighth avenue, North, with her many friends, Monday night, February 25, she being thirty-four years old.  Those prsent were Mesdames Warmack, Frierson, Burrus, Dozier, Young, Overton, Misses Josie Thompson, Bell, Messrs. Jordan, Overton.  Dr. B.F. Davis spoke to the guests on “Life is what you make it.”  A number of presents were received by Mrs. Jackson.
  • Mrs. Lyttleton Jones has been confined to her bed for several days, suffering from an attack of la-grippe.  Mrs. Jones and daughter, Mrs. Kate Steele are located at 707 Jefferson street and Seventh avenue, North.
  • Mrs. Eliza Davidson, who has been sick for the last two weeks, is very much improved.
  • Mr. Jno. L. Cheatham, of 819 Eighteenth avenue, is on the sick list this week.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Prince, of Patterson street, spent Sunday and Sunday night in Franklin with his mother, who is very ill.
  • Mrs. Whigsaw, of 1918 Broadway, is expecting her two sisters from Indianapolis soon.
  • Mrs. Rueben O’Neal, who has been sick for several weeks, is up and out again.  She wishes to thank her many friends for their kindness during her illness.

Spruce Street Church Revival

Nashville Globe – 1 Mar 1907

Spruce Street Church Revival — A revival meeting is now progressing at the old Mother Church on Spruce street.  One particular character about this revival is that it was begun on Washington’s birthday which keeps up the wish of the late Father Merry; it was always his custom to begin his revivals on the 22d of February, and thus celebrate the anniversary of the “Father of the Country” and at the same time begin an active work for saving of souls.  

This year, Rev. T.J. Townsend of Brownsville, Tennessee, which was recently called to the pastorate of Spruce Street Church, is conducting the revival.  Already tremendous success has been met with.  Up to Wednesday, 30 confessions had been reported with many more seeking for the faith.  Rev. Townsend proposes to make this the most vigorous religious campaign ever held, in Nashville.   Members and friends of the church, irrespective of the denomination, are showing their interest and sympathy in the movement by contributing their presence.  An appreciative audience has been noticed during the first few souls, are added to the church and many more converted.  A new and effective way of advertising this meeting has been inaugurated, that is badges are being pinced on all who will wear them, showing that the revival is in progress and that they are in sympathetic cooperation.

New Officers of Allen League

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

The installation of officers who will serve the Allen Christian Endeavor League, will take place at the Saint Paul A.M.E. Church on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 o’clock. This will come in conjunction with the regular business meeting which is usually held on the first Sunday in each month, while the others Sundays in the months ere only for special programs and devotional exercise. The following officers will be installed; Prof. J. B. Batte, President; Miss M.M. Wyms, Vice President; Miss Ella Dunlap, Secretary; Miss Willa Nichols; Assistant Treasurer; Mr. Burton Campbell, Chorister. The friends and visitors are expected in large numbers.

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.

Prince Herman

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907
pg. 2

Packed houses greeted Prince Herman and Duke Berryman this week at Lea Avenue Christian Church, Patterson Chapel M.E. Church, Fifth Avenue Baptist Church, Abrahams Hall and St. Paul A.M.E. Church.

Next week they play at Zion Baptist Church on Brick Church Pike, Monday night, March 4.

Bethel A.M.E. Church, Tenth street between Division and Stephens, Tuesday night, March 5.

North Sixth Street Baptist Church, Wednesday night, March 6.

Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Thursday night, March 7, and on Friday night, March 8, they give their star performance at Meharry Auditorium.

Rev. Merry Writes to the Nashville Union & American

Chicago Tribune
18 Aug 1874
pg. 4

[My Note: the A.G. Merry in the article is in fact, Nelson Grover (N.G.) Merry.]

The editor of the Christian Advocate will probably not attempt a defense of the Rev. J.W. Alword because he is colored. It may not irritate him to learn that a colored minister has been accused of roguery. The charge is brought by another colored clergyman, the Rev. A.G. Merry, pastor of the First Colored Baptist Church of Nashville. The latter minister writes some vigorous English to the Nashville Union and American, explaining the manner in which the Nashville branch of the Freedman’s Bank was conducted. The branch was established in 1865; several colored ministers were placed on the Advisory Board; the parent bank at Washington was in the habit of sending agents to the Southern cities to hold public meetings in aid of the bank; these meetings were called by the colored clergymen, and the poor colored people urged by them to deposit in the Freedman’s Bank. This was the mode of advertising adopted. Mr. Alvord, one of these ministerial agents, says Mr. Merry, used his pulpit to tell the Nashville colored people that every dollar of the bank was invested in United States bonds. The writer says:

“Mr. Alvord is a preacher, and I am one also. I want the world and all mankind to know that I have now found out that the Rev. J. W. Alword stood up in my pulpit and told a lie, thereby fooling many, and increasing the confidence of all present in the bank. Unless he repents of this sin (which is a great sin), hell will be his home.

Whether the last sentence interests anybody or not is not material, except to the Advocate, but another conclusion reached by Mr. Merry is more deserving of consideration. He says:

“I have long since consoled myself with the idea and conviction that the former slaveholder will give us good advice and come as near doing the right as any one else, and that in many instances he will do more.

The italics are his own. It is the fault of Mr. Merry, in common with others, that this doctrine has grown out of fashion among the colored people.

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.