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



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.

City B.Y.P.U. Organized

Nashville Globe
22 Feb 1907

One of the largest missionary meetings ever held in Nashville for young people was held in the Sunday school rooms of Mt. Olive Baptist Church Sunday afternoon, February 17. The meeting was called to order at 2:30pm by Rev. W.L. Craft, who is the field secretary of the B.Y.P.U. Board. At this meeting a long step in the right direction was made which resulted in the organization in Nashville of what will be known as “The City B.Y.P.U.” Every Baptist church in the cit has been invited to join, and, in fact, all save one or two were represented either in person or by proxy at the meeting Sunday. Rev. C.H. Clark, the pastor, towering as he does above all others, encouraged the movement in the most hearty way possible. An excellent program was rendered. An opening chorus was sung by the Mt. Olive choir. Scripture was read by Rev. C.K. Wilson. Then came prayer. A song by the choir, then came the discussion, which was “The Union a Factor in the Missionary Development of our Denomination.” This discussion was led by Revs. Clark, Slaughter, Harding, Parr, Page and Matthews, and Rev. Draine and others were invited to make speeches on the subject. Miss Maud Roberts, of Walden University, was present and sang “Teach Me Thy Way” sweeter than it has ever been heard in Nashville.

“Our Needs” was discussed by the Dr. E.W.D. Isaac, the Corresponding Secretary of the B.Y.P.U. Board. Mrs. L.A. Davis played an instrumental solo. Possibly the most interesting and entertaining piece on the program was the trio by Miss Reed, Mrs. Henderson, and Dr. A.M. Townsend. Their voices charmed the audience. Every one strained their ears to catch every note of the sweet music made by them.

A committee on Organization was nominated and while they were out, Miss M.M. Kimball, of Louisville, who represents the Woman’s Auxillary Convention, addressed the audience. The committee reported the following officers as the first for the ensuing year: J. Blaine Boyd, Miss Mattie Matthews, Tabernacle Church, First Vice President; Mr. Jesse Voorhees, Kayne Avenue Church, Second Vice President; Mr. Wm. Cantrell, St. John Baptist Church, Third Vice President; Miss Maggie Stubbs, First Baptist Church, Recording Secretary; E. W. D. Isaac, Jr.; Spruce Street Baptist Church; Miss Matilda Williams, First Baptist Church, East Nashville, Treasurer; Mr. Wm. Sheffield, New Hope Church, Chorister; Dr. A.M. Townsend, Spruce Street Baptist Church, Organist.

It was agreed that the Union would meet once per month and that one month’s notice would be given for all churches to prepare special subjects and present their claims for those on program. The first monthly meeting will be held March 17, which is the third Sunday in March, at the Pleasant Green Baptist Church. The meeting will be called together promptly at 8 o’clock. Indications are that a large number of young people will be brought into this working organization.

City Items – Feb 22, 1907 (Part 1)

Nashville Globe – City Items (Part 1)
February 22, 1907

  • The Households of Ruth, the ladies department of the Odd Fellows, had their installation in the Odd Fellows hall on Spring street, East Nashville, Monday night. After a business meeting it was turned over to a committee and it proved one of the most enjoyable social gatherings of the season. The tables were elaborately decorated in ferns and palm, and a four course menu was served.
  • Mr. Frank Carter, of Ohio, accompanied by his wife, is in the city, the guests of his mother, Mrs. Ella Carter of Lischey Avenue.
  • Mr. George Darden, of Williams street, is suffering from a sprained ankle caused by a fall.
  • Mrs. Julia Bosley, of St. Louis, is the guest of Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Kennedy, who live across the new bridge on Hyde’s Ferry Pike. She has been out of the city for twenty years. Mrs. Bosley is the sister of Mr. Fred Bains.
  • Mrs. Annie Hatcher has been very sick for two weeks at her residence, 62 Green street.
  • Miss Alberta R. Harrison, of 1226 Fourth avenue, South, was very much delighted over the birthday present which she received from her little niece Alberta Bell Porter, of Chicago, Ill.
  • Miss Bettie E. Allen, of Twenty-first avenue, entertained in honor of a few friends last Thursday evening. The features of the evening were whist and other games. The parlor was beautifully arrayed in palms and vines. Among those present were Johnnie Avy and Lizella, of Murfreesboro, Kate Boze, Julia McChristine, Daisy McRoberts, Messrs. R.M. Mason, Arthur Harris, John Massey, John McCoy, Dr. Johnson. A two-course menu was served.
  • Miss Daisy Roberts left Nashville Saturday in route to Algood, Tenn., where she will attend the bedside of her father, who is very sick.
  • The Marechal Niel Club held a pleasant meeting Thursday afternoon with Mrs. Julia Flagg, at her home on Eighth street. They added three new members to the club. The Flagg home was beautified with ferns, and refreshments were served during the fine social hours. Interesting topics were brought before the club and matters of general interest discussed.
  • Col. B.F. Johnson, Uniform Rank, K. of P., of Chattanooga, Tenn., spent last Friday in the city attending the meeting of the Endowment Board of the Knights of Pythias.
  • Mrs. Cage Cannon, who has been ill, is able to be out again.
  • Mr. N.N. Reynolds, of Pulaski, spent Friday and Saturday in the city. Mr. Reynolds is Grand Lecturer for the Court of Calanthe and reports that the order is progressing.
  • Mr. B.J. Fernandis, of Memphis, spent three days in the city last week attending the regular quarterly meeting of the Endowment Board of the Knights of Pythias.
  • President Merrill, of Fisk University, addressed the congregation after the regular sermon at the First Street Baptist Church Sunday morning. The sermon, which was a very powerful one, was preached by the pastor, Rev. W.S. Ellington.
  • Miss Mamie L. Alexander, of Providence, Tenn., spent Sunday with her mother, Mrs. Matilda Alexander, of 704 Ewing avenue.
  • Mrs. Marie Ransoms, of William street, gave an elegant luncheon Tuesday evening, her guests including Mrs. A. Julius Williams, Mrs. Mabel Overton, Mrs. C. McGavock, and Mrs. Mamie Turner. The table was radiant in decorations, the table having a centerpiece of a cluster of crimson & purple.

Marriages from the Meharry News – 1902

Marriages as announced in the 1902 Meharry News. See the Mehary Library Archives page for more information.

  • Dr. Cato H. Wilson & Mattie E. Warren married in Americus, Georgia
  • Minnie Lee Gibson to Dr. J. Lucian Carwins
  • Violet Black & Dr. E.W.D. Alexander married in Austin, Texas
  • Indianna Cobb and Mr. J.M. Robinson
  • Dr. A.M. Townsend & Willie Hadley
  • Dr. A.J. Davis & Nannie Pegram
  • Dr. A.J. Jordan & Ida Pegram
  • Dr. Charles R. Cooper & Eunice Lois Chesterfield
  • Dr. E.G. Overby & Docia Claggett
  • Wm. Sevier & Annie Spikes
  • Dr. J. Ballard Hughes & J. Olivia Ratcliff – Bowling Green, Kentucky
  • Gabriella E. Mays & S. Means Plair – Jacksonville, Florida
  • Dr. Jesse B. Covington & Jennie B. Murphy

One name in this list that I recognized was that of Dr. A.M. Townsend. His name has appeared in several articles I’ve transcribed from the Nashville Globe and shared on this blog. I also have one article up so far that mentions his wife, though her name was printed as Willa instead of Willie.

The Nashville Public Library has an index of marriages in Nashville between 1864-1905 and Townsend & Hadley do not appear there, despite the fact that got married here in Nashville at the Spruce Street Church. It goes to show you have to rely on multiple sources!

The Be-Quick Club

Nashville Globe – 22 Feb 1907

The Ladies Be-Quick Club of Spruce Street Baptist Church met at the residence of Mrs. Nellie Young Tuesday afternoon, February 12, 1907, and elected the following officers: Mrs. Lottie Kelly, President; Mrs. E.B. Lucas, Vice President; Mrs. H.E. Clark, Secretary; Miss Allie Bates, Assistant Secretary; Mrs. Nellie Young, Treasurer; Mrs. Fannie Clayborn, Chaplain.

A very interesting meeting was held last Tuesday evening at the residence of Mrs. Rebecca Foster, Eigth Avenue North.  The next meeting will be held at the residence of Mrs. Lula Bullock, Twelfth avenue North.  All members of the church are urgently requested to be present and take an active part in the meeting.  “Be-Quick” is our motto.

Roger Williams Alumni

Roger Williams Alumni
Nashville Globe – February 15, 1907
pg. 3

On account of the heavy fall of snow and sleet in Nashville, which was still much in evidence on last Friday night, only a small crowd was present at the silver tea party at the Spruce Street Baptist Church, which was given by the Alumni and friends of Roger Williams University. An excellent program had been prepared. One of the unique features of the entertainment was a very beautifully decorated banner stretched across the length of the church containing the letters “Roger Williams University” in silver paper. This banner was indeed attractive being the handiwork of Mrs. Carrie Young and Miss Hester O. Brown. Both of these ladies worked diligently to make this entertainment a success.

More than a thousand special appeals and invitations were sent throughout the United States to the address of all the students who once attended the school. It is expected that a substantial response will be received. Miss Brown gratuitously gave her services, rendering some excellent violin solos. Others prominent in the public eye responded likewise. The receipts, while not as large as expected, were encouraging.

Society News – June 28, 1907

As published in the Nashville Globe:

These are a listing of notices posted – the label of “Society News” is mine. They do not fall under any particular section of the newspaper.

  • Dr. Garfield Glass, of class of ’98 Meharry Medical College, went to Dawson Springs last week for his health.
  • Miss Bashie Williams, of 1717 Tenth avenue, South, left last Saturday for Chicago.
  • Mrs. Lizzie Henderson, of Chicago, is the guest of her niece, Mrs. Nicholas Perkins, of 1512 Harding street.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Robt. C. Eason spent a delightful afternoon Sunday in the country near Brentwood.
  • Mrs. C. McGann, of Eigth avenue, North, was confined to her room Tuesday by a a slight indisposition.
  • Mr. James H. Davis, of 610 Sylvan street, is very sick.
  • Mr. Robert Williams, of 115 Jackson street, is indisposed this week.
  • Mrs. Samuel Caruthers, of Columbia, with her children, “Bob” and Bona, will spend two weeks in the city visiting Mr. and Mrs. William Caruthers, of 611 Jo Johnston avenue.
  • Miss Ruthella, the little daughter of Dr. and Mrs. G. H. Bandy, has gone to the Hermitage to spend several weeks with her grandparents.
  • Miss Cora Allen, of the Baptist Publishing house, is confined at home on account of sickness.
  • Mrs. A. L. King, of Fourth avenue, South, is slightly indisposed.
  • Mrs. Missouri Allen, of Pulaski, Tenn., is visiting her brother, Prof. J.B. Batte.
  • Mrs. Josie O. Hughes is visiting relatives in the city.
  • Miss Sadie Stratton, of 632 Bass street, who has been very sick, is much improved.
  • Mrs. W. D. Chappelle and children are home after spending a while with relatives and friends at Columbia, S.C.
  • Isabella Horton, the world’s girl evangelist, will speak at Spruce Street Baptist Church on Sunday afternoon.
  • Mr. W.O. Tate, of Eighth avenue, North, is taking a week “off” for recuperation. Tuesday he spent the evening in the country with Dr. Noel, Wednesday he spent part of the day making rounds with Dr. Stewart, and the rest of the week was spent around and about home, working out of the program arranged daily by Mrs. Tate, his genial, affable and most industrious wife.