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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.
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Nashville Retrospect – the new newspaper in town

Nashville has a new newspaper and I love it!  Last month, my husband came home with a copy of the Nashville Retrospect and I thought it was one of the best ideas I’d seen in awhile.

The Nashville Retrospect was just started a few months ago and each issue contains several newspaper articles from Nashville’s newspapers of past.  It includes a variety of stories and pictures from old news headlines and makes for entertaining reading.  As a proponent of the genealogical and historical value of old newspapers, I was ecstatic to see this paper and plan on sending off for a subscription at the beginning of the new year.

Contributions to the paper come from a number of Nashville residents, a few whose names I am already familiar with.   There is a nice  “Contents Timeline” feature as well which displays all the stories in the issue in chronological order.  There are marriage notices, death notices, interviews with elders in the community, and advertisements of all kinds.  The librarian in me immediately wants to start indexing it, but alas, it is not a project I can even think of having time for right now.  I wonder if there is a library in town that will?

I can’t wait for my next issue!


News from Jackson

The following items are from the Afro-American Sentinel, a newspaper published in Jackson, Madison County, Tennessee.  The Tennessee State Library & Archives has only one issue on microfilm – October 11, 1890.  The following news items are excerpted from page 3.

Afro-American Sentinel
October 11, 1890

Local News

  • You must register today or lose your vote in Nov.
  • Colored people pay your pole taxes and get a recept for the same, so you can vote in Nov.
  • All the books needed for Lane Institute and the public schools will be found at Harris’ Book Store.
  • Rev. A.W.  Wayman, D.D., Bishop of the diocise of Kentucky and Tennessee, will preach at the A.M.E. church Thursday night Oct. 16, ’90.  Let everybody turn out and hear one among the greates preachers of the age.
  • The Sentinel desires all its readers to send in for publication personal notes, notices of parties, and all entertainments.  This is news, and we want to print the news.
  • The contract for plastering Berean Baptist Church was awarded to Mr. J. Wesley Banks.  West is one of our boys, he always get there.
  • Just look how Walter Mitchel smiles, it is another little 10lb brakeman, about a week old.
  • Mr. W.H. Day of the 10th district was in town Thursday and left his subscription for the Sentinel one year.  That tells what he think of colored interprises come again.
  • The Saw Mill, for Mose Black and ond 2 miles east was started successfully today.  The builders are in the Southern Engine Works at Jackson, Tenn, all credit to them.
  • The law compels every voter living in the city of Jackson or in the 15th civil district to register in order to vote.  Today is the last day.
  • Have you heard the news? If you have not, you are way behind the times.  Well, here it is. B. Friedlob has just received his mammoth fall stock of dry goods, notions, bats, caps, boots, shoes, clothing, ladies’ and gents’ underwear, millinery, etc.  Nothing like it was ever seen in Jackson before.  If you don’t believe it come and see and be convinced for yourself.  Seeing is believing, and if you see you are bound to believe.  Don’t forget the firm.  — B. Friedlob
  • The Sentinel must be in the hands of 2,000 readers in this town and county before January 1st.
  • Republican candidate for Governor Louis T. Baxter, of Nashville.
  • We call attention of our readers to the large and well selected stock of books of all kinds for sale at Harris’ Book Store, 115 Main street.
  • The fair grounds is rapidly getting into shape.  It will be a daisy.  Wonder if the street car company will extend their tracts to the gates.  It will be big money in their pockets if they do.
  • There will be a Savings Bank established by the colored people of Birmingham.
  • The colored people of Lynchburge, Va. has established dry goods store.  It is conducted by Jas. Mitchell.
  • Be sure to tell every one you see, to pay his pole tax.  Let <…> pull out in November.
  • Say boys if you are dry call around boys and see Davis and Cain, they have the stuff to wet you with, corner Shannon and Lafayette Sts.

Personal Mention

  • T.B. Davy of Hardin was in to see us this week.
  • J.G. Parker, of Carrol paid the Sentinel a visit while attending the Convention.
  • D.S. Anderson of the 12th district of Madison, gave us a call.
  • D.W. Ellis of Denmark, gave us a plesant call Monday and left his subscription.
  • Rev. W.M. Cowen, is in the city visiting home folks.
  • Rr. Wash Currethers and family moved to Memphis, Tuesday, where they expect to make thier future home.
  • F.H. Nichols, delegate from Hardin county, was in to see us.
  • T.H. Bledsoe, delegate from Carrol county, paid us a call, and left his subscription for one year.
  • Rev. F.M. Hamilton editor of the Christian Index left, Monday morning for a weeks stay in Atlanta.  He expected to stop in Birmingham.
  • Mr. Tom Stegall was circulating among his friends this week.
  • B.D. Daulton, of Carrol, gave us a call.  Reports Carroll as being a reliable old county.
  • Mrs. Chilton who has been confined at her home for sometime, we are glad to note is able to be out again.  She gave us a pleasant call Thursday morning.
  • Mrs. Sarah J. West and Mrs. Maria Austin gave the Sentinel a very pleasant call  and left their subbscription.  Thanks. Call again ladies.
  • Miss Laura B. Thomas  is confined to her bed, but is better this week.
  • J.M. Cooper of Henderson county was in to see us Tuesday.  He gave a good report of the colored people.
  • Mrs. Nannie Miller has returned from Canada where she was visiting relatives at her former home.
  • Miss Mamie Parker a handsone young lady; who has been attending Lane Institute, will leave Saturday for Fulton.  Miss Bell Moore will accompany her.

More African-American Newspapers

Over on the Jackson County, Indiana blog, I’ve recently read notice of two African-American newspapers now online in PDF form.  They are

  • Freedom Journal – published in New York from 1827-1829 (103 issues)
  • Friend of Man – published in New York from 1836 – 1842 (231 issues)
I am so happy to see these come online – if only more were available! 

Nashville Globe Excerpts 1907

The Friends of the Metropolitan Archives has added some new content to their site. Included are select excerpts from the Nashville Globe from 1907, the very same paper that I post to this blog.  I like the format they’ve used for the excerpts.  I learned from the staff there that they had a volunteer work on it temporarily, so they decided to post what she did.

You can find them here.

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.

Biographical Sketch: W.T. Hightower

Once again, I am finding the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America newspaper collection to be absolutely fascinating. While doing some random looking last night in the pages of The Colored American, a black newspaper they have digitized from 1899-1904, I found an article that provides short biographies of some Nashville notables; including the subject shown here, William T. “W.T.” Hightower.

I was recently contacted by a descendant of William T. Hightower who had located the obituary I’d posted from the Nashville Globe of W.T.’s brother, Brown Hightower.

So, as I do whenever I’m contacted by someone, I feel compelled to do a little bit of information seeking. 🙂

This specific article in the Colored American from August 22, 1903 states that W.T. was a very successful businessman who at this point had been in business for 25 years. He owned $17,000 worth of real estate and did $10,000 worth of business a year.

I’m still in the early stages of the investigation, but I will share additional information as I locate it!

Bishop Evans Tyree

The 1903 issue of Meharry News (see the Meharry Library Archives page) features a short article about Bishop Evans Tyree giving a short talk “full of practical suggestions and and humor.” Recognizing the name, I looked through some of the previous posts here on this blog. I found mention of him so far in two places here and here.

Bishop Evans Tyree was born in De Kalb County, Tennessee on August 19, 1854 to slaves Harry & Winnie Tyree. [1, 2] He progressed rapidly in the African Methodist Episcopal church, becoming an elder by the age of 22. The wonderful Documenting the American South collection of the University of North Carolina, has a picture of him from a book by Horace Talbert titled The Sons of Allen: Together with a Sketch of the Rise and Progress of Wilberforce University, Wilberforce, Ohio.

So far, in about 30 minutes of searching, I have learned that he was married to a woman named Ellen and they had at least the following children – Evans Tyree Jr., Carrie B. Tyree, Anna Alberta, and Herman F. I know they had at least one other daughter from Anna’s obit whose first name is not mentioned, but she married a Eugene Allen. It appears that Evan Sr. died here in Davidson County November 12, 1920 [3] It is getting late tonight, so I’m not going to go into the census records quite yet, but let’s just say I have added the Tyree family to my persons of interest now in Black Nashville history 🙂

One last departing image from the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America digitized newspaper collection. This sketch of Bishop Evans is from the July 28, 1900 issue of The Colored American, a newspaper of Washington D.C. It is amazing that they are digitizing their old newspapers like this!

[1] State Library of North Carolina. Selections from An Era of Progress and Promice, 1863-1910. Bishop Evans Tyree, DD, MD – http://statelibrary.dcr.state.nc.us/iss/EraOfProgress/Bios/tyree.gif
[2] Leonard, John William and Marquis, Albert Nelson. Who’s Who In America. 1903. http://is.gd/aN3.
[3] TN State Library & Archives. TN Death Index 1920. http://is.gd/aNu.

Chicago Defender Newspaper

I learned today that the Chicago Defender newspaper, a black newspaper out of Chicago, reported news from Tennessee! It didn’t occur to me to think to check this as a source of information on my own, but I was doing some searching for the Merry’s and came across news of them that was reported in the Chicago Defender.   I have access to the Chicago Defender from 1910-1975. It will be quite fun to look for Nashville related information!

Lecture by Rev. R.H. Boyd

Lecture by Rev. R. H. Boyd, D.D. LL. D., Tabernacle Baptist Church.

I really like the images in this paper. I have now posted several articles that mention Rev. Boyd and he was a man of prominence during this period of Nashville history.

Preston Taylor’s ad

January 25, 1907 ad

Preston Taylor has and ad…
Taylor & Co. — Funeral directors and embalmers. Carriages for hire.