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  • Header Photo Credit

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

Another Fisk Jubilee Singer Gone


Photo from NYPL Digital Library

Sunday I took another visit to Greenwood Cemetery, an African-American cemetery here in Nashville.  While photographing tombstones, I saw the one for Georgia Gordon Taylor.  Georgia was one of the original Fisk Jubilee singers, and wife to Rev. Preston Taylor, the founder of Greenwood Cemetery.  She and Preston married on May 7, 1890. Georgia passed away almost 100 years ago on June 7, 1913.

I also looked up her obituary – this is what appeared in the June 13, 1913 issue of the Nashville Globe.

“Another Jubilee Singer Gone”

On Saturday morning the death angel came into the city of Nashville and removed from her midst one of her most highly respected women, Mrs. Georgia Minor Gordon Taylor. She had suffered for several months, and the end was not a surprise to those who had some knowledge of the condition, and in fact she realized several months ago that it was only a question of time with her. It was only five hours between the time that Mr. William Brewster was found dead when Mrs. Taylor breathed her last. Mrs. Taylor was one of the best known characters in this city, and she enjoyed both a national and international reputation as a Jubilee Singer.

A useful life was closed last Saturday morning when Georgia Gordon Taylor entered “Brith Mansions above.”  We were girls and schoolmates and members of the choir of thirty at old Fisk in 1868-1871. We labored together as soprano singers in concert tours to raise funds for Fisk in her poverty.  When George L. White asked for volunteers to go north to sing for money out of the hearts and pockets of the people for our school, Georgia was among the first to offer her sweet flute-tone voice in the service.  There came a time that we must have a name; special prayer was offered in which our leader, Mr. White, tarried at the mercy seat all night, and toward morning he opened his Bible to the scripture about the Jew’s year of Jubilee and later he came in with a beaming face and said, “Children, you shall be called ‘Jubilee Singers.”‘


Obituary of Charles C. Poindexter (1913)

The following obituary for Charles C. Poindexter appeared in the June 6, 1913 issue of the Nashville Globe newspaper.

“Prof. Poindexter Dead”

Charles C. Poindexter, who was Professor of the Agriculture Department and Biology at Fisk University, died at Hubbard Hospital shortly after 12 o’clock Tuesday morning. He was operated on by Drs. Stewart and Welker Saturday and made good progress until an unfavorable change came Sunday afternoon, resulting in complications and ending in his death.

Prof. Poindexter was born in West Virginia March 10, 1880; he was a graduate from the Ohio State University in 1903 and did post graduate work for two years at Cornell University.  Upon completion of his work at Cornell, he became director of Agriculture work for both St. Paul School at Lawrenceburg, Virginia and St. Augustine School at Raleigh, North Carolina under the Episcopal Church. From there he was called to Fisk University four years ago  was assistant professor of Agriculture and Biology. In recognition of his efficiency and character, two years ago he was elevated to full professorship.

During his residence at Cornell he married Miss Florence Mercedes of Ithica, New York, March 31, 1905. A son was born to them in the summer of 1909. These two with three sisters and a brother survive him. The funeral was held Thursday morning at 9 O’clock in Fisk Memorial Chapel, and the remains were interred at the Greenwood Cemetery. The following young men of Fisk student body acted as pallbearers: Messrs. Nelson Glover, Raymond Powell, Charles Lewis, Overton Carter, Atwood Wilson and Henry Ferguson.

Dedication of Fisk University (1876)

Memphis Daily Appeal
January 2, 1876
pg. 1

Dedication Ceremonies Yesterday – “A Feast of Reason and Flow of Soul”
Nashville, January 1 — The new Fisk university, named in honor of General Clinton B. FISK, was formally dedicated today in presence of a large assemblage of people, white and black.  Governor PORTER and other State officials, Bishop McTYEIRE, of the Methodist church south, and quite a number of clergymen and educators were present.  General FISK, who is president of the board of directors, presided and made the opening address, which embodied an earnest and eloquent plea for cordial relations between the races, for the education and cultivation of the colored people, and for the cultivation of a liberal and patriotic feeling everywhere.  Abounding as it did in the most generous sentiments toward the southern people, and urging that the dead past bury its dead, it elicited warm recommendations.  Governor PORTER, Bishop MCTYEIRE, Ex-Commissioner SMITH, president of Howard university, and others, also made addresses.  The occasion was a notable one, marking an important era in the advancing intelligence and progress of the negro race in the south.  The university building cost one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, nearly all of which was raised by the Jubilee singers.  Mrs. FISK, by personal effort in New York, raised sufficient funds to furnish the forty rooms of the building.  The institution partakes somewhat of the nature of a normal college, as since its establishment, ten years ago, it has annually graduated about one hundred teachers and candidates for the ministry, all colored.  The university was established by, and is conducted under the control of, the American missionary association, but various denominations are represented in the board of directors and crops of teachers and professors.  The building is on a commanding eminence, about one mile west of the city, and with its superior architectural design and finish, and large and imposing dimensions, presents as fine a view as any college building in America.

Dwight Hillis Wilson (1909-1962)

Towards the beginning of the month I helped the Society of American Archivists locate a photograph of Dwight Hillis Wilson Sr. (1909-1962).  Mr. Wilson was an established archivist with the Allied Forces Records Administration in Washington, DC.   Born in Raleigh, NC on October 18, 1909 & educated at Shaw University & Howard College,  Mr. Wilson was the first archivist of Fisk University.

The Society of American Archivists is celebrating their 75th year this year; as part of the festivities, they are creating a series of trading cards of notable members.  Mr. Wilson is among them, however, they did not have a picture – nor did Fisk.  I was intrigued by their call for help and within half an hour of searching, had a phone number for Mr. Wilson’s son, Dwight Wilson Jr.  The next day, I made contact with him and he graciously sent the SAA the following two pictures of his father.

Dwight Wilson Sr. with son Dwight Jr.

Dwight & wife Gheretein

Thank you Mr. Wilson for sharing these pictures of your family.

Biographical Profile: George Washington Moore

MOORE, George W •• hlngton, clerCYman;
born at Nashville, TeDD., Nov.
9, 1864: son of William Moore and
Elizabeth Corry, slaves, who were
leplly married after slavery was abol·
Ished: A.B., Fisk Unlv., 1881, A.M.,
1884: B.D., Oberlin Theological Semi·
Dary, 0., 1883: (D.D., Howard Unlv.,
1908); married Ella Sheppard, of
Nashville, Dec. 20, 1882; she was of
the original Jubilee Singers; 2 children:
George S. (M.D.), ClintoD Fisk
R. Began to exhort In little mission
connected with first echool he attended:
preached ID Howard Chapel,
Nashville, 1876: ordained Congregational
ministry, 1877: while In Ober·
lin Seminary past’lred 1st Congregational
Church, Sullivan, O. ; In
charge 3 churches under Ohio Home
Missionary Society, summer, 1882:
pastor LlncolD Memorial Church,
Washington, D. C., 1883-92: professor
of biblical history and literature, How·
ard Unlv., 1887-92; delegate to
World’s Sunday School Convention,
1889, and delivered address in City

MOORE, George Washington, clergyman;  born at Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 9, 1864: son of William Moore and Elizabeth Corry, slaves, who were legally married after slavery was abolished: A.B., Fisk Univ., 1881, A.M., 1884: B.D., Oberlin Theological Seminary, 0., 1883: (D.D., Howard Univ.,1908); married Ella Sheppard, of Nashville, Dec. 20, 1882; she was of the original Jubilee Singers; 2 children:  George S. (M.D.), Clinton Fisk R. Began to exhort in little mission connected with first echool he attended: preached in Howard Chapel, Nashville, 1876: ordained Congregational ministry, 1877: while in Oberlin Seminary past’lred 1st Congregational Church, Sullivan, O. ; in charge 3 churches under Ohio Home Missionary Society, summer, 1882: pastor Lincoln Memorial Church, Washington, D. C., 1883-92: professor of biblical history and literature, Howard Univ., 1887-92; delegate to World’s Sunday School Convention, 1889, and delivered address in City Temple, London, Eng.; began as field missionary with American Missionary Assn, New York, 1892, later appointed supt.  in charge southern church work with headquarters at Nashville. Trustee Tillotson College. Fisk Univ. Republican. Address:  926 17th Ave. N., Nashville, Tenn.

Source: Mather, Frank Lincoln. Who’s Who of the Colored Race; A General Biographical Dictionary of Men and Women of African Descent. <http://books.google.com/books?id=RFZ2AAAAMAAJ>

Biographical Profile: George Sheppard Moore

MOORE, George Sheppard, phyal·
clan: born at NashvUle, Tenn., Sept.
27, 1883: son of Rev. George W. aDd
Ella (Sheppard) Moore: A.B., Fisk
Unlv., Nashville, Tenn., 1906: M.D.,
Northwestern Unlv. Medical College,
Chicago, Ill., 1910: Interne Freed·
men’s Hospital, Washington, D. C.,
1910-11: married Julia Alberta Merrill,
of Nashville, Oct. 13, 1906: a
children: George C., Sarah E., Julia
A. Practiced In Nashville slnee June
1, 1911: professor of mental and nep
vous diseases Meharry Medical College
(WaldeD Unlv.). Republican.
Congregationalist. Member Tenn. Col·
ored Medical Assn., Rock CIt7 Medical
A88n., KDlghts of Pythlas. Home:
10a4 17th Ave. N. Ofllce: 424 Cedar
St., Nashville, Tenn.

MOORE, George Sheppard, physician: born at Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 27, 1883: son of Rev. George W. and Ella (Sheppard) Moore: A.B., Fisk Univ., Nashville, Tenn., 1906: M.D., Northwestern Univ. Medical College, Chicago, Ill., 1910: interne Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington, D. C.,  1910-11: married Julia Alberta Merrill, of Nashville, Oct. 13, 1906:  3 children: George C., Sarah E., Julia A. Practiced In Nashville since June 1, 1911: professor of mental and nervous diseases Meharry Medical College (Walded Univ.). Republican. Congregationalist. Member Tenn. Colored Medical Assn., Rock City Medical Assn., Knights of Pythias. Home: 1034 17th Ave. N. Office: 424 Cedar St., Nashville, Tenn.

SOURCE: Fisk University. Catalogue of the. Nashville, Tenn: The University, 1898 <http://books.google.com/books?id=tfE2AAAAMAAJ>

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.

Fisk Singers in Charlotte

From the Chicago Defender
31 Mar 1917

Raleigh, N.C., March 30 — The Fisk University Jubilee Singers, who appeared here Monday, were a treat.  Nearly 500 whites attended.  Mr. Hayes of the Fisk Jubilee Singers preached at the First Baptist Church Sunday.

Video: Sheryll Cashin

Sheryl Cashin, a law professor at Georgetown University and author of the book, The Agitator’s Daughter, was recently in Nashville to discuss her book.  A descendant of Herschel Cashin, Sheryl’s extended family tree includes some people mentioned here on this blog. Several of her family members (including both of her parents) were Fiskites her aunt Minnie V. Cashin married the nephew of James Carroll Napier

Despite the fact that I work at Vanderbilt, I was not able to attend the lecture, but a video is now available online.  Check it out!

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.


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.