• Contact

    Have a question? Email Me!
  • Get Social

  • Categories

  • Blog Archives

  • Header Photo Credit

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


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!


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.

Dr. Chalmers Hairston

Photo of Dr. Chalmers Hairston, graduate of Meharry Medical College, as published in the July 1919 issue of The Crisis Magazine.

Source: Military Intelligence on Negro Subversion, 1917-1940.

Former Chicago Visitor Marries

From the Chicago Defender – 1 Mar 1919 

As included in the Military Intelligence on Negro Subversion, 1917-1940 collection on Footnote.com

Announcement was received here several weeks ago of the marriage of Dr. John E. Burchess, Forest City, Ark., a recent graduate of Meharry Medical College, to Miss Thelma B. Williams, also of Forest City.  It will be remembered that Dr. Burchess was in the city two summers ago, at which time he was royally entertained by friends and admirers. 

New Footnote Database – Negro Subversion

Footnote recently released a new database, Military Intelligence – Negro Subversion.  These materials come from the War Department and includes their correspondence with other agencies.  These records concern activities of black civilian and military citizens from 1917-1941.   I did some preliminary exploration and found that the collection includes several issues of the Crisis Magazine, the magazine of the NAACP.  

I assumed there would be materials in this collection relevant to citizens of Nashville and I’ve already found a few items.  Here is an example, a death notice published in the May 1919 issue of The Crisis

Dr. Gordon Phipps, of Corsicana, Tex., is dead.  He was born at Hartford, Ky., January 4, 1859 and was a graduate of Roger Williams and Meharry Medical College.

Oscar Arthur Joyner – Meharry Graduate

As I was reading my new book tonight, In Search of Our Roots by Henry Louis Gates, I came across a Nashville relevant tidbit.  Radio host Tom Joyner had a grandfather that attended Meharry.  The book says that he graduated in 1908, but according to the Meharry catalogs online, he graduated in 1909.

Harriet Marble’s House Found

The Lexington-Herald Leader, newspaper of Lexington, Kentucky, has a recent story about a home that was recently discovered to belong to Harriet Beecher Stowe Marble (story here), the first black female pharmacist.  An electrician checking the wiring found some of her memorabilia and from there, the home ownership was traced. It’s a wonderful story. 

The story mentioned that Marble graduated from Meharry, so of course I had to see if I could find her in the catalogs.  Sure enough, she graduated in 1906 and is listed in the 1906 catalog (see PDF here).

The story also references Harriet’s bio in the book, Who’s Who of Colored America, of which the 1915 edition is available full-text at Google Books and her bio appears on page 184. 

Her bio mentions that she was at one point secretary of the National Medical Association.  In my last post I shared that the association’s journal is available online back to it’s first issue in 1909 through 2007, so I am sure she appears within the pages of the journal.  

I also added a FindAGrave entry for her since the article gives her burial location.  


Journal of the National Medical Association

Combining my librairnaship with genealogy, I thought it would be worthwhile to post the fact that the Journal of the National Medical Association is now available online at PubMed Central, a repository of full-text biomedical literature made available by the National Library of Medicine.  As stated on their website, the mission of the National Medical Association (NMA) is to ” advance the art and science of medicine for people of African descent through education, advocacy, and health policy to promote health and wellness, eliminate health disparities, and sustain physician viability.”

Their journal has been published since 1909.  As stated on a blog post of the Southeastern Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, the journal ” provides historical insight into the social, medical and public health issues that continue to be of particular concern to African American patients and physicians. It has also served as a venue to challenge disparaging interpretations of African American health history published in other medical and social science journals.”

It can also be beneficial for genealogists if you’ve had family members and people of interest active in the African-American medical fields.  A range of information can be found within the pages of the journal, from lectures, articles, and social news such as marriages.  Even obituaries are in the journal, such as the obituary of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the first black cardiologist and another Meharrian.  I even did my duty and added a link to it from his Wikipedia page.  Dr. Williams was one of the co-founders of the NMA. 

For example, the very first issue has an article by Dr. A.M. Townsend of Meharry Medical College.  I’ve blogged about him previously on this blog and even been contacted by one of his descendants. I’ll have to make sure to send this on to him.  Townsend’s article is titled “The preservation of pharmacotherapy necessary to medical advance.”

The second issue has an article by another Meharrian, Dr. C.V. Roman, also someone who’s name has appeared on this blog.  His article was titled “Woman’s Work” and in an address he gave to the graduating class of nurses at Lamar College in Georgia in 1909. 

This collection is definitely worth browsing or searching. If you wish to browse the issues, you may go here, but the best way to search the collection is to go here and enter your search term of interest but add this (include the quotation marks) after your search term in order to restrict to this specific journal:  “Journal of the National Medical Association”[Jour]

Happy searching!

Walden Hospital

New at The Historical Marker Database — Walden Hospital Walden Hospital was a hospital begun in Chattanooga in 1915 by Meharry graduate, Dr. Emma Rochelle Wheeler. 












Dr. Wheeler has a biography online at the Profiles of African-Americans in Tennessee website.  According to the bio, Dr. Wheeler and her young child Joseph moved to Nashville in the early 1900s.  She graduated from Meharry in 1905 and also got married that same week to Dr. John N. Wheeler; moving to Chattanooga shortly thereafter.  Dr. Emma Rochelle Wheeler lived in Chattanooga for essentially the rest of her life, though, died in 1957 back in Nashville at Hubbard Hospital, the hospital associated with her alma mater, Meharry. 

Meharry has some of their catalogs online and they include 1905. Here, we find Dr. Wheeler Howard listed among the graduates.