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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.
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Why Would You Steal a Statue?

Today I was so disheartened to learn that the statue of Richard Henry Boyd, founder of what is now the R H Boyd Publishing Company, has been stolen.  Kalonji took the kids to the company earlier this year so they could have a better appreciation for the history of the company.  Around since 1896, the publishing company has been a well-known name in religious publishing for many, many years.  The statue of R.H. has been at the building for more than 40 years.

boys in front of boyd statue

the boys in front of the R.H. Boyd statue (Feb 2012)

Apparently, investigators think the statue may have been stolen to sell for parts.  What a shame and blatant display of having no respect for history.



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!


Trip to Greenwood Cemetery

This past weekend I took a trip to Greenwood Cemetery – a black cemetery here in town. I went looking for the grave sites of the Napier family whom I’ve been researching. I knew there to be at least 12 members of the family there so I wanted to go take pictures of their graves as only three of them were previously on FindAGrave. In tow with me were both Kalonji & Kaleya. Kaleya pretty much has no choice 🙂 but I’m pleasantly surprised whenever Kalonji says he wants to go – i mean really, how many people really like to go hang out in cemeteries!

It was quite an experience. By walking around looking for the Napiers, it was like a who’s who in black Nashville history. The first noticeable grave when you drive into the cemetery is that of Rev. Preston Taylor, the founder of the cemetery who had a big funeral business and was accomplished in many other things as well. I saw the headstone of others I’ve come across in my study of Nashville as well – Bishop Evans Tyree and his wife, Dr. Charles Spurgeon, Dr. Arthur Townsend, Arna Bontemps, both of the Boyds and their families. I also found others that I’ve not yet gotten very familiar with, but make good candidates for the future.

I did not take a lot of pictures, but most of the ones I did take I have added to Find A Grave – here is a link to the listing there. Adding to FindAGrave is wonderful way to contribute to the genealogy online community. I highly encourage others to do it. I am planning to go back out there in a few more weeks to take more pictures.

But, back to the reason I went there – the Napiers. I found everyone I was expecting to find. James Carroll Napier (who I call JC), his wife, Nettie and their adoptive daughter/biological niece Carye were there and already in FindAGrave. This week, I’ve added the most of the rest of their family buried in the family plot-I am realizing now I missed at least one person. The links will take to each person’s FindAGrave page.

Wordless Wednesday – May 28, 2008 Folow-up

The picture that I included in my first Wordless Wednesday post for this blog is that of Dr. Robert Fulton Boyd (1855-1912). The photo comes from the December 9, 1899 issue of the black newspaper, The Colored American.

Along with the picture is a short article informing readers that Nashville has two Dr. Boyds. “…R.F. Boyd, a doctor of medicine, who is a professor of gynecology or something like that, in Meharry Medical College. This Dr. Boyd has a singular hobby – buying property, farms and things and building great big office buildings right in among the white folks. This fellow has just finished a building, a pressed brick structure, with something like 50 rooms in it and sandwiched it right in between a Cathedral and the leading hotel in the city. Then he had the irrepressible nerve to hire a Negro stone-mason to chisel his black name “Boyd” on a big piece of marble and to put it way up high, between the fifth and sixth stories, so everybody could see it. Now, what do you think of this chap?”

That’s great! I am pretty sure I’ve seen a picture of this building, but will have to dig it back out. Maybe not. I wonder if the black stone-mason was McKissack (whom I have blogged about before.)? I have previously added a picture of Dr. R.F. Boyd’s headstone to FindAGrave and I have just added this picture. Should be of interest to anyone who has him in their family tree.

The other Dr. Boyd mentioned in the article is Richard Henry Boyd (1843-1922). From the article “…this Boyd runs a publishing house and employs seven five Negroes and pays his proof readers and big dogs in his house $20 and $25 a week. This Boyd has a hobby – buying fine printing material. The other day he put in a big Babcock press worth $4000. He now has four big presses running constantly, and the only complete bindery for the product of big books owned by Negroes. The publishing business is conducted in two magnificent buildings, and the property, which the Board owns, and the plant, is valued at $80,000.”

Interestingly enough, this weekend as I was adding burial listings to the Greenwood Cemetery, I added the grave of Sadie B. Wilson who “served under three generation of Boyds at the National Baptist Publishing Board.” Richard Henry Boyd is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, but I have not yet found him. I will be going back to do more pictures this weekend, so maybe I’ll find him soon.

A Delectable Mask Party

Nashville Globe
22 Feb 2007

A very enjoyable mask party was given at the residence of Prof. W.S. Thompson, 1305 Demonbreun street, Monday evening.  the costumes showed a deal of originality as to conception and execution, the best of them by far being that of Mr. Nathan Wallace, who appeared as Shylock.  Mr. Wallace’s  hump and limp were so well assumed that his identity almost defied detection of the ladies. Misses Willie Page and Jennie Childress, as Mary Jane and Samantha Ann, two maiden ladies of questionable age, though their hair showed considerable of the white, were probably the best.  Though in fact the make of all the ladies was excellent.  Eugene Page as Mrs. Belfry and Frank Hawkins as Mrs. Shoefling, attracted a deal of attention.

Though the majority of those present thought the best make up were as described above, several were of the opinion that the honors should have gone to Miss Grace Lucile Price, who appeared as a baby.  Her make up was simply superb in the estimation of some.

Light refreshments were served.  Among those present were Mr. and Mrs. A.G. Price, Mrs. Turner Page, Misses Grace Lucile Price, John D. Thompson, Esther Pinkard, Ethel Jordan, Anna Tate, Emma Owens, Georgia Watkins, Lula Polk, Laura Polk Smith, Willie Page, Jennie Childress, Alberta Davis, Messrs. Wm. Tate, W.S. Thompson, Eugene Page, Robert Polk, J.O. Battle, Fred Trapp, John H. Kelly Jr. , Haven Moores, Oscar Wilson, Nathan Wallace, A.C. McKissack, H.A. Lohgley, J.J. McKeever, Wm.  Boger, W.B. Davis, George O. Boyd Jr., George Haden.

Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy

Nashville Globe – 22 Feb 1907

Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy — The Nashville Academy of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy met in regular session at the office of Dr. Carruthers Monday evening, February 18.  The minutes of the previous meeting were read by the Secretary, Dr. Townsend.  A communication from the Bluff City Medical Association, inviting the State Association to meet in that city, Memphis, was read.  On motion, of Dr. J.A. Lester, the local organization pledged support to the State body.  The speaker of the evening was late in arriving. Dr. Caruthers suggested the discussion of an interesting case that had come under his observation.  Drs. Elliott and Hale spoke concerning the case also.

The paper of the evening was read by Dr. Geeder.  His subject was “Pneumonia.”  The doctor gave his hearers a good, practical talk on this important topic.  Drs. Townsend, Lester, Hale, Boyd and Caruthers discussed the paper.  This meeting was more largely attended than any previous meeting.  A delightful ice course was served by Mrs. E. De Berry, who acted as hostess.  Next meeting will be held at the office of Dr. Baker.  Dr. Baker will present a paper, “The Relation of Theory to Practice.”

Mrs. Wilson Entertains

Nashville Globe – 22 Feb 1907

Mrs. Katie Wilson entertained Sunday evening at a six o’clock ten in honor of the Endowment Bureau that convened in Nashville Saturday, February 16, 1907.  Those present were Mr. and Mrs. White, Mrs. M.A. Turner, of Pulaski; Dr. R.F. Boyd, Mrs. Sallie Ferguson, Mrs. Ellen Franklin, Mrs. Willa Townsend, Mrs. Eliza Irvin, Mrs. Hattie Irvin, Mrs. Nettie Puckett, Mrs. Ida Abston,  Mrs. Easter Robertson, Sir Knight Reynolds,  Mrs. Sarah Harding, Mrs. Mattie Bowling, Mrs. Lena Anderson.

The menu consisted of roast turkey, scalloped oysters, corn, green peas, celery, tomatoes, stuffed eggs, pickles, croquette on parsley, fruit salad served with whipped cream, cheese sandwiches, brick cream and cake.

Banquet to the Endowment Board. Knights of Pythias

Nashville Globe – February 22, 1907

It is seldom that a more representaive body of Pythians have been assembled in Nashville than that which gathered at Wells’ Cafe Friday night to banquet the members of the Endowment Board of the Order of Knights of Pythias. Men representing the various walks of life from which the membership of this great Order is composed met and vied with each other as it were, in doing honor to the men who have so successfully administered to the endowment funds of the Order as to draw forth the highest encomiums from the state insurance department.

The banquet was under the auspices of the Past Chancellors Council of this city. The guests were seatred around one long table with the toastmaster, Sir E.C. McNairy, and Grand Chancellor, Dr. J.P. Crawford, at the head; Grand Worthy Councillor, Dr. R. F. Boyd, of the Court of Calanthe, at the foot, while the members of the Endowment Board were seated to the right and the left of the head of the table.

The excellent supper, which had been prepared by the Knight Wells in his usual sumptous styel, and served in courses, had about reached the second to the last course, when the toastmaster, in his inimitable style, welcomed the guests of the evening and introduced Dr. J.P. Crawford, the Grand Chancellor, who responded to the toast: “Progress of Pythianism in Tennessee.”

Dr. Crawford eloquently traced the growth of the Grand Lodge from its inception, when there were only eleven lodges in the state, to the present time when the number is near the one hundred mark. He pictured the misgivings which many of the members of the state felt when the Lodge decided to assume the endowment and recited a few figures to show how successful the said department had proven. When he said that the funds of the department had grown to a total in excess of $13,000, his auditors burst into applause.

The next speaker on the program was Dr. R.F. Boyd, Supreme Medical Registrar, Surgeon General of the Uniform Rank, Grand Worthy Councillor of the Court of Calanthe, who responded to the toast, “Success and It’s Attainments.” Dr. Boyd gave some of the early history of Pythianism in Nashville, as he recollected it, and then branching to the Court of Calanthe, he eulogized the work of the women’s department, showing how against handicaps, the department had met such glowing success.

Other responses were made by N.N. Reynolds, Grand Lecturer of the Court of Calanthe, and District Grand Deputy of the Knights of Pythias, of Pulaski, Tenn.: W.F. Reynolds, President of the Endowment Baord, of Franklin; B.F. Johnson, Treasurer of the Endowment Board, Chattanooga: B.J. Fernandis, member of the Endowment Baord, Memphis; Dr. A.M. Townsend, Grand Medical Registrar; J.B. Batte, John Cunnigham. At the conclusion of the remarks of Sir Cunningham, Sir J.O. Battle arose and after a few introductory remarks, offered the following resolutions:

Whereas, We, the members of the Past Chancellors’ and guests assembled to banquet the members of the Endowment Board, note the absence of our dearly beloved brother, Sir W.L. Cansler, Secretary of the Endowment and a pioneer of the work in the state: therefor be it

Resolved, That we hereby express our heartfelt regret that oru true and tried brother is prevented from being with us on account of illness, and we hereby tender to him our sympathy and testify our hope that he will soon be returned to us completely restored in health. Be it further

Resolved. That a copy of these resolutions be sent to our stricken brother and a copy furnished the Nashville Globe for publication.

On motion of Sir S.P. Harris, who also spoke of the work of Prof. Cansler, the resolutions were adopted unanimously by a rising vote.

Sir. A.W. Gleaves, Grand Outer Guard, pronounced the benediction.

Those present were: B.J. Fernandis, Memphis; B.F. Johnson, Chattanooga; W.F. Reynolds, Franklin; N.N. Reynolds, Pulaski; Moses McKissick, Pulaski; Dr. J.P. Crawford, L.O. Battle, S.P. Harris, R.E. Gee, Dr. R.F. Boyd, Porter D. Streator, Daniel Carter, Green F. Anderson, A.W. Gleaves, John Cunningham, J.W. Blaine, J.B. Batte, T. Clay Moore, E.C. McNairy, Dr. A.M. Townsend, R. L. Mayfield.

Dr. Josiah Strong Lecture

Nashville Globe – Feb 22, 1907

Dr. Josiah Strong  – Eminent Divine & Author Delivers Great Lecture to Prominent Colored & White Men of the City

He showed that Christianity under the workings of true service, love and sacrifice would solve all the difficult problems now vexing men.

In the  columns of the Globe of February 15, on the second page, appeared under the caption “Prominent Divine Coming,” an announcement setting forth that through the efforts of Rev. J.H. Currey and Dr. Lamburt, of this city.  Dr. Josiah Strong, an eminent minister and author, of Buffalo, N.Y. would visit Nashville on February 20.  It was desired by these gentlemen that the leading ministers, professional and business men (colored) of Nashville should be given an opportunity to hear this distinguished author.  A Globe reporter was on the scene at 10 o’clock according to appointment.  On arriving he found the new chapel on the fourth floor of the Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South, filled almost to capacity.  The faces of the leading colored, divines, professors, doctors, lawyers, merchants and bankers were prominent.  Dr. J.B. Currey (white), opened the meeting with a few remarks, stating that Dr. Strong was in the city the guest of Dr. Lamburt.  He was suffering some from fresh cold and possibly he would be delayed ten or fifteen minutes, but that he desired that the time should be profitably spent by hearing brief remarks from leading colored men setting forth their opinion of the new move to inaugurate a better relations between the two races in Nashville.  Dr. J.H. Welch, presiding elder of the A.M.E. Church, Dr. Henderson, Dean of Theology at Fisk University, and Dr. R.H. Boyd, President of the One Cent Savings Bank and Secretary of the National Baptist Publishing Board each made brief statements.

During this time Dr. Strong made his appearance in company with Dr. Lamburt.  After a brief introduction by Dr. Curry, Dr. Strong arose andin his clear and cool manner apologized, explaining that he was suffering from considerable hoarseness, but said that if he was going to preach a sermon to the gentlemen present, he would use this text, “Behold, I make all things new.”  Dr. Strong started out by narrating a story, stating that Mrs. Russell Sage had in her possession a letter written by an English lady to a friend one hundred years ago; giving her a description of a trip on a little boat from New York City to Albany and returning, which required seventeen days.  He said that invention and science had made such rapid progress that the Atlantic Ocean could be crossed, the continent of Europe could be entered as far as Constantinople and return in the same length of time.  He said that what was true in the changes of speed and comfort of travel in this county was also true in the new development of all others — wealth, science and knowledge.  He said that a majority of the world’s wealth and knowledge that had been accumulated within the last one <….text missing in between….>

…from the various governments and various nationalities, and yet were huddled together as one family, each depending upon the other.  He showed that the great questions arising were not questions that could be settled by political issues, but to be settled like all financial questions, commercial questions, labor problems, and sociological questions or problems — must be settled upon the Christ plan.  He said that the old theology and theologians had misunderstood and misinterpreted the purpose of Christ’s coming to the earth.  The old idea was that Christ’s purpose for visiting earth was to increase the census or population of Heaven and that his greatest mission, his greatest argument, was to persuade men from earth to Heaven, but that nothing could be more foreign from the teachings of Christ.

He said that this old idea of both the theologians and the scientists was to set forth a theory and then look for facts to support it; but that the new theologian and the new scientists looked for all the facts both in the Bible and in nature, summed them up and then applied the best theory.  And this new theory and new theology had made the world rich in wealth, rich in Christianity, and rich in knowledge.  He said that so soon as each man could be taught to understand his proper relation to  his fellow brother, all these problems would be readily settled, and then, and not until then, would the kingdom of God come.

At the close of his address, Dr. Lambuth arose and spoke of starting to Japan within the next few days to assist in organizing the United Methodist Church of Japan, to be composed of the Methodist churches of the South, East and of Canada.  He asked the prayers of all present for diving guidance.

He also explained that the Minister’s Conference had done all in its power to prevent the appearance of “The Clansman” on the stage in this city a few weeks ago; that they offered to pay the rent of the opera house in full if prevented; that they  had not succeede, but that the efforts to suppress the “Clansman” had awakened a great idea of Christian responsibility among the Christian citizenship of Nashville, and assured the colored representatives that the better element of the Southern whites were willing to join heart and hand with them for bettering their condition in this county.  After which, Dr. Chappelle, Hon. J.C. Napier, and a number of gentlemen present expressed their high appreciation for the visit of Dr. Strong and assured him that they believed this to be the beginning of a “New Era” in the city of Nashville.

Fisk Notes – 1 Feb 1907

Fisk Notes
February 1, 1907
Pg. 5

  • Dr. Grant, traveling in behalf of the Old Folks’ and Orphans’ Home, of Birmingham, presented the needs of that institution to Fisk at prayer meeting, Wednesday evening, Jan. 16. A contribution of more than seven dollars was made by the students and faculty.
  • Friday night, Jan. 18, Prof. H. C. Morgan left for a three weeks’ tour of the South. She will visit the various schools of the South, and the homes of Fisk graduates and former students.
  • On January 17, the College Seniors were excused from classes that those who desired might attend the inauguration of Gov. Patterson. Among those who took advantage of the opportunity to attend were H.F. Mitchell, H.R. Merry, and B.W. Payne. As might have been expected, there were very few Negroes present, but it is the consensus of opinion of those who were there that the occasion was inspiring and uplifting.
  • Through the kindness of Dr. R. H. Boyd, B.W. Payne and G. T. Overstreet spent a very profitable afternoon one day last week visiting the National Baptist Publishing House. Dr. Boyd seemed delighted to show us through the various departments, and not only extended us a cordial invitation to return, but assured us that he would be glad to have any of the students visit him. The afternoon was one of incalculable value from an educational standpoint, and if ever you feel discouraged about the “Negro Problem,” we advise you to visit Dr. Boyd and his Publishing House.
  • Miss Maud Clayton, of Savannah, Ga., was called home on account of the serious illness of her mother.
  • Percy Crenzot has been laid up on account of rheumatism. Crenzot has never fully recovered from injuries received in the early part of the football season.
  • Thursday evening, Jan. 17, the Fisk Debating Club held its regular monthly meeting in the collegiate room of Livingston Hall. This was the most interesting meeting we have had this year. The subject for debate was one in which every Negro is interested: Resolved, That President Roosevelt was justified in dismissing the three companies of the Twenty-fifth Infantry. The speakers on the affirmative were T.P. Haralson and W. G. Upshaw; on the negative, J.A. Green and Wm. Dawson. The speakers on both sides showed that they had givine much care and thought to the subject, and their manner of delivery as well. The decision of the judges was in favor of the negative. Music was rendered by the Fisk Quartette — Myers, Merrill, Boutte and A. King. There was an unusually large attendance, including several members of the faculty.
  • Mr. G. W. Haynes suppled Mr. J. C. Russell’s pulpit at Goodletsville Sunday
  • Mr. Gore, President of the city association, visited the Sunday morning meeting of the Y.M.C.A. and made a few remarks.
  • Prof. J. W. Work addressed the Y.M.C.A. Jan. 27
  • Fisk University and the music lovers of Nashville had a rare treat in the lecture-recital given ni the Memorial Chapel on the January 18, by Prof. Edward Baxter Perry.
  • Prof. W.A. Giles addressed the White Cross League Sunday night, Subject: “Significance of the Sexual Instinct.”
  • Mr. W. A. Hunton, International Secretary of the Y.M.C.A., spent a couple of days with us the early part of last week. Tuesday evening he addressed the Mission Study Class on the subject of “Africa.”
  • Prof. T. W. Talley’s baby, Eunice, died Sunday, January 20. Funeral services were held at the residence Monday afternoon at two o’clock. Prof. C. W. Morrow, pastor of Union Church, officiating. Out of respect for Prof. and Mrs. Talley in their bereavement there was no school on the afternoon of Jan 31.