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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.
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Descendants of W.T. Hightower

Tonight I was contacted by another descendant of W.T. Hightower, a merchant from Nashville. This is the second descendant in the past six months.  I love it!

With that, I decided to look again at the family of William Thomas Hightower Sr. and I found a couple of more census records to add to their tree

With some more online searching, I located a reference to W.T. in the book Evidence of Progress Among Colored People by G.F. Richings, published in 2005.  In the book, it mentions that “W.T. Hightower started a business as a dealer in old rags and iron with a capital of 25 cents.  He now owns a large brick building and a beautiful home.”

Many others from Nashville are also mentioned in the book, including J.C. Napier, Preston A. Taylor,  Dr. R.F. Boyd, and others. I’ll have to look at this more closely.


Obituary: William McKissack

Nashville Globe – 25 Oct 1918

William McKissak Passes Away

Pulaski, TN (Special to the Globe) – On Saturday, Oct. 12, 1918; William (Will) McKissack breated his last breath while in a private hospital in Charleston, W. Va., where he and four other of his brothers were at work.  He was taken to the hospital from his temporary residence after becoming very ill.  He was the son of Mr. Gabriel and Mrs. Dolly McKissack, who were pioneers and highly respected here by both white and highly respected here by both white and colored.  Will, as he was familiarly called, was married a few years ago to Miss Oneal Frazier who was at that time teaching in the city schools of Nashville.  

The people of Pulaski were shocked when the news flashed over the wiere announcing the death of Will McKissack.  He had undertaken many enterpises to make good and had been fairly successful.  He was a member of the C.M.E. Church and was a loyal and consistent member until the time of his death.  His remains arrived here from Charleston over the L. & N. on Monday, October 14, 1918, accompanied by his four brothers, Messrs. Moses, Abraham, Arthur and Prof. Calvin McKissack, also his sister, Mrs. Mary Utley; his wife, Mrs. Oneal McKissack, and a lady friend of theirs. 

They were joined here by another sister, Mrs. Annie Maxwell, of Birmingham, and a host of relatives and friends. Other out-of-town relatives here were Mr. Willis James Bramlette, a cousin to the McKissacks and his distinguished parents.   Mr. and Mrs. William Bramlette live here. 

The funeral was in charge of the Pulaski Undertaking Co., under the special direction and management of Prof. T.P. Turner.  The procession was long, and while there were no exercises at the church, the whole ceremony was complete and representative people from all walks of life were out and showed their respect and appreciaion.  Rev. M.E. Jackson was the officiating clergyman.  the following were pallbearers: Mess. John Abernathy, Walter McNairy, Will Tears, Harvey North, A.D. Howell Jr., and Prof. B.H. Morrell.  The following out-of-town friends of Colubmia, Tenn. were present: Dr. T.W. Stephens, who made some remarks at the funeral; Mr. H.D. Merrell Jr. and another friend.

Dr. Lloyd C. Elam

 Today, the president of Meharry Medical College informed the community  of the death of Dr. Lloyd C. Elam yesterday.  Dr. Elam was the 6th  president of Meharry, having become president at 39 years old on June 6, 1968.  The presidency was just one of many of the roles Dr. Elam served the college  throughout his 25 years there. Dr. Elam had many accomplishments, was  very active in the community, and received numerous rewards and  accolades for his contributions. 

 The picture is from a biography page about Dr. Elam at http://tinyurl.com/4h8v5o


Dr. Elam was born in 1929 to Harry P. (Apr 1899 – Sep 1975) & Ruth Elam (c. 1903 – ?) in Little Rock, Arkansas.  From the family’s 1930 census record, I see that Dr. Elam had at lease two siblings, Margaret & Theodore.  At the time, Lloyd was 1 year and 5 months old. 

Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: Little Rock, Pulaski, Arkansas; Roll: 92; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 37; Image: 317.0. Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2002. 

When I located Lloyd’s father’s WWI Draft Registration Card, Iearned that his father’s name was William P. Elam.  William was born in Louisiana, and with wife Hattie whom he married about 1887, would have at least 6 children, one of whom died before 1900.  The children I could find at this point for William & Hattie are Erastus H. (b. Nov 1887), Wiley V. (b. Sep 1894), Harry P. (b. Apr 1899), Floyd (b. abt. 1902) and Cyrus (b. abt. 1905). [see the family in 1900 and 1910 census records]

Reading about Dr. Elam’s life as I’ve been doing over the past few hours has been educational and I know that he will be dearly missed by all his family, friends and colleagues.   Rest in peace Dr. Elam. 




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.

Deaths – March 1, 1907

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

Deaths as reported in this issue:

  • Mattie Batty, 801 Fifth avenue, South, 45 years.
  • John Jordan, 1336 Third avenue, South. 1 year.
  • George Alexander, 709 Allison street, 27 years.
  • Willie Temmus, 18 Murrel street, 2 years.
  • Carrie E. Cleveland, 1001 Salem street, 2 years.
  • Infant of Annie Lewis, 208 Sycamore street, 15 days.
  • Thomas McCatherine, Lake Providence, 64 years.
  • George Hooper, 1025 Eighteenth avenue, North, 76 years.
  • Julia Cole, 718 Ewing avenue, 12 years.
  • Della Lurenia Larender, 33 Perkins street, 3 years.
  • Mary Mason, Creek street, 37 years.
  • George Ella Richardson, 418 Quarry street, 37 years.
  • Ida May Underwood, 710 Winter, 34 years
  • Shirley B. Reehals, 636 Steele street, 11 years
  • Eugene Sykes, 38 Trimble street, 0 months
  • Ella Beard, 1918 Tweed street, 32 years
  • George Barker, 714 Fairmont street, 3 months

Township Tuesday – Ebenezer Notes

Township Tuesday posts will share news specific to a township of local relevance.

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

Ebenezer Notes

  • Mr. and Mrs. William Lusk, entertained February 21, in honor of their daughter and son, Naomi and William.  The dining room was beautifully decorated with flowers.  A menu of four courses was served.  Among those present were Misses Bettie Lusk, Addie Sledge, Mamie Upshaw, Bettie Willie B. Ewing, Annie Mae Terry, Annie Hall, Parlee Winston, Cornelia Battle, M. Baty, Messrs. McIntosh, Price, Joe Keeling, Thos. Ridley, James Jennings, T. Davis, Will McGee, W. Buchanan, Thos. Keeling, C. Yancey, M. Hall, B. Hall, G. Howlett, K. Gordan, Isaac Miller, Author Walker.
  • The Walker Town boys and the Lusk Town boys, of the Mt. Zion school, divided themselves into two clubs for the purpose of having ball games.  Those of the Walker Town are A. Walker, J. Epeland, Isaac Miller,  Dock Hall, Eddie Hall, Matthew Hall, and Beasley.   Those of the Lusk Town are W. Buchanan, A. Buchanan, Thos. Keeling, Sanford Keeling, W. Burnett, G. Howlett and C. Yancey.  The games began at 12 o’clock and closed at three o’clock.  The Walker Town won.  Mrs. William Ross and Miss Della Buchanan, their teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan were the lookers on.
  • The Lithia Club was organized with 20 members last Tuesday night.
  • Mr. William Martin left Tuesday evening for his home at 1069 Hatch street, St. Paul, Minn.  He has spent six weeks in Hot Springs, taking baths for rheumatism, which was successful.  He stopped in Nashville a few days, seeing old friends.  He once lived in Nashville, but has made his home in the North for the last 30 years.  He was married about eight years ago to the widow of the distinguished Rev. Pickett,  who lost his life in a hotel fire in New York.  While here he was the guest of Mr. and Mrs. J.S. Waters of 18 Claiborne street.

Southern Trip by Preston Taylor

In the March 1, 1907 issue of the Nashville Globe, Rev. Preston A. Taylor recounts a trip to Tuskegee, Alabama.

Southern Trip

Tuskegee is an international word known and read by all men on either side of the waters, and everybody feels the keenest interest in the institution, be he white or black, for education is blended into all nations alike.  If the brother in black is ignorant his shadow falls on his white brother and God has made of one blood all nations though the skin may be white, black or red and yet the blood unchanged and that is what is the interest of one man must be the welfare of all.  From the time the Emancipation Proclamation was put in force until now the races have been contending for more light and wisdom and it believed to be the best money a parent can spend on his children.  The same money given to a heir might be used as the Prodigal used his; but an educated person can’t spend his education.  He must hold to it.   Though he may not use it to the best advantage, yet he can’t be counted as one without refinement.  Education is good for all; though he may be a prisoner of a free man, rich or poor, white or black, he can find enjoyment in intelligence.

If education made George Washington a great man, why should it be thought strange that it should make Booker Washington a great man?  The same advantage given to all alike must surely produce a nation of great and useful people.  Some nationalism will be greater than others, the same as ours, some seed sown produces greater harvest than others.  Some soil is better, some has a greater advantage in the season and some has better attention than the other.  This is well illustrated by our great men and women of the race.  Any one can easily use what education has done for our race.  Will it not compare favorably with any other people under the same circumstances?  We have furnished our ratio of farmers, merchants, business and professional men.

The race has always stood side by side with other races to do its duty whether in the time of peace or war, and if our good deeds were as widely published as our bad ones, in what a different attitude it would place us before the world.  I for one would not object to our bad being told if the good we are doing could only be known; as it is told of Martin Luther while bound in prison, the “devil” wanting to add to his misery said, “Don’t you know you are a sinner, an insurrector, a preacher of false doctrine and a bad man in general?”  Luther said, “Grant all you say is true if you will add these words, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleansed from all sins,’ granting that all is said of us is true.”  If the world could only know what Tuskegee is doing for the uplifting of humanity, we would be willing to rest our case with them.

Tuskegee is a city of schools, consisting of twenty-three hundred acres of land with eighty buildings, and the grounds are inhabited by about three thousand people of the race.  Tuskegee, Ala., is forty miles east of Montgomery and is one of the most beautiful towns in the state, situated on a site overlooking all the adjacent territory.  The scenery about it is not excelled in all the South and seems just adapted for the purpose it is used for.  The farming is done largely by the students on a scientific plan, with heir hundreds of mules, horses, plows, barrows, wagons, carts and other implements.  They cultivate this immense tract of land and raise and consume all their wheat, corn, vegetables, etc.  To visit their large kitchen and dining hall and see eight or ten hundred pounds of meat and the great bakery, turning out hundreds of loaves of bread for each meal, besided bushels of onions, potatoes, turnips, etc., to feed sixteen hundred seated at the table at once, one would judge it is no ordinary family Tuskegee has to provide for.

The dairy contains one hundred and seventy-five milk cows, and last year they made 16,332 pounds of butter.  Every cow has a name and a stall as cleanly kept as care can make it, the students study the cow, the milk, the butter, as well as the food.  The whole analysis of the dairy is studied to protection and the results are no dairy in the country can excel it.

The students make the furniture used in the buildings, such as bedsteads, dressers, washstands, chairs, tables, book cases and mattresses, and nowhere have we seen schools so well furnished as the building at Tuskegee.  The machinery, wagons, plows, buggies, harnesses, etc., are all manufactured on the grounds.

Last year the tailor shop turned out over 1,000 new pieces: the millinery 1,412 hats and other articles; the dressmaking 1,309 pieces, besides 2,300 pieces of plain sewing, and the mattress division 5,118 mattresses.  1,367 brooms and baskets were manufactured.  Besides Tuskegee makes its own brick and builds all of her own buildings.  Among her students are all grades of mechanics such as architects, stone masons, brick layers, carpenters, tinners, plasterers, painters, etc.   They have one of the finest electrical plants that can be found anywhere.  All the instruments are installed, lines run and buildings wired and lighted by her own boys; in the foundry they mould all castings in use.

The landscape gardener has charge of the greenhouse and the grounds are as artistically arranged as in any city in the south.  The young men are organized in a regiment of cadets and are drilled in the latest methods used in the United States army.  Special attention is given to gymnastics for the young women and they have a well arranged gymnasium filed up and two large pools are connected with the men and women’s dormitories.

The Library building is the gift of Carnegie; the architecture is colonial and cost $20,000; It is two story and ais 50 x 110.  An effort is being made to secure every pamphlet, book, newspaper, magazine and other works published by our people, so that this library will be the center of Information regarding literature published by the race.  The Bible training school has an enrollment of seventy-three this year and has sent out fifty three graduates.  The chapel seats over 2,000 persons and it is one of the grandest delights to see the auditorium filled with young men and women, and their choir of over <..can’t read number…> voices accompanied by the orchestra of 18 pieces, all join in singing anthems of praise to our God, who has redeemed us and given us such a privilege to worship him under the guidance of Tuskegee.

The constant aim is to correlate the <…> and industrial training that the student cannot get one without the other; hence the students go to school one day and the next day works at his trade and skill to accommodate all, the school is operated day and night.  You never find an idler in Tuskegee, every hour must be accounted for.  There is a great demand for the “Tuskegee graduates.  A position awaits them and as soon as they receive their diplomas they are placed at the head of some enterprise.

The Tuskegee school opened about twenty-five years ago in a rented house with thirty pupils; today the total value of property, equipment and endowment is about $2,075,000 with an annual payroll of $102,152.03 for teachers’ salary and current expenses.  Tuskegee is not only a great manufacturing school, but is is the great money center, and it is the magnet that has attracted the wealthiest and best people of the land.  At the head of this institution stands Prof. Booker T. Washington, who has made the school the greatest normal and industrial institution of the age, and year by year he and the school have increased in popularity and usefulness, and before them stand today a vast multitude of people anxious for a continuance of this great work.

— Preston Taylor

Death of Hamilton Talley

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

Hamilton M. Talley, who died at 1236 S. Cherry street in February, wrote his own obituary and selected ministers to preach his funeal and directed every detail on paper before he died.  This is something wonderful for one man in a weak condition of mind.  He also willed his soul to God

Black Political Leaders in Tennessee, 1864-1865

I recently added the book, Slavery’s End in Tennessee, 1861-1865 to the bibliography list.  I perused this book once during a visit to the TN State Archives as I was looking for information about the Napier family.  The book is a good resource for understanding the broader picture of blacks after slavery in Tennesse.  For those interested, Table 7 on pages 111-112 presents a table of black political leaders.

The table presents names, Legal Status and Occupation. From Nashville are listed:

  • James Caffreey – Free – Farmer
  • Anderson Cheatham – Free – Grocer & liquor dealer
  • Ben J. Hadley – Slave – Liquor dealer
  • Henry Harding – Slave – Construction contractor, liquor dealer, hotel keeper
  • Wade Hickman – Slave – Liquor dealer
  • Daniel Lapsly – ? – Barber
  • Peter Lowery – Free – Disciples of Christ preacher, livery stable operator, general business agent
  • Samuel Lowery  – Free – Disciples of Christ missionary
  • John McGowen – Free – Barber
  • H.J. Maxwell – Free Northener – Sergeant
  • Alfred Menifee – Free – Grocer
  • Napoleon Merry – Free – Methodist preacher, stone mason
  • Nelson Merry – Free – Baptist minister
  • William C. Napier – Free – Hack driver
  • Frank Parrish – Free – Barber
  • Hardy Perry – Free – Hack line operator
  • George Scott – Free – Shoemaker or pressman
  • William B. Scott – Free – Editor of Nashville Colored Tennessean
  • Abraham Smith – Slave – Porter at the state capitol building
  • Jerry Stothart – Free – Hack driver
  • George Sumner – Free – Hack driver
  • James Sumner – Free – Hack driver
  • W. Alex Sumner – Free – Livery stable operator, liquor dealer, grocer
  • Andrew Tate – Free – Boatman
  • Daniel Wadkins – Free – Disciples of Christ preacher, teacher, farm laborer
  • Nelson Walker – Free – Barber

Fisk Notes (1 Mar 1907) – Part 2

Nashville Globe
1 Mar 1907

Fisk Notes

  • Mrs. H.F. Mitchell, wife of one of the members of the Senior Class, left for her home, Lake Providence, La., Monday night after a pleasant visit of more than two months.  Mrs. Mitchell made a host of friends while here and <…rest of blurb unreadable…>
  • Friday night, March 8, Miss Green, instructor in elocution, will give a recital in Memorial Chapel, assisted with musical numbers by Miss Flint.  Some time towards the last of March, Professor Andrews, of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, will give a recital in Memorial Chapel.  Professor Andrews has been here several times before, and the music lovers of Nashville need no introduction to him, nor do they need a second invitation to come and hear him.
  • Sunday morning, March 3, the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated in Union Church.  Those to unite with the church are Mr. A.M. Lyle, of Tennessee, as associate member, and Miss Douglass E. Branson, of Arkansas, and Miss Desrette Hodges, of Illinois, on confession.  The pastor, Prof. C. W. Morrow, will preach.
  • The meeting of the Y.M.C.A. last Sunday was a missionary meeting.  It was in charge of Professor Waterman and Miss Rhulo.  The meeting on March 3 will be led by Mr. W.E. Key, of the Sophomore Class.
  • Last Sunday the Y.P.S.C.E. was led by Miss Ethel Glenn.
  • The Junior College Class will repeat the play, “Merchant of Venice,” in the near future for the benefit of Howard Chapel.
  • Miss Lizzie Wells, who is in the music department of Fisk University, will lead Christian Endeavor at Howard Chapel Sunday night.
  • Among the visitors who are to be with us next Wednesday are Rev. Frank Fitch, D.D., of Buffalo, N.Y., who will deliver the dedicatory address, Rev. Lewyllen Pratt, D.D., of Norwich Conn., Rev. Jas. Cooper, D.D., Secretary of the American Missionary Association, Rev. Jas. W. Bixter, D.D., of New London, Conn., and Mr. Frank Leavens, of Broadway Church, Norwich, Conn.
  • Miss Pearl Erwin left school last Saturday on account of illness.  She is expected to return in a few days.  Her home is in Bellbuckle, Tenn.
  • The members of the D.L.V. Decagynian and Tanner Art Clubs are concentrating their efforts towards furnishing their new club room.
  • Little Sonoma Talley, who was sick so long with scarlett fever, is well again, and Professor Talley is again performing his school duties.


Additional Information