Category Archives: Montgomery Alabama

Xmas Edelweiss Club Meeting

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.

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My grandmother Fannie was a member of the Edelweiss Club. When I posted an invitation from the Club earlier in the challenge, Anne of Anne’s Family History asked if I was going to tell more about the Edelweiss Club. At the time, I couldn’t figure how I could fit it in. After looking through news items about the club, I came to one that announced  an Xmas day meeting.  Perfect. I present the Edelweiss Club.

  “The club will be entertained by Miss Brown on Xmas morning.

Dec. 21, 1918 The Emancipator

The Emancipator Saturday Jan., 4, 1919
Edelweiss Club Meets

“On Christmas morning the Edelweiss Club met with Miss Madge Brown, Cor., Brown and Carterhill Road. All of the club members were present, besides several invited guests. Whist was played and sweet music was enjoyed throughout the morning after which a Christmas dinner was served. The house was beautifully decorated in keeping with the season.”

In the 1920 census, Madge Brown was living with her parents, John and Julia Brown. Both parents were born during slavery in the mid 1850s. They would have been teenagers when the war ended and they were emancipated. Mr. Brown was a farmer and owned his own farm free and clear. Mrs. Brown had given birth to six children and six were living.

Madge’s sister, Elizabeth B. Deramus, her husband, James and their one year old son lived there too. Elizabeth taught music and her husband was a medical doctor. All the adults in the household were literate.

The Montgomery Times Thu Dec 26, 1918

The weather that Christmas day was clear and cold, with temperatures dipping down to 24 degrees.

Who were the members of the Edelweiss Club?  Thirty seven women attended the monthly meetings judging from news items that appeared in The Emancipator, starting January 12, 1918 and continuing monthly until  May 3, 1919. Some of the women were members and some were guests and not all were present at every meeting. Thirty of them were teachers. One was a seamstress. Three worked in family businesses.  The other three did not have employment and were relatives of members. Most of the members were single, some married as time went on. Some moved out of town.  A good number never married.

All of them came from literate homes. Most of their parents owned their homes, some free and clear, some mortgaged. Their fathers tended to work for themselves as barbers, carpenters and plasterers. Bertha Loveless’ father was an undertaker. Madge Brown’s father was a farmer. Alberta Boykin’s father was a mail carrier. Several lived with their widowed mother or an aunt.  Most had multiple siblings.

Their parents were born in the mid 1850s to the  1870 so they would have been teenagers when slavery ended or were born during Reconstruction.

There were no more reported meetings after May 3, 1919.

"Fannie and friends"
Fannie and friends at Holly Springs, MS 1914. Some later became teachers.

What I really need is another month or so to investigate all 37 women and their families, and a chart to be able to compare. I realize that with 37 women, there may very well be a theme here for my 2019 A to Z.

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com.

Charles WATKINS

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends.  Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

Charles Watkins was a friend of my grandfather Mershell C. Graham.

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Many Industrial Opportunities In California.

(Special to the Emancipator.) By Charles D. Watkins.  Los Angeles, Cal. Aug. 15

Out here in Southern California the wages for colored help are very good, living conditions are fine and food cheaper than in many other sections. Cook women get from $40 to $65 a month in apartment houses and private homes; maids or house girls, from $40 to $60; janitors and porters (men) are paid from $60 to $80; and elevator men receive the same amount Chauffeurs receive from $75 to $150 a month. There is a greater demand for this kind of help here than can be supplied.

There are a number of colored business men here, including real estate dealers, grocers, druggists, merchants, physicians, clergymen, teachers and twelve lawyers. The colored population of Los Angeles is 35,000 and everybody works.

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“‘Hands Up’ Just a little desperato. You know why.” A photo of Charles Watkins he sent to my grandfather Mershell.
The Tulane building in 2004.

Here is a story my cousin Jacqui told me about her grandfather, Victor Tulane and his rescue of Charles Watkins in Montgomery, Alabama. This story was told to her by her mother, Naomi Tulane Vincent. It happened in 1917. The Tulane family lived above the store on Ripley and High Street. The Watkins family lived several blocks away on Union Street.

Walking distance between the Tulane’s and the Watkin’s was about 3 minutes following the route suggested on Google Maps for pedestrians.

It was the middle of the night when the Tulane family woke up to car lights shining in the windows.  They got up and looked out into the yard.  It was full of white men in cars and trucks.  Victor Tulane told his wife, Willie Lee and his daughter, Naomi to go back to bed, everything would be all right.

He let the white men in and they told him they were looking for the Watkins boy. Charles Watkins was 28.  Watkins, they said, had insulted one of their wives and they wanted him. Was he there, they asked?  Victor told them that nobody was there except his wife and daughter, they could look for themselves. They went through the whole building, looking everywhere. Finally, satisfied that Watkins wasn’t there, they left.

As dawn approached, Victor brought Charles Watkins out from his hiding place beneath the floor.  He put him in the car, piled produce on top of him, drove him out in the country where his nephew, Roscoe McCall  had arranged to put him on a train heading north to Chicago.

Stella: they got stopped on the road.

Louise: The police, the posse, don’t they call it a posse? Or whatever.

Stella: Yes.

Louise: came after him and then when they shined the light on Daddy. They were in a field and they saw that it was Mr… your grandfather McCall’s son and they said “Oh Rossie…”

Stella: Because his father, not cutting you off, Ross’s own, father had worked at the jail and had charge of the colored prisoners…

Margaret: So this incident of Uncle Ross in the field, what happened?

Stella: They stopped him, right at that field.

Louise: No mother, start with how they were standing outside the drugstore… he and that other one, that Watkins boy and the white girl came by and she told her boyfriend that they had, that this Watkins fellow had winked at her and that started a riot in the city.

Roscoe McCall

Stella: Winked at her.

Margaret: Is that right?

Stella: A riot.

Margaret: Well, how did Uncle Ross get him out of the city?

Stella: Out of the city?

Margaret: You said that they were in the field and the police came and said…

Stella: Now all before this started, Ross had a friend out in the country. This man was a good friend of his and they would go hunting out there. And that’s why he knew the man… his name… I can’t think of his name… what was his name…anyway, well he had a home down in the country and he would go down there every summer you know, just take a week off and hunt and…

Louise: A good place to hide out.

Stella: To hide out. Yes.

Margaret: That’s all?

Stella: And there was a railroad train coming out of Montgomery going on to Atlanta and Ross got this man out of Montgomery and had this porter on this train to stop at this little station down there in the country and nobody would ever think a train would stop there and he stopped just like he got him to do and he put this man on this train in the back and had a place for him to stay and stay shut up and he did that until he got to Atlanta and he was safe.

Margaret: And did he stay in Atlanta or did he leave Atlanta?

Stella: Oh he left Atlanta. We didn’t hear any more of him. But Ross saved his life! They were going to lynch him uh huh, oh yes. Ross had some narrow escapes in that time.

Margaret: He did?

Stella: Yes, because you see this one was taking him for that and that one was taking him for this and it was terrible.

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Before he left Montgomery, Charles  Watkins was a grocer, operating a grocery store near the family home on Union Street. In 1917, he lived in Chicago with his wife and children and worked in the stockyards. By 1920 he was living in Los Angeles, which he described as the land of opportunity. He worked as a carpenter and made a good life for himself and his family there.

Naomi married Dr. Ubert Vincent in May of 1920 and moved to New York City.

Rosco McCall moved to Detroit in 1919. His family followed in early 1920. They later settled in Chicago where he worked as a Pullman Porter.

My grandfather Mershell Graham had moved to Detroit and was working there in 1917.

I found some of William Watkins extended family on Ancestry.Com and was able to see some photos of the family.  Unfortunately they had never heard this story.

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Most of the information for this post is from family oral history. I found corroborating information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com. I also used Google Maps. The photographs are from my family photos.

V.H. Tulane

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

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Victor Tulane was my grandmother Fannie’s uncle by marriage.  He was the husband of Willie Lee Allen, my great grandmother Jennie Virginia Allen’s sister.

The Emancipator 23 Mar 1918 Sat pg 3
Victor Hugh Tulane

I thought his obituary summed up his life pretty well.

Victor H. Tulane Dead

 Montgomery, Ala., Jan, 16., 1931

Transcribed from The Chicago Defender Jan 17, 1931 via ProQuest Historical Newspapers online database.

Victor H. Tulane, a leader of his Race here for many years, died at his home, 430 S. Union St., at the age of 57.  His rise to affluence, through his own industry and native shrewdness, was little short of remarkable.  Prior to his death he owned a mercantile business and operated a real estate agency of considerable scope. Tulane first came to Montgomery when he was 15 years old, having walked here from Wetumpka, where he was born.  His first job was porter in a saloon, but later he opened a store at the corner of High and Ripley Streets. which he operated for about thirty years.  He later rented his store and entered the real estate business, and before his death had accumulated a comfortable estate.

For many years Tulane served on the board of trustees of the Tuskegee Institute.  He was also chairman of the board of trustees of the Hale infirmary.  He was widely known for his generosity and willingness to serve in charitable movement.  He was actively connected with the community chest and was one of the first to donate toward the Y.M.C.A. building for colored persons.

Surviving are his widow, Willie L. Tulane of Montgomery, and his daughter, Naomi Tulane Vincent, New York city.  Funeral arrangements will be announced later by the Loveless Undertaking company.

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Victor Tulane wrote this letter to my grandmother Fannie as her mother and sisters were in the process of moving up from Montgomery to join her in Detroit.  This was soon after Fannie and my grandfather, Mershell, bought their house on Theodore, where they lived for over 40 years.  They had two children under five and the third, my mother was on the way.  

"Letter to Fannie Graham from Victor Tulane."
Letter to Fannie Graham from Victor Tulane

V. H. Tulane
Real Estate and Insurance

Scott Building 123 Monroe St

Telephones
388
555

Rents Collected                                                                                     Homes Bought
Loans Negotiated                                                                                            And Sold 
Estates Managed

Dear Fannie,
I am enclosing check from this M.R. & Ins. Co; for ten dollars which the sec’y should have mailed you some time ago.

We are winding up the affairs of this company and will send you another payment on stock acct. pretty soon.  I think that the company will be able to pay off it’s stock holders dollar for dollar.

I trust this will find all well and getting along nicely.

Your mother’s things were shipped yesterday.  Trust they will arrive on time and in first class condition.  Remember me to all the folks.  Tell the kids hello!
Let us have a line from you when convenient.

Your Uncle,
Victor

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Other posts about Victor Tulane

I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. News items were found on Newspapers.com. I also use Google Maps. Photographs and correspondence from my family archives.

Rufus Taylor

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.

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Rufus Taylor was related to my grandmother’s uncle, Victor Tulane. He was a friend of my grandparents and worked in the Tulane Grocery store, which was managed by my grandmother Fannie Turner Graham for many years before she married.

“Mr. Rufus Taylor of Montgomery, is back at his old post in the Tulane Grocery, after a pleasant vacation spent in Chicago and other points in the North.”

Lowndes Adams and Rufus Taylor

Rufus Taylor was born January 19, 1886 in Wetumpka, Elmore County, Alabama.  His father was Jordan Taylor, he worked as a porter in a grocery store. His mother was Fannie Shelton Taylor. Both of them attended school as children and were literate. Fannie died just two years after Rufus was born. His father remarried in 1893. No other children were born and Rufus grew up an only child.

Rufus moved to Montgomery in 1910 to work for his cousin Victor Tulane. I tried to figure out if Rufus and Victor were nephew and uncle or cousins. In fact I spent hours this afternoon tracing Rufus’ mother and grandmother. I could not find a direct relationship, however in the 1870 and 1880 census Fannie Shelton and her mother were living right down the street from Victor Tulane’s white father and in the midst of his relatives. I surmise that either the mother’s were both enslaved by the Tulane family and that perhaps  they or their children were related through that family.

Rufus lived with Victor Tulane’s family for ten years and worked in Tulane’s Groceries, first as a clerk and then as a salesman.  My grandmother Fannie managed the store before her marriage and referred to him in letters she wrote to her future husband Mershell in Detroit.

In 1920 he married Nan Nesbitt Jones. She had been married before and brought her three year old son, Albert to the marriage. Like most of the women I have been writing about, Nan worked before she married Rufus. She taught school. In 1930, they were living in their own home. They did not own a radio. Thirteen year old Albert was in school. Nan’s brother, Nathan Nesbitt was living with them, as was John W. Dickerson, a lodger who was an insurance agent.

Rufus and Nan did not have any children. He died on July 27, 1937 at the age of 51. He is buried in the Wetumpka City Cemetery, next to his mother.

Unknown woman, Rufus Taylor, his wife Nan

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. The news items were found on Newspapers.com. The photographs are from my personal collection, or that of family members.

Rev. E. E. Scott

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.

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Rev. Scott was the minister who married my grandparents, Mershell Graham and Fannie Turner.

Great Preacher Goes To Reward

Montgomery, Ala., June 15.

One of the most impressive funeral services ever conducted in this city was that of the late Rev. E. E. Scott, who had served as pastor of the First Congregational Church in Montgomery for fifteen years.

Rev. Scott died in Talladega, Ala. Friday, June 11, where he went last August, having accepted the position as pastor of the Congregational Church in that city.

The remains of the deceased were brought to Montgomery Sunday night and laid in state in the Congregational Church where hundreds of persons from all denominations and ranks of life crowded in to take a last look at the face of a man ???????????? the service of all the people.

In connection with his duties as pastor, Rev. Scott also taught eleven years in the local State Normal School, where he made a deep and lasting impression upon the lives of the students with whom he came in touch.

The funeral oration was delivered by Dean O’Brien of Talladega College, who accompanied the remains to Montgomery.

Touching tributes to the life and Christian character of the deceased were also paid by several prominent speakers including Prof. J. A. Lawrence, Rev.  Jones of Cotton Valley, Ala., Bishop J.W. Alstork, Mrs. Dillard of Selma, Ala. Prof. J. W. Beverly, Mr. J. . Fagain and others. The services presided over by Rev. Stanley, pastor of the local Congregational Church.

The deceased is survived by his widow, four daughters, two sons, a mother and other relatives, and a large circle of friends.

The interment took place Monday afternoon in Lincoln Cemetery.

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 Rev. Edward Estus Scott was born to Edward and Mary Jane (Presley) Scott, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi on May 23, 1866. He spent nine years in the preparatory and normal departments of Tougaloo College. , and was graduated from Howard Theological Seminary and was ordained to the Congregational ministry in 1892. He served a  pastorate in Alco, Alabama during 1892-93.

On October 31, 1894, He and Rachel Pepper were married at Vaughn Mississippi. They moved to Nashville, TN where he served as a pastor for three years. The first of their six children was born there. Following his pastorate at Nashville, he spent a season with the Fisk Jubilee singers in the North and East. It was said he had a fine, mellow voice.

Rev. Scott took a church in Shelby, Alabama in 1897 and remained there until 1904. It was then that he was called to First Congregational Church in Montgomery where he served from 1904 to 1919. During his time there he also taught classes at the State Normal School. He took a church in Talladega, Alabama in 1919 and he died there on June 11, 1920, from a stroke.

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Both of my grandparents, Mershell and Fannie Graham, were members of First Congregational Church in Montgomery. Below is a letter that Rev. Scott wrote to my grandfather when he first moved to Detroit. Both pages are transcribed below the images.

570 S. Union St., Montgomery, Ala, Nov. 3, 1917

My Dear Brother Graham;

Your second letter came to me yesterday, and I hasten to acknowledge it lest procrastination get me again; for I had intended time and again to write you in answer to your first letter, but just kept putting off. We appreciate your donations-

I wish to assure you that we often think of you here both at the parsonage and at the church. We still miss you and should be very, very glad if something should turn up here to make it desirable and profitable for you to come back.  We shall still hope for this anyhow.

It is source of real pleasure to stop in from time to time to see your mother and say a word of cheer to her. I think she kept up remarkable well.  Miss Mattie’s coming cheered her up wonderfully.

I guess you know by this time that Edward is married and yesterday  he wrote us from camp – so he is called to the colors, Camp Meade, 15 miles from Baltimore is his camp. According to present plans, he may be in Anniston soon; but the government does not seem to know just what to do with it’s Negro soldiers, so it is uncertain where he will be.

Mrs. Scott

I am glad you are keeping up with our own people up there in the church. I advised Mrs. Thompson and Mr. Dale and now I urge you to join them in trying to get the pastor of First Congregational Church, Dr. Huget, to help organize a church for our own people who are in Detroit.

It is barely possible that Mrs. Scott may visit her grand aunt there across the river in Sandwich, this winter. In the event she does I know you will all make it pleasant for her.

Give our regards to all, and tell them I expect everyone of them to join the new church that will be organized there.

Very sincerely your pastor

E. E. Scott

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records and Military Records. I also found The Congregational Year Book, Vol 43 & The Congregationalist And Advance, Aug. 12, 1920  very helpful. The news items  were found on Newspapers.com. The photograph is from my personal collection.

Rosa Nixon 1889 – 1970

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

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Rosa Nixon was a friend of my grandparents. One of her sisters married into the same family that one of my grandmother’s first cousins married into. She graduated in the class of 1906 at State Normal School for Negroes, as did Mattie Graham.

Miss Rosa Nixon Accepts Position In Baltimore

Montgomery, Ala., Feb. 20-  Miss Rosa Nixon of this city, resigned her position as head of the Art Department of the local State Normal School on Monday of this week in order to accept a position in the Baltimore Colored High School. The resignation went into effect Tuesday, the 19th inst., and Miss Nixon will leave to take up her new work at Baltimore on Thursday morning, February 21st.

Miss Nixon is one of the leading art teachers of the race, having studied in the foremost art schools of the country. Her excellent work as a teacher, club worker and member of the local Red Cross Auxiliary in this community will be sadly missed and her host of friends here are loath to have her go to another field. Miss Nixon has been head of the Art Department in the Normal School here for several years, during which time she has enlarged and developed the department to a high standard of efficiency.

Rosa Nixon 1912 Montgomery, Alabama.

While looking through my grandmother Fannie’s photographs, I came across this picture of Rosa Nixon. I wondered who she was. On the back it says “Mershell C. Graham – Rosa. And then in my mother’s handwriting it says ‘Not related! – One of Daddy’s girls, I suppose – he didn’t marry until 1918.’

Rosa Nixon was born into a family that started off after slavery with more advantages than most. Her grandmother Winnie Nixon, received land, livestock, furniture and money upon the death of her former slave master, William Owen Nixon of Lowndes County, Alabama in 1868. In 1870 she had real estate valued at $4,000 and personal property valued at $1,000.  All except the youngest two of her nine children were attending school.  One of them was Rosa’s father, Alfred Nixon.

Rosa Nixon was born in September, 1889 in Montgomery, Alabama, the second of the four daughters of Alfred and Hattie (Clayton) Nixon. Hattie and her youngest baby girl, Zenobia died within a few months of each other in 1895.  Zenobia was a year old. Hattie was 25.

Alfred Nixon worked as a porter and then as a bar tender. He remarried in 1901. He and his second wife, Mattie Coleman had three children together. One died. Two boys, Alfred Floyd and William O. Nixon were born in  1902 and 1904. Rosa graduated from Normal School in 1907. My grandmother Fannie and all of her cousins also graduated from this school, which went from first grade through high school.

The Montgomery Advertiser July 30, 1907

Receive Diplomas

Graduation At Normal School For Negroes

Program Includes Addresses by Tom Benjamin, Music and Addresses by Principal Paterson, and Several Friend of School

Twenty-four students, seventeen girls and seven boys received diplomas yesterday morning from the State Normal School for negroes (sic.). The graduating exercises included addresses by ten of the students, vocal and instrumental music, and remarks by Principal W.H. Paterson and friends of the school. The dominant note in each of the speeches made to the students and patrons of the school was that the negroes must educate their children, that they must supplement the work being done, by the State and that they must throw safeguards around the morals of their children as well as giving them assistance in securing knowledge.

Incidentally, the municipality of Montgomery was criticized for its failure to give negro children equal opportunity with white children in the schools and the lack of school room for negro children in this city was pointed out.

The closing exercises were held in the chapel, which is on the second floor of the main building. The twenty-four graduates formed a double semi-circle on the stage, which was decorated in the colors of the school, and the class of 1907. Sitting with the class on the stage were many of the negro preachers of Montgomery, including Bishop J. W. Alstork.

Simplicity marked the dress of the girls in the graduating class. They wore calico dresses. Frequent allusion was made to this simplicity of dress by Principal Paterson and the other speakers. The Principal said he had promised the girl students that he would provide the cloth if the girls would make the dresses and wear calico. they had readily consented and this simplicity of dress, he said, would be adhered to in the future. It was done, he said, in the interest of the poor parents of many of the student.

The graduating class consisted of Frederick D. Adair, Edna T. Barnett, Maris H. Brown. Dora D. Beverly, Melissa B. Culpepper, Mattie E. Graham, James B. Hatcher, Nora J. Holly, Olivia C. Hunter, Helen E. Jones, Adam J. Joseph, Queenie V. Lee, Gertrude R. Lucas, Rose H. Nixon, Alfred A. Poole, Sadie M. Richardson, Olivia A. Royal, Mary L. Sawyer, Rosa L. Shaw, Emmaline L. Simpson, Cornelius S. Sampson, Henry J. Todd, Charles D. Watkins, Ellen A. Wimbs.

According to the custom of the school, the ten students making the highest marks, prepared essays. Three essays were delivered without reference to manuscripts. They gave evidence of careful preparation and some of them were delivered with fine effect. None but members of the graduating class were on the program, which was as follows.

Invocation.

Piano Duet, “Jeunesse Doree” – (Smith)-Helen Jones and Rosa Nixon.

Salutatory and Oration, “The Christian Ministry” – James E. Hatcher

Oration, “Nature & Mysteries” – Emmaline Simpson.

Vocal Quartet, “Over the Hills at Break of Day” – (Geibel) – Olivia Royal, James S. Hatcher, Sadie Brown, Alfred Poole.

Oration, “The Conditions and Needs of Women Wage- Earners” – Hosea L. Shaw.

Essay, “The Leisure Class” – Olivia A. Royal.

Piano Solo. “Fanfare” – (Ascher) – Nora Holley

Oration, “The Genius of Japanese Civilization” – Olivia C. Hunter

Essay, “The Most Lasting Monuments” – Sadie B. Brown.

Vocal Duet, “When Gathering Clouds” – (Shuey) Sadie B. Brown, James E. Hatcher

Oration, “Has the Negro Race Made Any Real Progress?” – Charles D. Watkins.

Oration, “Women in History” – Helen E. Jones.

Piano due, “La Baladine” – (Lysberg) – Mary Sawyer and Dora Beverly.

Oration, “The Duty of the Hour” Rosa Nixon

Essay, “The Results of Fraternities” Harry J. Todd

Sojourner Truth Club Essay – Helen N. Jones

Valedictory. “Through Trials to Triumphs’ – Dora Beverly.

Presentation of Diplomas

“My Old Kentucky Home” – By the Class

Benediction

Principal Paterson announced that Helen Jones had won the prize annually offered by the Sojourner Truth Club, an organization of negro women, for the best essay on achievements by the race. The Jones girl then went forward and read the essay written on “Self help.” It was also announced that Wilson Walker, Sadie Castle, Effie May Todd and Lena Davenport had won prizes for garden work.

At the conclusion of the graduating exercises, brief addresses were delivered by Bishop Alstork, Nathan Alexander and other friends of the school.

In concluding the exercises, Principal Paterson said the school now owned property valued at $30,000, and that plans were making for an extension of its work another year.

During the year just closed, the school enrolled 1,055 pupils.

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Rosa’s father died in 1908. There are no death certificates in Alabama at that time but I found a notice of his death and funeral in the local Montgomery paper.

The Montgomery Advertiser October 1, 1908
Funeral Notice

“The friends and acquaintances of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred F. Nixon, are respectfully invited to attend the funeral of the former, from the Old Ship Church at 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1st, 1908.”

Alfred Nixon owned his house free of mortgage when he died in 1908.  In 1910, Rosa and her older sister Eugenia were both teaching. The three youngest children were all attending school. Her step-mother was not working outside of the home. The step-mother’s mother also shared the home.

Rosa taught at art at State normal School. She was active in community and social activities, heading the Red Cross Drive in 1917. In 1918 the art department, under Rosa Nixon’s supervision, bought a potters wheel. The students were all excited and looking forward to making a plate each.

We have now reached the article that started this post. Rosa Nixon, now 28 years old and the head of the Art Department of State Normal School, is headed to Baltimore, Maryland to head the Art Department at the Colored High School there. She boarded with several other teachers. That summer she attended art classes at Columbia University in New York City.

In 1921 Rosa was appointed to head the Art Department of Dunbar High School in Washington DC. Over the years she organized trips to museums, art galleries and other places of interest to her art students. She also continued to expand her own skills with workshops and classes.

In 1929 Rosa married John Henry Hampton, a postal worker. She continued to teach at Dunbar although she and her husband maintained a house in Baltimore. In 1940, Rosa’s widowed older sister, Eugenia and her two sons, both young men, were living in a separate flat in Rosa and her husband’s house. In 1951, after 30 years of service, the school board retired her. It doesn’t sound like she went willingly. She was 61 years old. Rosa’s husband died in 1961. One of her nephews was living with her when Rosa died suddenly at the age of 81, on December 11, 1970.

The Baltimore Sun Sun Dec, 13, 1970

Hampton

Suddenly, on December 11, 1970. Rosa N., of 2004 North Bentalou Street, beloved sister of William and Alfred Nixon. She is also survived by three nephews, Samuel N. and William W. Phillips and Rene Alvarado, four nieces, Mrs. Joyce Davis, Mrs. Myrtle Lancaster, Mrs Laura Nixon, and Mrs. Camille Lee and other relatives.

Friends may call at the Charles R. Law Funeral Home, 802 Madison Avenue. Services on Tuesday, 12 Noon from St. James Episcopal Church, Lafayette & Arlington Avenues. Family will receive friends on Monday evening from 7 to 9 P.M. at the above funeral home. Interment Arbutus Memorial Park.

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records and Military Records. The news item was found on Newspapers.com and Genealogy Bank. The photograph is from my personal collection.

Thomas Queen

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. The news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

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My grandparents had no known connection with Thomas Queen, but I needed a “Q” and he did appear in The Emancipator.

Notice of Mortgage Sale

Under and by virtue of the power of sale contained in that certain mortgage executed by Tom Queen and Lula Queen, his wife, to Mrs. S.J. Harrington on the 5th day of January, 1917, which said mortgage is recorded in Book 277 of Mortgages at page 120, in the office of the Judge of Probate of Montgomery County, Alabama, the undersigned, Mrs. S.J. Harrington will on the 18th day of March, 1918, during the legal hours of sale, proceed to sell at public auction, for cash, at Court Square Fountain, in the City of Montgomery, Alabama, the following described real estate, lying in the County of Montgomery, State of Alabama, and which is conveyed by the said mortgage, to-wit:

Lot Twenty-five (35) and the West one (1) foot off of Lot Twenty-six (28) in Block, “A”, according to Rutter and Hardeman’s Subdivision of Part of Chappell’s Plat No. Three (3) in the Peacock Tract, said subdivision being recorded in Plat Book 2, page 58, in the office of the Judge of Probate of Montgomery County, Alabama.

The above sale is made for the purpose of paying the debt secured by said mortgage and the interest there on and the expenses incident to the sale, including attorney’s ee.

Mrs. S.J. Harrington,

Mortgagee,

Blakey & Strassburger, Attorneys

Thomas Queen was born in Alabama in 1865, the year the Civil War and slavery ended. In the 1880 census, his parents, Frank and Diana Queen and older brother James were farm laborers. They were illiterate. Thomas was nine and had not attended school.  His three younger siblings were too young for school.

In 1896, Thomas married Lula Comer. They had six children together. Four of them lived to adulthood. In 1900 They had been married four years and had one child, three year old William. They were farming on rented land and neither one was able to read or write.

By 1910 They had moved to Montgomery. Thomas worked as a laborer in a railroad shop. Lula was not working outside of the home. Both were able to read and write now. The oldest child, William and one other child (born between censuses so name unknown) had died. The four remaining children were ages nine, seven, five and newborn. The two oldest had attended school. Lula’s brother, Morse and a woman lodger also shared the rented house. Morse was also working as a laborer in a railroad shop. The woman lodger was a laundress.

In January, 1917, the Queens lost their house in Montgomery for unpaid taxes. By 1918 they were living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In November, of that year, Thomas was seriously injured when a gas furnace at the Eliza Plant leaked gas. Twenty five were killed and 19 were overcome, including Thomas.

The Pittsburgh Press – Sun – Nov 10, 1918

In May, 1919 they bought a house at 46 Audley Street. This was probably a happy time, but bad luck was just around the corner.

In 1920 Thomas and his oldest son were working as laborers at the Mill. Lula was a sorter at a reduction plant. The youngest three children attended school. Everybody was literate.

Then, on March 24, 1922, Lulu Queen died of cervical and uterine cancer. She died in the hospital and doesn’t seem to have been under a doctor’s care prior to her death.

On October 9, 1922, while the family was away from home, someone burglarized the house and set it on fire.The firemen were delayed in fighting the fire by mud in the fire hydrant. There was over $3,000 worth of damage to the house.

Pittsburgh Daily Post – 10 Oct, 1922, Tue – pg 7

Trunk Mystery Remains Unsolved

“Richard Jordan, Negro, 24 years old, of Fifth avenue, was held for further investigation in Center avenue police court yesterday morning. Jordan was arrested Friday night following information by Thomas Queen, a Negro, of Audley street, whose home was damaged by fire after a burglar had pried open a trunk, taking $85. Queen testified that Jordan was with him when he put the money in the trunk. Jordan denied having anything to do with the fire or burglary.”

In 1923, the oldest son, Thomas Jr died of acute dilation of the heart. He was under a doctors care for three months before his death.

In 1926, Thomas was held up and robbed on the street by three white men armed with revolvers. The “What” in the title below should be “White”.

Pittsburgh Daily Post -08 Mar 1926, Mon pg 2

White Bandits Rob Negro

While walking in Soho street, near Wadsworth street, last night, Thomas Queen, 50 years old, Negro, of 46 Ardley street, was held up by three white men, armed with revolvers and robbed of $10 and a gold watch valued at $30.

In 1927, Thomas Queen lost his property for nonpayment of taxes. This had happened before in Montgomery.

The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · 05 Sep 1931, Sat · Page 9

“Thomas Queen, owner or reputed owner, or who ever may be owner. D.T.D. 238, Jan., 1927. $130.60. Chas. A. Waldschmidt, Atty. Lot in Fourth Ward, City of Pittsburgh, 25?109 feet, Audley St., between Emma St. and Battalion AY. Having thereon a 1 1/2- story frame dwelling.” 

In the 1930 census, Thomas Queen lived with his daughter seventeen year old Josephine and her husband, Jeptha Spencer. Thomas was not employed. Jeptha was working as a porter on the railroad.  They lived on Wadsworth Street.

In 1934, Josephine’s husband, Jeptha died of complications from an appendectomy. He left a three year old son, Jeptha Jr., who would later grow up to be a jazz pianist.

Thomas Queen died of capillary bronchitis on March 20, 1936.  He was ill for 5 days. The informant on his death certificate was Mattie Queen, his second wife. He was buried in the Allegheny Cemetery.

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. The news items were found on Newspapers.com.

Charles Lee Pope

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. The news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

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Charles Lee Pope was my grandmother Fannie’s first cousin. Their mothers were sisters.

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The Emancipator Fri day June 6, 1919

“Mr. Charlie L. Pope who has been in school at Hampton for the past few years, was in the city for a few days this week visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Pope of Jeff Davis Ave. He will spend the summer at Newport News, Va.”

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Twins Annie Lee and Charlie Lee Pope in Montgomery, Alabama. They were born February 8, 1903 so I would guess this was taken sometime before 1910. Their parents were Robert and Beulah (Allen) Pope. They were my grandmother’s first cousins. This photo is from the collection of my cousin Ruth Pope Hatcher.

Charles Popes parents, Beulah and Robert Pope lived in Montgomery Alabama and built a house on Jeff Davis Ave. Beulah, as did her sisters, worked as a fine seamstress. She sewed only for well-to-do white people (who paid more) and her daughter Annie Lee.  Robert Pope Sr. worked in a wholesale drug supply company called Durr’s and was an elder at Old Ship Methodist church. There were three children: twins Annie Lee and Charlie Lee were born in 1902. Seven years later, the youngest, Robert was born.

The Emancipator, Saturday October 6, 1917

“Hampton Institute, Hampton, Virginia – Messrs. Alfonso Brown, Julius Alexander and Charlie L. Pope.”

Charles (he hated Charlie and was called Charles)  went to Hampton Institute in 1917. He left after several years. Then worked on the Canadian Pacific railroad and ended up at Ferris Institute (now Ferris State University) in Big Rapids, Michigan, He went to dental school with cousin Alfonso at Marquette Dental College in Milwaukee, but Alfonso couldn’t stand the racism and left for Meharry.

While attending dental school and for some time afterwards, Charles lived with his sister Annie and her husband Ludie Gilmer, a physician.  Robert Sr. died in 1941. Beulah remained in Montgomery until 1947. By that time there was only one of Dock and Eliza’s children and grandchildren left in Montgomery, all the rest had moved north. Beulah moved to Milwaukee and kept house and cooked for Charles. Some years after his brother-in-law died, Charles’ sister also lived with him.

Charles Pope never married. He died in Milwaukee on October 26, 1981. His niece remembers him as being “the sweetest uncle”.  My mother remembered that her Aunt Beulah was the envy of her sisters because of the way her son took care of her in her later years. Charles and his mother Beulah, his sister Annie and her husband Ludie Gilmer are all buried at Forest Home Cemetery outside of Milwaukee.

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I found this information on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories, Death Records, Military Records and Marriage Records. Some information was from family members, a special thanks to my cousin Ruth for her personal memories of her uncle Charles. The news items were found on Newspapers.com.

Naomi Tulane

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Each item was found on Newspapers.com and is transcribed directly below the clipping.   Click on any image to enlarge.

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Naomi Tulane was my grandmother Fannie’s first cousin, their mothers were sisters. Naomi’s father was Victor Tulane, a very successful black Montgomery businessman. She played the piano at my grandparent’s wedding.

Naomi Tulane’s Engagement photograph
Ubert Vincent, MD – the groom

Montgomery Girl and New York Physician Wed

Montgomery, Ala., May 3.- 1920

One of the most brilliant weddings of the season to take place in this city was that of Miss Naomi Tulane and Dr. U. C. Vincent of New York City, which was solemnized here Wednesday, April 28 at 4:30 P.M., at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. V.H. Tulane, 401 S. Ripley Street. The spacious home was artistically decorated with palms, roses and smylax.

Just before the bridal party entered, Mr. Allen Carleton, the sweet-voiced tenor, sang “Dear Heart”, which was followed by, “O’, Promise me,” sung by Miss Bertha L. Loveless. The wedding march pealed forth and Miss Alma Alexander, bride’s maid, entered, attired in a beautiful nile green taffata with gold trimmings  and picture hat to match. She was followed by Miss Miriam Garrett of Los Angeles, Cal. also bride’s maid, who wore a lovely gown of nile green taffata with trimmings of pink and hat to correspond.

Mrs. Ruth Dixon of Detroit, Mich., sister of the groom, was matron of honor. She was beautifully gowned in white satin with silver trimmings and a hat of shell pink.

The groom entered with Mr. Richard Harris of Montgomery, as best man. Then, Dorothy Lindsey and Victoria McCall, two veritable little fairies, the flower girls, entered, scattering sweet rose petals along the brides path. They were clad in dainty frocks of white organdy.

The bride entered with her father. She was beautiful in a creation of Duchess satin, real lace and pearl trimmings, the veil being trimmed with sprays of orange blossoms. In her right hand she carried a lovely shower boquet and indeed made a beautiful picture.

The ceremony was performed by Bishop J.W. Alstork, while soft music was played by Mrs. T.J. Mayberry who presided at the piano.

Immediately after the ceremony the bride changed to the traveling costume which was a handsome suit of blue tricotine with hat and accessories to match .

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Tue May 4, 1920 advertising a blue tricotine traveling suit.

A large number of guests were present. many handsome and useful gifts were received, including silverware, cut glass, linens, Money and various household furnishings.

The bride is a charming and highly esteemed young woman, the daughter of Mr. V.H. Tulane, a trustee of Tuskegee Institute and a substantial business man. Dr. Vincent is a young and promising physician who has already achieved much distinction in his profession. He is a member of the staff of Bellevue Hospital in New York City being the first physician of the race to hold this position.

A number of prominent out-of-town guests were present at the wedding, among whom were Mrs. Booker T. Washington and Mrs. Mollie Mallett of Chicago, a sister to Mr. Tulane; Miss Miriam Garrett, Los Angeles, Cal; Mrs Ruth Dixon, Detroit, Michigan.; Mrs. H.C. Bryant, Miss Nellie Bryant, Mrs. W. M. Coleman, Mrs. Alice Jackson, Dr. A. M. Brown, Birmingham, Ala.; Mrs. Jordan Taylor and Mr. and Mrs Peat of Wetumpka, Ala.; Miss B. Davis, Miss Marie Simms and Mrs. Taylor of Columbus, Ga.

Amid showers of congratulations the young couple left on the evening train for New York City, their future home.”

Bridal Breakfast Served By Mr. W. Simon

“On last Wednesday morning Mr. Willie Simon, expert caterer of High Street presented the bridal party of the Tulane-Vincent wedding with an elaborate bridal breakfast.

It was a feast so artistically and temptingly prepared that it displayed in a high degree the great genius which Mr. Simon possesses in the culinary art. The bill of fare was as follows:

Planked Spanish mackerel.  (note: the picture in the link is not exactly the same, but the picture will give you an idea of planked mackerel with potatoes surrounding..)

Dutchcess Potatoes encircled all around the plank with four large pockets, garnished with pimentoes and parsley.

One pocket contained asparagus; another contained extra sifted early green peas. A third pocket held mushrooms, while the fourth was filled with Mexican sugar corn.

In the center of the plank was mackerel surrounded with creole sauce, and on the sides of plank were stuffed bell pepper and tomatoes with Risote.

In the center and top of the fish was a large grapefruit made into a basket which held a combination salad. On the handles of the basket were stationed two small dolls dressed as bride and groom.”

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There were so many articles about the wedding, that I am not going to write up her life. The links below are about Naomi Tulane Vincent’s life.

The Celebrated Tulane Coffee
Naomi Tulane Vincent and son Ubert
Mystery Photograph Identified
Another Photographic Mystery Solved
More on the Exciting Vincents
In Which I Hit the Google Photo Jackpot
1940 Census – Naomi Tulane Vincent

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 The news items were found on Newspapers.com. The photos are from my collection.

Mattie Graham

This year I am going through an alphabet of news items taken from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama.  Most are about my grandparent’s circle of friends. All of the news items were found on Newspapers.com. Each item is transcribed directly below the clipping.  Click on any image to enlarge.

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Mattie Graham was my grandfather Mershell Graham’s adopted sister. He informally adopted the Graham family when he was a young man.  My mother and her sister always called Mattie and Cliff Graham, “Aunt” and “Uncle”. I never met either one of them, although we were all in Detroit.

Detroit, Mich.

“Mrs. Mattie Graham Taylor formerly of Montgomery, and a graduate nurse of the General Hospital of Kansas City, Mo. is acting as night supervisor of the Dunbar Hospital of Detroit. Mrs. Taylor is kept quiet busy while in this city and we wish for her every success.”

I shared the whole clipping from Detroit because it mentions the growing Plymouth Congregational Church and also the arrival to Mr. and Mrs. Mershell Graham of a fine baby girl – my Aunt Mary V. Graham.

I look the same now. Sister Mattie Graham was my grandfather, Mershell C. Graham’s adopted sister. When I found the photograph several years ago, I did not know who she was until I found the article above.

I wrote about Mattie Graham before, in 2011 atI Look The Same Now”.  She was a mystery at that time. I had the photograph and I had the caption on the back, below. I could not figure out who she was or where she was. A reader figured out that she had attended nursing school at The General Hospital for Negroes of Kansas City, Missouri. When I found the news item, I saw that the mystery was solved!

“Made in K.C. Mo. but just found a duplicate and had this developed – 10-10-1918. Over 1 year ago. Your sister, M.G.T (Mattie Graham Taylor). A and M College. Normal Ala.”  It all seems clearer this time around.

Mattie Graham  was born in Montgomery in 1886, the middle child of Joseph and Mary Graham. She attended two years of college and was married twice. She married Frank Taylor in 1909 in Montgomery when she was 22.  They were living together in the 1910 census. By 1916 she was in Kansas City, MO at nursing school. This marriage was officially ended by divorce in 1935, when Mattie was living in Detroit. In 1936 she married Earl Harris in Detroit. She had no children.

Mary Graham, Mattie’s mother, lived with her until her death in Detroit in 1951. Mattie died in 1973 in Detroit.I wrote about her brother, Cliff Graham this year for the letter “C”.

The speech below was given by my other grandfather, Dr. Albert B. Cleage, Sr on the occasion of the graduation of the first class of nurses from Dunbar Hospital. Dunbar was founded by a group of 30 black doctors in 1918 because they were not allowed to treat their patients at white hospitals in Detroit without special permission, and sometimes not even then. The hospital also served as a training school for nurses. Although Mattie did not graduate from Dunbar, she did work there as a nurse and  no doubt had a hand in training them.

Dunbar hospital in the present with doctors from 1922. My grandfather, Albert B. Cleage Sr. is front row, all the way to the right. Composite photo © Kristin Cleage.
Speech to the First Nurse Graduating Class of Dunbar Hospital

By Dr, Albert B. Cleage (About 1920)

Page 1 of speech

“Dunbar Hospital is the one institution in this city that demonstrates the possibilities of racial co-operation and enterprise. It is one of the outstanding  successes of Negro effort and Negro management. Dunbar Hospital is a success and is rendering to this community a service that cannot be estimated in dollars and cents. We have come together tonight to celebrate the first commencement of its Training School. These graduates are the first fruits of this organization, and by its fruits alone shall its status in this community be determined. Therefore, the great responsibility that rests upon you at once suggests itself. From tonight the relationship that has existed between you and Dunbar Hospital for three years will be reversed. For these three years it has been concerned about what the world would think of your fitness, your efficiency, your capabilities, but from now on, the deeds you perform, the service you render, the very life you live will determine what the world shall think of Dunbar Hospital.

Page 2 of speech

“By their fruits you shall know them”. This is the inevitable law of nature, and holds good not only in vegetable life, but also in the life of men and institutions. Young ladies, let me congratulate you upon your choice of a life work.  You have demonstrated by your application and devotion that you could have made a success in any line of endeavor; but like your sister Mary of old, you have chosen that better part. You are entering upon a great service at a time when our race needs you most. You have by your own free will chosen a life of Sacrifice and Service, and in proportion as you make the almighty dollar the be all and end all of your existence, in that same proportion shall you succeed or fail. Let that same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, when he said ” came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” – You have by your own choice turned your back forever upon material wealth – Riches shall never be yours- You shall suffer hardships and your pleasure and joy shall be in the satisfaction of Service well done. You have chosen to dwell in the land of sorrow and sickness and death, and that you cannot always endure unless sustained by that same mind that was in Him, who wiped away the tears from the widow’s cheek at the gates of Nain, and stood by the tomb of Lazarus and wept.

You are now servants of the public, and believe me it is an exacting taskmaster. you cannot and must not make class distinctions – you shall serve alike the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the moral and the immoral. Ofttimes, your purest motives, and most unselfish services will be misunderstood, and you will become the subject of infamous tongues of gossiping men and women, but let not this deter you from the purposes of your high calling. Stand fast and immovable, and let that same mind be in you that was in Him who said ‘”Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.

Dunbar Hospital is fortunate in having you for its first graduates. You have demonstrated that you possess the true spirit of Florence Nightingale. You are pioneers, you have set a high standard of efficiency and devotion to duty for those who come after you. Dunbar shall miss you; the physicians shall miss your ever encouraging and cheering smile, and the patients shall miss your kindly, tender and sympathetic touch, but we realize that our loss is the world’s gain. We then willingly send you forth as Angels of Mercy to serve and lessen the sufferings of that greater number of our folks as they pass through the Valley and Shadow of Death.

Then if you remember nothing else I have said tonight, remember you can’t go wrong and that success and joy and peace will always be yours if you let that same mind be in you that was in Him of whom it is written. –“He went about doing good”–

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I found the information for this post on Ancestry.com in Census Records, Directories and Death Records. The news item was found on Newspapers.com. The photographs and  speech are from my personal collection.