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African American Schools in Lauderdale County

16 Dec

In 1962 a survey report of the Lauderdale County schools was published. The following schools are listed as African-American schools and there were 2555 students enrolled between these schools.



Knob Creek*



Fort Pillow

Gold Dust Consolidated

Halls Consolidated

Johnson Consolidated

Lauderdale County High

Lillian Fountain

Palmer Turner

The survey report lists several of the deficiencies of these schools. For example, Lauderdale County High School was deficient because several students did not have textbooks in their classrooms and the library did not have an adequate amount of books given the number of students among other things.

Does anyone have any memories of attending these schools?

* indicates Rosenwald Schools

Source: Lauderdale County Schools Survey Report 1962 by Tennessee Department of Education


Pop Up Museum @ The 2014 Lauderdale County Tomato Festival – Recap

14 Jul

As mentioned about a week ago Black Ripley sponsored a Pop Up Museum at the 2014 Lauderdale County Tomato Festival. We were there from about 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. I’d like to thank each and every person that stopped by to share their memories of the area.


Welcome Sign


From those memories I was able to learn a lot about the area.

Memories included:

– Tiny, the little person, who worked at either Joe’s or Pitts barbecue spot as a car hop

– A riot at Ripley High School the year of integration

– Life growing up in Arp, Golddust, Durhamville, and Orysa

– Stories of the Great Migration. Families moving North and sending their children back South to Ripley every summer

– Sharecropping on the Eugene Anthony, E.L. Queen, and Eylau farms

– Stories of “The Hole” and the people and businesses that were there

– Recollections of past Labor Days and the Miss Black Ripley Pageants

– Sitting in the balconies of local movie theaters and eating ice cream at the ice cream parlor that was located uptown

– Locating their childhood homes and current homes on a 1927 Sanborn Map

I’m sure all of these memories will make their way into a posting or two ūüôā


There were a variety of items surpassing many years on display.

Geraldine Clay and painting

Geraldine Clay and drawing by her grandson of her life in Durhamville in the 1920s – 1930s

Miss Black Ripley Display

Miss Black Ripley Display with information on pageants from 1977 – 1979 along with pageant souvenir booklets. Also included were articles from the “10 Things” series.

Table Display

Table Display featuring Alex Haley’s Warner Bros records on Roots, a wooden nickle from JT Williams grocery, a school book published in 1890 from the area.

Table Display

Table Display featuring “Finding the Good” book by Lucas Johnson on the life of Fred Montgomery, home run baseball from a 2002 RHS baseball game and an article about the game.

Tent Set Up

Tent Set Up

Sanborn Map Display

Sanborn Map Display

It was a great day. I’m very grateful for the participation and encouragement that was received.




– Tiffany

– Photo Source: My Own

Genealogy Look Ups

22 Feb

I’ve been brainstorming ways that I could further my research on the Black community in the West Tennessee area. I’ve decided that with the amount of time I spend there that I should begin doing genealogy look ups. If you have information that you need assistance with that can only be found by actually visiting the West TN area, please let me know and I will be happy to assist. Please leave your details in the comments section.

I hope everyone has been enjoying their Black History Month so far.

– Tiffany

Jet Magazine – August 27, 1964

20 Jan

I hesitated before posting this particular clipping, but decided to anyway since it can be found in Jet Magazine. I couldn’t help but to giggle at the fact that Jet Magazine used to publish gossip.

Jet Magazine August 27, 1964

Jet Magazine August 27, 1964

I have an idea who this is about,  but I really wonder if they ever discovered that their gossip made it into Jet Magazine.


– Tiffany
– Source: Jet Magazine August 27, 1964

Gingery Mob – Update

22 May

Over the weekend I visited my Mother in Law in Ripley, TN who first told me the story about the Gingery Mob. We began to talk history and I asked her again about the Gingery Mob. She told me the same story that she told me before, but she went on to say that at the time of the incident Henry Gingery’s¬†wife Caroline was pregnant with another one of their children. She said after the incident the police hounded Caroline, dragging her into the police station demanding that she tell them where her husband was. She insisted that she did not know where he was, but the police of the town were relentless in their pursuit. This went on for a while¬†until a man named Frank Montgomery stepped forward and came to Caroline’s aid. Frank asked that she be left alone because she did not know anything. The harassment of Caroline came to a cease and the Black community began to look at Frank Montgomery, a White man, in admiration. My Mother in Law said the Black community regarded Frank Montgomery as a good man from that moment on and were grateful to him. I am always drawn to stories where even during the Jim Crow era Whites stood up for Blacks and what was right.


Source: Oral History

– Tiffany

Lauderdale County Prisoners

18 May

While reviewing the 1900 US Census for Lauderdale County I came across something that I had never seen before. It was a listing of prison inmates at the Lauderdale County jail. Here is a list of those inhabiting the jail.

Andrew Crockett Р46  (Jailer)


John Huddleston – 19

James Anderson – 15

Creed Smith – 15

James Coffer – 18

Charles Smith – 20

Sam Williams – 9

Edward White – 19

Thomas Gingery – 14

Jessie Gingery – 13

Mike Byars – 20

William Morehead – 18

Attwood Byron – 14

John Smith – 20

It’s interesting to note that all of the prisoners in the jail were African-American. It made me wonder if there was a separate¬†jail for White people or if there just were no White prisoners at the time the census was taken. I also noticed that 2 Gingery males are listed in the jail. The date on the census is June 7th, 1900 and the Gingery Mob happened January 9, 1900. I wonder if these Gingerys are also the children of Thomas and Julia and what their crime was.

There is also a 9 year old in the jail. I’m very interested in learning what his crime was.

Source: 1900 US Census for Civil District 2, Lauderdale County, TN

– Tiffany

The Gingery Mob

18 May

About a year ago I was sitting with my Mother in Law looking through old photographs. She showed me a Polaroid and she turned and asked me “Do you know what the Gingery mob is? It happened in this house.” I told her no and she went on to tell me that the house in the photo was the oldest house left in Durhamville at the time the picture was taken. She had taken the photo shortly before the house was demolished.¬†She also told me that it was the house where the Gingery Mob had taken place. I remember asking her if she was there. She responded that it happened before her time, but that as a child she often heard adults speak¬†about what had happened down at that house.

According to the story smallpox had broken out and it was ordered that everyone be vaccinated. Reuben Gingery refused and it was ordered that he be arrested. He was arrested by Durhamville Constable W.D. Turner. He stopped at a store in Durhamville and asked that Marvin Durham accompany him back to Ripley where he was taking Reuben to jail. Reuben’s brothers Henry and Roger attacked W.D. Turner and Marvin Durham and killed them both in an effort to free Reuben. After the skirmish a mob stormed the Gingery house in search of the brothers. They found Reuben and another Gingery brother Frank and the mob hung them both. A neighbor of the Gingeries was also hanged as an accomplice. Henry and Roger escaped and were never caught.

Ever since she told me that story I had wondered about the Gingery family. Just who were the Gingery Brothers that committed that horrible crime? According to the 1880 US Census Henry and Roger Gingery were the sons of Thomas G. and Julia A. Gingery. On this census Henry was 12 years old and Roger was 6 years old. Other children in the Gingery household in 1880 include Frank Gingery, 4 years old, and Dolieoughfer (Reuben?) Gingery, 5 months old.

Henry Gingery would marry Caroline Dangerfield on 27 December 1890 according to Tennessee State Marriage Records. They would go on to become the parents of 4 children, Johnny, Fox, Winnie, and Hubbard. On both the 1900 and 1910 census Caroline listed herself as married although her husband had been gone for years and she was living with her parents.

According to the 1900 US Census Julia A. Gingery was widowed. She listed herself as a mother to 12, with only 5 children living. In the household with her were Maggie Gingery age 18, Dupuy Gingery age 11, and John Gingery age 9. Her two sons Frank and Dolieoughfer (Reuben?) Gingery were hanged for the crimes of their brothers and Henry and Roger Gingery were never heard from again.

On the 1860 US Slave Schedule there is a Jacob Gingery listed. Perhaps Thomas G. Gingery was a slave on Jacob’s plantation. I wonder what ever happened to Henry and Roger Gingery and if they knew what happened to their family due to their actions.


Source: Hellums, Clarice Haynes and Kara Haynes McCauley. Visions of Lauderdale County Past and Present. Memphis, TN Allan & Akin Printers, 1996.

– Tiffany