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Camp Shiloh – Memphis, TN

7 Mar

Camp Shiloh, also known as The Colored People’s Camp, in Memphis, TN was a contraband camp for runaway slaves during the Civil War. Camp Shiloh was located in South Memphis. It is thought that due to the camp being majority female that their spouses had enlisted in the United States Colored Troops and that some were stationed at nearby Ft. Pickering. Camp Shiloh had over 300 houses as well as schools and churches. In 1863 a list was taken of the former slaves living there. The list was known was the Register of Freedmen. On the list were the names of the slaves and their ages, their occupation, the names of their former owners, their health status, and where they were from. I scanned the list for the names of slaves from our area and some of that information is below. I have copied the names exactly as they were listed, so some names may be spelled incorrectly.

You can search for other names on this list by clicking the following link.

http://www.lastroadtofreedom.com/documents/12.pdf

 

Ellen Buchanan 33

  • Owned by Mary Maclin of Haywood County, TN

Winnie Clay 45, Washington Clay 20, Vina Clay 18

  • Owned by Joseph Clay of Haywood County, TN

Jane Carter 40, Emily Carter 18, Sandy Carter 10, Buck Carter 6

  • Owned by Samuel Oldham of Haywood County, TN

Mary Curry 38

  • Owned by James Curry of Haywood County, TN

Albert Cox 42

  • Owned by Samuel Cox of Haywood County, TN

Carolina Burton 30, Alice Burton, Mark Burton 8

  • Owned by John Burton of Haywood County, TN

Margaret Green 26

  • Owned by John Drake of Haywood County, TN

Lutisia Miller 18

  • Owned by William Miller of Haywood County, TN

Ann McLamore 18

  • Owned by Sugar McLamore of Haywood County, TN

Angeline Noel 20

  • Owned by Joseph Clay of Haywood County, TN

Caroline Olden 55, Amelia Olden 10, Isabel Olden 18, Nellie Olden 63

  • Owned by Samuel Olden of Haywood County, TN

Ann Reed 24

  • Owned by John Burton of Haywood County, TN

I became interested in the lives of these former slaves after the end of the Civil War. Did they stay in Memphis or did they return back to Haywood County? I found a few leads, such as an Albert Cox living in Haywood County in 1870 on the US Census, but of course there is no definite way to determine that this was the same Albert Cox who had been at the Shiloh Camp.

 

– Tiffany

Sources: Register of Freedmen – http://www.lastroadtofreedom.com/documents/12.pdf

Information on TN Contraband Camps – http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=305 and http://lastroadtofreedom.org/uploads/3/1/1/7/3117447/tennessee.pdf

 

Newspaper Clippings – Jackson Whig and Tribune August 23, 1873 edition

5 Mar

Below is a newspaper clipping from the Whig and Tribune (Jackson, TN) August 23, 1873 edition.

Whig and Tribune (Jackson, TN) August 23, 1873 edition

Whig and Tribune (Jackson, TN) August 23, 1873 edition

 

In looking at this article I began to wonder what exact place was within three miles of Ripley and honestly that could have been so many places. This event occurred towards the end of the Reconstruction period, so it’s not surprising that it happened. What is inspiring is that African Americans were busy building institutions in the area and that education was a priority, even though there were those who sought to ruin it.

1873 also happens to be the year that Sampson Keeble was the first African American elected to the Tennessee state legislature.

 

 

– Tiffany

– Source: Whig and Tribune (Jackson, TN) August 23, 1873 edition

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.

Lynn*

Elcanaan*

Knob Creek*

Rosenwald*

Durhamville*

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

Closing Exercises for Ripley Colored Public School

12 May

One hundred and fourteen years ago a group of young African Americans participated in closing exercises for what was known at the time as the Ripley Colored Public School.

 

From the Lauderdale County Enterprise – May 25, 1900 Edition

Closing Exercises Ripley Colored Public School

The Ripley Public School will close the most prosperous session since its existence on Thursday and Friday night, May 31st and June 1st 1900. An elaborate program has been prepared and the teachers are sparing no pain to have everything an up to date affair thus showing their efficiency and the discretion of the board in electing them. The school is now upon on a graded system and working nicely. The program is as follows.

Part I

Overture                                                                                             Band

Chorus

Invocation                                                                                           Rev. A.G. Currin

Chorus

Is Patriotism a Sham?                                                                     Frederick Clay

The Gambler’s Wife                                                                        Maggie L. Russell

Duet – Father is Drinking Again                                                  Missus Tyus and Hightower

Recitation – Two Sisters                                                                Miss Jessie Hightower

We Are Coming                                                                                Anna B. Thornton

Solo – An Outcast                                                                            Mrs. Jennie Rice

Recitation – The Raven                                                                  Miss Fae Russell

Progress of the Negro                                                                     Fannie Dupree

Trio – There Are Friends That We Never Forget                     Misses Norvell, Pearl & Jessie Hightower,

Is It Wise To Begin Now?                                                              H L Dupree

Solo – I Am The Merriest Girl That’s Out                                 Miss Maggie L. Russell

Part II

Music                                                                                                    Band

Chorus

Progress of Invention                                                                     Willie Peebles

Recitation – Brought Back                                                            Lela L. Crook

Solo – Boys Keep Away From The Girls                                     Howard L. Dupree

Recitation – Home Instruction                                                    Maggie B. Tyus

Trio – Friendliness and Sad                                                          Missus Thornton, Russell, Crook

Benefits of Education                                                                     W.D. Graham

Solo – Friends of my Youthful Days                                           E. Buchanan

The Coming Woman                                                                       Fannie Norvell

Solo – The Young Man Across The Way                                     Missus Jessie Hightower

Address                                                                                               Professor W.H. Fort – Principle Bruce Street High School Dyersburg

Awarding State Certificates                                                            Captain E.T. Hanks – Superintendent of Public Education

Song Of The Steeples                                                                        Dr. S.R. Clay

Benediction

Friends and Patrons of the school are cordially invited to attend.

 

A few interesting facts about the school at this point.

The school did not become officially known as Lauderdale County Training School until 1919 according to the 1985 Lauderdale County High School Reunion Booklet.

The list of graduates that I have of Lauderdale County Training School does not start until 1908, so exact graduates of earlier classes are currently unknown.

The principal during this time period is thought to be Professor M. L. Morrison. It is believed that he was principal from the early 1900s – 1912. He then served as principal again from 1944 – 1945.

It also appears that the school was around prior to 1900 due to this being noted as “the most properous session since its existence” by the Lauderdale County Enterprise.

 

I decided to see what I could find out about the speakers on the program. It is a good chance that they were students at the school.

Frederick Clay – There are 2 possible “Fred Clays” on the 1900 US Census for Lauderdale County. One Fred Clay was born in 1889 to Harry and Frances Clay making him about 11. The other Fred Clay, also listed as Frederick in some places, was born in 1886 to Hugh and Ellen Clay making him about 14.

Maggie L. Russell – Born in 1885 making her about 15. Her parents are Isaac and Corinna Russell.

Anna B. Thornton – Born in 1886 making her about 14. Her mother is Mary J. Houston (Thornton Washington).

Fannie Dupree – Born in 1886 making her about 14. Her parents are Calvin and Mary Dupree.

H L Dupree – also known as Howell L. Born in 1883 making him about 17. His parents are Calvin and Mary Dupree.

Lela Crook – Born in 1885 making her about 15. Her parents are James and Janie Crook.

 

I found the titles of some of the poems or readings a little interesting for a school program. The Gambler’s Wife was written in 1844 by Elizabeth Caroline Grey. Another interesting title was Father is Drinking Again, but I could not find anything that looked like it might have been a poem or short story with that title. I also noticed that The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe written in 1845 was on the list of readings.

Cheers to the Ripley Colored Public School (Lauderdale County Training School) on a successful year end ceremony.

 

 

– Tiffany

-Sources: Lauderdale County Enterprise May 25, 1900 edition, Lauderdale County Highschool 1985 Reunion Booklet

 

 

If Walls Could Talk: Morning Star Baptist Church

6 Oct

“In the year 1914, a faithful group of about seventy assembled themselves together on Russell Lane, using Sister Maggie Russell Burns’ lot as a place of worship, under the leadership of the late Rev. G.L. Harris, the organizer” – Lauderdale County From its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters (p 89).

Morning Star Baptist Church received its name from Frank Williams who also served as an officer of the church. Deacons of the church included, Frank Reed, Clarence Rucker, Abe Partee, George Roll and Frank Williams. Pastors of the church included Rev. G.L. Harris, Rev. M.L. Young, Rev. Anderson, Rev. J.W. Lee, Rev. R.L. Reed, Rev. G.W. Tyus, John Maclin, Sol Huddelston, and Robert Washington. By 1955 the church was under the leadership of Rev. J.R. Halliburton.

In 1916 the church relocated from Russell Lane to a lot on what was known at the time as School Street which they purchased for $75.00. Church members and friends worked together to clear the lot and dig the basement of the church which they used for worship services. Sanborn Maps also reveal that the Morning Star Church building was also used as an annex for the Lauderdale County Training School.

Records indicate that School Street was renamed Handsome Street and was then renamed Spring Street, which it is still known as today. Today, Morning Star Baptist Church can be found on Scott Drive, not too far from its previous location on Spring Street.

In the 1980’s Mother Goose Daycare could be found in a building behind Morning Star Baptist Church.

Do any of you all have memories of attending Morning Star Baptist Church? Do any of you all currently attend there?

– Tiffany

– Source: Lauderdale County from its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters, Google Maps

Lost Ripley – Lauderdale High School

22 Jun

Lauderdale High School was originally known as the Lauderdale County Training School. It was a school only for African Americans in Ripley and it dates back to the early 1900s and perhaps even earlier. The last graduating class of the school was in 1969, 15 years after Brown  vs. BOE declared separate but equal schools unconstitutional. As was the case with most schools for African Americans only it was closed and the students were sent to the previously all White Ripley High School.

Technically the building isn’t lost because it is still standing, but it is still a former shell of itself. Years ago I had read in the Lauderdale County Enterprise that there was a group trying to restore the school and turn it into an African American history museum.

I am not sure why the words “Ripley _____ High School” appear on the building. Maybe the school for African Americans was moved into the former Ripley Junior High School for Whites? Maybe the building was used as a junior high school after it ceased being Lauderdale High School?

If you would like to visit the site where African Americans in Lauderdale County were educated it is located on Spring Street.

 

Lauderdale High School

Lauderdale High School

 

– Tiffany

– Photo Source: My own

– Source: Lauderdale County Training School 1985 Reunion Booklet

Black Doctors in Lauderdale County, TN

22 Feb

While doing my usual research on the area I came across what is described as a list of “Negro Physicians of the County”. This list is included in the book titled “Lauderdale County in its Earliest Times” by Kate Johnson Peters published in 1957. The Black doctors of the area are listed as follows,

 

Williams

Dickey

Morgan

Clay

Coleman

Walker

I guess Kate was too busy to find out their first names? If you have been a reader of my blog for awhile then you know that the doctor named Clay in the book is actually S.R. Clay who was born a slave and was a graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville. I did a quick search and discovered the following about our Black doctors.

Dickey is the last name of John A. Dickey who is 1930 was married to Alhome (sp?) Dickey and who had a daughter named Gussie Dickey. They made their home on Church Street.

I hope to do more research to find out who the additional doctors were.

 

– Tiffany

Source:  “Lauderdale County in its Earliest Times” by Kate Johnson Peters