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It’s Been Awhile

14 Sep

Hello Everyone,

It has definitely been awhile since I’ve had time to work on this website. Last year I gave birth to my youngest daughter in addition to working on my PhD. To say that I’ve been busy is an understatement.

After a recent visit to Henning, Tennessee this week I was inspired to come back to the blog and was happy to see that people still find it useful.

With dissertation research and writing going on I can’t quite say when I’ll be back, but thanks for reading.




An Update

29 Jan

Hello everyone,

As you all know I took some time off from the website during the fall to adjust to the rigors of graduate school. I’m pleased to say that I made it through the first semester and I am at the start of my second semester. So far, so good. Thanks for your patience with the lack of posts.

During my hiatus, I did find the time to do some research and attend history related functions. Below are a few photos of what I’ve been up to.

This fall I attended the reburial commemoration ceremony for 20 slaves found at the Nashville Zoo. The slaves had been reburied this past June, but a big ceremony was not held until October. The slaves were discovered on the property in the 1980s and left undisturbed until construction required their removal. The slaves were moved from their original burial site and reburied on the historic farm site located on the zoo. Prior to being reburied DNA samples were taken to identify the ancestry of the individuals and as suspected African ancestry was found. They were reburied according to the original way they were buried in an effort not to disturb what may have been family groupings. They were also reburied using the original stone markers for their graves.

Slave Burial Site Marker

Slave Burial Site Marker


Slave burial site. Note the headstones

Slave burial site. Note the headstones.

I also attended a lecture on the bioarchaeology behind these remains and learned of new techniques to determine DNA and the possible geographic locations that these individuals might have lived in prior to living at what would become the Nashville Zoo.

Skull of Slave Woman

Skull of Slave Woman

I also worked on a project to bring commemoration to a neighborhood known as The Bottoms in Murfreesboro that was removed from the landscape due to urban renewal. Researching neighborhoods that have been removed from the landscape has quickly become my favorite area of research.

I was quite busy, but I missed working on Black Ripley. It feels good to be back!


– Tiffany

Lost Ripley – Clay Funeral Home – Follow Up

20 Nov

As part of the Lost Ripley series I wrote about the Clay Funeral Home owned by Lauderdale County native Alex Clay. Clay Funeral Home was located at 168 College Street. A descendant of the Clay Family, William Carson, was kind enough to share his photos of the funeral home with us.

Clay Funeral Home

Clay Funeral Home

Clay Funeral Home

Clay Funeral Home

Using Mr. Carson’s photos and Sanborn Maps I am able to locate the position of the funeral home on College Street. It also helps that this Sanborn Map has the street number of “168” in front of the structure.

Clay Funeral Home on 1927-1942 Sanborn Map

Clay Funeral Home on 1927-1942 Sanborn Map

Isabelle Court is known today as Mays Avenue and Ripley Grammer School has since been replaced by duplex housing.

Clay Funeral Home is no longer standing, but it once stood in Ripley as a testament to the African American business community.

The original article on the Clay Funeral Home can be found here ->


Thank you,


Sources: 1927-1942 Sanborn Map for Lauderdale County (Map/Sheet 7)

Image Source: William Carson’s personal collection

Programming Note

31 Jul

Thanks for sticking by this summer which has been quite slow for the website due to my traveling through Virginia doing research.

I’m happy to say that I am almost done and will be presenting my research at a symposium on Aug 2.

After that its back to home, back to the real world, and back to work.

I hope to have more content available on the blog soon.

As always, if you have any stories you would like to share, please feel free to email them to Tiffany


– Tiffany

New posts coming soon!

18 Nov

It has been awhile since I have last written. New posts coming soon! Stay tuned!



– Tiffany

Slave Sales in Ripley

4 May

I drive past the Ripley town square each time I go to visit my mother in law. I never once thought that slaves had been sold there until I came across this while browsing the web.


Memphis Daily Appeal: 1 January 1859

CHANCERY SALE of Slaves and Other Property

Pursuant to a decree of the Chancery Court at Memphis in the October term, 1858, in the case of Wm. F. Campbell Ex’r and complainant against John McNairy Currin and others, defendants, I will, on the public square in the town of Ripley, Lauderdale county, Tennessee, on Wednesday, 29th December next sell at public sale to the highest bidder, upon a credit of four and eight months, the following likely slaves: BOB, aged about 47 years; SUSAN, aged about 34 years; MONROE, aged about 19 years; SARAH, aged about 17 years old; ANN, aged about 15 years old; ANDERSON, about 34 years old; AMERICA, about 13 years old; CHARLES, about 12 years old; SANDY, about 10 years old; BILL, about 1 years old; ISABELLA, about 5 years old; RACHEL, about 21 years old; BILLY, about 31 years old; and ABSOLEM, about 29 years old. [Description of livestock and payment method is omitted.] Sale to commence at 11 o’clock


It gives me just a moment of pause to know that slaves were sold there. Families were separated there when it now is a place where the community congregates for different festivals and events. The next time I pass by there I will stop for a moment to reflect. My children’s relatives could have been sold from that exact spot where my children now play in the water feature.


-Source:  Runaway Slave Notices (


It Has Been a Long Time

3 Apr

It has been a long time since I’ve written on this blog. I did have some stories in my queue, but struggled with time to complete them. Because of this I have decided to change the way that I add information to this blog. I’m still very passionate about African American life in Ripley, TN. I just need to make more time to make sure that the stories of their life get told. Be on the look out for some changes to the blog soon!

Please feel free to leave comments. I know someone has been coming to this blog 🙂