From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Tolley, Florence B. W.

(born: 1897  -  died: 1969) 

Tolley was one of 18 children born to Fannie and Will Jackson of Avon, KY. She was married to Edd Brown and they lived in his home town of Clintonville, KY, prior to moving to Lexington, where Tolley later owned The Try Me Beauty Shop (opened in 1944) and the Williams Nursing Home (opened in 1950), both on Greenwood Avenue. Tolley was a graduate of the segregated Lexington Beauty College; she had been hired as a maid at the school and was allowed to study for her diploma in beauty culture, which she received in 1944. She was also instrumental in helping to bring gas to homes on the west side of Lexington by offering to sell the Central Kentucky Natural Gas Company a piece of her land for the regulation station; at that time, west side was outside the city limits. For a while, Tolley raised her family alone, having divorced her first husband, Edd Brown, and later married Rev. Jesse Williams, who passed away. She then married Rev. Robert Tolley. She continued her nursing home businesses and in 1965 built a new facility at 465 Greenwood Avenue. Williams Nursing Home was the first such facility for African Americans in Lexington. Tolley also helped raise funds for the Colored Orphan Home in Lexington. She wrote poetry, plays, and songs. Several of her songs were recorded: If I Had My Way and I am Packing Up to Move, sung by Ben Tate; Lord I Wonder, sung by LaVern Lattimore; and I Can Trust Him and My Savior, sung by Helen Williams. For more see Only Believe: biography of Florence Jackson Brown Williams Tolley, by E. B. S. Bosley.

References

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Lexington's Colored Orphan Industrial Home
NKAA Source: If I had my way (song)
NKAA Source: I am packing up to move (song)
NKAA Source: Lord I wonder (song)
NKAA Source: I can trust him (song)
NKAA Source: My savior (song)
NKAA Source: Only believe: biography of Florence Jackson Brown Williams Tolley

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Tolley, Florence B. W.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed December 12, 2017, http://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/1862.

Last modified: 2017-07-19 13:51:39