George, Frank Pendleton(born: 1874 - died: 1922)
Frank P. George was prominent in Chicago, and even more so during his career as a stage performer and manager of the Oakland Music Hall. He died in 1922 and is buried in Lincoln Cemetery in Chicago. Frank P. George did not come from a family with wealth. He was born February 9, 1874 in Winchester, KY, the only son of Hubbard P. and Ruth Wills George [source: Ancestry.com, Cook County, Illinois Deaths Index]. The father, Hubbard P. George, was a veteran of the U.S. Civil War and he had been about 19 years old when he enlisted July 14, 1864, 1st U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery [source: U.S. Colored Troops Military Records, Ancestry.com]. After his war service, in 1875, Hubbard P. George worked as a carpenter in Springfield, OH; he was a boarder at 114 E. Main Street in Springfield and his family was in Kentucky [source: p.61 in R. C. Hellrigle & Co.s Springfield, Urbana, Piqua, Sidney, and Bellefontaine City Directories 1875-6].
Around 1879, Hubbarb P. George moved his wife and four children from Winchester, KY to Springfield, OH. All are listed as mulattoes in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, and everyone in the household was born in Kentucky. Hubbard P. George was born around 1846 and he had probably been a slave. He died November 27, 1886 in Springfield, OH [source: Find A Grave], and his first wife, Ruth Wills George was born in 1856 and had died in 1883. They are buried together in Springfield. Hubbard P. George, had been a saloon owner and former policeman. He married his second wife, Dora Wade, in May of 1886, six months before he died [source: last paragraph in the column "At Hymen's alter," Springfield Globe-Republic, 05/21/1886, p.4]. In 1887, Widow Dora Wade George applied for Hubbard George's pension for her and their son James [source: U.S. Civil War Pension Index, Ancestry.com].
Hubbard George's children by his first wife included Nora, their oldest daughter, who was a singer and stage performer in Springfield, OH [sources: "The Champion city," Cleveland Gazette, 05/30/1885, p.2; and "Missionary Society," Cleveland Gazette, 01/14/1888, front page]. In 1892, Nora George was back in Winchester, KY, and she made several trips to Chicago [sources: "Educational Meeting," Cleveland Gazette, 03/12/1892, p.2; and "To Aid the Negro," The Freeman, 07/09/1892, p.2]. By 1894, Nora George was living in Parsons, KS [source: "Miss Florence Turner...," Parsons Weekly Blade, 01/06/1894, p.3]. She was a school teacher and her name appears in the society section of the newspaper on several occasions.
In 1895, the youngest sister, Nettie George, moved to Kansas to be with Nora, and Nettie would be attending high school in Parsons [source: "Local and personal news," Parsons Weekly Blade, 11/09/1895, p.4]. Nettie George had come to Kansas from Kentucky. The family had previously lived in Springfield, OH, and at some point after her parents' deaths, Nettie had moved back to Winchester, KY. From there, she had a brief stay in Kansas, then returned to Winchester, KY, where she was a school teacher [source: 1900 U.S. Census]. All of her moves to and from Kentucky took place years before she became the well know newspaper journalist Nettie George Speedy. There was also a third sister named Mary George. At this time no additional information has been found on Mary George.
While his sisters were in Kentucky and Kansas, Hubbard and Ruth's only son, Frank P. George, was in Chicago and he had been there since at least 1896 [source: 4th division in the column "That True Friend," Cleveland Gazette, 02/01/1896, front page]. In 1898, he was referred to as "Chicago's noted dramatic reader" in the Illinois Record, 01/01/1898, front page. He performed at private events and societal events that were mentioned in the Negro newspapers. His prominence gained him membership into the Chicago Top 400. Frank P. George was moving up in the Chicago world, and in August of 1898, it was printed in the newspapers that he had foolishly challenged Julius Avendroph for the reign of societal leadership [source: 4th paragraph in the column "Chicago Weekly Letter," Illinois Record, 08/13/1898, p.3]. By the year 1900, Frank P. George, was in the U.S. Navy, 49th Infantry, Philippine Islands [source: U.S. Census; and see "Black Americans in the U.S. Military from the American Revolution to the Korean War" a New York State Military Museum website].
After his time in the service, Frank P. George returned to Chicago. In 1905, he was married and was still counted among Chicago's 400 Afro-American leaders [source: "Patronesses and managers of Frederick Douglass Centre Charity Ball," Broad Axe, 04/29/1905, front page]. In 1907, he was among the Afro-Americans whose opinions were sought in reference to the mayoral election [source: "More prominent Afro-Americans come out in favor of the re-election of Edward F. Dunne as Mayor of Chicago," Broad Axe, 03/09/1907, p.2]. Frank P. George's popularity did not preclude the media from telling of his personal trials; in December of 1907, Mr. and Mrs. Frank P. George's marriage was on the rocks and the couple separated [source: paragraph 13 in the column "Chips," Broad Axe, 12/07/1907, p.2]. The following year, 1908, Frank P. George and Mrs. C. C. Lewis teamed together for a dramatic reading, vaudeville, and dance at the Oakland Music Hall in Chicago [source: "Frank P. George," Broad Axe, 03/07/1908, front page]. A month later, it was announced in the newspaper that Mrs. Anna B. George had sued her husband, Frank P. George, for a divorce [source: 9th paragraph in the column "Chips," Broad Axe, 04/04/1908].
Frank P. George still was not an exceptionally wealthy man. He was a working man, a dining car waiter with the New York Central Railroad at the LaSalle Street Station, according to the census records, and he is listed as "single" in the 1910 U.S. Census. And, though his marriage was on the rocks and had ended, his entertainment career was on the rise, and in 1911, he was billed as the "popular manager and dramatic reader" at the Oakland Music Hall [source: theater news on p.5 in the Freeman newspaper, 03/25/1911].
Frank P. George was preparing for the performance of his play "Danabagay," [sometimes spelled Danebegay] and the play was to be augmented by Garfield Wilson's Orchestra. Frank P. George also managed other entertainers; in November of 1911, he was the manager of violinist Miss St. Claire White who was to perform in Cleveland, OH [source: 3rd paragraph in the column "Chips" in Broad Axe, 11/28/1911, p.3]. His play "Danabagay" was still being performed in 1913 [source: "Announcement in Advance of Frank P. George's Danebegay," Broad Axe, 11/01/1913, p.3], but his fame also ended around 1913 when Frank P. George's name was rarely mentioned in the Broad Axe newspaper. In 1918, Frank P. George listed on his WWI Draft Registration Card that he was a dining car waiter, and his sister, Nettie George Speedy, who also lived in Chicago at this time, was his closest next of kin. In the 1920 U.S. Census, Frank P. George was listed as a widower, and he was still employed as a waiter with the railroad company. On March 25, 1922, Frank P. George died [source: Illinois, Cook County Deaths, in FamilySearch].