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<Bakers, Cooks and Chefs>

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Adams, Mary and Maria [Dutrieuille]
Mary and Maria Adams were sisters from Kentucky. In 1875 Maria moved to Fort Abraham Lincoln in Dakota Territory to join Mary, who worked for the family of Lieutenant-Colonel George A. Custer. Mary was a cook and Maria was hired as a maid. They were later joined by their younger sister Karlene and their cousin Nancy Mucks, both from Kentucky. There is an ongoing debate as to whether Mary or Maria (or neither) was in camp with Custer the day before the Battle of Little Big Horn, and if she overheard Custer being given verbal orders by General Terry, instructing him to use his own judgment and do what he thought best should he strike the Indian trail. In 1878, in Bismarck of Dakota Territory, a notarized statement was taken from Mary as to what she had overheard at the camp, opening the door to speculation that Custer had not disobeyed orders. Other sources say that it was actually Maria who was in the camp. Though, letters written by Custer named Mary as his cook in the camp, while Lieutenant Charles L. Gurley reported that Mary was at the house and opened the door when he brought the news of the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Custer and his men. In 1873, Mary had come from Elizabethtown, KY, to the Dakota Territory with Custer and his regiment (part of the 7th Cavalry). Custer and the regiment had been ordered to Kentucky after the Battle of Washita in 1871. After about a year and a half, they moved on to Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory. Mary Adams accompanied Custer, as his cook, when he was on military expositions away from the fort. After Custer's death at the Battle of Little Big Horn in 1876, Mary and Maria Adams left Fort Abraham Lincoln. They moved to Montana where Mary died in 1879, she was born in 1849. According to author J. S. Manion, Mary and Maria were probably born in Lexington, KY. In 1880, Maria was working as a laundress when she met and married John Lambert "Duke" Dutrieuille, a barber in Benton who owned his own shop. Duke died in 1911, and Maria moved with their two children, Frank and Marie, to Great Falls, Montana. Maria Adams Dutrieuille died in 1939, she was born around 1852, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. For more on the Dutrieuille family in Montana see Small Collection 1584 at the Montana Historical Society Research Center, and in the Photo Archives are pictures of Duke and Maria Dutrieuille (Collection PAc 80-23). See also the online article about the Dutrieuilles at the bottom of the Montana History Wiki; and "Club Woman: Marie Dutrieuille Ellis," pp.126-128, in chapter 7 by P. Riley in African American Women Confront the West, 1600-2000 edited by Q. Taylor and S. A. W. Moore. For more on the debate as to whether Mary Adams was in camp with Lieutenant-Colonel George A. Custer just prior to the Battle of Little Big Horn, see Custer Legends by L. A. Frost; Archaeology, History, and Custer's Last Battle: the Little Big Horn reexamined by R. A. Fox, Jr.; Custer and the Little Big Horn: a psychobiographical inquiry by C. K. Hofling; and General Terry's Last Statement to Custer: new evidence on the Mary Adams affidavit by J. S. Manion.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration West, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky / Fort Abraham Lincoln, Dakota Territory / Fort Benton and Great Falls, Montana

Baker, Frederic Lee "Fred"
Birth Year : 1930
Death Year : 2001
Fred L. Baker was the head chef for the U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon. He was responsible for all meals served on Air Force One from 1968-1974 [source: S. Thompson, "Fred Baker, who once cooked diners for presidents, now serves meals to his daughter, Shana Marie," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/29/1984, p.E1]. Fred Baker retired in 1974 when President Nixon's term ended. He had been a cook in the Air Force for 23 years prior to cooking for U.S. presidents. He was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was also a cook at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Leestown Road in Lexington, KY for a decade; a part-time limousine driver; and worked for a produce company [source: S. Thompson, "Pie in the sky: chef catered to presidents," 11/01/1996, p.18]. Fred Baker learned to cook while he was enlisted; he attended cooking school at Fort Knox, KY, and graduated 3rd highest in his class. Frederic L. Baker was born in Lee (Jessamine County), KY, the son of Mary and Henry Baker [source: 1930 U.S. Federal Census]. He died July 17, 2001 and is buried at Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Jessamine County.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Military & Veterans, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Lee, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Bowen, James Lyman
Birth Year : 1842
Bowen, born in Liberty, KY, was a chef for Buffalo Bill and had fought against Sitting Bull. His reputation for helping settle the West was well known: Bowen was received by royalty during his tour of Europe. He settled in Danville, IL, where he celebrated his 90th birthday in 1932. His name has also been written as James Lyman Brown. For more see Africa's Gift to America, by J. A. Rogers; and Henry Brown, "He rode with Buffalo Bill," The Chicago Defender, 10/30/1948, p.A2.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Migration West
Geographic Region: Liberty, Casey County, Kentucky / Danville, Illinois

Brown, James and Bridgett
In 2006, the husband and wife team of James, born 1970 in Chicago, and Bridgett, born 1973 in Louisville, KY, opened Brown's Bakery in Lexington, KY. James Brown has been a retail manager at Morrison Healthcare Food Services, and he was employed at Kroger and the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea. Brown's Bakery is not the first African American owned bakery in the city, but it is a continuation of a long history of African American bakeries and bakers dating back to the 1800s. Author John D. Wright mentions in his book that there was a black-owned bakery in Lexington between 1870-1880. In 1901, Charles H. Allen, a baker and confectioner who owned his own business, was included in the Negro Business League's 2nd Convention report given by Dr. L. D. Robinson on Lexington businesses. Brown's Bakery, located on Leestown Road, was the most recent African American owned bakery in Lexington. In 2011, the bakery moved to Versailles Road in Lexington, KY. James Brown received his culinary degree from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago (CHIC). For more see S. Thompson, "I yam what I yam," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/05/2006, A La Carte section, p. J1; Sweet Treats, on Connections with Renee Shaw, video #441 [available online]; and visit brownsbakery.com. For more about earlier bakers see Lexington, heart of the Bluegrass, by J. D. Wright. See also Kentucky bakers entry in the NKAA.
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Buckner, Nathaniel "Nat"
Birth Year : 1858
Death Year : 1932
Nat Buckner was born in Elizabethtown, KY, around 1858 on the plantation of Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner (Kentucky Democratic Governor, 1887-1892). Nat Buckner was a well-respected citizen of Montpelier, Indiana, where he had lived for 25-30 years. Buckner had left Kentucky after his wife died, around 1890; they had no children. Nat was a restaurant cook in Indianapolis and in Montpelier, which is how he became so well-known and respected in both cities. For more on Nat Buckner and his family see "Nat Buckner died Tuesday," The Montpelier Herald, 06/02/1932, p. 1. For more on Simon Bolivar Buckner, see the Kentucky Encyclopedia 2000.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Elizabethtown, Hardin County, Kentucky / Indianapolis and Montpelier, Indiana

Caterers, Butchers, Confectioners, Ice Cream (Louisville, KY)
Author W. H. Gibson, Sr. lists the following as prominent African Americans in Louisville, KY -- [Caterers] George Brown, Daniel Clemmons, Frank Gray, and Thornton Thompson; [Butcher] Bartlett Taylor; and [Confectioner] Henry Cozzens, who was also a barber and had an ice cream saloon "known from New Orleans to Pittsburg [sic]." The Page Ice Cream Factory, located on West Chestnut Street, was the largest manufacturer and dealer of ice cream in the city of Louisville. The National Negro Press Association visited the factory in 1928, and members were served slices of the much requested brick ice cream known as "Neapolitan." For more see "Minutes of the Twenty-Ninth Annual Session of the National Negro Press Association Held in Louisville, KY, April 11-14, 1928," available in the Black Culture Collection, by Micro Photo Division, Bell & Howell Co., 1972; and The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Book Publishers, Music Publishers
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Cook, George
Birth Year : 1863
Born in 1863 in  Louisville, Kentucky, George Cook was a cook for Buffalo Bill Cody and a chef on a private dining car of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. He was known as "Honest Mister Cook." For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

DB Bourbon Candy, LLC [Robyn C. Stuart and Johnnye Smallwood Cunningham]
Start Year : 2005
DB Bourbon Candy, LLC is a successful home business located in Frankfort, KY. While there are many candy companies and makers of bourbon balls in Kentucky, DB Bourbon Candy is believed to be the only African American owned company of its kind in the state. The owner is Robyn C. Stuart, daughter of the late Johnnye Smallwood Cunningham. The company's original candy recipe belonged to Johnnye Cunningham who would make bourbon balls during the holidays for family and friends. The bourbon balls were rolled in powered sugar. Cunningham passed away in 2002, and her daughter, Robyn Stuart, began making the bourbon balls, dipped in chocolate, for family and friends. In tribute to her mother, Stuart expanded the treats into a candy business with 38 different flavors besides bourbon. Also available are chocolate covered grapes, pineapples, and strawberries. DB Bourbon Candy clients include the Kentucky NFL Hall of Fame and Barnstable-Brown Derby Gala. The business is about giving back to children; in memory of Johnnye Smallwood Cunningham, DB Bourbon Candy,LLC gives toward school supplies for children in need. Johnnye S. Cunningham was born in Lexington in 1937, about a year after bourbon balls were created in Kentucky. Both the candy and the bourbon are unique to Kentucky, approximately 95% of the bourbon in the United States is distilled in Kentucky. For more about the DB Bourbon Candy, LLC business, see the first half of "Sweet Treats" program #441 on Connections With Renee Shaw, a Kentucky Educational Television Production [available online]; and visit the website DB Bourbon Candy, LLC. For more about the history of Kentucky bourbon balls see Kentucky Bluegrass Country by R. G. Alvey.
Subjects: Alcohol, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Donan, Russell
Birth Year : 1922
Death Year : 1992
Russell Donan was one of the very few African American men from Kentucky to serve on a Navy submarine during WWII. He was an Officer's Cook 1st Class, and served first on the “R-3” and made several war patrols on the “Cobia”. He would be assigned to several other submarines before ending his military career in 1946 on the “Sperry” and on the “Carp”. Donan was born in Edmonton, KY, the son of Mary and James Donan. The family lived on State Street in Bowling Green, KY, in 1930, according to the U. S. Federal Census. Donan was the husband of Mary R. Mayfield, they were married in 1946. Russell Donan was a graduate of Tennessee A&I State University [now Tennessee State University]. He later earned a master's degree. He was an instructor and an assistant football coach at Virginia Union University. This entry was suggested by UK Librarian Shawn Livingston. For more see the "Russell Donan" entry in Black Submariners by G. A. Knoblock.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Football, Military & Veterans, Migration East
Geographic Region: Edmonton, Metcalfe County, Kentucky / Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Virginia

French, John B.
Birth Year : 1857
Death Year : 1931
John B. French was a politician, activist, singer, and business owner. He was the first African American to be appointed to the Industrial Commission of Illinois. The appointment came from Governor Len Small in 1922. The Industrial Commission acted on cases received from employees who had been injured on the job and were seeking compensation, and cases presented by persons seeking compensation for family members who had been killed on the job. French was a member of the commission branch that made the final decision on the cases. During World War I, he had also served on the Chicago Housing Committee and the Committee on the high cost of food. In 1920 he was a member of the Chicago Board of Examiners, and he was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for County Commissioner. French was the husband of Carrie Dennie; the couple had married in 1886 in West Bend, Kansas, while John was performing as an elocutionist with the Wilberforce Concert Company. Carrie French, educated at Oberlin College, was a soprano soloist. John French had also been a Jubilee singer, a bell boy, a shipping clerk, a caterer, the manager of Buildings and Grounds at Tuskegee Institute [now Tuskegee University], and steward at a country club. When he was named to the Industrial Commission in 1922, he was owner of a restaurant on Broadway named French's Pastry. In 1930, John French was among the group of Colored leaders in Chicago who were asked to meet with the Woolworth Company attorney, E. H. Williams. There was a problem; three of the Woolworth stores in the south side Colored district of Chicago were being picketed and boycotted. The Chicago Whip had organized the demonstration to force the Woolworth Company to hire Negro employees in the stores that were primarily supported by Negro patrons. John and Carrie French did not live on the south side--they lived at 4650 Winthrop Avenue, on the north end of Chicago. John had moved beyond Hubbard Street, where he had once lived with his family when they moved to Chicago from Kentucky just after the Civil War. John B. French, his mother, and all of his siblings were born in Kentucky. The family is listed as mulattoes in the census records beginning in 1870. John's wife, Carrie Dennie French, was born in 1862. Her mother was a Kentucky native who had migrated to Illinois, where Carrie was born. For more see "Hon. J. B. French makes record in state position," Chicago World, 10/29/1925, p. 3; "John B. French" on page 6 in Chicago Negro Almanac and Reference Book, edited by E. R. Rather; "The Mr. John B. French...," Cleveland Gazette, 01/09/1886, p. 1; and "Leaders hold conference with Woolworth attorney," Plaindealer, 08/29/1930, p. 1.

See photo image of John B. French at the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

See photo image of Carrie Dennie French at the flickr website by puzzlemaster.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Housing, Fair Housing, Open Housing, Housing Agencies
Geographic Region: Falmouth, Pendleton County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Harris, Emma E. "The Mammy of Moscow"
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1937
Harris, an actress and singer, told others that she was from Kentucky, but she gave Augusta, GA as her birth place on her 1901 U.S. Passport Application. She was to return to the U.S. in two years, but Harris lived much of her life in Moscow, Russia. She left the U.S. from Brooklyn, NY, where she had been a church choir director. She left with the "Louisiana Amazon Guards [or Gods]", a six-woman theater troupe, with a seventh woman as a reserve. The group toured Germany. Harris later became a member of the "Six Creole Belles" [which may have been the same group under a different name and management]; they toured Poland and Russia before disbanding, and all but two members returned to the U.S. in 1905 because of the revolutions taking place in Russia. Harris then formed the "Emma Harris Trio," a singing group that continued performing in various European cities. Years later, the trio broke up and Harris was stuck in Siberia, where she taught English for a living before returning to performing as a concert soloist in Russia. Harris had studied voice at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. She also served as a nurse in the Ukraine during the Civil War, worked with the American Relief Association, and later was a speaker for the International Red Aid. Harris remained in Moscow with her husband and manager, Ivanovitch Mizikin. She knew Stalin and was a friend of Maxim Gorky's. She spoke fluent Russian and gave speeches against the Scottsboro Boys case when she was over 60 years old. Harris was also an excellent cook of culturally diverse meals and liked to entertain; she had many connections for getting food during the period when food was rationed in Moscow. Harris returned to the U.S. in 1933 and died in Brooklyn in 1937. For more see "The Mammy of Moscow" in The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, vol. 9: Essays on Art, Race, Politics, and World Affairs, by L. Hughes, et al.; and R. E. Lotz, "The Louisiana Troupes in Europe," The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 11, issue 2 (Autumn 1938), pp. 133-142.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Nurses, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Augusta, Georgia / Moscow, Russia, Europe / Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Johnson, Laura "Dolly"
Birth Year : 1852
Dolly Johnson, an African American from Kentucky, was the cook for President Benjamin Harrison. Johnson had cooked for the Harrison family in Indiana, sometime prior to their move to the White House. She was summoned to the White House by President Harrison around 1889 to replace Madame Petronard, a French chef. According to an article in the Woodland Daily Democrat, 01/09/1890, p.3, Laura [Dolly] Johnson was from Lexington, KY. She was about 37 years old and described as a mulatto, educated, and had secured a bit of wealth as a cook for Colonel John Mason Brown, according to an article in the Plaindealer. For more see S. E. Wilkins, “The president’s kitchen – African American cooks in the White House; includes recipes; Special Issue: the Untold Story of Blacks in the White House,” American Visions (February - March 1995); “Dolly the Kentucky negro cook,” Davenport Tribune, 03/07/1893; "Will cook for the President," Plaindealer, 12/20/1889, p.1; and "Mrs. Harrison's Lexington cook," The Kentucky Leader, 12/03/1889, p.2.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Indiana / Washington D. C.

Joice, James and Jemima
In 1863, James Joice (1807-1872), an escaped slave from Kentucky, was a cook and valet for Lt. Addison B. Partridge of the Union Army. When Partridge left the army, Joice followed him to Freemont Township in Illinois. Two years later, James returned to Kentucky and brought his wife, Jemima (1824-1920), and their children, Asa (d. 1924) and Sarah (d. 1941), up North. They were the first African American settlers in Ivanhoe, IL. Asa would become the first African American elected to public office in Lake County. The family remained in the community and are all buried in the Ivanhoe Church Cemetery. For more see Daily Herald articles, "First Black settlers found home in Fremont Township," 02/08/1997, Neighbor section, p. 1; and "Joices play important role in history," 02/21/1999, Neighbor section, p. 1. See also "A touch of the past," Chicago Tribune, Magazine section, p. 7.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Freedom, Migration North, Military & Veterans, 1st African American Families in Town
Geographic Region: Kentucky / [Freemont Township] Ivanhoe, Lake County, Illinois

Jones, James Henry "Jim"
Birth Year : 1873
Death Year : 1944
Jim Jones, from Bullitt County, KY, was the son of Nelson and Sallie Jones. He moved to Louisville, KY, in the 1890s and was a servant for the family of Judge F. Fox, father of famous cartoonist and illustrator Fontaine Fox. Jim Jones was later employed by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Company as chef on the business car, which served as the private car for the Old Reliable presidents [L & N was nicknamed Old Reliable]. Jones was chef for almost 50 years, serving four company presidents: Milton H. Smith, Wible L. Mapother, Whitefoord R. Cole, and James B. Hill; Jim Jones had what was considered for the time period a very good job for an African American man. He also served as the presidents' office messenger. Jones had been sick for several months prior to his death on November 27, 1944. His funeral services were held at the 5th Street Baptist Church, where Jones had been an active member. He was buried in the Louisville Cemetery. He was the husband of Annie E. Jones, and the couple lived at 530 S. 16th Street, according to Jim Jones' death certificate. For more see "Wideley known chef dies," The Louisville and Nashville Employe[e]s' Magazine, vols. 20-21, 1944, p. 17.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Bullitt County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Kentucky Bakers
Birth Year : 1920
A count of Negro bakers employed in Kentucky can be found in the U.S. Census records. Kentucky has never been a state with a large number of bakers of any race. The first comprehensive counting of bakers in the U.S. was reported in the 1850 record of American manufacturers. Men were the dominant wage earners. According to the census, by 1920 there were 720 Negro bakers in the United States: 530 males and 193 females, and of the total, 72 males were employed in Kentucky. The manufacturing of bread in the U.S. was valued at over a billion dollars, and the distribution of bakeries was about the same as the population distribution in urban areas. Between 1921-1929, bakery operations in the U.S. were expanding as grocery stores, restaurant chains, and retail bakeries began operating as multi-units. In 1930, there were 60 Negro male bakers in Kentucky and eight in Louisville. Over the next few decades the industry was affected by many factors, including rationing during the wars. The sale of pre-packaged mixes for cakes and other bread products increased, and large wholesale companies were able to mass produce baked products that had a longer shelf life in retail stores. The baking industry changed with the times. In 1960, there were 44 Negro bakers employed in Kentucky. Today, black-owned retail bakeries are counted within the category of food manufacturing in the Black-Owned Firms [.pdf] publication by the U.S. Census Bureau. Information for this entry came from the 14th Census of the U.S., 1920, vol. 4, Populations Occupations; 15th Census of the U.S., 1930, Population, vol. IV, Occupation by State; U.S. Census of Population: 1960, Final Report PC(1)-19A, Number of Inhabitants, Kentucky; The Baking Industry Under N.R.A, by R. W. Stone and U. B. Stone; The American Baking Industry, 1849-1923; as shown in the Census reports, by H. Kyrk and J. S. Davis; and Economic Changes in the Baking Industry, by C. C. Slater.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs
Geographic Region: Kentucky

The Ladies (of color)
Start Year : 1847
The Ladies (of color), in Frankfort, KY, are thought to have been free African American women. In 1847 the group held a fair for "benevolent purposes" at the home of Mrs. Rilla Harris. For more see A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: a history of American women told through food, recipes and..., by L. Schenone, p. 131.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Colored Fairs & Black Expos, Women's Groups and Organizations, Benevolent Societies
Geographic Region: Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Matthews, Mildred Marks Carr
Birth Year : 1948
Matthews, a baker, was born in Lexington, KY, the daughter of James and Elizabeth Marks. Her father was a baker, and her mother did some professional baking; they did not have a store but took orders and baked at their home. Mildred Matthews learned to bake from her parents, discovering her own clientele in 1983 when she made her sister's wedding cake. She was owner of Millie's Cakes and More, a bakery located at 908 Liberty Road, near the corner of Winchester and Liberty Roads in Lexington, KY. Matthews had to close the business after a few years, in the early 1990s, due to her health problems. Mildred Matthews is a graduate of Bryan Station High School and Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionary Art. Information submitted by Matthews' sister, Bonnie Smith. The bakery was first listed in the Lexington Kentucky City Directory in 1991. See the entry Kentucky Bakers in the NKAA.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

McAfee, Andrew
Birth Year : 1861
Death Year : 1937
Andrew McAfee, was a council member in Jessamine County in 1898, he represented his ward, District No.2. McAfee was one of the first African American councilmen in the county. He was a hotel cook, the son of James (b.1830 in KY) and Ellen Tap McAfee (b.1832 in KY). The family of ten is listed in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. Andrew McAfee died in Nicholasville in 1937, the cause of death is listed as senility on his death certificate. For more see Andrew McAfee entry and picture on p.281 in A History of Jessamine County, Kentucky by B. H. Young [available at Google Book Search].
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections
Geographic Region: Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky

Migration to Deadwood, Dakota Territory
Start Year : 1870
End Year : 1900
The 1870 U.S. Federal Census shows African Americans living in the Dakota Territory; there were 80 residents, five of whom were from Kentucky. Most were former slaves who were employed as cooks and domestic help. By 1880, the Dakota Territory contained 17 African Americans from Kentucky, with the largest group of six living in the town of Deadwood, located in the Black Hills. P. Reynolds (b. 1852 in Kentucky), was a wood sawyer and contractor who had brought along his wife, Katie (b. 1852 in Arkansas), and their son, Clarrence. The family had lived in Nebraska, where Clarrence was born in 1875. Joseph Wells (b. 1831) was a cook. Theodore Lyons (b. 1830) was a barber. George Ree (b. 1861) was a laborer. Julia Francis (b. 1853 in Kentucky) was a widow who was employed as a housekeeper. She had a daughter named Dollie, who had been born in Dakota in 1879. They shared a residence with Jackson Colwell (b. 1830), a cook from Kentucky, and his brother Edmond Colwell (b. 1857 in Missouri), a liquor dealer who also ran a saloon. Deadwood was an illegal town on Native American land; it began to develop in 1874 after gold was discovered near French Creek. Not unlike Skagway, Alaska, Deadwood grew dramatically during the gold rush: the town population quickly increased from a few to 5,000. The town was filled with fortune-seekers, gamblers, prostitutes, and highway robbers; it was noted as the place where Wild Bill Hickok was murdered. Calamity Jane is also buried there. Nat Love or "Deadwood Dick," a former slave from Tennessee, is the most noted African American associated with the town of Deadwood. Love was a cowboy who brought a herd of cattle to Deadwood. When the gold fever calmed, the town became a mining town. There was a small pox epidemic in 1876. A fire in 1879 destroyed much of the town, the population decreasing as people left Deadwood to start life anew. There were four African Americans from Kentucky living in Deadwood in 1900; none of the previous six were listed as residents in the U.S. Federal Census. The Dakota Territory was divided into South Dakota and North Dakota,and both became states in 1889. For more about Deadwood see Westward Expansion, by R. A. Billington and J. B. Hedges; Old Deadwood Days, by E. Bennett; Deadwood, by W. Parker; and The Negro Cowboys, by P. Durham and E. L. Jones.
Subjects: Barbers, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration West
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Deadwood, Dakota Territory [South Dakota]

Negro Businesses (Lexington, KY)
Start Year : 1901
In 1901, the following Lexington, KY, businesses were included in Dr. L. D. Robinson's report at the 2nd Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League in Chicago: [barbers] Benjamin Franklin, A. L. Hawkins, Anderson & Suter, A.B. Fletcher, Frank Buckner, Howard Miller; [grocery stores] John T. Clay & Sons, and A. W. Taylor; [baker and confectioner] Charles H. Allen; [cafes] Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Thompson, Walker & Roberts, Ladies Exchange, Richard Williams and Green Miller, and R. H. Gray, who owned several patents, a cafe, and an ice cream and soda parlor. For more see Dr. L. D. Robinson, "Negro Business Enterprise of Lexington, Kentucky," Records of the National Negro Business League, Part 1 Annual Conference Proceedings and Organizational Records, 1900-1919, 2nd Annual Convention, August 21-23, 1901, reel 1, frames 221-222.
Subjects: Barbers, Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Negro Business League
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Peyton, Atholene Mary
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1951
The following information was submitted by Dr. John van Willigen, retired Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky.

 

The early 20th Century produced the earliest Kentucky cookbook written by an African American. The author, Miss Atholene Peyton, had deep roots in Louisville, where her Peytonia Cook Book was published in 1906. Her work has attributes consistent with the domestic science movement, which influenced many aspects of the food-related occupations of the pre-World War I era. Most recipes in the Peytonia Cook Book are presented in the format that was introduced by the famous Boston Cooking School cook books. As is typical of domestic science oriented cook books, the recipes are described as thoroughly tested and presented with standard, precise measures. And like other cook books with this orientation, the Peytonia Cook Book had didactic purposes. Peyton includes a teacher’s discussion of waitress service oriented toward employment in upper-class homes or elegant restaurants. It is the work of a culinary expert, not a housewife. She includes some branded products in some recipes including Quaker Oats, Vissman’s bacon and sausage, White Seal ginger ale, Cox’s gelatin, Burnett’s flavoring extracts, and Baker’s Chocolate. In a few cases Miss Peyton expresses advice about the nutritive qualities of some ingredients. The Cookbook itself includes a very warm introduction by Miss Nannie H. Burroughs, Corresponding Secretary, of the Woman’s Convention, auxiliary to the National Baptist Convention. Atholene Peyton, born in Louisville, was a 1898 graduate of Louisville’s segregated Central High School, where she later became domestic science teacher and advisor to the Girl’s Cooking Club. She also taught domestic science at the Neighborhood Home and Training School for Colored Boys and Girls in Louisville and the summer session of the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, D. C. Miss Peyton was listed in the U.S. Census as a teacher, and her father, William T. Peyton, was listed as a physician.

 

*Additional information: Atholene Peyton never married; her mother was Mary Pope Clark Peyton [source: Death Certificate, Register's No. 2065, Atholene Peyton].
Subjects: Authors, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Education and Educators
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Porter, Jefferson
Birth Year : 1820
Death Year : 1885
Jefferson Porter had been a slave; he was described as a Mulatto in the U.S. Federal Census. He was born about 1820 in Kentucky and died in Bourbon County, KY, before October 12, 1885. Jefferson Porter was freed by Lucy Porter's will in 1846 in Bourbon County. The will specified that Jefferson Porter was to get a shop and a bakehouse and the ground on which they stood, located between her house and the house of Mrs. Sidney Shannon. He also received a lot adjoining Abram Spears' property, two carriages, a wagon, horses and gear, harness and other equipage, and all provender and grain. In return, Jefferson Porter was to pay all of Lucy Porter’s funeral expenses and help support her daughter, Polly Cook, and Polly's children until the children were old enough to support themselves. Not much is known about Lucy Porter; she could not be found as head of household in any previous U.S. Federal Census Records for Bourbon County. Looking at the early census and tax records, it is hard to determine exactly to whom Lucy Porter was married: the records only listed the head of household. No marriage record for Lucy Porter was found in the Bourbon County (KY) Courthouse. What is known is that she freed Jefferson Porter, and he operated a business, owned property, and built a house in a predominately white neighborhood. This was quite an accomplishment for an African American in the pre-Civil War era when the majority of African Americans in Bourbon County, KY, were slaves. According to the 1850 Slave Schedule of Bourbon County, there were approximately 245 free African Americans compared to 7,071 African American slaves. In the 1860 Census of Bourbon County, Jefferson Porter was listed as a confectioner who had $4000 in real estate and $3000 in personal estate. The value of Jefferson Porter's real and personal property are quite high compared to that of other free African Americans in Bourbon County. Charles S. Brent, a banker, and Abram Spears, a railroad agent, were neighbors of Jefferson Porter, and both are listed as white in the 1880 Census. Spears and Brent lived near Main Street in downtown Paris, KY. It is likely that at this time Jefferson Porter lived in the bakehouse or shop that was left to him in Lucy Porter’s will. On April 13, 1865, Jefferson Porter purchased a one and half acre lot from James and Bridget Fee. No house is mentioned in the deed; therefore, it is assumed that Jefferson Porter built the house at 317 West Seventh Street after the purchase of the property. A house is mentioned in later deeds. According to the 1870 Census of Bourbon County, the Jefferson Porter family was living in the 1st Ward of Paris. West Seventh Street was located in the 1st Ward, and the Porter family was probably living in the West Seventh Street house. No wife is listed in this census, and no marriage record for Jefferson Porter has been found for this time. In various census records a woman named Cynthia Harrison is living with Jefferson Porter. Cynthia Harrison's age varies so much in these records, however, that it is hard to determine if she could have been his wife or the mother of his children. In the 1850 Census of Bourbon County she is listed as 40 years old; by 1860 she is listed as being 35 years old. She does not appear in the 1870 Census, but in the 1880 census she is in the household with Jefferson Porter and listed as being 90 years old. It is believed that some of his children were living with Jefferson Porter in the 1870 Census, even though relationships are not given. Jefferson Porter is listed as a grocer living in the same household as Jacob Porter, a 23 year old male, Beverly Porter, a 28 year old male, Anna Porter, a 28 year old female, and Lucy Porter, a 25 year old female. The exact relationship of Cynthia Harrison to the Porter family cannot be determined at this time because she does not consistently appear with them in the records. The family was fairly well off; by 1870 Jefferson Porter had increased his real estate to $4000 and his personal estate to $5000. The 1877 Beers Atlas of Paris, Kentucky shows Jefferson Porter's house on West Seventh Street. In the 1880 Census, Jefferson Porter and Cynthia Harrison are listed as boarders in the household of Sallie Jones, a Mulatto, who was a widowed seamstress with two children. It cannot be determined if Jefferson Porter and the others are living at the West Seventh Street house. Jefferson Porter did not leave a will in Bourbon County, KY, however, it was court ordered that his estate be settled on October 12, 1885, in Bourbon County (KY) Court Order Book W, page 139. The Jefferson Porter family included heirs Beverly and Susie Porter, Jacob M. and Josie Porter, William and Eva Porter, Jefferson Jr., Georgia Porter, Adam and Lucy Smoot, Anna Scott, and Sallie Porter. The heirs sold the house and lot to J. M. and Annie E. Thomas and W. R. and Carrie Thomas for $1,660 on September 22, 1886. In the November 24, 2010 edition of the Bourbon County Citizen newspaper, the house of Jefferson Porter was described as a 3,000 square foot brick home with a grand staircase and six fireplaces. The house was on the St. Mary's School's Holiday Tour of Homes on December 5, 2010. The house is still standing today and is currently owned by Martin Marderosian.

SOURCES: Will of Lucy Porter, Bourbon County (KY), Will Book M: page 430, 1850, 1860, at the courthouse in Bourbon County, KY. The 1870 U.S. Federal Census of Bourbon County (KY); 1850 Slave Schedule of Bourbon County (KY). The Bourbon County (KY) Court Order Book W, page 139; Bourbon County, (KY) Deed Book 69, page 276; Bourbon County, (KY) Deed Book 53, page 223; all at the courthouse in Bourbon County, KY. The Bourbon County Citizen, Wednesday, November 24, 2010 edition. The 1877 Beers Atlas of Paris, Kentucky. Personal interview with Martin Marderosian, current owner of the home Jefferson Porter built at 317 West Seventh Street in Paris, Ky. Jefferson Porter is mentioned in Black Property Owners in the South, 1790-1915, by Loren Schweninger. This entry was submitted by Kellie Scott, Paris Bourbon County Public Library.

See 2nd and updated entry Jefferson Porter and Jefferson Porter (Chain of Title for 317 W. 7th Street), both are NKAA Database entries.

Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Freedom
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Porter, Jefferson (2nd entry)
Birth Year : 1817
Death Year : 1885
This entry was researched, written and submitted by Nancy O’Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Ph. 859-257-1944
FAX: 859-323-1968

Jefferson Porter, (b.1817-20?-1885), was probably born in Paris or Bourbon County. He was a slave who was manumitted by Lucy Allentharpe Porter's will in 1846. [Researcher Rogers Barde found Lucy A. Porter's marriage record, she was married to James Porter in 1801. She was widowned by 1840 and there is a federal census record for her as head of household.] In addition to his freedom, Jefferson Porter received the bake house and shop that stood on the outskirts of Paris where the entrance to the present country club is located. Lucy Porter died between January 20 and April 7, 1846. Her bequest was unusually generous and even more so considering she was giving property to a man of color. From these beginnings, Jeff Porter became an entrepreneurial businessman who amassed a very respectable estate by the time he died in 1885 and his heirs sold off his assets. Jefferson Porter was a successful confectioner and grocer in Paris,KY, he was one of the founding members of Cedar Heights Cemetery in Paris. Land transfers in the Bourbon County Clerk’s office document the real estate that Jeff Porter bought and sold during his lifetime. He sold the lot Lucy Porter left him in 1847 to Margaret Barnett whose husband was a tailor. Although the 1850 census lists him as owning real estate valued at $600, his next land purchase was not filed until 1855 when he bought a house and lot on Main Street that had once been owned by another African American businessman, Carter Lightfoot. He continued to buy and sell property in Paris for the remainder of his life, ultimately owning at least ten lots, virtually all with existing buildings that could be rented out. He had bought another house and lot on the southeast side of the Maysville Turnpike and the east side of Stoner Creek in 1856 and sold it to another man of color, William Brand, in 1859, making a profit of $150 in the resale. In 1860, a few months after he was censused, he purchased a lot on the corner of Main and Walnut Streets from three Masonic Lodges that was probably adjacent to his lot since the deed also conveyed title to an additional three feet where a wall of Porter’s building encroached. All of these properties were in east Paris in an area known as “Cottontown” for the cotton mills located there. However, Porter pursued other commercial land opportunities on Main and High Streets and entered into agreements and leases with prominent white businessmen. In 1865, he made a significant purchase on Old Georgetown Road (now 7th Street) where he built a large, two story brick house that still stands. The next year, he invested in half of a lot in McGinty’s Addition that he subdivided, selling half of the lot to Gabriel Arnold, an African American blacksmith. All of these and other land transactions and business deals were profitable ventures for Jefferson Porter, allowing him to reinvest the proceeds into his house and other improvements. Census takers were required to identify skin color as part of their duties. According to the 1870 directions, census marshals and their assistants were to be “particularly careful reporting the class Mulatto,” as “the word is here generic, and includes quadroons, octaroons, and all persons having any perceptible trace of African blood.” Jeff Porter was consistently identified as mulatto in the census, indicating that his skin color was light. His manumission certificate provided additional information about Jefferson Porter’s appearance. He was a tall man, six feet in height, and had a large scar about the size of a dollar below his left knee. All of the family members except for Katy Harrison were also identified as mulatto; Katy’s skin color was listed as black. Jefferson Porter was working as a grocer in 1870 with $4000 in real estate and $5000 in personal estate. The Porter household also included a 25 year old black farm laborer, William Harlan, and a 30 year old (male) mulatto school teacher, Kelly Thompson. It’s not clear if Jeff Porter was still living in the house on W. 7th Street in 1880. He may have moved so that one of his children could live there. Or he may have allowed Sallie Jones to live there in return for taking care of the household. Jefferson Porter died in 1885 and his heirs sold all of his property and moved elsewhere. A list of his personal property taken after his death reflected his status as a grocer and confectioner, listing such items as show cases, a soda fount and stand, counter scales, candy jars and other household furnishings, valued at $353.62. He owned three lots, including his house, in Paris at the time of his death which his heirs sold. Jefferson Porter was not only a successful confectioner and grocer but he also purchased real estate for resale at a profit. Although he never learned to read or write, he was obviously astute enough to make a comfortable living and amass assets at a time when prosperity eluded many African Americans. The bequest he received from Lucy Porter was instrumental in providing him with resources that helped him to establish his business but his business acumen was key to his continued success and steadily increasing prosperity. References: Bourbon Manumission Book, Bourbon County Clerk’s Office. Bourbon County Deed Book 54, p. 21 (his house on West 7th Street) and other deeds including the property he owned in Claysville.

See earlier entry Jefferson Porter and Jefferson Porter (Chain of Title for 317 W. 7th Street), both are NKAA Database entries.

 
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Freedom
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Porter, Jefferson (Chain of Title for 317 West Seventh Street, Paris, KY)
Start Year : 1817
End Year : 1885
This entry was researched, written and submitted by

Nancy O’Malley, Assistant Director
William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology and
Office of State Archeology
1020A Export Street
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506
Ph. 859-257-1944
FAX: 859-323-1968 
 

  • Chain of Title for 317 West Seventh Street, Paris, Kentucky
  • 2008-present  Ron Wilfer, Deed Book 275, p. 429 (6/19/08) *(Martin Marderosian and Ron Wilfur are partners, but Wilfur is the one who actually purchased the house and it is in his name).

from

  • 1957-2008 William Leonard Long family (2 generations)

Robert Wood Watson family

Current property description: Begin at point on south side of 7th St. at corner to Mrs. Dorothy Talbott Foster and outer margin of pavement, along street N59W 94 ft. 11/12 inches to corner of property owned by Heirs of Lunceford Talbott; thence with Talbott line S17 ½ W 228 feet to corner formally owned by John Connell; thence with Connell line S77E 94 feet 11/12 inches to corner of Mrs. Dorothy Foster; thence with Foster N19 ½ E 208 feet to the beginning.

Robert Wood and Mable N. Watson and William Leonard and Louesa W. Long were conveyed the property in 1957 to be held jointly. Robert Watson died and Mable inherited his interest as surviving spouse. Mable died next and left her interest to Louesa Long (Will Book AA, p. 316). Louesa died in 1999 and property went to her husband, William, Sr. William, Sr. died intestate on May 1, 2002, and William, Jr. received the property by Affidavit of Descent (Deed Book 249, p. 447). The deed was transferred on December 2, 2002 by William Long, Jr. and his wife to Jim Lovell, trustee, and Lovell conveyed the property back to the Longs in order to allow the surviving spouse to inherit by survivorship (Deed Book 249, p. 448).

from

  • 1950-1957 S.H. and Amy Beatrice Mattox (Deed Book 135, p. 651)

from

  • 1948-1950 Nolen Allender and wife (Deed Book 129, p. 313) June 29, 1950

from

  • 1932-1948 O.P. Wills family (Deed Book 116, kp. 157) June 27, 1932

O. P. Wills bought the property for $2600 from Nannie S. Ardery’s heirs (Ben B. and Josephine Ardery, Fayette and Lois Ardery, S.S. and Mary Ardery, all of Paris, Ky; Margaret Ardery, George Ardery, unmarried of Colorado, and John Ardery of New York City). Wills died intestate on December 7, 1941, leaving his daughter, Cleo Wills Sumpter, as his sole heir. O.P. Wills lived and died in Winchester, Clark County, so probably never lived in the house.

from

  • 1911-1932 Nannie S. Ardery family (Deed Book 98, p. 88) June 30, 1911
Nannie S. Ardery bought the property from the Heirs of Sophia Overby (Guy Overby, Hazel Overby, Edward and Alma Overby). The property description included the house on a lot that began at Mrs. James Mernaugh’s corner on the southwest margin of 7th Street, running thence N59W 158 feet 11/12 inches to John Connell’s corner; S17 ½ W 228 feet to another corner of Connell; S77E 152 feet 2 inches to a Mernaugh corner; N19 ¼ E 175 feet to the beginning. This deed referenced a Lot no. 1 on a diagram. The Mernaugh house is still standing at 301 W. 7th Street and now houses the Paris Board of Education offices. James Mernaugh served as City Marshall in the 1880s and police chief in the 1890s.

from
  • 1887-1911 Sophia Overby family (Deed Book 70, p. 170) December 1887

Sophia Overby was married to W.T. Overby who received her estate for life via her will (Will Book U, p. 129). Sophia’s will was written on February 28, 1903 and proved in court on August 18, 1903. Following W.T.’s death, the Overby offspring received the remainder of the estate.

from 

  • 1886-1887 J.M. and Annie E. Thomas, W.R. and Carrie Thomas (Deed Book 69, p. 276) September 22, 1886; purchase price was $1660

Deeds include mention of a house and lot from this point forward to the present.

The property description included the house and lot and began at a point in the middle of Old Georgetown Road now Chestnut Street (later 7th Street) at corner to Hanson’s Spring lot at 1, thence N61 ½ W 8/76 poles to the middle of the street at 2; thence N82W 6.24 poles to the middle of the street at 3, corner to Miss McGee; then with the McGree line, leaving a 15 foot passageway between it and Ruth Breckinridge’s lot, S3W 19.92 poles to a stake near a small locust at 4, corner to Luke Connelly; thence with Connelly’s line N73E 4 poles to a stake corner to Ann Scott at 5; thence N7 ¾ E 4.40 poles to Sam Rice’s corner at 6; thence with Sam Rice’s line N79E 8.12 poles to Hanson’s spring lot at 7; thence N10 ½ E 12.64 poles to the beginning.

from 

  • 1865-1886 Jefferson Porter family (Heirs included Beverly and Susie Porter, Jacob M. and Josie Porter, William and Eva Porter, Jefferson, Jr. and Georgia Porter, Adam and Lucy Smoot, Anna Scott, and Sallie Porter)

Jefferson Porter was a free man of color who was manumitted by Lucy Porter’s will in 1846. She specified that he was to get a shop and bake house and the ground on which they stood that was located between her house and the house of Mrs. Sidney Shannon as well as stables and lots adjoining Abram Spears, two carriages, a wagon and all the horses and gear, harness and other equipage, and all provender and grain. In return, Jefferson was to pay all her funeral expenses and help support her daughter, Polly Cook and her children until the children were old enough to support themselves. Lucy Porter died between January 20 and April 7, 1846. From these beginnings, Jeff Porter became an entrepreneurial businessman who amassed a very respectable estate by the time he died in 1885 and his heirs sold off his assets. No house was mentioned in the deeds from the 1865 purchase by Porter back to earlier owners. It appears very likely that Jeff Porter built the house between 1865 and 1870. This date range is supported by several historic maps.

from

  • 1864-1865 James and Bridget Fee (Deed Book 54, p. 21) April 13, 1865; purchase price was $600

The Fees sold the northeast half of a 3-acre lot that fronted on Old Georgetown Road and was bound on the west by John L. Walker, on the east by Charles Talbott’s Heirs and ran to near the center of the Talbott lot between the Old Georgetown dirt road and the Paris-Georgetown Turnpike so as to include 1 ½ acres. Porter was given the use of water from a well on the Fees’ land.  

  • 1859-1864 George W. and Winnifred Williams (Deed Book 53, p. 223) September 8, 1864; purchase price was $695 for 3 acres.

The Fees bought three acres for $695 in 1864 and sold half that amount the following year to Porter for $600, a remarkable markup in price per acre. While one might argue that the increase in price per acre can be explained by a house having been built on the Porter lot by the Fees, another explanation is equally and perhaps more plausible. The increase in price might have been related to Porter’s racial classification. No house was mentioned in the Williams to Fee or the Fee to Porter transactions and the survey language suggests an unimproved lot was sold. It was not uncommon for whites to sell property to people of color at higher than market value. Since whites controlled most of the real estate market, they were in a position to demand higher prices, particularly given the post –Civil War attitudes that influenced where people of color were allowed to live. These attitudes resulted in a much greater degree of residential segregation than had been the case prior to the Civil War.

from

  • ????-1859 Jane C. Berry’s Heirs (Deed Book 50, p. 634) April 12, 1859

Jane C. Berry owned a considerable amount of property in the Paris and Bourbon County area. She sold off various lots in Paris, including one to John Lyle Walker and her heirs sold the rest after her death. Her heirs included Berryman and Elizabeth Hurt, Richard N. and Mary Jane Conner, William N. and Anne Amelia Sudduth, and George Hamilton, all of Bath County. They sold a larger parcel on Old Georgetown Road to the Williams who subdivided it and sold the 3 acres to the Fees. Additional deed research is necessary to determine how Jane C. Berry acquired the property. She may not have been a Bourbon County resident. 

See also the NKAA entries for Jefferson Porter and Jefferson Porter (2nd entry).
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Freedom
Geographic Region: Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky

Rheubin [Murrell]
Death Year : 1851
Rheubin, from Bowling Green, KY, was a slave owned by Samuel Murrell, one of the largest slaveholders in Warren County, KY. In 1849, Rheubin accompanied Murrell's son, George McKinley Murrell, to California in search of the gold that had been discovered in 1848. Rheubin was one of the earliest bondsmen from Kentucky to make the trek west in search of riches. He would remain a slave once he and Murrell reached their destination. After a year and a half of hard labor and no gold, Rheubin asked to return to his family in Kentucky. But young George Murrell was not ready to leave; instead, he hired Rheubin out as a cook. By 1851, Rheubin was dead. Murrell knew nothing about the circumstances surrounding his sudden death, but he surmised that Rheubin had succumbed to the cholera epidemic that was spreading in the nearby towns and camps where Rheubin had been sent to work. George Murrell returned to Kentucky in 1854; he did not strike it rich in California and, though he wrote his family about his good intentions, never recovered Rheubin's body. For more see A. S. Broussard, "Slavery in California revisited, the fate of a Kentucky slave in Gold Rush California," Pacific Historian, vol. 29, issue 1 (1985), pp. 17-21.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Explorers, Migration West
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / California

Simpson, Ophelia
According to John Jacob Niles, Ophelia Simpson was the first "shouter" in the Ohio Valley to be accepted and paid. Niles credited shouters' singing as a style of ancient origin, calling it "coon-shouting." It had two distinct styles: sacred shouting and the shouted moaning in blues and ballads. The singing technique had voice-breaks, slides, and high, rasping wails. Ophelia Simpson's shouting was new and novel and most effective when she sang the blues in Dr. Parker's Medicine Show. She was also the cook and helped prepare Parker's tapeworm eradicator. Ophelia Simpson was married to Henry (Dead Dog) Simpson, who worked at the fertilizer factory near Louisville, KY. In the winter of 1898 the Simpsons had a disagreement, and Ophelia killed Henry. While in jail, she wrote the long remembered ballad, Black Alfalfa's Jail-House Shouting Blues. After her release from jail, the name Ophelia Simpson was lost in time. For more see J. J. Niles, "Shout, Coon, Shout!" Musical Quarterly, vol. 16 (1930), pp. 516-521.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Medical Field, Health Care, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Corrections and Police
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sleet, Anne
Birth Year : 1932
In 2007, Anne Sleet became the first African American woman mayor of Perryville, KY. A former nurse and caterer, Sleet had also been a member of the city council prior to becoming mayor, succeeding her late husband, Raymond Sleet, who had been elected to the council four times. Anne Sleet was re-elected to the council for three consecutive terms and was unopposed when she ran for mayor. For more see G. Kocher, "Perryville's next mayor - Anne Sleet adds new chapter to family's proud history in Boyle County," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/27/2006, Main News section, p. A1.  See also the Sleettown entry.

    See Anne Sleet interview [#210] at "Connections with Renee Shaw," 02/10/2007, a KET (Kentucky Educational Television) website.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Medical Field, Health Care, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors, Nurses
Geographic Region: Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Smith, Elmore "The Big E"
Birth Year : 1949
Elmore Smith was born in Macon, GA, and was a graduate of Ballard-Hudson High School, where he also played basketball. As a college player, he was the seven foot center for the Kentucky State University (K-State) men's basketball team. Elmore Smith is listed among the top rebounders in college basketball. He was a member of the 1970 and 1971 NAIA Championship teams at K-State, coached by Lucias Mitchell. He holds the NAIA record for most rebounds in a season (799 rebounds in 1971), and tops the NCAA All-Division list. He left for the NBA his senior year in 1971 and played professional basketball until 1979. He went to the Buffalo Braves [now Los Angeles Clippers] as the 3rd pick in the first round of the 1971 NBA Draft. In his first season, Smith averaged 17.3 points per game and 15.2 rebounds per game; he was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. Smith's rebounding record is 8th among NBA rookies. He holds the NBA record for most individual blocked shots in a game (17). Elmore Smith ended his basketball career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2008, he was inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame. After his basketball career, Smith went into the Barb-Q sauce business. For more see Elmore Smith in Basketball-Reference.com; and Elmore Smith in Basketball Biographies by M. Taragano. This entry was submitted by Lacy L. Rice Jr.

  See photo image of Elmore Smith at Cavshistory.com
Subjects: Basketball, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs
Geographic Region: Macon, Georgia / Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky

Smith-Wright, Pamela L.
Birth Year : 1949
In 2007, Pamela Smith-Wright was the first African American elected president of the the Kentucky AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary. Smith-Wright is from Owensboro, KY, and she has served as president of Post 119 and Post 75, and she has been a member and leader of a number of organizations. AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary is a service organization made up of wives, daughters, and granddaughters of veterans. As state president, Smith-Wright oversaw 16 posts throughout Kentucky. In her political life, since 2011, Smith-Wright has been serving as the first woman Mayor Pro Tem in Owensboro, KY. She was the top vote getter in the primary and general election for a seat on the Owensboro City Commission. Pamela Smith-Wright is the daughter of the late Ethel and Willie Smith, Jr. She is graduate of Owensboro High School and was a member of the school's first track team which won the state track meet during her senior year. She is also a graduate of Cosmetology School in St. Louis, MO, and owned her own beauty shop for over 30 years. Pamela Smith-Wright also owned her own catering service for 20 years. In 2012, she was the winner of the Kentucky Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizenship Award. For more see J. Campbell, "Owensboro woman elected state leader," Messenger-Inquirer, 06/23/2007, State and Regional News section, p.1; "Mayor pro tem receives MLK Award," Messenger-Inquirer, 01/06/2012, Local News section, p.B.1; and S. Vied, "Smith-Wright elect Mayor Pro Tem," Messenger-Inquirer, 01/05/2011, Section A, p.1.
 
 
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Cosmetologists, Beauty Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Supplies, Military & Veterans, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Women's Groups and Organizations
Geographic Region: Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky

Vernon, George Kemp
George Kemp Vernon was a noted chef aboard special trains and coaches. Vernon was from Louisville, KY, a graduate of Central High School. He studied cooking in Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. In 1905, he was referred to as the "...noted young chef of Chicago and Louisville" in the article "New York City news," in Broad Axe, 07/15/1905, p.1; Vernon was visiting friends at 149 W. 53rd Street in New York. A week later, there was an article in the same newspaper announcing that Vernon had been hired by the New York Pullman Company for service to the private cars [source: "Special New York letter and comment," Broad Axe, 07/22/1905, p.2]. Vernon had been the personal chef of Francis S. Peabody [info.], the founder of Peabody Coal in Chicago. In 1908, Vernon was employed by J. Pierpont Morgan [info.] on a special car in California. An article about George K. Vernon was published in the Courier-Journal (Louisville) in 1908 and reprinted in the Freeman within the article "Louisville, KY.," 03/28/1908, p. 2. See also "We are indebted to the Los Angeles elite chronicler...," Los Angeles Herald, 02/25/1908, column 4, p.4,
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Migration West, Railroad, Railway, Trains
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois / New York / California

Watts, Richard, Sr.
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2000
Watts was born in Maben, AL, and moved to Wheelwright, KY, in the 1940s to play baseball on a mine team and to get a job. Prior to coming to Kentucky, Watts had served in the Army and played baseball with the Birmingham Black Barons. In Kentucky, he became a state mine inspector and the Martin District Supervisor of the Kentucky Department of Mines and Minerals, retiring in 1995. Watts was also a cook known for his meals at picnics and dinners. For more see "Ex-mine inspector, ballplayer dies," Lexington Herald-Leader, 08/25/2000, Obituaries section, p. B2.
Subjects: Baseball, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration North, Military & Veterans, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills
Geographic Region: Maben and Birmingham, Alabama / Wheelwright, Floyd County, Kentucky

Weaver, Rufus Jack
Birth Year : 1927
Death Year : 2008
Weaver was one of the very few African American men from Kentucky to serve on a Navy submarine during WWII. He joined the Navy in 1945 and first served on "R-1." He was chief steward when he retired from the Navy in 1965. Rufus married Margurite in 1965 and the Weaver Family lived in New London, CT. In 1968, Rufus Weaver invented a stair-climbing wheelchair, U.S. patent #3,411,598. Rufus Jack Weaver was born in Louisville, KY, the son of Jennie Washington Weaver and George Weaver. Jennie was born in Alabama and her parents were from Georgia. She died February 9, 1929, when Rufus was two years old; the family was living at the rear of 1414 S. 10th Street in Louisville, KY, according to Jennie Weaver's death certificate. Rufus Weaver was raised by his father for a few years, then lived in a detention home before living with his grandparents for a couple of years until his father got out of jail. At the age of 14, Rufus Weaver struck out on his own. This entry was suggested by UK Librarian Shawn Livingston. For a more detailed account of Rufus J. Weaver's life and military career, see his entry in Black Submariners by G. A. Knoblock; and see Rufus J. Weaver in the August 2002 and the December 2008 issues of Hooter Hilites [available full text online].
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Inventors, Migration North, Military & Veterans
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / New London, Connecticut

Williams, Charley "Banjo Dick"
Birth Year : 1849
Born in Kentucky, Charley Williams moved to Arizona in 1871 as a cook and housekeeper for the L. A. Smith family, according to author Alton Hornsby in Black America: a state-by-state historical encyclopedia, v.1, p.41. Charley Williams was known as Banjo Dick, and in the 1880s, he had a mining company named the Banjo Dick Mine, located near Tucson, AZ. According to author Hornsby, the mine was thought to the be first African American owned and operated mining operation in Arizona. The mine lasted but a few years, then Charley Williams moved to Nogales, AZ, where he shined shoes and played the banjo for extra money. "His biggest engagement was that of playing at La Vennis Park, the exclusive rendezvous of the Tucson aristocrats." For more see In Steps of Esteban: Tucson's African American Heritage at the University of Arizona Library.

See photo image of Charley Williams at the University of Arizona website.
Subjects: Businesses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Migration West, Miners, Mines, & Steel Mills, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Shoes: Finishers, Makers, Repairers, Shiners, Stores
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Tucson, Arizona

Woman's Industrial Club of Louisville (KY)
Start Year : 1900
The Woman's Industrial Club of Louisville was founded by Nannie Burroughs in 1900. It was described as a business, charitable, and industrial club housed in a building that the club rented in Louisville, KY. Attendance was initially free, then women who could afford it paid ten cents per week for the work and Burroughs took care of the rest. They made pies and cakes and sold them. In the afternoon and evenings, Burroughs instructed the women on professions such as millinery and she taught domestic science. During the day, the organization made and sold lunches to African Americans who worked in downtown Louisville. On the advice of a white woman who came to her aid financially, Burroughs increased the weekly tuition, and each student paid something, even if it was a penny. There were 40 clubs in Louisville, and the city was to host the next biennial meeting of the National Association of Colored Women. The Woman's Industrial Club of Louisville continued to grow, and Burroughs was forced to hire teachers and let other club members manage the school while she supervised. The club eventually purchased a twenty-room building for the classes, and it also provided rooms for women who were moving to Louisville for work. The Woman's Industrial Club of Louisville and the school existed at least during the nine year period that Burroughs was in Louisville. For more see Efforts for Social Betterment Among Negro Americans, A social study made by Atlanta University [available online at Google Book Search]; Fortress Introduction to Black Church History by A. H. Pinn and A. B. Pinn; and In the Vanguard of a Race by L. H. Hammond [available online at Google Book Search and Inernet Archive].
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Education and Educators, Women's Groups and Organizations, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Association of Colored Women's Clubs
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

 

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