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

Atkins, Charles Henry "Speedy"

(born: 1875  -  died: 1928) Charles Atkins was known as "Speedy" because he was a very fast tobacco worker, according to some.  He has also been referred to as Henry Atkins in print publications. His grave marker reads Charles Atkins, 1875-1928.

Atkins had moved to Paducah, KY from Tennessee.  One day while fishing he drowned in the Ohio River. His body was turned over to African American funeral home director A. Z. Hamock, who prepared Atkins' body with an experimental super-preservative. The experiment left Atkins body mummified. Pleased with the results, Hamock put the mummified Atkins on display. It has been reported that Hamock "nicknamed him 'Speedy' because he never moved."

It was not until 1994 that Atkins was finally buried in Maplelawn Cemetery in Paducah. Numerous television programs and newspapers around the country have highlighted the story of Speedy Atkins. For more see Charles Henry "Speedy" Atkins (1875-1928) at Find A Grave.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about McCracken County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Paducah, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Atkins, Charles Henry "Speedy",” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-08-27 17:57:15