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

Mrs. Stokes's Negro Ball

New York millionaire Mrs. W. E. D. Stokes was owner of the Patchen Wilkes Farm, located three miles outside of Lexington, KY, on Winchester Pike. She had an interest in trotting horses; African Americans referred to her as "The Horse Lady."

In 1897, in celebration of the building of her new brick barn (someone had burned down the previous barn), Mrs. Stokes held a ball in the 240 foot by 60 foot structure. The barn was elaborately decorated in anticipation of the 200 Negro guests who had accepted her formal invitation. Stokes had also invited friends from New York.

A caterer was hired, and Jones' Colored Band provided the music. A formal dinner was served on a 110-foot long table. The highlight of the night was the cakewalk competition. The winner would receive a 2 1/2 foot tall cake decorated in cathedral style. It was expected the winners would be a local couple, Dicer Williams and Mary Emma Jones, who had won all but two of the cakewalk competitions held in the area. The entire event was thought to be the first Negro ball in the region.

For more see "Mrs. Stokes's Negro Ball," New York Times, 10/03/1897, p. 3.

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Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry: Willis, Edward D. (horse trainer & newspaper man)

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“Mrs. Stokes's Negro Ball,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-01-21 19:00:57