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

Brady, Bessie May

(born: 1882  -  died: 1912) 

Bessie M. Brady (Thomas), born in Frankfort, KY, was an actress with William and Walker Abyssinia Company in 1906 [Egbert "Bert" A. Williams and George Walker]. Brady would later become a vaudeville performer in Chicago. She performed with Leana Mitchell, touring the vaudeville circuits and performing at the height of their careers at the Grand and Monogram Theaters in Chicago. Bessie Brady's mother, Johnsonia Buckner Brady, from Frankfort, KY, died in Chicago in 1899 [source: Cook County, Illinois, Deaths Index]. The Brady family had moved to Chicago after 1880 according to the U.S. Federal Census records. In 1900, there were ten family members and they lived on Wabash Ave in Chicago. The family included Bessie's father, Horace Brady who was a musician and he had run a saloon in Frankfort, KY, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Her brother, Charles H. Brady, was also a musician. Bessie Brady died September 13, 1912, after an operation at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York [source: "Obituary: Pretty Bessie Brady dies in New York," Freeman, 09/28/1912]. Her body was brought back to Chicago for burial. She was the wife of vaudevill performer James M. "Icky" Thomas. For more see "Bessie Brady" in Blacks in Blackface, by H. T. Sampson.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Freeman [Indianapolis Freeman] (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Blacks in blackface: a source book on early Black musical shows

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Kentucky African American Musicians in Illinois (Chicago)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Brady, Bessie May,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 24, 2020,

Last modified: 2020-07-13 15:00:30