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

Kirtley, Edward

(died: 1910) 

It was reported in the Richmond Climax newspaper that Edward Kirtley was thought to be one of the first African Americans to commit suicide in Kentucky. Kirtley had previously been arrested for selling teachers' examination papers and was under $1,000 bail bond in Frankfort, KY. He was arrested a second time for jumping bail and is said to have committed suicide at the Lexington Police Station at about 2:30am on January 6, 1910; the cause of death is not listed on the death certificate that has Kirtley listed as a female. According to the article in the Bourbon News, Kirtley died from having ingested strychnine [source: "Negro Suicide," The Bourbon News, 01/07/1910, p.5]. Edward Kirtley was buried January 7, 1910 in Campbellsville, KY. He had been a student and later taught at the Richmond Colored School. Kirtley was a school teacher in Barbourville in 1908 [source: "Colored School," Mountain Advocate, 12/25/1908, p. 1]. For more see "First Negro Suicide" on p.5 of the Richmond Climax, 01/12/1910; "Suicide in Police Station," Leader, 01/06/1910, p.6; "The Colored school..." in the column "Local Loom" on p.3 of the Mountain Advocate, 08/07/1908; and Certificate and Record of Death Registered #15. 

Kentucky County & Region

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Kentucky Place (Town or City)

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Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Campbellsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
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Read about Barbourville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: The Bourbon news (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Mountain advocate (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Richmond climax (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Lexington leader (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Mountain advocate (newspaper)

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Kirtley, Edward,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-09-15 23:53:32