Archive for August, 2020

Herbert Frederick Seavers

Herbert Frederick Seavers (1928-1976) was born to John F. and Gwendolyn (Hurd) Seavers in Oberlin, OH on July 11, 1929. He was one of four children: John Lewis, Barbara, and Lawrence. He attended the Oberlin public schools and graduated from Oberlin High School in 1947. Seavers also graduated from Gordon College in Boston, Gordon School of Theology, and Boston University. In 1955, Seavers married Barbara J. Moore, daughter of Purcell and Thelma (Spain) Jones. Together they had two children: Corbin Purcell and Rebecca Jean. Barbara was previously divorced from Melvin Moore and had two children: James and Melvin Moore. Seavers and Barbara were divorced in 1968. At the time he was living in Troy, OH and working as a pastor of Richards Chapel. He was also a former pastor of Turner Chapel in Canton, OH. He moved to Frankfort, KY in 1967 to work for the Commission on Human Rights where he was the Community Service Director. As a pastor in Ohio, Seavers worked to integrate churches and fight discrimination, which made him a natural fit for Kentucky’s Commission on Human Rights. While there, he urged the creation of councils in Kentucky high schools so students, teachers, and administration could resolve issues surrounding discrimination. He also urged Kentucky businesses to recruit and hire black graduates. Furthermore, Seavers was one of five people selected by US District Judge James F. Gordon to authorize hardship transfers from busing for school desegregation. Seavers was a member of the National Association of Human Rights Workers and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Photo of Seavers is from a February 8, 1963 article in the “Daily Times” (New Philadelphia, OH).

James Henry Black

James Henry Black (1870-1948) was born in Louisville, KY to George and Mattie (Robinson) Black. He was one of seven children. On April 15, 1908, black married Jeanette L. Steward, daughter of William H. and Mamie (Lee) Steward (who are both featured this month), and together they had two children: Mary Elizabeth and Myrtle Robinson, who both became teachers. Black and his family lived at 1819 W. Chestnut Street in the Russell Neighborhood. Black worked as a clerk at the Post Office, a position he held for 35 years before retiring in 1938. He began his career at the Government Printing Office in Washington, D.C. in 1902. While there, Black was part of a group called the “Kentucky Colony.” According to the Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, the Kentucky Colony was, “a group of Kentuckians living in a particular area outside the state of Kentucky. The term was also used to refer to the ‘Kentucky Colony’ neighborhood in Washington, D.C. on 10th Street between R and S Streets. The residents were members of the ‘Kentucky Colony’ organization, a networking, society and support group of African Americans from Kentucky who had migrated to Washington, D.C. … The Kentucky Colony also kept ties to family and friends in Kentucky. In 1908, the group presented a 24-piece silver set to the newlyweds Jeanette L. Steward and James H. Black.” Jeanette worked as the cafeteria manager of the Phyllis Wheatley Branch YWCA (528 S. 6th Street). When Black died on October 2, 1948, he was grand master of the Negro Masonic Lodge of Kentucky and grand secretary of the state Odd Fellows. He was buried in the Steward family plot in Eastern Cemetery.

Dr. John Robert Nurse

Dr. John Robert Nurse (1899-1964) was born to Robert L. and Patti Nurse in Louisville, KY on August 8, 1899. His father worked as a cook on a steam railroad car. His mother took care of John and his three sisters: Freda, Ida and Virginia. Nurse attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. where he played football. In 1921, he graduated with a BS degree. Four years later, he earned his MD and interned at Washington’s Freedmen’s Hospital. He quickly returned to Louisville and served as physician-in-charge in infant welfare at Central Louisville Health Center, which provided health services to the vast majority of Louisville’s African Americans. By 1938, he was working as the medical director for Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company. In 1941, he married Jonniebelle Winlock, a teacher at the Booker T. Washington School located at 527 E Burnett Avenue. The couple resided at 1120 W. Walnut Street; a residence John had been occupying since at least 1929 in the Russell Neighborhood. John became an active leader in the National Medical Association in 1946. He held the position of director of exhibits for almost two decades. He was also a World War I veteran and a member of the Fifth Street Baptist Church. John and Jonniebelle divorced in 1953. John then married Elizabeth Howland, a retired nurse who was also a member of the National Medical Association. John was active in various organizations including the American Red Cross, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. John died on August 5, 1964 at the age of 64. At the time of his death, he was living at 2521 W. Chestnut Street in the Russell Neighborhood. Elizabeth lived another 18 years after John’s death.

Julia (Spradling) Mayo Taylor

Julia (Spradling) Mayo Taylor (circa 1841-1918) was the daughter of successful barber and businessman, Washington Spradling and Lucy Ann Jackson. She was born in Kentucky circa 1841. Julia had two brothers, two sisters, and one half brother. Julia married Henry Mayo, a shoemaker, between 1869 and 1871, and the couple had two children: Clarence and Lillie. By the time of the 1880 Federal Census, Julia was a widow living on 10th Street in Louisville. Also in the house was her 11-year-old son Clarence; her 9-year-old daughter Lillie; her sister-in-law Peachie Mayo; and two boarders: Lucy Bohannon, a servant, and Mollie Smith, a seamstress. By the time of the 1900 Federal Census, Julia’s last name was Taylor. Again, she was a widow. Marriage records could not be found to identify when or who she married. Julia was living in a house she owned on Madison Street as the head of household, which included her mother Lucy Ann; her daughter Lillie; Lillie’s husband Robert Langston; and their 2-year-old son Clarence. Robert’s profession was setting poles for telegraphs. In 1901, Julia’s mother Lucy Ann died of the flu around the age of 94. According to the 1910 Federal Census, Julia was living in a house she owned at 625 10th Street with Lillie and Clarence Langston. Lillie was a widow and working as a seamstress for a private family. On April 18, 1918, Julia died of congestive heart failure. She is buried in the Spradling family plot at Eastern Cemetery with the last name of Mayo, not Taylor.

Dianna Laverne (Anderson) Green

Dianna Laverne (Anderson) Green (1942-1980) was born in Louisville, KY to Frank Julius and Dorothy (Douglas) Anderson. She was the eldest of nine children. She married Melvin Green and together they had four children: Melvin Jr., Terry Terese, Lynnette Renae, and Shereatha. Melvin was head basketball coach at his alma mater Male High School in Louisville before moving to Iowa in 1971 where he assistant coached at Drake University. However, when Dianna became sick, Melvin took a head coaching job at Tech High School in Des Moines, IA. According to an article published in the “Des Moines Tribune” after Dianna’s death, Melvin traveled to recruit for Drake, which caused him to be away a lot. Thus, he took a local position in order to help her and their children. Featured frequently in the “Des Moines Tribune,” the family was clearly very supportive of one another, especially when Melvin Jr. also played basketball and football at a rival school. The “Des Moines Tribune” from September 30, 1976 said Dianna, “is a strong booster of anything her husband does. She could be found with daughters Terri, Lynette and Shereatha behind the Drake bench at basketball games. It was her voice that often was heard above the roar of the others.” Dianna died on January 23, 1980 in Des Moines, IA. Her funeral and burial took place in Louisville. A Dianna Green Memorial Fund was established by Tech High School and the Dianna Green Memorial Benefit was sponsored by the Polk County Booster Club to help the Green family with medical expenses. Photos of Dianna are from Find a Grave User Shereatha Green and “Des Moines Tribune” January 13, 1972.

Rev. Richard Sneethen

Rev. Richard Sneethen (1811-1872) was born into slavery in Virginia. There is not much written on his life, so it is unclear when Sneethen was freed. Sneethen helped establish the Second African Baptist Church, later known as the Central Baptist Church, in St. Louis, MO in 1846. While there, Sneethen married Emma (maiden name unknown). Their marriage was recorded on September 10, 1857, which was years after they married. This was likely due to the fact that they never had a marriage license previously. In September 1852, Sneethen was made pastor of Second Colored Baptist Church, later known as Green Street Baptist Church, in Louisville, KY. In 1860, the church gave Sneethen a lifetime appointment because he was highly regarded for his preaching skills and spiritual guidance. He brought financial stability to the congregation and a brick structure was erected on Green Street (now Liberty Street). In 1865, Green Street Baptist reopened its school in the church basement, built a playground behind the church, and hired teachers. Sneethen acted as superintendent with 105 pupils. Sneethen is credited with growing the congregation to 725 members before his death in 1872 from congestive heart failure. Rev. D.A. Gaddie succeeded him as pastor. We featured Rev. Gaddie last year, and he is buried next to Rev. Sneethen. Photo of Sneethen is from “Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky.”

Dr. Andrew Lyman Paey

Dr. Andrew Lyman Paey (circa 1875-1940) was born in Kentucky to an unknown father and Ellen Paey. There is very little documentation on his early life. In 1906, Andrew received his state medical license in Virginia. He ranked first in the exam, which included 30 applicants. According to the newspaper article from the “Richmond Planet,” he “is of one of the best families in the state of Kentucky, five of whom were public school teachers and three are now practicing physicians.” Prior to receiving his medical license in Virginia, Paey was a principal in a Kentucky school and a graduate from Meharry Medical College in Tennessee where he taught bacteriology. In 1904, he was a surgeon for coal mines in West Virginia, and he then practiced medicine in Indian Territory and Kansas. On June 30, 1908, he married Ida Nugent, in Louisville, and they had no children. They lived in Norfolk, VA throughout their adult lives where they were active in politics and public health initiatives. Dr. Paey died on July 27, 1940 in Norfolk, Virginia. He is buried in the Nugent Family Lot in Eastern Cemetery. Photo of Dr. Paey is from “Richmond Planet” August 18, 1906.

Rev. George D. Olden

Rev. George D. Olden (circa 1846-1935) was born into slavery in Kentucky. There is not much written on his life, so it is unclear whether Olden was freed or ran away when he joined the Union Army during the Civil War. He was a member of the US Colored Troops 108th Infantry, organized in Louisville between June 20 and August 22, 1864. It was mustered out, or disbanded, March 21, 1866. Around 1893, Olden was living in Topeka, KS where he as was pastor for Second (B Street) Baptist Church, later known as the First African Baptist Church. On January 1, 1900, one of Olden’s sermons was printed in the “Topeka State Journal.” Olden showed a photograph of a slave auction block. He said, “This auction block and the persons standing upon it represent my mother, a brother and myself, as we were being sold in front of the court house in Henderson, Kentucky, on the 1st day of January 1859. This was the third time we were sold. At this sale a man by the name of Dr. Johnson bought us for the sum of $1,500. At that time my brother being 9 years of age, and I, 11 years of age.” Olden used this story to show that, “Never in the historic of the American negro were his prospects brighter in everyway for the future than they are today.”
Sometime between 1900 and 1910, Olden married Olive Robinson of Jeffersonville, IN. No marriage records could be located; however, he is listed as widowed on the 1900 Federal Census and listed as married to Olive on the 1910 Federal Census. That census document also shows this was Olden’s third marriage while this was Olive’s first. By 1923, Olden and Olive were living in Louisville. According to city directories and census records, Olden worked as a pastor, but we could not determine where he worked. From at least 1927-1935, Olden was chaplain of the Kentucky Department of the Grand Army of the Republic. Olive died on June 29, 1934 from cancer. A headstone was erected for the couple to share. Olden died on October 12, 1935. His death date was never added to the headstone. Photo of Olden is from “The Topeka Plaindealer” from March 25, 1910.

Mollie (Nugent) Williams

Mollie (Nugent) Williams (circa 1867-1936) was George and Anna Nugent’s first child of four, born circa 1867. Mollie married Thomas Williams in a large ceremony with over 250 guests on October 10, 1889. Over the years, Thomas worked as a butler and a porter. From the 1900 through the 1920 censuses, Mollie’s occupation was listed as a dressmaker or seamstress. Mollie was part of many clubs that aimed to improve the black community by striving towards equality and the vote. Along with her sisters, Mollie was a charter member of the Woman’s Improvement Club. On December 31, 1903, she helped found the State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. She was very involved with the Federation and was delegated to draft its constitution and by-laws. Mollie was also chosen to serve on the Finance Committee for the State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. Additionally, she was an avid attender of Lampton Baptist Church. Current records indicate that Mollie was President of the Willing Workers Club of Lampton Baptist Church from July 1928 to January 1934. It is possible that she was president of this club for a longer amount of time. As part of the Willing Workers Club, she skillfully planned many community gatherings. Mollie also attended at least one Baptist Women’s Educational Convention, and probably many more. She was an excellent hostess and known for her entertaining skills. Mollie passed away on March 17, 1936. Photo of Mollie is from Carol Mattingly. – Bio by Girl Scout Laura Bache. Her project’s FB page: Shattering the Glass Ceiling: A Girl Scout Gold Award Project. Her Instagram featuring more role models like Mollie: @rolemodelmoxie

Ida (Nugent) Paey

Ida (Nugent) Paey (circa 1880-1958) was George and Anna Nugent’s youngest child of four, born circa 1880. She graduated with honors from Central Colored High School, now known as Central High School, in 1898. Throughout her life, Ida diligently worked towards equality and the vote for black women through education and community service. In March 1903, Ida was elected to be the first kindergarten teacher at Louisville’s Main Street Colored School. In June 1904, she began teaching at South Louisville Colored School. She taught at South Louisville until at least 1907. On December 28, 1907, Ida gave a talk about how to teach kindergarten at a workshop titled “Industrial Education and Manual Training” in Danville, Kentucky. Ida married Andrew Lyman Paey on June 30, 1908 in Louisville. The 1910 census showed the newlywed couple moved to Norfolk, Virginia. This census also listed Andrew as a physician. According to the Norfolk City Directory, from 1914-1920 Ida was a superintendent at the Norfolk Day Nursery. From 1922 through 1949, she was a probation officer for City Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. Ida was very involved in her community as well. On July 15, 1913, “The Nashville Globe” published a story about a meeting she led for the Virginia State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. Ida, chairman of the program committee, organized the event at which more than 2,000 women were present. In December 1917, she was named one of several Vice Presidents of the Negro Organization Society of Virginia at its Fifth Annual Meeting. She was also on the Board of Negro Collaborators for the Virginia War History Commission in 1920. Even though she lived in Virginia, she often visited her sisters in Louisville and remained connected to black community activists in the state. She was an associate member of Louisville’s Woman’s Improvement Club. She died in Norfolk on September 19, 1958 and was buried in Eastern Cemetery. – Bio by Girl Scout Laura Bache. Her project’s FB page: Shattering the Glass Ceiling: A Girl Scout Gold Award Project. Her Instagram featuring more role models like Ida: @rolemodelmoxie

Dr. William Henry Pickett

Dr. William Henry Pickett (1876-1949) was born in Lexington, KY to Henry and Susan (Goggins) Pickett. According to the 1880 Federal Census, he was an only child, and his father was working as a tailor. Pickett was a graduate of Simmons College of Kentucky and did graduate work at Cleveland Polytechnical Clinic and Rush Medical School in Chicago. He graduated from the old Louisville National Medical College in 1898. On June 27, 1901, Pickett married Lucy Bell Steward, daughter of William H. and Mamie (Lee) Steward (who are both featured this month), and together they had one child: Steward. In 1908, Pickett was a member of the National Negro-American Political League of Kentucky and was one of the delegates sent to the Negro-American National Conference that year. His wife, Lucy, was also active in politics. In 1923 and 1932, she was a delegate sent to the Republican State Convention. Pickett was a member of the Central Louisville Health Center, which provided health services to the vast majority of Louisville’s African Americans. Picket practiced medicine on S. Preston Street for 51 years. His last known office was located at 315 S. Preston Street, which is now the location of I-65. Blanton and his family lived at 528 E. Jacob Street and then at 421 E. Chestnut Street. Pickett was a member of the Fifth Street Baptist Church as well as Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He was also president of the American Volleyball Association. Dr. Pickett died on June 24, 1949 from lung cancer. He and Lucy were buried in the Steward family plot in Eastern Cemetery. Photo of Pickett is from a June 2, 1949 “Courier-Journal” article.

Lyman Beecher Goodloe

Lyman Beecher Goodloe (1876-1936) was born to Squire Goodloe and Ellen Green on February 11, 1876 in Perryville, KY. Lyman had four brothers and three sisters. In 1904, Lyman graduated from the State University Colored College. The ceremony was held at Macauley’s Theater where Lyman was one of eight graduates who delivered an oration. He also delivered the valedictory. After graduation, Lyman worked as a teacher for several years. He married Jennie L. Bacon in Clark County, IN on August 18, 1910. Lyman was storekeeper at 819 W. Walnut Street at the time. On December 4, 1912, the couple had a daughter Rose Ellen who eventually became a teacher. On June 19, 1918, Lyman was drafted for WWI and required to report to Camp Zachary Taylor for entrainment. We could not find any other records about his military service. At the time of the 1920 Federal Census, Lyman and Jennie were living in a house they owned at 1933 W. Madison Street in the Russell Neighborhood. They would remain in this house for decades. In 1920, Lyman was working as a Pullman Porter and Jennie was at home taking care of Rose Ellen. According to city directories, Lyman worked briefly as an agent for the Mammoth Life and Accident Insurance Company before becoming a storekeeper. He was a United States Storekeeper and Gauger (USS & G) for the Internal Revenue Service. He ensured distilled spirits were weighed and taxed accordingly and was responsible for affixing the official tax stamps to the casks. Lyman died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage on November 18, 1936. He was 60 years old.

Maria Fredericka (Zucker) Fegenbush

Maria Fredericka (Zucker) Fegenbush (1837-1930) was born to Gottlieb and Katrina Magdalena (Metzger) Fegenbush in Kleinsachsenheim, Germany. German records are difficult to obtain, so there is very little information about Fredericka’s early life. She immigrated to the United States in 1854. According to Kentucky Marriage Records, she married Philip J. Fegenbush on April 26, 1860. However, some decedents say they were married as early as 1855, but no records were found to verify this. Philip was the son of Tobias and Maria Regina (Mann) Fegenbush II. The Fegenbushes were German immigrant farmers who lived in Two Mile House, a part of town off Bardstown Road now known as Buechel. Fegenbush Lane is named for this family.
Fredericka and Philip had ten children: John, Charles, Caroline, Mary, George, William, Edward, Emma, Margaret, and Grover. Philip was a farmer in Two Mile House and Fredericka cared for their children. The family frequently had farm hands living with them. On January 20, 1904, Philip died at the age of 78. He was buried in the Fegenbush plot in Eastern Cemetery. According to the 1910 Federal Census, Fredericka was a farmer living with her daughters Mary and Emma as well as three grandchildren and a farm hand. The grandchildren (John, Anne, and Charles) were children of John and Emma (Brohm) Fegenbush. Charles and John lived with Fredericka, Mary, and Emma for most of their lives. Fredericka died on February 5, 1930 at the age of 92. According to her “Courier-Journal” obituary, she died “at her residence on the Bardstown Road at Fegenbush Station.” She was buried in the Fegenbush plot in Eastern Cemetery. Frederick and Philip share a monument with his parents Tobias and Maria Regina. Fredericka and Philip’s children Caroline, Emma, and George are also buried in the plot. It appears that Emma is the only one with a headstone.

Ulsa Matilda (Clarkson) Jennings

Most of what we know about Ulsa Matilda Jennings has been pieced together from Federal Census records. Ulsa Matilda (Clarkson) Jennings (circa 1852-1925) was born free (not enslaved) in Virginia to John Clarkson and Eliza Page in March of 1852. It is unclear what happened to Ulsa’s father but by 1860 Ulsa, her mother Eliza, and Ulsa’s 14-year-old brother, Samuel, were living with Eliza’s brother, Dabney Page, and his family in Louisville, KY. On March 9, 1869, Ulsa married William M. Jennings in Louisville. The couple had three children: Eugene, Caroline, and Nerious. According to the 1870 Federal Census, they were living with Dabney Page and his family as well as Eliza and her sister Annie (Page) Young. William and Ulsa divorced at some point.
As of the 1880 Federal Census, Ulsa and her 7-year-old daughter, Caroline “Carrie” and her 5-year-old son Nerious were living on Magazine Street with uncle Dabney Page. Eugene was living with William in Virginia, and William remarried the following year. By 1900, Ulsa was listed on the Federal Census as a widow. At the time of both the 1900 and 1910 Federal Censuses, she was working as a live-in servant for the family of Charles P. Moorman on 4th Street. Nerious worked as a bottler for C.P. Moorman & Co., which was a whiskey company. In 1920, Ulsa was living in a boarding house on 4th Street, still working as a private nurse for Moorman. Ulsa died from heart disease on May 13, 1925, at the approximate age of 73. At the time of her death, she was living at 245 E. Chestnut Street. She is buried at Eastern Cemetery in a family plot with her son Nerious, her mother, and her brother. Ulsa’s monument is quite large and ornate. As previously stated, Nerious worked for C.P. Moorman & Co. and was married to Laura B. Smith. They had three children. Caroline remained single her whole life and worked as a teacher in Louisville and Lexington. Eugene lived in Louisville briefly but moved to Los Angeles after becoming an attorney. He married Sadie McCoy.

Naomi Agness Melissa (Anthony) Lattimore

Naomi Agness Melissa (Anthony) Lattimore (1900-1975) was born to Robert L. Anthony and Carrie B. Gaddie in Carmi, IL on December 29, 1900. Naomi’s parents were both teachers. We featured Naomi’s father during Black History Month. Naomi had two brothers and three sisters. During Naomi’s childhood, the family moved several times throughout Indiana. The moves seemed to coincide with teaching opportunities that were available to her father. Naomi graduated from Louisville Central High School. In 1920, she was living with her family at 939 Clay Street. We are not certain of the exact date but sometime between 1924 and 1930, Naomi married Dr. John Aaron Cicero Lattimore, who we also featured during Black History Month. Naomi was 26 years Dr. Lattimore’s junior. The couple lived on Walnut Street (now Muhammad Ali Boulevard) in the Russell Neighborhood. They did not have any children.
Naomi was a teacher and a librarian. She graduated from the old Louisville Municipal College and studied library science at the University of Illinois, the University of California, and the University of Chicago. She became the head librarian at the Western Branch Library in Louisville, succeeding Rachel D. Harris. Naomi and her husband were active civic leaders. Naomi was the first African American president of the Library Staff Association in Louisville and organized the Louisville chapter of Links Inc.; a national and international civic organization for women. She was a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the Broadway Temple AME Zion Church. In 1949, Naomi was one of 20 African American’s honored by Central High School students for “Negro History Week.” Also honored were Mary Merritt, Albert E. Meyzeek, and Dr. John Lattimore. Dr. John Lattimore died in 1959. Naomi died on May 14, 1975 and was buried next to her husband in Eastern Cemetery. At the time of her death, she was living in Prospect, KY. Photo of Naomi is from Ancestry user leelandj.