Minnis Family

Madison Beaumont Minnis (ca. 1833-1884) and Elizabeth Turner (1849-1939) were married before 1869. They had nine children: 3 boys (Albert Meade, Madison Jr., and Charles Donald) and 6 girls (Jane Rebecca, Cornelia, Ella Thomas, Lucy, Elizabeth Mason, and Emma Lewis). The couple raised their children to appreciate music. Madison was Choir Director at Fifth Street Baptist Church, and Elizabeth played piano. Madison who worked as a janitor died in 1884. Elizabeth lived with her children until her death in 1939. The family owned their home at 1208 Magazine St. in Russell Neighborhood until circa 1913 when they built a new home at 3112 Grand Ave. in Parkland Neighborhood. Charles built the home.


Jane Rebecca (1869-1953) remained in the Minnis home her entire life. She may have been a teacher. Daughters Lucy and Cornelia died young. Ella Thomas (1874-1963) was a teacher and retired in 1952 from Booker T. Washington School after 40 years. Ella gave piano lessons. Elizabeth Mason (1879-1963) taught music at Kentucky School for the Blind for over 35 years and retired in 1946. She gave piano lessons and was organist for Magazine St. Seventh Day Adventist Church. Emma Lewis (1880-1972) was principal of Benjamin Banneker School for 13 years and taught music at Magazine St. Seventh Day Adventist Church and its school. The school was established in 1915, but in 1970, it was renamed Emma L. Minnis Junior Academy.


In 1956, Elizabeth, Ella, and Emma were living in the house on Grand. Emma and Elizabeth were being honored for their service to the community and were interviewed by the “Courier-Journal.” Emma invited the reporter to the backyard, “we call it our farm and each of us takes care of 1/3 of it.” The farm consisted of roses, peonies, peach trees, and vegetables. The sisters said they had no intention of slowing down as music was their life. Emma said, “We owe everything to our mother. She was a wonderful woman.” The Minnis family is buried in Section B, Range 9, Lot 42 of Eastern Cemetery. Their graves are unmarked. Photo of Emma and Elizabeth from May 15, 1956 interview.