George Washington Carver Visits Suffolk, Virginia, 1922

The New York Age, October 7, 1922

Prof. Carver To Tell White Virginians About the Peanut – Will Lecture Daily at Four County Fair To Be Held at Suffolk Oct. 24-27, In Connection With First Big Peanut Exhibit — (Special to The New York Age)
The Four County Fair, to be held October 24 to 27, is owned and controlled entirely by the white people of this section. The secretary, Mr. Jordan, announces that the most striking feature of the forthcoming exhibition will be the peanut exhibit, with Prof. George W. Carver, director of chemical research of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, Alabama, lecturing daily during the fair to the white farmers and visitors.
The peanut industry, one of the largest agricultural industries in five states, has never yet attempted such an exhibition, and Secretary Jordan says it is but right “that the first exhibit of its kind in the world should be in Suffolk. We are going to have the first exhibit of its kind and it will be the most unique in the world.” Mr. Jordan is himself prominently identified with the peanut industry.
The secretary has been working for several weeks to plan this exhibit, and declares he would not have attempted it unless it had been possible to secure Prof. Carver, who will also bring his collection of exhibits. The arrangements were concluded by telegraph on September 22.
Plans for the unusual exhibit are now complete, whereby the numerous products manufactured from the peanut grown and marketed in this section of Virginia will be shown. The exhibit will be a revelation to everyone in this section.
Many Peanut Products

Prof. Carver, of Tuskegee, through his research work with the peanut, has opened new vistas for the industry, and his efforts will greatly benefit the producing states. He has produced for practical commercial uses from the peanut, the following, all of which will be on exhibition: Three kinds of butter, two salad oils, meal stock, for cattle and swine, flour for diabetics, meals for polishing metals, cake, numerous confections, ground hay, leather dyes of nineteen shades, instant coffee, bisque from peanut milk, Worcester sauce, chili sauce, sprouts, relishes, breakfast foods, axle grease, toilet and laundry soaps, quinine from the red skins, tannic acid, linoleum, glycerin, from which nitroglycerin was made during the war, butter chili, lard compound, oleomargarine, cheese filler, pomade, ink, purple and black indelible, wood stains of nine shades and colors, and peanut milk.
Peanut milk is of particular interest. An ordinary tumbler of shelled peanuts will produce one pint of rich, creamy milk, containing three times as much carbohydrates, and twelve times as much fat, as cow’s milk.
“By controlling the quantity of carbohydrates and proteins used,” says Professor Carver, “many different grades of milk can be made.” This milk is now being used for culinary purposes.
Born In Little Shanty
The life of Professor Carver reads like a romance. He was born in Diamond Grove, Mo., in a one-room log shanty. His parents were slaves. Like the late Booker T. Washington, with whom he was associated for many years at Tuskegee, he fought his way upward from reconstruction days, and won his education by manual labor.

He went to school at Fayetteville, Ark., then to Neosho, Mo., working as he went. With the help of friends, but mostly by his own efforts he entered Simpson College at Indianola, Iowa, and later completed his work in science and agriculture at Iowa State College, where he took the degrees of bachelor and master.  

Professor Carver was then added to the faculty and placed in charge of the greenhouse, bacteriological laboratory and work in systematic botany and was called from that post by Booker T. Washington to his present work at Tuskegee. For thirty years he has worked at that institution. He is now past sixty years of age.
By assembling the numerous everyday products made of peanuts, numbering about fifty different commercial items, and with those of Professor Carver, the peanut exhibit at Suffolk in October will be made worth traveling many miles to see.
These exhibits and the cost of assembling them is borne largely by some of the leading peanut cleaners of this section. The exhibit will be along educational lines only.

The New York Age, October 7, 1922

I suspect The New York Age carried this story on Prof. George Washington Carver’s visit to Suffolk in part due to merchant and businessman Robert Williams’ long-standing professional and personal friendship with Frederick Randolph Moore, editor of The New York Age.

Robert Williams (1867-1952), of Oxford, Granville County, North Carolina, was one of early Suffolk’s leading African American businessmen from 1902, until his death in 1952. He is buried along with his wife, Fannie B. Hargrove Williams (1876-1937), in historic Oak Lawn Cemetery (est. 1885), Suffolk. Look for our upcoming blog concerning Robert Williams in the near future.

For more on Professor George Washington Carver, see this link.

Professor George Washington Carver, date unknown. Library of Congress

Cpl. William Parks, 135th Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry

Gravestone of Cpl. William Parks, Co. G, 135th Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, May 26, 2018. All rights reserved

Introducing Cpl. William Parks, a newly found African American veteran of the Civil War. Nadia Orton, historian and secretary of the Foundation, first uncovered the gravestone of Cpl. Parks over the Decoration Day (Memorial Day) weekend in 2018. Cpl. Parks was born about 1843 in Mobile, Alabama. He enlisted on May 5, 1865, at the Ridgeway Depot in Warren County, North Carolina. At the time of his enlistment, he was described as five feet, seven inches tall, with a “yellow” complexion, black eyes and hair. Cpl. Parks mustered in on May 5, 1865, in Washington, D. C. He was promoted to Corporal on June 1, 1865 by special order, and mustered out four months later on October 23rd, at Louisville, Kentucky.

After his discharge from service, Cpl Parks returned to Warren County, and lived in the Smith Creek district with his wife, Lydia. In 1889, the family moved to Suffolk, Virginia. Cpl. William Parks passed away in 1897. His wife, Lydia, remained in Suffolk until her death on November 7, 1924. To date, we have not found her gravesite, but suspect she may be interred next to her husband in an unmarked grave.

The Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation

Preserving African American History of Suffolk, Virginia with Integrity

William Thomas Fuller, M. D. (1866-1921)

Dr. W. T. Fuller, ca. 1908. Library of Virginia
Dr. W. T. Fuller, date unknown. Library of Virginia

Was Head of Bank – Many Citizens Join Family in Grief
Dr. W. T. Fuller, one of the leading physicians and businessmen of this section, died suddenly in his office in E. Washington street, here last Saturday. The exact cause of his death could not be learned.
Dr. Fuller was an academic graduate of Hampton Institute, Shaw University, Leonard Medical School, Raleigh, N. C. He came to this city from Danville, Va., and in a short time had built up a large practice. He was connected with many business ventures here. Chief among them was the Phoenix Bank of Nansemond, of which he was president. He became connected with this institution during its infancy and it has had a phenomenal success ever since. Today it is one of the most progressive banks of which the race can boast.
Dr. Fuller was in every sense a man who lived for his people. Always in the front ranks, he towered head and shoulders above the masses. No home into which he had not entered and administered to some member of this family. Few bedsides his loving hand and gentle voice, had not soothed and softened the pain which it was his pleasure to alleviate. The oldest citizens and those who knew him longest and best could not hide their sorrow. It is indeed a blow to the community.
He was fifty-five years of age, and leaves a loving wife and two daughters.
Funeral services were held at his home, 149 Pine street, Tuesday afternoon. The services were conducted by Rev. R. J. Butts. Burial was in his private lot in Oak Lawn Cemetery. The Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 48, A. F. and A. M., had charge of the remains.

Norfolk Journal and Guide, February 12, 1921
Continue reading “William Thomas Fuller, M. D. (1866-1921)”

Carrie Pugh French (1888-1923)

The Pugh Family, Portsmouth, Virginia, 1900 Federal Census.

Drops Dead While Visiting Dressmaker – Mrs. Carrie French Suddenly Collapses While out in Company With Her Husband

While visiting a dressmaker not far from her home in company with her husband, Mrs. Carrie French, a young and popular woman, of this city collapses and died suddenly Thursday evening, October 2. Her death caused sad shock to this community. Mrs. French was a woman much beloved and of an excellent womanly and Christian character.

Funeral services were held over her remains at the First Baptist Church, Friday at 3 o’clock, Rev. J. A. Harrell officiating. The deceased leaves to mourn their loss a husband, Mr. Hezekiah French, a father, Mr. John Pugh; mother, Mrs. Hester Pugh; sister, Mrs. Julie Prince, of Baltimore; brother, Mr. John Pugh, Jr.; a niece, Miss Delcenia Pugh, of Baltimore and one daughter, Anna French. At the funeral service, Miss Agnes Tharpe sang a solo. The late Mrs. French was a member of The Ladies Aid Society, Pilgrim Travelers and Abyssinians. The funeral was largely attended and interment in the family plot in Oak Lawn Cemetery.

Norfolk Journal and Guide, October 13, 1923
Continue reading “Carrie Pugh French (1888-1923)”

December 28, 2018: Community Meeting for Oak Lawn Cemetery

Pictures from the community meeting held on December 28, 2018, at the East Suffolk Recreation Center. Those present include Deacon Sam Jones, Suffolk Virginia Disabled American Veterans (DAV) #5, Otis Richards, and members of the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation: President Reginald H. Dirtion, Vice President Rev. Oulaniece Saunders, Treasurer Wilbur Holland, Jr., and Secretary/Historian Nadia K. Orton. Huge thanks to
Delegate C. E. (Cliff) Hayes, Jr. (VA House Dist. 77), Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett, Councilman Curtis Milteer, and Francis McNair for all of her key assistance at the meeting, and a sincere “thank you” to all who attended in support of this important endeavor.

Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation 2018 All rights reserved
(l-r) Francis McNair; Reginald H. Dirtion, President, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Otis Richards; Deacon Sam Jones, Suffolk, Virginia Disabled American Veterans (DAV) #5; Councilman Curtis Milteer; Rev. Oulaniece Saunders, Vice President, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Wilbur Holland, Jr., Treasurer, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett; Delegate C. E. (Cliff) Hayes, Jr. (VA House 77); Nadia K. Orton, Secretary/Historian, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation.
Suffolk, Virginia, December 28, 2018.
Continue reading “December 28, 2018: Community Meeting for Oak Lawn Cemetery”

Decoration Day Weekend, 2018

Decoration Day Weekend, 2018