ALICE “ALLIE” FREEMAN HANCOCK

ALICE FREEMAN HANCOCK was born to Jerry and Lucinda Gordon Freeman on May 13, 1891, in Lexington, Missouri. She studied piano growing up, and in 1913 did a concert tour in Canada.

On June 2, 1917, Alice married William Austin Hancock (member of another musical family). The couple had a child in 1919. That daughter just turned 100 years old!

Alice died on June 25, 1922, after sustaining injuries falling down some steps while she was pregnant. Unfortunately, her daughter has no memories of her mother as she was only 2 years old at the time of the accident.

Alice’s daughter has given us permission to use this lovely portrait, and is looking for concert programs from the Canada tour.

FLOYD BOLDRIDGE


Floyd was born January 29, 1898 in Lexington, Missouri, the son of Tommy and Lula Boldridge. He was the grandson of Matt Boldridge, founder of the Gem Barber Shop on 11th street. He married Virginia “Virgie” Johnson.

From Lexington Advertiser News; July 5, 1979
“Some 200 friends and acquaintances of Floyd Boldridge, lifelong Lexingtonian and a barber here for more than half a century, gathered Friday night at the high school here for a Floyd Boldridge Appreciation Day dinner, sponsored by Dixon Lodge No. 11 F.&A.M.

Boldridge, who was born January 29, 1898, in Lexington and graduated from high school here in 1916, has been a barber here 53 years and has been secretary-treasurer of Barbers Local 669 for over 22 years.

As the eldest of five children, he followed the trade of his father and grandfather as a barber, a tradition in which the Boldridgese have served many generations of Lexingtonians.

He was married October 2, 1923, to the former Virgie Johnson and the Boldridges have three grown children: Emerson C. Boldridge, now a federal service employee; Elmer E. Boldridge, a welder and Mary Helen, the youngest, all reared here and educated in the Lexington public schools.

Several speakers paid tribute to the honor guest at Friday night’s dinner, representing various facets of his participation in community life. The speakers included:

C.W. Cleverdon, representing the Lexington InterChurch Organization, of which Boldridge is a member; Ike Entine, city councilman, and his son Ben Entine; C.F. Childress, administrator of Lexington Memorial Hospital; Mrs. Pat Stephenson, Sr. of Lexington Park Board, of which Boldridge is a charter member; Mrs. Leon Boldridge, Zion A.M.E. Church; H.T. Seaton, Sr. E.A. Slusher, Jr. and William Aull III representing the honor guest’s wide circle of friends and associates.

. . .

The invocation was by the Rev. Robert Dabney, and the Rev. Franc Guthrie gave the benediction.

The lodge expressed its gratitude to Rebecca Chapter No. 27, Order of the Eastern Star, Mrs. John W. Carter, WM to citizens of Lexington, Richmond, Excelsior Springs, Carrollton, and Slater, and all others who participated and contributed to the occasion.”

From Lexington Advertiser News; June 20, 1984
“GEM BARBERSHOP OFFERS MORE THAN HAIRCUTS
Most people around the age of 60 start to think about retiring from their line of work and begin to contemplate on how they will spend their free time. But for Floyd Boldridge, this just isn’t the case. Floyd decided to pass up retirement years ago and continues to labor, scissors in hand, as owner and employee of the GEM barbershop located at 111 South 11 St. At 86 years young, Floyd offers one of the best business propositions in town, a quality haircut at a low price, and good conversation.

For Floyd, becoming a barber was only natural. His grandfather, Matt Boldridge, started the family business with his two sons, Louie and Tom in 1910. The shop was opened on 10th street (now the law firm of Bradley-Langdon-Bradley) and remained there for 70 years. In 1918, Floyd cut his first head of hair for an expensive 35 cents. A shave was an additional 25 cents. Inflation has since hit Floyd’s business and he has been forced to raise his prices. He now charges $3.50 for a haircut and $2.50 for a shave.

For six years now Floyd has worked alone. In 1976 Floyd’s brother Manville retired from the three-generation-old business, the last of the five Boldridge brothers to work in the barbershop besides Floyd. Throughout the years, Floyd and his brothers cut the hair of many famous people, among them Ike Skelton, General Houge, and players from the old Kansas City Blues baseball team.

Competition has never bothered Floyd because he feels that his haircuts and shaves are of the highest quality. He never was much for the changing hair styles either. As for women, he said he used to cut their hair, but eventually they started coming in and asking for all the latest cuts, something that he just wasn’t much interested in or had the time for. Nowdays, things are starting to slow down but Floyd still manages to keep busy. “I’m busy a couple days during t week, but most of the time I just relax in the shop and enjoy talking with the people who stop by,” says Boldridge. “Most of my customers are older men who have been regulars for years, so I don’t really worry about stirring up new business,” added Boldridge.

When entering his shop, one can’t help but to be intrigued by the old-fashioned equipment he still uses. From his 60-year old brass Koken Congress model barber chair to his steel combs, Floyd insists on using the old tools of the trade which he feels more comfortable with. But the most interesting piece in his shop may be the first thing you notice when entering. A painting, taken from a 1919 photograph, looms largely over the lounge area of the shop. The painting is an oil, done by Austin Booth of Marshall. The painting depicts the original barbershop as it stood in the early 1900’s.

Floyd plans to continue cutting hair and solving the world’s political problems with his customers for a few more years. Physically he feels like he is capable. “Nothing hurts me and I am blessed almost perfect health. My daily routine seems to keep me in shape,” said Boldridge. Sports also seem to keep Floyd young. Although he hasn’t actively participated for some 60 years, he still enjoys a good ballgame along with some good fishing and a little gardening in his spare time.”

Floyd died November 19, 1985, and is buried next to Virgie at Forest Grove Cemetery.

TAYLOR SHIRLEY

SHIRLEY JEAN TAYLOR was born October 21, 1952, in Lexington, Missouri, the daughter of Matthew and Doris Jean Taylor. Her grandparents were Fred and Helen Taylor, and her siblings were Eddie Lee, Matthew and Jeffrey Taylor, and Brenda Taylor and Donna Taylor Jackson. Shirley was a member of the LHS class of 1970. She died May 15, 2009, and is buried near her mom and brother Eddie at Forest Grove.

CORDELIA KIDD

CORDELIA KIDD was born December 28, 1895, in Lexington, Missouri. Her parents were Edward and Eliza Colley Hayden. She was a cousin to Eva Saunders. On April 9, 1925, she married Reverend Thomas Kidd in Jackson, Missouri. Thomas was the pastor at Zion A.M.E. Church, and a clergyman for Methodist Radio. The couple had four children: Thomas, Bernice, John, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth died at the age of 2 in 1929. Reverend Thomas died in 1935.

Cordelia taught at Douglass School under the administration of George Green.

From Lexington Intelligencer; Friday May 26, 1922
Colored Schools Closing Exercises.
“The closing exercises of the colored schools began the night of May 22, and ended the night of May 23.

The first night the program rendered by Miss Nannie E. Walker of No. 2, was a pleasing Primary Motion Song. Miss Cordelia A. Hayden of Douglass had her room render a Fairy Play—Irene the Idle. . . .”

When the Lexington Schools were integrated in 1956, Miss Cordelia worked as a substitute teacher.

Miss Cordelia died November 12, 1966, and is buried beside her husband at Forest Grove Cemetery.

PERSONAL MEMORIES: [from Miss Cordelia’s grandson Dorian Anderson, who came from St. Louis to live with her around 1960] When I came to live with her, she ran the music ministry at her church [Zion A.M.E.]. She was married to the minister. My grandmother often substitute taught after her retirement, and she gave piano lessons. She was a very religious women, and always sang around the house. I know she saved my life. If I had stayed in St. Louis, I would have been in prison or dead. I was too much for my mother to handle. Miss Cordelia did a great job raising me.

ABRAHAM LAWSON

SONY DSCABRAHAM LAWSON was born July 26, 1888, in Lexington, Missouri. His parents were James and Dianah Lawson.

Abraham served in Company B of the 349th Machine Gun Battalion of the 92nd Division of the Army in World War I. The 92nd Infantry Division was a segregated infantry division of the United States Army, and was organized in October 1917 at Camp Funston, Kansas. African American soldiers from all states joined the unit. Before leaving for France in 1918, the American buffalo was selected as the divisional insignia. This nickname had been given to African American cavalrymen by Native Americans in the 19th century.

A special “negro zone” was built at Camp Funston, providing “separate amusement places and exchanges.” A.D. Jellison, a banker in Junction City, Kansas, gave a plot of land for a “community house” to be erected by the black men from the seven states which sent African American trainees.”

The 92nd Division saw combat in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive during November 1918.

After he returned to Lexington following the war, Abraham married Florence (Flossie) Lewis on May 11, 1920. They had no children, and Flossie died June 9, 1932, of heart trouble. Abraham married Rosetta E. Boldridge on April 17, 1955. He worked as a janitor at First Christian Church, and as a coal miner at Western Coal and Mining Company.

Abraham died February 5, 1957, in Lexington at the age of 68 of a stroke. He is buried at Forest Grove Cemetery.

BUFFALO

BILL LINDSAY

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William “Bill” (the “Kansas Cyclone” and “Lightning”) Lindsay was born in Lexington June 12, 1891, the son of Peter and Mona Mady Lindsay. He was one of nine brothers who all played baseball, and one of many outstanding African American ball players to come from Lexington in the era of the Negro Leagues. He began his career during the 1910 season with the Giants of Kansas City, Kansas. Manager Rube Foster of the Leland Giants was impressed with Bill’s performance against his team, and signed him to pitch with the Lelands.

The new acquisition traveled with the team to Cuba for the winter season and after returning to the States in the spring, Bill became a star pitcher with the American Giants in Chicago.

Lindsay was sometimes referred to as the best all-around pitcher in the team’s history.

Tragically, Bill died at Provident Hospital on September 1, 1914, at the age of 23, a result of uremia. His body was returned to Lexington and he was buried on September 4, 1914, at Forest Grove Cemetery. There are those who remember seeing his headstone there, but it has mysteriously disappeared.

From the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, The Evening News, Wed. Sep. 9, 1914:
FULLERTON’S DOPELETS Bill Lindsay is dead. Had he been white we would be mourning as we would the loss of Walter Johnson. He was one of the five really great pitchers of the world.

From The San Bernardino County Sun, Wed. Dec. 23, 1914:
Sid Foster, formerly a pitcher of the Chi Giants, and Bill Lindsay, pitcher of the same club, together with Homerun Johnson, are the three greatest colored players known to the country. Foster and Lindsay played here three winters ago when the Colored Giants gave an exhibition of the brand of ball dished out by colored players.

If you have information, photographs, or personal stories about someone buried at Forest Grove, please contact us. We are creating an anthology of people buried there.

 

GEORGE GREEN

The information for this biography comes from Carol Walton Hannon, the book “Educational Heritage of a Century – A History of the Lexington Public Schools,” and the Lexington sesquicentennial commemorative book.

“The Professor” George H. Green, Douglass School’s fourth and longest tenured principal (1886-1936) was born a slave before 1856, and rose to become one of the state’s most prominent Negro educators.

As a child, he was sold twice. Mr. Green told the story of being 8 when a man came to his master wanting to buy his mother. The men haggled over the value of the mother. So, the master finally gave in and threw George in to seal the deal. The second time he was sold was at the age of 12. He was sold for $400.00. His new master had compassion for him and sent him to tutors along with his own children, and thus he began his formal education.

Professor Green graduated from the segregated Lincoln Institute (now known as Lincoln University) in Jefferson City, Missouri. He began his teaching career in 1875 in Linn County, Missouri. He taught three years in Cooper County and then taught school in Fulton, Missouri from 1879-1880. He went on to teach in Pleasant Hill from 1880-1885. He came to Lexington in 1886, and became principal of the Douglass School, where he served for fifty years. After he retired from being principal, he continued another ten or eleven years as a teacher. Professor Green taught school without missing a day, or ever having been tardy 56 of the 71 years of his career! The record nearly came to an end in 1918 when he was ill for a few days during the school year with influenza. However, it so happened there was a “flu” epidemic in Lexington at that time and the schools had so many teacher and pupil absentees that they had been dismissed until the epidemic subsided. His school attendance record is featured in Robert Ripley’s “Believe it or Not.”

The professor was very active in civic affairs, as well as in his church. He was a member of Dixon Lodge No. 11 AF & AM. Members of the lodge say that he was undoubtedly the oldest member of the lodge in Missouri, if not in the United States.

The Professor was widowed twice, and never had any children. At the age of 95 (January 1952) he left Lexington to live at the Masonic Home in Hannibal, Missouri where he died that same year. He is buried at historic Forest Grove Cemetery.

On March 9, Professor Green will be inducted into the Lexington, Missouri Hall of Fame.

ISRAEL BURLES

Israel was born in Ohio in 1841 to parents Lewis and Charlotte (both born in Virginia). In 1863, he enlisted in Company C of the 5th Regiment U.S. Colored Infantry. This Regiment was formed as the 127th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Delaware, Ohio. They later were based out of Norfolk, Virginia, and were engaged in several battles from Sandy Swamp, North Carolina, to Cox’s Bridge (participating in William Tecumseh Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign). They were mustered out September 20, 1865. He married Annie some time after that. Their first child was born in 1868 in West Virginia. The couple then moved to Lexington (before 1871), where their three younger children were born. He worked as a janitor in a school. Annie died in 1908 and is buried at Forest Grove. Israel died February 12, 1911 from influenza, and we believe is buried at Forest Grove with Annie, infant daughter Maria, and son Luther (headstones below). Israel is one of many veterans (Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, Korean and Vietnamese Wars) buried at historic Forest Grove. Our goal is to refurbish and maintain this cemetery and to honor the people buried there.

ANNIE WILLIAMS

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Among those believed to be buried at Forest Grove Cemetery is Miss Annie Williams (death certificate says “Lexington”). Miss Annie is a beloved character in Lexington’s history. She had a colorful personality, and was immortalized on a local postcard. Her favorite expression was “Ain’t it dish?”

Miss Annie was born into slavery at Dover, Missouri in about 1831. The names of her parents are unknown, but they were born in Kentucky. She was married to George Williams, and was widowed by 1910.

Her feistiness occasionally got her into trouble. An article in the Lexington Intelligencer from August 15, 1885, reports “Ann Davis and Ann Williams, two colored women, had a a fuss at the “colored” Baptist church last Sunday morning. The case was before Recorder Welborn last Thursday afternoon, and a jury assessed a fine of $10 against Ann Davis. There were about 18 witnesses in the case and the fine and costs amounted to $32.45.”

Miss Annie always dressed in the color red, and when she died, she lay in state at The Baptist Church in a specially made casket lined entirely in that color.

On December 14, 1924, Miss Annie was killed when she was struck by an automobile in the streets of Lexington.

(Some of the information for this bio is from the Lexington Sesquicentennial Commemorative book)

 

ELMER RADD

ELMER RADD was born April 3, 1909 to Sam and Sallie Radd. He was married twice, first to Vera Mae Johnson, and following her death he married Cordia Mady when he was 51. Elmer’s Cotton Club Band was famous throughout the Midwest, and they were in great demand. Here are a few articles about them:

From St. Louis Post Dispatch; Friday, August 5, 1983
In the years just after the war, Lexington’s many schools and seminaries earned it the nickname Athens of the West. Even up to the years before Prohibition, Lexington must have been rocking. Elmer Radd’s Cotton Club Orchestra held forth in the dance halls while the Goose Pond minstrels performed in the Grand Opera House. The speakeasies and saloons along the town’s notorious “Block 42” gave the men who worked in the town’s mines and factories places to spend their time and money.
**

From The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune; Tuesday, May 2,1 1935
TO WINDMOOR GARDENS
Elmer Radd and his Harlem Blue Birds from Lexington will be at the Windmoor Gardens Thursday night, May 23. Speaking from experience this is one of the best colored bands in the state of Missouri. This band has been a sell out at the great Lexington night club for the last two years. This will be the last chance to dance to this band for some time, so don’t miss it.
**

From Moberly Monitor-Index; Tuesday, January 25, 1938
ROUND DANCE
Winter Garden Hall
212 N. Clark St.
Moberly, Mo.
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 26
Music by Elmer Radd’s 10-piece Cotton Club Orchestra
Adm. 50 cents each
**

Elmer died December 6, 1976, and is buried at Forest Grove Cemetery.