Fulton Co. Genealogical Society's
"A Walk Through The Past"
Third Annual Cemetery Walk
September 21, 2007
| Good evening ladies and gentlemen,
on behalf of the Fulton County Genealogical Society, I would like to welcome
you to the Third Annual Cemetery Walk - "A Walk
Through The Past". You are standing in Fulton's Historic Fairview
The cemetery was first established in 1881, with its first burial in March of that year. The first acre of land bought for the cemetery was purchased wih the proceeds from a minstral show.
In 1885, two sections were added for the Colored population of the town. Another three sections were added in 1898 and a fourth in 1930. The cemetery now contains approximately 8-1/2 acres of ground, that houses some 4000 burials. Of that 4000, a little over 1100 are unmarked.
Tonight, you will meet some of the more prominent people in our town, in their day and time. You will learn facts that you never knew and hear many an interesting story. Your guide will point out other interesting facts on your journey, we hope you enjoy your tour and ask plenty of questions.
Enjoy your walk through Fulton's past
Hello ladies and Gentlemen, it is so nice
to see you here this evening. I hope you’re enjoying your visit and now
let me introduce myself. I am Arch Huddleston, Sr., perhaps best known
as having been the owner of one of Fulton’s oldest business establishments;
A. Huddleston Hardware and Tin Shop, but we will get to that later.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and
let me welcome you to Fairview Cemetery. It is always a pleasure to have
visitors. But first let me introduce myself. I am Mose Ellis Homra, born
in 1869 in Merdjyour, Syria, now called Lebanon, to George and Mary Homra.
In our small village we had heard many glowing stories of America and how
you could get rich quick, so in my teens I decided to leave home and seek
my fortune in this new country called America.
The steamboat The Robert E. Lee
They called me “Charlie”, just Charlie, because slaves weren’t entitled to last names. I was born into slavery on a plantation near New Market, Alabama, in 1827. I don’t know where my mother was from. I don’t know my father. My mother’s master was Albert Whitman. At my birth, he became my master. I did his bidding. I worked the plantation. I followed orders. There was no choice. I was a slave. I was property. I remained on the plantation until the South seceded from the Union. When my master, Albert Whitman, joined the Confederacy, I went with him. After the war, I became a free man and that’s when I took the name of Whitman. Many slaves and former slaves took the surnames of their masters. The years after the war were turmoil. I wound up in New Orleans and got a job as a “fireman” on the great steam wheeler “Robert E. Lee.” I was responsible for keeping the fire going that was necessary to produce the steam which powered the boat. I worked on that majestic boat for 4 years. We made history on the Robert E. Lee. In June, 1870, the steamboat Natchez made a record run from New Orleans to St. Louis in 3days, 21 hours, and 58 minutes. The Natchez was captained by T. P. Leathers. My Captain, John W. Cannon, decided that the Lee could better that and challenged the Natchez to a race. The Natchez accepted. Captain Cannon stripped the Lee of all excess weight, including passengers, to give us an advantage. The Natchez refused to do this and carried her passengers. When we left New Orleans the Lee was ahead. I kept the fires going and even added pine knots and great slabs of fat bacon to the furnace to keep up the steam. The 2 mighty boats were a sight to see as we raced up the Mississippi. The Natchez got stuck on a mudflat for 6 hours and the Lee was the first to reach St. Louie and win the race. After my time on the Robert E. Lee, I eventually returned to the old plantation. Of course, I returned as a freed man. I stayed on the plantation until 1882 when old Col. Whitman died. I wandered around the country looking for work. Also “jumped the broom” or married a few times. By 1930 I was living in Fulton and working as a dishwasher at the Busy Bee café. You all heard about the Busy Bee, owned by the Patton family, a couple of years ago. Also that year, when I was 103, I married my 10th (yes, you heard right) wife. My bride was just 19. You young folks would call me a “player”. I lived another 10 years. Had at least 36 children that I know of and unknown number of grandchildren. I had a large number of friends and was known as a “gentlemen” and a man with a “great sense of humor.” When I passed away in June of 1940, I was 113 years old. I have the distinction of being the oldest person buried in this fine cemetery.
Even though I was a successful business
man, many people here remember me for my ghostly activities. I am William
Levi Chisholm. I was born in White County in middle Tennessee on November
27, 1877. I remained there in Columbia until I was a young man. I courted
many young women, but when it came time to marry, I chose the lovely widow,
Ellen Edwanda Godwin McKnight from Williamson County, Tennessee. Even though
she was 15 years my senior we were soul mates. She was a graduate of the
school of Osteopathy. She unselfishly gave up her profession to help me.
We came to this thriving town in 1907. Some people called me a visionary
because I foresaw the importance and Magnitude of the new-fangled motion
pictures. In July of 1911, my wife and I opened the Orpheum Theatre in
Fulton. The building and furnishings cost $15,000 – believe me that was
a great deal of money back then. It’s said to have cost more than any other
motion picture theatre in Kentucky outside of Louisville. The theatre comfortably
seated 500 patrons and had an excellent ventilation system. It was beautiful
with artistically hand painted walls. Motion pictures were my only business.
I did not allow any of that vaudeville, with its questionable features,
in my establishment. My moving pictures were always censored of all questionable
matter. I think this is one reason I was so successful. Another reason
was the assistance of my wife. Her pleasant, smiling face in the box office
was better publicity than money could buy. She was a helpmate indeed. It
was a known fact that I was a sharp business man, and I kept a close watch
on every penny. It’s been said, even in print, that I “sported a tightly
closed wallet”. One of my tricks was to put a lighted candle, partially
covered with a transparent red non-flammable material in my office stove,
to give the stove a red glow and to make my customers feel they were being
treated to a heated room. Ellen and I were never blessed with children.
We made our home in a spacious apartment above the theatre. Ellen passed
away in the spring of 1938 and was buried here3 in Fairview. On December
14, 1941, I followed her in death and my earthly remains were also placed
here. Earlier, I told you that many remembered me for my ghostly presence.
It’s been said that my ghost frequently made itself known at the theatre.
I remember one particular amusing time. It was 1943 and young Martha Roberts,
you know her as Martha McKnight, was working the concession booth. She
had to go in to work 30 minutes early. Nevil “Nubbin” Bizzle was operating
the theatre then. Anyway, young Martha, assuming that she was in the large
theatre by herself, heard someone walking around upstairs. When her uncle,
Jimmy Roberts, came to work, she inquired as to who was upstairs. He assured
her that no one was up there. To this day, Martha swears that she heard
footsteps in the projection room. Other people tell stories of my presence
after death. Now I’m not going to confirm nor deny them but sometime if
you are in the vicinity of the old Pure Milk Company, now Turner Dairy,
and you see an apparition - - - it just might be me - - - checking up on
Hello. [maybe show an Indian sign
for Hello]. My name is Harry Francis Paul Rucker and I was born on July
4th, 1870 on the Cherokee Indian Territory in Vinita, Craig County,
Oklahoma. I am a full-blooded Cherokee and proud of it. Some people are
ashamed and deny their Native American Heritage. Not me.
Henry A. Ligon
Hello everyone, my name is Henry A. Ligon
and I was born September 14, 1794 in Jamestown, Virginia. My parents were
William Ligon II and Sarah Leigh.
Ligon Family Monument
Who am I? You may ask that question. The
local officials know me as Wilhamia Virginia Jones Provost. That is the
name my husband gave everyone.
Kerry and John
Come on gather around and I will tell
you a little about myself. My name is George Wade Burton and this is my
wife, Emily Bellew Burton.
Burton Family Monument
Say Good-bye to the actors
We thank them for a great job.
Garret Hutchins guiding some of the visitors to the past,
around on the tour.
Nancy Nettles manning the registration tent
Mary Louise Gossum played the "Water Girl"
I know it seems like a long time
ago when you started this tour; however,
we hope you enjoyed yourself and that you learned a lot of Fulton history.
On behalf of the Fulton County Genealogical Society, we would like t
thank you very much for your attendance and hope you will come back
when we have the next walk through the past.
See you next year