With the Locust Grove Cemetery Oral History Project
African-American community members have been buried in Nicholasville’s Locust Grove Cemetery since about 1890. To help preserve their stories, the Jessamine County Public Library is creating an audio tour of the cemetery.
If you knew someone who is buried in Locust Grove—whether a friend, relative, former teacher, pastor, or other community member—we want to record and archive your stories about them. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to talk about. At the interview session, we’ll provide a list of questions to get you started. For example, you could share a favorite memory, a funny story, or just describe what the person was like.
If you aren’t sure where the person is buried, we can help you check with the book Family Cemeteries, Locust Grove, Macedonia Church, Ebenezer Church, Keene. For help searching, just stop by the Ask a Librarian Desk or give us a call at (859) 885-3523 ext. 228. You can also search a list of Locust Grove memorials online at Findagrave.com. However, if you don’t find the person on Findagrave, we recommend checking the book as well; the Findagrave list may not be complete.
Remembering Our Community Members
Here are just a few of the people who are buried in Locust Grove. We’d love to include your memories about them in our audio tour.
Andrew McAfee, 1862-1937
Andrew McAfee was the first African-American councilmember in Jessamine County. He represented District 2 in 1898. In A History of Jessamine County, Kentucky: From Its Earliest Settlement to 1898, Bennett Henderson Young praises McAfee’s “conduct and character” and says that McAfee’s “energy and determination” inspired the “confidence and trust of his constituents.”
George Combs, 1881-1923
George Combs was born in 1881 to Harriet and Isaac Combs. He owned a grocery store and coal yard on the corner of York and Chestnut Streets. He also owned Combs Brothers Undertaking, a business that employed his brothers Charley and Theodore. In 1920, Combs became the second African American to be elected to the Nicholasville city council, representing the African-American community called Herveytown. According to a 1920 article in The Crisis, the Republican Combs “won by a large majority over his white Democratic opponent.”
Emma Jean Guyn Miller, 1901-2009
Emma Jean Guyn Miller was born in Woodford County and moved with her family to Nicholasville in 1902. After earning her teaching certificate from Turner Normal School in Shelbyville, Tennessee, Miller began teaching in Nicholasville in 1922 in a one-room schoolhouse. She later studied at Wilberforce, Tennessee State, Atlanta University, the University of Kentucky, and Kentucky State College. She taught school for more than 40 years. After her death at the age of 107, the Lexington Herald-Leader published an article in which Miller’s former students and relatives remembered her kindness. “If anyone needed something, they could come to her, and she didn’t worry about getting it back,” said her niece, Norma Jenkins.
Frank R. Cannon, Sr., 1913-1988
Frank R. Cannon, Sr. was another prominent African American educator. In addition to serving as principal of Rosenwald-Dunbar School in Jessamine County, he was the first African American member of the Jessamine County Board of Education. He also worked as the principal of the Lincoln Heights School System in Ohio, later becoming the superintendent of the Lincoln Heights school system. He then taught in the Cincinnati school system before returning to central Kentucky, where he served as director of the Head Start Program in Fayette County. Following his retirement in 1975, Cannon was elected president of the Jessamine County Retired Teachers Association and of the Central Kentucky Retired Teachers Association. An active member of the Bethel AME Church, he also owned Cannon’s Fixit Shop.
With your permission, your recording may be included in the Locust Grove Cemetery audio tour and/or archived in our digital library. You will receive a free copy of your recording.
Saturday, February 16
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
For this session, we will record on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you would like to arrange an interview at another time, please contact Carrie Green at [email protected] or by phone at (859) 885-3523 ext. 243.