Walk through history with Jessamine County Public Library’s podcast

Published 1:47 pm Wednesday, October 7, 2020

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Take a walk through Jessamine County history on a self-guided audio tour available from the Jessamine County Public Library’s Jessamine History Walks Podcast.

Episodes one and two explore Maple Grove Cemetery and Locust Grove Cemetery, both located in Nicholasville. Maple Grove Cemetery was founded in 1849 and originally intended for white burials only, while African-Americans have been buried in Locust Grove Cemetery since the mid- to late-19th century.

The U.S. has a long history of racially segregating cemeteries.

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In the Atlas Obscura article “The Persistent Racism of America’s Cemeteries,” Jennifer Young writes, “Until the 1950s, about 90 percent of all public cemeteries in the U.S. employed a variety of racial restrictions.”


Episode 1: Maple Grove Cemetery

On the Maple Grove Cemetery Audio Tour, you’ll visit the graves of former community members such as Lena Madesin Phillips, the first woman to graduate from the University of Kentucky law school with honors. In 1930, she became the president of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women.

You’ll also hear about the victims of the 1932 Hickman Creek flood and learn about Cupid Walker, a free African-American man and church sexton who died in 1850 during a cholera epidemic.

Though Walker is not buried in Maple Grove, Nicholasville citizens erected a monument in his memory.

Throughout the tour, you’ll learn the meaning of the flowers, trees, hands and other symbols carved into the tombstones.

Because of the size of this cemetery, we recommend bringing a tour map with you. It’s available on our website at jesspublib.org/maple-grove.


Episode 2: Locust Grove Cemetery

The Jessamine County Public Library first published the Locust Grove Cemetery Audio Tour in 2019 as part of the Locust Grove Cemetery Oral History Podcast.

Now that the tour is part of the Jessamine History Walks Podcast, listeners can explore the history of both cemeteries in one place.

On the Locust Grove tour, you’ll learn about former community members such as Andrew McAfee, Jessamine County’s first African-American councilmember, who was elected in 1898.

You’ll visit the graves of George Combs, Joe Pelman and Emma Jean Guyn Miller, a much-loved Jessamine County teacher who died in 2009 at the age of 107.

You’ll also listen to family members tell stories about their relatives who are buried in Locust Grove.

Frank Cannon, Jr. remembers his parents, Ora Belle Hamilton Cannon and Frank Cannon, Sr., and their careers in Jessamine County Schools before and after integration. He also shares memories of his grandmother, Lizzie Cannon.

Frank’s sister, Dr. Clarice Boswell, wrote about their grandmother in her book “Lizzie’s Story: A Slave Family’s Journey to Freedom.”

Jennifer Smith and Anna Kenion talk about their parents, Dorothy and Andrew Smith, discussing their faith and love as well as some of the challenges they faced, including Andrew’s loss of sight.

Juanita White discusses her mother, Anna Bell Holloway Jackmon, remembering her love for her family and her excellent cooking skills.


How to listen

Both episodes of the Jessamine History Walks Podcast are available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast players.

You can also listen on our website at jesspublib.org/jessamine-history-walks.

If you don’t have a smart phone, you can check out audio CDs and a portable CD player at the library.


Enter to win

Share a picture of your favorite stop on episode two, the Locust Grove Cemetery Audio Tour, and we will enter you into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card. Use the hashtag #JessamineHistoryWalks and tag or direct message @jesspublib on Instagram or @jessaminecountypubliclibrary on Facebook or you can email your photo to cgreen@jesspubib.org.

The contest ends Nov. 30. JCPL employees and their families are ineligible to win prizes.

Carrie Green is the user education librarian for Jessamine County Public Library. You can reach her at cgreen@jesspublib.org or via phone at 859-885-3523 ext. 243.