Re-publishing history

This is the first of a series of 20 articles that first appeared in the Winchester Sun in December 1919 and January 1920. 

The author, William Webb Banks (1862-1928), was the long-time editor of the Colored Column in the Winchester News and later in The Winchester Sun. He was a graduate of the State Colored Baptist University in Louisville (later known as Simmons College). 

He returned to Winchester where he taught school, wrote for the paper and was active in the Baptist church.  These articles were transcribed from microfilm by Harry Enoch.

The Sun will publish one chapter of this series, originally titled “Brief history of the Clark County Negro,” daily .

Chapter One

Dec. 22, 1919

After the establishment of the colored Republic of Liberia by the American Colonization Society in 1822 for the colored people of the United States who may be emancipated from time to time, several white families in this county freed some of their more favored slaves and sent them to Liberia in Africa and gave them enough money to start in life, some of whom returned to their former owners while others stayed and rose to positions of prominence.

During ante-bellum days a number of colored people were left their freedom and in good circumstances at the death of their owners and in one case in this county a white family is said to have left their colored servants 120 acres of some of the best land in the western part of the county.

In the city of Winchester colored people operated businesses and owned considerable property years before the Civil War.

A colored man by the name of Jerry Johnson once owned the building north of the Winchester Bank and carried on a grocery in it a number of years before Emancipation. Mrs. Frankie Murry who now has a boarding house on West Broadway has the distinction of having the oldest business in the city of Winchester. For three generations, her grandmother, her mother and herself have run the same business continuously on the same spot of ground for over 65 years.