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February 19, 2014

Black History Month: Fisk Jubilee Singer Mable Lewis Imes

The New York Age Aug. 10, 1935

In 1873 Mabel joined the rest of the Jubilee Singers headed for a tour of England and Europe. Her passport states she was 19 years old and born in Louisiana New Orleans

Mabel married Martin Imes on April 22,1885, in Cleveland, Ohio. The 1900 census finds her in Ohio with her husband who was born in 1850 in Pennsylvania and adopted daughter Florence age 14. Mabel's mother is listed as being born in Louisiana but her father's birth place is blank. 

It has been challenging to find many records about Mabel but I did find her daughter Florence marrying Charles Thompson in Ohio in 1907.

The 1870 census for Jackson Louisiana shows an "M" Lewis, female, black, age 15 with family consisting of father "H" Lewis, 65, born Alabama and mother "M" Lewis, 55, born Alabama and several siblings. I cannot say with certainty that this is Mabel. 

Finding information on Martin was slightly easier. The 1860 and 1870 census records for Juniata Pennsylvania found on show him as the son of Samuel Himes [sic] and wife Sarah.

Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,
Martin Imes died in Cuyahoga Ohio in December 1915. His death certificate says he was born 4 May 1854 in Pennsylvania. His father's name is recorded as Samuel Imes born Maryland and mother Sallie Moore born Pennsylvania. 

Sally or Sallie is a common nickname for Sarah. His occupation is given as janitor and race is colored

Mabel died August 1, 1935 in Cleveland Ohio. Her daughter Florence Thompson was the informant but unfortunately for Mabel's mother's and father's names, the clerk recorded "unknown"
Her obituary states she was buried in Nashville Tennessee and that she was the second last surviving original Jubilee Singer. 

Her tombstone in Nashville City Cemetery reads: 

Fisk University
Mable Lewis Imes
1858 – 1936

Interment Book: 8-8-1935 Mabel L. Imes
Mabel Imes grave on Fisk University Lot
Jubilee Singer Original


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