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February 3, 2014

Black History Month: Canadian Jubilee Singer Nathan Warner

1896 Freeman newspaper Indiana
Nathan Warner was one of the musicians in the Canadian Jubilee Singers. 

Research in American newspapers revealed a few tidbits of information about Nathan. In 1896 it was said that he had been with the Jubilee Singers for 4 seasons. 

He was also listed as being with the group in 1898 along with Daisy Underwood aka Black Melba and James E. Lightfoot.

The 1881 census for Hamilton Ontario shows Nathan as a 15 year old "African" living with his widowed mother Mary Jane Warner. Mary Jane was born in the USA ca 1832 and supported the family by taking in laundry. 

Also with the family was the widowed Margaret Felson, age 68 born USA. I suspected she was Mary Jane's mother and Nathan's grandmother.

The 1871 census of Hamilton shows Nathan (recorded as Nathaniel) as a 4 year old living with none other than Margaret Felson and Jane Warner (his mother)

1861 finds Margaret Felson, 49 married to Alfred, 59. Alfred's occupation is given as porter. With the family are 3 Felson children as well as Frank (age 29 born Upper Canada) & Jane Warner and two of their children. I have no doubt that Alfred and Margaret Felson were Nathan Warner's maternal grandparents. Frank and Jane were Nathan's parents.

Further research turned up Margaret's death record in 1895 stating she was born in Washington but no further genealogical information. However court records for Washington, District of Columbia revealed an 1831 marriage record for Alfred Felson and Margaret Jenkins on the 13th of April that year. 

I have not been able to find more on Nathan. 


Eric Basir said...

The information you found is wonderful. Thank you for not letting this singer be "unsung."

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thanks Eric! I ended up researching all of the singers but can't put them all online this month so will save the bios I've written for them for another year :-)

It seems so shameful that there is very little known about this group and I hope I can rectify that in a small way.