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February 13, 2014

Black History Month: Fisk Jubilee Singer Ella Sheppard Moore

Ella Sheppard. Digital ID: 1259574. New York Public Library Ella Sheppard was one of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers. in March 1873 she is found applying for a passport as the Jubilee Singers prepare for a tour of Europe. Her description reads as follows:

22 years old, 5' 1/4" tall, high forehead, brown eyes, proportionate nose, regular mouth, round chin, dark hair, oval face and colored (yellow) complexion [Source: U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 on]

Ella is found in the 1880 census for Nashville with her widowed mother Sarah Sheppard age 53. Sarah gives her birth place as Tennessee, and her father as Alabama and mother as being born in Tennessee. 

I was able to find 85 year old Sarah Hannah Sheppard's death certificate in August 1912 in Nashville Tennessee. Her parent's names (and thus Ella's grandparents) are given as James and Rebecca Sheppard.

There is an interesting biography of Ella online called "Dark Midnight When I Rise". I was disappointed that I was not able to confirm any of her ancestry as given in this biography. I did find a Sarah Sheppard in Chickasaw County Mississippi in the time period that this bio says she was there.

Fisk Jubilee Singer Ella Sheppard Moore
Ella Sheppard Moore Death Certificate
Ella died of appendicitis in June 1914 in Nashville Tennessee. Her date of birth was given as February 4, 1851 and her parents' names Simon and Sarah Sheppard.

She is buried with her husband in Nashville City Cemetery. Their tombstone reads:

Moore, Ella Sheppard
Moore, Geo. W.

Section 28.9

ID # 280007


Fisk Jubilee Singer

Ella Sheppard

Wife of

Geo. W. Moore

Feb. 4, 1851 – June 9, 1914


Geo. W. Moore

Nov. 9, 1854 – Mar. 14, 1920


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