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Lelia Lesett Williams Bankett

20 Feb
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Courtesy National Park Service, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

Lelia Lesett Williams Bankett was born on May 16, 1885 to George Williams Jr. and Lelia Shelton Williams of Goochland County, Virginia. She was educated at Smith’s Business College in Lynchburg and Hartshorn Memorial College in Richmond. On September 27, 1923, she married John E. Bankett. She taught stenography and typewriting at Armstrong Night School in Richmond for four years; she worked for 24 years at the Independent Order of St. Luke, serving as Field Secretary for 18 months; and from 1927 – 1928, she served as National Lecturer for the Supreme Lodge of the National Ideal Benefit Society.

Public records provide factual information, but they tell us very little about the life Lelia actually led. However, since Lelia worked for a prominent woman of historical importance, we know quite a bit about her professional life and in turn, something about her character. She worked for Maggie L. Walker, the leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke, when Mrs. Walker was building it into a large and powerful organization. Lelia assisted in this effort and deserves some credit for both Mrs. Walker’s success and the success of the Order.

She passed away on August 22, 1939.

Dr. Arthur Gilbert Blakey

31 Jan
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Dr. Arthur Gilbert Blakey and Jessica Cobb Blakey. Photograph donated by Dr. James Bowles

Dr. Arthur Gilbert Blakey was one of nine children born in Barboursville, Virginia to Ella and James Blakey on March 8, 1888. He was a graduate of Virginia State College and had his medical training from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Blakey   practiced medicine in Goochland, Fluvanna, and adjoining Virginia counties beginning in 1918. He traveled miles back and forth to the mountains servicing patients pro bono. In some instances, patients would attempt to pay him with produce items and farm goods. He served the surrounding area for a period of 45 years.

Dr. Blakey passed away on April 24, 1963. The late Dr. James Harold Bowles, Sr. considered Dr. Blakey to have been both a role model and mentor.

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Medicine bottle dated July 26, 1949, filled at Bruce’s Drug Store in Scottsville, VA, for a prescription written by Dr. Blakey. Bottle donated by Eleanore Andrews.