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 Tom Turpin

Tom Turpin

Original Name Thomas
Birth
Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia, USA
Death 13 Aug 1922 (aged 50)
Saint Louis, St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
Burial Normandy, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Plot Section 29, Lot 167
Memorial ID 22602 · View Source
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Ragtime Musician, Composer, and Businessman. He is considered "The Father of Saint Louis Ragtime" due to his influence in rag music genre and is credited with publishing the first rag by an African-American, the "Harlem Rag" (1897). Born in Savannah, Georgia, where he taught himself to play the piano, his father was politically active during the Reconstruction era in the South after the Civil War. His family moved to Saint Louis, Missouri in the early 1880s where his father opened a saloon and ran it until 1903 when it was razed to build a railroad station. In 1885 he and his brother, Charles, moved to Nevada where they had purchased an interest in a gold mine, which proved to be unsuccessful. Returning to Saint Louis, he opened and operated the Rosebud Café, which became a gathering place for African-American ragtime musicians and was the first stop for any musician traveling through Saint Louis en route to the West. He was one of the first politically powerful African-Americans in Saint Louis and, along with his brother, he controlled interests in a theater, gambling houses, dance halls, and sporting houses. His other published rags were "The Bowery Buck' (1899), "A Ragtime Nightmare" (1900), "St. Louis Rag" (1903), and "The Buffalo Rag" (1904). He died in Saint Louis, Missouri, on August 13, 1922.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 4 Jun 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 22602
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Tom Turpin (18 Nov 1871–13 Aug 1922), Find A Grave Memorial no. 22602, citing Saint Peter's Cemetery, Normandy, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .