Charles Henry “Speedy” Atkins


Charles Henry “Speedy” Atkins Famous memorial

Tennessee, USA
Death 27 May 1928 (aged 52–53)
Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 23475 View Source

American Folk Figure. Known as "Speedy" Atkins, he was born in Tennessee and moved to Kentucky to find work. He settled in downtown Paducah, Kentucky as an hourly employee at a plant with ties to the tobacco industry. He gained the nickname "Speedy" because of his speed at working in tobacco. He was single without known relatives and befriended Funeral Home attendant A. Z. Hamock who, at the time, owned the city's only African-American Funeral Home. In May of 1928, Speedy went fishing and fell into the Ohio River along with his line where he drowned. His body was turned over to Hamock's Funeral Home for a pauper's burial, but A.Z. Hamock had a better idea. He had created a super preservative and decided to experiment on Speedy's body with it. It turned Speedy's body into a wooden-like statue and rather than bury Speedy, Hamock put him on display at the funeral home. The body was only away from the Funeral Home one time when it washed away during the Paducah flood of 1937, and was returned to the funeral home as a flood victim. Hamock died in 1949, and his wife, Velma took over custody of the body. Speedy's mummy was featured on the television programs "That's Incredible", "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" (the 1980's version with Jack Palance) and featured in numerous publications including the "National Enquirer" and many newspapers. Mrs. Hamock had originally planned to bury the mummy in 1991 on her late husband's 100th birthday, but waited until May of 1994.

Bio by: Tim Crutchfield


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees



How famous was Charles Henry “Speedy” Atkins?

Current rating:

75 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 28 Jul 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 23475
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Henry “Speedy” Atkins (1875–27 May 1928), Find a Grave Memorial ID 23475, citing Maplelawn Park Cemetery, Paducah, McCracken County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .