Wilburn (slave name Wilbourne) became the first African American to serve
as a cook when she worked for Chancellor George Frederick Holmes at the
inception of the University.
After Eliza’s death, her daughter Emma followed her as a cook for
the Chancellors. Her husband, George Harvey, worked as a handyman. They
worked for four Chancellors from 1892 to 1932: Fulton 1892; Kincannon
1907-1914; Powers 1914-1924; Humes 1924-1930; and Powers again from 1930-1932.
They lived in the Chancellor’s home which was located in Barnard
Observatory on campus. Later they moved into a two room house erected
for them on the premises. George and Emma Harvey passed away in the 1930’s
and were commemorated by the University for their long service.
The Harvey family, for two more generations, continued to work for the
University in the bookstore, dormitories, fraternity houses, sorority
houses and mail service totaling more than fourteen decades. Emma and
George’s two sons, Ulysses and Bishop, worked in the Bookstore,
post office, and dormitories.