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Ben Moseby

April 23, 2009

From the February 20, 1925 issue of the PN&C:

Luray Colored Man Aged 104 Dead

Ben Moseby, colored, who claimed to have seen ‘the stars fall’ in 1833 when he was twelve years old, died on Wednesday at the home of Lena Cyrus, wife of John Cyrus, at Luray. Ben was a slave in Fluvanna county when the shooting meteors of Nov. 18, 1833, lit up the heavens with the brilliancy of day and struck consternation to the hearts of the people, the fright by no means being confined to those of Ben’s color. With the exception of the fall of the stars the old colored man had no first-hand recollection of historic events of importance. He belonged to Benjamin Flannagan of Culpeper county, who owned a big landed estate as well as twenty-five slaves. Charles W. Flannagan of Charlottesville, Va., a nephew of Benjamin Flannagan, is a brother-in-law of Charles S. Landram of Luray. The latter is able to verify a good many of the facts as Ben gave them.

Nobody is able to take issue with the old negro as to his great age. Until a week before he died he was able to be about and looked after the garden and other work about the house of Lena Cyrus whom he raised in his prime he was a man of powerful physique. He came to Page county about 1900 and ran the blacksmith shop at the White House, then belonging to Cletus M. Brubaker, deceased. He was a skilled workman and while a slave was employed regularly as a blacksmith, his master getting the proceeds of labor until he was freed as a result of the war. He came to Page county from Culpeper where he followed his trade for many years. Ben always bore a good character. He belonged to Bethel Baptist Church. The funeral will be held at the church on the hill by his pastor, Rev. G.W. Thomas today, the body being interred in the colored Odd Fellows cemetery near the Jake Kelly place.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2009 8:58 pm

    This is a wonderful site. I am working on a similiar site for Rappahannock County, VA, only I focused on free people of color and slaves. There is family named Shaw in Rappahannock 1840 census by the name Shaw – Mahala, Lucy, Letty and Mary. They show up in the 1813 census of Culpeper COunty. My great great great grandmother was Elizabeth or Betsy Shaw married to Samuel Lawler, they were both free. After the 1840 census I could not find any of the Shaws in Rappahannock COunty, but I found a Mahala and Ellen Shaw in Page County in 1850. I am trying to determine if this is the same family. ANyone with information about the free Shaw family, please contact me at calvinewr@yahoo.com. Thank you.

    • November 22, 2009 4:09 pm

      Thanks, Ruth. It’s interesting that you are working on Rappahannock County. Many slaves and free blacks moved (and “were moved) into Page before the Civil War and many African-Americans who were descended from former slaves moved into Page in the years after the Civil War. Good luck on your project! I’ll see if I can find any information on the Shaws.

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