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Obituary of John P. Washington, Slave of Koontz Family

May 22, 2009

From the December 29, 1929 issue of the PN&C:

John P. Washington, Slave of Koontz Family, Dies

John P. Washington, one of the patriarchs on the hill, died on Dec. 21st at the home of Homer Tyree in Egypt Bend, at the age of 82 years. Washington was one of the few old colored people of Page county who were born in this county. He was a son of Aaron and Lucindy Washington, slaves of Daniel Koontz, of Alma and was himself born a slave. In his boyhood he was bound out to Perry Broyles, of Luray, who had the benefit of his services until he was twenty-one. He lived for thirty-five years at Steelton, Pa., where he was employed in a steel plant, made good wages and was an active and enthusiastic member of colored fraternal organizations in which at that palmy period of his life he took a huge delight . He was injured there and the steel company retired him on a pension. He lived for many years in single blessedness but in the latter part of his life he married Eliza Coleman, widow of Yancey Coleman, of Luray. She died some years ago.

Ten years ago Washington having returned to Luray joined the Old School Baptist Church and thereafter became the leader amongst the colored Old School Baptists at this place. He was instrumental in holding regular preaching on the hill and boosted his cause in many ways. At the same time he attended churches of other denominations, was a participant in their services and did some preaching. Washington was a man of big stature, jet black, good natured, harmless, honest, talkative, self-assertive in a crowd, one who had been around and seen much but was entirely uneducated. He leaves a daughter who married Robert Cyrus. Secret orders and public functions were his hobbies, He was feeble and failing in mental power for a long time, but was physically active till two weeks before his death, when his last illness began. He was buried in the Odd Fellows cemetery on Dec. 23rd, Eld. Allen Williams of the colored Old School Baptists conducting the services. Eld. Arthur Campbell, a white minister, talking briefly at the funeral.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 14, 2009 11:22 am

    Interesting! I am a Koonce and am doing a genealogy project on various Koonce families. So far, I have not yet expanded out to the Koontz spelling, but it was very interesting to see this obituary. I’ll have to look around your blog some more. Thanks!

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