Friday, April 4, 2014

Friend of Friends Friday: Wm. H. Parker

Evening Star (Washington, DC)
January 1, 1902


Well-Known Colored Man, Who Was Born a Slave

William Henry Parker died at his home, 444 1st street southwest, Monday evening last.  He was one of the best known colored men in this city, especially in the real estate circles of the District of Columbia.  He owned considerable valuable property in this city.  He won for himself many friends among all classes and was respected by all who knew him.  His character was regarded as above reproach and his integrity unquestioned.

Mr. Parker was born a slave in Prince William county, Va., in 1833.  He was body servant to his master, and by this means learned to read.  He loved the Bible and religious books, and was for many years a close reader of the daily papers.  He was always vigilant, and by this fact learned on one occasion that a number of slaves were to be deported to Cuba for safety during the progress of the rebellion.  Accordingly, the night of February 22, 1862, he, with thirty-eight other slaves, including women and children, escaped through the rebel picket lines to the Union lines, which were then on the plantation of the distinguished confederate Gen. Lee, now Arlington national cemetery.  He had previous to this assisted many slaves to escape into the Union lines.

He passed away surrounded by his eight surviving children, five boys and three girls, and other friends.  His wife died several years ago.  One of his daughters, Miss Helen, is a teacher in the District public schools.

The funeral will take place from Zion Baptist Church, on F street southwest, tomorrow evening.  Rev. W. J. Howard will deliver the oration and will be assisted by other divines.

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