William A. Stewart,

[Two Obits below]

William A. Stewart, the barber, died at his residence at this city about four o’clock on Friday morning last after an illness of some months. He was probably the most learned man of his race in this section and was equal in general information to many of his white acquaintances who have occupied higher positions in the gift of the people. He was a hard student and steady reader and searched in every way and in every channel for the knowledge that made him renowned and famous. No colored man of this city was as much respected by his acquaintances as was Mr. Stewart, and no man merited that respect as much as he did.

Deceased was born in Westmoreland county, this state, on April 1, 1833, and two years later removed with his parents to Mercer, where they resided some time. Here he received his first schooling. On the 6th of April, 1849, the family removed to this city and William went to school to Dr. R. A. Browne, and in addition took a course of Latin with Rev. Wells Bushnell of the First Presbyterian church, as his teacher. He afterwards removed to Warren, Ohio, and there read law, but owing to race prejudice on the Western Reserve, he was never admitted to practice, though he was eminently fitted. In 1853 at Warren he was married to Mrs. Isabella Taylor, and in 1855 removed to Mercer where he worked for some time at the printing business in the "Western Press" office, a Democratic paper still published at that place. In 1856 he again came to New Castle. Of the four children born to Mr. and Mrs. Stewart but one, a son, Eugene, is living.

On Saturday morning a special meeting of the Magazine club was held to take action on the death of Mr. Stewart, who for many years had been its librarian and treasurer. Addresses were made by Hon. John McMichael, Hon. John W. Wallace, B.A. Winternitz, Esq., and John Bower. It was also decided that the club attend the funeral in a body and that their action should be placed upon the minutes of the meeting. The following charter members were appointed as pallbearers: S. W. Dana, Esq., Hon. John W. Wallace, Hon. John McMichael, B. A. Winternitz, Esq., Geo. E. Treadwell, Esq., and John Bower. Deceased was a member of the Disciples church at this city and was an honored and consistent member. He was also a member of the choir. The funeral services were conducted in the church by Dr. Thayer at 2 o'clock on Sunday and were largely attended.

Source: New Castle Democrat - March 18, 1886

Submitted by Daniel Blakemore


It is not often that the death of a citizen produces a more marked impression than that of Mr. Wm. A. Stewart, which occurred on Friday last. Mr. Stewart was a man of more than ordinary ability and acquirements, and held in high esteem by all classes of citizens. On the announcement of his death a special meeting of the Symposium was called to determine what action should be taken. On opening the meeting remarks eulogistic of the deceased been made by the President; John Bower, Hon. John McMichael, Hon. John W. Wallace and B. A. Winternitz, Esq. Upon motion of Judge McMichael the following minutes were adopted:

This is the first time this Club has had occasion to write upon its minutes that one of its members is dead. While such an occasion will always be sorrowful, this one is especially sad, because of the high worth of him whose death we mourn, and whose life we would commemorate. Mr. Wm. A. Stewart was one of the projectors and one of the first members of this club, and during all its history, he has been one of its most prominent, zealous, and efficient workers. He loved the Symposium because it brought him into intimate social relations with those for whom his talents and ability made him a fit companion. We loved him because he was a true man, far above the ordinary standard of intellectual and moral character.

Under difficulties and disadvantages which to most men would have been insurmountable he educated himself well, and reached and maintained a high position among men of thought and influence. He loved literature and science, and kept himself acquainted with their advancement. His intellect was quick, clear and comprehensive. His reasoning was logical, forcible, and convincing. He had the courage to follow an argument to its legitimate conclusions and to avow his convictions, and his conclusions were always worthy of careful consideration.

Always modest and unassuming, he never obtruded either himself or his opinions upon others; yet he was very sensitive to any slight, and felt keenly the social ostracism to which he believed his color subjected him. It was the noble aim of his life to lift himself, and with himself to some extent his race, from beneath that social prejudice , and we wish now to testify that his high character and gentlemanly conduct did much to achieve that purpose. His moral character, his unquestioned integrity and his consistent Christian life were worthy of our admiration and our imitation. We realize that, by his death, we have lost a member whose presence always added much to the interest of our meetings, this city has lost a noble, worthy and influential citizen, and his race has lost a friend and a leader.

We give our sympathy to his bereaved widow and son, and direct a copy of this minute to be given to his widow.

The respect which we owe him requires that we should attend his funeral in a body.

The following charter members of the Club were appointed to act as pall bearers: John Bower, Hon. John McMichael, Hon. John W. Wallace, B. A. Winternitz, Esq., Geo. E. Treadwell, Esq., and S. W. Dana, Esq.

On Sunday afternoon his body was conveyed to the Disciples church, which was filled to its utmost capacity by the best people of New Castle, who had assembled to pay tribute to his worth. Dr. I. A. Thayer, his pastor, assisted Rev. Calkins, of the 2nd Presbyterian church, and Dr. Johnston, of the 2nd Methodist church, conducted the services. Dr. Thayer's address was delivered with much feeling and produced a profound sensation. He said in substance that he would be glad if he could command fitting words expressive of his feelings. On this occasion two emotions struggle for utterance. One arises from the loss of my dear friend and brother, the from this magnificent tribute to quiet, unostentatious virtue, by the presence of this large assemblage of his fellow citizens. No man among us was more unassuming than he. In the church, in society, in literary circles, everywhere he was the quiet, observing, appreciative gentleman. In every relation he was a man recognizing everything good, anticipating every want, quick to advance another's interests, slow in presenting his own. Courteous always, he contributed to the happiness of all around him. Along with this there shone in him an intelligence and learning found nowhere else among men occupying his station in life, and which, but for his extreme diffidence, and the race prejudice with which he had to contend, must have placed him amongst the foremost of the land. He was a constant and tireless student. Armed with a keen observation, a retentive memory, and a logical mind, he took advantage of every opportunity for gaining knowledge from the best writers, and from the best informed men with whom he was constantly surrounded. . . . all topics of importance in the best fields of learning, now so rich in products. His acquirements were general, enabling him to converse intelligently with the physician, the lawyer, the preacher, the tradesman, the student, the old, the young – with all. He possessed that rare faculty which constitutes the judicial mind. He was careful to have all the facts, bearing on a case before him, before he gave an opinion. And when he had the facts he possessed that still rarer faculty that enabled him to determine what they proved. And here we get a glimpse of his moral nature, for when there was presented to him a case involving character he instinctively set about trying to account for the facts, upon the hypothesis of innocence. He held firmly to his faith in Christ, yet was very indifferent to the minor dogmas usually embraced in the Christian faith. He saw no necessary connection between them, and the acceptance of Christ in all he taught, or lived, or promised.

That great life was his guiding star, that intimate love his inspiration and comfort, that mighty arm his hope. And so peacefully as the child wearied with the day's toil and play falls asleep in its mother's arms, he growing weaker and weaker from day to day, fell asleep in Jesus. The speaker said that Stewart was borne down by race prejudice. But for that he might have occupied a place in Legislative halls, at the bar, on the Judicial bench. Henceforth we know no man after the flesh. This is a central thought in the Christian religion. We profess it and then go away, and give the lie to our profession by discriminating by color. But for the color of his skin, you would have made him an associate judge of your court. The Christian principle of morals are here laid down. It proceeds upon the basis of the fatherhood of God, and brotherhood of man. Christ sought to establish a universal brotherhood on which there should be known no Jew or Gentile, bond or free, high or low, black or white, but in which all should be one. “Each to feel a brother's love

And with him bear a part[??]

This is the only remedy for the world-spirit of selfishness. This is the broad and unselfish spirit which sees in a man, regardless of color or position a brother and seeks a brother's welfare. I can pronounce no higher eulogium upon my friend, than to say that I know no man, who had more deeply imbided this spirit.

Source: New Castle Courant - March 19, 1886

Submitted by Daniel Blakemore

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