Primary Resource

"Jno. H. Davis" from the Roanoke Daily Times (July 21, 1896)

This obituary for John H. Davis, a wealthy African American businessman, philanthropist, Republican political activist, and founder of the Roanoke Weekly Press, Roanokeꞌs first black newspaper, appeared in the Roanoke Daily Times (July 21, 1896).

Transcription from Original

Jno. H. Davis, a well-known colored man, died at nine oꞌclock at his residence, 27 High street, at the age of 65 years, of cancer of the stomach. Deceased came to this city from Lynchburg nearly twenty years ago when Roanoke was known as Big Lick, and engaged in business. He was shrewd and was quite successful in business, and accumulated a considerable sum of money, which he invested in real estate and continued to prosper. During the boom days he was worth from $50,000 to $75,000. He built Davis hall, Davis hotel, and endowed the Davis Industrial School for colored young men, and built many other valuable houses. He did all he could for the upbuilding of his race. He not only founded a school, but published a paper for his people. But when the depression came the value of his property sunk and his health gave way. His remains will lay in state all day today at Davis hall, in a very handsome casket, furnished by Oakey & Woolwine. On to-morrow at 3 p.m. the funeral services will be held in the First Baptist Church by Rev. R. R. Jones, the pastor, after which the interment will take place in the Davis grave-yard, which adjoins the colored cemetery in the Gainsborough addition. Deceased did not belong to any church, although he was partial to the Baptist faith; he was also a Mason and an Odd Fellow. In politics he was active Republican and had frequently been sent from this Congressional district as a delegate to the national convention. The pall-bearers are as follows from the colored Masonic lodge: Active: L. G. Reamy, Beverly Tweedy, Samuel McCallister. Honorary: Rev. W. D. Wood, Rev. J. Jefferson and W. H. Hughes. From Roanoke City Lodge No. 3,225, G. W. O. of F. Active. E. J. Smelzer, D. Jackson, J. E. Henderson. Honorary, J. H. White, Wm. Hackley and I. S. Bentley.