Brown, Hallie Q.
|SUSAN PAUL VASHON -- September 19, 1838--November 27, 1912|
Mrs. Susan Paul Vashon was born in Boston, Massachusetts, September, 19, 1838, and passed away in St. Louis, November 27, 1912.
Her father Elijah W. Smith was famed in ante-bellum days as a musical composer and cornetist and played in 1850 at Windsor Castle at the "Command of Queen Victoria."
Her mother, Anne Paul Smith, was a daughter of the Rev. Thomas Paul who was founder and pastor of the old Joy Street Church, Boston, in which the American Anti-Slavery Society found the only available refuge in which to organize. Mrs. Vashon lost her mother at an early age and was reared by her maternal grandmother, Katherine Paul. At the age of sixteen she graduated from Miss O'Mears' Seminary, Somerville, Mass., with valedictorian honor, and as the only colored girl in her class. Her grandmother having died she went to live with her father in Pittsburgh, Pa., where she was appointed teacher in the one colored school of that city.
Of that school Prof. George B. Vashon was principal, whose remarkable pedagogic career had already comprehended a four years' tenor at College Faustin, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and one of three years at New York Central College, McGrawville, N. Y.
She was married to Prof. Vashon February 17, 1857, and seven children were born of the union. She was widowed October 5, 1878. Mrs. Vashon taught in the public schools of Washington, D. C., from 1872 until 1880, being principal of the Thaddeus Stevens School.
In the fall of 1882 she removed with her family to St. Louis, Missouri, where she resided until her death.
Her earlier environments gave to her character a puritanic cast, and all through her life she held close to the undeviating line.
She was a mother, profoundly so, and directed the lives of her children with the personal guidance and watchful care of tenderest love and wisest admonition.
She blended domestic excellence with a decided and active interest in all movements for the moral and social uplift of her people.
The home, the church, and the community were the work shops in which she wrought. The mother's club to guide young girls aright, the Book Lovers' club to develop literary taste, the Women's Federation to accomplish a loftier womanhood and the church were the fields in which she led and molded thought and proved herself to be one of the most useful and cultured women of her day. Possibly the most far-reaching of Mrs. Vashon's public services was the direction of several sanitary relief bazars that netted thousands of dollars for the care of sick and wounded soldiers of the Civil War, and for the housing of colored refugees at Pittsburgh, in the years 1864-65--the aftermath of the Rebellion.
Mrs. Vashon lived to a ripe old age and passed on fully ready for the Master's use.
We present her character as a model, believing it will shine brighter and brighter until the perfect day.