WASHINGTON’S OLD SERVANT, JOHN CARY [Niles’ National Register, June 17, 1843, p. 242]

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

WASHINGTON’S OLD SERVANT, JOHN CARY. Died in this city, on Friday evening the 2d instant, JOHN CARY, in the 114th year of his age. This is the same “OLD JOHN,” of whom some notice was taken in the Intelligencer last winter, when a joint resolution was pending before congress to grant him a pension. He was born of African parents, in Westmoreland county, Virginia, in August 1729, two years and a half before the birth of GENERAL WASHINGTON, and in the same county. Had he lived two months longer, he would have reached the full age of 114 years. He accompanied Gen. WASHINGTON as his personal servant in the old French war, and was with him in the battle-field on the Monogahela in July 1755, where Gen. Braddock was defeated and slain, and where WASHINGTON, by his ability and prudence, covered the retreat and saved the remnant of the British army, and laid the foundation of his future military fame.

In the war of the revolution, John followed to the camp and to the field his old commander, sometimes as a personal attendance and sometimes in the ranks of the army, and continued with him till the termination of hostilities. When retiring from the army, GENERAL WASHINGTON presented “Old John” with a military coat, the same which the general had worn at the siege of Yorktown, as a token of his approbation and esteem. This coat John carefully preserved as a sacred memento; and though in his old age reduced to extreme poverty, no money could ever tempt him to part with the coat. He wore it as a dress coat till within the last fifteen years of his life, and as he left it as his richest earthly treasure.

After the war of the revolution, John resided for several years in Westmoreland county, where he became a devout member of the Baptist Church. Thence he moved to this place, and for the last twenty-eight years of his life was a member of the First Baptist Church in this city.

He was ardent in his patriotism and attachment to his country’s father, the great WASHINGTON. He was still more ardent in his piety and devotion to GOD, his Eternal Father and Redeemer. His life was unstained, and his death was unclouded. He met without dread the King of Terrors, and passed the vale of death without alarm. [Nat. Int.


Niles’ National Register, June 17, 1843, p. 242


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