Lewis Chase
Lewis Anthony Chase

September 6, 1845January 11, 1929 (83 years old)
Hometown: Philipsburg, PA
September 6, 1845January 11, 1929
(83 years old) | Philipsburg, PA


Philipsburg Daily Journal January 12, 1929   


 Worthy And Highly Esteemed Colored Resident, Born In Slavery, Expires After Long Illness     

 Born in slavery and then serving valiantly in the war that broke the chains which fettered his race, pushing onward and upward, despite his birth handicap, to a position of eminent respectability in the community, the picturesque career of Lewis A. Chase, whose life has just come to a close, is like a chapter from the pages of biographical romance.

 Though in rather poor health for a year or longer, most of the time he was able to be around and look after his work as book agent until a short time before the holidays, when his condition became more serious. He was in a critical condition when removed to the hospital a few days ago and expired at 8:15 Friday night, January 11, 1929. Death was due to complications and the infirmities which come with old age.

During the long period he has been a resident of Philipsburg he has deservedly held the highest esteem of all classes in the community. Has been industrious, frugal and successful, if success is measured as it should be, by useful service and worthy achievement. He has lived the life of a true Christian and has been a firm believer in all the teachings of the faith.  

Much of his time has been devoted to christian evangelistic work, a service that he loved to perform. Organist and singer, possessing a rich, melodious voice, his sacred songs were an inspiration in any evangelistic meeting. As book salesman he became widely acquainted in the rural sections of Central Pennsylvania. He was welcome into the homes of worthy people in each community, where his singing and organ playing came to be expected and where the neighbors assembled to hear him sing sacred songs and hymns. There's no doubt that his spiritual enthusiasm and his simple, powerful and earnest prayers proved helpful to many at these gatherings.   

The editor of the Journal has known Mr. Chase for many years and has regarded him as an upright, worthy man, one who would not knowingly do wrong or harm another, one whose first thought has been to extend a helping hand. He has been honest and honorable, loyal and true. His long friendship has been highly valued and will now become a cherished his memory. His spirit has gone into that other world of mystery. But it is gone strong in the belief that everlasting life is a reward for those who are true to the faith and who have endeavored to live in accordance with christian teachings.   

Lewis Anthony Chase was born at Clear spring, Md., on Sept. 6, 1845. His parents were slaves on a large estate in that community. His father, when the subject of this sketch was quite young, was sold to another master and was never seen again by the son. His mother, who died at the son's home on Nov. 29, 1897, at the age of 90 years, was given her liberty by her master after years of faithful service. That was in 1850, and her son was permitted to remain with her until automatically freed by the emancipation proclamation.

 After the outbreak of the war, she accompanied her son to Harrisburg for enlistment. She returned to Clear Spring. The son, already actually free, if not legally so, became a member of the 143rd Pennsylvania volunteer regiment. He served loyally until the close of the great struggle.  

Returning to Clear Spring, the place of his birth, and the place of residence of his mother and his former master and his family, who had always been kind and fair to their slaves, he was united in marriage to Caroline Virginia Barnes, on Sept. 21, 1866. For a while he followed the butchering business.

Prior to his enlistment he had been learning the tanning business at Clear Spring, and in the early seventies he went to Mount Union, Pa., to work in the tannery. Later he located at Johnstown, and from there came to Philipsburg in 1877, where he worked in the local tannery until 1894, when he began selling Bibles and books, continuing this business up to the time of his illness and death. 

Mrs. Chase died Oct. 4, 1913. Later he married Mrs. Jenny Champ, who is now critically ill. Frank Chase, was born at Clear Spring, and who lives along South Center drive here, survives.   Since early manhood Mr Chase has been a member of the Methodist denomination and of Trinity Methodist church since coming to Philipsburg. He has always been active in church work. He also belonged to John W. Geary Post No. 90, Grand Army the Republic, and of the Colored Odd Fellows. 

Mr. Chase is known to most of the people in the community as Professor Chase. A born musician, he quickly learned to play the organ and sing well, and in his earlier life he gave music lessons. It was then that the title of Professor was given to him. It clung to him throughout life. Many today do not know him by his first name. But they know Professor Chase. The funeral service will be held at 2 o'clock Monday afternoon at the Methodist Church in burial and Philipsburg cemetery.