A jewel gone but not forgotten

Edna Pearl Chapman once said: Loved ones may leave this world, but they never leave our hearts.

Our community is deeply saddened by the death of John Marshall Clark Jr., 76, of Washington, who died on Friday, July 23, at his home.

For we have lost a rare jewel, one that could never be replaced.

John served in the U.S. Army and retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1999. He was an avid outdoorsman. Farming, hunting, and spending time outside were his passions. Above all else, he loved and always put his family first.

I have known John for years, and I cannot find the words to describe him. A man of honor and respect, a trustworthy and a true friend — I could go on saying nothing but good things about this man. 

Helen Keller once said: “The best and most beautiful things in life cannot be seen, not touched, but are felt in the heart.”

Although we may no longer see you in town at Baldwin’s getting gas or driving on Harris Hollow Road we can still hear the echo of your truck coming down the Harris Hollow Road. 

If anyone deserves a crown of jewels, I have to say it would be John. 

John you may be gone from our sight, but you will never be gone from the hearts who knew you. You will be missed by everyone who knew you. Your family and friends will always hold and cherish the many good memories they all had together. Rest well John, you will not be forgotten.

A graveside service was held Tuesday, July 27, at The Family Cemetery, 51 Plains Lane, Washington, with Pastor William Taylor officiating. Military honors were provided by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2524.

Found and Sons Funeral Chapel of Culpeper is serving the family.

Schools in the Town of Washington

In 1793, William Porter sold two acres of land to James Jett Street and John Jett that became part of the town of Washington when it was founded in 1796. The southeast corner of this parcel of land was marked by “a red oak stump near a schoolhouse.” Apparently Porter had built a school on his land at some time prior to 1793. After this land was taken to form the town. Porter donated one half acre adjacent to the northwestern border of the town to trustees John Miller, Gabriel Smither, George Calvert, and Ralls Calvert, to erect a school “for educating youth of both sexes” and for “the promotion of science and dissemination of useful knowledge.” When the First Washington Baptist Church congregation purchased a lot of land on Main Street north of the town in 1880, the lot was described as being adjacent to “the old school house lot.” It appears that the school which Porter founded had lasted here for a significant period of time.

In 1834, at the very beginning of education in Rappahannock County, The Academy was established on town lot 34. It was incorporated in 1837 under the supervision of George W. Grayson, originally from Kentucky, assisted by James Dow, a graduate of Union College in New York. The school was housed in a brick building of two rooms with a fireplace in each room. When the building was renovated in the early 1960s, it was found that the walls of the building were constructed of homemade bricks, three deep, so that the walls were 21 inches thick. On the front side of the building were two doors and two windows; on the back side of the building were four windows. There were 26 pupils in the first year of the school and 45 pupils in the second year, of whom 15 were girls. At one time only reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught, but later Latin was added to the curriculum. John S. Gibson, W. A. L Jett, W. W. Moffett (later a judge), Mr. Warden, Margaret Compton, Ida Wood, and Miss Bell were some of the teachers in this school.

The building was beloved by students and townspeople, who affectionately called it “the Rabbit Gum” because of its resemblance to the two-compartment trap used to catch rabbits. The Academy existed as a private institution before public education was instituted. With the formal establishment of the public school system in 1871, it became Washington’s public school. The school was just for primary grades; older children went to private schools, most with just a handful of students, scattered around the county until the high school was established in Washington in 1908. The building may have been used as a hospital by Union forces during the war between the states. In 2018, it was a private residence owned by George H. Eatman, located on town lot 34 and designated as Tax map 20A-1-126 (598 Gay Street).

Editor’s note: This information was excerpted from Maureen I. Harris’ book, “Washington, Virginia, a History, 1735-2018.”


Birthday wishes go out to Patty Hardee, who will celebrate her special day today, July 29.

Thought for the day

I would like to pass on this saying from thoughtfortheday.com to readers:

“Be patient. Breathe more deeply. There is a season for everything and nothing can be rushed. Make allowances for the fact that other people have different rhythms than you. Your patience will reduce your anxiety, and you will enjoy each day more.”

Stay cool and have a wonderful week.


Recommended for you