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Culpeper Times • April 26-May 2, 2018

Local News

'Oney Judge' tells her story at The Culpeper County Library By Fran Cecere SPECIAL TO THE CULPEPER TIMES

Friday, March 30, an audience of adults and children learned about Oney Judge. She was born in 1773 at Mount Vernon and was a slave because her mother was a slave. Her parents were Betty, a seamstress, and Andrew, a tailor, an indentured servant. At the age of ten Ona, as her friends called her, became the hand maiden of Martha Washington. She was the property of the First Lady of the United States. Sheila Arnold, who has worked at Colonial Williamsburg, stayed in character throughout the performance including a time period outfit, halting voice, and shaking hands depicting her age and sta-

tus. Even her walking and taking a sip of water was done in the character of a much older woman who had finally come out of hiding and lifetime of hard work. To help share the information, Oney asked a young girl, Amari Jackson and an adult woman, Edna Mason to come to the front of the room. They had only expected to attend the performance but they soon became part of the story. Jackson, just eleven years old, acted the part of Oney, the hand maiden. As Oney explained her daily chores, the young girl pantomimed the activity while Mason acted the part of Martha Washington. Each day Oney woke at about five in the morning to prepare for Martha Washington’s bath. She dressed her, walked with her, car-

OBITUARIES Patsy Ann Stephens Law Patsy Ann Stephens Law passed away peacefully April 6, 2018 at the age of 83 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Patsy was born March 22, 1935 in Carrollton, Georgia to Robert Golson Stephens and Malinda (Bailey) Stephens. She graduated from high school in Marshalltown, Iowa and returned to Georgia where she began working in Atlanta. It was there that she met her husband of nearly 62 years, Howard Vance Law. Howard and Patsy were married June 10, 1956 and began their lives together in Arlington, Virginia. Howard’s career took them to China Lake, California; Macon, Georgia; Mobile, Alabama; and back to Fairfax then Marshall, Virginia before retiring here in Casper. Along the way they were blessed with three children: Vicki Law Burger, Vance Stephen Law, and Howard Andrew Law. Patsy enjoyed RVing with the family and many a weekend was spent in the mountains of Virginia. She was also an accomplished seamstress and floral arranger, employing her talents to arrange flowers for the altar of Trinity Lutheran Church. Shortly after arriving in Casper she had surgery for breast cancer and subsequent chemotherapy and radiation. She went on to use her experiences to guide and support others through the Casper Angels Program. In addition, Patsy spent many years with Howard delivering Meals on Wheels. The great joy of Patsy’s life was her grandchildren, Michael (Sara), Alex (Holly), Whitney, Max, Stephen (Brooke), Will, and Drew (Devan), as well as her great-grandchildren Cayden, Cooper, Libby, Brooklyn, Reagan, Hayden, Avery, and Spencer. Patsy was preceded in death by her parents, son-in-law Dr. Gerald Burger, and great-grandson Jacob Burger. She is survived by her husband, Howard; children, Vicki, Vance (Carole), Andy (Teresa), grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren, and her brother, Douglas (Waldi) Kirk of Indiana. Services to celebrate Patsy’s victory in Christ will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church on April 28th at 10:30 am. The family requests that any donations be made to Trinity Lutheran Church or Wyoming Dementia Care.

COURTESY PHOTO

Shelia Arnold, seated, portrays Oney Judge at Culpeper County Public Library March 30. ried shopping purchases, and performed everything asked of her. Most nights she even slept by the door in the First Lady’s room so that if she was needed she could respond quickly. Occasionally she was allowed to spend time in the slave quarters with her mother. Mrs. Washington was in complete control and Oney was like a “chair in the room.” She was visible, but essentially invisible. After George Washington became the First President, Oney

would travel with the family to the first Capital, New York City. Eighteen months later the Capital was changed to Philadelphia and the Washington’s had a home there. Oney loved the grand parades, fireworks, balloons, splendid horses, and finest carriages and enjoyed a circus performance with huge elephants. She lived in Philly with the Washingtons, but every five months Martha Washington and her slaves ➤ See Judge, Page 23

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