John Maston was born into slavery, February 3, 1849, in West Virginia. Young George escaped to Ohio in 1862 with Union Army Captain Israel B Murdock. He was taught the barber trade at 14 and supported himself through the Civil War in Ohio River towns. He became a Methodist Episcopal preacher and, in 1901, the Rev George A Maston transferred to Newman Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Among his memorabilia are scrapbooks, photographs, and from his own pen a privately-printed brochure describing his ministry in Lincoln. He also wrote in longhand a 95-page “History of My life,” only the last 28 pages of which survive. During 1883-1886 he kept a diary which has been preserved. For this article excerpts from his writings have been chosen to illustrate his sensitive thinking, his compassion, but also his despair rooted in the obstacles facing African Americans.
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1895 picture of the Maston family.