I have been collecting African American obits from the Canonsburg newspapers and have several on the Praul/Prawl/Prall family members.
Here is one for Elias Prawl, Sr.:
ALMOST A CENTENARIAN.
Death of Canonsburg's Oldest Citizen, Elias Praul, Who, Long Ago, Was a Slave.
HIS EXACT AGE WAS NOT KNOWN.
But He Was at Least 96, and Maybe 100, A Resident of This Place Since His Emancipation, 60 years Ago.
"Elias Prawl is dead; he was a hundred years old," is waht our reporter heard on the street. Going to No. 207 Greenside avenue, a very old house was found, and in the front room lay the deceased in a neatly finished coffin furnished by Day & Son, and the plate on the lid bore the inscription "Elias Prawl, died October 4, 1888, aged 100 years." Mr. William Skiles, who has lived next door since 1849 and who is one of the most reliable of our local historians, makes it appear that he was 96 years old. About twelve years ago Mr. James Morgan, of Pittsburgh, in whose family Elias was raised, gave to him a memorandum as to his age and place of birth. John M. Smith, deceased, of Cecil, who was proverbially accurate in all his statements, examined this paper, and he told Mr. Skiles that Elias was just three years older than he (Smith) was, "and," said Mr. Skiles, "if John M. Smith were now living he would be just 93 years of age." This makes Elias Prawl 96 years old when he died.
He was born east of the mountains and was brought across by General Morgan, of Morganza, to whom he belonged and who bequeathed him with other slaves to his son, James Morgan, who is still living in Pittsburgh, but is retired and entirely blind. In 1828 Prawl and his wife "Mollie" were emancipated, and coming to Canonsburg Mollie, for $40, in the year 1830, bought from Dr. Matthew Brown the 40x200 lot on which the family has lived ever since. In 1831, assisted by "Black Dick" Thompson, built the one-room log-house that still stands to which have been added by Elias from time to time such other humble apartments as he needed. There were four daughters, all dead, the former having under the tuition of students from the south become a note violinist in his day. After the death of Mollie, Elias married Beckie, a servant of Dr. Brown, and she is still living with a daughter at Elizabeth. Elias, of Pittsburgh, Dave, of West College street, and Levi, of Greenside avenue, are grandsons of deceased, and a granddaughter, Isabella, lived with the old man till his death and still occupies the old Prawl homestead. She says he was almost helpless during the past year, but that his appetite was good till a few days before his death. Elias was a Methodist all his life, quiet, inoffensive and respectful in demeanor towards every one, and fortunate in having many friends. The greater part of his life was spent in the service of Jefferson college officials. For a long time he was a famous waiter at the college boarding house. James Morgan never forgot his old servant and at intervals made him presents of money and clothes, and as the "sere and yellow leaf" crept upon, Canonsburgers, prominent among whom were the Paxton butchers, saw to it that he had all the comforts due to one whose life, though very humble, had been peaceful and useful among us, and picturesque, too, for nearly three quarters of a century. He made no will.
He was interred at the West end A. M. E. cemetery Saturday afternoon, after services at the house conducted by Rev. Mr. Sampson
Thursday, October 11, 1888 (Canonsburg Notes)