Servant, Businessman, and Grocer (1872-1950)
Mr. Langston first came to Salisbury at the age of 23. He would go on to be a storeowner and pillar of the community for almost five decades.
Ulysses G. Langston was born on September 12, 1872 in Whaleyville, VA, a formerly incorporated town of Nansemond County. His parents were Jesse and Ariminta Lee Langston, who were natives of Virginia. Langston was a product of the public schools of Nansemond County.1
In 1895, at the age of 23, Langston left Whaleyville, VA and moved to Salisbury, MD to serve as a butler for William H. Jackson, an Eastern Shore lumberman.2 He was employed by William H. Jackson for approximately 12 years or more. As documented by the United States Census for Salisbury, Maryland in June 1900, Langston’s occupation is listed as a servant.3 After his time working as a servant, Langston, from 1916 to 1919, was employed by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railways in Boston, MA.4
During his time in Salisbury, MD, Langston was a prominent businessman in the city owning and operating a livery stable for owning horses for a couple of years followed by a grocery store located on 328 East Church Street, near his residence on 330 East Church Street5 next to his home. In fact, Langston opened the grocery store in 1902 and operated the store till his death.6 In the United States Census for Salisbury, Maryland in June 1940, Langston was documented as the owner of a grocery store.7
While in Salisbury, MD, he married Julia U. Houston, daughter of Colonel Solomon Houston, where she was listed as a merchant for her occupation, while Ulysses was employed as a driver.8 Langston was a parishioner of the First Baptist Church of Salisbury and an active member of the largest predominantly African-American Masonic body in North America called the Prince Hall Mason Fraternity. This organization was founded by Prince Hall, who is recognized as the Father of Black Masonry in the United States and responsible for establishing the first African Masonic lodges in Boston, Philadelphia, and Providence, Rhode Island.9 The organization laid the foundation for African American citizenship, education, and for the improvement of the condition of blacks.10 Langston held a prominent position in the Masonic Fraternity as the Deputy Grand Master for the 8th Masonic District of the State of Maryland Jurisdiction.11
In the August 16, 1927 newspaper edition of The Salisbury Times, Langston was identified as one of the local committee heads responsible for managing a three-day event for Maryland’s colored Masonic members. Over 500 delegates, representing 80 lodges from all over Maryland were in attendance where Langston received praise for his efficient handling of the event.12
In addition, Langston had another job in Salisbury as a real estate administrator where he handled the transactions and transfer of real estate property. Articles in The Salisbury Times identified Langston as the real estate administrator for William D. Winston13, and his wife Julia Langston.14
Langston spent the majority of his life as a grocer in Salisbury serving his community for approximately 48 years, providing food and household goods to the townspeople. In terms of his legacy, Langston is remembered for helping the local economy as a business owner and ensuring the basic needs of the community were met through his grocery business. In addition, Langston is remembered for his community service as a Mason, along with their commitment to social, political, and economic improvement within the African-American community.
As a longtime resident of Salisbury, Ulysses G. Langston died at the age of 77, on April 28, 1950. He died at the Peninsula General Hospital where he had been a patient for three weeks. His memorial service was at the First Baptist Church of Salisbury, and he was buried at the Houston Cemetery. At the time of his death, Langston’s survivors included two brothers, James Langston of Salisbury and Christopher C. Langston of Kelleysville, CA. His wife, Julia Houston Langston passed prior to his death.15
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