Neighbors were grumpy. Postman Daniel W. Washington went on vacation and the post office assigned a substitute carrier to deliver mail in the Northside neighborhoods of Richmond. The substitute wasn’t mean or surly, but the neighborhoods had become attuned to a familiar sound, a daily distinct melody from their regular postman that alerted them their mail had arrived…a whistle. Much to their chagrin, the substitute didn’t use a whistle. So accustomed were the neighborhoods to this harmonious tradition, that the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote a 1949 article about the beloved postman.
Daniel Webster Washington was born on November 25, 1880, to Van and Virginia (Green) Washington in Richmond. Both are buried at East End. Mr. Washington married Emma J. Randolph, a schoolteacher, in 1907, and they lived a good portion of their lives in Northside (an area that includes the neighborhoods of Ginter Park, Bellevue, and Laburnum Park). From the available census records, they seem to have had only one child, James R. Washington, born in 1923.
Mr. Washington was a postman all his life until, according to the article, he retired around age 70. He passed away on February 21, 1962. Mrs. Washington preceded him in death by five years and is buried at Evergreen. —Melissa Pocock
- Born: 25 November 1880
- Died: 21 February 1962
- Birth Place: Richmond, Virginia
- Death Place: Richmond, Virginia
- Spouse: Emma Jane Randolph (m. 26 Jun 1907)
- Parents: Van Washington, Virginia Green
- Children: James R. Washington
- Other Family: Charles Washington, Bertha (Washington) Jackson, Eva Bell (Washington) Miles, Ophelia M. (Washington) Mickie, Robert Henry Washington (siblings)
- Occupation: Postman
- Affiliations: National Ideal Benefit Society
- Address: 403 Corbin Street
- Documents: Census (1900, 1910, 1920, 1940); city directories; death certificate; marriage record; newspaper articles; WWI & WWII draft registrations
- Military Service: