Alexander Crummell's Obituary of Peter Guignon

Peter Guignon was born in 18—, in the city of New York. His mother a native of the West Indies and came thence to the city of New York and resided there until her death. At the early period of his boyhood he was sent to the old Mulberry st. school for colored children. He was the contemporary at that school from about the year 1828 of the most celebrated pupils which ever were enrolled upon its records. His school-mates were George Allen, Thomas Sidney, the two Moores (Isaac and George), the three Reasons (Eliver, Patrick, and Charles L.), Isaiah Degrasse, J. McCune Smith, Henry Highland Garnett, George T. Downing. His standing and character in his school days can be seen that he was the friend and intimate companion of every one of these eminent boys, not only in their boyhood, but afterwards in their manhood and maturity. So strong and particular was the make-up of Peter Guignon that it was impossible for him to rank with any other than the first and the best. It is said of a very eminent statesman in England, “that he was never a boy,” that he passed at once from childhood into mature manhood. And not unfrequently we see the same peculiarity in many other boys. It was thus with Peter Guignon. He never was a boy; not that he was grave; for neither was he at any period of his life staid or serious in his demeanor. On the contrary he was always cheerful, yea, even hilarious in character. But withal he was always manly. When other boys were thinking of toys and gimcracks there was a marked absence of juvenility in his manners, speech, and dress. He was prematurely mature; and at 15 and 16 years of age manifested a manly bearing, tone, and decisiveness, seldom seen at even 21.

His boyhood was marked by the moral qualities of boldness, bravery and generosity, exceeding, I think, most of his companions of his school days. I may mention one incident which was characteristic of his whole nature. One of our schoolmates was suddenly taken with a fit in the rear of the old school house. All the boys were frightened and stood off appalled. As soon as Guignon saw the poor fellow he rushed to his rescue; took him under his arms, dragged him, alone up a high flight of stairs and attended to him until his recovery

From: Alexander Crummell, “The Late Peter Guignon.” New York Freeman, Saturday, January 31, 1885