Francis Taylor Slate – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

From a contemporary press report:

Francis Taylor Slate, 80, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who traded his military uniform for a tricorn hat and Colonial period attire as Alexandria’s town crier, died of congestive heart failure May 27, 1998 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Virginia.

Colonel Slate appeared in parades, Colonial reenactments, business openings and school programs as Alexandria’s official town crier for the last 20 years.

Most recently, he was the grand marshal of the 1997 Washington Birthday Parade in Alexandria.

Ringing an 18th-century hand bell and donning an authentic Colonial costume, Colonel Slate would bellow, “O-yez, o-yez, welcome one and all.”

In 1990, his shouting was measured at 97 decibels when he won an international championship for town criers.

Colonel Slate and his wife, Anne, were history enthusiasts who had a passion for American Colonial history, said their son Taylor A. Slate. “Mom would sew the costumes, and Dad would write his own script in the king’s English,” Taylor Slate said. “He wanted to make history come alive.”

Colonel Slate was born in New York. He entered the Army in 1942 and, after graduating from officer training school, became a second lieutenant and platoon leader with the 28th Infantry Regiment, known as the Black Lions.

Stationed in Europe, he received a field promotion to captain and took part in battles from shortly after D-day to the war’s end. His military honors included the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

After World War II, he was part of the occupation forces in Europe and later served in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Colonel Slate was serving in Army intelligence when he retired from active duty in 1972.

He was a member of the American Legion, the Society of St. Andrews, the Alexandria Colonial Cotillion and St. Andrews Anglican Church in Alexandria.

His wife died in 1996.

In addition to his son, of Abilene, Tex., survivors include another son, Dudley Wright Slate of Abingdon, Va.; a brother, George Slate of Bethesda; and three grandchildren.


On Wednesday, May 27, 1998, at Mount Vernon Hospital, beloved husband of the late Anne Dudley Swoope Slate; loving father of Taylor Ashby of Abilene, TX and Dudley Wright Slate of Abbington, VA; brother of George Slate of Bethesda, MD; father-in-law of Yvonne C. Slate of Abilene, TX and Anne Slate of Abbington, VA; brother-in-law of Carolyn G. Slate of Bethesda, MD. Also survived by three grandchildren, Shannon Margurite Slate, Taylor Whitfield Slate and Abigail Anne Slate of Abilene, TX. Services will be held on Friday, June 5 at 9 a.m. at Fort Myer (Old Post) Chapel. Interment Arlington National Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Andrew of Scotland Anglican Church, PO Box 3333, Alexandria, VA 22302, in lieu of flowers.

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