Slave Narrative of Adeline R. Lennox

Interviewer: Albert Strope
Person Interviewed: Adeline Rose Lennox
Location: Elkhart, Indiana
Place of Birth: Middle / Paris, Tennessee
Date of Birth: October 25, 1849
Place of Residence: 1400 South Sixth Street, Elkhart, Indiana

Albert Strope, Field Worker Federal Writers’ Project St. Joseph County-District #1 Mishawaka, Indiana

ADELINE ROSE LENNOX-EX-SLAVE 1400 South Sixth Street, Elkhart, Indiana

Adeline Rose Lennox was born of slave parents at Middle-sometimes known as Paris-Tennessee, October 25, 1849. She lived with her parents in slave quarters on the plantation of a Mr. Rose for whom her parents worked. These quarters were log houses, a distance from the master’s mansion.

At the age of seven years, Adeline was taken from her parents to work at the home of a son of Mr. Rose who had recently been married. She remembers well being taken away, for she said she cried, but her new mistress said she was going to have a new home so she had to go with her.

At the age of fourteen years she did the work of a man in the field, driving a team, plowing, harrowing and seeding. “We all thought a great deal of Mr. Rose,” said Mrs. Lennox, “for he was good to us.” She said that they were well fed, having plenty of corn, peas, beans, and pork to eat, more pork then than now.

As Adeline Rose, the subject of this sketch was married to Mr. Steward, after she was given her freedom at the close of the Civil War. At this time she was living with her parents who stayed with Mr. Rose for about five years after the war. To the Steward family was born one son, Johnny. Mr. Steward died early in life, and his widow married a second time, this time [HW: to] one George Lennox whose name she now bears.

Johnny married young and died young, leaving her alone in the world with the exception of her daughter-in-law. After her second husband’s death, she remained near Middle, Tennessee, until 1924, when she removed to Elkhart to spend the remainder of her life living with her daughter-in-law, who had remarried and is now living at 1400 South Sixth Street, Elkhart, Indiana.

In the neighborhood she is known only as “Granny.” While I was having this interview, a colored lady passed and this conversation followed:

“Good morning Granny, how are you this morning?”

“Only tolerable, thank you,” replied Granny.

The health of Mrs. Lennox has been failing for the past three years but she gets around quite well for a lady who will be eight-eight years old the twenty-fifth day of this October. She gets an old age pension of about thirteen dollars per month.

A peculiar thing about Mrs. Lennox’s life is that she says that she never knew that she was a slave until she was set free. Her mistress then told her that she was free and could go back to her father’s home which she did rather reluctantly.

Mrs. Lennox smokes, enjoys corn bread and boiled potatoes as food, but does not enjoy automobiles as “they are too bumpy and they gather too much air,” she says. “I do not eat sweets,” she remarks “my one ambition in life is to live so that I may claim Heaven as my home when I die.”

There is a newspaper picture in the office along with an article published by the Elkhart Truth. This is being sent to Indianapolis today.

MLA Source Citation:

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007. Web. 31 January 2015. - Last updated on Oct 12th, 2012

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