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Interviewer: Perry Larkey
Person Interviewed: Amelia Jones
Location: North London, Kentucky
Place of Birth: Manchester, KY
Concerning slaves of this section of the country, I will quote experiences and observation of an old negro lady who was a slave, Mrs. Amelia Jones, living in North London, Kentucky. “Aunt Amelia” as she is known around here is eighty-eight years of age, being sixteen years of age at the close of the Civil War.
Mrs. Jones says, “I will tell as best I can remember, I was born eighty-eight years ago in Manchester, Ky. under a master by the name of Daw White. He was southern republican and was elected as congressman by that party from Manchester, Ky. He was the son of Hugh White, the original founder of Whitesberg, Ky. Master White was good to the slaves, he fed us well and had good places for us to sleep, and didn’t whip us only when it was necessary, but didn’t hesitate to sell any of his slaves, he said, “You all belong to me and if you don’t like it, I’ll put you in my pocket” meaning of course that he would sell that slave and put the money in his pocket.
The day he was to sell the children from their mother he would tell that mother to go to some other place to do some work and in her absence he would sell the children. It was the same when he would sell a man’s wife, he also sent him to another job and when he returned his wife would be gone. The master only said “don’t worry you can get another one”.
Mrs. Jones has a sister ninety-two years of age living with her now, who was sold from the auction block in Manchester. Her sister was only twelve years of age when sold and her master received $1,220.00 for her, then she was taken south to some plantation. Also her father was sold at that place at an auction of slaves at a high price, handcuffed and taken south. She never saw her father again. She says the day her father was sold there was a long line of slaves to be sold and after they were sold and a good price paid for each they were handcuffed and marched away to the South, her father was among the number.
The Auction block at Manchester was built in the open, from rough-made lumber, a few steps, and a platform on top of that, the slave to be sold. He would look at the crowd as the auctioner would give a general description of the ability and physical standing of the man. He heard the bids as they came in wondering what his master would be like.
Mrs. Jones claims she had no privileges, but had as before stated plenty to eat and wear, and a good place to sleep; but most masters treated them cruel and beat them most of the time. They were also underfed at most places, but since they had such a good master they did not want for a thing.