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Slave Narrative of Bolden Hall

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Interviewer: Alfred Farrell
Person Interviewed: Bolden Hall
Location: Live Oak, Florida
Age: 83
Occupation: Field Worker

Bolden Hall was born in Walkino, Florida, a little town in Jefferson County, on February 13, 1853; the son of Alfred and Tina Hall. The Halls who were the slaves of Thomas Lenton, owner of seventy-five or a hundred slaves, were the parents of twenty-one children. The Halls, who were born before slavery worked on the large plantation of Lenton which was devoted primarily to the growing of cotton and corn and secondarily to the growing of tobacco and pumpkins. Lenton was very good to his slaves and never whipped them unless it was absolutely necessary – which was seldom!

He provided them with plenty of food and clothing, and always saw to it that their cabins were liveable. He was careful, however, to see that they received no educational training, but did not interfere with their religious quest. The slaves were permitted to attend church with their masters to hear the white preacher, and occasionally the master – supposedly un-beknown to the slaves – would have an itinerant colored minister preach to the slaves, instructing them to obey their master and mistress at all times. Although freedom came to the slaves in January, Master Lenton kept them until May in order to help him with his crops. When actual freedom was granted to the slaves, only a few of the young ones left the Lenton plantation. In 1882 Bolden Hall came to Live Oak where he has resided ever since. He married but his wife is now dead, and to that union one child was born.

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