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Slave Narrative of John Anderson

Interviewer: Byers York
Person Interviewed: John Anderson
Location: Kentucky
Place of Birth: Clinton County PA

A story resulting from an interview with John Anderson, an old Negro slave:

“I was born in Pennsylvania, on Shiptown road, Clinton County, close to Mercersberg. When I was growing up my mammy always believed in making her own medicine, and doctored the whole family with the roots she dug herself. She use to bile down the roots from may-apple, snake root and blood root, and make her medicine. This was good for the blood and keep us from gettin’ sick.

While the wah was goin’ on, the soldiers were campin’ all about us and when they heer’d the Gray’s was comin’ they got ready for battle, and when they did come they fit’ em back, and they made their stand at Harpers Ferry, Va., and had a hard battle there. My mammy was scared of the Gray’s and when she heer’d they was comin’, would hide us three boys in some white folks cellar until they was gone. They would take all the young niggahs with them they could get hold of, and soon as they’d gone, we would go back home.

When the wah was over, me and some boys went over to the battlefield and foun’ a calvary gun which I had for years. We lived in a log cabin on a farm and worked for a farmer in the fields while my mammy worked in the house for the white folks. We had lots of things that is good and bad luck.”

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