Slave Narrative of John H. Gibson

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Interviewer: Anna Pritchett
Person Interviewed: John Henry Gibson
Location: Indiana
Place of Birth: Scott County, N. C.
Place of Residence: Colton Street

Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A. District #6 Marion County Anna Pritchett 1200 Kentucky Avenue


John Henry Gibson was born a slave, many years ago, in Scott County, N.C.

His old master, John Henry Bidding, was a wealthy farmer; he also owned the hotel, or rooming house.

When court was in session the “higher ups” would come to this house, and stay until the court affairs were settled.

Mr. Bidding, who was very kind to his slaves, died when John Gibson was very young. All slaves and other property passed on to the son, Joseph Bidding, who in turn was as kind as his father had been.

Gibson’s father belonged to General Lee Gibson, who was a neighboring farmer. He saw and met Miss Elizabeth Bidding’s maid; they liked each other so very much, Miss Elizabeth bought him from General Gibson, and let him have her maid as his wife. The wife lived only a short time, leaving a little boy.

After the Civil war, a white man, by the name of Luster, was comming to Ohio, brought John Gibson with him. They came to Indianapolis, and Gibson liked it so well, he decided to remain; Mr. Luster told him if he ever became dissatisfied to come on to Ohio to him, but he remained in Indianapolis until 1872, then went back south, married, came back, and made Indianapolis his home.

Interviewer’s Comment

Mr. Gibson is very old, but does not know his exact age. He fought in the Civil war, and said he could not be very young to have done that.

His sight is very nearly gone, can only distinguish light and dark.

He is very proud of his name, having been named for his old master.

Submitted January 24, 1938 Indianapolis, Indiana

MLA Source Citation:

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007. Web. 18 January 2015. - Last updated on Oct 15th, 2012

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