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Slave Narrative of Nancy Whallen

Interviewer: Iris L. Cook
Person Interviewed: Nancy Whallen
Location: New Albany, Indiana
Age: 81
Place of Residence: 924 Pearl St., New Albany, Indiana

Iris L Cook District #4 Floyd County

SLAVE STORY STORY OF NANCY WHALLEN 924 Pearl St. New Albany, Ind.

Nancy Whallen is now about 81 years of age. She doesn’t know exactly. She was about 5 year of age when Freedom was declared. Nancy was born and raised in Hart County near Hardinsburg, Kentucky. She is very hard to talk to as her memory is failing and she can not hear very well.

The little negro girl lived the usual life of a rural negro in Civil War Time and afterwards. She remembers the “sojers” coming thru the place and asking for food. Some of them camped on the farm and talked to her and teased her.

She tells about one big nigger called “Scott” on the place who could outwork all the others. He would hang his hat and shirt on a tree limb and work all day long in the blazing sun on the hottest day.

The colored folk, used to have revivals, out in the woods. They would sometimes build a sort of brush shelter with leaves for a roof and service a would be held here. Preachin’ and shouting’ sometimes lasted all day Sundays. Colored folks came from miles around when they possibly could get away. These affairs were usually held away from the “white folks” who seldom if ever saw these gatherings.

Observation of the writer.

The old woman remembers the Big Eclipse of the sun or the “Day of Dark” as she called it. The chickens all went to roost and the darkies all thought the end of the world had come. The cattle lowed and everyone was scared to death.

She lived down in Kentucky after the War until she was quite a young woman and then came to Indiana where she has lived ever since. She lives now with her daughter in New Albany.

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