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Slave Narrative of Thomas Ash

Interviewer: Emery Turner
Person Interviewed: Thomas Ash
Location: Mitchell, Indiana
Date of Birth: 1856
Age: 81

Emery Turner District #5 Lawrence County Bedford, Indiana

I have no way of knowing exactly how old I am, as the old Bible containing a record of my birth was destroyed by fire, many years ago, but I believe I am about eighty-one years old. If so, I must have been born sometime during the year, 1856, four years before the outbreak of the War Between The States. My mother was a slave on the plantation, or farm of Charles Ash, in Anderson county, Kentucky, and it was there that I grew up.

I remember playing with Ol’ Massa’s (as he was called) boys, Charley, Jim and Bill. I also have an unpleasant memory of having seen other slaves on the place, tied up to the whipping post and flogged for disobeying some order although I have no recollection of ever having been whipped myself as I was only a boy. I can also remember how the grown-up negroes on the place left to join the Union Army as soon as they learned of Lincoln’s proclamation making them free men.

Ed. Note-Mr. Ash was sick when interviewed and was not able to do much talking. He had no picture of himself but agreed to pose for one later on. [TR: no photograph found.]

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