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Slave Narrative of Uncle Ransom Simmons

Interviewer: Hattie Mobley
Person Interviewed: Ransom Simmons
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Place of Birth: Mississippi
Age: 104

Uncle Ransom is one of the few remaining slaves who still lives and whose mind is still clear and active. He has just passed his one-hundred and fourth birthday, was born in Mississippi, and brought to South Carolina by his master Wade Hampton, the father of the illustrious General Wade Hampton, before the Civil War.

When the war broke out and General Wade Hampton went to war Uncle Ransom cried to be allowed to follow his young master. He went and served as a body guard. Uncle Ransom learned to read the Bible while attending a night school held for slaves before freedom, and it was only in recent years that he was taught to write his name.

This old man lives alone in a shack at Taylor, a little village on the outskirts of Columbia. He is furnished with all the milk and ice cream he can eat by the Columbia Dairy. He purchases a little food with the state pension of twenty-five dollars a year paid to Negroes who served the Confederacy in some military capacity.

Uncle Ransom says his master was the kindest man in the world, and that as far as he is concerned, he has never had a worry in his life, and as he said this, his face radiated with a broad and satisfied smile.

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