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Slave Narrative of Mary Moriah Anne Susanna James

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: Mary James Date of Interview: Sept. 23, 1937 Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Residence: 618 Haw St., Baltimore, MD Reference: Personal interview with Mary James, ex-slave, Sept. 23, 1937, at her home, 618 Haw St., Baltimore, Md. “My father’s name was Caleb Harris James, and my mother’s name was Mary Moriah. Both of them were owned by Silas Thornton Randolph, a distant relative of Patrick Henry. I have seen the picture of Patrick Henry many a time in the home place on the library wall. I had three sisters and two brothers. Two of my sisters were sold to a slave dealer from Georgia, one died in 1870. One brother ran away and the other joined the Union Army; he died in the Soldiers’ Home in Washington in 1932 at the age of 84. “How let me ask you, who told you about me? I knew that a stranger was coming, my nose has been itching for several days. How about my home life in Virginia, we lived on the James River in Virginia, on a farm containing more than 8,000 acres, fronting 3-1/2 miles on the river, with a landing where boats used to come to load tobacco and unload goods for the farm. “The quarters where we lived on the plantation called Randolph Manor were built like horse stables that you see on race tracks; they were 1-1/2 story high, about 25 feet wide, and about 75 feet long, with windows in the sides of the roofs. A long shelter on the front and at the rear. In front, people would have benches...

Slave Narrative of Rev. Silas Jackson

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: Rev. Silas Jackson Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: Virginia Date of Birth: 1846 or 47 Place of Residence: 1630 N. Gilmor St., Baltimore, Maryland Age: (about) 90 Reference: Personal interview with Rev. Silas Jackson, ex-slave, at his home, 1630 N. Gilmor St., Baltimore. “I was born at or near Ashbie’s Gap in Virginia, either in the year of 1846 or 47. I do not know which, but I will say I am 90 years of age. My father’s name was Sling and mother’s Sarah Louis. They were purchased by my master from a slave trader in Richmond, Virginia. My father was a man of large stature and my mother was tall and stately. They originally came from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I think from the Legg estate, beyond that I do not know. I had three brothers and two sisters. My brothers older than I, and my sisters younger. Their names were Silas, Carter, Rap or Raymond, I do not remember; my sisters were Jane and Susie, both of whom are living in Virginia now. Only one I have ever seen and he came north with General Sherman, he died in 1925. He was a Baptist minister like myself. “The only things I know about my grandparents were: My grandfather ran away through the aid of Harriet Tubman and went to Philadelphia and saved $350, and purchased my grandmother through the aid of a Quaker or an Episcopal minister, I do not know. I have on several occasions tried to trace this part of my family’s past history, but without success. “I was...

Slave Narrative of Annie Young Henson

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: Annie Young Henson Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: Northumberland County, Virginia Age: 86 Place of Residence: African M.E. Home, 207 Aisquith St., Baltimore, Maryland Reference: Personal interview with Annie Young Henson, ex-slave, at African M.E. Home, 207 Aisquith St., Baltimore. “I was born in Northumberland County, Virginia, 86 years ago. Daughter of Mina and Tom Miller. I had one brother Feelingchin and two sisters, Mary and Matilda. Owned by Doctor Pressley Nellum. “The farm was called Traveler’s Rest. The farm so named because a man once on a dark, cold and dreary night stopped there and asked for something to eat and lodging for the night; both of which was given and welcomed by the wayfarer. “The house being very spacious with porches on each side, situated on a high hill, with trees on the lawn giving homes to the birds and shade to the master, mistress and their guests where they could hear the chant of the lark or the melodious voices of the slaves humming some familiar tunes that suited their taste, as they worked. “Nearby was the slave quarters and the log cabin, where we lived, built about 25 feet from the other quarter. Our cabin was separate and distinct from the others. It contained two rooms, one up and one down, with a window in each room. This cabin was about 25 feet from the kitchen of the manor house, where the cooking was done by the kitchen help for the master, mistress and their guests, and from which each slave received his or her weekly ration, about 20 pounds...

Slave Narrative of Caroline Hammond

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: Caroline Hammond Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: Anne Arundel County MD Date of Birth: 1844 Place of Residence: 4710 Road, Baltimore, MD Interview at her home, 4710 Falls Road, Baltimore, Md. “I was born in Anne Arundel County near Davidsonville about 3 miles from South River in the year 1844. The daughter of a free man and a slave woman, who was owned by Thomas Davidson, a slave owner and farmer of Anne Arundel. He had a large farm and about 25 slaves on his farm all of whom lived in small huts with the exception of several of the household help who ate and slept in the manor house. My mother being one of the household slaves, enjoyed certain privileges that the farm slaves did not. She was the head cook of Mr. Davidson’s household. “Mr. Davidson and his family were considered people of high social standing in Annapolis and the people in the county. Mr. Davidson entertained on a large scale, especially many of the officers of the Naval Academy at Annapolis and his friends from Baltimore. Mrs. Davidson’s dishes were considered the finest, and to receive an invitation from the Davidsons meant that you would enjoy Maryland’s finest terrapin and chicken besides the best wine and champagne on the market. “All of the cooking was supervised by mother, and the table was waited on by Uncle Billie, dressed in a uniform, decorated with brass buttons, braid and a fancy Test, his hands incased in white gloves. I can see him now, standing at the door, after he had rung the bell....

Slave Narrative of Menellis Gassaway

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: Menellis Gassaway Date of Interview: Sept. 1937 Location: M.E. Home, Carrollton Ave., Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: Carroll County MD Date of Birth: 1850 or 52 Reference: Personal interview with Menellis Gassaway, ex-slave, on Sept. 22, 1937, at M.E. Home, Carrollton Ave., Baltimore. “My name is Menellis Gassaway, son of Owing and Annabel Gassaway. I was born in Freedom District, Carroll County, about 1850 or 52, brother of Henrietta, Menila and Villa. Our father and mother lived in Carroll County near Eldersberg in a stone and log cabin, consisting of two rooms, one up and one down, with four windows, two in each room, on a small farm situated on a public road, I don’t know the name. “My father worked on a small farm with no other slaves, but our family. We raised on the farm vegetables and grain, consisting of corn and wheat. Our farm produced wheat and corn, which was taken to the grist mill to be ground; besides, we raised hogs and a small number of other stock for food. “During the time I was a slave and the short time it was, I can’t remember what we wore or very much about local conditions. The people, that is the white people, were friendly with our family and other colored people so far as I can recall. “I do not recall of seeing slaves sold nor did the man who owned our family buy or sell slaves. He was a small man. “As to the farm, I do not know the size, but I know it was small. On the farm...

Slave Narrative of Mrs. M. S. Fayman

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: Mrs. M. S. Fayman Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: St. Nazaire Parish LA Date of Birth: 1850 Reference: Personal interview with Mrs. Fayman, at her home, Cherry Heights near Baltimore, Md. “I was born in St. Nazaire Parish in Louisiana, about 60 miles south of Baton Rouge, in 1850. My father and mother were Creoles, both of them were people of wealth and prestige in their day and considered very influential. My father’s name was Henri de Sales and mother’s maiden name, Marguerite Sanchez De Haryne. I had two brothers Henri and Jackson named after General Jackson, both of whom died quite young, leaving me the only living child. Both mother and father were born and reared in Louisiana. We lived in a large and spacious house surrounded by flowers and situated on a farm containing about 750 acres, on which we raised pelicans for sale in the market at New Orleans. “When I was about 5 years old I was sent to a private School in Baton Rouge, conducted by French sisters, where I stayed until I was kidnapped in 1860. At that time I did not know how to speak English; French was the language spoken in my household and by the people in the parish. “Baton Rouge, situated on the Mississippi, was a river port and stopping place for all large river boats, especially between New Orleans and large towns and cities north. We children were taken out by the sisters after school and on Saturdays and holidays to walk. One of the places we went was the wharf. One day...

Slave Narrative of James V. Deane

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: James V. Deane Date of Interview: Sept. 1937 Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Residence: 1514 Druid Hill Ave., Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: Charles County MD Place of Birth: May 20, 1850 Reference: Personal interview with James V. Deane, ex-slave, on Sept. 20, 1937, at his home, 1514 Druid Hill Ave., Baltimore. “My name is James V. Deane, son of John and Jane Deane, born at Goose Bay in Charles County, May 20, 1850. My mother was the daughter of Vincent Harrison, I do not know about my father’s people. I have two sisters both of whom are living, Sarah and Elizabeth Ford. “I was born in a log cabin, a typical Charles County log cabin, at Goose Bay on the Potomac River. The plantation on which I was born fronted more than three miles on the river. The cabin had two rooms, one up and one down, very large with two windows, one in each room. There were no porches, over the door was a wide board to keep the rain and snow from beating over the top of the door, with a large log chimney on the outside, plastered between the logs, in which was a fireplace with an open grate to cook on and to put logs on the fire to heat. “We slept on a home-made bedstead, on which was a straw mattress and upon that was a feather mattress, on which we used quilts made by my mother to cover. “As a slave I worked on the farm with other small boys thinning corn, watching watermelon patches and later I...

Slave Narrative of Richard Macks

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: Richard Macks Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: Charles County MD Date of Birth: 1844 Place of Residence: 541 W. Biddle St., Baltimore, Maryland Occupation: Waiter, Coachman, Butler Reference: Personal interview with Richard Macks, ex-slave, at his home, 541 W. Biddle St., Baltimore. “I was born in Charles County in Southern Maryland in the year of 1844. My father’s name was William (Bill) and Mother’s Harriet Mack, both of whom were born and reared in Charles County—the county that James Wilkes Booth took refuge in after the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865. I had one sister named Jenny and no brothers: let me say right here it was God’s blessing I did not. Near Bryantown, a county center prior to the Civil War as a market for tobacco, grain and market for slaves. “In Bryantown there were several stores, two or three taverns or inns which were well known in their days for their hospitality to their guests and arrangements to house slaves. There were two inns both of which had long sheds, strongly built with cells downstairs for men and a large room above for women. At night the slave traders would bring their charges to the inns, pay for their meals, which were served on a long table in the shed, then afterwards, they were locked up for the night. “I lived with my mother, father and sister in a log cabin built of log and mud, having two rooms; one with a dirt floor and the other above, each room having two windows, but no glass. On a large farm or...

Slave Narrative of Perry Lewis

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: Perry Lewis Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: Kent Island, MD Age: 86 Place of Residence: 1124 E. Lexington St., Baltimore, Maryland Reference: Personal interview with Perry Lewis, ex-slave, at his home, 1124 E. Lexington St., Baltimore. “I was born on Kent Island, Md. about 86 years ago. My father’s name was Henry and mother’s Louise. I had one brother John, who was killed in the Civil War at the Deep Bottom, one sister as I can remember. My father was a freeman and my mother a slave, owned by Thomas Tolson, who owned a small farm on which I was born in a log cabin, with two rooms, one up and one down. “As you know the mother was the owner of the children that she brought into the world. Mother being a slave made me a slave. She cooked and worked on the farm, ate whatever was in the farmhouse and did her share of work to keep and maintain the Tolsons. They being poor, not having a large place or a number of slaves to increase their wealth, made them little above the free colored people and with no knowledge, they could not teach me or any one else to read. “You know the Eastern Shore of Maryland was in the most productive slave territory and where farming was done on a large scale; and in that part of Maryland where there were many poor people and many of whom were employed as overseers, you naturally heard of patrollers and we had them and many of them. I have heard that patrollers...

Slave Narrative of George Jones

Interviewer: Rogers Person Interviewed: George Jones Location: Baltimore, Maryland Place of Birth: Frederick County, Maryland Date of Birth: 1853 Age: 84 Place of Residence: 207 Aisquith St., Baltimore Md. Reference: Personal interview with George Jones, Ex-slave, at African M.E. Home, 207 Aisquith St., Baltimore. “I was born in Frederick County, Maryland, 84 years ago or 1853. My father’s name was Henry and mother’s Jane; brothers Dave, Joe, Henry, John and sisters Annie and Josephine. I know my father and mother were slaves, but I do not recall to whom they belonged. I remember my grandparents. “My father used to tell me how he would hide in the hay stacks at night, because he was whipped and treated badly by his master who was rough and hard-boiled on his slaves. Many a time the owner of the slaves and farm would come to the cabins late at night to catch the slaves in their dingy little hovels, which were constructed in cabin fashion and of stone and logs with their typical windows and rooms of one room up and one down with a window in each, the fireplaces built to heat and cook for occupants. “The farm was like all other farms in Frederick County, raising grain, such as corn, wheat and fruit and on which work was seasonable, depending upon the weather, some seasons producing more and some less. When the season was good for the crop and crops plentiful, we had a little money as the plantation owner gave us some to spend. “When hunting came, especially in the fall and winter, the weather was cold, I have...
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