Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

Slave Narrative of Ida Adkins

Interviewer: Travis Jordan Person Interviewed: Ida Adkins Location: Durham, North Carolina Age: 79 Ex-slave 79 years. [TR note: Numerous hand written notations and additions in the following interview (i.e. wuz to was; er to a; adding t to the contractions.) Made changes where obvious without comment. Additions and comments were left as notation, in order to preserve the flow of the dialect.] I wuz bawn befo’ de war. I wuz about eight years ole when de Yankee mens come through. My mammy an’ pappy, Hattie an’ Jim Jeffries belonged to Marse Frank Jeffries. Marse Frank come from Mississippi, but when I wuz bawn he an’ Mis’ Mary Jane wuz livin’ down herr near Louisburg in North Carolina whare dey had er big plantation an’ [HW addition: I] don’ know how many niggers. Marse Frank wuz good to his niggers, ‘cept [HW addition: that] he never give dem ernough to eat. He worked dem hard on half rations, but he didn’ believe in all de time beatin’ an’ sellin’ dem. My pappy worked at de stables, he wuz er good horseman, but my mammy worked at de big house helpin’ Mis’ Mary Jane. Mammy worked in de weavin’ room. I can see her now settin’ at de weavin’ machine an’ hear de pedals goin’ plop, plop, as she treaded dem wid her feets. She wuz a good weaver. I stayed ‘roun’ de big house too, pickin’ up chips, sweepin’ de yard an’ such as dat. Mis’ Mary Jane wuz quick as er whippo’-will. She had black eyes dat snapped, an’ dey seed everythin’. She could turn her head so quick...

Slave Narrative of Doc Edwards

Interviewer: Daisy Whaley Person Interviewed: Doc Edwards Location: Staggville, North Carolina Date of Birth: 1853 Age: 84 Ex-Slave, 84 Yrs. I was bawn at Staggville, N. C., in 1853. I belonged to Marse Paul Cameron. My pappy was Murphy McCullers. Mammy’s name was Judy. Dat would make me a McCullers, but I was always knowed as Doc Edwards an’ dat is what I am called to dis day. I growed up to be de houseman an’ I cooked for Marse Benehan,–Marse Paul’s son. Marse Benehan was good to me. My health failed from doing so much work in de house an’ so I would go for a couple of hours each day an’ work in de fiel’ to be out doors an’ get well again. Marse Paul had so many niggers dat he never counted dem. When we opened de gate for him or met him in de road he would say, “Who is you? Whare you belong?” We would say, “We belong to Marse Paul.” “Alright, run along” he’d say den, an’ he would trow us a nickel or so. We had big work shops whare we made all de tools, an’ even de shovels was made at home. Dey was made out of wood, so was de rakes, pitchforks an’ some of de hoes. Our nails was made in de blacksmith shop by han’ an’ de picks an’ grubbin’ hoes, too. We had a han’ thrashing machine. It was roun’ like a stove pipe, only bigger. We fed de wheat to it an’ shook it’ til de wheat was loose from de straw an’ when it come...

Slave Narrative of Lindsey Faucette

Interviewer: Daisy Whaley Person Interviewed: Lindsey Faucette Location: Church Street, Durham, North Carolina Date of Birth: November 16, 1851 Place of Birth: Occoneachee Plantaion Age: 86 Yes, Mis’, I wuz bawn in 1851, de 16th of November, on de Occoneechee Plantation, owned by Marse John Norwood an’ his good wife, Mis’ Annie. An’ when I say ‘good’ I mean jus dat, for no better people ever lived den my Marse John an’ Mis’ Annie. One thing dat made our Marse an’ Mistis so good wuz de way dey brought up us niggers. We wuz called to de big house an’ taught de Bible an’ dey wuz Bible readin’s every day. We wuz taught to be good men an’ women an’ to be hones’. Marse never sold any of us niggers. But when his boys and girls got married he would give dem some of us to take with dem. Marse never allowed us to be whipped. One time we had a white overseer an’ he whipped a fiel’ han’ called Sam Norwood, til de blood come. He beat him so bad dat de other niggers had to take him down to de river an’ wash de blood off. When Marse come an’ foun’ dat out he sent dat white man off an’ wouldn’ let him stay on de plantation over night. He jus’ wouldn’ have him roun’ de place no longer. He made Uncle Whitted de overseer kase he wuz one of de oldest slaves he had an’ a good nigger. When any of us niggers got sick Mis’ Annie would come down to de cabin to see us....

Slave Narrative of Lucy Brown

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Lucy Brown Date of Interview: May 20, 1937 Location: Durham, North Carolina An interview with Lucy Brown of Hecktown, Durham, Durham County, May 20, 1937. She does not know her age. I wuz jist a little thing when de war wuz over an’ I doan ‘member much ter tell yo’. Mostly what I does know I hyard my mammy tell it. We belonged to John Neal of Person County. I doan know who my pappy wuz, but my mammy wuz named Rosseta an’ her mammy’s name ‘fore her wuz Rosseta. I had one sister named Jenny an’ one brother named Ben. De marster wuz good ter us, in a way, but he ain’t ‘lowin’ no kinds of frolickin’ so when we had a meetin’ we had ter do it secret. We’d turn down a wash pot outside de do’, an’ dat would ketch de fuss so marster neber knowed nothin’ ’bout hit. On Sundays we went ter church at de same place de white folkses did. De white folkses rid an’ de niggers walked, but eben do’ we wored wooden bottomed shoes we wuz proud an’ mostly happy. We had good clothes an’ food an’ not much abuse. I doan know de number of slaves, I wuz so little. My mammy said dat slavery wuz a whole lot wuser [HW correction: wusser] ‘fore I could ‘member. She tol’ me how some of de slaves had dere babies in de fiel’s lak de cows done, an’ she said dat ‘fore de babies wuz borned dey tied de mammy down on her face if’en dey...

Slave Narrative of Cy Hart

Interviewer: Daisy Whaley Person Interviewed: Cy Hart Location: Durham, North Carolina Age: 78 Ephram Hart was my pappy and my mammy’s name was Nellie. He belonged to Marse Ephram Hart. One day Marse Hart took some of his niggers to de slave market an’ my pappy was took along too. When he was put on de block an’ sold Marse Paul Cameron bought him. Den Marse Hart felt so sorry to think he done let my pappy be sold dat he tried to buy him back from Marse Paul, an’ offered him more den Marse Paul paid for him. But Marse Paul said, “No, Suh. I done bought him an’ I want det nigger myself an’ I am goin’ take him home wid me to Snow Hill farm.” Pappy married my mammy an’ raised a family on Marse Paul’s plantation. We had to be eight years ole before we ‘gun to work. I tended de chickens an’ turkeys an’ sech. I helped tend de other stock too as I growed older, an’ do anythin’ else dat I was tole to do. When I got bigger I helped den wid de thrashin’ de wheat an’ I helped dem push de straw to de stack. We had what wuz den called a ‘groun’ hog. It wuz a cylinder shaped contraption. We put de wheat straw an all in it an’ knock de grain loose from de straw. Den we took de pitchforks an’ tossed de straw up an’ about, an’ dat let de wheat go to de bottom on a big cloth. Den we fan de wheat, to get de dust...

Slave Narrative of Milly Henry

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Milly Henry Location: 713 South East Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Yazoo City, Mississippi Age: 82 Ex-Slave Story An interview with Milly Henry 82 of 713 South East Street, Raleigh, N. C. I wus borned a slave ter Mr. Buck Boylan in Yazoo City, Mississippi. I doan know nothin’ ’bout my family ‘cept my gran’maw an’ she died in Mississippi durin’ de war. Marster Buck owned three plantations dar, de Mosley place, Middle place, an’ de Hill place. Me an’ gran’maw lived at de Mosley place. One day Marster Buck comes in, an’ we sees dat he am worried stiff; atter awhile he gangs us up, an’ sez ter us: De Yankees am a-comin’ to take my slaves ‘way from me an’ I don’t ‘pose dat dey am gwine ter do dat. Fer dem reasons we leaves fer No’th Carolina day atter termorror an’ I ain’t gwine ter hyar no jaw ’bout hit.’ Dat day he goes over de slaves an’ picks out ‘roun’ five hundret ter go. He picks me out, but my gran’maw he sez dat he will leave case she am so old an’ feeble. I hates dat, but I don’t say nothin’ at all. We leaves home in kivered wagons, wid a heap walkin’ an’ in ’bout three weeks, I reckon, we gits ter Raleigh. You should have been ‘long on dat trip, honey; When we camps side of de road an’ sleeps on de groun’ an’ cooks our rations at de camp fires. I think dat dat wus one spring ‘fore de surrender wus de nex’....

Slave Narrative of Mary Wallace Bowe

Interviewer: Travis Jordan Person Interviewed: Mary Wallace Bowe Location: Durham, North Carolina Age: 81 My name is Mary Wallace Bowe. I was nine years ole at de surrender. My mammy an’ pappy, Susan an’ Lillman Graves, first belonged to Marse Fountain an’ Mis’ Fanny Tu’berville, but Marse Fountain sold me, my mammy an’ my brother George to Mis’ Fanny’s sister, Mis’ Virginia Graves. Mis’ Virginia’s husban’ was Marse Doctor Graves. Dey lived on de ole Elijah Graves estate not far from Marse Fountain’s plantation here in Durham county, an’ Mis’ Virginia an’ Mis’ Fanny seed each other near ’bout every day. I was little when Marse Fountain an’ Marse Doctor went to de war but I remembers it. I remembers it kaze Mis’ Fanny stood on de po’ch smilin’ an’ wavin’ at Marse Fountain ’til he went ‘roun’ de curve in de road, den she fell to de floor like she was dead. I thought she was dead ’till Mis’ Virginia th’owed some water in her face an’ she opened her eyes. De nex day Mis’ Virginia took me an’ mammy an’ we all went over an’ stayed wid Mis’ Fanny kaze she was skeered, an’ so dey’d be company for each other. Mammy waited on Mis’ Virginia an’ he’ped Surella Tu’berville, Mis’ Fanny’s house girl, sweep an’ make up de beds an’ things. I was little but mammy made me work. I shook de rugs, brung in de kindlin’ an run ‘roun’ waitin’ on Mis’ Virginia an’ Mis’ Fanny, doin’ things like totin’ dey basket of keys, bringin’ dey shawls and such as dat. Dey was all de...

Slave Narrative of Tempie Herndon Durham

Interviewer: Travis Jordan Person Interviewed: Tempie Herndon Durham Location: 1312 Pine St., Durham, North Carolina Age: 103 I was thirty-one years ole when de surrender come. Dat makes me sho nuff ole. Near ’bout a hundred an’ three years done passed over dis here white head of mine. I’se been here, I mean I’se been here. ‘Spects I’se de olest nigger in Durham. I’se been here so long dat I done forgot near ’bout as much as dese here new generation niggers knows or ever gwine know. My white fo’ks lived in Chatham County. Dey was Marse George an’ Mis’ Betsy Herndon. Mis Betsy was a Snipes befo’ she married Marse George. Dey had a big plantation an’ raised cawn, wheat, cotton an’ ‘bacca. I don’t know how many field niggers Marse George had, but he had a mess of dem, an’ he had hosses too, an’ cows, hogs an’ sheeps. He raised sheeps an’ sold de wool, an’ dey used de wool at de big house too. Dey was a big weavin’ room whare de blankets was wove, an’ dey wove de cloth for de winter clothes too. Linda Hernton an’ Milla Edwards was de head weavers, dey looked after de weavin’ of de fancy blankets. Mis’ Betsy was a good weaver too. She weave de same as de niggers. She say she love de clackin’ soun’ of de loom, an’ de way de shuttles run in an’ out carryin’ a long tail of bright colored thread. Some days she set at de loom all de mawnin’ peddlin’ wid her feets an’ her white han’s flittin’ over de...

Slave Narrative of Sarah Debro

Interviewer: Travis Jordan Person Interviewed: Sarah Debro Location: Durham, North Carolina Age: 90 Years I was bawn in Orange County way back some time in de fifties. Mis Polly White Cain an’ Marse Docter Cain was my white folks. Marse Cain’s plantation joined Mistah Paul Cameron’s land. Marse Cain owned so many niggers dat he didn’ know his own slaves when he met dem in de road. Sometimes he would stop dem an’ say: ‘Whose niggers am you?’ Dey’d say, ‘We’s Marse Cain’s niggers.’ Den he would say, ‘I’se Marse Cain,’ and drive on. Marse Cain was good to his niggers. He didn’ whip dem like some owners did, but if dey done mean he sold dem. Dey knew dis so dey minded him. One day gran’pappy sassed Mis’ Polly White an’ she told him dat if he didn’ ‘have hese’f dat she would put him in her pocket. Gran’pappy wuz er big man an’ I ax him how Mis’ Polly could do dat. He said she meant dat she would sell him den put de money in her pocket. He never did sass Mis’ Polly no more. I was kept at de big house to wait on Mis’ Polly, to tote her basket of keys an’ such as dat. Whenever she seed a chile down in de quarters dat she wanted to raise be hand, she took dem up to do big house an’ trained dem. I wuz to be a house maid. De day she took me my mammy cried kaze she knew I would never be ‘lowed to live at de cabin wid her no more...

Joseph A. White

Corpl., F. A., Btry. C, 30th Div., 113th Regt.; of Durham, N.C.; son of Mr. and Mrs. C. C. White. Entered service June 19, 1917, at Durham, N.C. Sent to Camp Sevier, Greenville, S. C., transferred to Camp Mills. Sailed for France May 26, 1918. Fought at St. Mihiel offensive Sept. 12 to Sept. 15, 1918; Meuse-Argonne offensive Sept. 26 to Oct. 7, 1918; Woevre offensive Nov. 8 to Nov. 11, 1918; Toul defensive Aug. 27th to Sept. 11th; Woevre defensive Oct. 11 to Nov. 7th. Returned to USA March 19, 1919. Mustered out at Camp Jackson, S. C., March 28,...
Page 1 of 212

Pin It on Pinterest