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Slave Narrative of James Cornelius

Person Interviewed: James Cornelius Location: Magnolia, Mississippi Place of Birth: Franklin Louisiana Age: 90+ James Cornelius lives in Magnolia in the northwestern part of the town, in the Negro settlement. He draws a Confederate pension of four dollars per month. He relates events of his life readily. “I does not know de year I was borned but dey said I was 15 years old when de War broke out an’ dey tell me I’se past 90 now. Dey call me James Cornelius an’ all de white folks says I’se a good ‘spectable darkey. “I was borned in Franklin, Loos’anna. My mammy was named Chlo an’ dey said my pappy was named Henry. Dey b’longed to Mr. Alex Johnson an’ whil’st I was a baby my mammy, my brudder Henry, an’ me was sol’ to Marse Sam Murry Sandell an’ we has brung to Magnolia to live an’ I niver remember seein’ my pappy ag’in. “Marse Murry didn’ have many slaves. His place was right whar young Mister Lampton Reid is buildin’ his fine house jes east of de town. My mammy had to work in da house an’ in de fiel’ wid all de other niggers an’ I played in de yard wid de little chulluns, bofe white an’ black. Sometimes we played ‘tossin’ de ball’ an’ sometimes we played ‘rap-jacket’ an’ sometimes ‘ketcher.’ An’ when it rained we had to go in de house an’ Old Mistess made us behave. “I was taught how to work ’round de house, how to sweep an’ draw water frum de well an’ how to kin’le fires an’ keep de wood box...

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