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Slave Narrative of Jenny Greer

Person Interviewed: Jenny Greer Location: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Birth: Florence, Alabama Age: 84 Place of Residence: 706 Overton Street, Nashville, Tennessee “Am 84 y’ars ole en wuz bawn in Florence, Alabama, ’bout seben miles fum town. Wuz bawn on de Collier plantashun en Marster en Missis wuz James en Jeanette Collier. Mah daddy en mammy wuz named Nelson en Jane Collier. I wuz named atter one ob mah Missis’ daughters. Our family wuz neber sold er divided.” “I’se bin ma’ied once. Ma’ied Neeley Greer. Thank de Lawd I aint got no chilluns. Chilluns ez so bad now I can’t stand dem ter save mah life.” “Useter go ter de bap’isin’s en dey would start shoutin’ en singin’ w’en we lef’ de chuch. Went ter deze bap’isin’s in Alabama, Memphis, en ‘yer in Nashville. Lawdy hab mercy, how we useter sing. Only song I members ez ‘De Ole Time ‘ligion.’ I useter go ter camp meetin’s. Eve’rbody had a jolly time, preachin’, shoutin’ en eatin’ good things.” “We didn’t git a thing w’en we wuz freed. W’en dey said we wuz free mah people had ter look out fer demselves.” “Don’ member now ’bout K.K.K. er ‘structshun days. Mah mammy useter tell us a lot ob stories but I’se fergot dem. I’se neber voted en dunno ob any frens bein’ in office.” “No mam, no mam, don’t b’leeve in diff’ent colurs ma’rin. I member one ole sign-‘bad luck ter empty ashes atter dark.'” “I’se hired out wuk’n in white folks house since freedum. I’se a widow now en live ‘yer wid mah neice en mah...

Slave Narrative of Tom W. Woods

Person Interviewed: Tom W. Woods Location: Alderson, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Florence, Alabama Age: 83 Lady, if de nigger hadn’t been set free dis country wouldn’t ever been what it is now! Poor white folks wouldn’t never had a chance. De slave holders had most of de money and de land and dey wouldn’t let de poor white folks have a chance to own any land or anything else to speak of. Dese white folks wasn’t much better off dan we was. Dey had to work hard and dey had to worry ’bout food, clothes and shelter and we didn’t. Lots of slave owners wouldn’t allow den on deir farms among deir slaves without orders from de overseer. I don’t know why, unless he was afraid dey would stir up discontent among de niggers. Dere was lots of “underground railroading” and I rekon dat was what Old Master and others was afraid of. Us darkies was taught dat poor white folks didn’t amount to much, Course we knowed dey was white and we was black and dey was to be respected for dat, but dat was about all. White folks as well as niggers profited by Emancipation. Lincoln was a friend to all poor white folks as well as black ones and if he could a’ lived things would a’been different for ever’body. Dis has been a good old world to live in. I always been able to make a purty good living and de only trouble I ever had has been sickness and death. I’ve had a sight of dat kind of trouble. I’ve outlived two wives and...

Slave Narrative of Spencer Barnett

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person Interviewed: Spencer Barnett (blind) Location: Holly Grove, Arkansas Age: 81 Occupation: Brakeman on freight train, Farmed, Worked in timber, He sold “shuck mats” and “bottomed” chairs “I was born April 30, 1856. It was wrote in a old Bible. I am 81 years old. I was born 3 miles from Florence, Alabama. The folks owned us was Nancy and Mars Tom Williams. To my recollection they had John, William, and Tom, boys; Jane, Ann, Lucy, and Emma, girls. In my family there was 13 children. My parents name Harry and Harriett Barnett. “Mars Tom Williams had a tanning yard. He bought hides this way: When a fellow bring hides he would tan em then give him back half what he brought. Then he work up the rest in shoes, harness, whoops, saddles and sell them. The man all worked wid him and he had a farm. He raised corn, cotton, wheat, and oats. “That slavery was bad. Mars Tom Williams wasn’t cruel. He never broke the skin. When the horn blowed they better be in place. They used a twisted cowhide whoop. It was wet and tied, then it mortally would hurt. One thing you had to be in your place day and night. It was confinin’. “Sunday was visiting day. “One man come to dinner, he hit a horse wid a rock and run way. He missed his dinner. He come back fo dark and went tole Mars Tom. He didn’t whoop him. I was mighty little when that took place. “They worked on Saturday like any other day. One man fixed out...

Biography of Milton Gooddell Young

Well known and prominent in the financial circles of Muskogee is Milton Gooddell Young, who is the President of the Security State Bank. Long experience has well qualified him for the important and responsible duties which devolve upon him in this connection and as the years have passed he has made himself a forceful factor among the bankers of his section of the state. He was born in Florence, Alabama, February 15, 1884, and is a son of Andrew M. and Ollie (House) Young.  His father was also prominent in financial circles, being the first bank commissioner of the state of Oklahoma. Milton G. Young largely acquired his education in the public schools and when fifteen years of age started out in the business world, becoming associated with his father in the Bedford County Bank at Wartrace, Tennessee. He served as bookkeeper there for two years and then went to Fort Worth, Texas, where he occupied the position of auditor with the Continental Bank & Trust Company. In 1905 he arrived in Muskogee and entered the Bank of Commerce as assistant cashier. His next position was that of cashier in the Exchange National Bank and he remained with that corporation until April, 1919, when he organized the Security State Bank, of which he has since been the President. His connection with these various banking institutions has brought him a broad and comprehensive knowledge of the business and as the years have passed his steady advancement has taken him to the goal of success. On the 18th of October, 1911, Mr. Young was married to Miss Mary A. Jackson of...

Biography of William H. Shepard

William H. Shepard. When William H. Shepard left college he chose the work which seemed most congenial and for which he had the greatest apparent adaptability, and entered a bank in Illinois. For thirty consecutive years he has applied himself to the subject of banking, and his business success and prominence is largely due to this concentration of effort along one line. Mr. Shepard is now vice president of the First National Bank of Coffeyville, and is identified with several other important concerns which might be classed as public utilities in that part of Kansas. His branch of the Shepard family came from England and settled in New York State prior to the Revolution. His grandfather Chauncey J. Shepard was born in 1801, lived for a number of years in Vermont, was a farmer and died at Norfolk, New York, in 1881. William H. Shepard, Sr., father of the Coffeyville banker, was born at Norfolk, New York, October 19, 1836. Three months after his birth his parents moved to Fairfax, Vermont, where he grew up and where he married. He taught school there, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and almost at the outset of his professional career moved west to Cambridge, Illinois, where he was engaged in the successful practice of his profession the rest of his life. He died at Cambridge, October 5, 1888. As a republican he represented his home district in the Illinois State Senate for two terms. He was a member of the Masonic Order. The senior Mr. Shepard married Mary Jackson, who was born at Westford, Vermont January 30, 1840, and is...

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