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Narrative of the Escape of W. B. Thompson – Indian Captivities

John W. B. Thompson’s story of “captivity” is really a captive story about being attacked by Seminole Indians at the Cape Florida Lighthouse he manned with what appears to be his slave. Written by him to let his friends know that he was alive, though crippled, the letter to the editor of the Charleston (S. C.) Courier details the frightful event of 23 July 1836. The Seminole Indians who attacked him likely pillaged the premise for supplies as they were taking their families into the marsh around Cape Florida where they were attempting to hide from the forced migration of their tribe to Oklahoma.

Slave Narrative of Dave Taylor

Interviewer: Jules A. Frost Person Interviewed: Dave Taylor Location: Tampa, Florida A Marine In Ebony From a Virginia plantation to Florida, through perils of Indian war-fare; shanghaied on a Government vessel and carried ’round the world; shipwrecked and dropped into the lap of romance – these are only a few of the colorful pages from the unwritten diary of old Uncle Dave, ex-slave and soldier of fortune. The reporter found the old man sitting on the porch of his Iber City shack, thoughtfully chewing tobacco and fingering his home-made cane. At first he answered in grumpy monosyllables, but by the magic of a good cigar, he gradually let himself go, disclosing minute details of a most remarkable series of adventures. His language is a queer mixture of geechy, sea terms and broad “a’s” acquired by long association with Nassau “conchs.” Married to one of these ample-waisted Bahama women, the erst-while rambler and adventurer proved that rolling stones sometimes become suitable foundations for homes – he lived faithfully with the same wife for fifty-one years. “Shippin’ ‘fore de mahst ain’t no job to make a preacher f’m a youngster; hit’s plenty tough; but I ain’t nevah been sorry I went to sea; effen a boy gwine take to likker an’ wimmen, he kin git plenty o’both at home, same as in for’n ports.” The old man bit off a conservative chew from his small plug, carefully wrapped the remainder in his handkerchief and chewed thoughtfully for some time before he continued. “I wasn’t bawn in Florida, but I be’n here so long I reckon hit ’bout de same thing. I...

Slave Narrative of Emma Knight

Person Interviewed: Emma Knight Location: Hannibal, Missouri Emma Knight, living at 924 North Street, Hannibal Missouri was born in slavery on the farm of Will and Emily Ely, near Florida, Monroe County. The following is her story as she told it: “We lived on a Creek near Florida. We belonged to Will Ely. He had only five slaves, my father and mother and three of us girls. I was only eight or nine years old. De Elys had eight children. Dere was Paula, Ann, Sarah, Becky, Emily, Lizzie, Will, Ike, and Frank. Lizzie was de oldest girl and I was to belong to her when she was married. “De master of de house was better to us dan de mistress. We didn’t have to work none too hard, ’cause we was so young, I guess. We cut weeds along de fences, pulled weeds in de garden and helped de mistress with de hoeing. We had to feed de stock, sheep, hogs, and calves, because de young masters wouldn’t do de work. In de evenings we was made to knit a finger width and if we missed a stitch we would have to pull all the yarn out and do it over. De master’s girls learned us to read and write. We didn’t have hardly no clothes and most of de time dey was just rags. We went barefoot until it got real cold. Our feet would crack open from de cold and bleed. We would sit down and bawl and cry because it hurt so. Mother made moccasins for our feet from old pants. Late in de fall master...

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