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Slave Narrative of Henri Necaise

Interviewer: C. E. Wells Person Interviewed: Henry Necaise Location: Nicholson, Mississippi Place of Birth: Harrison County MS Age: 105 Henri Necaise, ex-slave, 105 years old, lives a half-mile south of Nicholson on US 11. Uncle Henri lives in a small plank cabin enclosed by a fence. He owns his cabin and a small piece of land. He is about five feet ten inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. His sight and hearing are very good. “I was born in Harrison County, 19 miles from Pass Christian, ‘long de ridge road from de swamp near Wolf River. My Marster was Ursan Ladnier. De Mistis’ name was Popone. Us was all French. My father was a white man, Anatole Necaise. I knowed he was my father, ’cause he used to call me to him an’ tell me I was his oldes’ son. “I never knowed my mother. I was a slave an’ my mother was sol’ from me an’ her other chilluns. Dey tol’ me when dey sol’ ‘er my sister was a-holdin’ me in her arms. She was standin’ behin’ da Big House peekin’ ‘roun’ de corner an’ seen de las’ of her mother. I seen her go, too. Dey tell me I used to go to de gate a-huntin’ for my mammy. I used to sleep wid my sister after dat. “Jus’ lemme study a little, an’ I’ll tell you ’bout de Big House. It was ’bout 60 feet long, built o’ hewed logs, in two parts. De floors was made o’ clay dey didn’ have lumber for floors den. Us lived right close to de Big House in...

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...

Slave Narrative of Berry Smith

Interviewer: W. B. Allen Person Interviewed: Berry Smith Location: Forest, Mississippi Place of Birth: Sumpter County, Alabama “Uncle Berry” Smith is five feet two or three inches tall. He is scrupulously neat. He is very independent for his age, which is calculated at one hundred and sixteen years. He believes the figure to be correct. His mind is amazingly clear. “I was born an’ bred in Sumpter County, Alabama, in de prairie lan’, six miles from Gainesville. Dat’s where I hauled cotton. It was close to Livingston, Alabama, where we lived. “I was twelve years old when de stars fell. Dey fell late in de night an’ dey lighted up de whole earth. All de chaps was a-runnin’ ‘roun’ grabbin’ for ’em, but none of us ever kotched[FN: caught] one. It’s a wonder some of’ em didn’ hit us, but dey didn’. Dey never hit de groun’ atall. “When dey runned de Injuns out de country, me an’ another chap kotched one o’ dem Injun’s ponies an hung him up[FN: tied him up] in de grape vines. He said it was his pony an’ I said it was mine. “Marse Bob’s boy tol’ us his daddy was gwine a-whup us for stealin’ dat pony, so we hid out in de cane for two nights. Marse Bob an’ his brother whupped us’ til we didn’ want to see no more Injuns or dey ponies, neither. “I was born a slave to Old Marse Jim Harper an’ I fell to Marse Bob. Marse Jim bought my pa an’ ma from a man by de name o’ Smith, an’ Pa kep’ de...

Slave Narrative of Reverend Williams

Interviewer: Miriam Logan Person Interviewed: Rev. Williams Location: Lebanon, Ohio Place of Birth: Greenbriar County, West Virginia Date of Birth: 1859 Age: 76 Occupation: Methodist minister Miriam Logan Lebanon, Ohio July 8th Warren County, District 2 Story of REVEREND WILLIAMS, Aged 76, Colored Methodist Minister, Born Greenbriar County, West Virginia (Born 1859) “I was born on the estate of Miss Frances Cree, my mother’s mistress. She had set my grandmother Delilah free with her sixteen children, so my mother was free when I was born, but my father was not. “My father was butler to General Davis, nephew of Jefferson Davis. General Davis was wounded in the Civil War and came home to die. My father, Allen Williams was not free until the Emancipation.” “Grandmother Delilah belonged to Dr. Cree. Upon his death and the division of his estate, his maiden daughter came into possession of my grandmother, you understand. Miss Frances nor her brother Mr. Cam. ever married. Miss Frances was very religious, a Methodist, and she believed Grandmother Delilah should be free, and that we colored children should have schooling.” “Yes ma’m, we colored people had a church down there in West Virginia, and grandmother Delilah had a family Bible of her own. She had fourteen boys and two girls. My mother had sixteen children, two boys, fourteen girls. Of them-mother’s children, you understand, there were seven teachers and two ministers; all were educated-thanks to Miss Frances and to Miss Sands of Gallipolice. Mother lived to be ninety-seven years old. No, she was not a cook.” “In the south, you understand-there is the COLORED M.E. CHURCH, and...

Slave Narrative of Mrs. Phoebe Bost

Interviewer: Frank Smith Person Interviewed: Phoebe Bost Location: Campbell, Ohio Place of Birth: Louisiana Place of Residence: 3461 Wilson Avenue, Campbell, Ohio Youngstown, Ohio. Mrs. Phoebe Bost, was born on a plantation in Louisiana, near New Orleans. She does not know her exact age but says she was told, when given her freedom that she was about 15 years of age. Phoebe’s first master was a man named Simons, who took her to a slave auction in Baltimore, where she was sold to Vaul Mooney (this name is spelled as pronounced, the correct spelling not known.) When Phoebe was given her freedom she assummed the name of Mooney, and went to Stanley County, North Carolina, where she worked for wages until she came north and married to Peter Bost. Phoebe claims both her masters were very mean and would administer a whipping at the slightest provocation. Phoebe’s duties were that of a nurse maid. “I had to hol’ the baby all de time she slept” she said “and sometimes I got so sleepy myself I had to prop ma’ eyes open with pieces of whisks from a broom.” She claims there was not any recreation, such as singing and dancing permitted at this plantation. Phoebe, who is now widowed, lives with her daughter, in part of a double house, at 3461 Wilson Avenue, Campbell, Ohio. Their home is fairly well furnished and clean in appearance. Phoebe is of slender stature, and is quite active in spite of the fact that she is nearing her...

Slave Narrative of John White

Person Interviewed: John White Location: Sand Springs, Oklahoma Date of Birth: April 10, 1816 Age: 121 Occupation: Yard Worker Of all my Mammy’s children I am the first born and the longest living. The others all gone to join Mammy. She was named Mary White, the same name as her Mistress, the wife of my first master, James White. About my paopy. I never hear his name and I never see him, not even when I was the least child around the old Master’s place ‘way back there in Georgia more’n one-hundred twenty years ago! Mammy try to make it clear to me about my daddy. She married like the most of the slaves in then days. He was a slave on another plantation. One day he come for to borrow something from Master White. He sees a likely looking gal, and the way it work out that gal was to be my Mammy. After that he got a paper saying it was all right for his to be off his own plantation. He come a’courting over to Master Whites. After a while he talks with the Master. Says he wants to marry the gal, Mary. The Master says it’s all right if it’s all right with Mary and the other white folks. He finds out it is and they makes ready for the wedding. Mary says a preacher wedding is the best but Master say he can marry them just as good. There wasn’t no Bible, just an old Almanac. Master White read something out of that. That’s all and they was married. The wedding was over! Every...

Biographical Sketch of Aldrich, Thomas Bailey

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, son of Elias T. and Sara (Bailey) Aldrich, was born in Portsmouth, Rockingham County, N. H., November 11, 1836. He received his early education at the common schools in New Orleans, La., and at the Temple grammar school in Portsmouth. He commenced a course of study preparatory to entering college, but having the misfortune, in his fifteenth year, to lose his father, he abandoned that purpose, and entered the counting-room of an uncle, a merchant in New York. Her he remained for three years, and it was during that period that he began to contribute verses to the New York journals. A collection of his poems was published in 1855, the volume taking its name from the initial poem, “The Bells.” Mr. Aldrich’s most successful poem, “Babie Bell,” which was published in 1856, was copied and repeated all over the country. His next position was that of proofreader, and then reader for a publishing house. He became a frequent contributor to the New York “Evening Mirror,” “Putnam’s Magazine,” “The Knickerbocker,” and the weekly newspapers, for one of which he wrote “Daisy’s Necklace and What Came of It,” a prose poem which was afterwards issued in a volume, and attained a wide popularity. In 1856 Mr. Aldrich joined the staff of the “Home Journal,” continuing in this position for three years. He was also connected with the “Saturday Press,” and a frequent contributor to “Harper’s Monthly,” and the “Atlantic Monthly,” of which latter magazine he has for some years been the editor. Mr. Aldrich was married in New York, November 28, 1865. In 1866 he removed to...

Biography of Jonathan Wilkins

Jonathan Wilkins, one of the earliest inhabitants of Athens, was a man of very considerable learning, and for some time taught a pioneer school. Of his son, Timothy Wilkins, the following reminiscence is furnished by Dr. C. F. Perkins; it is hardly less strange than the history immortalized by Tennyson in 11 Enoch Arden.” Mr. Wilkins was skillful and enterprising in business, but, through no fault of his own, became embarrassed, was hard pressed by creditors, and pursued by writs. In those days, when a man could be imprisoned for a debt of ten dollars, to fail in business was an awful thing. Wilkins was not dishonest, but had a heart to pay if he could. He battled bravely with his misfortunes for a considerable period, but with poor success. One day in the year 1829, full of despair, he came from his home west of town, across the Hockhocking, and having transacted some business with the county clerk, went out, and was supposed to have returned home. The next morning it became known that he was not at his house. Inquiry and search being made, the boat in which he usually crossed the river was seen floating bottom upward, and his hat was also found swimming down the stream. Mr. Wilkins was a popular man in the community; news of his loss soon spread, the people gathered from every quarter and measures were taken to recover the body. The river was dragged, a cannon was fired over the water, and other means resorted to, but to no purpose; the body was not found. The excellent Mrs. Wilkins put...

Biography of Francis Lester Hawkes

The old saying, that North Carolina is a good place to start from, is the key-note to the greatness of her people, as well as a term of reproach as accepted by them. All great men must seek the large centers of civilization in order to give to the world their message, but the great principles of their lives come from the land of their birth. A State is to be measured by the number of its good and great men, and not by material or physical predominance. Even intellectual gifts and culture cannot make a people great, but may become the instruments of their ruin. There are men in every period who shape the life and mold the thought of their time, and among these were some who made higher achievements in particular lines of work, “but in all the elements which form a positive character, in that kind of power which sways the minds of other men, and which molds public opinion, few men of his age deserve to rank higher than Francis Lister Hawks.” Dr. Hawks was born in New Bern, North Carolina, June 10, 1798. He was the second son of Francis and Julia Hawks. His father was of English and his mother of Irish descent. His grandfather, John Hawks, came to America with Governor Tryon, so well known in the early history of our State. They were warm friends in the old country and cane over together to try their fortunes in the new. He was the architect of Tryon palace in New Bern, where he submitted his accounts for building, to the governor’s...

Biographical Sketch of H. Clay Lewis

Mr. H. Clay Lewis, one of the enterprising young farmers of Lake County, is the son, of Robert A. and Mary (Donaldson) Lewis and was born in Lake County, January 5, 1860. Mr. Lewis was raised on a farm, and when a boy had few school advantages. When seventeen years of age he went to New Orleans and entered Dolbear’s Commercial College, but the death of his father prevented him from completing his course, as he then returned to Lake County and assumed charge of his father’s farm. On December 25, 1884, he married Miss Maggie H. Harper, daughter of William Harper. Mrs. Lewis was born February 27, 1861. They have one son, Robert W. They do not belong, to any church. Mr. Lewis is a Mason and in politics a democrat. Although so young a man, by his own industry and fine business ability he has been able to buy a fine farm of 337 acres, in the best part of Lake County. He is a shipping agent at Upper Slews Landing. Mr. Lewis is a wide awake farmer, and a good citizen and an honest...
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