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Slave Narrative of “Parson” Rezin Williams

Interviewer: Stansbury Person Interviewed: Rezin (Parson) Williams Date of Interview: September 18 and 24, 1937 Location: Baltimore, Maryland Date of Birth: March 11, 1822 Age: 116 Place of Residence: 2610 Pierpont Street, Mount Winans, Baltimore, MD References: Baltimore Morning Sun, December 10, 1928. Registration Books of Board of Election Supervisors Baltimore Court House. Personal interviews with “Parson” Rezin Williams, on Thursday afternoon, September 18 and 24, 1937, at his home, 2610 Pierpont Street, Mount Winans, Baltimore, Md. Oldest living Negro Civil War veteran; now 116 years old. Oldest registered voter in Maryland and said to be the oldest “freeman” in the United States. Said to be oldest member of Negro family in America with sister and brother still living, more than a century old. Father worked for George Washington. In 1864 when the State Constitution abolished slavery and freed about 83,000 Negro slaves in Maryland, there was one, “Parson” Rezin Williams, already a freeman. He is now living at the age of 116 years, in Baltimore City, Maryland, credited with being the oldest of his race in the United States who served in the Civil War. He was born March 11, 1822, at “Fairview”, near Bowie, Prince Georges County, Maryland—a plantation of 1000 acres, then belonging to Governor Oden Bowie’s father. “Parson” Williams’ father, Rezin Williams, a freeman, was born at “Mattaponi”, near Nottingham, Prince Georges County, the estate of Robert Bowie of Revolutionary War fame, friend of Washington and twice Governor of Maryland. The elder Rezin Williams served the father of our country as a hostler at Mount Vernon, where he worked on Washington’s plantation during the stormy...

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