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Slave Narrative of Hannah Crasson

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Hannah Crasson Location: North Carolina Location of Birth: Wake County NC Age: 84 My name is Hannah Crasson. I wuz born on John William Walton’s plantation 4 miles from Garner and 13 miles from Raleigh, N. C. in the County of Wake. I am 84 years ole the 2nd day uv dis las’ gone March. I belonged to Mr. John William Walton in slavery time. My missus wuz named Miss Martha. My father wuz named Frank Walton. My mother wuz named Flora Walton. Grandma wuz 104 years when she died. She died down at de old plantation. My brothers were named Johnnie and Lang. My sisters were Adeline, Violet, Mary, Sarah, Ellen, and Annie. Four of us are livin’, Ellen, Mary, Sarah and me. De old boss man wuz good to us. I wuz talkin’ about him the udder night. He didn’t whup us and he said, he didn’t want nobody else to whup us. It is jis like I tell you; he wuz never cruel to us. One uv his sons wuz cruel to us. We had a plenty to eat, we shore did, plenty to eat. We had nice houses to live in too. Grandma had a large room to live in, and we had one to live in. Daddy stayed at home with mother. They worked their patches by moonlight; and worked for the white folks in the day time. They sold what they made. Marster bought it and paid for it. He made a barrel o’ rice every year, my daddy did. Mr. Bell Allen owned slaves too. He...

Slave Narrative of Thomas Hall

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Thomas Hall Location: 316 Tarboro Road, Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Orange County NC Age: 81 My name is Thomas Hall and I was born in Orange County, N. C. on a plantation belonging to Jim Woods whose wife, our missus, was named Polly. I am eighty one years of age as I was born Feb. 14, 1856. My father Daniel Hall and my mother Becke Hall and me all belonged to the same man but it was often the case that this wus not true as one man, perhaps a Johnson, would own a husband and a Smith own the wife, each slave goin’ by the name of the slave owners, family. In such cases the children went by the name of the family to which the mother belonged. Gettin married an’ having a family was a joke in the days of slavery, as the main thing in allowing any form of matrimony among the slaves was to raise more slaves in the same sense and for the same purpose as stock raisers raise horses and mules, that is for work. A woman who could produce fast was in great demand and brought a good price on the auction block in Richmond, Va., Charleston, S. C., and other places. The food in many cases that was given the slaves was not given them for their pleasure or by a cheerful giver, but for the simple and practical reason that children would not grow into a large healthy slave unless they were well fed and clothed; and given good warm places in...

Slave Narrative of Mandy Coverson

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Mandy Coverson Location: 103 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Union County NC Age: 78 Ex-Slave Story An interview with Mandy Coverson, 78, of 103 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh. I wuz borned in Union County to Sarah an’ Henderson Tomberlin. My mother belonged to Mr. Moses Coverson, an’ my pappy belonged to Mr. Jackie Tom Tomberlin. I stayed wid my mammy, of course, an’ Marster Moses wuz good ter me. Dey warn’t so good ter my mammy, case dey makes her wuck frum sunup till sundown in de hot summertime, an’ she ain’t had no fun at all. She plowed two oxes, an’ if’en yo’ has eber been around a steer yo’ knows what aggravatin’ things dey is. De oberseer, whose name I’se plumb forget, wuz pore white trash an’ he wuz meaner dan de meanest nigger. Anyhow I wuz too little ter do much wuck so I played a heap an’ I had a big time. My mammy, died ‘fore I wuz very old an’ missus kept me in de house. I wuz petted by her, an’ I reckon spoiled. Yo’ knows dat den de niggers ain’t neber eat no biscuits but missus always gimmie one eber meal an’ in dat way she got me interested in waitin’ on de table. I wuzn’t old enough ter know much, but I does ‘member how de fambly hid all de valuables ‘fore de Yankees come, an’ dat Marster Moses in pickin’ up de big brass andirons hurt his back an’ dey said dat dat wuz de cause of his death a...

Slave Narrative of Milly Henry

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Milly Henry Location: 713 South East Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Yazoo City, Mississippi Age: 82 Ex-Slave Story An interview with Milly Henry 82 of 713 South East Street, Raleigh, N. C. I wus borned a slave ter Mr. Buck Boylan in Yazoo City, Mississippi. I doan know nothin’ ’bout my family ‘cept my gran’maw an’ she died in Mississippi durin’ de war. Marster Buck owned three plantations dar, de Mosley place, Middle place, an’ de Hill place. Me an’ gran’maw lived at de Mosley place. One day Marster Buck comes in, an’ we sees dat he am worried stiff; atter awhile he gangs us up, an’ sez ter us: De Yankees am a-comin’ to take my slaves ‘way from me an’ I don’t ‘pose dat dey am gwine ter do dat. Fer dem reasons we leaves fer No’th Carolina day atter termorror an’ I ain’t gwine ter hyar no jaw ’bout hit.’ Dat day he goes over de slaves an’ picks out ‘roun’ five hundret ter go. He picks me out, but my gran’maw he sez dat he will leave case she am so old an’ feeble. I hates dat, but I don’t say nothin’ at all. We leaves home in kivered wagons, wid a heap walkin’ an’ in ’bout three weeks, I reckon, we gits ter Raleigh. You should have been ‘long on dat trip, honey; When we camps side of de road an’ sleeps on de groun’ an’ cooks our rations at de camp fires. I think dat dat wus one spring ‘fore de surrender wus de nex’....

Slave Narrative of W. Solomon Debnam

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: W. S. Debnam Location: 701 Smith Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 78 Yes, I remember the Yankees coming to Raleigh. I don’t know very much about those times, I was so young, but I remember the Yankees all right in their blue clothes; their horses, and so on. I’ll be 78 years old the 8th of this comin’ September an’ I’ve heard mother an’ father talk about slavery time a whole lot. We belonged to T. R. Debnam at Eagle Rock, Wake County. His wife was named Priscilla Debnam. My father was named Daniel Debnam an’ my mother was named Liza Debnam. My master had several plantations an’ a lot of slaves. I don’t know how many, but I know he had ’em. He fed us well; we had a good place to sleep. We had wove clothes, enough to keep us warm. He treated me just like he had been my father. I didn’t know the difference. Marster an’ missus never hit me a lick in their lives. My mother was the house girl. Father tended business around the house an’ worked in the field sometimes. Our houses were in marster’s yard. The slave quarters were in the yard of the great house. I don’t remember going to church until after the surrender. I remember the corn shuckin’s, but not the Christmas and the fourth of July holidays. They had a lot of whiskey at corn shuckin’s and good things to eat. I heard pappy talk of patterollers, but I do not know what they were. Pappy said he had to have...

Slave Narrative of Barbara Haywood

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Barbara Haywood Location: 1111 Mark Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 85 Aunt Barbara’s Love Story An interview with Barbara Haywood, 85 years old. Address 1111 Mark Street, Raleigh, North Carolina. Anything dat I tells you will near ’bout all be ’bout Frank Haywood, my husban’. I wus borned on de John Walton place seben miles southeast of Raleigh. My father, Handy Sturdivant, belonged to somebody in Johnston County but mother an’ her chilluns ‘longed ter Marse John Walton. Marse John had a corn shuckin’ onct an’ at dat corn shuckin’ I fust saw Frank. I wus a little girl, cryin’ an’ bawlin’ an’ Frank, who wus a big boy said dat he neber wanted ter spank a youngin’ so bad, an’ I ain’t liked him no better dan he did me. He ‘longed ter Mr. Yarborough, what runned de hotel in Raleigh, but he wus boun’ out ter anybody what’ud hire him, an’ I doan know whar he got his name. I seed Frank a few times at de Holland’s Methodist Church whar we went ter church wid our white folks. You axes iffen our white folks wus good ter us, an’ I sez ter yo’ dat none of de white folks wus good ter none of de niggers. We done our weavin’ at night an’ we wurked hard. We had enough ter eat but we was whupped some. Jest ‘fore de war wus ober we wus sent ter Mr. William Turner’s place down clost ter Smithfield an’ dats whar we wus when de Yankees come. One day I wus settin’ on de...

Slave Narrative of John Coggin

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: John Coggin Location: Method, North Carolina Date of Birth: March 1, 1852 Location of Birth: Orange County NC Ex-Slave Story. An interview with John Coggin 85, of Method, N. C. When the interviewer first visited Uncle John he was busy cutting hay for a white family nearby, swinging the scythe with the vigor of a young man. In late afternoon he was found sitting on the doorsteps of his granddaughter’s house after a supper which certainly had onions on the menu and was followed by something stronger than water. “I was borned on March 1, 1852 in Orange County. My mammy wuz named Phillis Fenn an’ she wuz from Virginia. I ain’t neber had no paw an’ I ain’t wanted none, I ain’t had no brothers nar sisters nother.” “We ‘longed ter Doctor Jim Leathers, an’ de only whuppin’ I eber got wuz ’bout fightin’ wid young Miss Agnes, who wuz sommers long’ bout my age. Hit wuz jist a little whuppin’ but I’ members hit all right.” “We wucked de fiel’s, I totin’ water fer de six or seben han’s that wucked dar. An’ we jist wucked moderate like. We had plenty ter eat an’ plenty ter w’ar, do’ we did go barefooted most of de year. De marster shore wuz good ter us do’.” “I ‘members dat de fust I hyard of de Yankees wuz when young marster come in an’ says, ‘Lawd pa, de Yankees am in Raleigh.'” “Dat ebenin’ I wuz drawin’ water when all of a sudden I looks up de road, an’ de air am dark wid...

Slave Narrative of Frank Freeman

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Frank Freeman Location: 216 Tuppers Lane, Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: December 14, 1857 Place of Birth: Wake County NC Age: 76 I was born near Rolesville in Wake County Christmas Eve, 24 of December 1857. I am 76 years old. My name is Frank Freeman and my wife’s name is Mary Freeman. She is 78 years old. We live at 216 Tuppers Lane, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina. I belonged to ole man Jim Wiggins jus’ this side o’ Roseville, fourteen miles from Raleigh. The great house is standin’ there now, and a family by the name o’ Gill, a colored man’s family, lives there. The place is owned by ole man Jim Wiggins’s grandson, whose name is O. B. Wiggins. My wife belonged to the Terrells before the surrender. I married after the war. I was forty years ole when I was married. Old man Jim Wiggins was good to his niggers, and when the slave children were taken off by his children they treated us good. Missus dressed mother up in her clothes and let her go to church. We had good, well cooked food, good clothes, and good places to sleep. Some of the chimneys which were once attached to the slave houses are standing on the plantation. The home plantation in Wake County was 3000 acres. Marster also owned three and a quarter plantations in Franklin County. He kept about ten men at home and would not let his slave boys work until they were 18 years old, except tend to horses and do light jobs around...

Slave Narrative of Bill Crump

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Bill Crump Location: Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 82 I reckon dat I wus borned in Davidson County on de plantation of Mr. Whitman Smith, my mammy’s marster. My daddy wus named Tom an’ he ‘longed ter Mr. Ben Murry fust an’ later ter Mr. Jimmy Crump. Daddy wus named atter his young marster. Dey lived in Randolph, de county next ter Davidson whar me mammy an’ de rest of de chilluns, Alt, George, Harriet, Sarah, Mary an’ de baby libed. Both of de marsters wus good ter us, an’ dar wus plenty ter eat an’ w’ar, an’ right many jubilees. We ain’t none of de dozen er so of us eber got a whuppin’, case we ain’t desarved no whuppin’; why, dar wusn’t eben a cowhide whup anywhar on de place. We wucked in de fie’ls from sunup ter sundown mos’ o’ de time, but we had a couple of hours at dinner time ter swim or lay on de banks uv de little crick an’ sleep. Ober ’bout sundown marster let us go swim ag’in iff’en we wanted ter do it. De marster let us have some chickens, a shoat an’ a gyarden, an’ ‘tater patch, an’ we had time off ter wuck ’em. In season we preserved our own fruits fer de winter an’ so we larned not ter be so heaby on de marster’s han’s. My daddy wus a fiddler, an’ he sometimes played fer de dances at de Cross Roads, a little village near de marster’s place. All what ain’t been mean could go, but de mean ones can’t,...

Slave Narrative of Georgianna Foster

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed:  Georgianna Foster Location: 1308 Poole Road, Route #2., Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: 1861 I wus born in 1861. I jes’ can ‘member de Yankees comin’ through, but I ‘members dere wus a lot of ’em wearin’ blue clothes. I wus born at Kerney Upchurch’s plantation twelve miles from Raleigh. He wus my marster an’ Missus Enny wus his wife. My father wus named Axiom Wilder and my mother wus Mancy Wilder. De most I know ’bout slavery dey tole it to me. I ‘members I run when de Yankees come close to me. I wus ‘fraid of ’em. We lived in a little log houses at marsters. De food wus short an’ things in general wus bad, so mother tole me. She said dey wus a whole lot meaner den dey had any business bein’. Dey allowed de patterollers to snoop around an’ whup de slaves, mother said dey stripped some of de slaves naked an’ whupped ’em. She said women had to work all day in de fields an’ come home an’ do de house work at night while de white folks hardly done a han’s turn of work. Marse Kerney had a sluice of chilluns. I can’t think of ’em all, but I ‘members Calvin, James, Allen, Emily, Helen, an’ I jest can’t think of de rest of de chilluns names. Mother said dey gathered slaves together like dey did horses an’ sold ’em on de block. Mother said dey carried some to Rolesville in Wake County an’ sold ’em. Dey sold Henry Temples an’ Lucinda Upchurch from marster’s plantation,...
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