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Slave Narrative of George Taylor Burns

Interviewer: Lauana Creel Person Interviewed: George Taylor Burns Location: Evansville, Indiana Ex-Slave Stories District #5 Vanderburgh County Lauana Creel THE LIFE STORY OF GEORGE TAYLOR BURNS [HW: Personal Interview] Ox-carts and flat boats, and pioneer surroundings; crowds of men and women crowding to the rails of river steamboats; gay ladies in holiday attire and gentleman in tall hats, low cut vests and silk mufflers; for the excursion boats carried the gentry of every area. A little negro boy clung to the ragged skirts of a slave mother, both were engrossed in watching the great wheels that ploughed the Mississippi river into foaming billows. Many boats stopped at Gregery’s Landing, Missouri to stow away wood, for many engines were fired with wood in the early days. The Burns brothers operated a wood yard at the Landing and the work of cutting, hewing and piling wood for the commerce was performed by slaves of the Burns plantation. George Taylor Burns was five years of age and helped his mother all day as she toiled in the wood yards. “The colder the weather, the more hard work we had to do,” declares Uncle George. George Taylor Burns, the child of Missouri slave parents, recalls the scenes enacted at the Burns’ wood yards so long ago. He is a resident of Evansville, Indiana and his snow white hair and beard bear testimony that his days have been already long upon the earth. Uncle George remembers the time when his infant hands reached in vain for his mother, the kind and gentle Lucy Burns: Remembers a long cold winter of snow and ice when...

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