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Slave Narrative of James Childress

Interviewer: Lauana Creel Person Interviewed: James Childress Location: Evansville, Indiana Place of Birth: Nashville, Tennessee Date of Birth: 1860 Place of Residence: 312 S.E. Fifth Street, Evansville, Indiana Ex-Slave stories District #5 Vanderburgh County Lauana Creel JAMES CHILDRESS’ STORY 312 S.E. Fifth Street, Evansville, Indiana From an interview with James Childress and from John Bell both living at 312 S.E. Fifth Street, Evansville, Indiana. Known as Uncle Jimmy by the many children that cluster about the aged man never tiring of his stories of “When I was chile.” “When I was a chile my daddy and mamma was slaves and I was a slave,” so begins many recounted tales of the long ago. Born at Nashville, Tennessee in the year 1860, Uncle Jimmie remembers the Civil War with the exciting events as related to his own family and the family of James Childress, his master. He remembers sorrow expressed in parting tears when “Uncle Johnie and Uncle Bob started to war.” He recalls happy days when the beautiful valley of the Cumberland was abloom with wild flowers and fertile acres were carpeted with blue grass. “A beautiful view could always be enjoyed from the hillsides and there were many pretty homes belonging to the rich citizens. Slaves kept the lawns smooth and tended the flowers for miles around Nashville, when I was a child,” said Uncle Jimmie. Uncle Jimmie Childress has no knowledge of his master’s having practiced cruelty towards any slave. “We was all well fed, well clothed and lived in good cabins. I never got a cross word from Mars John in my life,” he declared. “When...

Slave Narrative of Cora Torian

Interviewer: Mamie Hanberry Person Interviewed: Cora Torian Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Place of Birth: Christian County KY Age: 71 Place of Residence: 217 W. 2nd St., Hopkinsville, KY Story of Cora Torian: (217 W. 2nd St., Hopkinsville, Ky.-Age 71.) Bell Childress, Cora’s Mother, was a slave of Andrew Owen. He purchased Belle Childress in the Purchase and brought her to Christian County. Cora was born in Christian County on Mr. Owen’s farm and considered herself three years old at the end of the Civil War. She told me as follows: “I has dreamed of fish and dat is a sure sign dat I would git a piece of money, an I always did. Dreamed of buggy and horse an it was a sign of death in family and I no’s hits tru. Dream of de ded hit always rains. My Mistus and Marster fed and clothed us good and we lived in a little log cabin of one room and cooked on an open fire. Some Marsters wud whoop ther slaves til the blood would run down daw backs dese slaves would run away sometimes den sum would come to Ise Marse and would have to send dem back to dar own marsters and how my ole marster hated to see dem go. “I hang horse shoes oer my door to keep the Evil Spirits away. My Mammy always wore and ole petticoat full gather at de waist band wid long pockets in dem and den to keep peace in de house she would turn de pocket wrong side out jes as she would go to somebodys elses house. “I...

Slave Narrative of Wiley Childress

Person Interviewed: Wiley Childress Location: Nashville, Tennessee Age: 83 Place of Birth: 808 Gay St., Nashville, Tennessee “I’se 83 Y’ars ole en wuz bawn a slave. Mah mammy b’longed ter de Bosley’s en mah daddy b’longed ter de Scales.” “W’en Miss Jane Boxley ma’ried Marster Jerry Scales, me en mah mammy, br’er en sistah wuz gib ter Miss Jane.” “Durin’ de war mah Missis tuk mah mammy en us chilluns wid her ter de mount’ins ’till de war wuz gon’. Did’nt see no soldiers. Don’t member now nuthin’ ’bout dem Klu Klux men en don’t member de ole songs er ’bout slaves votin’.” “Dunno ’bout de young persons, white er black, dey ez all so wild now.” “W’en we all wuz freed we had nuthin en no place ter go, so dat mah mammy lived wid our Missis five y’ars longer.” “De only story dat I member mah people tole me ’bout wuz on Fedd, a slave on de next plantation. He wuz a big man en wuz de strongest man neah dat part ob de kuntry. He wouldin’ ‘low nobody ter whup ‘in. De Marster framed ‘im by tellin’ ‘im ter bring his saddle hoss en w’en he kum wid de hoss several men ‘peahrd en tole Fedd dat dey wuz gonna whup ‘im. He struck one ob de mans so hahd dey had ter hab de doctuh. De Marster said let ‘im ‘lone he’s too strong ter be whup’d. I’ll hab ter shoot ‘im. One time Fedd run ‘way en de white men whar he stopped know’d he wuz a good fighter en made a $250.00 bet...

Biography of William S. Childress

William S. Childress, farmer and stock-raiser; P. O. Ashmore; was born in Knox Co., East Tenn., April 11, 1827; he is a son of Richard and Rebecca Childress. In 1831, his father removed to Edgar Co., and settled just on the line between Illinois and Indiana. In 1848, Mr. Childress came to Coles Co., being the first of the family to settle here, his father following in the spring of 1849; his father died about 1862; his mother still survives, and now resides in Farmington, in Coles Co., at the age of 75 years. Mr. C. was married April 30, 1848, to Miss Temple A. Barnes, a daughter of Enos Barnes, one of the pioneers of the county; she died Sept. 17, 1874, leaving nine children – Elizabeth J. (wife of Washington Moody, of Ashmore Tp.); Lucinda E. (wife of H. Ph. Goodnight, of Ashmore Tp.), Richard M., Rebecca A., Florence A., (wife of George Honn, of East Oakland Tp.), John F., William A., Melinda and Viola. A stranger, viewing Mr. Childress’ farm, comprising over 1,000 acres, his large and beautiful residence, his herds of over a hundred cattle, fifteen to twenty horses, a hundred and fifty sheep, and a hundred and twenty-five hogs, would find it difficult to realize the hardships through which he has passed in accumulating them. When he came to the county his total possessions would not amount to $200; he has chopped cordwood at 30 cents a cord, and made rails at 50 cents a hundred; he made about 7,000 rails the first winter he spent in the county. To illustrate the gradual manner...

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