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Slave Narrative of Sarah Ross

Interviewer: Alfred Farrell Person Interviewed: Sarah Ross Location: Live Oak, Florida Born in Benton County, Mississippi nearly eighty years ago, Sarah is the daughter of Harriet Elmore and William Donaldson, her white owner. Donaldson was a very cruel man and frequently beat Sarah’s mother because she would not have sexual relations with the overseer, a colored man by the name of Randall. Sarah relates that the slaves did not marry, but were forced – in many cases against their will – to live together as man and wife. It was not until after slavery that they learned about the holy bonds of matrimony, and many of them actually married. Cotton, corn and rice were the chief products grown on the Donaldson plantation. Okra also was grown, and from this product coffee was made. The slaves arose with the sun to begin their tasks in the fields and worked until dusk. They were beaten by the overseer if they dared to rest themselves. No kind of punishment was too cruel or severe to be inflicted upon these souls in bondage. Frequently the thighs of the male slaves were gashed with a saw and salt put in the wound as a means of punishment for some misdemeanor. The female slaves often had their hair cut off, especially those who had long beautiful hair. If a female slave was pregnant and had to be punished, she was whipped about the shoulders, not so much in pity as for the protection of the unborn child. Donaldson’s wife committed suicide because of the cruelty not only to the slaves but to her as well....

L. B. Elmore

Seaman (Navy); of Guilford County; son of C. T. and Mrs. F. E. Elmore. Entered service May 15, 1917, at Greensboro, N.C. Sent to Hampton Roads, Va. Transferred to Yorktown, Va. Transferred to Pocahontas transport. Later transferred to U. S. S. battleship Kansas–five trips across, troop transport. Served on board U. S. S. Kansas until mustered out–still in reserve. Mustered out at Old Point Comfort, Va., Jan. 20,...

A Southern Household during the Years 1860 to 1865

Ellen S. Elmore Columbia, S. C, December, 1901 I am told it is my duty to write what I can personally recall of the days of our hard struggle with fate, and because it is so considered, I shall make the effort to penetrate the dark chambers of my heart and brain for what I know lies there, hidden away from even my present consciousness. To bring it back, I must take myself to the beginning of events that bore immediately upon the grand tragedy of the century, to the summer of i860, the last time our whole family was gathered together under our mother’s roof. Our home was on the outskirts of Columbia, a very large, square house, great rooms, opening by French windows, on long double piazzas, extending along the whole front, and supported by columns from the ground to the roof. The steps were of rough granite, the first stone quarried in this county, and came from “Ticklebury Farm,” now the State Fair Grounds and Elmwood Cemetery, then owned by my grandfather Governor Taylor. Ours was one of the family places only once out of such possession, and bought back by my mother on her return to Columbia, after the death of my father Colonel Elmore in 1850. We made a large home circle my mother and six daughters: the eldest, Mrs. Thomas Taylor, being often with us, for her own home was quite near; the youngest, Rose, a schoolgirl, and two sons, Frank and Albert, living with us; the second, Albert, a student of the South Carolina College. Mrs. Taylor and two of the sisters...

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