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Slave Narrative of Joseph Anderson

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Interviewer: Mrs. Edith S. Hibbs
Person Interviewed: Joseph Anderson
Location: 1113 Rankin St., Wilmington, North Carolina

Yes’m I was born a slave. I belong to Mr. T. C. McIlhenny who had a big rice plantation “Eagles Nest” in Brunswick County. It was a big place. He had lots of slaves, an’ he was a good man. My mother and father died when I was fourteen. Father died in February 1865 and my mother died of pneumonia in November 1865. My older sister took charge of me.

Interviewer: “Can you read and write?”

Joseph: “Oh yes, I can write a little. I can make my marks. I can write my name. No’m I can’t read. I never went to school a day in my life. I just “picked up” what I know.”

I don’t remember much about slave times. I was fourteen when I was freed. After I was freed we lived between 8th and 9th on Chestnut. We rented a place from Dan O’Connor a real estate man and paid him $5 a month rent. I’ve been married twice. First time was married by Mr. Ed Taylor, magistrate in Southport, Brunswick County. I was married to my first wife twenty years and eight months. Then she died. I was married again when I was seventy-five years old. I was married to my second wife just a few years when she died.

I was on the police force for a year and a half. I was elected April 6, 1895. Mr. McIlhenny was an ole man then an’ I used to go to see him.

I was a stevedore for Mr. Alexander Sprunt for sixty years.

Joseph is now buying his house at 1113 Rankin Street. Rents part of it for $8.50 a month to pay for it. He stays in one room.

NOTE: Joseph’s health is none too good, making information sketchy and incoherent.

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