Person Interviewed: Nancy Rogers Bean
Location: Hulbert, Oklahoma
Place of Birth: Boggy Depot, Oklahoma
I’m getting old and it’s easy to forget most of the happenings of slave days; anyway I was too little to know much about them, for my mammy told me I was born about six years before the war. My folks was on their way to Fort Gibson, and on the trip I was born at Boggy Depot, down in southern Oklahoma.
There was a lot of us children; I got their names somewheres here. Yes, there was George, Sarah, Emma, Stella, Sylvia, Lucinda, Rose, Den, Pamp, Jeff, Austin, Jessie, Isaac and Andrew: we all lived in a one room log cabin on Master Rogers’ place not far from the old military road near Choteau. Mammy was raised around the Cherokee town of Tahlequah.
I got my name from the Rogers, but I was loaned around to their relatives most of the time. I helped around the house for Bill McCracken, then I was with Cornelius and Carline Wright, and when I was freed my Mistress was a Mrs. O’Neal, wife of a officer at Fort Gibson. She treated me the best of all and gave me the first doll I ever had. It was a rag doll with charcoal eyes and red thread worked in for the mouth. She allowed me one hour every day to play with it. When the war ended Mistress O’Neal wanted to take me with her to Richmond, Virginia, but my people wouldn’t let me go. I wanted to stay with her, she was so good, and she promised to come back for me when I get older, but she never did.
All the time I was at the fort I hear the bugles and see the soldiers marching around, but never did I see any battles. The fighting must have been too far away.
Master Rogers kept all our family together, but my folks have told me about how the slaves was sold. One of my aunts was a mean, fighting woman. She was to be sold and when the bidding started she grabbed a hatchet, laid her hand on a log and chopped it off. Then she throwed the bleeding hand right in her master’s face. Not long ago I hear she is still living in the country around Nowata, Oklahoma.
Sometimes I would try to get mean, but always I got me a whipping for it. When I was a little girl, moving around from one family to another, I done housework, ironing, peeling potatoes and helping the main cook. I went barefoot most of my life, but the master would get his shoes from the Government at Fort Gibson.
I wore cotton dresses, and the Mistress wore long dresses, with different colors for Sunday clothes, but us slaves didn’t know much about Sunday in a religious way. The Master had a brother who used to preach to the Negroes on the sly. One time he was caught and the Master whipped him something awful.
Years ago I married Joe Bean. Our children died as babies. Twenty year ago Joe Bean and I separated for good and all.
The good Lord knows I’m glad slavery is over. Now I can stay peaceful in one place, that’s all I aim to do.