Location: Davidson County TN

Washington Irving at Fort Gibson, 1832

The McIntosh Creeks had been located along Arkansas River near the Verdigris on fertile timbered land which they began at once to clear, cultivate, and transform into productive farms. The treaty of 1828 with the Cherokee gave the latter a great tract of land on both sides of Arkansas River embracing that on which the Creeks were located. This was accomplished by a blunder of the Government officials, in the language of the Secretary of War, 1U.S. House, Executive Documents, 22d congress, first session, no. 116, President’s Message submitting the memorial of the Creek Indians. “when we had not...

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Memoirs of John Pitchlynn

John Pitchlynn, the name of another white man who at an early day cast his lot among the Choctaws, not to be a curse but a true benefactor. He was contemporaneous with the three Folsom’s, Nathaniel, Ebenezer and Edmond; the three Nails, Henry, Adam and Edwin; the two Le Flores Lewis and Mitchel, and Lewis Durant. John Pitchlynn, as the others, married a Choctaw girl and thus become a bona-fide citizen of the Choctaw Nation. He was commissioned by Washington, as United States Interpreter for the Choctaws in 1786, in which capacity he served them long and faithfully. Whether...

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Natchez Trace

In 1792, in a council held at Chickasaw Bluffs, where Memphis, Tennessee, is now located, a treaty was made with the Chickasaws, in which they granted the United States the right of way through their territory for a public road to be opened from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez, Mississippi. This road was long known, and no doubt, remembered by many at the present time by the name “Natchez Trace.” It crossed the Tennessee River at a point then known as “Colberts Ferry,” and passed through the present counties of Tishomingo, Ittiwamba, Lee, Pantotoc, Chickasaw, Choctaw, thence on to Natchez,...

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The Seminole War of 1816 and 1817 – Indian Wars

After the close of the war with Great Britain, in 1815, when the British forces were withdrawn from the Florida’s, Edward Nicholls, formerly a colonel, and James Woodbine, a captain in the British service, who had both been engaged in exciting the Indians and Blacks to hostility, remained in the territory for the purpose of forming combinations against the southwestern frontier of the United States. Nicholls even went so far as to assume the character of a British agent, promising the Creeks the assistance of the British forces if they would rise and assert their claim to the land...

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The Creek War – Indian Wars

In the spring of the year 1812, the southern Indian tribal were visited by the bold and enterprising Tecumseh. His stirring appeals to their patriotism and valor were heard with attention, and he succeeded in stimulating them to open hostility. It is to be regretted that no specimen of the orations of this great Indian have been preserved. Judging from their effects, they would be ranked among the highest models of true eloquence. Tecumseh particularly appealed to the powerful Creek nation. These Indians had long been on friendly terms with the whites, and a portion of them were, therefore,...

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Biographical Sketch of Richard Fitzhugh

Richard Fitzhugh was born in North Carolina, but while he was a boy his parents removed to Davidson Co., Tenn., where he was raised. He married Mary Watson, who was also born in North Carolina and raised in Tennessee. They came to Montgomery Co., Mo., in 1818, and settled on the east side of Loutre creek. Mr. Fitzhugh was a hard-working man, and he and his son Hopkins sawed a great deal of lumber with a whip-saw, and sold it in Danville. He once met with a misfortune by which he had several of his ribs broken, and after that he would eat nothing but milk and mush, which he imagined kept the broken ribs in their places. His children were Hopkins, Mary A., Matilda, Louisa J., John S., Thomas B., and...

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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...

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Slave Narrative of George Washington Buckner

Interviewer: Lauana Creel Person Interviewed: Dr. George Washington Buckner Location: Evansville, Indiana Date of Birth: December 1st, 1852 Ex-Slave Stories District #5 Vanderburgh County Lauana Creel A SLAVE, AMBASSADOR AND CITY DOCTOR [DR. GEORGE WASHINGTON BUCKNER] This paper was prepared after several interviews had been obtained with the subject of this sketch. Dr. George Washingtin [TR: Washington] Buckner, tall, lean, whitehaired, genial and alert, answered the call of his door bell. Although anxious to oblige the writer and willing to grant an interview, the life of a city doctor is filled with anxious solicitation for others and he is always expecting a summons to the bedside of a patient or a professional interview has been slated. Dr. Buckner is no exception and our interviews were often disturbed by the jingle of the door bell or a telephone call. Dr. Buckner’s conversation lead in ever widening circles, away from the topic under discussion when the events of his own life were discussed, but he is a fluent speaker and a student of psychology. Psychology as that philosophy relates to the mental and bodily tendencies of the African race has long since become one of the major subjects with which this unusual man struggles. “Why is the negro?” is one of his deepest concerns. Dr. Buckner’s first recollections center within a slave cabin in Kentucky. The cabin was the home of...

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Slave Narrative of H. H. Edmunds

Interviewer: Albert Strope Person Interviewed: Rev. H. H. Edmunds Location: Elkhart, Indiana Place of Birth: Lynchburg, Virginia Date of Birth: 1859 Place of Residence: 403 West Hickory Street Elkhart, Indiana Albert Strope, Field Worker Federal Writers’ Project St. Joseph County-District #1 Mishawaka, Indiana EX-SLAVE REV. H.H. EDMUNDS 403 West Hickory Street Elkhart, Indiana Rev. H.H. Edmunds has resided at 403 West Hickory Street in Elkhart for the past ten years. Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1859, he lived there for several years. Later he was taken to Mississippi by his master, and finally to Nashville, Tennessee, where he lived until his removal to Elkhart. Mr. Edmunds is very religious, and for many years has served his people as a minister of the Gospel. He feels deeply that the religion of today has greatly changed from the “old time religion.” In slavery days, the colored people were so subjugated and uneducated that he claims they were especially susceptible to religion, and poured out their religious feelings in the so-called negro spirituals. Mr. Edmunds is convinced that the superstitions of the colored people and their belief in ghosts and gobblins is due to the fact that their emotions were worked upon by slave drivers to keep them in subjugation. Oftentimes white people dressed as ghosts, frightened the colored people into doing many things under protest. The “ghosts” were feared far more...

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Slave Narrative of Laura Ramsey Parker

Person Interviewed: Laura Ramsey Parker Location: Nashville, Tennessee Age: 87 Place of Residence: 715 Hay St., Nashville, Tennessee Occupation: Chambermaid, Housekeeper “I’se 87 y’ars ole. Wuz bawn in slavery. Wuz freed w’en de slavery stopped. Mack Ramsey wuz mah marster en he wuz sho good ter his slaves. He treated dem as human bein’s. W’en he turned his slaves ‘loose he gib dem no money, but gib dem lands, clothin’ en food ’til dey could brang in dere fust crop. Mah daddy rented a strip ob land ’til he wuz able ter buy de place. He lived on de same fer menny y’ars.” “W’en I wuz ole er’nuff I wuz taught ter spin en weav. I bucum de nuss ter de marster’s onlies’ chile. Soon atter I wuz freed, I went ter Wisconsin, but only wuz dere fer a y’ar, den I kum back ter Tennessee en Nashville. I settled in dis house en I’se bin livin’ in hit fer ovuh fifty y’ars. Dere wuz no uther houses ’round ‘yer at de time. I own de place. Hab wuk’d all mah life seem ter me. At one time I wuz a chambermaid at de Nicholson House now de Tulane en later ‘kum a sick nuss, a seamstress, dressmaker but now I pieces en sells bed quilts. I does mah own housekeepin’ en washin’.” “I don’t member now, very much...

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Slave Narrative of Andy Odell

Person Interviewed: Andy Odell Location: Nashville, Tennessee PLace of Birth: Spring Hill, Tennessee Age: 96 Place of Residence: 1313 Pearl Street, Nashville, Tennessee “I wuz bawn east ob Spring Hill, Tennessee. I dunno in w’at y’ar, but I wuz a ful’ grown man w’en I wuz freed. (This will make him about 96 years old.). I wuz an onlies’ chile en I nebber knowed mah daddy. Mah mammy wuz sold ‘way fum me. She ma’ied a man named Brown en dey had seven chillun.” “At fust I ‘longed ter Marster Jim Caruthers. W’en his daughter ma’ied Fount Odell, I wuz willed ter her en den mah marsters wuz Fount en Albert Odell who wuz br’ers. Mah white folks let us go ter chuch. I b’leeves in de Baptist ‘ligion. I nebber knowed any slave dat had ter hide ter sing er pray. I members de comet en hit wuz a sta’r wid a long tail en looked lak hit wuz burnin’. De sta’rs fell ‘fore I wuz bawn.” (The stars fell in 1833). “We had ter hab passes en if you didn’t hab one, you got whupped. Mah marster let me go ter chuch wid’ out a pass. I members de Klu Klux Klan but dey nebber bothered me, tho I ‘yeard a lot ’bout dem. Dey called demselves “White Caps” en said dey wuz rite fum de grave....

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Slave Narrative of Ellis Ken Kannon

Person Interviewed: Ellis Ken Kannon Location: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Residence: 318 5th Avenue N., St. Mary’s Church, Nashville, Tennessee “I dunno jes how ole I ez. I wuz bawn in Tennessee as a slave. Mah mammy kum frum Virginia. Our marster wuz Ken Kannon.” “Our Mistress wouldn’t let us slaves be whup’d but I member mah daddy tellin’ ’bout de Overseer whuppin’ ‘im en he run ‘way en hid in a log. He tho’t de blood hounds, he heered ’bout a half mile ‘way, on his trail could heer ‘im breathe but de hounds nebber fin’ ‘im. Atter de hounds pas’ on, mah daddy lef’ de log hidin’ place en w’en he got ter a blacksmith shop, he se’ed a white man wid a nigger who had handcuffs on en w’en de white man tuk off de handcuffs, de nigger axed mah daddy whar he wuz gwine en he tole ‘im back ter mah Mistress en de nigger sezs I ez too. Mah daddy slipped ‘way fum ‘im en went home.” “W’en I wuz a young boy, I didn’t wear nothin’ but a shirt lak all urthur boys en hit wuz a long thing lak a slip dat kum ter our knees. Our Mistress had a big fier place en w’en we would kum in cole she would say ain’t you all cole. (You all was always used...

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Slave Narrative of Emma Grisham

Person Interviewed: Emma Grisham Location: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Residence: 1118 Jefferson St., Nashville, Tennessee Age: 90s “I wuz bawn in Nashville. I’se up in 90 y’ars, but I tell dem I’se still young. I lived on Gallatin Pike long ‘fore de war, an uster se’d de soldiers ride by.” “Mah marsters name wuz Wm. Penn Harding. Mah daddy wuz sold at Sparta, Tennessee ‘fore I wuz bawn en Marster Harding bought ‘im. Mah mammy erready ‘longed ter de Hardings.” “I don’ member much ’bout slavery I wuz small, but I know I wore a leetle ole slip wid two er three bottons in frunt. Mammy would wash me en I’d go out frunt en play wid de white chilluns.” “W’en de fightin’ got so heavy mah white peeple got sum Irish peeple ter live on de plantation, en dey went south, leavin’ us wid de Irish peeple.” “I wuz leetle en I guess I didn’t think much ’bout freedum, I’d allus had plenty ter eat en w’ar.” “Dunno ob any slaves gittin’ nuthin at freedum.” “Our white folks didn’t whup mah peeple; but de oberseers whup’d de slaves on uther plantations.” “De Yankees had camps on de Capitol hill. En dere wuz soldier camps in east Nashville en you had ter hab a pass ter git thro?” “I member w’en de pen wuz on 15th en Chuch, en...

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Slave Narrative of Jenny Greer

Person Interviewed: Jenny Greer Location: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Birth: Florence, Alabama Age: 84 Place of Residence: 706 Overton Street, Nashville, Tennessee “Am 84 y’ars ole en wuz bawn in Florence, Alabama, ’bout seben miles fum town. Wuz bawn on de Collier plantashun en Marster en Missis wuz James en Jeanette Collier. Mah daddy en mammy wuz named Nelson en Jane Collier. I wuz named atter one ob mah Missis’ daughters. Our family wuz neber sold er divided.” “I’se bin ma’ied once. Ma’ied Neeley Greer. Thank de Lawd I aint got no chilluns. Chilluns ez so bad now I can’t stand dem ter save mah life.” “Useter go ter de bap’isin’s en dey would start shoutin’ en singin’ w’en we lef’ de chuch. Went ter deze bap’isin’s in Alabama, Memphis, en ‘yer in Nashville. Lawdy hab mercy, how we useter sing. Only song I members ez ‘De Ole Time ‘ligion.’ I useter go ter camp meetin’s. Eve’rbody had a jolly time, preachin’, shoutin’ en eatin’ good things.” “We didn’t git a thing w’en we wuz freed. W’en dey said we wuz free mah people had ter look out fer demselves.” “Don’ member now ’bout K.K.K. er ‘structshun days. Mah mammy useter tell us a lot ob stories but I’se fergot dem. I’se neber voted en dunno ob any frens bein’ in office.” “No mam, no mam, don’t b’leeve in...

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Slave Narrative of Precilla Gray

Person Interviewed: Precilla Gray Location: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Birth: Williamson County TN Age: 107 Place of Residence: 807 Ewing Ave., Nashville, Tenn. I think I’se 107 Y’ars ole. Wuz bawn in Williamson County ‘fore de Civil wah. Guess de reason I hab libed so long wuz cose I tuk good keer ob mahself en wore warm clo’es en still do, w’ar mah yarn pettycoats now. Hab had good health all mah life. Hab tuk very lettle medicine en de wust sickness I eber had wuz small-pox. I’se bin a widah ’bout 70 y’ars. Mah mammy d’ed w’en I wuz young but mah daddy libed ter be 103 y’ars ole. I nebber went ter schul a day in mah life, ma’ied ‘fore freedum en w’en I got free, had ter wuk all de time ter mek a libin’ fer mah two chillen. One libes in California en I lives wid de uther, tergedder wid mah great, great, grandson, five y’ars ole, in Nashville. Mah fust marster en missis wuz Amos en Sophia Holland en he made a will dat we slaves wuz all ter be kep’ among de fam’ly en I wuz heired fum one fam’ly ter ‘nother. Wuz owned under de “will” by Haddas Holland, Missis Mary Haddock en den Missis Synthia Ma’ied Sam Pointer en I libed wid her ’til freedum wuz ‘clared. Mah fust mistress had...

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