Location: Hancock County GA

Slave Narrative of Henry Bland

Interviewer: Edwin Driskell Person Interviewed: Henry Bland Location: Georgia Age: 80’s Henry Bland is one of the few living ex-slaves who was born on a plantation near Edenton, Ga., in 1851. His parents were Martha and Sam Coxton. In this family group were three other children, two girls and one boy, who was the oldest. When questioned regarding the birthplace and the movements of his parents, Mr. Bland stated that his father was born in Hancock County, Ga. His mother along with her mother was brought to Georgia by the speculator with a drove of other slaves. The first thing that he remembers of his parents is when he was quite small and was allowed to remain in the Master’s kitchen in the “big house” where his mother was cook. Mr. Coxton, who was the owner of Mr. Bland and his family, was described as being very rich and influential man in the community where he lived. Says Mr. Bland, “His only fault was that of drinking too much of the whisky that he distilled on the plantation.” Unlike some of the other slave owners in that section, Mr. Coxton was very kind to his slaves. His plantation was a large one and on it was raised cotton, corn, cane[TR:?], vegetables, and live stock. More cotton was grown than anything else. From the time he was 1 year and...

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Slave Narrative of Jasper Battle

Interviewer: Grace McCune Person Interviewed: Jasper Battle Location: 112 Berry St., Athens, Georgia Age: 80 The shade of the large water oaks in Jasper’s yard was a welcome sight when the interviewer completed the long walk to the old Negro’s place in the sweltering heat of a sunny July afternoon. The old house appeared to be in good condition and the yard was clean and tidy. Jasper’s wife, Lula, came around the side of the house in answer to the call for Jasper. A large checked apron almost covered her blue dress and a clean white headcloth concealed her hair. Despite her advanced age, she seemed to be quite spry. “Jus’ come back here whar I’se a-doin’ de white folks’ washin’,” she said. “Jasper’s done been powerful sick and I can’t leave him by hisself none. I brung him out here in de shade so I could watch him and ‘tend to him whilst I wuks. Jasper stepped on a old plank what had two rusty nails in it, and both of ’em went up in his foot a fur ways. I done driv dem nails plumb up to dey haids in de north side of a tree and put jimpson weed poultices on Jasper’s foot, but it’s still powerful bad off.” By this time we had arrived within sight and earshot of the old rocking chair where Jasper...

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Slave Narrative of Bill Austin

Interviewer: Martin Richardson Person Interviewed: Bill Austin Location: Greenwood, Florida Bill Austin – he says his name is NOT Williams – is an ex-slave who gained his freedom because his mistress found it more advantageous to free him than to watch him. Austin lives near Greenwood, Jackson County, Florida, on a small farm that he and his children operate. He says that he does not know his age, does not remember ever having heard it. But he must be pretty old, he says, “cause I was a right smart size when Mistuh Smith went off to fight.” He thinks he may be over a hundred – and he looks it – but he is not sure. Austin was born between Greene and Hancock Counties, on the Oconee River, in Georgia. He uses the names of the counties interchangeably; he cannot be definite as to just which one was his birthplace. “The line between ’em was right there by us,” he says. His father was Jack; for want of a surname of his own he took that of his father and called himself Jack Smith. During a temporary shortage of funds on his master’s part, Jack and Bill’s mother was sold to a planter in the northern part of the state. It was not until long after his emancipation that Bill ever saw either of them again. Bill’s father Jack...

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Slave Narrative of Samuel Simeon Andrews

Interviewer: Rachel A. Austin Person Interviewed: Samuel Simeon Andrews Location: Jacksonville, Florida Age: 86 For almost 30 years Edward Waters College, an African Methodist Episcopal School, located on the north side of Kings Road in the western section of Jacksonville, has employed as watchman, Samuel Simeon Andrews (affectionately called “Parson”), a former slave of A.J. Lane of Georgia, Lewis Ripley of Beaufort, South Carolina, Ed Tillman of Dallas, Texas, and John Troy of Union Springs, Alabama. “Parson” was born November 18, 1850 in Macon, Georgia, at a place called Tatum Square, where slaves were held, housed and sold. “Speculators” (persons who traveled from place to place with slaves for sale) had housed 84 slaves there – many of whom were pregnant women. Besides “Parson,” two other slave-children, Ed Jones who now lives in Sparta, Georgia, and George Bailey were born in Tatum Square that night. The morning after their births, a woman was sent from the nearby A.J. Lane plantation to take care of the three mothers; this nurse proved to be “Parson’s” grandmother. His mother told him afterwards that the meeting of mother and daughter was very jubilant, but silent and pathetic, because neither could with safety show her pleasure in finding the other. At the auction which was held a few days later, his mother, Rachel, and her two sons, Solomon Augustus and her infant who was...

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