Location: Monroe County MS

Slave Narrative of Rev. Wamble

Interviewer: Archie Koritz Person Interviewed: Rev. Wamble Location: Gary, Indiana Place of Birth: Monroe County, Mississippi, Date of Birth: 1859 Place of Residence: 1827 Madison Street, Gary, Indiana Occupation: Wagon-maker Archie Koritz, Field Worker Federal Writers’ Project Porter County-District #1 Valparaiso, Indiana EX-SLAVES REV. WAMBLE 1827 Madison Street Gary, Indiana [TR: above ‘Wamble’ in handwriting is ‘Womble’] Rev. Wamble was born a slave in Monroe County, Mississippi, in 1859. The Westbrook family owned many slaves in charge of over-seers who managed the farm, on which there were usually two hundred or more slaves. One of the Westbrook daughters married a Mr. Wamble, a wagon-maker. The Westbrook family gave the newly-weds two slaves, as did the Wamble family. One of the two slaves coming from the Westbrook family was Rev. Wamble’s grandfather. It seems that the slaves took the name of their master, hence Rev. Wamble’s grandfather was named Wamble. Families owning only a few slaves and in moderate circumstances usually treated their slaves kindly since like a farmer with only a few horses, it was to their best interest to see that their slaves were well provided for. The slaves were valuable, and there was no funds to buy others, whereas the large slave owners were wealthy and one slave more or less made little difference. The Reverend’s father and his brothers were children of original African slaves and...

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Slave Narrative of Wayne Holliday

Interviewer: Mrs. Richard Kolb Person Interviewed: Wayne Holliday Location: Aberdeen, Mississippi Place of Birth: Aberdeen, Mississippi Date of Birth: 1853 Age: 84 “I was born an’ raised in Aberdeen an’ I’se been a railroad nigger fo’ mos’ of my days. I’se retired now ’cause dey say I too old to work any longer, but shucks, I ain’t half dead yet. I was born in 1853 right here close to whar I live now. My folks b’longed to de Hollidays—you know de grand folks of Miss Maria Evans? An’ we stayed right dere in de lot whar de white folks lived. “My pa an’ my ma was named Frank an’ Sarah Holliday an’ de Cunel brung dem wid him frum North Car’lina. Dey was lot niggers an’ never worked in de fiel’ or lived in de Quarters. My pa was one of de best carpenters in de country. I was too young to work much but sometime I he’ped him ‘roun’ de house but mos’ of de time, I jes played wid my brudders an’ sisters an’ de white chullun what lived aroun’. We played marbles, ridin’ de stick hoss, an’ play house jes lak de chullun do now days, but I think we had mo’ fun. Dey was fo’teen of us in our family an’ we allus had somebody to play wid. An’ den li’l Marse Ben, he wa’nt...

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Slave Narrative of Pet Franks

Interviewer: Mrs. Richard Kolb Person Interviewed: Pet Franks Location: Aberdeen, Mississippi Age: 92 Uncle Pet, 92 year old ex-slave, is the favorite of Ackers’ Fishing Lodge which is situated 14 miles north of Aberdeen, Monroe County. He is low and stockily built. His ancestry is pure African. Scarcely topping five feet one inch, he weighs about 150 pounds. Though he walks with the slightest limp, he is still very active and thinks nothing of cooking for the large groups who frequent the lodge. He has his own little garden and chickens which he tends with great care. “I knows all ’bout slav’ry an’ de war. I was right dere on de spot when it all happened. I wish to goodness I was back dere now, not in de war, but in de slav’ry times. Niggers where I lived didn’ have nothin’ to worry ’bout in dem days. Dey aint got no sense now-a-days. All dey b’lieves in now is drinkin’ an’ carousin’. Dey aint got no use for nothin’ but a little corn likker an’ a fight. I dont b’lieve in no such gwine-on, no sir-ree. Dat’s de reason I stays out here by myse’f all de time. I don’t want to have nothin’ to do wid ’em. I goes to town ’bout once a mont’ to git s’pplies, but I don’ never fool ‘roun’ wid dem Niggers den....

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Slave Narrative of Dora Franks

Interviewer: Mrs. Richard Kolb Person Interviewed: Dora Franks Location: Aberdeen, Mississippi Place of Residence: Aberdeen, Monroe County, Mississippi Age: 100 (?) Dora Franks, ex-slave, lives at Aberdeen, Monroe County. She is about five feet tall and weighs 100 pounds. Her hair is inclined to be curly rather than kinky. She is very active and does most of her own work. “I was born in Choctaw County, but I never knowed zackly how old I was, ’cause none o’ my folks could read an’ write. I reckon I be’s ’bout a hund’ed, ’cause I was a big girl long time fo’ Surrender. I was old ‘nough to marry two years after dat. “My mammy come from Virginny. Her name was Harriet Brewer. My daddy was my young Marster. His name was Marster George Brewer an’ my mammy always tol’ me dat I was his’n. I knew dat dere was some dif’ence ‘tween me an’ de res’ o’ her chillun, ’cause dey was all coal black, an’ I was even lighter dan I is now. Lawd, it’s bean to my sorrow many a time, ’cause de chillun used to chase me ’round an’ holler at me, ‘Old yallow Nigger.’ Dey didn’ treat me good, neither. “I stayed in de house mos’ o’ de time wid Miss Emmaline. Miss Emmaline’s hair was dat white, den. I loved her’ cause she was so...

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Slave Narrative of Anna Baker

Interviewer: Mrs. Richard Kolb Person Interviewed: Anna Baker Location: Aberdeen, Mississippi Age: 80 Anna Baker, 80-year old ex-slave, is tall and well built. She is what the Negroes term a “high brown.” Her high forehead and prominent cheek bones indicate that there is a strain of other than the pure African in her blood. She is in fair health. “Lemme see how old I is. Well, I tells you jus’ lak I tol’ dat Home Loan man what was here las’ week. I ‘members a pow’ful lot ’bout slavery times an’ ’bout ‘fore surrender. I know I was a right smart size den, so’s ‘cording to dat I mus’ be ‘roun’ ’bout eighty year old. I aint sho’ ’bout dat an’ I don’t want to tell no untruth. I know I was right smart size ‘fore de surrender, as I was a-sayin’, ’cause I ‘members Marster comin’ down de road past de house. When I’d see ‘im ‘way off I’d run to de gate an’ start singin’ dis song to ‘im: ‘Here come de marster, root toot too! Here come Marster, comin’ my way! Howdy, Marster, howdy do! What you gwine a-bring from town today?’ Dat would mos’ nigh tickle him to death an’ he’d say, ‘Loosahna (dat was his pet name for me) what you want today? I’d say, ‘Bring me some goobers, or a doll, or some...

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Slave Narrative of Jane Sutton

Person Interviewed: Jane Sutton Location: Gulfport, Mississippi Place of Birth: Simpson County MS Age: 84 Jane Sutton, ex-slave, is 84 years old. She is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She is what the Negroes themselves call a “brown-skin.” “I was born in Simpson County, near old Westville, on a big farm what b’long to Marse Jack Berry. I was 12 years old when de surrender come, so my ole Mis’ say. Her name was ‘Mis Ailsey an’ all us cullud folks call her ‘Ole Mi’s. She an’ Old Marster had twelve chillun: Marthy, ‘Lizabeth, Flavilia, Mary, Jack, Bill, Denson, Pink, Tally, Thomas, Albert, and Frank. “My pappy’s name was Steve Hutchins. He b’long to de Hutchins what live down near Silver Creek. He jus’ come on Satu’d’y night an’ us don’ see much of ‘im. Us call him ‘dat man.’ Mammy tol’ us to be more ‘spectful to ‘im ’cause he was us daddy, but us aint care nothin’ ’bout ‘im. He aint never brung us no candy or nothin’. “My mammy was name Lucy Berry. She always go by de white folks name what she live wid. She aint never marry. She had fo’ boys an’ three girls. Dey was name Delia, Sarah, Ella, Nathan, Isom, Anderson, an’ Pleas. She work in de fiel’ an Old Marster say she’s de only woman on de...

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Slave Narrative of Clara C. Young

Person Interviewed: Clara C. Young Location: Mississippi Age: 95 Place of Residence: Monroe County, Mississippi Clara C. Young, ex-slave, Monroe County, is approximately 95 years old, about five feet two inches tall, and weighs 105 pounds. She is a frail, dark skinned Negro, with the typical broad nose and the large mouth of the southern Negro. Her physical condition is especially good for a woman of her age. She is very talkative at times, but her memory appears to come and go, so that she has to be prompted at intervals in her story-telling by her daughter or granddaughter, with whom she lives. Familiarly known as “Aunt Classie,” she is very proud of her age and more especially of her long line of descendants. “Law, Miss, I doan know when I was born, but I do know dat I’se sebenteen years old when I was fust sol’. Dey put me an’ my brudder up on de auction block at de same time. He brung $1400 but I dis’members zactly what dey paid far me. Wa’nt dat much, tho’, fer big strong mans brung mo’ dan wimmens an’ gals.” Long pauses accentuated the quavery voice of the old Negro, whose head resembled a nappy patch of cotton, and who was so enthusiastic over reminiscing about the days when she was young and carefree. “I was born in Huntsville, Alabamy, an’...

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Biography of George W. Sparkes

George W. Sparkes, living two and a half miles southeast of San Bernardino, came to California in June, 1857. He was born April 19, 1819, in Monroe County, Mississippi, a son of Aaron and Mary (Stipson) Sparkes. His father, a native of South Carolina, moved to Mississippi in an early day, and died there when George was sixteen years of age. His mother was a native of Virginia. He was married in that State, August 26, 1842, to Miss Lorena Roberds, a native of Alabama, who was principally reared in Mississippi. Her parents were Thomas and Annie (Nix) Roberds, of Alabama. Four years after his marriage Mr. Sparkes started to California with teams across the plains, wintered at Fort Pueblo, and in the spring of 1847 started for Salt Lake City. Remaining there until 1850, he came on with others, comprising his wife and three children, Joan Roberds, wife and seven children, and Mr. Jackson, wife and three children, and completed their journey at Diamond Spring, building the first house at that point and naming the place. There they spent the winter of 1851, while Mr. Sparkes kept a boarding house. He next went to Suisun valley, where he remained about a year and a half; then he went to Russian river, and from that point came to San Bernardino, arriving here June 26, 1857, and has ever since...

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Biography of R. T. Roberds

[The following sketch is in Mr. Roberds’ own language:] I was born in Monroe County, state of Mississippi, April 9, 1837. My father, John Roberds, was born in Franklin County, Georgia, in August, 1800. My mother, Martha T. Roberds, was born in Madison County, Alabama, May 16, 1817. My father died in San Bernardino, October 15, 1878, being seventy-eight years of age. He was in the Black Hawk war, and learned to speak the Choctaw and Chickasaw languages. My mother still lives in San Bernardino. “Early in the spring of 1846, when a boy nine years of age, I left Mississippi with my parents and family, there being six small children. I traveled into Missouri with a small party of emigrants with ox teams, through Independence, Missouri; crossed the Mississippi river at what was called at that time the Iron Banks; traveled on to the lead mines in Missouri. Here we enlarged our party with more emigrants. From there on the log cabins began to get very scattering, and in a few days’ travel we bid farewell to civilization. “The next place of any note we came to was the Osage River: no whites but a few Indians. I do not remember the name of the tribe. Here we took our wagons to pieces and ferried them over with great difficulty, in a small boat, the river being about...

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