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Location: Nashville Tennessee

Slave Narrative of Frances Batson

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Person Interviewed: Frances Batson Location: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Birth: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Residence: 1213 Scovel St., Nashville, Tennessee Age: 90+ “I dunno jes how ole I ez. I wuz baw’n ‘yer in Nashville, durin’ slabery. I must be way pas’ 90 fer I member de Yankee soldiers well. De chilluns called dem de ‘blue mans.’ Mah white folks wuz named Crockett. Dr. Crockett wuz our marster but I don’t member ‘im mahse’f. He d’ed w’en I wuz small. Mah marster wuz mean ter mah mammy w’en her oler chilluns would run ‘way. Mah oler br’er went ter war wid mah marster. Mah younger br’er run ‘way, dey caught ‘im, tuk ‘im home en whup’d ‘im. He run ‘way en wuz nebber found.” “We wuzn’t sold but mah mammy went ‘way, en lef’ me en I got up one mawnin’ went ter mah mammy’s room, she wuz gon’. I cried en cried fer her. Mah Missis wouldn’t let me outa’ de house, fer fear I’d try ter find her. Atter freedum mah br’er en a Yankee soldier kum in a waggin en git us. Mah white folks sed, I don’ see why you ez takin’ dez chilluns. Mah brudder said, ‘We ez free now.’ I member one whup’in mah missis gib me. Me en her...

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Slave Narrative of Millie Simpkins

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Person Interviewed: Millie Simpkins Location: Nashville, Tennessee Age: 109 Place of Residence: 1004 10th Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee “Black Mamie” I claims I’s 109 ye’ars ole en wuz bawn neah Winchester, Tennessee. Mah marster wuz Boyd Sims en mah missis wuz Sarah Ann Ewing Sims. Mah mammy wus named Judy Ewing en mah daddy wuz Moses Stephens en he wus “free bawn.” He wuz de marster’s stable boy en followed de races. He run ‘way en nebber kum back. Mah fust missis wuz very rich. She had two slave ‘omen ter dress her eve’y mawnin’ en I brought her breakfust ter her on a silvah waitah. She wuz ma’ied three times, her second husband wuz Joe Carter en de third wuz Judge Gork. Mah fust missis sold me kaze I wuz stubborn. She sent me ter de “slave yard” at Nashville. De yard wuz full ob slaves. I stayed dere two weeks ‘fore marster Simpson bought me. I wuz sold ‘way fum mah husband en I nebber se’d ‘im ‘gin. I had one chile which I tuk wid me. De slave yard wuz on Cedar Street. A Mr. Chandler would bid de slaves off, but ‘fore dey started biddin’ you had ter tek all ob yo Clothes off en roll down de hill so dey could see...

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Slave Narrative of Measy Hudson

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Person Interviewed: Measy Hudson Location: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Birth: North Carolina Age: 79-80 Place of Residence: 1209 Jefferson St., Nashville, Tennessee “Wuz bawn’ in North Carolina en I’se 90 y’ars ole in November. W’en war broke out we kum ter Tennessee en hab bin ‘yer eber since. Wuz ‘yer w’en old Hood fi’rd de cannons. He said he wuz kum’n ‘yer ter Christmas dinnah, but he didn’t do hit.” “Mah white folks wuz named Harshaw. Marster Aaron Harshaw d’ed en we wuz willed ter his chilluns en dat we wuz not ter be whup’d er ‘bused in anyway. We wuz sold, but long ‘fore de war mah daddy wuz freed en mah manny wuz not freed, but kep’ a slave.” “De marster’s chilluns wuz small en eber New Y’ar Day, we wuz put on a block en hired out ter de high bidduh, en de money spent ter school de marster’s chilluns.” “I wuz tole dat sum ob de white peeples wuz so mean ter dere slaves dat de slaves would tek a pot en turn hit down in a hollow ter keep dere whites fum yearin’ dem singin’ en prayin’. De Ku Klux wuz bad on de ex-slaves at fust.” “De white folks ‘fore de war had w’at dey called “Muster” en I would...

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Slave Narrative of Naisy Reece

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Person Interviewed: Naisy Reece Location: Nashville, Tennessee Place of Birth: Williamson County TN Age: 80 “I wuz bawn in slavery, in Williamson County, guess I’se ’bout 80 y’ars ole. Think I wuz fou’ w’en de wah started.” “Mah mammy en daddy wuz Mary en Ennock Brown.” “Mah missis en marster wuz Polly en Randall Brown.” “Dunno ob any ob our fam’ly bein’ sold. W’en freedum wuz declar’ we wuz tu’n loose wid nothin’. Mah daddy tuk us down in de kuntry, raised crops en made us wuk in de fiel’.” “I’se cooked a leetle fer urther peeple, but mos’ ob mah wuk has bin laundry. I didn’t go ter schul much. I dunno w’at ter say ’bout de younger gineratshun; dere ez sich a diff’unce now ter w’at hit wuz w’en I wuz a girl. Dunno any tales dat I useter ‘year.” “Didn’t see any Klu Klux Klan, but I alluz got skeered en hid w’en we’d ‘year dey wuz kumin’. I ‘long ter de Baptist Church. I neber went ter menny camp-meetin’s, but went ter a lot ob baptizins.” “Mammy tole us how de sta’rs fell en how skeered eberybody got. I saw de long tail comet.” Signs: “Good luck ter git up ‘fore day-lite ef’n youer gwin sum place er start sum wuk.” “Bad...

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Slave Narrative of Isaac Stier

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Interviewer: Edith Wyatt Moore Person Interviewed: Isaac Stier Location: Natchez, Mississippi Date of Birth: Jefferson County MS “Miss, my name is Isaac Stier, but folks calls me ‘Ike.’ I was named by my pappy’s young Marster an’ I aint never tol’ nobody all o’ dat name. It’s got twenty-two letters in it. It’s wrote but in de fam’ly Bible. Dat’s how I knows I’ll be one hund’ed years old if I lives ’til de turn o’ de year. I was born in Jefferson County ‘tween Hamburg an’ Union Church. De plantation joined de Whitney place an’ de Montgomery place, too. I b’longed to Marse Jeems Stowers. I don’t rightly ‘member how many acres my Marster owned, but ’twas a big plantation wid eighty or ninety head o’ grown folks workin’ it. No tellin’ how many little black folks dey was. “My mammy was Ellen Stier an’ my pappy was Jordon Stier. He was bought to dis country by a slave dealer from Nashville, Tennessee. Dey traveled all de way through de Injun Country on afoot. Dey come on dat Trace road. Twant nothin’ but a Injun Trail. “When dey got to Natchez de slaves was put in de pen ‘tached to de slave markets. It stood at de forks o’ St. Catherine Street an’ de Liberty...

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Slave Narrative of Samuel Sutton

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Interviewer: Miriam Logan Person Interviewed: Samuel Sutton Location: Lebanon, Ohio Place of Birth: Garrett County Kentucky Date of Birth: 1854 Miriam Logan, Lebanon, Ohio Warren County, Dist. 2 July 2, 1937 Interview with SAMUEL SUTTON, Ex Slave. Born in Garrett County, Kentucky, in 1854 (drawing of Sutton) [TR: no drawing found] “Yes’em, I sho were bo’n into slavery. Mah mothah were a cook-(they was none betteah)-an she were sold four times to my knownin’. She were part white, for her fathah were a white man. She live to be seventy-nine yeahs an nine months old.” “Ah was bo’n in Garrett County, but were raised by ol’ Marster Ballinger in Knox County, an’ ah don remember nothin ’bout Garrett County.” When Lincoln was elected last time, I were about eight yeahs ol’.” “Ol’ Marster own ’bout 400-acres, n’ ah don’ know how many slaves-maybe 30. He’d get hard up fo money n’ sell one or two; then he’d get a lotta work on hands, an maybe buy one or two cheap,-go ‘long lak dat you see.” He were a good man, Ol’ Mars Ballinger were-a preacher, an he wuk hisse’f too. Ol’ Mis’ she pretty cross sometime, but ol’ Mars, he weren’t no mean man, an ah don’ ‘member he evah whip us. Yes’em dat ol’ hous...

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Biography of E.Y. Salmon, M.D.

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now E. Y. Salmon, M. D., was born in the “Palmetto State,” on the 26th of June, 1830. His father, William H. Salmon, was a physician and immigrated to Alabama in 1833, and afterward removed to Texas in 1863, where he died. He was identified with public interest in Alabama, and held the office of clerk, for twenty four years. The mother died in Texas at an advanced age. Our subject was reared in Alabama, and resided with his parents until nineteen years of age. He volunteered to serve in the Mexican war in 1846, but peace was declared before he reached the Army. He went to California in 1849, and mined for eighteen months, and then engaged in trading. In 1854 he returned to Alabama then went to Texas, where he studied medicine for two years, and then entered the medical department of the University of Tennessee, and graduated in 1857. He practiced in Lynchburg until 1861, when he organized the first company that was organized in the state, which took the name of the Lynchburg Rangers, Company E. He served in Turney’s First Tennessee, as sergeant and captain. After his return, he practiced at Lynchburg until 1872, when he was made clerk and master of the Chancery Court of Moore County, two terms. In 1882,...

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Slave Narrative of Alice Douglass

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Person Interviewed: Alice Douglass Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Sumner County, Tennessee Date of Birth: December 22, 1860 Age: 73 I was born December 22, 1880 in Summer County, Tennessee. My mother, I mean mammy, ’cause what did we know ’bout mother and mama. Master and Mistress made dey chillun call all nigger women. “Black Harmy.” Jest as I was saying my mammy was named Millie Elkins and my pappy was named Isaac Garrett. My sisters and brothers was Frank, Susie and Mollie. They is all in Nashville, Tennessee right now. They lived in log houses. I ‘member my grandpappy and when he died. I allus slept in the Big House in a cradle wid white babies. We all the time wore cotton dresses and we weaved our own cloth. The boys jest wore shirts. Some wore shoes, and I sho’ did. I kin see ’em now as they measured my feets to git my shoes. We had doctors to wait on us iffen we got sick and ailing. We wore asafedida to keep all diseases offen us. When a nigger man got ready to marry, he go and tell his master that they was a woman on sech and sech a farm that he’d lak to have. Iffen master give his resent, then...

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Biography of Benjamin H. Charles

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Benjamin H. Charles, who enjoys the reputation of being one of the leading municipal bond lawyers in the United States and who in the practice of his profession is accorded an extensive clientage in St. Louis, where he makes his home, was born at Chester, Illinois, April 26, 1866, his parents being Benjamin H. and Achsah Susan (Holmes) Charles. The father was a Presbyterian minister of note who led a very active life. He was a man of positive character and high ideals and at different periods acceptably served as pastor of churches in Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri. He was graduated from Centre College at Danville, Kentucky, in 1853 and among his classmates were the late Senator Vest, Judge Phillips and Governor Crittenden of Missouri. Dr. Charles became prominent in connection with educational interests, especially in girls’ schools and was president of the Synodical College at Fulton, Missouri, from 1877 until 1888 inclusive, this being an excellent girls’ college. His last pastorate was in Trinity church at St. Louis. His wife was a daughter of the late Joseph B. Holmes, one of the early day river millers who owned two large mills at and near Chester, Illinois, the flour which he manufactured being largely for the export trade, most of it being sent to Liverpool, England....

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Biography of Hon. W.W. Gordon

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Hon. W. W. Gordon was born in Winchester, Tennessee, May 20, 1848. His father, Dr. Amzi B. Gordon, was a native of the county of Bedford, moving to Franklin County in about the year 1841, where he began the practice of medicine, soon building up a large and lucrative practice. He was a zealous member of the Baptist Church and one of the founders of the celebrated Mary Sharp College, at Winchester. He died in 1855. His mother is a daughter of John March, a highly respected farmer of the county, and a sister of Hon. Hayden March, who represented Franklin County several times in the Legislature. Mr. Gordon received only the rudiments of an English education at Carrick Academy, in his native town, the suspension of the schools during the five years of war depriving him, as it did thousands of the youth of the south, of the means of obtaining an education. He entered a printing office during the war, partly for the educational advantages thus offered, but principally for the meager salary thereby obtained for the support of his widowed mother and sister. He moved to Nashville soon after the war, working in the various departments of the newspaper offices of that city. He spent several years in visiting the principal cities of...

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Biographical Sketch of Dr. A.H. Parkes

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Dr. A. H. Parkes, whose birth occurred on the farm where he now resides, in Moore County, October 11, 1936, is one of seven surviving children, born to the union of Martin L. and Susan (Smith) Parkes. The father was a native of North Carolina, born in 1793, and came to this county about 1818. He was an officer in the war of 1812, and was magistrate in Lincoln County for several years. He was a tiller of the soil, and died December, 12, 1845. The mother was born August, 8, 1803, in Virginia, and came to this county in 1818, where she was married the same year. She died August, 11, 1881. At the age of seventeen, our subject began the study of medicine with a brother in Lynchburg, where he remained three years, after which he attended a course of lectures in the medical department of the University of Nashville. He then practiced for one year, and in the fall of 1858, entered Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia where he graduated the following March-April 1861, he joined Turney’s First Tennessee Infantry, and in the fall of the same year was elected lieutenant. In May 1862, he returned home, and since that time has been actively engaged in the practice of his profession in connection...

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Biographical Sketch of Milton Donaldson

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Milton Donaldson (deceased), the largest capitalist of Lake County, was a native of Alabama, but spent part of his youth in Nashville. After moving to Donaldson’s Point, Missouri, he married Theresa Baird. Mr. Donaldson was a self made man. When he married he had nothing, and by hard work and good management he accumulated an estate worth $150,000. He had but one son, who died in childhood. He was a democrat in politics. Mrs. Donaldson was a Methodist. In 1877 Mr. Donaldson left his home one afternoon to look after his stock. While absent a villain by the name of Murphy entered the house for the purpose of robbing. He first knocked the servant girl down, and thinking she was dead, returned to close the doors, but finding she was not dead, he repeated the blows. He then entered Mrs. Donaldson’s room, and murdered her. As soon as the crime was discovered, the neighbors turned out and found the murderer, and hung him at once. Mr. Donaldson remained a widower until his death, in 1881, and having neither wife nor children to inherit his large estate, it passed into the hands of his nieces and nephews. He was a kind and generous...

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Biography of J.L. Colvert

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now J. L. Colvert, retired merchant, was born in 1828 in Culpeper County, Va., the son of William I. and Harriett (Weedon) Colvert. The father, born in the same county in 1791, was a farmer and a soldier in the war of 1812, on duty in his native State. In 1828 he came to Warren County, Tenn., Thence to Alabama for a few years, and about 1840 returned to Cannon County, Tenn. He finally settled in Dekalb County in 1848 and bought a home of 150 acres, where he lived the greater part of his life. He died in Nashville in 1859. The mother, born in 1801 in Fairfax County, Va., is still living, receiving a pension for her husband’s services in 1812. Our subject, one of seven children, came to Tennessee when an infant, and was reared and educated in Cannon County. At the age of sixteen he served a year’s apprenticeship in a tannery, then farmed a year, and in 1848 sunk a tannery in Dekalb County with his brother as partner. In April 1846, he Married Johanna Matthews, born in Cannon County in 1830. Their two children are Mary E., wife of S. D. Blankenship, and Harriett. In 1852 he engaged in farming and merchandising besides tanning. In 1854 he sold his tan yard...

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Biography of Prof. T. B. Kelly

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Prof. T. B. Kelly, A. M., LL. B., president of Pure Fountain College, Smithville, was born in Columbia, Maury Co., Tenn., in 1852. His parents were Thomas J. and Elizabeth (Hardwicke) Kelly. The father was of Irish descent, born March 9, 1810, in Dickson County, Tenn., where his father, Thomas Kelly located after emigrating from Ireland, about 1800. Thomas J. married in 1838, and about 1844 moved to Columbia, where he established a queens ware store, which he managed successfully until the year of his death, 1861. His first wife was of French extraction, born in 1817, in Buckingham County, Virginia She died in January 1854. There were eleven children, only two of who are living: George M., a farmer of Maury County, and our subject. Prof. Kelly received his early education in his native county, at Jones’ Academy. In 1837 he entered the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, remaining five months. In the winter of 1873 he began the study of law at Nashville, his preceptor being Hon. F. C. Dannington. He also assisted in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court. In the fall of 1874 he entered the law department of Cumberland University at Lebanon, graduating the following June. He located in his native town. In September 1876, he commenced teaching...

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Biographical Sketch of Capt. J.T. Exum

Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. Start Now Capt. J. T. Exum, merchant, was born December 4, 1842, in Smith County, Tenn. He is the son of Kinchen D. and Elizabeth (Allen) Exum, the former born in 1821, in Smith County, and the latter in 1821, in Wilson County. His grandfather, William a native of North Carolina, was one of the earliest pioneers of Smith County, where he died. Reared on a farm, our subject was educated at Cumberland Institute, in White County, and soon enlisted in the Federal Army as private, then corporal, then second lieutenant and recruiting officer for the Fifth Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry. He was soon promoted to first lieutenant, and in 1862 was made captain at Nashville. In March, 1865, he resigned his commission and for about two years was engaged in merchandising at Laurell Hill, Tenn. Then after about seven years in Buffalo Valley, Putnam County, in the same business, he was made United States storekeeper and gauger for the Fifth Internal Revenue District. In 1881 he was deputy United States marshal, under Marshal Tillman, and a year later was appointed United States commissioner for the middle district of Tennessee, but resigned in 1883. For four years previous to 1884 he was chairman of the Republican Executive Committee of the Fourth congressional District. After a year’s travel in the...

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