Location: Oklahoma City Oklahoma

Slave Narrative of Doc Daniel Dowdy

Person Interviewed: Doc Daniel Dowdy Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Madison County, Georgia Date of Birth: June 6, 1856 Age: 81 I was born June 6, 1856 in Madison County, Georgia. Father was named Joe Dowdy and mother was named Mary Dowdy. There was 9 of us boys, George, Smith, Lewis, Henry, William, myself, Newt, James and Jeff. There was one girl and she was my twin, and her name was Sarah. My mother and father come from Richmond, Va., to Georgia. Father lived on one side of the river and my mother on the other wide. My father would come over ever week to visit us. Noah Meadows bought my father and Elizabeth Davis, daughter of the old master took my mother. They married in Noah Meadows’ house. My mother was the cook in the Big House. They’d give us pot likker with bread crumbs in it. Sometimes meat, jest sometimes, very seldom. I liked black-eyed peas and still do till now. We lived in weatherboard house. Our parents had corded-up beds with ropes and us chillun slept on the floor for most part or in a hole bored in a log. Our house had one window jest big enough to stick your heat out of, and one door, and this one door faced the Big House which was your master’s house. This was so that...

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Slave Narrative of Hannah McFarland

Person Interviewed: Hannah McFarland Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Georgetown, South Carolina Date of Birth: February 29, 1853 Age: 85 I was born in Georgetown, South Carolina, February 29, 1853. My father was name James Gainey and my mother was name Katie Gainey. There was three chillun born to my folks doing slavery. My father was a free man, but my mother was do slave of the Sampsons, some Jews. My father was do richest Negro in South Carolina doing this time. He bought all three of we chillun for $1,000 apiece, but dem Jews jest wouldn’t sell mamma. Dey was mighty sweet to her. She come home ever night and stayed with us. Doing the day a Virginian nigger woman stayed with us and she sho’ was mean to we chillun. She used to beat us sumpin’ terrible. You know Virginia people is mean to culled people. My father bought her from some white folks too. We lived in town and in a good house. It was a good deal of confusion doing do war. I waited on the Yankees. Dey captured mamma’s white people’s house. Dey tried to git mamma to tell den jest what de white folks done done to her and all she could say was dey was good to her. Shucks. dey wouldn’t sell her. She jest told them she had a...

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Slave Narrative of Stephen McCray

Person Interviewed: Stephen McCray Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Huntsville County, Alabama Date of Birth: 1850 Age: 88 Occupation: Fisherman I was born in Huntsville County, Alabama, right where the Scottsboro boys was in jail, in 1850. My parents was Wash and Winnie McCray. They was the mother and father of 22 chillun. Jest five lived to be grown and the rest died at baby age. My father’s mother and father was named Mandy and Peter McCray, and my mother’s mother and father was Ruthie and Charlie McCray. They all had the same Master, Mister McCray, all the way thoo’. We live in log huts and when I left home grown, I left my folks living in the same log huts. Beds was put together with ropes and called rope beds. No springs was ever heard of by white or cullud as I knows of. All the work I ever done was pick up chips for my grandma to cook with. I was kept busy doing this all dey. The big boys went out end got rabbits, possums and fish. I would sho’ lak to be in old Alabama fishing, ’cause I am a fisherman. There is sho’ some pretty water in Alabama and as swift as cars run here. Water so clear and blue you can see the fish way down, and dey wouldn’t bite to...

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Slave Narrative of George Conrad, Jr.

Person Interviewed: George Conrad, Jr. Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Connersville, Harrison County, Kentucky Date of Birth: February 23, 1860 Age: 77 I was born February 23, 1860 at Connersville, Harrison County, Kentucky. I was born and lived just 13 miles from Pariah. My mother’s name is Rachel Conrad, born at Bourbon County, Kentucky. My father, George Conrad, was born at Bourbon County Kentucky. My grandmother’s name is Sallie Amos, and grandfather’s name is Peter Amos. My grandfather, his old Master freed his and he bought my grandmother, Aunt Liza and Uncle Cy. He made the money by freighting groceries from Ohio to Mayaville, Kentucky. Our Master was named Master Joe Conrad. We sometimes called him “Mos” Joe Conrad. Master Joe Conrad stayed in a big log house with weather. boarding on the outside. I was born in a log cabin. We slept in wooden beds with rope cords for slats, and the beds had curtains around them. You see my mother was the cook for the Master, and she cooked everything chicken, roasting ears. She cooked mostly everything we have now. They didn’t have stoves; they cooked in big ovens. She skillets had three legs. I can remember the first stove that we had. I guess I was about six years old. My old Master had 900 acres of land. My father was a stiller. He...

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Slave Narrative of Betty Foreman Chessier

Person Interviewed: Betty Foreman Chessier Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: July 11, 1843 Age: 94 I was born July 11, 1843 in Raleigh, N. C. My mother was named Melinda Manley, the slave of Governor Manley of North Carolina, and my father was named Arnold Foreman, slave of Bob and John Foreman, two young masters. They come over from Arkansas to visit my master and my pappy and mammy met and got married, ‘though my pappy only seen my mammy in the summer when his masters come to visit our master and dey took him right back. I had three sisters and two brothers and none of dem was my whole brothers and sisters. I stayed in the Big House all the time, but my sisters and brothers was gived to the master’s sons and daughters whey dey got married and dey was told to send back for some more when dem died. I didn’t never stay with my mammy doing of slavery. I stayed in the Big House. I slept under the dining room table with three other darkies. The flo’ was well carpeted. Don’t remembah my grandmammy and grandpappy, but my master was they master. I waited on the table, kept flies off’n my mistress and went for the mail. Never made no money, but dey did give the...

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Slave Narrative of Octavia George

Person Interviewed: Octavia George Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Mansieur, Louisiana Date of Birth: 1852 Age: 85 I was born in Mansieur, Louisiana, 1852, Avoir Parish. I am the daughter of Alfred and Clementine Joseph. I don’t know much about my grandparents other than my mother told me my grandfather’s name was Fransuai, and was one time a king in Africa. Most of the slaves lived in log cabins, and the beds were home-made. The mattresses were made out of moss gathered from trees, and we used to have lots of fun gathering that moss to make those mattresses. My job was taking care of the white children up at the Big House (that is what they called the house where our master lived), and I also had to feed the little Negro children. I remember quite well how those poor little children used to have to eat. They were fed in boxes and troughs, under the house. They were fed corn meal mush and beans. When this was poured into their box they would gather around it the same as we see pigs, horses and cattle gather around troughs today. We were never given any money, but were able to get a little money this way: our Master would let us have two or three acres of land each year to plant for ourselves, and we...

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Slave Narrative of Marshall Mack

Person Interviewed: Marshall Mack Date of Birth: September 10, 1854 Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Age: 83 I was born September 10, 1854. I am the second child of five. My mother was named Sylveston Mack and my father Booker Huddleston. I do not remember my mother’s master, ‘came he died before I was born. My Mistress was named Mancy Mack. She was the mother of six children, four boys and two girls. Three of dem boys went to the war and one packed and went off sons what and nobody beard from him doing of the whole war. But soon as the war was over he come home and he never told whar he had been. I never saw but one grown person flogged during slavery and dat was my mother. The younger son of my mistress whipped her one morning in do kitchen. His name was Jack. De slaves on Mistress’ place was treated so good, all de people round and ’bout called us “Mack’s Free Miggars.” Dis was 14 miles northwest of Liberty, county seat of Bedford County, Virginia. One day while de war was going on, my Mistress got a letter from her son Jim wid jest one line. Dat was “Mothers Jack’s brains spattered on my gun this morning.” That was all he written. Jack Huddleston owned my father, who was his half brother, and...

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Slave Narrative of Nancy Gardner

Person Interviewed: Nancy Gardner Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Franklin, Tennessee Date of Birth: 1858 Age: 79 Well, to tell you de truth I don’t know my age, but I was born in 1858, in Franklin, Tennessee. How, you can figger for yourself and tell how old I is. I is de daughter of Prophet and Callie Isaiah, and dey was natives of Tennessee. Dere was three of us children, two boys and myself. I’m de only girl. My brothers names was Prophet and Billie Isaiah. I don’t ‘member much about dem as we was separated when I was seven years old. I’ll never forget when me, my ma and my auntie had to leave my pa and brothers. It is jest as clear in my mind now as it was den, and dat’s been about seventy years ago. Oh God! I tall you it was awful dat day when old Jeff Davis had a bunch of us sent to Memphis to be sold. I can see old Major Clifton now. He was a big nigger trader you know. Well, dey took us on up dere to Memphis and we was sold jest like cattle. Dey sold me and ma together and dey sold pa and de boys together. Dey was sent to Mississippi and we was sent to Alabama. My pa, O how my ma was...

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Slave Narrative of Harriett Robinson

Person Interviewed: Harriet Robinson Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Bastrop, Texas Date of Birth: September 1, 1842 Age: 95 I was born close to Webbers Falls, in the Canadian District of the Cherokee Nation, in the same year that my pappy was blowed up and killed in the big boat accident that killed my old Master. I never did see my daddy excepting when I was a baby and I only know what my mammy told me about him. He come from across the water when he was a little boy, and was grown when old Master Joseph Vann bought him, so he never did learn to talk much Cherokee. My mammy was a Cherokee slave, and talked it good. My husband was a Cherokee born Negro, too, and when he got mad he forgit all the English he knowed. Old Master Joe had a mighty big farm and several families of Negroes, and he was a powerful rich man. Pappy’s name was Kalet Vann, and mammy’s name was Sally. My brothers was name Sone and Frank. I had one brother and one sister sold when I was little and I don’t remember the names. My other sisters was Polly, Ruth and Liddie. I had to work in the kitchen when I was a gal, and they was ten or twelve children smaller than me for me...

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Slave Narrative of Bert Luster

Person Interviewed: Bert Luster Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Watson County, Tennessee Date of Birth: 1853 Age: 85 I’ll be jest frank, I’m not for sho’ when I was born, but it was in 1853. Don’t know the month, but I was sho’ born in 1853 in Watson County, Tennessee. You see my father was owned by Master Luster and my mother was owned by Masters Joe and Bill Asterns (father and son). I can remember when Master Astern moved from Watson County, Tennessee he brought me and my mother with him to Barnum County Seat, Texas. Master Astern owned about twelve slaves, and dey was all Astern ‘cept Miriah Blmore’s son Jim. He owned ’bout five or six hundred acres of ground, and de slaves raised and shucked all de corn and picked all de cotton. De whites folks lived in a big double log house and we slaves lived in log cabins. Our white folks fed us darkies! We ate nearly ever’thing dey ate. Dey ate turkey, chickens, ducks, geese, fish and we killed beef. pork, rabbits and deer. Yes, and possums too. And whenever we killed beef we tanned the hide and dare was a white man who made shoes for de white folks and us darkies. I tell you I’m not gonna lie, den white folks was good to us darkies. We didn’t...

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Slave Narrative of Red Richardson

Person Interviewed: Red Richardson Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Grimes County, Texas Date of Birth: July 21, 1862 Age: 75 I was born July 21, 1862, at Grimes County, Texas. Smith Richardson was my father’s name. and Rliza Richardson my mother’s. We lived in so many places round there I can’t tell jest what. but we lived in a log house most of the time. We slept on the flo’ on pallets on one quilt. We ate cornbread, beans, vegetables, and got to drink plenty milk, We ate rabbits, fish, possums and such as that but we didn’t get no chicken. I don’t have no fav’rite food, I don’t guess. We wore shirts, long shirts slit up the side. I didn’t know what pants was until I was 14. In Grimes County it ain’t even cold these days, and I never wore no shoes. I married in a suit made of broad cloth. It had a tail on the coat. Master Ben Hadley, and Mistress Winnie Hadley, they had three sons: Josh, Henry and Charley. Didn’t have no overseer. We had to call all white folks, poor or rich, Mr. Master and Mistress. Master Hadiey owned ’bout 2,000 acres. He had a big number of slaves. They used to wake ’em up early in the mornings by ringing a large bell. They said they used to whip...

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Slave Narrative of Francis Bridges

Person Interviewed: Francis Bridges Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Red River County, Texas Date of Birth: 1864 Age: 73 Occupatio I was born in Red River County, Texas in 1864, and that makes me 73 years old. I had myself 75, and I went to my white folks and they counted it un and told me I was 73, but I always felt like I was older than that. My husband’s name is Henry Bridges. We was raised up children together and married. I had five sisters. My brother died here in Oklahoma about two years ago. He was a Fisher. Mary Russell, my sister, she lives in Parish, Texas; Willie Ann Poke, she lives in Greenville, Texas; Winnie Jackson, lives in Adonia, Texas, and Mattie White, my other sister, lives in Long Oak, Texas, White Hunt County. Our Master was named Master Travis Wright, and we all ate nearly the same thing. Such things as barbecued rabbits, coon, possums baked with sweet potatoes and all such as that. I used to hang round the kitchen. The cook, Mama Winnie Long, used to feed all us little niggers on the flo’, jest like little pigs, in tin cups and wooden spoons. We ate fish too, and I like to go fishing right this very day. We lived right in old Master Wright’s yard. His house sat way...

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Slave Narrative of Lewis Bonner

Person Interviewed: Lewis Bonner Location: 507 N. Durland, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Date of Birth: 1850 Age: 87 I was born 7 miles north of Palostine, Texas on Hatt Swanson ‘s place in 1850, but I kin not remember’ the date. My mistress was name Celia Swanson. My mistress was so good to me till I jest loved her. My family and all slaves on our place was treated good. Mighty few floggings went on round and about. Master was the overseer over his darkies and didn’t use no other’n. I waited table and churned in the Big House. I ate at the table with my mistress and her family and nothing was evah said. We ate bacon, greens, Irish potatoes and such as we git now. Aunt Chaddy was the cook and nurse for all the chillun on the place. We used to hear slaves on de other places hollering from whippings, but master never whipped his niggers ‘less they lied. Sometimes slaves from other places would run off and come to our place. Master would take them back and tell the slave-holders how to treat them so dey wouldn’t run off again. Mistress had a little stool for me in the big house, and if I got sleepy, she put me on the foot of her bed and I stayed there til morning, got up washed my face...

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Slave Narrative of Amanda Oliver

Person Interviewed: Amanda Oliver Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Missouri Date of Birth: November 9, 1857 Age: 80 I ‘membuh what my mother say, I was born November 9, 1857, in Missouri. I was ’bout eight years old, when she was sold to a master named Harrison Davis. They said he had two farms in Missouri, but when he moved to northern Texas he brought me, my mother, Uncle George, Uncle Dick and a cullud girl they said was 15 with ‘im. He owned ’bout 6 acres on de edge of town near Sherman, Texas, and my mother and ’em was all de slaves he had. They said he sold off some of de folks. We didn’t have no overseers in northern Texas, but in southern Texas dey did. Dey didn’t raise cotton either: but dey raised a whole lots of corn. Sometime de men would shuck corn all night long. Whenever dey was going to shuck all night de women would piece quilts while de men shuck de corn and you could hear ’em singing and shucking corn. After de cornshucking, de cullud folks would have big dances. Master Davis lived in a big white frame house. My mother lived in the yard in a big one-room log hut with a brick chimney. De logs was “pinted” (what dey call plastered now with line). I don’t...

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Slave Narrative of Ida Henry

Person Interviewed: Ida Henry Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Marshall, Texas Date of Birth: 1854 Age: 83 Occupation: House Girl I was born in Marshall, Texas, in 1854. Me mother was named Millie Henderson and me father Silas Hall. Me mother was sold in South Carolina to Mister Hall, who brought her to Texas. Me father was born and raised by Master John Hall. Me mother’s and father’s family consisted of five girls and one boy. My sister’s names were: Margrette, Chalette, Lottie, Gracy and Loyo, and me brother’s name was Dock Howard. I lived with me mother and father in a log house on Master Hall’s plantation. We would be sorry when dark, as de patrollers would walk through de quarters and homes of de slaves all times of night wid pine torch lights to whip de niggers found away from deir home. At nights when me mother would slip away for a visit to some of de neighbors homes, she would raise up the old plank floor to de log cabin and make pallets on de ground and put us to bed and put the floor back down so dat we couldn’t be seen or found by the patrollers on their stroll around at nights. My grandmother Lottie would always tell us to not let Master catch you in a lie, and to always tell...

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