Location: Washington County MS

Slave Narrative of Berry Smith

Interviewer: W. B. Allen Person Interviewed: Berry Smith Location: Forest, Mississippi Place of Birth: Sumpter County, Alabama “Uncle Berry” Smith is five feet two or three inches tall. He is scrupulously neat. He is very independent for his age, which is calculated at one hundred and sixteen years. He believes the figure to be correct. His mind is amazingly clear. “I was born an’ bred in Sumpter County, Alabama, in de prairie lan’, six miles from Gainesville. Dat’s where I hauled cotton. It was close to Livingston, Alabama, where we lived. “I was twelve years old when de stars fell. Dey fell late in de night an’ dey lighted up de whole earth. All de chaps was a-runnin’ ‘roun’ grabbin’ for ’em, but none of us ever kotched[FN: caught] one. It’s a wonder some of’ em didn’ hit us, but dey didn’. Dey never hit de groun’ atall. “When dey runned de Injuns out de country, me an’ another chap kotched one o’ dem Injun’s ponies an hung him up[FN: tied him up] in de grape vines. He said it was his pony an’ I said it was mine. “Marse Bob’s boy tol’ us his daddy was gwine a-whup us for stealin’ dat pony, so we hid out in de cane for two nights. Marse Bob an’ his brother whupped us’ til we didn’ want to see no more...

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Biography of Sidney Thorne Able

(Sketch written by Judge Nelson E. Lurton, Commissioner of the United States Court, at Shanghai, China, who served in Mr. Able’s law office as his assistant from 1912 to 1916.) It is so unusual to find read merit displayed in a man until he has been put through some of the trying experiences of life that it is a pleasure to find such in one born and reared as Sidney Thorne Able was, surrounded with all the comforts of life, the son of a southern banker and cotton planter. In order to know a man well we must know something about his boyhood days. The photograph of his boyhood home reproduced from a small kodak picture, shows Sidney Thorne Able, a bare legged boy about to enter the Mississippi home in which he lived until he was seventeen years of age, when he came to St. Louis to enter Washington University. In the pony cart is his sister, Elise, now Mrs. George Doling Haynes of Kansas City. Much to the delight of the boy, the home was equipped with a complete gymnasium and with bowling alleys. As a boy he spent much time riding horses and upon Chatam plantation at Erwin, Mississippi, a plantation that extended almost the entire length of and along the north shore of Lake Washington and required over one hundred and twenty-five mules and a...

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Slave Narrative of Matilda Bass

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person Interviewed: Matilda Bass Location: 1100 Palm Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 80 Occupation: Farmed “Yes ma’am, I was eight years old when the Old War ceasted. “Honey, I’ve lived here twenty years and I don’t know what this street is. “I was born in Greenville, Mississippi. They took my parents and carried ’em to Texas to keep ’em from the Yankees. I think they stayed three years ’cause I didn’t know ’em when they come back. “I ‘member the Yankees come and took us chillun and the old folks to Vicksburg. I ‘member the old man that seed after the chillun while their parents was gone, he said I was eight when freedom come. We didn’t know nothin’ ’bout our ages—didn’t have ‘nough sense. “My parents come back after surrender and stayed on my owner’s place—John Scott’s place. We had three masters—three brothers. “I been in Arkansas twenty years—right here. I bought this home. “I married my husband in Mississippi. We farmed. “The Lord uses me as a prophet and after my husband died, the Lord sent me to Arkansas to tell the people. He called me out of the church. I been out of the church now thirty-three years. Seems like all they think about in the churches now is money, so the Lord called me...

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Slave Narrative of Cyrus Bellus

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person Interviewed: Cyrus Bellus Age: 73 Location: 1380 pulaski Street, Little Rock, Arkansas [HW: Made Own Cloth] “I was born in Mississippi in 1865 in Jefferson County. It was on the tenth of March. My father’s name was Cyrus Bellus, the same as mine. My mother’s name was Matilda Bellus. “My father’s master was David Hunt. My father and mother both belonged to him. They had the same master. I don’t know the names of my grandfather and mother. I think they were Jordons. No, I know my grandmother’s name was Annie Hall, and my grandfather’s name was Stephen Hall. Those were my mother’s grandparents. My father’s father was named John Major and his mother was named Dinah Major. They belonged to the Hunts. I don’t know why the names was different. I guess he wasn’t their first master. Slave Sales, Whippings, Work “I have heard my folks talk about how they were traded off and how they used to have to work. Their master wouldn’t allow them to whip his hands. No, it was the mistress that wouldn’t allow them to be whipped. They had hot words about that sometimes. “The slaves had to weave cotton and knit sox. Sometimes they would work all night, weaving cloth, and spinning thread. The spinning would be done first. They would make cloth for all the hands...

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Biography of J. T. Gunter, M. D.

The medical profession of Ochelata finds a prominent representative in Dr. J. T. Gunter, who devotes the greater part of his attention to surgical work, in which he has developed that expert skill which is the result of broad experience and innate ability. He was born at Lagrange, Mississippi, January 1, 1876, his parents being George Washington and Mary Catherine Gunter, the former a native of Pickett County, Tennessee, while the latter was born in Carrollton, Mississippi. The father engaged in merchandising. Both Mr. and Mrs. Gunter are deceased. In the acquirement of an education J. T. Gunter attended Millsaps College at Jackson, Mississippi, and Grant University of Tennessee, which latter institution conferred upon him the M. D. degree on the 15th of April, 1903. He at once entered upon the work of his profession, which he followed for five years at Murphy, Mississippi, going from there to Catchings, that state, where he remained for three years. On the 20th of December, 1911, he came to Oklahoma, locating at Ochelata, where he has since engaged in practice, except during the period of his service in the World war, which covered two years. He was post surgeon at La Teste, France, on the Bay of Biscay, where he was stationed for four months, and while there he administered to the civilian population each day free of charge, after his government...

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