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Topic: Slave Narrative

Slave Narrative of James (Jim) Davis

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: James Davis 1112 Indiana St. (owner), Pine Bluff, Ark. Age: 96 Occupation: Cotton farmer “This is what’s left of me. How old? Me? Now listen and let me tell you how ’twas. Old mistress put all our ages in the family Bible, and I was born on Christmas morning in 1840 in Raleigh, North Carolina. “My old master was Peter Davis and he was old Jeff Davis’ brother. There was eight of them brothers and every one of em was as rich as cream. “Old master was good to us. He said he wanted us singin’ and shoutin’ and workin’ in the field from morning to night. He fed us well and we had plenty good clothes to wear-heavy woolen clothes and good shoes in the winter time. When I was a young man I wore good clothes. “I served slavery about twenty-four years before peace was declared. We didn’t have a thing in God’s world to worry bout. Every darky old master had, he put woolen goods and good heavy shoes every winter. Oh, he was rich-had bout five or six thousand slaves. Oh, he had darkies aplenty. He run a hundred plows. “I went to work when I was seven pullin’ worms off tobacco, and I been workin’ ever since. But when I was comin’ up I had good times. I...

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Slave Narrative of Mrs. C. Hood

The Story of Mrs. C. Hood: Once upon a time during the Civil War my grandmother was alone with just one old faithful servant. The Union troops had just about taken everything she had, except three prize saddle horses and one coal black mare which she rode all the time. She was very fond of the mare and valued it very much. One night my grandmother heard a noise, and called old Joe to go to the barn and see what was the matter. As he was nearing the barn someone yelled “Halt”; and Joe being a black man and a servant, stopped just where he was. My grandmother, who had also heard the command, paid no attention whatsoever; she went straight through the dozen or more Union soldiers who were stealing her stock to the one who appeared to be the leader. He was holding her mare; she jerked the briddle from his hand, led her mare back to the kitchen door, where she held her the remainder of the night. A Story: When my mother was a girl she was staying with some kinfolks for one month. These people owned several slaves and among them was one old man-servant who was very old and had served out his usefulness. It was war time and food was scarce even for the white folks. The younger and stronger slaves...

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Slave Narrative of Elphas P. Hylton

LAWRENCE CO. (Edna Lane Carter) Extract from the Civil War diary kept by Elphas P. Hylton, a Lawrence Co. volunteer in the Union Army. “On 17th of July (1864) I was detailed for picket duty and saw three thousand negro soldiers on a grand review, a black cloud to see. On the 18th I was relieved of duty. Here I became dissatisfied as a soldier on account of the negro, negro, negro. On the 23rd we began to get ready to leave this negro hole and on the 24th, to our great joy and gladness, we were sent into camp near...

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Slave Narrative of Mr. McIntosh

LESLIE CO. (Viola Bowling) McIntosh was a very progressive farmer and had a large supply of food, being a Rebel of the Rebel Army camped at the mouth of this creek near his home where they could secure food. He had a slave called “Henry McIntosh” who was drafted into the Union Army. He did not want to go but his master told him, “Well Henry you will have to go, do not steal, nor lie and be good and when you get out come on back.” He did come back and stayed here until he died, he later married and was the father of “Ben McIntosh (colored) who later lived in Hyden for years. McIntosh did not have any help on his farm after this slave was taken away from him. So he let the youth of 16 years Mr. Wooton, come to his home and help him get wood and work about the place. McIntosh had another slave but gave him to his son-in-law John Hyden, who then lived one mile up Cutushin from the Mouth of McIntosh. He had a small store which was the first store in that...

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Slave Narrative of W. B. Morgan

ANDERSON CO. (Mildred Roberts) Many of the following stories were related by Mr. W.B. Morgan who at one time owned and operated a livery barn. He hired several negroes to look after the horses and hacks, and remembers many funny tales about them and others: “Kie Coleman, one of my employees, was standing without the livery stable smoking a two-fer cigar that some one had given him. Another negro walked up to chat with him, and he reared back and said “Get away nigger, nothing but the rich can endure life.” “I was hauling grain for the distillery. One morning I came down to the barn, and Kie was too drunk to take his team out. I gave him a good going over about wasting his money that way instead of saving it for a decent funeral. This is one of the best ways to appeal to a darkey because if there is any thing they like it is a big funeral. “He just kinda staggered up to me and said “Boss, I don’t worry a bit about dat. White folks don’t like to smell a live nigger and I’se knows good and well da hain’t gwine to lebe no dead nigger laying on top of de groun’.” “I furnished the horses for the hearse, and one night I tole the boys to leave it in the stable because...

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Biography of Alfred Richardson

MARTIN CO. (Cullen Jude) In the year 1864, during the conflict between the North and South, a new citizen was added to the town of Warfield. His name was Alfred Richardson, a colored man. Heretofore the people would not permit negroes to live in Warfield. Richardson was in a skirmish at Warfield and was listed among the northern people as missing. His leg was injured and he was in a serious condition. The good people living at Warfield had their sympathies stirred up by his condition and took him in and gave him food and medical attention until he was able to work. At first the people thought they had done a Samaritan Act, but as soon as Alf had a chance to prove himself, he was considered a blessing and not a curse. He became the paper hanger for the town. Then someone wanted to have his hair cut and Alf proved to be an excellent barber. He rented a shop and went into the barber business and made a success. He owned considerable land, and other property when he died. He lived and died at Warfield Kentucky, and was considered one of its most up to date...

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Slave Narrative of Sam and Louisa Everett

Sam and Louisa Everett, 86 and 90 years of age respectively, have weathered together some of the worst experiences of slavery, and as they look back over the years, can relate these experiences as clearly as if they had happened only yesterday. Both were born near Norfolk, Virginia and sold as slaves several times on nearby plantations. It was on the plantation of “Big Jim” McClain that they met as slave-children and departed after Emancipation to live the lives of free people. Sam was the son of Peter and Betsy Everett, field hands who spent long back-breaking hours in the cotton fields and came home at nightfall to cultivate their small garden. They lived in constant fear that their master would confiscate most of their vegetables; he so often did. Louisa remembers little about her parents and thinks that she was sold at an early age to a separate master. Her name as nearly as she could remember was Norfolk Virginia. Everyone called her “Nor.” It was not until after she was freed and had sent her children to school that she changed her name to Louisa. Sam and Norfolk spent part of their childhood on the plantation of “Big Jim” who was very cruel; often he would whip his slaves into insensibility for minor offences. He sometimes hung them up by their thumbs whenever they were caught attempting...

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Slave Narrative of Mrs. Duncan

WAYNE CO. (Gertrude Vogler) [Mrs. Duncan:] “After the War was over mammie’s old man did not want us with them, so he threatened to kill us. Then my old mammie fixed us a little bundle of what few clothes we had and started us two children out to go back to the Campbell family in Albany. The road was just a wilderness and full of wild animals and varmints. Mammie gave us some powder and some matches, telling us to put a little down in the road every little while and set fire to it. This would scare the wild animals away from us. “We got to the river at almost dark and some old woman set us across the river in a canoe. She let us stay all night wit her, and we went on to ‘Grandpap Campbells” (We always called him grandpap instead of master, as the others did.) When he saw us comin’ he said ‘Lawd have mercy here comes them poor little chillun’. “I stayed with them that time until I was big enough to be a house girl. Then I went to live with the Harrison family in Albany; and I lived with them till I married old Sam Duncan and come to Wayne County to live. I’ve raised a family of nine children and have thirty-seven grand children and twenty great grand children....

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Slave Narrative of Aunt Adeline

“I was born a slave about 1848, in Hickmon County, Tennessee,” said Aunt Adeline who lives as care taker in a house at 101 Rock Street, Fayetteville, Arkansas, which is owned by the Blakely-Hudgens estate. Aunt Adeline has been a slave and a servant in five generations of the Parks family. Her mother, Liza, with a group of five Negroes, was sold into slavery to John P.A. Parks, in Tennessee, about 1840. “When my mother’s master come to Arkansas about 1849, looking for a country residence, he bought what was known as the old Kidd place on the Old Wire Road, which was one of the Stage Coach stops. I was about one year old when we came. We had a big house and many times passengers would stay several days and wait for the next stage to come by. It was then that I earned my first money. I must have been about six or seven years old. One of Mr. Parks’ daughters was about one and a half years older than I was. We had a play house back of the fireplace chimney. We didn’t have many toys; maybe a doll made of a corn cob, with a dress made from scraps and a head made from a roll of scraps. We were playing church. Miss Fannie was the preacher and I was the audience. We were...

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Slave Narrative of Sweetie Ivery Wagoner

If I was born the year of freedom or the year before my mammy didn’t know. Her name was Betty Ivery and pappy’s name was Louis Ivery, belonging to old Newt Titsworth who had a big plantation somewheres in Arkansas, but I don’t know what the name of the town. Only thing I know that man had a big place – as far as the eye could see that man owned it. He had seven or eight slave families on the place; my mother was the house girl, done the spinning, the cooking, the cleaning and all such. The old master was good to the slaves my mammy always said; never whipped them, but if they got mean and worthless he would sell them. My father was a slave, but he wasn’t a Negro. He was a Creek Indian whom the Cherokee Indians stole long years ago and put in slavery just like he was a Negro, and he married with a slave woman (her mother, Betty) and raised a big family. There was King, Louis, Marry, Cindy, Lucy, Jane, Fannie, Martha, Emma, Adeline and myself. I don’t know where any is now, we all get separated after the war and never find each other. Master Titsworth’s house was a pretty good frame place; the slave families sleep in their own cabins, but all their eating was done together...

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Slave Narrative of Moses Smith

I was born in New Orleans, but don’t remember anything about that place for I was sold to Master Jack Dunn when a little boy and moved to Paris, Texas. Master Jack and his wife, Suda, owned four pretty big farms around Paris and he was kept busy all the time going around to each of them, with me going along sometimes on a horse beside him. He’d be gone for a week at a time, come home and get some home cooking, clean up and be gone again. There was twelve slave families on the farm where I lived and the overseers was three. More families on the other places, how many I don’t know, but the old master was well fixed with slaves and money, too. My father was Isom Smith. He lived on a different farm than mother and us children. Her name was Laura and my brother’s name was Max; my sister was Rochelle. We lived in a log cabin just like all the other houses on the farm. It was two rooms, one a kitchen, but they both had fireplaces made of mud, grass and sticks, and the biggest piece of furniture was the wooden bed put together with wooden pegs. Father worked out for extra money and every Saturday night he come over and give each of us children a nickel. That went...

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Slave Narrative of Eliza Whitmire

Person Interviewed: Eliza Whitmire Location: Vinita, Oklahoma Date of Birth: 1833 Age: 102 My name is Eliza Whitmire. I live on a farm, near Estella, where I settled shortly after the Civil War and where I have lived ever since. I was born in slavery in the state of Georgia, my parents having belonged to a Cherokee Indian of the name of George Sanders, who owned a large plantation in the old Cherokee Nation, in Georgia. He also owned a large number of slaves but I was too young to remember how many he owned. I do not know the exact date of my birth, although my mother told me I was about five years old when President Andrew Jackson ordered General Scott to proceed to the Cherokee country, in Georgia, with two thousand troops and remove the Cherokees by force to the Indian Territory. This bunch of Indians were called the Eastern Emigrants. The Old Settler Cherokees had moved themselves in 1835 when the order was first given to the Cherokees to move out. The weeks that followed General Scott’s order to remove the Cherokees were filled with horror and suffering for the unfortunate Cherokees and their slaves. The women and children were driven from their homes, sometimes with blows and close on the heels of the retreating Indians came greedy whites to pillage the Indians’ homes, drive...

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Slave Narrative of Hula Williams

Person Interviewed: Hula Williams Place of Birth: Arkansas Date of Birth: July 18, 1857 My mammy use to belong to the Burns plantation back in old Mississippi; that was before I was born, but the white overseer, a man named Kelly, was my father, so my mammy always said. She stayed with the Burns’ until her Master’s daughter married a man named Bond and moved to Jefferson County, Arkansas, about 25 miles south of Little Rock. The old Master give mammy and two other slaves to the girl when she married, that’s how come mammy to be in Arkansas when I was born, in 1857. The record says July 18. Mammy was named Emmaline and after she got to Arkansas she married one of the Bond slaves, George Washington Bond. My step-father told me one time that Master Bond tell him to get some slippery-elm bark, but step-paw forget it. And it seem like the Master done forgot it too, but on the next Sunday morning he called out for step-pappy. “Come here,” he said. “I’m going to give you a little piece of remembrance!” That was a good flogging, and some of the white neighbors look on and laugh. But there was one slave, Boyl Green, who lived on a plantation nearby that my husband told me about after we was married. That Negro said he never would...

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Slave Narrative of R. C. Smith

Person Interviewed: R. C. Smith Occupation: Prophet One morning in May I heard a poor rebel say; “The federal’s a home guard Dat called me from home…” I wish I was a merchant And could write a fine hand, I’d write my love a letter So she would understand. I wish I had a drink of brandy, And a drink of wine, To drink wid dat sweet gal How I wish dat she was mine. If I had a drink of brandy No longer would I roam, I’d drink it wid dat gal of mine Dat wishes me back home. I’ve heard the soldiers sing that song a heap of times. They sung it kind of lonesome like and I guess it sort of made them home sick to sing it. Us niggers learned to sing it and it is about the only one I can sing yet. I remembers the words to another one we used to sing but I’ve forgot the tune but the words go like this: Old man, old man Your hair is getting gray, I’d foller you ten thousand miles To hear your banjo play. I never was much at singing though. I guess my voice is just about wore out just like my body. I’ve always had good health and I never had a doctor in my life. In the last three or...

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