Slave Narrative of Selie Anderson

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person Interviewed: Selie Anderson
Location: Holly Grove, Arkansas
Age: 78
Occupation: House girl

“I was born near Decatur, Alabama and lived there till I was fifteen years old. Course I members hearin’ em talk bout Mars Newt. I named fur my ma’s old mistress—Miss Selie Thompson and Mars Newt Thompson. Pa died when I was three years old. He was a soldier. Ma had seven children. They have bigger families then than they have now. Ma name Emmaline Thompson. Pa name Sam Adair. I can’t tell you about him. I heard em say his pa was a white man. He was light skinned. Old folks didn’t talk much foe children so I don’t know well nough to tell you bout him. Ma was a cook and a licensed midwife in Alabama. She waited on both black and white. Ma never staid at home much. She worked out. I come to Mississippi after I married and had one child. Ma and all come. Ma went to Tom McGehee’s to cook after freedom. She married old man named Lewis Chase and they worked on where he had been raised. His name was Lewis Sprangle. He looked after the stock and drove the carriage. Daniel Sprangle had a store and a big farm. He had three girls and three boys, I was their house girl. Mama lived on the place and give me to em cause they could do better part by me than she could. I was six years old when she give me to em. They lernt me to sweep, knit, crochet, piece quilts. She lernt her children thater way sometimes. Miss Nancy Sprangle didn’t treat me no different from her own girls. Miss Dora married Mr. Pitt Loney and I was dressed up and held up her train (long dress and veil). I stayed with Miss Dora after she married. One of the girls married Mr. John Galbreth. I married and went home then come to Mississippi. Mrs. Gables, Mr. Gables was old people but they had two adopted boys. I took them boys to the field to work wid my children. She sewed for me and my children. Her girls cooked all we et in busy times. They done work at the house but they didn’t work in the field.

“I been married five times. Every time I married I married at home. Mighty little marryin’ goin’ on now—mighty little. Mama stayed wid Mr. Sprangle till we all got grown. Miss Nancy’s girls married so that all the way I knowd how to do. I had a good time. I danced every chance I got. I been well blessed all my life till I’m gettin’ feeble now.

“Papa run the gin on Mr. Sprangle’s place, then he went to war, come back foe he died. I recken he come home sick cause he died pretty soon.

“I jess can member this Ku Klux broke down our door wid hatchets. It scared us all to death. They didn’t do nuthin’ to us. They was huntin’ Uncle Jeff. He wasn’t bout our house. He was ox driver fer Mr. Sprangle. Him and a family of pore white folks got to fussin’ bout a bridle. Some of em was dressed up when they come to our house ma said. After that Mr. Kirby killed him close to his home startin’ out one mornin’ to work. His name was Uncle Jeff Saxon. Ma knowd it was some of the men right on Mr. Sprangle’s place whut come to our house.

“I live wid my daughter. I get $8 from the Welfare.

“If they vote for better it be all right. I never seen no poles. I don’t know how they vote. I’m too old to start up votin’.

“Lawd you got me now. The times changed and got so fast. It all beyond me. I jes’ listens. I don’t know whut goner happen to this young generation.”

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007.

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