Slave Narrative of Milton Starr

Person Interviewed: Milton Starr
Date of Birth: February 24, 1858

I was born a slave, but was not treated like other slaves and my folks never told me anything about slavery. So there is very little I can tell of those days. My birthplace was in the old Flint District of the Cherokee Nation; the nearest town was Russellville, Arkansas, and the farm was owned by Jerry Starr, half-breed Cherokee, who was my master and father. They told me I was born February 24, 1858, right in my master’s house, and when I was a baby had the care of the average white child.

My mother was Jane Coursey of Tennessee, a slave girl picked up by the Starrs when they left that country with the rest of the Cherokee Indians. My mother wasn’t bought, just stole by them Indians, and when she was freed she went back to Tennessee; I stayed with Starr family, being raised by Millie and Jerry Starr.

Jerry Starr said when the Cherokees come to this country they crossed Barron Fork Creek east of Proctor (Okla); they were riding in a government wagon and they crossed Barron Fork on ice so thick the mules and wagons didn’t break through.

My master had a brother named Tom Starr, and he come to this country with some earlier Cherokees than did Jerry. Tom settled at Walking-stick Spring east of Tahlequah, where he had twenty slaves working on a 40-acre patch of rocks and sand.

Coursey, Starr,

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007-2024. The WPA Slave Narratives must be used with care. There is, of course, the problem of confusion in memory resulting from (73+ years) of the participants. In addition, inexperienced interviewers sometimes pursued question lines related to their own interests and perspectives and attempted to capture the colloquialism of the informant's speech. The interviews provide fascinating insight and surprisingly candid information, however.

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