Collection: Slave Narratives

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

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.

Slave Narrative of Robert Williams

Williams doesn’t know the year of his birth or the place, but he remembers of being “taken” from a plantation somewhere around Pontotoc, Mississippi, when he was a young fellow and here’s the way he tells it. I was a great big boy when the Civil War was going on, so I remember some things about it, but the children didn’t know about things then like they do now. Nowdays we wait and let the young folks talk, but in slave times they didn’t. The master done the talking and everybody better listen! Austin Williams was my father. Nancy was

Slave Narrative of Sarah Wilson

Person Interviewed: Sarah Wilson Place of Birth: Summers County, Tennessee Date of Birth: 1851 Age: 86 I was born in 1851, makes me 86 years old. I was born in Middle Tennessee, Summers County. My mother was put on a block and sold from me when I was a child. I don’t remember my father real good. Sister Martha, Sister Sallie, nor Sister Jane wasn’t sold. But my brother John was. My mother’s name is Pachel Donnahue. We lived in a log hut. The white folks lived in a frame white building sitting in a big grove yard. Old master

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

Slave Narrative of Eva Strayhorn

Person Interviewed: Eva Strayhorn Place of Birth: Johnson County, Clarksville, Arkansas When I was a child in Arkansas we used to go to camp-meetings with the white folks. We went right along by they side till we got to church and we set down on the back seat. We took part in all the services. When they wasn’t any church our old Master would call us in on Sunday morning and read the Bible to us and we would sing some good old songs and then go about our ways. Some of the songs that we sung still ring in

Slave Narrative of J. W. Stinnett

Person Interviewed: J. W. Stinnett Place of Birth: Grayson County, Prairie Grove, Texas Date of Birth: 1863 What with raising nine grandchildren whose mammy is dead, this old head of mine has too many troubles to remember much about them slave days, but anyways I was born in 1863, at a place in Grayson County, Texas, name of Prairie Grove. My mammy come from Virginia, where pappy come from I don’t know, and where he went I don’t know, because he take off to the north during the war and never come back. His name was George Stinnett and mammy’s name

Slave Narrative of Johnson Thompson

Person Interviewed: Johnson Thompson Place of Birth: Texas Date of Birth: December 1853 Just about two weeks before the coming of Christmas Day in 1853, I was born on a plantation somewheres eight miles east of Bellview, Rusk County, Texas. One year later my sister Phyllis was born on the same place and we been together pretty much of the time ever since, and I reckon there’s only one thing that could separate us slave born children. Mammy and pappy belong to W.P. Thompson, mixed-blood Cherokee Indian, but before that pappy had been owned by three different masters; one was

Slave Narrative of Ned Thompson

Grandfather was a Alabama slave. His master had a lot of boys who were named Tom so as Grandfather took care of the cows all the time when he was a boy they started to calling him “Cow Tom” when they wanted him. Each boy called according to his work to keep them all from answering. That name stayed with Grandfather all his life. When the agreement was made to sell the land in Alabama for land here he was forced to follow his master to see if the land was suitable to trade. That trip was made two years

Slave Narrative of Victoria Taylor Thompson

Person Interviewed: Victoria Taylor Thompson Age: 80 My mother, Judy Taylor, named for her mistress, told me that I was born about three year before the war; that make me about 80 year old so they say down at the Indian Agency where my name is on the Cherokee rolls since all the land was give to the Indian families a long time ago. Father kept the name of ‘Doc’ Hayes, and my brother Coose was a Hayes too, but mother, Jude, Patsy, Bonaparte (Boney, we always called him), Lewis and me was always Taylors. Daddy was bought by the