Slave Narrative of Angeline Lester

Interviewer: Frank M. Smith
Person Interviewed: Angeline Lester
Location: Youngstown, Ohio
Place of Residence: 835 West Federal Street

Story and Photo by Frank M. Smith

Ex-Slaves Mahoning County, Dist. #5 Youngstown, Ohio

The Story of MRS. ANGELINE LESTER, of Youngstown, Ohio.

Mrs. Angeline Lester lives at 836 West Federal Street, on U.S. Route #422, in a very dilapidated one story structure, which once was a retail store room with an addition built on the rear at a different floor level.

Angeline lives alone and keeps her several cats and chickens in the house with her. She was born on the plantation of Mr. Womble, near Lumpkin, Stewart County, Georgia about 1847, the exact date not known to her, where she lived until she was about four years old. Then her father was sold to a Dr. Sales, near Brooksville, Georgia, and her mother and a sister two years younger were sold to John Grimrs[HW:?], who in turn gave them to his newly married daughter, the bride of Henry Fagen, and was taken to their plantation, near Benevolence, Randolph County, Georgia.

When the Civil War broke out, Angeline, her mother and sister were turned over to Robert Smith, who substituted for Henry Fagen, in the Confederate Army.

Angeline remembers the soldiers coming to the plantation, but any news about the war was kept from them. After the war a celebration was held in Benevolence, Georgia, and Angeline says it was here she first tasted a roasted piece of meat.

The following Sunday, the negroes were called to their master’s house where they were told they were free, and those who wished, could go, and the others could stay and he would pay them a fair wage, but if they left they could take only the clothing on their back. Angeline said “We couldn’t tote away much clothes, because we were only given one pair of shoes and two dresses a year.”

Not long after the surrender Angeline said, “My father came and gathered us up and took us away and we worked for different white folks for money”. As time went on, Angeline’s father and mother passed away, and she married John Lester whom she has outlived.

Angeline enjoys good health considering her age and she devotes her time working “For De Laud”. She says she has “Worked for De Laud in New Castle, Pennsylvania, and I’s worked for De Laud in Akron”. She also says “De Laud does not want me to smoke, or drink even tea or coffee, I must keep my strength to work for De Laud”.

After having her picture taken she wanted to know what was to be done with it and when told it was to be sent to Columbus or maybe to Washington, D.C. she said “Lawsy me, if you had tol’ me befo’ I’d fixed up a bit.”

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

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