Slave Narrative of Thomas Ash

Interviewer: Emery Turner
Person Interviewed: Thomas Ash
Location: Mitchell, Indiana
Date of Birth: 1856
Age: 81

Emery Turner District #5 Lawrence County Bedford, Indiana

I have no way of knowing exactly how old I am, as the old Bible containing a record of my birth was destroyed by fire, many years ago, but I believe I am about eighty-one years old. If so, I must have been born sometime during the year, 1856, four years before the outbreak of the War Between The States. My mother was a slave on the plantation, or farm of Charles Ash, in Anderson county, Kentucky, and it was there that I grew up.

I remember playing with Ol’ Massa’s (as he was called) boys, Charley, Jim and Bill. I also have an unpleasant memory of having seen other slaves on the place, tied up to the whipping post and flogged for disobeying some order although I have no recollection of ever having been whipped myself as I was only a boy. I can also remember how the grown-up negroes on the place left to join the Union Army as soon as they learned of Lincoln’s proclamation making them free men.

Ed. Note-Mr. Ash was sick when interviewed and was not able to do much talking. He had no picture of himself but agreed to pose for one later on. [TR: no photograph found.]


Surnames:
Ash,

Collection:
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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