Slave Narrative of Charlie Richmond

Interviewer: John I. Sturgill
Person Interviewed: Charlie Richmond
Location: Prestonsburg, Kentucky

We are unable to interview ex-slaves in Floyd County, so far as anyone we are able to contact knows, there are no living ex-slaves in the County. There are several colored people. The majority of them reside at Tram, Kentucky, Floyd County, in a kind of colored colony, having been placed there just after the Civil War. A small number of colored people live in the vicinity of Wayland, Kentucky, the original being the remains of a wealthy farmer of Civil War day, by name of Martin. The colored people were identified as “Martin’s Niggers.”

The last ex-slave of Floyd County, says Mr. W.S. Wallen of Prestonsburg, Kentucky, was “Uncle” Charlie Richmond, of Prestonsburg. Uncle Charlie was brought to the county by old Judge Richmond, father of I. Richmond of the Richmond Dept. Stores of Prestonsburg, about the time of the Civil War. When the war was over “Uncle” Charlie worked at Richmond’s for hire and lived as a member of the family. While working on a Prestonsburg newspaper, Mr. Wallen interviewed this old ex-slave and worked him into a feature story for his paper. These old paper files were destroyed by fire about 1928.

Mr. Wallen remembers that “Uncle” Charlie Richmond, as the old ex-slave was called, died in 1910, was buried in Prestonsburg, and that he, W.S. Wallen, wrote up the old Darkey’s death and funeral for his newspaper. This is the same paper who’s files were destroyed by fire and which papers does not now exist.

Old Judge Richmond brought this old slave, from Virginia about 1862, along with a number of other slaves. “Uncle” Charlies was the only slave that remained in the family as a servant after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Mr. Wallen is a lawyer in Prestonsburg, Kentucky, a member of the James and Wallen Law Firm, located in the Lane Bldg., on Court St. He was born at Goodlow, Kentucky in Floyd County, March 15, 1866. He taught school in Floyd County thirteen years, took his L.L.B. at Law School in Valpariso, Ind., in 1910, and later served as representative to the Kentucky General Assembly from the 93rd District, the 1922-24 and 26 Sessions.


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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