Slave Narrative of Joseph Anderson

Interviewer: Mrs. Edith S. Hibbs
Person Interviewed: Joseph Anderson
Location: 1113 Rankin St., Wilmington, North Carolina

Yes’m I was born a slave. I belong to Mr. T. C. McIlhenny who had a big rice plantation “Eagles Nest” in Brunswick County. It was a big place. He had lots of slaves, an’ he was a good man. My mother and father died when I was fourteen. Father died in February 1865 and my mother died of pneumonia in November 1865. My older sister took charge of me.

Interviewer: “Can you read and write?”

Joseph: “Oh yes, I can write a little. I can make my marks. I can write my name. No’m I can’t read. I never went to school a day in my life. I just “picked up” what I know.”

I don’t remember much about slave times. I was fourteen when I was freed. After I was freed we lived between 8th and 9th on Chestnut. We rented a place from Dan O’Connor a real estate man and paid him $5 a month rent. I’ve been married twice. First time was married by Mr. Ed Taylor, magistrate in Southport, Brunswick County. I was married to my first wife twenty years and eight months. Then she died. I was married again when I was seventy-five years old. I was married to my second wife just a few years when she died.

I was on the police force for a year and a half. I was elected April 6, 1895. Mr. McIlhenny was an ole man then an’ I used to go to see him.

I was a stevedore for Mr. Alexander Sprunt for sixty years.

Joseph is now buying his house at 1113 Rankin Street. Rents part of it for $8.50 a month to pay for it. He stays in one room.

NOTE: Joseph’s health is none too good, making information sketchy and incoherent.


Surnames:
Anderson, McIlhenny,

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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