Slave Narrative of Ora M. Flagg

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews
Person Interviewed: Ora M. Flagg
Location: 811 Oberlin Road, Raleigh, North Carolina
Place of Birth: Raleigh, North Carolina
Date of Birth: October 16, 1860

My name is Ora M. Flagg. I wus born in Raleigh near the Professional Building, in the year 1860, October 16. My mother wus named Jane Busbee. Her marster wus Quent Busbee, a lawyer. Her missus wus Julia Busbee. She wus a Taylor before she married Mr. Busbee. Now I tell you, I can’t tell you exactly, but the old heads died. The old heads were the Scurlocks who lived in Chatham County. I heard their names but I don’t remember them. Their children when they died drawed for the slaves and my mother wus brought to Raleigh when she wus eight years old. She came from the Scurlocks to the Busbees. The Taylors were relatives of the Scurlocks, and were allowed to draw, and Julia Taylor drawed my mother. It wus fixed so the slaves on this estate could not be sold, but could be drawed for by the family and relatives. She got along just middlin’ after her missus died. When her missus died, mother said she had to look after herself. Mr. Busbee would not allow anyone to whip mother. He married Miss Lizzie Bledsoe the second time.

I wus only a child and, of course, I thought as I could get a little something to eat everything wus all right, but we had few comforts. We had prayer meeting and we went to the white people’s church. I heard mother say that they had to be very careful what they said in their worship. Lots of time dey put us children to bed and went off.

About the time of the surrender, I heard a lot about the patterollers, but I did not know what they were. Children wus not as wise then as they are now. They didn’t know as much about things.

Yes sir, I remember the Yankees coming to Raleigh, we had been taken out to Moses Bledsoe’s place on Holleman’s Road to protect Mr. Bledsoe’s things. They said if they put the things out there, and put a family of Negroes there the Yankees would not bother the things. So they stored a lot of stuff there, and put my mother an’ a slave man by the name o’ Tom Gillmore there. Two Negro families were there. We children watched the Yankees march by.

The Yankees went through everything, and when mother wouldn’t tell them where the silver wus hid they threw her things in the well. Mother cried, an’ when the Yankee officers heard of it they sent a guard there to protect us. The colored man, Tom Gillmore, wus so scared, he and his family moved out at night leaving my mother alone with her family. The Yankees ate the preserves and all the meat and other things. They destroyed a lot they could not eat.

Mother and me stayed on with marster after the surrender, and stayed on his place till he died. After that we moved to Peck’s Place, called Peck’s Place because the property wus sold by Louis Peck. It wus also called the ‘Save-rent’ section, then in later years Oberlin Road.

I think slavery wus a bad thing, while it had its good points in building good strong men. In some cases where marsters were bad it wus a bad thing.

Abraham Lincoln wus our friend, he set us free. I don’t know much about Booker T. Washington. Mr Roosevelt is all right. Jim Young seemed to be all right. Jeff Davis didn’t bother me. I guess he wus all right.

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

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