Slave Narrative of Andy Odell

Person Interviewed: Andy Odell
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
PLace of Birth: Spring Hill, Tennessee
Age: 96
Place of Residence: 1313 Pearl Street, Nashville, Tennessee

“I wuz bawn east ob Spring Hill, Tennessee. I dunno in w’at y’ar, but I wuz a ful’ grown man w’en I wuz freed. (This will make him about 96 years old.). I wuz an onlies’ chile en I nebber knowed mah daddy. Mah mammy wuz sold ‘way fum me. She ma’ied a man named Brown en dey had seven chillun.”

“At fust I ‘longed ter Marster Jim Caruthers. W’en his daughter ma’ied Fount Odell, I wuz willed ter her en den mah marsters wuz Fount en Albert Odell who wuz br’ers. Mah white folks let us go ter chuch. I b’leeves in de Baptist ‘ligion. I nebber knowed any slave dat had ter hide ter sing er pray. I members de comet en hit wuz a sta’r wid a long tail en looked lak hit wuz burnin’. De sta’rs fell ‘fore I wuz bawn.” (The stars fell in 1833).

“We had ter hab passes en if you didn’t hab one, you got whupped. Mah marster let me go ter chuch wid’ out a pass. I members de Klu Klux Klan but dey nebber bothered me, tho I ‘yeard a lot ’bout dem. Dey called demselves “White Caps” en said dey wuz rite fum de grave. W’en a slave got whupped hit wuz cose dey disobey dere white folks en de overseer whupped dem. I though mah white folks wuz awful mean ter me sumtime.”

“I nebber b’leeved in ghos’ but hab yeard lots ’bout dem. Lots of peeples did b’leeve in dem back in dem times. Uster sing a lot but I dunno names ob dem now. I dunno w’at ez gwine ter ‘kum ob dis young crowd. I sho don’t think diff’ent culers oughter ma’rie. De Lawd didn’t mean fer hit ter be dun. Dunno ob any slave ‘risin’s in Virginia er any uther place. Don’t member now de tales en sayin’ ob de ole times.”

“Member well w’en de war broke out en how dey had big dinners en marched ’round ovuh de fiel’s, gittin’ ready fer de war. I had a br’er kilt in de war en mah mammy got a lettle money fum ‘im. Also member dat w’en mah mammy got de money she bought me a hat.”

“I don’t git nuthin at freedum en I dunno ob any slaves gittin’ any land er money. I know dat w’en we wuz freed Marster Albert called us slaves in en said, “You all ez as free as I ez, but you can stay ‘yer en wuk fer me ef’n you want ter.” I staid wid ‘im a good w’ile attar freedum.”

“Since freedum I hab plowed, hoed, cut wood, en wuk’d in quarries pecking rock. Hab nebber wuk’d in town fer I dunno de things ’bout town. I hab voted almost eve’y election since freedum ’til dese last few years. I hab had two frens in office but both ez de’d now. I uster think ‘omen shouldn’t vote, but I guess hit ez alri’te.”

Brown, Caruthers, Odell,

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

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