AfriGeneas Free Persons of Color Forum
Braxton Terry of VA & NY? (Charlotte Daily Observer)
CHARLOTTE DAILY OBSERVER
SERVED JEFFERSON DAVIS
Braxton Terry says he is the Confederate President's Last Surviving Servant.
Braxton Terry, a negro who keeps a second hand store on Water street, says he is Jefferson Davis' last survivng servant. Up to a dozen years ago or so, as he tells the story, he was not alone in the distinction of having waited upon the President of the Confederacy, for Ellen Green, another of the house servants, was living on Long Island. Her death left him the only survivor of the Davis household.
Terry was never a slave. His father, a Richmond negro, had gained his freedom in 1840. Terry had worked as a huckster on the James River and a newsboy in Richmond, and at the time the Davis family came to the city he was employed in a Richmond market where the President traded. Mr. Davis was attracted by him and took him as a personal servant.
One thing that impressed him before he went to work at the Davis home was the fondness of Mr. Davis for eggs and the fact that he would always have fresh farm egs and bought them by weight. The steward of his household was always obliged to accompany Mr. Davis to market and to see that the eggs weighed up to the standard.
Terry was born on a plantation in 1844. Joseph Johnson, who raised him, was a slave trader and usually had sixty or seventy-five blacks on his place. Terry was one of eighteen children and a twin, there being five pairs of twins among the children. he has twin sons.
As a free negro he had privileges that slaves seldom did and often travelled about the Southern States with Johnson. Johnson was in the Confederate army and was captured by Federal soldiers when at home on a furlough in 1865. Terry was at the Johnson house when its owner was captured and had aided Johnson in burying some $1,700 in gold and silver in the cellar under the main part of the house.