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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[TN] Milly Grimes

DIED AT THE AGE OF 118

The history of a very remarkable old Negro Woman

Memphis, March 23 1889- An old negro woman, known amoung her neighbors as Aunt Milly Grimes, died last night at No. 98 Main St., corner of Winchester. Aunt Milly looked her age;she was bent and tottering, too weak to walk, blind partially deaf, wrinkled and shriveled. Her scanty locks were snow white, her body so thin that the bones protroded prominently, and her eyes sunken in her head almost as deep as her bloodless checks. Her conversational powers were unimpaired until death however and seh often related interesting stories of her early life. She claimed to have been born in Alexandria, VA in 1771, and remembers 1 distinctly the rule of George Washington when president. In 1800 her master emgrated to TN, then a vast forest of wild animals and Indians. The emigrant train, his family and slaves ambushed by Indians near the present site of Nashville, and those who escaped death were made captives. Aunt Milly was amoung the prisioners. She was carried to the distant wigwam of a young buck to become his squaw. She never saw her master that eventful day, but escaped from her Indian husband five years later, seeking refugee with a family of settlers about fifteen miles north of Wolf river. Rather than return to the wigwam of her savage lord, and again undergo the hardship of a sqauw's life, Milly yielded herself to voluntary slavery. Mr. Frank Hester became her master, and with him Milly lived until the close of the civil war. She had one child by the Indian, but left it in his possession. She was afterward married one of Mr. Hester's male slaves and had four other children. Her negro husband died some time before her emancipation, and the old woman remained a widow until her death. For seven years past she has lived in this city cared for her grandchildren and descendants. A recent birth in the Grimes family made the old woman a great-great-grandmother, this being the great height of her hopes. She has frequently announced her readiness to die since. The withered body was rest today.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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