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AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum

Use the Slave Narratives - James Washington MS

I spend a lot of time browsing through the WPA slave narratives. Having found some of my own family there - I now am interested in all of them and am going to spend a little time each week selecting a narrative and seeing what I can trace from it. If you get stuck with your own brick walls - this can be a wonderful exercise.

I found a reference to Africa in the narrative of Rev James W Washington, and will see if I can find the sale of his great grandmother in New Orleans. At this point I have verified many of the points of his narrative with census schedules:

State: Mississippi Interviewee: Rev. James W. Washington

WASHINGTON, JAMES (1900 U.S. Census)
Age: 39, Male, Race: BLACK, Born: MS 1861
Series: T623 Roll: 825 Page: 191
Wife Carrie born 1878
(Married in 1898)
Emma - daughter 1

WASHINGTON, JAMES (1910 U.S. Census)
Age: 47, Male, Race: BLACK, Born: MS
Series: T624 Roll: 755 Page: 122
Listed as occupation Preacher of the Gospel

Wife Carrie
daughter Emma
son Henry
daughter Ruth
son Wilford
daughter Marguerite

By 1920 census it becomes clear that his middle initial "W" stands for Wilford or Wilfred

Name: Wilfred Washington
Age: 52 years
Estimated birth year: 1867
Birthplace: Mississippi
Race: Colored
Home in 1920: McComb, Pike, Mississippi
Roll: T625_891
Page: 27A
ED: 111
Image: 1075

Baptist Minister
wife Alice
Henry 17
Ruth 16
Leon 14
Marguerite 11
Frank 2 yrs 10 months

Name: Wilford Washington
Age: 68
Estimated birth year: abt 1862
Birthplace: Mississippi
Relation to head-of-house: Head
Race: Negro
Home in 1930: McComb, Pike, Mississippi
Baptist Minister
wife Alice 46

"My Great grand mammy on my Mammy's side uf de house cum from Congo Free States in Africa. She wus captur'd wid a lot uf Africans en brung to New Orleans en sold fur slaves. Mr. Abner O'Neil in Amite County bought her en giv her to Adam O'Neil fur wife. Her son ernuther Adam en his wife Dinah wus my grand pappy en mammy. Den my mammy wus named Martha. Dr. Charles Felder bought her."

ONEAL, ABNER (1820 U.S. Census)
Series: M33 Roll: 57 Page: 33

Name: Charles F Felder
Age: 35
Estimated birth year: abt 1815
Birth place: South Carolina
Gender: Male
Home in 1850
(City,County,State): Not Stated, Amite, Mississippi
Page: 90
Roll: M432_368

Listed as physician

"One day de big bell rung jest 'fore dinner time en all de slaves cum to de big house en the Dr. sed dey wus all free now. He tole dem ef dey wud stay en finish de crop he wud pay dem for deir wurk. Dey all stayed til de end uf de year, en sum uf dem stayed a long time. My mammy left de next year en went to Mr. Sam Newmans, near Osyka ter wurk for him, en meny a time since den hev we gone hongry. We never wus hongry while we lived wid de Dr. He saw ter it dat we hed plenty ter eat."

Name: Samuel Newman
Age in 1870: 53
Estimated Birth Year: 1816
Birthplace: Mississippi
Home in 1870: Township 1 Range 7, Pike, Mississippi
Race: White
Gender: Male
Post Office: Osyka
Roll: M593_745
Page: 37
Image: 75
Year: 1870

"Atter dat we moved to Chatawa and farmed for Mr. Sam Lea. He got long very well but he died, en de lady moved way.

Name: Samuel Lea
Age in 1870: 73
Estimated Birth Year: 1796
Birthplace: South Carolina
Home in 1870: Township 1 Range 7, Pike, Mississippi
Race: White
Gender: Male
Post Office: Osyka
Roll: M593_745
Page: 39
Image: 78
Year: 1870

"Den we cum to Summit en I work where I culd git a job. Atter while I moved here. De place wus called Elizabethtown den. I doan kno' why but dey changed de name uf dis place to McComb. I wus here when de furst man wus buried in de cemetary. I hoped to dig dat grave. He died wid yellow fever en ebery body wus skeered to death. When I cum here dis place wus in de woods. I seed de furst train cum in de town.
I jined de Baptist church when I lived at Chatawa en atter I cum here I wurk for Mr Heber Craft. His son taught me how ter read en play de pinany en fiddle. Den I went to school here in dis town."

CRAFT, HEBER (1870 U.S. Census)
Age: 33, Male, Race: WHITE, Born: GA
Series: M593 Roll: 740 Page: 344
Name: Heber CRAFT
Age: 41
Estimated birth year:
Birthplace: Georgia
Occupation: Secretary And Treasurer
Relation: Self
Home in 1880: Mccomb City, Pike, Mississippi
Marital status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Male
Head of household: Heber CRAFT
Father's birthplace: MD
Mother's birthplace: CT

I wanted ter learn to read so I could read de Bible en learn de Holy Writ. When I finished school I founded de Flowery Mount Baptist Church an pastored it fur 20 years. I preached all ober de country. I believe dis is de time fur de Gentiles. Dey are to have de gospel for 2000 years en den de Jew will reign. De Gentiles abuse deir priverlege just like de Jew once did en de Gospel will be tuk frum dem jist list it wus frum de Jews."

Flowery Mount Church still exisits - and has several web references:

Flowery Mount Church older that the city of McComb

"Flowery Mount Missionary Baptist Church was started in 1870 two years before the city of McComb. The history of the church is reported to be a rich and interesting one. For example, the church was used as a site for the slaves to come when it was just a space in the woods where the slaves would meet. The oldest member of our church who is now deceased said it was used in the Underground Railroad. This March 2002 our Flowery Mount will celebrate it's 132 year anniversary. The membership will dress in the clothing of that era."

"I married a woman named Alice Moore, she died en I married ergin en she died. Den I married de third time en she wus so bad I divorced her. No I never married ergin. De Bible says all men must hav only one livin' wife, eny more is Mormonism."

Probably first wife:

Name: Alice Moore
Age in 1870: 8
Estimated Birth Year: 1861
Birthplace: Mississippi
Home in 1870: Between Meadville and Jackson R, Amite, Mississippi
Race: Colored
Gender: Female
Post Office: Liberty
Roll: M593_721
Page: 393
Image: 37
Year: 1870

"I hev five chilluns. Three in Chicago. I have one daughter who is de best performer on de piany in de world. She blongs to sum orchestra in Chicago. One son is in Atlantic City, N. J. en one son in College."

I haven't located the children yet.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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