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AfriGeneas Slave Research Forum

Re: Slave Narratives - Annie GRIGGS TN>AR

State: Arkansas Interviewee: Griegg, Annie
Age 84

"I was born a slave, born in Nashville, Tennessee. I was sold twice. I don't recollect my mother; I was so small when I was parted from her. I had two sisters and I recollect them. One of my sisters was sold the same day I was sold and I recollect my other sister was named Rebecca. I never seen her no more after I was sold. I was the youngest."

I find her in 1930 listed as 74.

Name: Annie Griggs
Age: 74
Estimated birth year: abt 1856
Birthplace: Tennessee
Relation to head-of-house: Mother
Race: Negro
Home in 1930: Madison, St Francis, Arkansas

In household of Adolphus Neiley
Age: 57
Estimated birth year: abt 1873
Birthplace: Tennessee
Relation to head-of-house: Head
Race: Negro
Home in 1930: Madison, St Francis, Arkansas

Wife : Nattie Neiley (looks like Mattie to me)
Age: 50
Estimated birth year: abt 1880
Relation to head-of-house: Wife
Home in 1930: Madison, St Francis, Arkansas

More than likely Annie is mother-in-law - not mother (see 1910 for confirmation).

Same family in 1920:

Name: Adolph Neeley
Age: 57 years
Estimated birth year: 1862
Birthplace: Tennessee
Race: Colored
Home in 1920: Madison, St Francis, Arkansas
Wife Mattie 42
Daughter Sarah 18

Name: Arnie Griggs
Age: 60 years
Estimated birth year: 1859
Birthplace: Tennessee
Race: Colored
Home in 1920: Madison, St Francis, Arkansas

NEELY, ADOLPHEUS (1910 U.S. Census)
ARKANSAS , ST FRANCIS, MADISON TWP
Age: 35, Male, Race: BLACK, Born: TN
Series: T624 Roll: 63 Page: 134
Wife Mattie - married 10 years - one child born/ one living
Daughter Sarah Neely 9

In this census Annie Griggs is in household - listed as mother-in law 50 - 13 children born 8 living

Also in household brother in law Jessie Griggs - 20

NEELY, ADOLPHUS (1900 U.S. Census)
ARKANSAS , ST FRANCIS, FORREST CITY
Age: 38, Male, Race: BLACK, Born: MS
Series: T623 Roll: 75 Page: 283
Not married at the time of this census

A search for Annie in 1900 took a while - but in 1900 she was listed with her son (mis-spelled):

GREGGS, FRANK (1900 U.S. Census)
ARKANSAS , ST FRANCIS, FORREST CITY
Age: 25, Male, Race: BLACK, Born: AR
Series: T623 Roll: 75 Page: 284

Wife Theancy, 25 - zero children
Annie - mother 58 - widowed 13 children born 10 living
Jesse - brother 21
Will - brother 18
Ardie - sister 17
Jinnie - sister 15
Bennie - brother 13
Sallie - sister 10

In 1880 we identify the name of Annie’s husband:

Name: Annie GRIGGS
Age: 26
Estimated birth year:
Birthplace: Tennessee
Occupation: Keeping House
Relation: Wife
Home in 1880: Telico, St. Francis, Arkansas
Marital status: Married
Race: Black
Gender: Female
Head of household: Geo GRIGGS
Father's birthplace: VA
Mother's birthplace: VA

He is a 29 year old farmer born AR, father VA mother MO
Son Frank 5
Son Geo W 3
Daughter Mattie 2
Son Jesse 4 months

Haven’t discovered which Annie she is in 1870 - there are several Annie's in the county born TN. Do not have her maiden name. Using her age in 1880 - she’d be about six in 1860. Sold before the beginning of the war in TN.

Slave period:

"Mother belong to Captain Walker. That was before the Civil War so I know he wasn't an officer in it. His daughter married a man named Mr. Foster. Captain Walker had give me to his daughter when she married. They lived in Nashville, Tennessee too."

I find a large slaveholder in Nashville named John W Walker - but it is unclear if this is the “Captain” Walker she refers to. Marriage records online start too late (or too early) for me to discover a Walker daughter married to a Foster around 1860.
Anyone seriously researching this family should have no problem however - identifying the Walker Foster families - with a little digging.

"Mr. Foster sold me and Captain Walker sold my sister Ann and Mr. Bill Steel Henderson at Columbia, Tennessee bought us both and give my sister to his widowed sister for a house girl and nurse and he kept me."

She calls him “Bill Steel Henderson” which gives me the belief that a William S Henderson - might be Bill Steel.

1860 slave schedules:

6 Female Mulatto W S Henderson
District no. 8, Maury, Tennessee
Maury TN is the location of Columba.

"Mr. Foster sold me for a nurse. Mr. Henderson's sister was name Mrs. McGaha (?). My sister nursed and cooked. I nursed three children at Mr. Henderson's. He was good to me. I loved the children and they was crazy about me. He sold me to Mr. Field Mathis. I nursed four children for then. I never did know why I was sold. Mr. Henderson was heap the best. Mr. Henderson never hit me a lick in his life."

"Mr. Field Mathis was a merchant. They moved to Colt, Arkansas at the beginning of the War, Dr. and Mr. Field Mathis both. We come on the train and steamboats. It was so new to me I had a fine time but that is all I can tell about it. Mr. Field was cross with his wife. She was fairly good to me. I had all the cooking, washing and ironing to do before I left there.

"Mathis was cruel. He drunk all the time. He got mad and stamped my hand. I nearly lost the use of my hand. It was swollen way up and hurt and stayed riz up till his cousin noticed it. He was a doctor. He lived in the other end of the house--the same house. He found some bones was broke loose in my hand (right hand). Dr. Mathis (Dr. Mathis or Dr. Mathews who died at Forrest City, Arkansas) set his brother out about treating little nurse thater way. Told him he oughter be ashamed of himself. Dr. Mathis splintered my hand and doctored it till it got well.

Did not locate her owner in AR (though found several possibles) - but did find his cousin the doctor, who splinted her hand:

Name: W J Mathews
Age in 1870: 37
Estimated Birth Year: 1832
Birthplace: Tennessee
Home in 1870: Johnson, St Francis, Arkansas
Race: White
Gender: Male
Post Office: Madison
Roll: M593_65
Page: 407
Image: 194
Year: 1870
Listed as Doctor

Found in 1880 (Forrest City)

Census Place: Forest City, St. Francis, Arkansas

Source: FHL Film 1254056 National Archives Film T9-0056 Page 173D

Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace
Wm J. MATHEWS Self M M W 49 TN

Occ: Doctor Of Medicine Fa: NC Mo: TN
Carrie MATHEWS Wife F M W 39 NC

Occ: Keeping House Fa: --- Mo: ---
Lila B. MATHEWS Dau F S W 3 AR

Fa: TN Mo: NC
Lillian BREWSTER SDau F S W 20 TN

Occ: At Home Fa: TN Mo: NC
Nonie BREWSTER SDau F S W 16 TN

Occ: At Home Fa: TN Mo: NC
Ada WILLIAMS Other F M B 35 TN

Occ: Cook In Family Fa: TN Mo: T

This still has some holes - and earlier records on her mother and sisters, Ann & Rebecca will be hard to locate, since no maiden name is known.
But it’s a start.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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