The Slave Narratives of Texas
(Index Only)

Contributed by Helen M. Ross

The Slave Narratives of Texas were published in 1974. They were edited by Ronnie C. Tyler and Lawrence R. Murphy. The complete compilation comprises four typewritten volumes in the Rare Book Collection of the Library of Congress (Federal Writers’ Project, Slave Narratives, A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves). The interviews were conducted in the mid to late 1930s. The salient quote that provides the meaning and reason for this publication is from a statement by John Little, in Drew, The Refugee, p. 142, “Tisn’t he who has stood and looked on, that can tell you what slavery is, -- ‘tis he who has endured.”

This index is taken from the Appendix of The Slave Narratives of Texas which provides a brief biographical sketch and is meant only to provide researchers with the names and general location of contributors to this Texas volume of narratives.

Adams, WillBorn in 1857 in Harrison County, Texas, lived alone in Marshall when interviewed in 1937. His only income came from a $13 a month pension
Adams, William M. Had spent 93 years in Texas. He was born in San Jacinto County and spent his life working in grocery stores, punching cattle, farming, and preaching. He moved to Forth Worth in 1902 and still lived there when interviewed.
Anderson, Andy J. 94 years old when interviewed in Forth Worth, was a native of Williamson County, Texas
Arnwine, Sterlin Was born near Jacksonville, Texas, 84 years before an interviewer recorded his story six miles west of there in 1937.
Ashley, Sarah A native of Mississippi, was carried to Texas as a child. She was 93 when her recollections were recorded at Goodrich, Texas.
Barker, John 8i4 was born near Cincinnati, Ohio, and lived in Missouri before coming to Texas. He and his wife resided in a neat cottage near Houston when interviewed.
Barrett, Harriet Told an interviewer who visited her Palestine home that she was born in Walker County, Texas, in 1851.
Bates, John Was born at Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1854 and moved with his mother and master to Limestone County, Texas, while still very young. In 1937 he lived in Corsicana, supported by his children and an old age pension.
Beckett, Harrison Didn’t remember her age but knew she grew up in San Augustine, Texas. Interviewers found her in Beaumont, where they noted a genial smile and a tendency to coin her own words.
Beverly, Charlotte Was born in Montgomery County, Texas, and 90 years later lived with one of her children between and Cleveland and Shepherd. Most of her life had been spent within 60 miles of Houston.
Black, Frances Born in Grand Bluff, Mississippi in 1857, was taken to a slave market in New Orleans and later sold in Jefferson, Texas. Interviewers located her living at the Ragland Old Folks Home in Texarkana. Where they learned that she had been blind for a year.
Boyd, Harrison 87 was born in Rusk County and interviewed in Harrison County, Texas. His memory was poor, and he recalled a few incidents.
Boyd, Isabella Whose age was unknown was born in Virginia and moved to Texas before the Civil War. She told her story in Beaumont.
Boyd, James Who was about 100 years old, was born in an Indian hut at Phantom Valley, Oklahoma. Later he lived near Waco, before moving to Itasca, where he was interviewed.
Brackins, Monroe Came to Medina County, Texas, in 1855 at the age of two from his birthplace in Mississippi. Interviewers found him living in Hondo, Texas
Brady, Wes 88 was born just north of Marshall and spent his entire life in Harrison County, Texas
Branch, Jacob A Louisiana native, was sold by a Texas planter while still a baby. Interviewers found him at Double Bayou, near Beaumont, 86 years later. They noted that he was especially spry for his age.
Brown, James Was born in Bell County, Texas, in 1853; he had been taken to Waco while still an infant. Questioners in July, 1937, learned that he had been blind for 12 years and had no living relations. His only income came from a $14 a month pension.
Bunton, Martha Spence 81 was a native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, but moved to Texas with her mother and four sisters before the Civil War. She was interviewed at a home six miles east of Austin.
Cape, James Who said he was over 100 years old, was born on a ranch in southeast Texas and spent most of his youth working as a cowboy. In 1937 he lived in a dilapidated shack in the rear of the Fort Worth stockyards.
Carruthers, Richard 100, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and moved to Bastrop County, Texas as a child. He later lived in Acres Homes, a black settlement eight miles from Houston.
Cauthern, Jack 85 was born near Austin and told his story in San Angelo.
Clark, Amos Was born in Washington County, Texas, in 1841. Interviewers found him residing in Waco.
Coleman, Preely Remebered nothing of his early life in South Carolina, for he moved to Texas when a month old. He lived in Tyler when interviewed 85 years later.
Columbus, Andrew (Smokey) Told questioners who me him in Marshall that he was born 78 years earlier south of Linden, Texas
Cornish, Laura 85 was born near Dayton, Texas. When interviewers visited her in Houston, they found that she had a poor memory but made an effort to recall everything she could about slavery.
Crawford, John Born at Manor, spent his entire 81 years in Travis County and was living with a daughter in Austin when interviewed.
Cumby, Green Was a native of Henderson, Texas. At age 86 he lived with a daughter in Abilene.
Cummins, Tempie Didn’t know her age, but she recalled her birthplace was Brookeland, Texas. Interviewers found her living alone in a weatherbeaten shack in the slum section of Jasper.
Cunningham, Adeline 85 was born in Lavaca County near Hallettsville, Texas. Questioners who recorded her recollections in San Antonio described her as “all, spare, and firmly erect, with fiery brown eyes which snap when she recalls the slave days.”
Daniels, Julia Francis 89 was born in Georgia and came to Texas before the Civil War. She lived with a daughter in Dallas when interviewed. Although unable to recall names and dates, she was willing to provide an unusually detailed account of slave life.
Darling, Katie Grew up in Marshall where she still lived in a three-room shack 88 years later.
Davenport, Carey Was a retired Methodist minister who was born and reared in Waller County, Texas. At age 83 he lived with his wife in Anahuac. Interviewers found that he was still sturdy and spent much of his time fishing.
Davis, Campbell 85 was a native of Harrison County, Texas. In 1937 he lived with a nephew near Karnack, supported by a $12 monthly pension.
Davison, Eli Grew up in Dunbar, West Virginia, where he was born in 1844. Fourteen years later he moved to Madison County, Teas, where he still lived with a son when interviewed.
Denson, Nelson 90 a native of Arkansas, resided in Waco when interviewers met him. He had a poor memory and provided little information.
Easter, Willis Told interviewers who came to her Waco home of her birth 85 years earlier at Nacogdoches. Her major interest was the supernatural world and ghosts and conjuremen.
Edwards, Anderson and Minerva 93 and 87 years old respectively, were born on adjoining plantations in Rusk County. After the Civil War they married, moved to Harrision County, and raised sixteen children. Interviewers found the couple living in a small but comfortable house near Marshall.
Edwards, Mary Kincheon Who lived near Austin, claimed to be 127 years old, and although interviewers could not verify her statements, they agreed that she was very old. She was born in Louisiana and came to Texas before the Civil War.
Ellis, John Was born in 1852 near Cleburne, Texas, and interviewed in San Angelo, where he lived alone. He was still very active.
Farrow, Betty 90 was raised in Patrick County, Virginia and brought to Texas before the Civil War.
Ford, Sarah Did not know her age, but knew she was born near West Columbia, Texas. She was interviewed at her Houston home.
Forward, Millie Was born in Jasper in 1842 and lived there with her son 95 years later. She had been blind for fifteen years and had great difficulty hearing.
Frazier, Rosanna 90 was born in Mississippi. Interviewers visiting her in Beaumont found that she had a poor memory and could provide little information.
Gilmore, Mattie Whom interviewers estimated to be about 90, was born in Alabama and brought to Texas during the Civil War. In 1937 she lived in a cabin in Corsicana.
Goodman, Andrew 97, was born near Birmingham, Alabama, but raised in Smith County, Texas where his master moved when Goodman was still a boy. He told of his life to questioners visiting his Dallas home.
Hadnot, Mandy A small, frail woman, could not pinpoint her birthdate but knew it occurred near Cold Springs, Texas. She lived with her husband in Woodville when interviewed.
Hamilton, William Didn’t know when or where he was born, but he vividly recalled his early life in bondage. Questioners found him living in Fort Worth.
Harrell, Molly Who was born near Palestine, recalled having been about 7 when freedom came. She lived in Galveston in 1937.
Hawthorne, Ann About 85 was born in Jasper County, where she still lived when interviewed in 1937. Questioners described her as a “generous” woman with snow-white hair fixed in pigtails and wrapped in black string. She had a deep voice and a jovial manner.
Hayes, James 101 was born in Shelby County near Marshall, Texas. At the time of the interview he lived on a green slope overlooking the Trinity River in Moser Valley, a Negro settlement north of Fort Worth. He was alerts, stood erect, and generally very active for his age.
Haywood, Felix Told interviewers at his San Antonio home that he was born in St. Hedwig, Bexar County, 92 years before.
Henderson, Phoebe 105 came to Texas from her Georgia birthplace in 1859. She later lived with a daughter east of Marshall.
Holland, Tom Who thought he was about 97, was born in Waller County and continued living for many year near the old plantation. Interviewers talked to him in Madisonville.
Holman, Eliza Was born near Clinton, Mississippi; she came to Texas in 186a and settled near Decatur. Years later in Fort Worth she related her experience.
Homer, Bill 87 grew up near Shreveport, Louisiana; he came to Texas in 1860. Interviewers found him living with his wife in Fort Worth, Texas.
Hughes, Lizzie Who was blind by 1937, was born 89 years earlier in Nacogdoches. She was interviewed near Marshall.
Hursey, Moses A preacher with delusions of grandeur, was 82 years old. A native of Louisiana, he was brought to Texas soon as the Civil War.
Ingram, Wash 93 came to Texas from his native Richmond, Virginia, and lived for many years near Carthage. He was interviewed at Marshall.
Jackson, Martin Was described as possibly the only Negro living in 1937 who had served in both the Civil War and World War I. At age 90 he recalled his birth in Victoria County, Texas. Interviewers noted that although blind he had an uncommonly clear mind and spoke “with no Negro colloquialisms and almost no dialect.”
Jackson, Nancy About 105, came to Panola County, Texas, from Tennessee when she was three year old. In 1937 she lived with a daughter several miles outside Tatum, Texas.
Johns, Auntie Thomas Was born in Burleson 73 years before an interviewer talked with her in Cleburne. She was too young to remember anything about slavery but related stories she had heard from her mother and husband.
Johnson, Spence Who was presumed to be in his 80’s, was born on the Choctaw reserved in the Indian Territory. He was later stolen, sold at a Shreveport, Louisiana market, and finally taken to a plantation on the Texas-Louisiana state line. Interviewers met him in Waco.
Jones, Harriet 93, was taken in Texas from her native North Caroline as a young girl. She was interviewed in Clarkville, where she lived with a granddaughter.
Jones, Lewis Told questioners in Fort Worth that he was born on a Colorado River plantation in Fayette County, Texas, 86 years earlier.
Jones, Liza Was 81 years old. As she sat in a backless chair smoking a pipe, she told of her birth near Liberty, Texas, and subsequent life as a slave and freedman. She lived at Beaumont in 1937.
Jones, Lizzy 86 was born in Harrison County, Texas, and interviewed near Karnack.
King, Nancy Was born in 1840 in Upshur County, Texas. Before the Civil War she had married and given birth to a child. In 1937 she lived in Marshall with a daughter.
King, Silvia Who was probably near 100 years old, was born in Morocco and lived in France before coming to Texas. Her interview took place in Marlin.
Lewis, Uncle Cinto Who was thought to be about 101, was born in Fort Bend County near Richmond, Texas. Questioners found Lewis living in a cabin which had been part of the slave quarters in an ante-bellum plantation.
Lewis, Hagar Told interviewers in her El Paso home that she was born near Tyler 83 years earlier. A son who was an electrical engineer in New York City supported her in 1937.
Lewis, Henry Showed his 102 years when interviewers met him in Beaumont. The Jefferson County, Texas, native had to strain his vocal cords to talk at all and had a very poor memory.
Lewis, Lucy The wife of Cinto Lewis, did not know her age, but she was born at Pleasant Grove, Texas. She and her husband lived in a cabin furnished with a huge four-poster bed and some chairs. Pots, pans, kettles, and jugs covered the walls. Both husband and wife were almost blind.
Livingston, Abe 83 was born in Jasper County and interviewed at Beaumont. His interview was extremely brief.
Malone, Julia 79 was born on a plantation near Lockhart, Texas. Interviewers fond her living in Fort Worth.
Marshall, Adeline Did not know her age, but interviewers thought her to be very old. Born in South Carolina, she came to Texas as a baby and lived in Houston when questioned.
Martin, Issac Age was not given, but h was described as “quite black” with close-cut hair and gray whiskers. The Montgomery County, Texas, native, sat in a rocker under a shade tree near his Veth home for the interview. His feet were bar and his trouser legs rolled up to keep cool.
Mathews, Louise 83 didn’t indicate her birthplace, but she was apparently raised in east Texas. Questioners found her living alone in Fort Worth.
Mayes, Hiram 75 was born in Double Bayou, Texas, and interviewed near the rambling house outside Beaumont he later shared with two daughters. The questioner commented that “native intelligence gleams in his deepest eyes, but his speech shows that he received little schooling.”
McCoy, John Was reared near Houston, and 99 years after his birth he still lived there. His member was hazy as he talked to interviewers who visited his small shack in the rear of a Bayou City residence.
McRay, Bill 86 was born in Milan, Texas, and interviewed at Jasper.
McRay, C. B. Interviewers who found this Jasper native at age 76, described him as unapproachable and secretive.
Merritt, Susan Told questioners that she was born 87 years earlier in Rusk County, Texas. She lived with her son west of Marshall.
Miller, Anna 85 was born in Kentucky and lived for a short time in Missouri before moving to Palo Pinto, Texas. She resided with a daughter in Fort Worth when interviewed.
Miller, Mintie Maria Told questioners in her Galveston home of her birth 85 years earlier in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. A doctor brought her to Texas when she was very young.
Moore, William 82 was a native of Selma, Alabama, who moved to Mexia, Texas, during the Civil War. Interviewers found him in Dallas.
Moore, Van Was born on a plantation near Lynchburg, Virginia, but while a baby he moved with his master to a farm near Crosby, Texas. Eighty years later he was interviewed at his Houston home.
Morrow, Mandy A native of Georgetown, Teas, was interviewed in Fort Worth when she was 80 years old. Her fondest memories were of the years she cooked for Governor Hogg.
Moses, Patsy Told questioners that she was born in Fort Bend County 74 years earlier. They interviewed her at Mart, Texas.
Patton, Martha Came to Texas from her native Alabama when she was a baby. She lived at Goliad for most of her 91 years.
Payne, Ellen 88 was born and raised in Marshall, where she still lived alone on her farm in the 1930’s.
Perkins, Henderson Hailed from near Nashville, Tennessee, but came to Centerville, Texas before the Civil War. Interviewers found him living at age 85 in Fort Worth.
Polk, Ellen Shoed only a little gray hair at the temples and forehead despite her 83 years. Interviewers who met the Gonzales County, Texas native in San Antonio also noted that her eyesight was still excellent.
Powers, Betty 80 was born in Harrison County, Texas. She complained to questioners who visited her in Fort Wroth that her memory had failed during the preceding five years.
Price, Allen Told interviewers of his birth in a covered wagon 75 years earlier. He lived in Mart during the 1930’s.
Price, Lafayette Didn’t know his age, but he was apparently very old. The native of Wilcox County, Alabama, lived in Louisiana for a time before coming to Texas just after the Civil War. He was interviewed at Beaumont.
Pruitt, A. C. 76 was a native of St. Martinsville, Louisiana, who moved to Snowball, Teas, during the Civil War. The small, muscular man lived in Monroe City, Texas when interviewed.
Rains, Eda Was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1843 and came to Texas during the Civil War. Blind by the 1930’s she lived in Douglasville, Texas.
Reece, Elsie Was born in Grimes County, Texas, in 1847. She moved to Fort Wroth in 1926 to live with a daughter, who supported her with the aid of a $7 monthly pension.
Rimm, Walter A native of San Patricio County, Texas, lived in Fort Worth when interviewers talked with him.
Robinson, Mariah Couldn’t recall her age, but she was probably 90 or older. The Georgia native moved to Texas while still a little girl and remembered several encounters with Indians. She recalled her experiences from her Meridian, Texas home.
Ross, Susan 75 was born in Magnolia Springs, Texas. Questioners who met her in Jasper learned that she still helped her daughter run a small café. Her features and skin color suggested to the interviewers that she might have been part Indian.
Row, Annie Interviewers visiting her in Fort Worth learned that she was born on a plantation near Rusk, Texas, 86 years earlier.
Ruffin, Gill Age 100 was born in Harrison County, Texas, and interviewed at Karnack.
Ruffin, Marin 83 was born near Port Caddo in Harrison County. Later he worked as a cook in hotels and cafes in Marshall until forced to retire. Interviewers found him still living in Marshall, supported by a $12 monthly pension and help from the Red Cross.
Ruffins, Florence Age was unknown, but she apparently was not born until during or after the Civil War. She lived in Fort Wroth when the interview took place.
Sells, Abram Did not know his age but thought he must be “well along” in the 80’s. Born on a plantation southwest of Newton, he was interviewed at Jamestown, Texas.
Shepherd, Callie Grew up near Gilmer where she was born in 1852. When interviewed, she was cared for in Dallas by her son and his wife.
Simmons, Betty Who thought she must be 100 or older, was stolen from an Alabama plantation while still a baby and taken to Texas. Her memoirs were recorded in Beaumont.
Simpson, Ben 90 was born in Norcross, Georgia and brought to Texas by his owner before the Civil War. Questioners found him living in Madisonville, Texas, on a small old age pension.
Smith, James W. 77 a retired Baptist minister, told interviewers that he was too young to have worked as a slave. He retired from preaching in 1931 and moved to Fort Worth, where he told of his early experiences.
Sneed, John Although unaware of when or exactly where he was born, Sneed said he was almost grown when freedom came. He had spent most of his life in the Austin are where he was interviewed.
Stringfellow, Yach 90 was born near Brenham and lived in Waco when questioners talked to him. His memory was poor concerning recent events, but he vividly described life as a slave.
Terrill, J. W. A native of DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, thought he was about 100 years old. He recalled having come to Texas as a slave when interviewed at Madisonville, Texas.
Thomas, Bill 88 and his wife Ellen, 81 lived in the Old Slave Settlement near Hondo, Texas. In 1937 an interviewer reported, “they seem to be happy; their fields are tilled; a horse and cow graze near the house; a kitchen garden is under way, and several broods of baby chicks are in the yard.”
Washington, Sam Jones Was born on a ranch along the Colorado River in Wharton County, Texas, 88 years before questioners located him in Fort Wroth. He worked as a cowboy until 1905 when he began work in the Fort Worth meet packing plants. Long retired by 1937 he received a small pension and spent his time raising a few hogs and keeping a garden.
Williams, Rose Who thought she was over 90, was born on a Bell County, Texas, plantation. Interviewers found her living in Fort Worth; she had been blind for a decade.
Wright, Caroline A native of Louisiana, was 12 years old when emancipation came. Her father moved to Texas before the Civil War and later bought more than 300 acres of land in McLennan County. She lived with her husband in Waco when interviewers recorded her narrative.


26 Mar 2002 | 30 Mar 2003
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