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Genealogical & Family History Facts
Abstracted from Georgia Slave Narratives

Originally Compiled 1936-1938 by the Works Project Administration

From 1836 to 1838, thousands of former slaves were interviewed by members of the Works Project Administration as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal" to provide jobs during the depression and help spur America's economy.

The following are genealogical and family history facts abstracted from these interviews, mostly pertaining to the state of Georgia. To avoid violating copyright, I did not transcribe descriptive stories, embellishments, and the like. For this reason, I suggest that you find and read the entire narratives. If you have any interest in these individuals, the time, or the culture, you will gain so much from reading the narratives in whole. They can be read online at the Library of Congress and Ancestry. Furthermore, you can purchase the book format (it includes a lot of pictures of the individuals interviewed), The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography.

I have become mildly obsessed with learning more about these people. Therefore, some of these entries have notes attached to them.

I have compiled a short index of the surnames found in each entry:
Alice BattleBattle, Caldwell, Davis, Marshal
Vera Roy BoboBobo, Cobb, Holmes
Della BriscoeBriscoe, Ross
Berry ClayBeauford, Britt, Clay, Johnson, Smith, Wadley
Mose DavisDavis
Martha EveretteEverette, Lathrop, Watson
Henderson HarrisAdams, Harris
Phoebe HendersonBradley, Butler, Henderson, Hill, Hubbard
Annie HuffHuff, Melton
Caroline MalloyBrown, Lewis, Malloy, Mitchell, Tillman
Susan MatthewsMatthews
Emily MaysMays, Parker, Stevens, Wych/Wyche
Joe McCormickHamilton, Harrell, McCormick, Mitchell
Tom McGruderMcGruder
Matilda McKinneyBall, Dean, McKinney
Bob MobleyHammock, Mobley, Taylor
Elsie MorelandMoreland
Claiborne MossAdams, Battle, Beck, Duggin, Hook, Moss, Stephens
Sara NanceNance, Walker
Cella PerkinsCrumpton, Perkins, Woods
Easter Reed/ReidBurnham, Reed/Reid
Shade RichardsNeal, Richards, Williams
Melvina RobertsRoberts
Sarah VirgilSnell, Virgil
Peter WellsSimons, Wells
George WombleRidley, Womble
Joe WootenWooten

Interviewee: Alice BATTLE
Alice was interviewed in Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia in 1936. During the 1840's, Emanuel Caldwell (born in North Carolina) and Neal Anne Caldwell (born in South Carolina) were brought to Macon, Bibb County, Georgia and sold to Mr. Ed Marshal of Bibb County. The couple married, and their second child, born about 1850, was Alice.

Alice's mother was a weaver; her father was a field hand.

Alice saw Yankees pass by with their famous prisoner, Jeff Davis, in 1865.

At the time of interview, Alice and her husband lived with one of their sons.

Interviewee: Vera Roy BOBO
Vera was 62 years old when she was interviewed in Holly Grove, Arkansas. Her parents were from Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. Her mother was Margaret Cobb.

Vera's father was St. Roy Holmes, a CME preacher in Georgia and Arkansas. He came on a train to Forrest City in 1885. He crossed the Mississippi River on a ferry boat, and he later preached at Wynne.

Vera's husband's father was the son of a white man, Randall Bobo. He used to visit from Bobo, Mississippi. Vera's husband was born in Indian Bay, Arkansas. He was William Bobo. Vera met him 2 months before they were married.

Interviewee: Della BRISCOE
Della was living in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia at the time of interview. She was a slave of Mr. David Ross, who owned a plantation in Putnam County, Georgia. The highway entering Eatonton divided the plantation.

Interviewee: Berry CLAY
Berry was 89 years old on 5 August 1936. He was son of Fitema Bob Britt, a full-blooded Indian who died shortly after his son's birth. Berry's mother, a white woman, later married William Clay. The family then moved to Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

Berry was next to the oldest of 5 children and was never a slave. Not many years after his mother remarried, she became ill and died. After her death, the family continued to live in south Macon where the father was employed as overseer for a crew at the railroad yard.

Mr. Wadley, by whom William Clay was employed, was a well-known Macon citizen who served as president of the Central Georgia Railroad for many years. A monument on Mulberry Street (Macon) nearly opposite the post office was erected to honor Mr. Wadley. The Wadley plantation extended from the railroad yard to present-day (1937) Mercer University.

Berry and his father ran a grocery store just after emancipation. Berry later became a painter.

Berry, at the time of interview, claimed to have been using tobacco for 65 years.

The following is the entry for the Berry Clay family in the 1880 Bibb County, Georgia Federal Census (District 1085):
Berry CLAYSelfMMaleB26GAPainterGAGA
Hannah CLAYWifeMFemaleB38GAKeeping HouseGAVA
Willis JOHNSONSonSMaleB20GAClerk in StoreGAGA
Harriet SMITHDauSFemaleB17GAAt SchoolGAGA
Rosa Lee CLAYDauSFemaleB2GA-GAGA

Also, there is a railroad contractor, D. R. WADLEY, age 30, staying at S. Beauford's hotel in Bibb County, Georgia in 1850 per the federal census.

Interviewee: Mose DAVIS
At the time of interview, Mose was living in Atlanta, Georgia. He was born on a plantation 12 miles from Perry, Houston County, Georgia. His owner was Colonel Davis.

Mose's parents, Jennie and January Davis, had always been the property of the Davis family.

Mose's mother, brothers, and sisters were all field hands. Mose was play-mate to Manning, the youngest of Colonel Davis's 5 sons.

One of Mose's brothers was a carpenter.

Interviewee: Martha EVERETTE
Martha was born about 1848 in Pulaski County, Georgia to Isaac and Amanda Lathrop. She spent most of her life near where she was born.

All the Watson slaves attended the white Baptist church at Blue Springs.

Interviewee: Henderson HARRIS
Henderson was interviewed 23 September 1936 at his home at 808 E. Slaton Avenue, Griffin, Spalding County, Georgia. He was born 19 August 1858 in Talbot County, Georgia. His parents were Frederick and Adeline Harris of Jones County, Georgia. They were sold and taken away from Henderson when he was a few months old.

Mr. Bill ADAMS, Henderson's owner, lived on a plantation on an old stage road between Macon and Columbus (Georgia).

After freedom, Henderson's parents returned. They and his 7 siblings continued working for Mr. Bill.

Interviewee: Phoebe HENDERSON
Phoebe was interviewed in Marshall, Texas. She was 105 years old and living in Harrison County, Texas. She was born a slave of the Bradley family at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. After the death of her "mistress" in Tennessee, Phoebe was given to one of the daughters, Mrs. Wiley Hill. They moved to Panola County, Texas in 1859, where Phoebe lived until after the Civil War. For the 22 years prior to interview. Phoebe lived with her daughter, Mary Ann Butler, about 5 miles east of Marshall.

Phoebe's father was Anthony Hubbard, and he belonged to the Hubbard family in Georgia.

Phoebe's husband was David Henderson.

Here is Phoebe and her family in the Harrison County, Texas 1880 Federal Census (Precint 1):
Pheby HENDERSONWifeMFemaleB37GAFarm HandGAGA

Interviewee: Annie HUFF
Annie was interviewed at her home at 561 Cotton Avenue, Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. Annie moved to Macon when she was freed. Her daughter, Mary, 87 years old at the time of interview, was reared there.

Annie was owned by Mr. Travis Huff of Macon. His home was on Houston road near Seven Bridges. At the time of interview, the house was occupied by his granddaughter, Mrs. Rosa Melton. Several of Mr. Travis Huff's daughters became teachers after the Civil War.

Sunday church services were held at Old Liberty Church.

Footware for the entire group was purchased at Strong's Shoe Store in Macon.

Refugee slaves often found shelter on Mr. Travis Huff's estate, where they were assisted by his slaves.

One of Mr. Travis Huff's sons, Ramsey Huff, fought with the Confederate Army.

Interviewee: Caroline MALLOY
Caroline was 96 years old and living in Pulaski County, Georgia at the time of her interview. She was born in Sumter County, Georgia. Her mother, Lizzie Tillman, and her father, John Lewis, were also born there.

Caroline's owner was named Brown, and he owned a plantation in Sumter County.

Caroline was still quite young when they moved to Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia. Mr. Brown was a lawyer.

Mrs. Brown's mother moved to Louisiana and took 2 of Caroline's sisters with her.

Mr. Brown died of some illness during the first year of the Civil War.

After Mr. Brown's death, Caroline was hired to a Mr. Mitchell, who was in Hawkinsville looking after the rations for the Confederate soldiers. She was still with him at the end of the war.

After the war, Mrs. Brown married again and moved to Louisiana.

Here is Caroline and her husband in the 1880 Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia Federal Census:
Robert MALOYSelfMMaleB35NCFarmerNCNC
Caroline MALOYWifeMFemaleB34GAKeeping HouseGAGA

Interviewee: Susan MATTHEWS
Susan was 84 years old when she was interviewed on Madison Street in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. She had younger brothers and sisters.

After the war, Susan's father worked on shares from his owner. Later, he bought his own land. He owned it until his death.

Susan went to school after the Civil War.

Susan never married.

Interviewee: Emily MAYS
Emily was interviewed at her home on East Solomon Street, Griffin, Spalding County, Georgia. She was born in 1861 on the Billy Stevens plantation in Upson County, Georgia. Her mother, Betsy Wych, was born in Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia and sold to Mr. Stevens. Emily's father, Peter Wych, was born in West Virginia. He was part Indian. He was born free, but got caught in slave territory and was sold to the Wych family of Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. He cooked for them at their hotel, "The Brown House." He was later sold to Mr. Stevens in Upson County. Betsy and Peter had 16 children, of which Emily was next to last. Emily's mother died when Emily was about 7 years old.

After the Civil War, Peter rented a patch of land from Mr. Kit Parker.

Emily attended the "Sugar Hill" Sunday School.

Emily married Aaron Mays and moved to Griffin. At the time of interview she was 75 years old.

Here is an entry for the Peter Wyche family in the 1880 Monroe County, Georgia Federal Census. I cannot be positive this is the correct Emily, but it appears to be so...
Peter WYCHESelfWMaleB65SCFarm LaborerSCSC
Emily WYCHEDauSFemaleB21GAWorking for WagesSCSC

Interviewee: Joe MCCORMICK
At the time of interview, Joe was 90 years old and living in Wilcox County, Georgia.

Joe's father was born in Wilcox County and was owned by a Mr. Mitchell. His name was Abe McCormick. Joe's mother was born in Norfolk, Virginia, brought to Pulaski County, and sold to Mr. John Harrell. Her name was Maria Hamilton. Joe's father and mother lived on adjoining plantations.

When Joe was about 4 years old (he was the youngest of 3 children), his mother was drawn by Mr. Bill Hamilton, and they went to Dooly County, Georgia to live. One of Joe's sisters died before they left, and the other died soon after they arrived in Dooly County.

Vienna was the nearest town to the plantation.

Joe married after the slaves were freed.

Soon after he left Bill Hamilton, Joe went to Wilcox County. Mr. Hamilton moved to Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia.

Joe was interviewed 14 May 1937. At that time, he and his wife lived about 5 miles from Abbeville (Wilcox County).

Here is the Joe McCormick family in the 1880 Wilcox County, Georgia Federal Census (District 1177):
Martha MCCORMICKWifeMFemaleB30GAKeeping HouseGAGA

Interviewee: Tom MCGRUDER
At the time of interview, Tom was one of the oldest ex-slaves living in Pulaski County, Georgia. He was about 102 years old and living with his son. Tom suffered from asthma. He was born in the month of June.

Tom, his mother, and his sister were brought to Georgia from Virginia.

The last man Tom was sold to was Mr. Jim McGruder of Emanuel County, Georgia.

Tom entered the army with Mr. McGruder and stayed about 4 years. He fought at the battles at Petersburg, Virginia and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Interviewee: Matilda MCKINNEY
Matilda was interviewed on 100 Empire Avenue in Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. She was born in Texas, but was brought to southwest Georgia, near Albany, when she was young. Her mother, Amy Dean, had 8 children. Matilda was the oldest. They lived on a plantation owned by Mr. Milton Ball.

A woman named Julia was responsible for cooking the noon meal.

Matilda and her family stayed with the Ball family for some time after the Civil War. At the time of interview, Matilda was living with her granddaughter.

Interviewee: Bob MOBLEY
Bob was interviewed in 1937, when he was 92 years old. His birthdate was 16 June. He came to Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia after freedom to work at the carpenter's trade, and he had a brother named John.

Bob was the 7th of 11 children born to Robert and Violet Hammock, slaves of Mr. Henry Mobley of Crawford County, Georgia. Bob's parents were born in Crawford County.

Macon, Bibb County, Georgia was the nearest trading town, but Mr. Mobley's children went to school in Knoxville, Crawford County.

At the time of interview, Bob was living with a 72 year old step-daughter.

Mr. Henry Mobley lived 3 miles from Knoxville.

Bob married Jane after the Civil War.

Here is Bob and his family in the Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia Federal Census:
Robert MOBLEYSelfMMaleB27GACarpenterGAGA
Jane MOBLEYWifeMFemaleB31VAKeeping HouseVAVA
Mary Lizzie MOBLEYDauSFemaleB14GAAt SchoolGAVA
Thomas MOBLEYNephewSMaleB10GAAt SchoolGAGA
Matilda TAYLORMother-in-LawWFemaleB80VA-VAVA

Interviewee: Claiborne MOSS
Claiborne was interviewed at 1812 Marshall Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. She was born in Washington County, Georgia, on Archie Duggin's plantation, 15 miles from Sandersville, 18 June 1857.

At the time of interview, Claiborne was 81 years old.

Caliborne's mother was Ellen Moss. Ellen was born in Hancock County near Sparta, Georgia. Claiborne's father was also born in Hancock County. His owner was Bill Moss. Jesse Battle owned Ellen before she married. Claiborne was one of 10 children. She was the only one living at the time of interview. She was the 5th child, the oldest being 10 years older than her.

Claiborne was 8 years old when her father died.

When Bill Moss went to Texas, he sold Claiborne's father to Mrs. Beck. Mrs. Beck was Jesse Battle's granddaughter. Supposedly, Bill Moss killed himself.

Bill Moss's slaves were divided among his nephew, Whaley, and his (Bill's) sister. The sister got 5 slaves. Three were Claiborne's uncles and 2 were her aunts.

A sister of Claiborne's was named Fannie.

Claiborne had an uncle named Ben.

Archie Duggin had a cousin named Porter Duggin.

Claiborne and her father attended the Union Church 3 miles away. They also attended Bethlehem Church 5 miles away. The pastor was the same at both churches, Tom Adams. Archie Duggin and Jesse Battle were also members of the Union Baptist Church. Their names are found in some of the church minutes. Tom Adams being the pastor is mentioned, as well, around 1864.

A year after freedom, Claiborne's parents farmed on shares at Ben Hook's place. Her father died there in May.

Claiborne knew of Alexander Stephens, the vice-president of the Confederacy, and his brother, Leonard. Leonard was a lawyer. He died after the war when he fell off his horse and broke his neck.

Alexander Stephens had a plantation in Taliaferro County, Georgia. He, too, was a lawyer.

A year or so after her father died, Claiborne and her family moved to Hancock County, Georgia. Her mother married again 3 years later.

Claiborne's uncle Will was killed by the Ku Klux Klan.

Claiborne went to Little Rock, Arkansas in 1903.

Claiborne, at the time of interview, had 3 daughters and 12 grandchildren.

Interviewee: Elsie MORELAND
Elsie's owner, Isaac Moreland, owned a plantation near Hayneville, Houston County, Georgia.

Isaac owned a store in Hayneville, and he hauled his crops to Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

Elsie's father was a carpenter.

Elsie had at least one sister.

Elsie was interviewed at her home in Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia.

Elsie's mother died when Elsie was very young. Elsie's father was Jack Moreland.

Elsie was 85 years old at the time of interview.

Interviewee: Sara NANCE
Born to slave parents in the part of Pulaski County, Georgia that is now Bleckley County about 84 years prior to interview, Sara lived close to her birthplace all her life.

Dr. Frank Walker of Longstreet, Pulaski (now Bleckley) County owned Sara and her parents. Sara had at least one brother.

During slavery days, Sara attended the white Baptist church at Evergreen.

For years after freedom, Sara stayed and cooked for the Walkers, but eventually left and moved to Eastman, Dodge County, Georgia.

Interviewee: Cella PERKINS
Cella was 67 years old when she was interviewed in Arkansas. She was born near Macon, Bibb County, Georgia. Cella's mother's owner, Mari Beth Woods, brought Cella's mother there from 15 miles out of Atlanta, Georgia.

After emancipation, Mari Beth's husband was killed by a horse kicking him. The accident also involved Mari Beth's son, Benjamin Woods, but he was unharmed.

Cella's father went to war and never came back.

Mari Beth kept a boarding house in Macon.

Benjamin and his mother moved on to Kentucky, while Cella and her mother moved to Palestine, Arkansas.

Cella's mother was once owned by Mr. Crumpton. He gave her to his daughter, Mari Beth.

Cella had 3 girls living at the time of interview. One lived in Palestine, one in Marvell, and one in St. Louis. Her youngest daughter taught music.

Interviewee: Easter REED/REID
Easter was 84 years old when interviewed 13 July 1939. She was living with her grandson in Abbeville, Wilcox County, Georgia. She was born in Dodge County, Georgia to parents that were born in Pulaski County, Georgia. Easter was owned until she was 13 years old in 1865 by Mr. Alfred Burnham.

Easter married after the Civil War when she was 17-18 years old.

Easter's father and mother were Donson and Martha Burnham. Easter was the youngest of 14 children.

The plantation was located near Rhine, Dodge County, Georgia.

Four of Mr. Burnham's sons went to war. They returned home, but died soon after.

Interviewee: Shade RICHARDS
Shade was interviewed 14 September 1936 at his home on East Solomon Street in Griffin, Spalding County, Georgia. His brother helped lay the railroad from Atlanta to Macon (Georgia) so the Confederate soldiers and ammunition could move faster. Shade, at the time of interview, worked at the Kincaid Mill #2.

Shade was born 13 January 1846 on the Jimpson Neal plantation below Zebulon in Pike County, Georgia. His father, Alfred Richards, had been brought from Africa and was owned by Mr. Williams on an adjoining plantation. Shade's mother, Easter Richards, was born in Houston County, Georgia and sold to Mr. Neal. Shade was the youngest of 11 children. His real name was Shadrack. The brother just older than he was Meshack. Shade was named by Mr. Neal.

Before the Civil War, Shade's grandfather came from Africa to buy his son and take him home, but he got sick and both father and son died.

Mr. Neal had a son, Jimmy, who whipped Shade's uncle to death.

Jimmy took Shade to war with him. They were at the Battle of Appomattox and at the surrender 8 April 1865.

Interviewee: Melvina ROBERTS
Melvina was interviewed 21 August 1936. She was christened in the white folks' Methodist Church where the Vineville School stood (in 1936).

Interviewee: Sarah VIRGIL
Sarah was about 94 years old when she was interviewed May 1937. She was living with her 68 year old daughter about 8 miles from Hawkinsville, Pulaski County, Georgia.

Her grandmother was an African woman.

Sarah was born in Pulaski County. Her owner was Mr. Nat Snell.

The slaves attended the white Baptist church at Evergreen.

One of Sarah's brothers went to war as a Confederate and survived many battles. After he came home, he accidentally fell on an axe and killed himself.

Here is Sarah and her family in the 1880 Cochran, Pulaski County, Georgia Federal Census:
Sarah VIRGILWifeMFemaleB32GAHouse WorkGAGA
Isabella VIRGILDauSFemaleB14GAFarm WorkGAGA
Caroline VIRGILDauSFemaleB6GA-GAGA
Claronette VIRGILDauSFemaleB2GA-GAGA

Interviewee: Peter WELLS
Peter was 90 years old when interviewed in 1936. He was living with his wife, whom he called "Little One."

Peter was born in North Carolina, and his owner was Mr. John Simons, a bachelor.

In 1866/67, at the age of 18/19, Peter came to Dodge County, Georgia.

Interviewee: George WOMBLE
George was 93 years old when he was interviewed at his home in Atlanta, Georgia. He was born in 1843 near the present (at time of interview) site of what is known as Clinton, Jones County, Georgia. His parents were Patsy and Raleigh Ridley. They were sold and taken away when George was very young. Patsy was sent to New Orleans, Louisiana. George's owner was Mr. Robert Ridley. The cook was Harriet Ridley. Robert had at least 3 children.

Mrs. Ridley gave the plantation up after her husband died, took her share of the slaves (including George) and moved to Talbotton, Talbot County, Georgia. George soon was sold to Mrs. Ridley's brother, Enoch Womble. Enoch and his wife had at least 6 children.

Several years before the Civil War, George was sold to Jim Womble, Enoch's son.

After the war, George made a living as a blacksmith.

Interviewee: Joe WOOTEN
Joe was born in Cherokee County near Rome, Georgia. At the time of interview, he was more than 100 years old. His full name was Joel Robinson George Washington Gorden Seam McCalloway Wooten, given to him by his "mistress."

After freedom, Joe moved to Pulaski County, and later to Wilcox, where he acquired a farm, but lost it. At the time of interview, he was living on the farm he once owned.

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