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The Slave Narrative Collection
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Nannie Gordon

Age 79 Years
1750 Dennison Street
Muskogee, Oklahoma

I got a letter from An Berry a long time ago that told about my birth date. The letter come from the daughter of my old Mistress Berry. It said I was born April 23, 1859, and that makes me 79 years old now. I still got that old letter from my old town of Everglade, Kentucky. It was written April 12, 1875, and the young mistress said for any of us to come back and see her, but somehow nobody ever get the chance to go.

My father was Major Jamison, and my mother was Luretia. There was a brother named Morriman. He soldiered for the South in the Civil War and died in Paducah, Ky., about 1865 my folks told me. I had two sisters, Ann and Mary. Neither of my sisters ever had any children, but I had two girls, Clarissa and Ann; four boys name of Willie, Phil, robert and Alec.

Master Berry's place was on the Ohio river at Berry's Ferry. He lived in a big red brick house. They said when the Georgia (Cherokee) Indians come out to this country where I'm living now, that lots of them Indians was ferried across the river at the master's place. My father and grandfather helped to tow them over.

The master had another big place in Everglade, Ky. and there my old grandpaw was the driver of about 100 slaves. Most of the time he was there; sometimes he worked at the ferry.

Mistress Mandy Berry had two boys, Eddie and John. There was three girls, Julia, Mary and Ann. Ann is the one who write me about my birth.

Young Master Eddie was a fine looking man. some folks called him pretty, he was so fine. He was a spy in the war. The slaves was never told nothing and I can't piece together all about the how of his doings but he was killed for being a spy for the North.

Somehow he was captured around Richmond. He was brought to Louisville where he was killed, he stood up before the firing squad. But before that the army allowed him to come by the old place and say good-bye to his folks. He was in chains.

During the slave days my mother, she was born April 6, 1820, was the cook for Master Berry. We lived in a nice clean brick servant house in the side yard. the other slaves was in the row of cabins, all them cabins was part of brick and logs.

When I was a good size girl I went to school at Paducah. Then later I went for schooling at Nashville.

When the are was over my mother cooked for some folks in Paducah. My sister Ann got a job there and saved enough money to build us all a home of our own.

My husband was Felix Gordon, a good man who kept busy with the schools and church work. He helped to build the first negro school here and got his education in some college, and was a teacher in college. He was the first pastor in the 7th street church and then superintendent of the Sunday School for nineteen year.

We always had good times in the old days but now being all crippled up there's nobody comes around any more.

That's all I know.

Contributed by M. Dawson, 05/06/03


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