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The Slave Narrative Collection
An OKGenWeb Special Project

Charley Ross

Age 87 Years
Gibson Station, Oklahoma

I was born in the hill country around Arkadelphia, Arkansas, on May 13, 1851, a Friday it was, and Friday the 13th is my Lucky Day.

My father's name was Strotter Adams, the same as master's. The master was a preacher and a lawyer at Arkadelphia, and when his daughter married I went with her; her husband was Charley Ross. Then one of the master's sons took my father with him. He was John Adams. All the places was closed together and we wasn't separated much. 

The master had children named John, Billie, Christ, Walker, Miss Cornelia, Mis Liddie, and my sisters were Jane, Martha, and my brothers were Walter and Bob.

I was too young to work much, that's in the fields I mean. I use to help take care of the stock. One time I was sitting on top of rail fence, hold of a mule. I jest kept the rope light in my hands letting the mule graze, and then somehow I went to sleep. Right on top of the fence. The master saw me and slip up back of the mule. He hit the mule and when he jumped I went off the fence. Right on the ground. Hard. And the master laughed when I sat there rubbing my eyes.

Then the young boys would ride the calves to make them gentle for driving, or what folks called "bridle wise." Most of the time we didn't ride only just long enough to get tossed off on the ground.

We had long-tailed cotton shirts in the summer and wool shirts and jackets in the winter. Once a white woman give some boys

 shoes to the mistress and she gave them to me. It took time to get use to them but I was sure enough pound of them shoes. O was about nine years old before I ever had new shoes.

The master lived in a big up to date house like folks have now. There was three fireplaces in the house. He owned lots of slaves.

I didn't know anything about the Civil War. Except one day a smart negro told us that there was fighting and soon all the slaves would be free. And they was.

The master didn't allow dancing on the plantation but the slaves could get passes and go to dances on Saturday, but they had to get up Sunday and go to church.

The master never went to war. Maybe he was to old. Sometimes he would be gone three or four days. He said he was going to the war but he didn't go.

I've been married twice. My wife now is Rosy. She had two children when we married. Henry and Lutha Evans. My first wife had children named Bessie, Christine, and Jordan; and later one there was Norman, Winfred and Chrley, Jr.

I am to sick to talk much and my time is about come.

Contributed by M. Dawson, 05/06/03

2018 OKGenWeb

updated 01/10/2016

Linda Simpson, State Coordinator
Mel Owings, Assistant Coordinator