Field Worker: Jas. S. Buchanan
Date: August 18, 1937
Name: Mrs. Caroline Pannell
Residence: Muskogee, Oklahoma
Date of Birth: 1853
Place of Birth: Tennessee
Father: Wesley Vaden
Mother: Parthenia Vaden
I, Caroline Pannell, was born in the state of Tennessee in 1853, in
slavery. My father and mother were Wesley and Parthenia Vaden. Father was
Negro and Choctaw and my mother was Negro and Creek Indian.
My first recollections, when I was a small child, I , with my
parents were sold at a slave market in Nashville, Tennessee, to a plantation owner and
slave holder of Texas by the name of Bill Vaden, and we were taken to his plantation in
Texas, where we remained as his slaves until we were set free.
I was then ten years of age and remember but very little of the days of
slavery, but well do I remember the first few years after the war. The slaves were
free but they could hardly realize the situation, as they had always been in slavery and
always had been accustomed to have someone over them and directing their every move and
they knew not what to do as they were all destitute, with the exception of some cases
where the slave owners were considerate of their slaves and gave them stock and equipment
to start them on their own resources. In such cases, many of the freed slaves got
started off all right and produced a good crop for themselves the first year, only to be
robbed, persecuted and in many cases, killed by the Ku-Klux-Klan, which was organized by
slave owners who resented the freedom of the slaves.
During slavery, all the slaves went by the name of their master. Our
master's name being Vaden, and the only name my people ever knew, they retained the family
name of Vaden after freedom.
When I was about fifteen years of age, five years after the war, I was
married to Jack Pannell, a young slave that had been freed in Arkansas and came to Texas.
To us were born fifteen children, six boys and nine girls, nine of whom are living
at the time of this writing.
My mother died in Texas in 1895, and my father, Wesley Vaden, died in 1908
at Berwyn, Oklahoma.
In 1901, my husband and I , with our family of twelve children that were
living at that time, moved from Texas to the Indian Territory and settled at Checotah,
where we lived and engaged in farming for four years. Leaving Checotah we came to
Muskogee. The first two years we lived near Muskogee, we engaged in truck farming on
a place we leased from George Scibold.
My husband, Jack Pannell, died in Muskogee in 1911.
For the last twenty-six years, I have made my home with my son, Shaw
Pannell, at the given address.