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Welcome to the Family Stories page, where we feature the life stories of ancestors, enslaved and free, in the Lowcountry Southeast.
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Horry, Ben. WPA Slave Narrative, Georgetown County, South Carolina
Ben Horry of Murrels Inlet, Georgetown County, SC, was born December 13, 1852 on Waccamaw Neck in Georgetown County. He was raised at Brookgreen Plantation, which belonged to Joshua Ward. His father Duffine or Divine Horry was the superintendant of Joshua Ward's Brookgreen Plantation. Ben's mother was named Stella. His brother was Richard. His children were Charles Henry, age 38 (living in New York at the time of the interview); Ben, 24; Bill, 20; Dinah, 25; Christine, about 20 and Mary, about 15. His Uncles Sam and Summer were fiddlers who used to play at balls at Prospect Plantation. His wife Stella was his second wife.
Ben recalled that a man named Fraser was the driver before his father was appointed. Fraser was from Africa.
After the war Ben's parents stayed on at Brookgreen Plantation and worked there until they died. Ben and his siblings stayed at Brookgreen until it was sold and Ben eventually became the superintendant at Brookgreen.
At the time of the interview, Ben made a living by oystering and selling oysters roasted or raw, for fifty cents a bushel. VIEW NARRATIVE
Bees, Welcome. WPA Slave Narrative, Georgetown County, South Carolina
Welcome Bees of Murrels Inlet, Georgetown County, SC, was born about 1835 in Oatland, SC. He was raised on Turkey Hill Plantation, former slaveholder was Ben Alston. His father Sam and his mother Dolly were born in Virginia and were slaves of Dr. Ward. VIEW NARRATIVE
Brown, Hagar: WPA Slave Narrative, Georgetown, South Carolina
Hagar Brown of Murrels Inlet, Georgetown County, SC, was born about 1860 in Columbia, SC. Her mother and father both worked on the Oaks Plantation owned by Joseph and Theodosia Allston. Hagar's sisters were named Emmeline, Getty and Katrine (also called Gob). Her husband Caleb Brown died in GA. Their children were Samuel, Elias, Arthur, Beck and Sally. VIEW NARRATIVE
Brown, Henry. WPA Slave Narrative, Charleston, South Carolina
Henry Brown was the caretaker of the Gibbes House on Grove Street in Charleston, SC. He was born about 1857 on Rose Farm. There are two narratives for Henry and some of the information in Narrative 1 differs from that in Narrative 2. His father Abram or Abraham Brown was born on Coal's Island in Beaufort, SC. and was purchased by A.G. Rhodes to be the driver on Rose Farm. Henry's father also preached on Rose Farm so Henry became a Christian at a very early age.
His mother was Lucy Brown. His paternal grandparents were both born in Africa and were married there. They were adults when they were brought to Charleston from Africa. Henry's father was the driver on Rose Farm. Henry and his parents were slaves of Dr. Gordon Rose. Dr. Rose gave Henry to his son Arthur Barnwell Rose as a Christmas present. During the Civil War Henry and his family were taken to Deer Pond Plantation near Columbia, SC. His mother died at Deer Pond and was buried there, but the rest of Henry's family were buried at Rose Farm.
Henry's brother Tom joined the police force after Emancipation. They called him Black Sargeant. His brother Middleton drove the police wagon. After the war when his family went back to Charleston, Henry, then 7 years old, went to work as a chimney sweep. He later returned to Rose Farm, where his father was still the superintendant. There Henry drove a cart and plowed. Later he took work in the phosphate mines, and still later became caretaker and gardner at the Gibbes House.
He was given the name Henry but was called Toby during slavery. His sister Josephine was called Jesse. Toby's two other sisters were named Louise and Rebecca.
Henry was married twice, had two daughters and a son with his first wife, and three sons with his second wife. VIEW NARRATIVE
Bryant, Margaret: WPA Slave Narrative, Charleston, South Carolina
Margaret Bryant of Murrels Inlet, Georgetown County, South Carolina, was born before the Civil War. Her maiden name was Margaret One. She had a twin brother named Michael. Her father's name was Michael One and her mother was Mary One. Both were slaves on Sandy Island in Beaufort County, SC. Margaret's father Michael and his brother Larry were part Native American. Her Aunt Ritta One tended the children while their parents were in the field. Their slaveholder's name was Allard. VIEW NARRATIVE
Carolina, Albert: WPA Slave Narrative, Murrels Inlet, South Carolina
Albert Carolina was the reverend of Heaven's Gate Methodist Church. His father was Native American. His grandmother was African. VIEW NARRATIVE
Gadsden, Amos: WPA Slave Narrative, Charleston, South Carolina
Amos Gadsden was born about 1849 in Charleston, at the St. Philip's Street home of slaveholder Titus Bissel. His mother Ellen, who was a laundress, died in the 1860s. During slavery, his family spent summers in Charleston and winters on Cypress Plantation owned by Mrs. Bissel's father Mr. Baker. Cypress Plantation was near Green Pond in Colleton County, SC.
Amos' grandmother Affy Calvert was given to Mrs. Bissel when both were children. Affy was raised with Mrs. Bissel, to be her personal servant. She tended children and was more than 100 years old when she died at the Bissels' home on Rutledge Avenue, years after the war.
Amos was trained as a yard worker by old Tony. He also looked after the older children. Once they got away from him and climbed onto logs in the river. As the tide carried them down the river they panicked and began screaming. Amos dove into the river and rescued them.
Amos recalled seeing a hot air balloon over Russel's Planing Mill in 1861. Soldiers in the balloon used a flame thrower to set the milll afire. The mill and several surrounding buildings were burned.
Dr. H.E. Bissell was a surgeon in the Civil War and Amos accompanied him to Virginia. Amos was also with Dr. Bissel behind the lines during the Battle of Honey Hill, SC. While Amos and Dr. Bissel were in Virginia the Bissel family moved to Greenville, SC. After the war they went back to the plantation and lived "catch as catch can." Amos took a job working for Lieutenant Duffy at the Citadel and worked for him until he moved away, then returned to the Bissel family. He was still working for Titus Bissel at the time of his interview. VIEW NARRATIVE
Frost, Adele: WPA Slave Narrative, Richland, South Carolina
Adele Frost was born January 21, 1844 in Adams Run, SC. Her father Robert King was born in Adams Run and her mother Minder King was born in Spring Grove, SC. Adele's husband was Daniel Frost. Her brothers and sisters were Maria, Lovie, Josephine, Eliza, Victoria, Charlie and Robert King. Two other siblings died as children. At the time of the interview only two of her siblings were alive, including Maria, age 95, who was living in Adams Run.
Adele was 12 years old when she was brought to Richland County, SC, to be a servant to a Mr. Mitchell. After the war she continued to work for Mr. Mitchell. She and Daniel had three children (who are not named in the narrative).