America Morgan

America Morgan and her entire family were enslaved by a cruel enslaver named Clark Rudd.  Here, Mrs. Morgan describes various instances of extreme cruelty she witnessed in her time on the plantation.

*Historically-used terms that are offensive, marginalizing and/or disparaging have been removed from the transcripts and replaced with [redacted].  See more information.
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She [Mrs. Morgan]  remembers very clearly the happenings of her early life.  Her mother, Manda Rudd, was owned by Clark Rudd, and the “devil has sure got him.”  [Her father] became a Rudd, because he was married to Manda on the Rudd plantation.  There were six children in the family, and all went well until the death of the mother; Clark Rudd whipped her to death when America was five years old.  Six little children were left motherless to face a “frowning world.”

…Aunt Catherine, who looked after all the children on the plantation, was very unruly, no one could whip her. Once America was sent for two men to come and tie Aunt Catherine. She fought so hard, it was as much as the men could do to tie her. They tied her hands, then hung her to the joist and lashed her with a cowhide. It “was awful to hear her screams.”

She remembers one slave, who had been given five hundred lashes on his back, thrown in his cabin to die. He laid on the floor all night, at dawn he came to himself, and there were bloodhounds licking his back.

When the overseers lashed a slave to death, they would turn the bloodhounds out to smell the blood, so they would know “[redacted] blood,” that would help trace runaway slaves.

Aunt Jane Stringer was given five hundred lashes and thrown in her cabin. The next morning when the overseer came, he kicked her and told her to get up, and wanted to know if she was going to sleep there all day. When she did not answer him, he rolled her over and the poor woman was dead, leaving several motherless children.

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
America Morgan1852 (85)Anna PritchettClark Rudd
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Marion County, INIndianaKentucky
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Family, ViolenceThird person, whipped, witnessed extreme cruelty, sold (self or family), bound out after war