Ann Gudgel

Ann Gudgel lived in enslavement during the Civil War.  In this excerpt, she describes her life as an enslaved person, including the troublesome fact that she and her family chose to remain with their enslavers after Emancipation.

*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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I don’t know how old I am, but I was a little girl when that man Lincoln freed us [redacted]. My mammy never told us our age, but I know I am plenty old, cause I feel like it.

When I was a little girl all of us were owned by Master Ball. When Lincoln freed us [redacted], we went on and lived with Master Ball till us children were about grown up. None of us was ever sold, cause we belonged to the Balls for always back as far as we could think.

Mammy worked up at the big house, but us children had to stay at the cabin. But I didn’t very  much care, because ole Miss had a little child just about my age, and we played together.

The only time ole Miss ever beat me was when I caused Miss Nancy to get ate up with the bees. I told her ‘Miss Nancy, the bees are asleep, let’s steal the honey.’ Soon as she touched it, they flew all over us, and it took Mammy about a day to get the stingers out of our heads. Ole Miss just naturally beat me up about that.

One day they vaccinated all the slaves but mine never took at all. I never told anybody, but I just sat right down by the fireplace and rubbed wood ashes and juice that spewed out of the wood real hard over the scratch. All the others were really sick and had the most awful arms, but mine never did even hurt.

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Ann GudgelUnknownMildred RobertsBall
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Anderson County, KYKentuckyUnknown
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Emancipation, familyFirst person, dialect