Barney Stone

Barney Stone was 91 years old when interviewed.  He was enslaved for 16 years before he escaped and joined the Union Army during the Civil War.  After the Civil War, Barney Stone was a self-taught teacher at a Black school and then became a preacher.  The interviewer notes that Barney Stone had a “remarkable memory,” which is evident in the excerpt below where Barney Stone explains the practice of buying and selling enslaved people. 

*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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My master was a hard man when he was angry, drinking, or not feeling well, then at times he was kind to us. I was compelled to pick cotton and do other work when I was a very small boy. Master would never sell me because I was regarded as the best young slave on the plantation. Different from many other slaves, I was kept on the plantation from the day I was born until the day I ran away.

Slaves were sold in two ways, sometimes at private sale to a man who went about the Southland buying slaves until he has many in his possession, then he would have a big auction sale and would re-sell them to the highest bidder, much in the same manner as our live-stock [farm animals] are sold now in auction sales… He came to the plantation with a doctor. He would point out two or three slaves which looked good to him and which could be spared by the owner, and would have the doctor examine the slave’s heart. If the doctor pronounced the slave as sound, then the [redacted] buyer would make an offer to the owner and if the amount was satisfactory, the slave was sold. Some large plantation owners, having a large number of slaves, would hold a public auction and dispose of some of them, then he would attend another sale and buy new slaves, this was done sometimes to get better slaves and sometimes to make money on the sale of them.

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Barney Stone1847 (91)Robert C. IrvinLemuel Stone
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Noblesville, INKYKY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
EconomicsFirst Person, Third Person, Whipped, Witness Extreme Cruelty, Sold, Slave Traders, Union Troops, Veteran or Widow, Notable, Spencer County