Bert Mayfield

The interviewer chose to record this interview with Bert Mayfield in the first person.  In the excerpt, Bert Mayfield tells the story of an enslaved person who escaped, but was later enslaved again.  The excerpt concludes with Bert Mayfield’s thought on emancipation and Lincoln. 
See full document • Visit the Library of Congress to see the original document


…There was no slave jail on the Stone place, and I never saw a slave sold or auctioned off. I was told that one of our slaves ran off and was gone for three years. Some white person wrote him to come home that he was free. He was making his own way in Ohio and stopped in Lexington, Kentucky for breakfast; while there he was asked to show his Pass papers which he did, but they were forged so he was arrested. Investigators soon found that his owner was Mr. Stone who did not wish to sell him and sent for him to come home…[Mr. Stone sent a White man to bring the enslaved man back to the plantation] … but instead he sold him to a southern slave trader… 

I received the first news of freedom joyfully. I went to old man Onstott’s to live. I lived there two or three years. I think Abe Lincoln a great man. He did not believe in slavery and would have paid the southern people for their slaves if he had lived…

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Bert Mayfield1852 (Unknown)Eliza IsonSmith Stone
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Garrard County, KYKYBryantsville, KY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Garrard County, Lincoln, First Person, Resistance, Slave Trader, Emancipation


Can we count on your support?

This website is a service of Reckoning, Inc., a small non-profit organization that depends on grants and donations to continue our work. Up to this point, we have avoided putting any paid advertising on our website. If you would like to help us keep it that way, please consider making a donation to our organization.