Jane Simpson

In this excerpt, which the interviewer records in the first person, Jane Simpson describes how her enslaver whipped her, how her enslaver responded to Union troops during the Civil War, and how enslaved people were treated upon emancipation.   The excerpt ends with Jane Simpson telling of a metaphor enslaved people used to describe the end of enslavement. 

*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 never got more than three or four whippings, but they cut the blood out of me every one of them times. If ole Miss got mad about something, just anything at all, she’d have you whipped, when maybe you had not done a thing, just to satisfy her spiteful feeling. I never can forget, I was sitting upstairs in ole Miss’ house, quilting, when the first Yankee army boat went to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Ole Miss made me get right up and go get her children out of school and bring them right home. She was scared to death mostly, but the boat went right on. It didn’t even stop…

I had an uncle who was buying his freedom from Master Chris and was almost paid out when Master Chris died, but he didn’t know anything about keeping receipts, so he was put on the auction block and sold again…

The [redacted] didn’t expect nothing from the white folks when they got set free. They were so glad to get set free, they were just glad to be loose. I never even heard of white folks giving [redacted] nothing. Most of the time they didn’t even give them what they were supposed to give them after they were free. They were so mad because they had to set them free, they just stayed mean as they would allow them to be anyhow, and are yet, most of them. I used to hear old slaves pray and ask God when would the bottom rail be the top rail, and I wondered what on earth they were talking about. They were talking about when they are going to get out from under bondage. Course I know now…

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Jane SimpsonUnknown (over 90)UnknownChris Ellis, John Emerson, Jessie Cook, Dr. Hart
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
St. Louis, MOMOBurkesville, KY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Violence, Civil War, EmancipationCumberland County, First Person, Dialect, Sold