Jenny McKee

In this interview, the interviewer recounts the life of Jenny McKee in the third person, referring to her as “Aunt Jenny.”  In this excerpt, the interviewer documents how Jenny McKee was either sold or given away by her step-father to a Black woman, whose husband fought for the Union in the Civil War.   

*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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 …During the [Civil] War, her mother died with cholera, and after the war, her step-father sold or gave her away to an old [redacted] lady by the name of Tillet, her husband was a captain from the 116th regiment from Manchester [the 116th United States Colored Infantry Regiment was made up of Black soldiers who served under white officers and fought for the Union during the Civil War].

They had no children and so Aunt Jenny was given or sold to Martha Tillet. Aunt Jenny still has the paper that was written with her adoption…the paper was exactly as written below:

White Ranch

September 10, 1866

To Whom it may concern, I, John Redman has this day given my consent that Mrs. Martha Tillet can have my child Jenny Redman to raise and own as her child, that I shall not claim and take her away at any time in the future.


John Redman

his mark

She has a picture in her possession of Captain Tillet in war costume and with his old rifle. After the war the Tillets were sent back to Manchester where he was mustered out, Aunt Jenny being with them. “I stayed with them,” Aunt Jenny said, “until I was married Dec. 14, 1876, to David McKee another soldier of the 116th regiment”. She draws a pension now from his services…

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Jenny McKeeUnknown (about 85)UnknownMartha Tillet
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Laurel County, KYKYTX
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Civil War, Union TroopsFirst Person, Sold, Enslaver Father, Veteran or Widow