Joseph Ringo

Joseph Ringo lived with the same enslaver from his birth until 11 years after the Civil War.  In this excerpt, he describes a visit the plantation received from Union soldiers and how the enslavers accommodated them out of fear.  He then describes his experience with emancipation, and how his family were all paid to stay on the plantation.  He finished by telling why and how he stayed on that plantation, getting paid and saving his money, for 11 years after emancipation.
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I remember when the Yankee soldiers were camping’ around Minerva, Kentucky six of them came up to the big house one day, and put their horses in the stable, fed them, and then they laid around on our grass.  Finally, they got up off the ground and went to the house and asked for something to eat.  Ole Miss saw that they were getting food, ‘cause she was feared they’d do some damage if they didn’t’ get it.

I remember Master John calling us one morning and he sat on a stile and told us all we were free, and he said, “Now what are you all going to do?” He offered Eren $130.00 a year and clothes and board. Bill and me he offers $25.00 a year and board and keep, and Mother she is to get $1.50 a week and a place for her and the children, and clothes and a home for them.

We all stayed for one year, then mother and all of them went away, except me.  I stayed on for eleven years after that.  Master John French, he raised my wages every year, and I saved all I earned, or most of it. 

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Joseph Ringo86 years oldUnknownJohn French
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Clark County, OHOhioMason County, KY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Civil War, Emancipation, Economics,First person, dialect, bound out after the war, Union soldiers,