Julia Bowman

This excerpt gives a brief overview of Ms. Bowman’s life with enslavers that she considered kind.  Notably, they were fed well and the enslaver asked to be surrounded by his “Kinfolks” (how he referred to those he enslaved) when he died.  Worth noting is the comment at the end that she “didn’t know want” when she was enslaved but at the time of the interview, during the Great Depression, she did.
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Mrs. Bowman was born in Woodford County, Kentucky in 1859.

Her master, Joel W. Twyman was kind and generous to all of his slaves, and he had many of them.

The Twyman slaves were always spoken of, as the Twyman “Kinfolks.”

All slaves worked hard on the large farm, as every kind of vegetation was raised. They were given some of everything that grew on the farm, therefore there was no stealing to get food.

The master had his own slaves, and the mistress had her own slaves, and all were treated very kindly.

Mrs. Bowman was taken into the Twyman “big house,” at the age of six, to help the mistress in any way she could. She stayed in the house until slavery was abolished.

After freedom, the old master was taken very sick and some of the former slaves were sent for, as he wanted some of his “Kinfolks” around him when he died.

Interviewer’s Comment

Mrs. Bowman was given the Twyman family bible where her birth is recorded with the rest of the Twyman family. She shows it with pride.

Mrs. Bowman said she never knew want in slave times, as she has known it in these times of depression.

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Julia Bowman1859Anna PritchettJoel W. Twymann
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Indianapolis, INIndianaWoodford County, Kentucky
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Emancipation, Great DepressionThird person