Thomas McIntire

Thomas McIntire’s father was “taken by slave traders from Africa,” brought to the United States, sold, and enslaved.  Jim Lane enslaved around 550 people, including Thomas McIntire.  In this excerpt, the interviewer recounts in the first person Thomas McIntire’s recollection of the slave trade and how his enslaver treated enslaved people.
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…Lane and the people who owned mother were friends, and betwixt them they gave father and mother in order so they could be man and wife.  You see, in those days all they did was to give an order in writing for a man and woman to be man and wife.  Lane was a little more human than some of the slave owners back in those times, so he allowed Mother and Father to go by the name of McIntire as the married name…       

I never saw a Lane slave whipped nor treated cruel, and he never allowed any of his families to be separated.  That was the reason he had so many slaves, because when he went to sales, he’d just buy a whole family before he’d allow them to all be separated. Then when his children married he’d give them four or five families, but he never gave it in writing to them.  So, they couldn’t sell them…      

The folks that owned the next plantation to ours, the Bigstaffs, were cruel to their slaves, and some the Bigstaffs boys would know the patrollers and help to catch slaves and whip them if they couldn’t show a pass from their masters. 

I saw them driving long lines of slaves chained together, with the little ones pitched up in an ox cart, and I don’t know how many men on horseback with long whips slashing them and driving them along the road.  The slave traders went all around and bought up men and women, some of them right from the field; no time for them to say goodbye to the families, buying and selling them worse than cattle.   

The slave traders took them to a halfway house on the Tennessee highway close to us, owned by Billy Wurtz.  He had a big cellar where they put the slaves till they were going to sell them or else take them further south. They used to make a big sale day at Mt. Sterling and auction off the slaves.  They’d whip them on the block to make them holler.  I saw all that, and more… 

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Thomas McIntire1847 (90)UnknownJim Lane
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Clark County, OHOHKY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Slave Traders, ViolenceBath County, First Person, Dialect, Witnessed Extreme Cruelty, Sold, Slave Traders, Notable


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