I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives, 1770-1849 - Vol. 1

By Yuval Taylor | Go to book overview

APPENDIX.

A SKETCH OF THE CLARKE FAMILY. BY LEWIS CLARKE.
MY mother was called a very handsome woman. She was very much esteemed by all who knew her; the slaves looked up to her for advice. She died, much lamented, of the cholera, in the year 1833. I was not at home, and had not even the melancholy pleasure of following her to her grave.
1. The name of the oldest member of the family was Archy. He never enjoyed very good health, but was a man of great ingenuity, and very much beloved by all his associates, colored and white. Through his own exertions, and the kindness of C. M. Clay, and one or two other friends, he procured his freedom. He lived to repay Mr. Clay and others the money advanced for him, but not long enough to enjoy for many years the freedom for which he had struggled so hard. He paid six hundred dollars for himself. He died about seven years since, leaving a wife and four or five children in bondage; the inheritance of the widow and poor orphans is, LABOR WITHOUT WAGES; WRONGS WITH NO REDRESS; SEPARATION FROM EACH OTHER FOR LIFE, and no being to hear their complaint, but that God who is the widow's God and Judge. "Shall I not be avenged on such a nation as this?" 21
2. Sister Christiana was next to Archy in age. She was first married to a free colored man. By him she had several children. Her master did not like this connection, and her husband was driven away, and told never to be seen there again. The name of her master is Oliver Anderson; he is a leading man in the Presbyterian church, and is considered one of the best among slaveholders. Mr. Anderson married Polly Campbell, at the time I was given to Mrs. Betsey Banton. I believe she and Mrs. Banton have not spoken together since they divided the slaves at the death of their father. They are the only two sisters now living of the Campbell family.
3. Dennis is the third member of our family. He is a free man in Kentucky, and is doing a very good business there. He was assisted by a Mr. William L. Stevenson, and also by his sister, in getting his freedom. He never had any knowledge of our intention of running away, nor did he assist us in any manner whatever.
4. Alexander is the fourth child of my mother. He is the slave of a Dr. Richardson; has with him a very easy time; lives as well as a man can and be a slave; has no intention of running away. He lives very much like a second-hand gentleman, and I do not know as he would leave Kentucky on any condition.
5. My mother lost her fifth child soon after it was born.
6. Delia came next. Hers was a most bitter and tragical history. She was so unfortunate as to be uncommonly handsome, and, when arrived at woman's estate, was considered a great prize for the guilty passions of the slaveholders.

-652-

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