FEDERAL WRITERS' PROJECT
American Guide, (Negro Writers' Unit)
Martin Richardson, Field Worker
Saint Augustine, Florida
November 10, 1936
An interesting description of the slave days just prior to the War
Between the States is given by Christine Mitchell, of Saint Augustine.
Christine was born in slavery at Saint Augustine, remaining on the
plantation until she was about 10 years old.
During her slave days she knew many of the slaves on plantations in the
Saint Augustine vicinity. Several of these plantations, she says, were
very large, and some of them had as many as 100 slaves.
The ex-slave, who is now 84 years old, recalls that at least three of
the plantations in the vicinity were owned or operated by Minorcans. She
says that the Minorcans were popularly referred to in the section as
"Turnbull's Darkies," a name they apparently resented. This caused many
of them, she claims, to drop or change their names to Spanish or
Christine moved to Fernandina a few years after her freedom, and there
lived near the southern tip of Amelia Island, where Negro ex-slaves
lived in a small settlement all their own. This settlement still exists,
although many of its former residents are either dead or have moved
Christine describes the little Amelia Island community as practically
self-sustaining, its residents raising their own food, meats, and other
commodities. Fishing was a favorite vocation with them, and some of then
established themselves as small merchants of sea foods.
Several of the families of Amelia Island, according to the ex-slave,
were large ones, and her own relatives, the Drummonds, were among the
largest of these.
Christine Mitchell regards herself as one of the oldest remaining
ex-slaves in the Saint Augustine section, and is very well known in the
neighborhood of her home at St. Francis and Oneida Streets.
1. Interview with subject, Christine Drummond Mitchell, Oneida street
corner Saint Francis, Saint Augustine, Florida
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