Anderson Whitted





Special Assignment

Emily Hobson

Dist. #3

Parke County



INTERVIEW WITH ANDERSON WHITTED,

COLORED EX-SLAVE, OF ROCKVILLE, INDIANA








Mr. Whitted will be 89 years old next month October 1937. He was born in

Orange County, North Carolina. His mother took care of the white

children so her nine children were very well treated. The master was a

Doctor. The family were Hickory Quakers and did not believe in

mistreating their slaves, always providing them with plenty to eat, and

clothing to wear to church on Sunday. Despite a law that prohibited

books to Negroes, his family had a Bible, and an elementary spelling

book. Mr. Whitted's father belonged to his master's half-brother and

lived fourteen miles away. He was allowed a horse to go see them every

two weeks. The father could read, and spell very well so would teach

them on his visits. Mr. Whitted learned to read the Bible first, then in

later years has learned to read other things. It was the custom for the

master to search the negro huts, but Mr. Whitted's master never did.



The Doctor often took Mr. Whitted's grandmother with him to help care

for the sick. When the war broke out the Master's son joined the

southern forces. The son was wounded. The Doctor and Mr. Whitted's

grandmother went for the boy. On the way home the Doctor died but the

grandmother got the boy home and nursed him back to health. Life for the

Negroes was different after the son began running the place, he was not

good to them. Mr. Whitted was then 16 years old, and the older brother

was the overseer. The negroes had been allowed a share of the crop but

the new master refused them anything to live on. In that region the

wheat was harvested the middle of June. There was a big crop that year

but the entire family was turned out before the harvest, with nothing.

Mr. Whitted left his older brother with his mother and the children

sitting by the road, while he ran the 14 miles for his father to find

out what to do. The father borrowed two teams and wagons, rented a house

in the edge of town, and moved the family in.



The slaves were freed about that time, and for the first time in their

lives they were free, and the entire family together. The father went to

the governor for food. The government was allowing hard tack and

pickled beef for the negroes. They received their allotment, and were

well satisfied with hard tack because they were free. In telling about

the pickled beef he says he never has seen any beef since that looked

like it; he believed that it was horse meat. The father started working

in a mill in 1865. He was soon bringing home food stuff from there, and

in time they had a crop on their little place.



The older brother worked in the mornings and went to a Quaker Normal

School in the afternoon. Pres. Harrison gave him an appointment in the

revenue department, then as he grew older he was transferred to the post

office department. He was retired on a pension at the age of 75. He is

still living in Washington, D.C., and is now 97 years old.



During the war Mr. Whitted ran away, going 12 miles to the camp of the

northern soldiers where he stayed two weeks. They gave him a horse to

ride, and sent him gathering fuel through the woods for them. Those were

the happiest days he had ever known--his first freedom.



Mr. Whitted was never sold, but he often saw processions go past after a

sale, the wagon loaded with provisions first, then the slaves tied

together following. They often took the babies away from their mothers,

and sold them. Some old woman, too old to work, would then care for the

little ones until they were old enough to work. At six years old they

were put to work thinning corn, worming the tobacco, and pulling weeds.

At seven they were taught to use a hoe. At 16 they were full hands,

working along with the older men.



In April 1880 Mr. Whitted left Orange County, it was so very rough it

was hard to make a living. He just started out in search of a better

place, leaving his wife and seven children there. In November he sent

for them, he was working at the brick yards in Rockville. They were

finishing the court house. He was so anxious to make a living he often

did as much as two men. One child was born here. His wife died soon

after coming to Rockville. He stayed single for three years, but found

he could not care for his family and married again. His second wife died

a number of years ago. He now spends the winters with his three living

daughters, and during the summer months, a daughter comes to Rockville

to enjoy his home.



Mr. Whitted's uncle belonged to a mean master. The slaves worked hard

all day, then were chained together at night. The uncle ran away in the

early part of the war, and after two years broke through the lines, and

joined the northern army, going back after emancipation.





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