Harriet Ann Daves

N. C. District: No. 2 [320186]

Worker: T. Pat Matthews

No. Words: 725


Story Teller: Harriet Ann Daves

Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]


601 E. Cabarrus Street

My full name is Harriet Ann Daves, I like to be called Harriet Ann. If

my mother called me when she was living, I didn't want to answer her

unless she called me Harriet Ann. I was born June 6, 1856. Milton

Waddell, my mother's marster was my father, and he never denied me to


My mother was a slave but she was white. I do not know who my mother's

father was. My mother was Mary Collins. She said that her father was an

Indian. My mother's mother was Mary Jane Collins, and she was

white--maybe part Indian. My grandfather was old man William D. Waddell,

a white man. I was born in Virginia near Orange Courthouse. The Waddells

moved to Lexington, Missouri, after I was born. I guess some of the

family would not like it if they knew I was telling this. We had good

food and a nice place to live. I was nothing but a child, but I know,

and remember that I was treated kindly. I remember the surrender very

well. When the surrender came my grandfather came to mother and told

her: 'Well, you are as free as I am.' That was William D. Waddell. He

was one of the big shots among the white folks.

My white grandmother wanted mother to give me to her entirely. She said

she had more right to me than my Indian grandmother that she had plenty

to educate and care for me. My mother would not give me to her, and she

cried. My mother gave me to my Indian grandmother. I later went back to

my mother.

While we were in Missouri some of my father's people, a white girl,

sent for me to come up to the great house. I had long curls and was

considered pretty. The girl remarked, 'Such a pretty child' and kissed

me. She afterwards made a remark to which my father who was there, my

white father, took exception telling her I was his child and that I was

as good as she was. I remember this incident very distinctly.

My mother had two children by the same white man, my father. The other

was a girl. She died in California. My father never married. He loved my

mother, and he said if he could not marry Mary he did not want to marry.

Father said he did not want any other woman. My father was good to me.

He would give me anything I asked him for. Mother would make me ask him

for things for her. She said it was no harm for me to ask him for things

for her which she could not get unless I asked him for them. When the

surrender came my mother told my father she was tired of living that

kind of a life, that if she could not be his legal wife she wouldn't be

anything to him, so she left and went to Levenworth, Kansas. She died

there in 1935. I do not know where my father is, living or dead, or what

became of him.

I can read and write well. They did not teach us to read and write in

slavery days. I went to a school opened by the Yankees after the


I went with my mother to Levenworth, Kansas. She sent me to school in

Flat, Nebraska. I met my husband there. My first husband was Elisha

Williams; I ran away from school in Flat, and married him. He brought me

to Raleigh. He was born and raised in Wake County. We lived together

about a year when he died July 1st, 1872. There was one child born to us

which died in infancy.

I married the second time Rufus H. Daves in 1875. He was practically a

white man. He wouldn't even pass for a mulatto. He used to belong to the

Haywoods. He died in 1931 in Raleigh.

I think Abraham Lincoln was a fine, conscientious man; my mother

worshipped him, but he turned us out without anything to eat or live on.

I don't think Mr. Roosevelt is either hot or cold--just a normal man.


Hardy Miller Harriet Barrett facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail