Henrietta Jackson

Virginia Tulley

District #2

Fort Wayne, Indiana




A. Ft. Wayne News Sentinel November 21, 1931

B. Personal interview

[TR: There are no 'A' and 'B' annotations in the interview.]

Mrs. Henrietta Jackson, Fort Wayne resident, is distinguished for two

reasons; she is a centennarian and an ex-slave. Residing with her

daughter, Mrs. Jackson is very active and helps her daughter, who

operates a restaurant, do some of the lighter work. At the time I

called, an August afternoon of over 90 degrees temperature, Mrs.

Jackson was busy sweeping the floor. A little, rather stooped, shrunken

body, Mrs. Jackson gets around slowly but without the aid of a cane or

support of any kind. She wears a long dark cotton dress with a bandana

on her head with is now quite gray. Her skin is walnut brown her eyes

peering brightly through the wrinkles. She is intelligent, alert,

cordial, very much interested in all that goes on about her.

Just how old Mrs. Jackson is, she herself doesn't know, but she thinks

she is about 105 years old. She looks much younger. Her youngest child

is 73 and she had nine, two of whom were twins. Born a slave in

Virginia, record of her birth was kept by the master. She cannot

remember her father as he was soon sold after Mrs. Jackson's death [TR:

birth?]. When still a child she was taken from her mother and sold. She

remembers the auction block and that she brought a good price as she was

strong and healthy. Her new master, Tom Robinson, treated her well and

never beat her. At first she was a plough hand, working in the cotton

fields, but then she was taken into the house to be a maid. While there

the Civil War broke out. Mrs. Jackson remembers the excitement and the

coming and going. Gradually the family lost its wealth, the home was

broken up. Everything was destroyed by the armies. Then came freedom for

the slaves. But Mrs. Jackson stayed on with the master for awhile. After

leaving she went to Alabama where she obtained work in a laundry

"ironing white folks' collars and cuffs." Then she got married and in

1917 she came to live with her daughter in Fort Wayne. Her husband, Levy

Jackson, has been dead 50 years. Of her children, only two are left.

Mrs. Jackson is sometimes very lonesome for her old home in "Alabamy",

where her friends lived, but for the most part, she is happy and


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