Richard Miller

Federal Writers' Project

of the W.P.A.

District #6

Marion County

Anna Pritchett

1200 Kentucky Avenue



1109 North West Street

Richard Miller was born January 12, 1843 in Danville, Kentucky. His

mother was an English subject, born in Bombay, India and was brought

into America by a group of people who did not want to be under the

English government. They landed in Canada, came on to Detroit, stayed

there a short time, then went to Danville, Kentucky. There she married a

slave named Miller. They were the parents of five children.

After slavery was abolished, they bought a little farm a few miles from

Danville, Kentucky.

The mother was very ambitious for her children, and sent them to the

country school.

One day, when the children came home from school, their mother was gone;

they knew not where.

It was learned, she was sending her children to school, and that was not

wanted. She was taken to Texas, and nothing, was heard from her until


She wrote her brother she was comming to see them, and try to find her

children, if any of them were left.

The boy, Richard, was in the army. He was so anxious to see his mother,

to see what she would look like. The last time he saw her, she was

washing clothes at the branch, and was wearing a blue cotton dress. All

he could remember about her was her beautiful black hair, and the cotton

dress. When he saw her, he didnot recognize her, but she told him of

things he could remember that had happened, and that made him think she

was his mother.

Richard was told who had taken the mother from the children, went to the

man, shot and killed him; nothing was done to him for his deed.

He remembers a slave by the name of Brown, in Texas, who was chained

hand and feet to a woodpile, oil thrown over him, and the wood, then

fire set to the wood, and he was burned to death.

After the fire smoldered down, the white women and children took his

ashes for souvenirs.

When slavery was abolished, a group of them started down to the far

south, to buy farms, to try for themselves, got as far as Madison

County, Kentucky and were told if they went any farther south, they

would be made slaves again, not knowing if that was the truth or not,

they stayed there, and worked on the Madison County farms for a very

small wage. This separated families, and they never heard from each

other ever again.

These separations are the cause of so many of the slave race not being

able to trace families back for generations, as do the white families.

George Band was a very powerful slave, always ready to fight, never

losing a fight, always able to defend himself until one night a band of

Ku Kluxers came to his house, took his wife, hung her to a tree, hacked

her to death with knives. Then went to the house, got George, took him

to see what they had done to his wife. He asked them to let him go back

to the house to get something to wrap his wife in, thinking he was

sincere in his request, they allowed him to go. Instead of getting a

wrapping for his wife, he got his Winchester rifle, shot and killed

fourteen of the Kluxers. The county was never bothered with the Klan

again. However, George left immediately for the North.

The first Monday of the month was sale day. The slaves were chained

together and sent down in Miss., often separating mothers from children,

husbands from wives, never to hear of each other again.

Interviewer's Comment

Mr. Miller lives with his family in a very comfortable home.

He has only one eye, wears a patch over the bad one.

He does not like to talk of his early life as he said it was such a

"nightmare" to him; however he answered all questions very pleasantly.

Submitted December 9, 1937

Indianapolis, Indiana

Richard Macks Richard Orford facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail