Rosa Barber

Submitted by:

William Webb Tuttle

District No. 2

Muncie, Indiana



812 South Jefferson

Muncie, Indiana

Rosa Barber was born in slavery on the Fox Ellison plantation at North

Carden[TR:?], in North Carolina, in the year 1861. She was four [HW: ?]

years old when freed, but had not reached the age to be of value as a

slave. Her memory is confined to that short childhood there and her

experiences of those days and immediately after the Civil War must be

taken from stories related to her by her parents in after years, and

these are dimly retained.

Her maiden name was Rosa Fox Ellison, taken as was the custom, from the

slave-holder who held her as a chattel. Her parents took her away from

the plantation when they were freed and lived in different localities,

supported by the father who was now paid American wages. Her parents

died while she was quite young and she married Fox Ellison, an ex-slave

of the Fox Ellison plantation. His name was taken from the same master

as was hers. She and her husband lived together forty-three years, until

his death. Nine children were born to them of which only one survives.

After this ex-slave husband died Rosa Ellison married a second time, but

this second husband died some years ago and she now remains a widow at

the age of seventy-six years. She recalls that the master of the Fox

Ellison plantation was spoken of as practicing no extreme discipline on

his slaves. Slaves, as a prevailing business policy of the holder, were

not allowed to look into a book, or any printed matter, and Rosa had no

pictures or printed charts given her. She had to play with her rag

dolls, or a ball of yarn, if there happened to be enough of old string

to make one. Any toy or plaything was allowed that did not point toward

book-knowledge. Nursery rhymes and folk-lore stories were censured

severely and had to be confined to events that conveyed no uplift,

culture or propaganda, or that conveyed no knowledge, directly or

indirectly. Especially did they bar the mental polishing of the three

R's. They could not prevent the vocalizing of music in the fields and

the slaves found consolation there in pouring out their souls in unison

with the songs of the birds.

Roberta Shaver Rosa Green facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail