Submitted by Brenda Bridges, December 29, 2008
Texas Slave Narrative|
Ellen Kelley - Daughter of Sam Forge
I was born on de old Starnes place, three miles from de town of old Springfield, near de town of Grosbeck, but dey was no Grosbeck untill long after I was grown an' had a family of my own. I was born in 1848 thirteen year befo' de war for freedom cum. My Massa an' Misses was named Billy an' Sally Townsend . My pappy was named Sam Forge , an' I has a brother named Sam Forge dat is livin' now. W'en de war cum, in 1861, I kin 'member how dat we used to watch de soljers goin' by to join. Dey had on dey gray suits, most of dem was de ones dey folks made on de old spinin' wheel an' de loom, whar dey was not able to buy or git de suits or uniform's from de army, dis was w'en de army is organizin'. Some of de men goes back to East Texas an' joins de companies dat go to de old States, an' some goes on down to Galveston an' Houston to join. Dey was a stage line dat go by our house, hit run from Waco thro' Fairfield an' on down in South Texas, den hit go North to Dallas an' East Texas, whar dey take de stage for de old States, like Arkansas, Missippi, Louisana an' up to St. Louis. We see de people passin' like you did w'en de big World War cum, an' dey was goin' to de trainin' camp, only not so many people like den. But de excitement was jes de same, only de w'ite folks thought dey would whip de Yankees an' be back in few months. How hit turned out an' how dey cum back you already know.
One day de young Misses married a young Massa by de name of Jim Moore , I goes an' help take keer of her an' help to raise dey son dey named Billy . He is not a big husky fellow like lots of de young Massa's, an' w'en he joined de army to go to help fight de Yankees, dey was great sorrow an' weepin' by de Massa's folks an' de slaves too. He is sent up in Arkansas, an' he is in some of de battles I think wid Sterling Price , any-way he git sick an' de cold settles on his lung an' he stay in de Little Rock Hospital for a long time, den de Massa goes for him an' bring him back home whar he dies after he lingers along for several months. He tell de stories of how he fought de Yankees an' how dey run some of dem out of Arkansas, but hit been so long dat I does not 'member how hit was now. After de war is over, den dey has de Reconstruction days, dey has all kinds of trouble wid de nigger's dat does not understan' dey still has to work. Dey think de Government is goin' to take keer of dem, but after de soljers cum to old Fairfield, an' dey has so many killin's an' de soljers finally is sent back whar dey cum from, an' de w'ite folks take up de managin' agin, dey put de nigger officers out, den thing settle back like dey was befo' de war. My w'ite folks, dat I belonged to, is all dead but Mistis dat married Massa Jim Bradley of Grosbeck. He is a lawyer in Grosbeck now an' he cum here long time ago w'en he was a young man an' dey married after de war is over as well as I kin 'member. I kin 'member w'en I was a gal, jes befo' de war cum, how de long wagons trains would pass goin' on de stage road. Dey has de oxen hitched to dem an' haulin' de freight from East Texas to Waco, an' down to Houston, den dey pass goin' to old Jefferson whar hit is shipped by boat to de markets. Sometimes dey would be ten or twelve head of oxen to de wagons. Dis was de way de freight was hauled long time after de Houston an' Texas Central Railroad was built from Dallas to Houston. De first w'ite fambly dat cum to dis community after de Fort Parker massacree was Logan Stroud . He cum from Robertson County in de year 1842 an' built his home at Bur-Oak Springs, jes across de river from whar Jacks Creek Reunion Groun's is, he goes back to Robertson County, near whar de town of Calvert now is an' marries Miss Jane Haveland . De nex' day dey rides horseback from Robertson County to his new home near whar Grosbeck is now, an' start to making dey home. She was de first w'ite woman to cum to dis place after Fort Parker fell. He lives here few years, den he moves over an de old Waco - Springfield road whar he lived all durin' de war.
De other family dat I 'members hearin' 'bout an' dat I know too was de Anglin's , an' I will tell yer 'bout de charmed life of old Abram Anglin ', for if dey ever was a man wid a charmed life he was de one. Hit is a long story, but if yer will jes listen to my tellin' hit, I will try not to make hit too long. Hit is things dat has been handed down to me an' things dat I know myself, for I knew old man Abram Anglin well. Dis story goes back to de time de Parkers Fort was built, in 1833. Abram Anglin an' his father cum to Texas wid de Parker Family , dey built a cabin 'bout a mile from Parker's Fort in 1835. Hit was near what is de Stroud place on de Highway No. 14 am now. On de mornin' of May 19th, 1836, dey was in de field w'en Mr. Plummer cum wid de news 'bout de Parker Fort massacree by de Indians. Dat night he started to de Fort to look after de wounded, an' took wid him Silas Bates , Ervay Faulkenberry , an' Mr. Plummer , dey met David Faulkenberry wid Mrs. Silas Parker an' two of her chillun wid de Indians after worked first. Den as dey was passin' de Faulkenberry cabin he saw a ghost, hit was dressed in w'ite wid long w'ite streamers down hit's back, old man Abram was so skeered dat he jes stood speechless, de ghost waved hits arms for dem to cum in an' w'en dey git de courage to go in dar, dey found dat de ghost am old Granny Parker dat de Indians had wounded an' stripped of all but her night clothes. She had cum all de way to de Faulkenberry house from de Fort by crawlin. Dey took some bed clothes an' wrapped her up an' hid her a ways from de house while dey went to de Fort. W'en dese men got to de Fort, dey could not see a single person, or hear a human sound. De dogs was barkin' de cattle lowin' de horses neighin' an' de hogs a squealin' makin hit sound all ghostly an' creepy. Still de ghost's did not git dem. De old lady, Granny Parker had told dem whar she had hid some money, so dey look for dis, it is hid under a hickory bush an' dey find hit by de moonlight. Hit is a $106.75 in silver. After dey is thro' lookin' an' does not find anybody dey goes back an' takes Granny Parker back to dey hidin' place in de Navasot bottom, whar dey stay all night. De nex' mornin' dey goes back to de Fort an' git dey provisions, but dey is afraid de Indians will cum back so dey hurry to Fort Houston, near whar Palestine is now, an' send twelve men back to bury de dead folks de Indians had killed. So dis Abram Anglin jes escaped de Fort Massacree by de accident of bein' gone w'en de Indians cum, an' dis show dat he has a charm worked on him from some whar.
Den let me tell yer another time, hit was in January, not quite a year after de Fort Parker massacree. Abram Anglin , David an' Ervay Faulkenberry Hunter an' Andrews left Houston to find some strayed horses. Dey find some on de east side of de Trinity an' send back to Fort Houston by Dauthet an' Hunter who was to cum back de nex' day. Ole man Abram Anglin , Andrews an' de two Faulkenberry built a raft an' crossed de river. After dey had hunted all day for more horses, dey cum back to de river an' dey is so tired dat dey lie down on de banks an' goes to sleep. After awhile dey wakes up wid de noise of de Indian war whoop an' de Indians firein' at dem wid some guns dey has. David Faulkenberry an' ole man Andrews bof' is wounded an' Abram Anglin was shot in de thigh. David Faulkenberry an' Andrews jump into de river an' swim to de other side. At first Ervay Faulkenberry an' Abram jump behin' a tree intendin' to fight, but w'en dey see hit will be no use to fight such a crowd dey jump into de river too wid de arrows an' de bullets whistlin 'bout dem. After dey catch up wid Andrews an' Faulkenberry dey meet ole man Hunter cumin' back from de Fort, he takes Abram to de Fort an' git a party to go back after Faulkenberry an' Andrews , but dey did not find dem untill de nex' mornin' an' dey is bof' dead. Ervann Faulkenberry , brother of de one dey find dead, was never seen again. Dey is an' old Indian tale 'bout how he fought an' killed good many Indians an' was wounded an' befo' he let dem take him he jumped into de river. So as hit was befo', Abram Anglin alone of dis party, was left to tell de tale of dis fight. David Faulkenberry left a widow dat afterward married Elisha Anglin de father of Abram , an' Abe married de daughter of Davis an' Nancy Faulkenberry , (de widow his father married). De widow Faulkenberry left several children of David's an' one was Terrell Faulkenberry de grand-dad of Clanton D. Faulkenberry of San Antonio, an' a daughter named Rebecca Faulkenberry .
Dey is one more story dat shows dat Abram Anglin's life was under a charm. W'en he an' his sweetheart, Rebecca Faulkenberry decided to git married, dey has de consent of dey folks, but Texas was a Republic den, an' dey would have to go to Mexico to git dey license, so dey jes git married wid-out a license, as dey was no law dat had to have one den. Dey settled south of Grosbeck an' built dem a home which is still standin', an' long time afterwards w'en Texas was a state an' Springfield de county seat, Abram an' Rebecca decides to git married wid a license, so wid dey grown chillun an' dey friends dey go over to Springfield an' git dey license an' git married agin, w'en de preacher asks if any body object, Uncle Silas say, "I do" an' de preacher say On what groun's? jes to joke dem Uncle Silas say, Dey have'nt dey parents consent". So once more de gods was good to Abram an' de charm held to his being legally married by Texas Law's.