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About a former Kite family slave

May 15, 2009

From the March 21, 1933 issue of the PN&C (Article from the “Home of the Birds” column written by Jacob R. Seekford)

Devotion to an Old Negro Mammy

About 135 years ago, George Kite lived in the big brick house that now stands half way between Alma and Honeyville on the east side of the road now owned by William Martin. By Mr. Kite’s first marriage was born three daughters and three sons: Hiram Kite, who went West; Noah Kite who was drowned in the flood of 1870; Hardy Kite who was found dead in a piney field about a mile southeast of Alma. After Mr. Kite lost his first wife, he married again and because of family differences, he divided his large estate here and moved to near the Rapidan river, not far from Graves’ mill, buying property there. In the same brick house, Siram Kite and Charlie Kite and James Kite were born. They were by the second marriage. In a little log house, which stood near the big brick house, was born a hundred and thirty-two years ago a little negro baby girl. She was the slave girl of old George Kite when Mr. Kite moved from Page county. He took the colored women with him. She had nursed all of the Kite children. When she was set free she never left the Kite home.

Thirty-five years ago I went over to Charlie Kite’s place to move a large store building for him. I went on the porch and noticed a little room screened in. I wondered what it was for and looked in through the screen. In there was the most pitiful sight that I had ever beheld. There was an old woman with a snow white head. Her eyes reminded me of the eyes of a large black spider. This old woman had been in this little cage for six long years. No kind of an insect could get to her. The Kite family fed her with a spoon as she had no use of her limbs. I have seen Mr. Kite go to the spring and dip up fresh water and hold it to the old woman’s lips for her to drink. I have seen him take water and a towel and wash her face and hands. I finished up the job and came home. Later I went back to Mr. Kite’s stayed all night and left just as the sun peeped over the hills. This old human spider had passed into the great beyond.

Three Old Men Weep at Her Funeral

Siram Kite lived about six miles away from and Jim Kite lived about two miles but it wasn’t long before they arrived at the Charlie Kite home. In the meantime the old woman had been washed, dressed and laid out. I saw those old men stand around that old woman and cry like children. When the coffin came in she was placed in it. I saw on the top in a silver plate, the word ‘Mother.’ That night, those three old men, with Howard Lillard and Geo. Lillard sat up and watched the lifeless body of this old woman. They sat and talked of her useful life. I would like to be there when this old woman and sits in God’s golden witness chair and tells of her life that she spent around old Honeyville and Alma and on the banks of the old Rapidan. I was there lead to believe that there is a power in man that cannot be controlled.

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