Seekford remembers central Page County slaves
From the February 9, 1932 issue of the PN&C: Jacob R. Seekford’s “Home of the Birds” column.
I have never written anything about the colored folks that were set free just after the war and Brother [Jacob H.] Coffman’s letter [from January 1, 1932 – which was presented earlier in this blog] takes my mind back to that time. All the Koontzes had slaves and the late A.J. Shuler had slaves. After these slaves were set free, all of them hired to their masters and lived in the little log cabins where they lived during slavery times. There was old Dennis Finton, his wife and four children, Ambrose, John, Emma, and Maggie. Then there was old Aaron Washington and his wife, Sindie. I never knew any of the children, but Elder John Washington, who died at Luray, not many years ago belonged to Daniel Koontz and was set free when he was a little boy. Then there was old uncle Mat Ford, his wife Martha, and three children, Jake, Jim and Bub. Then there was Lewis Green, and his wife Fannie. They had no children. Then there was Dovel’s Sill. She never married but raised a boy named Hiram. Then there was old Uncle Sam Lewis. He married Caroline Green. Sam had a large family of children, his girls were Emma, Little, Lottie, Jim, Hubert and Samuel who now lives with Lester Biedler on the Hawksbill. Then there was Mary Jackson. She was a Cyrus and married Thomas Jackson. There was Tuck, Emma, Mollie and Andrew, the Luray colored merchant, up at the Andrew Jackson school. Andrew’s father never was a slave. I knew all of these people when I was a little boy. I have seen four or five of the old women that I have written about in the homes of the old masters when there was a wedding or big day, in the kitchen preparing the dinners, and believe me all of these old colored women were the finest cooks in the world. None of the white cooks could prepare a meal like these old colored women. Their husbands would be there to carry in wood and water and help the women in the kitchen. They would also bring their children and after the white folks had eaten then everything was turned over to the colored folks, and they would have a great feast.
The colored people all had good masters and they were treated just as well as if they were their own children. I never heard of any of these slaves being whipped and mistreated, and never heard of any of them being in need of anything. None of these people who were in bondage are now living. All that are living now were born after the war.