Slave Narratives

from the Rawick Papers, Series 5
Bibles, Della Mun

Western Historical Manuscripts Collection
University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri

[Reported by] Mrs. Ada Davis, P. W.
McLennan County, Texas
District #8

"My Mammy was a white woman. Her daddy and mammy were pore folks and they took sick and died and left her a little baby. Old Man Snell back in Missouri took er and put her on the yard with the other children. She was given to the charge of a black slave and raised as a Snell slave. When she was about fourteen, Marse Snell, he married her to a full blood Indian that he had on the place, named Ephram Snell. He was Marse Snell's slave same as the negroes, but I never knew how or why. Now, that's the tale about mammy that Old Man Snell told. But my black grand mother what raised my Mammy, she said that my Mammy belonged to a niece of Old Man Snell and that she was not married right like the white folks always did. And that Old Man Snell took Mammy and raised up that way and sent his niece up north to hide the disgrace. Any way my Mammy was a sure enough white woman and my daddy a full blooded Indian daddy. And there was sister Sally, Dania, Emma and Pearlie. We were all slaves. I was next to the baby.

"I don't know my exact age but Mammy always cooked my birthday cake on the 9th day of August. We lived on Neale's Creek on the old Snell place. Marse come out of Missouri to Texas to try to keep his slaves' during the first year of the war of freedom. The war didn't hardly touch us in Bosque County. We lived way back in the timber and never hardly saw any one. That is the slaves didn't, because they just stayed at home and worked. Marse Snell didn't go much either. There never was no soldiers near us. I was about eight years old when freedom [End of senstence is missing from the typewritten narrative. Taylor]

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married and live in negro town in Valley Mills. One of the girls is Mittie McLelland. But she does not know much of her grandparents. Giblert [sic] Bibles lives in Valley Mills. He is the son of Mun Bibles and the grandson of Johnny Bibles. He is a rock mason like his father. They built many of the brick and rock houses in Bosque County he is very intelligent and highly honored by every one in Valley Mills. (B)

Ike Bibles lived on a farm adjoining L. H. Anderson. His father, Johnny Bibles owned a saw mill, run by water power, and also a mill to grind meal. The little colony lived to themselves and provided for themselves through their own efforts, either by making what they needed, or by getting it from the woods. They raised sheep and cotton from which they made their clothing; and corn for feed and for bread. They had just as little as possible to do with their white neighbors. Old Johnny Bibles was very eccentric in dress as well as in conduct. (C)

One time, a group of white settlers were hunting on the Middle Bosque and heard some man singing loudly. As they went up the creek, the singer drew nearer. Finally a huge man who looked to be almost a full blooded Indian came in sight. He was riding horse back and had his trousers full of grapes and his shirt across the back of his saddle while he was entirely nude. It was said, in later years, as the country settled up, that the settlers wives were afraid to ride to each others farms because of old man Bibles' habit of using his clothing to carry whatever he found in the woods and wanted. If he would sing all the time, they would at least be warned, but he said that he had settled in that country first, and the others could look after themselves. This

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habit of his and the fact that he treated his slaves as equals with himself made him somewhat of an outlaw. In return, his ideas of property rights were much like those of the Indians. This attitude in his home, perhaps led his grandchildren to get into trouble and to be accusedi of stealing. (A)

Reference:  A.   Frank   E. Simmons, Oglesby, Texas..,
                  B.   J. C. Tubbs, Valley Mills, Texas,
                  C.   L. Anderson, Crawford, Texas.

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Document scanned by Carol Robinson.