Original URL 4/21/1997: http://www.umsl.edu/services/library/blackstudies/arnett.htm
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Thomas Jefferson Library
from the Rawick Papers, Series 5
Arnett, R. C.
R. C. Arnett, than whom there is no more reliable authority
concerning Madison County history of the period immediately preceding
the Civil War, has just finished the compilation of a list of all the
ex-slaves in the county, with their former masters, and other data of
There are but eleven persons now livng in the county who were
once in bondage, and but three of that number lived in Madison County
prior to the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln.
Mr. Arnett comes from a family prominent in post-war
activites of this county. He is now 89 years old, and while too young
to engage in the struggle as a soldier, nevertheless was old enough to
witness many of the stirring scenes of the day, and they were indelibly
impressed upon his young mind. He remembers the Battle of Fredericktown
just prior to which he was slightly wounded by a stray bullet, and he
now owns the land on which the battle was fought. His mother, with a
number of orphaned children, was improverished by the liberation of her
slaves and the requent raids by Union soldiers.
Following are the county's former slaves, their ages, and
their masters, as far as Mr. Arnett's study extends, and he is sure he
has thoroughly covered the county:
"Aunt Rhody" Holsell was 17 years old when the Civil War closed
which would make her 89 years old now. She belonged to Thomas McGee of
William Perry Sheppard belonged to Jackson Russell, of Jackson,
Cape Girardeau County.
Eliza Madison, 75 years old, belonged to John Sitzes of Marquand.
Daniel Staten belonged to Judge John Coffman of Libertyville,
St. Francois County.
Mrs. Jane Thompson belonged to James Burges. Iuka, Miss.
Mrs. Mattie Lee belonged to Mrs. Eliza Baker of New Orleans.
Mrs. Harriet Casey belonged to John Warren Hill, Farmington.
Mrs. Alice Reed, 74 years old belonged to a man named Merrell,
here in Madison County.
Louis Hamilton, now 89 years old, belonged to James Greenville,
Wittenberg Cape Girardeau County.
W. C. (Parson) Allen, 75 years old, belonged to John McWiggen,
Scott County, Kentucky.
"Aunt Hannah" Allen wife of Parson, was born in 1830, hence is
107 years old. She belonged to Mrs. Betsy Bollinger of Castor River,
Mr. Arnett points out that eight of these eleven old slaves own
their homes. All these years they have lived peaceful, useful lives and
have beem respected by all who knew them.
Some estimates made by Mr. Arnett, admittedly inaccurate,
place the total number of slaves in Madison County at the outbreak of
the Civil War at about 150.--Fredericktown Democrat News.
Bibliography: Farmington Press, John M. & Cecil W. Roberts,
editors, Friday June 25, 1937. Farmington, Missouri.
Return to main Missouri Slave Narratives page.
Date Last Modified: June 06, 1996