Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @ http://masoncountyky.blogspot.com

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fifty Years of Slavery

Francis Fredric was born a slave in Virginia and was moved by his master to Mason County, Kentucky, when he was fourteen years old. The master's wife befriended Fredric, which enabled him to work within the house as opposed to the fields, among other "perks". Apparently attending a prayer-meeting wasn't one of these perks because for that Fredric was flogged. At one point he received 107 lashes from a whip. Fredric was fortunate enough to have later escaped through the Underground Railroad to Canada, and eventually make his way to Liverpool, England, where he wrote the book Fifty Years of Slavery in 1863. Here's an excerpt:
From Welland we took boats to Maysville, Kentucky. My master had bought a farm in Mason County, about twenty miles from Maysville. When we arrived there we found a great deal of uncultivated land belonging to the farm. The first thing the negroes did was to clear the land of bush, and then to sow blue grass seed for the cattle to feed upon. They then fenced in the woods for what is called woodland pasture. The neighbouring planters came and showed my master how to manage his new estate. They told the slaves how to tap the sugar-tree to let the liquid out, and to boil it down so as to get the sugar from it. The slaves built a great many log-huts; for my master, at the next slave-market, intended to purchase more slaves.

I was taken into the house to learn to wait at table - a fortunate chance for me, since I had a better opportunity of getting food. I shall never forget my first day in the kitchen. I was delighted to see some bread in the pantry. I took piece after piece to skim the fat from the top of the boiling-pot, overjoyed that I could have sufficient.

The full text of Fifty Years of Slavery is online here.

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