Marshall County Slavery Days

Interestingly Told in Talk by Dr. Will Crow

Moundsville Echo, August 13, 1937

Submitted by Joseph D. Parriott.

This BIBLE is currently owned by WILLIAM CHADDOCK.

Note: "Angelon" Price should be ARJALON.

     Predicating his interesting and educational article upon records contained in an age-yellowed book, Dr. Will E. Crow of Glen Easton, has contributed valuable data to the Marshall County Historical Society. The article was read by Dr. Crow before the historical society meeting last Monday.
     It is reported herewith:

     There has recently fallen into the possession of the writer an old, old book. The subject matter contained in it centuries old. The volume itself is old and in a delapidated condition, sans cover, some of the pages gone. The condition is such as must have been very much like the book that the old philosopher and scientist Ben Franklin had in mind when he composed the epitaph that is inscribed on the grave-stone that marks the last resting place of the author of "Poor Richard's Almanac," the journalist, the statesman who had so much to do with the formation and birth of our nation.
     This old book is truly a unique volume, historical, poetical, prophetic and much of the mythology of an older race. A history of a people, a race, or tribe held in bondage, their delivery and escape from serfdom, their wanderings, their trials, their murmurings and their loss of faith in their commanders. Their wars, their conquests and their cruel treatment of the ones they conquered by a wild and ferocious hord who destroyed their labors of centuries and scattered them and forever left them without a country of their own.

Bartered In Women

     This old book gives advice to the tiller of the soil, advice that was sound and might well be practiced today.
     In this book is the recital of deception practiced by a people in the sale of women kind, tells the story of the price to be paid, the trickery used and more years of labor required to obtain the damsel sought. This transaction would scarcely be tolerated by the horse trader of this age. The story told of a scheming mother to rob a rightful heir of his birthright. The subtle mind of a Naomi instructing Ruth how to capture Boaz.
     It also tells of the green monster jealousy and the driving of Hager and Ishmael to the desert with avowed purpose that they should perish. In this book are lamentations, murmurings and complainings. In this volume are poems of diverse nature, celestial, prophetic, erotic, songs of beauty and worth, but reading the history of the author leads one to question his sincerity.

Brought New Order

     The old volume tells of the gradual destruction of the old order, of a new Leader whose teaching taught the casting out the old law "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." His teaching advised against the shedding of blood, abolishing hate and avarice." He sought to base the rule on love, teaching the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The story tells of the selection of His helpers gathered from the lowly fishermen from the sea, illiterate, toiling with hands, braving the perils of the deep to earn a livelihood. Their leader, the son of a carpenter, was from the lower walks of life.
     This old book tells of their efforts, their trials, their afflictions. It tells of the treachery of one of their number, the denial of another, the execution of their leader. Time tells us of the ultimate success of their efforts. The old order and customs passed to give way to the new, as is often the case the reformer lived not long enough to witness the success of his labors.

Records Entered

     In this old book are a few pages blank. Time has turned the color from white to yellow, but on those pages, dim from age, a record of another people are given. With quill pen, the first record standing out as a voice from the dim past is "Angelon Price, Junior, and Ann Thompson, married the 2 day of March, 1793."
     The second record notes that Silas Price, son of Angelon Price was born the 20 day of October, 1795. Next record is Angelon Price, son of Angelon Price, Jr., was born the 24th day of October, 1801. Levinevisa Price, daughter of Angelon Price, Jr., was born about the 21st day of November 1804. William Price, son of Silas Price, was born 13th of March 1822. Angelon Price, son of Silas Price was born the 22nd day of December 1835. The record here goes back to record that Ann Thompson was born the 21st day of April 1776. Everline Sutten Price daughter of Angelon Price was born the 31st day of June, 1829. In the record of this birth, there must be an error of at least one day as June has but 30 days. Martha Ann Parriott was born July 14, 1825. There are two more records of births but time has so dimmed the pages as to make them illegible.
     The record is written with a fine hand. The letters are so well formed that it brings only admiration and a challenge of massive proportions to the writer of today and we must keep in mind this was executed with a quill pen.

Wrote Own Records

     So far this is a record of men and women who filled their places in this section, useful as pioneers who by their labors, efforts and self denial made it possible for this generation to enjoy comforts and pleasures which were never even dreamed of by these sturdy, rugged pioneers of bye-gone days.
     From those people is found another record, which is but fragmentary, far from being complete. It is telling the story of a people who were kept in bondage.

Brought Slaves Here

     Meager accounts lead us to believe that Angelon Price and Ann Thompson came here, to what is now Marshall county, from Maryland, bringing with them their slaves. It is not commonly known that slaves were kept in this county, yet it is true.
     Thomas Jefferson, the Father of the Democracy, with prophetic vision saw the coming storm and sought to avert it by incorporating an abolishing clause in our Constitution, that on a certain date slavery should cease. His efforts failed and the storm gathered and lashed its fury and blighted our entire land.
     In this old book is the fragments of a record of these bondsmen who were held in our own county, a small part of the thousands held captive in other sections whose deliverance caused the nation to be deluged with blood, some sections made a desolate waste, homes destroyed, and pillage, rapine and destruction ran rampant. Strong men were made helpless cripples, the moans of the widows and the cry of the orphans were heard from afar.
     Margaret Mitchell a writer from the Southland, tells in her book "Gone With the Wind" that the slave prized highly the fact that his master would record in his book the birth and deaths of his people.

Slaves Are Listed

     In this old book is found the names of the slaves belonging to the Price family of Waymans ridge. The writer is indebted to his friends S. M. Cunningham and Mrs. Hardin for information other than found on the leaf now yellowed with ages.
     The first to be found is: "Negro Sam was born the 4th day of February 1807." This negro was a faithful servant and was a tusted one. His fidelity to his master was outstanding. The storm had descended with all its fury. People were divided as to union or disunion and it was unwise to express ones sentiment on his ideas which he believed right.

Slave Started Furone Here

     On a general musterday, there gathered in Moundsville the able bodied males of the surrounding section to drill in military tactics in preparation for becoming soldiers. These negroes, being satisfied with their condition, seemingly, took the views of their masters. There was a platform extending outside the old courthouse, Negro Sam, at some time during the conclave, mounted the platform and in loud voice cried out, "Hurrah for Jeff Davis." It grated so harshly on the ears of the abolishinists that Negro Sam was captured, tied to the whipping post in the courthouse yard and publicly whipped by the act-sheriff, Jack Reed.

Whipping Did Not Help

     The public chastisement did not have the desired effect for later Negro Sam repeated his cry for Jeff Davis. Jumping from the platform and climbing a fence he made for a cornfield and escaped the punishment for the second offense.
     Argelon Price sometimes imbibed ardent spirits to excess and when in that condition was prone to whip Negro Sam. On one occasion Negro Sam came to the home of Mary Parriott with the information that Arge was drinking and a whipping was due and what was to be done, as he, a slave, knew the penalty of striking a white man, yet was loath to submit to a beating. Mary told him to come in and fasten the door, giving him a blanket to lay down on the floor. In due course of time Arge came on the hunt of Negro Sam, pounding on the cabin door and demanding that the slave come forth.

Woman Protected Sam

     Mary Parriott replied that Negro Sam was lying on a pallet in her cabin. She had a sharp axe in her hand, and should Arge Price enter in quest of the intended victim, she would use it on him with vengeance. The slaves should be whipped no more, and he was not.
     It appears that these slaves were allowed certain privileges such as raising crops for their own benefit. Sam produced some broom corn, manufactured it into brooms, took them to Limestone for disposal.

Vanished Suddenly

     He disappeared as if the earth had opened up and engulfed him, and he was never heard from. Did he travel the underground railroad of the Quakers across the Ohio to Canada and freedom, or was he murdered for the paltry sum he derived from the sale of a few brooms?
     The next record: "Negro Lucinda was born the 18th day of November, 1810 [Note: Or is it 1816?]. Negro Charles was born 11th day of September, 1828."
     We are told that a negro woman by the name of Susie, whose record is not given, or perhaps it may have been Lucinda, was the mother of twins. Her master on coming home was greeted with the news that one of the pickininies had fallen into a tub and was drowned. Her master gave her a sound whipping. He was very angry at the loss - personal property. This seems a very hard view to take of the situation for in that breast, though colored, was implanted the mother love for her offspring, and aside from the grief over the loss of her baby, she must be humiliated by a beating.

Death Last Record

     The last record on the yellow page records not the birth but the death of a colored man, Butler Blue, who departed this life December 12, 1879, age 58.(*) This colored man commanded the respect of all. He was a devout attendant at the Waymans Ridge church, occupying a regular seat in the rear of the church, and always present at every service.

Rever Slaves' Memory

     As was the custom of the pioneers, each farm set apart a spot, a place to bury their dead. On a knoll overlooking the cabin home is a spot where lie many of the Price people. There, too, are the earthly remains of the slaves who were more than loyal to their masters. A monument is there to the memory of a sister of Butler Blue, who died from accidental burns. Beside her remains was placed the earthly body of this faithful man of color.
     The system of slavery in name has passed with the years, some of the bitterness attendent on this institution yet remains. The sacrifice made to give these bondsmen their freedom was great, but while their fetters were broken, their freedom and franchise given, they became pawns, freely used in the great political game.
     Whatever views we may entertain as to the supremacy of the Caucasian race, the writer bids you to remember, ever, that in our struggle to sever the ties that held us to British rules, the first blood to be shed, the first life to be offered on the altar of the struggling colonies was that of a colored slave, a man by the name of Atticks, who made the supreme sacrifice on the Boston Commons.

(*) Butler Blue is found in the home of Silas Price in the 1870 & 1880 Marshall County census records. Of course, at that time, Butler Blue would have been a servant, not a slave.

Note from Naomi Lowe Hupp: I have been to the Price property on Wayman's Ridge. When I was there the cemetery had been disrupted and the monuments were leaning against a tree. The monuments of Butler Blue and his wife (note: sister) were there. I was interested in my ancestor -- JOHN HILL PRICE. His monument was also there against a tree. We secured permission and with help from some of the members of the Marshall County Historical Society it was relocated in the Waymans Ridge Cemetery.

BUTLAR, Blue...47-bm...VA
PURDY, Mary...22-wf...WV
PATTON, William...14-wm...WV

PRICE (270)
Silas Sr...80-wm...father...VA...VA...VA
Marg't L...42-wf...sister...WV...VA...VA
Butler BLUE...62-bm...laborer...VA...VA...VA

Images of BIBLE Pages - Provided by William Chaddock.

Reader can determine the accuracy of the Dr. Crow's transcription of the dates, etc.