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What do I still not know — and where can I find that information?

Abner JordanIf we wanted to know more about Mr. Jordan, we might consult the Cameron Family Papers in the Southern Historical Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Camerons maintained detailed records of their Stagville Plantation, including financial records, information about the births, deaths, and sales of slaves, and regular accounts of the work done on the plantation. Since Jordan's family appears to have worked close to the Camerons — he was young Bennehan's servant, his mother was probably a house servant, and his father was a blacksmith — he or his family members may also appear in the diaries and letters of the whites on the plantation. And since they would have been known personally to the Camerons, information about them as individuals might also be more likely to appear in the detailed records kept on the plantation., interviewed by Daisy WhaleyIf we wanted to know more about Ms. Whaley, we might look at other interviews she conducted for the Federal Writers Project. Doing so may give us a sense of the kinds of questions she typically asked and give us more information on which we might base an analysis of her attitudes and beliefs about slavery and about African Americans in general. at his home in Durham County, North Carolina, WPA Slave Narrative Project, North Carolina Narratives, Volume 11 Part 2, Federal Writers' Project, United States Work Projects Administration (USWPA); Manuscript Division, Library of Congress. Accessed via Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936–1938, American Memory, Library of Congress.


Abner Jordan, Ex-slave, 95 years.


"I wus bawn about 1832 an' I wus bawn at Staggsville, Marse paul Cameron's place We could learn more about Paul Cameron from his plantation records, diaries, and letters, housed in the Southern Historical Collection. We could learn more about Stagville by visiting the plantation or by reading one of the many secondary sources devoted to the plantation's history.. I belonged to Marse Paul. My pappy's name wus Obed an' my mammy wus Ella Jordan an' dey wus thirteen chillun on our family.


I wus de same age of Young Marse Benehan, I played wid him an' wus his body guard. Yes, suh, Where ever young Marse Benehan went I went too. I waited on himWe don't know much about Mr. Jordan's personal relationship with Bennehan Cameron, but we might look at the letters that Bennehan Cameron wrote home to his family while at boarding school or at Bennehan's early diaries to see if he conveys any information about Abner Jordan. While such a source wouldn't tell us what Jordan thought of Bennehan, it might shed light on the interactions between the two and help us to understand how Bennehan Cameron viewed his playmate-turned-servant as a boy and (if, as an adult, he ever wrote about his memories of his relationship to Jordan) how he remembered that relationship later in life.. Young Mrse Benny run away an' 'listed in de war, but Marse Paul done went an' brung him back kaze he wus too young to go and fight de Yankees.


Marse Paul had heap if niggahs; he had five thousan'. When he meet dem in de road he wouldn' know dem an' when he ased dem who dey wus an' who dey belonged to, dey' tell him dey belonged to Marse Paul Cameron an' den he would say dat wus all right for dem to go right onWe don't know much, aside from this reference to Paul Cameron's inability to know all of his own slaves on sight, about supervision or discipline at Stagville or how it compared to other plantations in terms of those issues. Further reading in the Cameron Family Papers and other historical documents and secondary sources related to Stagville could help shed light on the conditions on the plantation. Comparing those conditions to conditions described on other plantations of varying sizes in the broader secondary literature could help us place the Stagville situation into a more concrete historical context, allowing us to understand whether it was typical or exceptional..


My pappy wus de blacksmith an' foreman for Marse Paul, an' he blew de horn for de other niggahs to come in from de fiel' at night. Dey couldn' leave de plantation without Marse say dey could.


When de war come de Yankees come to de house an' axed my mammy whare de folks done hid de silver an' gol', an' dey say dey gwine to kill mammy if she didn' tell dem. But mammy say she didn' know whare dey put it, an' dey would jus' have to kill her for she didn' know an' wouldn' lie to keep dem from hurting herWe don't know from this account how Union soldiers typically behaved on plantations. We might look at newspapers from the area surrounding Stagville to see if there were reports of local Union activities and descriptions of soldiers' behavior (though we may want to keep in mind that Confederate-leaning newspaper editors might provide coverage that was less than objective!). We might also look at the diaries of the Cameron family and the recollections of other people from the immediate area for more information about soldiers' occupation of Stagville and neighboring plantations..


De sojers stole seven or eight of de ho'ses an' foun' de meat an' stole dat, but dey didn' burn none off de buildin's nor hurt any of us slaves.


My pappy an' his family stayed wid Marse Paul five years after de surrender den we moved to Hillsboro an' I's always lived 'roun' dese partsWe don't know what Mr. Jordan and his family did after leaving Stagville. We do know, however, that they remained in the immediate area (Orange County, North Carolina) and so we could check census records, tax records, and documents in the county's vital records department (records of births, deaths, and marriages) to try to reconstruct what happened to Jordan and his family after they left Stagville around 1870.. I ain' never been out of North Carolina eighteen months in my life. North Carolina is good enough for me."

 

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