Slave NarrativesInterviewee: Mundy, Lewis
Lewis Mundy, now living on West Center Street, Hannibal, Missouri, was born in slavery on the farm of John Wright, five miles north of La Belle, Lewis County, Missouri. He has lived in Hannibal more than thirty years, and has a wide acquaintance among both whites and colored people. The following is his story of his life.

"Mr. Wright had eleven slaves, my mother and ten of us children. Mr. Wright had eight children. My father was owned by Billy Graves, whose farm was joined to de master's farm. I don't know where he come from, but mother was brought here by de Wrights from Virginia. Our master and mistress was good to us, but of course my own mother had to whip me often. She used a whip made from twisted buckbrush twigs and did it sting!

"I worked in de fields most generally. When I was small I rode one of de oxen and harrowed de fields. When I was about ten or eleven I plowed with oxen. I'se plowed many times with a moldboard plow with an iron share on it.

"We never wanted for clothes very bad. We wore long shirts Dem reached to de knees until we was twelve or fourteen years old. Dem wool shirts sure was warm. We had one pair of shoes a year.

Many times I done went after de cows barefoot when dere was more dan a foot of snow on de ground. It didn't seem to hurt me. I was toughened to it.

"After we was freed mother stayed with master for about a year, den she moved over toward Newark and wcrked out till she got straightened out so she could keep house for herself. I stayed dere for a while longer until I got work on a farm at fity cents a dey. After a while dey paid me seventy-five cents a day. We didn't get nothin' from our master after de war. I 'member de Bowans, though, give dere slaves eighty acres of land.

"I 'members dere was a Ku Klux Klan in de county, but dey never bothered me none. I tended to my own business and never bothered nobody. I never was arrested in my life and I never gives de policemen no trouble.

"I got married when I was about twenty and settled in Jetto in Knox County and worked on a farm. We had two children. One of dem died years ago, and I am living here with my other daughter. After a while we moved to Palmyra. I worked 'round on farms until about 1903, den we moved hera to Hannibal. I worked in de Burlington shops for seventeen years, till dey told me I was too old to work any more. I is getting a pension now for more dan a year. Dat sure 'nough helps a lot.

"I has voted ever since I was old enough. Dey used to tell me how to vote. I always belonged to de Baptist Church and belongs to de Nelping Nand Paptist now. My mistress belonged to de old time Christian Church and I used to drive her to church with a hey mare she had.

"We used to sing, 'I Am Bound for the Fromised Land', and 'Heart (Hark) From The Tombs Lcurnful Sound', My mother used to sing, 'You All cught To Have Been There,' 'Roll, Jordan, Roll', and 'Do, Lord, Do Remember Me.' Dey don't sing them old songs no more.
"Mankind! De young folks now days ain't like we used to be. Why, in Monticello dey used to have a log jail, but now dey is got one made of stone and iron. Dey just can't hold 'em no more. I guess it's right dat dis world is growing weaker and wiser. But de young folks has a better chance. Look at de big fine schools dey has now. Dey ought to get along better dan dey do."

Mundy, Lewis -- Additional Interview

Lewis Mundy, now living on West Center Street, Hannibal, Missouri, was born in slavery on the farm of John Wright, five miles north of La Belle, Lewis County, Missouri. He has lived there for over thirty years, and has a wide acquaintance among both white and colored people. The following is his story of his life:

"Mr. Wright had eleven slaves, my mother and ten of us children. Mr. Wright had eight children. My father was owned by Billy Graves, whose farm was joined to master's farm. I don't know where he came from, but mother was brought here by the Wrights from Virginia.

"Our master and mistress was good to us, but of course my mother had to whip me often. She used a whip made from twisted buckbrush twigs.

"I worked in the fields mostly. When I was small I rode one of the oxen and harrowed the fields. When I was about ten or eleven I plowed with oxen. I've plowed many times with a moldboard plow with an iron share on it.

"We never wanted for clothes very bad. We wore long shirts that reached to the knees until we was twelve or fourteen years old. Them wool shirts was warm. We had one pair of shoes a year. Many times I went after the cows barefoot when there was over a foot of snow on the ground. It didn't seem to hurt me. I was toughened to it.

"After we were freed mother stayed with master for about a year, then she moved over toward Newark and worked out till she got straightened out so she could keep house for herself. I stayed there for a while longer until I got work on a farm at fifty cents a day. After a while they paid me seventy-five cents a day. We didn't get anything from our master after the war. I remember the Bowans, though, give their slaves eighty acres of land.

"I remember there was a Ku Klux Klan in the county, but they never bothered me. I tended to my own business and never bothered nobody. I never was arrested in my life. I never give the policemen any trouble.

"I got married when I was about twenty and settled in Jetto in Knox County and worked on a farm. We had two children. One of them died years ago, and I am living here with my other daughter. After a while we moved to Palmyra. I worked around on farms until 1903, then we moved here to Hannibal. I worked in the Burlington Shops for seventeen years, till they told me I was too old to work anymore. I am getting a pension now for over a year. It helps a lot.
"I have voted ever since I was old enough. They used to tell me how to vote. I always belonged to the Baptist Church and belong to the Helping Hand Baptist now. My mistress belonged to the old time Christian Church and I used to drive her to church with a bay mare she had.

"We used to sing, 'I Am Bound For The Promised Land', and 'Heart (Hark) From The Tombs Mournful Sound'. My mother used to sing, 'You All Ought To Have Been There', 'Roll Jordan, Roll', and 'Do, Lord, Do Remember Me'. They don't sing them old songs anymore.

"Mankind! The young folks now days ain't like we used to be. Why, in Monticello they used to have a log jail, but now they got one made of stone and iron. They just can't hold 'em no more. I guess it's right that this world is growing weaker and wiser. But the young folks have a better chance. Look at the big fine schools they have now, they ought to get along better."

State: Missouri    Interviewee: Mundy, Lewis
Nash, Joe Clinton, Missouri Henry County (Ben Knierim Western Historical Manuscripts Collection University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri)