BONHAM, Tex., May 11.-Aunt Celia Stevens, a negress,
died in this city at the ripe old age of 110 years. Up to a week ago, Aunt Celia was
strong and sprightly and could do a day's washing with as much ease as any of the
younger women of her race and did not complain of being exhausted when she got
Aunt Celia has quite a history. She was born in Virginia some time in the year
1782, and was the slave of Sam Huttabee while living there. She recollects seeing
soldiers drill near her master's plantation, but does not remember what soldiers.
Sometime after the revolutionary war was over, Mr. Huttabbee sold her to Sam
Hickman, who took her to Kentucky,somewhere near Bowling Green.
When she was taken to Kentucky, she had two children,
a baby boy who was
still nursing and a little girl 2 years old. One day, Hickman sold her to a slave
dealer, and Aunt Celia, hearing of it, and having had four of her other children
sold and carried off to Missouri, determined not to part with her babe and little
girl. So,she took an ax and deliberately chopped off her right hand, leaving
nothing but the stump of a thumb.
The trade was broken and she was not separated from her children. Several
years afterward, she and her children were taken to Independence, Mo., where her
owner sold her and her two children to George Stevens, who came to Texas and
settled in Fannin county forty-five years ago. Aunt Celia lived for a long time
with her master, near Dodd City, with her two children, until emancipation, when
she and her daughter moved toBonham, where she has lived up to the time of her
Aunt Celia said she had seen George Washington and that she remembered helping
cook a big dinner for him onetime at her master's residence. She said she often seen
[sic] Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster, and had frequently conversed
with them. Aunt Celia was a devotee of voodoo. She believed in charms, witches,
etc., and claimed to have the power to dispel any charm, and drive away the evil spirits
which possessed anyone, and so great was her reputation, that negroes flocked to her
in great numbers from Sherman, Denison, Paris and, in fact, almost every point of the
compass, to get her to remove some charm, claiming that they had been voodooed
by some other negro.
"And she generally succeeded, to the satisfaction of her applicants." The negroes say
that a great many white people consulted her, as she claimed to be a fortune teller, and
they always went away satisfied. Some wonderful tales are told about her superhuman
powers by the negroes, and they all looked upon her with awe. Her youngest child died
a few weeks ago in this city at the age of 64 years.
- May 11, 1892, Dallas [Tex.] Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 5.
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