I have been often asked by my friends why I did not write a book. I felt as though I had not accomplished anything for which to write a book. Then I thought perhaps I might drop a word of inspiration to those who may be less fortunate than myself, as it is my aim always to help, and not to hinder.
I was born May 4, 1860, in Madison County, Kentucky, a little way from Richmond (its county seat) and near the banks of Tates Creek and Shallow Ford. My father and mother were slaves at the time of my birth. My father's name was Edward, and the name of my mother was Eliza. I don't remember very much about my father, because he died when I was only five years of age. I remember more about my mother, because I was nine years of age when she died. My father and mother were blessed with fifteen children, of which I was the youngest.
There were other slaves on the place besides our family. My mother could weave, and did the weaving for those who were on the place. I can remember seeing mother sitting at her loom, day after day, weaving the blue and brown jeans for the men folks, and the linsey and tow-linen for the women and children. In summertime, I wore only one garment, and that was a tow-linen shirt. It was made something on the order of the Mother Hubbard, and was very cool and nice, too.
My father and mother were not educated. They knew nothing about books, only my mother knew her alphabet; and that she taught me, and is about all I knew concerning an education until I became twenty-one years of age. Mother was a good woman; she was a member of the white Christian Church, as there was not a colored Church in that neighborhood. So every Sunday mother would take us children to Shallow Ford meeting-house, known as Mt. Gilead, until I was a big boy.