The Dallas Journal, Volume 42, 1996 Page: 28
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The Gano Cabin History
A Story From Slave Narratives
Margret Hancock Pearce
The Work Projects Administration, under the presidency of Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, commissioned the Library of Congress to prepare a typewritten record of
oral interviews with former slaves. The Federal Writers' Project was undertaken from
1936 through 1938. These written records from oral interviews are titled, Slave
Narratives, A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former
Slaves'. The following narrative is from a former slave owned by the family of Richard
M. Gano, a prominent Dallas/Tarrant county resident.
Narrative; page 9.2
Aunt Harriet Mason - Ex-Slave
Aunt Harriet Mason was born one mile below Bryantsville on the
Lexington Pike in Garrard County. She was owned by B. M. Jones. She gives
the date of her birth as April 14, 1847. Aunt Harriet's father was Daniel Scott,
slave out of Mote Scott's slave family. Her mother's name was Amy Jones, slave
of Marse Briar Jones, who came from Harrodsburg, Ky. She had four brothers
named Harrison, Daniel, Merida, and Ned and two sisters named Susie and
"Miss Patsy, the wife of Marse Briar, gave Maria to Marse Sammy
Welsh. He was the brother of Miss Patsy and lived with her. He taught school in
Bryantsville for a long time.
"General Gano who married Jane Welsh, adopted daughter of Marse
Briar Jones, took my sisters, Myra and Emma, Brother Ned and myself to
Tarrant County, Texas, to a town called Lick Skillet to live. Grapevine was the
name of the white folks' house. It was called Grapevine because these grapevines
twined around the house and arbors.
"Sister Emma was the cook and Myra and me were nurse and house
maids. Brother married Betty Estill, a slave who cooked for the Estill family. Mr.
Estill later bought Ned in order to keep him on the place.
"I didn't sleep in the cabins with the rest of the Negroes; I slept in the big
house and nursed the children. I was not paid any money for my work. My food
was the same as what the white folks et. In the summertime we wore cotton and
tow linen, and linsey in the winter. The white folks took me to church and
dressed me well. I had good shoes and they took me to church on Sunday. My
master was a preacher and a doctor and a fine man.
"Miss Mat (Mrs. Gano) sho was hard to beat. The house they lived in
was a big white house with two long porches. We had no overseer or driver. We
had no 'po white neighbors.' There was about 300 acres of land around Lick
Skillet, but we did not have many slaves. The slaves were waked up by General
Gano, who rang a big farm bell about four times in the morning. There was no
jail on the place and I never saw a slave whipped or punished in any way. I never
saw a slave auctioned off. My Mistus taught all the slaves to read and write, and
we set on a bench in the dining room.
DGS Journal 28 1996
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Dallas Genealogical Society. The Dallas Journal, Volume 42, 1996, periodical, December 1996; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth186855/m1/34/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Dallas Genealogical Society.