She mixed his blood with whiskey and drank it.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
EX-SLAVE STORY AS TOLD BY MILLIE MARKHAM OF 615 ST. JOSEPH ST., DURHAM, N.C.
I was never a slave. Although I was born somewhere about 1855, I was not born in slavery, but my father was. I’m afraid this story will be more about my father and mother than it will be about myself.
My mother was a white woman. Her name was Tempie James. She lived on her father’s big plantation on the Roanoke River at Rich Square, North Carolina. Her father owned acres of land and many slaves. His stables were the best anywhere around; they were filled with horses, and the head coachman was named Squire James. Squire was a good looking, well behaved Negro who had a white father. He was tall and light colored. Tempie James fell in love with this Negro coachman. Nobody knows how long they had been in love before Tempie’s father found it out, but when he did he locked Tempie in her room. For days he and Miss Charlottie, his wife, raved, begged and pleaded, but Tempie just said she loved Squire. ‘Why will you act so?’ Miss Charlottie was crying. ‘Haven’t we done everything for you and given you everything you wanted?’
Tempie shook her head and said: ‘You haven’t given me Squire. He’s all I do want.’
Then it was that in the dark of the night Mr. James sent Squire away; he sent him to another state and sold him.
But Tempie found it out. She took what money she could find and ran away. She went to the owner of Squire and bought him, then she set him free and changed his name to Walden, Squire Walden. But then it was against the law for a white woman to marry a Negro unless they had a strain of Negro blood, so Tempie cut Squire’s finger and drained out some blood. She mixed this with some whiskey and drank it, then she got on the stand and swore she had Negro blood in her, so they were married. She never went back home and her people disowned her.
Tempie James Walden, my mother, was a beautiful woman. She was tall and fair with long light hair. She had fifteen children, seven boys and eight girls, and all of them lived to be old enough to see their great-grandchildren. I am the youngest and only one living now. Most of us came back to North Carolina. Two of my sisters married and came back to Rich Square to live. They lived not far from the James plantation on Roanoke River. Once when we were children my sister and I were visiting in Rich Square. One day we went out to pick huckleberries. A woman came riding down the road on a horse. She was a tall woman in a long grey riding habit. She had grey hair and grey eyes. She stopped and looked at us. ‘My,’ she said, ‘whose pretty little girls are you?’
‘We’re Squire Walden’s children,’ I said.
She looked at me so long and hard that I thought she was going to hit me with her whip, but she didn’t, she hit the horse. He jumped and ran so fast I thought she was going to fall off, but she went around the curve and I never saw her again. I never knew until later that she was Mis’ Charlottie James, my grandmother.
I don’t know anything about slavery times, for I was born free of free parents and raised on my father’s own plantation. I’ve been living in Durham over sixty-five years.
From Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves (1841).
Squire Walden married Tempy James on 28 March 1832 in Halifax County. John Keemer was bondsman, and clerk of court J.H. Harwell witnessed.
In the 1850 census of Northampton County: Squire Walden, 38, laborer, wife Temperance, 34, and children Samuel, 14, William, 13, Amanda, 12, Martha, 11, James, 9, Hester, 8, Peyton, 5, and Whitman, 1, plus William Walden, 78, farmer. All born in NC, except the elder William, who was born in Virginia. All were described as mulatto.
Who is this?
Who is who?
Narrative of how MILLIE MARKHAM’s parents (white mother and enslaved father) became married.
MILLIE MARKHAM. Daughter of a previously enslaved man and white woman who purchased his freedom.
MILLIE MARKHAM. Daughter of a previously enslaved man whose freedom was purchased by the white woman he eventually married.
VERY INTERESTING STORY! I HAVE TO COPY THIS ONE.
What An Amazing Story! It Seems That They All Lived Happy And Long Lives. Shame Ole Grandma Couldn’t Get Over It. They Were Pretty Until She Found Out They Were Related To Her? Hmm.
Hi, Millie was my GGGrandmother’s sister and this is not completely true. Temperance James was a mulatto and not white. Lisa, I desperately want to talk to you. I was just surfing the web and ran across your blog and I have been reading since 8pm last night. it is now 9:24 am.I would like to ask you for suggestions about understanding DNA (Where can I get some reliable help) and information overload. Help! Your writing is so well written and perfectly organized. Hope to hear from you soon. gg
Please contact me at blackwideawake at gmail dot com.
I am a GGGG grandchild of Squire Walden and Tempie James Walden, and I can also confirm (as ggreene640 did) that this story is not true.
However, the true story is just as interesting. Both the Walden and James families were mixed race/mulatto families that were free dating back to the mid-late 1600s. Many owned land and many (including Squire Walden) could probably read and write.
My father Paul Heinegg has documented these families in detail in his book “Free African Americans of North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina, from the Colonial Period to About 1820” (3 vols) The forward to the book is written by your mentor historian Ira Berlin. The entire contents of this book (as well as his book “Free African Americans of Maryland and Delaware”, Genealogical Publishing, 2nd edition, 2021) is available on his website http://www.freeafricanamericans.com
Squire Walden’s entry in Geni:
Walden family genealogy in http://www.freeafricanamericans.com, my father’s website (search for “Squire”)
James family genealogy in http://www.freeafricanamericans.com (search for “Temperance”)
Ayo Heinegg Magwood
Hi Ayo. Your dad and I corresponded nearly 30 years ago, just after I purchased the original three-volume set of his work, and again later after he’d migrated his data on line. I’ve been interested in free people of color since discovering my own ancestry in the 1980s, and he’s been an invaluable resource.
I am new to blogs or posting so I am not sure who I am replying to. If I am replying to Ayo then I would also love to talk to you about our family. If possible could you send me an e-mail at email@example.com. I’ve already purchased your father’s new book and am enjoying it throughly. gg
Lisa, I received an e-mail from Fourth Generation Inclusive with the new comment from Ayo, I sent my comment, then read all of the comments above it, that is when I first found out that you had replied to my comment almost immediately in December. Sorry I did not know this. Thank you. I will e-mail you shortly. Thanks gg