A Slave Romance

“An Old Slave’s Romance”

After the Civil War, The Christian Recorder, like many other papers, included ads from formerly enslaved people hoping to be reunited with family members they had lost as slaves.  This account from 1890 details the reunion of two long-separated spouses.


A colored woman, bent nearly double with eighty years and a heavy bundle, was seen to board the Cincinnati Mail line packet yesterday afternoon. Approaching the clerk of the boat she slowly untied a knot in the corner of her red bandanna handkerchief and produced enough cash to purchase a deck ticket for Cincinnati. The wrinkled and feeble old Negress is the heroine of a romance.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

"An Old Slave's Romance"

“An Old Slave’s Romance”

In ante-bellum days she was a slave and was owned by a planter near Ashville, N.C. At an early age she was married to a slave of the same master. By him she had several children. Over half a century ago her husband was torn from her and her children and was sold to another planter. The woman continued to work on the North Carolina plantation, and in a short time was again married. Her whole family was then put on the block and sold to a Virginia man. When the Emancipation Proclamation was promulgated the family took advantage of their freedom and journeyed northward, finally taking up their home in Louisville.

The husband died after the close of the war, and the children, one by one, left their mother to seek their fortunes elsewhere. The mother toiled and labored to make a livelihood. She heard nothing of her first husband until about a month ago, when one of her sons found that the old man was living in Newport, Ky. The old Negress journeyed thither and found the husband of her youth. He had also been married the second time and had several children by the second wife. The latter was dead, however, and the reunited couple decided to again live together. The woman returned to Louisville, disposed of her effects and yesterday afternoon completed the romance of fifty years by returning to her husband. – Louisville Post.

Publication: The Christian Recorder, November 13, 1890

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

Related Posts


Stay Connected

Connect with Accessible Archives on Twitter, Facebook, or Linkedin to stay up to date on news and blog posts or get our latest blog posts by email.

Positive SSL