AUNT CINDY MITCHELL RECALLS PRES. LINCOLN
North Vernon Sun February 18, 1943 (reprint from the Indianapolis Star)
How well we recall the days when Aunt Cindy gave us hot cakes and doughnuts for our lunch.
We were about four or five years old and lived within a half square of the Mitchell family. We can also remember, but
faintly, the days we spent with the Mitchell children, making mud pies, and believe it or not, eating them. Mr.
Mitchell, Jake, as he was better known, drove the only two wheel dray in the city. We don't doubt it in the least
that Aunt Cindy is near the century mark, for to us kids in our "teens," she was nearly that old at the time, which
was a matter of fifty years or better. (North Vernon Editor's Note.)
Aunt Cindy Mitchell, of North Vernon limits activity today to her rocking chair-most people do
when they are 100 years old. But memory lane takes her back to trying days of the Civil War, when she was a slave-and
the eventful day of the Emancipation Proclamation.
"Mustuh Lincoln was a great man." That is the simple way the aged Negro woman pays tribute to
to Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday was celebrated Feb. 12th.
Christianed "Mary Lucinda," the North Vernon woman recalls many things about her life as a slave.
"It's one o'them peculiar things," she relates. "A woman can remember way back yonder, but she
can't think where she left her shawl when she went to bed last night. But then, you don't forget being a slave. I was
sold from my mother when I was a child and was brought up in slavery on a plantation near Campbellsburg, Kentucky."
She relates an incident when her sister was beaten so badly that she never quite recovered and
died within a year.
"They didn't dare whip me," remarked Aunt Cindy, "because the owner's daughter was my mistress
and she protected me from his anger."
Received No Wages
"Us slaves had to work like stock in the fields and we were bought and sold just like a good
piece of horseflesh," Aunt Cindy set out indignantly. "We were put up on a block and sold to the highest bidder." Aunt
Cindy's sister sold for over $100.
Her story points out that slaves received no wages, but their owners gave them clothing, food
and a home. They were given cornbread, meat and vegetables on week days, and-as a special treat on Sundays-biscuits and
Aunt Cindy chuckled and said: "I ate so much cornbread, I hate the sight of it now."
Aunt Cindy says she is "somewhere around 100 years old." She sits in her rocking chair by the
hour, reminiscing and spinning yarns to whosoever will listen. Known as "Aunt Cindy" to everybody, colored and white
alike, she has friends by the score, and if a Negro comes to North Vernon and finds no place to stay, he soon is sent to
her and she treats him as an honored guest.
News of Freedom Withheld
"When we were freed our masters kept the word from us as long as they could, because they didn't
want to lose us so easy."
"At last a fellow from another plantation sneaked in and told us we were free. We were so excited
we didn't know exactly what to do, but we left our work quick. We joined other slaves in big meetings and celebrations and
everyone had a fine time.
Soon after the slaves were emancipated, Aunt Cindy's mother united her family, and together again
they crossed the Ohio river and walked the 25 miles from Madison to North Vernon. They were so impressed with the kindness
shown them, and the freedom that was theirs in Indiana, they settled here.
After she was married to "Uncle Jake" Mitchell, Aunt Cindy lived in Vernon awhile, but soon moved
back to North Vernon, where she has lived ever since. Recently, she has been visiting Mrs. Ethel Scott, 2735 Boulevard
Place in Indianapolis. -- Indianapolis Star.
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