“The white folks had her clothes locked up.”

Deposition N
18 June 1890

Sallie Cleage Marsh

I am 64 years of age, the widow of Richard Marsh and my post office address is Athens, Tenn. I was formerly a slave to Aleck and Jemima Cleage. They bought me when I was thirteen years old and I lived with them until after the war. I remember Katie Cleage very well. She was a house servant, a seamstress. I was the family cook in the house.

No sir, Katie never was married. She did not live with any man as his wife. She always slept in the house except a month or two she was sick and they put her down in an old house in the quarters while the doctor was taking care of her. She was diseased someway while she was there. Dr. Atlee attended her.

She had two children. These was neither born alive. One was a miscarriage. One was born at it’s time and the other before it’s time. We had Dr. Atlee with her. I was in the room with her. The first miscarriage she had, she had something the matter with her and we had Dr. Atlee and it did not come off then and a month or two after she was down in the yard and was taken with something the matter with her and she called us to her and told us. I went and told mistress and she told us to fix a bed in the dining room for her and send for Dr. Atlee. Dr. Atlee attended to it and I was the only woman in the house except my mistress when it was done. I don’t think this child was a white child, I know it was not. It was laid to old Uncle Joe, then on the place.

The second child came to its time and it was a white child, but I don’t know who it belonged to. Yes, I seen the child, but I was not present when it was delivered. Dr. Atlee delivered it.

Tom Cleage took it all but two of his slaves south during the war he left three. One ran away and the other two staid at the house to take care of the old lady. I went with them and Katie went along too.

I know Philip Cleage, he was a wagoner when we went south, he drove the wagon that I rode in. We staid south about three months and came back here about October and soon after that Philip went in the Union Army. He came home to see us while he was in the army.

When his mother died she gave Philip to me to take care of. Philip slept in my house upstairs, until he went in the army. He slept with my oldest boy. My boys name was George Cleage, I don’t know whether he is living or not. The last I heard of him he was at Corinth, Mississippi.

I disremember whether Katie was on the place when Philip came home to see us during the war, but he did not see her if she was. They, the family, would not let the family servants out. Philip was here twice, once on his march from Knoxville to Chattanooga and once after he got to Chattanooga. Oh! Philip and Katie never lived together as man and wife. I was cook then. I was the oldest and the main one then and Katie never lived with anyone as his wife.

I could not tell whether Katie was in Chattanooga with Philip during the war. When she left home, there was a white man and a yaller man took her from here. I helped her get her clothes out.  The white folks had her clothes locked up. The next time I heard from her, she was at Atlanta and I never knew that she was caught up with Philip. I never see Katie again until she came here on a visit after the war. I didn’t think she ever was married, but she said she had a husband, Moses Evans.

I knew Nelson McCaury when I was a little girl, I don’t remember him since I have grown up. He was a preacher and used to marry people. He died before the war. I don’t remember how long before the war old Uncle Nelson died. I don’t know that he died before the war but seems to me he did. I know Katie was never married by her master Aleck Cleage. No sir, Katie was not grown when Nelson McCaury died, he never married her to anyone. She never lived with Philip as his wife.

I am not related. I have no interest at all in this claim. I have fully understood all your questions and my answers have been correctly recorded.

Sallie (her mark X) Cleage Marsh


You can read more about Sallie Cleage Marsh in this post -> Sallie Cleage. She was first married to Clint Cleage and after he died, she married Richard Marsh. All of her children were with Clint Cleage. Sallie Cleage Marsh lived a long life and testified in several pension files. Although she does not have one of her own, several of her children do. She will appear again. I also have to rewrite her original post because of all the new information. For links to the other posts in this series, click this link – Katie Cleage’s Pension Hearing.  The photo is from this blog 19c African American Wome