Days Gone By - stories from the pastGenealogy Information

Ex-slave J. T. Brown – “Tom Brown” from Bullock County, Alabama was 102 in this photograph

(Transcribed and unedited story from a WPA (Works Projects Administration) writer


J. T. Brown

102 years old


Interviewed by T. S. Frazer ca. 1938

J. T. Brown or Tom Brown as he is generally known is a native of the West Indies. He was brought to Union Springs when a small boy and was trained to be house boy for the Shelton family. He went through the Civil War as body guard to Mr. Menzo Shelton his young master.

J. T. Brown 102 Bullock County, WPA (Alabama Department of Archives and History Q1760)

Tom is a very aristocratic looking negro and is a dark ginger cake color. His manners are very polished and in spite of the fact that he is 102 years of age he will not sit down in the presence of white people. He is as straight as a board and bears himself as though he had the strictest of military training.

When Tom was asked to have his picture made he insisted that he not have it taken until he could have his sword also, (su-word is his pronunciation of the word). Although it cannot be seen he carries in his right hand the sword left him by one of the members of the Shelton family.

Tom is above the negro in intelligence and converses very intelligently. He is a brick mason by trade but knows something of everything. He makes chairs, is a black smith and tries not to be idle at anytime.

Once Alabama was admitted as a state of the United States of America on December 4, 1819, a great wave of immigrants from other states and countries came by flat-boats, pack-horses, covered wagons and ships to become the first citizens of the state. ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Statehood presents the times and conditions Alabama first citizens faced in lost & forgotten stories which include:

  • Who Controlled And Organized The New State of Alabama?
  • Tuscaloosa Had Three Other Names
  • Chandelier Falls & Capitol Burns
  • Alabama Throws Parties For General LaFayette
  • Francis Scott Key Was Sent to Alabama To Solve Problems
  • General Jackson’s Visit to Huntsville For A Horse Race Created Discord At Constitutional Convention


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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Statehood: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 6) (Paperback)
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ALABAMA FOOTPRINTS Statehood: Lost & Forgotten Stories (Volume 6) (Paperback)

By (author):  Causey, Donna R

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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. Amazing he lived to such a ripe age.

  2. A man of respect and admiration.

  3. Wow, just think of all the stories he could tell.

  4. Glenn Foley Glenda Anne Jordan

  5. He was an amazing man and very interesting. History needs to be shared with the younger generation. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The true, complete history of our country. Erasing or changing history is a huge mistake. We must learn from the past to prevent making the same mistakes again.

  6. Loved those transcripts from history

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