My name is Marcus Linsay Freeman. I was born in the year 1836 on the farm of George Bayne in Shelby County, Kentucky, twenty-five miles above Louisville, between that town and near Simpsonville. He was my owner and gave me to his grandson Thomas when we were both babies. Thomas was three months older than I. His mother, having died at his birth, he was given to my mother to raise. We grew up together just as if we had been two little puppies. When he was big enough to eat at the table, he used to leave a lot of victuals on his plate and some coffee in his cup and bring it out for me to eat; for we slaves did not get such good things as were served at the white table. He thought a great deal of me, and once when his stepbrother licked me, he nearly cut him to pieces with a Barlow knife.
Mr. Alexander Bayne, my farther came to Missouri with his slaves and bought a big farm about three miles from Westport and five miles from Kansas City. Before he went out onto this farm he ran the Gillis House in Kansas City for about two years. I learned to cook there. After living on the farm some time, Thomas Bayne brought us up to his farm near Williamstown, Jefferson County, where he located in the autumn of 1854. He took up a claim there of 160 acres and bought other land. He brought up from Missouri my sister Charity and myself and my cousin Fielding Edwards in the Spring of 1855. I stayed for a few months, and then with his permission went back to Kansas City and married and rented my time for $200.00 a year for seven years until I was emancipated. Mr. Bayne gave me a pass which allowed me to go between Missouri and his farm in Kansas. I was working in the printing office for Van Horn and A. Beal on the Kansas City Journal at the time of
the firing on Sumpter, and worked the press when they were getting out the extras for the occasion. I remember the excitment well.
My sister Charity married Robert Skaggs while in Jefferson county and when Jimmie Skaggs, his owner, took his slaves back to Texas about December, 1860, Charity went with her husband, Mr. Bayne thinking it would be the safest way of keeping her, and not liking to divide the family. They stayed in the south about nine years, and then Robert and Charity returned to Jefferson county and rented some land of Thomas Bayne for a year or two, when he bought fifty acres of land, -- ten acres timber and forty acres prairie, in Douglas county, just across the line from Shawnee, about a couple of miles northeast of Big Springs. They still live on the farm; have a good many horses, cows, chickens, pigs, etc. Charity had belonged to Will Bayne, Thomas’ stepbrother, and he left her on his brother’s farm when he went to California in 185--.
Old man Skaggs was a pretty rough old man. He came from Kentucky to Kansas and owned perhaps 27 slaves, little and big. I remember the names of three, Felix, George and Rachel. Rachel had a little child.
I remember George McGee, a slave of old Allen McGee.
I know that Judge Elmore owned some slaves, but do not remember any particulars about them. It was rumored that Judge Martin, since Judge and United States Senator, helped to get them out of Kansas for
Judge Elmore, who had been a little late about leaving the State. You ought to see Judge Martin about it.
Fielding Edwards, my cousin, now lives at the head of Jackson St., North Topeka, a little west of the mouth of the Soldier. He owns fourteen acres of land and runs a truck garden.
Thomas Bayne lives at Williamstown. He was offered at one time $1,800 for me. A man by the name of Davis wanted me for his father’s farm in the south. Mr. Bayne was kind to his slaves. He would buy cloth for himself and me off of the same piece of goods. I took my name from my father’s name as soon as I was free. He was a slave belonging to Mrs [Lamorders ]– My mother’s name was Henrietta – She was the property of Alexander Bayne. When the colored refugees came over into Kansas during the war, many of them came up the river as far as Lawrence. They were destitute. Mr. Bayne assisted them in many ways. He invited [them] to come out to his woodland and carry in all the wood they needed for fuel, free of cost.