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  • Texas | Columns | Lone Star Diary

    Slave Ada Stone
    109-Year-Old Ex-Slave
    Recalls Days Long Past

    by Murray Montgomery
    Murray Montgomery
    Years ago, I came across a story about an ex-slave in an old Gonzales Inquirer newspaper from 1959. This article was about a woman named Ada Stone.

    It was reported that Mrs. Stone was a very religious woman; a characteristic that seems to have been very prevalent among slaves.

    When the following article was published, Ada Stone was 109 years old.

    The following article is printed just as it appeared in April of 1959.

    The Gonzales Inquirer • April 30, 1959
    [Headline:]
    109-Year-Old Ex-Slave Recalls Days Long Past.

    A former slave, one hundred and nine year old Ada Stone of near Gonzales doesn't consider her age a handicap.

    Slyly she will tell you, "I'm over a hundred years old."

    Her mother lived to be 113, according to Mrs. Stone's 83-year-old daughter, Mrs. Sarah Bateman.

    "But I can eat anything and I like good things to eat," said Ada. "I don't just 'like' sweet potatoes, I love them." Ada's daughter Sarah, with whom she makes her home, says fresh pork and sweet potatoes are Ada's favorite diet.

    Even though the 109-year-old woman spends most of her days in a wheelchair now she still has ideas of what it means to be active. "She wanted to make soap this morning," the daughter said. "It took a while to convince her she couldn't do it."

    Ada likes to let her mind wander back to her early years. Her father, as a slave, was sold before the 109-year-old woman was born. She never saw him.

    "I was John Mooney's slave, down on Peach Creek," she said. "He had lots of slaves, and we all worked hard but he was good to us."

    Ada can still remember seeing slaves chained together as they were put on an auction block to be sold. She also remembers carrying dinner out to them in the fields. She tells of how they would sit down right out in the field in the sun and eat.

    Devoted to her mistress from slavery days, Ada still talks about it. "She used to come down from San Antonio to see me after the war was over," explained the 109 year old woman. "She was good to me."

    Ada is proud of the fact that she owns her own home which she and her husband bought many years ago.

    "My white people didn't give it to me, I worked hard and earned it," she said. "And I think I enjoy it better because I did work hard for it."

    Her daughter Sarah recalls how when she was a small child her mother would take her out into the fields to work. She also worked in private homes. Eventually Ada and her husband accumulated the money to buy the house.

    A devoutly religious woman, Ada has some of the walls of her home covered with religious pictures and quotations.

    "You have to run from the devil all the time," she will tell you.


    Murray Montgomery
    May 28, 2012 column
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