As told to Elsie Odell Bennette by Beth Gowdy about her mother, Anne Kemp Gowdy and her grandfather, John Glenn Newbill.
John Glenn Newbill of Virginia was a slave owner but his slaves were well treated. When his daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Riley Kemp, moved to Pettis County, Missouri, he gave her a couple. The man’s name was Tom, and the woman, name forgotten, was his wife. They had two little girls about the same age of Anne, and they always played together. Tom was a blacksmith, and when not needed at home, was hired to the neighbors. The woman was a weaver, and did all the weaving for the big family. From the wool of the family sheep, she wove blue and white coverlets for the beds.
When Anne was married, her mother gave her one of the coverlets. When it was too worn out to be of use, the good pieces were saved, and years later they were placed in trays, to be kept as keepsakes.
Riley Kemp did not believe in slavery, so before he started for Oregon, he gave Tom and his family their freedom, and they remained in Missouri.