Author: John C. Webster

PRIMARY DOCUMENT

Last of the Pioneers or Old Times in East Tenn. Being the Life and Reminiscences of Pharaoh Jackson (Aged 120 Years) By J. C. Webster Chesney (1902)

In Last of the Pioneers: Or Old Times in East Tenn., published in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1902, John C. Webster describes the social changes that Pharaoh Jackson Chesney would have witnessed in his hometown of Clarksville, Virginia, interspersed with Chesney’s stories of his own life as an enslaved and then emancipated man. This narrative, along with other slave narratives, offer a composite portrait of authors’ self-styled personal stories. The amanuensis’ interests, lived experiences, and editing choices, as well as their social relations and expectations shaped the relationship and conversation with the authors. Although the narratives aren’t unmediated autobiographies, they are no less authentic and are just as fruitful a source for reconstructing historical experience. The following text contains racial epithets.