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"Oral History"


    In 1996, JPPM staff interviewed Daniel and Octavia Gross Brown about their experiences working for Jefferson Patterson in the 1940s. During the interview, Mr. Brown mentioned a ruin of a cabin where his wife’s great-great grandmother lived when she was enslaved. Other members of Ms. Brown’s family, her sisters, nephew, and sons, furnished more information. We learned that the great-great grandmother was named “Sukeek.” It seemed that the cabin site on the hill was the ruin that Mr. Brown talked about. For that reason, it was called Sukeek’s Cabin Site.      Tom Fowler, who is not related to Sukeek, lived on the property in the 1930's and farmed with his father.  He shared recollections about the house where Jane Johnson lived.  It was still standing then, though nobody lived there.  Mr. Fowler said his father told him that Jane Johnson "was the workingest woman he ever saw."

     Oral history continues to be important.  As new information comes to light through documentary research or archaeology, new questions can be asked of people who might remember something about the site or the people who lived there.

      In 1998, the Gross family reunion was held at JPPM.  The reunion provided an opportunity for the family and JPPM to make a commitment to work together to uncover the family history through archaeology at Sukeek's Cabin site, and archival research.

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