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Cynth'ya Lewis

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Slave's Grandson Remembers
by Cynth'ya Lewis   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2004

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Our cousin, Isaac (Ike) Deberry is the oldest living grandchild of Bill Reed (formerly surnamed Reid in slavery.) I and others from our family witnessed the power of oral history in the African tradition, on the steps of the slaveowner's home. His first cousin Ariminthea Puryear, stands with him on the steps of the home of the old slavemaster, Lemuel Reid, the place where the emancipation announcement was made releasing them from bondage.

Go to and click "Bound For Home" under the heading, Lifelines, or click the link below this post. For more information, visit:

To see the latest documented proof in the article on the Reed Puryear Family Experience in Abbeville SC, go to Background: from family researcher, Melvin J. Collier (, by the way, some of you may have had the pleasure of hearing Cousin Ike relay the "freedom story" that his grandfather, Grandpa Bill Reed, told him. As the story goes....While the slaves were out in the yard eating food from a trough that was prepared for the Reid slaves, Lemuel Reid came out onto the porch and called all of the slaves up to the "big house". He then told them standing on the steps, "Y'all are as free as I am". As the newspaper quotes Cousin Ike, Lemuel Reid asked them to stay on the place a little while longer to help bring in the crop and he promised to pay them. And they stayed just a little while longer---until January 1866.If you take a look at the picture again of Cousin Ike and Cousin Armintha standing on the steps (see website), it was those steps that this major announcement was made to Grandpa Bill and the others and when a new era in his life began. A new era that birthed this enormous family.Take Care and God Bless.Reed-Puryear Family,Take care. -------------------------------------------------------------- Deberry's favorite part of the visit was going to the Lemuel Reid home. He stood on the porch where Lemuel Reid told his grandfather that he was free. "He told me and then asked if they would stay on long enough to help him gather the crop and that he would pay them. My grandpa told me that," Deberry said. During the visit, they met some other black Reeds who were most likely related to them and were treated to a meal. In April, the Democrat reported on Collier's long journey to find his roots. Collier is the son of Bill Reed's granddaughter, Versia Reed Collier, who grew up in Tate County. He is still learning about his family and plans to continue his journey. "A lot of us are still is awe about what happened in Abbeville that day. We just never thought that we would be embraced by the town that way," Collier said. In May, the family erected a memorial to their patriarch at the Beulah Baptist Church, which is located in Como near that Tate County line. Reed and his wife Sarah Partee Reed still have many descendants in Tate and Panola County today. ----- End of article -------Note: The article also contained the picture of Isaac Deberry and Armintha Reed Puryear standing on the steps of the Lemuel Reid house. Underneath the picture says "Isaac Deberry, left, and his first cousin Armintha Reed Puryear, both of Senatobia, stand on the steps where slave owner Lemuel Reid told their grandfather he was free. About 55 descendants of Bill Reed made the pilgrimage to Abbeville, S.C. to the plantation where their ancestors lived." The second picture is placed in the middle of the article. It is the picture of the welcome sign that says "Welcome to Abbeville Reeds!" that was outside of the Rough House restaurant, owned by Shelley Reid, in downtown Abbeville.Related AuthorsDen article on this site:"Black and White Decendants Make Abbeville SC History" posted by cynth'ya lewis reed. Click Link Below:   

Web Site: Bound For Home

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