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Bethany Veney
The Narrative of Bethany Veney: A Slave Woman
Worcester, Mass: [s.n.] ; (Boston : Press of Geo. H. Ellis), 1889


The following annotations to The Narrative of Bethany Veney: A Slave Woman were compiled in the fall 2000 by Crystal Ervin and C'Cora Thomas, first-year students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as a class project in Professor William L. Andrews's First-Year Seminar on Slavery and Freedom in African American Literature and Film. We welcome any corrections, additions, or suggested revisions of these annotations. Send feedback to


WashingtonGeorge Washington (1732-1799), hero of the American Revolution and the first president of the United States.

JeffersonThomas Jefferson (1743-1826), author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States.

Patrick HenryPatrick Henry (1736-1799), American Revolutionary patriot famous for his 1775 "Give me liberty, or give me death" oration.

NewportA seaport and summer resort in southeastern Rhode Island.


"in fifteen out of thirty two States"The eleven states of the Confederate States of America, plus the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and Delaware, were the fifteen slave states alluded to.

threescore years and ten70 years, 1 score equaling 20 years.

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Luraya town in northern Virginia. Although Bethany Veney's birthdate is uncertain, she was probably born around 1812.

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Jim CrowA character in a minstrel performance.

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Powell's Forta town near Front Royal in northern Virginia.

Camp meetingA religious meeting held in a tent or in the open air.

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Blue Ridgea mountain range in western Virginia.

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Staunton, Va.a town in northwestern Virginia.

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the Passa narrow route across a depression in a mountain barrier.

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fodderfood for livestock.

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Richmondthe state capitol in central Virginia.

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SaviourJesus Christ.

CharlottevilleCharlottesville, a town in northwestern Virginia about 70 miles from Richmond.

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bilioussick, often suffering from trouble with the bile or liver.

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the pikea toll road or turnpike.

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spura ridge projecting from the main body of a mountain.

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God moves...The first two lines of "Light Shining out of Darkness," a hymn by the English poet William Cowper (1731-1800).

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smeltering-millA place where iron ore is heated to form metal.

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John BrownAmerican abolitionist (1800-1859), leader of a raid at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, where he was hanged on Dec. 2, 1859.

War of RebellionThe American Civil War (1861-1865).

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Worcester, Mass.a town in central Massachusetts.

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house of bondagethe South, the land of slavery. Exodus 13:3.

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"A stranger and he took me in"Matthew 24:35.

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Rev. Erastus Spaulding (1806-1897)A Methodist minister who headed churches in Worcester, Massachusetts.

"made an heir of God; and a joint heir with Christ"Romans 8: 17.