Foxworth residents claim resting place of last American slave - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Foxworth residents claim resting place of last American slave discovered

Residents of Marion County stand near unmarked grave they claim is that of the last American slave Residents of Marion County stand near unmarked grave they claim is that of the last American slave
Marion County Museum and Archives prepare monument for unmarked grave Marion County Museum and Archives prepare monument for unmarked grave
MARION COUNTY, MS (WDAM) -

An unmarked grave in Foxworth is believed to be the resting place of Sylvester Magee the last American slave, according to residents of Marion County.

"We know that he was born in a town that doesn't exist anymore named Carpet, North Carolina, and some how or another he was sold into slavery and made his way to south Mississippi," said Curator of the Marion County Museum and Archives, Chris Watts.

Watts says there are not many details known about Magee's life, but Watts says a few years before his death many people tried to prove Magee was the last American slave.

"So far as documentation goes there is not a lot of reliable documentation to suggest that he was or not, but it is clear to the historians of the 60's that according to the things that he said and the things he knew he had to be exactly who he says that he was," said Watts.

Watts added Magee had no records, no birth certificate and he was illiterate, which made his age difficult to decipher, but Watts says according to a recording of Magee's he was born in 1841, and this obituary says he died in 1971.

"Which was a least 130 years old, and the last living slave in America," said Watts.

According to Watts in another recording, Magee revealed that he fought in the Civil War.

"He spent time in the Union Army. He was present at the Siege of Vicksburg. He was at Champions Hill. He talked a lot about that in his interviews," said Watts.

Vice President of the Marion County Historical Society Brandi Perry says, after she and Watts stumble upon Magee's history, and realized he was buried with no headstone only minutes away from Columbia in Foxworth they wanted to something to make sure his life wasn't forgotten.

"If we pass away he get that head stone within two to three weeks. Here he has been gone almost 40 years, and nobody has ever marked his grave. We want it to be a draw for people. We want to put him on the map," said Perry.

Perry says she believes Magee deserves more than a headstone so the museum and society are building a monument at Magee's grave site. Perry says she hopes the monument will be the first step to making sure Magee's story goes down in history.

Copyright 2011 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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