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A good Old Colored Man and Former Slave Passes Away.

   James Bedford, or Bedford Mobley, as he was perhaps better known, a colored man, whose age is somewhere between 65 and 75 years of age, died at the home of his son-in-law, in this city this forenoon. Uncle Bedford has quite a history, and is known by almost every old citizen of Nevada and Vernon county, he having lived here since the year 1850. Bedford was formerly the property of Squire H. P. Mobley, of this city, who perhaps knows his history better than any other person. A reporter of the Mail hearing of the old colored man’s death sought Judge Mobley, who gives the following history of Uncle Bedford’s life:

     “Well,” said the Judge, “I bought Bedford at auction from a block in Hickman county, Ky., in the year of 1850, at a public administrator’s sale, paying $770 cash in hand. There were several others sold at the same time—I think about a dozen. He was a native of Virginia and was taken to Kentucky in his early youth. He was a married man when he came into my possession, and when I got ready to leave Kentucky and come to this state, I told Bedford if he liked he could pick him out a master, and I would sell him to anyone he might choose, as I did not want to take him away from his wife. This he refused to do and I brought him out here, leaving his wife behind. I did not want to sell him against his own will, and brought him to this county in the year of 1857. A little later on he married a woman belonging to Richard Butler, who now lives in Badger township. By this marriage he was the father of eight children, I think most of whom now live in this county. He had no children by his first wife. His second wife died later on, and he has since lived among his children. He belonged to me till set free by Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863, and lived at my house as usual for three years after this. He then went to work for himself and saved enough money to buy 40 acres of land in Badger township, which he still owned at the time of his death. The land is worth considerable now.”

   “How old was Uncle Bedford?” asked the reporter.

   “According to the record of his former owner, I should judge he was about 65 years old, or about 7 years younger than myself.”

   “He was a good negro,” continued the Judge, “and I never would have sold him against his own will.”

   Frank Moore, who has known Bedford ever since he (Moore) can remember said, on hearing of his death: “When I was 4 years old, which is now forty-five years ago, Uncle Bedford let me smoke his pipe, which made me so sick my mother had to send for the doctor, who charged four dollars for his visit and the medicine furnished. I can remember it very distinctly, and considered Uncle Bedford an old man then.”

   There is considerable speculation as to his exact age, but Judge Mobley is certain it is not more than 70 years. His remains will be buried to-morrow.

The Nevada Daily Mail, Nevada, Vernon Co., Missouri.  Thursday, September 15, 1887.



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