Aunt Liz Allred

Aunt Liz Allred holds the hand of two year of Rose Hart Dale as they feed the chickens at the Dale home that once stood where First Christian Church of Livingston is now. This photograph was taken around 1912.


If you haven't been by to visit the Overton County Historical Museum on West Broad Street here in Livingston, you should. The members of that group are to be commended for their efforts and hard work toward preserving much of the history of this area. I was invited to attend a meeting at the Museum a couple of weeks ago, and afterwards, I took a few minutes to browse around. There are many things of interest there, and as I was looking around at the different displays, a particular picture caught my eye. It was a photograph of someone known as "Aunt Liz Allred" holding the hand of a little girl who appears to be around two years old. They are completely surrounded by a large number of some of the fattest Rhode Island Red chickens I believe I've ever seen. In the background of the picture is a hen house, a wood shed, and a cellar. A clothes line with some washing hanging out is also shown. The little girl in the picture is Rose Hart Dale of Livingston. Aunt Liz worked for her parents in the 1900's.

I have not been able to find out a whole lot about Aunt Liz, other than she lived on Spring Street in Livingston. Rose Hart remembers her coming to their home to do the washing and other household chores that needed to be done. The Dale household at that time consisted of father, Jake Bennett Dale, who at one time served as a Justice of the Peace in Overton County; mother, Leila Harris Dale; and children, Charles, Ruby, Leilabel, Rose Hart, and Oscar. The Dale home was located on property on Oakley Street where First Christian Church is now. A large orchard grew near their home, and in front of the house was a gooseberry patch. Students attending Livingston Academy passed by going to and from the dormitories that were in the area of Preston and Fourth Streets. The home of William Harris and wife Susan (Hart) Harris, parents of Leila Harris Dale, and grandparents of Rose Hart, still stands today, and will be remembered by many as the Judge and Lena Dean home on Goodpasture Street. The Hart home wasn't too far from where the Dale home stood.

Even though not much information is known today about Aunt Liz, her obituary published on May 8, 1918, in the local paper reads as follows:

"Colored "Mammy" Dies at Advanced Age"

"Aunt" Liz Allred, a faithful old colored "mammy" whose early life dated back to the Civil War, died Sunday morning after a short illness. She stepped on a nail about a week ago which resulted in blood poison that caused her death. "Aunt" Liz who remembered and related many of the hardships suffered by the South during the war, was one on the few surviving slaves, and possibly the oldest in this section. She did not know her exact age, but she was probably about eighty at the time of her death. The remains of "Aunt" Liz were buried Monday morning in the Cash graveyard."

If it were possible for Aunt Liz to share some of her memories with us today, we would probably be spellbound to hear what all she knew about the Civil War, not to mention the hardships she endured as a slave. If only just a few of her stories could have been written down and preserved, what a wonderful contribution to local history that would have made. And even though in cases such as Aunt Liz, and the fact that there is little information available, the Historical Society is doing a wonderful job of preserving what facts are remembered about many individuals. Along with various displays that demonstrate methods and ways of life that would otherwise be forgotten, there are several books available for purchase that have been complied by local residents. Go by for a visit sometime. It is well worth your time, and I know you'll be as impressed as I was.