George Mackey was one of the family leaders of the 14 Families that established St. John Colony. He was born into slavery in Tipper County, Mississippi, on December 25, 1844, to Joe and Liza Mackey. George was four years old when his master’s brother-in-law, Clayborn Harris, gave him a wash pan to pick cotton, but George fell asleep. When Clayborn Harris caught George asleep, he spits chewing tobacco juice in his eyes. He had seven brothers and sisters. They were Joe Mackey, Jr., Oscar Mackey, Ned ‘Ed’ Mackey, “Big’ Green Mackey, Elsie Mackey-Roland, Mary Mackey-Anderson, and James Mackey.


Winnie was brought to Texas from Alabama during slavery. She didn’t remember much about her mother, but her father was named Andy. George married Winnie Barton or Allen on December 27, 1866, in Bastrop County, Texas. George said his mother’s maiden name was Barton, but her maiden name is Allen on the marriage certificate. They had one child’ Lewis Mackey, Sr. Winnie’s boss, George Warren, gave them a refined wedding party with barbeque, cakes, and pies.


George and Winnie purchased 190 acres of land more or less in St. John Colony. His first job was doing odd jobs on Delia Oliver’s farm. Then he started sharecropping, and after that, he began farming for himself for the next sixty years.


At the age of 94, George died on April 13, 1939, in Austin, Texas, at 809 East 13th Street. He is buried in the St. John Colony cemetery with Winnie, who died November 9, 1925.


Source: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938
Louis Simms