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Sarah Gudger and the Buncombe County Slave Deeds Records

In 2013, the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office has opened an exhibit to commemorate the 150-year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and to remember those who were enslaved and their immeasurable contributions to our community.

In every county in North Carolina, the Register of Deeds played a role in cataloging the transactions of slavery in handwritten books. Contained in these handwritten files from the early 1800s are deeds documenting the trading of slaves as property.

One of the stories highlighted in the Slave Deed exhibit is of a slave named Sarah Gudger.

Ms. Gudger was born into slavery in Old Fort, North Carolina but spent the majority of her life in Reems Creek. Her story is one of the only first-hand accounts that we have of slavery in Buncombe County. Buncombe County displays this documentation for the purpose of historical research, family genealogy, education, and to acknowledge that slavery was a part of our County's history. For more information please go to

You can find an interview with Sarah Gudger here.

Sarah Gudger was 121 years old when interviewed in 1937 about her time as a slave in McDowell and Buncombe Counties. She spoke of slaves being torn away from their families by speculators. She described [presumably] the Leonid Meteor Showers of November 12-13, 1833. And she told of soldiers marching past her home during the Civil War.


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