DEATH RELIEVES "AUNT SALLY". ~ Aged Kansas City, Kas., Negress Numbered Friends by the Thousands.

December 17, 1908

Aged Kansas City, Kas., Negress
Numbered Friends by the Thousands.

"Aunt Sally," an aged negress, who was known to almost every person in Kansas City, Kas., died yesterday morning at her home, 644 State avenue. Her exact age is unknown, although she claimed to be 104 years old. According to Mrs. Matilda Endicott, a sister, who lives near Quindaro, "Aunt Sally" came to Wyandotte county from Southern Missouri at the close of the civil war. Her husband, "Uncle George" Smith, died a few years ago and since that time the old woman has lived practically alone. She had been ill for about a month, and had been cared for by friends.

Although born a slave and having for many years earned her living by scrubbing offices and store buildings, "Aunt Sally" enjoyed the distinction of being personally known to thousands of Kansas City, Kas., residents. Among her friends were numbered many of the business and professional people of that city. An incident illustrating the interest taken in her welfare is the fact that when a legal action was begun a few years ago, to get possession of her little home on State avenue, five prominent law firms immediately tendered their services and volunteered to defend her free of charge.

"Aunt Sally" was an earnest politician and a staunch Democrat. She was a great admirer of William Jennings Bryan. It was not an infrequent occurrence, during political campaigns, to find "Aunt Sally" at the center of an excited group of politicians, vigorously proclaiming her views upon local and national issues. She was endowed with a quick wit and never lacked words. Many an unfortunate individual with political aspirations has endeavored, in a street meeting of this character, to match his wit against that of the ex-slave with the invariable result that he has been glad to make good his escape, followed by the stinging shafts of sarcasm, mingled with the taunting jeers of the crowd, which was ever ready to champion the cause of the old negress.

But it was not her political attainments that endeared her to the many persons who sincerely mourn her loss. Although bent and feeble with age, scarcely able to drag one foot after the other as she plodded her weary way to and from her work, "Aunt Sally" never forgot the characteristic politeness of the old Southern negro. The business man or high school boy who, with lifted hat, greeted the old negress as she shuffled down the street dragging a piece of dry goods box or other piece of kindling, was sure to be rewarded with a stately bow, an appreciative flash of joy from the tired eyes and a softly murmured, "How-de-do, mister," from the highly flattered woman. Among many of the older residents for whom "Aunt Sally" worked as a domestic in her younger days, it is said that no thoughtful act of kindness was ever forgotten by the ex-slave.