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Rutling, Thomas (1854–1915), singer, was born in Wilson county, Tennessee, USA, on 24 December 1854, into slavery. His father had either run away or been sold before his birth, and his mother was sold when he was three; the fates of both parents were unknown to him. He and two siblings (an older brother and older sister) moved to a new plantation when their master's daughter married. He began working in the fields when he was eight, but soon became a household servant. In 1865, freed by Union soldiers, he joined his brother and sister in ...