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Title: Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States - From Interviews with Former Slaves - South Carolina Narratives, Part 1
Author: Work Projects Administration
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States - From Interviews with Former Slaves - South Carolina Narratives, Part 1" ***

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produced from images generously made available by the
Library of Congress, Manuscript Division)


_A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with
Former Slaves_






Administration for the State of South Carolina

|              TRANSCRIBER NOTES:                     |
|To reflect the individual character of this document,|
|inconsistencies in formatting have been retained.    |
|                                                     |
|[HW:  ] denotes a handwritten note.                  |


  Abrams, M. E.                                                        1

  Adams, Ezra                                                          5

  Adams, Mary                                                          9

  Adams, Victoria                                                     10

  Adamson, Frank                                                      13

  Andrews, Frances                                                17, 18

  Arthur, Pete                                                        19

  Bacchus, Josephine                                                  20

  Ballard, William                                                    26

  Barber, Charley                                                     29

  Barber, Ed                                                          34

  Barber, Millie                                                      38

  Bates, Anderson                                                     42

  Bates, Millie                                                       46

  Bees, Welcome                                                       48

  Bell, Anne                                                          51

  Bevis, Caroline                                                     55

  Black, Maggie                                                       57

  Bluford, Fordon                                                     62

  Boulware, Samuel                                                    65

  Boyd, John                                                          70

  Bradley, Jane                                                       74

  Brice, Andy                                                         75

  Briggs, George                                              80, 89, 93

  Bristow, Josephine                                                  98

  Broome, Anne                                                       104

  Brown, Hagar                                             107, 112, 115

  Brown, Henry                                                  118, 122

  Brown, John C.                                                     127

  Brown, Mary Frances                                           131, 134

  Brown, Sara                                                   137, 141

  Bryant, Margaret                                                   143

  Burrell, Savilla                                                   149

  Burton, C. B.                                                      152

  Butler, George Ann                                                 153

  Butler, Isaiah                                                     155

  Butler, Solbert                                                    161

  Cain, Granny                                                  166, 168

  Caldwell, Laura                                                    169

  Caldwell, Solomon                                                  170

  Cameron, Nelson                                                    172

  Campbell, Thomas                                                   176

  Cannon, Sylvia                                                180, 187

  Caroline, Albert                                                   197

  Chisolm, Silvia                                                    199

  Chisolm, Tom                                                       201

  Cleland, Maria                                                     204

  Clifton, Peter                                                     205

  Coleman, Henry                                                     210

  Coleman, Rev. Tuff                                                 216

  Collier, Louisa                                                    218

  Collins, John                                                      224

  Corry, Bouregard                                                   227

  Craig, Caleb                                                       229

  Cunningham, Dinah                                                  234

  Daniels, Lucy                                                      238

  Davenport, John N.                                                 240

  Davenport, Moses                                                   244

  Davis, Charlie                                                     245

  Davis, Charlie                                                     250

  Davis, Heddie                                                      254

  Davis, Henry                                                       260

  Davis, Jesse                                                       263

  Davis, Lizzie                                            267, 288, 293

  Davis, Louisa                                                      299

  Davis, Wallace                                                304, 306

  Davis, William Henry                                               308

  Dawkins, Elias                                                     313

  Dill, Will                                                         319

  Dixon, Thomas                                                      324

  Dorroh, Isabella                                                   326

  Downing, Laurence                                                  329

  Dozier, Washington                                                 330

  Duke, Alice                                                        336

  Durant, Silva (Sylvia)                                        337, 342

       *       *       *       *       *

  Project 1885-1
  From Field Notes.
  District No. 4.
  April 27, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"Marse Glenn had 64 slaves. On Sat'day night, de darkies would have a
little fun on de side. A way off from de big house, down in de pastur'
dar wuz about de bigges' gully what I is ebber seed. Dat wuz de place
whar us collected mos' ev'ry Sa'day night fer our lil' mite o' fun frum
de white folks hearin'. Sometime it wuz so dark dat you could not see de
fingers on yo' han' when you would raise it fo' your face. Dem wuz sho'
schreechy nights; de schreechiest what I is ever witnessed, in all o' my
born natu'al days. Den of cose, dar wuz de moonlight nights when a darky
could see; den he see too much. De pastur' wuz big and de trees made
dark spots in it on de brightest nights. All kind o' varmints tuck and
hollered at ye as ye being gwine along to reach dat gully. Cose us would
go in droves sometime, and den us would go alone to de gully sometime.
When us started together, look like us would git parted 'fo we reach de
gully all together. One of us see som'tin and take to runnin'. Maybe de
other darkies in de drove, de wouldn't see nothin' jes den. Dats zactly
how it is wid de spirits. De mout (might) sho de'self to you and not to
me. De acts raal queer all de way round. Dey can take a notion to scare
de daylights outtin you when you is wid a gang; or dey kin scare de
whole gang; den, on de other hand, dey kin sho de'self off to jes two or
three. It ain't never no knowin' as to how and when dem things is gwine
to come in your path right fo your very eyes; specially when you is
partakin' in some raal dark secret whar you is planned to act raal sof'
and quiet like all de way through.

"Dem things bees light on dark nights; de shines de'self jes like dese
'lectric lights does out dar in dat street ever' night, 'cept dey is a
scaird waary light dat dey shines wid. On light nights, I is seed dem
look, furs dark like a tree shad'er; den dey gits raal scairy white.
T'aint no use fer white folks to low dat it ain't no haints, an'
grievements dat follows ye all around, kaise I is done had to many
'spriences wid dem. Den dare is dese young niggers what ain't fit to be
called darkies, dat tries to ac' eddicated, and says dat it ain't any
spe'rits dat walks de earth. When dey lows dat to me, I rolls my old
eyes at dem an' axes dem how comes dey runs so fas' through de woods at
night. Yes sirree, dem fool niggers sees dem jes as I does. Raaly de
white folks doesn't have eyes fer sech as we darkies does; but dey bees
dare jes de same.

"Never mindin' all o' dat, we n'used to steal our hog ever' sa'day night
and take off to de gully whar us'd git him dressed and barbecued.
Niggers has de mos'es fun at a barbecue dat dare is to be had. As none
o' our gang didn't have no 'ligion, us never felt no scruples bout not
gettin de 'cue' ready fo' Sunday. Us'd git back to de big house along in
de evenin' o' Sunday. Den Marse, he come out in de yard an' low whar wuz
you niggers dis mornin'. How come de chilluns had to do de work round
here. Us would tell some lie bout gwine to a church 'siety meetin'. But
we got raal scairt and mose 'cided dat de best plan wuz to do away wid
de barbecue in de holler. Conjin 'Doc.' say dat he done put a spell on
ole Marse so dat he wuz 'blevin ev'y think dat us tole him bout Sa'day
night and Sunday morning. Dat give our minds 'lief; but it turned out
dat in a few weeks de Marse come out from under de spell. Doc never
even knowed nothin' bout it. Marse had done got to countin' his hogs
ever' week. When he cotch us, us wuz all punished wid a hard long task.
Dat cured me o' believing in any conjuring an' charmin' but I still
kno's dat dare is haints; kaise ever time you goes to dat gully at
night, up to dis very day, you ken hear hogs still gruntin' in it, but
you can't see nothing.

"After Marse Glenn tuck and died, all o' de white folks went off and
lef' de plantation. Some mo' folks dat wuz not o' quality, come to live
dare an' run de plantation. It wuz done freedom den. Wo'nt long fo dem
folks pull up and lef' raal onexpected like. I doesn't recollect what
dey went by, fat is done slipped my mind; but I must 'av knowed. But dey
lowed dat de house wuz to draffy and dat dey couldn't keep de smoke in
de chimney an' dat de doo's would not stay shet. Also dey lowed dat
folks prowled aroun' in de yard in de night time a keepin' dem awake.

"Den Marse Glenn's boys put Mammy in de house to keep it fer 'em. But
Lawd God! Mammy said dat de furs night she stayed dare de haints nebber
let her git not narr'y mite o' sleep. Us all had lowed dat wuz de raal
reason dem white folks lef out so fas'. When Mammy could not live in dat
big house whar she had stayed fer years, it won't no use fer nobody else
to try. Mammy low dat it de Marse a lookin' fer his money what he done
tuck and burried and de boys couldn't find no sign o' it. Atter dat, de
sons tuck an' tacked a sign on de front gate, offering $200.00 to de
man, white or black, dat would stay dar and fin' out whar dat money wuz
burried. Our preacher, the Rev. Wallace, lowed dat he would stay dar and
find out whar dat money wuz from de spirits. He knowed dat dey wuz tryin
to sho de spot what dat money wuz.

"He went to bed. A dog began running down dem steps; and a black cat run
across de room dat turned to white befo' it run into de wall. Den a pair
of white horses come down de stairway a rattling chains fer harness.
Next a woman dressed in white come in dat room. Brother Wallace up and
lit out dat house and he never went back no mo'.

"Another preacher tried stayin' dar. He said he gwine to keep his head
kivered plum up. Some'tin unkivered it and he seed a white goat a
grinnin' at him. But as he wuz a brave man and trus' de Lawd, he lowed,
'What you want wid me nohow?' The goat said, 'what is you doin' here.
Raise, I knows dat you ain't sleep.' De preacher say, 'I wants you to
tell me what ole Marse don tuck and hid dat money?' De goat grin and
low, 'How come you don' look under your pillar, sometime?' Den he run
away. De preacher hopped up and looked under de pillar, and dar wuz de
money sho nuf. Peers like it wuz de one on de lef' end o' de back porch,
but I jes remembers 'bout dat."

Source: Mrs. M. E. Abrams, Whitmire, S. C.; told her by old "uncle"
"Mad" Griffin, Whitmire, (Col. 82 yrs.) Interviewer: Caldwell Sims,
Union, S. C. 2/25/37.

  Project #1655
  Henry Grant
  Columbia, S. C.


Ezra Adams is incapable of self-support, owing to ill health. He is very
well taken care of by a niece, who lives on the Caughman land just off
S. C. #6, and near Swansea, S. C.

"My mammy and pappy b'long to Marster Lawrence Adams, who had a big
plantation in de eastern part of Lancaster County. He died four years
after de Civil War and is buried right dere on de old plantation, in de
Adams family burying grounds. I was de oldest of de five chillun in our
family. I 'members I was a right smart size plowboy, when freedom come.
I think I must of been 'bout ten or eleven years old, then. Dere's one
thing I does know; de Yankees didn't tech our plantation, when they come
through South Carolina. Up in de northern part of de county they sho'
did destroy most all what folks had.

"You ain't gwine to believe dat de slaves on our plantation didn't stop
workin' for old marster, even when they was told dat they was free. Us
didn't want no more freedom than us was gittin' on our plantation
already. Us knowed too well dat us was well took care of, wid a plenty
of vittles to eat and tight log and board houses to live in. De slaves,
where I lived, knowed after de war dat they had abundance of dat
somethin' called freedom, what they could not wat, wear, and sleep in.
Yes, sir, they soon found out dat freedom ain't nothin', 'less you is
got somethin' to live on and a place to call home. Dis livin' on liberty
is lak young folks livin' on love after they gits married. It just don't
work. No, sir, it las' so long and not a bit longer. Don't tell me! It
sho' don't hold good when you has to work, or when you gits hongry. You
knows dat poor white folks and niggers has got to work to live,
regardless of liberty, love, and all them things. I believes a person
loves more better, when they feels good. I knows from experience dat
poor folks feels better when they has food in deir frame and a few dimes
to jingle in deir pockets. I knows what it means to be a nigger, wid
nothin'. Many times I had to turn every way I knowed to git a bite to
eat. I didn't care much 'bout clothes. What I needed in sich times was
food to keep my blood warm and gwine 'long.

"Boss, I don't want to think, and I knows I ain't gwine to say a word,
not a word of evil against deir dust lyin' over yonder in deir graves. I
was old enough to know what de passin' 'way of old marster and missus
meant to me. De very stream of lifeblood in me was dryin' up, it 'peared
lak. When marster died, dat was my fust real sorrow. Three years later,
missus passed 'way, dat was de time of my second sorrow. Then, I 'minded
myself of a little tree out dere in de woods in November. Wid every
sharp and cold wind of trouble dat blowed, more leaves of dat tree turnt
loose and went to de ground, just lak they was tryin' to follow her. It
seem lak, when she was gone, I was just lak dat tree wid all de leaves
gone, naked and friendless. It took me a long time to git over all dat;
same way wid de little tree, it had to pass through winter and wait on
spring to see life again.

"I has farmed 'most all my life and, if I was not so old, I would be
doin' dat same thing now. If a poor man wants to enjoy a little freedom,
let him go on de farm and work for hisself. It is sho' worth somethin'
to be boss, and, on de farm you can be boss all you want to, 'less de
man 'low his wife to hold dat 'portant post. A man wid a good wife, one
dat pulls wid him, can see and feel some pleasure and experience some
independence. But, bless your soul, if he gits a woman what wants to be
both husband and wife, fare-you-well and good-bye, too, to all love,
pleasure, and independence; 'cause you sho' is gwine to ketch hell here
and no mild climate whenever you goes 'way. A bad man is worse, but a
bad woman is almost terrible.

"White man, dere is too many peoples in dese big towns and cities. Dere
is more of them than dere is jobs to make a livin' wid. When some of
them find out dat they can't make a livin', they turns to mischief, de
easy way they thinks, takin' widout pay or work, dat which b'longs to
other people. If I understands right, de fust sin dat was committed in
de world was de takin' of somethin' dat didn't b'long to de one what
took it. De gentleman what done dis was dat man Adam, back yonder in de
garden. If what Adam done back yonder would happen now, he would be
guilty of crime. Dat's how 'ciety names sin. Well, what I got to say is
dis: If de courts, now, would give out justice and punishment as quick
as dat what de Good Master give to Adam, dere would be less crime in de
land I believes. But I 'spose de courts would be better if they had de
same jurisdiction as de Master has. Yes, sir, they would be gwine some

"I tells you, dis gittin' what don't b'long to you is de main cause of
dese wars and troubles 'bout over dis world now. I hears de white folks
say dat them Japanese is doin' dis very thing today in fightin' them
Chinamens. Japan say dat China has done a terrible crime against them
and de rest of de world, when it ain't nothin' but dat they wants
somethin' what don't belong to them, and dat somethin' is to git more
country. I may be wrong, anyhow, dat is what I has heard.

"What does I think de colored people need most? If you please sir, I
want to say dis. I ain't got much learnin', 'cause dere was no schools
hardly 'round where I was brung up, but I thinks dat good teachers and
work is what de colored race needs worser than anything else. If they
has learnin', they will be more ashame to commit crime, most of them
will be; and, if they has work to do, they ain't gwine to have time to
do so much wrong. Course dere is gwine to be black sheeps in most
flocks, and it is gwine to take patience to git them out, but they will
come out, just as sho' as you is born.

"Is de colored people superstitious? Listen at dat. You makes me laugh.
All dat foolishness fust started wid de black man. De reason they is
superstitious comes from nothin' but stomp-down ignorance. De white
chillun has been nursed by colored women and they has told them stories
'bout hants and sich lak. So de white chillun has growed up believin'
some of dat stuff 'til they natchally pass it on from generation to
generation. Here we is, both white and colored, still believin' some of
them lies started back when de whites fust come to have de blacks 'round

"If you wants to know what I thinks is de best vittles, I's gwine to be
obliged to omit (admit) dat it is cabbage sprouts in de spring, and it
is collard greens after frost has struck them. After de best vittles,
dere come some more what is mighty tasty, and they is hoghead and
chittlings wid 'tatoes and turnips. Did you see dat? Here I is talkin'
'bout de joys of de appetite and water drapping from my mouth. I sho'
must be gittin' hongry. I lak to eat. I has been a good eater all my
life, but now I is gittin' so old dat 'cordin' to de scriptures, 'De
grinders cease 'cause they are few', and too, 'Those dat look out de
windows be darkened'. My old eyes and teeth is 'bout gone, and if they
does go soon, they ain't gwine to beat dis old frame long, 'cause I is
gwine to soon follow, I feels. I hope when I does go, I can be able to
say what dat great General Stonewall Jackson say when he got kilt in de
Civil War, 'I is gwine to cross de river and rest under de shade of de

[~HW: Ezra Adams, Swansea (about 10m. south of Columbia)~]

  Project 1885-1.
  Folk Lore
  District No. 4.
  May 27, 1937.
  Edited by: J. J. Murray.


"Aunt" Mary Adams was swinging easily back and forth in the porch swing
as the writer stopped to speak to her. When questioned, she replied that
she and her mother were ex-slaves and had belonged to Dr. C. E. Fleming.
She was born in Columbia, but they were moved to Glenn Springs where her
mother cooked for Dr. Fleming.

She remembers going with a white woman whose husband was in jail, to
carry him something to eat. She said that Mr. Jim Milster was in that
jail, but he lived to get out, and later kept a tin shop in Spartanburg.

"Yes sir, Dr. Fleming always kept enough for us Niggers to eat during
the war. He was good to us. You know he married Miss Dean. Do you know
Mrs. Lyles, Mrs. Simpson, Mr. Ed Fleming? Well, dey are my chilluns.

"Some man here told me one day that I was ninety years old, but I do not
believe I am quite that old. I don't know how old I am, but I was
walking during slavery times. I can't work now, for my feet hurt me and
my fingers ain't straight."

She said all of her children were dead but two, that she knew of. She
said that she had a room in that house and white people gave her
different things. As the writer told her good-bye, she said, "Good-bye,
and may the Lord bless you".

  Source: "Aunt" Mary Adams, 363 S. Liberty Street, Spartanburg, S. C.
          Interviewer: F. S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S. C.

  Project #1655
  Everett R. Pierce
  Columbia, S. C.


"You ask me to tell you something 'bout myself and de slaves in slavery
times? Well Missy, I was borned a slave, nigh on to ninety years ago,
right down here at Cedar Creek, in Fairfield County.

"My massa's name was Samuel Black and missus was named Martha. She used
to be Martha Kirkland befo' she married. There was five chillun in de
family; they was: Alice, Manning, Sally, Kirkland, and de baby, Eugene.
De white folks live in a great big house up on a hill; it was right
pretty, too.

"You wants to know how large de plantation was I lived on? Well, I don't
know 'zackly but it was mighty large. There was forty of us slaves in
all and it took all of us to keep de plantation goin'. De most of de
niggers work in de field. They went to work as soon as it git light
enough to see how to git 'round; then when twelve o'clock come, they all
stops for dinner and don't go back to work 'til two. All of them work on
'til it git almost dark. No ma'am, they ain't do much work at night
after they gits home.

"Massa Samuel ain't had no overseer, he look after his own plantation.
My old granddaddy help him a whole heap though. He was a good nigger and
massa trust him.

"After de crops was all gathered, de slaves still had plenty of work to
do. I stayed in de house wid de white folks. De most I had to do was to
keep de house clean up and nurse de chillun. I had a heap of pretty
clothes to wear, 'cause my missus give me de old clothes and shoes dat
Missy Sally throw 'way.

"De massa and missus was good to me but sometime I was so bad they had
to whip me. I 'members she used to whip me every time she tell me to do
something and I take too long to move 'long and do it. One time my
missus went off on a visit and left me at home. When she come back,
Sally told her that I put on a pair of Bubber's pants and scrub de floor
wid them on. Missus told me it was a sin for me to put on a man's pants,
and she whip me pretty bad. She say it's in de Bible dat: 'A man shall
not put on a woman's clothes, nor a woman put on a man's clothes'. I
ain't never see that in de Bible though, but from then 'til now, I ain't
put on no more pants.

"De grown-up slaves was punished sometime too. When they didn't feel
like taking a whippin' they went off in de woods and stay 'til massa's
hounds track them down; then they'd bring them out and whip them. They
might as well not run away. Some of them never come back a-tall, don't
know what become of them. We ain't had no jail for slaves; never ain't
see none in chains neither. There was a guard-house right in de town but
us niggers never was carried to it. You ask me if I ever see a slave
auctioned off? Yes ma'am, one time. I see a little girl 'bout ten years
old sold to a soldier man. Dis soldier man was married and didn't had no
chillun and he buy dis little girl to be company for his wife and to
help her wid de house work.

"White folks never teach us to read nor write much. They learned us our
A, B, C's, and teach us to read some in de testament. De reason they
wouldn't teach us to read and write, was 'cause they was afraid de
slaves would write their own pass and go over to a free county. One old
nigger did learn enough to write his pass and got 'way wid it and went
up North.

"Missus Martha sho' did look after de slaves good when they was sick. Us
had medicine made from herbs, leaves and roots; some of them was
cat-nip, garlic root, tansy, and roots of burdock. De roots of burdock
soaked in whiskey was mighty good medicine. We dipped asafetida in
turpentine and hung it 'round our necks to keep off disease.

"Befo' de Yankees come thru, our peoples had let loose a lot of our
hosses and de hosses strayed over to de Yankee side, and de Yankee men
rode de hosses back over to our plantation. De Yankees asked us if we
want to be free. I never say I did; I tell them I want to stay wid my
missus and they went on and let me alone. They 'stroyed most everything
we had 'cept a little vittles; took all de stock and take them wid them.
They burned all de buildings 'cept de one de massa and missus was livin'

"It wasn't long after de Yankees went thru dat our missus told us dat we
don't b'long to her and de massa no more. None of us left dat season. I
got married de next year and left her. I like being free more better.
Any niggers what like slavery time better, is lazy people dat don't want
to do nothing.

"I married Fredrick Adams; he used to b'long to Miss Tenny Graddick but
after he was freed he had to take another name. Mr. Jess Adams, a good
fiddler dat my husband like to hang 'round, told him he could take his
name if he wanted to and dats how he got de name of Adams. Us had four
chillun; only one livin', dat Lula. She married John Entzminger and got
several chillun. My gran'chillun a heap of comfort to me."

  Home Address:
  Colonial Heights,
  Columbia, S. C.

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


"I 'members when you was barefoot at de bottom; now I see you a settin'
dere, gittin' bare at de top, as bare as de palm of my hand.

"I's been 'possum huntin' wid your pappy, when he lived on de Wateree,
just after de war. One night us got into tribulation, I tells you! 'Twas
'bout midnight when de dogs make a tree. Your pappy climb up de tree,
git 'bout halfway up, heard sumpin' dat once you hears it you never
forgits, and dats de rattlin' of de rattles on a rattle snake's tail. Us
both 'stinctly hear dat sound! What us do? Me on de ground, him up de
tree, but where de snake? Dat was de misery, us didn't know. Dat snake
give us fair warnin' though! Marster Sam (dats your pa) 'low: 'Frank,
ease down on de ground; I'll just stay up here for a while.' I lay on
them leaves, skeered to make a russle. Your pa up de tree skeered to go
up or down! Broad daylight didn't move us. Sun come up, he look all
'round from his vantage up de tree, then come down, not 'til then, do I
gits on my foots.

"Then I laugh and laugh and laugh, and ask Marster Sam how he felt.
Marster Sam kinda frown and say: 'Damn I feels like hell! Git up dat
tree! Don't you see dat 'possum up dere?' I say: 'But where de snake,
Marster?' He say: 'Dat rattler done gone home, where me and you and dat
'possum gonna be pretty soon!'

"I b'longs to de Peays. De father of them all was, Korshaw Peay. My
marster was his son, Nicholas; he was a fine man to just look at. My
mistress was always tellin' him 'bout how fine and handsome-like he was.
He must of got use to it; howsomever, marster grin every time she talk
like dat.

"My pappy was bought from de Adamson peoples; they say they got him off
de ship from Africa. He sho' was a man; he run all de other niggers 'way
from my mammy and took up wid her widout askin' de marster. Her name was
Lavinia. When us got free, he 'sisted on Adamson was de name us would go
by. He name was William Adamson. Yes sir! my brothers was: Justus,
Hillyard, and Donald, and my sisters was, Martha and Lizzettie.

"'Deed I did work befo' freedom. What I do? Hoed cotton, pick cotton,
'tend to calves and slop de pigs, under de 'vision of de overseer. Who
he was? First one name Mr. Cary, he a good man. Another one Mr. Tim
Gladden, burn you up whenever he just take a notion to pop his whip. Us
boys run 'round in our shirt tails. He lak to see if he could lift de
shirt tail widout techin' de skin. Just as often as not, though, he tech
de skin. Little boy holler and Marster Tim laugh.

"Us live in quarters. Our beds was nailed to de sides of de house. Most
of de chillun slept on pallets on de floor. Got water from a big spring.

"De white folks 'tend to you all right. Us had two doctors, Doctor
Carlisle and Doctor James.

"I see some money, but never own any then. Had plenty to eat: Meat,
bread, milk, lye hominy, horse apples, turnips, collards, pumpkins, and
dat kind of truck.

"Was marster rich? How come he wasn't? He brag his land was ten miles
square and he had a thousand slaves. Them poor white folks looked up to
him lak God Almighty; they sho' did. They would have stuck their hands
in de fire if he had of asked them to do it. He had a fish pond on top
of de house and terraces wid strawberries, all over de place. See them
big rock columns down dere now? Dats all dats left of his grandness and
greatness. They done move de whippin' post dat was in de backyard. Yes
sah, it was a 'cessity wid them niggers. It stood up and out to 'mind
them dat if they didn't please de master and de overseer, they'd hug dat
post, and de lend of dat whip lash gwine to flip to de hide of dat back
of their's.

"I ain't a complainin'. He was a good master, bestest in de land, but he
just have to have a whippin' post, 'cause you'll find a whole passle of
bad niggers when you gits a thousand of them in one flock.

"Screech owl holler? Women and men turn socks and stockings wrong side
out quick, dat they did, do it now, myself. I's black as a crow but I's
got a white folks heart. Didn't ketch me foolin' 'round wid niggers in
radical times. I's as close to white folks then as peas in a pod. Wore
de red shirt and drunk a heap of brandy in Columbia, dat time us went
down to General Hampton into power. I 'clare I hollered so loud goin'
'long in de procession, dat a nice white lady run out one of de houses
down dere in Columbia, give me two biscuits and a drum stick of chicken,
patted me on de shoulder, and say: 'Thank God for all de big black men
dat can holler for Governor Hampton as loud as dis one does.' Then I
hollers some more for to please dat lady, though I had to take de half
chawed chicken out dis old mouth, and she laugh 'bout dat 'til she
cried. She did!

"Well, I'll be rockin' 'long balance of dese days, a hollerin' for Mr.
Roosevelt, just as loud as I holler then for Hampton.

"My young marsters was: Austin, Tom, and Nicholas; they was all right
'cept they tease you too hard maybe some time, and want to mix in wid de
'fairs of slave 'musements.

"Now what make you ask dat? Did me ever do any courtin'? You knows I
did. Every he thing from a he king down to a bunty rooster gits cited
'bout she things. I's lay wake many nights 'bout sich things. It's de
nature of a he, to take after de she. They do say dat a he angel ain't
got dis to worry 'bout.

"I fust courted Martha Harrison. Us marry and jine de church. Us had
nine chillun; seven of them livin'. A woman can't stand havin' chillun,
lak a man. Carryin', sucklin', and 'tending to them wore her down, dat,
wid de malaria of de Wateree brung her to her grave.

"I sorrow over her for weeks, maybe five months, then I got to thinking
how I'd pair up wid dis one and dat one and de other one. Took to
shavin' again and gwine to Winnsboro every Saturday, and different
churches every Sunday. I hear a voice from de choir, one Sunday, dat
makes me sit up and take notice of de gal on de off side in front. Well
sir! a spasm of fright fust hit me dat I might not git her, dat I was
too old for de likes of her, and dat some no 'count nigger might be in
de way. In a few minutes I come to myself. I rise right up, walked into
dat choir, stand by her side, and wid dis voice of mine, dat always
'tracts 'tention, jined in de hymn and out sung them all. It was easy
from dat time on.

"I marry Kate at de close of dat revival. De day after de weddin', what
you reckon? Don't know? Well, after gittin' breakfas' she went to de
field, poke 'round her neck, basket on her head and picked two hundred
pounds of cotton. Dats de kind of woman she is."

  Project 1815-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  June 10, 1937
  Edited by: Elmer Turnage


"I was born in Newberry County, S. C., near Belfast, about 1854. I was a
slave of John Wallace. I was the only child, and when a small child, my
mother was sold to Joe Liggins by my old master, Bob Adams. It is said
that the old brick house where the Wallaces lived was built by a
Eichleberger, but Dr. John Simpson lived there and sold it to Mr.
Wallace. In the attic was an old skeleton which the children thought
bewitched the house. None of them would go upstairs by themselves. I
suppose old Dr. Simpson left it there. Sometimes later, it was taken out
and buried. Marse Wallace had many slaves and kept them working, but he
was not a strict master.

"I married Allen Andrews after the war. He went to the war with his
master. He was at Columbia with the Confederate troops when Sherman
burnt the place. Some of them, my husband included, was captured and
taken to Richmond Va. They escaped and walked back home, but all but
five or six fell out or died.

"My young master, Editor Bill Wallace, a son of Marse John, was a
soldier. When he was sick at home, I fanned the flies from him with a
home-made fan of peacock feathers, sewed to a long cane.

"After the war, the 'bush-whackers', called Ku Klux, rode there.
Preacher Pitts' brother was one. They went to negro houses and killed
the people. They wore caps over the head and eyes, but no long white
gowns. An old muster ground was above there about three miles, near what
is now Wadsworth school."

  Source: Frances Andrews (col. 83), Newberry, S. C
          Interviewer: G. Leland Summer, Newberry, S. C.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  Sept. 22, 1937
  Edited by: Elmer Turnage


"I live in a comfortable two-room cottage which my son owns. I can't do
much work except a little washing and ironing. My grandchildren live
with me. My other children help me a little when I need it. I heard
about the 40 acres of land and a mule the ex-slaves would get after the
war, but I didn't pay any attention to it. They never got anything. I
think this was put out by the Yankees who didn't care about much 'cept
getting money for themselves.

"I come from the Indian Creek section of Newberry County. After about
1880 when things got natural, some of the slaves from this section
rented small one-horse farms and made their own money and living. Some
would rent small tracts of land on shares, giving the landlord one-half
the crop for use of the land.

"Everything is changed so much. I never learned to read and write and
all I know is what I heard in old times. But I think the younger
generation of negroes is different from what they used to be. They go
where they want to and do what they want to and don't pay much attention
to old folks anymore.

"My mother's mother come from Virginia and my mother's father was born
and raised in this county. I don't remember anything about the Nat
Turner Rebellion, and never heard anything about it. We never had any
slave up-risings in our neighborhood."

  Source: Frances Andrews (83), Newberry, S. C.
          Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. 8/11/37.

  Spartanburg, S. C.
  District No. 4
  May 27, 1937.
  Edited by
  R. V. Williams
  [~HW: Lambrigh~]

  Folk Lore: Folk Tales (negro)

"I was 'bout nine year ole when de big war broke loose. My pa and ma
'longed to de Scotts what libbed in Jonesville Township. When I got big
'nough to work, I was gib to de youngest Scott boy. Soon atter dis,
Sherman come through Union County. No ma'm, I nebber seed Sherman but I
seed some of his soldiers. Dat's de time I run off in de wood and not
narry a soul knowed whar I was till de dus' had done settled in de big

"Every Sunday, Marse Scott sent us to church in one of his waggins.
White folks rid to church in de buggy and Marse went on de big saddle
hoss. 'Bout dis time, Marse Scott went to Columbia to git coffee and
sugar. He stay mos' two weeks, kaize he drive two fine hosses to de
buggy 'long wid a long hind end to fetch things to and fro in. De roads
was real muddy and de hosses haf to res' ever night. Den in Columbia, he
would have a little 'joyment befo' he come back home."

Source: Miss Dorothy Lambright, W. Main St., Union, S. C. (Story told
her by "Uncle Peter" Arthur.) Information by Caldwell Sims, Union, S.

  Code No.
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, January 4, 1938
  No. of Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, 75-80 Years

"No, my mercy God, I don' know not one thought to speak to you bout.
Seems like, I does know your face, but I been so sick all de year dat I
can' hardly remember nothin. Yes, sweetheart, I sho caught on to what
you want. Oh, I wishes I did know somethin bout dat old time war cause I
tell you, if I been know anything, I would sho pour it out to you. I got
burn out here de other day en I ain' got near a thing left me, but a
pair of stockings en dat old coat dere on de bed. Dat how-come I stayin
here wid Miss Celia. My husband, he dead en she took me in over here for
de present. No'um, I haven't never had a nine months child. Reckon dat
what ailin me now. Bein dat I never had no mother to care for me en give
me a good attention like, I caught so much of cold dat I ain' never been
safe in de family way. Yes, mam, I had my leg broke plenty times, but I
ain' never been able to jump de time. Lord, I got a misery in my back
dere. I hope it ain' de pneumonias."

"Well, you see, I couldn' tell you nothin bout my mother cause I never
didn' know nothin bout my mother. My Jesus, my brother tell bout when
dey had my mother layin out on de coolin board, I went in de room whe'
she was en axed her for somethin to eat en pushed her head dat way. You
know, I wouldn' touch my hand to do nothin like dat, but I never know.
Dat it, de coolin board, dat what dey used to have to lay all de dead
people on, but dis day en time, de undertaker takes dem en fixes dem up
right nice, I say. I tellin you, I ain' had no sense since I lost my
people. Sometimes, I axes de Lord what he keepin me here for anyhow.
Yes, mam, dat does come to me often times in de night. Oh, it don' look
like I gwine ever get no better in dis life en if I don', I just prays
to God to be saved. Yes, Lord, I prays to be lifted to a restful home."

"Just like as I been hear talk, some of de people fare good in slavery
time en some of dem fare rough. Dat been accordin to de kind of task
boss dey come up under. Now de poor colored people in slavery time, dey
give dem very little rest en would whip some of dem most to death.
Wouldn' none of dem daresen to go from one plantation to another widout
dey had a furlough from dey boss. Yes, mam, if dey been catch you comin
back widout dat walkin paper de boss had give you, great Jeruseleum, you
would sho catch de devil next mornin. My blessed a mercy, hear talk dey
spill de poor nigger's blood awful much in slavery time. Hear heap of
dem was free long time fore dey been know it cause de white folks, dey
wanted to keep dem in bondage. Oh, my Lord, dey would cut dem so hard
till dey just slash de flesh right off dem. Yes, mam, dey call dat thing
dey been whip dem wid de cat o' nine tail. No, darlin, I hear talk it
been made out of pretty leather plaited most all de way en den all dat
part down to de bottom, dey just left it loose to do de cuttin wid. Yes,
honey, dem kind of whips was made out of pretty leather like one of dese
horse whips. Yes, mam, dat been how it was in slavery time."

"Yankees! Oh, I hear folks speak bout de Yankees plunderin through de
country plenty times. Hear bout de Yankees gwine all bout stealin white
people silver. Say, everywhe' dey went en found white folks wid silver,
dey would just clean de place up. Dat de blessed truth, too, cause dat
exactly what I hear bout dem."

"Lord, pray Jesus, de white people sho been mighty proud to see dey
niggers spreadin out in dem days, so dey tell me. Yes, mam, dey was glad
to have a heap of colored people bout dem cause white folks couldn' work
den no more den dey can work dese days like de colored people can.
Reckon dey love to have dey niggers back yonder just like dey loves to
have dem dese days to do what dey ain' been cut out to do. You see, dey
would have two or three women on de plantation dat was good breeders en
dey would have chillun pretty regular fore freedom come here. You know,
some people does be right fast in catchin chillun. Yes'um, dey must been
bless wid a pile of dem, I say, en every colored person used to follow
up de same name as dey white folks been hear to."

"No'um, I never didn' go to none of dem cornshuckin en fodder pullin en
all dem kind of thing. Reckon while dey was at de cornshuckin, I must
been somewhe' huntin somethin to eat. Den dem kind of task was left to
de men folks de most of de time cause it been so hot, dey was force to
strip to do dat sort of a job."

"Lord, I sho remembers dat earth shake good as anything. When it come on
me, I was settin down wid my foots in a tub of water. Yes, my Lord, I
been had a age on me in de shake. I remember, dere been such a shakin
dat evenin, it made all de people feel mighty queer like. It just come
in a tremble en first thing I know, I felt de difference in de crack of
de house. I run to my sister Jessie cause she had been live in New York
en she was well acquainted wid dat kind of gwine on. She say, 'Josie,
dis ain' nothin but dem shake I been tellin you bout, but dis de first
time it come here en you better be a prayin.' En, honey, everything
white en colored was emptied out of doors dat night. Lord, dey was
scared. Great Jeruseleum! De people was scared everywhe'. Didn' nobody
know what to make of it. I tellin you, I betcha I was 30 years old in de

"Now, I guess time you get done gettin up all dem memorandums, you gwine
have a pile. I tell you, if you keep on, you sho gwine have a bale cause
dere a lot of slavery people is spring up till now. I ought to could
fetch back more to speak to you bout, but just like I been tell you, I
wasn' never cared for by a mother en I is caught on to a heap of
roughness just on account dat I ain' never had a mother to have a care
for me."

"Oh, de people never didn' put much faith to de doctors in dem days.
Mostly, dey would use de herbs in de fields for dey medicine. Dere two
herbs, I hear talk of. Dey was black snake root en Sampson snake root.
Say, if a person never had a good appetite, dey would boil some of dat
stuff en mix it wid a little whiskey en rock candy en dat would sho give
dem a sharp appetite. See, it natural cause if you take a tablespoon of
dat bitter medicine three times a day like a person tell you, it bound
to swell your appetite. Yes, mam, I know dat a mighty good mixture."

"Oh, my Lord, child, de people was sho wiser in olden times den what dey
be now. Dey been have all kind of signs to forecast de times wid en dey
been mighty true to de word, too. Say, when you hear a cow low en cry so
mournful like, it ain' gwine be long fore you hear tell of a death."

"Den dere one bout de rain. Say, sometimes de old rain crow stays in de
air en hollers en if you don' look right sharp, it gwine rain soon. Call
him de rain crow. He hollers mostly like dis, 'Goo-oop, goo-oop.' Like

"De people used to have a bird for cold weather, too. Folks say, 'Don'
you hear dat cold bird? Look out, it gwine be cold tomorrow.' De cold
bird, he a brown bird. If you can see him, he a fine lookin bird, too.
Yes'um, right large en strong lookin, but don' nobody hardly ever see
him dese days."

"En I reckon you hear talk bout dis one. Say, not to wash on de first
day of de New Year cause if you do, you will wash some of your family
out de pot. Say, somebody will sho die. Dat right, too. Den if possible,
must boil some old peas on de first day of de New Year en must cook some
hog jowl in de pot wid dem. Must eat some of it, but don' be obliged to
eat it all. En ought to have everything clean up nicely so as to keep
clean all de year. Say, must always put de wash out on de line to be
sure de day fore New Years en have all your garments clean."

"What my ideas bout de young folks dese days? Well, dey young folks en
dey ain' young folks, I say. Cose I don' bother up wid dem none, but I
think wid my own weak judgment, dey quite different from when I come
along. Folks is awful funny dis day en time to my notion. Don' care what
people see dem do no time. I sho think dey worser den what dey used to
be. De way I say dey worser, I used to have to be back at such en such a
time, if I went off, but now dey go anytime dey want to en dey comes
back anytime dey want to. I sho think dey worser. De fact of it, I know
dey worser."

  Source: Josephine Bacchus, colored, age 75-80, Marion, S. C.
          Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Dec., 1937.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  June 14, 1937
  Edited by: Elmer Turnage


"I was born near Winnsboro, S. C., Fairfield County. I was twelve years
old the year the Confederate war started. My father was John Ballard and
my mother was Sallie Ballard. I had several brothers and sisters. We
belonged to Jim Aiken, a large landowner at Winnsboro. He owned land on
which the town was built. He had seven plantations. He was good to us
and give us plenty to eat, and good quarters to live in. His mistress
was good, too; but one of his sons, Dr. Aiken, whipped some of de
niggers, lots. One time he whipped a slave for stealing. Some of his
land was around four churches in Winnsboro.

"We was allowed three pounds o' meat, one quart o' molasses, grits and
other things each week--plenty for us to eat.

"When freedom come, he told us we was free, and if we wanted to stay on
with him, he would do the best he could for us. Most of us stayed, and
after a few months, he paid wages. After eight months, some went to
other places to work.

"The master's wife died and he married a daughter of Robert Gillam and
moved to Greenville, S. C.

"The master always had a very big garden with plenty of vegetables. He
had fifty hogs, and I helped mind the hogs. He didn't raise much cotton,
but raised lots of wheat and corn. He made his own meal and flour from
the mill on the creek; made home-made clothes with cards and spinning

"They cooked in wide chimneys in a kitchen which was away off from the
big house. They used pots and skillets to cook with. The hands got
their rations every Monday night. They got their clothes to wear which
they made on old spinning wheels, and wove them themselves.

"The master had his own tanyard and tanned his leather and made shoes
for his hands.

"He had several overseers, white men, and some Negro foremen. They
sometimes whipped the slaves, that is the overseers. Once a nigger
whipped the overseer and had to run away in the woods and live so he
wouldn't get caught. The nigger foremen looked after a set of slaves on
any special work. They never worked at night unless it was to bring in
fodder or hay when it looked like rain was coming. On rainy days, we
shucked corn and cleaned up around the place.

"We had old brick ovens, lots of 'em. Some was used to make molasses
from our own sugar cane we raised.

"The master had a 'sick-house' where he took sick slaves for treatment,
and kept a drug store there. They didn't use old-time cures much, like
herbs and barks, except sassafras root tea for the blood.

"We didn't learn to read and write, but some learned after the war.

"My father run the blacksmith shop for the master on the place. I worked
around the place. The patrollers were there and we had to have a pass to
get out any. The nigger children sometimes played out in the road and
were chased by patrollers. The children would run into the master's
place and the patrollers couldn't get them 'cause the master wouldn't
let them. We had no churches for slaves, but went to the white church
and set in the gallery. After freedom, niggers built 'brush harbors' on
the place.

"Slaves carried news from one plantation to another by riding mules or
horses. They had to be in quarters at night. I remember my mother rode
side-saddle one Saturday night. I reckon she had a pass to go; she come
back without being bothered.

"Some games children played was, hiding switches, marbles, and maybe
others. Later on, some of de nigger boys started playing cards and got
to gambling; some went to de woods to gamble.

"The old cotton gins on de farms were made of wooden screws, and it took
all day to gin four bales o' cotton.

"I was one of the first trustees that helped build the first colored
folks' church in the town of Greenwood. I am the only one now living. I
married Alice Robinson, and had five sons and one daughter, and have
five or six grandchildren.

"Abraham Lincoln, I think, was a good man; had a big reputation. Couldn't
tell much about Jefferson Davis. Booker T. Washington--Everybody
thinks he is a great man for the colored race.

"Of course I think slavery was bad. We is free now and better off to
work. I think anybody who is any count can work and live by himself.

"I joined de church when I was 17 years old, because a big preaching was
going on after freedom for the colored people.

"I think everybody should join the church and do right; can't get
anywhere without it, and do good."

  Source: William Ballard (88), Greenwood, S. C.
          Interviewed by: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. (6/10/37)

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Charley Barber lives in a shanty kind of house, situated on a plot of
ground containing two acres all his own. It is a mile and a half
southeast of Winnsboro, S. C. He lives with an anaemic daughter, Maggie,
whose chief interests are a number of cats, about the premises, and a
brindled, crumple-horned cow that she ties out to graze every morning
and milks at evening.

Charley is squat of figure, short neck, popeyed, and has white hair. He
tills the two acres and produces garden truck that he finds a sale for
among the employees of the Winnsboro mills, just across the railroad
from his home. He likes to talk, and pricks up his ears,(so to speak),
whenever anything is related as having occurred in the past. He will
importune those present to hear his version of the event unusual.

"Well sah, dis is a pleasure to have you call 'pon me, howsomever it be
unexpected dis mornin'. Shoo! (driving the chickens out of the house)
Shoo! Git out of here and go scratch a livin' for them chickens, dat's
followin' you yet, and you won't wean and git to layin' again. Fust
thing you know you'll be spoilin' de floor, when us is got company dis
very minute. Scat! Maggie; git them cats out de chairs long 'nough for
Mr. Wood to set in one whilst he's come to see me dis mornin'.

"And dat's it? You wants me to talk over de days dat am gone? How dis
come 'bout and how dat come 'bout, from de day I was born, to dis very
hour? Let's light, up our smokestacks befo' us begin. Maybe you wants a
drink of, water. Maggie, fetch de water here!

"How old you think I is, sixty-five? My goodness! Do you hear dat
Maggie? (Rubbing his hands; his eyes shining with pleasure) Take another
look and make another guess. Seventy-five? You is growin' warm but
you'll have to come again!

"Bless your soul Marse Wood, you know what old Mudder Shifton say? She
'low dat: 'In de year 1881, de world to an end will surely come'. I was
twenty-five years old when all de niggers and most of de white folks was
believin' dat old lady and lookin' for de world to come to an end in
1881. Dat was de year dat I jined de church, 'cause I wanted to make
sure dat if de end did come, I'd be caught up in dat rapture dat de
white Methodist preacher was preachin' 'bout and explainin' to my
marster and mistress at deir house on de piazza dat year.

"I is eighty-one years old. I was born up on de Wateree River, close to
Great Falls. My marster was Ozmond Barber. My mistress was name Miss
Elizabeth; her de wife of Marse Ozmond. My pappy was name Jacob. My
mammy went by de name of Jemima. They both come from Africa where they
was born. They was 'ticed on a ship, fetch 'cross de ocean to Virginny,
fetch to Winnsboro by a slave drover, and sold to my marster's father.
Dat what they tell me. When they was sailin' over, dere was five or six
hundred others all together down under de first deck of de ship, where
they was locked in. They never did talk lak de other slaves, could just'
say a few words, use deir hands, and make signs. They want deir
collards, turnips, and deir 'tators, raw. They lak sweet milk so much
they steal it.

"Pappy care-nothin' 'bout clothes and wouldn't wear shoes in de winter
time or any time. It was 'ginst de law to bring them over here when they
did, I learn since. But what is de law now and what was de law then,
when bright shiny money was in sight? Money make de automobile go. Money
make de train go. Money make de mare go, and at dat time I 'spect money
make de ships go. Yes sir, they, my pappy and mammy, was just smuggled
in dis part of de world, I bet you!

"War come on, my marster went out as a captain of de Horse Marines. A
tune was much sung by de white folks on de place and took wid de
niggers. It went lak dis:

  'I'm Captain Jenks of de Horse Marines
  I feed my horse on corn and beans.
  Oh! I'm Captain Jenks of de Horse Marines
  And captain in de army!'"

"When de Yankees come they seem to have special vengeance for my white
folks. They took everything they could carry off and burnt everything
they couldn't carry off.

"Mistress and de chillun have to go to Chester to git a place to sleep
and eat, wid kinfolks. De niggers just lay 'round de place 'til master
rode in, after de war, on a horse; him have money and friends and git
things goin' agin. I stay on dere 'til '76. Then I come to Winnsboro and
git a job as section hand laborer on de railroad. Out of de fust
money,--(I git paid off de pay train then; company run a special pay
train out of Columbia to Charlotte. They stop at every station and pay
de hands off at de rear end of de train in cash). Well, as I was a
sayin': Out de fust money, I buys me a red shirt and dat November I
votes and de fust vote I put in de box was for Governor Wade Hampton.
Dat was de fust big thing I done.

"De nex' big thing I done was fall in love wid Mary Wylie. Dat come
'bout on de second pay day. De other nigger gals say her marry me for my
money but I never have believed it. White ladies do dat 'kalkilating'
trick sometime but you take a blue-gum nigger gal, all wool on de top of
her head and lak to dance and jig wid her foots, to pattin' and fiddle
music, her ain't gonna have money in de back of her head when her pick
out a man to marry. Her gonna want a man wid muscles on his arms and
back and I had them. Usin' dat pick and shovel on de railroad just give
me what it took to git Mary. Us had ten chillun. Some dead, some marry
and leave. My wife die year befo' last. Maggie is puny, as you see, and
us gits 'long wid de goodness of de Lord and de white folks.

"I b'longs to de St. John Methodist Church in Middlesix, part of
Winnsboro. They was havin' a rival (revival) meetin' de night of de
earthquake, last day of August, in 1886. Folks had hardly got over de
scare of 1881, 'bout de world comin' to an end. It was on Tuesday night,
if I don't disremember, 'bout 9 o'clock. De preacher was prayin', just
after de fust sermon, but him never got to de amen part of dat prayer.
Dere come a noise or rumblin', lak far off thunder, seem lak it come
from de northwest, then de church begin to rock lak a baby's cradle.
Dere was great excitement. Old Aunt Melvina holler: 'De world comin' to
de end'. De preacher say: 'Oh, Lordy', and run out of de pulpit.
Everbody run out de church in de moonlight. When de second quake come,
'bout a minute after de fust, somebody started up de cry: 'De devil
under de church! De devil under de church! De devil gwine to take de
church on his back and run away wid de church!' People never stop
runnin' 'til they got to de court house in town. Dere they 'clare de
devil done take St. John's Church on his back and fly away to hell wid
it. Marse Henry Galliard make a speech and tell them what it was and beg
them to go home. Dat Mr. Skinner, de telegraph man at de depot, say de
main part of it was way down 'bout Charleston, too far away for anybody
to git hurt here, 'less a brick from a chimney fall on somebody's head.
De niggers mostly believes what a fine man, lak Marse Henry, tell them.
De crowd git quiet. Some of them go home but many of them, down in de
low part of town, set on de railroad track in de moonlight, all night. I
was mighty sleepy de nex' mornin' but I work on de railroad track just
de same. Dat night folks come back to St. John's Church, find it still
dere, and such a outpourin' of de spirit was had as never was had befo'
or since.

"Just think! Dat has been fifty-one years ago. Them was de glorious
horse and buggy days. Dere was no air-ships, no autos and no radios.
White folks had horses to drive. Niggers had mules to ride to a baseball
game, to see white folks run lak de patarollers (patrollers) was after
them and they holler lak de world was on fire."

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Ed Barber lives in a small one-room house in the midst of a cotton field
on the plantation of Mr. A. M. Owens, ten miles southeast of Winnsboro,
S. C. He lives alone and does his own cooking and housekeeping. He is a
bright mulatto, has an erect carriage and posture, appears younger than
his age, is intelligent and enjoys recounting the tales of his lifetime.
His own race doesn't give him much countenance. His friends in the old
days of reconstruction were white people. He presumes on such past
affiliation and considers himself better than the full-blooded Negro.

"It's been a long time since I see you. Maybe you has forgot but I ain't
forgot de fust time I put dese lookers on you, in '76. Does you 'members
dat day? It was in a piece of pines beyond de Presbyterian Church, in
Winnsboro, S. C. Us both had red shirts. You was a ridin' a gray pony
and I was a ridin' a red mule, sorrel like. You say dat wasn't '76?
Well, how come it wasn't? Ouillah Harrison, another nigger, was dere,
though he was a man. Both of us got to arguin'. He 'low he could vote
for Hampton and I couldn't, 'cause I wasn't 21. You say it was '78
'stead of '76, dat day in de pines when you was dere? Well! Well! I sho'
been thinkin' all dis time it was '76.

"'Member de fight dat day when Mr. Pole Barnadore knock Mr. Blanchard
down, while de speakin' was a gwine on? You does? Well, us come to
common 'greement on dat, bless God!

"Them was scary times! Me bein' just half nigger and half white man, I
knowed which side de butter was on de bread. Who I see dere? Well, dere
was a string of red shirts a mile long, dat come into Winnsboro from
White Oak. And another from Flint Hill, over de Pea Ferry road, a mile
long. De bar-rooms of de town did a big business dat day. Seem lak it
was de fashion to git drunk all 'long them days.

"Them red shirts was de monkey wrench in de cotton-gin of de carpet bag
party. I's here to tell you. If a nigger git hungry, all he have to do
is go to de white folk's house, beg for a red shirt, and explain hisself
a democrat. He might not git de shirt right then but he git his belly
full of everything de white folks got, and de privilege of comin' to dat
trough sometime agin.

"You wants me to tell you 'bout who I is, where I born, and how old I
is? Well, just cross examine me and I'll tell you de facts as best I
knows how.

"I was born twelve miles east of Winnsboro, S. C. My marster say it was
de 18th of January, 1860.

"My mother name Ann. Her b'long to my marster, James Barber. Dat's not a
fair question when you ask me who my daddy was. Well, just say he was a
white man and dat my mother never did marry nobody, while he lived. I
was de onliest child my mother ever had.

"After freedom my mother raised me on de Marse Adam Barber place, up by
Rocky Mount and Mitford. I stayed dere 'til all de 'citement of politics
die down. My help was not wanted so much at de 'lection boxes, so I got
to roamin' 'round to fust one place and then another. But wheresomever I
go, I kept a thinkin' 'bout Rosa and de ripe may-pops in de field in
cotton pickin' time. I landed back to de Barber place and after a
skirmish or two wid de old folks, marry de gal de Lord always 'tended
for me to marry. Her name was Rosa Ford. You ask me if she was pretty?
Dat's a strange thing. Do you ever hear a white person say a colored
woman is pretty? I never have but befo' God when I was trampin' 'round
Charleston, dere was a church dere called St. Mark, dat all de society
folks of my color went to. No black nigger welcome dere, they told me.
Thinkin' as how I was bright 'nough to git in, I up and goes dere one
Sunday. Ah, how they did carry on, bow and scrape and ape de white
folks. I see some pretty feathers, pretty fans, and pretty women dere! I
was uncomfortable all de time though, 'cause they was too 'hifalootin'
in de ways, in de singin', and all sorts of carryin' ons.

"Glad you fetch me back to Rosa. Us marry and had ten chillun. Francis,
Thompkins, William, Jim, Levi, Ab and Oz is dead. Katie marry a Boykin
and is livin' in New York. My wife, Rosa, die on dis place of Mr. Owens.

"I lives in a house by myself. I hoes a little cotton, picks plums and
blackberries but dewberries 'bout played out.

"My marster, James Barber, went through de Civil War and died. I begs
you, in de name of de good white folks of '76 and Wade Hampton, not to
forget me in dis old age pension business.

"What I think of Abe Lincoln? I think he was a poor buckra white man, to
de likes of me. Although, I 'spects Mr. Lincoln meant well but I can't
help but wish him had continued splittin' them fence rails, which they
say he knowed all 'bout, and never took a hand in runnin' de government
of which he knowed nothin' 'bout. Marse Jeff Davis was all right, but
him oughta got out and fought some, lak General Lee, General Jackson and
'Poleon Bonaparte. Us might have won de war if he had turned up at some
of de big battles lak Gettysburg, 'Chickenmaroger', and 'Applemattox'.
What you think 'bout dat?

"Yes sah, I has knowed a whole lot of good white men. Marse General
Bratton, Marse Ed P. Mobley, Marse Will Durham, dat owned dis house us
now settin' in, and Dr. Henry Gibson. Does I know any good colored men?
I sho' does! Dere's Professor Benjamin Russell at Blackstock. You knows
him. Then dere was Ouillah Harrison, dat own a four-hoss team and a
saddle hoss, in red shirt days. One time de brass band at Winnsboro, S.
C. wanted to go to Camden, S. C. to play at de speakin' of Hampton. He
took de whole band from Winnsboro to Camden, dat day, free of charge.
Ah! De way dat band did play all de way to Ridgeway, down de road to
Longtown, cross de Camden Ferry, and right into de town. Dere was horns
a blowin', drums a beatin', and people a shoutin': 'Hurrah for Hampton!'
Some was a singin': 'Hang Dan Chamberlain on a Sour Apple Tree'. Ouillah
come home and found his wife had done had a boy baby. What you reckon?
He name dat boy baby, Wade Hampton. When he come home to die, he lay his
hand on dat boy's head and say: 'Wade, 'member who you name for and
always vote a straight out democrat ticket'. Which dat boy did!"

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


"Hope you find yourself well dis mornin', white folks. I's just common;
'spect I eats too much yesterday. You know us celebrated yesterday,
'cause it was de Fourth of July. Us had a good dinner on dis 2,000 acre
farm of Mr. Owens. God bless dat white boss man! What would us old no
'count niggers do widout him? Dere's six or seven, maybe eight of us out
here over eighty years old. 'Most of them is like me, not able to hit a
lick of work, yet he take care of us; he sho' does.

"Mr. Owens not a member of de church but he allowed dat he done found
out dat it more blessed to give than to receive, in case like us.

"You wants to know all 'bout de slavery time, de war, de Ku Kluxes and
everything? My tongue too short to tell you all dat I knows. However, if
it was as long as my stockin's, I could tell you a trunk full of good
and easy, bad and hard, dat dis old life-stream have run over in
eighty-two years. I's hoping to reach at last them green fields of Eden
of de Promise Land. 'Scuse me ramblin' 'round, now just ask me
questions; I bet I can answer all you ask.

"My pa name, Tom McCullough; him was a slave of old Marster John
McCullough, whose big two-story house is de oldest in Fairfield County.
It stands today on a high hill, just above de banks of Dutchman Creek.
Big road run right by dat house. My mammy name, Nicie. Her b'long to de
Weir family; de head of de family die durin' de war of freedom. I's not
supposed to know all he done, so I'll pass over dat. My mistress name,
Eliza; good mistress. Have you got down dere dat old marster just took
sick and die, 'cause he wasn't touched wid a bullet nor de life slashed
out of him wid a sword?

"Well, my pa b'longin' to one man and my mammy b'longin' to another,
four or five miles apart, caused some confusion, mix-up, and heartaches.
My pa have to git a pass to come to see my mammy. He come sometimes
widout de pass. Patrollers catch him way up de chimney hidin' one night;
they stripped him right befo' mammy and give him thirty-nine lashes, wid
her cryin' and a hollerin' louder than he did.

"Us lived in a log house; handmade bedstead, wheat straw mattress,
cotton pillows, plenty coverin' and plenty to eat, sich as it was. Us
never git butter or sweet milk or coffee. Dat was for de white folks but
in de summer time, I minds de flies off de table wid the peafowl feather
brush and eat in de kitchen just what de white folks eat; them was very
good eatin's I's here for to tell you. All de old slaves and them dat
worked in de field, got rations and de chillun were fed at de kitchen
out-house. What did they git? I 'members they got peas, hog meat, corn
bread, 'lasses, and buttermilk on Sunday, then they got greens, turnips,
taters, shallots, collards, and beans through de week. They were kept
fat on them kind of rations.

"De fact is I can't 'member us ever had a doctor on de place; just a
granny was enough at child birth. Slave women have a baby one day, up
and gwine 'round de next day, singin' at her work lak nothin' unusual
had happened.

"Did I ever git a whippin'? Dat I did. How many times? More than I can
count on fingers and toes. What I git a whippin' for? Oh, just one
thing, then another. One time I break a plate while washin' dishes and
another time I spilt de milk on de dinin' room floor. It was always for
somethin', sir. I needed de whippin'.

"Yes sir, I had two brothers older than me; one sister older than me and
one brother younger than me.

"My young marster was killed in de war. Their names was Robert, Smith,
and Jimmie. My young mistress, Sarah, married a Sutton and moved to
Texas. Nancy marry Mr. Wade Rawls. Miss Janie marry Mr. Hugh Melving. At
this marriage my mammy was give to Miss Janie and she was took to Texas
wid her young baby, Isaiah, in her arms. I have never seen or heard tell
of them from dat day to dis.

"De Yankees come and burn de gin-house and barns. Open de smokehouse,
take de meat, give de slaves some, shoot de chickens, and as de mistress
and girls beg so hard, they left widout burnin' de dwellin' house.

"My oldest child, Alice, is livin' and is fifty-one years old de 10th of
dis last May gone. My first husband was Levi Young; us lived wid Mr.
Knox Picket some years after freedom. We moved to Mr. Rubin Lumpkin's
plantation, then to George Boulwares. Well, my husband die and I took a
fool notion, lak most widows, and got into slavery again. I marry Prince
Barber; Mr. John Hollis, Trial Justice, tied de knot. I loved dat young
nigger more than you can put down dere on paper, I did. He was black and
shiny as a crow's wing. Him was white as snow to dese old eyes. Ah, the
joy, de fusses, de ructions, de beatin's, and de makin' ups us had on de
Ed Shannon place where us lived. Us stay dere seven long years.

"Then de Klu Kluxes comed and lak to scared de life out of me. They ask
where Prince was, searched de house and go away. Prince come home 'bout
daylight. Us took fright, went to Marster Will Durham's and asked for
advice and protection. Marster Will Durham fixed it up. Next year us
moved to dis place, he own it then but Marster Arthur Owens owns it now.
Dere is 2,000 acres in dis place and another 1,000 acres in de Rubin
Lumpkin place 'joinin' it.

"Prince die on dis place and I is left on de mercy of Marster Arthur,
livin' in a house wid two grandchillun, James twelve years, and John
Roosevelt Barber, eight years old. Dese boys can work a little. They can
pick cotton and tote water in de field for de hands and marster say:
'Every little help'.

"My livin' chillun ain't no help to me. Dere's Willie, I don't know
where he is. Prince is wid Mr. Freeman on de river. Maggie is here on de
place but she no good to me.

"I 'spect when I gits to drawin' down dat pension de white folks say is
comin', then dere will be more folks playin' in my backyard than dere is

  Project 1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Anderson Bates lives with his son-in-law and daughter, Ed and Dora
Owens, in a three-room frame house, on lands of Mr. Dan Heyward, near
the Winnsboro Granite Company, Winnsboro, S. C. Anderson and his wife
occupy one of the rooms and his rent is free. His son-in-law has regular
employment at the Winnsboro Cotton Mills. His wife, Carrie, looks after
the house. Anderson and his daughter, Dora, are day laborers on the
neighborhood farms, but he is able to do very little work.

"I was born on de old Dr. Furman place, near Jenkinsville, S. C., in de
year, 1850. My pappy was name Nat and mammy name Winnie. They was slaves
of old Dr. Furman, dat have a big plantation, one hundred slaves, and a
whole lot of little slave chillun, dat him wouldn't let work. They run
'round in de plum thickets, blackberry bushes, hunt wild strawberries,
blow cane whistles, and have a good time.

"De old Dr. Furman house is ramshackle but it is still standin' out dere
and is used as a shelter for sawmill hands dat is cuttin' down de big
pines and sawin' them on de place.

"Where did my pappy and mammy come from? Mammy was born a slave in de
Furman family in Charleston, but pappy was bought out of a drove dat a
Baltimore speculator fetch from Maryland long befo' de war. Doctor
practice all 'round and 'bout Monticello, happen 'long one day, see my
pappy and give a thousand dollars for him, to dat speculator. I thank
God for dat!

"Dr. Furman, my old marster, have a brudder called Jim, dat run de
Furman School, fust near Winnsboro, then it move to Greenville, S. C.

"My mistress name Nancy. Her was of de quality. Her voice was soft and
quiet to de slaves. Her teach us to sing:

  'Dere is a happy land, far, far 'way,
  Where bright angels stand, far, far 'way,
  Oh! How them angels sing!
  Oh! How them bells ring!
  In dat happy land, far, far 'way!'

"Dere was over a thousand acres, maybe two thousand in dat old Furman
place. Them sawmill folks give $30,000.00 for it, last year.

"My pappy and mammy was field hands. My brudders and sisters was:
Liddie, Millie, Ria, Ella, Harriet, Thomas, Smith, and Marshall. All
dead but me and Marshall.

"I was fifteen when de Yankees come thru. They took off everything,
hosses, mules, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, geese, and chickens. Hogs?
Yes sah, they kill hogs and take off what parts they want and leave
other parts bleedin' on de yard. When they left, old marster have to go
up into Union County for rations.

"Dat's funny, you wants to set down dere 'bout my courtship and weddin'?
Well, sir, I stay on de old plantation, work for my old marster, de
doctor, and fell head over heels in love wid Carrie. Dere was seven more
niggers a flyin' 'round dat sugar lump of a gal in de night time when I
breezes in and takes charge of de fireside cheer. I knocks one down one
night, kick another out de nex' night, and choke de stuffin' out of one
de nex' night. I landed de three-leg stool on de head of de fourth one,
de last time. Then de others carry deir 'fections to some other place
than Carrie's house. Us have some hard words 'bout my bad manners, but I
told her dat I couldn't 'trol my feelin's wid them fools a settin'
'round dere gigglin' wid her. I go clean crazy!

"Then us git married and go to de ten-acre quarry wid Mr. Anderson. I
work dere a while and then go to Captain Macfie, then to his son, Wade,
and then to Marse Rice Macfie. Then I go back to de quarry, drill and
git out stone. They pay me $3.50 a day 'til de Parr Shoals Power come in
wid 'lectric power drills and I was cut down to eighty cents a day. Then
I say: 'Old grey hoss! Damn 'lectric toolin', I's gwine to leave.' I
went to Hopewell, Virginia, and work wid de DuPonts for five years. War
come on and they ask me to work on de acid area. De atmosphere dere tear
all de skin off my face and arms, but I stuck it out to de end of de big
war, for $7.20 a day. I drunk a good deal of liquor then, but I sent
money to Carrie all de time and fetch her a roll every fourth of July
and on Christmas. After de war they dismantle de plant and I come back
to work for Mr. Eleazer, on de Saluda River for $2.00 a day, for five

"Carrie have chillun by me. Dere was Anderson, my son, ain't see him in
forty years. Essie, my daughter, marry Herbert Perrin. Dora, another
daughter, marry Ed Owens. Ed makes good money workin' at de factory in
Winnsboro. They have seven chillun. Us tries to keep them chillun in
school but they don't have de good times I had when a child, a eatin'
cracklin' bread and buttermilk, liver, pig-tails, hog-ears and turnip

"Does I 'member anything 'bout de Klu Kluxes? Jesus, yes! My old
marster, de doctor, in goin' 'round, say out loud to people dat Klu
Kluxes was doin' some things they ought not to do, by 'stortin' money
out of niggers just 'cause they could.

"When he was gone to Union one day, a low-down pair of white men come,
wid false faces, to de house and ask where Dick Bell was. Miss Nancy say
her don't know. They go hunt for him. Dick made a bee-line for de
house. They pull out hoss pistols, fust time, 'pow'. Dick run on, secon'
time, 'pow'. Dick run on, third time, 'pow' and as Dick reach de front
yard de ball from de third shot keel him over lak a hit rabbit. Old miss
run out but they git him. Her say: 'I give you five dollars to let him
'lone.' They say: 'Not 'nough.' Her say: 'I give you ten dollars.' They
say: 'Not 'nough.' Her say: 'I give you fifteen dollars.' They say: 'Not
'nough.' Her say: 'I give you twenty-five dollars.' They take de money
and say: 'Us'll be back tomorrow for de other Dick.' They mean Dick

"Nex' day, us see them a comin' again. Dick James done load up de
shotgun wid buckshot. When they was comin' up de front steps, Uncle Dick
say to us all in de big house: 'Git out de way!' De names of de men us
find out afterwards was Bishop and Fitzgerald. They come up de steps,
wid Bishop in de front. Uncle Dick open de door, slap dat gun to his
shoulder, and pull de trigger. Dat man Bishop hollers: 'Oh Lordy.' He
drop dead and lay dere 'til de coroner come. Fitzgerald leap 'way. They
bring Dick to jail, try him right in dat court house over yonder. What
did they do wid him? Well, when Marse Bill Stanton, Marse Elisha
Ragsdale and Miss Nancy tell 'bout it all from de beginnin' to de end,
de judge tell de jury men dat Dick had a right to protect his home, and
hisself, and to kill dat white man and to turn him loose. Dat was de end
of de Klu Kluxes in Fairfield."

  Project 1885-1
  From Field Notes
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  April 28. 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"I sho members when de soldiers come home from de war. All de women
folks, both black as well as white wuz so glad to see 'em back dat we
jus jumped up and hollered 'Oh, Lawdy, God bless you.' When you would
look around a little, you would see some widout an arm or maybe dey
would be a walkin' wid a cruch or a stick. Den you would cry some widout
lettin your white folks see you. But Jane, de worsest time of all fer us
darkies wuz when de Ku Klux killed Dan Black. We wuz little chilluns a
playin' in Dans house. We didn't know he had done nothin' ginst de white
folks. Us wuz a playin by de fire jus as nice when something hit on de
wall. Dan, he jump up and try to git outten de winder. A white spooky
thing had done come in de doo' right by me. I was so scairt dat I could
not git up. I had done fell straight out on de flo'. When Dan stick his
head outten dat winder something say bang and he fell right down in de
flo'. I crawles under de bed. When I got dar, all de other chilluns wuz
dar to, lookin' as white as ashed dough from hickory wood. Us peeped out
and den us duck under de bed agin. Ain't no bed ebber done as much good
as dat one. Den a whole lot of dem come in de house. De wuz all white
and scairy lookin'. It still makes de shivvers run down my spine and
here I is ole and you all a settin' around wid me and two mo' wars done
gone since dat awful time. Dan Black, he wo'nt no mo' kaise dey took dat
nigger and hung him to a simmon tree. Dey would not let his folks take
him down either. He jus stayed dar till he fell to pieces.

"After dat when us chilluns seed de Ku Klux a comin', us would take an'
run breakneck speed to de nearest wood. Dar we would stay till dey wuz
plum out o' sight and you could not even hear de horses feet. Dem days
wuz worse'n de war. Yes Lawd, dey wuz worse'n any war I is ebber heard

"Was not long after dat fore de spooks wuz a gwine round ebber whar.
When you would go out atter dark, somethin' would start to a haintin'
ye. You would git so scairt dat you would mighty ni run every time you
went out atter dark; even iffin you didn't see nothin'. Chile, don't axe
me what I seed. Atter all dat killin' and a burnin' you know you wuz
bliged to see things wid all dem spirits in distress a gwine all over de
land. You see, it is like dis, when a man gits killed befo he is done
what de good Lawd intended fer him to do, he comes back here and tries
to find who done him wrong. I mean he don' come back hisself, but de
spirit, it is what comes and wanders around. Course, it can't do
nothin', so it jus scares folks and haints dem."

  Source: "Aunt" Millie Bates, 25 Hamlet street, Union, S. C.
          Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C.

  Project #1655
  Mrs. Genevieve W. Chandler
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.
  Georgetown County



The road is perfectly camouflaged from the King's Highway by wild plums
that lap overhead. Only those who have traveled this way before could
locate the 'turn in' to Uncle Welcome's house. When you have turned in
and come suddenly out from the plum thicket you find your road winding
along with cultivated patches on the left--corn and peas--a fenced-in
garden, the palings riven out by hand, and thick dark woods on the left.
A lonesome, untenanted cabin is seemingly in the way but your car swings
to the left instead of climbing the door-step and suddenly you find you
are facing a bog. The car may get through; it may not. So you switch off
and just sit a minute, seeing how the land lies. A great singing and
chopping of wood off to the left have kept the inmates from hearing the
approach of a car. When you rap therefore you hear, 'Come in'.

A narrow hall runs through to the back porch and off this hall on your
right opens a door from beyond which comes a very musical squeaking--you
know a rocking chair is going hard--even before you see it in motion
with a fuzzy little head that rests on someone's shoulder sticking over
the top. And the fuzzy head which in size is like a small five-cent
cocoanut, belongs to Uncle Welcome's great-grand. On seeing a visitor
the grand, the mother of the infant, rises and smiles greeting, and,
learning your errand, points back to the kitchen to show where Uncle
Welcome sits. You step down one step and ask him if you may come in and
he pats a chair by his side. The old man isn't so spry as he was when
you saw him in the fall; the winter has been hard. But here it is warm
again and at most four in the April afternoon, he sits over his plate of
hopping John--he and innumerable flies. At his feet, fairly under the
front of a small iron stove, sits another great-grand with a plate of
peas between her legs. Peas and rice, 'hopping John'. (Someone says peas
and hominy cooked together makes "limping Lizzie in the Low-Country."
But that is another story.)

       *       *       *       *       *

"Uncle Welcome, isn't Uncle Jeemes Stuart the oldest liver on Sandy
Island?" Welcome: "Jeemes Stuart? I was married man when he born. Jeemes
rice-field. (Worker in rice-field) posed himself. In all kinds of
weather. Cut you down, down, down. Jeemes second wife gal been married
before but her husband dead.

"I couldn't tell the date or time I born. Your Maussa (Master) take it
down. When I been marry, Dr. Ward Fadder (Father) aint been marry yet.
My mother had twelve head born Oatland. He bought my mother from
Virginia. Dolly. Sam her husband name. Sam come from same course. When
my mother been bought, her been young woman. Work in rice. Plow right
now (Meaning April is time to plow rice fields). I do carpenter work and
mind horse for plantation. Come from Georgetown in boat. Have you own
carriage. Go anywhere you want to go. Oatland church build for colored
people and po-buckra. I helped build that church. The boss man, Mr.
Bettman. My son Isaac sixty-nine. If him sixty-nine, I one hundred four.
That's my record. Maussa didn't low you to marry till you twenty-two.
Ben Allston own Turkey Hill. When him dead, I was twelve years old. Me!
(Knocking his chest)"

  Welcome Bees--
  Parkersville, S. C.
  (Near Waverly Mills, S. C.)
  Age 104.

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.

  ~HW: (near Winnsboro, S. C.)~]

Anne Bell lives with her niece, in a one-room annex to a two-room frame
house, on the plantation of Mr. Lake Howze, six miles west of Winnsboro,
S. C. Her niece's husband, Golden Byrd, is a share-cropper on Mr.
Howze's place. The old lady is still spry and energetic about the cares
of housekeeping and attention to the small children of her niece. She is
a delightful old lady and well worth her keep in the small chores she
undertakes and performs in the household.

"My marster was John Glazier Rabb; us call him Marse Glazier. My
mistress was Nancy Kincaid Watts; us call her Miss Nancy. They lived on
a big plantation in Fairfield County and dere I come into dis world,
eighty-three years ago, 10th day of April past.

"My pappy name just Andy but after de freedom, he took de name of Andrew
Watts. My old mammy was Harriett but she come to you if you calls her
Hattie. My brudders was Jake and Rafe. My sister name Charity. They all
dead and gone to glory long time ago; left me here 'lone by myself and
I's settin' here tellin' you 'bout them.

"My mammy was de cook at de 'Big House' for marster, Miss Nancy, and de
chillun. Let me see if I can call them over in my mind. Dere was Marse
John, went off to de war, color bearer at Seven Pines. Yes sir, him was
killed wid de colors a flyin' in his hand. Heard tell of it many times.
He lies right now in de old Buck Church graveyard. De pine trees, seven
of them, cry and sob 'round him every August 6th; dat's de day he was
killed. Oh, my God!

"Marse James went wid old Colonel Rion. They say he got shot but bullets
couldn't kill him. No, bless God! Him comed back. Then come Marse
Clarence. He went wid Captain Jim Macfie, went through it all and didn't
get a scratch. Next was Miss Jesse. Then come Marse Horace, and Miss
Nina. Us chillun all played together. Marse Horace is livin' yet and is
a fine A. R.P. preacher of de Word. Miss Nina a rich lady, got
plantation but live 'mong de big bugs in Winnsboro. She married Mr.
Castles; she is a widow now. He was a good man, but he dead now.

"De one I minds next, is Charlie. I nussed him. He married Colonel
Province's daughter. Dat's all I can call to mind, right now.

"Course de white folks I b'longs to, had more slaves than I got fingers
and toes; whole families of them. De carpenter and de blacksmith on de
place made de bedsteads. Us had good wheat straw mattresses to sleep on;
cotton quilts, spreads, and cotton pillows. No trouble to sleep but it
was hard to hear dat white overseer say at day break: 'Let me hear them
foots hit de floor and dat befo' I go! Be lively! Hear me?' And you had
to answer, 'Yas sah', befo' he'd move on to de nex' house. I does
'member de parts of de bed, was held together by wooden pins. I sho'
'members dat!

"Mammy Harriett was de cook. I didn't done no work but 'tend to de
chillun and tote water.

"Money? Go 'way from here, boss! Lord, no sir, I never saw no money.
What I want wid it anyhow?

"How did they feed us? Had better things to eat then, than now and more
different kind of somethin's. Us had pears, 'lasses, shorts, middlings
of de wheat, corn bread, and all kinds of milk and vegetables.

"Got a whuppin' once. They wanted me to go after de turkeys and I didn't
want to go past de graveyard, where de turkeys was. I sho' didn't want
to go by them graves. I's scared now to go by a graveyard in de dark. I
took de whuppin' and somebody else must have got de turkeys. Sho' I
didn't drive them up!

"Slaves spun de thread, loomed de cloth, and made de clothes for de
plantation. Don't believe I had any shoes. I was just a small gal anyhow
then, didn't need them and didn't want them.

"Yes, I's seen nigger women plow. Church? I wouldn't fool you, all de
slaves big enough and not sick, had to go to church on de Sabbath.

"They give us a half Saturday, to do as we like.

"I was 'bout ten years old when de Yankees come. They was full to de
brim wid mischief. They took de frocks out de presses and put them on
and laugh and carry on powerful. Befo' they went they took everything.
They took de meat and 'visions out de smoke-house, and de 'lasses,
sugar, flour, and meal out de house. Killed de pigs and cows, burnt de
gin-house and cotton, and took off de live stock, geese, chickens and

"After de freedom, I stayed on wid mammy right dere, 'til I married Levi
Bell. I's had two chillun. Dis my grand-daughter, I visitin'. I never
'spects to have as good a home as I had in slavery time, 'til I gits my
title to dat mansion in de sky. Dats de reason I likes to sing dat old
plantation spiritual, 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Jesus Gwinter Carry me
Home'. Does I believe in 'ligion? What else good for colored folks? I
ask you if dere ain't a heaven, what's colored folks got to look forward
to? They can't git anywhere down here. De only joy they can have here,
is servin' and lovin'; us can git dat in 'ligion but dere is a limit to
de nigger in everything else. Course I knows my place in dis world; I
'umbles myself here to be 'zalted up yonder."

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  July 26, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"I was raised in the wood across the road about 200 yards from here. I
was very mischievous. My parents were honest and were Christians. I
loved them very much. My father was William Bevis, who died at the age
of eighty. Miss Zelia Hames of Pea Ridge was my mother. My parents are
buried at Bethlehem Methodist Church. I was brought up in Methodism and
I do not know anything else. I had two brothers and four sisters. My
twin sister died last April 1937. She was Fannie Holcombe. I was in bed
with pneumonia at the time of her death and of course I could not go to
the funeral. For a month, I was unconscious.

"When I was a little girl I played 'Andy-over' with a ball, in the
moonlight. Later I went to parties and dances. Calico, chambric and
gingham were the materials which our party dresses were made of.

"My grandmother, Mrs. Phoebe Bevis used to tell Revolutionary stories
and sing songs that were sung during that period. Grandmother knew some
Tories. She always told me that old Nat Gist was a Tory ... that is the
way he got rich.

"Hampton was elected governor the morning my mother died. Father went in
his carriage to Jonesville to vote for Hampton. We all thought that
Hampton was fine.

"When I was a school girl I used the blue back speller. My sweetheart's
name was Ben Harris. We went to Bethlehem to school. Jeff and Bill
Harris were our teachers. I was thirteen. We went together for six
years. The Confederate War commenced. He was very handsome. He had black
eyes and black hair. I had seven curls on one side of my head and seven
on the other. He was twenty-four when he joined the 'Boys of Sixteen'.

"He wanted to marry me then, but father would not let us marry. He
kissed me good bye and went off to Virginia. He was a picket and was
killed while on duty at Mars Hill. Bill Harris was in a tent nearby and
heard the shot. He brought Ben home. I went to the funeral. I have never
been much in-love since then.

"I hardly ever feel sad. I did not feel especially sad during the war. I
made socks, gloves and sweaters for the Confederate soldiers and also
knitted for the World War soldiers. During the war, there were three
looms and three shuttles in our house.

"I went often to the muster grounds at Kelton to see the soldiers drill
and to flirt my curls at them. Pa always went with me to the muster
field. Once he invited four recruits to dine with us. We had a delicious
supper. That was before the Confederacy was paralyzed. Two darkies
waited on our table that night, Dorcas and Charlotte. A fire burned in
our big fireplace and a lamp hung over the table. After supper was over,
we all sat around the fire in its flickering light.

"My next lover was Jess Holt and he was drowned in the Mississippi
River. He was a carpenter and was building a warf on the river. He fell
in and was drowned in a whirlpool."

  Source: Miss Caroline Bevis (W. 96), County Home, Union, S. C.
          Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. (7/13/37)

  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, June 21, 1937

  Ex-Slave, 79 years

"Honey, I don' know wha' to tell yuh 'bout dem times back dere. Yuh see
I wus jes uh young child when de free war close en I ain' know much to
tell yuh. I born o'er de river dere to Massa Jim Wilkerson plantation.
Don' know wha' 'come uv my ole Massa chillun a'ter dey head been gone.
Yuh see, honey, Massa Jim Wilkerson hab uh heap uv slave en he hire my
mudder out to Colonel Durant place right down de road dere whey Miss
Durant lib now. Coase I been back o'er de river to visit 'mongest de
peoples dere a'ter freedom wuz 'clare, but I ain' ne'er lib dere no

"Gawd been good to me, honey. I been heah uh long ole time en I can' see
mucha dese days, but I gettin' 'long sorta so-so. I wuz train up to be
uh nu'se 'oman en I betcha I got chillun more den any 60 year ole 'bout
heah now dat I nu'se when dey wuz fust come heah. No, honey, ain' got no
chillun uv me own. Aw my chillun white lak yuh."

"No, no'mam, dey wear long ole frock den en uh girl comin' on dere when
dey ge' to be any kind uv uh girl, dey put dat frock down. Oh, my child,
dey can' ge' em short 'nough dese days. Ain' hab nuthin but uh string on
dese day en time. Dey use'er wear dem big ole hoop skirt dat sit out
broad lak from de ankle en den dey wear little panty dat show down twixt
dey skirt en dey ankle. Jes tie em 'round dey knees wid some sorta
string en le' em show dat way 'bout dey ankle. I 'member we black
chillun'ud go in de woods en ge' wild grape vine en bend em round en put
em under us skirt en make it stand out big lak. Hadder hab uh big ole
ring fa de bottom uv de skirt en den one uh little bit smaller eve'y
time dey ge' closer to de waist. Ne'er hab none tall in de waist cause
dat wuz s'ppose to be little bitty t'ing."

"Dey weave aw de cloth dey use den right dere on de plantation. Wear
cotton en woolens aw de time den. Coase de Madam, she could go en ge' de
finest kind uv silk cause mos' uv her t'ing come from 'broad. Child, I
c'n see my ole mammy how she look workin' dat spinning wheel jes us good
uz ef dat day wuz dis day right heah. She set dere at dat ole spinning
wheel en take one shettle en t'row it one way en den annuder de udder
way en pull dat t'ing en make it tighter en tighter. Sumptin say zum,
zum, zum, en den yuh hadder work yuh feet dere too. Dat wuz de way dey
make dey cloth dat day en time."

"Honey, peoples hadder work dey hand fa eve'yt'ing dey hab mos' den. Dey
grew dey own rice right dere on de plantation in dem days. Hadder plant
it on some uv de land wha' wuz weter den de udder land wuz. Dey hadder
le' de rice ge' good en ripe en den dey'ud cut it en hab one uv dem big
rice whipping days. Heap uv people come from plantation aw 'bout en
help whip dat rice. Dey jes take de rice en beat it 'cross some hoes dat
dey hab fix up somewhey dere on de plantation. Honey, dey hab hoss jes
lak dese hoss yuh see carpenter use 'boat heah dese days. Dey'ud hab
hundreds uv bushels uv dat rice dere. Den when dey ge' t'rough, dey hab
big supper dere fa aw dem wha' whip rice. Gi'e em aw de rice en hog head
dey is e'er wan'. Man, dey'ud hab de nicest kind uv music dere. Knock
dem bones togedder en slap en pat dey hands to aw kind uv pretty tune."

"Dem dey hab rice mortars right dere on de plantation wha' dey fix de
rice in jes uz nice. Now dey hab to take it to de mill. Yuh see dey hab
uh big block outer in de yard wid uh big hole in it dat dey put de rice
in en take dese t'ing call pestles en beat down on it en dat wha' knock
de shaft offen it. Coase dey ne'er hab no nice pretty rice lak yuh see
dese days cause it wusn't uz white uz de rice dat dey hab 'boat heah dis
day en time, but it wuz mighty sweet rice, honey, mighty sweet rice."

"No'mam, didn't hab no schools tall den. Ne'er gi'e de colored peoples
no l'arnin' no whey 'fore freedom 'clare. Wha' little l'arnin' come my
way wuz wha' I ge' when I stay wid Miss Martha Leggett down dere to
Leggett's Mill Pond. A'ter freedom 'clare, uh lady from de north come
dere en Miss Leggett send we chillun to school to dat lady up on de hill
dere in de woods. No, honey, yah ain' ne'er see no bresh tent 'bout
heah dis day en time. Dis jes de way it waz make. Dey dig four big holes
en put postes in aw four corner 'bout lak uh room. Den dey lay log
'cross de top uv dat en kiver it aw o'er wid bresh (brush) dat dey break
outer de woods. Ne'er hab none uv de side shet up. En dey haul log dere
en roll em under dat bresh tent fa we chillun to set on. Oh, de
teacher'ud hab uh big box fa her stand jes lak uh preacher. Eve'ybody
dat go to school dere hab one uv dem t'ing call slate dat yah ne'er
hadder do nuthin but jes wash it offen. En dey hab dese ole l'arnin'
book wha' yuh call Websters."

"My white folks al'ays waz good to me, honey. Ne'er didn't nab to do no
field work in aw me life. When I stay dere wid Miss Leggett, I hadder
pick up little chip 'bout de yard when I fust come home from school en
den I hadder go 'way up in de big field en drib de turkeys up. We didn't
find dat no hard t'ing to do lak de peoples talk lak it sumptin hard to
do dese days. We wuz l'arnt to work en didn't mind it neither. Al'ays
minded to us own business."

"Oh, gourds waz de t'ing in dem days. Dey waz wha' de peoples hab to
drink outer en wash dey hominy en rice in aw de time. Dey was de bestest
kind uv bowl fa we chillun to eat corn bread en clabber outer. Peoples
dis day en time don' hab no sech crockery lak de people use'er hab.
Honey, day hab de prettiest little clay bowls den."

"Annuder t'ing de peoples do den dat yuh ain' ne'er hear 'bout nobody
doing dese days, dey al'ays boil sumptin fa dey cows to eat lak peas en
corn in uh big ole black pot somewhey dere in de back lot. Coase it wuz
jes half cooked, but day sho' done dat. Nobody ne'er t'ought 'bout not
cookin' fa dey cow den."

"Dat was sho' uh different day from dis, honey. De little chillun wus
jes uz foolish den cause de peoples ne'er tell dem 'bout nuthin tall in
dat day en time. Aw dese little chillun 'bout heah dese days don' hab no
shame 'bout em no whey. Dey hab head full uv eve'yt'ing, honey, aw sorta
grown people knowings."

  Source: Maggie Black, ex-slave, age 79, Marion, S. C.
          Personal interview, June 1937

  Spartanburg, S. C.
  June 7, 1937


"I was born in Laurens County, S. C., at the 'brick house', which is
close to Newberry County line, and my master was Dr. Felix Calmes. The
old brick house is still there. My daddy was Joe Grazier and my mammy,
Nellie Grazier.

"We had a pretty good house to live in in slavery time, and some fair
things to eat, but never was paid any money. We had plenty to eat like
fat meat, turnips, cabbages, cornbread, milk and pot-liquor. Master sent
his corn and apples, and his peaches to old man Scruggs at Helena, near
Newberry, to have him make his whiskey, brandy, and wine for him. Old
man Scruggs was good at that business. The men hunted some, squirrels,
rabbits, possums, and birds.

"In the winter time I didn't have much clothes, and no shoes. At nights
I carded and spinned on the mistress's wheels, helping my mammy. Then we
got old woman Wilson to weave for us.

"Master had a big plantation of several farms, near about 1,000 acres or
more. It was said he had once 250 slaves on his places, counting
children and all. His overseers had to whip the slaves, master told them
to, and told them to whip them hard. Master Calmes was most always mean
to us. He got mad spells and whip like the mischief. He all the time
whipping me 'cause I wouldn't work like he wanted. I worked in the big
house, washed, ironed, cleaned up, and was nurse in the house when war
was going on.

"We didn't have a chance to learn to read and write, and master said if
he caught any of his slaves trying to learn he would 'skin them alive'.

"There was a church in the neighborhood on Dr. Blackburn's place, but we
didn't get to go to it much. I was 17 years old when I joined the
church. I joined because the rest of the girls joined. I think everybody
ought to join the church.

"On Saturday afternoons the slaves had to work, and all day Sunday, too,
if master wanted them. On Christmas Day we was give liquor to get drunk
on, but didn't have no dinner.

"When I was sick old Dr. P. B. Ruff attended me. Old Dr. Calmes, I
'member, traveled on a horse, with saddle-bag behind him, and made his
own medicines. He made pills from cornbread.

"I saw many slaves sold on the block--saw mammy with little infant taken
away from her baby and sent away. I saw families separated from each
other, some going to one white master and some to another.

"I married at 14 years old to Arthur Bluford. We had 10 children. I now
have about 8 grandchildren and about 7 or 8 great-grandchildren. I was
married in the town of Newberry at the white folk's Methodist church, by
a colored preacher named Rev. Geo. De Walt.

"When freedom come, they left and hired out to other people, but I
stayed and was hired out to a man who tried to whip me, but I ran away.
Dat was after I married and had little baby. I told my mammy to look
after my little baby 'cause I was gone. I stayed away two years 'till
after Dr. Calmes and his family moved to Mississippi."

  Source: Gordon Bluford (92), Newberry, S. C.
          Interviewer: G. Leland Summer, 1707 Lindsey St.,
                     Newberry, S. C.

  Project #1655
  Henry Grant
  Columbia, S. C.


Samuel Boulware's only home is one basement room, in the home of colored
friends, for which no rent charges are made. He is old and feeble and
has poor eyesight, yet, he is self-supporting by doing light odd jobs,
mostly for white people. He has never married, hence no dependents
whatever. One of the members of the house, in which Samuel lives, told
him someone on the front porch wanted to talk with him.

From his dingy basement room he slowly mounted the steps and came toward
the front door with an irregular shamble. One seeing his approach would
naturally be of the opinion, that this old darkey was certainly nearing
the hundred year mark. Apparently Father Time had almost caught up with
him; he had been caught in the winds of affliction and now he was
tottering along with a bent and twisted frame, which for many years in
the past, housed a veritable physical giant. The winds of 82 years had
blown over him and now he was calmly and humbly approaching the end of
his days. Humility was his attitude, a characteristic purely
attributable to the genuine and old-fashion southern Negro. He slid into
a nearby chair and began talking in a plain conversational way.

"Dis is a mighty hot day white folks but you knows dis is July and us
gits de hot days in dis month. De older I gits de more I feels de hot
and de cold. I has been a strong, hard working man most all my life and
if it wasn't for dis rheumatism I has in my right leg, I could work hard
every day now.

"Does I 'member much 'bout slavery times? Well, dere is no way for me to
disremember, unless I die. My mammy and me b'long to Doctor Hunter,
some called him Major Hunter. When I was a small boy, I lived wid my
mammy on de Hunter plantation. After freedom, I took de name of my
daddy, who was a Boulware. He b'long to Reuben Boulware, who had a
plantation two and one-half miles from Ridgeway, S. C., on de road dat
leads to Longtown. My mistress' name was Effie. She and marster had four
sons, no girls a-tall. George, Abram, Willie, and Henry, was their
names. They was fine boys, 'cause they was raised by Mistress Effie's
own hands. She was a good woman and done things 'zackly right 'round de
plantation. Us slaves loved her, 'cause she said kind and soft words to
us. Many times I's seen her pat de little niggers on de head, smile and
say nice words to them. Boss, kind treatment done good then and it sho'
does good dis present day; don't you think I's right 'bout dat? Marster
had a bad temper. When he git mad, he walk fast, dis way and dat way,
and when he stop, would say terrible cuss words. When de mistress heard
them bad words, she would bow her pretty head and walk 'way kinda sad
lak. It hurt us slaves to see de mistress sad, 'cause us wanted to see
her smilin' and happy all de time.

"My mammy worked hard in de field every day and as I was just a small
boy, I toted water to de hands in de field and fetched wood into de
kitchen to cook wid. Mammy was de mother of twelve chillun; three of
them die when they was babies. I's de oldest of de twelve and has done
more hard work than de rest. I had five brothers and all of them is
dead, 'cept one dat lives in Savannah, Georgia. I has four sisters, one
living in Charleston, one in New York City, one in Ithaca, N. Y., and
one in Fairfield County, dis State.

"Does my folks help me along any? No sir, they sho' don't. I gits
nothin' from them, and I don't expect nothin' neither. Boss, a nigger's
kinfolks is worse than a stranger to them; they thinks and acts for
theirselves and no one else. I knows I's a nigger and I tries to know my
place. If white folks had drapped us long time ago, us would now be next
to de rovin' beasts of de woods. Slavery was hard I knows but it had to
be, it seem lak. They tells me they eats each other in Africa. Us don't
do dat and you knows dat is a heap to us.

"Us had plenty to eat in slavery time. It wasn't de best but it filled
us up and give us strength 'nough to work. Marster would buy a years
rations on de first of every year and when he git it, he would have some
cooked and would set down and eat a meal of it. He would tell us it
didn't hurt him, so it won't hurt us. Dats de kind of food us slaves had
to eat all de year. Of course, us got a heap of vegetables and fruits in
de summer season, but sich as dat didn't do to work on, in de long
summer days.

"Marster was good, in a way, to his slaves but dat overseer of his name
John Parker, was mean to us sometimes. He was good to some and bad to
others. He strung us up when he done de whippin'. My mammy got many
whippin's on 'count of her short temper. When she got mad, she would
talk back to de overseer, and dat would make him madder than anything
else she could do.

"Marster had over twenty grown slaves all de time. He bought and sold
them whenever he wanted to. It was sad times to see mother and chillun
separated. I's seen de slave speculator cut de little nigger chillun
with keen leather whips, 'cause they'd cry and run after de wagon dat
was takin' their mammies away after they was sold.

"De overseer was poor white folks, if dats what you is askin' 'bout,
and dat is one thing dat made him so hard on de slaves of de plantation.
All de overseers I knowed 'bout was poor white folks; they was white
folks in de neighborhood dat wasn't able to own slaves. All dis class of
people was called by us niggers, poor white folks.

"Us slaves had no schoolin', 'cause dere was no teacher and school nigh
our plantation. I has learnt to read a little since I got grown.
Spelling come to me natural. I can spell 'most any word I hears, old as
I is.

"Marster and mistress was Baptist in 'ligious faith, and b'long to
Concord Baptist Church. Us slaves was allowed to 'tend dat church, too.
Us set up in de gallery and jined in de singin' every Sunday. Us slaves
could jine Concord Church but Doctor Durham, who was de preacher, would
take de slaves in another room from de white folks, and git their
'fessions, then he would jine them to de church.

"My daddy was a slave on Reuben Boulware's plantation, 'bout two miles
from Marster Hunter's place. He would git a pass to come to see mammy
once every week. If he come more than dat he would have to skeedaddle
through de woods and fields from de patrollers. If they ketched him
widout a pass, he was sho' in for a skin crackin' whippin'. He knowed
all dat but he would slip to see mammy anyhow, whippin' or not.

"Most them there patrollers was poor white folks, I believes. Rich folks
stay in their house at night, 'less they has some sort of big frolic
amongst theirselves. Poor white folks had to hustle 'round to make a
living, so, they hired out theirselves to slave owners and rode de roads
at night and whipped niggers if they ketched any off their plantation
widout a pass. I has found dat if you gives to some poor folks, white
or black, something a little better than they is used to, they is sho'
gwine to think too high of theirselves soon, dats right. I sho' believes
dat, as much as I believes I's setting in dis chair talkin' to you.

"I 'members lak yesterday, de Yankees comin' 'long. Marster tried to
hide the best stuff on de plantation but some of de slaves dat helped
him hide it, showed de Yankee soldiers just where it was, when they come
dere. They say: 'Here is de stuff, hid here, 'cause us put it dere.'
Then de soldiers went straight to de place where de valuables was hid
and dug them out and took them, it sho' set old marster down. Us slaves
was sorry dat day for marster and mistress. They was gittin' old, and
now they had lost all they had, and more that dat, they knowed their
slaves was set free. De soldiers took all de good hosses, fat cattle,
chickens, de meat in de smoke house, and then burnt all empty houses.
They left de ones dat folks lived in. De Yankees 'pear to me, to be
lookin' for things to eat, more than anything else.

"Does I believe in 'ligion? Dat is all us has in dis world to live by
and it's gwine to be de onliest thing to die wid. Belief in God and a
'umble spirit is how I's tryin' to live these days. I was christened
fust a Methodist, but when I growed up, I jine de Presbyterian Church
and has 'mained a member of dat church every since.

"Thank God I's had 'nough sense not to believe in haunts and sich
things. I has 'possum hunt at night by myself in graveyards and I ain't
seen one yet. My mammy say she see haunts pass her wid no heads but
these old eyes has never seen anything lak dat. If you has done somebody
a terrible wrong, then I believes dat person when they die, will 'pear
to you on 'count of dat."

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  Feb. 7, 1938
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage

  [~HW: Boy~]

"The Red Shirts had a big parade and barbecue in Spartanburg. They met
at the courthouse. There were about 500 Red Shirts, besides others who
made up a big crowd. I remember four leaders who came from Union County.
One of the companies was led by Squire Gilliam Jeter, and one by Squire
Bill Lyles. The company from the city was led by Capt. James Douglass
and 'Buck' Kelley from Pea Ridge was there with his company.

"Everything drilled in Spartanburg that day. The speakers of the day
from Union were Squire Jeter and Capt. Douglass. While they were
speaking, old Squire George Tucker from lower Fish Dam came with his
company. Mr. Harrison Sartor, father of Will Sartor, was one of the
captains. We saw Gen. Wade Hampton and old man Ben Tillman there.

"About this time I was bound out to Mr. Jim Gregory, a blacksmith. The
wealthy landlords bought negroes. Mr. Jim Gregory was the blacksmith for
old Johnny Meador and Aunt Polly, his wife. He told me that Uncle Johnny
bought a man, Heath, for $3,500. He also bought Heath's wife, Morrow,
for Aunt Polly, but I don't know what he paid. The Meador house is just
this side of Simstown. Aunt Polly's father, Triplett Meador, built that
mansion. The brick were made in a home kiln which was near the house.
Aunt Polly was a little girl when the house was built. While the brick
for the sitting-room fireplace were still wet, he made little Polly step
on each one of them to make the impression of her feet. So those foot
prints in that fireplace are Aunt Polly's when she was five years old.
She grew up there and married, and lived there until her death.

"Miss Ida Knight's house (formerly the Sims house) was built not later
than 1840. Dr. Thompson lived there first. Dr. Billy Sims married Dr.
Thompson's sister, Miss Patsy, and that is how the house got into the
Sims family. The old post office was known as Simstown, and I believe it
was up near the Nat Gist mansion. Simstown was the name for the river
community for years, because the Sims settled there and they were
equally or more prominent than the Thompsons and Gists in that
community. All the Sims men were country doctors.

"To this community at the close of the Confederate War, came old man
Ogle Tate, his wife, and Ben Shell, as refugees, fleeing from the
Yankees. When they came into the community, Nat Gist gave them a nice
house to live in on his plantation.

"Mr. Gregory got all the sheet iron used on the Meador and Gist
plantations, and also on the Sims and Thompson plantations. Plows were
made in his blacksmith shop from 10 inch sheet iron. The sheet was
heated and beaten into shape with his hammer. After cooling, the tools
could be sharpened. Horse and mule shoes were made from slender iron
rods, bought for that purpose. They were called 'slats', and this grade
of iron was known as 'slat iron'. The shoe was moulded while hot, and
beaten into the correct shape to fit the animal's foot. Those old shoes
fit much better than the store-bought ones of more recent days. The
horseshoe nails were made there, too. In fact, every farm implement of
iron was made from flat or sheet iron.

"I spun the first pants that I wore. Ma sewed them for me, and wove and
finished them with her hands. She made the thread that they were sewed
with by hand on the loom. I made cloth for all my shirts. I wore
home-made cotton underwear in summer and winter, for we were poor. Of
course my winter clothes were heavier.

"We raised some sheep, and the winter woolens were made from the wool
sheared from the sheep every May. Wool was taken to the factory at
Bivensville and there made into yarn. Often, cotton was swapped for yarn
to warp at home. Then ma ran it off on spools for her loom. 'Sleigh
hammers' were made from cane gotten off the creek banks and bottoms.

"Aunt Polly Meador had no patrollers on her place. She would not allow
one there, for she did her own patrolling with her own whip and two bull
dogs. She never had an overseer on her place, either. Neither did she
let Uncle Johnny do the whipping. Those two dogs held them and she did
her own whipping. One night she went to the quarter and found old 'Bill
Pea Legs' there after one of her negro women. He crawled under the bed
when he heard Aunt Polly coming. Those dogs pulled old 'Pea Legs' out
and she gave him a whipping that he never forgot. She whipped the woman,

"Morg was Morrow's nickname. Morg used to sit on the meat block and cut
the meat for Aunt Polly to give out. Morg would eat her three pounds of
raw meat right there. Uncle Johnny asked her what she would do all the
week without any meat, she said that she would take the skin and grease
her mouth every morning; then go on to the field or house and do her
work, and wait until the next Saturday for more.

"I do not know how old I am, but I well remember when Wheeler's men came
to the plantation. They tore up everything. We heard that they were
coming, so we dug holes and buried the meat and everything we could. We
hid them so well that we could never find some of them ourselves.
Wheeler and 36 men stopped on the Dick Jeter place. I think that was in
1864. The Jeter place touched Miss Polly's plantation. The Jeter place
was right near Neal Shoals on Broad River. Mr. Jeter had the biggest gin
house in the entire township. Old Mr. Dick was at home because he was
too old to go to the war. Pa was still in the war then, of course. Ma
and I and one of the other children and a few darkies were at our home.

"We saw Wheeler and his men when they stopped at that gin house. They
began to ransack immediately. Wheeler gave some orders to his men and
galloped off towards our house. The negroes ran but ma and I stayed in
the house. Wheeler rode up in front of the door and spoke to my mother.
He said that he had to feed his men and horses and asked her where the
corn was. She told him that the gin house and the crib which contained
the corn did not belong to her, so she could not give him the keys. At
that he ordered his men to remove a log from the crib. By this means
they broke into the crib and got all the corn. They then ransacked the
house and took everything there was to eat. They tore out the big cog
wheel in the gin and camped in it for the night. Next morning they set
fire to the gin and then galloped away. Soon Mr. Jeter's big gin had
gone up in flames. They took all of our corn and all of the fodder, 200
bundles that we had in the barn, away with them."

  Source: Mr. John Boyd, County Home, Union, R. F. D.
  Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. 1/26/38

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  May 24, 1937
  Edited by: Elmer Turnage


"I was born in Newberry County, near the Laurens County line, above
Little River. Me and my mother belonged to the Workman family.
Afterwards, I belonged to Madison Workman. He was a good man to his
slaves. My work was around the house and home. I was too young to work
in the fields until after the war.

"I can't remember much about them times. I married there and soon after
come to town and lived, where I have worked ever since. I do washing and
other work.

"On the farm, the old folks had to cook outdoors, or in a kitchen away
off from the house. They had wide fireplaces where they put their pots
to cook the meals.

"I remember the old Little River Presbyterian Church where people would
go on Sundays. They would go in the mornings, and again in the
afternoons and have preaching."

  Source: Jane Bradley (80), Newberry, S. C.
  Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. May 17, 1937

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Andy Brice lives with his wife and two small children, about twelve
miles east of Ridgeway, S. C., in a two-room frame building, chimney in
the center. The house is set in a little cluster of pines one hundred
and fifty yards north of state highway #34. Andy, since the amputation
of his right leg five years ago, has done no work and is too old to
learn a trade. He has a regular beggar's route including the towns of
Ridgeway, Winnsboro, Woodward, and Blackstock. His amiability and good
nature enable him to go home after each trip with a little money and a
pack of miscellaneous gifts from white friends.

"Howdy Cap'n! I come to Winnsboro dis mornin' from way 'cross Wateree,
where I live now 'mongst de bull-frogs and skeeters. Seem lak they just
sing de whole night thru: 'De bull-frog on de bank, and de skeeter in de
pool.' Then de skeeter sail 'round my face wid de tra la, la la la, la
la la part of dat old song you is heard, maybe many times.

"I see a spit-box over dere. By chance, have you got any 'bacco? Make me
more glib if I can chew and spit; then I 'members more and better de
things done past and gone.

"I was a slave of Mistress Jane. Her was a daughter of old Marster
William Brice. Her marry Henry Younge and mammy was give to Marse Henry
and Miss Jane.

"My pappy name Tony. Mammy name Sallie. You is seen her a many a day.
Marse Henry got kilt in de war. His tombstone and Mistress Jane's
tombstone am in Concord Cemetery. They left two chillun, Miss Kittie and
Miss Maggie. They both marry a Caldwell; same name but no kin. Miss
Kittie marry Marse Joe Caldwell and move to Texas. Miss Maggie marry
Marse Camel Caldwell and move to North Carolina.

"My pappy die durin' de war. After freedom, mammy marry a ugly, no
'count nigger name Mills Douglas. She had one child by him, name Janie.
My mammy name her dat out of memory and love for old mistress, in
slavery time. I run away from de home of my step-pappy and got work wid
Major Thomas Brice. I work for him 'til I become a full grown man and
come to be de driver of de four-hoss wagon.

"One day I see Marse Thomas a twistin' de ears on a fiddle and rosinin'
de bow. Then he pull dat bow 'cross de belly of dat fiddle. Sumpin' bust
loose in me and sing all thru my head and tingle in my fingers. I make
up my mind, right then and dere, to save and buy me a fiddle. I got one
dat Christmas, bless God! I learn and been playin' de fiddle ever since.
I pat one foot while I playin'. I kept on playin' and pattin' dat foot
for thirty years. I lose dat foot in a smash up wid a highway accident
but I play de old tunes on dat fiddle at night, dat foot seem to be dere
at de end of dat leg (indicating) and pats just de same. Sometime I
ketch myself lookin' down to see if it have come back and jined itself
up to dat leg, from de very charm of de music I makin' wid de fiddle and
de bow.

"I never was very popular wid my own color. They say behind my back, in
'76, dat I's a white folks nigger. I wear a red shirt then, drink red
liquor, play de fiddle at de 'lection box, and vote de white folks
ticket. Who I marry? I marry Ellen Watson, as pretty a ginger cake
nigger as ever fried a batter cake or rolled her arms up in a wash tub.
How I git her? I never git her; dat fiddle got her. I play for all de
white folks dances down at Cedar Shades, up at Blackstock. De money roll
in when someone pass 'round de hat and say: 'De fiddler?' Ellen had more
beaux 'round her than her could shake a stick at but de beau she lak
best was de bow dat could draw music out of them five strings, and draw
money into dat hat, dat jingle in my pocket de nex' day when I go to see

"I 'members very little 'bout de war, tho' I was a good size boy when de
Yankees come. By instint, a nigger can make up his mind pretty quick
'bout de creed of white folks, whether they am buckra or whether they am
not. Every Yankee I see had de stamp of poor white trash on them. They
strutted 'round, big Ike fashion, a bustin' in rooms widout knockin',
talkin' free to de white ladies, and familiar to de slave gals,
ransackin' drawers, and runnin' deir bayonets into feather beds, and
into de flower beds in de yards.

"What church I b'long to? None. Dat fiddle draws down from hebben all de
sermons dat I understan'. I sings de hymns in de way I praise and
glorify de Lord.

"Cotton pickin' was de biggest work I ever did, outside of drivin' a
wagon and playin' de fiddle. Look at them fingers; they is supple. I
carry two rows of cotton at a time. One week I pick, in a race wid
others, over 300 pounds a day. Commencin' Monday, thru Friday night, I
pick 1,562 pounds cotton seed. Dat make a bale weighin' 500 pounds, in
de lint.

"Ellen and me have one child, Sallie Ann. Ellen 'joy herself; have a
good time nussin' white folks chillun. Nussed you; she tell me 'bout it
many time. 'Spect she mind you of it very often. I knows you couldn't
git 'round dat woman; nobody could. De Lord took her home fifteen years
ago and I marry a widow, Ida Belton, down on de Kershaw County side.

"You wants me to tell 'bout dat 'lection day at Woodward, in 1878? You
wants to know de beginnin' and de end of it? Yes? Well, you couldn't wet
dis old man's whistle wid a swallow of red liquor now? Couldn't you or
could you? Dis was de way of it: It was set for Tuesday. Monday I drive
de four-hoss wagon down to dis very town. Marse John McCrory and Marse
Ed Woodward come wid me. They was in a buggy. When us got here, us got
twenty, sixteen shooters and put them under de hay us have in de wagon.
Bar rooms was here. I had fetched my fiddle 'long and played in Marse
Fred Habernick's bar 'til dinner time. Us leave town 'bout four o'clock.
Roads was bad but us got home 'bout dark. Us put de guns in Marse Andy
Mobley's store. Marse Ed and me leave Marse John to sleep in de store
and to take care of de guns.

"De nex' mornin', polls open in de little school house by de brick
church. I was dere on time, help to fix de table by de window and set de
ballot boxes on it. Voters could come to de window, put deir arms thru
and tuck de vote in a slit in de boxes. Dere was two supervisors, Marse
Thomas for de Democrats and Uncle Jordan for de Radicals. Marse Thomas
had a book and a pencil, Uncle Jordan had de same.

"Joe Foster, big buckra nigger, want to vote a stranger. Marse Thomas
challenge dis vote. In them times colored preachers so 'furiate de
women, dat they would put on breeches and vote de 'Publican radical
ticket. De stranger look lak a woman. Joe Foster 'spute Marse Thomas'
word and Marse Thomas knock him down wid de naked fist. Marse Irish
Billy Brice, when him see four or five hindred blacks crowdin' 'round
Marse Thomas, he jump thru de window from de inside. When he lit on de
ground, pistol went off pow! One nigger drop in his tracks. Sixteen men
come from nowhere and sixteen, sixteen shooters. Marse Thomas hold up
his hand to them and say: 'Wait!' Him point to de niggers and say:
'Git.' They start to runnin' 'cross de railroad, over de hillside and
never quit runnin' 'til they git half a mile away. De only niggers left
on dat ground was me, old Uncle Kantz, (you know de old mulatto,
club-foot nigger) well, me and him and Albert Gladney, de hurt nigger
dat was shot thru de neck was de only niggers left. Dr. Tom Douglas took
de ball out Albert's neck and de white folks put him in a wagon and sent
him home. I drive de wagon. When I got back, de white boys was in de
graveyard gittin' names off de tombstones to fill out de talley sheets,
dere was so many votes in de box for de Hampton ticket, they had to vote
de dead. I 'spect dat was one resurrection day all over South

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  Nov. 10, 1937
  Edited by: Elmer Turnage


"I is gwine over to Tosch to see Maria. Everybody know Maria. She go by
Rice--Maria Rice. She sont fer me to cure her misery. First, I went from
my home in lower Cross Keys, across de Enoree, to see Maria. When I
reached dar whar she stay, dey tell me dat her daughter over to Tosch.
Done come and got her.

"A kind friend dat de Lawd put in my path fetched me back across de
Enoree and over to Tosch to Maria's gal's house. I is gwine straight
over dar and lay my hand on Maria and rid her of dat misery dat she sont
word was ailing her all dis spring. Don't make no diff'uns whar you
hurts--woman, man or suckling babe--if you believes in de holler of my
hand, it'll ease you, allus do it. De Bible say so, dat's why it be
true. Ain't gwine to tell you nothing but de truth and de whole truth,
so help me Jesus. Gone 65 years, I is been born agin dat long; right
over in Padgett's Creek church, de white folks' church, dat's what de
Lawd tuck my sins away and washed me clean agin wid His blood. Dat's why
I allus sticks to de truth, I does.

"Dey all 'lows dat I is gwine on 89, and I has facts to believe it am
true. I 'longed to Marse Jesse Briggs. Did you know dat it was two Jesse
Briggs? Yes sir, sho was two Jesse Briggses.

"What I gwine to relate to you is true, but in respect to my old Marse,
and in de case dat dem what reads dat book won't understand, you needs
not to write dis statement down. My marster was called 'Black Jesse',
but de reason fer dat was to keep him from gitting mixed up wid de other
Jesse. Dat is de secret of de thing. Now dat's jes' fer your own light
and knowledge, and not to be wrote down. He was de blacksmith fer all de
Cross Keys section, and fer dat very thing he got de name by everybody,
'Black Jesse'. I allus 'longed to dat man and he was de kindest man what
de countryside had knowledge of.

"In Union County is whar I was born and raised, and it's whar I is gwine
to be buried. Ain't never left de county but once in my life, and if de
Lawd see fitten, I ain't gwine to leave it no mo', 'cept to reach de
Promise Land. Lawd! Lawd! De Promise Land, dat's whar I is gwine when I
leaves Union County. Dey carried me a hundred miles to cure a sick
woman, onliest time I ever left Union County. I loves it and I is fit
throughout and enduring de time dem Yankees tried to git de county, to
save it. What is I gwine to leave it fer? Mr. Perrin and all de white
folks is good to me since my marse done gone and left his earthly home.
And he is waiting up dar wid Missie to see me agin. Dat I is sho of.

"Listen brother, de Lawd is setting on His throne in Glory. He hear
every word dat I gwine to tell you. Folks fergits dat when dey talks
real often sometimes, don't dey? I put my hand on any 'flux' man or
woman and removes de pain, if dey have faith in my hand. I don't tell
nothing but de truth. I was born on Gist Briggs' plantation in Union
County, in de lower section of Cross Keys. Marse Sexton and all dem good
folks in lower Keys says dat I sho is 88. Give my name right flat, it's
George Briggs; giving it round, it like dis, George McDuffie Briggs. My
papa's name was Ike Wilburn, and my mother's name was Margaret Briggs.
Pa 'longed to Marse Lige Wilburn. Mama 'longed to Jesse (Black Jesse)
Briggs. Dey both born and raised in Union County. Dese was my brothers
and sisters, coming in de order dey was born to my parents in: Charlie,
Dave, Aaron, Tom, Noah, Charlotte, Polly, Fannie, Mattie, Horace,
Cassie. I'm de oldest, and Cassie and me lives in Union County. Fannie
and Mattie lives in Asheville, and de rest is done journeyed to de
Promise Land. Yes Lawd, to de Promise Land.

"Marse and Missus was good to us all. Missus name was Nancy. She die
early and her grave is in Cross Keys at de Briggs graveyard. Be still!
Lemme git my mind together so dat I don't git mixed up and can git you
de Briggses together. Here 'tis: Cheney and Lucindy, Lucindy married a
Floyd from Spartanburg, and de Floyds lived at de Burn't factory. Cheney
Briggs had a son, Henry Briggs.

"Not so fast, fer I'se gwine to start way back, dat time when us was
lil' darky boys way back in slavery. We started to work wid de marster's
mules and hosses. When us was real little, we played hoss. Befo' Cheney
Briggs went to Arkansas he was our play hoss. His brother, Henry, was de
wagoner and I was de mule. Henry was little and he rid our backs
sometimes. Henry rid old man Sam, sometimes, and old man Sam jes' holler
and haw haw at us chilluns. Dis was in sech early childhood dat it is
not so I can 'zactly map out de exact age us was den; anyway, from dis
we rid de gentle hosses and mules and larn't how to feed dem. Every word
dat I tells you is de truth, and I is got to meet dat word somewhars
else; and fer dat reason, de truth is all dat dis old man ever tells.

"In dat day we lived in a log cabin or house. Sometimes us never had
nothing to do. Our house had only one room, but some of de houses had
two rooms. Our'n had a winder, a do', and a common fireplace. Now dey
makes a fireplace to scare de wood away. In old days dey made fireplaces
to take care of de chilluns in de cold weather. It warm de whole house,
'cause it was so big and dar was plenty wood. Wood wasn't no problem
den, and it ain't no problem yet out in de lower Keys. In town it is,
and I ain't guessing. I done seed so.

"I sho can histronize de Confederates. I come along wid de Secession
flag and de musterings. I careful to live at home and please de Marse.
In de war, I'se mo' dan careful and I stick close to him and please him,
and he mo' dan good. Us did not git mobbed up like lots of dem did.

"When Tice Myers' chilluns was born, he had a house built wid a
up-stairs. But never no stage coach stopped dar as I ever heard tell
about, and I done saw 75 years at Padgett's Creek.

"Way 'tis, from de bundle of de heart, de tongue speaketh. Been in
service reg'lar since Monday. I went to Neal Greege's house but she
wasn't dar. I is speaking 'bout Ria (Maria Rice). She done gone to town.
At de highway, de Lawd prepared a friend to carry me to Union, and when
I got dar I take and lay hands on Ria Rice, she laying down and
suffering, and I sot down and laid my hand on her. We never say nothing,
jes' pray. She be real quiet, and atter while, she riz up and take a
breath. She kept on a setting up fer so long dat her husband make her
lay back down fer fear dat she git worser. I stay dar all through de
night and she sleep sound and wake up dis morning feeling like a new

"Befo' breakfast, here is de words of praise I lifted to de Lawd, over
dar on Tosch. You set down de coser (chorus): 'First to de graveyard;
den to de Jedgement bar!' Is you got dat verser (verses)? Den git dis:
'All de deacons got to go; all de members got to go; all de sinners got
to go.' Mo' 'longs to it, but dat's all I takes when I is praising Him
fer relieving pain through me. (He sings each line five times. He takes
off his hat; bows; holds his hands over his head, and closes his eyes
while singing. His hair is snow white.)

"Lawd, help me dis morning! Here's another first line to one of our
songs: 'All dem preachers got to go'.

"Nehemiah, when he wid de king, de king axed him to reveal de wall whar
his father was buried. Nehemiah did what de king had done axed him. I
'tends Galilee Baptist church in lower Cross Keys; and at Sedalia, I
goes to New Hope Methodist church, but I don't know nothing else but
Baptist. We peoples is barrence (barren of the Holy Spirit), but not
God; He, Hisself, is born of God, and all is of de same source and by
dat I means de Spirit. All has to be born of de Spirit to become
chilluns of God. Romans, Chap. 6, 'lows something like dis: 'He dat is
dead in sin, how is it dat he can continue in sin?' Dat tell us dat
every man, white or black, is de child of God. And it is Christ dat is
buried in baptism, and we shall be buried in like manner. If Christ did
not rise, den our preaching is in vain. And if we is not born agin, why
den we is lost and our preaching is in vain.

"In picking up de New Testament, consider all dat you hear me arguing
and saying is from a gift and not from edication. Romans 6, 'lows:
'Speak plain words, not round words, kaise all de round words is fer dem
dat is edicated.' Jacob had twelve sons. Dey went and bundled up deir
wheat, and eleven bundles bowed to de one. Dat Joseph's bundle what he
done up. Other brothers up and got and sold Joseph into captivity to de
Egyptians. Dat throw'd Jacob to send Reuben to Egypt. Den dey bowed to
Jacob and his sons. It run on and on till dey all had to go to Egypt,
and all of dem had to live under Joseph.

"When I was a little shaver and come to myself. I was sleeping in a
corded bed. (He scratched his head) I jes' studying fer a minute; can't
'zactly identify my grandpa, but I can identify my grandma. We all
raised on de same place together. She name Cindy Briggs, but dey call
her Cina kaise dar was so many Cindys 'round dar. One thing I does
'member 'bout her, if she tote me, she sho to whip me. I was raised

"All my life I is stayed in de fur (far) end of Union County whar it
borders Laurens, wid de Enoree dividing de two counties. It is right dar
dat I is plowed and hoed and raised my craps fer de past 75 years, I
reckons. Lawd have mercy! No, I doesn't recalls de names of none of dem
mules. Dat's so fur back dat I is jes' done forgot, dat's all. But I
does recall 'fur back' things de best, sometimes. Listen good now. When
I got big and couldn't play 'round at chillun's doings, I started to
platting cornshucks and things fer making hoss and mule collars, and
scouring-brooms and shoulder-mats. I cut hickory poles and make handles
out of dem fer de brooms. Marse had hides tanned, and us make buggy
whips, wagon whips, shoe strings, saddle strings and sech as dat out of
our home-tanned leather. All de galluses dat was wo' in dem days was
made by de darkies.

"White oak and hickory was split to cure, and we made fish baskets, feed
baskets, wood baskets, sewing baskets and all kinds of baskets fer de
Missus. All de chair bottoms of straight chairs was made from white oak
splits, and de straight chairs was made in de shop. You made a scouring
brush like dis: (He put his hands together to show how the splits were
held) By splitting a width of narrow splits, keep on till you lay a
entire layer of splits; turn dis way; den dat way, and den bind together
and dat hold dem like you want dem to stay. Last, you work in a pole as
long as you want it fer de handle, and bind it tight and tie wid de
purtiest knots.

"I git money fer platting galluses and making boot strings and other
little things. Allus first, I desires to be well qualified wid what I
does. I is gwine to be qualified wid everything dat I does, iffen I does
it fer money or no. Dat's de reason white people has allus give me words
of encouragement.

"Now I gwine to sing a song fer Miss Polly, kaise she de grand-daughter
of de late Sheriff Long, and I goes to see her grandma at de Keys (Cross
Keys House). Dar she come now.

"How is you dis morning, Miss Polly? De Lawd sho does shower you, Miss
Polly, and dat's de reason I is gwine to sing fer you dis morning.
You'll be able to tell Mr. Jimmie (her father) dat Uncle George sing fer
you, 'Jesus Listening All De Day Long'.

  "Jesus listening all de day long to hear some sinner pray.
  De winding sheet to wrop (wrap) dis body in,
  De coffin to hold you fast;
  Pass through death's iron do'.
  Come ye dat love de Lawd and let your joy be know'd;
  Dis iron gate you must pass through, if you gwine to be
  Born agin."

He sang these lines over three times and then bowing, said: "Ain't it
glory dat we can live whar de Lawd can use us? Dat's power. A strong man
entereth in; a weak man cometh out. Dat represent Christ gwine into your

"Sho I can remember when dey had de mustering grounds at de Keys. Dar
day mustered and den dey turn't in and practiced drilling dem soldiers
till dey larn't how to march and to shoot de Yankees. Drilling, dat's de
proper word, not practice, I knows, if I ain't ed'icated. Dey signed me
to go to de 16th regiment, but I never reached de North. When us got to
Charleston, us turn't around and de bosses fetched us right back to
Union through Columbia. Us heard dat Sherman was coming, fetching fire
along 'hind him.

"Don't know nothing 'bout no militia to make no statement, but it went
on and turn't back. Another regiment had a barbecue somewhars in Union
County befo' it went off to war; might a been de 18th regiment, but I
does not feel dat I can state on dat.

"My soul reaches from God's foot-stool up to his heavenly home. I can
histronize de poor white folks' wives and chilluns enduring de time of
de Civil War fer you. When dese poor white men went to de war, dey left
deir little chillun and deir wives in de hands of de darkies dat was
kind and de rich wives of our marsters to care fer. Us took de best care
of dem poor white dat us could under de circumstances dat prevailed.

"We was sont to Sullivan's Island, but befo' we reached it, de Yankees
done got it and we won't 'lowed to cross in '64. But jes' de same, we
was in service till dey give Capt. Franklin Bailey 'mission to fetch us
home. Dar we had to git 'mission fer everything, jes' as us niggers had
to git 'mission to leave our marster's place at home in Union County.
Capt. Bailey come on back to Cross Keys wid us under his protection, and
we was under it fer de longest time atter we done got home.

"Fer 65 years I been licensed as a preacher, and fer longer dan dat I
been a member of Padgett's Creek Baptist church. Mo' work I does, mo'
work I has to do. You know how to pray. Well, you does not know how to
make polish out of pinders.

"I ain't ed'icated yet, but even Lige what teaches school out to de Keys
(de big black school), dat big black buck dat teaches de chilluns deir
'rithmetic; even he couldn't do dis here one. A heap of ed'icated folks
can't give it. Here it is: 'What's de biggest figger in de figger ten?'"

With his old black, rough and gnarled forefinger he drew on the table
the figure 1. "Now you see dat? Dat's de figger 1. A naught ain't
nothing by itself or multiplied by other naughts; but set it down in
front of de figger 1, and it takes on de value 9. Dar you is got
ten--one and nine is ten. Dat naught becomes something. I is old, and I
ain't had narry bit of schooling, but I likes to be close to de orchard,
and I knows it's dar by de smell of it. Dat's de way I is when I gits
along side ed'icated folks--I knows dat dey is.

"It's like dat sum dem scholars couldn't git; standing alone dat naught
ain't worth nothing, but set it up against dat which is of value and it
takes on value. Set a naught ag'inst dat which is one and you has ten;
set up another naught dar and you has a hundred. Now if somebody was to
give me a note worth $10, and I found room to add another naught along
side of de first; den dem two naughts what ain't worth nothing by
deirselves gives de note de value of $99 if dey is sot along wid de one.
Ed'icated folks calls dat raising de note. I is ig'nant and I calls dat
robbery. And dat's like you and me. We is naughts and Christ is de
_One_, and we ain't nothing till we carries de Spirit of de Lawd along
wid us.

"On de pathway of life, may you allus keep Christ in front of you and
you will never go wrong. De Lawd will den see fit to give you a soul dat
will reach from His foot-stool here on earth to His dwelling place on
high." He ended with a deep sob and good-bye.

  Source: George Briggs (88), Union, S. C. RFD 2.
          Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. 6/9/37.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  July 20, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"Some white men called in question today about de reigning governor
enduring time of de Civil War. I knowed dat, and 'cides dat, I knowed
him well. It was Governor 'Bill' as us called him.

"What you want to git, is history about muster grounds. Yes, it was on
Jones Ferry Road, jest south of Cross Keys whar dey had what dey allus
called de muster field. Now, Jones Ferry Road leads across Enoree River
into Laurens County. Enoree River is de thing dat devides Union County
from Laurens County, dat it is.

"Well as I remember, Mr. Bill Ray was in de mustering of de 18th
Regiment. Billy, Robert, Sara and Miss Nancy was Mr. Alex's chilluns.
Understand me, don't think dat Bob and Sam was in de Regiment ...
satisfied Billy was, kaise he used to pass our house on horse back,
coming from de Laurens side where he lived.

"Sixteen-year-old boys come in de same time dat I did. Course I ain't
told all dat I knows, kaise dat wouldn't be proper. All I tell you, I
wants it to be recognized. De better it's done, de better it'll help

"I goes from home and stays five days or more, and don't nothing happen
to a thing at my home. I does fer de sick and de Lawd blesses me. He
looks atter my things while I am away. He soon shows his presence atter
I gits dar. He calls fer me and I feeds Him.

"Once had 26 biles (boils). Dat make me consider my disobedience against
de Lawd. Den I went to Him in prayer. He told me Satan done got ahead of
Him. Dat show me dat I done forgot to be particular. I got mo' 'ticular
and pray mo' often, and in six weeks my biles had done all gone.

"Dar is times when I gits lost fer not knowing. I can't keep up, kaise I
cannot read. Man in Sunday school reads and I hears. He read de olden
Testament; den he read de new Testament. Dat my schooling. I 'clar unto
you, I got by all my life by praying and thinking. I sho does think a
lot. ('Uncle' George's facial and scalp muscles work so when he thinks,
that his straw hat moves up and down.)

"When good man prays fer bad man, de Holy Ghost works on bad man's
consciousness, and afo' he knows it, he's a-saying 'Lawd have Mercy'
'stead of 'G'dam', like all wicked folks says every day. He--dat de Holy
Ghost dat I still is speaking of--jest penetrates de wicked man's
consciousness widout him a-knowing it. Dat penetrating make de bad man
say, 'Lawd have Mercy.' I hoes and I cuts sprouts, and den I plows. When
you plows, mules is allus so aggravating dat dey gits you all ruffled
up. Dat de devil a-working at you. Dat's all old mules is anyhow. I does
not cuss, nohow, kaise it sho am wicked and I is had de Holy Spirit in
my soul, now gone sixty-five years, since I jined Padgett Creek Church.
When my old mule gits to de row's end, and he act mulish--kaise dat's in
him and he don't know nothing else to do--I means to say either 'ha' or
'gee', and often since I jined Padgett Creek Church I finds myself
saying 'Lawd have Mercy' 'stead of 'gee' or 'ha'. So you see dat de Lawd
has command, whar-so-ever if I was wicked, Satan would.

"A child fo God allus will agree wid de Word of God. We mens dat claim
to be leaders in de Kingdom, got to step up and sho folks what dey must
do. Man learns right smart from Exodus 'bout how to lead. A male child
was born to rule de world. Moses still de strongest impression dat we
has as rulers. God gits Hisself into de heads of men dat he wants to
rule and He don't tell nobody else nothing 'bout it neither.

"Mr. Roosevelt de president and he sho looks atter de po' folks. He
ain't no ig'nant man neither, kaise he got de light. Folks ain't a-gwine
to drown him out neither wid dere wicked words 'gainst him, kaise he
strive in de Lawd's name to do His will. Mr. Roosevelt got learning like
I is from de throne of God. He may have education also, but if he is, he
sho knows how to keep dem both jined together. Folks reads to me how he
got crippled and how he washed in dem springs in Georgia, and dat keep
him a-gwine right on anyhow. It ain't dem springs by deself, but it's
God a dipping his hand down dar fer de President to git well. Oh yes,
suh, I knows dat he twan't de president when he was a-washing, but dem
de plans dat de Lawd had done already planned and you and me never
know'd nothing 'bout all dat. You and me does not know what is planned
up in sto' fer us in de future neither.

"I is a Baptist, and at Padgett's Creek we does not believe in no
back-sliding. 'Once in de Spirit, allus in de Spirit'. A child of your'n
is allus a child of your'n. Dat de way de Baptist teach--once a child of
God, allus God's child. T'ain't no sech thing as drapping back. If you
draps back, you ain't never been no child of de Lawd, and you never had
no business being baptized. Christ was baptized in de waters of Jordan,
won't (weren't) He? Well, He never drapped back, did He? He say we must
follow in His footsteps, didn't He? Well, dar you is, and dat's all dar
is to it.

"God gits in de heads of men to help de aged and de po' also. I never
axes fer nothing, but when I sets around de courthouse and informs men
as I been doing dis evening, de Lawd has dem to drap a nickle or a dime
or a quarter in my hand but He never gits dem to a half of a dollar."

  Source: George Briggs, (88) Rt. 2, Union, S. C.
          Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. (7/12/37)

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  July 12, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"What-so-ever I can find! I traveling dat way over 73 years. If he ax de
Lawd and have faith, he ken do; and iffen he don't have no faith, by den
he can't. When a man comes along dat wants his own way, and he won't pay
no attention to de Lawd, by den de Lawd don't pay him no mind; and so
dat man jest keeps a-gwine on wid his way and he don't never reach de
Cross. Jesus say, 'deny yourself, pick up de Cross and follow Me.'

"I see a man in de courthouse dis morning, and he was like Nicodemus.
Why dat man want to be resto'd back like he was when he was jest 21
years old. I seed him setting down dar in Mr. Perrin's office, and I
knowed his troubles when he 'low dat he done been to every doctor in
town. De trouble was, he never had no faith in de doctors and nobody
else. How could he have faith in Jesus when he never had none in nothing
else? Brother, you has to have faith in your fellowman befo' you has
faith in de Lawd. I don't know how come, but dat's de way it is. My plan
is working by faith. Jesus say, 'Work widout faith ain't nothing; but
work wid faith'll move mountains'.

"Dat man told me he gwine give me a hundred dollars if I rid him of
misery. Dat show he never know nothing 'bout faith.

"If Mr. Emslie Nicholson ax me to rid him of a misery, I couldn't take
no money from him, and he de richest man in all Union County. Mr.
Nicholson would know better dan to offer me money, kaise he has faith.
You know he's a good 'Presmuterian' (Presbyterian).

"Dey looks at de back of my head, and de hair on it ain't rubbed against
no college and fer dat reason dese young negroes don't want me to
preach. Dey wants to hear dat man preach dat can read. Man dat can read
can't understand less'n some divine man guide him. I speak as my Teacher
gives it to me, dat's de Lawd. In so doing, I testify de word dat no man
can condemn. Dat is my plan of Salvation: to work by faith widout price
or purse, as de Lawd, my Teacher has taught me.

"Dar was no church on our plantation when I was a boy. All de Baptists
went to Padgett's Creek, and all de Methodist went to Quaker Church and
Belmont. Padgett's Creek had a section in de back of de church fer de
slaves to sit. Quaker Church and Belmont both had slaves' galleries. Dar
is a big book at Padgetts wid three pages of slaves' names that was
members. Mr. Claude Sparks read it to me last year. All de darky members
dead, but one, dat's me.

"Nobody never read de Bible to me when I was little. It jest a gift of
God dat teached to me through de Holy Ghost. It's de Spirit of de One in
Three dat gits into you, and dat's de Holy Ghost or de Holy Spirit dat
gives me my enlightment.

"If I can git to de do' of Padgett's Creek Church, I can jest feel de
Power of God. ('Uncle' George pats his foot and softly cries at this
point, and his face takes on a calm and peaceful expression.)

"If you eats befo' you gits hongry, you never will feast on dead air. I
makes it a practice to feed my soul and body befo' dey gits hongry. Even
I does eat by myself, dis old man take off his hat and ax de Lawd to
bless his soul and body in nourishment fer de future.

"I ain't never seed Mr. Lincoln, but from what I learn't dey said dat
God had placed in him de revelation to give de plan dat he had fer every
man. Dat plan fer every man to worship under his own vine and fig tree.
From dat, we should of liked Mr. Lincoln.

"Dis here 'Dick Look-Up'. No sir, I don't know him, kaise I caught his
name since I come on dis side of de river. Mr. Perrin knows him, and I
heard him say dat every time anybody ax him how old he is, he add on ten
years. Dat's how come dey got in de paper he a hundred and twenty-five
years old. Now me and Mr. Perrin doesn't speak unless we is obleeged to
know dat what we is gwine to say is de truth. Us is careful, kaise us
knows dat de Lawd am looking down from his throne, and dat He is
checking every word dat we says. Some folks does not recall dat fact
when dey speaks, or dey would be careful.

"I'll say it slow so dat you can catch it; I start in time of de
Confederate War. Wid dirt dug up out of de smokehouse, water was run
through it so us could get salt fer bread. Hickory wood ashes was used
fer soda. If we didn't have no hickory wood, we burnt red corn cobs; and
de ashes from dem was used fer cooking soda.

"Molasses was made from watermelons in time of de war. Dey was also made
from May-apples or may-pops as some call dem, and sometimes dey was made
from persimmons and from wheat brand. In Confederate days, Irish potato
tops was cooked fer vegetables. Blackberry leaves was ocassionally used
fer greens or fer seasoning lambs quarters.

"Dis way watermelon was done: Soak watermelon twenty and four hours to
de'self; strain off all juice and put on fire to bile. When dey thickens
dey bees good. Yes sir, good, good.

"Wid may-pops: peel de outside green off, den bust 'em open and mash up
together; strain juice off and cook thick.

"'Simmons and wheat bran are mashed up together and baked in water. Let
set twenty and four hours and cook down to molasses. Dat winds up dat
part of it.

"Git plums and blackberries and de like of dat and make up in Jelly, or
can fer scarce times, dat's de way we done den and folks does dat yet.
Dese is some of de particularest things of de Confederate times dat I
come back from Sedalia to give you, dat's right. (This old negro, who
had already been interviewed by the writer, came a long way and
looked-up the author to tell him some incidents which he had forgotten
to tell in the first interview.) Some customs is done went by now, but
dey was practiced in Sedalia, and as to whar dem was done fer off as
Spartanburg, I cannot say.

"In Confederate time, all wimmens stayed close home and carded and spun
all de day long. Dey wove all dere own clothes. Men at home, old men,
made leather shoes and shoe strings and belts and galloses.

"Our darkies tried hard to be obedient to our master so dat we might
obtain (keep) our pleasant home. Obedience makes it better dan
sacrifice. I restes my mind dar."

  Source: George Briggs (88), Rt. 2, Union, S. C.
          Interviewed by: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. (7/7/37)

  Code No.
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, January 27, 1938
  No. Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, 73 Years

"Remembers de Confederate War, Miss. Yes, mam, I'm supposed to be, if I
can live to see February, bout 73 year old. What age Hester say she was?
Dat what I had thought from me en her conversation. Miss, I don'
remember a thing more bout de war den de soldiers comin through old
Massa's plantation en we chillun was 'fraid of dem en ran. Knew dey was
dressed in a different direction from us white folks. All was in blue,
you know, wid dem curious lookin hats en dem brass buttons on dey
bodies. No, mam, dey didn' stop nowhe' bout us. Dey was ridin on horses
en it seem like dey was in a hurry gwine somewhe'. En dey didn' stop to
old Massa's house neither. No, mam, not to my knowin, dey didn'. Well,
we was livin out to de plantation, we calls it, en Massa en Missus was
livin up here to Marion. Mr. Ferdinand Gibson, dat who been us Massa in
slavery time en Miss Connie, dat what we used to call her, was us
Missus. To my knowin, dey didn' have no chillun dey own, but dey sho had
plenty colored people. Yes, mam, seems like to my remembrance, my Massa
ran bout 30 plantations en 'sides dat, he had a lot of servants right up
here to de big house, men en women."

"I was real small in dem days en far as I can remember, we lived on de
quarter dere to old Massa's plantation in de country. Us little tots
would go every mornin to a place up on de hill, called de milk house, en
get our milk 'tween meals while de old folks was off workin. Oh, dey had
a old woman to see after we chillun en tend to us in de daytime. De old
lady dat looked after us, her name was Mary Novlin. Lord, Mr. Gibson, he
had big farms en my mother en father, dey worked on de farms. Yes'um, my
mother en father, I used to never wouldn' know when dey come home in de
evenin, it would be so late. De old lady, she looked after every blessed
thing for us all day long en cooked for us right along wid de mindin.
Well, she would boil us corn meal hominy en give us dat mostly wid milk
for breakfast. Den dey would have a big garden en she would boil peas en
give us a lot of soup like dat wid dis here oven bread. Oh, dem what
worked in de field, dey would catch dey meals when dey could. Would have
to cook way in de night or sometimes fore day. Cose dey would take dey
dinner rations wid dem to de field. More or less, dey would cook it in
de field. Yes'um, dey would carry dey pots wid dem en cook right dere in
de field whe' dey was workin. Would boil pots en make bread, too. I don'
know how long dey had to work, mam, but I hear dem say dat dey worked
hard, cold or hot, rain or shine. Had to hoe cotton en pick cotton en
all such as dat. I don' know, mam, but de white folks, I guess dey took
it dat dey had plenty colored people en de Lord never meant for dem to
do no work. You know, white folks in dem days, dey made de colored
people do."

"De people used to spin en weave, my Lord! Like today, it cloudy en
rainy, dey couldn' work in de field en would have to spin dat day. Man,
you would hear dat thing windin en I remember, I would stand dere en
want to spin so bad, I never know what to do. Won' long fore I got to
whe' I could use de shuttle en weave, too. I bad a grandmother en when
she would get to dat wheel, she sho know what she been doin. White folks
used to give de colored people task to spin en I mean she could do dat
spinnin. Yes'um, I here to tell you, dey would make de prettiest cloth
in dat day en time. Old time people used to have a kind of dye dey
called indigo en dey would color de cloth just as pretty as you ever did

"Den I recollects dat dey would have to shuck corn some of de days en
wouldn' nobody work in de field dat day. Oh, my Lord, dey would have de
big eats on dem days. Would have a big pot right out to de barn whe' dey
was shuckin corn en would boil it full as it could hold wid such as peas
en rice en collards. Would cook big bread, too, en would save a hog's
head for dat purpose often times."

"Colored people didn' have no schools nowhe' in dat day en time. No'um,
us didn' go to no church neither cause we was way off dere on de
plantation en wasn' any church nowhe' bout dere, Miss. I likes to be
truthful en I tellin you, when we was comin up, we never didn' know
nothin 'cept what we catch from de old folks."

"Old Massa, he used to come to de plantation drivin his rockaway en my
Lord a mercy, we chillun did love to run en meet him. Dey used to have a
great big gate to de lane of de plantation en when we been hear him
comin, we would go a runnin en holler, 'Massa comin! Massa comin!' En he
would come ridin through de big gate en say, 'Yonder my little niggers!
How my little niggers? Come here en tell me how you all.' Den we would
go a runnin to him en try to tell him what he ax us. Yes'um, we was sho
pleased to see old Massa cause we had to stay right dere on dat
plantation all de time round bout dat old woman what tended to us. Used
to hear my mother en my father speak bout dey had to get a ticket from
dey boss to go anywhe' dey wanted to go off de place. Pataroller catch
dem off de plantation somewhe' widout dat walkin ticket, dey would whip
dem most to death. Never didn' hear bout old Massa whippin none of dem,
but he was very tight on dem, my father say. Cose he give dem abundance
of rations en somethin to eat all de time, but colored people sho been
work for what dey would get in dem days. Didn' get nothin dey never pay
for. It been like dis, what rations us parents would get, dat would be
to dey house en what we chillun been get would be to de old woman's
house what took care of us."

"Well, Miss, some people stays here wid me, but dey works out en I tries
to help dem out somehow. No, mam, we all stays right here together en
while dey on de job, I tries to look out for de chillun. I just thinkin
bout when we come to a certain age, honey, it tough. Chillun is a heap
of trouble, I say. Well, I was de mother of five, but dey all dead 'cept
one. My husband, he been dead seven years. Yes'um, dis a bad little girl
settin here in my lap en dat one over dere in de bed, he a boy what a
right smart larger den dis one." (Little girl just can stand alone).
(Little boy wakes up). "Son, dere you wantin to get up en I don' know
whe' near a rag to put on you is. Dere, you want a piece of bread fore
you is dress. Who undressed you last night nohow? Boy, you got to stand
dere en wait till your mamma come home cause I can' find none your rags.
What de matter wid you? You so hungry, you just standin dere wid your
mouth droolin dat way. Dere your bread en tea on de bureau. Gwine on en
get it." (Little boy's breakfast consisted of a cold biscuit and a
little cold coffee poured in an empty coffee can. The little girl sat
with a clump of cold hominy in her hand on which she nibbled.)

"Lord, I think what a blessin it would be if chillun dese days was raise
like dey used to be, Miss. Yes, mam, we had what you call strict fathers
en mothers den, but chillun ain' got dem dese days. Oh, dey would whip
you en put de lash to you in dat day en time. Yes'um, Miss, if we never
do right, my father would put it to us. Sho meant what he say. Wouldn'
never whip you on Sunday though. Say dat he would get you tomorrow. Den
when Monday come, he would knock all bout like he had forget, but
toreckly he would call you up en he would sho work on you. Pa say, 'I'm
not gwine let you catch me in no lie. When I tell you I gwine cut you, I
gwine do it.' Miss, I is had my mother to hurt me so bad till I would
just fall down en roll in de sand. Hurt! Dey hurt, dat dey did. Wouldn'
whip you wid no clothes on neither. Would make you pull off. Yes, mam, I
could sniffle a week, dey been cut me such licks. Thought dey had done
me wrong, but dey know dey ain' been doin me wrong en I mean dey didn'
play wid me."

"Miss, I think folks is livin too fast in de world today. Seems to me
like all de young people is worser, I say. Well, I tell you, dey be
ridin out all times of night en girls meetin up wid Miss Fortune. At
least, our colored girls does. En don' care what dey do neither. Don'
seem to care what dey do nor how dey do. De girls nowadays, dey gets dey
livin. Girls settin higher den what dey makes demselves dese days."

  Source: Josephine Bristow, colored, 73 years, Marion, S. C.
                 Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Jan., 1938

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


"Does you recollect de Galloway place just dis side of White Oak? Well
dere's where I was born. When? Can't name de 'zact year but my ma say,
no stork bird never fetch me but de fust railroad train dat come up de
railroad track, when they built de line, fetched me. She say I was a
baby, settin' on de cow-ketcher, and she see me and say to pa: 'Reubin,
run out dere and get our baby befo' her falls off and gets hurt under
them wheels! Do you know I believed dat tale 'til I was a big girl? Sure
did, 'til white folks laugh me out of it!

"My ma was name Louisa. My marster was Billie Brice, but 'spect God done
write sumpin' else on he forehead by dis time. He was a cruel marster;
he whip me just for runnin' to de gate for to see de train run by. My
missus was a pretty woman, flaxen hair, blue eyes, name Mary Simonton,
'til she marry.

"Us live in a two-room plank house. Plenty to eat and enough to wear
'cept de boys run 'round in their shirt tails and de girls just a
one-piece homespun slip on in de summer time. Dat was not a hardship
then. Us didn't know and didn't care nothin' 'bout a 'spectable
'pearance in those days. Dats de truth, us didn't.

"Gran'pa name Obe; gran'ma, name Rachel. Shoes? A child never have a
shoe. Slaves wore wooden bottom shoes.

"My white folks went to New Hope Church. Deir chillun was mighty good to
us all. Dere was Miss Martha, her marry Doctor Madden, right here at
Winnsboro. Miss Mary marry Marster John Vinson, a little polite smilin'
man, nice man, though. Then Miss Jane marry Marster John Young. He
passed out, leavin' two lovely chillun, Kitty and Maggie. Both of them
marry Caldwells. Dere was Marster Calvin, he marry Congressman Wallace's
daughter, Ellen. Then dere was Marster Jim and Marster William, de last
went to Florida.

"It was a big place, I tell you, and heaps and heaps of slaves. Some
times they git too many and sell them off. My old mistress cry 'bout dat
but tears didn't count wid old marster, as long as de money come a
runnin' in and de rations stayed in de smoke house.

"Us had a fine carriage. Sam was de driver. Us go to Concord one Sunday
and new Hope de next. Had quality fair neighbors. Dere was de
Cockerells, 'Piscopalians, dat 'tend St. John in Winnsboro, de Adgers,
big buckra, went to Zion in Winnsboro. Marster Burr Cockerell was de
sheriff. 'Members he had to hang a man once, right in de open jailyard.
Then dere was a poor buckra family name Marshall. Our white folks was
good to them, 'cause they say his pappy was close kin to de biggest
Jedge of our country, John Marshall.

"When de slaves got bad off sick, marster send for Dr. Walter Brice, his
kin folks. Some times he might send for Dr. Madden, him's son-in-law, as
how he was.

"When de Yankees come, all de young marsters was off in de 'Federate
side. I see them now, gallopin' to de house, canteen boxes on their hips
and de bayonets rattlin' by deir sides. De fust thing they ask, was:
'You got any wine?' They search de house; make us sing: 'Good Old Time
'Ligion'; put us to runnin' after de chickens and a cookin'. When they
leave they burnt de gin house and everything in dere. They burn de
smoke-house and wind up wid burnin' de big house.

"You through wid me now, boss? I sho' is glad of dat. Help all you kin
to git me dat pension befo' I die and de Lord will bless you, honey. De
Lord not gwine to hold His hand any longer 'ginst us. Us cleared de
forests, built de railroads, cleaned up de swamps, and nursed de white
folks. Now in our old ages, I hopes they lets de old slaves like me see
de shine of some of dat money I hears so much talk 'bout. They say it's
free as de gift of grace from de hand of de Lord. Good mornin' and God
bless you, will be my prayer always. Has you got a dime to give dis old
nigger, boss?"

  Project #1655
  Mrs. Genevieve W. Chandler
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.
  Georgetown County

  (Verbatim Conversation)

Mom Hagar Brown lives in her little weathered cabin on forty odd acres
left by her husband, Caleb Brown. Caleb died in Georgia where he had
been sent to the penitentiary for stealing a hog that another man stole.
Aunt Hagar has grands settled all around her and she and the grands
divide up the acreage which is planted in corn, sweet potatoes, cotton,
and some highland rice. She ministers to them all when sick, acts as
mid-wife when necessary, and divides her all with her kin and
friends--white and black. She wages a war on ground-moles, at which she
laughs and says she resembles. Ground-mole beans almost a foot long
protect and decorate her yard. She has apple and fig trees, and
scuppernong grape vines grow rank and try to climb all her trees.

(Monday morning she hobbles up on a stick--limping and looking sick.)
Comes in kitchen door.

Lillie: "Aunt Hagar, how you?"

Hagar: "Painful. Doctor tell me I got the tonsil. Want to represent me
one time and take them out. I say, 'No Doctor! Get in hospital, can't
get out! Let me stay here till my change come.' Yeddy? I ain't wuth!
Ain't wuth! Ain't got a piece o' sense. Yeddy? Ellen say she want God to
take she tomorrow? When you ready it's 'God take me now! All right
son!" (Greeting Zackie who enters kitchen.)

Zackie: "Aunt Hagar, how you feel?"

Hagar: "I ain't wuth son. How's all?"

Zackie: "Need a little more grits!"

Lillie: "Hear Zackie! Mom Hagar, that ain't hinder him ordering
another!" (The fact that food is scarce doesn't limit Zackie's family.)

Hagar: "You hear bout this Jeremiah broke in somewhere--get all kinds
likker and canned things and different thing?"

Zackie: "Must a broke in that place call 'Stumble Inn!' (Very
seriously.) That Revenue man been there."

Hagar: "I yeddy last night! Say he there in news-paper. Mary say, 'see
'em in paper!' Mrs. White gone to child funeral. That been in paper too.
Mary see that in paper. Easter say old lady gone dere. Doctor say better
go. Child sick. Child seven years old. Fore they get there tell 'em say,
'Child dead!'

"People gone in patch to pick watermillon. Ain't want child to go. You
know chillun! Child gone in. Ain't want 'em for go. You know. Child pick
watermillon. Ketch up one--I forgotten what pound they say. Roll. Roll
duh watermillon. Roll 'em on snake! They say, 'Snake bite 'em?' Child
say, 'No. Must a scratch.' See blood run on boy leg. Child get
unconscion that minute. Gone right out. Jess so. Ease out so. I cry. I

Lillie: "You know 'em, Mom Hagar?"

Hagar: "No! No! Lill, fever got me! Cold get me till my rump dead. Got
hospital boy rouse one time say, 'Ma, less go home! Red stripe snake
bite me.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

Hagar: "Klu Klux?" (Chin cupped in hand--elbow on knee--looking way

"Reckon that the way them old timey people call 'em. Have to run way,
you go church. Going to come in to ketch you or do any mischievous
thing--come carry you place they going beat you--in suit of white. Old
white man to Wilderness Plantation. Parish old man name. Treat his wife
bad. Come to house, ain't crack. Come right in suit of white. Drag him
out--right to Woodstock there where Mr. Dan get shoot. Put a beating on
that white man there till he mess up! Oman never gone back to him yet!"

"A man wuz name (I forgot what the man name wuz)--wuz a white man mess
round wid a colored woman and they didn't do a God thing but gone and
put a beating on you, darling! Come in. Grab you and go. Put a beating
on you till you can't see. Know they got a good grub to lick you wid.
They git done you can't sit down. Ain't going carry you just for play

"Mom Hagar, you wanter vote?"

Hagar: "Oh my God!"

"Aunt Hagar are the colored people happier now than the old timey
slavery time people?"

Hagar: "Young people now got the world by force. Don't care. Got more
trick than law low. Tricky! Can't beat the old people. Can't equal to
'em. Some the young people you say 'AMEN' in church they make fun o'
you. Every tub stand on his own bottom. Can't truss 'em.

"Ma say some dem plan to run way. Say, 'Less run! Less run!' Master
ketch dem and fetch dem in. Lay 'em cross barrel. Beat dem till they
wash in blood. Fetch 'em back. Place 'em cross the barrel--hogsket
barrel--Christ! They ramp wash in blood! Beat Ma sister. He sister
sickly. Never could clear task--like he want. My Ma have to work he self
to death to help Henritta so sickly. Clear task to keep from beat. Some
obersheer mean. Oaks labor. (Meaning her Ma and ma's family were
laboring on Oaks Plantation--the plantation where Gov. Joseph Allston
and Theodosia his wife lived on Waccamaw.) Mother Sally Doctor. Ma got
four chillun. One was Emmeline, one Getty, one Katrine one Hagar! I
older than Gob (Katrine). Could a call doctor for Gob if I had any
sense." (Big nuff to gone for doctor when Gob born.)

  "Stay in the field!
  Stay in the field!
  Stay in the field till the war been end!"

(This is Aunt Hagar's favorite song)

  Mom Hagar Brown--age 77
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.
  July 4th, 1937.

  Project #-1655
  Mrs. Genevieve W. Chandler
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.
  Georgetown County

  (Some recollections of Mom Hagar Brown)

Visitor: "Mom Hagar, how old did you say you were?"

Hagar: "Don't take care of my age! Had me gang of chillun when ma die. I
had Samuel, I had Elias, I had Arthur, I had Beck. Oh, my God! Man, go
way! I had Sally! I had Sally again. I didn't want to give the name
'Sally' again. Say, 'First Sally come carry girl.' Ma say, 'Gin 'em name
'Sally!' I faid (afraid) that other one come back for him. Had to do
what Ma say. Had to please 'em. Ma name Sally. Ma chillun Catrine,
Hagar, Emmeline, Gettie. I born Columbia. Come Freedom, when we left
Columbia, ma finer till we get in Charston. Freedom come, battle till we
get 'Oaks.' (Battled till they reached the 'Oaks Plantation--.')Stay
there till people gin (begin) move bout. Come Watsaw. Gone 'Collins
Creek.' In the 'Reb Time' you know, when they sell you bout--Massa sell
you all about. Broke through them briar and branch and thing to go to
church. Them patrol get you. Church 'Old Bethel.' You don't know 'em.
Been gone!

"I yeddy ma! (heard my mother) Ma say, 'I too glad my chillun aint been
here Rebs time! Gin you task you rather drown than not done that task!
Ma say Auntie poor we weak creeter, couldn't strain. Ma had to strain to
fetch sister up with her task. Dere (there) in rice-field. Ma say they
on flat going to islant (island), see cloud, pray God send rain! When
rooster crow, say they pray God to stop 'em! Rooster crow, broke up
wedder! When rooster crow, scare 'em. Broke up rain! Ma say they drag
the pot in the river when the flat going cross. Do this to make it rain.
Massa! Don't done you task, driver wave that whip, put you over the
barrel, beat you so blood run down! I wouldn't take 'em! Ma say, 'I too
glad my chillun aint born then!'

"Any cash money? Where you gwine get 'em? Only cash the gospel! Have to
get the gospel. Give you cloth! Give you ration! Jess (just according)
many chillun you got. Ma say chillun feed all the corn to the fowl.

  Chillun say,

    'Papa love he fowl!
    Papa love he fowl!
    Three peck a day!
    Three peck a day!

"Parent come to door. Not a grain of corn leave! Poor people! Come,
drop! Not a grain! Everybody on the hill help. One give this; one give
that. Handle 'em light! (Very careful with victuals). Gone you till
Saddy (Saturday.) (Will last you until Saturday when you are rationed

"When Ma get down, she say, 'I gone leave! I gone leave here now! But,
oh, Hagar! Be a mudder and fadder for Katrine!'

"I say, (I call Katrine 'Gob') I say, 'Better tell Gob to look atter

"Ma say, 'When I gone I ax the Master when he take me, to send drop o'
rain to let true believer know I gone to Glory!'

"When they lift the body to take 'em to the church, rain, 'Tit! Tit!
Tit! Tit!' on the house! At the gate, moon shine out' Going to the
church! Bury to the 'Oaks.'

"Gob say, 'Titty, all you chillun bury at Oaks. Ma to Oaks. How come you
wanter bury Watsaw?"

"I say, 'When the trumpet sound, I yeddy!' (When the trumpet sounds,
I'll hear it!)

"I marry right to Collins Creek hill. Big dance out the door! I free! I
kick up! Ma, old rebs time people!"

  Mom Hagar Brown
  Age--(She says 'Born first o'
  Freedom' but got her age from
  a contemporary and reported 77)
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.

  Project #-1655
  Mrs. Genevieve W. Chandler
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.
  Georgetown County


"My old man can 'member things and tell you things and he word carry. We
marry to Turkey Hill Plantation. Hot supper. Cake, wine, and all. Kill
cow, hog, chicken and all. That time when you marry, so much to eat!
Finance wedding! Now--

"We 'lamp-oil chillun'; they 'lectric light' chillun now! We call our
wedding 'lamp-oil wedding'. Hall jam full o' people; out-of-door jam
full. Stand before the chimbley.

"When that first war come through, we born. I don't know just when I
smell for come in the world.

"Big storm? Yinnah talk big storm hang people up on tree? (Noah!) Shake?
I here in house. House gone, 'Rack-a-rack-a-racker!'

"My husband run out--with me and my baby left in bed! Baby just come in
time of the shake.

"When I first have sense, I 'member I walk on the frost bare-feet.
Cow-belly shoe.

"My husband mother have baby on the flat going to Marion and he Auntie
Cinda have a baby on that flat.

"From yout (youth) I been a Brown and marry a Brown; title never change.

"Old timey sing?


  "Wish I had a hundred dog
  And half wuz hound!
  Take it in my fadder field
  And we run the rabbit down!
  Chorus: Now he hatch
  He hatch!
  He hatch!
  And I run the rabbit down!


  "I wish I had a hundred head o' dog
  And half of them wuz hound
  I'd take 'em back in my bacco field
  And run the rabbit down.
  Chorus: Now he hatch--he hatch!
  He hatch--he hatch!
  Now he hatch--he hatch!
  And I run them rabbit down!"

"That wuz a sing we used to have on the plantation. Then we make up
sing--we have sing for chillun. Make 'em go sleep. Every one have his
own sing.

  Go sleepy!
  Go sleepy!
  What a big alligator
  Coming to catch
  This one boy!"

  "Diss here the Watson one boy child!
  Bye-o-baby go sleepy!
  What a big alligator
  Coming to catch this one boy!"

Emmie Jordan: "Missus, I too plague with bad heart trouble to give you
the sing!"

  Song and conversation Given by

  Mom Louisa Brown (Born time of 'Reb people War')
  Waverly Mills, S. C.
  Near Parkersville, S. C.

  Project -1655
  Jessie A. Butler
  Charleston, S. C.
  Approximately 930 words


  Stories from Ex-slaves
  Henry Brown
  Ex-slave Age 79

Henry Brown, negro caretaker of the Gibbes House, at the foot of Grove
street, once a part of Rose Farm, is a splendid example of a type once
frequently met with in the South. Of a rich brown complexion, aquiline
of feature, there is none of the "Gullah" about Henry. He is courteous
and kindly in his manner, and speaks more correctly than the average

"My father was Abram Brown, and my mother's name was Lucy Brown," he
said. "They were slaves of Dr. Arthur Gordon Rose. My grandfather and
grandmother were grown when they came from Africa, and were man and wife
in Africa. I was born just about two years before the war so I don't
remember anything about slavery days, and very little about war times,
except that we were taken to Deer Pond, about half mile from Columbia.
Dr. Rose leased the place from Dr. Ray, and took his family there for
safety. My mother died while he was at Deer Pond, and was buried there,
but all the rest of my people is buried right here at Rose Farm. My two
brothers were a lot older than me, and were in the war. After the war my
brother Tom was on the police force, he was a sergeant, and they called
him Black Sergeant. My brother Middleton drove the police wagon: they
used to call it Black Maria.

"My father, Abram Brown, was the driver or head man at Rose plantation.
Dr. Rose thought a heap of him, and during the war he put some of his
fine furniture and other things he brought from England in my father's
house and told him if the Yankees came to say the things belonged to
him. Soon after that the soldiers came. They asked my father who the
things belonged to and he said they belonged to him. The soldiers asked
him who gave them to him, and he said his master gave them to him. The
Yankees told him that they thought he was lying, and if he didn't tell
the truth they would kill him, but he wouldn't say anything else so they
left him alone and went away.

"Work used to start on the plantation at four o'clock in the morning,
when the people went in the garden. At eight or nine o'clock they went
into the big fields. Everybody was given a task of work. When you
finished your task you could quit. If you didn't do your work right you
got a whipping.

"The babies were taken to the Negro house and the old women and young
colored girls who were big enough to lift them took care of them. At one
o'clock the babies were taken to the field to be nursed, then they were
brought back to the Negro house until the mothers finished their work,
then they would come for them.

"Dr. Rose gave me to his son, Dr. Arthur Barnwell Rose, for a Christmas
present. After the war Dr. Rose went back to England. He said he
couldn't stay in a country with so many free Negroes. Then his son Dr.
Arthur Barnwell Rose had the plantation. Those was good white people,
good white people.

"The colored people were given their rations once a week, on Monday,
they got corn, and a quart of molasses, and three pounds of bacon, and
sometimes meat and peas. They had all the vegetables they wanted; they
grew them in the gardens. When the boats first came in from Africa with
the slaves, a big pot of peas was cooked and the people ate it with
their hands right from the pot. The slaves on the plantation went to
meeting two nights a week and on Sunday they went to Church, where they
had a white preacher Dr. Rose hired to preach to them.

"After the war when we came back to Charleston I went to work as a
chimney-sweep. I was seven years old then. They paid me ten cents a
story. If a house had two stories I got twenty cents; if it had three
stories I got thirty cents. When I got too big to go up the chimneys I
went back to Rose plantation. My father was still overseer or driver. I
drove a cart and plowed. Afterwards I worked in the phosphate mines,
then came back here to take care of the garden and be caretaker. I
planted all these Cherokee roses you see round here, and I had a big
lawn of Charleston grass. I aint able to keep it like I used to."

Henry is intensely religious. He says "the people don't notice God now
because they're free." "Some people say there aint no hell," he
continued, "but I think there must be some kind of place like that,
because you got to go some place when you leave this earth, and you got
to go to the master that you served when you were here. If you serve God
and obey His commandments then you go to Him, but if you don't pay any
attention to what he tells you in His Book, just do as you choose and
serve the devil, then you got to go to him. And it don't make any
difference if you're poor or rich, it don't matter what the milliner
(millionaire) man says."

He seemed so proud of his garden, with its broad view across the Ashley
River, showing his black walnut, pear and persimmon trees, grape vines
and roses, that the writer said, "Henry, you know a poet has said that
we are nearer God in the garden than anywhere else on earth." "Well
ma'am, you see," he replied, with a winning smile, "that's where God put
us in the first place."

  Project #1655
  Augustus Ladson
  Charleston, S. C.


I was nickname' durin' the days of slavery. My name was Henry but they
call' me Toby. My sister, Josephine, too was nickname' an' call' Jessee.
Our mistress had a cousin by that name. My oldes' bredder was a Sergeant
on the Charleston Police Force around 1868. I had two other sister',
Louise an' Rebecca.

My firs' owner was Arthur Barnwell Rose. Then Colonel A. G. Rhodes
bought the plantation who sol' it to Capen Frederick W. Wagener. James
Sottile then got in possession who sol' it to the DeCostas, an' a few
weeks ago Mrs. Albert Callitin Simms, who I'm tol' is a former member of
Congress, bought it. Now I'm wonderin' if she is goin' to le' me stay. I
hope so 'cus I'm ol' now en can't work.

My pa was name' Abraham Brown; he was bo'n on Coals Islan' in Beaufort
County. Colonel Rhodes bought him for his driver, then he move here. I
didn't know much 'bout him; he didn't live so long afta slavery 'cus he
was ol.

Colonel Rhodes had a son an' a daughter. The son went back to England
afta his death an' the daughter went to Germany with her husban'. They
ain't never come back so the place was sol' for tax.

Durin' the war we was carry to Deer Pond, twelve miles on dis side of
Columbia. W'en the war was end' pa brought my sister, Louise, Rebecca,
who was too small to work, Josephine an' me, home. All my people is
long-lifted. My grand pa an' grand ma on pa side come right from Africa.
They was stolen an' brought here. They use to tell us of how white men
had pretty cloth on boats which they was to exchange for some of their
o'nament'. W'en they take the o'nament' to the boat they was carry way
down to the bottom an' was lock' in. They was anchored on or near
Sullivan's Islan' w'ere they been feed like dogs. A big pot was use' for
cookin'. In that pot peas was cook' an' lef' to cool. Everybody went to
the pot with the han's an' all eat frum the pot.

I was bo'n two years before the war an' was seven w'en it end. That was
in 1857. I never went to school but five months in my life, but could
learn easy. Very seldom I had to be tol' to do the same thing twice.

The slaves had a plenty o' vegetables all the time. Master planted t'ree
acres jus' for the slaves which was attended to in the mornin's before
tas' time. All provision was made as to the distribution on Monday
evenin's afta tas'.

My master had two place: one on Big Islan' an' on Coals Islan' in
Beaufort County. He didn't have any overseer. My pa was his driver.

Pa say this place was given to Mr. Rhodes with a thousand acres of lan'
by England. But it dwindled to thirty-five w'en the other was taken back
by England.

There wasn't but ten slaves on this plantation. The driver call' the
slaves at four so they could git their breakfas'. They always work the
garden firs' an' at seven go in the co'n an' cotton fiel'. Some finish
their tas' by twelve an' others work' 'til seven but had the tas' to
finish. No one was whip' 'less he needed it; no one else could whip
master' slaves. He wouldn't stan' for it. We had it better then than now
'cause white men lynch an' burn now an' do other things they couldn't do
then. They shoot you down like dogs now, an' nothin' said or done.

No slave was suppose' to be whip' in Charleston except at the Sugar
House. There was a jail for whites, but if a slave ran away an' got
there he could disown his master an' the state wouldn't le' him take

All collud people has to have a pass w'en they went travelin'; free as
well as slaves. If one didn't the patrollers, who was hired by rich
white men would give you a good whippin' an' sen' you back home. My pa
didn't need any one to write his pass 'cause he could write as well as
master. How he got his education, I didn't know.

Sat'day was a workin' day but the tas' was much shorter then other days.
Men didn't have time to frolic 'cause they had to fin' food for the
fambly; master never give 'nough to las' the whole week. A peck o' co'n,
t'ree pound o' beacon, quart o' molasses, a quart o' salt, an' a pack o'
tobacco was given the men. The wife got the same thing but chillun
accordin' to age. Only one holiday slaves had an' that was Christmas.

Co'nshuckin' parties was conducted by a group of fa'mers who take their
slaves or sen' them to the neighborin' ones 'til all the co'n was
shuck'. Each one would furnish food 'nough for all slaves at his party.
Some use to have nothin' but bake potatas an' some kind of vegetable.

An unmarried young man was call' a half-han'. W'en he want to marry he
jus' went to master an' say there's a gal he would like to have for
wife. Master would say yes an' that night more chicken would be fry an'
everything eatable would be prepare at master' expense. The couple went
home afta the supper, without any readin' of matrimony, man an' wife.

A man once married his ma en' didn't know it. He was sell from her w'en
'bout eight years old. When he grow to a young men, slavery then was
over, he met this woman who he like' an' so they were married. They was
married a month w'en one night they started to tell of their experiences
an' how many times they was sol'. The husban' tol' how he was sol' from
his mother who liked him dearly. He tol' how his ma faint' w'en they
took him away an' how his master then use to bran' his baby slaves at a
year ol'. W'en he showed her the bran' she faint' 'cause she then
realize' that she had married her son.

Slaves didn't have to use their own remedy for sickness for good doctors
been hired to look at them. There was, as is, though, some weed use for
fever an' headache as: blacksnake root, furrywork, jimpsin weed, one
that tie' on the head which bring sweat from you like hail, an' hickory
leaf. If the hickory is keep on the head too long it will blister it.

W'en the war was fightin' the white men burn the bridge at the foot of
Spring Street so the Yankees couldn't git over but they buil' pontoos
while some make the horses swim 'cross. One night while at Deer Pond, I
hear something like thunder until 'bout eleven the next day. W'en the
thing I t'ought was thunder stop', master tell us that evenin' we was
free. I wasn't surprise to know for as little as I was I know the
Yankees was goin' to free us with the help of God.

I was married twice, an' had two gals an' a boy with firs' wife. I have
t'ree boys with the second; the younges' is jus' eight.

Lincoln did jus' what God inten' him to do, but I think nothin' 'bout
Calhoun on 'account of what he say in one of his speech 'bout collud
people. He said: "keep the niggers down."

To see collud boys goin' 'round now with paper an' pencil in their han's
don't look real to me. Durin' slavery he would be whip' 'til not a skin
was lef' on his body.

My pa was a preacher why I become a Christian so early; he preach' on
the plantation to the slaves. On Sunday the slaves went to the white
church. He use to tell us of hell an' how hot it is. I was so 'fraid of
hell 'til I was always tryin' to do the right thing so I couldn't go to
that terrible place.

I don't care 'bout this worl' an' its vanities 'cause the Great Day is
comin' w'en I shall lay down an' my stammerin' tongue goin' to lie
silent in my head. I want a house not made with han's but eternal in the
Heavens. That Man up there, is all I need; I'm goin' to still trus' Him.
Before the comin' of Chris' men was kill' for His name sake; today they
curse Him. It's nearly time for the world to come to en' for He said
"bout two thousand years I shall come again" an' that time is fas'


  Interview with Henry Brown, 637 Grove Street. He is much concerned with
  the Scottsboro Case and discusses the invasion of Italy into defenseless
  Ethiopia intelligently.

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon,
  Winnsboro, S. C.


John C. Brown and his wife, Adeline, who is eleven years older than
himself, live in a ramshackle four-room frame house in the midst of a
cotton field, six miles west of Woodward, S. C. John assisted in laying
the foundation and building the house forty-four years ago. A single
china-berry tree, gnarled but stately, adds to, rather than detracts
from, the loneliness of the dilapidated house. The premises and
thereabout are owned by the Federal Land Bank. The occupants pay no
rent. Neither of them are able to work. They have been fed by charity
and the W. P. A. for the past eighteen months.

(John talking)

"Where and when I born? Well, dat'll take some 'hear say', Mister. I
never knowed my mammy. They say she was a white lady dat visited my old
marster and mistress. Dat I was found in a basket, dressed in nice baby
clothes, on de railroad track at Dawkins, S. C. De engineer stop de
train, got out, and found me sumpin' like de princess found Moses, but
not in de bulrushes. Him turn me over to de conductor. De conductor
carry me to de station at Dawkins, where Marse Tom Dawkins come to meet
de train dat mornin' and claim me as found on his land. Him say him had
de best right to me. De conductor didn't 'ject to dat. Marse Tom carry
me home and give me to Miss Betsy. Dat was his wife and my mistress. Her
always say dat Sheton Brown was my father. He was one of de slaves on de
place; de carriage driver. After freedom he tell me he was my real
pappy. Him took de name of Brown and dat's what I go by.

"My father was a ginger-bread colored man, not a full-blooded nigger.
Dat's how I is altogether yallow. See dat lady over dere in dat chair?
Dat's my wife. Her brighter skinned than I is. How come dat? Her daddy
was a full-blooded Irishman. He come over here from Ireland and was
overseer for Marse Bob Clowney. He took a fancy for Adeline's mammy, a
bright 'latto gal slave on de place. White women in them days looked
down on overseers as poor white trash. Him couldn't git a white wife but
made de best of it by puttin' in his spare time a honeyin' 'round
Adeline's mammy. Marse Bob stuck to him, and never 'jected to it.

"When de war come on, Marse Richard, de overseer, shoulder his gun as a
soldier and, as him was educated more than most of de white folks, him
rise to be captain in de Confederate Army. It's a pity him got kilt in
dat war.

"My marster, Tom Dawkins, have a fine mansion. He owned all de land
'round Dawkins and had 'bout 200 slaves, dat lived in good houses and
was we well fed. My pappy was de man dat run de mill and grind de wheat
and corn into flour and meal. Him never work in de field. He was 'bove
dat. Him 'tend to de ginnin' of de cotton and drive de carriage.

"De Yankees come and burn de mansion, de gin-house and de mill. They
take all de sheep, mules, cows, hogs and even de chickens. Set de slaves
free and us niggers have a hard time ever since.

"My black stepmammy was so mean to me dat I run away. I didn't know
where to go but landed up, one night, at Adeline's mammy's and
steppappy's house, on Marse Bob Clowney's place. They had been slaves of
Marse Bob and was livin' and workin' for him. I knock on de door. Mammy
Charity, dat's Adeline's mammy, say: 'Who dat?' I say: 'Me'. Her say:
'Who is me?' I say: 'John'. Her say: 'John who?' I say: 'Just John'. Her
say: 'Adeline, open de door, dat's just some poor boy dat's cold and
hungry. Charity is my fust name. Your pappy ain't come yet but I'll let
dat boy in 'til he come and see what he can do 'bout it.'

"When Adeline open dat door, I look her in de eyes. Her eyes melt
towards me wid a look I never see befo' nor since. Mind you, I was just
a boy fourteen, I 'spects, and her a woman twenty-five then. Her say:
'You darlin' little fellow; come right in to de fire.' Oh, my! She took
on over me! Us wait 'til her pappy come in. Then him say: 'What us gonna
do wid him?' Adeline say: 'Us gonna keep him.' Pappy say: 'Where he
gonna sleep?' Adeline look funny. Mammy say: 'Us'll fix him a pallet by
de fire.' Adeline clap her hands and say: 'You don't mind dat, does you
boy?' I say: 'No ma'am, I is slept dat way many a time.'

"Well, I work for Marse Bob Clowney and stayed wid Adeline's folks two
years. I sure made myself useful in dat family. Never 'spicioned what
Adeline had in her head, 'til one day I climbed up a hickory nut tree,
flail de nuts down, come down and was helpin' to pick them up when she
bump her head 'ginst mine and say: 'Oh, Lordy!' Then I pat and rub her
head and it come over me what was in dat head! Us went to de house and
her told de folks dat us gwine to marry.

"Her led me to de altar dat nex' Sunday. Gived her name to de preacher
as Adeline Cabean. I give de name of John Clowney Brown. Marse Bob was
dere and laugh when de preacher call my name, 'John Clowney Brown'.

"Our chillun come pretty fast. I was workin' for $45.00 a year, wid
rations. Us had three pounds of bacon, a peck of meal, two cups of
flour, one quart of 'lasses, and one cup of salt, a week.

"Us never left Marse Robert as long as him lived. When us have four
chillun, him increase de amount of flour to four cups and de 'lasses to
two quarts. Then him built dis house for de old folks and Adeline and de
chillun to live in. I help to build it forty-four years ago. Our chillun
was Clarice, Jim, John, Charity, Tom, Richard, and Adeline.

"I followed Marse Robert Clowney in politics, wore a red shirt, and
voted for him to go to de Legislature. Him was 'lected dat time but
never cared for it no more.

"Adeline b'long to de church. Always after me to jine but I can't
believe dere is anything to it, though I believes in de law and de Ten
Commandments. Preacher calls me a infidel. Can't help it. They is maybe
got me figured out wrong. I believes in a Great Spirit but, in my time,
I is seen so many good dogs and hosses and so many mean niggers and
white folks, dat I 'clare, I is confused on de subject. Then I can't
believe in a hell and everlastin' brimstone. I just think dat people is
lak grains of corn: dere is some good grains and some rotten grains. De
good grains is res'rected, de rotten grains never sprout again. Good
people come up again and flourish in de green fields of Eden. Bad people
no come up. Deir bodies and bones just make phosphate guano, 'round de
roots of de ever bloomin' tree of life. They lie so much in dis world,
maybe de Lord will just make 'lie' soap out of them. What you think else
they would be fit for?"

  Project #1655
  Martha S. Pinckney
  Charleston, S. C.

  Approx. 660 words

  Age 88-90

Mary Frances Brown is a typical product of the old school of trained
house servants, an unusual delicate type, somewhat of the Indian cast,
to which race she is related. She is always clean and neat, a refined
old soul, as individuals of that class often are. Her memory, sight and
hearing are good for her advanced age.

"Our home Marlboro. Mas Luke Turnage was my
master--Marlboro-Factory-Plantation name 'Beauty Spot'. My missis was
right particular about neat and clean. She raise me for a house girl. My
missis was good to me, teach me ebbery ting, and take the Bible and
learn me Christianified manners, charity, and behaviour and good
respect, and it with me still.

"We didn't have any hard times, our owners were good to us--no over
share (overseer) and no whippin'--he couldn't stan' that. I live there
'til two year after freedom; how I come to leave, my mother sister been
sick, and she ask mother to send one of us, an she send me. My mother
been Miss Nancy cook. Miss Nancy was Mas Luke's mother--it take me two
years learning to eat the grub they cook down here in Charleston. I had
to learn to eat these little piece of meat--we had a dish full of meat;
the big smoke house was lined from the top down. (Describing how the
meat hung) I nebber accustom to dese little piece of meat, so--what dey
got here. Missis, if you know smoke house, didn't you find it hard? My
master had 'til he didn't know what to do with. My white people were
Gentile." (Her tone implied that she considered them the acme of gentle
folks). "I don't know what the other people were name that didn't have
as much as we had--but I know my people were Gentile!"

Just here her daughter and son appeared, very unlike their mother in
type. The daughter is quite as old looking as her mother; the son, a
rough stevedore. When the writer suggested that the son must be a
comfort, she looked down sadly and said in a low tone, as if
soliloquizing, "He way is he way." Going back to her former thought, she
said, "All our people were good. Mas Luke was the worse one." (This she
said with an indulgent smile) "Cause he was all the time at the race
ground or the fair ground.

"Religion rules Heaven and Earth, an there is no religion
now--harricanes an washin-aways is all about. Ebberything is change. Dis
new name what they call grip is pleurisy-cold--putrid sore-throat is
called somethin'--yes, diptheria. Cuttin (surgery) come out in 1911!
They kill an they cure, an they save an they loss.

"My Gran'ma trained with Indians--she bin a Indian, an Daniel C. McCall
bought her. She nebber loss a baby." (the first Indian relationship that
the writer can prove). "You know Dr. Jennings? Ebberybody mus' know him.
After he examine de chile an de mother, an 'ee alright, he hold de nurse
responsible for any affection (infection) that took place.

"Oh! I know de spiritual--but Missis, my voice too weak to sing--dey
aint in books; if I hear de name I can sing--'The Promise Land', Oh, how
Mas Joel Easterling (born 1796) use to love to sing dat!"

  "I am bound for de Promise Land!
  Oh! who will arise an go with me?
  I am bound for the Promise Land!
  I've got a mother in the Promise Land,
  My mother calls me an I mus go,
  To meet her in the Promise Land!"

  Source: Mary Frances Brown, Age 88-90, East Bay Street, Charleston,
          S. C.

  Project #-1655
  Cassels R. Tiedeman
  Charleston, S. C.



Mary Frances Brown, about ninety years of age, born in slavery, on the
plantation of Luke Turnage, in Marlboro County, was raised as a
house-servant and shows today evidence of most careful training. Her
bearing is rather a gentle refined type, seemingly untouched by the
squalor in which she lives. She willingly gives freely of her small
store of strength to those around her.

Her happiest days seem to have been those of her early youth, for when
she was questioned about the present times, and even about those closely
associated with her today she bowed her head and said: "Deir way is deir
way. O! let me tell you now, de world is in a haad (hard) time, wust
(worse) den it eber (ever) been, but religion! It eberywhere in Hebben
an' in de ert (earth) too, if you want em. De trouble is you ain't want
em; 'e right dere jes de same but de time done pass when dis generation
hold wid anyt'ing but de debbul. When I a gal, grown up, I had a tight
missus dat raise me, you hab to keep clean round her, she good an' kind
an' I lub her yet, but don't you forgit to mind what she say.

"My massa, he 'low no whipping on de plantation, he talk heap an' he
scold plenty, but den he hab to. Dere was haad time for two year after
de war was ober (over) but after dat it better den it is now. Dis is de
wust time eber. I ain't eber git use to de wittle (victual) you hab down
here. I lib ober Mount Pleasant twenty five year after I come from de
old place up Marlboro, den I come to Charleston.

"Dey were happy time back dere. My massa, he run round ebery way, spend
plenty money on horse race, he gib good time to eberybody an' tell us we
mus' tek good care of de missus when he ain't dere. An de wittles we hab
I ain't nebber see de lak no time. Dem were de times to lib. I old now
but I ain't forgit what my missus larn (learn) me. It right here in me."

Mary Frances was asked if she could sing spirituals. The following is
one that she sang in a very high pitched wavering voice and then she
complained of shortness of breath on account of her heart.

  "We got a home ober dere,
  Come an' let us go,
  Come an' let us go,
  Where pleasure neber (never) die.


  "Oh! let us go where pleasure neber die,
  Neber die,
  Come and let us go,
  Where pleasure neber die, neber die.

  "Mother is gone ober dere,
  Mother is gone ober dere,
  Where pleasure neber die,
  Where pleasure neber die.


  "Father is gone ober dere,
  Father is gone ober dere,
  Where pleasure neber die,
  Where pleasure neber die.


  "Sister is gone ober dere,
  Sister is gone ober dere,
  Where pleasure neber die,
  Where pleasure neber die.


  "Brudder is gone ober dere,
  Brudder is gone ober dere,
  Where pleasure neber die,
  Where pleasure neber die."


  Source: Interview with Mary Frances Brown, 83 East Bay St.,
          Charleston, S. C. (age--90)

  Code No. ----
  Project. 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, July 8, 1937
  No. Words ----
  Reduced From ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, 85 years

"Oh, my God, de doctors have me in slavery time. Been here de startin of
de first war. I belong to de Cusaac dat live 15 miles low Florence on de
road what take you on to Georgetown. I recollects de Yankees come dere
in de month of June en free de colored peoples."

"My white folks give me to de doctors in dem days to try en learn me for
a nurse. Don' know exactly how old I was in dat day en time, but I can
tell you what I done. My Lord, child, can' tell dat. Couldn' never tell
how many baby I bring in dis world, dey come so fast. I betcha I got
more den dat big square down dere to de courthouse full of em. I nurse
13 head of chillun in one family right here in dis town. You see dat all
I ever did have to do. Was learnt to do dat. De doctor tell me, say,
when you call to a 'oman, don' you never hesitate to go en help her en
you save dat baby en dat mother both. Dat what I is always try to do.
Heap of de time just go en let em pay me by de chance. Oh, my Lord, a
'oman birth one of dem babies here bout two weeks ago wid one of dem
veil over it face. De Lord know what make dat, I don', but dem kind of
baby sho wiser den de other kind of baby. Dat thing look just like a
thin skin dat stretch over da baby face en come down low it's chin. Have
to take en pull it back over it's forehead en den de baby can see en
holler all it ever want to. My blessed, honey, wish I had many a dollar
as I see veil over baby face. Sho know all bout dem kind of things."

"Oh, honey, I tell you de people bless dis day en time. Don' know nothin
bout how to be thankful enough for what dey have dese days. I tell de
truth de peoples sho had to scratch bout en make what dey had in slavery
time. Baby, dey plant patches of okra en parch dat en make what coffee
dey have. Den dey couldn' get no shoes like dey hab dese days neither.
Just make em out of de hide of dey own cows dat dey butcher right dere
on de plantation. Coase de peoples had plenty sometin to eat like meat
en turkey en chicken en thing like dat. Oh, my God, couldn' see de top
of de smoke house for all de heap of meat dey have in dem times. En milk
en butter, honey, dey didn' never be widout plenty of dat. De peoples
bout here dese days axes ten cents a quart for sweet milk en five cents
a quart for old sour clabber. What you think bout dat? Dat how-come
people have to hunt jobs so mucha dese days. Have to do some sorta work
cause you know dey got to put sometin in dey mouth somewhe' or another.
Oh, my child, slavery days was troublesome times. Sugar en salt never
run free wid de peoples den neither. I know de day been here when salt
was so scarce dat dey had to go to de seashore en get what salt dey had.
I gwine to tell you all bout dat. Dey hitch up two horses to a wagon en
den dey make another horse go in front of de wagon to rest de other
horses long de way. Dey mostly go bout on a Monday en stay three days.
Boil dat salty water down dere en fetch two en three of dem barrel of
salt back wid em dey get dat way. It was just like dis, it take heap of
salt when dey had dem big hog-killin days. En de sugar, dey make dat
too. Made de sugar in lil blocks dat dey freeze just like dey freeze ice
dis day en time. I know dey do dat--know it. Dey make molasses en some
of it would be lighter den de other en dey freeze dat en make de
prettiest lil squares just like de ice you see dese days. Dey have
sometin to freeze it in. Dis here old black mammy know heap of things
you ain' never hear bout. Oh, baby, de peoples sho bless dese days."

"Oh, my god, de colored peoples worship to de white folks church in
slavery time. You know dat Hopewell Church over de river dere, dat a
slavery church. Dat whe' I go to church den wid my white folks. I had a
lil chair wid a cowhide bottom dat I always take everywhe' I go wid me.
If I went to church, dat chair go in de carriage wid me en den I take it
in de church en set right by de side of my Miss. Dat how it was in
slavery time. Oh, my Lord, dere a big slavery people graveyard dere to
dat Hopewell Church."

"Honey, you mind if I smoke my pipe a lil whilst I settin here talkin
wid you. I worry so much wid dis high blood dese days en a ringin in my
ears dat my pipe de only thing dat does seem to satisfy my soul. I tell
you dat high blood a bad thing. It get such a hold on me awhile back dat
I couldn' do nothin, couldn' pick cotton, couldn' say my--me, couldn'
even say, God a mighty--thing pretty. Oh, I don' know. I start smokin
pipe long time ago when I first start nursin babies. Had to do sometin
like dat den."

"No, Lord, I never believe nothin bout dat but what God put here. I hear
some people say dey was conjure, but I don' pay no attention to dey
talk. Dey say somebody poison em for sometin dey do, but dere ain'
nobody do dat. God gwine to put you down when he get ready. Ain' nobody
else do dat."

"Oh, my Lord, I been here a time. I sho been here a time en I thank de
Lord I here dis day en time. I can thread my needle good as ever I could
en I ain' have no speck neither. Sew night en day. De chillun have dey
lamp dere studyin en I hab my lamp dere sewin. My old Miss learnt me to
sew when I stay right in de house wid her all de time. I stay bout white
folks all my life en dat how-come I so satisfy when I wid em."

  Source: Mom Sara Brown, age 85, ex-slave, Marion, S. C.
                 Personal interview, June 1937.

  Code No. ----
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, September 10, 1937
  No. Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, 85 Years

"I stay in house over dere cross Catfish Swamp on Miss Addie McIntyre
place. Lives wid dis grand-daughter dat been sick in bed for four weeks,
but she mendin some now. She been mighty low, child. It start right in
here (chest) en run down twixt her shoulder. She had a tear up cold too,
but Dr. Dibble treat her en de cough better now. She got three chillun
dere dat come just like steps. One bout like dat en another like dat en
de other bout like dis."

"De house we stay in a two room house wid one of dese end chimney. All
sleep in de same room en cook en eat in de other room. My bed on one
side en Sue bed on de other side. Put chillun on quilts down on de floor
in de other end of de room. Baby, whe' dem curtains you say you gwine
give me? I gwine hang dese up in Sue room. Dey help me fix up de room
nice en decent like."

"It all on me to feed en clothe both dem chillun en de baby too. It just
too much on me old as I is. Can' do nothin worth to speak bout hardly
dese days. Can' hold my head down cause dis high blood worries me so
much. It get too hot, can' iron. If ain' too hot, I makes out to press
my things somehow en sweep my yard bout. Sometimes I helps little bit
wid doctor case, but not often. Can wash de baby en de mother, but can'
do no stayin up at night. No, baby, can' do no settin up at night."

"I tries to catch all what little I can to help along cause dat how I
was raise up. Government truck brings me little somethin once a month
pack up in packages like dry milk en oatmeal en potatoes. Give dat to
all dem dat can' work en ain' got nobody to help dem. Dat dry milk a
good thing to mix up de bread wid en den it a help to fix little milk en
bread for dem two little ones. De potatoes, I stews dem for de chillun
too. Dey mighty fond of dem. Now de oatmeal, de chillun don' eat dat so
I fixes it for Sue en every now en den I takes a little bit wid my

"I don' know much what to tell you bout Abraham Lincoln. I think he was
a mighty great man, a mighty great man, what I hear of him."

"I remembers de Yankees come dere to my white folks plantation one day
en, child, dere was a time on dat place. All dem niggers was just a
kickin up dey heels en shoutin. I was standin dere on de piazza lookin
at dem en I say, 'I don' see why dey want to carry on like dat for. I
been free all de time.' When dey get through de Yankees tell dem dey was
free as dey Massa was en give dem so many bushels of corn en so much
meat for dey own. Some take dey pile en go on off en some choose to stay
on dere wid dey Missus. She was good to all her colored people en dey
stay on dere for part de crop. Give dem so much of de crop accordin to
de chillun dey had to feed. I know dis much, dey all know dey gwine get
12 bushels of corn a year, if dey ain' get no more. Dat a bushel every
month. Yes, dat how it was."

"O Lord, baby, I don' know a thing bout none of dat thing call conjurin.
Don' know nothin bout it. Dat de devil work en I ain' bother wid it. Dey
say some people can kill you, but dey ain' bother me. Some put dey trust
in it, but not me. I put my trust in de Lord cause I know it just a talk
de people have. No, Lord, I can' remember dat neither. I hear dem say
Raw Head en Bloody Bones would catch you if you be bad, but how it
started, I don' know. I know I don' know nothin bout how dey look en I
don' want to see dem neither. No, child, people say dey sho to be, but I
ain' see none. How dey look, I don' know."

"I don' know what to think bout de times dese days. De times worse den
dey used to be, child. You know dey worse. Dis here a fast time de
people livin on cause everybody know de people die out heap faster den
dey used to. Don' care how dey kill you up. No, child, dey sho worser.
My people en yunnah people. Don' it seem so to you dat dey worser?"

"Baby, I got to get up from here en leave now cause I huntin medicine
dis mornin. I ain' got time to tell you nothin else dis time, but I
gwine get my mind fix up on it en den your old black mammy comin back
fore long en stay all day wid you en your mamma. What time dat clock say
it now, honey? I got to hurry en catch de doctor fore he get away from
his office en be so scatter bout till nobody can' tell whe' he is. Dr.
Dibble a good doctor, a mighty good doctor. When he come, don' never
come in no hurry. Takes pains wid you. Dat been my doctor. I is just
devoted to him."

  Source: Mom Sara Brown, ex-slave, age 85, Marion, S. C.
                 Second Report.

                 Personal interview, September, 1937 by Annie Ruth
                 Davis, Marion, S. C.

  Project #-1655
  Mrs. Genevieve W. Chandler
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.
  Georgetown County


  (Some recollections of 'The Reb Time day' given by
  Aunt Margaret Bryant)

Visitor: "How are you Aunt Margaret?"

Margaret: "Missus, I ain't wuth! I ain't wuth!"

Visitor: "Aunt Margaret you've been here a long time. How old are you?"

Margaret: "I can't tell you my age no way in the world! When freedom
come, I been here. Not big nuff (enough) for work for the Reb, but I
been here Reb time. Been big nuff (enough) to know when Yankee gun-boat
come to Watsaw (Wachesaw). Whole gang o' Yankee come to the house and
didn't do a thing but ketch (catch) a gang o' fowl and gone on. And tell
the people (meaning the slaves) to take the house and go in and get what
they want. The obersheer (overseer) hear the Doctor whistle to the gate
and wabe (wave) him back. And then the Doctor know the Yankee been there
and he gone on to the creek house and get all he gold and ting (thing)
out the house and gone--Marion till Freedom then he come back.

"Yankee come in that night. Moon shine lak a day. Stay in the Doctor
house that night. Morning come, take a gang o' fowl and gone on!"

Visitor: "Aunt Margaret, what was your name before you were married?"

Margaret: "Margaret One. Brother and sister? I ain't one when I come
here. Ain't meet aunty, uncle--none. Me and my brudder Michael wuz twin.
I ain't meet none when I come here. All been sell. Me and my Ma One
here. Mary One. Husband title, husband nichel (initial) been 'One.'
Number one carpenter--give 'em that name Michael One--and he gibe 'em
that name. Born Sandy Island. Been to landing to Watsaw when gun-boat
come. Just a sneak long! Boat white. Hab (have) a red chimbley
(chimney.) Didn't try to carry we off. Tell 'em 'Go and help youself.'
Been after the buckra. (The Yankee trying to catch the buckra.)

"I see my Ma dye with some bush they call 'indigo,' and black walnut
bark. Big old pen for the sheep-folds.

"My Pa sister, Ritta One had that job. Nuss (nurse) the chillun. Chillun
house. One woman nuss (nurse) all the chillun while they ma in the
field--rice field. All size chillun. Git the gipsy (gypsum) weed. Beat
'em up for worm. Give 'em when the moon change. Take a bucket and follow
dem. And tell the Doctor how much a worm that one make and that one and
count dem (them). When the moon change, do that.

"I have one born with caul. Loss he caul. Rat carry 'em. Ain't here; he
see nothin. (The custom seems to be, to preserve the caul.)

"Child born feet fore-most see 'um too." (See spirit) "Talk chillun? Put
duh switch. Put you 'Bull pen.' Hab 'um (have them) a place can't see
you hand before you. Can't turn round good in there. Left you in there
till morning. Give you fifty lash and send you to work. You ain't done
that task, man and woman lick!

"Couldn't manage my ma. Obersheer (overseer) want to lick ma, Mary One
say, 'Going drownded meself! I done my work! Fore I take a lick, rather
drownded meself.'" Obersheer gone tell the Doctor. Tie her long rope.
Right to Sandy Island. Man hold the rope. Gone on. Jump in river. So
Doctor say, 'You too good labor for drown. Take dem (them) to Watsaw.'
Me and she and man what paddle the boat. Bring her to weave. Two womans
fuh card; two spin. Ma wop 'em off. Sail duh sheckel (shuttle) through

"Po-buckra come there and buy cloth from Ma. Buy three and four yard. Ma
sell that, have to weave day and night to make up that cloth to please
obersheer. Come big day time. 'Little chillun, whey (where) Mama?' Tell
'em Ma to the weaving house. Don't have money fuh pay. Bring hog and
such like as that to pay.

"You know Marse Allard age? Me and Marse Allard suck together. Me and
Marse Allard and my brudder Michael. My ma fadder mix wid (with) the
Injun. Son Larry Aikens. Stay Charston (Charlestown). Just as clean!
(Meaning Larry, her Uncle, very bright skin. Mixed with Indian.) See 'em
the one time. Come from Charston bring Doctor two horse."

  Given by Aunt Margaret Bryant
  Age--(Born before Freedom)
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


"Our preacher, Beaty, told me that you wanted to see me today. I walked
three miles dis mornin' before the sun gits hot to dis house. Dis house
is my grand daughter's house. Willie Caldwell, her husband, work down to
de cotton mill. Him make good money and take good care of her, bless the
Lord, I say."

"My Marster in slavery time was Captain Tom Still. He had big plantation
down dere on Jackson Crick. My Mistress name was Mary Ann, though she
wasn't his fust wife--jest a second wife, and a widow when she
captivated him. You know widows is like dat anyhow, 'cause day done had
'sperience wid mens and wraps dem 'round their little finger and git dem
under their thumb 'fore the mens knows what gwine on. Young gals have a
poor chance against a young widow like Miss Mary Ann was. Her had her
troubles with Marse Tom after her git him, I tell you, but maybe best
not to tell dat right now anyways."

"Marse Tom had four chillun by his fust wife, dey was John, Sam,
Henretta and I can't 'member de name of the other one; least right now.
Dey teached me to call chillun three years old, young Marse and say
Missie. Dey whip you if dey ever hear you say old Marse or old Missie.
Dat riled dem."

"My pappy name Sam. My mother name Mary. My pappy did not live on the
same place as mother. He was a slave of de Hamiltons, and he got a pass
sometimes to come and be with her; not often. Grandmammy name Ester and
she belonged to our Marse Tom Still, too."

"Us lived in a log cabin wid a stick chimney. One time de sticks got
afire and burnt a big hole in de back of de chimney in cold winter time
wid the wind blowing, and dat house was filled wid fire-sparks, ashes,
and smoke for weeks 'fore dey tore dat chimney down and built another
jest like the old one. De bed was nailed to de side of de walls. How
many rooms? Jest one room."

"Never seen any money. How many slaves? So many you couldn't count dem.
Dere was plenty to eat sich as it was, but in the summer time before us
git dere to eat de flies would be all over de food and some was swimmin'
in de gravy and milk pots. Marse laugh 'bout dat, and say, it made us

"Dey sell one of mother's chillun once, and when she take on and cry
'bout it, Marse say, 'stop dat sniffin' dere if you don't want to git a
whippin'.' She grieve and cry at night 'bout it. Clothes? Yes Sir, us
half naked all de time. Grown boys went 'round bare footed and in dey
shirt tail all de summer."

"Marse was a rich man. 'Fore Christmus dey would kill thirty hogs and
after Christmus, thirty more hogs. He had a big gin house and sheep,
goats, cows, mules, hosses, turkeys, geese, and a stallion; I members
his name, Stockin'-Foot. Us little niggers was skeered to death of dat
stallion. Mothers used to say to chillun to quiet dem, 'Better hush,
Stockin'-Foot will git you and tramp you down.' Any child would git
quiet at dat."

"Old Marse was de daddy of some mulatto chillun. De 'lations wid de
mothers of dese chillun is what give so much grief to Mistress. De
neighbors would talk 'bout it and he would sell all dem chillun away
from dey mothers to a trader. My Mistress would cry 'bout dat.

"Our doctor was old Marse son-in-law, Dr. Martin. I seen him cup a man
once. He was a good doctor. He give slaves castor oil, bleed dem some
times and make dem take pills."

"Us looked for the Yankees on dat place like us look now for de Savior
and de host of angels at de second comin'. Dey come one day in February.
Dey took everything carryable off de plantation and burnt de big house,
stables, barns, gin house and dey left the slave houses."

"After de war I marry Osborne Burrell and live on de Tom Jordan place.
I'se de mother of twelve chillun. Jest three livin' now. I lives wid the
Mills family three miles 'bove town. My son Willie got killed at de
DuPont Powder Plant at Hopewell, Virginia, during de World War. Dis
house you settin' in belongs to Charlie Caldwell. He marry my grand
daughter, Willie B. She is twenty-three years old."

"Young Marse Sam Still got killed in de Civil War. Old Marse live on. I
went to see him in his last days and I set by him and kept de flies off
while dere. I see the lines of sorrow had plowed on dat old face and I
'membered he'd been a captain on hoss back in dat war. It come into my
'membrance de song of Moses; 'de Lord had triumphed glorily and de hoss
and his rider have been throwed into de sea'."

"You been good to listen. Dis is the fust time I can git to speak my
mind like dis mornin'. All de' people seem runnin' here and yonder,
after dis and after dat. Dere is a nudder old slave, I'se gwine to bring
him down here Saturday and talk to you again."

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, S. C.
  Sept. 15, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"I works on de shares and makes a fair living on a rented farm; don't
own no land. I was born in Newberry County, near de old Longshore store,
about 12 miles northwest of Newberry Courthouse on de Henry Burton
place. My parents belonged to Henry Burton in slavery time. He was our
marster. I married Betty Burton, a nigger girl whose parents belonged to
Marse Henry Burton, too.

"We had a good marster and mistress. Dey give us a good place to sleep
and lots to eat. He had a big four-acre garden where he raised lots of
vegetables fer his slaves. He had plenty meat, molasses and bread. We
ground our corn and wheat and made our own feed.

"Marster wouldn't let anybody bother his slaves. He wouldn't 'low his
overseers or de padrollers to whip 'em. He never whipped one.

"We had no school and no church; but was made to go to de white folks
church and set in de gallery. When Freedom come, de niggers begin to git
dere own church, and built small brush huts called 'brush harbors'.

"We didn't do work on Saturday afternoons, but went hunting and fishing
den, while de women folks cleaned up around de place fer Sunday. De
marster liked to hunt, and he hunted foxes which was plenty around dere
den. Now dey is all gone.

"We danced and had gigs. Some played de fiddle and some made whistles
from canes, having different lengths for different notes, and blowed 'em
like mouth organs."

  Source: C. B. Burton (79), Newberry, S. C.
          Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. (9/10/37)

  Project #-1655
  Phoebe Faucette
  Hampton County


  Ex-Slave 75 Years

West of the paved highway at Garnett one may reach, after several miles,
the old Augusta Road that follows along the Savannah River from Augusta
to a landing point a little south of Garnett. Miles from the busy
highway, it passes, in quiet majesty, between fields and woods, made
rich by the river's overflow and heavy dews. Nature has done her best in
producing beautiful evergreen trees of immense size and much luxuriant
shrubbery of many kinds. Live oaks, magnolias, yellow slash pines,
hollies, and many evergreen shrubs keep the woods even in winter, a
fascinating wilderness to hunters and nature lovers. On this road George
Ann Butler lives, and has lived for the seventy-five years of her life.

"I was born an' raised on de Greenwood place. It belonged to ole man Joe
Bostick. He owned all dese places 'long dese here road. He own de
Bostick place back yonder; den he own de Pipe Creek place next dat; den
Oaklawn; den joinin' dat was Greenwood. De Colcock's Elmwood was next.
My Husband was birth right here on de Pipe Creek, an' been here ever
since. He kin tell you more'n I kin. I was George Anne Curry before I

"I can't remember so much 'bout slavery time. I was crawlin' over de
floor when slavery time--dey tell me. But atter de war, I 'members.
Couldn't find no corn seed! Couldn't find no cotton seed! Couldn't find
no salt! You knows it was hard times when dere wasn't no salt to season
de vegetables. Had to go down to de salt water an' get de water an'
boil it for salt. Dat been a long way from here. Must be fifty or sixty
mile! An' dey couldn't go so fast in dem days. Sufferin' been in de
neighborhood atter de war pass!

"Cotton was de thing 'way back yonder. An' right 'long dis road dey'd
haul it. Haul it to Cohen's Bluff! Haul it to Matthews Bluff! Haul it to
Parichucla! Don't haul it dis way no more! Send de cotton to de
railroad! But in dem days it was de ships dat carried it to Savannah.
Cotton seem to be play out now--dey plant so much.

"I hear 'em tell 'bout de war, an' havin' to drill an' step when dey say
step, an' throw up dey hands, when dey say throw up de hand. Everything
had to be done jes' so! De war was sure a terrible thing."

  Source: George Anne Butler, R. F. D. Garnett, S. C.

  Project #-1655
  Phoebe Faucette
  Hampton County

  ISAIAH [~HW: Solbert (?)~] BUTLER, EX-SLAVE 79 YEARS
  [~HW: See Ms. #~]

"Yes, dis is Isaiah Butler, piece of him. Ain't much left of him now.
Yes, I knows all 'bout dis heah country from way back. I was born and
raised right on dis same place here; lived here all my life 'sides from
travellin' round a little space. Dere was a rice field not far from dis
house here, where I plowed up more posts that had been used as
landmarks! Dis place was de Bostick place, and it jined to de Thomson
place, and de Thomson place to Edmund Martin's place dat was turned over
to Joe Lawton, his son-in-law. Bill Daniel had charge of de rice field I
was telling you 'bout. He was overseer, on de Daniel Blake place. Den
dere was de Maner place, de Trowell, de Kelly, and de Wallace places.
Back in dem times dey cultivated rice. Had mules to cultivate it! But
cotton and corn was what dey planted most of all; 4,000 acres I think
dey tell me was on dis place. I know it supposed to be more than ten
miles square. Nobody know de landmarks 'cept me. When de Bostick boys
came back from out west last year, dey had to come to me to find out
where dere place was. Dey didn't know nuttin' 'bout it. Dey used to use
twenty plow, and de hoe hands was over a hundred, I know.

"I 'member when de Yankees come through. I was no more'n a lad, nine or
ten years old. Bostick had a big gin-house, barn, stables, and such
like. And when de soldiers come a goat was up on de platform in front of
de door to de loft of de barn. Dere were some steps leadin' up dere and
dat goat would walk up dem steps same as any body. De fuss thing de
Yankees do, dey shoot dat goat. Den day start and tear up eberyt'ing.
All de white folks had refugeed up North, and dey didn't do nuttin' to
us niggers.

"Fore dat time I was jes' a little boy too young to do nuttin'. Jes'
played aroun' in de street. Ole Mr. Ben Bostick used to bring clothes
an' shoes to us and see dat we was well cared for. Dere was nineteen
houses in de street for us colored folks. Dey wuz all left by de
soldiers. But in de year 1882 dere come a cyclone (some folks call it a
tornado), and knocked down every house; only left four standing. Pieces
of clothes and t'ings were carried for four or five miles from here. It
left our house; but it took everyt'ing we had. It took de walls of de
house, jes' left de floorin', an' it wus turn 'round. Took everyt'ing!
I'd jes' been married 'bout a year, and you know how dat is. We jes' had
to scuffle and scuffle 'roun' till de Lord bless us.

"Dere wuz plenty of deer, squirrel, possum, an' rabbits in dem times; no
more dan dere is now, but dere wuz no hinderance den as now. De deer
come right up to my door now; dey come all 'roun' dis house, and we
cain't do nuttin'. De other day one wuz over dere by dat peachtree, an'
not long ago four of 'em come walkin' right through dis yard. I don't go
fishin' no more. Folks say de streams is all dried up. But I used to be
a good fisherman, me an' me ole woman. She's spryer'n me now. I used to
allus protect her when we wuz young, an' now its her dat's acarin' for
me. We had our gardens in de ole days, too. Oh, yes'm. Little patches of
collards, greens an' t'ings, but now I ain't able to do nuttin', jes'
hang 'roun' de place here.

"My father used to belong to General Butler, Dennis Butler was his name.
My mother was a Maner, but originally she wuz draw out of de Robert
estate. Ole Ben Bostick fuss wife wuz a Robert. Dey wuz sure wealthy
folks. One of 'em went off to sail. Bill F. Robert wuz his name. He had
so much money dat he say dat he goin' to de end of de world. He come
back an' he say he went so close hell de heat draw de pitch from de
vessel. But he lost his eyesight by it. Wa'n't (it was not) long after
he got back dat he went stone blind.

"My ole boss, preacher Joe Bostick wuz one of de best of men. He wuz
hard of hearin' like I is, an' a good ole man. But de ole lady, ole
"Miss Jenny", she wuz very rough. She hired all de overseers, and she do
all. If'n anybody try to go to de old man wid anyt'ing, she'd talk to
'em herself an' not let 'em see de old man.

"In slavery time de slaves wuz waked up every morning by de colored
over-driver blowin' a horn. Ole man Jake Chisolm wuz his name. Jes' at
daybreak, he'd put his horn through a crack in de upper part of de wall
to his house an' blow it through dat crack. Den de under-driver would go
out an' round 'em up. When dey done all dey day-work, dey come home an'
cook dey supper, an' wash up. Den dey blow de horn for 'em to go to bed.
Sometime dey have to out de fire an' finish dey supper in de dark. De
under-driver, he'd go out den and see who ain't go to bed. He wouldn't
say anyt'ing den; but next mornin' he'd report it to de overseer, an'
dem as hadn't gone to bed would be whipped.

"My mother used to tell me dat if any didn't do dey day's work, dey'd be
put in de stocks or de bill-bo. You know each wuz given a certain task
dat had to be finish dat day. Dat what dey call de day-work. When dey
put 'em in de stocks dey tie 'em hand and foot to a stick. Dey could lie
down wid dat. I hear of colored folks doin' dat now to dare chillun when
dey don't do. Now de bill-bo wuz a stabe (stave) drove in de ground, an'
dey tied dere hands and den dere feet to dat, standin' up. Dey'd work on
Saturday but dey wuz give Sundays. Rations wuz give out on Mondays.
Edmund Lawton went over to Louisiana to work on de Catherine Goride
place, but he come back, 'cause he say dey blow dey horn for work on
Sunday same as any other day, and he say he wa'n't goin' to work on no
Sunday. Dey didn't have a jail in dem times. Dey'd whip 'em, and dey'd
sell 'em. Every slave know what, 'I'll put you in my pocket, sir!' mean.

"De slaves would walk when dey'd go anywhere. If'n dey buy a bunch of
slaves in New Orleans, dey'd walk by night and day. I 'member when one
young girl come back from refugin' wid de white folks, her feet were
jes' ready to buss open, and dat wuz all. You couldn't travel unless de
boss give you a pass. De Ku Klan had "patrol" all about in de bushes by
de side of de road at night. And when dey caught you dey'd whip you
almost to death! Dey'd horsewhip you. Dey didn't run away nowhere 'cause
dey knowed dey couldn't.

"If'n you wanted to send any news to anybody on another plantation, de
overseer'd write de message for you and send it by a boy to de overseer
of de other plantation, and he'd read it to de one you wrote to.

"When de war wuz over, ole man Jones cone over frum Georgia and sell
t'ings to de colored folks. He'd sell 'em everyt'ing. He took all de
colored folks' money!

"I learned to read when I wuz goin' to school when I wuz about fifteen
years old, but I learned most I know after I wuz married, at night
school, over on de Morrison place. De colored folks had de school, but
'course Mr. Morrison was delighted to know dey wuz havin' it. As for
church, in de olden times, people used to, more or less, attend under de
bush-arbor. In 1875 when I jined de church, ole man John Butler wuz de

"Ghosts? I'se met plenty of um! When I wuz courtin' I met many a
one--One got me in de water, once. And another time when I wuz crossing
a stream, I wuz on de butt end of de log, an' dey wuz on de blossom end,
an' we meet jes' as close as I is to you now. I say to him, same as to
anybody, 'I sure ain't goin' to turn back, and fall off dis log. Now de
best t'ing for you to do is to turn 'round and let me come atter (after)
you. You jes' got to talk to 'em same as to anybody. It don't pay to be
'fraid of 'em. So he wheel 'round. (Spirits can wheel, you know.) And
when he get to de end of de log, I say, 'Now you off and I off. You kin
go on 'cross now.' Dey sure is a t'ing, all right! Dey look jes' like
anybody else, 'cept'n it's jes' cloudy and misty like it goin' to pour
down rain. But it don't do to be 'fraid of 'em. I ain't 'fraid of
nuttin', myself. I never see 'em no more. Guess I jes' sorta out-growed
'em. But dere sure is sech a t'ing, all right! De white folks'd see 'em,
too. I 'member hearin' ole Joe Bostick, de preacher, say to a man, by de
name of Tinlin, 'Did you hear dat hog barkin' last night? Well, de
spirit come right in de house. Come right up over de mantlepiece.' I wuz
in de field workin' same as I allus done, and I hear'd ole Joe horse a
snortin'. Ole Joe didn't want nuttin'. He jes' want to see what I wuz

"Abraham Lincoln done all he could for de colored folks. But dey cain't
none of 'em do nuttin' without de Lord."

  Source: Isaiah Butler, Garnett, S. C.

  Project #-1655
  Phoebe Faucette
  Hampton County
  Approx. 800 Words


Miles from the highway old Solbert Butler lives alone under the shadow
of the handsome winter home of an aged northerner upon the same soil
that he has seen pass from Southerner to Negro, to Southerner, to
Northerner. Though shrunken and bent with age he still enjoys talking.

"I lives in de Deer Country. A couple of months ago, I saw eight in a
drove at one time, like a drove of sheep, or sech like. You can't raise
nuthin' 'round here. Dey'll eat up your garden. And de wild turkey! And
de partridge! But you can't shoot 'em without de Cassels give you a
license to do it. Now he comin' next month and dere'll be more shootin'!
But he aint able to hunt none hisself. He kin ride 'bout in de woods in
de car. Dey are blessed people, though!

"Dis used to be de Bostick place. Old Massa Ben Bostick lived fourteen
miles from here. Dere was Ben Bostick, Iva Bostick, Joe Bostick, Mr.
Luther, Eddie Bostick, an' Jennie Jo Bostick. De place was divided up
between 'em. O-oh! I couldn't number de plantations old Mr. Bostick
owned. I think he owned fifteen plantations! He was de millinery
(millionaire)! Oh, de Bosticks, O-oh!! De house dey live in, dey call
um--what was it dey call um--de Paradise house. No one go to dat house
but only de rich.

"At Christmas dey'd go up dere. And oh, I couldn't number it! Oh, it was
paradise. He was good to 'em. An' he whip 'em good, too! Tie 'em to de
fence post and whip 'em. But I didn't' have anythin' of dat. I was a
little boy. Jes' 'bout six year old when de war broke out. But I got
plenty of whippin's all right.

"Massa take me as a little boy as a pet. Took me right in de carriage!
Had a little bed right by his own an' take care of me. Every morning dey
bring in dey tray, an' go back. My uncle was a carriage man. Dey kept
two fine horses jes' for de carriage. Massa'd come up to de Street every
Monday morning with big trays of rations. He'd feed his colored folk,
den go on back."

(Another old ex-slave from the same plantation had said that on Mondays
the week's rations were given out.)

"Dey planted cotton, corn, peas, potatoes, rice--an' dey'd lick you! All
de time, dey'd lick you. After dey'd lick 'em until de blood come out,
den dey'd rub de red pepper and salt on 'em. Oh, my God! Kin you say dem
as done sech as dat aint gone to deir reward? My uncle was so whip he
went into de woods, an' live dere for months. Had to learn de
independent life. Mr. Aldridge was de overseer. Old Mr. Aldridge gone
now. But dere can't be no rest for him. Oh my God no! He do 'em so mean
dat finally ole Massa hear 'bout it. And when he do hear 'bout it, he
discharged him. He had everything discharged--to de colored driver. Den
he got Mr. Chisolm. After Mr. Chisolm come in, everythin' jes' as sweet
an' smooth as could be! Dere's a nice set of people for you--de
Chisolms. Two of 'em livin' now. One at Garnett, an' one at Luray, I

"I refugeed wid Massa. Dey come together in Virginia. Dey surrendered in
Virginia. Set de house afire. And set all dey houses. Dey burned Massa's
cotton. Over 200 bales! But if'n de colored folks begged for some, dey
let 'em have some. I stayed right wid Massa. He carried me everywhere he
went. Carried me all de way to Mill Haven, Georgia.

"After de war de colored folks jes' took an' plant de crop an' make de
livin' wid de hoe. Didn't have no mule, no ox, or thin' like dat. When
ole Massa come back, he took de cotton, an' give de colored folks de
corn. De Yankees kill all de hog. Kill all de cow. Kill all de fowl.
Left you nothin' to eat. If de colored folk had any chicken, dey jes'
had to take dat an' try to raise 'em somethin' to eat.

"I'se a Methodist. I was converted under Elder Drayton--come from
Georgia at St. Luke Methodist Church on de Blake Plantation. De Blake
Plantation right dere. It jines dis one. De ole Methodist white folk's
church where I was baptized been take down. It was called de Union
Church. But de cemetery still dere. It right up dere not a mile down de
road. Dere was a good ole preacher name of Rev. Winborn Asa Lawton. An'
de camp meetin'! Oh, Lord, Lord! Dey had over a thousand dere. Come from
Orangeburg. Come from Aiken! An' come way from Cheraw! Come from
Charleston, Beaufort, and Savannah! De colored folks got a church now
up here on what used to be de Pipe Creek place of ole Ben Bostick where
de white folks used to have a Baptist church. De colored folks church
call it Kenyon Church. Dat's de church dey white folks moved to
Lawtonville, den to Estill. But when de colored folks built, dey built
de church to face de East. Built on de same foundation; but face it
east, facing a little road dat had sprung up and wind 'round dat way
right in close to de church. But de white folks church was face west,
facing de Augusta road. Dat big space twixt de road and de church was a

"Ghosts? I used to 'em. I see 'em all de time. Good company! I live over
dere by myself, an' dey comes in my house all de time. Sometime I walk
along at night an' I see 'em. An' when you see 'em you see a sight. Dey
play. Dey dance 'round an' 'round. Dey happy all right. But dey'll devil
you, too. When dey find out dat you scary, dey'll devil you. Dey don't
do nothin' to me. Only talk to me. I'll be in my house an' dey'll come
talk to me. Or I'll be walkin' down de road, an' meet 'em. Dey'll pass
de time of day wid me, Like:

  'Hey, Solbert! How far you goin', Solbert?'

  'I'se jes' goin' down de road a little piece,' I'll say.


"Or sometime dey'll say, 'Mornin', Solbert. How you feeling?'

  'I'se jes' so so'.


"Dey all favors. Dey all looks alike. You remembers when dat car come
down de road jes' now? Well, I see a bunch of 'em right den! Dey get out
de road for dat car to pass. Oh, you can't see 'em. No matter how much I
shows 'em to you--you can't see 'em. But me! Dey swell wid me. I see 'em
all de time. De big house up dere. It full of 'em. De white folks see
'em, too. Dat is some of de white folks. I see de other day a white man
dat has to work up here start toward de house when de ghosts was comin'
out thick. When I tell him you ought to see him turn an' run. One of 'em
push me over in de ditch one time. I say,

  'Now what you done dat for?'

  'Well, dat aint nothin''

  'Aint nothin'. But don't you do dat no more.'

"I talks to 'em jes' de same as if dey was somebody. Some folks outgrows
'em. But not me. You have to be born to see 'em. If'n you be born
wrapped in de caul, you kin see 'em. But if you aint, you can't see

  Source: Solbert Butler, 82 years, R. F. D. Scotia, S. C.

  Project 1885-1
  District #4
  Spartanburg, S. C.
  May 31, 1937


"I was born on the other side of Maybinton, in Newberry County, South
Carolina. Old Squire Kenner was my master and his wife, Lucy, my
mistress. My pa was Joseph Gilliam, who was a slave of John Gilliam, and
my mamma was Lou Kenner, who was a slave of Squire Kenner. I stayed with
my mamma at Squire Kenner's and waited on my mistress, Mrs. Lucy Kenner,
who was the best white woman I know of--just like a mother to me, wish I
was with her now. I stayed there 'till my mistress died, was right by
her bed.

"It sure was a good place to live. Dey didn't give us money for work but
we had enough to eat and place to sleep and a few clothes. Squire had a
big farm he got from the Hancocks, some of his kin. He didn't have
overseers; he looked after his own farms. Master had a big garden and
give us lots from it to eat. We hunted 'possums, rabbits, squirrels,
wild turkeys, on the river. We lived right near Broad River.

"I remember de padderrolers; dey come to my pa's house and want to come
in, but pa had an old musket gun and tole them if dey come in dey
wouldn't go out alive--and dey went away.

"After the day's work was done, the slaves would set down and talk, and
on Saturday afternoons, they would stay home, go fishing or wash up, and
sometimes the chaps would go to de river and watch the boats full of
cotton go by. On Sundays we go to church. They made us go to Baskets
church, de white folks church, and set in the gallery. On Christmas Day
we would get time off and master would give us good things to eat. We
never had any corn-shuckings and cotton pickings there. All of the
family and the slaves do that work on moon-shiney nights. We had some
games we played, like Molly Bright, Hiding Switches, Marbles. We played
on Sunday, too, unless the mistress calls us in and stops us.

"When a slave got sick we sent for the doctor. We never put much store
in herb root tea and such like.

"The Yankees went through Maybinton but didn't get over as far as us.
Some say they stole cattle and burned ginhouses.

"Squire Kenner was killed in the war, and when the war was over we
stayed on with de mistress; she was like a mamma. She had a son who was
killed in the war, too. Another son lived there and we worked for him
after Mistress died, but he soon moved far away and sold out his
plantation. His name was Howsen Kenner.

"I married Walter Cain at Mr. Walter Spearman's house, a good white man,
and the white folks give us a good supper after the wedding. I had one
child, 2 grandchildren, and one great-grand-child. I joined the church
before I married 'cause I wanted to do better, do right and live right,
and get religion. I think everybody ought to join the church and live
right. That is the reason the Lord blesses me in lots of ways today. We
had good time in slavery--sometimes I wish I was back there--would have
somebody to take of you and help you. If my mistress was living I would
rather be back in slavery."

  Source: Granny Cain (90), RFD, Newberry; by G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  Sept. 22, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"I was born near the village of Maybinton, and lived on old Squire
Kenner's plantation. Squire Kenner and his wife, mistress Lucy, was good
to me. My mistress was so good I wish I was living with her now, I sho
wouldn't have such a hard time getting something to eat. I am old and
have rheumatism and can't get about good now.

"I live with some of my grand children, but they can't make so much for
us. We manage to eat, though. We rent a two-room house about two miles
from Newberry Courthouse.

"I don't know nothing about 40 acres of land for the slaves after the
war. We just stayed on with the master 'til he died, for wages; then we
hired out to other people for wages. I don't know nothing 'bout slaves
voting after the war. There was no slave up-risings then in our section.

"Ever since the war was over, the slaves have worked for wages on
plantations or moved to town and got little jobs here and there where
they could. Some of the slaves would rent small farms from land owners
or work the farms on shares. None of the slaves in our section come from

  Source: "Granny" Cain (90), Newberry County, S. C.
          Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. 8/10/37.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  May 24, 1937
  Edited by: Elmer Turnage


"I was born in Union County, S. C., not far from the ferry on Tyger
River. My mother was a slave of George R. Tucker who lived on the Enoree
River. I can't remember slavery times nor the war; but I remember about
the end of the war when everybody was coming home.

"My mother was a weaver, going to the white folks' houses and weaving
clothes for them for small pay. Carding and spinning was done by all the
white families at home.

"The farms had large gardens and raised most everything to eat. Large
patches of turnips, cabbage and green vegetables was the custom at that

  Source: Laura Caldwell (77), Newberry, S. C.
  Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. May 20, 1937

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  Dec. 15, 1937
  Edited by: Elmer Turnage

  [~HW: (Caldwell~]

"I own a little farm, about 22 acres, and I live on it wid my wife. I
ain't been married but once, but we had 15 chilluns. Dey is all done
married and left us. I is gitting so I can't do much work any more,
'specially plowing. I lives below Prosperity. I was born above dar, near
Beaver Dam Creek on de old Davenport place.

"My daddy was Alfred Caldwell and my mammy was Suella Caldwell. She was
a Nelson. Dem and me belonged to Marse Gillam Davenport. Marse Gillam
sho was rapid. I saw him whip my mammy till you couldn't put a hand on
her shoulder and back widout touching a whelp. Marse Gillam killed a man
and dey put him in Jail in Newberry, but he died befo' de trial come
off. Atter dat, I was put in de hands of his son, Sam Davenport. Dis was
atter freedom come. He was a purty good man, but my mammy was always
careful. At night she say, 'Come in chilluns, I got to fasten de do'
tight.' We lived in a little log house den. When we moved from dar we
went to Dr. Welch's place, jes' dis side of it.

"De niggers never had any churches till atter de war; den dey used brush
arbors or some old broke-down log house. We never had schools den, not
till later. I never had a chance to go a-tall.

"I 'member de Ku Klux and how dey rid around in white sheets, killing
all de niggers. De Red Shirts never killed but dey sometimes whipped
niggers. My daddy voted de Republican ticket den, but I know'd two
niggers dat was Democrats and rode wid de Red Shirts. Dey was old Zeb
and old Jeff Bozard.

"We had a big camp meeting sometimes at a log house dat was called
'Hannah's Church'. It was named for a nigger man of slavery time. He
bought de land for de church when freedom come and give it to dem. Dis
church is on de other side of Bush River, near Mr. Boulware's place.

"In old times we had plenty to eat dat we raised on de farm. We had
gardens, too. We raised hogs and made our own flour. We never worked on
Saturday afternoons and Sundays. On Christmas we got together and tried
to have extra things to eat, and maybe a few drinks.

"In old times we had lots of corn-shuckings and log-rollings. De niggers
all around would come and help, den we would git a feast of lamb or pig
that was cooked while we was working.

"Some old folks use to make medicines out of herbs. I 'member my ma
would take fever grass and boil it to tea and have us drink it to keep
de fever away. She used branch elder twigs and dogwood berries for
chills. Another way to stop chills from coming was to dip a string in
turpentine, keep it tied around de waist and tie a knot in it every time
you had a chill.

"Abraham Lincoln was a good man. Seems like all de niggers loved him
lots. I don't know much about Jefferson Davis. Booker Washington was a
good man. I 'member he was once in Newberry and I heard him preach in de
old courthouse. (?)

"I joined de church when I was 12 years old. In dem days de old folks
made chillun go to church when dey was 12 years old, and join den. Dat
was de reason I joined. I was a Methodist but I joined de Baptist later,
because, well, I saw dat was de right way."

  Source: Solomon Caldwell (73), Newberry, S. C. RFD
  Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. 12/7/37.

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon,
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Nelson Cameron and his wife, Mary, together with a widowed daughter,
Rose, and her six children, live in a four-room frame house, two miles
south of Woodward, S. C., about sixty yards east of US highway #21. He
cultivates about eighty acres of land, on shares of the crop, for Mr.
Brice, the land owner. He is a good, respectable, cheerful old darkey,
and devoted to his wife and grandchildren.

"Marse Wood, Ned Walker, a old Gaillard nigger says as how he was down
here t'other day sellin' chickens, where he got them chickens I's not
here for to say, and say you wanna see me. I's here befo' you and pleads
guilty to de charge dat I'm old, can't work much any longer, and is poor
and needy.

"You sees dere's a window pane out of my britches seat and drainage
holes in both my shoes, to let de sweat out when I walks to Bethel
Church on Sunday. Whut can you and Mr. Roosevelt do for dis old
Izrallite a passin' thru de wilderness on de way to de Promise Land? Lak
to have a little manna and quail, befo' I gits to de river Jordan.

"My old marster name Sam Brice. His wife, my mistress, tho' fair as de
lily of de valley and cheeks as pink as de rose of Sharon, is called
'Darkie.' Dat always seem a misfit to me. Lily or Rose or Daisy would
have suited her much more better, wid her laces, frills, flounces, and
ribbons. Her mighty good to de slaves. Take deir part 'ginst de marster
sometime, when him want to whup them. Sometime I sit on de door-steps
and speculate in de moonlight whut de angels am like and everytime, my
mistress is de picture dat come into dis old gray head of mine. You say
you don't want po'try, you wants facts?

"Well, here de facts: My mammy name Clara. Don't forgit dat. I come back
to her directly. My young mistress was Miss Maggie. Her marry Marse
Robert Clowney; they call him 'Red-head Bob.' Him have jet red hair. Him
was 'lected and went to de Legislature once. No go back; he say dere too
much ding dong do-nuttin' foolishness down dere for him to leave home
and stay 'way from de wife and chillun half de winter months.

"Marse Sam never have so pow'ful many slaves. Seem lak dere was more
women and chillun than men. In them days, pa tell me, a white man raise
niggers just lak a man raise horses or cows. Have a whole lot of mares
and 'pendin' on other man to have de stallion. Fust thing you know dere
would be a whole lot of colts kickin' up deir heels on de place. Lakwise
a white man start out wid a few women folk slaves, soon him have a
plantation full of little niggers runnin' 'round in deir shirt-tails and
a kickin' up deir heels, whilst deir mammies was in de field a hoeing
and geeing at de plow handles, workin' lak a man. You ketch de point?
Well I's one of them little niggers. My pa name Vander. Him b'long to
one of de big bugs, old Marse Gregg Cameron. Marse Gregg, him 'low,
always have more money and niggers than you could shake a stick at, more
land than you could walk over in a day, and more cuss words than you
could find in de dictionary. His bark was worser than his bite, tho'. Pa
was de tan-yard man; he make leather and make de shoes for de
plantation. After freedom date, de way he make a livin' for mammy and us
chillun was by makin' boots and shoes and half solin' them for white
folks at Blackstock, S. C. Marse Sam Brice mighty glad for mammy to
contact sich a man to be de pappy of her chillun.

"Us live in a log house wid a little porch in front and de mornin' glory
vines use to climb 'bout it. When they bloom, de bees would come a
hummin' 'round and suck de honey out de blue bells on de vines. I
'members dat well 'nough, dat was a pleasant memory. Is I told you my
mammy name Clara? My brothers and sisters, who they? George dead, Calvin
dead, Hattie (name for pa's young mistress) dead, Samson, who got his
ear scald off in a pot of hot water, is dead, too. I's existing still. I
did mighty little work in slavery times. 'Members not much 'bout de

"Freedom come, pa come straight as a martin to his gourd, to mammy and
us pickaninnies. They send us to school at Blackstock and us walk
fourteen miles, and back, every day to school. At school I meets Mary
Stroud, a gal comin' from de Gaillard quarter. Her eyes was lak twin
stars. Her hair lak a swarm of bees. All my studyin' books was changed
to studyin' how to git dat swarm of bees in a hive by myself. One day I
walk home from school with her and git old Uncle Tom Walker to marry us,
for de forty cents I saved up. Us happy ever since. Nex' year I work for
Ben Calvin, a colored man on de Cockerell place, jinin' de Gaillard
place. Us did dat to be near her pappy, Uncle Morris Stroud.

"All thru them 'Carpet Bag' days my pappy stuck to de white folks, and
went 'long wid de Ku Kluxes. His young mistress, Miss Harriet Cameron,
marry de Grand Titan of all de Holy invisible Roman Empire. Him name was
Col. Leroy McAfee. Pappy tell me all 'bout it. Marse Col. McAfee come
down from North Ca'lina, and see Marse Feaster Cameron at old Marse
Gregg Cameron's home and want Marse Feaster to take charge down in dis
State. While on dat visit him fall in love wid Marse Feas's sister,
Harriet, and marry her. You say Marse Tom Dixon dedicate a book to her,
de Clansman? Well, well, well! To think of dat. Wish my pappy could a
knowed dat, de Sundays he'd take dat long walk to Concord Church to put
flowers on her grave. They all lie dere in dat graveyard, Old Marse
Gregg, Marse Leroy, Miss Harriet, and Marse Feas. De day they bury Marse
Feas de whole county was dere and both men and women sob when de red
earth rumbled on his coffin top. Pappy had me by de hand and cried lak a
baby, wid de rest of them, dat sad day.

"Does you 'member de time in 1884, when my pappy made you a pair of
boots for $10.00 and when you pay him, him knock off one dollar and you
pay him nine dollars? You does? Well dat is fine, for I sure need dat
dollar dis very day.

"Does I 'member de day old Marse Gregg die? 'Course I does. It happen
right here in Winnsboro. Him come down to 'tend John Robinson's Circus.
Him lak Scotch liquor; de tar smell, de taste, and de 'fect, take him
back to Scotland where him generate from. Them was bar-room days in
Winnsboro. De two hotels had bar-rooms, besides de other nine in town.
Marse Gregg had just finished his drink of Scotch. De parade of de
circus was passing de hotel where he was, and de steam piano come by a
tootin'. Marse Gregg jump up to go to de street to see it. When it pass,
him say: 'It's a damn humbug' and drop dead."

  Project #1855
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


"Good mornin' Marster Wood! Marster Donan McCants and Marster Wardlaw
McCants both been tellin' me dat how you wants to see me but I's been so
poorly and down at de heels, in my way of feelin', dat I just ain't of a
mind or disposition to walk up dere to de town clock, where they say you
want me to come. Take dis bench seat under de honey suckle vine. It
shade you from de sun. It sho' is hot! I's surprise dat you take de walk
down here to see a onery old man lak me.

"Yes sir, I was born, 'cordin' to de writin' in de Book, de 15th day of
March, 1855, in de Horeb section of Fairfield District, a slave of old
Marster John Kennedy. How it was, I don't know. Things is a little mixed
in my mind. Fust thing I 'members, and dreams 'bout sometimes yet, is
bein' in Charleston, standin' on de battery, seein' a big ocean of
water, wid ships and their white sails all 'bout, de waves leapin' and
gleamin' 'bout de flanks of de ships in de bright sunshine, thousands of
white birds flyin' 'round and sometimes lighting on de water. My mammy,
her name Chanie, was a holdin' my hand and her other hand was on de
handle of a baby carriage and in dat carriage was one of de Logan
chillun. Whether us b'long to de Logans or whether us was just hired out
to them I's unable to 'member dat. De slaves called him Marster Tom. Us
come back to Fairfield in my fust childhood, to de Kennedy's.

"Marster John Kennedy raise more niggers than he have use for; sometime
he sell them, sometime he hire them out. Him sell mammy and me to
Marster James B. McCants and I been in de McCants family ever since,
bless God!

"Marse James was a great lawyer in his day. I was his house boy and
office boy. When I get older I take on, besides de blackin' of his boots
and shoes and sweepin' out de office, de position of carriage driver and
sweepin' out de church. Marster James was very 'ligious. Who my pa was?
Dat has never been revealed to me. Thank God! I never had one, if they
was lak I see nigger chillun have today. My white folks was all de
parents I had and me wid a skin as black as ink. My belly was always
full of what they had and I never suffer for clothes on my back or shoes
on my feets.

"Does I 'members de Yankees? Yes sir, I 'member when they come. It was
cold weather, February, now dat I think of it. Oh, de sights of them
days. They camp all 'round up at Mt. Zion College and stable their
hosses in one of de rooms. They gallop here and yonder and burn de
'Piscopal Church on Sunday mornin'. A holy war they called it, but they
and Wheeler's men was a holy terror to dis part of de world, as naked
and hungry as they left it. I marry Savannah Parnell and of all our
chillun, dere is just one left, a daughter, Izetta. Her in Tampa,

"Does I 'members anything 'bout de Ku Klux? No sir, nothin'. I was
always wid de white folks side of politics. They wasn't concerned 'bout
me. Marster James have no patience for dat kind of business anyhow. Him
was a lawyer and believed in lettin' de law rule in de daylight and
would have nothin' to do wid work dat have to have de cover of night and

"Does I 'member 'bout de red shirts? Sure I does. De marster never wore
one. Him get me a red shirt and I wore it in Hampton days. What I
recollect 'bout them times? If you got time to listen, I 'spect I can
make anybody laugh 'bout what happen right in dis town in red shirt
days. You say you glad to listen? Well, here goes. One time in '76. de
democrats have a big meetin' in de court house in April. Much talk last
all day. What they say or do up dere nobody know. Paper come out next
week callin' de radicals to meet in de court house fust Monday in May.
Marster Glenn McCants, a lawyer, was one of old marster's sons. He tell
me all 'bout it.

"De day of de radical republican meetin' in de court house, Marster Ed
Ailen had a drug store, so him and Marster Ozmond Buchanan fix up four
quart bottles of de finest kind of liquor, wid croton-oil in every
bottle. Just befo' de meetin' was called to order, Marster Ed pass out
dat liquor to de ring leader, tellin' him to take it in de court house
and when they want to 'suade a nigger their way, take him in de side
jury rooms and 'suade him wid a drink of fine liquor. When de meetin'
got under way, de chairman 'pointed a doorkeeper to let nobody in and
nobody out 'til de meetin' was over, widout de chairman say so.

"They say things went along smooth for a while but directly dat
croton-oil make a demand for 'tention. Dere was a wild rush for de door.
De doorkeeper say 'Stand back, you have to 'dress de chairman to git
permission to git out'. Chairman rap his gavel and say, 'What's de
matter over dere? Take your seats! Parliment law 'quire you to 'dress de
chair to git permission to leave de hall'. One old nigger, Andy Stewart,
a ring leader shouted: 'To hell wid Parliment law, I's got to git out of
here.' Still de doorkeeper stood firm and faithful, as de boy on de
burnin' deck, as Marster Glenn lak to tell it. One bright mulatto
nigger, Jim Mobley, got out de tangle by movin' to take a recess for
ten minutes, but befo' de motion could be carried out de croton-oil had
done its work. Half de convention have to put on clean clothes and de
court house steps have to be cleaned befo' they could walk up them
again. You ask any old citizen 'bout it. Him will 'member it. Ask old
Doctor Buchanan. His brother, de judge, was de one dat help Marster Ed
Aiken to fix de croton-oil and whiskey.

"Well, dat seem to make you laugh and well it might, 'cause dat day been
now long ago. Sixty-one years you say? How time gits along. Well,
sixty-one years ago everybody laugh all day in Winnsboro, but Marster Ed
never crack a smile, when them niggers run to his drug store and ask him
for somethin' to ease their belly ache."

  Code No.
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, October 5, 1937
  No. Words
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, Age 85

"Yes, mam, I been a little small girl in slavery time. I just can
remember when I was sold. Me en Becky en George. Just can remember dat,
but I know who bought me. First belong to de old Bill Greggs en dat whe'
Miss Earlie Hatchel bought me from. Never did know whe' Becky en George
went. Yes, mam, de Bill Greggs had a heap of slaves cause dey had my
grandmammy en my granddaddy en dey had a heap of chillun. My mammy, she
belong to de Greggs too. She been Mr. Gregg's cook en I de one name
after her. I remembers she didn' talk much to we chillun. Mostly, she
did sing bout all de time. Most of de old people sing bout;

  'O Heaven, sweet Heaven,
  When shall I see?
  If you get dere fore me,
  You tell my Lord I on de way.
  O shall I get dere?
  If you get dere fore I do,
  You tell My Lord I on de way.
  O Heaven, sweet Heaven,
  When shall I see?
  O when shall I get dere?'

"Oh, dat be a old song what my grandmammy used to sing way back dere."

"I don' know exactly how old I is cause de peoples used to wouldn' tell
dey chillun how old dey was fore dey was grown. I just ain' able to say
bout my right age, but I know my sister was older den me en she de one
keep count us chillun age. She told me I be bout 84 or 85 years old, so
my sister tell me. She done gone en left me en I try to keep count, but
I don' know. Dere been bout 14 head of we chillun en dey all gone but
me. I de last one. I can tell you dis much, I was just a little small
girl when Miss Earlie Hatchel bought me en she wouldn' let me hold de
baby cause she was 'fraid I would drop it. I just set dere on de floor
en set de baby 'tween my legs, but my Lord, Miss Hatchel been so good to
me dat I stay on dere wid her 8 years after freedom come. Miss Hatchel
tell me I better stay on dere whe' I can get flour bread to eat. Yes,
mam, never got a whippin in all my life. Miss Hatchel, she shake me by
de shoulders once or twice, but never didn' whip me in all my life dat I
knows of. Dat de reason, when my parents come after me, I hide under de
bed. My mammy, she went in de name of Hatchel en all her chillun went in
de name of Hatchel right down dere in de Effingham section."

"No, honey, don' nobody be here wid me. Stays right here by myself. Digs
in de garden in de day en comes in de house at night. Yes, mam, I
thought dis house been belong to me, but dey tell me dis here place be
city property. Rich man up dere in Florence learn bout I was worth over
$1500.00 en he tell me dat I ought to buy a house dat I was gettin old.
Say he had a nice place he want to sell me. I been learned dat what
white folks tell me, I must settle down on it en I give him de money en
tell him give me de place he say he had to sell me. I been trust white
folks en he take my money en settle me down here on city property. He
say, 'Mom Sylvia, you stay here long as you live cause you ain' gwine be
here much longer.' I promise my God right den not to save no more money,
child. People back dere didn' spend money like dey do dese days en dat
how-come I had dat money. Dey would just spend money once a year in dat
day en time. Yes, mam, I pay dat man over $900.00. Been payin on it long
time en got it all paid but $187.00 en city find out what dat man had
done. City tell me just stay on right here, but don' pay no more money
out. Dey give me dat garden en tell me what I make I can have.
Courthouse man tell me dat I ought to drop my thanks to de Heavenly
Father dat I is free. If de town picks up any sick person, dey bring dem
here en tell me do de best I can for dem. Tell me to keep good order so
de people won' be shame to come en see bout me. Got two houses dere join
together. Dere be four rooms in dis front one en three in de other
house. Woman go up north en leave her things here en tell me if she ain'
come back, I could have dem en she ain' come back yet. Been gone two

"Yes, mam, I been married twice. First husband die en den another sick
man come along en ax de city for me. I work on him en make teas for him,
but he die in bout two years. I beg de town to let me go out to de poor
farm en stay, but dey say I done pay too much to move. Tell me stay on
here en keep de house up de best way I can.

"No'um, I ain' able to do no kind of work much. No more den choppin my
garden. Can' hardly see nothin on a sunny day. I raise my own seed all
right cause sometimes I can' see en find myself is cut up things en dat
make me has to plant over another time. City tell me do like I was raise
en so I been choppin here bout 20 years."

"Oh, now go way from here. My son born in de year of de earthquake en if
he had lived, I would been bless wid plenty grandchillun dese days. Yes,
mam, I remember all bout de shake. Dey tell me one man, Mr. Turner, give
way his dog two or three days fore de earthquake come en dat dog get
loose en come back de night of de shake. Come back wid chain tied round
his neck en Mr. Turner been scared most to death, so dey tell me. He
say, 'Oh, Mr. Devil, don' put de chain on me, I'll go wid you.' Dat was
his dog come back en he thought it was de devil come dere to put de
chain on him. Yes, mam, dere was such a cuttin up every which a way
cause de people thought it was de Jedgment comin. I went a runnin dere
to de white folks house en such a prayin en a hollerin, I ain' never see
de like fore den en ain' see it since den neither. Dere was stirrin
everywhe' dat night en de water in de well was just a slashin. I tried
to pray like de rest of de people. Some say dey was ready to get on de
old ship of Zion. I cut loose from de white folks en went in de woods to
pray en see a big snake en I ain' been back since. I know dat ain' been
nothin but a omen en I quit off cuttin up. I know it ain' been no need
in me gwine on like dat cause I ain' never do no harms dat I knows of."

"Yes, mam, white folks had to whip some of dey niggers in slavery time,
dey be so mean. Hear tell bout some of dem would run away en go in de
woods en perish to death dere fore dey would come out en take a whippin.
Some was mean cause dey tell stories on one another en been swear to it.
My mammy tell me don' never tell nothin but de truth en I won' get no
whippin. I been raise up wid de white folks en I tell de truth, I can'
hardly stand no colored people."

"Oh, honey, dere won' no such thing as cotton mill, train, sawmill or
nothin like dat in my day. People had to set dere at night en pick de
seed out de cotton wid dey own hands. Didn' hear tell bout no telephone
nowhe' in dem days en people never live no closer den three en four
miles apart neither. Got old Massa horn right in dat room dere now dat
he could talk on to people dat be 16 miles from whe' he was. Come in
here, child, en I'll let you see it. See, dis old horn been made out of
silver money. You talks in dat little end en what you say runs out dat
big end. Man ax me didn' I want to sell it en I tell him I ain' got no
mind to get rid of it cause it been belong to old Massa. Den if I get
sick, I call on it en somebody come. Wouldn' take nothin for it, honey."

"Times was sho better long time ago den dey be now. I know it. Yes, mam,
I here frettin myself to death after dem dat gone. Colored people never
had no debt to pay in slavery time. Never hear tell bout no colored
people been put in jail fore freedom. Had more to eat en more to wear
den en had good clothes all de time cause white folks furnish
everything, everything. Dat is, had plenty to eat such as we had. Had
plenty peas en rice en hog meat en rabbit en' fish en such as dat.
Colored people sho fare better in slavery time be dat de white folks had
to look out for dem. Had dey extra crop what dey had time off to work
every Saturday. White folks tell dem what dey made, dey could have.
Peoples would have found we colored people rich wid de money we made on
de extra crop, if de slaves hadn' never been set free. Us had big rolls
of money en den when de Yankees come en change de money, dat what made
us poor. It let de white people down en let us down too. Left us all to
bout starve to death. Been force to go to de fish pond en de huckleberry
patch. Land went down to $1.00 a acre. White people let us clear up new
land en make us own money dat way. We bury it in de ground en dat
how-come I had money. I dig mine up one day en had over $1500.00 dat I
been save. Heap of peoples money down dere yet en dey don' know whe' to
find it."

  Source: Sylvia Cannon, age 85, ex-slave, Marion St., Florence,
                 S. C.
                 Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, October, 1937.

  Code No.
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, August 4, 1937
  No. Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, Age 85.
  Florence, S. C.

"I lives here by myself cause my husband been dead three years. Moved
here fore my chillun went to de war. I go to work en buy dis here home
en get whe' I can' pay tax en people tell me not to move. Say, rent me
bed en catch me a dollar, if it ain' a sin to rent your bed for a
dollar. One of de big officers of de town tell me dat last week en he
die next day. Government take my house en when dey carry sick peoples
from de jail, dey bring em here fore dey die. It ain' but one night
journey. Ain' gwine let dem be live enough to run away. Ain' got no kin
to leave de house to en dey tell me stay on here. Dey say I work so hard
to get dis house dat dey ain' gwine make me leave here."

(Aunt Sylvia has a sign in her front yard. It seems she took the frame
of a large picture and inserted a piece of pasteboard into it. She
explained that this sign is a warning to evil doers not to molest her.
She says that they must not come past this sign. The words on the sign
are somewhat illegibly written. The interviewers were able to make out
these words: "This is a house of the Lord. Don't go pass. This is a
house of the Lord...." Sign is dated March 1, 1937).

"I don' know how old I is, but I remembers I was 8 years old when
freedom come. I born down dere in de Effingham section on Mr. Gregg
plantation. My half-sister say I must always remember de Christmas day
cause dat de day I was born. Father en mother belong to de old Bill
Greggs en dat whe' Miss Earlie Hatchel buy me from. After dat, I didn'
never live wid my parents any more, but I went back to see dem every two
weeks. Got a note en go on a Sunday evenin en come back to Miss Hatchel
on Monday. Miss Hatchel want a nurse en dat how-come she buy me. I
remembers Miss Hatchel puttin de baby in my lap en tell me don' drop
him. Didn' have to do no work much in dem days, but dey didn' allow me
to play none neither. When de baby sleep, I sweep de yard en work de
garden en pick seed out de cotton to spin. Nursed little while for Miss
Hatchel en den get free."

"I see em sell plenty colored peoples away in dem days cause dat de way
white folks made heap of dey money. Coase dey ain' never tell us how
much dey sell em for. Just stand em up on a block bout three feet high
en a speculator bid em off just like dey was horses. Dem what was bid
off didn' never say nothin neither. Don' know who bought my brothers,
George en Earl. (She cried after this statement). I see em sell some
slaves twice fore I was sold en I see de slaves when dey be travelin
like hogs to Darlington. Some of dem be women folks lookin like dey
gwine to get down dey so heavy."

"We fare good in dat day en time. Everybody round dere fare good. My
Massa always was good to his slaves cause all de colored people say he
was good man to us. Dey never whip me in all my life. Tell me if I don'
know how to do anything to tell dem en dey show me how. I remembers Miss
Hatchel caught en shook me one time en when I tell her husband, he tell
her to keep his hands off his little Nigger. Dey all was good to me.
When I start home to see my mamma, dey cry after me till I come back.
Many a time my Missus go work in de field en let me mind de chillun."

"We live in de quarter bout ½ mile from de white folks house in a one
room pole house what was daubed wid dirt. Dere was bout 20 other colored
people house dere in de quarter dat was close together en far apart too.
De ground been us floor en us fireplace been down on de ground. Take
sticks en make chimney cause dere won' no bricks en won' no saw mills to
make lumber when I come along. Oh, my white folks live in a pole house
daubed wid dirt too. Us just had some kind of home-made bedstead wid
pine straw bed what to sleep on in dem days. Sew croaker sack together
en stuff em wid pine straw. Dat how dey make dey mattress. Didn' get
much clothes to wear in dat day en time neither. Man never wear no
breeches in de summer. Go in his shirt tail dat come down to de knees en
a 'oman been glad enough to get one piece homespun frock what was made
wid dey hand. Make petticoat out of old dress en patch en patch till
couldn' tell which place weave. Always put wash out on a Saturday night
en dry it en put it back on Sunday. Den get oak leaves en make a hat
what to wear to church. We didn' never have but one pair of shoes a year
en dey was dese here brogans wid thick soles en brass toes. Had shop
dere on de plantation whe' white man made all de shoes en plows. Dey
would save all de cowhide en soak it in salt two or three weeks to get
de hair off it en dey have big trough hewed out whe' dey clean it after
dey get de hair off it. After dat, it was turn to de man at de shop."

"I remembers when night come on en we go back to de quarter, we cook
bread in de ashes en pick seed from de cotton en my mamma set dere en
sew heap of de time. Den I see em when dey have dem hay pullings. Dey
tote torch to gather de hay by en after dey pull two or three stacks of
hay, dey have a big supper en dance in de road en beat sticks en blow
cane. Had to strike fire on cotton wid two rocks cause dey didn' have no
match in dem days."

"I tellin you my Missus sho was good to me in dat day en time. She been
so good to me dat I stay dere wid her 20 year after I got free. Stay
dere till I marry de old man Isenia Cannon. You see my old Massa got
killed in de war. She tell me I better stay whe' I can get flour bread
to eat cause she make her own flour en bake plenty biscuit in de oven.
Den she kill hogs en a cow every Christmas en give us all de egg-nog en
liquor we want dat day. Dig hole in de ground en roast cow over log
fire. When I get hard up for meat en couldn' get nothin else, I catch
rabbits en birds. Make a death trap wid a lid en bait it wid cabbage en
corn en catch em dat way. Den another time, I dig deep hole in de ground
en dob it wid clay en fill it up wid water. Rabbits hunt water in de
night en fall in dere en drown. I used to set traps heap of times to
keep de rabbits from eatin up de people gardens. Folks eat all kind of
things durin de war. Eat honeysuckle off de low sweet bush after de
flower falls off en pine mass dat dey get out de burr en sour weeds.
Wouldn' nobody eat dem things dese days. Coase dey let de slaves have
three acres of land to a family to plant for dey garden. Work dem in
moonlight nights en on a Saturday evenin."

"Oh, yes, dey have white overseers den. I hear some people say dey was
good people. At night de overseer would walk out to see could he catch
any of us walkin widout a note en to dis day, I don' want to go nowhe'
widout a paper. It just like dis, de overseer didn' have to be right
behind you to see dat you work in dem days. Dey have all de fields name
en de overseer just had to call on de horn en tell you what field to go
work in dat day. Den he come along on a Saturday evenin to see what you
done. If you ain' do what he say do, he put de Nigger dog on you en he
run you all night till he find you. No matter whe' you hide, he find
you en hold you till de overseer get dere. Bite you up if dey get reach
of you. When de overseer come, he carry you to de stables en whip you.
Dey dat ain' never got no whipping, you can' do nothin wid dem dese

"I got Miss Hatchel horn bout here now dat been through nearly 100 head
of people. If you talk on it, dere de 100 head of automobiles to see
what it is. I sold old Massa's sword last week for ten cents, but I ain'
gwine do away wid his old horn. (4 ft. long, 15 in. cross big end 1 in.
from top end. Mouth piece is gone. Catch about 15 in. from top). Can
talk to anybody 15 to 16 miles away en dat how-come I don' want to sell
it cause if anything happen, I can call people to come. Dis horn ain' no
tin, it silver. It de old time phone. Got old Massa maul too en dis here
Grandpa oxen bit dat was made at home."

"De white folks didn' never help none of we black people to read en
write no time. Dey learn de yellow chillun, but if dey catch we black
chillun wid a book, dey nearly bout kill us. Dey was sho better to dem
yellow chillun den de black chillun dat be on de plantation. Northern
women come dere after de war, but dey didn' let em teach nobody nothin."

"I go to church wid my white folks, but dey never have no church like
dey have dese days. De bush was dey shelter en when it rain, dey meet
round from one house to another. Ride to church in de ox cart cause I
had to carry de baby everywhe' I go. White folks didn' have no horse
den. De peoples sho been blessed wid more religion in dem days den dese
days. Didn' never have to lock up nothin den en if you tell a story, you
get a whippin. Now de peoples tell me to tell a story. I been cleanin up
a lady porch en she tell me to tell anybody what come dere dat she ain'
home. A lady come en ax fer her en I tell her she say anybody come here,
tell em I ain' home. If you don' believe she here, look in de bedroom.
Miss Willcox come out dere en beat me in de back. I tell her don' read
de Bible en tell me to tell a story. I ain' gwine tell no story cause my
white folks learnt me not to do dat. I knows people was better in dem
times den dey is now. Dey teach you how you ought to treat your neighbor
en never hear no bad stories nowhe'. Massa en Missus taught me to say a
prayer dat go like dis:

  "De angels in Heaven love us,
  Bless mamma en bless papa,
  Bless our Missus,
  Bless de man dat feedin us,
  For Christ sake."

"De peoples use herb medicines for dey cures in dem days dat dey get out
de woods. I make a herb medicine dat good for anything out de roots of
three herbs mix together. Couldn' tell you how I make it cause dat
would ruin me. Town people try to buy de remedy from me, but Dr. McLeod
tell me not to sell it. Dey offer me $1500.00 for it, but I never take

"You want my mind, my heart, de truth en I gwine tell you it just like I
see it. Since de colored peoples got de law, dey get in all kind of
devilment. Dat how-come if I had to go back, I would go back to slavery
en stay wid my white folks."

  Source: Sylvia Cannon, ex-slave, age 85, Florence. S. C.

  Personal interview by H. Grady Davis and Mrs.
  Lucile Young, and written up in question and
  answer form. Rewritten in story form by Annie Ruth


  Star in de east en star in de west,
  I wish de star was in my breast.
  Mother is home, sweet home,
  Mother is home, sweet home,
  Want to join de angel here.
  What a blessed home, sweet home,
  What a blessed home, sweet home,
  Want to join de angel here.

(You can sing bout father, brother, sister en all.)

  Sylvia Cannon,

  Ex-Slave, age 85,
  May 21, 1937,
  Florence, S. C.


  Come ye dat love de Lord,
  En let your joys be known.
  Hark from de tomb,
  En hear my tender voice.
  By de grace of God I'll meet you
  On Canaan Happy Shore.
  Oh, mother, where will I meet you on Canaan Happy Shore?
  En by de grace of God I'll meet you on Canaan Happy Shore.

(Shaking hands, marching around grave. White en Colored marched from
church to graveyard. Old people in de ox cart en young people walking.
Didn' have coffins like dey do now. Build de coffin en black it wid
smut. Blacksmith make de nails. Could see in de box.)

  Sylvia Cannon,
  Ex-Slave, age 85,
  May 21, 1937,
  Florence, S. C.

  Project No. 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Mrs. Genevieve Chandler
  Place, Murrells Inlet, S. C.
  Date, March 25, 1937
  Typed by M. C., N. Y. A.
  No Words ----
  Reduced from Words ----
  Rewritten by ----

  [~HW: Georgetown Co~]

  (Verbatim conversation by Uncle Albert Carolina.):

When asked about the founding of Heaven's Gate colored Methodist
church Rev. Albert Carolina answered:

  "In the beginning of Freedom they separate us from whites.
      'Sixty one the war begun;
      Sixty four the war was o'er."

"Rev. Zacharias Duncan wuz the man. He the one built Heaven Gate church.
Brother Henry Smith and Brother David Kidd and old man Jackson Heywood
wuz the old ones built it. Some more been there. Can't think of them.
Old man Jim Beaty wuz one. Can't remember no more. He wuz Allston man.
(That means he was a slave owned by the Allstons) Uncle Dave Kidd, he
owned a tract of land in the Savannah.

"Brought us up in Sabbus (Sabbath) school. Sunrise prayer-meeting. Ten
o'clock Sunday school. Leven o'clock the service. Three o'clock service
again. Eight at night--service again. Raise us taughen (taught) in the
church. Steal off Slavery time in they own house and have class meeting.
Driver come find'em, whip'em. Th' patrolls come riding down th' road.
Four plait whip. Two big black dog. White pat-roller. Ketch without
pass, they whip me. Crawling. (I was crawling). But I walk then and walk
every since! Bo-cart. Dat's what they call it--'Bo-cart'. (Crude home
made baby walker.) Bout seventy seven years since I start. Remember
nother thing going on in them time. Mausser gin (give) the women a task.
Didn't done it. Next day didn't done it. Saturday come, task time out!
Driver! I tell yuh th' truth, you could hear those people, 'Murder!

"Judge Kershaw was a fine man. His boy William--I and William born the
same day.

"We never has met th' bed yet, without family prayer--and never get up
without it. Didn't low them with a book in they hand. The Driver learn
you at night if he like you. Try to out-wage (educate) you at night.
Didn't have any school.

"Mother's father Indian. Brighter than, who? Who round here bright as my
Grand-father? Hannah! Hair was long. Wouldn't stay home. Lives in th'
swamp. Wouldn't stay out. Grandmother wuz African. She had a little bowl
make out of clay."

  Uncle Albert Carolina, age 87 (colored)
  Murrells Inlet, S. C.
  March 8th, 1937.

(A description followed of how his grand-parents built a kiln of clay
pots and baked them.)

  Project #-1655
  Phoebe Faucette
  Hampton County

  Ex-Slave 88 Years Old

"Aunt Silvie", sitting out in the sunshine in the yard of a small negro
cabin, on a warm day in January, seemed very old and feeble. Her answers
to questions were rather short and she appeared to be preoccupied.

"I been fifteen year old when de Yankee come--fifteen de sixth of June.
I saw 'em burn down me Massa's home, an' everythin'. I 'members dat. Ole
man Joe Bostick was me Massa. An' I knows de Missus an' de Massa used to
work us. Had de overseer to drive us! Work us till de Yankees come! When
Yankee come dey had to run! Dat how de buildin' burn! Atter dey didn't
find no one in it, dey burn! De Marshall house had a poor white woman in
it! Dat why it didn't burn! My Massa's Pineland place at Garnett was
burn, too. Dey never did build dis un (one) back. Atter dey come back,
dey build deir house at de Pineland place.

"I wus mindin' de overseer's chillun. Mr. Beestinger was his name! An'
his wife, Miss Carrie! I been eight year old when dey took me. Took me
from me mother an' father here on de Pipe Creek place down to Black
Swamp. Went down forty-two mile to de overseer! I never see my mother or
my father anymore. Not 'til atter freedom! An' when I come back den I
been married. But when I move back here, I stay right on dis Pipe Creek
place from den on. I been right here all de time.

"Atter I work for Mr. Beestinger, I wait on Mr. Blunt. You know Mr.
Blunt, ain't you? His place out dere now.

"Mr. Bostick was a good ole man. He been deaf. His chillun tend to his
business--his sons. He was a preacher. His father was ole man Ben
Bostick. De Pipe Creek Church was ole Missus Bostick's Mammy's church.
When de big church burn down by de Yankees, dey give de place to de
colored folks. Stephen Drayton was de first pastor de colored folks had.
Dey named de church, Canaan Baptist Church. Start from a bush arbor. De
white folks church was paint white, inside an' out. It was ceiled
inside. Dis church didn't have no gallery for de colored folks. Didn't
make no graveyard at Pipe Creek! Bury at Black Swamp! An' at
Lawtonville! De people leave dat church an' go to Lawtonville to
worship. Dey been worshipping at Lawtonville ever since before I could
wake up to know. De Pipe Creek Church jes' stood dere, wid no service in
it, 'til de Yankee burn it. De church at Lawtonville been a fine church.
Didn't burn it! Use it for a hospital durin' de war!

"I'se 88 year old now an' can't remember so much. An' I'se blind! Blind
in both eye!"

  Source: Silvia Chisolm, R. F. D. Estill, S. C.

  Project #1655
  Stiles M. Scruggs
  Columbia, S. C.


Tom Chisolm, a sixty-two year old bricklayer, 11 Railroad Street,
Columbia, S. C., is a son of Caesar Chisolm, who represented Colleton
County in the South Carolina House of Representatives for ten years.
Caesar was one of the few leading Negroes, who voted and spoke for the
Democratic Party and was friendly to the leaders of white supremacy
until he died in 1897. Tom relates the following story:

"My daddy was born in slavery and he was always treated good by his
master, de late Jimeson Chisolm, of Colleton County. He could read and
figure up 'most anything, when he was set free, and he had notions of
his own, too. For instance, he marry my mammy. She die soon after I was
born, and daddy say to me: 'Son, your mammy is gone, but you need not
fear dat any other woman will ever boss you. I's through with wives.'
And he never marry again.

"I come to Columbia with him, when he serve in de Legislature. When he
tell de niggers and white folks, back in Colleton, dat he was not aimin'
to run for de Legislature no more, they was sad. One time I go with him
to Smoak's, where Congressman George D. Tillman was to speak on one of
his campaigns. I felt pretty big, when Congressman Tillman smile and
grasp de hand of my daddy and say: 'You's goin' to say a few words for
me befo' I starts, eh, Chisolm?' 'I sho' will, if you laks,' say my
daddy. Soon he mount de platform, and befo' he say a word, both de white
and de niggers clap deir hands and stamp deir feets and smile. My daddy
bow, smile, and say: 'Ladies and gentlemen: We, us, and company sent
George Tillman to Congress long ago and knows what he has done. Now we's
gwine to send him back, and I is a little in doubt as to whether he is
gwine to take us to Washington, or bring Washington down here!' He say,
he jus' git started. But de crowd was laughin', dancin', and huggin' de
Congressman, and daddy laugh and set down.

"He introduce Master Duncan Clinch Heyward at Walterboro in 1902, when
Master Heyward was making his first race for governor. He raise such
laughter and pay so many witty compliments to Master Heyward, dat
Governor Heyward, when he was 'lected, appoint my daddy to an office in
Columbia, and we come to Columbia to live in 1903. My daddy retire at de
same time dat Governor Heyward quit office, in 1907. He later wrote
insurance on de lives of niggers, and he prosper.

"'Bout 1885, my daddy happen to be walkin' near de corner of Gervais and
Pulaski streets, and two niggers meet dere at de time and begin to
quarrel. My daddy stop and watch them awhile. One of them niggers kill
de other, and some time afterward a nigger lawyer come to see my daddy
and ask him: 'Wasn't you dere?' 'I sho' was,' say my daddy. De nigger
lawyer laugh and slap daddy on de back and say: 'Come on.' Daddy come
back in a few hours pretty tipsy. 'Dat lawyer spend a lot on me,' say
daddy, 'but de fool never let me tell him jus' what I knows.'

"A day or two afterward he was in de witness box. De nigger lawyer say:
'Now, Mister Chisolm, tell your tale in your own way.' Daddy say: 'I saw
de defendant and de man, now dead, as they meet. They glare at each
other and begin to talk harsh and cuss each other. Then, one strike at
de other and they back 'way and begin to reach in deir hind pockets.'
Daddy stop, and de nigger lawyer fairly scream: 'Yes, yes, go on!' 'That
all I saw,' say my daddy, 'cause I run to cover. I made it to de next
corner in nothin' flat and pick up speed afterward. So I was two blocks
'way, when I hear de shootin'!' De nigger lawyer nearly faint. He say:
'Who bought you off?' Daddy say he would have told him at de start, if
he'd had de chance.

"At another time, we was down on de 700 block of Wayne Street, at a
nigger gatherin'. We often spend days down dere collectin' weekly
insurance dues, and we knowed most of de people. Dere happen to be a
young nigger dere, back from de West for a visit, and he was a great
bragger. He was tellin' 'bout corn in Texas. 'Dere,' he said, 'corn grow
twenty feet high, with stalks as big as the arm of John L. Sullivan,
when he whupped Kilrain, and half a dozen big ears on each stalk.' De
crowd was thunderstruck.

"My daddy cleared his throat and say: 'Dat am nothin' in de way of corn.
One day I was walkin' past a forty-acre patch of corn, on de Governor
Heyward plantation by de Combahee River and de corn was so high and
thick, I decide to ramble through it. 'Bout halfway over, I hears a
commotion. I walks on and peeps. Dere stands a four-ox wagon backed up
to de edge of de field, and two niggers was sawin' down a stalk. Finally
they drag it on de wagon and drive off. I seen one of them, in a day or
two, and asks 'bout it. He say: 'We shelled 366 bushels of corn from dat
one ear, and then we saw 800 feet of lumber from de cob.'

"Dat young man soon slip out from de crowd and has never been seen here
since. I thinks daddy was outdone with me, 'cause I was not quickwitted
and smart, lak him. He tell me once: 'You must learn two good trades,
and I think carpenterin' and brick-layin' safest.' I done that, and I
has never been sorry, 'cause I's made a good livin'. Governor Heyward
was always a good friend of daddy, and he was proud to see us makin'
good in de insurance business."

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  May 24, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"I was born near old Bush River Baptist Church, in Newberry County, S.
C. I was the slave of John Satterwhite. My mother lived with them. I was
a small girl when the war was on. My brother went to war with Marse
Satterwhite. When de Ku Klux and paddrollers traveled around in that
section, they made Mr. Satterwhite hold the niggers when they was
whipped, but he most all the time let them loose, exclaiming, 'they got
loose'--he did not want many of them whipped.

"My mother had a kitchen way off from the house, wid a wide fireplace
where she cooked victuals. There was holes in back of de chimney with
iron rods sticking out of them to hold de pans, pots, kettles or

"People there did not believe much in ghosts. They were not much
superstitious, but one time some of the negroes thought they heard the
benches in Bush River Baptist Church turn over when nobody was in the

"Negroes most always shouted at their religious meetings. Before de
negroes had their own church meetings, the slaves went to the white
folks' Bush River Baptist church and set up in the gallery. I moved to
Newberry when I was young, after I got married."

  Source: Maria Cleland, Newberry, S. C. (80 years old).
          Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. (5/17/37)

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


"You want me to start wid my fust memory and touch de high spots 'til
dis very day? Dat'll take a long time but I glad to find someone to tell
dat to; I is! I 'members when I was a boy, drivin' de calves to de
pasture, a highland moccasin snake rise up in de path. I see dat forked
tongue and them bright eyes right now. I so scared I couldn't move out
my tracks. De mercy of de Lord cover me wid His wings. Dat snake uncoil,
drop his head, and silently crawl away. Dat was on de Biggers Mobley
place 'tween Kershaw and Camden, where I was born, in 1848.

"My pappy name Ned; my mammy name Jane. My brudders and sisters was Tom,
Lizzie, Mary, and Gill. Us live in a log house wid a plank floor and a
wooden chimney, dat was always ketchin' afire and de wind comin' through
and fillin' de room wid smoke and cinders. It was just one of many
others, just lak it, dat made up de quarters. Us had peg beds for de old
folks and just pallets on de floor for de chillun. Mattresses was made
of wheat straw but de pillows on de bed was cotton. I does 'member dat
mammy had a chicken feather pillow she made from de feathers she saved
at de kitchen.

"My grandpappy name Warren and grandmammy name Maria. De rule on de
place was: 'Wake up de slaves at daylight, begin work when they can see,
and quit work when they can't see'. But they was careful of de rule dat
say: 'You mustn't work a child, under twelve years old, in de field'.

"My master's fust wife, I heard him say, was Mistress Gilmore. Dere was
two chillun by her. Master Ed, dat live in a palace dat last time I
visit Rock Hill and go to 'member myself to him; then dere was Miss Mary
dat marry her cousin, Dr. Jim Mobley. They had one child, Captain Fred,
dat took de Catawba rifles to Cuba and whip Spain for blowin' up de
Maine. You say you rather I talk 'bout old master and de high spots?
Well, Master Biggers had a big plantation and a big mansion four miles
southeast of Chester. He buy my mammy and her chillun in front of de
court house door in Chester, at de sale of de Clifton Estate. Then he
turn 'round and buy my pappy dere, 'cause my mammy and sister Lizzie was
cryin' 'bout him have to leave them. Mind you I wasn't born then.
Marster Biggers was a widower then and went down and courted de widow
Gibson, who had a plantation and fifty slaves 'tween Kershaw and Camden.
Dere is where I was born.

"Marster had one child, a boy, by my mistress, Miss Sallie. They call
him Black George. Him live long enough to marry a angel, Miss Kate
McCrorey. They had four chillun. Dere got to be ninety slaves on de
place befo' war come on. One time I go wid pappy to de Chester place.
Seem lak more slaves dere than on de Gibson place. Us was fed up to de
neck all de time, though us never had a change of clothes. Us smell
pretty rancid maybe, in de winter time, but in de summer us no wear very
much. Girls had a slip on and de boys happy in their shirt tails.

"Kept fox hounds on both places. Old Butler was de squirrel and 'possum
dog. What I like best to eat? Marster, dere is nothin' better than
'possum and yallow sweet 'taters. Right now, I wouldn't turn dat down
for pound cake and Delaware grape wine, lak my mistress use to eat and
sip while she watch my mammy and old Aunt Tilda run de spinnin' wheels.

"De overseer on de place was name Mr. Mike Melton. No sir, he poor man
but him come from good folks, not poor white trash. But they was cussed
by marster, when after de war they took up wid de 'publican party. Sad
day for old marster when him didn't hold his mouth, but I'll get to dat

"Marster Biggers believe in whippin' and workin' his slaves long and
hard; then a man was scared all de time of being sold away from his wife
and chillun. His bark was worse then his bite tho', for I never knowed
him to do a wicked thing lak dat.

"How long was they whipped? Well, they put de foots in a stock and clamp
them together, then they have a cross-piece go right across de breast
high as de shoulder. Dat cross-piece long enough to bind de hands of a
slave to it at each end. They always strip them naked and some time they
lay on de lashes wid a whip, a switch or a strap. Does I believe dat was
a great sin? No sir. Our race was just lak school chillun is now. De
marster had to put de fear of God in them sometime, somehow, and de
Bible don't object to it.

"I see marster buy a many a slave. I never saw him sell but one and he
sold dat one to a drover for $450.00, cash down on de table, and he did
dat at de request of de overseer and de mistress. They was uneasy 'bout

"They give us Christmas Day. Every woman got a handkerchief to tie up
her hair. Every girl got a ribbon, every boy a barlow knife, and every
man a shin plaster. De neighbors call de place, de shin plaster, Barlow,
Bandanna place. Us always have a dance in de Christmas.

"After freedom when us was told us had to have names, pappy say he love
his old Marster Ben Clifton de best and him took dat titlement, and I's
been a Clifton ever since.

"Go way, white folks! What everthing mate for? De birds, de corn tassle
and de silk, man and woman, white folks and colored folks mates. You ask
me what for I seek out Christina for to marry. Dere was sumpin' 'bout
dat gal, dat day I meets her, though her hair had 'bout a pound of
cotton thread in it, dat just 'tracted me to her lak a fly will sail
'round and light on a 'lasses pitcher. I kept de Ashford Ferry road hot
'til I got her. I had to ask her old folks for her befo' she consent.
Dis took 'bout six months. Everything had to be regular. At last I got
de preacher, Rev. Ray Shelby to go down dere and marry us. Her have been
a blessin' to me every day since.

"Us have seven chillun. They's scattered east, west, north, and south.
De only one left is just David, our baby, and him is a baby six foot
high and fifty-one years old.

"Yes sir, us had a bold, drivin', pushin', marster but not a
hard-hearted one. I sorry when military come and arrest him. It was dis
a way, him try to carry on wid free labor, 'bout lak him did in slavery.
Chester was in military district no. 2. De whole state was under dat
military government. Old marster went to de field and cuss a nigger
woman for de way she was workin', choppin' cotton. She turnt on him wid
de hoe and gashed him 'bout de head wid it. Him pull out his pistol and
shot her. Dr. Babcock say de wound in de woman not serious. They swore
out a warrant for Marster Biggers, arrest him wid a squad, and take him
to Charleston, where him had nigger jailors, and was kicked and cuffed
'bout lak a dog. They say de only thing he had to eat was corn-meal-mush
brought 'round to him and other nice white folks in a tub and it was
ladeled out to them thru de iron railin' into de palms of dere hands.
Mistress stuck by him, went and stayed down dere. The filthy prison and
hard treatments broke him down, and when he did get out and come home,
him passed over de river of Jordan, where I hopes and prays his soul
finds rest. Mistress say one time they threatened her down dere, dat if
she didn't get up $10,000 they would send him where she would never see
him again.

"Well, I must be goin'. Some day when de crops is laid by and us get de
boll weevil whipped off de field, I'll get David to bring me and dat
gal, Christina, you so curious 'bout, to Winnsboro to see you. Oh, how
her gonna laugh and shake her sides when I get home and tell her all
'bout what's down on dat paper! You say it's to be sent to Washington?
Why, de President and his wife will be tickled at some of them things.
I's sure they will. Dat'll make Christina have a great excitement when I
tell her we is to be talked 'bout way up dere. I 'spect it will keep her
wake and she'll be hunchin' me and asking me all thru de night, what I
give in.

"Oh, well, I's thankful for dis hour in which I's been brought very near
to de days of de long long ago. Maybe I'll get a pension and maybe I
won't. Just so de Lord and de President take notice of us, is enough for

  Project 1885-1
  From Field Notes.
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  April 29, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"I wuz born in Fairfield, dat is over yonder across Broad River, you
knos what dat is, don't you? Yes sir, it wuz on Marse Johnson D.
Coleman's plantation. And he had a plantation! Dese niggers here in
Carlisle--and niggers is all dey is too--dey don't know what no
plantation is. When I got big enough fer to step around, from de very
fus, my maw took me in de big house. It still dat, cep it done bout fell
down now, to what it wuz then. But some of Marse's folks, dey libs down
dar still. Den you see, dey is like dese white folks up 'round here now.
Dey ain't got no big money like dey had when I wuz a runnin' up. Time I
got big enough fer to run aroun' in my shirt tail, my maw, she lowed one
night to my paw, when he wuz settin by de fire, dat black little nigger
over dar, he got to git hissef some pants kaise I'se gwine to put him up
over de white fokes table. In dem times de doos and winders, dey nebber
had no screen wire up to dem like dey is now. Fokes didn't know nothin
bout no such as dat den. My Marster and all de other big white fokes,
dey raised pea fowls. Is yu ebber seed any? Well, ev'y spring us little
niggers, we coch dem wild things at night. Dey could fly like a buzzard.
Dey roosted up in de pine trees, right up in de tip top. So de Missus,
she hab us young uns clam up dar and git 'em when dey first took roost.
Us would clam down and my maw, she would pull de long feathers out'n de
tails. Fer weeks de cocks, dey wouldn't let nobody see 'em if dey could
help it. Dem birds is sho proud. When dey is got de feathers, dey jus
struts on de fences, and de fences wuz rail in dem days. If'n dey could
see dereself in a puddle o' water after a rain, dey would stay dar all
day a struttin' and carring on like nobody's business. Yes sir, dem wuz
purty birds. After us got de feathers, de Missus, she'ud low dat all de
nigger gals gwine to come down in de wash house and make fly brushes.
Sometime de Missus 'ud gib some of de gals some short feathers to put in
dere Sunday hats. When dem gals got dem hats on, I used to git so
disgusted wid 'em I'd leave 'em at church and walk home by my sef.
Anyway, by dat time all de new fly brushes wuz made and de Missus, she
hab fans make from de short feathers for de white fokes to fan de air
wid on hot days. Lawdy, I'se strayed fur from what I had started out fer
to tell you. But I knowed dat you young fokes didn't know nothin' bout
all dat. In dem days de dining room wuz big and had de windows open all
de summer long, and all de doos stayed streched too. Quick as de mess of
victuals began to come on de table, a little nigger boy was put up in de
swing, I calls it, over de table to fan de flies and gnats off'en de
Missus' victuals. Dis swing wuz just off'n de end of de long table. Some
of de white fokes had steps a leadin' up to it. Some of 'em jus had de
little boys maws to fech de young'uns up dar till dey got fru; den dey
wuz fetched down again.

"Well, when I got my pants, my maw fetched me in and I clumb up de steps
dat Marse Johnson had, to git up in his swing wid. At fus, dey had to
show me jus how to hole de brush, kaise dem peacock feathers wuz so
long, iffen you didn't mind your bizness, de ends of dem feathers would
splash in de gravy er sumpin nother, and den de Missus table be all
spattered up. Some o' de Marsters would whorp de nigger chilluns fer dat
carelessness, but Marse Johnson, he always good to his niggers. Mos de
white fokes good to de niggers round bout whar I comes from.

"It twad'nt long for I got used to it and I nebber did splash de
feathers in no rations. But iffen I got used to it, I took to agoin to
sleep up thar. Marse Johnson, he would jus git up and wake me up. All de
white fokes at de table joke me so bout bein' so lazy, I soon stop dat
foolishness. My maw, she roll her eyes at me when I come down atter de
marster had to wake me up. Dat change like ever thing else. When I got
bigger, I got to be house boy. Dey took down de swing and got a little
gal to stand jus 'hind de Missus' chair and fan dem flies. De Missus low
to Marse Johnson dat de style done change when he want to know how come
she took de swing down. So dat is de way it is now wid de wimmen, dey
changes de whole house wid de style; but I tells my chilluns, ain't no
days like de ole days when I wuz a shaver.

"Atter de war, I come up to Shelton and got to de 'P' Hamilton place. I
wuz grown den. I seed a young girl dar what dey called 'Evvie'. Her paw,
he had b'longed to de Chicks, so dats who she wuz, Evvie Chick. Dar she
sets in dat room by de fire. Now us got 'leven chilluns. Dey is
scattered all about. Dey is good to us in our ole age. Us riz 'em to
obey de Lawd and mine us. Dats all dey knows, and iffen fokes would do
dat now, dey wouldn't have no sassy chilluns like I sees here in

"Evvie, what year wuz it we got married? Yes, dat's right. It wuz de
year of de 'shake'. Is you heerd bout de 'shake'? Come out here Evvie
and les tell him dat, kaise dese young fokes doan know nothin'. It wuz
dark, and we wuz eatin' supper, when sumpin started to makin' de dishes
fall out'n de cupboard. At fus we thought it wuz somebody a jumpin' up
and down on de flo. Den we knowed dat it wuz sumpin else er makin' dem
dishes fall out o' de cupboard. At fus we thought it wuz Judgment day,
kaise ev'ry thing started fallin' worser and worser. De dishes fell so
fast you couldn't pick'em up. Some of us went down to de spring. De
white fokes, dey come along wid us and dey make us fetch things from de
big house, like fine china dat de Missus didn't want to git broke up.
She tole us dat it wuz er earthquake and it wasn't no day o' Judgment.
Anyway, we lowed de white fokes might be wrong, so us niggers started to
a prayin', and den all de niggers on de plantation dat heerd us, well de
come along and jined wid us in de prayin' and singin'. Us wuz all a
shakin' mos as bad as de earth wuz, kaise dat wuz a awful time dat we
libbed through fer bout twenty minutes--de white fokes lowed it lasted
only ten, but I ain't sho about dat. When we got back to de big house,
de cupboard in de kitchen had done fell plum' down. In de nigger houses,
de chimneys mos all fell in, and de chicken houses ev'rywhar wuz shuck
down. While we wuz a lookin' aroun, and de wimmen fokes, dey wuz a
takin' on mightily another shake come up. Us all took fer de spring
agin; dis one lasted bout long as de first one. Us prayed and sung and
shouted dis time. It sho stopped de earth a shakin' and a quiverin'
some, kaise dat thing went on fer a whole week; ceptin de furs two wuz
de heaviest. All de other ones wuz lighter. Iffen it hadn't been fur us
all a beggin' de Lawd fer to sho us his mercy, it ain't no tellin' how
bad dem shakes would er been. Miss Becky Levister, you know her, she
live up yander in your uncle John's house now, she wuz wid us. She wuz
jus a little girl den. Her paw wuz Mr. Kelly. He died for ever you wuz
born. Not long ago I seed her. She lowed to me, 'uncle Henry, do you
recollect in de time o' de shake? Lacken she think I'd fergit such as
dat. It wuz in de time o' de worsest things dis ole nigger is ebber seed
hisself, and I is gwine on 82 now. Miss Becky, she wuz a settin' in her
car wid some one drivin' her, but she ain't fergot dis ole nigger. If I
is up town and Miss Becky, she ride by, she look out and lows' 'Howdy
uncle Henry', and I allus looks up and raises my hat. I likes mannerable
white fokes, mysef, and den, I likes mannerable niggers fer as dat goes.
Some of dese fokes, now both white--I hates to say it--and niggers, dey
trys to act like dey ain't got no sense er sumpin'. But you know one
thing I knos real fokes when I sees dem and dey can't fool me."

Aunt Evvie tells the following story about her father, Rufus Chick. The
story is known by all of the reliable white folks of the surrounding
neighborhood also: "My paw, Rufus Chick, lived on the Union side of
Broad River, the latter days of his life. Maj. James B. Steadman had
goats over on Henderson Island that my paw used to care for. He went
over to the Island in a batteau. One afternoon, he and four other
darkies were going over there when the batteau turned over. The four
other men caught to a willow bush and were rescued. My paw could not
swim, and he got drowned. For three weeks they searched for his body,
but they never did find it. Some years after, a body of a darky was
found at the mouth of the canal, down near Columbia. The body was
perfectly petrified. This was my paw's body. The canal authorities sent
the body to a museum in Detroit. It was January 11, 1877 when my father
got drowned.

"When I wuz a young fellow I used to race wid de horses. I wuz de swifes
runner on de plantation. A nigger, Peter Feaster, had a white horse of
his own, and de white fokes used to bet amongst de selves as much as
$20.00 dat I could outrun dat horse. De way us did, wuz to run a hundred
yards one way, turn around and den run back de hundred yards. Somebody
would hold de horse, and another man would pop de whip fer us to start.
Quick as de whip popped, I wuz off. I would git sometimes ten feet ahead
of de horse 'fore dey could git him started. Den when I had got de
hundred yards, I could turn around quicker dan de horse would, and I
would git a little mo' ahead. Corse wid dat, you had to be a swift man
on yer feets to stay head of a fas horse. Peter used to git so mad when
I would beat his ole horse, and den all de niggers would laf at him
kaise de white fokes give me some of de bettin money. Sometimes dey
would bet only $10.00, sometimes, $15 or $20. Den I would race wid de
white fokes horses too. Dey nebber got mad when I come out ahead. After
I got through, my legs used to jus shake like a leaf. So now, I is gib
plum out in dem and I tributes it to dat. Evvie, she lowed when I used
to do dat after we wuz married, dat I wuz gwine to give out in my legs,
and sho nuf I is."

"Uncle" Henry says that his legs have given out in the bone.

  Source: Henry Coleman and his wife, Evvie, of Carlisle, S. C.
  Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C.

  Project 1885-1
  District #4
  Spartanburg, S. C.
  May 31, 1937


"I was born about 1857 and my wife about 1859. I lived on Squire
Keller's farm, near the Parr place, and after the squire died I belonged
to Mrs. Elizabeth (Wright) Keller. My mother died when I was a boy and
my father was bought and carried to Alabama. My father was Gilliam
Coleman and my mother, Emoline Wright. My master and mistress was good
to me. The old Squire was as fine a man as ever lived on earth. He took
me in his home and took care of me. After the war the mistress stayed on
the place and worked the slaves right on, giving them wages or shares.

"The slaves were not whipped much; I 'member one man was whipped pretty
bad on Maj. Kinard's place. He had a colored man to do whipping for
him--his name was Eph. There was no whiskey on the place, never made
any. Us did cooking in the kitchen wid wide fireplaces.

"When the Yankees came through at the end of the war, they took all the
stock we had. The mistress had a fine horse, its tail touching the
ground, and we all cried when it was taken; but we got it back, as some
men went after it.

"I married in 1874 to Ellen T. Williams. She belonged to Bill Reagan.
After I married I worked in the railroad shops at "Helena", and
sometimes I fired the engine on the road, for about eight years. Then I
went into the ministry. I was called by the Spirit of the Lord,
gradually, and I preached 51 years. I have been superannuated two years.

"I have one child, a son, who is in the pullman service at Washington,
D. C.

"I owned my little house and several acres and am still living on it."

  Source: Rev. Tuff Coleman and wife (80 and 78), Newberry, S. C.
  Interviewer: G. Leland Summer, Newberry, S. C.

  Code No.
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, May 27, 1937
  No. Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, 78 years.

"I born en raise up dere in Colonel Durant yard en I in my 78th year
now. Dat seem lak I ole, don' it? Coase Colonel Durant hab plenty udder
colored peoples 'sides us, but dey ne'er lib dere in de yard lak we. Dey
lib up in de quarters on de plantation. My pappy name Ben Thompson en he
hadder stay dere close to de big house cause he wus de Colonel driver.
De Colonel hab uh big ole carriage wha' to ride in den. It hab uh little
seat in de front fa my pappy to set in en den it hab two seat 'hind de
driver whey de Colonel en he family is ride. I kin see dat carriage jes
uz good right now dat my white folks hab to carry em whey dey is wanna

"Den my mammy come from de udder side uv Pee Dee en she name, Lidia
Bass. She was de servant 'round de yard dere en dat count fa we to ne'er
stay in de quarters wid de udder colored peoples 'fore freedom declare.
I ne'er hadder do no work long uz I lib dere in de yard cause I ain'
been but five year ole when freedom declare. My grandmammy lib right
dere close us en Colonel Durant hab she jes to look a'ter aw de
plantation chillun when dey parents wuz workin'. Aw uv de plantation
peoples 'ud take dey chillun dere fa my grandmammy to nu'se."

"I 'member one day dere come uh crowd uv peoples dere dat dey tell us
chillun wuz de Yankees. Dey come right dere t'rough de Colonel yard en
when I see em, I wuz 'fraid uv em. I run en hide under my grandmammy
bed. Don' know wha' dey say cause I ain' ge' close 'nough to hear nuthin
wha' dey talk 'bout. De white folks hadder herry (hurry) en put t'ings
in pots en bury em or hide em somewhey when dey hear dat de Yankees wus
comin' cause dey scare dem Yankees might take dey t'ings lak dey is
carry 'way udder folks t'ings. I hear em say dey ne'er take nuthin from
de Colonel but some uv he wood."

"My white folks was well-off peoples en dey ain' ne'er use no harsh
treatment on dey plantation peoples. De Colonel own aw dis land 'bout
here den en he see dat he overseer on de plantation provide plenty uv
eve't'ing us need aw de time. I hear tell 'bout some uv de white folks
'ud beat dey colored peoples mos' to death, but I ain' ne'er see none uv
dat no whey. I is 'member when dey'ud sell some uv de colored peoples
way offen to annuder plantation somewhey. Jes been bid em offen jes lak
dey wuz cattle. Some uv de time dey'ud sell uh man wife 'way en den he
hadder ge' annuder wife."

"A'ter freedom declare, we ne'er lib dere at de big house no more. Move
in de colored settlement en den we ain' eat at de big house no more
neither. Dey le' us hab uh garden uv we own den en raise us own chicken
en aw dat. I 'member de Colonel gi'e us so mucha t'ing eve'y week en it
hadder las' us from one Saturday to de next. My mammy 'ud go to de
Colonel barn eve'y week en ge' she portion uv meal en meat. Dat de way
dey pay de hand fa dey work den. Ne'er gi'e em no money den."

"Peoples wha' lib on Colonel Durant plantation ain' know nuthin but to
lib on de fat uv de land. Dey hab plenty cows den en dey gi'e us plenty
uv milk eve'y day. I 'member we chillun use'er take we tin cup en go up
to de big house en ge' us milk to drink en den some uv de cows 'ud be so
gentle lak dat we chillun is follow em right down side de path. Den when
dere ne'er wuz nobody lak de Colonel overseer 'bout to see us, we is
ketch de cow en ge' some more milk. I al'ays'ud lub to drink me milk dat
way. We is eat plenty green peas en 'tatoes en fish in dem days too en
dey is use 'tatoe pie right smart den."

"Aw de colored peoples on Colonel Durant plantation hab good bed wha' to
sleep on en good clothes to put on dey back. Coase we ne'er hab no
bought fu'niture in dem days, but we hab bedstead wha' dey make right
dere en benches en some uv de time dey is make wha' dey call 'way back
chair. Den we is make us own bed outer hay cause de white folks ne'er
spare de colored peoples no cotton den. Hadder cut de hay in de fall uv
de year en dry it jes lak dey dries it fa to feed de cattle on. Den dey
hadder take sack en sew em up togedder en put de hay in dese. Dey sleep
right smart in dem days. Don' mucha people sleep on straw bed dese day
en time en dey don' dress lak dey use'er neither. I 'member de long
dress dey is wear den. Hadder hold em up when dey walk so dey won' tetch
de floor 'bout em. Den some uv dem is wear wha' dey call leggens. Dey'ud
gather em 'round de knee en le' em show 'bout de ankle. Dey wuz pretty,
dat dey wuz. De white folks'ud make de plantation clothes outer calico
en jeanes cloth en dat time. De jeanes cloth be wha' dey make de boy
clothes outer. Dey is weave aw dey cloth right dere on de plantation en
den dey use'er dye de thread en weave aw sorta check outer de different
color thread. Wha' dey make de dye outer? Dey ge' bark outer de woods en
boil de color outer it en den dey boil de thread in dat. Dat how dey is
make dey dye. Ne'er see de peoples hab no hat lak dey hab now neither.
Aw de colored peoples wear wha' dey call shuck hat den cause dey been
make outer shuck. Dat aw de kinder hat we is hab."

"Peoples use'er ge' aw kinder useful t'ing outer de woods in dem days
'way back dere. Ne'er hadder buy no me'icine tall den. Ain' ne'er been
no better cough cure no whey den de one my ole mammy use'er make fa we
chillun. She larnt 'bout how it made when she stay 'round de Missus en
dat how come I know wha' in it. Jes hadder go in de woods en ge' some
cherry, call dat wild cherry, en cut some uv de wild cherry bark fust
(first) t'ing. A'ter dat yuh hadder find some uv dese long-leaf pine en
ge' de bud outer dat. Den yuh hadder go to whey dere some sweet gum grow
en ge' de top outer dem en ge' some mullen to put wid it. Ain' ne'er no
cough stand aw dat mix up togedder in no day en time. Dey gi'e dat to de
peoples fa dat t'ing wha' dey use'er call de grip cough. Den dey use'er
make uh t'ing dat dey call "bone set" tea. I forge' how dey make it but
dey gi'e it to de peoples when dey hab de fevers. It been so bitter dat
it'ud lift yuh up 'fore yuh is ge' it aw down de t'roat. Ain' see no
fever me'icine lak dat nowadays."

"Yas'um, I 'members when dey hab plenty uv dem cornshucking to one
annuder barn. De peoples'ud come from aw de plantation 'bout dere. Dem
corn-shuckings wuz big times, dat dey wuz. Gi'e eve'body aw de
"hopping-john" dey kin eat. Jes cook it aw in uh big pot dere in de yard
to de big house. Ain' nuthin ne'er eat no better den dat "hopping-john"
is eat."

"Den de peoples use'er come from aw de plantation 'bout en hab big
dancing dere. Dat when I lub to be 'bout. Dey hab uh big fire build up
outer in de yard en dat wha' dey dance 'round 'bout. Call dat uh torch
fire. Dey'ud hab fiddle en dey dance wha' dey call de reel dance den. I
'member I use'er lub to watch dey feet when dat fiddle 'ud ge' to
playing. I jes crawl right down on me knees dere whey I'ud see dey feet
jes uh going."

"I ne'er hab mucha schooling 'fore freedom declare cause I been raise up
on de plantation. Dis child (her daughter) pappy wuz de house boy to de
big house en he ge' more schooling den I is. De Missus larnt he how to
read en write she self. A'ter freedom declare, I go to school to uh
white man up dere to de ole Academy en den I is go to annuder school
down dere to uh blacksmith shop. I go to uh white man dere too. Ne'er
hab no colored teacher den cause dey ain' hab 'nough schooling den. Dese
chillun don' know nuthin 'bout dem times. I tell dese chillun I don'
know wha' dey wanna run 'bout so mucha cause dere plenty t'ing to see
dat pass right dere by us house eve'y day. I t'ink dis uh better day en
time to lib en cause dis uh brighter day now dat we hab."

  Source: Mom Louisa Collier, age 78, colored, Marion, S. C
             Personal interview, May 1937.

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


John Collins lives in a two-room frame cottage by the side of US 21,
just one mile north of the town of Winnsboro, S. C. on the right side of
the highway and a few hundred yards from the intersection of US 21 and
US 22. The house is owned by Mr. John Ameen. His son, John, who lives
with him, is a farm hand in the employ of Mr. John Ameen, and is his
father's only support.

"They tells me dat I was born in Chester County, just above de line dat
separates Chester and Fairfield Counties. You know where de 'dark
corner' is, don't you? Well, part is in Fairfield County and part is in
Chester County. In dat corner I first see de light of day; 'twas on de
29th of February, 1852. Though I is eighty-five years old, I's had only
twenty-one birthdays. I ketches a heap of folks wid dat riddle. They ask
me: 'How old is you Uncle John?' I say: 'I is had twenty-one birthdays
and won't have another till 1940. Now figure it out yourself, sir, if
you is so curious to know my age!' One time a smart aleck, jack-leg,
Methodist preacher, of my race, come to my house and figured all day on
dat riddle and never did git de correct answer. He scribbled on all de
paper in de house and on de back of de calendar leaves. I sure laughed
at dat preacher. I fears he lacked some of dat good old time 'ligion, de
way he sweated and scribbled and fussed.

"My daddy was name Steve Chandler. My mammy was called Nancy. I don't
know whether they was married or not. My daddy was sent to Virginia,
while de war was gwine on, to build forts and breastworks around
Petersburg, so they say, and him never come back. I 'members him well.
He was a tall black man, over six feet high, wid broad shoulders. My
son, John, look just lak him. Daddy used to play wid mammy just lak she
was a child. He'd ketch her under de armpits and jump her up mighty nigh
to de rafters in de little house us lived in.

"My mammy and me was slaves of old Marse Nick Collins. His wife, my
mistress, was name Miss Nannie. Miss Nannie was just an angel; all de
slaves loved her. But marster was hard to please, and he used de lash
often. De slaves whisper his name in fear and terror to de chillun, when
they want to hush them up. They just say to a crying child: 'Shet up or
old Nick will ketch you!' Dat child sniffle but shet up pretty quick.

"Marster didn't have many slaves. Best I 'member, dere was about twenty
men, women, and chillun to work in de field and five house slaves. Dere
was no good feelin's 'twixt field hands and house servants. De house
servants put on more airs than de white folks. They got better things to
eat, too, than de field hands and wore better and cleaner clothes.

"My marster had one son, Wyatt, and two daughters, Nannie and Elizabeth.
They was all right, so far as I 'member, but being a field hand's child,
off from de big house, I never got to play wid them any.

"My white folks never cared much about de slaves having 'ligion. They
went to de Universalist Church down at Feasterville. They said everybody
was going to be saved, dat dere was no hell. So they thought it was just
a waste of time telling niggers about de hereafter.

"In them days, way up dere in de 'dark corner', de white folks didn't
had no schools and couldn't read or write. How could they teach deir
slaves if they had wanted to?

"De Yankees never come into de 'dark corner'. It was in 1867, dat us
found out us was free; then we all left. I come down to Feasterville and
stayed wid Mr. Jonathan Coleman. From dere, I went to Chester. While I
was living dere, I married Maggie Nesbit. Us had five chillun; they all
dead, 'cept John. My wife died two months ago.

"I is tired now, and I is sad. I's thinking about Maggie and de days dat
are gone. Them memories flood over me, and I just want to lay down.
Maybe I'll see you sometime again. I feel sure I'll see Maggie befo'
many months and us'll see de sunrise, down here, from de far hebben
above. Good day. Glad you come to see me, sir!"

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  Nov. 29, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"Time is but time, and how is I to know when I was born when everybody
knows dat dey never had no calendars when I come here. Few it was dat
ever seed even a Lady's Birthday Almanac. I is 75 years old. I was dat
last January on de 13th day [~HW: 186~]. I was born in old Union County
about 4 miles south of Gaffney.

"Marse Mike Montgomery had a place dat reached from town way yonder to
Broad River whar de Ninety-nine Islands lays. Now, de way de road lays,
dey counts it twelve miles from Gaffney. When I was a boy it was lots
further dan dat.

"Never know'd why, but de Red Shirts whipped my pa, Tom Corry. Dey jes'
come and got him out'n his house. He come back in de house. Chilluns was
not give no privileges in dem days, so I never axed no questions, kaise
I was fear'd. Chilluns jes' trots into your business dese days.

"My pa say he was a slave on dem Ninety-nine Islands. All I know is what
he told me. Mr. Mike Montgomery built lots of boats. Dey carried from 50
to 60 bales of cotton down at one time. De cotton was carried in de
fall. De Smith place jined de Montgomery place and dat run into de Nancy
Corry place. I have forded de river dar lots of times. Broad River is
shallow, deepest place in it back den was at de mouth of King Creek,
jes' below Cherokee Falls. It ain't so broad dar.

"Pa was de boatman for Mr. Mike. De boat was big and long, and dey
always started off early in de morning wid a load of cotton. Old man
Dick Corry had to stand in de boat jes' behind pa. Dey had two steermen.
So many rocks in de shallow water dat it kept de steermen busy dodging
rooks. Dey pushed de boat off de rocks wid long poles. Dey had to work
away from de rocks. Sometimes dey had to get out in de water and roll
some rocks from dere path if de water wasn't cold.

"Wharever night caught dem, dar dey stopped and pitched a camp. Dey
fished and killed wild ducks or birds dat was plentiful den, and cooked
dem along wid bread and other things fetched from home. On de way from
Columbia dey had lots of store-bought things to eat. Store-bought things
was a treat den. Now ducks and things is a treat. Times sho changes

"Spring was took up wid farming. Every man, white and black, had a
family back in dem days. Dat dey did, rich or poor, white or black, all
raised families. Men farmed and hauled manure and cleaned up de
plantation lots and fields and grubbed in de spring. Women cooked and
washed and ironed and spun and kept house and made everybody in de house
clothes, and made all de bed clothes. Dey stayed home all of de time.
Men got through work and set down at home wid deir wives and never run
around. Now all goes. Dat's all dey does dese days is go.

"We had plenty of bread and milk and we raised hogs and killed all kinds
of wild things like turkey, ducks and birds, and caught fish. Men had
guns dat dey used every day, and dey hit things, too. Folks kept in
practice, wid guns and had shooting matches.

"After dey stopped boating, wagons come in. Den things begin to change.
Dey still is changing. Wagons went to Spartanburg to take cotten. Folks
never went to Columbia no more. Spartanburg begin to grow and it sho
still is at it."

  Source: Bouregard Corry (N, 75), Rt. 2, Gaffney, S. C.
          Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. (11/22/37).

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Caleb Craig lives in a four-room house, with a hall, eight feet wide,
through the center and a fireplace in each room. He lives with his
grandson, who looks after him.

"Who I is? I goes by de name of C. C. All de colored people speaks of me
in dat way. C. C. dis and C. C. dat. I don't 'ject but my real name is
Caleb Craig. Named after one of de three spies dat de Bible tell 'bout.
Him give de favorite report and, 'cause him did, God feed him and clothe
him all de balance of him life and take him into de land of Canaan,
where him and Joshua have a long happy life. I seen a picture in a book,
one time, of Joshua and Caleb, one end of a pole on Joshua's shoulder
and one end on Caleb's shoulder, wid big bunches of grapes a hangin'
from dat pole. Canaan must to been a powerful fertile land to make
grapes lak dat.

"Would you believe dat I can't write? Some of them adultery (adult)
teachers come to my house but it seem a pack of foolishness; too much
trouble. I just rather put my money in de bank, go dere when I want it,
set dat C. C. to de check, and git what I want.

"When I born? Christmas Eve, 1851. Where 'bouts? Blackstock, S. C. Don't
none of us know de day or de place us was born. Us have to take dat on
faith. You know where de old Bell house, 'bove Blackstock, is? Dere's
where I come to light. De old stagecoach, 'tween Charlotte and Columbia,
changed hosses and stop dere but de railroad busted all dat up.

"My mammy name Martha. Marse John soon give us chillun to his daughter,
Miss Marion. In dat way us separated from our mammy. Her was a mighty
pretty colored woman and I has visions and dreams of her, in my sleep,
sometime yet. My sisters would call me Cale but her never did. Her say
Caleb every time and all de time. Marse John give her to another
daughter of his, Miss Nancy, de widow Thompson then, but afterwards her
marry a hoss drover from Kentucky, Marse Jim Jones. I can tell you funny
things 'bout him if I has time befo' I go.

"Us chillun was carried down to de June place where Miss Marion and her
husband, Marse Ed P. Mobley live. It was a fine house, built by old Dr.
June. Marse Ed bought de plantation, for de sake of de fine house, where
he want to take Miss Marion as a bride.

"Dere was a whole passle of niggers in de quarter, three hundred or
maybe more. I didn't count them, 'cause I couldn't count up to a hundred
but I can now. Ten, ten, double ten, forty-five, and fifteen. Don't dat
make a hundred? Sho' it do.

"Clothes? Too many dere, for to clothe them much. I b'long to de
shirt-tail brigade 'til I got to be a man. Why I use to plow in my
shirt-tail! Well, it wasn't so bad in de summer time and us had big
fires in de winter time, inside and outside de house, whenever us was
working'. 'Til I was twelve years old I done nothin' but play.

"Money? Hell no! Excuse me, but de question so surprise me, I's caught
off my guard. Food? Us got farm produce, sich as corn-meal, bacon,
'lasses, bread, milk, collards, turnips, 'tators, peanuts, and punkins.

"De overseer was Mr. Brown. My marster was much talked 'bout for workin'
us on Sunday. He was a lordly old fellow, as I 'member, but dere was
never anything lak plowin' on Sunday, though I do 'member de hands
workin' 'bout de hay and de fodder.

"Marse Ed, a great fox hunter, kep' a pack of hounds. Sometime they run
deer. Old Uncle Phil was in charge of de pack. Him had a special dog for
to tree 'possums in de nighttime and squirrels in de daytime. Believe
me, I lak 'possum de best. You lak 'possum? Well, I'll git my grandson
to hunt you one dis comin' October.

"Marse Ed didn't 'low patarollers (patrollers) on de June place. He tell
them to stay off and they knowed to stay off.

"Slave drovers often come to de June place, just lak mule drovers and
hog drovers. They buy, sell, and swap niggers, just lak they buy, sell,
and swap hosses, mules, and hogs.

"Us had preachin' in de quarters on Sunday. Uncle Dick, a old man, was
de preacher. De funerals was simple and held at night. De grave was dug
dat day.

"A man dat had a wife off de place, see little peace or happiness. He
could see de wife once a week, on a pass, and jealousy kep' him
'stracted de balance of de week, if he love her very much.

"I marry Martha Pickett. Why I marry her? Well, I see so many
knock-knee, box-ankle, spindly-shank, flat nose chillun, when I was
growin' up, dat when I come to choose de filly to fold my colts, I picks
one dat them mistakes wasn't so lakly to appear in. Us have five
chillun. Lucy marry a Sims and live in Winnsboro, S. C. Maggie marry a
Wallace and live in Charlotte, N. C. Mary marry a Brice and live in
Chester, S. C. Jane not married; she live wid her sister, Mag, in
Charlotte. John lives 'bove White Oak and farms on a large place I own,
not a scratch of pen against it by de government or a bank.

"I live on 27 acres, just out de town of Winnsboro. I expects no
pension. My grandchillun come and go, back'ards and fo'ards, and tell me
'bout cities, and high falutin' things goin' on here and dere. I looks
them over sometime for to see if I didn't do sumpin' for deir figures,
in s'lectin' and marryin' Martha, dat's more important to them than de
land I'll leave them when I die. When Martha die, I marry a widow name
Eliza but us never generate any chillun. Her dead. Not 'nough spark in
me to undertake de third trip, though I still is a subject of 'tentions.

"What 'bout Marse Ed and Marse Jim Jones? Well, you see, Marse Jim was
close wid his money. Marse Ed was a spender. I 'tend Marse Ed to a
chicken main once. Marse Jim rode up just as Marse Ed was puttin' up
$300.00 on a pile brass wing rooster, 'ginst a black breasted red war
hoss rooster, dat de McCarleys was backin'. Marse Ed lost de bet. But
him never told Marse Jim, dat befo' he rode up, him had won $500.00 from
them same men. After de main was over, Marse Jim, bein' brudder-in-law
to Marse Ed, rode home to dinner wid him. After dinner they was smokin'
deir cigars befo' de parlor fire dat I was 'viving up. Marse Jim lecture
Marse Ed for throwin' 'way money. Marse Ed stretch out his long legs and
say: 'Mr. Jones does you 'member dat day us 'tended de circus in Chester
and as us got to de top of de hill a blind begger held out his cup to us
and you put in a quarter?' Mr. Jones say he does 'member dat. Marse Ed
went on: 'Well, Mr. Jones, I had a dream last night. I dream us comin'
through de Cumberland Mountains wid a drove of mules from Kentucky. You
was ridin' a piebald hoss, de same one you rode into South Carolina de
fust time you come here. You had on a faded, frazzled grey shawl, 'bout
lak de one you had on today. Us was in front, de outriders behind, when
us got to de gap in de mountains. De drove stampede just as us git in de
gap. Us was both kilt. You got to heaven befo' I did. When I did git
dere, you was befo' de High Court. They examine you and turn over de
leaves of a big book and find very little dere to your credit. At last
they say, I think it was de 'Postle Peter dat ask de question. Him say:
'Everything is recorded in dis book. Us can find nothin'. Do you happen
to 'member anything you did to your credit down dere on earth?' Then you
stand up wid dat old shawl 'round your shoulders and say: 'Aha! I do
'member one thing. One day I was in Chester and put a quarter of a
dollar in a blind man's tin cup.' De 'postle then tell de recording
angel to see if him could find dat deed. Him turn over de leaves 'til
him found it on de page. Then de twelve 'postles retire and 'liberate on
your case. They come back and de judge pass sentence which was: 'The
sentence of de High Court is, that in view of your great love of money,
James Jones, it is de sentence of de court dat you be given back de
quarter you give de blind beggar in Chester and dat you, James Jones, be
sent immediate on your way to hell.' Then they both laugh over dat and
Marse Jim got real happy when he find out Marse Ed quit de main wid
$200.00 to de good."

  Caleb Craig,
  Winnsboro, S. C.

  That part of the suburb of Winnsboro called "Mexico". Just east of the
  Southern Railway Company and north of Winnsboro Cotton Mills.

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Dinah Cunningham lives about seven miles west of Ridgeway, S. C., on the
Hood place about a hundred yards off the old Devil's Race Track road.
She lives with her daughter and son-in-law and their three children.
They live in a two-room frame house with a shed room annex. In the
annex, Dinah and the smaller children sleep. They are kind to Dinah, who
is feeble and can do no farm labor. Dinah is as helpless about the home
as a child.

"I's come up here 'bout seventeen miles for to let you see me. 'Spect
you don't see much in dis old worn out critter. Now does you?

"Well, here I is, and I wants you white folks to help me, 'cause I's
served you from generation to generation. Wid de help of de Lord and
trustin' in Jesus de Lamb, I knows I's goin' to git help. When is they
gwine to start payin' off? I's heard them say how you got to be on de
roll and signed up befo' de fourth day of July. So here I is!

"I was born de fust day of March, 1853, out from Ridgeway, sunrise side.
My marster was David Robertson and my mistress name Sally. Her was
mighty pretty. Her was a Rembert befo' she marry Marse Dave. They had
one child dat I was de nurse for and her name was Luray. Her marry Marse
Charlie Ray.

"De onliest whippin' I got was 'bout dat child. I had de baby on de
floor on a pallet and rolled over on it. Her make a squeal like she was
much hurt and mistress come in a hurry. After de baby git quiet and go
to sleep, she said: 'Dinah, I hates to whip you but de Good Book say,
spare de rod and spoil de child.' Wid dat, she goes out and git a little
switch off de crepe myrtle bush and come back and took my left hand in
her left hand, dat had all de rings on de fingers, and us had it 'round
dat room. I make a big holler as she 'plied dat switch on dese very legs
dat you sees here today. They is big and fat now and can scarcely wobble
me 'long but then, they was lean and hard and could carry me 'long like
a deer in de woods.

"My white folks was no poor white trash, I tells you! Good marse and
good mistress had heap of slaves and overseers. One overseer name Mr.
Welch. De buckra folks dat come visitin', use to laugh at de way he put
grease on his hair, and de way he scraped one foot back'ards on de
ground or de floor when they shake hands wid him. He never say much, but
just set in his chair, pull de sides of his mustache and say 'Yas sah'
and 'No sah', to them dat speak to him. He speak a whole lot though,
when he git down in de quarters where de slaves live. He wasn't like de
same man then. He woke everybody at daylight, and sometime he help de
patrollers to search de houses for to ketch any slaves widout a pass.

"Us had all us need to eat, sich as was good for us. Marse like to see
his slaves fat and shiny, just like he want to see de carriage hosses
slick and spanky, when he ride out to preachin' at Ainswell and sometime
de Episcopal church at Ridgeway. My young mistress jine de Baptist
church after she marry, and I 'member her havin' a time wid sewin'
buckshots in de hem of de dress her was baptized in. They done dat, you
knows, to keep de skirt from floatin' on top of de water. You never have
thought 'bout dat? Well, just ask any Baptist preacher and he'll tell
you dat it has been done.

"When de Yankees come, they went through de big house, tore up
everything, ripped open de feather beds and cotton mattresses, searchin'
for money and jewels. Then they had us slaves ketch de chickens, flung
open de smoke-house, take de meat, meal, flour, and put them in a
four-hoss wagon and went on down to Longtown. Them was scandlous days,
boss! I hope never to see de likes of them times wid dese old eyes

"I 'member 'bout de Ku Klux just one time, though I heard 'bout them a
heap. They come on de Robertson place all dressed up wid sheets and
false faces, ridin' on hossback, huntin' for a republican and a radical
nigger, (I forgits his name, been so long) but they didn't find him.
They sho' was a sight and liked to scared us all to death.

"Was I ever married? Sure I was, I marry Mack Cunningham. Us was jined
in de holy wedlock by Marse Alex Matherson, a white trial justice. Ask
him and he'll tell you when it was. I's got some chillun by dat husband.
There is William at Charlotte, and Rosy at Ridgeway. Rosy, her marry a
man name Peay. Then there is Millie Gover at Rembert and Lila Brown at
Smallwood, de station where Marse Charlie Ray and my Mistress Luray was
killed by a railroad train runnin' into de automobile they was in. Then
there is my daughter, Delia Belton, at Ridgeway, and John L., a son
livin' and farmin' at Cedar Creek.

"I b'longs to de Mt. Olivet Church dat you knows 'bout. White folks
comes there sometime for to hear de singin'. They say us can carry de
song better than white folks. Well, maybe us does love de Lord just a
little bit better, and what's in our mouth is in our hearts.

"What you gwine to charge for all dat writin' you got down there? If you
writes much more maybe I ain't got enough money to pay for it. I got a
dollar here but if it's more than dat you'll have to wait on me for de
balance. You say it don't cost nothin'? Well, glory hallelujah for dat!
I'll just go 'round to de colored restaurant and enjoy myself wid beef
stew, rice, new potatoes, macaroni and a cup of coffee. I wonder what
they'll have for dessert. 'Spect it'll be some kind of puddin'. But I'd
be more pleased if you would take half of this dollar and go get you a
good dinner, too. I would like to please you dat much!

"May de good Lord be a watch 'tween me and you 'til us meets again."

  Project #-1655
  Phoebe Faucette
  Hampton County



"Aunt Lucy is a tall well-built old woman who looks younger than her
years. She delights in talking, and was glad to tell what she knew about
the olden times.

"I don't know how old I been when de war end. If I been in de world I
wasn't old enough to pick up nuthin'. Miss Lulie Bowers say I'll be 78
first of March coming. Miss Lulie was my 'young Missus'. I love Miss
Lulie, and I thinks she thinks a heap of me--my young Missus, and her
father, my young Massa. He good to his darkies. He was a rich man--even
after de war. Miss Lulie say she was de only young lady that could go
off to college after de war. Miss Lulie help me powerful. She give me
shoes, and beddin. She and me grow up together. She is in de bed sick
now. I jes' come from dere. Had de doctor to see her.

"I hear 'em tell 'bout how de soldiers burn 'em out. My mother would
tell me. My father had gone off to fight. Say dey'd tie de hams an' de
things on de saddle--and burn de expensive houses. White folks jes' had
to hide everything. She talk 'bout all de men was gone and de women had
to pile up, four or five in one house to protect deyselves. My father
say when dey been 'rough-few-gieing' (refugeeing) de Beaufort Bridge
been burn down. He say he been so hungry one time he stop to a old
lady's house and ask her for something to eat. She say she didn't have
nothing but some dry bread. He take de bread, but he say it been so
hard, he threw some of it away. But he say he so hungry he wish he
hadn't throw it away. It was a hard time. Used to have to weave cloth
and dye thread. Had a loom to weave on and a spinning wheel. My
grandmother say de Yankees come to her house and take everything, but
she say one little pullet run out in de weeds and hide and de soldiers
couldn't find her. She say dat pullet lay and hatch and dat how dey got
start off again. Dey scramble and dey raise us some how or another.

"I had nine chillun for my first husband and one for my second husband.
I raise 'em all 'till dey grown; but all dead now 'cept three. My
husband died last year, I had to work for my chillun. But my second
husband, he help me wid 'em.

"Dat's all I kin tell you, Miss. I don't remember so much. Chillun in
those days weren't so bright as dey is now, you know."

  Source: Lucy Daniels, 78 ex-slave, Luray, S. C.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  Nov. 30, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage

  (John Davenport)

"My family belonged in slavery time to old Marse Pierce Lake who was de
Clerk of Court in town, or de Probate Judge. He lived at de old Campbell
Havird House and I lived dar wid him. My mother belonged to dis Lake
family and she was named Martha Lake. I don't know who my father was,
but I was told he was a white man.

"We slaves had good enough quarters to live in, and dey give us plenty
to eat. De house I live in now is fair, but it has a bad roof. It is my
wife's chillun's place. My wife had it and left it to dem. She was Ellen
Gallman, a widow when I married her. Only my blind daughter now live wid
me. I was married five times and had eighteen chilluns by three wives.
Each of my wives died befo' I married agin. I didn't separate from any.
My mother's father lived wid Marse Lake. He and his wife come from

"I was a boy in slavery and worked and piddled round de house. Sometimes
I had to work de corn or in de garden. We had plenty to eat. As de old
saying is, 'We lived at home and boarded at de same place.' We raised
everything we had to eat, vegetables, hogs, cows and de like. Marster
had a big garden, but he didn't let his slaves have any garden of deir
own. We made all our clothes, homespun. My mother used to spin at night
and work out all day; lots of niggers had to do dat.

"Marse Lake was good to his niggers, but he had to whip dem sometimes,
when dey was mean. He had six or eight slaves, some on de upper place
and some on de home place. We got up at daylight and worked all day,
except for dinner lunch, till it was sundown.

"We never worked at night in de fields. Sometimes Marse would have
corn-shuckings and de neighbors would come in and help catch up wid
shucking de corn; den dey would have something to eat. De young folks
would come, too, and help, and dey would dance and frolic.

"I didn't learn to read and write. Marse never said anything about it.
My sister learned when some of de white women school teachers boarded at
Marse Lake's house. De teachers learn't my sister when she was de maid
of de house, and she could read and write good. Didn't have a school or
church on de plantation. Atter de war, some of de niggers started a
brush arbor. Befo' de war, some of us niggers had to come to town wid de
white folks and go to deir church and set in de gallery.

"De patrollers was sometimes mean. If dey catch'd a nigger away from
home widout a pass dey sho whipped him, but dey never got any of us. Dey
come to our house once, but didn't git anybody.

"We had to work all day Saturdays, but not Sundays. Sometimes de fellows
would slip off and hunt or fish a little on Sunday. Women would do
washing on Saturday nights, or other nights. We had three days holiday
when Christmas come, and we had plenty good things to eat, but we had to
cook it ourselves. De marster would give de chillun little pieces of

"Chillun had games like marbles and anti-over. Dey played anti-over by a
crowd gitting on each side of de house and throwing a ball from one side
to de other. Whoever got de ball would run around on de other side and
hit somebody wid it; den he was out of de game. We never believed much
in ghosts or spooks. I never saw any.

"Some of de folks had remedies for curing, like making hot tea from a
weed called 'bone-set'. Dat weed grows wild in de woods. It was good
for chills and fever. De tea is awful bitter. Little bags of asafetida
was used to hang around de little chillun's necks to ward off fever or

"We used to call de cows on de plantation like dis: 'co-winch,
co-winch'. We called de mules like dis: 'co, co', and de hogs and pigs,
'pig-oo, pig-oo'. We had dogs on de place, too, to hunt wid.

"When freedom come, de marster told us we could go away or stay on. Most
of us stayed on wid him. Soon atter dis, he got mad at me one day and
told me to git off de place. I come to town and stayed about two weeks,
piddling around to git along. I found out whar my mother was--she had
been sold and sent away. She was in Saluda (Old Town). I went to her and
stayed two weeks; den she come to Newberry and rented a little cabin on
Beaver Dam Creek, near Silver Street.

"I remember hearing about de Yankees. When dey come through here dey
camped in town to keep order and peace. I remember de Ku Klux, too, how
some of 'em killed niggers. I voted in town on de Republican ticket. I
am still a Republican. None of my friends held office, but I remember
some of dem. Old Lee Nance was one, and he was killed by a white man.

"Since de war, de niggers have worked mostly on farms, renting and
wage-hands. Some of dem have bought little places. Some moved to town
and do carpenter work, and others jes' piddle around.

"Some of de dances de niggers had was, 'Jump Jim Crow'; one nigger would
jump up and down while tripping and dancing in de same spot. Some times
he say, 'Every time I jump, I jump Jim Crow.' We had what was called a
'Juber' game. He would dance a jig and sing, 'Juber this, Juber that,
Juber killed a yellow cat'.

"I never thought much about Abraham Lincoln nor Jefferson Davis. Only
seed de pictures of dem. Reckon dey was all right. Don't know nothing
about Booker Washington, neither.

"I was 25 years old when I joined de church. I joined because I thought
I ought to, people preaching Christ and him crucified; and I thought I
ought to do right. Think everybody ought to join de church and be

"What I think of de present generation is hard to say. Dey is not like
de old people was. De old generation of chilluns could be depended on,
but de present niggers can't be.

"No, de slaves never expected anything when de war was over, dem in de
neighborhood didn't. Some say something about gitting 40 acres of land
and a mule, but we never expected it. None ever got anything, not even
money from de old marsters or anybody."

  Source: John N. Davenport (N, 89), Newberry, S. C. RFD
          Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. (11/3/37)

  Project 1886-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  June 8, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"I was born, March 10, 1848, on Little River in Newberry county, S. C.
My master in slavery time was Gilliam Davenport. He was good to his
slaves, not strict; good to his cattle, and expected his negroes to be
good to them. But he was quick to resent anything from outsiders who
crossed his path.

"All that part of the country was good for hunting. The deer, fox, and
wild turkey have gone; though a few years ago, some men brought some
foxes there and turned them loose, thinking they would breed, but they
gradually disappeared. The kildees were many. That was a sign of good
weather. When they flew high and around in a circle, it was a sign of
high winds.

"Fishing in the rivers was much done. They fished with hooks on old-time
canes. They had fish baskets, made of wooden splits, with an opening at
the end like the wire baskets now used. If they were set anytime, day or
night, a few hours afterwards would be enough time to catch some fish.

"An old sign was: when the youngest child sweeps up the floor, somebody
was coming to see you. If a dish-rag was dropped on the floor, somebody
was coming who would be hungry."

  Source: Moses Davenport (89), Newberry, S. C.
          Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. (5/10/37)

  Code No.
  Project, 1886-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, July 28, 1937
  No. Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, 88 Years

"I couldn' tell how old I is only as I ask my old Massa son en he tell
me dat I was born ahead of him cause he had de day put down in he family
book. I had one of dem slavery bible, but I have a burnin out so many
times dat it done been burn up. I belong to Mr. George Crawford people.
Mr. George de one what die up here one of dem other year not far back.
Dey who been my white folks."

"I can tell you a good deal bout what de people do in slavery time en
how dey live den, but I can' tell you nothin bout no jump about things.
My Massa didn' 'low us to study bout none of dem kind of frolickings in
dat day en time."

"I gwine tell you it just like I experience it in dem days. We chillun
lived well en had plenty good ration to eat all de time cause my mammy
cook for she Missus dere to de big house. All she chillun lived in a one
room house right dere in de white folks yard en eat in de Missus big
kitchen every day. Dey give my mammy en she chillun just such things as
de white folks had to eat like biscuit en cake en ham en coffee en
hominy en butter en all dat kind of eatin. Didn' have no need to worry
bout nothin 'tall. My Massa had a heap of other colored peoples dere
besides we, but dey never live dat way. Dere been bout 80 of dem dat
live up in de quarter just like you see dese people live to de sawmill
dese days. Dey live mighty near like us, but didn' have no flour bread
to eat en didn' get no milk en ham neither cause dey eat to dey own
house. Didn' get nothin from de dairy but old clabber en dey been mighty
thankful to get dat. Oh, dey had a pretty good house to live in dat was
furnish wid dey own things dat dey make right dere. Den dey had a garden
of dey own. My Massa give every one of he plantation family so much of
land to plant for dey garden en den he give em every Saturday for dey
time to tend dat garden. You see dey had to work for de white folks all
de other week day en dey know when dey hear dat cow horn blow, dey had
to do what de overseer say do. Never couldn' go off de place widout dey
get a mit (permit) from de overseer neither else dey tore up when dey
come back. No 'mam, didn' dare to have nothin no time. Didn' 'low you to
go to school cause if you was to pick up a book, you get bout 100 lashes
for dat. No 'mam, didn' have no church for de colored peoples in dem
days. Just had some of dese big oaks pile up one on de other somewhe' in
de woods on dat whe' we go to church. One of de plantation mens what had
more learnin den de others was de one what do de preachin dere."

"My Massa wasn' never noways scraggeble to he colored peoples. Didn' cut
em for every kind of thing, but I is see him beat my stepfather one time
cause he run away en stay in de woods long time. Oh, he beat him wid a
switch or a stick or anything like dat he could get hold of."

"Didn' never know nothin bout doing no hard work in us chillun days.
When I was a boy, I mind de crows out de field. Oh, crows was terrible
bout pickin up peoples corn in times back dere. You see if dey let de
crows eat de corn up, dey had to go to de trouble of planting it all
over again en dat how-come dey send we chillun in de field to mind de
crows off it. We just holler after em en scare em dat way. Crows was
mighty worser in dem days den dey is dis day en time."

"I sho remembers when freedom was declare cause I was bout 16 year old
den. When dem Yankees talk bout comin round, my Massa take all we
colored boys en all he fast horses en put em back in de woods to de
canebrake to hide em from de Yankees. It been many a year since den, but
I recollects dat we was settin dere lookin for de Yankees to get as any
minute. Wasn' obliged to make no noise neither. Oh, we had big chunk of
lightwood en cook meat en hoecake en collards right dere in de woods.
Den my Massa take one of dem oldest plantation boys to de war wid him en
ain' nobody never hear tell of him no more. He name Willie. O my Lord,
when dey hear talk bout de Yankees comin, dey take all de pots en de
kettles en hide em in holes in de fields en dey put dey silver bout some
tree so dey know whe' dey bury it. Den dey hide de meat en de corn to de
colored peoples house en when dey hear talk of de Yankees gwine away,
dey go en get em again. Dem Yankees never destroy nothin bout dere, but
dey is make my Massa give em a cart of corn en a middlin of meat.
Yes'um, I look at dem Yankees wid me own eyes. Dey was all dressed up in
a blue uniform en dey was just as white as you is. Oh, dey said a lot of
things. Say dey was gwine free de niggers en if it hadn' been for dem,
we would been slaves till yet. Coase I rather be free den a slave, but
we never have so much worryations den as people have dese days. When we
get out of clothes en get sick in dat day en time, we never had to do
nothin but go to us Massa. Now, we have to look bout every which a way."

"My Massa ask my mother was she gwine live with him any longer after
freedom was declare en she say she never have no mind to leave dere. We
live on dere for one year en den we studied to get another place. I
believes heap of dem white folks died just on account of us get freed.
Dey never didn' want us to be free."

"I heard a 'oman say somebody had conjured her, but I don' believe in
none of dat. I knows I got to die some of dese days en dat might come
before me. I don' bother wid none of dat kind of thing, but I'll tell
you bout what I has experience. I had two dogs dere en somebody poison
em cause dey tell me somebody do dat. Oh, I know dey was poison. De
police say de dog was poison. A 'oman do it dat had chillun what was
afraid of my dog en dat how-come she poison it. I sho think she done it
cause it just like dis, anything peoples tell me, I believes it."

"I have seen dem things peoples say is a ghost when I was stayin here to
Lake View. I plant a garden side de road en one night I hear somethin en
I look out en dere was a great big black thing in me garden dat was
makin right for de house. I call me wife en tell her to look yonder. De
thing was comin right to de house en my wife hurry en light up de lamp.
I hear de peoples say if you didn' light up de lamp when you see a
spirit, dat it would sho come in en run you out. I had done paid some
money on de place but after I see dat thing, I didn' have no mind to
want it. Had de best garden en chickens dere I ever had, but I never
bother no worry bout dat. Just pick right up en leave dere to come here
en I been here ever since. I knows dat been somethin come dere to scare
me out dat house. Dat ain' been nothin else but a spirit. Ain' been
nothin else."

  Source: Charlie Davis, age 88, colored, Marion, S. C.
          Personal interview, July 1937.

  Project #1655
  Henry Grant
  Columbia, S. C.


Charlie Davis, now seventy-nine years old, was a small boy when the
slaves were freed. He lives alone in one room on Miller's Alley,
Columbia, S. C., and is healthy and physically capable of self-support.

"I has been wonderin' what you wanted to talk to dis old nigger 'bout
since I fust heard you wanted to see me. I takes it to be a honor for a
white gentleman to desire to have a conversation wid me. Well, here I
is, and I bet I's one of de blackest niggers you's seen for a season.
Somehow, I ain't 'shame of my color a-tall. If I forgits I is dark
complected, all I has to do is to look in a glass and in dere I sho'
don't see no white man.

"Boss, I is kinda glad I is a black man, 'cause you knows dere ain't
much expected of them nowhow and dat, by itself, takes a big and heavy
burden off deir shoulders. De white folks worries too much over dis and
over dat. They worries 'cause they ain't got no money and, when they
gits it, they worries agin 'cause they is 'fraid somebody is gwine to
steal it from them. Yes, sir, they frets and fumes 'cause they can't
'sociate wid big folks and, when they does go wid them, they is bothered
'cause they ain't got what de big folks has got.

"It ain't dat way wid most niggers. Nothin' disturbs them much, 'cept a
empty stomach and a cold place to sleep in. Give them bread to eat and
fire to warm by, then, hush your mouth; they is sho' safe then! De
'possum in his hollow, de squirrel in his nest, and de rabbit in his
bed, is at home. So, de nigger, in a tight house wid a big hot fire, in
winter, is at home, too.

"Some sort of ease and comfort is 'bout what all people, both white and
black, is strivin' for in dis world. All of us laks dat somethin' called
'tentment, in one way or de other. Many white folks and some darkies
thinks dat a pile of money, a fine house to live in, a 'spensive
'motorbile, fine clothes, and high 'ciety, is gwine to give them dat.
But, when they has all dis, they is still huntin' de end of de rainbow a
little ahead of them.

"Is de black man nervous or is he natchally scary? Well, sir, I is gwine
to say yes and no to dat. A nigger gits nervous when he hears somethin'
he don't understand and scared when he sees somethin' he can't make out.
When he gits sho' 'nough scared, he moves right then, not tomorrow. Lak
de wild animals of de woods, he ain't 'fraid of de dark, much, if he is
movin' 'bout, but when he stops, no house is too tight for him, in
summer or winter. If he sees a strange and curious sight at night, he
don't have to ask nobody what to do, 'cause he knows dat he has foots.
It is good-bye wid old clothes, bushes, and fences, when them foots gits
to 'tendin' to deir business. When you hears a funny and strange noise
and sees a curious and bad sight, I b'lieves you fust git nervous and
then dat feelin' grows stronger fas', 'til you git scared. I knows de
faster I moves, de slower I gits scared.

"From my age now, you can tell dat I was mighty little in slavery time.
All I knows 'bout them terrible times is what I has heard. I come pretty
close to them ticklish times, but I can't help from thinkin', even now,
dat I missed a 'sperience in slavery time dat would be doin' me good to
dis very day. Dere ain't no doubt dat many a slave learnt good lessons
dat showed them how to work and stay out of de jail or poorhouse, dat's
worth a little.

"I has heard my mammy say dat she b'long to de Wyricks dat has a big
plantation in de northwestern part of Fairfield County and dat my daddy
b'long to de Graddicks in de northern part of Richland County. Dese two
plantations was just across de road from each other. Mammy said dat de
patrollers was as thick as flies 'round dese plantations all de time,
and my daddy sho' had to slip 'round to see mammy. Sometime they would
ketch him and whip him good, pass or no pass.

"De patrollers was nothin' but poor white trash, mammy say, and if they
didn't whip some slaves, every now and then, they would lose deir jobs.
My mammy and daddy got married after freedom, 'cause they didn't git de
time for a weddin' befo'. They called deirselves man and wife a long
time befo' they was really married, and dat is de reason dat I's as old
as I is now. I reckon they was right, in de fust place, 'cause they
never did want nobody else 'cept each other, nohow. Here I is, I has
been married one time and at no time has I ever seen another woman I
wanted. My wife has been dead a long time and I is still livin' alone.
All our chillun is scattered 'bout over de world somewhere, and dat
somewhere is where I don't know. They ain't no help to me now, in my old
age. But, I reckon they ain't to be blamed much, 'cause they is young,
full of warm blood and thinks in a different way from de older ones.
Then, too, I 'spects they thinks deir old daddy would kinda be in deir
way, and de best thing for them to do is to stay away from me. I don't
know, it just seems lak de way of de world.

"I come from de Guinea family of niggers, and dat is de reason I is so
small and black. De Guinea nigger don't know nothin', 'cept hard work,
and, for him to be so he can keep up wid bigger folks, he has to turn
'round fas'. You knows dat if you puts a little hog in a pen wid big
hogs, de little one has got to move 'bout in a hurry amongst de big
ones, to git 'nough to eat, and de same way wid a little person, they
sho' has to hustle for what they gits. I has no head for learnin' what's
in books, and if I had, dere wasn't no schools for to learn dat head,
when I come 'long. I has made some money, 'long through de years, but
never knowed how to save it. Now I is so old dat I can't make much, and
so, I just live somehow, dat's all.

"President Roosevelt has done his best to help de old, poor, and
forgotten ones of us all, every color and race, while dis 'pression has
been gwine on in dis country. Is us gwine to git dis new pension what is
gwine 'bout, or is dat other somebody gwine to think he needs it worser
than us does? Dat's de question what 'sorbs my mind most, dese days. I
don't need much, and maybe I don't deserve nothin', but I sho' would lak
to git hold of dat little dat's 'tended for me by dat man up yonder in
Washington. (Roosevelt)

"Does I b'lieve in spirits and hants? My answer to dat question is dis:
'Must my tremblin' spirit fly into a world unknown?' When a person goes
'way from dis world, dere they is, and dere they is gwine to stay, 'til

  Code No.
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, January 21, 1938
  No. Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, 72 Years

Lizzie Davis sends word for Heddie Davis to come over to her little
shack to join in the conversation about old times and Heddie enters the
room with these words: "Sis, I gwine hug your neck. Sis, I did somethin
last night dat I oughtn't done en I can' hardly walk dis mornin. Pulled
off my long drawers last night en never had none to change wid. I can'
bear to get down en pray or nothin like dat, my knee does ache me so
bad. I gwine up town yonder en get some oil of wintergreen en put on it.
Yes'um, dat sho a good thing to strike de pain cause I heard bout dat
long years ago. Sis, ain' you got no coffee nowhe' dis mornin? God
knows, de Lord sho gwine bless you, Sis."

"What honey? No'um, I won' here in slavery time. I was just tereckly
after it. Well, I come here a Lewis, but I inherited de Davis name when
I married. Old man Peter Lewis was my daddy, en my mother--she was a
North Carolina woman. Oh, I heard dat man talk bout de old time war so
much dat I been know what was gwine fly out his mouth time he been have
a mind to spit it out. My daddy, he belonged to de old man Evans Lewis
en he been de one his boss pick to carry to de war wid him. Yes'um, he
stayed up dere to Fort Sumter four years a fightin en hoped shoot dem
old Yankee robbers. My old man, he had one of dem old guns en I give it
to his brother Jimmie. He lives way up yonder to de north en he carried
dat gun wid him just cause I give it to him, he say. He marry my younger
sister en she grayer den I is. Think dey say dey lives to Rockingham,
North Carolina. Yes, honey, my daddy was sho in dat wash out dere to
Fort Sumter. Lord, have mercy, I never hear tell of crabs en shrimps in
all my life till my daddy come back en tell bout a old woman would be
gwine down de street, dere to Charleston, cryin, 'Shrimps, more
shrimps.' But, my Lord, I can' half remember nothin dese days. If I had
de sense I used to have, I would give de Lord de praise. Honey, he said
a lot of stuff bout de war. Told a whole chance of somethin. Tell us
bout de parade en everything, but I is forgetful now en I just can'
think. De Bible say dat in de course of your life, you will be forgetful
in dat how I is. Just can' think like I used to. You see, I gwine in 70

"Oh, I was born dere to Mullins in January on de old man Evans Lewis'
plantation. Den we moved dere to de Mark Smith place after freedom
settle here. Dat long high man, dat who been us boss. His wife was name
Sallie en de place was chock full of hands. No, mam, my white folks
didn' care bout no quarter on dey plantation. Colored people just
throwed 'bout all over de place. Oh, I tell you, it was a time cause de
niggers was dere, plenty of dem. Some of dey house was settin side de
road, some over in dat corner, some next de big house en so on like dat
all over de place. Oh, dey lived all right, I reckon. Never didn' hear
dem say dey got back none. Hear dey live den better den de people lives
now. Oh, yes'um, I hear my parents say de white folks was good to de
colored people in slavery time. Didn' hear tell of nobody gettin nothin
back on one another neither. No, child, didn' never hear tell of nothin
like dat. Seems like de people don' work dese days like dey used to
nohow. Well, dey done somethin of everything in dat day en time en work
bout all de time. Ain' nobody workin much to speak bout dese days cause
dey walks bout too much, I say. I tell you, when I been a child gwine to
school, soon as I been get home in de evenin en hit dat door-step, I had
to strip en put on my everyday clothes en get to work. Had to pick up
wood en potatoes in de fall or pick cotton. Had to do somethin another
all de time, but never didn' nobody be obliged to break dey neck en
hurry en get done in dem days. Chillun just rushes en plays too much
dese days, I say. No, Lord, I don' want to rush no time. I tellin you,
when I starts to Heaven, I want to take my time gettin dere.

"Lord, child, I sho hope I gwine to Heaven some of dese days cause old
Satan been ridin me so tough in dis here world, I ain' see no rest since
I been know bout I had two feet. My husband, he treat me so mean, if he
ain' in Heaven, he in de other place, I say. Den all dem chillun, Lord a
mercy, dey will kill you. I raised all mine by myself en I tell you,
dey took de grease out of me.

"My daddy, he was a prayin man. Lord knows, he was a prayin man. Seems
like de old people could beat de young folks a prayin up a stump any
day. I remember, my daddy come here to de white people church to
Tabernacle one night en time dem people see him, dey say, 'Uncle Peter,
de Lord sho send you cause ain' nobody but you can pray dese sinners out
of hell here tonight.' God knows dat man could sing en pray. Lord, he
could pray. Oh, darlin child, dat man prayed bout all de time. Prayed
every mornin en every night en when us would come out de field at 12
o'clock, us had to hear him pray fore he ever did allow us to eat near a
morsel. Sis, I remember one day, when dey first started we chillun a
workin in de field, I come to de house 12 o'clock en I was so hungry, I
was just a poppin. God knows, people don' serve de Lord like dey used

"Sis, you wants dat one patch, too. Lord Jesus, dere ain' no limit to
dis one. Sis, I must be come here on Saturday cause everywhe' I goes, I
has to work. Hear talk, if you born on a Saturday, you gwine have to
work hard for what you get all your days. I been doin somethin ever
since I been big enough to know I somebody. Remember de first thing I
ever do for a white woman. Ma come home en say, 'Heddie, get up in de
mornin en wash your face en hands en go up to Miss Rogers en do
everything just like she say do.' I been know I had to do dat, too,
cause if I never do it, I know I would been whip from cane to cane.
When I got dere, I open de gate en look up en dere been de new house en
dere been de old one settin over dere what dey been usin for de kitchen
den. I won' thinkin bout nothin 'cept what Miss Rogers was gwine say en
when I been walk in dat gate, dere a big bulldog flew up in my head. I
stop en look at him en dat dog jump en knock me windin en grabbed my
foot in his mouth. Yes'um, de sign dere yet whe' he gnawed me. White
folks tell me I been do wrong. Say, don' never pay no attention to a dog
en dey won' bother up wid you. But, honey, dat dog had a blue eye en a
pink eye. Ain' never see a dog in such a fix since I been born. I tell
you, if you is crooked, white folks will sho straighten you out. Dat dog
taught me all I is ever wanted to know. Lord, Miss Mary, I been love dat
woman. De first time I ever see her, she say, 'You ain' got no dress to
wear to Sunday School, I gwine give you one.' Yes, mam, Miss Mary dress
me up en de Lord knows, I ain' never quit givin her de praise yet.

"Yes'um, de Yankees, I hear my daddy talk bout when dey come through old
Massa's plantation en everything what dey do. Say, dere was a old woman
dat was de cook to de big house en when dem Yankees come dere dat
mornin, white folks had her down side de cider press just a whippin her.
Say, de Yankees took de old woman en dressed her up en hitched up a
buggy en made her set up in dere. Wouldn' let de white folks touch her
no more neither. Oh, de place was just took wid dem, he say. What dey
never destroy, dey carried off wid dem. Oh, Lord a mercy, hear talk dere
was a swarm of dem en while some of dem was in de house a tearin up,
dere was a lot of dem in de stables takin de horses out. Yes'um, some
was doin one thing en some another. En Pa tell bout dey had de most
sense he ever did see. Hitched up a cart en kept de path right straight
down in de woods en carted de corn up what de white folks been hide down
dere in de canebrake. Den some went in de garden en dug up a whole lot
of dresses en clothes. En dere was a lady in de house sick while all dis
was gwine on. Oh, dey was de worst people dere ever was, Pa say. Took
all de hams en shoulders out de smokehouse en like I tell you, what dey
never carried off, dey made a scaffold en burned it up. Lord, have
mercy, I hopes I ain' gwine never have to meet no Yankees."

  Source: Heddie Davis, colored, age 72, Marion, S. C.
                 Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Jan., 1938.

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Henry Davis is an old Negro, a bright mulatto, who lives in a two-room
frame house on the farm of Mr. Amos E. Davis, about two miles southwest
of Winnsboro, S. C.

In the house with him, are his wife, Rosa, and his grown children,
Roosevelt, Utopia, and Rose. They are day laborers on the farm. At this
period, Henry picks about seventy-five pounds of cotton a day. His
children average one hundred and fifty pounds each. The four together
are thus enabled to gather about five hundred and twenty-five pounds per
day, at the rate of sixty-five cents per hundred. This brings to the
family, a daily support of $3.41. This is seasonal employment, however;
and, as they are not a provident household, hard times come to Henry and
his folks in the winter and early summer.

"I was born on de old Richard Winn plantation dat my master, Dr. W. K.
Turner, owned and lived on. I was born de year befo' him marry Miss
Lizzie Lemmon, my mistress in slavery time.

"My mother was name Mary and took de name of Davis, 'cause befo' freedom
come, her was bought by my master, from Dr. Davis, near Monticello.

"I had a good many marsters and mistresses. Miss Minnie marry Dr.
Scruggs. Miss Anna marry Mr. Dove. Miss Emma marry Mr. Jason Pope. Marse
Willie K. marry a Miss Carroll up in York, S. C., and Marse Johnnie
marry Miss Essie Zealy. My brothers and sisters was Minton, Ike, Martha,
and Isabella.

"Who I marry and all 'bout it? How come you want to know dat? I 'clare!
You think dat gwine to loosen me up? Well, I marry de 'Rose of Sharon'
or I calls her dat when I was sparkin' her, though she was a Lemmon. Her
was name Rose Lemmon. Lots of times she throw dat in my face, 'Rose of
Sharon' when things go wrong. Then her git uppish and sniff, 'Rose of
Sharon, my eye! You treats me lak I was a dogwood rose on de hillside or
worse than dat, lak I was a Jimson weed or a rag weed.'

"My mammy and us chillun live in de yard not far from de kitchen. My
mammy do de washin' and ironin'. Us chillun did no work. I ride 'round
most of de time wid de doctor in his buggy and hold de hoss while he
visit de patients. Just set up in de buggy and wait 'til him git ready
to go to another place or go home.

"I 'member de Yankees comin' and searchin' de house, takin' off de cows,
mules, hosses, and burnin' de gin-house and cotton. They say dat was
General Sherman's orders. They was 'lowed to leave de dwellin' house
standin', in case of a doctor or preacher.

"Miss Lizzie had a whole lot of chickens. Her always keep de finest
pullets. She make pies and chicken salad out of de oldest hens. Dat
February de Yankees got here, she done save up 'bout fifty pullets dat
was ready to lay in March. A squad of Yankees make us chillun ketch
every one and you know how they went 'way wid them pullets? They tie two
on behind, in de rings of de saddle. Then they tie two pullets together
and hang them on de saddle pommel, one on each side of de hosses neck.
Dat throw them flankin' de hosses withers. I 'members now them gallopin'
off, wid them chickens flutterin' and hollerin' whare, whare, whare,
whare, whare!

"After slavery time, us live on de Turner place nigh onto thirty years
and then was de time I go to see Rosa and court and marry her. Her folks
b'long to de Lemmons and they had stayed on at de Lemmon's place. De
white folks of both plantations 'courage us to have a big weddin'. Her
white folks give her a trousseau and mine give me a bedstead, cotton
mattress, and two feather pillows. Dat was a mighty happy day and a
mighty happy night for de 'Rose of Sharon'. Her tells young niggers
'bout it to dis day, and I just sets and smokes my pipe and thinks of
all de days dat am passed and gone and wonder if de nex' world gwine to
bring us back to youth and strength to 'joy it, as us did when Rose and
me was young.

"Does I 'members anything 'bout patrollers? 'Deed, I do! Marster didn't
'ject to his slaves gwine to see women off de place. I hear him say so,
and I hear him tell more than once dat if he ever hear de patrollers a
comin' wid blood hounds, to run to de lot and stick his foots in de mud
and de dogs wouldn't follow him. Lots of run'ways tried it, I heard, and
it proved a success and I don't blame them dogs neither."

  Project #1655
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Jesse Davis, one of the fast disappearing landmarks of slavery times,
lives with his wife and son, in one of the ordinary two-room frame
houses that dot, with painful monotony, the country farms of white
landowners. The three attempt to carry on a one-horse farm of forty
acres, about thirty acres in cotton and the remainder in corn. The
standard of living is low. Jesse is cheerful, his wife optimistic with
the expression that the Lord will provide, and their son dutiful and
hopeful of the harvest. Their home is about ten miles southwest of
Winnsboro, in the Horeb section of Fairfield County.

"Dere is some difficulty 'bout my age. Nigh as I can place it, I was
born befo' de Civil War. I 'members 'tendin' to and milkin' de cows, and
keepin' de calf off, drawin' water out de well, and bringin' in wood to
make fires. I 'spects I's eighty-five, mountin' up in years.

"I lives on Mr. Eber Mason's place wid one of my chillun, a son name
Mingo. Us all work on de place; run a farm on shares. I can't do much
work and can't support myself. It's mighty hard to be 'pendent on others
for your daily rations, even if them others is your own bone and flesh.
I'd 'preciate sumpin' to help my son and wife carry on. Dats why I wants
a pension. Do you 'spect God in His mercy will hear de prayer of dis
feeble old believer? I don't beg people but de Bible give me a right to
beg God for my daily bread. De Good Book say: 'Take no consarnment 'bout
your raiment'. You can see from what I's got on, dat me nor nobody else,
is much consarned 'bout dis raiment.

"My mammy b'long to de Smiths. My master was Dr. Ira Smith. My mistress
was him wife, Miss Sarah. Deir chillun was: Marse Gad, Marse Jim, and
Marse Billie. Marse Jim was de baker of dis town all his life, after de
way of old-time oven-cookin', 'til Boy bread and Claussen bread wagons
run him out of business. Him is now on de 'lief roll and livin' in de
old McCreight house, de oldest house in Winnsboro.

"Dere was my young misses, Miss Lizzie and Miss Lennie. My mammy name
Sarah, just lak old mistress name Sarah. Her b'long to marster and
mistress but my pappy no b'long to them. Him b'long to de big bugs, de
Davis family. Him was name Mingo, and after slavery him and all us take
de name, de secon' name, Davis, and I's here today, Jesse Davis. See how
dat work out to de name? Good Book again say: 'Good name better than
riches; sweeter to de ear than honey-comb to de tongue.'

"You is well 'quainted wid Marse Amos Davis, ain't you? Well, his people
was pappy's people. I had a brudder name Gabriel, tho' they called him
Gabe. Another one name Chap; he got kilt while clearin' up a new ground.
Sister Fannie marry a Ashford nigger. Marse Ira, de doctor, have a
plantation near Jenkinsville, S. C.

"When de Yankees come thru, they come befo' de main army. They gallop
right up, jump down and say: 'Hold dese hosses! Open dat smoke-house
door!' They took what they could carry 'way. 'Bout dat time marster rode
up from a sick call him been 'tendin' to. Course you know him was a
doctor. They surround him, take his watch, money, and hoss, and ride

"De main army come nex' day, Saturday mornin' 'bout 8 o'clock. They
spread deir tents and stay and camp 'til Monday mornin'. When they leave
they carry off all de cows, hogs, mules, and hosses. Then they have us
ketch de chickens, got them all, 'cept one old hen dat run under de
house, and they didn't wait to git her. Marster have to go 'way up to
Union County, where him have kin folks, to git sumpin' to eat.

"My marster was not big rich lak de Davises, de Means, and de Harpers,
but him have all them people come to see him. Him know a heap of things
dat they 'preciate. De way to dye cloth was one of dese secrets. Marster
have a madder bed. Him take de roots of dat madder put them in de sun
just lak you put out pieces of apples and peaches to make dried fruit.
When them roots git right dry, him have them ground up fine as
water-ground meal. He put de fine dust in a pot and boil it. When he
want red cloth, he just drop de cloth in dat pot and it come out all red
to suit you. Want it blue, him have a indigo patch for dat.

"I never hear anything 'bout alum dese days. Well, de slaves could take
peach tree leaves and alum and make yellow cloth and old cedar tops and
copperas and make tan cloth. Walnut stain and copperas and make any
cloth brown. Sweet-gum bark and copperas and make any cloth a purple
color. I 'member goin' wid one into de woods to git barks. One day old
marster come 'cross a slippery elm tree. Him turn and command me to say
right fast: 'Long, slim, slick saplin' and when I say long, slim, sick
slaplin', him 'most kill hisself laughin'. You try dat now! You find it
more harder to say than you think it is. Him give me a piece of dat bark
to chew and I run at de mouth lak you see a hoss dat been on de range of
wild clover all night and slobberin' at da bits.

"Yes sah, I b'longs to de church! My wife and son, Mingo, just us three
in de house and de whole household jined de Morris Creek Baptist Church.
What's my favorite song? None better than de one dat I'll h'ist right
now. Go ahead? I thanks you. Listen:

  'Am I born to die
  To lay dis body down
  A charge to keep I have
  A God to glorify.'

"You lak dat? Yes? You is praisin' me too highly I 'spect, but since you
lak dat one just listen at dis one; maybe you change your mind, 'cause
I's gwine to h'ist it a wee bit higher and put more of de spiritual in
it. Ready? Yes? I stand up dis time.

  'All de medicine you may buy
  All de doctors you may try
  Ain't gonna save you from de tomb
  Some day you got to lay down and die.
  De blood of de Son can only
  Save you from de doom!
  Some day you got to lay down and die.'

"You lak dat one? You just ought to hear my wife, Mingo, and Me, singin'
dat 'round de fire befo' us go to bed.

"Well, I'll toddle 'long now. Good-bye."

  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, February 4, 1938



The first scene of "Lizzie's 'Sponsibility" is that of the small, one
room dwelling place of Lizzie Davis, aged colored woman of Marion, S. C.
A disorderly, ill-lighted, crudely furnished room, saturated with the
odor of food. Behind the front door stands a gayly colored iron bed,
over which is thrown a piece of oilcloth to keep the rain from leaking
on it. In the center of the room are several little quaint home-made
stools and two broken rockers, while in one corner sits a roughly
finished kitchen table, the dumping place of all small articles. Still
in another corner, almost hidden from sight in the darkness, is the dim
outline of an old trunk gaping open with worn out clothing, possibly the
gift of some white person. A big fireplace in one side of the wall not
only furnishes heat for the little room, but also serves as a cooking
place for Lizzie to prepare her meals. On its hearth sits a large iron
kettle, spider, and griddle, relics of an earlier day. The room is dimly
lighted by the fire and from two small doors, together with a few tiny
streaks that peep through at various cracks in the walls and top of

It is about 9 o'clock on a cold, drizzly morning in January, 1938. The
little two room house, in which Lizzie rents one room for herself,
displays an appearance of extreme coldness and dilapidation, as a
visitor approaches the doorway on this particular morning. It is with
somewhat of an effort that the visitor finally reaches the barred door
of Lizzie's room, after making a skip here and there to keep from
falling through the broken places in the little porch and at the same
time trying to dodge the continual dripping of the rain through numerous
crevices in the porch roof. Within is the sound of little feet scuffling
about on the floor, the chatter of tiny children mixed with mumblings
from Lizzie, and the noise of chairs and stools being roughly shoved
about on the floor.

A rap on the door brings Lizzie, crippled up since she was twelve years
of age, hobbling to the door. Taking her walking stick, she lifts the
latch gently and the door opens slightly. A gray head appears through
the crack of the door and Lizzie, peeping out from above her tiny rim
spectacles, immediately recognizes her visitor. She offers her usual
cheerful greeting and begins hastily to push the large wooden tubs from
the door to make room for her visitor to enter, though it is with
unusual hesitancy that she invites her guest to come in on this

Lizzie--Come in, Miss Davis. I feelin right smart dis mornin. How you
been keepin yourself? Miss Davis, I regrets you have to find things so
nasty up in here dis mornin, but all dis rainy weather got me obliged to
keep dese old tubs settin all bout de floor here to try en catch up de
water what drips through dem holes up dere. See, you twist your head up
dat way en you can tell daylight through all dem cracks. Dat how I know
when it bright enough to start to stir myself on a mornin.

Yes'um, I tell Miss Heddie here de other day dat I had promise you I was
gwine study up some of dem old time songs to give you de next time you
come back. Miss Heddie, she lookin to a right sharp age, I say. Yes'um,
she been here a time, honey. I tell her to be gettin her dogs together
cause I was sho gwine point her out to you de next time I see you.

I tell you, Miss Davis, I got a 'sponsibility put on me here to look
after all dese chillun. Yes'um, it sho a 'sponsibility cause I think
dere five of dem dere, en it de truth in de Lord sight, dey has me
settin up so straight to keep a eye on dem dat I can' never settle my
mind on nothin. Dey won' let me keep nothin clean. Ain' no use to scrub
none, I say. You see, cripple up like I is, I ain' able to get no work
off nowhe' en I keeps dem while dey parents work out. Dey mammas have a
job to cook out en dey brings dem here bout 6 o'clock in de mornin for
me to see after till dey get home in de afternoon. Cose dey helps me
along, but it takes what little dey give me to keep dem chillun warm
cause I has to try en keep a fire gwine, dey be so little. Dere Bertha
Lee en Joseph, dey start gwine to school dis year en I has to see dey
gets fix decent en march dem off to school every mornin. Dem other three
dere, dey name: Possum en June en Alfred. Ain' but just one girl en

(Lizzie's attention turns to June, who comes in crying from the back
yard, where all the children went to play during Lizzie's conversation
with her visitor).

Lizzie--What de matter wid you, June?

June--Aun' Izzie, Possum knock me wid de ax.

Lizzie--Great King! What a peculiar thing to hit you wid. How-come he to
do dat?

June--He was bustin up dem stick out dere side de wood pile.

Lizzie--Oh, well, you just go en butt up on de ax. Dat ain' no fault of
he own den. Clean up dat face en gwine on way from here.

(June, crying to himself, remains seated on the little stool).

Lizzie--Let me see now, Miss Davis, I tryin to get some of dem old time
songs together to turn for you what you been axin me bout de other time
you come here. Yes'um, I tryin to blow my dogs--

(Possum enters the room).

Possum--Aun' Izzie, I was bustin up dem splinters dat my daddy brung for
you to cook wid en June come en set right under de ax.

Lizzie--Um-huh, ain' I tell you so? Whe' de ax, Possum? Fetch it here en
put it in de corner. Ain' none of you had no business wid dat ax nohow.
Ain' I tell you to mind your way round dat ax?

(Possum runs back out in the yard).

Lizzie--Like I tellin you, Miss Davis, if de people had a song in de old
days, dey would put it down on a long strip called a ballad, but honey,
I been through de hackles en I can' think of nothin like I used to
could. Is anybody sing dis one for you, Miss Davis? It a old one, too,
cause I used to hear--

(Alfred comes in to tell his tale).

Alfred--Aun' Izzie, June set on Possum's pile of splinters dat he was
makin en Possum let de ax fall right on June's head.

Lizzie--Dey is cases, Miss Davis. I tellin you, dese chillun just gets
everything off my mind. Most makes me forget to eat sometimes. Dere Miss
Julia Woodberry, poor creature, she been down mighty sick en I ain' been
able to go en see bout her no time. Don' know what ailin her cause I
don' gets bout nowhe' much. No, mam, dese chillun don' have no manners
to go visitin en I can' left dem here widout nobody to mind bout dat dey
don' run--

Joseph--Aun' Izzie, I ain' gwine wear no coat to school dis mornin.

Lizzie--Boy, is you crazy? What de matter wid you, ain' you know de
ground been white wid Jack Frost dis mornin? En you clean up dat nose
fore you get dere to school, too. You ain' say your ma send you here
widout no pocket rag to wipe your nose wid? You ma, she know better den
to 'spect me to hunt rags for you. Come here en let me fasten up dat
coat round de neck. You look like a turkey buzzard wid it gapin open
dat way. Whe' Bertha Lee? It time both you been in dat road gwine to
school dere.

(Bertha Lee and Joseph go out the door to leave for school).

Lizzie--Lord a mercy, Miss Davis, my mind just a windin. How dat song
turn what I had for you?

  One for Paul,
  En one for Sidas--

Lizzie--Joseph, how-come you ain' tell dese chillun good-bye?

Joseph--Good-bye Possum, good-bye June, good-bye Alfred.

Possum, June, Alfred--Good-bye Joseph.

Lizzie--Is you got dat one now, Miss Davis? What de next? Great
Jeruselum! Dem chillun done carry dat tune way wid dem. I can' turn dat
one to save my neck. Just can' come to de turn table as de old man would
say. (12 o'clock mill whistle blows, time teller for many colored people
of the community). Lord a mercy, what dat whistle say? It done come 12
o'clock en dat pot ain' thought bout to kick up none yet. I tell you,
honey, it sho a 'sponsibility I got put on me here to cook for all dese
chillun en see dey ration is cook mighty done, too, so as dey won' be
gwine round gruntin wid dey belly hurtin all de evenin.

(Lizzie begins to stir up the fire to make the pot boil and her visitor
decides to return later to hear the songs).

  Date, February 7, 1938


It is a damp, chilly mornin about three weeks later, when Lizzie's
visitor returns to hear her sing old time songs. June, Bertha Lee, and
Alfred are playing in the street before the little house.

Visitor--Is Aun' Lizzie at home?

June, Alfred, Bertha Lee--Yes'um, she in dere. She in de house.

Visitor--You children better mind how you run about in all this damp
weather, it might make you sick.

June--Possum's got de chicken pox.

Alfred--Possum's got de chicken pox.

June--Me sick, too.

Bertha Lee--I got a cold.

Alfred--I sick, too.

Visitor--Poor little Possum. Is he sick much?

Alfred--Yes'um, he stay right in dat room dere. (Room next to Lizzie's
room with a separate front door).

Bertha Lee--He mamma had de chicken pox first en den Possum, he took
down wid it.

June--Dere he now! Dere Possum! (Possum appears from around the corner
of the house with both hands full of cold fish).

(Alfred goes to Lizzie's door to tell her that she has a visitor)

Alfred--Aun' Izzie, somebody out dere wanna see you.

Lizzie--Holy Moses! Who dat out dere? Boy, you ain' tellin me no story,
is you? Mind you now, you tell me a story en I'll whip de grease out

Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, ain' nobody but Miss Davis out dere.

(Lizzie hobbles to the door on her stick).

Lizzie--How you is, Miss Davis? I ain' much to speak bout dis mornin. I
tell you de truth, Miss Davis, dese chillun keeps me so worried up dat I
don' know whe' half my knowin gone, I say. Great Lord a mercy, dere
Possum out dere in de air now en he been puny, too.

Visitor--The children tell me Possum has the chicken pox.

Lizzie--No'um, he ain' got no chicken pox, Miss Davis. Dey thought he
had it cause he mamma been ailin dat way, but I don' see nothin de
matter wid him 'cept what wrong wid he mouth. Possum, stand back dere
way from Miss Davis, I say. Yes'um, he been sorta puny like dis here
last week. He mamma must been feed him too much en broke he mouth out

June--Miss Davis, I know how to spell my name.

Bertha Lee--I know how to spell my name, too. Me likes to go to school.

Visitor--Oh, I think it is nice to like to go to school. What do you do
at school?

June--Pull off your hat.

Bertha Lee--Us writes.

Visitor--Lizzie, how about those old time songs you promised to study up
for me? You ought to have a mind running over with them by this time.

Lizzie--Lord, Lord, honey, I had study up a heap of dem old tunes here
de other day, but I tellin you de truth, Miss Davis, dese chillun got me
so crazy till nothin won stick--

(Willie, age 10, comes over to play with the children and begins to

Lizzie--Willie, ain' you know it ill manners to whistle in anybody
house? Dere now, it impolite to walk by anybody house whistlin, too. You
is too big a boy for dat. Ain' gwine stand for you learnin dese chillun
no such manners for me to beat it out dem. No, boy, mind yourself way
from here now, I got to hunt up dat tune for Miss Davis. Yes'um, I got
one of dem old tune poppin now. Let me see--Great Happy! Dat pot done
gwine out all my sparks. (Lizzie rushes in the house to look after a pot
that she hears boilin over on the fire).

June--Bertha Lee, de lady don' know whe' us sleeps, do she?

Bertha Lee--Dere us house over dere.

(Bertha Lee gets up to point the house out and June immediately slides
into her seat on the bench next to the visitor).

Bertha Lee--Move way, June.

June--No, dis place whe' I been.

Bertha Lee--June, go further, I say.

June--No, Bertha Lee, dis whe' I been.

Bertha Lee--No, go further. (June holds his place) I go tell Aun' Izzie

Visitor--Tell Lizzie I'm waitin to hear that tune she promised to sing.

Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, June settin in my place.

Lizzie--Fetch yourself on back out dere now, Bertha Lee, en settle your
own scrap. Ain' you shame of yourself en you bigger den June, too? Go
way from here, I say. I ain' got no time to monkey up wid you. I got to
get dese collards boilin hard, else dey ain' gwine get done time you
chillun start puffin for your dinner. Go way, I tell you. Miss Davis, I
comin toreckly.

(Bertha Lee returns to the porch quietly and takes her place on the
opposite side of the visitor, while June clings to his place).

June--Miss Davis, does you know Mr. Rembert?

Visitor--Is he your father?

Bertha Lee and June--No, he ain' us daddy.

June--Mr. Rembert, he bought me everything I got. He shoe horses. Don'
you know him now?

Bertha Lee--He bought June's sweater, but dem my overalls he got on.

June--Dem dere pretty buttons you got on you, Miss Davis.

Bertha Lee--Sho is, en dem little chain dere.

June--Me got a sweater just like her coat.

Bertha Lee--Ain' just like it.

June--It most like it.

Bertha Lee--No, it ain' cause dis here wool.

(Lizzie returns to the porch and sits on a little stool near her door).

Lizzie--Lord, Miss Davis, dat tune done left me. Now, de next time dat I
get a tune in my mind. I gwine sho get somebody to place it for me. It
de Lord truth, my mind gwine just so wid so much of chillun worryations

June--Me can sing.

Possum--Aun' Izzie, I ain' got nothin to eat.

(Lizzie returns to her room again to stir up the fire and get Possum
some bread).

Bertha Lee--Sing den, June.

June--Un-uh, I can'. Aun' Izzie might hear me.

Bertha Lee--I gwine sing den.


  "I sees de lighthouse--amen,
  I sees de lighthouse--amen,
  I sees de lighthouse--amen."

(Lizzie and Possum return to porch. Possum has three muffins).

Lizzie--Clean up your nose dere, Alfred. Miss Davis, I ready. Sho got a
mind to turn dat tune dis----

Alfred--Possum wouldn' fetch me no bread, Aun' Izzie.

Lizzie--Dere dey go again, Miss Davis. No, you can' have none of
Possum's bread. Gwine on in dere en catch you a piece out your own pan.
You eat up Possum's bread en den he'll be de one howlin bout he ain' got

(Alfred goes in the room and comes back with a biscuit).

Lizzie--I pretty certain I ready now, Miss Davis. Let dem all get dey
belly full en den dey head won' be turnin so sharp. Dat how-come I

Possum--Aun' Izzie, Alfred eatin June's bread.

Lizzie--Alfred, look here, boy, you know dat ain' none of your bread.
You sho gwine get a lickin for dat. (Lizzie slaps him). Your ma, she
ain' never left nothin but corn hoecake in your pan since you been born
en you know dat, too. Dem chillun carries me in de clock sometimes, Miss
Davis. Dis one en dat one callin me en de Lord help me, I forgets what I
doin--Clean up dat nose dere, boy.

June--My nose clean.

Lizzie--Possum know I talkin to him. Get on in dere en tell Miss Mammie
to give you a pocket rag, Possum. (Miss Mammie is Possum's aunt who came
to spend the day with them).

Bertha Lee--

  "Peter Rabbit, Ha! Ha! Ha!
  Make Your Ears Go, Flop! Flop! Flop!"

Lizzie--I has to ax you to bear wid me, Miss Davis. I sorry you come
here on a dead shot en ain' gettin no birds. Lord knows, I tryin to get
my mind--

June--Oo, Aun' Izzie, Joseph been cuttin out Willie's book.

(Lizzie's attention is attracted to Willie, who looks worried about his
torn book.)

Lizzie--Great mercy, boy, you ought to have a pain in de chest. Look,
you settin dere wid your bosom wide open. Fasten up your neck dere, I
say.--Possum, come here, is you do like I tell you? Is you ax Miss
Mammie for somethin to clean up dat nose wid?


Lizzie--Look out now, I'll whip you for tellin a story. Whe' de rag? No,
you ain' ax her neither. Gwine on en clean up dat nose fore I wear you

(Possum goes around corner of house).

Lizzie--Help me Lord not to forget it dis time. I sho got dat tune----

June--Aun' Izzie, Aun' Izzie, Possum fall in de tub of water what settin
under de pump.

(Possum appears from around the corner of the house just at that moment
drenched and almost frozen).

Lizzie--Great Lord a mercy! Possum, you looks like a drowned possum sho
enough. Why ain' you do like I tell you to do? You know I don' never
allow you chillun ramblin round dat pump tub no time. Ain' nobody want
to drink out no tub you wash your snotty nose in. Fetch yourself in dere
to de fire en dry yourself fore you is catch a death of cold. Gwine on,
boy. Don' stand dere en watch me like a frizzle chicken. Dere Mr. John
Fortune comin now. I gwine tell him to catch Possum en cook him up.

Possum--I gwine run.

Lizzie--You say you gwine run?

Possum--No'um, I ain' say I gwine run.

Lizzie--Mind you now, Possum, you know what I tell you bout a

Mammie--Miss Lizzie, I just don' believe he know right from wrong.

Lizzie--Well, I gwine learn him den. Ain' nothin I despises worser den a
story-teller. (Lizzie slaps Possum on the shoulder several times and
sends him in the house to dry, shivering from both cold and fear.).

Lizzie--Miss Davis, Mr. John Fortune helps me out wonderfully wid dese
chillun. Say, when dey bad, he gwine cook dem up en eat dem. Yes, mam, I
tellin de truth, honey, dese chillun keeps me settin here listenin wid
all my ears en lookin wid all my eyes, but dey is right sorta
entertainin like. Yes'um, dey got so much of sense till dey done took
what little I is had.

(Alfred comes running in and leans up on Lizzie).

Lizzie--Clean up dat snotty nose, Alfred. You ought to been name Snotty
wid your mouth all de time lookin like you ain' hear tell of no pocket
rag. Move way from dere, June. Don' blow your nose settin side Miss

  Date, February 10, 1938


It is three days later. Lizzie is sitting on her little porch enjoying
the warm sunshine of a bright February day. The children have gone just
across the street to play on the sidewalk and while Lizzie keeps a
watchful eye on them, she is trying once more to call back to her mind
some of the old time songs that she used to sing in her early days. Her
visitor sits on a bench nearby ready to make notes of these old songs as
she sings them. Lizzie's attention is not only distracted by the
children at intervals but also by different ones of her friends
constantly passing along the street in front of the small home.

Lizzie--Lord, Miss Davis, look like everything a hustlin dis mornin.
Yes'um, dis here Monday mornin en everybody is a bustlin gwine to see
bout dey business. Seems like everything just gwine on, just gwine on. I
tell you de truth, Miss Davis, I studied so hard bout dem songs de other
night, I beg de Massa to show me de light en he hop me to recollect dis
one for you. See, when you gets to de age I is, you is foolish--

(Joseph runs across the street to tell Lizzie something).

Joseph--Aun' Izzie, Possum teachin June to hit Jerry.

Lizzie--Uh-huh, I gwine sho beat him, too. (Lizzie turns to her visitor)
Possum, he teachin June to knock dat little one wid de speckle coat on.

Visitor--Is he another child that you are taking care of?

Lizzie--No'um, he grandma raise him en de poor little creature, he don'
have nobody to play wid. Look like nobody don' care when he come or whe'
he go. I say, I tries to collect mine up en take care of dem cause it
dis way, if you don' take time en learn chillun, dey old en dey ain'
old; dey fool en dey ain' fool. Yes'um, I tryin to drill dem, Miss
Davis, but it does take time en a little whip, too. Has to punish dem
right smart sometimes. I tellin you, dem chillun sho a 'sponsibility.
Dem what put all dem gray hair up dere on my topknot. I tell dis one en
dat one to set to a certain place till I say to get up en den I'll get
my studyin on somethin else en de child, he'll be out yonder--

(Heddie Davis, age 72, a neighbor of Lizzies, comes over to join in the

Lizzie--Here come de hoss (horse). Come in, Miss Heddie. Miss Davis
wants us to sing one of dem old back tunes dis mornin.

Heddie--Well, I is studied up one tune what I been hear de old people
sing when I wasn' nothin much more den a puppy--Lord a mercy, Miss
Lizzie, dere dem people comin from de trial. Look, dere dey fetchin dat
girl to Dr. Graham now. En my Lord, got de poor child's head all wrapped
up dat way. Dat man, he ought to have he head plucked. He know better
den to cut dat child so close de senses. Don' know what de matter wid de
people nohow.

Lizzie--Ain' nothin but de devil, Miss--

(Boy, about 8 years old, comes across the street and hands Lizzie a

Pickle--Miss Lizzie, ma say dere your sewin.

Lizzie--Thank you, son, thank you a thousand times again. Tell your
mamma de old hen a scratchin bout out dere in de yard now huntin de nest
en ain' gwine be no long time fore I can be catchin her a chicken to put
in de pot. Yes, Lord, I got to start savin dem egg dis very day for de
settin. (Lizzie turns to her visitor on the porch and continues her
conversation). Miss Rosa, she does do all my sewin for me en I generally
gives her eggs for her kindness. I sorry dere so much of huntin egg de
same day.

(Little boy, Pickle, looks disappointed and continues to hang around).

Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, sing somethin.

Lizzie--You want me to sing so bad, sugar, en I ain' know nothin
neither. Heddie, turn me one.

Heddie--Gwine on en spill dat one yourself what you been tell me bout de
other mornin en quit your pickin on me.

Lizzie--Well, I tryin to get myself together, but dere so much of
travelin en so much of chillun, I can' collect--

Alfred--Aun' Izzie, can I go to whe' Jerry gone?

Lizzie--No, boy, you know I ain' got no mind to let you go runnin off
dat way. (Lizzie calls to Mammie in the room). Mammie, look dere to de
clock. I gettin in a fidget to get some of dese chillun way from here.

(Pickle still hangs around).

Lizzie--Joseph, come here.


Lizzie--Boy, don' you grunt at me dat way. Come here, I say. Go dere in
de chicken house en hunt dat one egg en give it to Pickle to carry to he
mamma.--Got to scatter dese chillun way from here--

Joseph--Here de egg, Aun' Izzie.

Lizzie--Fetch it dere to Pickle den. Boy, tell your mamma I sorry I ain'
had no egg to send her 'cept just dat one nest egg. Tell her, when she
buss dat egg, she better look right sharp en see is de hen ain' got it
noways addle like cause--

Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, how my nose is?

Lizzie--Look bad. Gwine on in dere en clean your face up. I know you
ain' gwine to school wid all dem crumbs stuck bout on your mouth.
Joseph, gwine on in de house dere en put you on some more clothes. Gwine
on in dere, I say. Don' stand dere on de street en strip.

Heddie--No, boy, don' pull off in no public.

Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, I gwine carry my bread to school wid me.

Lizzie--Hunt you a paper den. You can' go dere to school wid no handful
of bread makin all dem chillun start mouthin round you. Joseph, get me a
paper to put dis here child's bread in.

Joseph--Here, Bertha Lee. Here de paper.

Lizzie--Lord, Miss Davis, it a time. I tell you de truth, honey, dis
here 'sponsibility got me tied both hand en foot. Ain' no rest nowhe'. I
hates it you come here en ain' gettin nothin what you been aimin to
catch. I gwine be ready toreckly though. Let me get dese chillun in de
road en dem songs gwine start travelin out my head faster den lightnin--

Bertha Lee--Aun' Izzie, make Joseph come on.

Lizzie--Joseph, get in dat road dere side Bertha Lee. Now, you chillun
make your tracks dere to school straight as you can go en if you stop
dere to dat lady house en get a pecan, I gwine whip you hard as I can.

Joseph and Bertha Lee--Good-bye Possum, good-bye June, good-bye Alfred.

Possum, June, Alfred--Good-bye Joseph, good-bye Bertha Lee.

Lizzie--Here dat tune come buzzin now, Miss Davis. Is you got dis one?

  Sunday Mornin Band!

  "Oh, my sister,
  How you walk on de cross?
  Sunday mornin band!
  Oh, your feet might slip
  En your soul get lost.
  Sunday mornin band!
  Oh, what band,
  Oh, what band,
  Do you belong?
  What band! What band!
  Sunday mornin band!"

Heddie--Sis, you is done took de one I been how. I been expectin you was
comin out wid one of dem old time reels you used to be a singin en a
jiggin bout all de time.

Lizzie--Oh, I been know a heap of dem reels. Hoped sing dem behind de
old folks back many a day cause us chillun wasn' never allowed to sing
reels in dem days. See, old back people was more religious den dey is
now. Yes, mam, dey been know what spell somethin in dat day en time.
When dey would speak den, dey meant somethin, I tell you. People does
just go through de motion dese days en don' have no mind to mean what
dey talk. No, child, us didn' dar'sen to let us parents hear us sing no
reels den. What dem old people didn' quarrel out us, dey whip out us. My
father never wouldn' let we chillun go to no frolics, but us would
listen from de house en catch what us could. I used to could turn a heap
of dem reels, too, but he was so tight on us till everything bout left
me. Lord, Heddie, give me a thought. You is de jiggin hoss. Hope me out,
Heddie, hope me out.

(Heddie begins song and Lizzie joins in and finishes it).

  "The blackest nigger I ever did see,
  He come a runnin down from Tennessee,
  His eye was red en his gum was blue,
  En God a mighty struck him,
  En his shirt tail flew.
  Meet me at de crossroads,
  For I'm gwine join de band.
  Um-huh! Um-huh! Um-huh!"

Lizzie--Great Lord a mercy, Miss Davis, dem kind of tune, dem sinful en
wicked songs, dey what I used to turn fore I been big enough to know
what been in dem. No, honey, I thank de good Lord to point me way from
all dat foolishness en wickedness en I ain' gwine back to it neither.

  "Lord, I know dat my time ain' long,
  Oh, de bells keep a ringin,
  Somebody is a dying,
  Lord, I know dat my time ain' long.
    (Repeat three times)
  Lord, I know dat my time ain' long,
  Oh, de hammer keep a knockin,
  Keep a knockin on somebody coffin,
  Lord, I know dat my time ain' long."
    (Repeat three times).

Lizzie--Lord, I sho know my time ain' long. De Lord say de way of de
righteous prevaileth to eternal life en I know I right, people. Lord, I
know I right. 'Sponsibility or no 'sponsibility, Lord, I seekin de

  Source: Lizzie Davis, colored, 70-80 years, Marion, S. C.
          Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Marion, S. C.

  Code No.
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, December 13, 1937
  No. Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, Age 70 to 80

"No, mam, I couldn' exactly tell you how old I is cause my father, he
been dead over 20 years en when us had a burnin out dere to Georgetown,
Pa's Bible was destroyed den. Cose I don' remember myself, say, slavery
time, but I can tell dat what I is hear de olden people talk bout been
gwine on in dat day en time. No, mam, I want to suggest to you de best I
can cause I might have to go back up yonder en tell it to be justified
some of dese days."

"Oh, I been know your father en your grandfather en all of dem. Bless
mercy, child, I don' want to tell you nothin, but what to please you.
Lord, I glad to see your face. It look so lovin en pleasin, just so as I
is always know you. Look like dere not a wave of trouble is ever roll
'cross your peaceful bosom."

"Now, like I speak to you, I don' know rightly bout my age, but I can
tell you when dat shake come here, I been a missie girl. Oh, my Lord, I
been just as proud en crazy in dem days. Wasn' thinkin nothin bout dat
dese dark days was headin here. Yes, mam, I is always been afflicted
ever since I been twelve years old, so dey tell me. You see, dat muscle
right back dere in my foot, it grow crooked just like a hook. De doctor,
he say dat if dey had kept me movin bout, it wouldn' been grow dat way.
But my poor old mammy, she die while us was livin down dere to old man
Foster Brown's plantation en dere won' no other hand gwine trouble dey
way no time to lift me up. Oh, my mammy, she been name Katie Brown cause
my parents, dey belonged to de old man Foster Brown in dey slavery day.
Dat how-come I been raise up a country child dere on Mr. Brown's
plantation. Another thing, like as you might be a noticin, I ain' never
been married neither. No, mam, I ain' never been married cause I is
always been use a stick in walkin in my early days en never didn' nobody
want me. Yes, mam, I know I every bit of 70 or gwine on 80 years old to
my mind en I think it a blessin de Lord preserve me dis long to de
world. Cose I often wonders why de good Massa keep me here en take dem
what able to work for demselves."

"Yes, honey, wid God harness on me, I come here to dis town a grown
woman to live en I been livin right here by myself in dis same house
near bout 20 years. Cose dere a little 12-year-old country girl dat
stays here wid me while de school be gwine on so as to get some learnin.
Yes'um, I pays $2.00 every month for dis here room en it ain' worth
nothin to speak bout. Pap Scott's daughter stay in dat other room over
dere. No, mam, dere ain' but just dese two rooms to de house. You, see,
my buildin does leak en I has a big time some of dese days. See here,
child, I has dis piece of oilcloth cross my bed en when it rains on a
night, I sleeps in dat chair over dere en lets it drop on de oilcloth.
Den when it comes a storm, my Lord, dere such a racket! I be settin here
lookin for dat top up dere to be tumblin down on me de next crack en
seems like it does give me such a misery in my head. Yes, mam, dat
misery does strike me every time I hear tell bout dere a darkness in de

"Well, drawed up as I is, I ain' able to get no work worth much to speak
bout dese days. It dis way, child, don' nobody like to see no old ugly
crooked up creature like me round bout whe' dey be no time. Cose I sets
here en does a washin now en den whe' de people gets push up, but don'
get no regular work. Now, dem people over dere, I does dey washin
mostly, but dey don' never be noways particular en stylish like en I
don' have nothin much to worry wid. See, de lady, she don' go bout
nowhe' much."

"Oh, Lord, dere my stove right dere, I say. Yes, mam, I cooks right here
in de fireplace all de time. I got dat pot on dere wid some turnips a
boilin now en it gettin on bout time I be mixin up dat bread, too, fore
dat child be comin home from school hungry as a louse. I say, I got dis
here old black iron spider en dis here iron griddle, too, what I does my
bakin on cause you see, I come from way back yonder. Dem what de olden
people used to cook on fore stoves ever been come here. Yes, mam, de
spider got three legs dat it sets on en de griddle, dat what I makes
dese little thin kind of hoecake on. See, when I wants to bake in de
spider, I heaps my coals up in a pile dat way so as to set de spider on
dem en pours de batter in de spider en puts de lid on. Den I rakes me up
another batch of coals en covers de lid over wid dem. Do dat to make it
get done on de top. Yes, mam, dat de kind of a spider dat de people
used to cook dey cake in. Now, when I has a mind to cook some turnips or
some collards, I makes dis here boil bread. Honey, dat somethin to talk
bout eatin wid dem turnips. Ain' no trouble to mind it neither. First, I
just washes my hands right clean like en takes en mixes up my meal en
water together wid my hand till I gets a right stiff dough. Den I
pinches off a piece de dough bout big as a goose egg en flattens it out
wid my hand en drops it in de pot wid de greens. Calls dat boil
dumplings. I think bout I got a mind dat I gwine cook some of dem in dat
turnip pot directly, too. No, mam, I don' never eat dinner till it come
bout time for de little girl to be expectin to be from school. Oh, my
blessed, dem olden people sho know how to cook in dem days. Never didn'
hear speak bout de cookin upsettin de people in dat day en time like it
sets de people in a misery dese days. Dat how-come, I say, I ain' noways
ailin in de inside cause it be dat I lives de olden way. Yes, child, de
slavery people sho had de hand to cook. Dere ain' never been nothin cook
nowhe' dat could satisfy a cravin like dat ash cake dat de people used
to cook way back dere, I say. Oh, dey would mix up a batter just like
dey was gwine make a hoecake en wrap it all up in oak leaves or a piece
of dis here heavy brown paper en lay it in de hot ashes. Den dey would
rake some more hot ashes all over de top of it. Yes'um, de dampness out
de hoecake would keep de wrappin wet en when it would get done, de paper
would peel right off it. I tell you, honey, I mighty glad I been come
along in dat day en time. Mighty thankful I been a child of de olden

"Yes, child, de people what been raise de slavery way, dey been have a
heap of curious notions en some of dem was good, I say. Yes, mam, dere
one sign dat I remembers bout en I follows dat up right sharp dese days.
I sho watches dat closely. Say, somebody have a mouthful of rations en
sneeze, it a sign of death. I finds dat to be very true to speak bout.
Yes'um, I notices dat a good one, Miss Davis."

"Den I got another one comin. Always say, when you see bout a dozen
buzzards moesin (flying) round a house en den dey break off en make a
straight shoot for a graveyard, dere somebody out dat house gwine be
bury dere soon. Cose dat what I hear talk bout, but I ain' watched dat
so much."

"No, mam, dat ain' half de signs what de olden people used to have cause
dat all what dey know to tell dem what to do en what was gwine happen.
Dem what was wise, dey followed dem signs closely, too. Yes, you come
back another time, child, en I'll see can I scratch up a heap of dem
other sign to tell you. When I gets to talkin to you bout old times, my
mind, it just gets to wanderin over dem old fields whe' I run bout as a
little small child en I can' half remember nothin to speak to you bout."

  Source: Lizzie Davis, colored, Marion, S. C.--Age 70 to 80.
          Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Dec., 1937.

  Code No.
  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, December 21, 1937
  No. Words ----
  Reduced from ---- words
  Rewritten by ----

  Ex-Slave, Age ----

"My parents, dey was sho raise in de South. Been come up on de old man
Foster Brown's plantation. Ain' you know whe' Mr. Foster Brown used to
live? Yes, mam, down dere in dat grove of pecans dat you see settin side
de road, when you be gwine down next to Centenary. I remember, I hear my
father tell bout dat his mammy was sold right here to dis courthouse, on
dat big public square up dere, en say dat de man set her up in de wagon
en took her to Georgetown wid him. Sold her right dere on de block. Oh,
I hear dem talkin bout de sellin block plenty times. Pa say, when he see
dem carry his mammy off from dere, it make he heart swell in his breast.

"Yes'um, I hear my father talk bout how dey would shoot de great big
bomb guns in slavery time. Seems like, he say dat de shootin fuss been
come from Fort Sumter. Oh, my Lord, I hear talk dat de people could hear
dem guns roarin all bout dis here country. I know dat word been true
cause I hear my parents en de olden people speak bout dat right dere
fore we chillun. Say, when dey would feel dat rumblin noise, de people
would be so scared. Didn' know what was gwine happen. Cose I speak bout
what I catch cause de olden people never didn' allow dey chillun to set
en hear dem talk no time. No, mam, de olden people was mighty careful of
de words dey let slip dey lips.

"Oh, we chillun would have de most fun dere ever was romancin (roaming)
dem woods in dat day en time. I used to think it was de nicest thing dat
I been know bout to go down in de woods side one of dem shady branch en
get a cup of right cool water to drink out de stream. I tell you, I
thought dat was de sweetest water I is ever swallowed. Den we chillun
used to go out in de woods wid de crowd en get dese big oak leaves en
hickory leaves en make hats. Would use dese here long pine needles en
thorns for de pins dat we would pick up somewhe' dere in de woods. En we
would dress de hats wid all kind of wild flowers en moss dat we been
find scatter bout in de woods, too. Oh, yes'um, we thought dey was de
prettiest kind of bonnets. Den we would get some of dese green saplin
out de woods often times to make us a ridin horse wid en would cut down
a good size pine another time en make a flyin mare to ride on. Yes, mam,
dat what we would call it. Well, when we would have a mind to make one
of dem flyin mare, we chillun would slip a ax to de woods wid us en chop
down a nice little pine tree, so as dere would be a good big stump left
in de ground. Den we would chisel de top of de stump down all round de
edges till we had us a right sharp peg settin up in de middle of de
stump. After dat was fixed, we would cut us another pole a little bit
smaller den dat one en bore a hole in de middle of it to make it set
down on dat peg. Oh, my Lord, one of us chillun would get on dis end en
dere another one would get on de other end en us chillun would give dem
a shove dat would send dem flyin round fast as I could say
mighty-me-a-life. My blessed a mercy, child, it would most bout knock de
sense out dem what been on dere. Yes, mam, everybody would be crazy to
ride on de flyin mare. All de neighbor's chillun would gather up en go
in de woods en jump en shout bout which one turn come to ride next. I
tellin you, dem was big pleasures us had in dat day en time en dey never
cost nobody nothin neither."

"Well, Mr. Brown, he was mighty good to his colored people, so I hear my
parents say. Would allow all his niggers to go to de white people church
to preachin every Sunday, Cose my father, he was de carriage driver en
he would have task to drive de white folks to church on a Sunday.
Yes'um, dem what been belong to Mr. Brown, dey had dey own benches to
set on right up dere in de gallery to de white people church, but I hear
talk dat some of dem other white people round bout dere never wouldn'
let dey colored people see inside dey church no time. Lord, I talk bout
how de people bless wid privilege to go to church like dey want to in
dis day en time en don' have de mind to serve de Lord like dey ought to
no time. Cose dere a man comes here every Sunday mornin in a car en
takes me out to church. Ain' no kin to me neither. He late sometimes en
de preacher be bout out wid de sermon, but I goes anyhow en gets all I
can. Look like de Lord bless me somehow, cripple up as I is, I say."

"De shake! Oh, I remember it well cause I been a grown girl den.
Everybody thought it was de Jedgment en all de people was runnin out en
a hollerin. I thought it was de last myself en I livin here to tell de
people, I was sho scared. I been out to de well bout 12 o'clock de next
day en I could see de water in de well just a quiverin. Lord, Lord, dat
water tremble bout four weeks after dat. Such a hollerin en a prayin as
de people had bout dat shake. No'um I was livin down dere to Tabernacle
den en dere wasn' none of de houses round us destroyed. No, child, won'
no harm done nowhe' dat I knows of only as a heap of de people been so
scared, dey never didn' grow no more."

"Yes'um, I think bout here de other night dat I had make you a promise
to fetch you up some of dem signs de olden people used to put faith in.
Dere one sign bout if you hear a dog howl or a cow low round your house
on a night, it a pretty good sign you gwine lose somebody out dat house.
I finds dat to be a mighty true sign cause I notices it very closely."

"Den dey used to say, too, if you get up in de mornin feelin in a good
humor, de devil sho gwine get you fore night fall dat same day. Cose I
don' pay so much attention to dat. If I get up feelin like singin, I has
to sing cause it my time to sing, I say."

"Let me see, dere another one of dem omen dat I had shake up in my mind
to tell you. Say, if you see a ground mole rootin round your house, it
won' be long fore you gwine move from dat place. But I don' never see
no ground moles hardly dese days. Don' think dey worries nobody much."

"I recollects, too, way back yonder de people used to say, if you see de
smoke comin out de chimney en turn down en flatten out on de ground, it
a sign of rain in a few days."

"Yes, mam, I think bout dis one more. If you dream bout you be travelin
en come to a old rotten down buildin, it a sign of a old person death.
Don' say whe' it a man or a woman, but it a sho sign dat a old person
gwine die."

"Den people what lives in de country believes, if a fox comes round a
house barkin en a scratchin, it a sign dey gwine lose somebody out dey
family. Yes'um, de fox just comes right out de woods up to de yard en
barks. You see, a dog won' never run a fox dat comes bout dem barkin.
No, mam, when de dog hear dat, he just stands right under de house en
growls at de fox. I know dat be a true sign cause us tried dat one."

"Now, I got another one of dem thought comin. Yes, my Lord, I hear talk
dat if you get de broom en sweep your house out fore sunrise, you would
sweep your friends out right wid de trash. Dat used to be a big sign wid
de people, too. En it bad luck to take up ashes after de sun go down,
dey say. Yes, I know bout plenty people won' do dat today."

"Well, honey, seems like when I calls back, de people in a worser fix
den when I used to get 25 cents a day. Used to could take dat en go to a
country store en get a decent dress to wear to church. Sell peck of us
corn en get it in trade. Didn' never pay more den 50 cents for a load of
wood in dem days en I remembers just as good eggs been sell for 10 cents
a dozen en 15 cents bout Christmas time. Cose I ain' exactly decided
what to speak bout de times cause it dis way to my mind. De people, dey
have a better privilege dis day en time, but dey don' appreciate nothin
like dey did back in my dark days. Yes, mam, de people was more thankful
to man en God den dey is dese days. Dat my belief bout de way de world
turnin, I say."

  Source: Lizzie Davis, colored, age between 70 and 80, Marion,
          S. C.
          Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Dec., 1937.

  Project #1855
  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


"Well, well, well! You knows my white folks on Jackson Creek, up in
Fairfield! I's mighty glad of dat, and glad to see you. My white folks
come to see me pretty often, though they lives way up dere. You wants to
write me up? Well, I'll tell you all I recollect, and what I don't tell
you, my daughter and de white folks can put in de other 'gredients. Take
dis armchair and git dat smokin' ash tray; lay it on de window sill by
you and make yourself comfortable and go ahead."

"I was born in de Catawba River section. My grandpappy was a full blood
Indian; my pappy a half Indian; my mother, coal black woman. Just who I
b'long to when a baby? I'll leave dat for de white folks to tell, but
old Marster Jim Lemon buy us all; pappy, mammy, and three chillun: Jake,
Sophie, and me. De white folks I fust b'long to refuse to sell 'less
Marse Jim buy de whole family; dat was clever, wasn't it? Dis old Louisa
must of come from good stock, all de way 'long from de beginnin', and I
is sho' proud of dat."

"When he buy us, Marse Jim take us to his place on Little River nigh
clean cross de county. In de course of time us fell to Marse Jim's son,
John, and his wife, Miss Mary. I was a grown woman then and nursed their
fust baby, Marse Robert. I see dat baby grow to be a man and 'lected to
legislature, and stand up in dat Capitol over yonder cross de river and
tell them de Law and how they should act, I did. They say I was a pretty
gal, then, face shiny lak a ginger cake, and hair straight and black as
a crow, and I ain't so bad to look at now, Marse Willie says."

"My pappy rise to be foreman on de place and was much trusted, but he
plowed and worked just de same, mammy say maybe harder."

"Then one springtime de flowers git be blooming, de hens to cackling,
and de guineas to patarocking. Sam come along when I was out in de yard
wid de baby. He fust talk to de baby, and I asked him if de baby wasn't
pretty. He say, 'Yes, but not as pretty as you is, Louisa.' I looks at
Sam, and dat kind of foolishness wind up in a weddin'. De white folks
allowed us to be married on de back piazza, and Reverend Boggs performed
de ceremony."

"My husband was a slave of de Sloans and didn't get to see me often as
he wanted to; and of course, as de housemaid then, dere was times I
couldn't meet him, clandestine like he want me. Us had some grief over
dat, but he got a pass twice a week from his marster, Marse Tommie
Sloan, to come to see me. Bold as Sam git to be, in after years ridin'
wid a red shirt long side of General Bratton in '76, dat nigger was
timid as a rabbit wid me when us fust git married. Shucks, let's talk
'bout somthing else. Sam was a field hand and drive de wagon way to
Charleston once a year wid cotton, and always bring back something
pretty for me."

"When de war come on, Sam went wid young Marster Tom Sloan as bodyguard,
and attended to him, and learned to steal chickens, geese, and turkeys
for his young marster, just to tell 'bout it. He dead now; and what I
blames de white folks for, they never would give him a pension, though
he spend so much of his time and labor in their service. I ain't bearin'
down on my kind of white folks, for I'd jump wid joy if I could just git
back into slavery and have de same white folks to serve and be wid them,
day in and day out."

"Once a week I see de farm hands git rations at de smoke house, but dat
didn't concern me. I was a housemaid and my mammy run de kitchen, and us
got de same meals as my marster's folks did."

"Yas sir; I got 'possum. Know how to cook him now. Put him in a pot and
parboil him, then put him in a oven wid lots of lard or fat-back, and
then bake him wid yaller yam potatoes, flanked round and round, and then
wash him down wid locust and persimmon beer followed by a piece of
pumpkin pie. Dat make de bestest meal I 'members in slavery days."

"Us got fish out of Little River nigh every Saturday, and they went good
Sunday morning. Us had Saturday evenin's, dat is, de farm hands did, and
then I got to go to see Sam some Sundays. His folks, de Sloans, give us
a weddin' dinner on Sunday after us was married, and they sho' did tease
Sam dat day."

"Like all rich buckra, de Lemons had hogs a plenty, big flock of sheep,
cotton gin, slaves to card, slaves to spin, and slaves to weave. Us was
well clothed and fed and 'tended to when sick. They was concerned 'bout
our soul's salvation. Us went to church, learn de catechism; they was
Presbyterians, and read de Bible to us. But I went wid Sam after
freedom. He took de name of Davis, and I jined de Methodist Church and
was baptized Louisa Davis."

"Patroller, you ask me? 'Spect I do 'member them. Wasn't I a goodlookin'
woman? Didn't Sam want to see me more than twice a week? Wouldn't he
risk it widout de pass some time? Sure he did. De patrollers got after
and run Sam many a time."

"After de war my pappy went to Florida. He look just like a Indian, hair
and all, bushy head, straight and young lookin' wid no beard. We never
heard from him since."

"De slaves wash de family clothes on Saturday and then rested after
doin' dat. Us had a good time Christmas; every slave ketch white folks
wid a holler, 'Christmas gift, Marster' and they holler it to each
other. Us all hung our stockin's all 'bout de Big House, and then dere
would be sumpin' in dere next mornin'. Lord, wasn't them good times!"

"Now how is it dese days? Young triflin' nigger boys and gals lyin'
'round puffin' cigarets, carryin' whiskey 'round wid them, and gittin'
in jail on Christmas, grievin' de Lord and their pappies, and all sich
things. OH! De risin' generation and de future! What is it comin' to? I
just don't know, but dere is comin' a time to all them."

"I sho' like to dance when I was younger. De fiddlers was Henry Copley
and Buck Manigault; and if anybody 'round here could make a fiddle ring
like Buck could, wouldn't surprise me none if my heart wouldn't cry out
to my legs, 'Fust lady to de right and cheat or swing as you like, and
on to de right'."

"Stop dat laughin'. De Indian blood in me have held me up over a hundred
years, and de music might make me young again."

"Oh yes, us had ghost stories, make your hair stand on end, and us put
iron in de fire when us hear screech owl, and put dream book under bed
to keep off bad dreams."

"When de yankees come they took off all they couldn't eat or burn, but
don't let's talk 'bout dat. Maybe if our folks had beat them and git up
into dere country our folks would of done just like they did. Who

"You see dis new house, de flower pots, de dog out yonder, de cat in de
sun lyin' in de chair on de porch, de seven tubs under de shed, de two
big wash pots, you see de pictures hangin' round de wall, de nice beds,
all dese things is de blessin's of de Lord through President Roosevelt.
My grandson, Pinckney, is a World War man, and he got in de CCC Camp,
still in it in North Carolina. When he got his bonus, he come down, and
say, 'Grandma, you too old to walk, supposin' I git you a automobile?"
I allow, 'Son, de Indian blood rather make me want a house.' Then us
laugh. 'Well,' he say, 'Dis money I has and am continuin' to make, I
wants you and mama to enjoy it.' Then he laugh fit to kill heself. Then
I say, 'I been dreamin' of a tepee all our own, all my lifetime; buy us
a lot over in Sugartown in New Brookland, and make a home of happiness
for your ma, me and you'."

"And dis is de tepee you settin' in today. I feel like he's a young
warrior, loyal and brave, off in de forests workin' for his chief, Mr.
Roosevelt, and dat his dreams are 'bout me maybe some night wid de winds
blowin' over dat three C camp where he is."

  Project 1885 -1-
  District #4
  Spartanburg, S. C.
  May 29, 1937


"I was a slave of Bill Davis who lived at "Rich Hill", near Indian
Creek, in Newberry County, S. C. I was born about 1856, I reckon. My
daddy was Ivasum Davis and my mammy was Rhody Davis. Marse Bill was a
good master, lived in a big house, give us a good place to live and
plenty to eat. He hardly ever whipped us, and was never cruel to us. He
didn't let his overseer whip us, and never hit a man.

"Aw, we had good eats den. Wish I has some of dem old ash-cakes now
which was cooked in de brick oven or in de ashes in de fireplace. My
mistress had a big garden, and give us something to eat out of it. We
used to go hunting, and killed possums, rabbit, squirrels, and birds.

"We had home-made clothes 'till I was big boy. Dey was made from card
and spin wheels.

"Our work was light; we got up at sun-up at blowing of de horn and
worked till sundown. Sometimes we worked on Saturday afternoons when we
had to. On Saturday nights we had frolics--men and women. Some women
would wash their clothes on Saturday afternoons. Den at night we have
prayer meetings.

"We had no church on our plantation, not till after freedom, but we
learned to read and write and spell.

"De padderrolers didn't bother us; our master always give us a pass when
we go anywhere.

"On Christmas Day master always give big dinners for slaves, and on New
Year we had a holiday.

"I married Lila Davis at de Baptist Church in Newberry.

"When our slaves got sick we sent for de doctor. Some of de old folks in
the neighborhood believed in giving root-herb tea or tea made from
cherry barks or peach leaves.

"When freedom come de master told us we was free and could go but if we
wanted to stay on with him, we could stay. We stayed with him for two
years and worked by day wages.

"The Ku Klux was dere. I heard old folks talk about dem. Dey had white
sheets over their heads and white caps on their heads.

"The Yankees went through our place and stole cattle.

"I thought slavery was all right, 'cause I had a good time. I had a good

"I joined the church when I was 21 years old because I thought I'd live
better. I think all ought to join the church."

  Source: Wallace Davis (88), Newberry, S. C.; interviewer: G. Leland
          Summer, Newberry, S. C.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  Oct. 15, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"I live in a little two-room house beyond Helena where I work a little
patch of land which I rent. I don't own anything. I make a living
working de land.

"I was born on Indian Creek in Newberry County, S. C. about 1856. My
mammy was Rhody Davis and my pa was Ivasum Davis. We belonged in slavery
to Bill Davis. He lived at de place called "Rich Hill". De old house is
done tore down, but young Riser now lives in de new house on de place.

"Our master was good to us, but whipped us a little sometimes. He would
not allow his overseer to whip any of us. He give us enough to eat and a
fair place to live in. We didn't want fer anything. Dey had plenty to
eat on de farm, and sure had good eatings. Dere was a brick oven which
could cook good bread and cakes. We had a big garden which de mistress
looked after, and she had plenty from it which she shared wid de slaves.

"De old spinning wheel was used lots of times and dey made all de
clothes everybody on de place wore.

"We didn't have no church to go to, but dey sometimes made some slaves
go to white folks churches where dey set on de back seats. We didn't
have schools and couldn't learn to read and write till after freedom
come; den some niggers learned at de brush arbors.

"Befo' freedom de patrollers marched up and down de road but didn't
bother us. Our master always give us a pass when we went somewhere. On
Christmas he give us big dinners.

"I married Lilla Davis at de white folks' Baptist church in Newberry.

"When slaves got sick some of dem took tree barks and made teas to
drink, and some made tea from root herbs. We had doctors, too, but dey
made lots of deir medicine from de barks and herbs.

"I can't remember much what de Ku Klux did, but heard about dem. Just
after de war de Yankees marched through our place and stole some cattle
and run away wid dem. In some places dey burned down de barns and gin

"I had a good master and always had plenty to eat, so I thought slavery
was all right. We didn't have nothing of any kind to worry about.

"I don't know nothing much about Abe Lincoln or Jefferson Davis."

  Source: Wallace Davis (N. 88), Newberry, S. C.
          Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. (9/15/37).

  Project 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, August 20, 1937

  Ex-Slave, 72 Years

"I born de first day of March in 1865 cause de white folks raise me
mostly en dat how-come I know how old I ought to say I is. My father
belong to de old man Jackie Davis, dat live not so far from Tabernacle,
en den he fall to he son, Mr. William J. Davis. Dat whe' I was raise. My
grandfather, old man Caesar, live dere too."

"I never been treated exactly as de other plantation peoples was as it
just like I tellin you, I be round de white folks mostly. My mamma, she
do all de cooking to de big house en dere be a division in de Missus
kitchen for de cook en she chillun to stay in. Sometimes my Massa make
my mamma feed all de small plantation chillun dere to de kitchen from de
table. Dey want de chillun to hurry en grow en dat de reason dey give em
good attention at de house. Dey give us milk en clabber en corn bread to
eat mostly en give us fritters some of de time. Dat was fried wheat
bread what some people call pancakes. Used to give me job to mind de
cows en de calves when dey was put to grazing."

"All de other colored peoples live in de nigger quarter up on de hill.
Just like de white people house here, de colored people house all be in
row pretty much off from de big house. Oh, de people was meant to work
in dat day en time. De white folks teach em en show em what dey look for
em to do. Den if dey didn' do it like dey tell em do it, dey chastise

"It just like I tellin you, de people fare wid abundance of everything
in dem days. Destroy much meat in one month den as de people gets hold
of in whole year dese days. It was just dis way, everybody know to have
fence round bout dey plantation den en de hogs could run anywhe'. All de
field land was fence en de woods was for de run of de stock. Dey mark em
en some of de time, dey hear tell of stock 10 mile away. Know em by de

"Peoples didn' have heap of all kind of things dat dey have dese days,
but somehow it look like dey have a knack of gettin along better wid
what dey have den. Didn' have no stoves to cook on in dem days. Cook in
clay oven en on de fireplace. Make up fire en when it die down, dey put
tatoes (potatoes) in de oven en let em stay dere all night. My God, won'
nothin no better den dem oven tatoes was. Some of de time, dey have wire
in de chimney wid de pots hanging on dat. Folks used to make up a cake
of corn bread en pat it on de hearth en when de fire burn right low, dey
cover de cake all up in pile of ashes. When it get done, it be brown
through de ashes en dey take it out en wash en rub all de ashes off it.
Den it was ready to eat. Dat what dey call ash cake. Just seem like what
de peoples used to cook be sweeter eatin den what dey cooks dis day en

"Oh, I beat rice many a day. Yes'um, beat rice many a day for my
grandmother en my mamma too. Had a mortar en a pestle dat beat rice
wid. Dey take big tree en saw log off en set it up just like a tub. Den
dey hollow it out in de middle en take pestle dat have block on both it
end en beat rice in dat mortar. Beat it long time en take it out en fan
it en den put it back. De last time it put back, tear off some shucks en
put in dere to get de red part of de rice out en make it white. Ain'
nobody never been born can tell you more bout dem pestles en mortars den
William Henry Davis know."

"Yes'um, used to go to corn shuckings en rye thrashings en pea
thrashings plenty times. Oh, dey sing en have music en have big pot
cookin out in de yard wid plenty rice en fresh meat for everybody. Dere
be so many people some of de time, dey had to have two or three pots.
Den dey have dem log rollings to clean up de land en when dey would get
to rollin dem heavy logs, dey give de men a little drink of whiskey to
revive em, but dey gage how much dey give em. O Lord, we had tough time
den. After dey get through wid all de work, dey would eat supper den.
Give us rice en corn bread en fresh meat en coffee en sweet tatoe pone.
My Lord, dat sweet tatoe pone was de thing in dem days. Missie, you ain'
never eat no pone bread? Dey take piece of tin en drive nails through it
en grate de raw tatoes on dat. Den dey take a little flour en hot water
en molasses en mix up in dem raw tatoes en bake it in de oven on de
fireplace. Have lid to oven en put fire under de bottom of it en on de
top to get it right done. Some of de time, dey put a little ginger in it
fore it was baked. Cut it in big slices when it get done, but wouldn'
never eat it till dey know it was cold. Missie, de older I gets de more
I does sorrow to go back to dem old constructions dat dey used to have."

"Some of de colored peoples have bresh (brush) shelter whe' dey go to
church in dem days, but all us go to de white folks church. Oh, de
colored peoples go in ox carts, but us white folks have teams en
carriage to ride in. I recollects Mr. Davis carriage look sorta like a
house wid two big horses to pull it. De family would be in de inside en
have seats whe' dey set facing one another. De driver have seat on de
outside in de front en on de back of de carriage was de place to set de

"My daddy was de blacksmith for Mr. Jackie Davis en he could make plows
en hoes en all dem kind of things. He have a circuit dat he go round en
mend things on other white folks plantations. Some of de time, he bring
back more den $100.00 to he boss dat he would make. Go all bout in dat
part of Marion county dat be part of Florence county dose times."

"I hear some peoples say dey knows dere such as ghosts, but I ain' never
have no mind in dat line. All I know bout is what my mamma used to tell
us big chillun when she want us to stay home wid de little chillun en
mind em. Say dere was Raw Head en Bloody Bones in de woods en if us go
off, de child might set de house on fire. Such as dat was to make us
stay home when dey was gone."

"It just dis way, I think freedom a good thing for some people while it
a bad thing for de ones dat don' have a knack to shuffle for dey own
self. When freedom come, some of de colored people didn' know what
freedom was en dey just hang around dey white folks en look to dey Massa
for what dey get right on. Wouldn' get off en make nothin for dey own
self. Dat how-come I think it better for some not to be free cause so
much of worryations ain' good for peoples. Colored peoples never had to
worry bout nothin in slavery time."

  Source: William Henry Davis, age 72, ex-slave, Wahee section
          of Marion Co., S. C.

  Personal interview, August 1937.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  Aug. 24, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


"Sunday, Aug. 1, was my 82nd ~HW: 84th?~] birthday; so I was born in
1853. De very day I come into de world I do not know, but soon my
marster, Starke Sims, begun to train me. Dr. Bill Sims, Marse Stark's
son, was a doctor when I was born. A younger son was called Hal. When
Hal was a boy he said he was gwine off, and when he got to be a man, dat
is what he done; yes sirree, he got scattered off.

"Dr. Bill had done started to doctoring folks befo' I got into dis
world. And first thing dat I recollects is how my marster teached me to
address him. He addressed me as 'Elias, Johnny Elias'. I had to answer,
'Sirs', and dat 'S' always had to be dar to please de marster. All of
his slaves had to address him de same way. Sometimes we would answer,
'Sirs Marster'.

"All de things my marster teached me are still a great help to me. Dis
younger generation does not have de quality dat we old niggers has,
because dey refuse to take de teachings of dere parents and de good
white folks. De main thing dat Marse teached his slaves was
mannerableness. Dat I holds to dis day; 'specially to de white people. I
allus tries to be mannerable to dem. Often I looks back on dat, but both
white and colored is trying to do away wid dem things. Old training is
de best, and I cannot fergit my manners. Never does raal folks fergit
dere raising. Dats what shows up de quality in people. I likes quality
in everything, and as soon as I sees strangers and hears dem talk and
looks at dere action, I can tell how much quality dey got. Dat I sho
can. I never is gwine to drap my raising, don't care what de style
comes to. Dat's jest one thing dat my race and de white race, too, wants
to do away wid. Dey don't hold up no manners and no ra'al raising.

"De school teachers tells de chilluns to say yes and no to me. Dey tells
dem to say de same thing to white folks. Den dey teaches de chilluns to
Mr. and Miss de own race and to call white folks by dere names widout
any handle to it. Dat ain't gwine to work, and any niggers dat has
self-respect jest ain't gwine to call no white folks by dere name. If
you doesn't respect other folks, why den other folks ain't gwine to show
no respect fer you. Why some of my grand chilluns sets up and says 'yes'
and 'no' to me 'stead of 'yes sir' and 'no sir'. But I is right here to
tell you dat my own chilluns don't say 'no' and 'yes' to me. I is
strived wid dem and dey knows how to answer proper to dere elders and to
white folks. I ain't got no time fer dese school teachers dat tells de
pupils to answer in no sech insulting ways as dat. I likes manners and
widout manners folks ain't quality; don't make no diffuns 'bout what
color dey is or how far dey is gone in de reading books. Young'uns
saying 'yes' and 'no' is jest plain ugly. It suits me to meet nice
folks, and when I finds dat dey ain't got mannerableness about dem, den
I concludes dat dey jest ain't nice.

"I gwine to dress up tonight and go to preaching at Mt. Zion. Dey done
already started running meeting dar. I used to preach amongst dem at de
big meetings, but I is retracting now.

"My old marse low to us, 'You is free now, yes sir, you is sho free
niggers now. You is gwine out into de world on your own. Let me tell you
dis: If you be's mannerable you will allus come out more dan conqueror.'
I was young den, and I did not know what 'more dan conqueror' meant
den. I is larn't now what it means. Thank God, I does, fer his telling
me dat. I lays to de fact dat de reason I is never been in jail is dat I
allus had manners. Young'uns acts biggety and den dey lands right
straight in de first jail dar is.

"I sho never went to no war, but I worked at de house in de corn field
a-raising corn fer de war hosses. I been in only two states, North and
South Carolina. I travels jest according to common sense: lets other
folks be my guide. I met up wid Indians; dey wanted to claim kin wid me,
but I wouldn't claim kin wid dem. He tell me bout my high cheeks or
something; den he low something 'bout my nose being long. Dey close
thinking people, dem Indians is. Dey don't fergit nothing. He say he see
I is mixed-up, but I never is knowed jest what he was driving at. I told
him I was teached from de old generation, but dat dar wasn't narry drop
of Indian blood in me. Cherokee Creek whar dat old Indian place is. Dey
has all kinds of things to sell dat dey makes. I ain't no Indian and I
does not feel dat way, no sir, not narry bit does I feel like I is a

"My mother died when I was a wee baby. Never is had no brothers or
sisters. She left me wid her marster dat owned her mother, Kissy Sims.
Marse Starke helped my granny to raise me. Kissy come from Virginia. Her
Pa let a man buy her and three other chilluns. Marse Starke raised dem
all up and dats how dey got his name.

"Dis here man standing here by me is Zack Herndon. We is de oldest
niggers in Cherokee County dat I knows of. De other old ones is all dead
now. Oh, you knows him, does you Zack?

"Never did so awful much work when I was coming up. Dey was priming me
and training me. When dey call my name, I allus come. Often I hid myself
to see de bad niggers whipped. Never had no 'buse in my life. Marse
didn't 'low nobody to look at his niggers when dey was being whipped,
kaise he hated to have to let any of dem be 'bused. Marse Starke sho
never whipped no one dat was good. He never let his overseers 'buse
nobody neither. I does not 'member much 'bout his overseers. One named a
Briggs, one a Bishop, one a Coleman and Alley Cook was de last one; I
'members his name best.

"Marse Starke was a rich man. He had in de Quarter what was know'd as a
chilluns' house. A nurse stayed in it all de time to care fer all de
plantation chilluns. My granny 'Kissy' acted as nurse dar some. Aunt
Peggy and aunt Ciller was two mo'. Ciller was de daughter of a King in
Africa, but dat story been traveling ever since she got to dese shores,
and it still a-gwine. All dese helped to nurse me. Dey fed us on milk,
plenty of it. We had honey, lasses and lots of good things. When I was a
little bit-a boy I had a big bowl to eat out of. And us chilluns et like
hogs and got fat. We allus had fine food. My marster give me a biscuit
sometime from his plate and I wouldn't have tuck 25¢ fer it. He allus
put butter in it or ham and gravy. He would say, 'Dat's de doctrine, Be
kind!' Nobody never got no 'borious beating from our master's hands.

"I been toiling here on dis earth fer a long time. De Lawd spared me to
bring up a big race of chilluns myself. We is awful po' and ain't none
of my chilluns got things as well as I had when my marster give it to
me. My daughter and grand-daughter lives wid Mr. Nathan Littlejohn. He
is rich. I stay in de house wid dem. Dey 'vides wid me dat what dey has.
But dat ain't much. I has great-great-grand chilluns dat I ain't never
seed. I have five chilluns living to my knowings. Last time I counted, I
had 137 grand and great-grand chilluns. So you see I looks into de
fourth generation of my own family.

"Me and Old man Zack went to a hanging one time. Both of us clamed up
into a tree so dat we could look down on de transaction from a better
angle. De man, I means de sheriff, let us go up dar. He let some mo'
niggers clamb up in de same tree wid us. De man dat was being hung was
called Alf Walker. He was a mulatto and he had done kil't a preacher, so
you see dey was hanging him fer his wickedness, sho as you born dey was.

"While me and Zack up in dat tree a-witnessing dat transaction, peers
like we become mo' acquainted wid one another dan we had ever been since
us know'd one another.

"Sheriff 'low'd, 'You is got only fifteen minutes to live in. What has
you got to say?' Alf got up and talked by giving a lecture to folks
about being lawful citizens. He give a lecture also to young folks who
he 'low'd dat was not in sech condition as he was. He talking to dem
'bout obeying de parents and staying at home. Me and Zack exchange
glances and Zack 'low, 'Alf ain't never stayed at home none since he
been big enough to tramp over de country and he up dar fixing to git his
neck broke fer his waryness, and trying to tell us good folks young and
old how us should act. Now ain't he something to be a-telling us what to

"Finally, Alf had done talked his time out and de sheriff 'low, 'Now you
is only got two minutes, what does you want?'

Alf hollered, 'Mr. Sheriff, lemme shake hands wid somebody.' Sheriff say
everybody dat wishes to may shake his hand. Me and Zack stayed up in dat
tree, but some of de niggers went up and shaked hands wid Alf.

"Time out! You could-a heard a pin drap. I could hear my breath
a-coming. I got scared. Zack looked ra'al ashy. Nobody on de ground
moved, jest stayed ra'al quiet and still. Noose drapped over de man's
neck and tightened. Some one moved de block from under his foots. Dat
jerked him down. Whoop! All dem in de tree fell out 'cept me and Zack,
dey was so scared. Alf Walker wasn't no mo'. Me and Zack sot up in dat
tree like two cranks. Us sot dar as if it hadn't tuck no 'fect on us
a-tall. All de other folks got 'fected. Zack tickled me when he saw me
studying. He 'low 'you act awful hard-hearted.' I 'low, 'dat man telling
us how to do jest now, and dar he is hanged. Us still a-setting in dis
tree, ain't we? We ain't never wanted to see no mo' hangings, is we
Zack?' Zack 'low dat we ain't.

"Onc't de guide low'd to de President, 'You raises your hat to a
nigger?' President 'low, 'I ain't gwine to let nobody be mo' polite dan
I is.' He never let nobody have mo' sense dan he did either. Dat was

"Me and Zack is gwine to tell you how it is. We is old and ain't no need
fer old folks to try and fool. I is too shame to beg. I wants de
pension. Is you gwine to tell me 'bout it? Dis de truth, I is took a
chip fer food. If I could got to school and write fast as I can shake my
fist, I'd be a-giving out dat pension right fast. I likes character and
principle. I got a boy turned into 64 years. He got character and
principle, and he still do what I say. I never put my mouth amongst old
folks when I was young. Me and Zack often talks over old times."

  Source: Elias Dawkins (84), Rt. 1, Gaffney, S. C.
          Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. 8/20/37.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  June 3, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage


Upon learning where an ex-slave lived, the writer walked up to a house
on Pickenpack street where two old colored men were sitting on the front
porch. Asked if one of them was named 'Will Dill', the blacker of the
two motioned to himself and said,

"Come here, come in and have a seat," at the same time touching the
porch swing beside him.

He acknowledged that he lived in slavery days, "but was a small boy,
walking and playing around at that time". His master was Zeek Long, who
lived in Anderson County not far from "Three and Twenty Mile Creek' and
used to ask him:--what the rooster said, what the cow said, what the pig
said; and used to get a great deal of amusement out of his kiddish
replies and imitation of each animal and fowl. From his own calculation,
he figured he was born in 1862 in the home of his mother who was owned
by Zeek Long. His father, also, was owned by the same master, but lived
in another house. He remembers when the Yankees came by and asked for
something to eat. When they had gotten this, they went to the corn crib,
which was chock full of corn, and took the corn out, shucked it, and
gave it to their horses. All the good horses had been hidden in the
woods and only two or three old poor ones were left in the stables, but
the Yankees did not take these for they only wanted good horses. He
remembers seeing the patrollers coming around and checking up on the
'niggers'. He had an uncle who used to slip off every night and go to
see some colored girl. He had a path that he followed in going to her

"One night Uncle Bob, he started to go see his gal, and it was pretty
late, but he followed his path. There were some paterollers out looking
for him, and t'rectly they saw him. Uncle Bob lit out running and the
paterollers started running, too. Here they had it up and down the path.
Uncle Bob, he knew there was a big ditch crossing the path, but the
paterollers didn't know it; so when Uncle Bob got to the gully, he
jumped right over it and run on, but one of the patrollers fell into the
gully and broke his neck. After dat, Uncle Bob, he stayed in and kept
quiet, for he knew the paterollers had it in for him."

He asked the writer if he had ever heard a chicken talk. He said that he
had, and described a scene at the house one day when a preacher was
there. The chickens and guineas came around the house as usual to get
their feed, but didn't get it. He "quoted" the rooster as saying; "Has
the preacher gone yet?" A guinea hen answered, "not yet--not yet".

He said that he often heard turkeys talk. They would ask each other
questions, and another fowl would answer. He once heard a mule that was
in the barn, say: "Lord! Lord! All I want is corn and fodder."

Being told by the negro who was sitting beside him, that he did not
believe animals and fowls could talk, he at once said:

"Sure--roosters and gobblers can talk, one day there was a turkey hen
and a lots of little turkeys scratching around a certain place on a
hill, the little turkeys were heard to say, 'Please mam, please mam'. An
old gobbler standing and strutting near, cried out, 'Get the hell out of
here'. The turkey hen then moved to another place to feed."

He said that he gets out in his porch early in the mornings and whistles
to the birds, and that soon a large flock of birds are all around him.
Offering to demonstrate his ability, he began to whistle in a peculiar
way. Soon thereafter, two or three English sparrows flew into the yard
from nearby trees.

"See thar! See thar!" he said, pointing to them.

"When the war was over," he continued, "we stayed on at Marster's
plantation for some time. I grew up, and was always a fellow who liked
hard work. I have railroaded, was a tree doctor, helped dig wells and
did a lot of hard work. The white people was always pleased with my work
and told me so. I went down a well once to help clean it out. It looked
like to me that well was caving in above me; so I hollered for them to
pull me out. When I got out, I told them I wasn't going down no wells
any more unless somebody threw me in."

He said that he had seen lots of wild turkeys when he was a boy. One day
when he was going to get some "bacco" for his aunt, he saw a hen and a
lot of little turkeys--

"I run after the little wild turkeys but I never kotched a one. That old
mother hen would fly from one limb in a tree to another limb in another
tree and call them. They was the runningest things I ever saw. I nearly
run myself to death but I never did get one."

Every now and them, he said, one of the men on the plantation would
shoot a wild hog and we would have plenty of meat to eat. The hogs ran
wild in those days, he said.

"I never saw a ghost," he said, "unless it was one night when we boys
was out with our dogs 'possum hunting. The dogs treed a possum in a
little scrubby tree. I was always a good climber; so I went up the tree
to shake the 'possum out. I shook and shook but the 'possum would not
fall out of the tree. I shook so hard that my hat fell off and I told
the niggers not to let the dogs tear my hat. That was no skunk in the
tree, 'cause we couldn't smell anything, but when I looked again at the
'possum, or whatever it was, it got bigger and bigger. I scrambled down
the tree right away, nearly falling out of it, but I wanted to get away.
The dogs acted kinda scared; yet they would run up to the tree and bark.
One old dog I had did not bark, he just hollered. We left the thing in
the tree. I don't know what it was, but it warn't no 'possum, for I'd
shook it out of the tree if it had been."

In further discussing the subject of fowls in talking among themselves,
he said that he had often noticed a rooster and some hens standing
around in the shade talking.

"The rooster will say something and the hens will listen; then answer
him back, 'yes'. One day I heard a turkey hen say, 'we are poor, we are
poor'. The old turkey gobbler said, 'well, who in the hell can help it.'
Yes sir, they talk just like we do, but 'taint everybody can understand

He said that he had fifteen children by his first wife. He remained
single for thirteen years after his wife's death, and never had any
children by his second wife.

"Do you reckon we'll ever get a pension in our old age?" he asked. "It
seems to me they would give us old fellows something to live on, for we
can't work. How can we live now-a-days? When a man has done good work
when he was able, the country ought to take care of him in his old age.

"I was a hand for hard work all my life. I was raised that way; but now,
that I can't do nothing, it looks like the state ought to take care of

"My father told me when I was sitting up to a gal and I told him I was
gwinter marry her, 'Son don't you never cut that woman across the back,
for as sure as you do, that cut will be against you on Judgement Day."

"When I was laid up with the misery in my side, my feet swelled up and
busted, and I had a awful hurting in my side and back. People wanted me
to believe I had been conjured, but I did not believe it, and I told
them I would eat all the stuff that a conjure man could bring. Anybody
that believes in conjuring is just a liar. God is the only a person who
can bring suffering on people. He don't want to do it, but it's because
we do something He don't want us to when He makes people suffer. It is
the bugger man that does it."

"Uncle" Will said that his father and mother were married by a
"jack-leg" preacher who, when told that they wanted to get married, had
them both to jump backwards and forwards over a broom. He then told them
that they were man and wife.

  Source: Will Dill, 555 Pickenpack St., Spartanburg, S. C.
  Interviewer: F. S. DuPre, Spartanburg, Dist. 4 5/19/37

  W. W. Dixon
  Winnsboro, S. C.


Tom Dixon, a mulatto, is a superannuated minister of the Gospel. He
lives in Winnsboro, S. C., at the corner of Moultrie and Crawford
Streets. He is duly certified and registered as an old age pensioner and
draws a pension of $8.00 per month from the Welfare Board of South
Carolina. He is incapable of laborious exercise.

"I was born in 1862, thirteen miles northeast of Columbia, S. C., on the
border line of Kershaw and Fairfield Counties. My mother was a slave of
Captain Moultrie Gibbes. My father was white, as you can see. My mother
was the cook for my white folks; her name was Malinda. She was born a
slave of Mr. Tillman Lee Dixon of Liberty Hill. After she learned to
cook, my marster bought her from her master and paid $1,200.00 for her.
After freedom, us took the name of Dixon.

"My mistress in slavery time was Miss Mary. She was a Clark before she
married Marse Moultrie. I was nothing but a baby when the war ended and
freedom come to our race. I lived on my marster's Wateree River
plantation, with mother, until he sold it and went into the hotel
business at Union, S. C.

"My mother then went to Columbia, S. C., and I attended Benedict
College. I became a preacher in 1886, the year of the earthquake. That
earthquake drove many sinners to their knees, me amongst them; and, when
I got up, I resolved to be a soldier of the cross, and every since I
have carried the shield of faith in my left hand and the sword of the
Word in my right hand.

"The night I was converted, the moon was shining brightly. We was all at
a revival meeting out from Blythewood, then called Dako, S. C. First, we
heard a low murmur or rolling sound like distant thunder, immediately
followed by the swaying of the church and a cracking sound from the
joists and rafters of the building. The women folks set up a screaming.
The men folks set up a hollering: 'Oh Lordy! Jesus save me! We believe!
Come Almighty King!' The preacher tried to quiet us, but we run out the
church in the moonlight, men and women crying and praying. The preacher,
Rev. Charlie Moore, continued the services outside and opened the doors
of the church, and every blessed soul come forward and joined the

"I married Fannie Irwin, and God blessed us all the days of her life. My
daughter, Maggie, married a Collins and lives in the Harlem section of
New York City. My daughter, Sallie, lives also in Harlem, Greenville
Village. Malinda, named for my mother, lives and works in Columbia, S.

"On the death of my wife, Fannie, I courted and married the widow Lizzie
Williams. The house we live in is her own property. She had two children
when we married, a boy and a girl. The boy got killed at the schoolhouse
two years ago. The girl is working in Columbia, S. C. I am a
superannuated minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and
receive a small sum of money from the denomination, yearly. The amount
varies in different years. At no time is it sufficient to keep me in
food and clothing and support.

"I have taken nothing to do with politics all my life, but my race has
been completely transformed, in that regard, since Mr. Roosevelt has
been President. Left to a popular vote of the race, Mr. Roosevelt would
get the solid South, against any other man on any ticket he might run
on. He is God Almighty's gentleman. By that, I mean he is brave in the
presence of the blue-bloods, kind in the presence of the common people,
and gentle to the lowly and despised Negro."

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, Dist. 4
  Dec. 1, 1937
  Edited by: Elmer Turnage

  [~HW: (Dorroh~]

"I live wid my daughter in a four-room house which we rents from Doc
Hunter. He got it in charge. My husband died several years ago.

"My daddy was Harvey Pratt, and he belonged to Marse Bob Pratt in
Newberry. My mammy was Mary Fair, and she belonged in slavery to marse
Simeon Fair. When dey married dey had a big wedding. Marse didn't make
slave women marry men if dey didn't want to. Befo' my mammy and daddy
married, somebody give a note to take to Mrs. Fair, her mistress.
Mistress wouldn't tell what was in it, but daddy run every step of de
way, he was so glad dey would let 'em marry.

"Col. Simeon Fair had a big fish pond on his place down on de branch
behind his house, and he had a milkhouse, too. (This is where the
Margaret Hunter Park is).

"My great-grandmother come from Virginia. She was bought by Marse Fair
from a speculator's drove. Slaves had good places to live in and
everything to eat. Old Marse sho cared for his slaves. He give 'em
plenty of clothes and good things to eat. On Sundays dey had to go to de
white folks' church and he made dem put on new clean clothes dat he give

"I was born about two years befo' freedom, and I lost my mammy right
atter de war. I remember about de Ku Klux and Red Shirts.

"Everything we had was made at home, or on marster's big plantation in
de country. Marse told his son, Billy, befo' he died to take care of his
niggers and see dat dey didn't want for nothing.

"Marse made de slaves work all day and sometimes on Saturdays, but he
never let 'em work at night. Sometimes on de plantation dey had
corn-shuckings and log-rollings; den dey give de hands good dinners and
some whiskey to drink.

"One old nigger had a weak back and couldn't work much, so he use to
play marbles in de yard wid de kids most every day.

"Slaves couldn't go away from de place unless dey had a pass from de
marse to show de patrollers when dey caught dem out.

"My daddy use to cook at de old Newberry Hotel. He was one of de finest
cooks in dis part of de country. De hotel was a small wooden frame
building wid a long front piazza. In de back was a small wooden two-room
house dat servants lived in. Atter de war, de 'little guard house' stood
jes' behind where de opera house now is.

"Some of de slaves learned to read and write. Marse didn't keep dem from
learning if dey wanted to. Niggers used to sing, 'I am born to die'. Dey
learn't it from Marse Ramage's son, 'Jock' Ramage. He learn't 'em to
sing it.

"Atter de war, Marse told de niggers dey was free. Most of dem stayed on
wid him and took his name. Slaves most always took de name of deir

"My mother married at Thomas Pope's place, and he had old man Ned
Pearson, a nigger who could read and write, to marry 'em. He married
lots of niggers den. Atter de war many niggers married over agin, 'cause
dey didn't know if de first marriage was good or not.

"Marse Fair let his niggers have dances and frolics on his plantation,
and on Saturdays dey danced till 12 o'clock midnight. Sometimes dey
danced jigs, too, in a circle, jumping up and down. In dese times de
young folks dance way into Sunday mornings, and nobody to stop 'em, but
Marse wouldn't let his slaves dance atter 12 o'clock.

"Everybody believed in ghosts. Nobody would pass by a graveyard on a
dark night, and dese days dey go to cemeteries to do deir mischief, at
night and not afraid. Doctors used to have home-made medicines. Old Dr.
Brown made medicine from a root herb to cure rheumatism. He called it
'rhue'. He lived in what is now called Graveltown. His old house has
been torn down. He made hot teas from barks for fevers. He made a liquid
salve to rub on for rheumatism.

"When freedom come most of de slaves stayed on. Some man come here to
make a speech to de slaves. He spoke in Marse Fair's yard to a big crowd
of niggers and told dem to stay on and work for wages. When de Yankees
come through here, dey stole everything dey could git deir hands on. Dey
went in de house and took food and articles. Marse put guards around his
house to keep dem out so dey wouldn't steal all de potatoes and flour he
had for his slaves. Ku Klux went around de country and caught niggers
and carpetbaggers. De carpetbaggers would hunt up chillun's lands, whose
daddys was killed and try to take dem. Dat was when Judge Leheigh was
here, and Capt. Bone was postmaster. Dey was Republicans, but when de
Democrats got in power dey stopped all dat.

"When I married John Dorroh I had a big wedding. We married at de Harp
place in Newberry, jes' behind de big house, in a nigger cottage. White
folks and niggers come. I was known amongst de best white families
'cause I served as cook for dem. I was married by Rev. J. K. Walls, a
nigger preacher from Charleston.

"I think slavery ended through de work of Almighty God. My mother always
said dat was it. My daddy left here and went to Memphis when I was five
years old. He sent home $40. He was in de army wid Major James Baxter.
He took care of de guns and things of de Major."

  Source: Isabella Dorroh (N, 75), Newberry, S. C.
          Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. 11/22/27.

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg, S. C.
  May 31, 1937
  Edited by: Martha Ritter


"I was born in Newberry County, S. C. below Prosperity on Capt. George
De Walt's place. My daddy and mammy was Giles and Lizzie De Walt
Downing. My daddy belonged to de Outz family, but changed his name to
Downing--his master was Downing Outz. I was born about 1857. My mother
had 16 children, some died young.

I was a little chap when the war was here, but I remember de soldiers
coming home from de war. De Yankees went through here and stole all the
cattle and all the eats. De Ku Klux marched down de road dressed in
white sheets. Freedom come and most of the slaves went away, but I
stayed on wid Marse De Walt. Daddy worked wid Downing Outz for wages.
When I was 15 years old I worked in de fields like grown folks. I never
learned to read and write. We had no schools then for colored people. De
only church we had after freedom come was a small "brush arbor" church.

"We hunted rabbits, 'possums, squirrels, wild turkeys, doves and
partridges there.

"I joined de church when I was 20 years old, 'cause I thought times
would be better for me then. Of course, I kind of back-slided little
afterwards, but always tried to do right.

  Source: Laurence Downing (80), Newberry, S. C.
          Interviewer: G. Leland Sumer, Newberry, S. C.

  Project 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, Jane 23, 1937

  Ex-Slave, 90 years

"Dis heah sho' Washington Dozier. Dat is wha' de hard time left uv him.
I born en raise dere in Florence County de 18th uv December, 1847. Don'
know 'xactly wha' my father name, but my mudder tell me he wuz name
Dozier. My mudder wuz Becky en she b'long to ole man Wiles Gregg dere on
de Charleston road. I hab two sisters en one brother, but not uv one
father. I s'ppose brother Henry wuz me whole brother en Fannie en
Ca'oline wuz jes me half sister."

"Well, dey ne'er hab so mucha sumptin, but I recollect dey make dey own
produce den. Oh, dey lib very well. We call it good libin' at dat time.
Coase de bedding de colored peoples hab wasn't much cause dey jes hab
some kind uv home-made stuff den. We raise in a t'ree room house wha'
hab floor on two uv de room. Hab house right dere on de Gregg
plantation. Family went from age to age in dat day en time wid dey own
Massa name. I 'member my gra'mudder was name Fannie Gregg. Now, I tell
yuh how I 'count fa me hab de name Dozier, I jes s'ppose dat come from
me father."

"Hadder do some sorta work in dem days lak hoe corn en replant en so on
lak dat, but ne'er didn't do no man work. Wuz jes uh half hand, dat is
'bout so. Dey gi'e us plenty sumptin to eat den, but ne'er pay us no
money. Coase dey didn't 'low us no choice uv wha' we eat at dat time.
Hab plenty meat en corn bread en molasses mos' aw de time. Den dey le'
us hab uh garden uv we own en we hunt possum many uh time en ketch fish
too. Meat was de t'ing dat I lak mostly."

"Dey gi'e us good clothes to put on us back wha' dey hab make on de
plantation en in de winter, dey gi'e us good warm clothes. Jes wear
wha'e'er de white folks gi'e us. Didn't take no 'ffect tall 'bout Sunday

"Fust time I marry I hab uh very good wedding. Marry ole man Gurley
daughter o'er in Florence County. Don' know 'xactly how ole I was den,
but I c'n tell yah dis much, I wasn't in no herry to marry. Aw colored
peoples hadder do to marry den wuz to go to dey Massa en ge' uh permit
en consider demselves man en wife. I recollect dat we hab a very good
wedding supper dere. I marry Georgeanna de second time en I hab four
head uv chillun by me fust wife en four head uv chillun by me second
wife. Ne'er couldn't tell how many gran'chillun I got."

My Massa en Missus wuz mighty pious good people. Dey go to preachin'
dere to Hopewell Presbyterian Chu'ch aw de time. De man wha' wuz de
preacher dere den wuz name Frierson. De colored peoples go dere to dat
same chu'ch en sot en de gallery. Yuh know dere spirituals hymns en dere
reels. I c'n sing one uv dem dat I use'er sing in my slumberin' hours.
It go lak dis:

  Chillun, wha' yuh gwinna do in de jedgment mornin'?
  Chillun, wha' yuh gwinna do in de jedgment mornin'?
  Oh Chillun, wha' yuh gwinna do in de jedgment mornin'
  When ole Gable go down on de seashore?

  He gwinna place one foot in de sea
  En de udder on de land,
  En declare tha' time would be no more,
  Chillun, wha' yuh gwinna do?

  Chillun, wha' yah gwinna do in de jedgment mornin'?
  Chillun, wha' yah gwinna do in de jedgment mornin'?
  Then chillun, wha' yuh gwinna do
  When ole Gable go down on de seashore?

  He gwinna place one foot in de sea
  En de udder on de land,
  En declare tha' time would be no more,
  Then chillun, wha' yuh gwinna do in de jedgment mornin'?

"Now de angels sing dat to me in my slumberin' hour en dey sing it dat I
might gi'e it to de libin' heah on dis earth. Well, I know right smart
uv dem song cause accordin' to my 'sperience, de hymn book wha' to fence
de human family in. I got ah good set uv lungs en I wuz de one wha' lead
de flock den. Dere jes one grand reason why I can' sing right well dis
a'ternoon, yuh is take me on de surprise lak."

"I was jes uh chap in slavery time en I hadder stay dere home aw de time
whey dere didn't no harm come 'bout me. Dey le' we chillun play marbles
en ball aw we wanna den. Jes chunk de ball to one annuder o'er de house.
Dat how we play ball in dem times. My white folks didn't do nuthin but
stay home en go to chu'ch meetin's. Dey ne'er didn't punish none uv dey
colored peoples en didn' 'low no udder people to do it neither. I
couldn't tell yah how many slave dey own but dey hab more slave by de
increase uv dey families. Dey hab so many dat some uv de time dey'ud
hire some uv dem out to annuder plantation. Ne'er didn't see em sell
none uv dey colored peoples. I know dis much, dat wuz uh right good
place to lib."

"I heared tell uv trouble 'tween de whites en de colored peoples, but
dere wuzn't none uv dat 'round whey I stay. Dey say some uv de slave run
'way fa bad treatment en stay in de woods. Didn't hab no jails den en
when dey'd ketch em, dey'ud buff em en gag em en hoss whip em. Now, I
ne'er see none uv dat but I heared tell uv it."

"My Massa ne'er didn't work us hard lak. Coase uz de day' ud come, de
hands hadder go up to de big house en go 'bout dey business, but dey
al'ays knock offen early on uh Saturday evenin' en le' everbody do jes
wha' dey wanna dere on de plantation. Ne'er didn't use no horn to wake
dey colored peoples up en didn't wake em work en de big Christmus day en
New Years' neither. Ne'er hab no udder holidays but dem two. My Massa
gi'e aw his colored peoples uh big Christmus dinner to de white folks
house. Jes hab plenty uv fresh meat en rice en biscuit en cake fa
eve'ybody dat day."

"Dey hab funeral fa de colored peoples den jes lak dey hab dese days
'cept dey ne'er hab no preacher 'bout. Aw de slaves stop workin' fa de
funeral en dey'ud jes carry de body en permit it to de ground uz wuz de
usual t'ing dey do. Coase dey hab plenty singin' dere."

"Dem t'ing wha' people call ghostes, dey is evil walks. I know dis much,
de sperit uv de body travels en dat de truth sho' uz I libin' heah.
Coase I ain' ne'er see none uv dem t'ing en I ain' scared uv nuthin
neither. Don' ne'er pay no 'ttention to no black cat en t'ing lak dat.
Ain' bother wid none uv dem charm neither. De peoples use'er hab dey own
doc'or book en dey search dat en use wha' it say do. Dey ne'er use no
me'icine tall den but calomel en castor oil en turpentine."

"I sho' 'member when de fust gun shoot dere to Fort Sumter. Us fer uz I
c'n recollect, it wuz in June. De Yankees come t'rough dere en to my
knowin', dey 'haved very well. Jes ax my Massa fa sumptin to eat en dat
wuz aw dey done. Dere sho' wuz uh rejoicing 'mongest some uv de colored
peoples when dey tell em dey wuz free uz de white folks wuz. Some uv dem
leab dey Massa plantation jes uz soon uz dey know'd dey wuz free, but we
ne'er do dat. Jes stayed right on dere wid Mr. Gregg en work fa
one-third uv wha' dey make. Coase de white folks furnish aw de wear en
tear uv eve't'ing."

"Dey ain' ne'er hab no schools fa de colored peoples no whey 'bout whey
I stay 'fore freedom come heah. Won' long a'ter de war dat free schools
wuz open up dere. It jes lak dis, I ain' bother wid dem schools mucha
den, but I c'n read right smart. Jes ketch it uz I come 'long en wha' I
kotch, I put dat to work. I is went to one uv dese night schools dey hab
'bout heah not long gone."

"Mr. Abraham Lincoln, I ain' ne'er see him, but I know he wuz de
President uv de United States. Ain' ne'er see Mr. Jefferson Davis
neither. Dey wus oppositionalist den, I sho' know dat."

"It jes lak dis, I t'ink dis uh better day we lib in dese times. When we
b'long to de white folks, we lib, en a'ter we wuz free we lib right on.
I t'ink being free de best time to lib. Better to be loose den tied
cause don' care how good yo' owner, yuh hadder be under dey
jurisdiction. Ain' dat right?"

  Source: Washington Dozier, age 90, colored, Pee Dee, Marion
  Co. (Personal interview, June 1937).

  Project 1885-1
  Spartanburg Dist. 4
  Sept. 22, 1937
  Edited by:
  Elmer Turnage

  [~HW: Duk~]

"Vinie Wilkins is my daughter's name dat live wid me. My son owns dis
house and he keeps it up fer me and his sister. I's born on de bank of
Cherokee Creek, but I jest 'members how many years I stayed dar. Atter
Freedom had been a long time, we moved to Mr. Chesterfield Scruggs'
plantation whar we share cropped. It was on de old Spartanburg road from
here to Spartanburg.

"I was purtty good-size chile when de Ku Klux come and tried to git my
daddy. Dey whipped him; den he run off and stayed off fer over seven
years. Dem Ku Klux was in all kinds of shapes, wid horns and things on
dere heads. Dey was so scary looking dat I ain't never fergot dem. Dem's
de awfulest 'boogers' I is ever see'd befo' or since. I was in de bed
and so was Pa, but dey broke in our do' and got him. I kivvered up my
head and did not make narry a sound. Dat's all dat I can recollect now."

  Source: Alice Duke (72), 401 Woods St., Gaffney, S. C.
          Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. 9/16/37

  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, June 9, 1937


"I don' know 'xactly when I wuz born but I hear my white folks say dat I
wuz born de fust (first) year uv freedom. I I c'n tell yuh dis much dat
I wuz uh grown 'oman when de shake wuz. Aw de older peoples wuz at de
chu'ch en ha' left us home to take care uv aw dem little chillun. Fust
t'ing we is know de house 'gin to quiver lak. We ne'er know wha' been to
matter en den de house 'gin to rock en rock en rock. We wuz so scare we
run outer in de yard en eve't'ing outer dere wuz jes uh shaking jes lak
de house wuz. We ne'er know wha' to do. Den we heared de peoples comin'
from de chu'ch jes uh runnin' en uh hollerin'. Didn't nobody know wha'
make dat. I tellin yuh jes lak dat wuz, de jedgment ain' ne'er been no
closer come heah den when dat shake was."

"My mudder wuz name Clorrie en she b'long to Miss Millie Gasque up de
road dere. I born in Miss Millie yard en I stay dere till I wuz six year
old. My pa say I wuz six year old. He been ole man Vidger Hanes en
b'long to Mr. Wesley White o'er dere 'bout laughin 'fore freedom 'clare.
A'ter dat we move on de hill en my pa hire me dere to Colonel Durant to
wash dishes en help 'bout de kitchen. Den dey put me to do de washin' en
I been uh washin' en uh washin' mos' e'er since. Dats de way I done till
I ge' so I ne'er couldn't make it en den I hadder quit offen. Dat how
come I hab aw dese pretty flowers. Miss Durant gi'e me aw dem dahlia
wha' yuh see in dat yard right dere. Dat how I ge' wha' little bit uv
money I hab dese day en time. Dem white folks up dere in town comes down
heah en begs em from me."

"Dey tell me some uv de peoples ge' 'long good en den some uv dem ge'
'long bad back dere in slavery day. Don' care how good peoples is dere
sho' be uh odd'un de crowd some uv de time. Dey say some uv de colored
peoples'ud run 'way from dey Massa en hide in de woods. Den dey slip
back to de plantation in de night en ge' green corn outer de white folks
field en carry em back in de woods en cook em dere. I hear Tom Bostick
tell 'bout when he run 'way one time. Say he use'er run 'way en hide in
de woods aw de time. Den de o'erseer ketch him one time when he been
come back en wuz grabblin' 'bout de tatoe patch. Say he gwinna make Tom
Bostick stay outer de woods ur kill him 'fore sun up dat day. Tom say
dey take him down 'side de woods en strip he clothes offen him. (I hear
em say dere plenty people bury down 'side dem woods dat dere ain' nobody
know 'bout). Den he say dey tie him to uh tree en take uh fat light'ud
torch en le' de juice drap outer it right on he naked body. He say he
holler en he beg en he ax em hab mercy but dat ne'er didn't do no good.
He mock how de tar make uh racket when it drap on he skin. Yuh know it
gwinna make uh racke't. Dat t'ing gwinna make uh racket when it drap on
anyt'ing wha' fresh. Ain' yuh ne'er hear no hot grease sizzle lak?
Yas'um, hear Tom Bostick tell dat more times den I got fingers en toe."

"Den dey'ud hab sale en sell some uv de colored peoples offen to annuder
plantation hundred mile 'way some uv de time. 'Vide man en he wife. Dey
sho' done it. I hear pa tell 'bout dat. Make em stand up on uh stump en
bid em offen dere jes lak dey wuz hoss. Pa say dey sell he brother Elic
wife 'way wid de onlyest child dey hab. Ne'er didn't see dat wife en
child no more."

"Coase de le' de colored peoples visit 'round from one plantation to
annuder but dey hadder hab uh ticke' wid em. Effen dey meet em in de
road en dey ne'er hab dat ticke' somewhey 'bout on em, dey hadder take
wha' follow. Ne'er 'low em to hab no udder paper 'bout em no whey. Effen
dey see em wid uh paper, dey ax em 'bout it en effen it ne'er been uh
ticke', dey mighty apt to gi'e em uh good t'rashin'."

"Dey tell me some uv de colored peoples use'er take t'ing from dey
Massa, but I ain' ne'er see em do none uv dat on my white folks
plantation. Ne'er hadder take nuthin dere. Ge' 'nough meal en meat dere
to de big house eve'y Friday to las' em aw t'rough de week. Reckon de
ration wuz more wholesome den in dat day en time cause dey take time en
cook dey t'ing done. Hadder cook in de fireplace. Dat how dey done. I
'member wha' good t'ings my ole mammy use'er cook in dat spider. Jes set
it on de coals en keep uh turnin' it 'bout wid de handle. Dere ain'
ne'er nuthin eat no better den dat ash cake she use'er make fa we
chillun. Yuh ain' ne'er hear tell 'bout dat. Jes ster (stir) up uh nice
hoecake en wrap it up in oak leaves wha' right sorta wet. Den yuh rake
uh heap uv ash togedder en lay yuh hoecake on dat en kiver it up wid
some more ash. Yuh le' it cook right done en den yuh take it up en wash
it offen en it ready to eat. Us chillun lub dat den."

"Annuder t'ing dat eat right smart in dem days wuz dat t'ing call big
hominy. Dey jes ge' some whole grain corn en put it in de pot en boil it
long time. Den dey take it offen de fire en pour lye water aw o'er it.
Dey do dat to ge' de husk offen it. Soak ash outer de fire en ge' dat
lye water. Den dey hadder take it to de well outer in de yard en wash it
uh heap uv time to ge' dat lye outer it. A'ter dat dey season it wid
salt en pepper en cook it annuder time. No 'mam, dey ne'er eat it wid no
butter. Jes drap it in de grease wha' left in de pan a'ter dey fry de
meat en make it right brown lak. Dat de way dey cook dey big hominy."

"Folks don' hab time to do t'ings in de right way lak dey use'er cause
de world gwine too fas' dese day en time. Dese people comin' up 'bout
heah dese days ain' gwinna ne'er quit habin' so mucha belly ache long uz
dey ain' stop eatin' aw dem half done ration dey is eat. Coase de
peoples wiser now but dey weaker. De peoples wuz more humble in dem
days. When dey didn't hab no rain, dey ge' togedder en pray fa rain en
dey ge' it too. I tellin' yuh peoples gotta work effen dey gwinna ge' to
de right place when dey leab heah. Effen de peoples ne'er didn't go to
chu'ch in dem days, dey stay home. Ne'er see chillun in de road on
Sunday eve'y which uh way lak yunnah see em dese days. My pa say yuh
mus' train up uh child in de way he oughta go en den effen dey stray
'way, dey sho' come back a'ter while. I tellin' yuh de peoples ain' lak
dey use'er wuz. Dey sho' wickeder en worser in dis day en time den when
I raise up. Dey wuz more friendly den en do more favor fa peoples. It
jes lak dis, I ain' gwinna do nobody no harm. Effen I can' do em no
good, ain' gwinna do no harm en ain' gwinna 'buse em neither."

  Source: Aunt Silva Durant, colored, Marion, S. C.
          Personal interview, May 1937.

  Project, 1885-(1)
  Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis
  Place, Marion, S. C.
  Date, October 21, 1937

  Ex-Slave, 72 Years

"Well, I tell you just like it been. Dat was an unexpectin trip when you
come here dat day en I wasn' thinkin bout much dat I had know to tell
you. It been kind o' put me on a wonder."

"You see, child, I never didn' see my grandfather cause when I was born,
dey had done sold him away. I hear tell dat sometimes dey would take de
wife from dey husband en another time dey would take de husband from dey
wife en sell dem off yonder somewhe' en never didn' see dem no more
neither. Yes, I sho know dat cause I hear my father speak bout dat
plenty times. Yes, mam, dey sold my uncle's wife away en he never didn'
see her no more till after freedom come en he done been married again
den. Speculators carried my mother's first husband off en den she
married again. Cose I was born of de second husband en dat ain' been

"I hear talk bout dat didn' none of de colored people have nothin in
slavery time en heap of dem wasn' allowed to pick up a paper or nothin
no time. Often hear dem talk dat some of de niggers was freed long time
fore dey know bout it. Hear dem say some white folks hold dem long time
till dey could make out to get somethin for demselves. Don' think so.
Don' think so. No, mam, don' think so. Dey might been intended for dem
to get somethin when dey was freed, but I never learn of nobody gettin
nothin. Cose I often heard my father say some white folks thought more
bout dey colored people den others en hope dem out more. Hear tell dat
didn' none of dem have no clothes much den. No, mam, colored people won'
bless wid no clothes much in dem days. I remember dey had to wear dese
old big shoes, call brogans, wid brass all cross de toes here. Nobody
don' wear nothin like dat now. Dey was coarse shoes. Some say plenty of
de people had to go barefooted all de time in dem days. Reckon dat would
kill de people in dis day en time. Couldn' stand nothin like dat. Yes,
mam, see Tom Bostick walk right cross dat field many a day just as
barefooted as he come in de world en all de ground would be covered over
wid ice en snow. De people get after him en he say, 'Well, I had worser
den dis to go through wid in slavery time.' Say he come up dat way en he
never know no difference den dat he had thick shoe on his foot."

"Well, you see, some of de white folks would spare dey colored people so
much ration when dey knock off work on a Saturday to last dem till de
next Saturday come. Hear tell dey give dem a peck of meal en a little
molasses en a hog jowl en dat had to last dem all de week. Dem what use
a little tobacco, give dem a plug of dat en give dem a little flour for
Sunday. Didn' nobody have to work on Sunday en den dey would allow dem
two days off for Christmas too. I tellin you bout how my white folks
would do, but dem what had a rough Massa, dey just got one day. I hear
dem say dey always had a little flour on Christmas. Don' know what else
dey give dem, but won' nothin much. I know dat. Sho know dat."

"I hear say two intelligent people didn' live so far apart en one never
treat dey colored people right en being as dey wasn' allowed to go from
one place to another widout dey had a ticket wid dem, dey would steal
somethin en run away. Say de just man tell dat other man dat if he would
feed his niggers right, dey wouldn' have no need to be stealin so much
things. No'um, I does hate to tell dat. Cose dey say dey done it. Say de
overseer would beat dem up dat never do what he tell dem to do mighty
bad en wouldn' be particular bout whe' dey was buried neither. Hear talk
dat dey bury heap of dem in a big hole down side de woods somewhe'. Cose
I don' know whe' dat word true or not, but dat what dey tell me."

"Oo--oo--yes, mam, dey sho whip de colored women in dem days. Yes, mam,
de overseer done it cause I hear dem say dat myself. Tell dat dey take
de wives en whip de blood out dem en de husband never didn' dare to say
nothin. Hear dey whip some so bad dey had to grease dem. If de colored
people didn' do to suit de white folks, dey sho whip dem. No, mam, if
dey put you out to work, ain' nobody think dey gwine lay down under de
bresh (brush) en stay dere widout doin dey portion of work. Yes, child,
hear bout dat more times, den I got fingers en toes."

"Oh, de times be worser in a way dese days. Yes, mam, dey sho worser in
a way. De people be wiser now den what dey used to be, but dere so much
gwine on, dey ain' thinkin bout dey welfare no time en dat'll shorten
anybody days. Oh, honey, we livin in a fast world dese days. Peoples
used to help one another out more en didn' somebody be tryin to pull you
down all de time. When you is found a wicked one in dat day en time, it
been a wicked one. Cose de people be more intelligent in learnin dese
days, but I'm tellin you dere a lot of other things got to build you up
'sides learnin. Dere one can get up to make a speech what ain' got no
learnin en dey can just preach de finest kind of speech. Say dey ain'
know one thing dey gwine say fore dey get up dere. Folks claim dem kind
of people been bless wid plenty good mother wit. Den another time one
dat have de learnin widout de mother wit can get up en seem like dey
just don' know whe' to place de next word. Yes, mam, I hear dat often."

"What I meant by what I say bout de wicked one? I meant when you found a
wild one, it been a wild one for true. I mean you better not meddle wid
one like dat cause dey don' never care what dey do. People look like dey
used to care more for dey lives den dey do dese days. Dat what I meant,
but you can weigh dat like you want to. You see, dere be different ways
for people to hurt demselves."

"Oh, my soul, hear talk bout dere be ghosts en hants, but I never didn'
experience nothin like dat. Yes, mam, I hear too much of dat. Been
hearin bout dat ever since I been in a manner grown, you may say. I hear
people say dey see dem, but I ain' take up no time wid nothin like dat.
I have a mind like dis, if such a thing be true, it ain' intended for
everybody to see dem. I gwine tell you far as I know bout it. I hear
dese old people say when anybody child born wid a caul over dey face,
dey can always see dem things en dem what ain' born dat way, dey don'
see dem. Cose I don' know nothin bout what dat is en I is hate to tell
it, but I hear lot of people say dey can see hants en ghosts all time of
a night. Yes'um, I hear de older people say dat, but I don' know whe' it
true or no. I know I don' see nothin myself, but de wind. Don' see dat,
but I feels it."

"Oh, my God, some people believe in dat thing call conjurin, but I didn'
never believe in nothin like dat. Never didn' understand nothin like
dat. Hear say people could make you leave home en all dat, but I never
couldn' see into it. Never didn' believe in it."

"Yes, mam, I see plenty people wear dem dimes round dey ankle en all
kind of things on dey body, but never didn' see my mother do nothin like
dat. I gwine tell you it just like I got it. Hear talk dat some would
wear dem for luck en some tote dem to keep people from hurtin dem. I got
a silver dime in de house dere in my trunk right to dis same day dat I
used to wear on a string of beads, but I took it off. No, mam, couldn'
stand nothin like dat. Den some peoples keeps a bag of asafetida tied
round dey neck to keep off sickness. Folks put it on dey chillun to keep
dem from havin worms. I never didn' wear none in my life, but I know it
been a good thing for people, especially chillun. Let me see, dere a
heap of other things dat I learn bout been good for people to wear for
sickness. Dere been nutmeg dat some people make a hole in en wear it
round dey neck. I forget whether it been good for neuralgia or some of
dem other body ailments, but I know it won' for no conjurin."

"Honey, pa always say dat you couldn' expect no more from a child den
you puts in dey raisin. Pa say, 'Sylvia, raise up your chillun in de
right way en dey'll smile on you in your old age.' Honey, I don' see
what dese people gwine expect dey chillun to turn out to be nohow dese
days cause dey ain' got no raisin en dey ain' got no manners. I say, I
got a feelin for de chillun cause dey parents ain' stay home enough of
time to learn dem nothin en dey ain' been know no better. Remember when
my parents went off en tell us to stay home, we never didn' darsen to go
off de place. Den when dey would send us off, we know we had to be back
in de yard fore sunup in de evenin. Yes, child, we all had to be
obedient to our parents in dat day en time. I always was sub-obedient
myself en I never had no trouble nowhe'. Yes, mam, when we went off
anywhe', we ax to go en we been back de hour dey expect to see us. Yes,
mam, chillun was more obedient den. None of us didn' sass us parents.
Won' raise dat way. I remember when I was young, I used to tote water en
make fire to de pot for my mother to wash plenty times. Den dey learn me
how to use a hoe en when I was married en left home, won' nothin strange
to me."

"No, mam, I didn' have no weddin when I was married, but everything was
pleasant en turned out all right. Yes, mam, everybody don' feel so good
leavin home, but I felt all right, I was married over dere in Bethel M.
E. Church en served a little cake en wine dere home afterwards en dat
ain' no weddin. Didn' have nothin but pound cake en wine. Had three
plain cakes. Two was cut up dere home en I remember I carried one wid me
over Catfish dere to de Reaves place."

  Source: Sylvia Durant, ex-slave, age about 72, Marion, S. C.
          Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Oct., 1937.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States - From Interviews with Former Slaves - South Carolina Narratives, Part 1" ***

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