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Title: Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves: Volume XIV, South Carolina Narratives, Part 3
Author: United States. 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: Volume XIV, South Carolina Narratives, Part 3" ***

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                            SLAVE NARRATIVES

            _A Folk History of Slavery in the United States_

                  _From Interviews with Former Slaves_

                      THE FEDERAL WRITERS’ PROJECT


                              ASSEMBLED BY



                      FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA


                     _Illustrated with Photographs_

                            WASHINGTON 1941

                               VOLUME XIV


                   the Works Progress Administration

                        for the State of Alabama

                         [HW:] Handwritten note

                        [TR:] Transcriber’s note


  · Adeline Jackson

  · Cordelia Anderson Jackson

  · Agnes James

  · Fred James

  · Isiah Jeffries

  · Thomas Jefferson

  · Henry D. Jenkins

  · Maria Jenkins

  · Paul Jenkins

  · Emma Jeter

  · Adeline Hall Johnson

  · Anna Johnson

  · Jack Johnson

  · James Johnson

  · Rev. James H. Johnson

  · Jane Johnson

  · Jimmie Johnson

  · Mary Johnson

  · Miemy Johnson

  · Tom Johnson

  · Richard (Look-up) Jones

  · Wesley Jones

  · Sallie Layton Keenan

  · Ella Kelly

  · Martha Kelly

  · Mary Jane Kelley

  · Gabe Lance

  · Ephriam (Mike) Lawrence

  · Ben Leitner

  · Mary Ann Lipscomb

  · Govan Littlejohn

  · Easter Lockhart

  · Gable Locklier

  · Walter Long

  · Gillam Lowden

  · Emma Lowran

  · Nellie Loyd

  · Amie Lumpkin

  · Ballam Lyles

  · Eison Lyles

  · Moses Lyles

  · George McAlilley

  · Ed McCrorey (Mack)

  · Richard Mack

  · Jake McLeod

  · Bill McNeil

  · Andy Marion

  · Milton Marshall

  · Charlie Meadow

  · Albert Means

  · Andrew Means

  · Jason Miller

  · Lucinda Miller

  · Cureton Milling

  · Abbey Mishow

  · Sam Mitchell

  · Charity Moore

  · Sena Moore

  · Silas Nelson

  · Susan Nelson

  · William Oliver

  · Albert Oxner

  · Ann Palmer

  · George Patterson

  · Sallie Paul

  · Lina Anne Pendergrass

  · Amy Perry

  · Rob Perry

  · Victoria Perry

  · John Petty

  · Sarah Poindexter

  · Sam Polite

  · William Pratt

  · Henry Pristell

  · Junius Quattlebaum

Adeline Jackson

    *Interview with Adeline Jackson, 88 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

"I was born four miles southwest of where I is now, on de other side of
Woodward Station. I was a slave of old Marster John Mobley, de richest
man, de larges’ land owner, and wid more niggers than any other white
man in de county. He was de seventh son of de seventh son, so he
allowed, and you knows dat’s a sign of a big family, lots of cows,
mules, horses, money, chillun and everything dat’s worth havin’. He had
a good wife too; dis de way he got her, he say. She de daughter of old
Maj. Andy McLean, who got a body full of bullets in de Revolution; he
didn’t want Katie to marry Marster John. Marster John git on a mule and
ride up in de night. Miss Katie runned out, jump up behin’ him, run away
and marry Marster John. They had de same birthday, March 27th, but
Marster John two years older than Miss Katie. Dat day was looked to,
same as Christmas, every year dat come. Big times then, I tell you!

"My mistress had long hair, techin’ de floor and could dance, so Marster
John said, wid a glass of water on top of her head. Marster John got
'ligion and went all de way lak de jailer in de Bible. All de house
jined wid him and mos’ of de slaves. It was Baptist and he built a
spankin’ good church buildin’ down de road, all out of his own money,
and de cemetery dere yet. He called it ’Fellowship.’ Some fine
tombstones in dere yet. De finest cost two thousand dollars, dat’s his
daughter Nancy’s tomb. Marster John and my old mistress buried in dere.

"When my younges’ mistress, name Marion Rebecca, married her second
cousin, Marster Edward P. Mobley, I was give to her and went wid them to
de June place. It was called dat because old Doctor June built it and
sold it to Marster Ed. I nussed her first chillun: Edward, Moses Hill,
John and Katie. It was a large, two-story frame house, with chimneys at
each gable end. Marster Edward got to be as rich as old marster; he
owned de June place, de Rochelle plantation, de Peay place and de
Roebuck place. Yes sir, course us had overseers for so many slaves and
plantations. I ’member Mr. Oze Brown, Mr. Neely and Mr. Tim Gladney. In
course of time I was took off de nussin’ and put to de field. I drapped
cotton seed, hoed some, and picked cotton.

"I don’t ’member no poor buckra, outside de overeeers, ’cept a Mr. Reed
dat lived down on wateroe, passin’ our house sometime. He was a
Godforsaken lookin’ man dat marster or mistress always give somethin’.

"Our neighbors was de Pearys, de Durhams, de Picketts, de Barbers and
Boulwares. Doctor Henry Gibson was our doctor. All dese folks kep’ a
pack of hounds to run deer and foxes. Yes, I has eat many pieces of
deer. Good? I wouldn’t fool you, taste it and you’ll hunger for it ever

"Yes sir, at certain times we worked long and hard, and you had to be
'ticular. De only whipping I got was for chopping down a good corn stalk
near a stump in a new ground. Marster never sold a slave but swaps were
made wid kin people to advantage, slaves’ wives and husbands sometimes.
I never learned to read or write. I went to White Poplar Springs Church,
de Baptist church my mistress ’tended. De preacher was Mr. Cartledge. He
allowed Miss Marion was de flower of his flock.

"Slaves lived in quarters, a stretch of small houses off from de White
House. Patrollers often come to search for stray slaves; wouldn’t take
your word for it. They would search de house. If they ketch one widout a
pass, they whipped him. We got most our outside news Sunday at church.
When farm work was not pressing, we got all of Saturday to clean up
’round de houses, and wash and iron our clothes.

"Everything lively at Christmas time, dances wid fiddles, pattin’ and
stick rattlin’, but when I jined de church, I quit dancin’.

"After de war, a man came along on a red horse; he was dressed in a blue
uniform and told us we was free. De Yankees dat I ’members was not
gentlefolks. They stole everything they could take and de meanest thing
I ever see was shoats they half killed, cut off de hams, and left de
other parts quiverin’ on de ground.

"I married Mose Jackson, after freedom, and had a boy, Henry. Last I
heard, he was at Shelby, North Carolina. We had a daughter, Mary, she
married Eph Brown. She had ten chillun, many gran’ chillun, they’s my
great-gran’ chillun. My mistress was a good Christian woman, she give me
a big supper when I was married. Her house, durin’ de war, always had
some sick or wounded soldier. I ’member her brother, Zed, come home wid
a leg gone. Her cousin, Theodore, was dere wid a part of his jaw gone.
My mistress could play de piano and sing de old songs. I ’members
Marster Theodore had trouble wid de words. Dere was a song called
'Jaunita’, ’bout a fountain. Marster Theodore would try hard, but would
say, everytime, ’Jawneeta’, and de folks would laugh but mistress never
would crack a smile but just go on wid another song. I thinks everybody
should jine de church and then live right. Have prayers in de family
befo’ gitting in de bed. It would have good change, ’specially in de
towns I thinks.

"Yes, women in family way worked up to near de time, but guess Doctor
Gibson knowed his business. Just befo’ de time, they was took out and
put in de cardin’ and spinnin’ rooms.

"Yes, I see folks put irons in de fire and some throw a big chunk of
fire into de yard to make de screech owl stop his scary sounds.

"Befo’ I forgits, Marster Edward bought a slave in Tennessee just 'cause
he could play de fiddle. Named him ’Tennessee Ike’ and he played 'long
wid Ben Murray, another fiddler. Sometime all of us would be called up
into de front yard to play and dance and sing for Miss Marion, de
chillun and visitors. I was much happier them days than now. Maybe it
won’t be so bad when I gits my old age pension."

Cordelia Anderson Jackson

    *Interview with Cordelia Anderson Jackson, 78 years old*
    *157 Kings St. Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

Cordelia lives in a small shack with some friends. She is quite an actor
and a tireless teller of yarns. She still ties her head up in a white
rag and has large eyes set far apart and a very flat nose. She is ebony
colored. She is a firm believer in her religion and she enjoys shouting
on any occasion for joy or for sorrow.

"White folks tells stories ’bout ’ligion. Dey tells stories ’bout it
kaise dey’s ’fraid of it. I stays independent of what white folks tells
me when I shouts. De Spirit moves me every day, dat’s how I stays in.
White folks don’t feel sech as I does; so dey stays out. Can’t serve God
all de time; allus something getting in de way. Dey tries me and den I
suddenly draps back to serving de Holy God. Never does it make no
difference how I’s tossed about. Jesus, He comes and saves me everytime.
I’s had a hard time, but I’s blessed now—no mo’ mountains.

"Ever since I a child I is liked white folks. Dey’s good and dey does
not know why dey tells stories ’bout Jesus. I got a heap mo’ in slavery
dan I does now; was sorry when Freedom got here. I ’specks I is nigh to
a hundred, but dat’s so old. I jest calls myself any whars twixt
seventy-five and a hundred. I recollects slavery, though. Ma was
Charlotte Anderson and she lived in Union County wid de Tuckers, jest
across from de Richards Quarter.

"Biggest sight I ever see’d was dat balloon when it come down on Pea
Ridge. De man in it everybody addressed as Professor (Prof. Lowe—1861).
He let uncle Jerry git in it. Mr. McKissick helped uncle Jerry up in it.
It was de first balloon ever come to Union county, and ’til dis day I
don’t like no balloons.

"Airplanes jest tickles, I cannot tell you how come, but dey jest does.
I went out dar (throwing her arm in the direction of the landing field)
and see’d ’em light. Dressed-up white folks hopped down out’n it from a
little do’ dat a man wid leg’uns and a cap on opened. Thing gwine on wid
lots of burring and all like dat. When dem folks got out, some mo’
clam’ned in. Dat same man opened de do’, shot (shut) it, and de plane
tuck off. White folks ’lowed dat it was gwine to ’lanta, Ga.

"Right dar I ’low’d, when I goes up like dat, I sho ain’t gwine up wid
no man—I’se gwine up wid Jesus.

"Dat white woman [HW: Amelia Earhardt] went up and ain’t nobody found
her yet and it been two months. Lawd, she looking fer de world’s end.
God don’t mean fer womens to do nothing like dat. Womens is stumbling
blocks at times.

"I got a boy dat been through school. He stays off, but he treats me so
good and talks to me like white folks does; so I calls him, ’white
child’. I ’longs to de church club. He tries to larn me to talk proper
when I goes out to dem meetings, but I fergits how befo’ I reaches de
meeting. Us named it de ’Mothers’ Club’. ’White child’ pays fer me to
'long dar, and when I is down wid spells, dey nurses me. ’White child’
pays fer my ’onsurance’ so dat I does not have no worriment to aggravate
my soul.

"White child birthed one Sunday morning jest a year atter de big
earthquake. It was also Christmas morning, kaise my child drapped a year
to de day atter dat earthquake and I feared dat he was not gwinter have
no sense. But My God, how he can read!

"One night, Aug. 30th, our house started rocking. We thought a panther
was a-rocking it, kaise my old man had see’d one. He run out wid a gun
and went to de wood pile; den he hollered to me and said, ’Delia, come
out here, de whole world is shaking’. God sho showed his power dat
night. Ever since dat I been fixed wid God. It won’t long atter dat, us
heard a noise in our other room. Old man went in dar and see’d a panther
climbing up fer our rations. He grabbed his gun from over de do’ and
shot dat panther in de corner.

"I used to think dat niggers was fools dat called me a nigger. I go and
tell Miss Nellie Tucker. She ’low, ’No, you ain’t no nigger when other
niggers calls you one.’ Marse William whistle like a partridge; den Miss
Nellie play her pianny. I dance and Marse send fer me a sugar and butter
biscuit. Marse git his banjo and he pick it fer me to sing ’Oh, Bob
white, is your wheat ripe? No, no, not quite.’ Dat when I lived as a
little gal on Marse William’s home tract, called Musgrove Tract.

VISION: "Was traveling in a gold chariot to Heaven. De overseer had come
to bleed me, but I went up. Something say to look back and see whar you
been. I looked back and said, ’Lawd, take me whar no rent won’t bother
me!’ Lawd answer, ’Do not pray dat way. Pray fer Him to do His will’.
Den I axed de Lawd whar is I. He say, ’Did you look down on dem
chimneys?’ Den I see’d dat I was in de chariot wid water all under me.
It looked like de sky.

"To-day, I am so glad to walk about in Jesus’ care. I wish people could
see my faith. I am a Christian."

Agnes James

    *Interview with Mom Agnes James, 80 years old*
    *Claussens, S.C.*
    —_Annie Ruth Davis_

"Yes’um, I used to live in slavery time, but de Lord above know, I sho
don’ really recollect nothin much to tell you ’bout slavery time. I don’
know exactly how old I is. Think I ’bout 80 some odd. Think dat ’bout de
age Bubba Gregg say I is. I tell you, I was so chillunfied in slavery
time, I ain’ had no time to study ’bout no age. I say, I was so
chillunfied. Yes’um, dat it. Dat somethin dat I ought to had ax my
grandmammy ’bout how old I is, so den I might could call it up to you
right sharp. Oh, I wishes now I had ax my grandmammy dat word fore she

"Us belong to Mr. Hector Cameron fore freedom come here. Right down dere
to Salem Church, dat whe’ I was born. You hear talk of Miss Janie Little
over dere to Marion, ain’ you? Dat who used to be my mittie in dem days.
Yes, mam, boss had pick me out to tend to Miss Janie. You see, he give
all his daughters one of us to have a care for dem.

"My white folks, dey had a right smart of colored people dey own en far
as I can reckon, dey been spend mighty good treatment to dem all de
time. I know ’bout old Miss used to love to feed us, my mercy! White
folks would send for all us chillun to go up to de big house en get
somethin to eat twixt meals. Yes’um, dey had a colored people quarter
dat been settin way back up on de hill. Had to have a quarter ’cause dat
whe’ us been stay all de time old Miss won’ stuffin’ somethin down we
mouth. I remember, dere used to was de most pretty flowers in de lane
gwine through dem woods from us house right up to old Massa’s yard en my
Lord, honey, I did love to be de first one long dere on a mornin to see
could I find a blossom to fetch to old Miss. Look like old Miss would be
so please to see my granny marchin all we chillun up dat path ’cause
when we would go dere on a mornin, she would set right down on de steps
en talk wid us. Would set dere in listen to see could all us say dat
prayin blessin she had learned us to speak fore she would hand us
anything to eat. Den she would give us everyone a spoonful of dis here
worm cure. Great Jerusalem! Miss would make dat herself out dese black
lookin seed mixed up in molasses. I remember, she would bring a big bowl
of dat out dere en would make Pickle tote it round for her while she put
it in us mouth. Yes, mam, Miss would give us all a spoonful of dat every
mornin en den she would ax us de next mornin if any us had any worms.
No, mam, she never didn’ give us any other kind of medicine as I can
remember. Just give us dat en den feed us some milk en bread. Dat all
she give us, but I tell you, I was as proud of dat milk en bread as I is
of de rations I get dese days ’cause I never know no different den.
No’um, didn’ nobody eat den like dey do now. All de people would make
dey own gardens in dem days en would fix soup en fry meat. I used to
been so glad to get me a ’tatoe en a piece of bread. I thought I was
eatin cake.

"I never didn’ work in no field or nothin like dat no time. When I was a
little small girl, I would stay dere home en play ’bout de yard en nurse
my mammy’s baby while she was workin in de field. Yes’um, old Massa
would give her task to pick cotton en hoe cotton en pick peas or
somethin another like dat ’bout all de time. Don’ know whe’ she work all
day or no, but I know she would always let up at 12 o’clock en come to
de house to get her somethin to eat. Can remember dat good as anything.
Oh, she would have to cook herself when she come home bein’ dere wasn’
none of we chillun big enough to cook nothin. I recollects, I used to
get chips en pile dem up for her ’cause she always been tell me, if de
baby go to sleep, to get up some chips en put dem on de steps for her to
hurry en start fire wid. She would cook us meat en bread like corn
hoecake en fry meat de most of de time. Den another time, she would bake
a big round loaf like dat en break it in two en give me half en my
brother Charlie de other part. Would lay a piece of meat on de top of
it. No’um, I reckon ’bout all de people used to cook in de chimney. I
know my mammy used to cook in de chimney en I don’ think she thought
nothin ’bout no stove in dem days. Cose if she did, I know we chillun
didn’ get it.

"Yes, Lord, I been married ’bout 16 years fore my husband died. Yes’um,
I had a tolerable good size weddin over dere to Mr. Elija Gregg’s house.
Been married in a white dress trimmed wid blue ribbon. You is hear talk
of a cream of tartar dress, ain’ you? Oh, my Lord of mercy, dere was a
crowd of people dere dat night to get dey eye full en deyself full, too,
I say. Yes’um, I had four waiters in my ceremony. En had cake en rice en
'tatoe custard en a yearlin pig wid a red apple stuck in he mouth, so
dey tell me. Dat what was for de refreshments. De old man Charles
Reynolds, he was de preacher dere dat night en, say, he eat so much pig
till you could see pig in he face, so dey tell me. Cose I never had no
mind to know nothin ’bout it. Oh, yes Lord, I got seven chillun dat come
here fore my old man die, but dey all done gone en get married en left
me by myself. Dat how-come I stays over here wid Miss Bertie ’cause she
ain’ have nobody to stay wid her neither en I tries to help her out
somehow. Yes’um, me en Miss Bertie does rest right well together, I say.

"Oh, great jumpin mercy, de shake! I sho knows all ’bout dat ’cause I
was stayin right up dere to old man Elija Gregg’s place den. I tellin
you, it was a time, honey. I was gwine down side de road to prayer
meetin dat night wid my baby in my arms en dere come such a roarin’ en a
rockin’ in de elements till I thought my baby had got out my arms en I
was just a hollerin for somebody to come en help me get my baby back.
Been so crazy dat I was lookin in all de ditches for my baby. My
husband, he come a runnin to see what ailed me en say, ’Agnes, what de
matter wid you?’ I say, ’My baby lost. Do Lord, whe’ my baby gone?’ He
say, ’Agnes, you must be ailin in de head. Dere de baby on your arm.’
Yes’um, I was crazy 'cause I had my baby in my arms en didn’ know it.
Oh, de people done a piece of hollerin dat night. Everybody was a
hollerin en a prayin. I hear talk three or four of dem got converted in
de spirit dat night. I tellin you, it been a long time fore I got over
dat thing, too, ’cause I was scared most to death.

"No’um, I never didn’ believe in nothin like dat. Never didn’ believe in
no conjurin. Don’ care what dey say ’bout it, I never didn’ believe in
it. Yes’um, I hear people talk ’bout somebody had hurt dem, but dey make
a wrong mistake to say somebody do somethin to dem. Ain’ nobody but de
Lord do nothin, I say. I know dere ain’ nobody never do nothin to me.
Hear people say dey wear money round dey ankle to keep folks from hurtin
dem, but ain’ nobody never bother me, I tell dem. If dey live right,
ain’ nobody gwine trouble dem neither. No, Lord, ain’ nobody never speak
no harm word to me en I ain’ got no mind to harness up myself.

"Well, it just seems like de world growin wilder for de young folks. Dey
don’ never think ’bout nothin ’cept gwine right head first all de time.
I know when I been comin up, I never see no such livin like de people
makin dese days. Dey just gwine head over heels to de worser. Don’ never
think near a day dey got to stop some of dese days.

"I tell de truth, it ain’ make no difference which time I think de best
time to live in. Everything went well en good wid me in de old days en
everything still gwine dat way, Thank de Lord, too."

Fred James

    *Interview with Fred James (81)*
    *Newberry, S.C. RFD*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"Yes, I ’member slavery time and de war. I was about 7 or 8 years old. I
belonged to Marse Tom Price. My father, John James, belonged to Madison
Brooks and my mammy belonged to Tom Price. When dey married dey lived
wid Madison Brooks awhile, but dey was wid Tom Price when I was a boy.

"Of cose I ’member de war. Us chaps, both niggers and white, was made to
go up-stairs in de big house and look out de window to see de soldiers
when dey come. We heard de Yankees marching befo’ dey got dar, but dey
come from de other side of de house, facing south towards Caldwells, and
we didn’t see dem marching in. Dey stopped at our house and looked
around and asked if marster was at home. We told him dat he wasn’t dar.
We was eating apples, and dey asked us whar we got ’em. We told dem dat
we got de apples on de place, and dey asked us for some. We give dem
some apples; den dey left. Marse had carried his fine stock about a mile
off in de woods so de soldiers couldn’t find dem; but we didn’t tell de

"We lived in a little log cabin made wid mud between de logs, dat was de
kind of houses Marse had for his slaves. We slept on wood beds wid ropes
stretched tight across in place of slats. Dis held our straw mattress.

"My father’s daddy come from Africa. His name was Emmanuel James. Atter
freedom come he give me a little yearling. We wasn’t allowed to have
anything befo’ freedom come; and we wasn’t allowed to learn to read and
write. Dey whipped us if dey caught us wid a book trying to read or
write. Ma said dey cut off a hand if dey caught you.

"We raised hogs, sheep, goats, cows and plenty chickens; raised
everything at home, and had a good garden with plenty vegetables. Dem
cows and hogs and other cattle were branded and allowed to graze around
in bottoms of de lowlands whar dar was no fence.

"My clothes was made from yarn spun by my mammy, and she made my
clothes, too. Marse had my mammy to spin and weave for all de slaves on
de place. But marse and mistress was good to us. He had a nigger
overseer who sometimes brought a nigger to marse when he misbehaved; den
marse would have de nigger overseer to whip him. He had 8 to 10 slaves
all de time.

"Some slaves dat lived on places close to us would run off sometimes and
hide in de woods, and live dar in a den which dey dug. At night they
would go out and hunt food, like hogs; den kill ’em at night and dress
'em. Most of de day dey would stay in de den.

"I ’member when freedom come, old marse said, ’You is all free, but you
can work on and make dis crop of corn and cotton; den I will divide up
wid you when Christmas comes.’ Dey all worked, and when Christmas come,
marse told us we could get on and shuffle for ourselves, and he didn’t
give us anything. We had to steal corn out of de crib. We prized de ears
out between de cracks and took dem home and parched dem. We would have
to eat on dese for several days.

"We had to work, all day, sun up to dark, and never had Saturday
afternoons off anytime. My mammy had to wash clothes on Saturday nights
for us to wear on Sundays.

"We chaps played marbles most all de time. Marse used to try to scare us
by telling us dar was spooks. Some of de old folks did believe in
spooks, but I don’t know much about dem. We never used much medicine den
but quinine. Folks had lots of chills den, but dey never had any kind of
strokes or things like dat as dey do dese days.

"We had to get a pass from marse if we went out. If de patrollers caught
us widout a pass dey would whip us.

"Right atter de war de Ku Klux started. I ’member dem when dey would
march up and down de road. Dey marched most at night, and we could hear
de horses for a long distance as deir feet struck de ground.

"I married Nellie Wilson, and had 12 children. I got now 6 children; my
wife is dead. I got five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

"I think Abraham Lincoln and Jeff Davis was good men in deir way, as dey
thought. Booker T. Washington is a great man, and he is done lots of
good for de niggers. I think slavery was good in some ways and bad in
others. I was better off den dan I am now.

"I jined de church when I was 20 years old, because it was de law—to
trust in de Lawd, you got to belong to de church.

"I member something ’bout 40 acres of land and a mule dat de slaves
would get, but never come anything about it. When freedom come most of
de slaves hired out as wage hands, cutting wood and working on farms or
any odd jobs dey could get. Dar was lots of new ground, and many of de
niggers got work clearing it up.

"We didn’t get any money in slavery time, but got plenty to eat; and
atter de war, we got a little money and a little to eat. I ’member dat
old Mr. Brown hired me out once about 45 years ago at 30¢ a day and my
meals. I think de younger generation ain’t so good. Dey have deir own
way and don’t respect old folks. Dat’s de way it is wid both whites and

Isiah Jeffries

    *Interview with Isiah Jefferies, (age 86)*
    *Gaffney, S.C. Rt. 6.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"I is what is known as a outside child. My Ma went to Hamlet. I lived on
de Jefferies plantation, below Wilkinsville in Cherokee County. My
father was Henry Jefferies. My mother was Jane Jefferies. My mother’s
husband was named Ned. Before her marriage she was a Davis. She was sold
in slavery to Henry Jefferies. I allus lived with my mother, and Ned was
as good to me as he was to his own chillun. My mother had three outside
chilluns, and we each had a different father. Atter she married Ned; den
he jest come to be our Pa, dat is he let her give us his name. She and
Ned had four chillun.

"My first wife is dead and my second wife is named Alice Jefferies. I
got one child by my first wife, and I ain’t got no outside chilluns. Dat
works out bad, at best. None of my folks is living. All of dem is done
dead now; jest me, my wife and my sister’s daughter, Emma, who is grown
now. Her Pa and her Ma took and went crazy befo’ dey died. Both of dem
died in de asylum. We took Emma, and she ain’t jest ’zactly right; but
she ain’t no bother to us.

"First thing I had to do as a child was to mind my Ma’s other chilluns
as I was de first outside one dat she had. Dis I did until I was about
twelve years old. My Ma and Ned was working one day and I was minding
her chilluns as usual when I looked up and seed de top of our house on
fire. I hollered and dey come running from de field. De other hands come
with dem kaise I made such a noise hollering. Soon de big folks got de
fire out. Atter dat, Marse Henry had me to leave de house and go to work
fer him.

"It was spring and I started in chopping cotton. ’Peers dat I got on
pretty well, and dat de overseer liked me from de start. From dar on I
was broke into field work of all kinds and den I did work around de lot
as well. It was not long befo’ everybody started calling me ’uncle
Zery’, why—I did not know; but anyway dat name still sticks to me by dem
dat knows me well. My grandpa never called me dat, kaise I was named
atter him, and he too proud of dat fact to call me any nickname. I
stayed wid him at his house lots atter I started working fer de marster,
kaise he showed me how to do things. I worked fer him to git my first
money and he would give me a quarter fer a whole day’s work. Dat made me
feel good and I thought I was a man kaise I made a quarter. In dem days
a quarter was a lot of money. I spent it fer chawing tobacco, and dat
made me sick at first. Dats all men had to spend money fer in dem days.
Everything was give you on de plantation and you did not need much
money. Sometimes we cooked out in de field and I have cooked bread in de
field in a lid.

"Ma teached me how to cook befo’ I was twelve years old. We had good
things to eat den; more dan my chilluns has dese times. All de slaves
had dere gardens on my marster’s plantation. He made dem do it, and dey
liked it. Niggers do not seem to take no pains wid gardens now. Land
ain’t soft and mellow like it used to be. In cold weather we had to bank
out ’taters, rutabegas, beets, carrots and pumpkins. De pumpkins and
carrots was fer de hogs and cows.

"In warm weather we had cotton clothes and in cold weather we had woolen
clothes dat our marster had made fer us by de old ladies on de
plantation. But we did go barefooted all winter until we was grown and
married. We had all de wood we wanted fer fire. We kept fire all day and
all night. We sot by de fire in winter and popped corn, parched pinders
[HW: peanuts] and roasted corn ears.

"Marster and Mistress had six chilluns. Her name was Ellen and her house
was three stories high. Dere overseers allus lived wid dem. Dere was a
lot of slaves and dey all loved de white folks. De whole plantation was
allus up at sunup. But we did not work very late. I remember de
Patter-rollers, de Ku Klux and de Yankees. Niggers dreaded all three.
Dere was no jail fer us; de Patter-rollers kept us straight.

"When I got to be a big boy, my Ma got religion at de Camp meeting at
El-Bethel. She shouted and sung fer three days, going all over de
plantation and de neighboring ones, inviting her friends to come to see
her baptized and shouting and praying fer dem. She went around to all de
people dat she had done wrong and begged dere forgiveness. She sent fer
dem dat had wronged her, and told dem dat she was born again and a new
woman, and dat she would forgive dem. She wanted everybody dat was not
saved to go up wid her.

"De white folks was baptized in de pool first, and den dere darkies.
When de darkies time come, dey sung and shouted so loud dat de
Patter-rollers come from somewhar, but Marster and Missus made dem go
away and let us shout and rejoice to de fullest. Missus had all her
darkies to wear white calico in de pool dat was a-gwine in fer
baptizing. In de sewing-room she had calico robes made fer everybody. My
Ma took me wid her to see her baptized, and I was so happy dat I sung
and shouted wid her. All de niggers jined in singing. De white folks
stayed and saw us baptize our folks, and dey liked our singing."

Thomas Jefferson

    *Interview with Thomas Jefferson, 102 years old*
    *Shiloh Church, Highway 29*
    —_Ellie S. Rice, Anderson, S.C._

It is not often that a person 102 years old is seen doing manual labor,
and especially as hard a job as picking cotton. Yet that is just what
Thomas Jefferson was doing, who, as he himself stated, is, "102 years
and 18 days old today." Asked why he was doing this, he replied, "Just
to take a little exercise."

Thomas lives with his daughter, Florence Humphreys, on a small farm, out
near Shiloh Church, on Highway 29. Until recently, he slept in a little
shack nearby, taking his meals with his daughter. He is too feeble to
live alone now, however.

Thomas Jefferson was born on the farm of Mr. Jenkins Hammond, on the old
Hammond place, out on the Williamston road, on November 1, 1834. When
Mr. Hammond’s daughter, Mary Amanda Pauline, married Elias John Earle,
son of Samuel Girard Earle, who was one of the very first citizens of
Anderson county, Mr. Hammond gave her, as a wedding gift, Thomas
Jefferson’s mother and five children, of which Thomas was one. And here
he lived with the Earles on "Evergreen" plantation, for many, many

During the War Between the States, Mr. Earle operated a corn and flour
mill, and Thomas Jefferson was his miller. Asked if he remembered this,
he replied, "Well, I do remember it. I remember one time we worked all
night Saturday night, all day Sunday and Sunday night, and Monday
morning had ten barrels of flour to send the Confederate army."

Shiloh (Baptist) Church, nearby, Thomas said, was being constructed at
the time the war started, and was not finished until after the war was
over. The first person buried in the Shiloh graveyard was Elijah
Herring, who was in the Confederate army and became ill and died, and
was brought home to be buried.

When Samuel Girard Earle died in 1848, and his wife in 1865, they were
buried under a large apple tree at "Evergreen" plantation. Later, their
bodies were removed to the Shiloh graveyard, by their grand-daughter,
Miss Betty Earle. Thomas says he helped to move and rebury the bodies.

Thomas was at one time a member of Shiloh, but is now a member of the
Mt. Sinai colored church.

Thomas is remarkably well for a person one hundred and two years old.
His eyes are dim, his steps tottering, but his hearing is good and his
mind is as clear as it ever was. Asked about his appetite, he said, "I
eat anything I can get, I can eat anything." Many people much younger
than he is, and certainly with more money than he has, would envy him
for his splendid digestion.

Thomas has been on the relief rolls now for several years. It is a
peculiar pleasure for Mrs. A.M. Mitchell, County Director of Temporary
State Department of Public Welfare, to look after Thomas personally,
because her grandmother was the bride to whom he was given, with his
mother and brothers and sisters. The old man eagerly anticipates Mrs.
Mitchell’s coming each month, to bring his check and to look after his
comfort. He is very humble and exceedingly grateful for everything done
for him, and says he is expecting to live many more years, with the good
care he is getting.

Henry D. Jenkins

    *Interview with Henry D. Jenkins, 87 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

Henry D. Jenkins lives in a four-room frame house, which he owns. His
wife, two single daughters, his son and his son’s wife and three small
children live with him. The house is constructed on a tract of land
containing four hundred and eighty (480) acres, which Henry also owns.

He does not suffer with an inferiority complex. He is self-reliant and
thrifty, with a pardonable pride in his farm and his rise from slavery
to a position of respectibility as a church member, citizen, and tax
payer. He is well preserved physically, for his age, 87 years, alert in
his movements and animated in conversation.

His plantation and home is in the south western part of Fairfield
County, six or seven hundred yards east of State highway #215.

"Yes sir, tho’ I am a ’spectable colored citizen, as you see me; I pays
taxes and owns my own plantation. I was once a slave on de Reese place,
in Sumter County, below Columbia. Just when I come to b’long to Mr.
Joseph Howell, I don’t know. I recollects dat Marse Joe had ’bout twenty
families of slaves and dere was six hundred acres in his plantation.

"My mistress was his wife, Miss Sara. They had four chillun. Miss
Mattie, married Oscar Chappell. Johnnie, married a Miss Lever. Thomas,
married some lady in Columbia, disremember de fam’ly name. Miss Jessie,
married Rev. Huggins, a Baptist preacher, though her folks wasn’t of dat
'suasion; they was Methodist. Us niggers was ’structed early in ’ligion.
Took to Cedar Creek and camp meetin’. My white folks had a fine
carriage. A mulatto boy, Adam, was de driver. Sometime I’d go wid him to
meet visitors from de low country at de station, and look after de
baggage and sich.

"Yes sir, I doesn’t deny it, I got many whuppins. Dere’s not much to a
boy, white or black, dat don’t need a whuppin’ sometime on de way up.
When you break a wild spirited colt, they make de best hoss or mule. I
can do more work today, than most of dese triflin’, cigaret young mens.
You sees me today, as straight as a arrow and like a wild cat on my

"You bet yo’ life, my white folks was de bestest in de land. They wasn’t
mealy mouthed; they made everybody work, sun to sun, seven days in de
week. But didn’t de good Lord set de ’zample? Yes sir, he made us all
work, women in de perils of child birth, drapped cotton seed and corn
kernels. Dr. Turnipseed, dat was our doctor, ’low dat light labor lak
dat good for them.

"Farm hands got a peck of meal, three pounds bacon, quart of ’lasses,
cup of salt, and two cups middlin’ flour, no white flour. Had good warm
clothes in winter, one-piece cotton suit in summer, and de little
niggers went dressed in deir shirt tails from fust of June, to fust of
October. They sho’ did, and was as happy over it as de day was long.

"My mother named Emma. Never married to my daddy, ’cause they didn’t
live on de same place and b’long to same master. Daddy b’long to de
Halls. I have a brother by dis same mammy. Daddy go by de name of
Dinkins. He took up wid another woman after freedom, and my brother and
me was ’shame of him. Us ’cided to take Jenkins for our name but keep a
'D’ in de middle, so if anything come up, de ’D’ could ’cite ’membrance
of who us really is. You see what I mean?

"Our shoes for de winter was made on de place, out of leather from our
own tan-yard and from our own cow hides. Marster had a good fish pond.
He had a four-hoss gin, though mules pulled it. De lint cotton was
packed in a bale and a screw pit. Baggin’ was any old thing, like old
sacks or canvas sheetin’.

"My mother jined de Baptis’ church, and I followed in her foot steps.
Everybody ought to b’long to some church, ’cause it’s ’spectable, and
membership in de church is both a fire and a life insurance. It ’sures
you ’ginst hell fire, and gives you at death, an eternal estate in
Hebben. What you laughin’ at? It’s de gospel truth I’m givin’ you right
now. Wish everybody could hear it and believe it.

"My marster, Joe Howell, went off to de old war. His niggers was so well
trained, dat they carried on for him whilst he was gone and dere was no
trouble. Everything went on just de same as if he was dere.

"Pat-a-rollers (patrollers) would come often and ketch niggers sometime;
caught my daddy once and whup him good. Ours was a fine body of slaves
and loyal to de mistress and her chillun.

"Dances? Yes sir, I can hear them fiddles and de pattin’ now. Dis de way
de dance was called: ’Balance all; sashshay to your partners; swing her
'round and promenade all; forward on de head; ladies change;’ and all
dat. Then de jigs went on. Believe me, them was times!

"The main drawback on Marster Joe’s plantation was, de water on de place
was no ’count. Us had to haul water on a sled, wid a mule, from de
Friday place; dat’s de onliest trouble us had. Sometime us had to tie up
fodder and ’tend to de hay in de field on Sunday.

"I married fust a girl name Sarah, in 1878. Got three chillun by her.
She died. Not good for a man to live alone, de Lord say. I picked out
another Sarah, but called her Sallie. Us has had nine chillun. Three of
dese [TR: are] Sailor, Tera, and Monroe. Monroe lives on my place and
farms ’long side of me. Sam is in Detroit, Michigan; Henry in Flurida

"When de Yankees come, what they do? They did them things they ought not
to have done and they left undone de things they ought to have done.
Yes, dat just ’bout tells it. One thing you might like to hear. Mistress
got all de money, de silver, de gold and de jewels, and got de well
digger to hide them in de bottom of de well. Them Yankees smart. When
they got dere, they asked for de ve’y things at de bottom of de well.
Mistress wouldn’t tell. They held a court of ’quiry in de yard; called
slaves up, one by one, good many. Must have been a Judas ’mongst us.
Soon a Yankee was let down in de well, and all dat money, silver, gold,
jewelry, watches, rings, brooches, knives and forks, butter-dishes,
waters, goblets, and cups was took and carried ’way by a army dat seemed
more concerned ’bout stealin’, than they was ’bout de Holy War for de
liberation of de poor African slave people. They took off all de hosses,
sheeps, cows, chickens, and geese, took de seine and de fishes they
caught, corn in crib, meat in smoke house, and everything. Marse General
Sherman said war was hell. It sho’ was. Mebbe it was hell for some of
them Yankees when they come to die and give account of de deeds they
done in Sumter and Richland Counties."

Maria Jenkins

    *Interview with Maria Jenkins, about 90 years old*
    *64 Montague Street, Charleston, S.C.*
    —_Martha S. Pinckney, Charleston, S.C._

Maria Jenkins, who is about ninety, is very nearly blind, and only by
quiet persistence can she be made to hear; once started, her mind is
clear. She shows no bitterness. Occasionally there are flashes of humor.
Her body is brawny, sturdy and well carried, considering her age.

Maria Jenkins was a daughter of Aaron Grant; her mother’s name is Ellen
Grant, all of whom were owned by Mr. Hugh Wilson of Wadmalaw Island.

"I b’long Wadmalaw. When de Yankee come I ole ’nuf for mind chillun, and
take um to de field. I go up to Maussa’ house ebery day for de milk for
we; and dey give we clabba (clabber) and cow peas and ting out de
garden. We git ebery evening a bushel ob corn grind and hand ober to de
nurse, and him sift out de flour. Yes Mam. He done grind in de hand mill
in de barn yard—de stone mill. Dat been uh big mill too. And dey gib we
uh big piece ob meat—so—(measuring with hands) and sometime chicken.
Rachel cook in de big pot for we chillun, and he dip um out. (She here
explained the big ladle or dipper.) You know dem big ladle. We put um in
we pan. Yes, Ma’am, he name Rachel, and he lick we. We haffa love um or
she lick we." Her huge mouth was illumined by a humorous smile.

"He teach me to wash de baby clean and put on he dipa (diaper), and if I
ain’t do um good he konk my head. When de wah come, my pa put heself
free off to New Orleans; I dunno how he look. I dunno if he libbin or
dead now. My ma dead fust year ob de wah, I hab twelve chillun, and all
dead; I got two grand chillun left—de one in New York—I raise him from
baby atter he ma and pa dead."

"Your grand son helps you?"

"Wat dat?", leaning forward with her hand back of her ear. The question
was repeated.

"Him ain’t no man, him my grand daughter, Ellen Jenkins. I raise him
from baby yes, she name Ellen. Him good to me; him help me ebery

"Are all your people dead?"

"De whole nation dead," reflectively, "De whole nation dead—Peggy
dead—Toby dead—all leaning on de Lord."

"When dem boat come up de ribber, and he shoot, and shoot, de big gun,
dat been de awful time. My ma dead de fust year ob de wah—I dunno if dem
big gun kill um. He kill ’nuf people.

"Maussa come and he say: ’Who-na (all of you) nigger take care ob
yourself, I must leab to take my fambly away. Will is here; and de cow,
and de pig in de pen, and de chicken all ober de place—I gib you your
freedom for take care ob yourself.’ W’en he gone, dem nigger break for
the thick woods. Some dead and some ain’t dead."

Later a camp was established for this plantation of Negroes, back in the
pine woods. When asked what they did after the war, Maria raised her
hands and said:

"After de wah we all come home, tank de Lord! tank de Lord!"

"But your master didn’t have any money to care for you."

"Haffa scrabble for yo’self." Said she.

Paul Jenkins

    *Interview with Paul Jenkins, 70 years old*
    *18 Belser’s Alley, Columbia, S.C.*
    —_Stiles M. Scruggs, Columbia, S.C._


Paul Jenkins, age seventy, living at 18 Belser’s Alley, Columbia, S.C.,
is a son of Paul Jenkins, a former slave, who decided to endure the
burdens he had in Colleton County, South Carolina, after he was set free
in 1865, rather than to fly to other places he knew nothing of. There he
won the respect of the white folks and Negroes alike, was repeatedly
elected to office, and lived there happily to the end of his life.

Here the present Paul Jenkins takes up the story, with:

"I was born in Colleton County in 1867. My daddy was in office when I
begin to recall things, and he keep in office, by the will of the
people, until I was nearly grown. My mammy, too, was a slave, when she
and daddy marry. She die when I was ’bout twelve years old, and my only
brother, Edgar, was goin’ on ten. My daddy never marry again.

"One day some white men come to see daddy long after mammy was gone, and
they say to daddy: ’Paul, when you gwine to jump the broomstick again?’
My daddy was the only one who not laugh when they say that. He reply: ’I
has no women in view and no weddin’ dream in the back of my head. I has
decided a wicked woman am a big bother and a good woman am a bore. To my
way of thinkin’, that is the only difference between them.’ The white
folks not smile, but say: ’You’ll see! Just wait ’til the right girl
come along.’

"Daddy just seem to make friends of all the people ’bout him, and our
house, close to Smoak, was a big meetin’ place most of the time.
Sometimes the visitors are all white men. But at other days the niggers
come and talk, tell funny tales, and laugh. Most of the meetin’s at the
house was late at night, ’cause my daddy always go to his office at
Walterboro, on week days. People comin’ and goin’ there, all the time.
Daddy was sho’ popular with the people, generally speakin’.

"The biggest crowd I ever seen up to that time, was when General M.C.
Butler come to Walterboro in 1882, to speak. He had been United States
Senator since 1876, and was a candidate for re-election. General Butler
much pleased, that day, when many white leaders and daddy call at his
hotel and tell him that daddy had been asked by his neighbors to
introduce him. He say: ’Well, from what I hears, Paul Jenkins can do
that job as well as anybody in the State.’ Then he pat daddy on the

"At the speakin’, daddy gets up, and the big crowd claps its hands for
joy, and laughs, too. Daddy not laugh much, just smile. Then he throw
back his shoulders and say:

    General Butler, lak Moses, led us forth at last,
    The barren wilderness he pass’d
    Did on the very border stand
    Of the bless’d Promise Land,
    And from the misty mountain tops of his exalted wit,
    Saw it himself and showed us it!

"’That’s why we am sendin’ him back——’. That was all I hear. Daddy not
allowed to finish. The people riot with pleasure, and General Butler say
the tribute am de finest he ever hear, and smile at daddy sittin’ there
on the platform with the other big folks. At another time, daddy has a
nigger lawyer runnin’ ’gainst him for County Commissioner. The lawyer’s
name was Amphibious McIver. They begin the campaign at Cottageville.
McIver speak first. Daddy follow, and begin with:

    A bullfrog tied by its tail to a stump,
    It rear and it croak, but it couldn’t make a jump!

"The white folks and the niggers clap, stamp, throw hats, and laugh;
finally, marchin’ up to the table to grab daddy and carry him up the
street on their shoulders. He keep sayin’: ’Boys, why don’t you let me
finish my speech?’ They would laugh and say: ’Paul, you done made de
best speech in de world!’ Daddy win at the ’lection, in a big way.

"My daddy learn to read, write, and cipher while he was a slave. The
Jenkins family help him, he say, ’cause he always keep the peace, and
work as he was told to do. When he’s set free, that white family help
him get settled and loaned him books. He go to Charleston ’bout 1868 and
buy an armful of books and studied at night or whenever he had the
chance. That is why he was able to make the political races which he
make and profit by. He send me and my brother, Edgar, to school, so that
we learn a good deal in books. Edgar, he fidgitty lak, and decide he go
to Pennsylvania and make a fortune!

"Edgar got work in a steel mill at Johnstown, soon after he got there,
and had considerable money, when he was sent to the hospital with
pneumonia. He pull through that sickness and go back to his job, but the
big flood come (May 31, 1889) and the girl he was to marry was among the
2,000 unknown people who was drowned, and he never has married—peculiar
lak our daddy, don’t you think? I just been married to one. She is 68
and I’s 70 and I may say we’s through, too!

"I specialized on bridge-buildin’. I has helped build a sight of bridges
in my time, travelin’ as far as Memphis, Tenn., in that work. I has made
oodles of money, but my dollars always has wings and, one way or the
other, they get away from me. Still me and my old woman not sufferin’
much and we hopes, when we goes away for good, we goes together."

Emma Jeter

    *Interview with "Aunt" Emma Jeter*
    *21 Long Twelve, Union, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"Lordy, Honey, I sho was born in slavery and I is proud o’ it too. Ole
Marse Cole Lawson was my ole marster. When I axed him how old I was, he
allus ’lowed something like dis, ’you is older than you is good’, and
dat all he ever said ’bout my age. Sweet Dreams (her grand daughter),
come here and fetch me a drink from de well to wet my mouth! My
grand-daughter stay wid me at night. When she doan stay, some o’ de
other grand uns stays. Sometime it’s jest me and Sago here all alone. I
jes’ sets and looks at him at night while he sleep. He work de rich
white folks’ flower yards fer ’em, and dat brings him in at night real
tired. My grand-daughter’s real name is Marguerite Porter, but nobody
don’t hardly know dat; kaise everybody call her Sweet Dream, her lil
baby name. She my oldest daughter’s fifth chile. My feelings tells me I
is ole, and my white folks ’ll tell you I was born in slavery, ’cept dey
is all dead.

"Light furs’ struck me on de large plantation o’ Ole Marse Cole Lawson,
de paw o’ Mr. Victor Lawson. Mr. Victor ain’t no spring chicken no mo’
hisself. Dat over in Sedalia in de Minter Section. You kno’s ’bout de
large plantation o’ Marse James E. Minter, dat gib de section its name?
(CHS show boundaries of Minter lands). Way back over dar whar I was

"Paw stay in Union County. Maw was sold to a man name Marse Bailey Suber
over in Fairfield, while I still a suckling. At dat time, my paw was
bought by a widder woman, Miss Sarah Barnett, in Union Cnty. Lawd Jesus!
Dat separate my maw and paw. Maw tuck me ’long wid her. Maw name Clara
Sims. When Me and maw went to Fairfield, us didn’t stay dar long ’fo ole
man Harrison Sartor of Santuck, bought my maw. Us glad to git back to
Union. I was a big size gal by dis time and I start to be de waiting gal
in my new Marse’s house fer his wife, Miss Betsy. Miss Betsy had one
sister, Miss Nancy Wilson, dat live wid her. Her missus and old Marster
and dere son, Willie, was all dat I had to wait on, kaise dat was all
dar was in de household.

"God-A-Mighty! Is you gwine to fill up dat book wid all dat I says?
Well, Marse Harrison didn’t ’low paw to see maw ’cept twice a
year—laying-by time and Christmas. My paw still ’longed to Miss Sarah
Barnett. Dat’s ’zactly why I is got five half-sisters and one-half
brother. Paw got him another wife at Miss Sarah’s. Miss Sarah want young
healthy slaves. Maw had jes’ me and Ann. Ann been daed, Oh, Lord, forty
years. Dis all to my recollections.

"Is you gwine to fix fer me and Sago to git some pension? Gawd naw, some
dese lil babies whats ’er sucking de maw’s titties is gwine to git dat
pension. Us all gwine to be daed ’fo it even come out. You ain’t gwine
to even sho’ dat to no Gov’ment man; no Lawd, ain’t never thought I’s
gwine to git it.

"Yes, Honey, I was in Fairfield den, but I ’members when crowds o’ men
come in from de war. All us chilluns seed mens coming and us run and
tuck off fas’ as us could fer de nearest woods, kaise us wuz dat scared,
dat dem mens gwine to git us. Atter dat, us found out dey was our own
folks. Us had done tuck and run from dem den.

"Chile, you come back when Sago here, and us tell you dat book full, sho

Adeline Hall Johnson

    *Interview with Adeline Hall Johnson, 93 Years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

Adeline Hall’s husband was Tom Johnson but she prefers to be called
"Hall", the name of her old master. Adeline lives with her daughter,
Emma, and Emma’s six children, about ten miles southeast of Winnsboro,
S.C., in a three-room frame house on the Durham place, a plantation
owned by Mr. A.M. Owens of Winnsboro. The plantation contains 1,500
acres, populated by over sixty Negroes, run as a diversified farm, under
the supervision of a white overseer in the employ of Mr. Owens.

The wide expanse of cotton and corn fields, the large number of dusky
Negro laborers working along side by side in the fields and singing
Negro spirituals as they work, give a fair presentation or picture of
what slavery was like on a well conducted Southern plantation before the
Civil War. Adeline fits into this picture as the old Negro "Mauma" of
the plantation, respected by all, white and black, and tenderly cared
for. She has her clay pipe and stick ever with and about her. There is a
spacious pocket in her dress underneath an apron. In that pocket is a
miscellany of broken pieces of china, crumbs of tobacco, a biscuit, a
bit of wire, numerous strings of various colors, and from time to time
the pipe becomes the warm individual member of the varied assortment.

Her eyes are bright and undimmed by age and the vigor with which she can
telegraph her wants to the household by the rappings of that stick on
the plank floor is interesting and amusing.

She is confident that she will round out a century of years, because:
"Marse Arthur Owens done tell me I’ll live to be a hundred, if I stay on
his place and never ’lope away wid any strange young buck nigger.

"I’s not so feeble as I might ’pear, white folks. Long time I suffer for
sight, but dese last years I see just as good as I ever did. Dats a
blessin’ from de Lord!

"Who I b’long to in slavery time? Where I born? I born on what is now
called de Jesse Gladden place but it all b’long to my old marster,
William Hall, then.

"My old marster was one of de richest man in de world. Him have lands in
Chester and Fairfield counties, Georgia and Florida, and one place on de
Red River in Arkansas. He also had a plantation, to raise brown suger
on, in old Louisiana. Then him and his brudder, Daniel, built and give
Bethesda Church, dats standin’ yet, to de white Methodis’ of Mitford,
for them to ’tend and worship at. He ’membered de Lord, you see, in all
his ways and de Lord guide his steps.

"I never have to do no field work; just stayed ’round de house and wait
on de mistress, and de chillun. I was whupped just one time. Dat was for
markin’ de mantel-piece wid a dead coal of fire. They make mammy do de
lashin’. Hadn’t hit me three licks befo’ Miss Dorcas, Miss Jemima, Miss
Julia, and Marse Johnnie run dere, ketch de switch, and say: ’Dat enough
Mauma Ann! Addie won’t do it agin’. Dats all de beatin’ I ever ’ceived
in slavery time.

"Now does you wanna know what I do when I was a child, from de time I
git up in de mornin’ to de time I go to bed? I was ’bout raised up in de
house. Well, in de evenin’, I fill them boxes wid chips and fat
splinters. When mornin’ come, I go in dere and make a fire for my young
mistresses to git up by. I help dress them and comb deir hair. Then I
goes down stairs and put flowers on de breakfas’ table and lay de Bible
by Marse William’s chair. Then I bring in de breakfas’. (Table have to
be set de night befo’) When everything was on de table, I ring de bell.
White folks come down and I wait on de table.

"After de meal finish, Marse William read de Bible and pray. I clear de
table and help wash de dishes. When dat finish, I cleans up de rooms.
Then I acts as maid and waitress at dinner and supper. I warms up de
girls’ room, where they sleep, after supper. Then go home to poppy John
and Mauma Anne. Dat was a happy time, wid happy days!

"Dat was a happy family. Marse William have no trouble, ’cept once when
him brudder, Daniel, come over one mornin’ and closet wid Marse William.
When Marse Daniel go, Marse William come in dere where me and de
mistress was and say: ’Tom’s run away from school’. (Dats one of Marse
Daniel’s boys dat ’tended school at Mt. Zion, in Winnsboro) Her ’low:
'What him run away for?’ ’Had a fool duel wid a Caldwell boy,’ him say.
I hear no more ’bout dat ’til Marse Tom come home and then I hear
plenty. White folks been laughin’ ’bout it ever since. Special talk
'bout it since Marse Tom’s grandson b’come a United State Judge. Bet
Marse Dan Hall told you ’bout it. Want me to go ahead and tell you it my
way? Well, ’twas dis a way: Marse Tom and Marse Joe Caldwell fell out
'bout a piece of soap when they was roomin’ together at school. Boys
crowd ’round them and say: ’Fight it out!’ They hit a lick or two, and
was parted. Then de older boys say dere must be a duel. Marse Joe git
seconds. Marse Tom git seconds. They load guns wid powder but put no
bullets in them. Tell Marse Joe ’bout it but don’t tell Marse Tom. Then
they go down town, fix up a bag of pokeberry juice, and have it inside
Marse Joe’s westcoat, on his breast. Took them out in a field, face
them, and say: ’One, two, three, fire!’ Guns went off, Marse Joe slap
his hand on his chest, and de bag bust. Red juice run all over him.
Older boys say: ’Run Tom and git out de way.’ Marse Tom never stop ’til
him git to Liverpool, England. Marse William and Marse Daniel find him
dere, sent money for to fetch him home and him laugh ’bout it when he
git back. Yes sir, dat is de grandpappy of Marse Lyle Glenn, a big judge
right now.

"De white folks near, was de Mellichamps, de Gladdens, de Mobleys,
Lumpkins, Boulwares, Fords, Picketts, and Johnsons.

"When de Yankees come, they was struck dumb wid de way marster acted.
They took things, wid a beg your pardon kind of way, but they never
burnt a single thing, and went off wid deir tails twixt deir legs, kinda
'shame lak.

"After freedom I marry a preacher, Tom Johnson. Him die when in his
sixties, thirty years ago. Our chillun was Emma, Mansell, Tom, and
Grover. Bad white folks didn’t lak my husband. Dere was a whiskey still,
near our house where you could git three gallons of liquor for a silver
dollar. Him preach agin’ it. Dat gall both makers and drinkers. Him
'dured persecution for de Lord’s sake, and have gone home to his awards.

"In slavery, us have all de clothes us need, all de food us want, and
work all de harder ’cause us love de white folks dat cared for us. No
sirree, none of our slaves ever run ’way. Us have a week off, Christmas.
Go widout a pass to Marse Daniel’s quarters and they come to our’n.

"Dr. Scott and Dr. Douglas ’tend sick slaves. I don’t set myself up to
judge Marse Abe Lincoln. Dere is sinners, black and white, but I hope
and prays to git to hebben. Whether I’s white or black when I git dere,
I’ll be satisfied to see my Savior dat my old marster worshipped and my
husband preach ’bout. I wants to be in hebben wid all my white folks,
just to wait on them, and love them and serve them, sorta lak I did in
slavery time. Dat will be ’nough hebben for Adeline."

Anna Johnson

    *Interview with Anna Johnson (75)*
    *Rt.4, Gaffney, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"I sho is spry, kaise I sho is done took care of myself and I done dat
good, too. I know Will Evans who is 72 and he is all bent over and
wrinkled and all stewed up. Dat’s de way folks wants to see you befo’
dey calls you old, but dey ain’t gwine to see me like dat, ’deed dey
ain’t. Most folks calls me de youngest, but I was born on de 30th day of
July, and I is passed by 75 Julys and still gitting around better dan
some dat is seed but 60 Julys.

"Well does I remember when my young marster, John Kitchens, went to de
'Federate War. He was a big fat feller, and jolly. De morning he left,
he come through de yard leading a fine bay. All of us was dar to see him
off. We had fetched him things, but he say dat you couldn’t carry
nothing to war but a pack on your back and he laid dem all down and
wiped his eyes and rode off wid a big yell to us. Dat was de rebel yell
and we answered back.

"One morning de very next week we heard our young missus hollering and
we went to see what de trouble was. She had got word dat he had done
gone and got kil’t by a Yankee. We all cried. De little chilluns, John,
Will, Ella and Bob cried, too. Missus went to her ma and pa, Mr. Green
and Miss Sallie Mitchel, near Trough Shoals. Frankie Brown and Malissa
Chalk went wid her to her pa’s. Our plantation was awful big. It was
sold and us wid it.

"Wasn’t long till young Missus married again and went to Virginia to
live. Frankie and Malissa come back to our plantation. Den slavery was
over and dat is de last dat I ever heard of our Missus."

Jack Johnson

    *Interview with Jack Johnson, 84 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

"You see me right here, de sin of both races in my face, or was it just
de sin of one? My Marster was my father, his name was Tom Reed, and he
lived six miles from Lancaster Court House. Dats where I was born. My
mammy name Jane, don’t know where she come from. My marster was kind to
us. I done no work much, just picked peas and sich like during de war. I
was my mammy’s only child, and when de war was over, and I grow up, I
left dere and come to Cedar Creek, low part of Fairfield County. I marry
a gal, Bella Cook, and us had sixteen chillun, thirteen of them is a
livin’ now. I then marry Hannah Dubard, a widow. She and me have had no

"I b’long to de Sanctified Church, and you have to go down into de water
and come up straight way out of de water to b’long to dat church. Where
is it? Its on Little Cedar Creek in dis county. Who de preacher? His
name is the Reverend Edmunds. Us sings spirituals, one is, ’Dat Heavenly
Railroad Train’, another is ’Dere is a Rock in my Heart’, another, ’So
glad I’m here, but I’d rather be up yonder Lord’. Some colored churches
'sinuate a child born out of wedlock can’t enter de kingdom of heaven.
Our church say he can if he ain’t a drunkard, and is de husband of one
wife and to believe on, and trust in de Lord as your Savior, and live a
right kind of life dat he proves of. Dat seem reason to me, and I jine
and find peace as long as I does right.

"Never was sick a day in my life, can plow yet, eat three meals a day,
but can’t sleep as much as I use to, six hours plenty for me now. I’s
just here today findin’ out ’bout dat old age pension dats a comin’.
Will you kinda keep a eye on it for me and let me tend to de ox and de
grass at my home on Little Cedar Creek? A short hoss is soon curried, so
dats ’bout all I kin ’member to tell you now."

James Johnson

    *Interview with James Johnson, 79 years old*
    —_Henry Grant, Columbia, S.C._


James Johnson lives with a sister at 1045 Barron Street, College Place,
[HW: Columbia], S.C. He is incapable of self support on account of age,
ill health, and impaired feet. One of his feet was mashed off and the
other badly damaged by handling bales of cotton several years ago. He
subsists on what his sister and other people are able to give him.

"I has been livin’ right here in Columbia for the past thirty-six years.
I has worked in de cotton business, first as ginner and then wid cotton
buyers, ever since I has been here. I knows all de grades of lint cotton
and can name them right now. (He ran through the different grades fairly

"I learned all I knows ’bout cotton and de grades from Mr. M.C. Heath
and Mr. W.E. Smith, cotton buyers in Columbia for thirty years or more.
They thought so much of my knowledge of cotton, dat they sent me many
times to settle claims wid big men and big buyers.¹

   ¹ Verification not available.

"It ain’t what a nigger knows dat keeps him down. No, sir. It is what he
don’t know, dat keeps de black man in de background. White folks dat is
business folks, pays no ’tention to our color as much as they does to
dat money makin’ power us has. Of course, de white man sticks to his
color and you can’t blame him for dat. If de nigger shows dat he is
willin’ to work and to learn to be business lak, make money and walk
straight wid his boss and fellowman, de better class of de white people
is gwine to treat him right. I knows what I’s tellin’ you is so, from my
own ’sperience wid Mr. Heath and Mr. Smith. They always treated me
better than I deserved and even now in my old age, deir folks and deir
friends gives me money, dat keeps me out de poorhouse.

"No, sir, I don’t ’member de Civil War a-tall myself but I has heard all
'bout it from my own folks and de white folks I has worked wid. It seems
lak I knows too much ’bout them awful times. I sho’ am glad I didn’t
come ’long then. I feels and knows dat de years after de war was worser
than befo’. Befo’ de war, niggers did have a place to lie down at night
and somewhere to eat, when they got hungry in slavery time. Since them
times, a many a nigger has had it tough to make a livin’. I knows dat is
so, too, ’cause I has been all ’long dere.

"Many niggers have gone north to live, since freedom, but de most of
them either comes back south again or they wants to come back. De north
don’t suit de nigger. Cold climate lak they has up dere is too hard on
him. He has thin blood and you knows dat a thin pan gwine to git hot
quicker than a thick one and cold de same way. You see a heap of niggers
is lak wild animals, in a way. He laks to eat a heap, sleep a heap, and
move ’bout slow. When he goes up north he has to step ’round fas’,
'cause if he don’t, he gits in de way of them Yankees dat move ’bout

"De black man is natchally lazy, you knows dat. De reason he talks lak
he does, is ’cause he don’t want to go to de trouble to ’nounce his
words lak they ought to be. When he says ’dat’ he saves a letter, same
way wid ’dis’ and nearly all other words. It ain’t after savin’ so much;
he is just too careless and lazy to care ’bout it. A nigger wants what
is in sight and not dat what he can’t see; it can look out for itself. I
is sorry I has to say all dis ’bout my own color but it is de truth. De
truth makes you free and runs de devil. I is a nigger myself and I knows
what they is and what they does.

"Is de nigger ’ligious? Yes, sir, many of them is very ’ligious widout
'ligion. He takes all dat from white folks. So many think ’ligion is
gwine to git them somethin’ widout workin’ for it and fool people by
makin’ them think they is good and can be trusted and all dat. But I
'spects some of them is right, even at dat, ’cause if they ain’t got
'ligion they sho’ ain’t got nothin’ in dis world. I pays no ’tention to
all dis ’gwine on’ lak I see some ’ligious folks does. Maybe I wouldn’t
be in de fix I is, if I paid more ’tention to churches and all dat. I
believes in churches and good folks but I don’t practice them good
things lak I ought to. Boss, if you take de dollar out of ’ligion and de
churches, you sho’ would have to hunt for them. I believes dat. I don’t
see no ’ciples gwine ’bout a preachin’ and doin’ good, lak I has heard
they once done, barefooted and askin’ no pay. De preachers dese days is
a ridin’ in de finest automobiles and you sho’ better look out for
yourself, if you don’t, you is gwine to git run over.

"I has been a good man, in body, all de time since I got grown. For many
years I didn’t know my own strength. I never seen a bale of cotton I
couldn’t pick up and tote where I wanted to, by myself. You see dese
foots of mine? They was mashed off, from drappin’ bales of cotton on
them, back yonder many years ago.

"I ’members mighty well, when de fust skyscraper was built in Columbia.
My bosses was one of de fust to have a office in dere. Dat was de Loan
and Exchange Bank Building, on de corner of Washington and Main streets.
I has been here and seen dis city grow from a small place to what you
see ’tis now.

"My mammy and daddy b’long to Mr. Andrew Johnson of Orangeburg County,
of dis State. They said dat they was treated mighty good by deir marster
all de time they was slaves. My daddy took his old marster’s name. I was
born a slave but all I knows is what I has heard. Some of it might be
right and some might be wrong."

Rev. James H. Johnson

    *Interview with James H. Johnson, 82 years old*
    —_Stiles M. Scruggs, Columbia, S.C._

"My name is James H. Johnson. I was born December 20, 1855, at the town
servants’ quarters of Alfred Brevort at Camden, South Carolina, and that
was home until I was turning into twelve years of age. I was nearly ten
years old, when the army of General Sherman came to Camden. I talked to
some of the soldiers, soon after they arrived."

Such was the greeting of the Rev. James H. Johnson; a retired, and well
educated Methodist Episcopal minister, when a WPA reporter called at his
residence, 2029 Marion Street, Columbia, South Carolina, and asked for
an interview. He sat in his study, furnished for comfort and equipped
about as well as any study, of this kind, in Columbia.

"My mother," he explained, "was one of the maids at the Brevort home,
and my father was one of the overseers of the plantation. We did not
hear about President Lincoln’s freedom proclamation in 1863, but the
status quo of slavery kept right on as it had been until Sherman’s army
came through. You know General Lee surrendered the same spring, and we
learned we were free.

"In 1866 my father bought four acres in the vicinity of Camden and
improved it with a house and barn, and we lived there for several years.
My father went into the mercantile business in Camden and prospered.
There I went to the public schools. We had teachers from the North, and
I finished all the grades. There were no high schools in the state at
that time.

"We had our own home-raised hams and plenty of food products in our
quarters, when my mother and I heard shooting nearby. We stepped into
the yard and saw a big number of soldiers shooting at a running white
man of the community. They did not hit him. In a moment or two five
soldiers strode into our yard and we were scared at first, but they told
us they were friends, and one of them spied the hams and asked if they
belonged to the big house. When told that they were ours, they said they
were hungry, and mother fixed them a dinner of ham and eggs and plenty
of other things. They thanked us and left, doing no harm.

"Before they left, I noticed a crowd of soldiers at the Brevort home. I
ran there, and told the troops, please, to do no damage to the premises,
as the mistress, then in charge, was the best friend my mother and I had
ever had. They left soon afterward, showing no animus toward the Brevort
family and taking nothing away.

"We never received any aid from the Freedmen’s bureau, for we did not
need it. After I finished the public school work at Camden and helped my
father in his store for a time, I entered the University of South
Carolina, in October, 1874 and stayed there until 1877. You know there
was a change in government in 1876, and Negroes were excluded from the
university in 1877. I was in my junior year, when I left.

"I returned to Camden and taught school in Kershaw County for ten years.
During that time I opened school in the Browning Home, which still
stands in Camden. In the meantime, I had been an interested member of
the Methodist Episcopal Church since my early years, and I was made an
elder in that denomination in 1888, and sent to Columbia as pastor of
the Wesley Methodist Church.

"When I came here as pastor, that church stood on the corner of Sumter
and Gervais streets, on the site where the United States post-office now
stands. The congregation sold that corner in 1910 and built the brick
church at Barnwell and Gervais streets. I was the pastor all that time,
retiring in 1930 due to physical feebleness. The congregation of that
church has always been rather small. This accounts for my doing other
work. I was a clerk in the internal revenue office in Columbia for
eighteen years.

"Now, I am a notary public and make some income from that. The church
gives me a small pension, and I advise and do literary work for a large
number of Negro residents. In that way, I keep fairly busy and my family
has never gone hungry. I did preach some, a few years ago. I am now too
feeble to undertake that task, and have to be content, mostly at home."

(Reporter’s Note: The Rev. James H. Johnson speaks no dialect. He speaks
choice, grammatical diction and has a most pleasing personality. His is
one of the very few Methodist Episcopal Churches in South Carolina for
Negroes. He says he is glad the church is now seeking to void the split
over slavery in 1860. He resides in a comfortable home at 2029 Marion
Street, Columbia, S.C.)

Jane Johnson

    *Interview with Jane Johnson, 90 years old*
    —_Henry Grant, Columbia, S.C._

Jane Johnson is living with her niece at 1430 Harden Street, Columbia,
S.C. She is of small statue, dark, not black, plump and apparently well
cared for. On account of her age and bodily afflictions she is incapable
of self-support. Her niece is unmarried, owns a comfortable home, works
and provides for her grandmother in a good and satisfactory manner.

"Come in, white folks, take dat chair and set down. I hears dat you
wants to talk to me ’bout myself and my master in slavery time. My name
is Jane Johnson and I’s ’bout ninety years old, from de best ’membrance
I has from my white folks friends and my own people. One thing I does
know, I’s been here so long, dat I sometimes think I’s near ’bout a
hundred years old.

"I b’long to Master Tom Robertson. My mistress’ name was Ophelia. I
didn’t see her much in slavery time, ’cause she stayed in de big house
on Arsenal Hill, Columbia, S.C. De onliest time I see her a-tall, was
when I was sent to de big house for somethin’ and dat wasn’t often.
Master and mistress had heaps of chillun, ’mong them was twins, all dead
now, if I ’members right, ’cept Master Tom Robertson, a grandson and a
rich man too; he living right here in Columbia. My old master lived in
Columbia but his plantation, where us slaves lived, was ’bout four or
five miles from Columbia on de Sumter road, just beyond de soldiers
hospital (Veterans Hospital), dat’s right.

"Master Tom come to de plantation every day ’cept Sundays and sometimes
he come dat day, ’specially in crop season. He never talked to us slaves
much, just talked to de overseer ’bout us all, I reckon. De overseer was
a nigger and de meanest man, white or black, I ever see. Dat nigger
would strut ’round wid a leather strap on his shoulder and would whip de
other slaves unmerciful. He worked us hard from sunrise to sunset every
day in de week, ’cept some Saturday evenin’s. ’Most of de grown slave
women knocked off from field work at dinner time on Saturdays and done
de washin’ for de rest of de slaves.

"Yes sir, us had a plenty of rations to eat; no fancy vittles, just
plain corn bread, meat and vegetables. Dere was no flour bread or any
kind of sweet stuff for de slaves to eat. Master say sweet things
'fected de stomach and teeth in a bad way. He wanted us to stay well and
healthy so us could work hard.

"Master Tom was good to us, course he was, ’cause he didn’t see us much
no way. But dat nigger overseer was de devil settin’ cross-legged for de
rest of us on de plantation all de time. I never has believed dat master
'tended for dat nigger to treat us like he did. He took ’vantage of his
bein’ ’way and talk soft talk when he come again. Yes sir, he sho’ did.

"Not very long after de Yankees come, us was told dat de niggers was
free. You might think dat was a happy day for us slaves, but I didn’t
think lak dat. I was kinda lonesome and sad lak. Us slaves was lost,
didn’t know what to do or where to go. Don’t you think dat was a sad

"How old was I when I done my courtin’? What’s dat? Dat courtin’ stuff
is what white folks does, no nigger knows what dat fancy thing is. Us
just natchally lives together; men and women mates lak de animals out
dere. Colored people don’t pay no ’tention to what white folks call
love, they just ’sires de woman they wants, dat’s all. I married dat man
of mine, Tilghman Thompson, and us got ’long right smart, ’til he die. I
got ’nother one, Anderson Johnson, and he die too, so here I is, left
here yit.

"You knows de black man has had a long, hard road to travel since he was
first brought to this country. From de first, he b’long to de white man
to be took care of and to work. Some colored folks ’pear to be doin’
right well dese days but back yonder long befo’ I was born, I’s been
told, they didn’t know how to provide for themselves. What I wants to
know, what de nigger gwine to do widout de ’sistance of de white man?
What they has got come from them, you knows dat. I hear some of them
growlin’ ’round, dat they is gwine to do dis and gwine do dat and they
don’t do nothin’, ’cept talk too much. They sho’ better do right; live
in peace and git somethin’ dat will stay with them.

"Maybe I’s wrong to say dis but you knows, white man, de nigger is a far
way back of de white man; his time ain’t come yit, leastwise dat’s de
way it ’pear to me. De nigger come from Africa and other hot places, so
he takes after de hot country he come from and has a short temper, hard
head, and not ’nough sense to keep him out of trouble when he gits mad
or ’cited. When he come here, de white man made him work, and he didn’t
like dat. He is natchally lazy and when he had to work, then he began to
get huffy and to conjure up in he mind hate and other bad things against
de whites. Ever since the first time de nigger found out he had to work,
he has silently despised the white man. If he had lived and done
nothin’, then he would be a ’tirely different person to dis very day, I
knows dat.

"Does I ’member President Lincoln? I sho’ does, but not so much, ’cause
I was too young to have much sense. I has heard my mammy and daddy say
he was a good man and wanted everybody to be free, both white and black.
Dere was a heap of poor white folks in slavery time, and some of them
lived mighty hard, worse than the slaves sometimes. You knows blood is
thick and it is gwine to turn to its kind befo’ helpin’ de others. They
say slavery was wrong but what ’bout hard times? Dat is de worse kind of
slavery, I thinks. All dis hollerin’ ’round ’bout freedom they has,
shucks, all dat kind of talk ain’t nothin’. When you has work and some
money in your pocket so you can go to de store and buy some meat and
bread, then you has de best freedom there is, don’t tell me.

"President Roosevelt is ’nother good man. He has looked down on de poor
and ’tressed in dis land wid mercy; has give work and food to de poor
people when nobody else would. He sho’ has turnt dis country ’round and
tried so hard to make things right wid de people. When he turn dis way
and turn dat way, them men up there where he is, try to stop him from
helpin’ us, but de Blessed Master is gwine to hold his hands up. They
ain’t gwine to be able to stop him, ’cause he has done so much good in
de world. Dat man is gwine to be ’membered by de people always, but them
dat has fought him and worked against him is sho’ gwine to be forgot.
Nobody wants to ’member them for de evil they has done. You knows dat if
you sows evil you is sho’ gwine to gather evil in time. They ain’t gwine
sow much longer; their harvest time is right out dere in sight, but de
President is gwine to live on wid us.

"I’s gettin’ old now, I has to draw on de ’membrance of de past, tottle
'long in de present and stare wid dese old eyes out dere into what is to
come (future). I has rheumatism and high blood pressure, so you see I’s
in for a troublesome time from now on to dat last day. I’s livin’ wid my
niece now, in her own home, dat is some pleasure to me in my old age."

Jimmie Johnson

    *Interview with "Uncle" Jimmie Johnson (90)*
    *172 E. Park Ave., Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C._

"I was born in Virginia, but Dr. L.C. Kennedy bought me, my mother and
brothers and we moved to Spartanburg. My father stayed in Virginia. Dr.
Kennedy lived near where North Church Street and Kennedy Place now is,
and I lived in a two-room house in his back yard. I was just a baby at
the time. My old masser was as good and kind to me as he could be, so
was my missus. My mother died when I was ten years old, and Missus was
just like a mother to me all the time. When I got old enough I used to
do some things around the yard for Masser and Missus.

"Masser was an Episcopalian, and I went to Sunday School where the rock
church now stands (Church of the Advent). Miss Mary Legg was my teacher,
and she was a saintly woman. She was a niece of old Masser. Old Missus
used to come to the house where I lived and teach me my alphabet. After
I got older, I used to take care of Masser’s horse and buggy for him;
used to hitch-up the horse for him and go with him on his ways to see a
patient. Bless his heart, he let me take my Webster’s blue back speller
and my history with me when I would drive with him. I would study those
books and Masser would tell me how to pronounce the hard words. That is
the way I got my education. Masser would tell Missus that Jimmie was a
smart boy, that he had no father nor mother and that they must be good
to him. They sure was. I never wanted for a thing. Sometimes on our
drives Masser would tell me some Latin words, but I never did study
Latin—just English.

"My masser would say that Jimmie had sense, was a good boy, so Missus
would let me practice on her organ or her piano in the house. I got
pretty good on these, so when I got to be a young man, I taught lessons
on both the reed organ and the melodian, then on the piano. I taught the
rudiments of music and piano for about 25 years.

"When the Yankee soldiers come to Spartanburg it scared me. They kept
telling me that they were not going to hurt me, but I got a pile of
brick-bats and put them under the house. I told Missus I wasn’t going to
let any of the soldiers hurt her. The Yankee soldiers did not bother me.
They came all around our house, but every one of them was quiet and
orderly. They took some of Missus’ sugar and hams, but did not kill any
of the chickens. I told them not to take the sugar, but they took it and
the hams anyhow.

"Missus told me that I was free, but I told her I was going to stay on
where I was and protect her until I died. And when Masser died, I
grieved and grieved about him. I loved him dearly and I know he loved
me. He was good and kind to me always. He never whipped me, not once. I
grieve about my masser to this day. He was a kind gentleman.

"No, I never married, and I haven’t got anybody kin to me now. My
brothers all died and I am the only one left. I adopted four children. I
taught them music and we got on pretty well after Missus died. I stayed
with her until she died. I told Masser I was going to stay with them
even if I was free, and I did. When Masser died, I had no one to love
but Missus. I taught music and gave piano lessons, but I can’t do that
now, as I am too old. Lately I tried to cut some wood. I would cut a
lick, then rest; cut a lick, then rest, so I gave it up.

"Lord bless your soul! I am so glad you told who you are, and you talk
like Masser Dan. You know he and I used to play together as boys. He
would give me anything he had. Honey, come around and see me again. I is
sure glad to see you. What did you say your name was?" Upon being told,
his face would light up with a smile, and he would repeat just what he
had said before. He was then asked when he got to be a poet. "Law’
chile, my old missus told me I was going to be a poet."

This ninety-year-old ex-slave then sat down at the piano and played for
the writer.

Mary Johnson

    *Interview with Mary Johnson (85)*
    *Newberry, S.C.*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I was born seven miles from Newberry, near Jalapa. I was a slave of
John Johnson and his wife, Polly (Dorroh) Johnson. They was good to dere
slaves. My daddy was Daniel and my mudder Elisa Johnson who was slaves
of marster John Johnson. My mudder come from Georgia when she was 14
years old, bought by Marse Johnson. We lived in a little one-room house
in dere yard. The mistress learned me to card and spin, and to weave
when I was a child. When I was old enough, dey put me in de field to
work, hoe and pick cotton. We got no money for working, but got our
place to live, some victuals and a few clothes to wear. We had no
garden, but helped de mistress in her garden and she give us something
to eat from it. We had homespun dresses; we made not much underclothes,
but sometimes in awful cold weather, we had red flannel underskirts.

"Nigger boys in slavery when dere work was done in evening, sometime
went hunting and caught rabbits, squirrels or ’possums.

"We got up at sun-up in mornings and worked ’till sun-down. We had
Saturday afternoon off to do anything we wanted to do. At Christmas
time, we got dat day off, and de master would have a big dinner wid all
kinds good things to eat, spread out in de yard.

"We never did learn to read and write—had no nigger school and had no
nigger church, but sometimes de white folks would have us go to dere
church and set in back seat or gallery.

"The white folks had cotton pickings and corn shuckings often and we
helped. Dey had good dinners for them coming to it. De childrens, white
and black played marbles sometimes, and played base. Us slave children
played base and jumped from one base to another before could be caught;
and we sing: ’Can I git to Molly’s bright? Three course and ten. Can I
get there by candle-light? yes, if your legs are long and light.’

"Marse John’s youngest son got to be a doctor. He was a good man and
helped us when we was sick. He did not gibe herbs much, but some of de
ole folks used ’life everlasting’, now called rabbit tobacco, for cure
of bad colds or pneumonia. Dey boiled it and make a plaster and put it
on sore places of chest. Dey used holly bush or spice bush bark, boiled
to a tea and drunk for sickness.

"De padderrollers come in dat section, they rode at night and if caught,
a nigger, when he was out of his place, would be took in and told dat he
would get 25 lashes if he was caught again. When de war was over, de
Yankees went through but didn’t bother us; but dey stold horses, mules,
cows and supplies. When freedom come, we left the place, ’cause marse
Johnson and some his folks went to Mississippi. We hired out to Kirk
Richards nearby.

"De Ku Klux was not a bother. Dey jus marched sometimes at night, wid
long white sheets over dem and all over de horses. Dere heads were
covered with small holes for eyes, nose and mouth, and had long white
ears like a horses ears.

"I think Abe Lincoln was a fine man, and Jeff Davis was good too. Slaver
did good to nigger, made him careful and know how to work."

    *Interview with Mary Johnson (85)*
    *Newberry, S.C.*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I live in town in a little two-room house wid some of my grandchilluns.
We rent de house. I am too old to work, but do what I can.

"I was de slave of John Johnson. His wife was Miss Polly. Dey was good
to de slaves, and I had no trouble. My mother was Eliza Johnson and my
pa was Daniel Johnson. Dey was both slaves to Marse John Johnson. My
mother was from Georgia. We always lived in de yard behind de house in a
small one-room cabin, a pretty good place to live, I reckon.

"We didn’t git no money fer our work. We got something to eat, but not
much clothes to wear. We worked hard dem days; got up at sun-up and
worked all day till sun-down or as long as we could see. We didn’t git
much time off, ’cept maybe a day at Christmas.

"No, de white folks didn’t learn us to read and write. We had no school
and no church in slavery time, but some of de niggers was made to go to
de white folks’ church and sit in de back seat.

"Yes, de Yankees was bad. Dey burn’t everything in deir way, and stole
cattle; but dey didn’t come near our place."

Miemy Johnson

    *Interview with Miemy Johnson, 82 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

Miemy Johnson has no particular place of abode. She is a transient among
her children, kin people, and friends. In whatever home she may be
temporarily an occupant, she does the cooking and family washing.

"I knowed when dat bunty rooster hopped in de door, flap his wings and
crowed, dis mornin’, dat us gonna have company today. I told Sam so
befo’ he left here. Him laugh and say: ’Ma, dat bunty rooster is a big
liar sometime. Maybe him just wanna recommend hisself to you and beat de
pig to de slop bucket dat you ain’t carried out to de pen yet.’ I’s sure
glad dat you come, for it’ll show Sam dat dat chicken never told a lie.

"Set down dere and let me fetch you a plate of boil peanuts, which I
just is set off de fire. You lak them? Glad you do, honey. Most white
folks love them dat way, ’stead of parched. How you been? You sure is
growed since de last day I clap my eyes on you. How’s I been? Poorly.
I’s just a waitin’ for de chariot to carry me home!

"Well, us done cut down de underbrush, now let us git into de new
ground. You just wanna talk ’bout me and what happen to me all ’long de
last eighty years? Dat’s some big field to go over.

"My pappy was name Henry. My mammy name Ceily. They both b’long to old
Marse Johnnie Mobley, but my pappy’s pappy b’long to de Johnson’s;
they’s big white folks on de Catawba River side of de county. They sold
deir plantation and some of de slaves, to old marster and his daughter,
Miss Nancy. She was de widow Thompson befo’ her marry dat Kentucky hoss
drover, Marse Jim Jones.

"Freedom come. My pappy ’membered de Johnson’s and took dat for his
name. I never been able to git ’way from dat name. I marry little Phil
Johnson. My brudder was Adam Johnson and my sister was Easter. Her marry
Allan Foster.

"My husband and me live in de old Mobley quarter, three miles southwest
of Woodward and just ’bout a quarter of a mile from where you settin’
dere a writin’ right now. Long as him live, him was de carriage driver
for de Mobleys. He ’tend Fellowship Church. All de Mobleys done dead or
moved ’way. Dere is nothin’ left to tell de tale but dat cemetery you
passed, comin’ ’long down here and de ghosts dat shiver ’round dere in
de nighttime. Whenever it snow, them ghosts have been seen travelin’
down de road and up de avenue to Cedar Shades. You know dat’s ’bout a
quarter of a mile farther down de road from where Marse Johnnie’s
brudder, James Mobley, lived. Fine old house dere yet, but just colored
folks live in it.

"Our chillun was Roxanna, Malinda, Ben, Mary, Waddell, Queen Elizabeth,
Russell, Pearly, Thomasine, Helen, Alberta, Maggie, Mary Jane, Willie,
Sam and Roy. Had de easiest birth pains when, to my big surprise, de
twins, Sam and Roy come. Dat been forty years ago last July. I ’members
well, dat de twins was born on a Wednesday and I walk to Red Hill Church
de very nex’ Sunday. Rev. Richard Cook was de preacher. Him didn’t see
me a settin’ in de church and he pray for me by name, as bein’ in de
perils of childbirth. And bless God, me right dere in dat church a goin’
'long wid de rest of them a singin’: ’Amazin’ Grace How Sweet De Sound
Dat Saved A Wretch Lak Me’. I was a proud wretch dat day as sure’s you

"Does I ’member anything ’bout de earthquake? Jesus my Lord, yes! Us was
holdin’ a revival meetin’ in Red Hill dat night! It was a moonlight
Tuesday night. Brother Stevenson and Brother Moore was a helpin’ Brother
Richard Cook carry on de meetin’. It was de last day of August, in ’86.
Brother Moore had preached, de choir had sung a hymn, and Brother
Stevenson was in de middle of a prayer. Him said sumpin’ ’bout de devil
goin’ ’round lak a roarin’ lion a seekin’ folks for to devour. Then de
roarin’ was heard. De church commence to crack and shake and rock. Then
all de folks holler: ’Oh Lordy.’ They run out dat church and some took
up de big road to de depot at Woodward. Some fell down in de moonlight
and cry and pray. Brother Cook say de Bible says: ’Bow down, or kneel or
fall on your face befo’ de Lord’. Then he say: ’Let us all fall on our
faces dis time.’ Us did and each one of them preachers pray. ’Bout time
they git through, us see a rider on a milk white hoss a gallopin’ up to
de church wid de white mane and tail of dat hoss a wavin’ and shinin’ in
de moonlight. De people went wild wid fear and scream at de top of deir
voices; ’It’s de white hoss wid his rider of de book of Revelations
goin’ forth, conquerin’ and to conquer.’ They bust forth in dat mighty
spiritual ’Oh Run Here, Believer, Run Here, Oh Sinner Your House On
Fire! Oh Sinner Your House On Fire!’ They run and surround de white hoss
and his rider and what you reckon? Us find out it was just Marse Ed
Woodward on his white hoss, John, comin’ back from courtin’ my young
mistress, Tillie Mobley, dat him marry de nex’ Christmas.

"Marse Ed got down off dat hoss when us beg him to stay wid us. It’s a
pow’ful comfort to have a brave white man ’round at sich a time ’mongst
a passle of terrified niggers, I tells you! And to think Marse Ed done

"You goin’ now? You ain’t eat all your peanuts. Put them in your pocket
and eat them on de way to de Boro. Goodbye—I ’spect I’ll git to glory
befo’ you does. If I does, I’ll be dere a waitin’ wid a glad hand and a
glad voice to welcome you to de everlastin’ home."

Tom Johnson

    *Interview with Tom Johnson (83)*
    *Newberry, S.C.*
    —_G. Leland Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I was born on the Gilliam place, I reckon about 1854. My father died
when I was little; I don’t remember him. My mother was Lucy Gilliam who
belonged to Reuben Gilliam. Reuben Gilliam was a big farmer and
slave-owner. He was good to de nigger chaps but whipped de big ones
every day or two. I was too little to learn to read and write, but dey
never learned any slaved to do dat. Dey never paid us any money wages,
just give us eats and a place to sleep, and a little clothes. I worked
in de field when I got bigger. Never had school in de place, and never
had a church, either.

"Us children played lots of games, like rolly-hole. There are two holes
and you try to roll a ball in one hole. The white folks had
corn-shuckings, lots of them, as they raised lots of corn on de farms.
Dey had cotton pickings, too, and carding and spinning bees, quilting
bees. I used to feed de shippers when women folks spin de yarn, when I
was a small boy. We raised plenty corn, cotton, and other things. We had
a big garden, too.

"When freedom come all of us left and went off. I went back to get
something to eat. I married Mattie Kinard who belonged to old Maj. John
Kinard. We had nine children.

"I ’member de red shirts when dey come through our place. I like it
better now dan in slavery times."

Richard (Look-up) Jones

    *Interview with Richard Jones (Dick Look-up), age 93 [HW: 125?]*
    *County Home, Union, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

Dick has an upward stare all the time, and holds his head as if he were
always looking up into the sky, consequently he has won the sobriquet,

"Everybody dat knows me knows dat I was born on de Jim Gist plantation,
and it used to jine Mr. Winsmith’s and de Glenn Peak plantations. Mr.
Winsmith was a doctor. Marse Jim sho was a good man to his darkies.

"My father was named Ned Jones and he belonged to Marse Berry Jones. His
plantation was across de forest, next to West Springs. Mother was Lucy
Gist, belonging to Marse Jim. My parents had de following chilluns:
Esther, Bella, Ephriam, Griggs, John, Penfield, me and Richard. Dey
married and so we was all Jones.

"De slaves in de Gist Quarter lived well. All nigger chilluns in dat
quarter had very small tasks until dey was seventeen or eighteen years
old. De quarter had nine houses. Dere was seventeen hundred acres in our
plantation; or dat is, de part where we lived and worked. We lived in
one-room log cabins dat had to be well kept all of de time.

"All de chilluns in de Quarter was well fed, clothed, housed and
doctored until dey was strong and well developed younguns. Den dey was
give tasks and learnt to do what de master and de mistress thought dey
would do well at.

"In de houses we had comfortable home-made beds and chairs. We had nice
tables and plenty to eat. Our clothes was kept mended by a seamstress,
and dese things was looked after by one of de mammies on de plantation
dat was too old to work.

"Ah yes, well does I ’member my Granny from Africa, and straight from
dere, too; Judith Gist, dey named her. Dat ole lady could not work when
she died, fer she was a hundred and ten years old. Dey had in de paper
dat I was 125 [HW: 93?]. It gives me notice to say dat I is de oldest
man in Union County. Can’t ’member any of my grandfathers. Millie Gist
was my mother, and aunt Judith was her mother.

"Granny Judith said dat in Africa dey had very few pretty things, and
dat dey had no red colors in cloth, in fact, dey had no cloth at all.
Some strangers wid pale faces come one day and drapped a small piece of
red flannel down on de ground. All de black folks grabbed fer it. Den a
larger piece was drapped a little further on, and on until de river was
reached. Den a large piece was drapped in de river and on de other side.
Dey was led on, each one trying to git a piece as it was drapped.
Finally, when de ship was reached, dey drapped large pieces on de plank
and up into de ship ’till dey got as many blacks on board as dey wanted.
Den de gate was chained up and dey could not get back. Dat is de way
Granny Judith say dey got her to America. Of course she did not even
know dat de pieces was red flannel, or dat she was being enticed away.
Dey just drapped red flannel to dem like us draps corn to chickens to
git dem on de roost at night.

"When dey got on board de ship dey were tied until de ship got to sea;
den dey was let loose to walk about ’cause dey couldn’t jump overboard.
On de ship dey had many strange things to eat, and dey liked dat. Dey
was give enough red flannel to wrap around demselves. She liked it on de
boat. Granny Judith born Millie, and Millie born me. No, I ain’t never
had no desire to go to Africa, kaise I gwine to stay whar I is.

"Uncle Tom come ’long wid Granny Judith. Two womenfolks come wid dem,
aunt Chany and Daphne. Aunt Chany and aunt Daphne was bought by de Frees
dat had a plantation near Jonesville. Uncle Tom and ’Granny’ was bought
by Marse Jim Gist, but dere marsters allus ’lowed dem to visit on July
4th and Christmas. When dey talk, nobody didn’t know what dey was
talking about. My granny never could speak good like I can. She talk
half African, and all African when she git bothered. No, I can’t talk no

"After I was seventeen I did all kinds of hoeing and plowing and other
farm work fer my marster. He said dat by dis time, his little niggers’
bones had done got hard enough fer dem to work. We had a ’driver’, a
older person, dat showed us how to do everything right. Marse never let
him over-work or hurry us. We liked him—’Uncle July Gist’, we called him
and dat was his real name, too. His wife, Aunty Sara, was good to us;
dey both buried at Woodson’s Chapel Baptist Church.

"Fer my first task I had 1/4 of an acre in taters, ’bacca and
watermelons de first year. Some of de boys had ’pinders, cantloupes and
matises (tomatoes) in dere task of a 1/4 acre.

"De next year, we made corn and sold it to our master fer whatever he
give us fer it. All de use we had fer money was to buy fish hooks,
barlows, juice harps and marbles. Boys did not use ’bacca den until dey
got twenty-one or over. Marse allus carried a roll of money as big as my
arm. He would come to de quarter on Christmas, July 4th and
Thanksgiving, and get up on a stump and call all the chilluns out. Den
he would throw money to ’em. De chilluns git dimes, nickles, quarters,
half-dollars and dollars. At Christmas he would throw ten dollar bills.
De parents would take de five and ten dollar bills in charge, but Marse
made de let de chilluns keep de small change. I tell you, I ain’t never
seed so much money since my marster been gone. He buried at Fairforest
Presbyterian Cemetery as white folks calls it, but we calls it Cedar

"When he died, he had sixteen plantations, you can see dat at de
courthouse in Union. All his darkies went in a drove of wagons to his
burying. He was killed by dem Yankees in Virginny. Uncle Wylie Smith,
his bodyguard, come back wid his body and told us dat Marse was kilt by
a Yankee. Marse Jim was a sentinel, and dat Yankee shot him in his nose,
but strange to say, it never tore his face up none. Miss Sara buried him
in his uniform and she wrapped a Confederate flag over de top of de
coffin. Uncle Wylie put Master’s watch around Miss Sara’s neck like he
had done told him to do when he got home. Miss Sara cried and us cried,
too. Jim never married and dat’s why Miss Sara to do everything, kaise
she was his sister what lived wid him.

"Mr., I run on Broad River fer over 24 years as boatman, carrying Marse
Jim’s cotton to Columbia fer him. Us had de excitement on dem trips.
Lots times water was deeper dan a tree is high. Sometimes I was throwed
and fell in de water. I rise up every time, though, and float and swim
back to de boat and git on again. If de weather be hot, I never think of
changing no clothes, but just keep on what I got wet. Five niggers allus
went on Marse’s boat. One man steer de boat and of course he was de
steerman, and dat what he went by. I recollects two steermans, Bradley
Kennedy and Andy McCluny. Charlie Gilliam was de second steerman, by dat
I means dat he de young nigger dat Bradley and Andy had to break in.

"Sometimes Marster have three flat boats a-gwine down at one time, and I
has recollections of as many as five a-gwine from our plantation; dat
was not so often, though. Us had long poles to steer de boats wid; den
dere was some paddles, and some of de niggers was called privates dat
handled de cotton and used de paddles when dey had to be used. You knows
dat batteaus was what dey always used de paddles wid. Privates did de
shoving and other heavy work. De seconds and de privates allus shoved
wid de poles when de water was rough, and de steerman give orders. I was
allus a boatman.

"Charlie Gilliam acted as boatman, some; and den de other boatmen was:
Bill Hughes, Warren Worthy, Green Stokes and John Glenn. Dey made de
poles to suit de job. Some of de poles was longer dan others was. Some
of dem was broad and flat at de end; others was blunt and others was
made sharp. When de Broad River rose, sometimes de waves got higher dan
my house dar. Den it was a real job to handle one of Marse’s boats. Fact
is, it was five men’s jobs. Wid water a-roaring and a-foaming and
a-gwine round you like a mad tiger a-blowing his breath, so dat you was
feer’d (scared) dat all your marster’s cotton gwine to be spilt, you had
to be up and a-doing something real fast. Sometimes dat river take your
boat round and round like a merry-go-round, ’til you git so
swimmy-headed dat you have to puke up all de victuals dat you done eat.
Den it swing from dat whirl into a swift stream dat take you a mile a
minute, yes sir, a mile a minute fer I don’t know how fer.

"Den you see a tree a-coming right straight to you. If de boat hit dat
tree, you knowed dat you be busted into a million pieces. You had to git
your poles and somebody had to let a pole hit dat tree ahead of de boat.
Of course dat change de boat’s course from de tree and you went sailing
on by. Once in a freshet us raced twenty-five miles in twenty-five
minutes. Marse Jim was wid us dat time, and he tole us so by his watch.
De water a-jumping real high and dat boat a-jumping still wusser made me
so skeer’t dat I just shake in my knees and all de way up and down my

"On dis trip we had went plumb up in North Carolina. Us never had been
dat fer up befo’. I ain’t never seed North carolina befo’; neither is I
seed it since. Broad River was real narrow when we went up and she look
like a lamb; but when we come down it had done and tuck and rained and
dem banks was vanished ... but dat water sho did rare up dar to git back
in its regular channel. De rocks up dar was mo’ scary looking dat dey is
whar it run through Union to Columbia. Dat night we run into a nine-mile
shoal. Couldn’t none de niggers keep dat boat off’n dat shoal it was so
powerful ... dat is, de water just tuck dat boat plumb smack out’n our
hands. But it throwed our boat in shallow water and of course dat made
it drag. Good dat it never drug over no sharp rocks—and dey was setting
all around us—but it happened dat it hit sand. We camped dar fer de
night. By morning we had done go a quarter mile from de channel.

"When we et (ate), we worked de boat out into de main channel again. Den
we staked her to a tree and tuck a look around befo’ we started down
stream fer Union; dat seemed fer off right den. Finally de master
boatman give de order, ’Shove off, boys!’ We shoved and we fell into a
clear open channel and our boat went a-skeeting down stream. We never
had to hit a lick, but she went so fast dat we was all skeer’d to take a
long breath. Finally Marster said, ’Boys, see dem willow trees down
yonder; well, steer her to run over dem so dat she will slack her
speed.’ Us did, but it never deadened our speed a mite, dat us could
see. Marster shake his head and ’low, ’Bound fer hell, maybe, boys’.

"Got to Cherokee Falls, wid water so high couldn’t tell no falls dar.
Marster say, ’Lay her to de right, we can’t wreck dis boat widout
putting up a honest man’s fight.’ Den he say, ’If us does, us’ll sho go
to hell.’ We tried to swing her by grabbing to a big willow, and we
broke a lot of limbs in trying, but we did swing her and she run a 100
yards widout steering, and de boat landed on a little mountain of land.
Marse ’low, ’Ain’t never seed sech a ocean of water since I was eighteen
years old, damn if I have.’ He look at me and say, ’Don’t know whether
Dick scared or not, but he sho is a brave man.’ I was a-setting my feets
on land den, and I look at him and ’low, ’No sir, I ain’t skeer’t, why I
could come over dat little place in my bateau.’ Truth is, dat I was so
skeer’t dat I wasn’t skeert. We lay over a day and a half. De water had
done receded back some, and we come 27 miles down to Lockhart Shoals in
dat one day. De water was still so high dat we run over de shoals widout
a tremor. Come sailing on down to Fish Dam and went over de Fish Dam and
never knowed dat it was dar. Den we landed at de road wid everybody safe
but still scar’t.

"Dar was two Charlie Gilmores ... one was kil’t right below Fish Dam. He
was hit in de head by a private. When de private was cutting de boat,
Charlie got in de way of de pole and it hit him in one of his temples
and he fell over in de water dead. When dey got him, wasn’t narry drap
of water in his lungs, dat’s how-come us knowed dat he was kil’t
straight out. Some says dat he was hit in de y’er (ear), but anyway it
was on a tender spot and de lick sho done him up. Nothing wasn’t done to
de private, kaise it was all accidental and Marse and everybody felt
sorry fer him.

"On river trips, we took rations sech as meat, bread and cabbage, and us
cotch all de fish dat we wanted and had coffee. We each took day in and
day out to cook, dat is, all dem dat could half-way cook did dat."

Wesley Jones

    *Interview with Wesley Jones*
    *Rt. 2, Union, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"Yes sir, I drinks jes’ a leetle likker, and I drinks it—I don’t let it
drink me. One call fer another. Dar it goes ’till you be’s drunk. I is
97 years old and I ain’t never been drunk in my life. No sir-ee, nobody
ain’t never saw me drunk. It sho drink some of ’em though.

"Heep o’ stars fell when I was young. Dey fell regular fer a minute er
so. I laid down fer a nap and de niggers woke me up a hollering. Ev’y
darky was scared, but it sho was a pretty sight.

"I ’members de earthquake, too. De earth shake and tremble so hard dat
some loose bricks fell out my chimney and de pitcher fell off de
winder-sill down on de flo’. I was ’bout 50 years old den, if I ’members
correct. Dat come ’long in 1886.

"I also ’members Gen. Wade Hampton, when I was a building up de
breastworks to keep de Yankees from shooting us. Dem was scary times,
but de Ku Klux days was scary times de most.

"My young marster, Dr. Johnny Hill, used to have me drive him to
Padgett’s Creek Church. Sometime us go to de Quaker church, den agin, us
go to church over in Goshen Hill.

"’Bout fus’ thing my white folks had me a-doing, was gwine fer de papers
up to de sto’ at Sardis. I would git a lot o’ letters, fer in dem days,
de white folks rit letters to one another mo’ dan dey does now. I guess
dese days de mos’ writing dat is done is business writing. At de Sardis
sto’ dey used to give big barbecues. Dem days barbecues was de mos’
source of amusement fer ev’ybody, all de white folks and de darkies de
whole day long. All de fiddlers from ev’ywhars come to Sardis and fiddle
fer de dances at de barbecues. Dey had a platform built not fer from de
barbecue table to dance on. Any darky dat could cut de buck and de
pigeon wing was called up to de platform to perform fer ev’ybody.

"Night befo’ dem barbecues, I used to stay up all night a-cooking and
basting de meats wid barbecue sass (sauce). It made of vinegar, black
and red pepper, salt, butter, a little sage, coriander, basil, onion,
and garlic. Some folks drop a little sugar in it. On a long pronged
stick I wraps a soft rag or cotton fer a swab, and all de night long I
swabs dat meat ’till it drip into de fire. Dem drippings change de smoke
into seasoned fumes dat smoke de meat. We turn de meat over and swab it
dat way all night long ’till it ooze seasoning and bake all through.

"Lawyer McKissick and Lawyer A.W. Thompson come out and make speeches at
dem barbecues. Both was young men den. Dey dead now, I living. I is 97
and still gwine good. Dey looked at my ’karpets’ (pit stakes). On dem I
had whole goats, whole hogs, sheep and de side of a cow. Dem lawyers
liked to watch me ’nint’ dat meat. Dey ’lowed I had a turn fer ninting
it (annointing it)."

Sallie Layton Keenan

    *Interview with Sallie Layton Keenan, 80 yrs. old*
    *20 Calhoun St., Union, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

'Aunt’ Sallie (80 yrs. old) and ’Uncle’ Robert live with their grandson.
A daughter lives nearby. They like to tell of the days when they were

"Land o’ de libbin, my maw, she wuz one o’ de Hughes and Giles niggers.
She used to lob to set down by de fire an’ tell us younguns ’bout de
times what de had down dar on de big ribber (Broad River). Our
plantation, she used to say, wuz de one what de white folks called Mt.
Drury. But when maw wuz rael young, jus big enough to wait on de fine
white ladies, she wuz put on de ’block’, you nos what dat wuz, and sold
to Marse ’Matt’ Wallace. Marse Matt took it into his haed dat he wuz a
gwine to a place what dey calls Arkansas. His white folks, specially his
wife’s, dem wuz de Mengs, dey riz up an put forth mighty powferul
objections. Fer a long time he wuz jus onsettled in he mind ’bout zactly
what he really wuz a gwine to do.

"Peers to me like my maw ’lowed dat he sorter kept his intentions secret
when he had rightly make up he mind ’bout de whole business. In dem
days, dere wo’nt no trains like dare is now. Everbody had to ride in
waggons, and de white ladies, dey allus rid in fine carriages. De
chilluns, dey rid wid de wimmen folks. Our Marster, he rid high steppin’
horse, cept on de Sabbath, when he rid wid de missus to meetin’ house
out on de creek. (Brown’s Creek).

"Anyhow, one cold mornin’ not long fore Christmas and jus atter
Thanksgivin’ us sot out fore day, or dat is, my maw and pa did, kaise I
wuz not born till we got to Mississippi River. Dar wuz fo’ in de white
folks carriage—I is heered Maw tell it a thousand times, over and
over—In de carriage dar wuz Missus; and de fo’ chilluns, Jeanette,
Clough, Winter and Ida. Marse Matt, he rid de horse right by de side o’
de carriage. Paw—de call him ’Obie’, he driv a waggin wid all de little
nigger chaps in it dat wuz too little to walk. De big nigger boys and
gals dat wuz strong, dey walked. De roads wuz jus narrow little trails
wide enough fer de carriage and de waggin to git through de lims o’ de
trees. Dey would hit you in de face iffin you didn’t duck ’em, so maw
allus ’lowed. Dey had pack mules dat fetched along de supplies, fer dey
had to spen’ de night in de thick woods what nebber had been cut. All
kinds er varmints used to git atter dem and maw ’lowed dat dey wuz
scared when dey sot camp, and she used to tremble mo’ den she slep. When
she did sleep, she ’lowed dat she drempt de awful varmints wuz a gittin’
atter her. De missus, she wuz scared at night too. Marse Matt, he ’lowed
he warn’t one bit scared, but maw sat dat Missus say he jump powerful in
he sleep sometimes.

"Marse Matt had done sot a task of so many miles fer dem to travel from
sun-up to sundown, but maw ’lowed dat dey nebber did hardly git dat fer.
De pack mules would git short winded, and sometime de carriage horses,
dey would git lame; or one o’ de waggin wheels would take and break; or
it wuz allus some bad luck er follerin atter dem. Den Marse Matt, he
'lowed dat he didn’t believe in no travelin’ signs, and ’cause o’ dat,
maw 'lowed dat dey had de worsest kind o’ luck. Dat is de reason dat de
train did not git no further than ’Promoter’ County, Miss. (Mr. Wallace
really went to Como, Desoto County, Miss., verified by Mrs. J. Clough
Wallace). It took dem fo’ weeks to reach ’Promotor’. Dar dey set up de
new home. Maw ’lowed dat dey wuz called tender feeted poineers by dem
what had got dar ahead of dem. Peers like maw ’lowed dat dey stayed dar
five year. Anyway de fus year, a lot o’ de niggers tuck all manner o’
ailiments and dey died. De Missus, she kept full o’ cold in dat log
house. Dey had a fine house here, you nos de house what Miss Roberta
Wallace libs in, well, dat wuz de one, cepin it wuz not as fine as Miss
Roberta got it now. Anyway, maw and paw, dey didn’t like it no better
dan missus, cepin dey wuz skeered to speak dere minds. Finally, de
Marster, he tuck down sick, and in spite o’ all dat Missus do fer him,
maw ’lowed he kept a growin’ worser and worser till he tuck and died one
bad night. Missus, 'Dandy’ de Marster allus called her, had got so broke
down wid worry and sorrow, dat she wuz nigh to death’s door, herself,
when de Marster died, maw said. Fer dat reason, dey kept it from her fer
two weeks. Dey thought dat she wuz gwine to have de pneumonia, like him,
but she started to gittin’ well fore she tuck de pneumonia. Maw said dat
dey used all o’ de ole nigger remedies on de Missus dat dey knowed and
fer dat reason dey brung her through. Maw is told me dem remedies but I
is so ole now, dat I jus remembers dem. If Bob wuz at hisself he could
give you some. You come by here some day when de moon is right and den
Bob’ll be in his right mind to tell you some o’ dem.

"De Missus, she come back powerful slow, and it wuz mi’ nigh
Thanksgiving when she got strong. It wuz so cold dat she used to ’low
how she wish fer her paws big warm fire, and de Carolina sunshine. So
one bad morning, she took and got a letter from her paw in Union. He
axed her to fetch us all back here to Union. It had done tuck de letter
over three weeks to git to her. Long fore de Marster had died he had gib
up hope er gwine to Arkansas. When dat letter rive, maw ’lowed dat de
Missus she tuck and started to cryin’. All dat day she cry and read it
over an over. De very next morning she called up all us, I wuz born den,
and maw 'lowed dat I wuz a carrin’ a sugar tit in my mouf and dat I had
de cooter bones round my neck. Course I disremembers all cept dat what I
is been told over and over. When maw and paw went out dar, dey had one
little chile. He wuz six years ole when dey got back here. One had done
tuck and died fore dey lef here. Den me and my sister, we wuz born in

"Dat wuz one glad day fer us, kaise Missus ’lowed dat she wuz a gwine
back to her paw in Union. All de niggers, dey started to dancing and a
hollerin’ like dey wuz wile. Maw ’lowed dat some folks dat libbed three
miles away tuck and come to see us. Some o’ dem called us slackers, er
sometin’ kaise we wuz a leavin’; but others, maw ’lowed, dat dey wished
dey could go as fer as Georgia wid us. But I is nebber liked Georgia
myself. Missus gib de orders fer us to begin packin’ and maw said dat de
way dem niggers worked wuz a dyin’ sin. De Missus, she sell her mules
and other stock, kaise we wuz a gwine to ride all de way back on de
railroad train. It had jus broke through to Miss. Some o’ de ole niggers
'lowed dat dey wuz feered to ride on dem things, bein’ as dey wuz drawed
by fire. Dey thought de debbil, he wuz a workin’ in de inside of dem.
Maw ’lowed dat if de Missus wuz not feered she would not be. De Missus
was feered ’bout dem dat wuz not gwine to ride on de train, but when she
'lowed dat dey could jus stay in Miss. Maw said dat dey nebber did hear
no mo’’bout dem bein’ feered o’ de train.

"Maw and paw allus tole me ’bout de things what I did on de train. I wuz
so young dat I jus remembers anything about dat. She ’lowed dat she tuck
de cooter bones from my neck fore we started to de train. Maw ’lowed dat
when de train come up, dey wuz so scairt dat we did not want to git on
till she did. All de niggers wuz looked up to when dey got back here,
maw ’lowed, kaise no niggers in Union had ebber rid on de train ceptin
dem dat had rid fer as Alston, and dey wuz so few dat you could count
dem on your hand.

"Missus ’Dandy’ come right back to her paw’s house. He wuz Mr. Clough
Meng. Missus Dandy’s little boy, Clough, wuz big enough to go to school
when dey got back. It wuz Christmas when dey got to ’Promotor’ County,
and it wuz Christmas when us rive back.

"When my paw, ’Obie’, wuz a courtin, a nigger put a spell on him kaise
he was a wantin’ my maw too. De nigger got a conjure bag and drapped it
in de spring what my paw drunk water from. He wuz laid up on a bed o’
rheumatiz fer six weeks. Dey all knowed dat he wuz conjured. He could
not even set up when his victuals wuz fetched to him. So his brother
knowed who had put de spell on him. He tuck and went to another old
conjure man and axed him to take dat spell off’n paw. De conjure man
'lowed to paw’s brother dat a grapevine growed over de spring, and fer
him to go dar and cut a piece of it six feet long and fetch it to his
house at night. When he tuck it to de conjure man’s house, de conjure
man, he took de vine in a dark place and done somethin to it—de Lawd
knows what. Den he tole my paw’s brother to take it home and give it to
paw. De man what put de spell on paw, I mean de nigger what had it done,
he come often and set down by paw and ax him what was ailen him. Our
conjure man, he tole paw dat de nex time de man come an’ set down by his
bed, fer him to raise up on his lef elbow and rech down by his bed and
take dat piece o’ grapevine and hit de nigger over de head and face. Den
atter he had done dat, our conjure man ’lowed dat paw could den rise up
from his bed o’ rheumatiz.

"It wont long before de nigger come to visit my paw. My paw, he axed him
real nice like to have a seat. His maw had done put a chair by de bed,
so dat he would set down wid his face toward paw. Atter he and paw got
to talkin, paw reched down an’ axed him to have a look at de grapevine
dat he was gwine to smoke fer his ailment. Dat nigger, he ’lowed to my
paw dat it wuz not a goin to do his rheumatiz no good. Jus as he ’lowed
dat, paw, he riz up on his lef shoulder and elbow and wid his right han’
he let loose and come down over dat nigger’s face and forehead wid dat
grapevine. Dat nigger, he jump up and run out o’ dat house a hollerin’
kaise he knowed dat paw and done got de spell offin him. My paw got up
de next day and dey ’lows dat he nebber did have no mo’ rheumatiz."

Ella Kelly

    *Interview with Ella Kelly, 81 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

"Yas sir, I was born a slave of Mr. Tom Rabb, they call him black Tom
Rabb, ’cause dere was two other Tom Rabbs. Marster Tom’s hair was jet
black and even when he shave, whisker roots so black face ’pear black.
Yas sir, I come to birth on his place two or three miles from Monticello
in de country, so I did. They say de year was de year President Buchanan
was president, though I dunno nuttin’ ’bout dat.

"My pappy name Henry Woodward, and b’long to old preacher Beelie
Woodward’s son, John. But all dis was just what I heard them say ’bout
it. My mammy name Ella. She was de cook. I too little to work in slavery
time, just hang ’round kitchen wid mammy, tote water and pick up chips,
is all de work I done I ’members.

"Money? Help me Jesus, No. How could I ever see it? In de kitchen I see
none, and how I see money any where else, your honor? Nigger never had
none! I ain’t got any money now, long time since I see any money.

"What did us eat? Dat’s somethin’ I knows ’bout. My mammy de cook for de
white folks, wasn’t I right dere at her apron strings all de time? Eat
what de white folks eat, all de time, sho’ I did! Too little to ’member
much what slavery was like; can’t tell nothin’ ’bout clothes, never had
no shoes. Us went to church some Sundays. Funny, them dat had not been
good or done somethin’ bad was kept at home by de white overseer, and
some of them played wid de white chillun. Sorry I can’t answer every

"One story I ’member ’bout is de pa’tridges and de Savior. My pappy
allowed de reason pa’tridges couldn’t fly over trees was: One day de
Savior was a-riding long on a colt to de Mount of Olive Trees, and de
drove flewed up, make sich a fuss they scared de colt and he run away
wid him. De marster put a cuss on de pa’tridges for dat, and ever since,
they can’t fly over tree tops. You reckon dat so boss? They say they
never does fly over trees!

"I had a good marster and mistress. When de slaves git sick, they ’tend
to them same as one of their own chillun. Doctor come quick. They set up
and fan you and keep de flies off. They wouldn’t let de slaves do dis,
'cause certain times you got to take medicine ’cordin’ to doctors
orders, and a slave might make a mistake. Oh, they was ’ticular ’bout
sickness. They has a hard time wid some nigger chillun and dat cast’ oil
bottle, I tell you!

"One of my young marsters was name Charlie. After freedom he marry one
of Colonel Province’s daughters and me and my mammy moved and lived wid
them a while. Then I got married to Wates Kelly, and went to live and
work for a white man ’bove White Oak. His name was Long John Cameron, de
best white man to work for, but when Sat’day come and all de hands paid
off, he git dat red hoss and turn and gallop to Winnsboro and bring back
a passel of low down white trash wid him to de disturbment of all de
good colored person on de place.

"Yas sir, Klu Klux was a terror to certain colored persons. I ’members
they come dressed up in white and false faces, passed on to de
Richardson place and whipped somebody one night.

"My husban’ been dead twelve years. I’s got thirteen chillun and Minnie
is de onliest one livin’ wid me in dis house. Her name Minnie Martin.
Got whole lot of gran’ chillun; they cover de earth from Charlotte to
Jacksonville, and from Frisco to Harlem, New York; but never see them,
just three, Franklin, Masie and Marie Martin.

"I heard ’bout Lincoln and Booker T. Washington. De President now in de
White House, Mr. Roosevelt, have done more good for de nigger in four
years than all de other presidents since Lincoln, done in fifty years.
You say its been seventy-two years? Well, than all de rest in
seventy-two years. Don’t you know dat is so? Yas sir, dats de gospel

"I’s a member of de Baptist Church. Been buried wid my Lord in baptism
and hope for a resurrection wid him in Beulah Land.

"Yes, de overseer was de poor buckra, he was what you calls dis poor
white trash. You know boss, dese days dere is three kind of people.
Lowest down is a layer of white folks, then in de middle is a layer of
colored folks and on top is de cream, a layer of good white folks.
'Spect it’ll be dat way ’till Jedgement day.

"I got one boy name Ben Tillman, livin’ in dis town. White folks calls
him Blossom, but he don’t bloom ’round here wid any money, though he is
on de relief roll by sayin’ he got a poor old mammy nigh a hundred years
old and he have to keep her up. ’Spect when I gits my old age pension my
chillun will pay me some little ’tention, thank God. Don’t you know they
will, sure they will."

Martha Kelly

    *Interview with Martha Kelly (age between 70 and 75)*
    *Marion, S.C.*
    —_Annie Ruth Davis_

"All I can tell you, I come here de second year of freedom. Cose I had a
lot of trouble en I can’ hardly imagine how long it be dat I de age I
is. My mother, she know my age good, but she been dead for de years come
en gone from here. Ain’ much I can remember to tell you ’cause I was
small den. No, my mammy didn’ tell we chillun nothin. Didn’ have no time
to tell we chillun nothin. She had to go out en work in de field in de
day en she would be tired when night come.

"My mammy white people was name Charlie Law en his family en dey lived
in Britton’s Neck till dey come up here to Marion. We lived in a rice
country down in dat place call Britton’s Neck. Ain’ you hear talk of it?
My mammy en her chillun stayed right dere on old man Law’s place till
long time after dey tell dem dey was free to leave dere. Stayed to de
nigger quarter in my mammy house ’cause we was learn to be field
hands.—Harold, I told you hold off me ’cause I don’ feel like you layin
on me dis mornin.—(Harold—small grandson). Didn’ know ’bout nothin much
to eat in dat day en time, but bread en meat en rice en all such as dat.
Oh, de peoples in dat country made plenty rice. Dey would plant it on
dis here black lookin dirt en when dey would see dat it was right ripe,
dey would cut it en thrash it out. Den dey would have one of dem pestle
en mortar to beat it wid. My blessed, child, dat been turn out de nicest
kind of rice. No, mam, don’ see no such rice dese days dat been eat like
dat rice eat.

"I recollects I used to be right much of a hand to pull fodder en pick
cotton en all such like dat ’cause all my work was in de field mostly
till I got to de place dat I couldn’ work no longer. You see, when I was
married, I moved out dere on Dr. Miles’ place over next Pee Dee en ’bout
all my days was spent in de country. Lived out dere on Dr. Miles’ place
till I come here to town to live ’bout seven or eight years ago. You is
hear talk of Dr. Miles, ain’ you? I used to do what you might say a
right good size washin, but I ain’ able to get ’bout to do nothin dese
days much. Just washes out a piece or two like a apron every now en den.

"Some of de peoples used to sing dere, but I wouldn’ never bear much
along dat line. Didn’ have no voice much to sing. Is you got dis one?

    Lord, I wonder,
    Lord, I wonder,
    Lord, I wonder,

    (Repeat 3 Times)

    When de lighthouse
    Gwine shine on me.

"Dat all dere be to dat one. I don’ know whe’ if I could remember dat
other one or no. Seem like it go somethin like dis:

    Oh, didn’ it rain?
    It rain 40 days,
    En it rain 40 nights,
    It ain’ never stop a droppin yet,
    En I heard de angel in de mornin sing,
    Oh, didn’ it rain?

    But down by de graveyard,
    Me en my Lord gwine stand en talk.
    Up on de mountain fire en smoke,
    I wouldn’ be so busy ’bout de fire en smoke.
    I heard de angel in de mornin sing,
    Oh, didn’ it rain?

    Oh, didn’ it rain?
    It rain 40 days,
    En it rain 40 nights,
    Widout still a droppin yet,
    I heard de voice of de angel in de mornin sing,
    Oh, didn’ it rain?

    Oh, didn’ it rain?
    Down by de graveyard,
    Me en my Lord gwine stand en talk.
    Chillun, my good Lord,
    I heard de voice of de moanin angel,
    Oh, didn’ it rain?

    Oh, didn’ it rain?
    It rain 40 days,
    En it rain 40 nights,
    Widout still a droppin yet,
    En I heard de voice of de angel in de mornin,
    Oh, didn’ it rain?

"Well, dere ain’ been so much dat I remember dat happen when I come
along but what been happen in a way dis day en time. Cose dere been a
difference ’cause de people ain’ used to live fast like dey do dese
days. Dere been de shake dat come here in ’86 dat I ain’ never see de
like since en ain’ want to see nothin like dat no more neither. I
remember it come here on a night en when I get in bed dat night, I ain’
been expectin nothin had been de matter. Den dere somethin been rouse me
up en all de dishes was a rattlin’. When I get up en go out in de yard,
de house en all de elements was a rockin’. Yes, mam, I was scared. Didn’
know what was de matter. Thought it was de Jedgment comin when I wake up
en hear all de people round ’bout dere screamin en a hollerin, Jedgment!
Oh, Jedgment! Say dem what ain’ right better get right. I tell de people
dat dere won’ no need to run to de church den ’cause we was all gwine be
destroyed dere together. Child, I give myself up den en I get just as
happy as I could be.

"Oh, dey had slavery time doctors to tend de people when dey was sick in
dat day en time. Yes, mam, had dey plantation doctor right dere dat
would go from one plantation to de other en doctor dem what was ailin.
De doctor would come dere to my white folks plantation en tell my
grandmother what to feed dem on en she would give dem de remedy dey tell
her. Dey would use all kind of different herbs in dat day en time dat
dey would get out de old fields en de woods for dey cures. Honey, dey
was good too en dey good yet. I couldn’ tell you half de herbs dey use,
but I recollects dere was boneset dat was good for fever, sage for de
baby, pennyroyal dat was good for girls dat catch cold, mint for sick
stomach, catnip to hope a cold, horehound to strike a fever en dat ’bout
all I recollect. No, mam, I can’ remember half de herbs dere was in de
field, but I know we got some of dat sage growin dere in de garden now.

"I hear talk of dem Yankees plenty times, but I don’ know much to speak
'bout dem. Couldn’ tell de first word ’bout dem. I dis kind of person, I
don’ pay much mind to nothin like dat. Dey was white people, I think.

"Seems like it was better livin long time ago den dere be now. Seems
like times so tight dese days. Reckon it ’cause I ain’ able to work, but
dey tell me de people don’ get nothin much to speak ’bout for dey work
dis day en time. Seems like I got along good when I was able to whip
round en ’bout.

"I hear de people say dere such a thing as ghost, but I don’ know en I
ain’ de kind to speak ’bout de devil business. I hear talk dey could be
walkin right along wid you en dere some people could see dem en den dere
others could look wid all de eyes dey got en couldn’ see dem. No, I ain’
never see dem. I has seen people wear one of dese dime round dey ankle,
but I never didn’ ax dem nothin ’bout what dey wear it for ’cause some
people is curious en don’ like for you to be axin dem ’bout things. I
did always keep out of fuss en I still keepin out it. Never did bother
none wid it. When I see anybody fussin, I shuns dem. My mammy didn’
raise me to do dat."

Mary Jane Kelley

    *Interview with Mary Jane Kelley (85)*
    *Newberry, S.C.*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I live in a rented house wid my daughter who takes care of me. I was
born in de Santuc section. My pa and ma was Richard Dawkins and Marsha
Shelton Dawkins. I think dey lived wid de Hendersons in de Maybinton
section near Broad River, but dey lived wid Marse Bill Jeter near Santuc
when I was born. My husband was Ike Kelley, he been dead good many

"Marse whipped me once or twice. We had to work in de cotton fields, and
I have split rails and ditched like men, too.

"We had home-raised meat, lots of hogs and cattle. Marse had a big
garden and we got lots of vegetables. Marse fed slaves in a trough in de
yard. He had his own smokehouse whar he cured his meat. His flour was
ground in de neighborhood. Sometimes he give a slave family a small
patch to plant watermelons in.

"We wore heavy brogans wid brass toes. Sometimes Marse would make his
own leather and have shoes made in de neighborhood and dese would have
wooden bottoms. He never let us learn to read and write. He never
allowed us to go from one place to another unless it was on his place.
De patrollers would git us if we didn’t have a pass; even if we went to
church wid white folks we had to have a pass. Niggers didn’t have no
church till atter de war; den dey built brush arbors in de woods.

"I married at my house. We is Baptists, and I used to go and see dem
baptize sinners.

"We used to go home at night when de work was over and go to bed and
rest. We worked all day on Saturdays, but never worked on Sundays. On
Christmas Days we had off, and Marse would give us good things to eat
and some whiskey to drink.

"My mother worked around de house in slavery time, she helped cook,
clean up and wash dishes, and sometimes she would card, spin and weave.

"Dey used to make a yellowish dye from mud, a grayish dye from maple
tree bark and a brownish dye from walnut tree bark. We allus planted by
de signs or de scales. Irish potatoes, turnips and sweet potatoes we
planted in de dark of de moon; while beans was planted in de sign of de

"I remember when de Yankees come through atter de war. Dey stole
everything and burned up everything dey couldn’t steal. De Ku Klux was
in our section. Dey killed lots of niggers around dar.

"I don’t remember anything about Abraham Lincoln nor Jefferson Davis,
only heard about dem. I don’t know much about Booker Washington,

Gabe Lance

    *Interview with Uncle Gabe Lance, age 77*
    *Sandy Island, Murrells Inlet, S.C.*
    —_Genevieve W. Chandler_


"Great Peace! Missus, have to study up that!"

Uncle Gabe had just arrived from Sandy Island at the country
post-office, having rowed over for his month’s supply of sugar and
coffee and things he cannot raise. After the five or six mile row he
must needs walk three miles to the office.

"I could remember when the Yankee boats come to Montarena—gun-boats.
'Bout ten o’clock in the morning. Soldier all muster out and scatter all
over the island. You know that cause-er-way? Gone over that two by two,
gun on shoulder glisten gainst the sun! Blue-coats, blue pants, hat all
blue. Come back to landing ’bout five o’clock. Have hog, geese, duck!
Broke in barn. Stole rations from poor people. My Grandfather the
Driver—slave Driver. Name Nelson. Maussa—Frank Harriott. Maussa gone in
swamp. Hid in woods. My Grandfather take old Miss Sally—Miss Sally
Harriott—count she couldn’t walk with rheumatism—Grandfather took old
Miss Sally on he back to hid ’em in the woods where Maussa. Yankee stay
but the one day. Ravage all over us island. All goat, hog, chicken,
duck, geese—all the animal but the cow been take on the Yankee gun boat.
They broke in Maussa big rice barn and share all that out to the colored

"Some my people run away from Sandy Islant. Go Oaks sea-shore and
Magnolia Beach and take row-boat and gone out and join with the Yankee.
Dem crowd never didn’t come back.

"Any slave run way or didn’t done task, put ’em in barn and least cut
they give ’em (with lash) been twenty-five to fifty. Simply ’cause them
weak and couldn’t done task—couldn’t done task! ’Give ’em less rations
to boot! Cut ’em down to

    1 qt. molasses
    1 lb. meat
    1 pk. corn for a week

"Good Master all right. Give plenty to eat. Reasonable task. Task dem
time one-fourth to one half acre. Ditching man ten compass. Got to slush
'em out. Got to bail that water out till you kin see track.

"All dem rice-field been nothing but swamp. Slavery people cut kennel
(canal) and dig ditch and cut down woods—and dig ditch through the raw
woods. All been clear up for plant rice by slavery people.

"Beat my Pa and Ma to death and turn me loose! Ought to take care ’o me!
I send off my 35 ct. fust (first) time, next time twenty-five cents I
put what little I have in it. Ain’t hear no answer. Some ten or fifteen
head round here send off blank and don’t get no hearing! Take what
little I have and don’t send me nothing ’TALL! I tired with that now!
Ain’t had a hearing!" (Referring to ’old age compensation’).

Ephriam (Mike) Lawrence

    *Interview with Ephriam Lawrence*
    *Edisto Island, S.C.*
    —_C.S. Murray_

"I don’t ’member much ’bout slavery time ’cause I been lee (little) boy
when war declare. I raise up under de Murray—all my generation belong to
de Murray. Dey know how to treat slave. Ain’t lick um much, hardly any.
Chillun hab easy time. All I been require to do was tote coal to Mosser
when he ready fer light. Adam Mack and me, we been de fire boy. Mosser
gib Adam to Mister Eberson. I ain’t gib to nobody—’specially.

"All white people ain’t treat slave good. Some make um wuk haa’d all
day, and ’cuss um plenty. De slave who been live near Steamboat Landing
had rough time when dere old Miss git in tantrum. She been ’nuse to
trabbel all over de world, and when she come back, she call all de slave
together, and say: ’When I come, de debbil come.’

"We family ain’t had all dat to worry ’bout. Behave yourself and you all
right. Plenty to eat, plenty to drink. Run ’round and enjoy yourself if
you got uh mind to. Wuk when you wuk, play when you play. Ole Miss ’nuse
to ’tend all de sick nigger. Go from house to house, wid lee pair of
scale and bottle ram jam pack of calomel. Give lee nigger big dose of
castor oil, and dey git well quick, mighty quick.

"Old Mosser ’nuse to keep all de likker in de world on hand. Had to keep
plenty, ’cause he friend drink lot and nigger drink lot too. He ain’t
drink so much heself. Old nigger been live on de place call John Fraser,
same one I tell you ’bout, dat cut all dem tree down. John sure been
slick. When Mosser call fer he fine likker to hand ’round, John come
back and tell him all gone. Mosser want to know why. John make reply:
'Why, Mosser you know you hab Mister Binyard to supper last night and he
finish all dat good stuff. You know how Mr. Binyard drink. Sometime he
drink when your back t’un (turned). How you ’speck um to last?’ Mosser
scratch he haid, and say, yes he know how Mr. Binyard drink, and mebbe
dats why de last bottle empty. He ain’t satisfy, but he can’t prove dat
John drink um.

"Mosser ’nuse to keep de whiskey down in de cellar by de barrel, and he
draw um off in bottle when he need um and take um upstair to de wine
room. De nigger dat wuk ’round de house and de yaa’d, help dem self out
de barrel when dey feel tired. Mosser ’spect dem to do dat—dey ’title
(entitle) to um. Whiskey been kinder ration in dem day.

"Nigger jest know haa’d time now. Ain’t been dat way when I been lee
boy. You ain’t lacking fer nutting den dat you really need. No tussling
'bout fer yourself and knock ’round from pillar to post. If we need
anything slavery time we ax (ask) fer um—make we want known. Any feeling
ably white man who hab slave, gib we what we need. No puzzling 'tall (at

"Ain’t I tell you ’bout dat time when John Fraser take overcoat from
Mosser right on Meeting Street? No. Well, it been uh cold day, and
Mosser tell John Fraser to meet him on de corner Meeting and Broad wid
de overcoat, ’cause he going out dat night and he want ’um. John been
wid Abel Wright, and de two of dem walk down de street to meet de Major.
John say to Abel: ’I cold as de debbil, and I going to ax Mosser fer he
coat.’ Abel say: ’You crazy. He send for um and he sure ain’t going, to
gib you he good new coat anyhow.’ John say: ’You wait and see.’

"Soon Mosser come in sight. When he see John he git mad right off ’cause
John hab on he overcoat. Before he kin say uh wud (word) John speak up
fast. He say: ’Yes, Mosser I got on your coat ’cause it mighty cold. Got
to excuse old nigger. You hab ’nother coat. I ain’t got nutting but dis
here jumper. Go on home Mosser and git torrer (the other) coat. I going
to keep dis. He jest fit me. Go on home.’

"Mosser study fer uh while, den he laugh. He see how keen de coat fit
John, and he know it been cold sure ’nough. John look sekker (just like)
dress up monkey in dat long tail overcoat, and dat make de Major laugh
all de more. So he tu’n round and go home, and John hab dat coat till he

"Old Mosser scarcely going to deny you nutting, if he like you."

    *Interview with Ephriam (Mike) Lawrence, about 80, farmer and
    *Edisto Island, S.C.*
    —_C.S. Murray_

Mike Lawrence belonged to what he calls "de Murray state" in slavery
times. He was one of Major William Meggett Murray’s "fire boys", who was
charged with the specific duty of bringing live coals to the master
whenever he wanted to light his pipe. Mike was only a small lad when war
was declared, but he remembers numerous stories relating to "Maussa’s
niggers", some of which are worth recording. He speaks from first hand
knowledge, he says, for the things that he tells about happened during
his childhood and still stand out clearly in his mind.

Here is one of Mike’s stories:

"Old John Drayton was de smaa’test of all de nigger de Maussa place. He
wuk so haa’d some time dat Maussa jest got to stop him, or he kill
heself. I nebber see sech uh man fer wuk in all my life. Maussa t’ink uh
lot ob um, ’cause he been uh good field hand, beside know lot ’bout
cutting ’ood (wood) and building fence. What been more old John play fer
all de dance on de plantation. He fair (really) mek fiddle talk. When
Maussa gib uh dance he always call ’pon John.

"Yas, suh dat man sure could play. W’en he saw down on de fiddle and
pull out dat june (tune) ’Oh, de Monkey Marry to de Babboon Sister,’ he
mek paa’son (parson) dance.

"One day more dan all, Maussa Murray send wud (word) to John dat de cow
der break out ob de pasture, and he got to mend de fence quick. But John
done promise some nigger on Fenwick Island to play fer uh dance, and he
steal paa’t (path) and go. (This expression means to go away by
stealth). Dat been Friday night and Maussa say John got to finish de
fence by sundown the next day.

"W’en Old John ain’t show up Saturday morning, Maussa ax eberybody where
he been and de nigger all band togedder (together) and tell Maussa dat
dey see him leabe in uh boat to go fish and he ain’t seen since. Maussa
been worry sure ’nough den ’cause he t’ink John might be drown’. He
’gage (engage) four man to shoot gun all ober creek to mek John body
rise. Atter dat day drag all ’bout in de gutter.

"Maussa gone bed wid heaby haa’t (heart) ’cause he been very fond ob Old

"John come back from Fenwick Island early Monday morning and ’fore day
clean he in de ’odd der cut fence rail. Now, one hundred rail been call
uh good day wuk, but Old John decide he going to do better den dat. He
find fibe (five) tree grow close togedder, and he cut piece out ob every
one. Den he chop at the biggest tree till he fall, and dat tree knock
all de rest ober wid um.

"W’en all dem tree fall togedder, it make sech uh noise, dat ole Maussa
hear um in he bed, and hasten to dress so he kin see w’at der go on in
de woods.

"Maussa saddle de horse and ride ’till he git to de center ob de noise
and dere he see Old John cutting ’way like he crazy. Maussa been mad
sure ’nough, but den he glad to see John ain’t drown’. He staa’t to say
some t’ing but Old John interrupt, and sing out: ’Go ’way Maussa, I
ain’t got time to talk wid you now.’

"Old John den gather up five ax, and go to de five tree laying down on
de ground. He dribe uh ax in ebery tree and den grab uh neaby maul. W’en
Maussa look on, he tek de maul and run from one tree to torrer (one to
the other) and quick as he hit de ax, de tree split wide open. Maussa
staa’t to say some t’ing ’gain but John ain’t let him talk. He say: ’Go
on home to Missus, Maussa, I too ’shame, great God I too ’shame! Go on

"Maussa tun (turn) ’round in he track and go home widout uh wud, ’cause
he see de old nigger ain’t going to gib him any satisfaction ’bout
Saturday. W’en he go back in de ’ood dat evening he check up and find
dat Old John done cut five hundred rail. Oh, dem been man in dose day, I
tell you."

Ben Leitner

    *Interview with Ben Leitner, 85 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

"I see you go by de road de other day, on your way to old man Wade
Jackson’s house. ’Member de old fellow dat am paralyzed, de one dat
lives beyond Fellowship graveyard? I was setten’ in dat graveyard when
you and Marse Thomas pass in de automobile. I ’quire nex’ day where you
was a goin’, then Marse Thomas say you goin’ ’round doin’ sumpin’ ’bout
old slaves and ’spect you’d like to see me. So here I is.

"Well, I’s knowed you since you was knee-high and Marse Thomas say,
maybe you help me to get a pension. If you can’t, nobody can.

"I was born a slave of old Marse Robin Brice, not far from New Hope
A.R.P. Church. My mistress was name Miss Jennie. My young marsters’ was:
Marse John, Marse Chris, and Marse Tom. Marse Tom been a little runt;
they call him Tom Shanty. Him got to be a member of de Legislature,
after de war. All them went to de ’Federate War. Deir sister, Amanda,
marry Marse Bill Kitchen. You ’member him, don’t you? Course you does.

"’Member dat day baseball fust come out and they got up a team, not a
team then; they called it a ’Nine’, when de game fust come to woodward
section? If you ketch a ball on de fust bounce, dat was a ’out’. No sich
thing as a mask for de face, gloves for de hands, and mats to protect
your belly. No curves was allowed, or swift balls throwed by de pitcher.
Him have to pitch a slow dropball. De aim than was to see how far a
batter could knock de ball, how fast a fellow could run, and how many
tallies a side could make. Mighty poor game if de game didn’t last half
a day and one side or de other make forty tallies.

"Marse Bill Kitchen was workin’ in de store of his brudder-in-law, Marse
John A. Brice. Him was called out to make one of de ’Nines’. Him went to
de bat, and de very fust lick, him knock de ball way over center field.
Everybody holler: ’Run Kitchen! Run Kitchen! Run Kitchen!’ Marse Bill
stand right dere wid de bat; shake his head and long black whiskers and
say: ’Why should I run? I got two more licks at dat ball!’ They git de
ball, tech him and de umpire say: ’Out’. Marse Bill throw de ball down
and say; ’D—n sich a game!’ Folks laugh ’bout dat ’til dis day.

"My daddy name Bill Leitner. Him never b’long to Marse Robin. Him b’long
to Marse John Partook Brice. Mammy b’long to Marse Robin. Her name
Sarah. Daddy have to have a pass to come to see mammy.

"My brudders and sisters was Eliza, Aleck, and Milton. Patrollers whup
daddy one time when they come to de house and find him widout a pass.
Marster have mammy whup us chillun, when us need a whuppen. Her milk de
cows, churn, and ’tend to de milk, butter and dairy. I helped her wid de
cows and calves, and churnin’.

"You ask me is I had plenty to eat? Sure I did, wid all dat milk ’round
me all de time. Best thing I ’member right now was runnin’ my finger
'round de jar where de cream cling, and suckin’ it off my fingers.

"Marster took good care of his slaves. They never went hungry or cold.

"My marster and mistress live in a big two-story house. Us live in
little log house, wid log chimneys. I ’members fightin’ chinches in de
summertime and fleas all de time. I wore a asafetida bag ’round my neck,
when a child to keep off croup, measles, diphtheria, and whoopin’ cough.
Marster send for Dr. Walter Brice when any slave get very ill.

"De fust year of freedom I work for Marse Chris Brice. Been wid de
Brices all my life. Now livin’ on Marse Tom Brice’s place.

"When de Yankees come, they ramsack de house for silver and gold. They
burn de house and gin-house; carry off mules, hosses, and cows. They
took de chickens, load all de provisions, put them in a four-hoss
waggin, and leave us and de white folks cold and hungry. It was cold
winter time then too.

"I marry a ginger cake lady, one-fourth white, daughter of Louis Grier.
Tho’ I ain’t much on looks as you sees me today, dat gal often, befo’
and after de weddin’, put her arms ’bout me and say: ’Ben you is de
han’somest man I ever have see in de world.’

"Us had three chillun. My wife led me to de light of de Lord. I jined de
Red Hill Baptist Church, under de spell of Peter Cook’s preachin’ and my
wife up in de choir a singin’: ’Give me dat old time Religion.’ Preacher
Miller is my pastor now. Peter Cook dead and gone to glory long years
ago. I ’members now dat old preacher’s warm hand, when he took my hand
dat night I jined. Him say: ’God give you a life to live. You have a
soul to save. God give you His Son to save dat soul. Glory be His

Mary Ann Lipscomb

    *Interview with Mrs. Mary Ann Lipscomb*
    *Gaffney, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._


"My husband, Nathan Lipscomb, was over on Mt. Pleasant fighting, and I
had been over there to see him. He was a private in the rear ranks. When
we were coming back to Charleston on a rice steamer, an open boat, the
Yankees were shelling the town. I played with my fingers in the water of
the bay as the steamer went along. We landed at a different landing from
the one where we had started from. When I got off the steamer I was very
much frightened, for they had shot through the hotel where we were

"We immediately left the city by train. I hated to leave my husband so
far behind, but I could do nothing about it. In that day the train used
only wood for fuel. Only two trains a day came from Columbia to
Charleston. They made about 18 miles per hour, but that was good
traveling at that time.

"My brother, Thomas Wilkins, went through the war. My father, Russell,
and Richard were in training when the surrender came. I stayed with my
father at White Plains while my husband was off to war. When we heard
that the Yankees were coming, we had the Negroes to hide all the horses
but two, and to hide the cows and turn the hogs loose to ramble in the

"When the Yankees rode up to the yard and got off their horses, we could
easily tell they had been drinking. We told them that our horses were in
the stable and that the Negroes had fled in terror, which was true. They
ate up everything they could find and ransacked the closets and pantry.
They then caught the chickens, took the two horses in the stable and
went away.

"The darkies came back with the cows and horses, and we got settled for
the night. About nine o’clock, the Yankees came unexpectedly and took
all the horses and cows. They killed the cows, and made our darkies help
them to butcher them and barbecue them. The Yankees soon ate everything
up and left with our horses.

"My grandmother, Agnes Wood, gave my mother, Elizabeth Wilkins, a
beautiful young mare. The Yankee who took that mare, turned over a pot
of fresh soap when my mother asked him not to take the mare. Our cook,
Matilda, had the soap ready to cut in the pot, so we saved some of it.

"During the second year of the war I was making me a homespun dress, and
while my father helped me with the weaving he told me of a dress that
one of his friends made during the Nullificatlon days. I carded and spun
the filling for my new dress, wove it, made the dress and wore it to
Charleston when I went to see my husband. It had broad, black stripes
the width of my two fingers, and two green threads between the black
stripes. It also had a little yellow stripe. It was really a beautiful
dress and looked very much like silk."

Govan Littlejohn

    *Interview with Govan Littlejohn*
    *Park Ave. and Liberty St., Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"Capt. Sam Littlejohn whipped Miss Sallie H.’s slave. His name was Ambus
H. Cap’ tied him to a tree. Never had no corn-shuckings, us shucked de
corn quick as us hauled it from de field.

"My marse kilt as many as twenty hogs every time he butchered, which be
about fo’ times every winter. Marse Richard Littlejohn never married. He
lived wid his mother and seven brothers.

"Marse was one good man and he love his darkies. He never had no
overseer, because he had only ’bout 80 slaves as I remembers. I de
onliest chile dat my ma had and I be 88 if I live to see dis coming
December. My ma teach me to fight nothing in dis world but de devil.

"My father was Peter Littlejohn. Lawyer Tommie Dawkins was his marster.
I never was sold. I married, but never had no chilluns. My old lady been
gone over de river dese many years, so many dat I cannot recall how
many. Yes Sir, I used to light my ma’s pipe and wear home-made clothes.
Ole lady Rhoda was de seamstress. She died not long atter we was

"I lives in de Woods Funeral Home which is on de corner of Park Ave. and
Liberty Street. Once I befriend a man in distress. He now own interest
in de undertaking ’stablishment and dat is why I has a room dar in my
old age."

    *Interview with Govan Littlejohn*
    *387 S. Liberty St., Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C._

Govan Littlejohn, of Spartanburg, told the writer he was 87 years old
and that he remembered slavery times. He said he was born on the farm of
Dicky Littlejohn, located near Grindal Shoals. He said Richard
Littlejohn owned a mill on Pacolet River, though his brother, Jim
Littlejohn, owned the land. This was a grist mill. Govan Littlejohn’s
father was a colored man from another farm and his name was Hawkins, but
he took the name of Littlejohn. He remembers the Yankee Soldiers passing
in the public road, but they did not bother any one there; didn’t take
or steal anything, and just passed on quietly. He says his master did
not know how to whip anybody, though he remembers him catching hold of
him one day and switching him with a small twig, saying "You little
rascal, you." His master whipped some of the grown negroes but not hard
enough to hurt them, though once or twice he saw a grown negro with bare
back feel the switch. "But he did not know how to whip anybody."

"Yes, I been conjured," he said. "You see that left foot? Well, once
when I was a young ’buck’, I was setting up to a gal and there was
another fellow setting up to her, too. I held a little bit the upper
hand with the gal. But when my left foot began to swell up and pain me,
I had to go to bed. I stayed there three months. Dr. Nott came to see me
and treated me with corn poultices, but they would dry up and fall off
and I didn’t get any better. He lanced my foot three times, but nothing
but blood would come. One day a herb doctor came to see me and said he
could cure my foot. He took corn meal poultices, rhubarb roots and some
other things, and it wasn’t long before my foot got well. About that
time, my mother found the ’conjuration’ right in the front yard at the
door-steps. I must have stepped over it, or got my foot caught in it
some way. The ’conjuration’ was, pins, feathers and something else all
tied up in a bag. My mother heard that if it was put in running water,
the conjurer would leave the country. So pretty soon after she put the
stuff in running water, that fellow left the country. He got his arm
caught in a cotton gin not long after he left, and got it chewed off
right to his shoulder.

"Vegetables should be planted during the dark of the moon. One day, the
man I was working for told me he wanted his Irish potatoes planted. I
told him that wasn’t the time to plant potatoes. He told me to plant
some in one particular place that day and call them his potatoes, then
when I thought the time was right, to plant the rest in another place.
His potatoes came up and made prettier vines than mine, had pretty
blooms on them and the vines grew very high. He ragged me about how fine
his potatoes were. He told me to gather the potatoes under my vines for
the house, but not to disturb his potatoes. For several days, the family
ate potatoes from my vines, then I gathered up the potatoes left. I got
five or six wheelbarrows full. I then dug his potatoes and got a little
more than one wheelbarrow full. He told me to plant the garden when I
thought the time was right, and not to say anything to him about when
and what to plant. I always had plenty of vegetables for his family."

Easter Lockhart

    *Interview with Easter Lockhart (80)*
    *322 Hill Street, Gaffney, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"Folks thinks that I was born round Easter, but that ain’t so. March the
9th is what they always told me. The year I cannot recollect hearing,
but by my count that I keep I am running close to eighty years. White
folks give me my age to keep when I married, and I have kept it ever
since, so I cannot be far wrong.

"It was the chief of police’s grandpa that I knew and it was off his
place that my old man come from. I was born Easter Norris and I married
Nathan Lockhart when I was young, maybe fifteen, ain’t sure about that.
He was a little older than me. In slavery I was born and my mother was
sold while I was a very young child, so they say. We then lived with Mr.
Clayton Clark. Freedom broke when I was around thirteen, and we then
went back to the Lockhart Plantation. There is where I nursed Henry, a
little baby. He is now the chief of police. Miss Bessie, his mother, had
me to clean up her yards for her.

"Miss Bessie fixed me up to be baptized at the Limestone Baptist church.
It was then near Johnson Street and across from where Central school now
stands. It was a Negro church. We had to go to the spring pond called
Austin’s Pond where all the baptizing took place in those days. Mr.
Austin had a mill there run by a big water wheel. The white folks
carried on their baptizing there, too. The first warm Sunday in May was
when I was baptized.

"All Saturday I prayed and Miss Bessie told me what I was going to do,
and read to me from the Bible about baptizing and about John the Baptist
baptizing Christ. Yes sir, the Bible say Christ went down in the water,
in the waters of Jordan. Miss Bessie was telling my ma how to fix my
clothes while she was reading the Bible to me. All my clothes was white
but my shoes. In those days they did not have white shoes. I wore white
cotton stockings. I had a white dress to wear to the pond and I took two
pairs of white stockings. A crowd was to be baptized at 2:30 o’clock
that evening. The sun was good and hot. I went with my folks. Miss
Bessie went and all the white folks went to see their Negroes go under.

"The dress I wore to the baptizing was starched so stiff it stood out. I
wore a white handkerchief over my head that Miss Bessie give me. On top
of that I had a white bonnet that had frills and tucks all over it. When
we got there the banks of Austin’s Pond was lined with Negroes shouting
and singing glory and praises. They sang all the songs they could think
of and the preacher lined out songs to them. The people to be baptized
congregated before the preacher, and he told them what to do. Then we
went in and put on the clothes we was to go under in.

"I had a long white gown gathered from my shoulders and it had a big
kind of sleeves. On my head I wore a white cap and kept on my white
stockings, but I pulled off my black shoes. Never had no white shoes
that I know of way back then. I felt so good that I seemed to walk real
light. While we were getting in our baptizing clothes we shouted praises
as the people on the banks sang. Some of us jumped up. When my time come
I started to the pond and just before the preacher turned to take my
hand, I shouted ’Lord have Mercy’ and clapped my hands over my head.
Somebody said, ’Dat child sho is gitting a new soul’.

"Down in the water I went. First it hit my ankles and then I felt the
hem of my skirts getting wet. I looked down and my gown was floating on
top the water. I took my hand and pushed it down. The preacher pulled me
to him and I went in water to my waist. I said ’Oh Lordy’ when that
water hit my stomach. The preacher said, ’Now sister, you just hold your
breath and shut your mouth; trust in the Lord and don’t act like a
grunting pig, but have faith’. Then the singing seemed far off and the
preacher’s voice got deep. He put his big hand over my mouth and told me
to limber up my back. His other hand was under my back. He pushed me
over, and down in the water I went; then up I come. The preacher put a
towel over my face, and while I was getting water out of my eyes and
mouth, he was saying about the Lord done reached down from Heaven and
created a new soul. I felt real funny when I turned to walk up out of
the water. I could hardly walk for I had on so many clothes and they
were so heavy. As soon as I could I got into the clothes that I wore to
the baptizing and put on my black shoes and the pair of white stockings
that I had fetched with me. While aunt Kizie Lockhart was tying the
handkerchief around my head that Miss Bessie give me, I told her about
how I felt. She said, ’Why, sure child, ain’t you done washed your sins
away and got converted?’

"Then she grabbed me by the hand and we went out among the people
shouting praises to the Lord. I ain’t never felt the same since. Aunt
Kizie took me round to say ’howdy’ to Miss Bessie. When the preacher had
got them all baptized, we went into the church and had services. The
white folks went on home after the baptizing was over. At the church we
shouted till we could not shout no more. Folks don’t like that now. They
don’t feel good when they join the church no more, either. I ain’t had
nothing to come against me since I was baptized. My head loses lots of
things, but not my religion.

"Lots of folks was at Mr. Henry’s Pa’s house for his infair dinner. Mr.
Hiram and Miss Bessie give the infair after the wedding. Miss Agnes, his
sister come back for the wedding. Mr. Henry had sharp snapping eyes and
he was good looking then. His eyes can still snap. When he looked at
Miss Mary his face would light up. Her name was Miss Mary Gilmer, and
she lived up near the lead mine. She sure looked good in white. I did
not see the wedding, so I had to look careful at them when they come in
Miss Bessie’s front door so I could take it all in.

"The infair sure was fine. The table was most breaking down with turkey,
chicken, ham, salads, pies and cakes. All the things to eat, already
fixed on the plates, was fetched in from the kitchen by the Negroes. The
chickens and turkeys just set on the table for ornaments and was not
touched until the next day.

"The infair started at three o’clock in the afternoon. There were three
or four tables for the people to sit at. The dining room and one other
room were used to seat the guests at the tables while they ate. I can
still see Miss Bessie’s white linen table cloth that reached nearly to
the floor. Such a time as I had the week before, washing and ironing the
big linen napkins and shining the silver.

"They all looked mighty fine at the tables in their fine clothes. I
could not help looking often at Mr. Henry’s wife. Miss Bessie had done
studied everything out so as it all went off fine."

Gable Locklier

    *Interview with Uncle Gable Locklier, age 86*
    *Gourdin, S.C.*
    —_H. Grady Davis and Mrs. Lucile Young, Florence, S.C._

"I born in Clarendon county, 50 yards of Davis Station. Massa Henry
Bethune dat have big plantation dere was my first boss en after he died,
Mrs. Bethune sold everything en moved to Summerton. Stayed dere till she
married Mr. Thomas, de preacher, dat have big place in Summerton wid
trees in long row right up to de door. He bought place three miles from
Summerton called de Bashet place. Mrs. Bethune was a sport lady en was
good to me en Mr. Thomas good man too, but he was a Yankee. He come to
Summerton to be a school teacher en won’ long fore he commence to escort
my Missus en dey made up in a year or two, I hear ma say. I was in de
kitchen en I hear dem. She told ma, ’Eliza, I gwine marry Mr. Thomas.’
Ma say, ’You is.’ ’Yes, you reckon he gwine be all right?’ ’I reckon he
is, he looks all right.’ ’Well, I gwine marry him en try him.’ Mr.
Thomas, he Yankee, but he fought for de Confederates.

"Massa Henry Bethune had big plantation en had a right sharp of slaves
dere. De boss house was here en my house next en all de other slave
house was string along in row dat way. My white folks, dey didn’ exactly
treat you as most of dem did. Dey come round en examine you house en see
what you needed. All us live in two room pole house dat have a wood
floor. Old people sleep on some kind of bed prop wid rope wind up like
cow yoke en have quilts en mattresses taking white homespun. De others
sleep on de floor. Dey give us good clothes made out of blue denim cloth
en some had checked or stripe goods. Den dey give us heavy woolen
clothes to wear in de winter time en had Sunday clothes too. My Massa
was good to his slaves all de time. Have own garden dat my mother en
sister would work en my mother done all de cookin for de slaves ’cause
our folks all eat out de same pot. Cook rice en fat meat en dese collard
greens en corn bread en cabbage. Make plenty of de cabbage en eat heap
of dem.

"I didn’ never have to work hard, but dey work dem till dark come on
some places. Dey blow horn en us go to work after daylight en sometimes
get off in time to eat supper by sundown. I was so slow dat when de rest
knock off, dey make me work on. Mr. Thomas, he stand en look at me. My
hands just look like dey put on wrong. When I quit off, I eat supper en
den I go to bed.

"I ain’ never see any slaves punished but I hear tell ’bout it. Some of
dem run away ’cause dey get tired of workin en if dey catch em, dey sho
whip em. Used to have to get ticket from boss or Missus to go any place
off de plantation widout you get punish for it. I hear tell ’bout de
overseer en de driver whip plenty of de slaves en some of de time, dey
would put em in de screw box over night. Sell em if dey didn’ do like
dey tell em to do. Speculator come dere to buy slaves en dey sell em to
de highest bidder. I hear em say a certain one bring $1400 or $1500. I
know a man offered my boss $1000 for my brother, Joe, but he wouldn’
sell him.

"My Massa would give me money now en den. First money I remember he give
me was 75¢ paper money. He tell me to check his horse en bring him up to
de yard en give me 75¢ en said, ’I can’ carry you wid me dis mornin.’ I
was ’bout 9 or 10 years old den. I stood up on de block en wondered why
he couldn’ carry me en when I go back to de house, I see my Missus cryin
en she say, ’We won’ see him no more.’ When he come back, he shot
through de foot. He tell me to go to de blacksmith shop en bring
crutches. Den he went to de war again en when he come back, he was shot
on de right side of de neck. Give me a quarter in silver money dat time.
I ain’ never been to de store fore den, but I go to de storekeeper en I
say, ’Mr. King, half dis money mine en half Joes.’ I thought it was his
place to give me what I wanted en when I walk out, he say, ’Come back en
get your money,’ I carried it home en give it to brother Joe en he give
it to pa en don’ know what come of it after dat. Bought plug of tobacco
for pa wid de other money I had.

"Our folks didn’ get no learnin much nowhe’ in dem days, but my Missus
sister child learn me right sharp. Dey was boardin at our house en when
I started to school, I didn’ have no trouble. I remembers I found a
little book one time en man say he pay me 10¢ for it. Ma give me a
needle en thread en little sack en I sew my 10¢ in it. Put it in de
rafter en it stay dere till next Christmas. Believe I took it down en
tote it a long time fore man come by sellin tobacco en I bought piece en
give it to pa. Man give my sister bigger piece for a dime den he give

"De slaves what belong to my white folks have frolicsome days all
through de year. Go to frolic on Saturday en go to white folks church on
Sunday en sit in portion of church in de gallery. Den on Christmas eat
en drink de best liquor dere was en de Fourth of July de one day dat dey
have to go to [HW: Eutaw] Springs. Dey go in buggies en wagons en have
plenty of everything to eat dat day. I know dere was a battle up dere,
although I didn’ never go wid em. Cotton pickin en corn shuckin days
won’ no work times, dey was big frolics. De first one shuck red corn had
to tell who his best girl was en all dem things. All dem come to cotton
pickin dat want to en pick cotton en cook big dinner. Pick cotton till
'bout 5:30 in de evenin’ en den knock off for de eats en de dancin. Go
to all de slaves weddings too. Dey would mostly get married ’bout on a
Sunday evenin’.

"I was ’bout 15 year old when freedom come, but I don’ remember much
'bout dat day. I remembers de Yankees come to de house one day. De white
folks had a bull dog tied in de smoke house en one Yankee hold de gun on
de dog en another take de meat out de house. Den dey come out en set
table en eat. Dog didn’ try to bite em ’cause dog know when to bite.
Somebody ask em to have some rice en dey say, ’I would cut my throat
fore I eat dat thing.

"I tell you de truth wid de treatment I been gettin I don’ see why I
could fought slavery time. I lives here by myself en I used to get check
but check don’ come no more en I just lives on what people gets me.
Government got woman bring me wood en bucket of water en niece give me
dis house en acre of land to live on my lifetime. Cook only one meal a
day ’cause I can’ afford it. De water I got it ever since yesterday
mornin. Sunday mornin I had hominy en salt water fish en dat de last
time I had good meal. (Wednesday afternoon). Lady tell me dere ain’
gwine be no more checks. It be two months since I get check en lady come
en I tell her I hungry en she go to Gourdin en buy me two cans en loaf
of bread. Had two big watermelons en was saving one for Miss Lanes. Girl
come runnin in en say my niece house on fire en I go runnin to see ’bout
fire en my biggest watermelon gone. Dat de one I been saving for Miss
Lanes en den I wake up on Friday mornin en de other one gone. Next thing
I know, dey started on my late ones. One night woman come in patch en
thump en thump. I was standin at de peach tree in de patch en she have
one en when she get near me, she stoop down en pick another. I say, ’You
reckon dat one ripe?’ She sho drop em en run dat time.

"Thank you, sir, your kindness will not be forgotten. Dis here dozen
matches last me till next week.

"Good-by. Yunnah come back."

Walter Long

    *Interview with Walter Long, 83 years old*
    *2440 Sumter Street, Columbia, S.C.*
    —_Henry Grant, Columbia, S.C._

"I’s a little bit stiff, when I tries to git up, and sometimes when I’s
walkin’ I weaves and wobbles like a drunk person, but know all dat comes
from old age. I has been healthy and strong all my life. De onliest
trouble I has ever had in my life has been wid my teeth; they sho’ has
been bad a long time, and now I has only one or two old snags left. I
don’t want no store bought teeth nohow, ’cause they ’minds me of a hoss
or mule wid a bit in their mouth floppin’ up and down. No sir, I don’t
want them triflin’ things botherin’ me, I think I can take care of de
little I gits to eat wid dese few snags I has left.

"Me and all my folks was slaves and b’longs to Master John Long, and his
wife, Betsy Long. Their plantation was six miles north of Chapin,
Lexington County, South Carolina. De plantation was a big one and lay
'long Saluda River. You know it had to be a big place ’cause master had
over three hundred slaves in all. Everything de slaves needed was made
right dere on de plantation; all de food ’cept sugar and coffee, and
what us need to wear, ’cept buttons for de clothes.

"Master and mistress raised four fine boys, no girls I ’members ’bout.
De boys names was: West, Mid, Gradon and Hill. Master West and Mid
served as overseers on de plantation. Dese boys being de overseers, was
de whole reason us slaves was treated good and kind. They knowed us
slave would b’long to them some day, when old Master John died. De
slaves never worked hard, and they was give every Saturday and Sunday to

"Our food in slavery time was good and a lot of it. De food was cooked
good and prepared for us by servants dat didn’t do nothin’ else but
'tend to de food dat de rest of de slaves had to eat. When us had beef
us went to de pasture for it; when us had pork, us went to de hog lot.
De cabbage and turnips come from de garden and field dere at home, and
when us was eatin’ them us knowed they didn’t come from out yonder, like
de stuff us has to eat dese days.

"De houses us slaves lived in was built of logs and then de logs was
covered over inside and out wid plank, dat made them tight and warm.
Every family was furnished plenty of covering, so they wouldn’t suffer
in cold weather but in summer de most of us slept on pallets on de

"Master John was a business man, but he never got too busy to be polite
and gentle to mistress. Both of them has good schoolin’. They knowed
just how to treat both their slaves and their white friends. They was
good to all, and they never turnt anybody down dat come to them for
help. Many was de poor white folks dat ’most lived on Master John. They
was what I calls, real white folks; no sich people is easy found dese
days by de poor niggers.

"Mistress was mighty ’ticular ’bout our ’ligion, ’cause she knowed dere
was no nigger any too good nohow. Us slaves ’sorbed all de good us had
in us from our mistress, I really believes. She was so kind and gentle,
she moved ’mong us a livin’ benediction. Many was de blessings dat fell
from her hands for de sick and ’flicted. She got tired, but I has never
seen her too weary to go to a cryin’ child or a moanin’ grown person on
de place and ’quire what was de matter. Us was ’bliged to love her,
'cause she knowed us more better than us knowed ourselves. More than
dat, she and her sons’ wives teached us how to read, write and figure,
'nough to help us in small business.

"When did I git married? I wish you hadn’t ask dat question. I sho’ had
a bad mixup wid my first gal. You see it was dis way: I was good grown
befo’ I left my daddy and mammy who was then farmin’ for Master Mid
Long, on the other side of Saluda River. My mammy had a heap of sense
dat she got from de white folks. So, one day while me and she was
pickin’ cotton out in de field she all at once stopped pickin’ cotton,
straightened up, pointed her finger at me and said: ’Look here nigger,
you knows I don’t like for you to be gwine to see dat brown skin gal
what lives over yonder on Cling Creek. After I has raised you up de best
I knowed how and then for you to do like you is, foolin’ your time ’way
wid such sorry women makes your old mammy sick and mad all over. One
other thing I wants to say to you is dat some of dese nights when you go
to see dat gal, you is gwine to see something dat is sho’ goin’ to call
to your mind what I’s sayin’ to you.’ Well boss, you know how ’tis wid
men. I knowed mammy could give good ’vice, and I knowed she sho’
wouldn’t do me no harm. But what ’bout dat I’s gwine to see some nights
when I go to see dat gal? So I thinks and thinks ’bout dat two or three
days and never did satisfy my mind what dat something gwine look like.

"Late one evenin’, close to sunset, several days after mammy said what
she did to me, I kinda loafed off down to de cross-road store, ’tending
I was gwine after some ’bacco. I fool ’round de store a good long while
like I didn’t have nothin’ on my mind ’cept my ’bacco. I had a plenty on
my mind, ’cause as dark come I headed up de Cling Creek road towards dat
gal’s house. When I got close to her house I seen her down at de fence
in front of de house. Soon as she glimpsed me, she ’tended like she was
lookin’ for something dat wasn’t dere. I knowed what she was lookin’
for, ’cause women has got their own ’culiar way of foolin’ men; keepin’
them from knowin’ what they are thinkin’ ’bout. Dat gal knowed all de
time in dat little kinky head of hers dat I was goin’ to see her dat
night. When I spoke to her she didn’t ’pear to be de least bit
frightened or surprised.

"Quick as a cat she climbed up and set down on top of de fence, while
from de other side I leaned against it, close by. Dere she was smilin’
just as shy and skittish as a squirrel. Us stayed right dere and talked
and talked ’bout everything we knowed ’bout and a heap we didn’t know
'bout, ’til de big yellow moon stood straight up, befo’ I said farewell
to her and begun makin’ my way down de big road towards home.

"I went on down de road whistling wid nothin’ on my mind ’cept dat gal.
When I got ’bout a mile from home I seen a woman wid a basket on her
arm, a little piece ahead, comin’ towards me. Just as I turnt to let her
pass I kinda raised my hand to my hat to speak. But bless your soul, I
ain’t seen dat woman no more. I stopped and looked everywhere and dere
was nobody in dat road ’cept me. Well, dere you is. What does all dis
mean nohow? So de more I thought de more a ’culiar feelin’ crept over my
body. Then I say: ’Here I is been lookin’ for hants and spirits all my
life and I ain’t never seen one befo’ dis one.’ By dis time dat ’culiar
feelin’ had reached my foots and they got to movin’ ’bout uneasy like.
Dis ain’t gwine to do I said and wid dat I tore off down de road faster
than a wild hoss. White man, I believes I run de first hundred yards in
nearly no time and after dat I kinda picked up a bit. I begun to feel
dat I wasn’t makin’ as good time in de road as I ought to be makin’ so I
cut ’cross de field towards a narrow strip of woods close to home. When
my foots hit de rough grass and corn stalks of de field they took holt
then and got to bird-working², smooth and nice like machinery. I thought
I heard something back of me, I glanced back to see what it was and
befo’ I could git my head straight again I smacked head on into a pine
tree as big as I is. Well, my runnin’ ceasted right dere, de big yellow
moon went dark, a breeze fanned my face, and then everything got still.

   ² Swift movement

"De next mornin’ when my mind come back to me, de sun was shinin’
straight in my face. I lay dere on de ground blinkin’ my eyes, wonderin’
if I was still livin’. After a while I tried to move and sho’ ’nough I
was dere all right.

"After de war de most of us slaves stayed on de plantation and worked
right on just like nothin’ had happened. I lived with my mammy and daddy
a long time after I was grown. Old master and mistress died soon after
de war and then my family went to live wid young Master Mid on his
plantation on de other side of Saluda River.

"When I got some over thirty years old I got married and then I left de
farm, moved lower down in Lexington County and went to work at a
sawmill. I worked in de sawmill business ’bout twenty-five years.
Rollin’ big logs to de saw wid a kanthook ain’t no easy job, but it was
better to do dat than nothin’. I made a pretty good livin’ but didn’t
save no money, ’cause money was scarce in them days, nobody was paid
much for their labor in them times.

"Soon after I quit working in de sawmill business I moved to Columbia
and has been here every since. De white folks has been pretty good to me
here, ’cause I has had work most all de time. I has always been able to
pay my bills and support my family right good. I believes de reason of
dat is, I has never bothered nobody, and attended to my own little
business as best as I knowed. Even now, as old as I is, I can git work
from my white friends ’most all de time, dat’s right.

"Did I marry dat first gal what mammy fussed wid me ’bout? Listen at
dat. No sir, I ain’t seen dat gal in ’bout fifty years and I don’t know
if she is dead or not."

Gillam Lowden

    *Interview with Gillam Lowden (75)*
    *Greenwood, S.C.*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I was born at Greenwood, S.C. about 1862. I can’t ’member anything
'bout de Confederate War or anything right after de war. I heard my
mammy and daddy talk ’bout de patrollers but I don’t know much. My daddy
was Abram Lowden and my mammy was Sidney Williams dat married my daddy.
Our marster in slavery was Dr. Davis, and his wife, our mistress, was
Miss Martha Davis. Dey didn’t learn us to read and write.

"Atter de war, my mammy always done washing on Sad’day atternoons, and
us little chaps helped to tote water and bring her wood. I ’member de
old brick oven our marster had. Dey cooked lots of bread on Sad’day
atternoons to last several days. Den we had corn-shuckings, de women had

"Us chaps didn’t play many games ’cept marbles, rope-skipping, and
jumping high rope. We didn’t git to go to school.

"Some of de cures dey made was from gypsum weed, which was boiled into a
tea and drunk. Thread-salve buds was picked and strung on thread like a
necklace, den put around de neck to keep off chills.

"I jined de church when I was 31 years old, because I was seeking
salvation. I wanted God to release me from my sins and dat was de way I
had to do it. We can’t git along widout Jesus.

"I never did think anything ’bout Jeff Davis or Abraham Lincoln, and
don’t know nothing ’bout Booker Washington."

Emma Lowran

    *Interview with Emma Lowran*
    *550 Horseshoe St., Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C._

A colored woman who states she was about four years old during slavery
times, states she doesn’t remember much about those days, except what
her mother told her. Her mother was a slave and was given to Bill Smith,
otherwise known as "Big-eyed Smith", and they used to live on his
plantation somewhere between Glenn Springs and Spartanburg. The actual
possession of her mother was ’vested in Mrs. Bill Smith, as the mother
was presented to Mrs. Smith by her father. Her mother’s work was around
the house, such as cleaning house, washing, milking the cows etc.; but
she never had to do the cooking for the Smith family. The source states
that she and the other children of slaves used to play in the sand and
have a good time—just as all children do. Sometimes Mr. Smith would go
to whip her mother for some reason, but Mrs. Smith wouldn’t let him do
so, for she told her husband that the woman belonged to her and she was
not going to have her whipped. However, she stated she does not remember
ever seeing Big Eyed Smith whipping any slave, for his wife would always
stop him. As a whole, she and her mother were treated very kindly,
though at times they did not have enough to eat. Mrs. Smith would always
tell her mother who was milking to give the children plenty of milk.
This woman was too young to remember anything about the Yankee soldiers
coming to their place, but one day a black man came by the house and
told her mother she was now free. She states her mother continued to
work for Mr. Smith after she was set free. She was sent to school where
she learned to read and write, but when she became older, she came to
Spartanburg to live, because it looked like in the country, no one could
get a doctor out there until he or she was about dead; so she wanted to
be in town where she could get a doctor when she got sick.

Nellie Loyd

    *Interview with Nellie Loyd*
    *Newberry, S.C.*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I was born in Union County, S.C., near Goshen Hill, about 91 years ago.
I belonged to Mr. George Buchanan. He went to the war and got his right
arm shot off. After the war, his sons moved to Oklahoma. He was good to
his slaves, and never allowed any negro under 12 years of age to work in
the fields. I helped around the house until I was 12 years old.

"The soldiers were called ’minute men’. They had wide hats with palmetto
buttons in front. They sometimes mustered at Goshen Hill. Some of the
slaves was hanged for stealing, but my master never hanged any.

"I married Nozby Loyd soon after the war, and had three children. I come
to Newberry about thirty years ago, and have worked with white families
or in the fields."

    *Interview with Nellie Loyd (91)*
    *Newberry, S.C.*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I lived wid Albert and Carrie Coleman. Dey is no kin, but dey give me a
place to live. I am too old to work much, but I does what I can to help.

"I was born near Goshen Hill in Union County, and I was a slave of Marse
George Buchanan. He give us good quarters to live in and plenty to eat.
He was a good master. I believe he never whipped any slaves, for I never
did hear of it if he did, and he never allowed anybody else to whip dem

"My grand-mother’s mother come from Virginia. It was said she was kin to
de Indians.

"I worked around de house most of de time. My mother cooked at de home
of Marse George. She kept de keys to de smokehouse where dar was always
plenty of home-raised smoked meat. Marse made his own flour, too. He
made salt by digging a deep hole in de ground and getting de mud dat had
salt in it. We never had our own gardens, but we had small watermelon
patches. Marse had a big garden.

"Marse had a blacksmith shop and he used charcoal in it. To make de
charcoal he would cut down pine trees and pile de big limbs up and put
dirt over dem; den burn de limbs and dat would leave de charcoal. He
would pour water over it den.

"Some of Marse Buchanan’s boys went to war, and some of dem got killed.
Dey had patrollers den, and if dey caught you off de place dey would
have twelve men to whip you.

"We never worked at night except sometimes when it rained and we had to
get de corn shucked or de fodder hauled to de barn. Sometimes we picked
cotton by de light of de moon. We worked on Saturday afternoons but not
on Sundays. On Christmas we had a good time and good things to eat. De
men would drink beer and whiskey. Beer was made from locusts and
persimmons, and everybody would drink some of it.

"De slaves never learned to read and write. Dey never had any churches,
but dey had to go to church and so dey went to de white folks’ church
and set in de back or de gallery. Niggers had lots of dancing and
frolics. Dey danced de ’flat-foot’. Dat was when a nigger would slam his
foot flat down on de floor. De wooden bottom shoes sho would make a loud
noise. At weddings everybody would eat and frolic.

"We had our own leather made and tanned at home; den it was tacked to de
wood soles to make shoes.

"When anybody got sick, de old folks made hot teas from herbs dat dey
got out of de woods. One was a bitter herb called ’rhu’. It was put in
whiskey and drunk to prevent sickness. Marse always give it to de nigger
children, and to de grown ups, too. Dey hung asafetida bags around de
necks of de kids to keep down sickness.

"When freedom come, Marse said we was free, but he kept us till dat crop
was finished, and some of de niggers stayed on for several years and
worked for wages.

"De yankees come through our section, and Marse hid his meat and things
in deep holes dat he dug in de cemetery. He built a fence around de
cemetery. De yankees took good horses and left poor ones. Dey made
niggers cook for dem all night. De Ku Klux wore white clothes and white
caps. Dey made out dey was ghosts from de cemetery, and dey would get a
man and carry him off, and we never would see him again. De Red Shirts
come in ’76. I ’member my husband voted once or twice. He was a
Republican; but dey soon put a stop to dat.

"I think Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson must have been all right; just
heard about them. Dey said dat Jeff Davis surrendered under a June apple
tree. Just heard about Booker Washington and dat is all I know. Reckon
he is doing good work.

"I joined de church when I was quite young, because meningitis was in de
neighborhood killing so many folks and I got scared.

"Atter de war de niggers started up hill; den went back. Since dat time
up to now, dey has been working most on farms. Some rent small farms and
some work as wage hands or share-croppers. Dem dat went to town have
worked as carpenters and other such work.

"I can’t ’member anything more, except dat marse had a still-house on
his place, and other farmers did, too. Dey made brandy and whiskey from
peaches, apples and grapes dat dey raised; den sold it to other farmers
in de neighborhood who didn’t have as much as dey did."

Amie Lumpkin

    *Interview with Amie Lumpkin, 88 years old*
    *1411 Pine St. Columbia, S.C.*
    —_Stiles M. Scruggs, Columbia, S.C._

"I was born on de plantation of Master John Mobley, in Fairfield County,
South Carolina, in 1849. Both my parents was slaves on that plantation
at that time. Master Mobley had a big farm and he had many slaves and
chillun when I began to understand things there. My daddy worked in de
field, but my mammy worked in de big house, helpin’ to cook.

"There was pretty good order on de plantation, generally at de time in
1856, when I was ’bout seven years old. Most of de slaves go right along
doin’ their chores, as expected of them, but a few was restless, and
they break de rules, by runnin’ ’bout without askin’, and always there
was one or two who tried to escape slavery by goin’ far away to the

"I ’member seein’ one big black man, who tried to steal a boat ride from
Charleston. He stole away one night from Master Mobley’s place and got
to Charleston, befo’ he was caught up with. He tell the overseer who
questioned him after he was brought back: ’Sho’, I try to git away from
this sort of thing. I was goin’ to Massachusetts, and hire out ’til I
git ’nough to carry me to my home in Africa.’

"It was de rule when a trial was bein’ held lak this, for all de bosses
and sometimes de missus to be there to listen and to ask the run’way
slave some questions. After this one talked, it was Missus Mobley
herself who said; ’Put yourself in this slave’s shoes, and what would
you do? Just such as he has. The best way to treat such a slave is to be
so kind and patient with him, that he will forget his old home.’

"He was led away and I never did hear if he was whipped. He lak a
Cherokee Indian, he never whimper if he should be whipped ’til de blood
stream from him; but I do know he never got away again. He was de first
one to pick up his hat and laugh loud, when President Lincoln set all
slaves free in January, 1863. He say: ’Now I go, thank de Lord, and he
strike right out, but he not git much beyond de barn, when he turn and
come back. He walked in de yard of de big house, and he see Missus
Mobley lookin’ out at him. He take off his hat and bow low and say:

"Missus, I so happy to be free, that I forgits myself but I not go ’til
you say so. I not leave you when you needs a hand, ’less de master and
all de white folks gits home to look after you.

"De missus look down at her feet end she see de black man, so big and
strong, sheddin’ tears. She say to him: ’You is a good nigger and you
has suffered much; make yourself at home, just as you have been doin’
and when you want to go far away, come to me and I’ll see that you git
'nough money to pay your way to Boston and maybe to Africa.’ And that is
what happen’ a year or two later.

"My daddy go ’way to de war ’bout this time, and my mammy and me stay in
our cabin alone. She cry and wonder where he be, if he is well, or he be
killed, and one day we hear he is dead. My mammy, too, pass in a short
time. I was sixteen when Sherman’s army come through Fairfield County. I
see them ridin’ by for hours, some of them laughin’ and many of them has
big balls in their hands, which they throw against de house and it
explode and burn de house.

"I have always ’spected that am just de way they set de houses when
Columbia was burned in a single night. Some of de houses in Fairfield
was burned, some in Winnsboro, and others in de country, but Columbia
was de only place that was wiped out. As de army pass, we all stand by
de side of de road and cry and ask them not to burn our white folks’
house, and they didn’t.

"I came to Columbia in 1868, and for a time I cooked in one or two of de
hotels, then running in Columbia. About 1878, I was employed as cook in
de home of de late W.A. Clark, and I stayed there, in de servant’s
quarters, on de place ’til I became too feeble to continue.

"It has been one of de big pleasures of my life that I has so many fine
white friends, and so far as I knows, de good will of all de black folks
as well. While workin’ at Mr. Clark’s home, which stood in a fine grove
of magnolias at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Park Street I never
thought I should live to see it fade away. But you know it did, since de
big stone mansion was torn away and de Junior High School now stands in
that grove.

"While there, I think it was about thirty years service, I saw many of
de leading white folks of de city and state, as guests there; they, at
least many of them, still befriend me. De remnants of de Clark family
treat me fine when they see me, and sometimes they drive by to see me.
Of course, I had a pretty nice little roll of money when I got too old
to work reg’larly but it has all been spent since. One day I’s thinkin’
'bout it and I recalls de sayin’ of my Missus Mobley. She say: ’Money
has wings and it soon fly away.’

"For de last twelve years now, I has been de guest of Missus Ruth Neal,
a fine Christian woman and a teacher in de public schools. She always
treat me just as though I be her mother. My white friends have not
forgot me to date and they enable me to live, without too much aid from
my present benefactor. Her chillun, all in school now, call me ’Auntie.’
Lookin’ over my life it seems to me, I has done de best I could to live
right and I have a hope that when de summons comes my Lord will say:
'Well done, Amie.’"

Ballam Lyles

    *Interview with "Uncle" Ballam Lyles (74)*
    *Carlisle, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"Likker puts de wrong ideas in people’s haids. I see dat ever since de
time I shed my shirt tail. When dey gits likker in dem, dey thinks dey
is important as de president. All o’ ’em wants to act like millionairs.
And if de truth be known, ain’t narry one uv ’em worth killing. Likker
jes’ brings ’em down to dat. It’ll do anybody like dat. It don’t make no
difference how rich dey is nor how white dey is. It’ll sho’ ruin ’em.
And de niggers, it does dem de same way, ’cept dey don’t have as far
down to come as de white folks does. And dat’s de reason I ain’t got no
use fer no likker.

"When I was a lil shirt-tail boy, I recollects our soldiers gwine from
house to house wid packs on dere backs. Dey was de awfullest looking
white folks dat us had ever seed. Dat picture still stay right clear in
my mind, even if I is a old man wid everything a growing dim. Dey sot up
a camp at Marse’s Bill Oxner’s place—dat in Goshen Hill and ain’t
nothing much left dar fer you to see now. Dem soldiers never had nothing
in dere packs but a few old rags and maybe a lil keepsake from de women
folks back home what dey loved. Dere hair was dat long and stringy dat
it was all matted around de face and neck. ’Cause in dem days, all de
fine white mens wore beards, kaise dat was de fashion. But dem soldiers’
beards looked wusser dan dere hair. Dere faces carried de awfullest look
what you is ever seed on any man’s face. Dere clothes looked wusser dan
any darky’s clothes had looked ’fo de war. None o’ dem never had no
garments a fittin ’em. Us’d look out and say, ’Yonder comes some mo’ o’
dem old lousy soldiers.’

"Wheeler’s soldiers come to Mr. Oxner’s place and burnt de crib and tuck
all our corn and jes’ wasted it. Den dey tuck our meat and carried on
something scandalous. Dey stayed a day or two and when dey had ’stroyed
everything and scared us all half to death, dey went on somewheres

Eison Lyles

    *Interview with Eison Lyles (73)*
    *Santuc, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._


"Dey comes slow—dem things you calls recollects, or whatever it is; but
I knows what I is talking about, dat I does. My daddy named Aaron Lyles.
Him and Betsy Lyles was my parents. She come from Virginia. Deir white
folks, de Lyles, brought dem from Virginia to Maybinton, S.C.

"I was too little to know much of de old war, but jes’ can remember
living wid Mr. Alf Wright when de horn blow, saying dat de war was done
over. I thought Jedg’ment Day done come!

"I soon learn’t to put up ’hopper’. Dat was hanging up strong ash wood
and hickory ashes in a bag dat was wet, so dat de lye would drip out in
a box whar soap was made. When de moon got right, de grease was biled
off de bones and put in de lye; den it was cooked up into soap. It was
done on de increase of de moon and only a sassafras stick was used for
stirring. De soap maker stirred from her all de time. When a real hopper
was made, it was in a V shape, wid a trough underneath for de drippings.
Dat is all of de kind of soap folks had in dem hard times. If it was too
strong when you took a bath, de skin would come off. Hard soap was used
for washing, and soft soap for clothes. Another thing we did wid lye,
was to shell corn and put de grains in lye and clean it. When it come
white, we called it ’hominy’.

"Things slip me sometimes, dat is, dey slips my memb’ance. I reckons dat
old Gordam Mill was run by water, down yonder on Tyger River. Tyger
separates Maybinton from Goshen Hill. Mr. Bill Oxner had de post office,
and he lived up in a big grove whar de squirrels was real tame and loved
to play.

"When we lived on de old Lyons place I got acquainted wid Mr. Bob Lyons.
His family refuged from Charleston to Maybinton during de war, and dey
stayed dar until he died; den his folks went back to Charleston. I
know’d Mr. Jim Thomas, den.

"My father went from dat to Herbert’s. We had it hard dar. Had so many
ups and downs, and de overseer was hard on us, too. As to age, I ain’t
so sho about my right age, but I been old enough to sleep by myself for
a long time. Folks knows me well and I stands well wid dem, and I tries
to stand well wid God. My name was down in de old Lyles Bible, but it
done burn’t now. Miss Ellen done dead and ain’t none of my set of Lyles
living dat I knows de wharabouts of. I was born over on de Newberry
side, so dey says; but dat don’t matter, I knows de Union side jes’ as

"I lived wid Mr. Byars at Herbert’s on a big plantation. Oh, Lawdy, I
couldn’t remember how many plows dey run down dar. I was gitting big
enough to go to see de gals, and I sho had to walk a fur ways to see
'em. De first buggy in dat country belonged to Mr. Epps Tucker. He had a
net to go on de horse to keep de flies off’n him. Dat’s de first horse
wid a net on him to come to Gilliam’s Chapel.

"I run around four or five years for nature and for fun. Had in mind
picking a wife, and I got one dat I like de looks of in about four
years. Us up and married. I know’d Dr. Cofield, Dr. Geo. Douglas, Dr.
Peak Gilliam and men like dat. Things run along all right till de night
of August 31, 1886. Dat night dis old man prayed, ’O Lawd, come down, we
need You. We need You and we need You bad. Ain’t no time for chillun’s
foolishness, so don’t send your Son, Jesus Christ, kaise it’s You we
needs. Dat earth sho was shaking everywhars, and things was falling. De
Lawd or something had things by de hand dat night. Next day de Lawd
heard folks prayers and stopped dat earth’s gwines on. Of all de ups and
downs, I spec dat was de worst scared I ever was.

"Atter dat us built St. Luke, and we had logs for seats. We marched
together and sung: ’Let’s go down to de water and be baptized. I
promised de Lawd dat I’d be baptized when St. Luke was finished. ’Ligion
is so sweet, ’ligion is so sweet.’

"Little boys watched us while us was building St. Luke’s. Dey would play
in de branch and sing: ’Little boy wouldn’t swim, kaise leather tacked
to his shoe’. Den dey would catch hands and jump up and down on de bank
and sing: ’Loop de la—loop de loop de la; Deacon coming out, deacon
coming out.’

"Den all would run to de shade trees and put on deir clothes. And when
us finished St. Lukes, such a baptizing as us had! All of us marched
down to de pool while we sung:

    Let’s go down to de water and be baptized.
    'Ligion is so sweet, I’s promised de Lawd I’d be baptized;
    'Ligion is so sweet, and I’s promised de Lawd I’d be baptized."

Moses Lyles

    *Interview with Moses Lyles, 81 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

Moses Lyles lives in the section of Fairfield County that borders on
Broad River. He lives in a two-room house, of the ’saddlebag’ type, with
his wife, Carrie, and his daughter, Carita. The home is the ordinary
tenant house of a Negro in the South. Pictures, cut out of the
illustrated Sunday editions of newspapers, are used to decorate the
inside walls of the rooms. There are two windows to each room, which are
closed with plank shutters. The floors are clean and yellowed from much
scouring and sweeping. On the outside is a tiny walk to the house,
bordered on either side by rows of jonquils. And about the yard are
'butter and egg’ flowers, that were so much in vogue in slavery times.

"Yes sir, I was a slave. I b’long to Dr. John J. McMahon, dat is, my
mammy was his cook. My father b’long to Marse Thomas Lyles. Deir
plantations jined and folks could see ’cross de fields from one house to
another. I never hear ’bout any trouble dat was caused by pappy comin’
every so often to see and be wid my mammy.

"My mistress name Sarah. Her and Marster John was de father and mother
of young Marster John J. McMahon, a lawyer. My old marster and mistress
have two girls, Miss Annie and Miss Lillie, dat was livin’ when Marster
die. Just a few weeks after he die, here come young Marse John into a
troubled land, in de last year of de war, ’65. What you think of dat?
Niggers ’low dat’s what give him de power dat him have. You never hear
'bout dat? Well, they do say, when a male child come after de father’s
death, dat male child gwine to be a big man in all sorts of ways. How
was him great? What did him do? Why everything. Widout a daddy and
widout money, him got to be a ’fessor in de college and a lawyer. He
tell de judge what’s what in dat very court house over yonder. Git to be
de head of all de teachers in de State and show them how to learn de
chillun. He come back sometimes and show farmers how to farm. Know how
to cure my dog of de mange, show my wife how to cure her chickens dat
had de ’pip’, and tell us what to do if ever a cow git sick wid de
hollow horn or de hollow tail. Why, Marse John could count all de stars
in de sky, tell you deir names while settin’ on de top rail of de lot
fence at night; git up de nex’ mornin’, look ’round and say whether it
gonna rain or not, dat day. He not tell by de sky, but just go out, run
his fingers through de grass, and dat grass tell him, somehow, it gonna
rain or it not gonna rain. How him love dat old place, and de Salem
cross road and Monticello. Him was riding high in de saddle of might and
power down dere in Columbia. Him come home and say to me and Carrie: ’I
love dis old place, wid its red hills and gullies, its pine trees, ash
trees, hickory trees and scaly bark trees, de berry weeds and thistles
'bout de barnyard fence and I want to be buried up here, not in
Columbia, so dat de weeds and grasses, dat I walk on when a boy, might
grow over me when I’s dead.’ Then him say: ’Mose does you know how to
castrate and spay pigs?’ I say: ’I does not.’ Him say: ’Time for you to
learn.’ Us and de hands go out to de lot and wid de guff, guff, guff and
guffin’ of de old hogs and de squealin’ of de pigs, him take all
patience and learn me spayance and castration.

"My pappy, as I might have told you, was Henry Lyles and my mammy, Mary
Woodward. My brudders and sisters was John, Henry, Martha, Sallie, Jim,
and de baby of all, Bill. Bill and me is de only ones livin’.

"One day I was plowin’ ’long and a thinkin’ a whole lot of foolishness
'bout social ’quality dat was bein’ preached to us by de leaders of de
Radical ’Publican party, which I b’longed to. Nigger men lak dat kinda
talk, nigger women didn’t lak it so much. They fear dat if nigger man
have a chance to git a white wife, they would have no chance wid de
nigger men. They was sure dat no white man would take a black wife,
'ceptin’ it be a poor white trash man and then if they git one of them,
him would beat her and work her harder than in slavery time.

"When I git to de end of de row, I say: ’Whoa!’ I turns my back to de
plowstock, ketches my hands on de handles and say to myself: ’De great
Moses in de Bible have a black wife. What is good ’nough for him is just
too good for me.’ Then Carrie flit through my mind, as I see her de last
time in a red pokeberry dyed dress, a singin’: ’Swing Low Sweet Chariot,
Jesus Gonna Carry Me Home’. Then I think ’bout dat word ’carry’ in de
tune and dat word ’home’ in de song and dat word ’me’ twist and ’tween
them two words ’carry’ and ’home’, I says: ’Come ’round here, mule. Dat
sun soon go down; ain’t got long here for to stay. You got to eat and
you’s got to trot and I’s got to ride. You’s got to carry me to see
Carrie.’ I went dat night and ask her for to be my wife. Her say: ’Dis
is mighty sudden, Mose. When de idea fust come to you?’ Then I tell her
and she laugh. What she laugh ’bout? Laugh at de fool things I tell her
and de very joy of de moment.

"Us marry dat fall and have had nine chillun. Who they? Dere’s Henry,
Tozier, Lydia, McGee, Nancy, Tolliver, Bessie, May, and Carita. Carita
name Carrie for her mammy but her loll it ’bout her tongue and change it
to Carita.

"Old Marse Dr. John McMahon was of de buckra type. Freedom come too
soon. De nigger was de right arm of de buckra class. De buckra was de
horn of plenty for de nigger. Both suffer in consequence of freedom."

George McAlilley

    *Interview with George McAlilley, 84 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

George McAlilley lives with his son-in-law, daughter, and small
grandchildren, in a one-room frame house, with a lean-to shed room
annex. The annex has no fireplace, no window, is ten feet by eight feet
in dimension and it is in this pen that George and the two small
children sleep. The house is three miles north of the town of Winnsboro,
set back in a cotton field, 500 yards east of US #21.

George gathers the firewood from the neighboring woods, picks
blackberries in summer, and assists in the harvesting of cotton from the
fields in September.

"You think I feeble? Looks is ’ceivin’ sometimes. Dere is some stren’th
in me yet. Just set a nice dish of collards, fat back, corn bread, and
buttermilk befo’ dis old nigger and you can see what dese old gums can
do wid them. ’Spects I can make ’way wid a plate of fried chicken, too,
quick as de nex’ one. If you don’t believe it, try me dis day, at dinner

"I was born in slavery time, on Mr. Jno. S. Douglas’s plantation, close
to Little River. I b’long to him. He told me I was born in 1853. Had it
wrote down in a book. When I was birthed, de master set de date down in
a book, wid de name of my pappy, Joe and my mammy, Rachael. Bless de
Lord! They b’long to de same master and live on de same place, in a
teency log house. I ’members it. I sho’ does. De roof leaked and us had
a time when it rain.

"My mistress name Miss Maggie; she was a fine woman. Come from de Boyce
stock, a buckra. I tells you dere was no finer mistress in de land, than
she was. She was good to her little niggers; special, I ’low! I was one
of them.

"Us had a white overseer, Mr. Erwin. If it hadn’t been for my mistress,
'spect he’d a wore de hide off me one time when he ketched me in de
watermelon patch.

"What kind of work I do? Hoe cotton, pick cotton, pick peas, mind de
cows and keep de calf off at milkin’ time. I plowed some de last year of
de war, ’65 it was.

"My marster and mistress was very ’ligious in deir ’suasions. They was
Seceders and ’tended Hew Hope Church. When us went dere, us went up in
de gallery. No piano nor organ was ’lowed in de church them days. I set
up dere many a Sabbath and see Marse Robin Stinson knock his fork on de
bench, hold it to his ear, and h’ist de tune. Then all jine in and let
me tell you it had to be one of de Bible psalms, by de sweet singer of
Israel, and no common glory hallelujah hymn. No sir, they didn’t
tolerate deir chillun engagin’ in breakin’ de Sabbath in dat way!

"It sorta comes to my mind dat in de summer time after crops was lay by,
us went to hear one of our color expound de word in a brush harbor, nigh
Feasterville. His name was Alfred Moore, de pappy of Isaiah and Phillip
Moore. You sho’ knows them two. ’Member us had to git a pass to go to
dat meetin’. Patarollers (patrollers) was dere, and if you didn’t have a
pass you got a whippin’ and was sent home. Can I tell you some of de
tales dat Isaiah and Phillip Moore used to tell? Yes sir! When you gits
through wid me, I’ll tell you one or two.

"No sir, I never marry durin’ slavery time. I was just a boy; wasn’t too
young to like de gal’s company, though. Marse John was a rich man; had
two plantations. One was de home place and de other de river place,
where de corn, oats, and hay was raised. He had a flock of sheep, too.

"All of our clothes was made from wool and cotton dat was made right
dere on de plantation. Wool was sheared from de sheep. Cotton was picked
from de field. De cotton was hand-carded, took to de spinnin’ wheels,
made into thread, loomed into cloth, sewed into clothes, or knitted into
socks and stockin’s.

"Marster had a hoss-gin and a screw-pit, to git de seed out de cotton
and pack de lint into bales. My brothers was Vince, Bill, Sam, and John.
My sisters was Mary and Liza.

"Does I recollect de Yankees? I sho’ does. They burnt de gin-house and
school house. Took de mules, hosses, chickens, and eggs. Marster was
sharp ’nough to bury de meat in de woods, ’long wid other things they
didn’t git. They set de house afire at de last, and rode off. Us put de
fire out and save de mansion for Marse John.

"I didn’t jine de church in slavery time; lak to dance then. Our fiddler
was Buck Manigo, de best fiddler, black or white, in de State, so white
folks say.

"Ku Klux didn’t come ’round our parts. My ma stay on as cook, after
freedom. I stay for $5.00 a month and eat at de kitchen. I was always a
democrat and weared a red shirt in de Hampton parades.

"I marry Patsy Jenkins. She live twenty years and us had seven chillun.
Did you know, boss, after Patsy dead and buried, I got to be a old fool
'bout women again? Dat I did. De devil put it into dis old gray head to
marry a young gal; Mary Douglas was her name. Joy come dat fust night
and misery popped in de door de very nex’ mornin’. Us couldn’t ’G’ ’bout
nothin’. She, at de last, left me for ’nother man over on de Broad River
side. I’s steered my course clear of de women’s skirts ever since. I’s
now livin’ wid my grand-daughter, Irene Wilson, ’bove town.

"’Bout de tale you want to hear. Well, Preacher Alfred Moore, a colored
slave, search de scripture for names for his chillun. One boy him name
Isaiah and one name Phillip. They both was mighty good slaves of Dr.
Walter Brice, our doctor. My marster and Dr. Price’s son, Marse Thomas,
marry sisters and I see a heat of Isaiah and Phillip. Isaiah had a tale
’bout Niggerdemos (Nicodemus) and Phil had a tale ’bout a eunuch. Which
one you want to hear? Both? I’s gittin’ tired. I’ll just tell Isaiah’s
tale ’bout Niggerdemos. You has seen de blisters on sycamore trees? I
knows you have. Well, Isaiah ’low they come ’bout in dis way: In de days
of de disciples dere was a small colored man named Niggerdemos
(Nicodemus), dat was a republican and run a eatin’ house in Jerusalem.
He done his own cookin’ and servin’ at de tables. He heard de tramp,
tramp, tramp of de multitude a comin’, and he asked: ’What dat goin’ on
outside?" They told him de disciples done borrowed a colt and was havin’
a parade over de city. Niggerdemos thought de good Lord would cure him
of de lumbago in his back. Hearin’ folks a shoutin’, he throwed down his
dish rag, jerked off his apron, and run for to see all dat was gwine on,
but havin’ short legs he couldn’t see nothing’. A big sycamore tree
stood in de line of de parade, so Niggerdemos climbed up it, goin’ high
’nough for to see all. De Savior tell him: ’Come down; we gwine to eat
at your house, Niggerdemos’. Niggerdemos come down so fast, when he hear
dat, he scrape de bark off de tree in many places. Niggerdemos was sho’
cured of de lumbago but sycamores been blistered ever since. Nex’ time
you pass a sycamore tree, look how it is blistered. Isaiah is asleep
now, in de white folks graveyard at Concord Church. I’s seen his
tombstone. On it is wrote his age and day of his death. B’low dat, is
just dis: ’As good as ever fluttered’. His young Marster Tommie put it

Ed McCrorey (Mack)

    *Interview with Ed McCrorey (Mack), 82 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

"Yas sah, I was born in slavery time, on de Lord’s Day. I ’members mammy
tellin’ me, but just which month, I disremembers dat. De year done gone
out my ’membrance, but I is eight-two. You’ll have to help figger dat
year out for me. It was befo’ de Yankees come, ’cause I see them then. I
good size chap, I was dat day.

"My marster was Wateree Jim McCrorey. My mistress name Miss Sara. Sure
she de wife of Marster Jim. Does I recollect de chillun? ’Spect I can
name most of them. Young Marster Bill marry a Miss Harper kin to de old
Jedge Harper. Miss Sara, her marry a Beaty, a buckra, and Marster John
got killed in de war.

"My father was name Washington, after General George Washington, though
he got nothin’ but ’Wash’ in de handlin’ of his name. My mammy name
Dolly, after de President’s wife ’Dolly’. De white folks tell mammy dat
her was name for a very great lady. You ask me why I say father and not
say mother? Well boss, let me see; maybe I regard father, but I loves
mammy. My white folks say father but I learnt on de breast and knees of
mammy to say mammy, and dat’s a sweet name to dis old nigger, which and
how I ain’t gonna change ’less her changes it when I git to heaven bye
and bye.

"Marster Jim live on Wateree Creek. Had big plantation and a heap of
slaves. Maybe you knows de place. Marster Troy own it, after de war. De
Yankees never burn up de house. It catch afire from a spark out de
chimney of de house dat Marster Troy was habitatin’ then. Yas sah,
Yankees took all they could carry way, but didn’t touch de house.
Marster Troy kept a bar and lots of poor white trash continually ’round
dere smokin’. ’Spect some of them no ’count folks caused de fire.

"Lord bless you! Yas sah, us had plenty to eat and wear; wore shoes in
winter, though they were sorta stiff, de wooden bottoms make them dat
way. Us boys run ’round in our shirt tails in summer time. Us lak dat!

"What I lak best to eat in them times? ’Lasses and pone bread for
breakfast; roastin’ ears, string beans, hog jowls, bread and buttermilk
for dinner; and clabber and blackberry cobbler for supper. Them’s good
eatin’s I tell you!

Did I ever git a whippin’? Lordy, Lordy! did I? Once I ’members one
moonlight night ’bout midnight, a gettin’ up off my pallet on de floor,
goin’ out in de sugar cane patch and gittin’ a big stalk of de cane.
When I gits back to our house, young Marster Jim ketch me and say: ’Dat
you Ed?’ I’d lak to deny it was me, but dere I was, ketch wid de cane on
me. What could I say? I just say: ’Please Marster Jim, don’t tell old
marster, just do wid me what you laks’. He make his face grim and
sentence come from his mouth: ’Ten lashes and privilege of eatin’ de
cane, or five lashes and de cane be given de pigs in de pen; lashes
'plied wid a hame string on de bare back and rump’. Dat last word seem
to tickle him and he laugh. Dat brightened me some. ’Which you goin’ to
take’, say young marster. I say, ’I wants de sugar cane, Marster Jimmy,
but please make de lashes soft as you can’. Then he git stern again,
took me by de hand, lead me to de harness house, got a hame string and
say, ’Now don’t you bellow, might wake mother’. Then he give me de ten
lashes and they wasn’t soft a-tall. I didn’t cry out on de night wind
though. Dat ended it.

"My white folks ’tended Wateree Church. I never went to church in time
of slavery, though. I now b’longs to de Big Zion African Methodist
Church in Chester, S.C. What I feel lak when I jine? I felt turnt all
'round, new all over. It was lak I never had been, never was, but always
is to be ’til I see Him who clean my heart. Now you is teched on sumpin’
dat I better be quiet ’bout.

"I marry Emily Watson, sumpin’ ’bout her attractive to all men, white
men in particular. After I got four chillun by her, one of de big white
men of de county have a ruction wid his widow-wife and step chillun.
They left him. Emily was a cookin’ for him. It wasn’t long befo’ she
quit comin’ home at night. I leaves de place. Emily have four chillun by
dat white man. One of my chillun by Emily, is a street sweeper for de
town of Winnsboro. ’Spect he is fifty years old. Dat was our oldest
child. De second one up and marry a preacher, Rev. Brown. De other two
in New Jersey and they make a heap of money they say, but I never see de
color of dat money.

"Our neighbors was Gen. Bratton and Capt. Ed. P. Mobley. Both powerful
rich men and just ’bout set de style of polite livin’. Everybody looked
up to General Bratton, expected nothin’, got nothin’. Everybody dat come
'round Marster Ed. P. Mobley, expect sumpin’ and went away wid sumpin’.

"After freedom, Marster Ed’s son, Marster Mose, marry Miss Minnie
McCrorey; her de mother of Marster Bill Mobley, County Treasurer,
Richland County. She die and Marster Mose take another sister, Miss
Emma. Her son big doctor at Florence, S.C.

"Does I know any funny stories? Does you want a true story? Yas? Well,
all Marster Ed Mobley’s niggers lak to stay wid him after freedom. They
just stay on widout de whippin’s. ’Stead of whippin’s they just got
cussin’s, good ones too. Dere was two old men, Joe Raines and Joe
Murray, dat he was ’ticular fond of. Maybe he more love Joe Raines de
bestest. One day Joe Murray let de cows git away in de corn field. At
dinner time Marster Ed cuss him befo’ de whole crowd of hands, layin’
'round befo’ dinner; and he cuss him powerful. After dinner Joe Murray
grieve and complain much ’bout it to de crowd. Joe Raines up and allow:
'Next time he cuss you, do lak I do, just cuss him back. Dis is a free
country, yas sah. Just give him as good a cussin’ as he gives you’.

"Not long after dat, de boar hog git out de lot gate, when Joe Murray
was leadin’ his mule out. Marster Ed lit out on Joe Murray a cussin’ and
Joe Murray lit out on Marster Ed a cussin’, and then Marster Ed ketch
Joe and give him a slavery time whippin’ and turn him loose. Joe Murray
take his mule on to de field, where he glum wid Joe Raines. Joe Murray
tell ’bout de boar hog gitting out and de cussin’s and de whippin’s. Joe
Raines allow: ’You didn’t cuss him right. You never cuss him lak I cuss
him, or you’d a never got a whippin’.’ Joe Murray allow: ’How you cuss
him then, Joe?’ Say Joe Raines very slow, ’Well when I cuss Marster Ed,
I goes way down in de bottoms where de corn grow high and got a black
color. I looks east and west and north and south. I see no Marster Ed.
Then I pitches into him and gives him de worst cussin’ a man ever give
another man. Then when I goes back to de house, my feelin’s is satisfied
from de cussin’ I have give him, and he is sure to make up wid me for
Marster Ed don’t bear anger in his bosom long. De next time cuss him but
be sure to go way off somewhere so he can’t hear you, nigger’.

"Some time I sorry I’s free. I have a hard time now. If it was slavery
time, I’d be better off in my body and easy in my mind. I stays wid my
daughter, Emily. My old marster, Wateree Jim, is de bestest white man I
has ever knowed. My race has never been very good to me.

"I was too young to work much, just ’tend to de cows, carry water in de
fields, pick up chips, find de turkey and guinea nests. I’s never voted
in my life, never been in jail in my life. Seem lak I’s just a branch or
pond dryin’ up on de road side, and de onliest friend I’s got is de
President and dat good old dog of mine.

"Goodbye and God bless you sir, ’til we meet again."

Richard Mack

    *Interview with Richard Mack, 104 years old*
    *Rosemont School, Charleston, S.C.*
    —_Martha S. Pinckney, Charleston, S.C._

Richard Mack, a happy philosopher, 104 years old, in perfect mental and
physical condition, is still working as janitor of the Rosemont school.
He is of the aquiline type, with eyes bright and deep set, and a black
skin with a red light shining through, showing Indian relationship.

"I was born in Limestone, Va. My first master was Green Bobo. I was sold
when I was ten years old; not really sold, but sold on a paper that said
if he didn’t take care of me, I would come back—a paper on me—a kind of
mortgage—speculators bought negroes and sell um. Missis, I never had a
stripe put on me. I had a privilege of being among all people." (Richard
Mack enjoyed every experience of his life and has no root of bitterness
in his nature). "Then I come to South Carolina. My mother, Jane, she
live to be 108; she come to South Carolina too. We got back together
again," (he paused with a bright smile) "Orangeburg, at Captain
Cherry’s—Captain Cherry here in Charleston is related to him—Cherry
Plantation is there now; Captain Cherry had plenty of money.

"Tony was my father, a carriage driver; he wore his tall hat and fine
clothes (livery) and he was a musician—played the violin at the Academy
on the ’old Ninety-Six Road’. All the white people educated their
children there, and they had parties. Oh, the beautifulest ladies—they
wore long dresses then and had long hair—the beautifulest! My
father—Daddy Tony, they call him—he was a musician—always played the
violin." Here he mentioned the names of songs of that day, before the
War of 1861, and repeated these words with much merriment:

    Would have been married forty year ago,
    If it hadn’t been for Cotton Eye Joe

"Songs—lots of um—

    Run nigger, run, de Patrol ketch you

He roared with laughter—"When de patrol come, I had my badge; I show him
my paper and my badge! I got it still. I love dem days—I love dem

"My mother was a good woman—she used to get down on her knees, like
this, and get up like this," (he knelt with agility, and rose
unassisted, quickly, and without the least difficulty). "My aunt lived
to be 141; she saw George Washington—she told me so.

"Cherokee—Kickapoo—I don’t remember—my great grandfather was an Indian
Chief—my nose is straight, see here." He went into the pocket of his
overall, brought out a pair of eyeglasses, put them on the end of his
nose, and looked over them.

"I loved dem days, I loved dem people. We lived better—we had no
money—we had nothing to worry about—just do your task. Spin wheel and
reel and reel for the yarn. I filled my arms full of quilt—hand made.
Had task; I done all my task, and I help others with their task so they
wouldn’t get whipped; if people lazy and wont do, they got to be made to
do; if children bad they get whipped—if nigger bad, they get a whipping.

"Old Satan wear a big shoe—he got one club foot. He can disguise
himself—he make you think he got power, but he ain’t got any power. He
get you in trouble and leave you there. I always pray for wisdom and
understanding like Solomon. I pray all the time to our good Father.
People say—’Why you call him Good Father?’" (Quoted from the Bible) "I
love everybody—’Love thy neighbor as thyself.’

"Yes Ma’am! Oh Heaven!—we got to be clean—we change out of the flesh to
the spirit; a crown prepared for us; all we save and help are stars in
our crown; you go from Mansion to Mansion—higher—higher." (He raised his
arms with a rapt look)

Then he was told about "Green Pastures" and asked what he thought of it.
"Why my Lord have Mercy! The Lord is a Spirit—we are changed.

"I roll the carpet for Missis to get in the carriage; a two-foot carpet
from the house roll to the stoop for the carriage.

"My mother—yes Ma’am—108 years old—a smart woman in the house. Oh my
Lord, Missis—cook! She wouldn’t kill a chicken out of the yard; she had
a coop to put them in, and it was cleaned out every day. My mother would
fix the flowers; she would take this little flower, and that little
flower, and put them together, and make up a beautiful bouquet, and hand
them out to everybody. My father knew all about planting; the people
would come to ask ’Daddy Tony’ how to plant this and when to plant that.

"I heard all the War talk, I saw a comet." (Indicating its position in
the heavens, he seemed inspired, forgot his surroundings, looking back).
"I saw the curtain-cloud—and snow clouds—rolls and rolls. In the War I
was with my master, Capt. Cherry, and Dr. Knox, Captain in the Civil
War, and Capt. Dick McMichael—all those fine gentlemen. They had
hog-skin saddles that creaked—Crench—crench—as they rode;" (He was
enthusiastic) "the way they could ride! Those hosses were as sensible as
people; they could jump from side to side; they knew everything.

"Capt. Cherry said to me—’Why weren’t you white! Why weren’t you white!
Why weren’t you white!’ I lost my old Captain—then I was with Gen. Frank
Bamberg, and with his brother, Capt. Isaac Bamberg—I was Orderly.
Sometimes in the War we had one hardtack a day, and had to drink water
on ’um, to make ’um swell. We had to get out salt out of water, most

"I saw Gen. Lee many times; I knew him; he had his close beard around
his face; he looked fine and sat his horse so splendid." Mack was asked
the color of the horse, and described the gray. Here he remembered the
battlefield—"I did this"—he enacted silently—dexterously—the placing of
the dead and wounded on the stretchers and bearing them away—worked so
rapidly that his breath was labored. "I made the balloon flight—my eyes
were good—they carried me because any object that I saw, I knew what it
was; a rope ladder led up to the basket—the beautiful thing—we went up
on the other side of Beaufain street; there were no houses there then,
and we came down on the Citadel Green."

Mack had spoken several times with enthusiasm of the officer’s cavalry
'pump sole boots’. After he had polished them, "Capt. Edwards (of
Elloree) gave me a $500.00 bill for cleaning his ’pump sole boots’."
Mack proudly enacted the Captain’s jolly but pompous manner, as he gave
the bill, and added, "I had thousands of dollars in Confederate money
when the War broke up. If we had won I would be rich."

After War period: "The time Capt. Wade Hampton was stumping I followed
him all over the State; I led 500 head; was with him to Camden,
Orangeburg and all the way to Hampton County; led 500 Negroes through
the County; I was Captain of them; I rode ’Nellie Ponsa’ and wore my red
jacket and cap and boots; I had a sword too; my ’red shirt’ died year
before last."

Asked if he knew ’Riley’, Mack answered promptly—"’Democrat Riley’, yes
Ma’am, used to drive that fine carriage, and old Col. Cunningham’s
family." Riley was an ex-slave, a tall black man, devoted to the South,
as he was, a Democrat of high principle, and respected by all—hated by
many—a power in himself.

"I lose all my ancestors. I got a niece, Queenie Brown, in Orangeburg; I
got a daughter in New Jersey; one in New York, married to a Clyde Line
man; lost sight of both; both old.

"Bless the Lord! I got friends! Mr. Pooser came to see me yesterday;
been in South America four years; just got back and hunt me up right
off! Married Miss Dantzler of Orangeburg—I raised them all"—with a
benign look of love end ownership.

Jake McLeod

    *Interview with Jake McLeod, 83 years old*
    *Timmonsville, S.C.*
    —_Mrs. Lucile Young and H. Grady Davis, Florence, S.C._

"You see what color I am. I born in Lynchburg, South Carolina de 13th
day of November, 1854. Born on de McLeod place. Grandparents born on de
McLeod place too. My white folks, dey didn’ sell en buy slaves en dat
how-come my grandfather Riley McLeod fell to Frank McLeod en grandmother
fell to de McRaes. My boss give my grandfather to his sister, Carolina,
dat had married de McRae, so dey wouldn’ be separated. Dey take dem en
go to Florida en when de Yankees went to Florida, dey hitched up de
teams en offered to bring dem back to South Carolina. Some of my uncles
en aunts come back, but my grandfather en grandmother stayed in Florida
till dey died.

"De McLeods, dey was good people. Believe in plenty work, eat en wear
all de time, but work us very reasonable. De overseer, he blow horn for
us to go to work at sunrise. Give us task to do en if you didn’ do it,
dey put de little thing to you. Dat was a leather lash or some kind of a
whip. Didn’ have no whippin post in our neighborhood. I recollect my
boss unmercifully whipped man I thought, but I found out dat it was
reasonable. He (the slave) beat up my uncle (a slave) en my old boss put
it on him. Striped him down en tied him wid buckskin string. Whipped him
till he get tired en come back en whip him more. I looked right on at
it. When he turn him loose, told him to go. See him whip my mother one
time ’cause she whip me. Caught her by de hand en whip her right in de
same field dat she whip me. It was so hot I dig holes en put my foot in
de hole en dat de reason she whip me. Den if he find anyone steal a
thing, he whip dem for dat.

"Dey didn’ have no jails in dem days, but I recollects one woman hanged
on de galleries (gallows). Hang dem up by harness en broke neck for
wrongdoing like killin somebody or tryin to kill. Old woman cookin for
de Scotts, named Peggy, tried to poison de Scotts. Mean to her, she say,
en she put poison in de coffee. My mother walked ’bout 10 miles to see
dat hangin’ ’cause dey turn de slaves loose to go to a hangin’. Took her
from de quarter in de wagon en I heard her tell dat de old lady, Peggy,
was sittin on her coffin. My mother say she used to use so much
witchcraft en some one whispered, ’Why don’ you do somethin ’bout it?’
She say, ’It too late now.’ I hear tell ’bout dem hangin’, but I ain’
see none of it.

"My boss had four slave houses dat was three or four hundred yards from
his house en I reckon he had ’bout 25 slaves. One was pole house wid
brick chimney en two rooms petitioned off en de other three was clay
house. Us had frame bed en slept on shucks en hay mattress. Dey didn’
give us no money but had plenty to eat every day. Give us buttermilk en
sweeten potatoes en meat en corn bread to eat mostly. Catch nigger wid
wheat, dey give him ’wheat’. Den dey let us have a garden en extra
patches of we own dat we work on Saturday evenings. En we catch much
rabbits en fish as us want. Catch pikes en eels en cats. Catch fish wid
hook en line in Lynches river wid Senator E.D. Smith’s father. Rev. Bill
Smith de father of E.D. Smith.

"De white folks, dey had a woman to each place to weave de cloth en make
all us clothes. De women had to weave five cuts a week, one cut a night.
Have reel in de shape of wheel en spokes turn en hold thread en turn en
when it click, it a cut. Any over, keep it to de next week. Dey wore
cotton clothes in de summer en wool clothes in de winter en had more den
one garment too. Had different clothes to wear on Sunday ’cause de
slaves go to de white folks church in dat day en time. Den dey had
shoemaker to come dere en make all de colored peoples shoes. De Durant
shoemaker come to de McLeod plantation en make dey shoes.

"I tellin you my boss was a good man en he had a big plantation wid six
or seven hundred acres of land, but he didn’ have to mind to see ’bout
none of de work. De overseer name Dennis en he was de one to look out
for all de plantation work. He lived on de McLeod place en he was good
man to us. I had to thin cotton en drop peas en corn en I was a half
[HW: hand] two years durin de war. If a whole hand hoes one acre, den a
half hand hoes half a acre. Dat what a half hand is. Waited on de
wounded de last year of de war.

"Wheat, peas, corn en cotton was de things dat peoples plant mostly in
dem days. Dis how I see dem frail de wheat out. Put pole in hard land en
drive horse in circle en let dem stamp it out. You could ride or walk.
Two horses tramp en shake it out en den take straws en have somethin to
catch it in en wind it out. Had to pick en thrash a bushel of peas a

"When corn haulin time come, every plantation haul corn en put in circle
in front of de barn. Have two piles en point two captains. Dey take
sides en give corn shuckin like dat. Shuck corn en throw in front of
door en sometimes shuck corn all night. After dey get through wid all de
shuckin, give big supper en march all round old Massa’s kitchen en
house. Have tin pans, buckets en canes for music en dance in front of de
house in de road. Go to another place en help dem shuck corn de next
time en so on dat way.

"My old Miss en Massa, dey always look after dey slaves when dey get
sick. Use herbs for dey medicine. I used to know different herbs my
mother would get. Boneset en life-everlastin make teas for fever en
colds. When I was a boy, dey used to carry dem what have smallpox by de
swamp en built a dirt house for dem. Kept dem dere en somebody carried
feed to dem. People used to have holes in dey skin wid dat thing en most
of dem died.

"I hear tell ’bout one man runnin away from Black Creek en gwine to Free
State. Catch ride wid people dat used to travel to Charleston haulin
cotton en things. He come back ’bout 15 years after de war en lived in
dat place join to me. Come back wid barrels en boxes of old second hand
clothes en accumulated right smart here. Talk good deal ’bout how he
associated wid de whites. Don’ know how-come he run away, but dey didn’
catch up wid him till it was too late. De community have man den call
pataroller en dey business was to catch dem dat run away. Say like you
be authorized to look after my place, you catch dem dat slipped off to
another man place. Couldn’ leave off plantation to go to another place
widout you ask for a pass en have it on you. White folks used to kill
beef what dey call club beef. If you kill beef this week, you send this
one en that one a piece till de beef all gone. White folks give me pass
en tell me carry beef en deliver it. Next time, another man send us

"I run away one time en somehow another de overseer know whe’ I was. I
recollects old Miss had me tied to de tester bedstead en she whip me
till de whip broke. I see her gettin another arm ’bout full en I tear
loose en run away. I slip home on steps at my mother’s house lookin down
playin wid de cat en look up in her face. She say, ’You good for nothin,
you get out of here en get to dat barn en help dem shuck corn.’ I go but
I didn’ go in ’cause I keep a watch on her. Another time boss had a
horse apple tree dat just had one apple on it en he wanted to save dat
apple till it get ripe enough for seed en fall. White man, I couldn’
stand it. I eat dat apple. He put it on me dat time ’cause he saw my
tracks en dat how he knew it was me. He know it was me en I couldn’ get
out of it.

"I get married in ’76. My old boss, we all went gether. Red Shirt
canvassed the country. People tried to get me to quit my wife ’cause dey
say de Democrats would bring back slavery. Some voted 8 or 10 tickets. I
was on de stand when Hampton spoke in Sumter. Chamberlain was elected on
de Republican ticket. Sam Lee one of de men. He was white. I believe he
was colored. Wade Hampton have him brought on de stand en ask questions.
Ask what kind of Government it gwine be. Dey had tissue tickets en
blindfolded man en he didn’ take out tissue tickets. Name en number on
de ticket.

"All I know ’bout de war dat bring freedom was dat de war was gwine on.
I remember when dey couldn’ get coffee, sugar or nothin like dat. You
know dat was a tough time to think ’bout we couldn’ get no salt. Cut up
potatoes en parch to make coffee. Sweetened wid syrup en fore de war
closed, made sugar from sugar cane. Boil dirt out de smoke house en put
liquor in food. Eat poke berry for greens. Den one day we hear gun fire
in Charleston en Miss made miration. I don’ remember freedom, but I know
when we signed de contract, de Yankees give us to understand dat we was
free as our Massa was. Couldn’ write, just had to touch de pin. Ask us
what name we wanted to go in. We work on den for one third de crop de
first year wid de boss furnishing everything. Soon as got little ahead
went to share-cropping.

"I tell you it been a pretty hard time to be up against. I own dis here
place en my nephew live here wid me. Dey give him government job wid de
understandin he help me. Get $24.00 a month en live off dat. Daughters
in New York pay tax. If dey carry out de President’s plan, it be a good
one. It been pretty tough in some instance. God sent thing. I tell you
it a good thing. If carried out like de President want it carried out,
it be better den slavery time. You know some slaves got along mighty bad
'cause most of de white people won’ like our white folks.

"I belongs to de Methodist church en I believe it de right thing. Man
ought to do as God arranged it ’cause he plan it. We know right from

Bill McNeil

    *Interview with Bill McNeil, 82 years old*
    *Ridgeway, S.C.*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

"In December 1855, de family Bible say, I was born on de McNeil Place in
York County. De last person who have dat Bible was Captain Conductor
True of de Southern Railroad trains. Had dis one name in dat Bible, just
'Bill’ is set down on de page. I hear them say de Good Book am now in
Tennessee, but I wouldn’t swear to dat. I was born ’bout twelve miles
from Chester Court House on a creek called Bullock or something lak dat.

"My pappy name Will; my mammy name Leah. I was put down in de Book as
their child. When Miss Jane, daughter of old Marster McNeil, (I forgits
his first name) marry, then my new marster was Marster Jim True. Miss
Jane just up and marry Marster Jim and come wid him to Fairfield. Then
old Marster McNeil give me, my mammy, and brother Eli, to Miss Jane.

"My pappy done passed out, ceased to live, befo’ us come to Fairfield.
Him b’long to de Rainey family of York. Had to git a pass to see his
wife and chillun. Dat was one of de hard parts of slavery, I thinks.
Does I ’members Conductor True’s name? Sho, I does. It was Thurston
True. When I git on de train him always slap me on de head and say:
'Well Bill, how your corporosity seem to sagasherate dis morning?’ And I
say: ’Very galopshous, I thanks you, Captain’. Then us both laugh, and
he pass on down de coach and all de people on dat car ’steem me very
highly. I feel a little bigger than all de other niggers, all dat day
long, I sho does.

"Does you know de Warren Castles’ Place? ’Bout two miles from dere is
where us lived befo’ freedom. Marster Jim True was killed in de war. Us
carry on then and make corn for de ’federate army. Our house had a dirt
floor and a stick and mud chimney. Us slept on a pallet on de floor. In
de summer time I run ’round in my shirt tail.

"De overseer, Tom True, de daddy of Marster Jim was a rough and hard
task marster. After freedom I went to de Rembert Place, Wateree Creek,
then to de DesPortes’ Place five miles from Winnsboro, then to de Jordan
Place on de Gum Tree Road, then to de Buchanan Place, then I buy seventy
acres from Mr. Jim Curlee and live there every since 1905. My wife was
there wid me and my daughter and her four chillun, Willie, Anne, Andy
and Henrietta Jackson.

"I got a heap of whippin’s in slavery time from old Marster Tom True. I
see lots of de Yankees and their doings in war time. They just ride
high, burn and take off everything from us, lak they did everywhere

"I vote de ’publican ticket, as I try to show my ’preciation, and dat
gits me in bad wid de Klu Klux. They scare me, but no touch me. De red
shirts try to ’suade me to vote their way. Some of de best white folks
was in dat movement, but this time I ’members old Tom True beating me
often for little or nothing. I sticks out to de end wid de party dat
freed me.

"I find out, and you’ll find out, boss, dat only de Lord is pure in de
beginning and to de end, in His plans. De works of man and parties lak
democrat and ’publican have their day; if they reign long enough de
people will mourn so de Bible say.

"My old overseer, Marster Tom was a school teacher. I feel sorry for de
chillun he teached, ’cause him whip me just when him git out of sorts.
Miss Jane couldn’t stop him, she just cry.

"Yas sir, I have knowed good white men. Mr. Warren Castles was a good
man, and Manigault here in town is fit to go to heaven, when he die. I
sure dat he is, although he is a nigger.

"My house and land worth $590.00, but I been going back’ards every year
for last eight years. Can’t get labor, can’t work myself. Wonder if you
white folks will help me get a pension. I’s not going to beg. Dats my
last word."

Andy Marion

    *Interview with Andy Marion, 92 years*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

"Yes, sir, I was born befo’ de war ’tween de white folks, on account of
us niggers. They was powerful concerned ’bout it and we was not. My
mammy always said she found me a babe in de chinkapin bushes, but you
can leave dat out if you want to. They say I comed into de world in
1844. I sho’ was a good plow-hand when de first gun was fired at some
place down near Charleston; I think it was at Sumter. They say I was
born where Marster Eugene Mobley lives now, but it b’longed to Marster
William Brice, when I was born in 1844, bless God! My father named Aleck
and my mother Mary. Us colored folks didn’t git names ’til after de war.
I took my name, when I went up to de ’lection box first time to vote for
Gen. Grant for president. My father was from old Virginia, my mother
from South Carolina. Our plantation had seventy-two slaves living about
here and yon in log houses wid dirt floors. They bored auger holes in de
sides of de room, stuck end of poles in dese holes. De pole reach’ out
into de room and rested on wooden blocks sort of hollowed out on top;
then some slats of pine finish up de contraption bed. Quilts was spread
on dis which was all de bed we had.

"I been married four times since de war and I’m here to tell you dat a
nigger had a hell of a time gittin’ a wife durin’ slavery. If you didn’t
see one on de place to suit you and chances was you didn’t suit them,
why what could you do? Couldn’t spring up, grab a mule and ride to de
next plantation widout a written pass. S’pose you gits your marster’s
consent to go? Look here, de gal’s marster got to consent, de gal got to
consent, de gal’s daddy got to consent, de gal’s mammy got to consent.
It was a hell of a way!

"I helped my marster ’mong de bullets out along de Mississippi River,
but I’s glad we didn’t whip them ’cause I’s had four wives and dere is
de las’ one settin’ right over dere, a fixin’ you some strawberries and
a shakin’ her belly at me laughin’ lak Sarah in de Bible and thinkin’ of
namin’ de child of her old age, ’Isaac’.

"What kind of work I do in slavery? I was de carriage driver. Us had a
fine carriage and two high-steppin’ horses, Frank and Charlie. I used to
hear lots of things from behin’ me, while drivin’ de folks and saying
nothin’. Money, did you say? We had no use for money. Kind words from de
white folks was money ’nough for me. We just worked hard, eat more and
slep’ well. We got meat, hominy, and corn meal on Mondays and wheat
bread, lard and ’lasses on Saturdays. No time for fishin’ or huntin’.
Married slaves was encouraged to have their own gardens. Our clothes was
of wool in de winter from our own sheep, and cotton in de summer from
our own fields. Had many spinnin’ wheels and cards. Miss Mary, de
mistress, saw to dis part.

"Our white folks was Psalm-singin’, old style Presbyterians. You
daresn’t whistle a hymn on Sunday which they called Sabbath. Just as
soon as I got free, I jined de Baptist church, hard shell. Brother
Wright is my preacher at Blackstock now. My marster, William Brice, his
wife, Miss Mary, his son, Christie, and his daughters, Miss Lizzie, Miss
Kitty and Miss Mary, was de ones I drove de carriage to Hopewell church
on Sunday for. Dat church is flourishin’ now. De pastor of dat church,
Rev. John White, befo’ he died I waited on him sixteen years, and in his
will, he give me dis house and forty acres around it for my life. Dat’s
what I calls religion. My mistress was a angel, good, and big hearted. I
lay my head in her lap many a time. Marster had a overseer twice. They
was poor white trash, not as good as de niggers. Miss Mary run them both
off and told marster what she couldn’t see to when he was away, she’d
pick out one of de slaves to see after. All de overseer done was to wake
us up, see to feeding stock and act biggity. Us slaves worked from sun
up to sun down.

"Sometime befo’ de war, my marster sold out and bought a big place in
Mississippi. On de way dere, de slaves (grown) was chained together. Yes
sir, de chain was ’round de necks. We went by wagons and steamboats
sometimes. We stayed in Mississippi ’til durin’ de war we refugeed back
to South Carolina. Dat’s when de Yankees got possession of de river. We
settled near New Hope church. It was in dis church dat I saw sprinkling
wid a kind a brush when baptizin’ de chillun. Over at Hopewell, you had
to have a brass trinket (token) to show befo’ you could take Communion
of de Saints. We was always compelled to go to church. Boss like for de
slaves to sing while workin’. We had a jack-leg slave preacher who’d
hist de tunes. Some was spirituals; my wife and me will sing you one
now, ’Got to Fight de Devil when You Come Up out de Water’." (This was
well rendered by the old man and his wife). "Nothing stopped for slave
funerals. De truth is, I can’t ’member any dyin’ on our places. None of
our slaves ever run away.

"A pass was lak dis, on it was yo’ name, what house you goin’ to and de
hour expected back. If you was cotched any other house, pataroller whip
you sho’. Always give us Chris’mus Day. Dere was a number of dances dis
time of de year. Got passes to different plantations. Dere would be corn
shuckin’ different places. Not much games or playin’ in our set. Wife,
let’s sing another spiritual. Come on Janie, let’s sing ’You Got to Lay
Your Burden ’pon de Lord’.

"Sickness of slaves was quickly ’tended to by de doctor. ’Member
gallopin’ for old Doctor Douglas many a time.

"I went to de war from Mississippi as body guard for my marstar. I was
close to de fightin’ and see it. If it was hell then, it must be
tarnation now wid all dese air-planes flyin’ roun’ droppin’ booms on old
people lak Janie and me, over dere fixin’ them strawberries. De good
Lord, save us from a war over Blackstock and my garden out dere!

"I was free three years befo’ I knowed it. Worked along just de same.
One day we was in de field on Mr. Chris Brice’s place. Men come along on
big, black horse, tail platted and tied wid a red ribbon. Stopped, waved
his hands and shouted ’You is free, all of you. Go anywhere you wants
to’. Us quit right then and acted de fool. We ought to have gone to de
white folks ’bout it. What did de Yankees do when they come? They tied
me up by my two thumbs, try to make me tell where I hided de money and
gold watch and silver, but I swore I didn’t know. Did I hide it? Yes, so
good it was two years befo’ I could find it again. I put everything in a
keg, went into de woods, spaded the dirt by a pine stump, put de keg in,
covered it up wid leaves and left it. Sometime after, we looked for it,
but couldn’t find it. Two years later, I had a mule and cart in de
woods. De mule’s foot sunk down into de old stump hole and dere was de
keg, de money, de silver and de watch. Marster was mighty glad dat I was
a faithful servant, and not a liar and a thief lak he thought I was. My
marstar was not a Ku Klux. They killed some obstreppary (obstreperous)
niggers in them times.

"I first married Sara Halsey in 1875, she had three chillun. She died.
Ten months after, I took Harriett Daniels; she had three chillun, then
she died. Eight months after, I married Millie Gladden, no chillun. She
lived seventeen years, died, and ten years ago I fooled dat good-lookin’
Jane a-settin’ over dere. She was a widow then, she was de widow Arthur.
She was a Caldwell, when she was born. We have no chillun but she is
still lookin’ for a blessin’." (Here the nonagenarian broke forth in a
quiet chuckle).

"There wasn’t as much sin in slavery time, not as much sufferin’, not as
much sickness and eye-sore poverty. Dere was no peniten’try and chain
gangs ’cause dere was no need for them. Cuttin’ out de brutishness on
some places, it was a good thing for de race."

Milton Marshall

    *Interview with Milton Marshall, (82)*
    *Newberry, S.C. RFD*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I live in Newberry County, a few miles from town on Mr. Alan
Johnstone’s place. I rent and make a fair living. I have ten children
now living and two dead. Dey is all on a farm. I was born in Union
County, jes’ across de Newberry line, near de Goshen Hill section. I was
young when we moved to Newberry and I have lived dar nearly all my life.
My father, Ned Worthy, was a slave of Frank Bynum’s mother. My mother
was Maria Worthy who was a slave of Mr. Burton Maybin. She cooked for a
long time for de Maybin family.

"I was small in slavery time, and played wid de white chaps. We used to
go wid Mr. Burt Maybin to see dem muster at de old Goshen Hill muster

"Marse Burt Maybin owned 88 slaves, and I was one, and is de only one
now living. We had no money in slavery time, jes’ got food and clothes
for our work; but my marster was a good feeder, always had enough to
eat. Some of de marsters didn’t give niggers much to eat, and dey had to
slip off and steal. We had plenty of what was de rule for eating in dem
days. We had home-made molasses, peas, cornbread and home raised meat
sometimes. We killed rabbits and ’possums to eat, and sometimes went
fishing and hunting. Marse wouldn’t allow fishing and hunting on
Sundays, but de chaps would slip off on Sundays sometimes and catch lots
of fish.

"Our clothes was made at home, spun and wove by de women folks and made
by dem. Copper straw and white cloth was used. Our shoes was made by a
shoe-maker in de neighborhood who was named Liles. Dey was made wid
wooden soles or bottoms. Dey tanned de leather or had it tanned in de
neighborhood. It was tacked around de soles. It was raw-hide leather,
and de shoes had to be soaked in warm water and greased wid tallow or
meat skin so de shoes would slip on de feet.

"I married Missouri Rice at her own house. We had a big wedding and she
wore a white dress wid two frills on it. I wore a dove-colored suit and
a high brim hat wid a small crown. I bought de hat for $7.00 jes’ to
marry in, but used it for Sundays.

"We had good white neighbors in slavery time. My marster and mistress
was all right. All of us had to go to work at daylight and work till
dark. Dey whipped us a little and dey was strict about some things.

"Us chaps did not learn to read and write, dat is why I can’t read and
write today. Marse wouldn’t allow us to learn. Once he saw me and some
other chaps, white chaps, under a tree playing wid letter blocks. Dey
had de ABC’s on dem. Marse got awful mad and got off his horse and
whipped me good.

"De niggers didn’t have a church on de plantation but was made to go to
de white folks church and set in back of de church. Dey had to git a
pass to go to church same as any other place, or de patrollers would
catch ’em and beat ’em.

"Atter de war was over de niggers built brush arbors for to hold
meetings in. I sho’ remember de old brush arbor and de glorious times
den, and how de niggers used to sing and pray and shout. I am a Baptist
and we baptised in de creek atter we dammed it up to hold water deep
enough. Sometimes we used a waterhole in de woods. I remember one old
Baptist song, it went:

    Down to de water I be baptised, for my Savior die;
    Down to de water, de River of Jordan,
    Where my Savior baptised.

"Some of de slaves was whipped while dey was tied to a stock. My marster
was all right, but awful strict about two things, stealing and telling a
lie. He sho’ whipped dem if dey was caught in dem things. Some marsters
didn’t feed de slaves much, but my marster always had enough. Every
Sunday he would give each nigger a quart of flour extra for breakfast.

"We had to work all day Saturdays, but Marse wouldn’t let anybody work
on Sunday. Sometimes he would give de women part of Saturday afternoons
so dey could wash. He wouldn’t allow fishing and hunting on Sundays
either, unless it looked like rain and de fodder in de field had to be
brought in. He always give us Christmas Day off, and we had lots of good
eats den.

"I remember de old corn-shuckings, cotton-pickings and log-rollings. He
would ask all de neighbors’ hands in and dey would come by crowds. I can
remember dem good. I remember de grain was put in drains and de horses
was made to tramp on it to git de seed out. Den it was put in a house
and poured in a big wooden fan machine which fanned out de chaff. De
machine was turned by two men. Dey made molasses by taking de cane and
squeezing out de juice in a big wooden machine. De machines now is
different. Dey is made of cast.

"A stage dat was drawn by two horses went past our place. It carried
mail and people. When Marse wanted to send word to any people in de
neighborhood he sent it by somebody on a horse.

"Many of de slaves, and some old white people, too, thought dar was
witches in dem days. Dey believed a witch could ride you and stop blood

"Dar was many dogs on de farms, mostly hounds and bird dogs.

"My grandfather was called ’Jack’, and he was a nigger-driver. Dat was a
nigger dat had to oversee de slaves when de marster was away from home.
He would call de cows like dis, ’Su—wee, Su-wee’ or ’Sook, Sook’. He
called his dogs by whistling. He had several dogs. When grandpa died and
was buried, his dogs would git out and bark and trail jes’ like trailing
a rabbit, and de trail always led to de graveyard. Dar dey would stand
by his grave and howl for a long time, wid deir heads up in de air.

"De old folks made medicines from root herbs and tree barks. Herb tea
was made to keep away fevers. Marse always called his big chaps up to de
house in de mornings and made dem drink chinaberry tea to keep worms
from gitting in dem.

"When freedom come, de slaves was notified dat a white man by de name
Ban White would come to de plantation and make a speech to dem. He said,
'Now dat you is free, you will be wid your marster, and he is willing to
give you 1/3 of what you make. You is free, and dar will be no more
whippings.’ Den Marse said, while he was crying, ’You stay on wid me and
I’ll give you food and clothes and 1/3 of what you make.

"Atter de war, de Ku Klux did bad in our neighborhood. Dey killed five
or six niggers. I guess it was ’cause dey was Republicans and had
trouble at voting times.

"I never did think slavery was right. I was jes’ a chap den and never
thought much about it till long since it was over. De carpetbaggers dat
come to our place tried to make me believe dat de white man was our
enemy, but I found out better. I am a Democrat and always was one. I was
40 years old when I repented of my sins and jined de church. I wanted to
jine and be baptized and be saved."

Charlie Meadow

    *Interview with Charlie Meadow (83)*
    *Rt. 2, Union, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"It bees so hot today dat I jes’ setting here on de bank steps a-waiting
fer Aaron to come. Aaron work out on de road yonder in front of Dr.
S’ratt’s house. De heat, it still come up out’n dis granite rock like
dar was a fire under it somewhars. It feel good to me kaise my blood
thin and I has on de thinnest clothes dat I’s got, today. Sho’ did git
dis hot in slavery, but us never had to tramp ’round on no pavement and
rock steps like dese. Us tromped on de ground and it take up a lot of

"In dem days, Union had trees along dis Main street like dem dat grows
on de forest now, (Forest Creek). Mister, dey never called dis street
Main when I was little, dey called it Virgin. It was real narrow and de
trees recht plumb over de street in de middle ’till de limbs touched
over your head. Here whar we’s setting was de opera house. Right dar
whar I’s a pinting my finger was a stone hitching post, and along dis
side de street was whar de surreys driv up fer de folks to git out and
go in de do’ to de Opera.

"I don’t want to see no picture shows; ain’t never seed none of dem
things afo’ dey got to talking. It’s de devil hisself and dat’s all it
is. Now dey says dat dey talks in de pictures. Well, dem dat wants to
can go and pay dere hard earned money to see sech as dat, but Charlie
ain’t gwine narry a step. No, if you is got any money to give me, I take
it; but I ain’t gwine to no picture whar de devil hisself bees in de
dark. Dat’s how come dey has it dark, and dat’s what I ’lows to my
grandchilluns but dey is ig’nant and laughs at me. It ain’t no good to
all sech as dat anyway. I likes to go to picnics and barbecues fer my
enjoyment. Befo’ my legs give out, I cotch fish and killed birds and
went to log rollings and corn-shuckings. Dem things give you something
to recall. Dese chilluns comes from de picture show and den dey does not
have nothing to recall, kaise dey has to go agin de very next Sad’day.
Tain’t no merits to no sech as dey does.

"Slavery, us wore thin home-made clothes and dey sho’ was better dan
what I has now, kaise us made dem on de home looms and spinning wheel,
and dey was good. Cloth ain’t no count, kaise it ain’t made good in no
mills like dat what us made at home in de time of slavery. ’Course I was
too little to make dem, myself, but it was done at home ’till atter I
got big enough to card and spin. Ain’t never seed no garments as strong
as dem we wore back dar. Every thing was made out of plaited cotton and
it lasted fer years and years. Winter time, we wore all wool clothes,
and when you furs’ changed in de fall, how dey did scratch! Make a
feller feel like he had de itch. Marster had enough sheep to give his
folks wool, and den some fer all de darkies. I’s ’bout ten years old
when I could card and spin good, and dat was atter de war.

"I live down dar on de Forest (creek) in ’Patterac’. My house ain’t fer
from McBeth School. De mail box in Mr. Charlie Ray’s yard, ’bout fo’
miles from Patterac. I walks fer dat mail, dat ain’t fer. Not long ago I
walked to Union and dat twelve miles. At dat you see I doesn’t consider
fo’ miles fer.

"And Marse Johnny Meadow was my Marse when I was five years old. From
den on, I ’members fer myself and I does not have to take what old folks
say, but as you knows, from dar back it is as I is heard it.

"Yankee Carpetbagger or something come ’round and ’lowed to our
overseers dat us have to come to Union Courthouse on a certain day. Us
went in all de wagons. From de winding stairs, a man say, ’you is free;
you is free; you is free as your marsters is.’ Grandma Julie grab me and
say, ’Boy, you is free; you is free; clap your hands.’ Dat never meant
much to me and atter us got in de wagon to go home, grandma ’low dat she
sorry she so free and footloose. Next day us went to work as usual. Some
strange folks and trashy niggers and po’ white folks dat ain’t never had
nothing, would come to see us and tell us to stop work, but dat never
meant nothing to us. Us all stayed on and gathered de crops.

"Next year maw and her maw went to de Mabry Thomas plantation in Santuc
to work fer a fourth. My pa stayed at de Meadow plantation. I went wid
my maw, but I also stayed wid my pa and his ma some. Atter dat, when
ma’s maw died she went back to pa and dey worked fer a fourth; and de
older boys hired to de big house fer wages. I come up to manhood and I
been down dar on de Patterac ever since. I live near Charlie Giles, and
dey done tuck his picture kaise he so old and wise.

"Paw name in full, Griffin George Meadow, and ma’s is Alice Brice
Meadow. She brought from de state of Delaware, and pa was brought from
de state of Virginny. I’s heard both say dat dere parents was brung all
de way from Africa. Mr. Bonny Trippling fetched both my ma and pa to
South Carolina atter dey was married. I ’member my grand-daddy, my ma’s
daddy. He was furs’ George Brice; then Marse Meadow bought him and he
was George Meadow.

"My grandpa went to Mississippi on his own expenses atter de Confederate
War and took his wife wid him. Her name was Mahala; and her two girls,
Sara and Jane, and two sons, Henry and George, went along. Dey went on a
little train. It was new here den, and dey say dat it was de first train
dat ever went through de state of Mississippi. De first train dat I ever
saw, was de one on de Southern Railroad, from Spartanburg to Union. It
run to Columbia den, and my first ride was from Santuc to Union. I set
betwist my daddy’s legs on de train and dat de best ride dat I ever had
and I’ll never forget it. It was de fastes’ thing dat had ever gone
through dis country. When it started off, I hollored as I was so scared.
Atter it got its speed, I thought de woods was leaving me and I held
tight to my daddy’s knees, couldn’t hardly get my breath. It didn’t take
any time to get to Union, fact, befo’ I got used to it we was at de
station and my daddy told me dat we had to get off. When we got off I
could get my breath again, but I felt funny all de rest of de day.

"I has a brother, Luke, dat lives near Lockhart, S.C., and another
brother, Jimmie, lives in New York. Dat is all dat I has living.

"All de darkies on de plantation lived a good life. De ladies had me to
pick up trash for de stove and fireplaces in de winter time. Marse Bee
was Miss Lizzie and Marse John’s son. All de time I stayed ’round de
kitchen and got water and eat from de kitchen and had a good time until
Marse and Missus died. Dey give me plenty of food, clothes, a good house
and good clean bed. We made our bed clothes on de home looms wid wool
from our marster’s sheep. De barns was always full and so was de

"For our summer clothes we plaited de hanks to make a mixtry of colors.
De winter clothes was heavy, drab and plain. Our dyes was made from bark
skinned from de maple trees. Dis was mixed with copperas for a pretty
yellow. Green dye was bought from a store in Union, and de filling for
de garments was also store-bought. I carded and spun and wove a many a

"We slept on straw ticks in summer, made from de wheat, and on feather
beds in winter. De quilts was warm and made from many pretty home-made
patterns. Lightwood knots give de only light at night. ’Puff’ from flint
rock give de first sparks. A piece of old iron or hard rock was used to
strike de sparks wid, don’t know why it was called ’puff’. Fire was kept
in de kitchen hearth all de year as a usual thing.

"De overseer would ’hoop us up every morning, but we didn’t work late at
night. We went to de white folks’ church at Harden’s Ferry near de old
Jeter graveyard. Church and ferry gone now. We also went to Sunday
school. Every two or three afternoons in summer, Marster and Missus call
us all on de kitchen porch and read de Bible and pray and tell us ’bout
our Sunday school lesson. In winter we went in de kitchen where I built
a big fire, to hear de Bible read. We was Methodist. My favorite
preacher was a big black African named Williams who come to preach in de
darky church for us every now and den. Dat was Jeter Chapel.

"First time dat I went to a baptizing was to see it at de white folks’
church, Kelly Chapel. I went wid my ma and pa to see Mr. Cain and some
Jones baptized. A box-pool had been built in de branch about half a mile
from de church. De people draped in white was taken to dis pool and
dipped, although it was a Methodist church. Sheets was hung up for a
dressing-room. When dey come out of de pool dey dressed in regular
clothes. It was warm weather and lots of folks had to be baptized and a
lot of people was dere to see it done.

"Some years later, I went to see some darkies baptized for the first
time. I had to walk a long ways. I don’t go to church much now because
my legs don’t ’low me to walk to church."

Albert Means

    *Interview with Albert Means (91)*
    *Union, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._


"Sho’ wuz’ born in ’46, das’ whut my white folks says. I calls myself
97, but dat’ don’t make no’diffunt, ’bout a few years. I lives near
Monarch, on whut’s still called the Ben Brandon place. Mr. Ben had a
sister, Mis’ Polly. Deys’ de aunt and uncle to Mis’ Emma Brandon. Mr.
Ben had two overseers, Mr. Caleb and Mr. Neal Willard, deys’ both
Willards. Yes suh’ dey’ sho’ wuz’. Bofe wuz very kind mens.

"Marse’ Ben nebber’ ’low’ much whippin’, and he wuz as good a man as
anybody has ever seed’. But one day us nigger’ boys hopped into a fight.
Marse’ Ben done his own whippin’ den’. And dats’ de onliest’ time dat’ I
is ever knowed’ of anybody on all dem’ plantations to be whipped.

"Marse Ben had a small house. Didn’t nobody live dar’ but him and his
sister. Den’ she up and went to Kennedy’s on de Meansville road. Dat’
place wuz’ called in Dem’ days ’Cedar Grove’. T’ain’t much dar’ now.

"I’se named Albert, ’case my pa belong to Marse Albert Means. I wuz
always a field-hand. Marse Ben let me eat from his table after his
sister went to ’Cedar Grove’, kaze’ wad’n nobody dar’ in the house wid’
him. ’Cindy’ Brandon wuz de woman dat’ cooked for us. My mother always
belonged to de’ Brandons, and my pa never ’longed to nobody but Marse
Albert Means. My Marster’ had only one body slave whose name was Keith.
He was born, lived and died and was buried on the plantation. Marse Ben
also had a cousin whose name was Marse Keith. When he died he gave all
his slaves to Marse’ Ben, and this is how Keith became my Masters’ body
slave. All Marse Ben had he left to his young neice Miss Emma Brandon,
and to his cousins Miss Hettie, and Miss Mary Emma Foster.

"On Sunday we get the best things to eat of any day in the week.
Sometimes we were allowed to go to church with our white folks at old
Brown’s Creek. We sit in the gallery. Dey’ don’t have none at all now.
'Cindy’ go to church too. When ’Cindy’ go to church us never had much to
eat. All de’ slaves is buried in de’ Brandon’s Graveyard and dere’s a
place fer me beside my first wife. Oh! Lord yes I got my second wife and
she’s a young gal’, but she doos’ whut I wants her to. My furs’ wife
belonged to Marse Jim Ellis. De’ preacher on the Ellis plantation
married me to Jane Ellis. Dem’ wuz good times, ’caze’ Marse had us
plenty to eat, good clothes to wear, and he gave us a new log house to
live in.

"Captain Foster got de’ two Brandon places. He owned the Will Beaty
Place and ’Cedar Grove’. He never owned slaves.

"Me and Jane cooked in our fireplace. It had a big crane fer’ de’ pot to
hang on. We had a covered skillet to bake in, and a frying skillet. Us
never cooked on Sunday, but made pones on Saturday. We made our Yeast of
meal and hop-vine."

Andrew Means

    *Interview with Uncle Andrew Means, age 80*
    *Route #4; Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C._

Andrew Means, when approached, held a baby in his arms and moved very
slowly around in his front yard. He was asked if the babe was his
grandchild or his great-grandchild, as the old darky had previously
stated his age as eighty. He replied that it was his own and he pointed
out another child playing in the yard whom he said was his also. He
stated, "I’se been married twice. I had fifteen children by my first
wife, and these two are by my second wife. She is a young woman. But
I’se sick now, ’cause I had two strokes of paralysis and I can’t do

He remembered some things during slavery times. His mother belonged to
Dock Murph’s father. "I don’t recollect his name", he said: "but I was
born on a plantation down about White Stone on Mr. Murph’s place". He
stated his mother lived in a two-room log house with board floors. "My
mother and my father separated, and he got killed in Florida. One day my
father came there to take me with him, but I wouldn’t go. I stayed with
my mammy. She was a hoshand, and used to do washing around the house;
she did some cooking, too. She used to pick cotton. We raised plenty of
cotton; made good crops."

He said "I wonder what has become of the wild duck and the wild geese we
used to have? I used to see them coming over de house, stretched out one
right behind the other. There was plenty of duck and geese, but you
don’t see ’em now."

When questioned further about slavery times, he said, "I was so little,
too little to work. I was playing marbles and pitching horse shoes. One
day I looked up and I seed soldiers running their horses down the road
in my direction and I got scared. They had on blue hats, or caps, but I
don’t recollect what kind of clothes they had on, but I remember the
blue caps with a stiff front to it. No, Sir, they didn’t do nothing at
the house. Some of dem asked for something to eat, but when we didn’t
have anything to eat they couldn’t get it, so rode on. I was so scared
and my heart was beating so when I seed ’em coming I just lit out on a
run." (At this point he laughed heartily to himself.) "I ran so hard and
was so scared I run over and knocked down two railings on de fence, den
I crawled under de bed."

When asked how the darkies got married in those days, he said: "They had
to do the best they could. People didn’t get married at that time like
they do now."

He said he had heard of some of the slaves getting whippings, but he had
a good master; he never saw a nigger get a whipping. "But I heard of it
on some places".

He never went to white folks’ church when he got big enough to go to
church, but the first church he went to was a colored church.

"No, Sir, I never seed a ghost, but one night when me and another fellow
was going ’possum hunting, I saw something, but I don’t know what it
was. De dogs treed a ’possum and laid down at de foot of the tree and
just barked. Torectly something flew down out of the top of de tree and
fought de dogs. It just tore them into shoe-strings—their ears and sides
was all torn to shoe-strings. Some of de dogs didn’t get back ’til next
morning and they was all cut up. When dat thing came out de tree I left
there. We didn’t stay. It looked bigger than a bear. Maybe it was a

"The ’paterollers’ didn’t give us much trouble as long as we had a

He stated he had never heard of Abe Lincoln or Jeff Davis but he
recollected when Garfield was President.

When he was passed a little change, he said, "Thank you, Sir; come
again, come to see me again."

Jason Miller

    *Interview with Jason Miller*
    —_Stiles M. Scruggs, Columbia, S.C._


Jason Miller, a dark-colored Negro 77 years old, lives on a farm five
and a half miles from Eastover, S.C., and claims that he is a grandson
of Nancy Williams, whose prayer saved a ship at sea.

"My daddy was Thomas Miller and my mammy was Bernice Williams Miller, de
youngest daughter of Nancy Williams. I was born in Orangeburg County in
1860, on de farm where we lived at dat time. My mammy die when I was
'bout turnin’ into 16 years old and my daddy never marry no more.

"He owns ’bout 15 acres and de house we lives in and he rent more land
close to us. We ’most always has plenty to eat and wear, ’cause we works
de land and keeps it fit to produce food and money crops. When my daddy
got too old to work much, me and my wife and our two chillun was livin’
wid him.

"He never turn over de home nor de lands to me while he was livin’ and I
follow right in his tracks. I owns a house and 31 acres and my son and
his wife and two chillun live wid me. My wife die nigh on to 15 years
ago, but I is still single and right glad of it. I now owns de farm and
is still boss dere. I has a reason for not turnin’ them over while I

"I has seen many cases, where de head of de house turn over all his
belongin’s to de son who move in. In most of dese cases, de head of de
house become no more pow’ful than a child and often when he give it all
out, he get sent to de poorhouse, to boot.

"So I still holds de whuphand for keepin’ de peace and countin’ one,
besides. Tom does most of de sowin’, plowin’, and reapin’. I still makes
a hand, choppin’ or pickin’ cotton and I digs de ’taters, too. And when
it come to sellin’, why I cracks de whup, ’stead of bein’ on de beggin’
side at home.

"Yes, sah, my daddy was a slave and I was born a slave. My grandmammy,
Nancy Williams, was set plum free by her Marster Williams at Charleston,
when she was just a little gal, lak. She still stay wid dis fine
seagoin’ family, and dat’s why she was a stewardess on de ship, where
Marster Williams was de captain.

"De ship was makin’ de return trip from Wilmington, N.C. to Charleston,
S.C. in 1847, when de big storm break on de sea. De biggest story ’bout
what happen am told by Senator A.P. Butler, who was a passenger. My wife
tell me, too. She say Senator Butler always look up and speak to my
grandmammy when he come to Charleston and she say de Senator give
grandmammy money, widout her askin’ for it.

"My grandmammy sho’ was known to white and black folks at Charleston and
Wilmington as a Christian woman. She talk and pray for de seamen at both
ports and when she livin’ in Charleston, too old to serve de ship
longer, de sailors often come to see her and fetch her presents of
candy, coffee, flour, sugar, blankets and such as they thought she need.
When she die, my wife say de sailors carry de coffin to de grave and

"As de storm tale come to me from my wife, who git it from her mammy,
Nancy Williams, it ’bout lak dis: De ship carry folks and produce from
Charleston to Wilmington and git a load of folks and produce at
Wilmington, for Charleston. ’Bout 100 miles south of Wilmington a big
storm rage, lightin’ flash and de waves roll mountain high. De ship
wobble, first on one end and then on de other, a squeakin’ awful. Pretty
soon de fires wetted out and it was out of man control. But it still
pitchin’ pow’ful.

"Knowin’ all dis, Marster Williams summon all on deck and tell them de
ship am doomed. Then he say to them: ’All you standin’ side by each, git
'quainted, so if anybody git to land, they can tell what become of us!’

"It was then dat my grandmammy, de stewardess, step fo’ward and say:
'Marster Williams, dis am no time to git ’quainted! What we all better
do is to kneel down and pray.’

"’I can’t pray,’ say Marster Williams. ’If you can pray, Stewardess, go

"All de passengers and crew was standin’ dere silent and tremblin’.
Grandmammy fall on her knees and pray: ’Oh, God! We, thy erring chillun
can do nothin’. You can do ever’thing. Save us, if it be Thy will but
Thy will be done, not ours! Amen!’

"Then she rise up and smile sweet lak and ’bout dat time de light from a
rescue ship, sent out from Wilmington to aid us, grandmammy say, shine
in on us. All was saved. Many, white and black, sho’ say grandmammy’s
prayer saved de ship and also say she am de only one who keep cool all
de time. Senator Butler, who was a passenger, talk wid me once ’bout it.
Long after he talk wid me, we git a book from Edgefield, in which
Senator Butler tell de story, praising my grandmammy. We has that book
at home now and no money could buy it."

Lucinda Miller

    *Interview with "Aunt" Lucinda Miller*
    *637 Cummings St., Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C._

Calling on an ex-slave who was visiting at a neighbor’ house, the writer
was surprised. She came out of the house briskly and jumped down the
front steps and came to greet the writer with a smile on her face.
"Aunt" Lucinda Miller stated she was between 10 and 11 years of age
"when she was sot free". That would make her about 82 years old now. She
was born in slavery, her mother being bought by Mat Alexander, who lived
about five miles from Hill’s factory on the Main Tyger River, for $900.
Her father, who was a Linder, was owned by Bob Alexander, a brother of
Mat. He lived two or three plantations away. She stated that Bob
Alexander was known as a good master, but Mat was mean and cruel. She
has seen her mother "whooped" by the latter either with a buggy or wagon
trace, a piece of leather or anything her master could get his hands
upon. She said that she had never seen any slaves in chains, but her
master would whip the grown slaves, but never the small children. Her
work was light farm work, and working around the house. She would bring
water, wash the dishes, help make up the beds and such other work she
could required in the house. She says her master was a hard driver for
work to his slaves; that she knew nothing but work. When her master
thought that a slave was not working hard enough, he would whip him to
make him work much harder. All he thought of was work—work in cotton,
corn, peas, wheat, oats or whatever he raised. When asked about the
games she and the other children played, she replied that she didn’t
have a chance to play, for there was something for her to do all the
time. She also said that Mat Alexander used to make his slaves work at
night and on Sundays. When the day’s work was over, he would come to
their one-room log house and lock them up until next morning. He would
also lock up the well so they could have no drinking water during the
night. She had plenty to eat, such as it was, but flour was given to
them once a week, also a little meat, some molasses and corn meal. They
never had any sugar, and only got coffee when her father would bring it
to her mother. The white folks and the negroes ate from the same garden.
The slaves could not have a garden of their own. They also went to the
same church, but none of the white folks taught the slaves anything
about reading. She said that she saw "a pair of niggers" get married on
the plantation by a white preacher. There were no negro preachers.
Patrollers did not bother any of the four or five slave families on the
Alexander place, for Mat Alexander was his own patroller. Patrollers
from one plantation had nothing to do with the negroes from another
plantation, as they could not even come on the other plantation unless
they had permission. When going to church, the slaves had to have passes
to attend church services.

When asked how the Yankee soldiers behaved when they came by the farm,
she said, "a whole pastle of them came by the house one day. They asked
the Missus if she had any white bread and some honey." Upon being told
that she didn’t have any of either, they asked for water. Aunt Lucinda
was told to bring them a bucket. She drew the water from the well and,
after filling it, she placed it on her head to carry it. The captain of
the soldiers told her he could not drink the water from the bucket on
her head, so made her place it on a stand. Then after the captain drank,
the rest did also. They then came on into the yard and went to the
stable, took a mule and rode it off, without saying anything. The missus
had heard what the soldiers would do when they came to a farm, so all
the valuables had been hidden. The horses were driven way back into the
woods, the food stuff and clothing was hidden about the place. She said
her mother was a good weaver and used to make lots of good clothes and
quilts, but all this was put into a hole and covered up with dirt to
keep the soldiers from taking it. Aunt Lucinda said the soldiers did not
tarry there long after looking about for horses and such, and soon left.
The only thing they got was the mule that was in the stable. When all
the slaves were told by their master that they were free, they all
wanted to get away from him, but stayed until the planted crops were
harvested; then went to another place. Her father took her mother and
his five children to live with him on another farm where they stayed for
fourteen years. When they left, the Missus gave them 10 bushels of corn,
3 gallons of molasses etc. That was all her mother received for staying
on after emancipation. Aunt Lucinda stated that she was known as Lucinda
Alexander while a slave; then took her father’s name until she was
married, when she became a Miller. Her father used to hunt rabbits and
opossums and bring them to his wife, her mother. She said that wild
turkeys were plentiful, as she had often seen them flying around in the
woods at the lower edge of the farm. She didn’t know how many acres were
in the farm, but the master worked 6 horses. She remembers that Mat
Alexander was very mean, and would not get a doctor to a sick slave
until he dropped in the fields. They had to work even if they were sick.

Cureton Milling

    *Interview with Cureton Milling, 80 years old*
    *Winnsboro, S.C.*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

"I live about ten miles from dis town on de Jim Turner place; though he
dead they still calls it de Jim Turner place. My pappy name Jeff, mammy
name Dolly. Dat a lovely name in dis old mind yit, please God.
Gran’mammy Peggy another good name I’s got to recommen’ to you, boss.

"Yes, us all b’longs to de same marster, Levi Bolicks. Guess you’d heard
tell of dat man. Mistress named Martha, angel of light tied up to de
prince of darkness, so it was. They had one child, Little Miss, who
growed up and married a Stevenson.

"I was just a little shrimp durin’ slavery time; tote water and ride
behin’ in de buggy to hold marster’s hoss when he gits out. My mammy
live in a one-room house; it had no flo’ but de one de Lord create in de
beginnin’, de natural born earth, it was.

"What they give us to eat? Us got plenty, sich as it was. Marster Levi
kept his niggers fat, just like he keep his hogs and hosses fat, he did.
He had a passel of slaves and as his plantation was small he just run
four plows, kept a ridin’ hoss and a single buggy, and raise slaves to

"He was sellin’ de oldest ones away from de younger ones, all time goin’
along, ’pears to me. Sometime I think he was de very old Nick turned
loose in de earth for a season.

"How I explainin’ dat? It’s dis way: He take ’vantage of de young gal
slaves. ’You go yonder and shell corn in de crib,’ he say to one of
them. He’s de marster so she have to go. Then he send de others to work
some other place, then he go to de crib. He did dis to my very aunt and
she had a mulatto boy dat took his name and live right in dis town after
freedom. Marster was doin’ dis devilment all de time and gwine to
Presbyterian Church at Salem every Sunday; dat make it look worse to me.

"Outside dis, and sellin’ and partin’ mothers and chillun, him was a
pretty good slave marster. He marry Miss Martha Clark and had nice
pretty home. He give us good clothes. Shoes? De shoes was made on de
place; they had wooden bottoms, no spring to them. He gave us one day
durin’ Christmas, for a dance. Us had Doctor Martin to ’tend us. He was
son-in-law to old Captain Stitt, another bad man that give trouble just
like my marster.

"What about de Yankees? Two come first, and rode up to de kitchen, rode
right up to de steps and say: ’Where de silver? Where de gold rings and
jewelry you got hid for de white folks? Tell us or us’ll beat you worse
than you ever get beat from de lash of de patrollers.’ They was as good
as they words; they gets down and grab us and make us tell all us know.

"Where old marster? He done burnt de wind in his buggy wid de very
things de Yankees asked for and refugeed somewhere away, sah. Did he go
to war, my old marster? No sirree! He wasn’t dat kind; him hire a

"After de war was over, freedom come, and with it de excitement of white
folks comin’ down here and havin’ us believe us just as good as white
folks. I have lived to see it was all a mistake. Then come de Ku Klux
and scared some sense into my color. Then come Hampton and de Red
Shirts. Had they a black shirt I don’t believe niggers would ever have
took to it. ’Dog for bread, nigger for red’, they likes dat color.

"In them days of parades by day and torch light processions by night,
when de niggers was asked to jine, offered a hoss to ride, knowed dere
would be a drink of red-eye on de way, and then was handed one of them
red shirts. What you ’spect dat nigger to do? I knowed. He’s gwine to
put on dat red shirt, dat red-eye gwine give him over to de democrats,
and dis was de way dat Hampton was ’lected. But it never would have done
to have a black shirt, no sir; I’s sure of dat. Dat would have had no
'peal to our color. They is too black already to suit de most of them.

"When Hampton was ’lected I git an idea of settlin’ down. I picks de
plumpest woman I could find and her had a name dat seem music then to
me. It was Roxanna. She allow I was a handsome man, and I was fool
enough then to believe her. But one day she brung home a ten-cent
lookin’ glass from Winnsboro. I say to her when I takes a look in it,
'Who dis I see in here?’ She says ’Dat’s you, honey.’ I say: ’No, Roxie,
it can’t be me. Looks like one of them apes or monkeys I see in John
Robinson’s circus parade last November.’ Dere’s been a disapp’intment
'bout my looks ever since, and when my wife die I never marry again.

"All our boys are dead ’cept Laurens. He live in Charlotte, and I got a
sister dat marry Ike Austin and live on de Aiken place. I piddles along
wid de white folks and live in a little house by myself, waitin’ for God
to call me home."

Abbey Mishow

    *Interview with Abbey Mishow*
    *9 Rose Lane, Charleston, S.C.*
    —_Jessie A. Butler, Charleston, S.C._

Among the few ex-slaves still living, irrespective of their age at the
close of the War Between the States, the line is still very closely
drawn between house servants and their children, and the field hands.
Old white-haired Abbey Mishow has "misplaced de paper" telling her age
but though she claims to have been very small when the war broke out she
still maintains the dignity of a descendant of a house servant, nor will
she permit her listeners to forget this fact for an instant.

When the writer called on her, unexpectedly, for an interview, she found
Abbey, her house, and grandchildren very clean and neat. There was none
of the musty, stale odor about the place common to Negro dwellings.

"I don’t remember much ’bout de plantation," said Abbey, "’cept dat dey
called it Waterford, and dey planted rice. You see I been jest uh leetle
gal; I can’t lie and say I remember. I been jest ’bout so high." She
indicated about the size of a five or six year old child. "I ain’t had
no reason for study ’bout um and ’press it on my mind. My mudder died
w’en I was almost uh baby; she was de tailor and seamstress for our
people. De missus promise my ma to tek care of me, and she sho’ did. I
was raise just like a pet. De fust crack out of me dat window sash gwine
to heist to find out what ail me. I hardly miss my ma, no mudder
couldn’t treat me better dan I treat.

"We been b’long to Miss (Mrs.) Reese Ford, what live at Waterford
plantation, on the Black River," (Georgetown County) Abbey stated. As
she mentioned the name of the old "missus," and enumerated the names of
her erstwhile owners, Miss Sarah, Miss Clara, Miss Henney, Mr. Willie
and Mr. Reesey, Abbey’s old, wrinkled, black face softened with memories
and her voice became gentle as she told of the care and kindness she had

"I don’t know nothing ’bout de war", she continued. "I was purtected,
and tek to de city. I didn’t hab nothing to bodder my mind and mek me
remember dose days. Mr. Willie lose he arm in de war. I is see de
soldiers but I been tek care of. I been spoiled and didn’t hab no
interest in worryment.

"I don’t know nothing about de street on de plantation, and what dey do
dere, ’cause I ain’t had no ’casion for go dere. I raise in de yard, I
didn’t wear de kind ob clothes de field-hand chillen wear, and I get my
dinner from de kitchen. I don’t know nothing ’bout crops ’cause we
summered." (The family spent the summers at Plantersville, a resort
frequented by the planters of the day) "You see I been leetle, dey
didn’t ’low me out de yard, I jest tek notes ’round sometimes. I tell
you I bin spoiled, I raise onderneat’ Miss Clara dem (and them). I
nebber had no idea t’ings would ebber be like dis. I ain’t got no man,
and no boy, nor no kinnery to help me, nor to do nothing for me, only
one weak daughter and she ain’t much good. All de nation dead, t’ain’t
nobody left but me.

"Is I ebber see a ghost? No ma’am, I is hear ’bout dem but I nebber see
um. I ain’t had ’casion to go out in de night time. I hear Plat-Eye dere
but only dem what has to trabble round see um. I believe in my Jesus,
yes ma’am, if it ain’t been for Him how I lib?"

Sam Mitchell

    *Interview with Sam Mitchell, age 87*
    —_Mrs. Chlotilde R. Martin, Beaufort County_

"W’en war come, I been minding cow for my master. My father been Moses
Mitchell and my mother been Tyra Mitchell. We belong to John Chaplin and
lib on Woodlawn plantation on Ladies Island. Mr. Chaplin had seven
plantation. He lib at Brickyaa’d plantation in winter and in Beaufort in
summer. He hab many slave, but I don’t know how many. As near as I can
remember, dey been fifteen slave on Woodlawn plantation.

"De slave lib on de Street, each cabin had two room. De Master don’t gib
you nutting for yo’ house—you hab to git dat de best way you can. In our
house was bed, table and bench to sit on. My father mek dem. My mother
had fourteen chillen—us sleep on floor.

"Eb’ry Chuesday, de Master gib each slave a peck ob corn. W’en potato
dug, we git potato. Two time in de year we git six yaa’d ob cloth,
calico in spring and homespun in de winter. Once a year we git shoe. De
slave had ’bout two task ob land to cultivate for se’f in w’at call
Nigger field. Could raise one pig.

"All my mother chillen dead ’cept me and one sister Rhina, who lib wid
me. She 80 year old.

"My father hab a boat and he gone fishing at night and sell fish. Master
let him cut post and wood at night and sell, too. He had to do dis work
at night ’cause in daytime he have to do his task. He was carpenter, but
w’en dey was no carpentry work to do on de plantation, he plow. My
mudder hoe. Little boy and old man mind cow. Little girl and old ’ooman
mind baby.

"On Woodlawn dey was no overseer. We had nigger driver. Maussa didn’t
'low mucher whipping, but slave had to do task. If didn’t, den he git
whipping. Driver do whipping, but if he whip too sewerely, Maussa would
sometime tek field hand and mek him driver and put driver in field.

"If a slave was sick, Maussa would come and see w’at was de matter.
Sometimes he would give de slave jollip to mek him womit (vomit),
sometimes if he had fever, he would gib him hippo. If he was sick, the
Master would tek him to Beaufort to de doctor. If a ’ooman slave sick,
Big Missis would go and see dem.

"Slave had only one holiday in de year. Dat Christmas day. Maussa would
kill a cow on every plantation on Christmas and gib all de slave some.

"On Maussa John Chaplin plantation slave have to tell him soon as dey
begin to co’t. If Maussa say ’No, you can’t marry dat gal’, den dat
settle it, you can’t marry um. He don’t lak his slave to marry slave on
nodder puson plantation, but if you do den you hab pass to wisit yo’
wife. W’en slave marry, w’ite preacher marry um in de Maussa house, but
Maussa don’t gib you anyt’ing.

"Slave had dey own chu’ch on plantation wid nigger preacher, but on
'munion Sunday, you had to go to w’ite folks chu’ch in Beaufort and sit
up stair.

"Dey wasn’t no jailhouse on de plantation, but dey was a barn w’ere
sometimes Maussa put slave w’en dey been bad. I never saw any slaves
sold, but I hear tell of de banjo table.

"W’en slave die, Maussa let me berry um in de daytime, ’do some Maussa
mek dem wait ’till night time. Nigger preacher preach funeral.

"I staa’t for mind cow w’en I been nine year old. W’en I been twelve, I
have for staa’t wuk in field or cutting maash (marsh) or splitting rail.
Slave chillen play mud-pie, mek house out ob sand and secher t’ing.

"Slave on Maussa plantation could come to Beaufort on Sattidy night, but
dey have to be back by 9 o’clock or patrol would get um.

"Maussa had nine chillen, six boy been in Rebel army. Dat Wednesday in
November w’en gun fust shoot to Bay Pint (Point) I t’ought it been
t’under rolling, but dey ain’t no cloud. My mother say, ’son, dat ain’t
no t’under, dat Yankee come to gib you Freedom.’ I been so glad, I jump
up and down and run. My father been splitting rail and Maussa come from
Beaufort in de carriage and tear by him yelling for de driver. He told
de driver to git his eight-oar boat name Tarrify and carry him to
Charleston. My father he run to his house and tell my mother w’at Maussa
say. My mother say, ’You ain’t gonna row no boat to Charleston, you go
out dat back door and keep a-going. So my father he did so and w’en dey
git ’nuf nigger to row boat and Maussa and his family go right away to

"After Freedom come everybody do as he please. De Yankee open school for
nigger and teacher lib in Maussa house to Brickyaa’d. My father git job
as carpenter wid Yankee and buy ten acre ob land on Ladies Island.

"I been married two time. My last wife, Florence, living right here in
Beaufort, but she left me long time ago. I hab two chillen, one daughter
live to Philadelphy and de odder lib on Ladies Island. I got four
grand-chillen, all ob dem grown.

"Did I ebber hear ob Abraham Lincoln? I got his history right here in my
house. He was de president of de United States that freed four million
slave. He come to Beaufort befo’ de war and et dinner to Col. Paul
Hamilton house at de Oaks. He left his gold-headed walking cane dere and
ain’t nobody know de president of de United States been to Beaufort
'till he write back and tell um to look behind de door and send um his
gold-headed walking cane.

"Jefferson Davis? He been de Democrack president.

"Booker T. Washington? He wasn’t no president, but he was a great man. I
hear him speak once in de cemetery in Beaufort.

"What do I t’ink ob slavery? I t’ink slavery is jest a murdering of de
people. I t’ink Freedom been a great gift. I lak my Maussa and I guess
he was as good to his slave as he could be, but I ruther (rather) be

Charity Moore

    *Interview with Charity Moore, 75 years*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

One quarter of a mile north of Woodward station and one hundred yards
east of US #21, is the beautiful residence of Mr. T.W. Brice. In the
back yard is a two-room frame house. In this house lives Charity Moore
and another aged Negro woman, said to be an octogenarian. They occupy
the house together and exist on the goodness and charity of Mr. Brice.
Charity was born a slave of Mr. Brice’s father and has lived all her
days in his immediate family.

"Don’t you ’member my pa, Isaiah Moore? Course you does! He was de Uncle
Remus of all de white chillun ’round dese parts. He sho’ was! I seen him
a settin’ wid you, Marse Johnnie, Marse Boyce, and Dickie Brice, in de
back yard many a time. You all was askin’ him questions ’bout de tale he
was a tellin’ and him shakin’ his sides a laughin’. He telled all them
tales ’bout de fox and de rabbit, de squirrel, brer tarrapin, and sich
lak, long befo’ they come out in a book. He sho’ did!

"My ma name Nancy, dat was pa’s wedded wife. Dere was no bigamous nor
concubine business goin’ on wid us. My brothers was Dave, Solomon,
Fortune, Charlie, and Brice. My sisters was Haley, Fannie, Sarah,
Frances, Mary, and Margaret. Hold your writin’ dere a minute. Dere was
thirteen. O yes, I left out Teeta. Dat rounds them up, a baker’s dozen,
Marse Thomas use to ’low.

"White folks, my pa had Bible tales he never told de white chillun. Did
you know dat my pa know de catechism from cover to cover, and from de
back end to de startin’ end? Concord Church gived him a Bible for
answering every question in the catechism. Here ’tis. (Producing
catechism published and dated 1840). My pa maybe never telled you any
Bible tales he told de colored chillun. He ’low dat de fust man, Adam,
was a black man. Eve was ginger cake color, wid long black hair down to
her ankles. Dat Adam had just one worriment in de garden and dat was his
kinky hair. Eve hate to see him sad, ’cause her love her husband as all
wives ought to do, if they don’t.

"Well, Adam play wid Eve’s hair; run his fingers through it and sigh.
Eve couldn’t do dat wid his kinky hair. De debbil set up in de plum
bushes and took notice of de trouble goin’ on. Every day Eve’s hair
growed longer and longer. Adam git sadder and sadder. De debbil in de
plum bushes git gladder and gladder. Dere come a day dat Adam ’scused
hisself from promenadin’ in ’mong de flower beds wid his arms ’round
Eve, a holding up her hair. De debbil took de shape of a serpent, glided
after Eve, and stole up and twisted hisself up into dat hair far enough
to whisper in one of them pretty ears: ’Somebody’s got something for to
tell you, dat will make Adam glad and like hisself agin! Keep your ears
open all day long.’ Then de serpent distangled hisself, drapped to de
ground, and skeedaddled to de red apple tree, close by de fountain. He
knowed dat Eve was gwine dere to bathe. He beat her dere, ’cause she was
walkin’ sorta slow, grievin’ ’bout Adam and thinkin’ ’bout how to cheer
him up. When she got dere, de old debbil done changed from a snake to a
angel of light, a male angel, I reckon. He took off his silk beaver hat,
flourished his gold headed cane, and ’low: ’Good mornin’! Lovely day!
What a beautiful apple, just in your reach too, ahem’! Eve say: ’I’s not
been introduced,’ ’Well’, said de debbil, ’My subjects call me Prince,
'cause I’s de Prince of light. My given name is Lucifer. I’s at your
service, dear lady.’ Eve ’flected: ’A prince, he’ll be a king some day.’
Then de debbil say: ’Of course, one of your beauty will one day be a
queen. I seen a sadness on your lovely face as you come ’long. What
might be your worry?’ Eve told him and he ’low: ’Just git Adam to eat
one bite out dat apple ’bove your head and in a night his hair will grow
as long, be as black, and as straight as your’n.’ She ’low: ’Us ain’t
'lowed to eat of de fruit of de tree in de midst of de garden. Us dare
not tech it, lest us die.’ Then Satan stepped a distance dis way, then
another way and come back and say: ’Gracious lady! Dis tree not in de
midst of de garden. De one in de midst is dat crabapple tree over
yonder. Of course de good Lord didn’t want you to eat crabapples.’ De
debbil done got her all mixed up. De apple looked so good, she reached
up, and quick as you can say ’Jack Robinson,’ she bite de apple and run
to Adam wid de rest of it and say: ’Husband eat quick and your hair will
be as long, as black, and straight as mine, in de mornin’.’ While he was
eatin’ it, and takin’ de last swallow of de apple, he was ’minded of de
disobedience and choked twice. Ever since then, a man have a ’Adam’s
Apple’ to ’mind him of de sin of disobedience. Twasn’t long befo’ de
Lord come alookin’ for them. Adam got so scared his face turned white,
right then, and next mornin’ he was a white man wid long hair but worse
off than when he was a nigger. Dere was more to dat tale but I
disremember it now.

"I’s livin’ wid my young marster, Thomas, now. He took good care of my
pa, when he got so old and feeble he couldn’t work no more. God’ll bless
Marse Tommie for all his goodness. When Pa Isaiah come to die, Marse
Tommie come every day. One day in leavin’, he said in his gruff, kind
way: ’Is dere anything I can do for you Uncle Isaiah?’ Pa say: ’Take
care of Charity.’ ’I will,’ say Marse Tommie. Then he ’low: ’Ain’t dere
something else?’ ’Yes,’ pa ’low, ’I want a white stone over de head of
my grave.’ ’What must I put on de stone,’ asked Marse Tommie? ’Just my
name and age,’ said pa. ’Oh yes, dere ought to be something else,’ says
Marse Tommie. Pa shook his head. ’I want something else on it Uncle
Isaiah,’ said Marse Tommie. Wid a tear and a smile, pa raised his white
head and said: ’You can put down, below de name and age, just dis: ’As
good as ever fluttered.’ And dat stone at Concord Cemetery ’tract more
'tention then any stone and epitaph in dat churchyard. Why, de white
folks puts flowers on it sometimes.

"I wonder sometime in de winter nights, as de north wind blows ’bout de
cracks in de house, if pa is warm and in Abraham’s bosom. But I knows
pa; he’s ’umble. There’s so many white folks in dat bosom he’ll just be
content to lie in Isaac’s bosom or maybe de prophet Isaiah’s, for who he
was named.

"Wait dere! You have bad luck to leave by dat door. You comed in by dis
door and you just leave by de same door. Some folks say nothin’ to dat
but I don’t want you to risk dat. Glad you come. Good bye."

Sena Moore

    *Interview with Sena Moore, 83 years old*
    —_W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C._

Sena Moore lives alone, in a one-room frame house about five miles
northeast of Winnsboro, S.C. She does seasonal work, such as hoeing and
picking cotton, of which she is still fully capable. She pays $2.00 per
month rent, for the house and vegetable garden spot.

"Sumpin’ tell me to make haste and come here for to see you. How’s you
dis mornin’? Mustn’t forgit my manners, though I’s wantin’ to tell you
de ifs and hows and de ups and downs of dese many years dat I’s been in
dis land of sorrow and tribulation.

"I was born in 1854, on de Gladney plantation. Was a pretty smart gal,
twelve years old, when de Yankees come through. Marse Riley have a Bible
out yonder at Jackson Creek dat show’s I’s eighty-three years old. His
aunty is a sister to my old marster, Jim Gladney. Miss Margaret married
a Paul but Miss Nancy and Miss Mary Ann, them two never marry, bless
God! De house out dere in Jackson Creek neighborhood.

"My pappy was George Stitt. My mammy was Phillis Gladney. My pappy was a
slave of de Stitt family; had to git a pass to come to see mammy. He
slipped in and out ’nough of times to have four chillun. Then de Stitts
took a notion to sell him to Arkansas. My mammy weep ’bout dat but what
could her do? Just nothin’. Old marster ’low: ’Plenty more good fish in
de sea, Phillis. Look ’round, set your cap, and maybe you’ll ’tract one
dat’ll give your heart comfort, bye and bye’. My full brudders was
Luther Stitt, Bill Stitt, and Levi Stitt. My mammy then take up wid a no
'count nigger name Bill James and had one child, a boy, name Jim. He
died long time ago.

"Us live in a log house wid a dirt floor and de cracks stop up wid mud.
It had a wooden chimney. De beds was saplin’ pole beds. De ticks was
wheat straw, though most of de time us chillun sleep on de floor. My
marster not a big buckra; he just had a handful of slaves. Us had to
fight chinches, fleas, and skeeters (mosquitoes) ’most all night or ’til
they fill theyselves wid our blood. Then they take a rest and us git a
rest and slept. My grandpappy was one of de free niggers. Him was a
Stitt family nigger, a blue-eyed nigger.

"Money? Lord help me, no! As I ’member, us had plenty to eat, sich as
peas, beans, greens, lye hominy, and ’lasses but no flour bread.

"My young marster, Sam, was kilt in de war but Marse Tom went off and
settle in Arkansas.

"What clothes us have? Just ’nough to hide our secret parts in summer. A
shirt for de boys and a slip-over for de gals. They was made out of
weave cloth, dat us spin of de cotton dat us picked out of de field. Wid
all de drawbacks, us was happy more then than now.

"Us raise our own chickens and sing while us workin’. I never mind white
chillun callin’ me ’nigger’. Dat was a nickname they call me.

"Us was Presbyterians and b’long to de Jackson Creek Church, Lebanon.
Gallery was all ’round de up-stairs. Got a whippin’ for goin’ to sleep
up dere, one Sunday, and snorin’. In them days de preacher was powerful.
De folks mighty ’ticular when him come ’round and fill de back of his
buggy wid sumpin’ of everything on de place, lak ham, chickens, eggs,
butter, marmalade, jelly, ’lasses, sugar, vegetables and fruit. Him put
in full time on Sunday though, preach ’bout two hours befo’ he put on de

"What ’bout my courtin’ days? Well, I had them, too. A Yankee want me to
go off wid him but I tell him no! Then when I ’fuse him, him ’suade
another gal to love him and leave wid him. Her come back to de place six
months later and had a baby by dat scamp man.

"When I was fifteen, I marry Bill Moore. Stood up wid him, dat day, in a
blue worsted dress and a red balmoral over a white tuck petticoat, and
under dat, a soft pique chemise wid no sleeves. Had on white stockin’s
and low quarter shoes. I had sweet shrubs all through my hair and it
held them all night and de nex’ night, too. Sill make a big laugh ’bout
it, while nosin’ in my hair and smellin’ them sweet shrubs.

"Dr. Turner was de doctor dat ’tended de Gladney’s and de slaves on de

"How us git fire? Us git two flint rocks, hold lint cotton under them,
strike a spark, it drop down, set de cotton afire and then us fan it to
a blaze.

"Yes sir, I see many good white men, more than I got fingers and toes,
but a low down white man can git low downer than a nigger man. A good
white lady telled me one time, dat a bad white woman is a sight worser
and more low downer than a bad nigger woman can ever git to be in dis
world. Now what you gonna day to dat, Mister? Well, if you have dat
notion too, us won’t argue ’bout it.

"Does I believe de Savior has a remedy for de laks of sich women? Let me
think ’bout dat a little bit. De Savior has a cure for things, all
things. How come he ain’t? Didn’t he give a woman de livin’ water at de
well and make her white as snow? Then he run seven devils out another
woman, for just sich sins as us is talkin’ ’bout, Mister!

"Ku Klux? Does I ’member them? Dis left knee ’members them! One night de
big road full of us niggers was comin’ from church. Just as us git to de
top of de hill us see, comin’ up de hill, a long line of hosses, wid
riders dressed in pure white, hoods on deir heads, and painted false
faces. They busted into a gallop for us. I was wid my brudders, Luther
and Bill; they jump de side gully and got ’way in de woods. I jump but
de jump was poor as a cow, I reckon, and dis very leg crumple up. I lay
dere in my misery ’til daylight, and my brudder, Luther, come back and
carry me home. Dat word ’home’ ’minds me I ought to be goin’ dere now.
De Lord take a lakin’ to you, and you to me! May you git to heaven when
you die and I git dat pension befo’ I die. Amen!"

Silas Nelson

    *Interview with Silas Nelson (74)*
    *R#2 Trenton, S.C., c/o Mr. Walter Marsh*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"Fer 69 years Mis’ Marsh done had me a-workin fer her roun the garden en
house. Course Mr. Marsh had ter work me in de field wid my boys. Us has
two mules, Joe an Delia. Dey stays in our lot. I plows a little but my
time is a wearin’. But I gits long ’Oh Key’.

"Mr. George W. Wire tuk and died. I nursed him. I good to them all. I’se
different from any other mens. I never eats milk and butter. Ain’t tuck
no medicine in thirty-five year. When sun set I is at my house every

"Lays down only ’bout two hours, dats nother way I is allus curious in
de fac’ dat at nights I allus has somethin ter do. De boys jes sits and
looks at me and dey don’t say nary a word, dey jes looks at me.

"Born in slavy, too little to tell much ’bout dat, cep I is different
from my chilluns. Dey calls me curious. My pa riz up four boys. Us had
four mules and hauled dirt to Graniteville evey day when us stayed
together. Three brothers older than me. I is allus been crazy ’bout
farmin, helped my paw evey day when I was young with everything.

"When I wuz young no man could turn me down a workin. Now it ain’t none
that ken turn me down a ’walkin".

Susan Nelson

    *Interview with Susan Nelson*
    *9 Trapman Street, Charleston, S.C.*
    *Mrs. Arthur Lynah*
    *Ashley Avenue, Charleston, S.C.*
    —_Martha S. Pinckney, Charleston, S.C._


Susan Nelson, 9 Trapman street, about eighty years old, daughter of
Paris ("Forest") and Christina Gibbs, is a fine type of trained house
servant. Tall, slim, and erect, she carries herself with dignity, and
curtsies with grace. Her color is dark brown, her features aquiline. She
seldom smiles.

"I am the youngest of my family and they are all dead. I never had a
child. I was married in the Methodist Church, but my husband married
again. From the first I can remember, I lived in Charleston with my
mother and father. He had his freedom before the war and worked on the
Bay. When he came home from his days work he had a cot by the door where
he would lay down to rest, and all the time he used to tell me about
'those happy days’, as he said. Ask Mrs. Arthur Lynah about my father;
she knows about him."

Susan goes on with her story:—

"My father belonged to Judge Prioleau and was trained to wait on the
table from the time he was a boy; and this is how he nearly got a
whippin’—his master liked ’Hoppin John’ and there was some cold on the
table—you know ’Hoppin John’? His master told him to ’heat it’; he
thought his master said ’eat it’, so he took it out and sat down and eat
it. When he went back his master asked him where was the ’Hoppin John’?
Paris say he eat it. His master was mad—after waitin’ all that time—and
say he should have a whippin’. But Mistress say ’Oh, no, he is young and
didn’t understand’; so he never got the whippin’.

"Later he was taken from waitin’ on table to be his master’s
body-servant and that was when his name was changed. One of the young
ladies, his master’s daughter, was named Alice, and when he called
'Paris’, it sounded like ’Alice’, so his master named him ’Forest’ and
he kept the name from that time, for his first and his last name, and he
always went by the name of Forest until he died."

He went abroad with Judge Pricleau as his body-servant, and traveled in
Europe. (Authority—Mrs. Arthur Lynah)

"In later years, when his master was paralyzed, Forest was his
attendant; and when his master died, Forest watched by him all night. He
lay down under the couch—they used to lay them on couches then—and he
slept there and wouldn’t leave him, and stayed there all night; and his
mistress came in the early morning and kissed his master, and she said
'you here, Forest’ and he answered, ’yes, mistress.’ After that,
everything was changed. His mistress wanted to give him his freedom, but
the rest of the family didn’t agree to that, so he went to Savannah with
'Mas Charles’. But though he was treated well he was so homesick that he
couldn’t stay. He thought of his mistress and of the old home, and of
his mother, and he ran away and came back to the Plantation. Mas Charles
was so mad when he came after him that he was ready to whip him; but
when he saw how happy they were he agreed to give Forest his freedom."

Before the War Between the States Forest was married, living in
Charleston, and working on the Bay. Susan remembers her terror when the
shells of the Federal bombardment were bursting over the city, and
recalls holding out her arms for someone to hold her. Her father had
returned home one afternoon and was resting from a hard days work, when
a shell crashed through the walls of their little home on Tradd street,
and passed immediately over him as he lay on his cot. The neighbors came
rushing in thinking that everybody had been killed, but the shell had
passed through, shattering the house but leaving Forest unharmed. He
lived to the age of ninety-seven, valued and respected; his daughter
carries on his good reputation, and is known by the name of SUSAN

William Oliver

    *Interview given by Uncle William Oliver, a boy in slavery time*
    *Murrells Inlet, S.C.*
    —_Genevieve W. Chandler, Murrells Inlet, Georgetown County,

"Underground Railway? They give it that name being they had this way to
transfer the slaves. T.O. Jones was one of the officers. Growed up in

"I was born in Horry—eight miles this side of Conway. The old Oliver
place. Father Caesar Oliver; Mother Janie. Mother born near Little
River—Jewitt place. Joe Jewitt raise my father. Had four brother, twelve

    One       Trizvan
    Two       Sarah
    Three     Martha
    Four      William
    Five      Mary, the fifth
    Six       Lizzie, the sixth
    Seven     Emma, the seven
    Eighth    Alice, the eighth
    Nine      Joanna
    Ten       Havilla
    Eleven    Ella
    Twelve    Redonia
    Thirteen  Caesar
    Fourteen  Zackie
    Fifteen   Eddie
    Sixteen   (He could not remember)

"Three boys so scattered about you can’t tell anything about them. All
chimney, clay. All chimneys that day, clay. Moved right away soon as
Freedom came. Women done cooking and washing same as now. Shuck
mattress. My mother was a weaver. Old timey loom. Cotton and wool.
Sheckel (Shuttle?)

"I remember one song my mother sang:

    Do, Lord, remember me!
    Remember me when the year go round!
    Do, Lord, remember me!
    Why can’t you die
    Like Jesus died?
    He laid in His grave!
    He crippled some.
    Some He saved.

"I can’t get it all.

"My father head man on the plantation. Indigo? Cut the bush down. Put it
in sacks. Let it drip out. Call that indigo mud. Raise cattle and hogs
loose over the County. No cash money was give to slave. Had to get a
ticket. Hire they self out as stevedore—anywhere they could—and pay
Massa so much for the time. Smart slave do that. Oh, yes, my father do
that. If they keep themselves alive after freedom, they doing well.

"Schooling? Only by night. And that couldn’t be known. When he could get
any body to teach him ’ABC’ but wasn’t allowed to go to any school.

"We’d eat peas, rice, cornbread, rye bread, sweetbread. Most molasses.
Game was all over the woods. Everybody could hunt everybody land those
days. Hunting was free. When I come along had to work too hard to hunt.
Could get pike out the lakes. Go fishing Sabbath. That was day off.
Sunday free day. Wild turkey. ’Possum. Don’t bother with no coon much.
'Possum and squirrel all we could get. Had our garden. Different bean
and collard. Turnip.

"Clothes? Regular wool and cotton. Maple dye and indigo. Red, blue,
gray. Lot of gray. Big slave owners had a shoemaker. Plenty of hides.
Cow hides, deer hides.

"When I married, was working turpentine. Rent timber and cut boxes.

"The cruelest treatment I know of in the United States and all the other
states was done in the Southwestern states. Take New Orleans. Galveston?
Was fixing to get to Texas. Texas beat the country for cruelty. They
tell me when your Master and Missus in this country want to make you do
your task, they threaten to sell you to Texas. Had a regular ’Vanger
Range’ in New Orleans. Place they keep the slaves and auction them off.
Man by the name of Perry Ann Marshall. He was sold out there. He told my
father he’d be out in the field in the morning—hoe in hand. Had to get
out there ’fore it was light, hoe in hand. Boss man there with whip.
When light enough to hoe, give order, ’Heads up!’ Then lots of women
fell dead over the hoe. Give order. ’Heads up!’ you chop! Breakfast
bring to you in the field. Set right there by you hoe and eat till he
say, ’Heads up!’ When women fell dead, lie right there till night where
the body drop—till you knock off. That’s Texas! I call Texas ’Hell.’
Even today black man can’t get no first class ticket Texas!

"When you come right down to the truth, we always got up fore day most
of time. You could go visiting other plantation, but must have you a
ticket. Patrol catch you they whip you."

Albert Oxner

    *Interview with Albert Oxner (75)*
    *Newberry, S.C. RFD*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I was raised in Newberry County, S.C. on de place of Mr. Chesley Davis,
near Indian Creek. I now live in a rented house in ’Helena’. My
grandmother come from Virginia. Old man Tom Davis who lived near Indian
Creek was a grandson of Chesley Davis. My daddy was Oxner, his first
name was Wash. My mother was named Sidney Davis. My first wife was Polly
Miller and de second was Mary Mangum.

"Marse would whip his niggers, but he wasn’t a hard man. I peeped around
de house once when I was a little boy and saw him whipping a slave.

"We got our vegetables from de white folks garden. We never had any of
our own. We had plenty home-raised meats and flour. We made our own
clothes at home by carding, spinning and weaving. We dyed dem by making
dyes from de barks of trees or red clay.

"Marse had a big plantation, and 75 to 100 slaves. My mother was de
house-maid. She never learned to read and write, and none of us did,

"We use to hunt rabbits, ’possums, wild turkeys and squirrels, and we
went fishing, too. We never had to work on Saturday afternoons or
Sundays unless we had to take fodder or straw to de barn to keep it from
getting wet.

"Corn-shuckings and log-rollings was common in dem days. De workers had
supper when dey got through. Niggers went to white folks’ churches and
set in de back or in de gallery. A few years atter de war, de niggers
made brush arbors to use for preaching.

"Old man Chesley Davis and two of his boys sho liked to drink liquor.
His baby boy was bad to drink. We had barbecues in dem days and nearly
every man would get drunk.

"Later on, old man Davis tried to preach. He preached some at de Baptist
church at Bush River, and at Fairview Baptist church, about four miles
above where he lived.

"I don’t remember much about de Ku Klux. I never saw any of dem. I
remember a little about de Red Shirts. I don’t remember anything about
slaves getting forty acres of land and a mule when freedom come. Since
de war, de niggers have worked on farms and done odd jobs in town."

Ann Palmer

    *Interview with Ann Palmer (90)*
    *120 N. Church St., Union, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"De cows lowed fer days befo’ Will Abrams died. Dey got wusser and
wusser jes’ right ’mediately befo’ he died. De owls, dey had been
hollering in dis here holler down behind Miss Belle’s house fer mo’ dan
a month. One day Miss Belle, she ’lowed she ain’t never heard so many
screech owls befo’ dis in her life. I had done fetched her one of my
collards. We was a-talking out on de back porch.

"I took and told her ’bout how Will had done got his finger infected
fooling wid dem dead folks. Miss Belle, she say dat ain’t got nothing to
do wid Will being sick. She also ’lowed dat dat wasn’t any reason fer
dem owls a-screeching and gwine on so. Den I told her, I says, ’Miss
Belle, ain’t you heard de cows, how dey lows at night here recently?
Yes’m, all dese is death signs; it ain’t gwine be long neither befo’ we
hears ’bout somebody a-dying in dese here parts.’ Miss Belle, she look
at me sort of furious like, but she never say nothing dat time.

"Dat night de beastes was a-taking on so dat I had to hold my pulse.
Fust (first), real tight like dis; den I presses harder and harder till
I jes’ natchelly squeeze all de blood out of my wristes. Dat is one of
de best signs I knows fer making dem owls and cows git quiet. Yes sir,
you has to hold your pulse fer five whole minutes, tight. When you does
dis, de owl’s voice, he git lower and lower as your pulse git weaker and
weaker. Look, honey chile, all dese other niggers, dey had been a-tying
up a sheet or a-putting de shovel in de fire, and a-turning over de
nasty old shoes; but de owls, dey kept right on a-screeching. But dis
old darky, she de one what know’d how to weaken ’em down by holding her
pulse. Now, I doesn’t tell dese young niggers ’round here; neither does
I tell many white folks ’bout de wisdom I is learn’t ’bout such things.

"Will Abrams, he been ailing fer I [TR: disremembers] how many weeks. He
couldn’t eat nothing but beans. I had beans in my bottom corn.
Catherine, she axed me fer some and I give ’em to her. Will, he eat ’em,
fer dat was his craving. His finger got wusser till it nearly driv him
crazy. Den he got down and took to de bed. Look like his time, it was
drawing nigh.

"White folks, de Jedgement is a-coming. We’s all got to face it. De
folks is wicked, both black and so is de white. How dey ’spects de good
Lawd to have mercy on de wicked and sinful souls de way dey does every
day is mo’ dan aunt Ann can see, and I is already done lived my ninety
years. De Lawd, He still sees fit to bless me wid health; and de good
white folks, He ’lows dem to help me.

"How could Dr. Dawkins or either Dr. Montgomery do Will any good when de
Lawd, He done sot de hour? Dr. Montgomery, he ’lowed to Catherine dat
Will had two chances to die and one to live. He also said dat he had
done his best. All de darkies and white folks, too, in Union, dey come
over here to see Will. Lots of ’em fetched ’em some things along to give
to Will. He was a good man ’cause he had done been born again, and he
followed ’de straight and narrow path’. Dat’s de reason dey liked him,
'cause his deeds, dey up and spoke fer him. Well, so many folks was
a-gwine in dat room dat Dr. Montgomery, he say Catherine have to keep
dem out. Will, he kept a-gitting weaker and weaker. De ailing in his
finger had done spread all over his chest. Dr. Montgomery and Dr.
Dawkins, dey held a consulation. When dey come out dey told Catherine
and dem others dat Will had done took and got pneumonia from dat finger.
So dat night, even de dogs, dey took to howling and gwine on. ’Tain’t no
use to set dar and laugh when de owls screeched and de cows lowed and de
dogs howled. It sho am de death sign.

"Hard work, trouble, and a-fooling wid dem dead folks, dem de things
what make Will go away so easy. He was always a-running ’round a-gitting
sorry niggers out of scrapes, and a-making ’greements wid de white folks
fer ’em; and dey never thanked him half de time. Us old folks, us told
him to stop fooling wid dem dead niggers and all such as de like, ’cause
he gwine to kill his-self. I is most blind, but de darkies, dey told me
how Will fooled ’round a-doing things fer so many sorry folks.

"But den, God plucks his flowers. De night of de eighth day dem doctors
had done ’lowed dat Will had pneumonia. Will look up at his wife and
say, ’Git dese folks out of here so I can die by myself’.

"It was ’leven o’clock in de morning when dey come and told me. Susie
Eubanks, she ’lowed dat de screeching of de owls wake her up dat morning
'bout 3 o’clock. I ’lowed dat a dog a-howling was what riz me up.
Catherine ’lowed dat she hadn’t laid down no time till she heard Gus’s
cow a-lowing. All de signs took and failed den, as dey will do on such

George Patterson

    *Interview with George Patterson*
    *653 Peachtree St., Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C._

While seeking an interview with an ex-slave today, the writer was
directed to a certain house where an old man lived. Entering the
premises by the rear, he observed an old man helping a woman who was
washing some clothes. He was stepping around quite lively, carrying
water and emptying one pot after another of the dirty water already used
by the woman. After he had sufficient water for his wife’s needs, he
asked the writer to go with him to the front porch where he could be
quiet and talk.

He stated that he was large enough during the Civil War to wait on the
soldiers when they would come to his master’s home for something to eat,
which was at Kilgore’s Bridge on Enoree River, said that his job during
the slavery days was to wait on the white folks and watch the

He also stated that his father was a full-blooded Indian who was sold to
his master by Joe Crews, the biggest slave trader in the country. His
father was stolen somewhere in Mississippi, along with other Indians,
and sold into slavery with the "niggers." He said his father told him he
was stolen by Joe Crews when he was a young buck. At that time, his
father went by the name of "Pink Crews," but after he was purchased by
Mr. Joe Patterson, his name became "Pink Patterson." He stated that his
mother was a white woman who came from Ireland and was working on the
Patterson farm. She was not a slave, but was married to his father by
his "Marster."

They lived in a one-story, one-room log cabin which had a dirt floor.
The whole family of 18 children and parents lived in this small house.
They were comfortable, however, and all had good health. He stated that
he had not been sick for fifty years, and that the only trouble with him
now was a broken foot, the result of a railroad wreck about forty years
ago. He said his foot still gave him trouble in bad weather.

He said that he had not been conjured at all, but had just gotten his
foot broken. "Conjuring and ghosts are all foolishness anyhow." The
nearest he ever come to seeing a ghost was one night when he observed a
"white thing moving back and forth across the branch." He had with him
his brother’s cap and ball pistol, and he shot at the object two or
three times, knowing that his dogs would come to him if they heard the
shots. Two or three dogs came up and recognized him. He told one bull
dog to go to the white thing and see what it was. After the dog had been
all around the place where the thing was moving, he knew there was
nothing there to frighten him. Next morning, he went out to see the
object and found it to be a small tree with white leaves waving in the

Going back to slavery times, he said that on most plantations were kept
squirrel dogs, ’possum dogs, snake dogs, rabbit dogs and "nigger" dogs.
Each dog was trained for a certain kind of tracking. He used to train
the "nigger" dogs which were used to track slaves who had run away from
the plantation. He said he had two dogs that were sure never to lose the
scent when they had taken it up. "If I put them on your track here and
you went to Greenville, they would track you right to Greenville."

He said his master did not allow his slaves to be whipped but he had
seen slaves on other plantations wearing chains to keep them from
running away.

"People don’t work like they used to, and this thing of higher education
is ruining niggers. All their learning teaches them is how to beat a man
out of a dollar and how to get out of work. It teaches them to cus, and
it teaches these young girls how to make easy money. As old as I am,
I’ve been approached by girls I didn’t know and asked for a dollar. Now
that thing won’t do. I believe in teaching children how to read and
write; but don’t go any further than that. I’ve never seen a moving
picture. Once a man offered to give me a ticket to a movie, but I told
him to give me a plug of tobacco instead." When asked if he thought
colored preachers should be educated, he replied that when they are
educated they learn how to steal everything a man has, if they can.

"You remember reading about Joe Crews and Jim Young—what they did in
this state? Well, they tried to lead all the niggers after the war was
over. I was the one who got Jim Young away from the whites. I carried
him to Greenville, but he got back somehow, and was killed. Joe Crews
was killed, too. The Ku Klux was after them hot, but I carried Jim Young
away from them. You know, the Yankees was after getting all the gold and
money in the South. After the war, some Yankee soldiers would come along
and sell anybody, niggers or whites, a gun. They were trying to get on
to where the white people kept their money. If they caught on, they
would go there and steal it. You know, there wasn’t any banks, so people
had to keep their money and gold in somebody’s safe on some big man’s
place. These men in selling guns was trying to find out where the money
was hid."

When asked about hunting, he said that hunting in slavery days was not
like it is now, for a man could hunt on his own place then and get
plenty of game. There were plenty of wild hogs in those days, as well as
wild turkeys, rabbits and squirrels. Some of the hogs were so wild that
no one dared to go into a pack of them, for they had tusks six inches
long, and could tear a man to pieces. A man could shoot a wild hog and
have no trouble over it. Cattle, he said, ran wild and were dangerous at
all times.

"When you buy something now, you haven’t got much. I bought a cake of
soap for my wife but it was a small thing. When we used to make our own
soap on the plantation, we had plenty of good soap."

He said his father followed his master and others to the war, and he
drove artillery wagons at times. At Appomattox, his father told him that
he drove wagons over dead soldiers piled in ditches. His father lived to
be 111 years old. After he and his father were set free, they remained
with Mr. Joe Patterson to help him make that year’s crops; then they
moved to another place.

He heard that work was plentiful in Spartanburg, and he moved here and
did various kinds of work. He said that he was not as strong as he used
to be, but that he could still do a full day’s work except when his foot
troubled him.

Uncle George was quite polite and seemed glad to talk of old times. He
observed, though, that in old times people would speak to him. "You go
up to a crowd now, and they won’t speak. They won’t notice you."

    *Interview with George Patterson*
    *653 Peachtree St., Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C._

George Patterson, ex-slave, says that during the Civil War and
afterwards, when the owners of plantations in the Enoree River section
had a surplus of peaches and apples, they made apple and peach brandy;
and after they had filled kegs with it, rolled the kegs into a pond to
keep them from leaking until they were either sold or taken out for
personal use. Corn and rye whiskey were also stored in the water to keep
the kegs from leaking. In those days, he stated, good whiskey sold for
40 cents a gallon. Butter sold for five cents a pound; eggs six cents a
dozen, and hens that now cost 75 cents a piece, sold for ten cents. But
stated George, salt was very dear and hard to get; a barrel costing as
much as $50.

George also stated there were plenty of wild turkeys, ducks and wild
geese on the Enoree River. The turkeys would ravage a garden or scratch
up the planted seed on the plantation. He has often been sent out to
frighten the wild turkeys away from the crops. He said plenty of meat
could be secured by shooting the wild hogs that roamed the woods, that
anybody was at liberty to kill a hog. Of course, some once tame hogs
mingled with the droves of wild hogs but the tame hogs had the owner’s
name on them; so one had to be very careful that he did not shoot a
marked hog. He said that when his father, an Indian, was stolen by Joe
Crews, from the woods of Mississippi, he marched them with niggers he
had also stolen, or traded for, into different sections of the country,
selling them as slaves and speculating on them. He drove them just like
cattle and would stop at various plantations and sell the Indians and
niggers into slavery.

Sallie Paul

    *Interview with Sallie Paul, 79 years*
    *Marion, S.C., Fairlee Street*
    —_Annie Ruth Davis_

"I remember we colored people belong to de white folks in slavery time.
Remember when de war was gwine on ’cause we hear de guns shoot en we
chillun jump up en holler. Yes, mam, I remember dat. Remember de 30th of
dis October, I was 79 years old.

"No, mam, I ain’ got no kin people. You see I been born in North
Carolina. Government lady get Lindy Henderson to stay here en look out
for me ’cause it be like dis, I can’ see out my eyes one speck. Can’
tell de night from de day. Don’ discover daylight no time, child. We
rents dis here house from Miss (Mrs.) Wheeler en Lindy treats me mighty

(Lindy: "Well, we gets along nicely. I done feed her up en she get back
in bed, it be so cold en ain’ got no coal to heat her. Yes, mam, has to
wait on de Salvation of de Lord. Government gives us a little small
salary, but we has to live mighty small, mighty small. Honey, it takes a
right sharp to live on dese days. If dey wasn’ helpin me, I just don’
know, be as I ain’ much dese days. Got dis high blood so worser en den I
has such a achin in my joints en throat dat does worry me right smart

"My white folks, dey was de Williamsons dere in North Carolina. Yes,
mam, dey was good to dey colored people. We lived right in dey yard or
dat what you may say in de yard. All de colored people lived dere side
de yard whe’ dey be close enough to holler if anything get de matter.
You see, I wasn’ big enough to do no work much den only as we chillun
tote up wood for de white folks en piddle ’bout de yard. I know I won’
big enough to do nothin but jump up en keep fuss gwine all round de yard
dere. I remembers dey used to get a handful of switches en stand us
chillun up in a long row en give us all a lick ’bout de legs. You see,
dey didn’ work de chillun when dey was little bit of things en stunt dem
up. Chillun grow to be ’bout 12 or 13 years old fore dey work dem in dat
day en time.

"My white folks was well off peoples, honey. My Massa, he run three
plantations en he had a heap of colored peoples dere. You see, people
didn’ run over de ground in dat day en time like dey do now. De men lift
up every piece de dirt in de ground en get all de roots out it. My
mother, she was one of de plow hands dere en when time come to lay off
de ground, she force to work out. Dat de reason we chillun be up in de
yard twixt meals. Den when breakfast en supper come, we eat to we house.
Live close enough to de white folks house dat de nigger chillun could go
to de house en get dey hominy en clabber ’tween meals. Oh, dey have dese
here long wooden trays set up somewhe’ under de tree dere in de yard dat
dey would full up wid hominy en clabber for we chillun. Give some spoon
en dem others never had none. Dat it, all eat out de same tray right
side together. Yes, mam, when I was raise up, have plenty to eat en
chillun never fail to get it."

(Lindy: "Oh, child, we was bred en born in a fat kitchen in dat day en
time. We was well taken care of. People say I don’ look like it ’cause I
here gwine ’bout wid stick in my hand. Sho was raise up in a fat
kitchen. Yes, mam, I was raise to do all de cookin en de nursin for de
white folks. Ain’ never see no kitchen yet dat dey could lost me in
'cause I was trained myself. Never had no chance to go to school no
time. You see, if it wasn’ cookin, it was chillun. ’Bout time new baby
come, dat first baby be knee child en so on like dat. Well, let me hush
now, honey, en let Sallie tell you dat what in her mind. She de one what
you come to get speech from.")

"Yes, mam, de people ate like dey eats now, but dey didn’ never know
what a stove was in dem days. Some of de kitchen fireplace, you could
put a whole railin in it to hang de pots on. Den dey had dem big old
clay chimneys wid dirt ovens dat would hold a bushel of tatoes to a
time. Just was a brick chimney now en den in slavery time. Bake all de
cakes en de bread right dere on de fireplace. Child, dere sho been more
to eat in slavery time den dere be now en I know dat all right. Dere
been more sheep en hogs en cows en goats. No, mam, I don’ think I like
goat. I don’ think so. I recollects I tried to eat some goat one time en
it swell in my mouth. Know I wouldn’ eat sheep neither. It a sin. Seem
like dey so humble.

"White folks didn’ give de niggers no money no time, but dey had money
in slavery time much so as dey does now. You see, all de white folks
wasn’ equal. Some was poor en de colored people sell dem things dey
white folks never want. Oh, dey take anything you carry dem.

"I don’ know nothin ’bout de Yankees only I see dem come through dere de
day we was freed, but won’ no great heap of dem come. Coase dey was
passin through dat country all durin de war en come to de colored
people’s house en get somethin to eat. Yes, mam, colored people feed dem
en give dem somethin to travel on. It just like dis, de Yankees would
give de colored people dey good clothes en take dey rags. You see, dey
was desertin. Was runnin away en gettin back home. I don’ know whe’ if
de white folks know ’bout dey dere or not, but I know one thing, Massa
didn’ see dem.

"Yankees didn’ do no harm nowhe’ in dat country to nobody, white nor
colored. Never hear tell of dat, but white people was scared of de
Yankees as dey was of a rattlesnake. Yankees tell de colored people dey
was free as dey was, but just didn’ know it. I know dey said dat ’cause
I was standin up listenin to dem just like any other child be standin
dere lookin up in your mouth. Den when de colored people was freed, heap
of de white folks died ’cause dey grieve demselves to death over de loss
of dey property. Sho know dat ’cause I see dem en hear tell ’bout it
plenty times.

"Dere been plenty white folks dat wouldn’ never fight against de Yankees
widout dey couldn’ get out of it. Dey slip off en hide in pits dey dig
in de woods en in de bays. Some of dem say dey didn’ have no slaves en
dey won’ gwine fight. Dat de way it be, if dey didn’ fight, dey had to
run away en stay in de woods. Dat point me to think ’bout how young
Massa would slip off wid de colored boys on a Sunday to play like white
people will do en would learn dem to read. Carry old Webster’s Blue Back
wid dem en when dey been way off yonder, young Massa would learn dem to
read. My father could read, but he couldn’ never write.

"Yes, mam, white folks get handful of switches en whip de nigger chillun
round de legs, but wouldn’ never whip none of de grown ’omans ’cause dey
was breedin. Didn’ kill niggers whe’ I was born."

(Lindy; "My Lord, child, reckon dey would ’bout beat me to death if I
been livin den ’cause I done had two husbands en ain’ never bear no
child yet. Doctor tell me if I want a child, I would have to go to de
hospital en be operated on en I wouldn’ never get my mind fixed to do
dat. Honey, I lies down in dat bed dere at night en thanks my God dat I
ain’ never had dat operation. I know I been bless ’cause dis de time of
Revelations de people livin in. Don’ want no child my God gwine hold me
responsible for at de Jedgment. Sho bless ’cause like I see de world
gwine, people ain’ got no time to be gettin ready to meet dey God. Tell
my God dat I thank he a thousand times again dat I been make like I is.
It a blessin, honey, a blessin.")

"Yes, mam, de white folks make dey own cloth right dere on de plantation
in dem days. Dey had a loom house, but my mother had a loom right to her
own door. Sometimes, she would weave piece for de white folks en den she
weave for herself. White folks find all de colored people’s clothes en
see to have all dey weavin done in dat day en time. Dey had certain one
of de colored people to do all de common weavin, but dey couldn’ do dem
three en four treadle till dey Missus learn dem how. My old Missus could
weave any kind of cloth or blankets or anything like dat.

"Oh, de white folks be right dere to look after dey colored people if
dey get sick. Coase dey gwine take care of dey niggers. Gwine save dem
just as long as dey got breath in dey body. Won’ no niggers gwine suffer
if dey need doctor neither. Heap of dem was cared for more better in
slavery time den dey is now ’cause dey had somebody dat had to care for
dem or lose dem one. Ain’ no white folks want to lose dey niggers.

"No, God! no, God! I hear talk ’bout it, but I don’ know whe’ dey can do
it or not. If dey can conjure, dey keep it to demselves. Dey never tell
me. I hear tell of dem things call ghosts, but I ain’ never see none of
dem en ain’ never see no hant neither. I has see a spirit though.
Peoples dat been dead, dey appears fore you en vanishes. Seen dem all
right. Dem things call ghosts en things, I don’ wanna see none ’cause I
don’ know ’bout dem. Hear talk of dem, but ain’ seen nothin like dat.

"Well, it like I tellin you, everybody didn’ hate dey white folks. Dat
how-come some niggers stayed right on dere wid dey white people after
freedom en farmed for half what dey made on de crop. You see, dey didn’
have nothin to work wid so dey stayed on dere en farmed on shares.

"I couldn’ exactly tell you which de better times dese days or in
slavery time. I know heap of de colored people fared better when dey
belonged to de white folks ’cause dey had good owners. Didn’ have to
worry ’bout huntin dey clothes en somethin to eat in dat day en time.
Just had to work. Now dey have to hunt it en get it together de best way
dey can. Oh, honey, peoples has so much worraytions dese days. Dat
how-come dey ain’ live a long time like dey used to."

    *Interview with Sallie Paul, age 79*
    *Marion, S.C.*
    —_Annie Ruth Davis_

"No, mam, I ain’ able to see none tall no time. Dis here one of my eye
is weaken from dat other one. Cose I can tell de day from night, but say
see somethin, I couldn’ never do dat.

"Well, I don’ know nothin more to speak ’bout den dat I been tell you
dem other times you come here. It just like I tell you, we nigger
chillun would look to de white folks yard in de day, but we stayed to us
house in de quarter on a night. Oh, we lived close enough to de white
folks yard to know dere was cookin gwine on in de Missus kitchen. No,
child, we never eat us meals to de white folks house. You see, all de
niggers on de plantation would draw rations den just like heap of dese
people ’bout here draw rations dese days. I mean dey would draw so much
of ration from dey Massa to last dem a week at a time just like de
people draw government ration right ’bout here now. Dere was sho a
plenty to eat in dat day en time, too, ’cause I know whe’ I come up, I
was raise on a plenty. Dere was abundance of meat en bread en milk all
de time. Yes, mam, cows won’ lackin no time whe’ I was raise. I remember
dey would give us chillun all de milk en hominy us could eat twixt
meals. Always fed de nigger chillun to de white folks yard twixt meals.
You see, dey was mighty particular ’bout how dey would raise en feed de
little niggers in dem days. Been more particular den you would be
particular wid a ten dollar bill dis day en time. Would keep dey little
belly stuff wid plenty hominy en milk same as dey was pigs. Dey do dat
to make dem hurry en grow ’cause dey would want to hurry en increase dey
property. De white folks never didn’ despise to see a big crop of nigger
chillun comin on. Hear tell dat some of de white folks would be mean to
dey colored people, but never did see nothin of dat kind ’bout my white
folks’ plantation. Cose de colored people would be let loose to get
together on a night en when Sunday come. Dat all de time dey ever had to
visit ’cause dey been force to work from sunup on de hill till sundown
over de swamp.

"Oh, de colored people had plenty song in slavery time, but I ain’
studyin nothin ’bout dat now. My ’membrance short dese days, child. Yes,
mam, de colored people had so many song in slavery time, I can’ remember
de first word. Dey would sing anything dey could make a noise wid. Some
of dem could read out de hymn book en some of dem couldn’ tell one word
from de other. Yes, mam, some of de young Massa would steal off to de
woods wid dey colored mate on a Sunday evenin’ en learn dem to read. No,
Lord, dere won’ no schools nowhe’ for de colored people in dem days.
White folks catch nigger wid a book, nigger sho know he gwine get a
whippin soon as dat tale let loose. Now en den dey young Massa would
learn dem, but dey wouldn’ never let dey fore-mammy know ’bout it. Cose
dey couldn’ never write, but some of dem could read. Massa en Missus
never know ’bout it though.

"Now, it de Lord truth, honey, I ain’ want to mislead you noway. Wouldn’
do dat for nothin. Don’ lay no mind to heap of dis talk I hear some
people speak ’bout. I gwine talk ’bout what I been touch wid. Some of de
colored people fared good en some of dem fared bad in slavery time. Some
of dem had good owners en some of dem had bad ones. Thank de Lord, I
didn’ get much of it ’cause I won’ but nine years old when freedom come.
(Whe’ de lady? Gone?). (The old woman is totally blind and remains in
bed all the time). Some of de white folks had dese here overseers en dey
was rough owners. Thank God, I was little en dey never didn’ whip me
exceptin little bit ’bout de legs dere in old Massa yard. Remember dey
cut we chillun round de legs wid a switch sometimes when dey would want
to punish us en learn us better sense. Honey, us had a good old Massa.
Won’ no cuttin en slashin gwine on round us like dere was on dem other
plantations round dere. My blessed a mercy, lady, some of dem grown
niggers mighty as well been dead in dat day en time, de overseers been
so mean. De little chillun wouldn’ never be force to work like dey is
now. Dey would just be playin ’bout dere in old Massa yard en totin wood
for dey Missus. Wouldn’ have to work in slavery time ’cause dey had
somebody to feed dem. Dat de difference, dey have to work for what dey
get dis day en time en ain’ be satisfied wid it neither.

"Well, I don’ know nothin ’bout dem cornshuckin dey used to have only as
dey would gather de crop in dem days en haul it up to de white folks big
old farm barn. Den dey would ax all de white folks ’bout dere to send
dey hands dere to shuck corn one night. En pray, dey would have such a
whoopin en a hollerin en de like of a big supper dere dat night. My
blessed Lord, dat was a big time for we chillun. One man would have corn
shuck to his barn one night en dey would all help shuck corn to another
man barn de next night. You see, people was more mindful to bless one
another in dat day den dey be dese days. Yes, mam, neighbor been please
to turn good hand to neighbor den.

"Oh, dere ain’ been no end to fine victuals in dat day en time. You know
dere was a plenty to eat in slavery time ’cause de people made somethin
to eat den, but ain’ nothin now hardly. Child, dis a tight time we gwine
through dese days. I remember dey used to have plenty ’tatoes en bread
en fresh meat every day en have heap of sheep en cows en goats all ’bout
de woods den, but dere ain’ nothin growin in de woods dese days. Now, if
a man got a hog, he got it by de tail in de pen. No, mam, de most of de
people ain’ got nothin now en dey ain’ got nothin to buy somethin wid

"I don’ know, child. I settin here in dis bed day in en day out wid dese
old bare eye en I don’ know how de people gwine. I don’ study nothin
'bout dem. I know I don’ care how or which a way dey gwine ’cause I
studyin ’bout most all my days behind me now. Plenty people ain’ livin
good as dey used to live long time ago. Seems like de times is tighter
en worser den what dey used to be. Reckon de reason be dere was more
made to eat den. Pa always tell we chillun dat it a sign de times gettin
better when dere more made to eat, child."

    *Interview with Sallie Paul, age 79*
    *Marion, S.C.*
    —_Annie Ruth Davis_

"I ain’ tryin to remember nothin ’bout my mammy when she was a girl. I
know I hear dem speak ’bout old Massa bought her en my grandmammy from
off de block en raised dem to a good livin. Hear talk dat some of de
colored people ’bout dere would catch old Harry in slavery time, but
dere won’ nothin snatchin noways ’bout my white folks. I mean some of de
colored people would catch de devil in dat day en time ’cause dey come
up under a rough boss. Just had half enough to eat en had to stir ’bout
half naked most all de time. Not been took care of as dey should have

"Cose when we was chillun, de grown people would be force to punish us
some of de time. Yes, mam, I do know what would happen to me, if I been
get in devilment. I would get a whippin right den en dere. Nobody
wouldn’ never whip me, but old Massa en my mammy ’cause people won’ no
more allowed to whip anybody child den dey is dese days. My child done
anything wrong den, you had to come to me ’bout it. I recollects, dey
would whip us chillun wid tree switches round us legs. Den if dey would
want to spare de punishment, dey would try to scare us out de mischief.
Tell us Bloody Bones would jump out dat corner at us, if we never do
what dey say do.

"Oh, I here to tell you, dey had de finest kind of enjoyments in dem
days. It was sho a time, to speak ’bout, when dey had one of dem
quiltings on de plantation. Didn’ do nothin but quilt quilts en dance en
play some sort of somethin after dey would get done. Colored people
would have quiltings to one of dey own house, up in de quarter, heap of
de nights en dey would frolic en play en dance dere till late up in de
night. Would enjoy demselves better den de peoples do dese days ’cause
when dey would get together den, dey would be glad to get together. Oh,
my Lord, dey would dance en carry on all kind of fuss. Yes, mam, blow
quills en knock bones together dat would make good a music as anybody
would want to dance by. Child, dey had plenty scraps to make dey bed
clothes wid, ’cause dey Missus would save scraps for dem.

"Yes, mam, de white folks would furnish de colored people wid clothes
for true in dat day en time. Dey couldn’ let dem go naked. How dey gwine
work wid bare back? Cose dey fine clothes, dey managed to get dat
demselves. You see, white folks wouldn’ give dem no Sunday frock, but
one. I tell you, de cloth was better wearin’ den. Dis here cloth dese
days, wear it two or three times, de wind could ’bout blow through it.
Oh, dey had de finest kind of silk in slavery time. Don’ hear no silk
rattlin’ ’bout here dese days, but would hear silk rattle in slavery
time just as same as would hear paper rattlin’. Colored people wore just
as much silk in dem days as dey do now ’cause when dey had a silk dress
den, it been a silk dress. Won’ no half cotton en half silk. Goods was
sho better den, child, I say. Like I tell you, when a man had a
broadcloth suit den, it won’ no half jeanes. All de colored people, dat
been stay on my white folks plantation, had dey own little crop of corn
en fodder ’bout dey house en when a peddler come along, dey would sell
dey crop en buy silk from de peddler. Dey been sell dey crop to anybody
dey could. Dere was always a poor one somewhe’ dat been need corn en

"No, mam, colored people didn’ have no church of dey own in slavery time
'cause dey went to de white folks church. All I can tell you, we went to
buckra’s church en dey set in one part de church en us set in de
gallery. Yes, mam, de white folks would see to it dat all dey niggers
never chance to miss church service no time. En de slave owners would
bury dey plantation niggers right dere to de colored people graveyard
behind de church, dat was settin right side de white people graveyard.

"I won’ married till long time after freedom come here en when I get
married, de colored people had dese here bresh (brush) shelters for dey
church en dey had dey own colored preacher, too. Honey, I marry a Paul,
a slavery one, but I didn’ have no big weddin. Didn’ want none. Just
married dere to my father’s house en I had a white dress dat was made
out of cotton, all I can tell. Know it won’ no silk. I don’ know nothin
more den dat to tell you. Dat de mighty truth, all I know, I had me a
husband en dat won’ no great blessin, to speak ’bout.

"Don’ ax me, child. Ax somebody dat know somethin ’bout dem things
people say is a charm. I say, dey is ignorant people what believe in
dem. I know I ain’ never wear nothin round my foot ’cause I ain’ got no
dime to spend, much less to be puttin it round my foot. I calls dat
nothin but a foolish person dat would do dat, ain’ you say so? I see a
woman once wear a twenty-five cents piece tie round her ankle en I ax
her what she do dat for. She tell me she had de rheumatism en she hear
dat would cure it. I tell her I ain’ had no mind to have no faith in all
dat what I hear people speak ’bout. Dat won’ nothin but a devil been
talkin to dat woman, I say.

"My God a mercy, I tell you, slavery time was somethin. Dat been a day.
Colored people didn’ have no privileges den only as dey Massa would let
dem loose on a Saturday evenin’ en on a Sunday. But, child, dey was just
as proud of dat as people is proud of a month dese days. Didn’ have no
more privileges in slavery time den dese people got now in dis here
chain gang. No, mam, niggers belong to dey owner in slavery just like
you got a puppy belong to you. Make dem go so far en den stop.

"What I think ’bout Abraham Lincoln? I ain’ took time to have no
thoughts ’bout him. Hear so much talk ’bout him till I don’ know what he
done. Hear talk dat he been de one dat free de slaves, but whe’ de
power? De power been behind de throne, I say. God set de slaves free. De
Lord do it. Abraham Lincoln couldn’ do no more den what God give de
power to do. It just like dis, I believes it was intended from God for
de slaves to be free en Abraham Lincoln was just de one what present de
speech. It was revealed to him en God was de one dat stepped in en fight
de battle."

Lina Anne Pendergrass

    *Interview with Lina Anne Pendergrass*
    *Union, S.C., Rt. 1*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"I’se born 10 years befo’ Freedom on a Christmas day. Marse Tom Sanders,
whose place I’se born on, lived in Chester County. One of my first
'memberances is a dream. I though’ I saw my little sister, Sars, laying
on a cooling board. I was five years old at dat time. I woke my mother
up and tole her ’bout it, but it was jus’ a dream an’ wasn’t nothin’ to

"I never had no schooling and the Ku Klux sho scairt me. They took my
daddy; my brother was too young. It was on Sat’day night. Next day was
Sunday, and dey didn’t fix de doors what de Ku Klux broke down. Us
nebber did see pa no mo’.

"As it was in de day of Noah, so shall it be in de coming of de days of
Jesus Christ. Peoples fitting and a-killin’ and a-scrappin’ all de time
now, kaize dey don’t take no time to go to prayer meeting. My
grandfather had a prayer-meeting house. All de niggers on de plantation
went to it ever Sat’day night. Dey sot on benches, and den dey would git
down on dere knees and pray. I was a little gal, and me and de other
gals would fetch water for dem to drink. Us toted pine when it was cole,
and us’d take coals ’round fer de ole folks to light dere pipes wid.
Atter while, dey git to singin’ and shoutin’. Den de Spirit done come
down and tuck hole of dem. Dat would be when everybody would get happy.
De ole rafters creak and shake as de Spirit of de Lord sink deeper and
deeper in de hearts of the prayin’ folks. Tate Sanders, de preacher from
Lowryville, would come in ’bout dat time and raise his hands ’bove de
congregation and plead wid de Lawd to open de hearts of de wicked so dat
de Holy Spirit could come in. Wasn’t no killin’ and scratchin’ going on
in dem days. De ole folks tell us chillun dat if we do wrong, de Lawd
gwine come down in His wrath and punish us on dis earth. Sides dat, He
gwine send us to torment whar we’s live in ’ternal hell fire. De worl’
is so wicked now dat I’se looking fer de locust to come and stay five
months and sting everybody in de fo’head dat ain’t got religion. Den
people will be so ’shame of deself fer dere wickedness dat dey will seek
death, and dey won’t be able to get no death.

"De Lawd, He is a-pressin’ me on up. Yes, Lawd, Revelation is wonderful.
De comin’ out of smoke, dem’s de devil’s angels. When you reads de Word
of de Lawd, take an interes’ in it. De people dat I knows is so wicked
dat my heart keeps anguished.

"I learnt myself how to read. My pa brought a Bible from de war. I has
dat and I reads it. My pa got shot comin’ from Mississippi. Marse
Sanders hear about it and he sont and brung him home. Den us lived 15
miles from Chester on Broad River. My pappy was named Henry Dorsey. When
he was young, he was Marse Sander’s butler boy. He got well from de
shot. Den de Ku Klux got him for something. I ain’t never knowed what. I
don’t know what dey done when I was a baby.

"I’se nussed since I was a little gal. My ma made me make teas to cure
folks’ colds and ailments. She made me fetch her water and towels and
other things while she wait on de sick folks. Dat’s de way I was broke
into nussing. Nineteen-eighteen laid out folks at Monarch. I started
right after breakfas’ wid two dollars. Git home at night with narry a
penny. Git folks soup and milk. Everybody dat didn’t get sick worked
hard. De folks died anyway like flies. De Lawd give me strength to stand
up through de whole time. When de flu pass on and de folks get well, den
dey pay me for my services.

"Millie Nash, Andy’s wife, she look atter me since I’se got ole. She
gooder to me dan anybody I know, but at de same time, she’s aggravation
to me kaise she drink likker. Millie sho does git drunk, but I keeps on
prayin’ fer her. Dis mawnin she’s gwine to a funeral. She was poling
'long ’hind me and drapped her pocketbook. When us git ready to go into
de church, she stopped and grabbed hol’ of me and say, ’Lina, whar my
pocketbook?’ I looks at her and say, ’Nigger, how does I know whar’bouts
you throw dat thing down? You stayed ’hind me all de way from de ice
house. Didn’t I tell you to let dat dram alone befo’ you left de house?’
I sot down in front of de church and Millie turned around and went down
de street toward de ice house. She seed her pocketbook where she drapped
it, ’bout half way twixt de ice house and de church. When she come ’long
whar I was sitting, I ’lowed to her dat I’se gwine up to de relief
office. I lef’ her and here I is. Won’t be long befo’ Millie be here,
too. De funeral done marched on when Millie got back to de church."

Amy Perry

    *Interview with Amy Perry (82)*
    —_Jessie A. Butler, Charleston, S.C._

Amy (Chavis) Perry is eighty-two years old. She is strong for her age
and lives alone in an old building at the rear of 21 Pitt street where
she supports herself by taking in washing. She is a self-respecting old
negress, with a reputation for honesty among the "white folks" whom she
considers her friends.

Amy has two names, "like de people in doze times"—Amy Rebecca. She
"adopted the Rebecca." Her father was John Minser Chavis, a slave in the
McClure family, who, she claims, lived to be 116 years old, and "who
wukked up to de las’," and Sarah (Thompson) Chavis, who belonged to Mrs.
William Keller, an ancestor of the Cogswell family of Charleston. Amy
says she was given to Miss Julia Cogswell as a "daily gift," Miss Julia
having been a child at the same time that she was. In reply to a few
leading questions Amy gave the following story.

"We is live in de country, near Orangeburg, and I remembers berry little
'bout de war and de time befo’ de war. You see I bin berry little, I bin
only seben year old. Some ole people mek out like dey remembers a lot ob
t’ings." Here she gave the writer a quizzical look. "You know
imagination is a great t’ing. Dey eider mek all dat up or dey tell you
what bin tell dem. I got to stick to de trut’, I ’members berry little,
berry little. I don’t ’member much ’bout what we did in de country befo’
de war, nor what we eat, nor no games and such. I don’t know what de big
people wear. De cullered people mek dey own cloth, and call um cotton
osnaburg. Dey mek banyans for de chillen. Sleebe bin cut in de cloth,
and dey draw it up at de neck, and call um banyan. Dey is wear some kind
ob slip under um but dat all. Dey ain’t know nutting ’bout drawers nor
nutting like dat.

"De medicine I remember was castor oil, and dogwood and cherry bark,
which dey put in whiskey and gib you. Dey is gib you dis to keep your
blood good. Dogwood will bitter yo’ blood, it good medicine, I know.

"I ’member de people hab to git ticket for go out at night. W’en dey is
gone to prayer meeting I is see dem drag bresh back dem to outen dey
step. If de patrol ketch you wid out ticket dey beat you.

"I ’members w’en de Yankee come tru, and Wheeler a’my come after um.
Doze bin dreadful times. De Yankees massicued de people, and burn dere
houses, and stole de meat and eberyting dey could find. De white folks
hab to live wherebber dey kin, and dey didn’t hab enough to eat. I know
whole families live on one goose a week, cook in greens. Sometimes they
hab punkin and corn, red corn at dat. Times was haard, haard. De
cullered people dodn’t hab nutting to eat neider. Dat why my auntie
bring me to Charleston to lib.

"De fust year atter freedom I gone to school on Mr. John Townsend place,
down to Rockville. After peace declare de cullered people lib on
cornmeal mush and salt water in de week and mush and vinegar for Sunday.
Mine you, dat for Sunday. I don’t see how we lib, yet we is. About eight
year after de war we use to go down to de dairy for clabber. Dey give
you so much for each one in de fambly, two tablespoon full for de grown
people and one tablespoon for de chilluns. We add water to dat and mek a
meal. In de country de cullered people lib on uh third (crop) but of
course at de end of de year dey didn’t hab nutting, yet dey has libed. I
'member w’en de Ku Klux was out too, de people bin scared ’cause dey is
beat some and kill some."

When asked which she thought best, slavery or freedom, her answer was:
"Better stay free if you can stay straight. Slabery time was tough, it
like looking back into de dark, like looking into de night."

Feeling that as she remembered so little of plantation life her opinion
was based on hearsay or her memories of war times, the writer told her
of the answer of another old Negro woman: "No matter what slabery bring,
if it hadn’t been for slabery I nebber would hab met my Jesus." It
seemed to make a strong impression on Amy who threw up her hands in the
typical African gesture, and said "Praise de Lawd, w’en yo talk ’bout
Jesus you is got me coming and going."

Amy is deeply religious. She owns four of Judge Rutherford’s books which
she claims to have read "from cubber to cubber" many times. "Some people
b’lieve in dreams," she said, "but I don’t hab no faith in dem. Lot ob
people b’lieve in root and sich but dey can’t scare me wid root. I roll
ober dem from yuh to Jericho and dey wouldn’t bodder me. A man died bad
right in dat house yonder, and I went wid de doctor and close his sight
and sich, and I come right home and gone to bed and sleep. He ain’t
bodder me and I ain’t see um since. I don’t believe in ghosts, nor
dreams, nor conjuh, dat de worse. John de Baptist and dem dream dreams,
and de Lawd show dem vision, but dat diffrunt." With another comical
look at the writer, she continued; "You can eat yo’ stomach full and
you’ll dream. I b’lieve in some kind ob vision. You doze off, and you
hab a good dream. I b’lieve dat. People get converted in dreams. I was
twelve year ole when I get converted. I dreamed I was in a field, a
large green field. A girl was dere dat I didn’t had no use for. I had a
bundle on my back. I honey de girl up and love um and de bundle fall on
de ground. Dey put me in de church den.

"Some people say dey kin see ghost but you can’t see ghost and lib. De
Bible say if you kin see de wind you kin see spirit. If you kin see
ghost you can see Gawd, and I know you can’t see Gawd and lib. De Bible
say so. I don’t b’lieve in um, no ghost, and no cunjuh tho’ my uncle
Cotton Judson and my aunt Nassie both b’lieve in dem. Uncle Cotton could
do most as much as de debbul (devil) hesself, he could most fly, but I
nebber b’lieve in um no matter what he kin do."

In order to get her to talk the writer told her of a few of the
accomplishments of the East Indians. She said, "Yes, Gawd got some
people mek berry wise. Dey can’t say dey mek demself wise. What race
dese Indian come from, anyway, I know dem come from Indiana, but what
race, Ham, Seth, Japheth or what. I hear de Indian hab some wise ways,
and my people b’lieve in all kind ob ghost, and spirit an t’ing but I
don’t. I don’t eben let um talk to me ’bout dem, w’en det start I say
'gone gome wid dat.’ I can’t counteract de Bible and I can’t counteract
Gawd, I don’t b’lieve in um. Dat what I don’t visit round. My people lub
(love) too much idle discourse, and idle discourse is ’gainst de Bible.
I nebber trapsy round w’en I young and I don’t now. Day why I don’t hab
no company. As long as ole people lib dey going to tell de young ones
'bout ghost an t’ing, and dey going to pass it on, and w’en dey die dey
going to leab dat foolishness right yuh. No I don’t b’lieve in no conjuh
and no root. If dey gib me poison den dey got me."

Rob Perry

    *Interview with Uncle Rob Perry & Aunt Della Britton*
    *Trenton, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"Aunt Della born in 1863. He in 1864. He drove cows fer Marse Squire Jim
Perry, who lived on the line of Edgefield and Newberry Counties. Mos de
time dey traded in Newberry County, ’cause it nearer town. All road wuz
bad in dem days, even in summer dey wuz allus rough.

"Uncle Rob toted water, picked up chips and carried rations fum kitchen
to dinin room. Often Messrs. Jim Long, Sam, Jake and Bob Smith, (3
brothers) came to our big house fer dinner and to dance afterward.

"Plenty water to tote and fires to build den. Go out an git pine and
cedar limbs to put over de picturs and ’roun de mantle boards’ Fix up de
table wid trimmins, git mo candles and put all roun. Mak egg-nog in de
winter and mint juleps in de summer. Some time dar wuz sillabub, it
ain’t so good tho. De young mens dat I mentioned befo have me ter pick
out pretty girls fer dem ter dance wid. I drap a curtsey an han’ dem de
name. If dey want ter dance wid him they look at him and flick dey fan
an if dey didn’t den dey never give him no mind.

"Dat done all pass by as evry thing does. Now I thanks God and looks to
de Savior. Ef dar is success ter ye dat is what you has to do all de
time. Della and I done had fifteen chilluns. Us is so lonesome as we has
jes one a livin.

"Mr. Campbell, a Yankee man married Miss Joanna Perry. Her paw wuz Mr.
Oliver Perry of Bouknight’s Ferry on de Saluda River. In dat famly wuz
Miss Isabelle and Messrs. John, Milledge, Jake and Tom. Miss Joanna
marry on Friday in de parlor all fixed up wid cedar ropes a-hangin’ fum
de ceilin an de mo-es candles what a body ever did see. She made us
buil’ her a arch and kivver hit wid vines. It sot before de mantle and a
white bell hung fum de middle uv it. White cloth wuz stretched over
eveything and dey never let nobuddy walk in dat room cep in dey bare
feet fer fear dey dirty all dat cloth.

"Miss Isabella sho picked de pianny fer Miss Joanna. A Young lady fum
anuther plantation sang two songs. All pur white ladies wore dey
pretties’ white dresses wid flowers in dey hair. Miss Joanna had her
face all kivvered up wid er thin white cloth dat fell off’n her and laid
all back uv her on de floor. An de white ladies had dey white dresses a
layin over de floor but didn’t none uv dem have dey faces kivvered cept
Miss Joanna, you see she wuz de bride.

"My ole ’oman wuz rigged in white herself. Evvything in dat house wuz
fixed up extry fer da ceremony. I wo’ one de men’s black coats and black
pants and a white shirt wid a ves’ an tie. I had on a fine pair black
shoes. Dey give all dat ter me en I kep it adder de weddin. Dat suit I
wore ter church fer de nex ten years.

"Nex day, Saturday, come de big ’infair’. A double table wuz set up in
de dinin room. Ham, turkey en chicken wuz put on dat table dat wussent
teched. Dey jes stay dere along wid de fixins. All de victuals wuz
placed on de plates in de kitchen and fetched to de table. Five darkies
wuz kep busy refreshin de weddin diners.

"Miss Joanna an de Yankee man what she done married de day befo dat, her
sister, de lady what sing en her maw an paw an de parson set at de table
what they calls de bridal table. Dat table had de mo-es trimmins on hit
of bows an ribbens and de like ob dat. I still sees Miss Joanna a settin
dare. She wo’ her weddin dress jes zactly lak she did de day befo. She
never had her face kivvered up wuz de onliest change I seed. De weddin
dinner musta lasted two hours’. Atter dat de carriage came roun en
evvybody lined up along de front door by de cape jessamines ter throw
rice an ole shoes at de bride when she come outside de big house ter git
in de carrage. Evvybody wuz mighty spry to be done danced all de night
befo til de sun had showed red in de Eas’ dat Sadday mornin.

"Atter she gone off I jes’ cud’n figger’ out how Marse’ had got so much
together fer dat weddin’, kaise hit had’n been no time since de Yankee
so’ders had carried off ev’y thing and left us dat po’. But den sum
years has slipped by since dat.

"When I turn back to go in de big house, I see de pea-fowls a sneakin’
off to de river rale ’shame ’kase dey never had er sign uv a tail. All
dey tail feathers wuz plucked ter make de weddin fans en ter go in de
Mistus an de gals hats. Dat sho wuz er big drove en dey is de pretties’
fowl whut dere is, an folks doesn’t give dem no mine dese days."

Victoria Perry

    *Interview with Victoria Perry*
    *167 Golding St., Spartanburg, S.C.*
    —_F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C._

Victoria Perry, who lives in Spartanburg, says that she was just a small
child when slavery times were "in vogue," being eight years old when the
"negroes were set free in 1865." Her mother, she said, was Rosanna
Kelly, and had lived in Virginia before she was bought by Bert Mabin,
who owned a farm near Newberry. She says that she was often awakened at
night by her mother who would be crying and praying. When she would ask
her why she was crying, her mother would tell her that her back was sore
from the beating that her master had given her that day. She would often
be told by her mother: "Some day we are going to be free; the Good Lord
won’t let this thing go on all the time." Victoria said she was as
scared of her master as she was of a mad dog. She said her master used
to tie her mother to a post, strip the clothes from her back, and whip
her until the blood came. She said that her mother’s clothes would stick
to her back after she had been whipped because she "bleed" so much. She
said that she wanted to cry while her mother was being whipped, but that
she was afraid that she would get whipped if she cried.

"Whenever my master got mad at any of the niggers on the place, he would
whip them all. He would tie them to a post or to a tree, strip off their
clothes to the waist, and whip them till he got tired. He was a mean
master, and I was scared of him. I got out of his sight when he came

"My father was a white man, one of the overseers on the farm. I don’t
know anything about him or who he was. I never saw him that I knowed of.
But the way Bert Mabin beat my mother was cruel.

"One day a Yankee come by the house and told my master to get all the
colored people together; that a certain Yankee general would come by and
would tell them that they were free. So one day the niggers gathered
together at the house, and the Yankee general was there with some
soldiers. They formed a circle around the niggers and the general stood
in the middle and told us all we were free. My mother shouted, ’The Lord
be praised.’ There was a general rejoicing among the niggers and then we
backed away and went home. My mother told me she knew the Lord would
answer her prayers to set her free.

"I went hungry many days, even when I was a slave. Sometimes I would
have to pick up discarded corn on the cob, wipe the dirt off and eat it.
Sometimes during slavery, though, we had plenty to eat, but my master
would give us just anything to eat. He didn’t care what we got to eat.

"After we were set free, I went with my mother to the Gist plantation
down in Union. My mother always wanted to go back to her home at
Bradford, Virginia, but she had no way to go back except to walk. Work
was mighty scarce after slavery was over, and we had to pick up just
what we could get. My mother got a job on the Gist plantation, and
somehow I got up here to Spartanburg.

"I married Tom Perry, and I have been here ever since, although he is
dead now. He was a brick-mason.

"I sure was scared of my master, he treated us niggers just like we was
dogs. He had all our ages in a big Bible at the house, but I never went
there to see my age. My mother told me always to say I was eight years
old when I was set free. I am eighty now, according to that."

John Petty

    *Interview with John Petty (87)*
    *Hill Street, Gaffney, S.C.*
    —_Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C._

"I was born on the Jim Petty place in what was then Spartanburg County.

"Marse raised all his darkies to ride young. I no more ’members when I
learned to ride than I ’members when I come into the world. Marse had
his stables built three logs high from the outside of the lot. When the
horse step down into the lot, then I jump on his back from the third
log. So little that I never could have got on no other way without help.

"The horse what I rid had a broad fat back and he trot so fast that
sometimes I fall off, but I hang on to the mane and swing back on his
back and he never break his gait. Then again if I didn’t swing right
back up he take and stop till I git landed on his back once more.

"One horse called Butler, farm horse named Tom, mule called Jack, slave
horse called Stoneman, then one called Cheny, one Jane, one Thicketty
and the stud-horse named Max. I allus play with him, but my folks was
ig’nant to that fact. I lay down and he jump straight up over me. I git
corn and he eat it from my hand. There was apples and salt that he loved
[HW: to eat] from my palm. He throw his fore legs plumb over my head,
and never touch me at all. All this gwine on in Max’s stable. It big
enough for a dozen or more horses, ’cause it hardly ever beed that Max
git out and his stable had to be big so as he could exercise in it. So I
slip in there and we play unbeknownst to the old folks, white or black.
The door slided open. When I git tired and ready to go out then I slide
the door open. Maxie knowed that I was gwine and he had the most sense.
He watch till I git the door slid open and if he could he run by me and
jump out. I never could git him back in and he race ’round that lot till
the hands come in from the field at dark. He have a good time and git
all sweaty.

"When he jump over me out’n the sliding door, then I hide under the feed
house till Mammy holler, ’Lawdy, fore the living, yonder is Max
a-ripping hisself plumb to he death in that lot.’ Then they send for
some the mens to git him back. Atter they done that then I crawl out,
climb the lot fence and run through the field home. When I sets down Maw
'lows, ’Does you know it’s real curious thing how that old stud-horse
git his door open and come out’n that stable. It must be haints creeping
'bout right here in the broad open daylight!’ At that I draw up real
near the fire and say, ’Maw, does you reckon that the haints is gwine to
come and open our door some time?’

"On t’other hand, if I be real quick a-gitting out of the stable door
before Max turn and see me, when then he couldn’t git out. None of them
never knowed ’bout the good times that me and Max used to did have. And
it ’pears real strange to me now that he never did hit me with his foots
nor nothing. That horse sure ’nough did love me and that’s jest all what
it is to that. I also used to slip in the extra feed house and fetch him
oats and the like ’twixt and ’tween times. He stay that fat and slick.
But it wouldn’t nary lil’ darky would go near that stud-horse but me.
They’s all skeered to death when he git in the lot and when they seed
him in there they would run and git in the house and slam the door plumb

"When I done come up nigh 18 or something like that, the big freedom
come ’round. Marse Jim say us could all go and see the world as we’uns
was free niggers. Us jump up and shout Glory and sing, but us never
sassed our white folks like it ’pears to be the knowledge up North. I’d
done been there and they thinks us turned our backs on our white folks,
but I never seed nothing but scalawag niggers and poor white trash
a-doing that, that I ain’t. One nigger went from the plantation to the
north as they called it.

"When he had done stayed there fer five years then he come back and
hired out to Marse Jim. He looked real lanky, but I never paid that no
mind then. He was older than I was and he always ’lowing, ’John, up in
Winston all the niggers makes five dollar a day; how come you don’t go
up there and git rich like I is’. Some of the older ones laugh when he
talk to me like that and he lean to my ear and say real low, ’They’s

"One day when the crops done laid by I told Marse Jim, as I allus call
him that, I ’lows, ’Marse, dis fall I gwine north to git rich, but I
sure is gwine to bring you folks something when I comes south again’.

"So Marse give me my money and I set out for the north. I got to
Winston-Salem and got me a job. But it was that hard a-cleaning and
a-washing all the time. ’Cause I never knowed nothing ’bout no ’baccy
and there wasn’t nothing that I could turn off real quick that would
bring me no big money. It got cold and I never had no big oak logs to
burn in my fireplace and I set and shivered till I lay down. Then it
wasn’t no kivver like I had at Marse Jim’s. Up there they never had
'nough wood to keep no fire all night.

"Next thing I knowed I was down with the grip and it took all the money
dat I had and then I borrowed some to pay the doctor. So I up and come
back home. It took me a long time to reach Spartanburg and from there I
struck up with the first home niggers I seed since I left in the fall.
That make me more better than I feel since the first day what I ’rive at
Winston. Long afore I ’rive at home, I knowed that I done been a fool to
ever leave the plantation.

"When I git home all the darkies that glad to offer me the ’glad hand’.
I ax where that nigger what ’ticed me off to the north and they all ’low
that he done took the consumption and died soon after I done gone from
home. I never had no consumption, but it took me long time to git over
the grippe. I goes to old Marse and hires myself out and I never left
him no more till the Lawd took him away.

"God knows that the slaves fared better than these free niggers is. Us
had wool clothes in the winter and us had fire and plenty wood and
plenty to eat and good houses to keep out the rain and cold. In the
summer us had cool clabber milk and bread and meat and spring water and
now us don’t have all them things and us can’t keep up no houses like
our log houses was kept.

"Why, Charlie Petty, Marse’s son, wore home made clothes at home jest as
us did. He was dat proud that he ’come editor or something of a
Spartanburg paper."

Sarah Poindexter

    *Interview with Sarah Poindexter, 87 years old*
    *800 Lady Street (in the rear), Columbia, S.C.*
    —_Stiles M. Scruggs, Columbia, S.C._

"My name is Sarah Poindexter. I was born in 1850, on de plantation of
Jacob Poindexter, ’bout ten miles beyond Lexington court house. These
old eyes of mine has seen a mighty lot of things here’bouts durin’ de
eighty-seven years I been ’round here.

"De first time I see Columbia, it de powerfulest lot of big wood houses
and muddy streets I ever see in my life. De Poindexter wagon dat carry
my daddy and my mammy and me to de big town, pretty often mire in
mudholes all ’long de big road from de plantation to de court house. Dat
trip was made ’bout 1857, ’cause I was seven years old when I made dat

"Since that first trip I has lived in sight of Columbia, ’most all my
life. My daddy, my mammy and me lived on de plantation of Master
Poindexter until 1863. We might a lived there longer, if things had not
been so upset. I sho’ recall de excitement in de neighborhood when
roving crowds of niggers come ’long de big road, shoutin’ and singin’
dat all niggers am free. Snow was on de ground, but de spirits of de
niggers was sho’ plenty hot.

"De Poindexter plantation was one big place of excitement them days. De
slaves work some, all durin’ de war, sometimes I now ’spects it was for
de sake of de missus. All of us loved her, ’cause she was so kind and
good to us. She was cryin’ and worryin’ all de time ’bout her manfolks,
who was away fightin’ damn Yankees, she say. She sho’ had plenty of
backbone or spunk, when stragglers show up, they always hungry and
always ready to take what they want to eat, until the missus come on de
scene with her trusty shotgun. It seem like de war last forever to me,
'stead of ’bout five years. To a child, Lordy, how long de years hang
on, and when we get past fifty, oh, how fast de time runs.

"One day mammy stay in bed, too sick to go to de big house to cook, and
befo’ noon, who should come to our cabin but Missus Poindexter herself,
carryin’ a basket. She set it down and say to mammy: ’Lawzy Sadie, I not
leave you here to starve; then she uncover de basket and set out a big
plate of chicken and dumplin’, hot biscuits, coffee, and a lot of other
good things.

"When she gone, mammy eat some and give me some, and mammy git up next
mornin’ and say: ’Sis, my white folks’ missus am so good and kind, I am
goin’ to work for her today, best I can’. She went but she wasn’t good
well yet. Missus Poindexter many times fetch me a piece of candy or
somethin’ when she go to town and back.

"No, I never see Columbia burn in 1865, but we reckon that it was
burnin’ that night in February, 1865, ’cause we smell it and de whole
east look lak some extra light is shinin’ and pretty soon, some folks
come ridin’ by and tell us the whole city in flames. De next time I see
it, I guess there wasn’t fifty houses standin’. Chimneys standin’
'round, is about all there was where most of de city was standin’ befo’.

"My daddy was killed down ’bout Aiken, shortly after 1865. Me and mammy
come to Columbia and live in a cabin in de alley back of Senate Street,
where mammy take in washin’ and cook for some white folks, who know her;
I helped her. She die in 1868, and I goes ’way with four other nigger
gals to Durham to work in a tobacco factory. Both white and nigger women
work there, but de nigger women do most of de hard work, strippin’ de
leaves, stemmin’ them, and placin’ them to dry. White women finish them
for de trade.

"In 1870 when I comes back to Columbia de city am acomin’ back. Big
buildin’s up along de streets, but most of them was made of wood. Soon
after that I gets work in a hotel, but Columbia at that time was not so
big and Durham was smaller still, although Durham had more brick houses.
I was happier on de Poindexter plantation and had fewer things to worry
'bout than when I was ascratchin’ ’round for myself.

"You ask has I been married? Yes, I marry a dandy lookin’ young man,
'bout my own age, ’bout a year after I comes back to Columbia. His name,
so he say, is Sam Allen. He make fun of some other niggers who work at
one thing or another to live. One day he come to where I work and say he
bound to raise ten dollars. I hands him de cash, and he gives me a good
kiss right there befo’ de folks, but I never see him again. I hear,
after he gone, that he win some more money at a gamblin’ place on
Assembly street, and reckon he decided to blow ’way, while blowin’ was

"De folks who know me always call me Sarah Poindexter and I got it
honestly, like other honest slaves who never know what their real name
was, and so I keeps it to the end of the road.

"I am now livin’ with a distant relative and firmly trustin’ in Jesus,
as I have done for more than fifty years, that he will keep me to the
end of the trail here and greet me when I pass on ’way up Yonder’."

Sam Polite

    *Interview with Sam Polite, age 93*
    —_Mrs. Chlotilde R. Martin, Beaufort County_

"W’en gun shoot on Bay Pint (Bay Point) for freedom, I been sebenteen
year old wuking slabe. I born on B. Fripp Plantation on St. Helena
Island. My fadder been Sam Polite and my mudder been Mol Polite. My
fadder b’long to Mister Marion Fripp and my mudder b’long to Mister Old
B. Fripp. I don’t know how mucher land, neider how much slabe he hab,
but he hab two big plantation, and many slabe—more’n a hundred slabe.

"Slabe lib on Street—two row ob house wid two room to de house. I hab
t’ree sister name, Silvy Polite, Rose Polite and Minda Polite. Hab
brudder, too, but he die.

"My fadder and mudder ain’t marry. Slabe don’t marry—dey jest lib
togedder. All slabe hab for stay on plantation in day time but w’en wuk
done, kin wisit wife on odder plantation. Hab pass, so Patrol won’t git

"W’en I been leetle boy, I play en Street—shoot marble play aa’my and
sech t’ing. W’en hawn blow and mawning star rise, slabe’ hab for git up
and cook. W’en day clean, dey gone to field. ’Ooman too old for wuk in
field hab for stay on Street and mind baby. Old mens follow cow. Chillen
don’t wuk in field ’till twelve or t’irteen year old. You carry dinner
to field in your can and leabe um at de heading (end of row). W’en you
feel hongry, you eat. Ebery slabe hab tas’ (task) to do. Sometime one
task (quarter acre), sometime two tas’, and sometime t’ree. You haf for
wuk ’til tas’ t’ru (through). W’en cotton done mek, you hab odder tas’.
Haffa cut cord ob maash (marsh) grass maybe. Tas’ ob maash been eight
feet long and four feet high. Den sometime you haffa (have to) roll cord
ob mud in cowpen. ’Ooman haffa rake leaf from wood into cowpen. (This
was used for fertilizer.)

"W’en you knock off wuk, you kin wuk on your land. Maybe you might hab
two or t’ree tas’ ob land ’round your cabin what Maussa gib you for
plant. You kin hab chicken, maybe hawg. You kin sell aig (egg) and
chicken to store and Maussa will buy your hawg. In dat way slabe kin hab
money for buy t’ing lak fish and w’atebber he want. We don’t git much
fish in slabery ’cause we nebber hab boat. But sometime you kin t’row
out net en ketch shrimp. You kin also ketch ’possum and raccoon wid your

"On Sattidy night ebery slabe dat wuks gits peck ob corn and pea, and
sometime meat and clabber. You nebber see any sugar neider coffee in
slabery. You has straw in your mattress but dey gib you blanket. Ebery
year in Christmas month you gits four or eider fibe yaa’d cloth ’cording
to how you is. Out ob dat, you haffa mek your clote (clothes). You wears
dat same clote till de next year. You wears hit winter en summer, Sunday
en ebery day. You don’t git no coat, but dey gib you shoe. In slabery,
you don’t know nutting ’bout sheets for your bed. Us nebber know nutting
’bout Santa Claus ’till Freedom, but on Christmas Maussa gib you meat
and syrup and maybe t’ree day widout wuk. Slabe wuk ’till daa’k on
Sattidy jest lak any odder day—I still does wuk ’till daa’k on Sattidy.
But on Sunday slabe don’t wuk. On Fourth ob July, slabe wuk ’till twelbe
o’clock and den knocks off. On Sunday slabe kin wisit back and fort’
(forth) on de plantations.

"Slabe don’t do mucher frolic. W’en ’ooman hab baby he hab mid-wife for
nine day and sometime don’t haffa wuk for month w’en baby born, Missis
send clote (clothes) from Big House. W’en nigger sick, Maussa sen’
doctor. If you been berry sick, doctor gib you calomus (calomel) or
castor oil. Sometime he gib you Dead-Shot for worms, or Puke (powder) to
mek you heave. If I jest hab a pain in muh stummick, my mudder gib me
Juse-e-moke w’at he git outen de wood." (I was unable to get any
definite idea of what ’Dead-Shot’, ’Puke’ or ’Juse-e-moke’ were.)

"If slabe don’t do tas’, de git licking wid lash on naked back. Driver
nigger gib licking, but Maussa ’most always been dere. Sometime maybe
nigger steal hawg or run ’way to de wood, den he git licking too. Can’t
be no trouble ’tween white folks and nigger in slabery time for dey do
as dey choose wid you. But Maussa good to slabe If dey done day’s tas’
and don’t be up to no meanness. Missis don’t hab nutting to do wid

"In slabery, nigger go to white folks chu’ch. Slabe don’t know nutting
'bout baptizing. W’en nigger dead, you can’t knock off wuk for berry um.
You haffa wait ’till night time to put um in de graabe (grave). You
berry um by de light ob torch. Old Man Tony Ford bin de man w’at ’tend
to funerals. Dey wasn’t no nigger preacher on de plantation but dey been
people to hold praise (prayers).

"I nebber see nigger in chain, but I shum (see them) in stock. I see
plenty nigger sell on banjo table. Dey put you up on flatform (platform)
en dey buy you. I see my uncle sell he brung one hundred dollar. ’Ooman
don’t sell widout he chillen.

"Mister Johnnie Fripp been my n’oung Maussa. W’en he chillen git marry,
Old Maussa diwide de nigger. He gib Maussa Johnnie t’irty slabe and I
been one ob dem. Maussa buy plantation on de Main (mainland). He build
big house. He hab four boy and two gal. He hab five hundred acre. He
ain’t hab no oberseer, jest driver. We don’t know no poor white trash on
de Main, neider on St. Helena Islant.

"I wuk in field on Maussa Johnnie Fripp plantation. Sometime we sing
w’en us wuk. One song we sing been go lak dis:

    Go way, Ole Man
    Go way, Ole Man
    W’ere you bin all day
    If you treat me good
    I’ll stay ’till de Judgment day,
    But if you treat me bad,
    I’ll sho’ to run away.

"W’en war come, Missis tek me and two more niggers, put we and chillen
in two wagon and go to Baarnwell (Barnwell). My mudder been one ob de
nigger. We stay in Baarnwell all enduring (during) de war. My fadder he
been wid de Rebel—been wid Mr. Marion Chaplin. W’en Freedom come, Missis
didn’t say nutting, she jest cry. But she gib we uh wagon and we press
(stole) a horse and us come back to St. Helena Islant. It tek t’ree day
to git home. W’en we git home, we fine de rest ob de nigger yere been
hab Freedom four year befo’ we! I wuk for uh nigger name Peter White.
Muh fadder come back, and buy 20 acre ob land and we all lib togedder. I
gone to school one or two year, but I ain’t larn (learn) much. Four year
after war, I buy fifteen acre ob land. Dat was dis yere same place w’ere
I libs now. After w’ile I goes to wuk in rock (phosphate mines). I hears
’bout Ku Klux. Dey been bad people. Dey will kill you. Been marry to
four wife. Dis yere last one, he been born in slabery too, but he don’t
’members much ’bout um. He been leetle gal so high jest big ’nuf for
open gate for white folks. I hab t’ree chillen, two libbing. I hear tell
my boy William been marry to a w’ite ’ooman in England and hab t’ree
chillen. My gal Alice lib in New Yawk. Sometime she send me money. I hab
two great-gran.

"Abraham Lincoln? He de one w’at gib we liberty for wuk for we se’f. He
come to Beaufort ’fore de war. He come as uh rail-splitter and spy
'round. He gone back w’ere he come from and say: ’You eider got to gib
dese nigger t’ree day for deyse’f or dere will be blood-shed.’ And he
been right. I would be glad for shum (see him) but I nebber shum.

"I don’t know nutting ’bout dat genman Mister Davis, neider Mister
Washington—you say he been a nigger, too?

"Wat I t’ink ’bout slabery? I t’ink it been good t’ing. It larn nigger
to wuk. If it ain’t mek nigger wuk, he wouldn’t do nutting but tief
(thief). You don’t find nigger wuk for slabery running ’round looking
for ready money—dat been all dese yere n’oung nigger want. Me—I slabing
for self right now. I don’t want nobody for mek me wuk, but slabery larn
me for wuk. I hab wuk five hundred head ob man in rock and today ain’t
one can come to me and say: ’Sam Polite, you beat me out ob one penny.’

"Slabery done uh good t’ing for me, ’cause if he ain’t larn me to wuk,
today I wouldn’t know how to wuk."

William Pratt

    *Interview with William Pratt (77)*
    *Newberry, S.C. RFD*
    —_G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C._

"I live with my children on a farm in Newberry County. I have a good
place to live and plenty to eat. I work on the farm. I moved from
Chester County in the year 1898, the year the Spanish-American War

"I was born in Chester County in April 1860. My parents belonged to the
Pratts, but my mother belonged to the Kennedys before she married. They
went to Robert K. Kennedy and was with him as his slaves. He was a good
man but his wife was mean. She sure could ’cuss out slaves if they made
her mad. She whipped me once when I was a small boy. I couldn’t do much
with her. My daddy’s family belonged to the Pratts who lived seven miles
from Chester. They was good folks to slaves. They always had lots to eat
from their big garden. The white folks went hunting, and it was said
some wild turkeys was around Price’s Mountain, about nine miles south of

"We got up before day and went to work and worked till sundown. My mammy
cooked for the family; and one day the mistress got mad at her and hit
her on the head with a coffee paddle. We worked all day on Saturdays but
didn’t work on Sundays. On Christmas we had a holliday and had frolics
and big eats.

"The patrollers once caught my daddy out at night without a pass and
whipped him a little, just for mischief. He was always allowed to go
about where he wanted to go without a pass, but next time he asked Miss
Polly for a paper to take out with him.

"After the war the Ku Klux didn’t bother us but the Red Shirts come and
wanted us to join them, that is they wanted my brother to join. He
wouldn’t join though. My brother-in-law joined and wore one of the
shirts with them. He wanted Wade Hampton elected as he believed it was
best for us. He was a Democrat and said they all ought to wear them.
Once some mischief was played on a Negro who was a Republican and voted
for Chamberlain. He was given a card and told to go to a certain
merchant and show the card to him, that the merchant was a Chamberlain
man and would give him supplies. He showed the card to the merchant who
got mad and told the Negro if he didn’t get out of his store he would
kill him.

"Some of the old folks sometimes saw ghosts. A negro went to church one
night on a horse, and somebody slipped up behind and spurred the horse.
The Negro went home as fast as he could, saying that he had seen a

"When Freedom come, Old Man Kennedy took it well and said we was all
free, but his wife just cursed us and said, ’Damn you, you are free
now’. Old Marse Kennedy had some sons killed in the war. James and
Douglas Kennedy lived in Chester County after the war.

"We used to dance jigs by ourself, and we danced the ’hack-back’,
skipping backwards and forwards facing each other. When one danced a jig
he would sing, ’Juber this, Juber that, Juber kills a yellow cat’. My
brother used to sing a cotton picking song: ’My mammy got meat skin laid
away; grease my belly three times a day’.

"We was Baptist and baptized by immersion. An old Baptist song that was
sung at the baptism was: ’Trouble water today, trouble water today,
trouble water today. He will save you, He will save you; come to Jesus
today, come to Jesus today, come to Jesus today. He will save you, He
will save you, just now.’

"An old wood-chopping song which is yet sung by negroes is:

    Come on baby, let us go down;
    Come on baby, let us go down;
    Ten-pounder hammer stove my head;
    'nough to kill my body dead.

"I married Rosy Kennedy, a daughter of Mose Kennedy, and had five
children, but only two are now living. I have several grandchildren
living in Chester County. I worked first on the Kennedy place. Their
daughter, Miss Julie, was good to us. She married Robert Orr of Chester.
She didn’t have many beaux before because her mother was so mean nobody
wanted to come around her. Miss Julie helped at my wedding. When my wife
wasn’t able to get breakfast so I could go to work, Miss Julie would
tell me to come to her house and eat. That was after her mother died.

"I think Abraham Lincoln didn’t do just right, ’cause he threw all the
negroes on the world without any way of getting along. They was
helpless. He ought to have done it gradually and give them a chance to
get on their own. I think Booker Washington is a great man and has done
great work, because he says negroes must have education and learn to
work, too, and not sit down and expect more because he is educated.

"I joined the church because I believe there is a ’here-after’, and I
wanted to learn more about Jesus and get His forgiveness for what I had
done wrong. We need Him always, because St. Matthews says the last state
of man is worse than the first."

Henry Pristell

    *Interview with Henry Pristell, 83 year old*
    *Estill, S.C.*
    —_Phoebe Faucette, Hampton County_

'Uncle Henry’ Pristell and his wife, Lucina, live in the town of Estill
in the usual type of small negro cabin. ’Uncle Henry’ has a record of
his age that shows that he is eighty-three years old but he is so well
preserved that it is hard to believe. Although he is very bald, and his
closely cut hair is nearly white, he gets about so easily and talks with
such vigor he seems much younger.

"Oh, yes ma’am, I kin tell you ’bout de war times. I seen lots of dat,
ma’am. I seen lots: I couldn’t tell you all ’bout it—it been so
distressful—but I kin tell some. When de Yankees come, at first sight of
dem dey was string right ’long as far back as Luray. And string out
crossways all over everywhere. Dey was jes’ as thick together as de
panels in dis fence. Dey was thousands of ’em! It was in de afternoon,
an’ dey was over everywhere—over de woods, over de fields, an’ through
de swamps, thick as dem weeds out dere! Dey didn’t leave anything! Dey
burn de fences down, shoot de cows, de hogs, de turkeys an’ ducks an
geese, de chickens an’ everything. Dey didn’t stay no time—didn’t spend
de night—jes’ pass through. I see some of ’em set a fence afire an’ stop
dere an’ cook. Dere was rail fences of fat pinewood in dem days.

"For de plantation use, dey didn’t burn none of de colored folks’ houses
nor de old boss’ house. An’ as for anybody being injured when dey pass
through I didn’t see none of dat. I must speak de truth, ma’am I didn’t
see anything out of the way. Jes’ burn things an’ take things to eat.
Dere was Mr. Thomas’ place, an’ Mr. David Horton’s place, den Mr.
Wallace’ place. Dey didn’t burn any of ’em. I was on de Wallace place.
My old boss been Mr. Sam Wallace. De house been up dere till ’bout
thirty year ago. Dat been a fine place. Oh, yes ma’am. De house was
built up high off de ground—as high as de top of dat room dere. I don’t
know why dey didn’t burn de house. Now dat’s all I kin tell you ’bout
dat. In all other little doings, I didn’t so much as realize it ’cause
dey been little scattering doings. I do remember dat dere was a camp at
Lawtonville for a while. Dey built a place for de prisoners, of mud. Dey
dug a pit down in de ground ’bout three feet deep, den made de walls of
mud. I’m satisfied ’bout dat. Dey didn’t stay long. It was de Southern
soldiers had de camp.

"After de war, we stay dere on de place. Stay dere for years. My father
been Abram Pristell, my mother Lucy Pristell. ’Fore de war, I been jes’
a little boy. Didn’t have no special work to do. I penetrates ’round de
yard dere by de kitchen. My mother would cook for de folks. Penetrate
several days an’ several night. De kitchen was off from de house. It had
a big fireplace in it. Didn’t have no stove. I’ll be honest wid you. I’m
satisfied ’bout dat! Had a loom in it an’ a spinnin’ wheel. I seen dem a
many a time spinnin’ an’ weavin’. Oh, yes ma’am, I’m satisfied ’bout
dat! An’ dey had plenty of good things to eat. Oh, dey was well secured.
You’ll never see dat no more—not on dis side! But dey had plenty of
people to feed an’ to take care of. ’Course we don’t want dose times no
more, ’cause while some of de boss been good to ’em some of ’em been
bad. What little time we got here we wants to take it easy an’ quiet."

Junius Quattlebaum

    *Interview with Junius Quattlebaum, 84 years old*
    —_Henry Grant, Columbia, S.C._

Junius Quattlebaum lives with his grandson, a short distance south of
the Guignard Brick Factory, in the town of New Brookland, S.C. He is
partially capable of self-support from what work and produce he is able
to pick up around the City Market in Columbia.

"Well, sir, you want to talk to me ’bout them good old days back yonder
in slavery time, does you? I call them good old days, ’cause I has never
had as much since. I has worked harder since de war betwixt de North and
de South than I ever worked under my marster and missus. I was just a
small boy while de war was gwine on, but I was big ’nough to see and
know what went on dere on de plantation all right.

"I was born on Marster Jim Quattlebaum’s plantation over dere in Saluda
County. He had ’bout sixty-five slaves in all, countin’ de chillun. My
marster wouldn’t have no overseer, ’cause he say overseers would whip
his niggers and he didn’t ’low nobody, white or black, to do dat. If his
niggers had to be whipped, he was gwine to do dat hisself and then they
wouldn’t be hurt much. Marster lak to see his slaves happy and singin’
'bout de place. If he ever heard any of them quarrelin’ wid each other,
he would holler at them and say: ’Sing! Us ain’t got no time to fuss on
dis place.’

"Marster lak he dram, ’specially in de fall of de year when it fust git
cool. Us used to have big corn shuckin’s on de plantation at night,
'long ’bout de fust of November of every year. All de corn was hauled
from de fields and put in two or three big piles in de barnyard and de
slaves would git ’round them, sing and shuck de corn. De slave women
would hang buckets of raw tar afire on staves drove in de ground ’round
de crowd, to give light. Them was sho’ happy times.

"Marster would give all de grown slaves a dram or two of pure apple
brandy, on them corn shuckin’ nights, and take several smiles (drinks)
hisself. I ’members so well, one of them nights, dat marster come to de
barnyard, where us was all lit up, a singin’ fit to kill hisself. Us was
s’prised to see marster settin’ down wid us niggers and shuckin’ corn as
fas’ as us was. After a spell, him stood up and took ’nother smile, then
say: ’Pass de jug ’round and let’s all take a drink.’ Wid dat, one of de
niggers grab de jug of liquor and passed it ’round to all de shuckers.
Then marster say: ’Everybody sing.’ Some of de niggers ’quire: ’What you
gwine to sing?’ He say:—’Sing dis song: Pass ’round de bottle and we’ll
all take a drink.’ Some of them in de crowd ’jected to dat song, ’cause
they had ’nough liquor in them to ’ject to anything. Marster kinda
scratch he head and say: ’Well, let me git a pole and you all is gwine
to sing.’ And singin’ dere was, as sho’ as you’s born. Them niggers
'round de corn piles dat night h’isted dat song right now; dere was no
waitin’ for de pole or nothin’ else. They wanted to sing, bad.

"De next mornin’, after dis night I’s talkin’ ’bout, Miss Martha, our
good missus come ’round to de slave houses and ’quire how they all felt.
She say: ’You all can rest today and do what you want to do, ’cause
Marster Jim ain’t feelin’ so well dis mornin’.’ She knowed what was
gwine on at de corn shuckin’ de night befo’ but she ain’t said nothin’
'bout it. Mammy said many times dat de missus didn’t lak dat whiskey
drinkin’ business in nobody. She was a pure and ’ligious woman if dere
ever was one in dis world. Dere ain’t no wonder dat de marster was
foolish ’bout her. Mammy say de onliest way for both white and black to
keep from lovin’ Miss Martha, was to git away from her and not be so you
could see her.

"Dis is de way our marsters treated deir slaves. I don’t care what de
world does write and say ’bout slave owners; I knows dis. Us slaves dat
b’long on marster’s plantation had de best folks to live and work wid I
has ever seen or knowed. Dere is no sich kindness dese days betwixt de
boss and them dat does de work. All de slaves worked pretty hard
sometimes but never too hard. They worked wid light and happy hearts,
'cause they knowed dat marster would take good care of them; give them a
plenty of good vittles, warm clothes, and warm houses to sleep in, when
de cold weather come. They sho’ had nothin’ to worry ’bout and no
overseer to drive them to work, lak some slaves on other plantations
had. Easy livin’ is ’bout half of life to white folks but it is all of
life to most niggers. It sho’ is.

"No, sir, de patarollers (patrollers) didn’t bother none of marster’s
slaves. I has done told you he wouldn’t let nobody, white or black, whip
his niggers, ’cause he thought too much of them and de work they could
do on de plantation when they was well and healthy. Yes, sir, I
'members, lak yistiddy, when Columbia was burned by de Yankees in 1865.
All dat happened in de month of February, I thinks. Some of de niggers
on de plantation said they seen de smoke from dat big fire, but I has my
doubts ’bout de truth of dat.

"When Christmas come, all de slaves on de plantation had three days give
to them, to rest and enjoy themselves. Missus and de two little misses
fixed up a big Christmas tree. It was a big holly bush wid red berries
all over it. It sho’ was a picture of beautifulness. I can see missus so
plain now, on Christmas mornin’, a flirtin’ ’round de Christmas trees,
commandin’ de little misses to put de names of each slave on a package
and hang it on de tree for them. She was always pleased, smilin’ and
happy, ’cause she knowed dat she was doin’ somethin’ dat would make
somebody else happy. She tried as hard to make de slaves happy as she
did to make her own white friends happy, it seem lak to me. Close to de
tree was a basket and in dat basket was put in a bag of candy, apples,
raisins and nuts for all de chillun. Nobody was left out.

"Christmas mornin’, marster would call all de slaves to come to de
Christmas tree. He made all de chillun set down close to de tree and de
grown slaves jined hands and make a circle ’round all. Then marster and
missus would give de chillun deir gifts, fust, then they would take
presents from de tree and call one slave at a time to step out and git
deirs. After all de presents was give out, missus would stand in de
middle of de ring and raise her hand and bow her head in silent thanks
to God. All de slaves done lak her done. After all dis, everybbdy was
happy, singin’, and laughin’ all over de place. Go ’way from here, white
man! Don’t tell me dat wasn’t de next step to heaven to de slaves on our
plantation. I sees and dreams ’bout them good old times, back yonder, to
dis day."

Transcriber’s Note

Original spelling has been maintained; e.g. "_stob_—a short straight
piece of wood, such as a stake" (American Heritage Dictionary).—The
Works Progress Administration was renamed during 1939 as the Work
Projects Administration (WPA).

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves: Volume XIV, South Carolina Narratives, Part 3" ***

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