"Soon atter dat, my sister took down sick wid de misery. Doc., he come to see her at night. He would hide in de woods in daytime. We would fetch him his victuals. My sister was sick three weeks 'fore she died. Doc, he would take some blankets and go and sleep in dat grave, kaise he know'd dey would look in our house fer him. Dey kept on a coming to our house. Course we never know'd nothing 'bout no doctor at all. Dar was a nigger wid wooden bottom shoes, dat stuck to dem Yankees and other po' white trash 'round dar. He lowed wid his big mough dat he gwine to find de doctor. He told it dat he had seed Fannie in de graveyard at night. Us heard it and told de doctor. Us did not want him to go near dat graveyard any more. But Doc, he just laugh and he lowed dat no nigger was a gwine to look in no grave, kaise he had tried to git me to go over dar wid him at night and I was skeer'd.
"One night, just as Doc was a covering up, he heard dem wooden shoes a coming; so he sot up in de grave and took his white shirt and put it over his head. He seed three shadows a coming. Just as dey got near de doc, de moon come out from 'hind a cloud and Doc, he wave dat white shirt and he say dem niggers just fell over grave-stones a gitting outen dat graveyard. Doc lowed dat he heard dem wooden shoes a gwine up de road fer three miles. Well, dey never did bother the doctor any more.
"Doc, he liked to fiddle. Old Fannie, she would git up on her hind legs when de doc would play his fiddle."
Source: Brawley Gilmore (col), 34 Hamlet St., Union, S.C. Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C. (12/3/36)
Project 1885-1 Ex-slave—(Pick Gladdeny, Pomaria, Rt. 3, S.C. Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C. EARLY RECOLLECTIONS. Typist: Louise Dawkins, Rt. 4, Union, S.C.
"Ah sees all through 'im now. Naw, sir, Ah doesn't know whar Ah wuz bawn, maybe in Fairfield, maybe in the Dutch Fork, Ah doesn't know, Ah won't dar. It wuz on May 15, 1856. Ah 'spec Ah could've been born on Mr. Joe Hellar's place, you knows dat down on Hellar Creek.
"Ah'se old enough to go to de speechin' dat Dan White made on "Maybinton Day" (emancipation speech at Maybinton, S.C.). You axes me more than I can answer, Site of folks dar all day, settin' aroun. Us clam trees, so us could see and hear. I sho did listen but I don't 'member nothin' what de man say. I knows dis dat I still hears dat band music ringing in my ears. At dat time I was so young dat all I cared about on dat day, was the brass band what let out so much music. Niggers being free never meant nothing to us chaps, cause we never had no mind fer all such as that nohow. Dat de first band dat I ever seed, and to tell you de truf I never seed no more till the World War fotch de soldiers all through here. Bands charms me so much dat dey just plumb tickles the tips of my toes on both feets.
"Squire William Hardy was de man dat I worked for when I had done turned five. Dey teach me to bring in chips, kindling wood, fire wood and water. I learnt to make Marse's fire ever morning. Dat won't no trouble, cause all I had to do was rake back de ashes from the coals and throw on some chips and lightwood and de fire come right up. Won't long 'fore I was big enough to draw water and bring in big wood. You knows what big fire places they got down dar cause Squire Hardy—Mr. Dick's Pa, and Pa and Heyward and Frank's grandpa.
"Squire Hardy was a good man so was Mr. Dick. Mr. Dick was dat smart till he just naturally never forgot nothing that was told to him. If he was a-living, he could tell you way back before de Squire's time. I was right dar at Squire Hardy's dat day Freedom come and de band come to Maybinton.
"Going farther back than this, droves of niggers used to come down the road by Squire Hardy's front gate. Yes, sir, a overseer used to come through here driving niggers; just like us drives cows and hogs up around this big road these days and times. One day Squire Hardy went out and stopped a drove coming down de road in the dust. He pick him out a good natured looking darky and give the overseer one eye contrary niggers, what nobody didn't like for the good-natured ones. Ain't got no more to say. I does not remember but I has heared about the time when my ma moved from Hellar's Plantation in the Dutch Fork to the Tom Lyles quarter in Fairfield. My ma's name Sally Murphy. Her master was Dave Murphy. He stayed at Tom Lyles. Mistus Betsy (Dave Murphy) cared for her. Mr. Dave Murphy overseed for Capt. Tom Lyles who lived about two miles from Lyles' Ford on Broad River.
"I don't know what things has gone to. So much diffence in everthing now than it was back in dem days. Don't know nothing about no Booker T. Washington. I sees much but hears little 'bout dat what I doesn't see, Yes, siree boy, all such little 'muck' go in one ear and come out tother'n wid me. Dat's de talk fer dese young niggers dats eddicated, and I ain't dat bad off.
"Winnsboro fust town I ever seed, but it don't favor itself now.
"Maybinton the place I love best in all the world. Most my life is right here. I'll be buried in Hardy graveyard, whar my white folks dat was so good to me lie sleeping, and dat's whar my ma and pa and others that I loves lies too.
"Post office at Maybinton is whar Miss Bessie Oxner stay. Bill Oxner, her pa kept de post office from de time it started till they stopped it, fur as I knows. It look better then than it does now. Mr. Bill Oxner pretty good man.
"He was a settled man. His wife was a good-looking lady who before her marriage was a Bethune.
"Dar was a big store at the end of Mr. W. B. Whitney's plantation. Dis along to'd first of Freedom. Mr. Slattery lived twixt the Maybins and the Whitney's house. The store upon the end was kept by Mr. Pettus Chick and Mr. Bill Oxner. It was a good store. Didn't have to go to Newber'y to git no candy and 'Bacco. And Dr. Jim Ruff was de doctor what tended to folks in dem parts when dey got sick.
"De old Buck when I first knowed it was run fer a dwelling house by Mr. Jeff Stewart. I been knowed Maybinton all my life. But when I come along stages had done gone out but that's where dey stopped when they come from Spring Hill. I'se heared dat de Buck had large stables and a lots of folks stop there and rested overnight on their way to the Springs. (Glenn's, Chick's, and West Springs.)
"Used to rather dance than to eat. Started out at sundown and git back to the Whitney's at daybreak, den from dar run all de way to Squire Hardy's to git dar by sunup. Pats our feets and knocks tin pans was the music dat us niggers danced to all night long. Put on my clean clothes dat was made right on the plantation and wear them to the dance. Gals wore their homespun stockings. Wore the dresses so long dat they kivered their shoes. My britches were copperus colored and I had on a home wove shirt with a pleated bosom. It was dyed red and had wristbands. I wore that shirt for five years.
"Didn't have no nigger churches down dar den. We went to Chapman's stand. It had a brush top and log seats. The darkies from the Hardy Plantation walked five miles to hear a nigger from Union preach. He driv a one horse waggin and course he stayed around from place to place and the folks take care of him and his mule. Big Jim Henderson owned Chapman's stand which was in the Glymp quarter. The Glymp quarter still got the best land in our settlement yet. All my 'quaintances done left me, fac' is, most of them done crossed over de river. Folks meets me and speaks familiar. I axes, "Who is that?" I used to deal with Mr. Bee Thompson in Union.
"I'se got some business to tend to in Union soon and I spec I be up there in short to see is it anything familiar dar."
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
HENRY GLADNEY EX-SLAVE 82 YEARS OLD.
Henry Gladney lives with his wife, his son, Murdock, his daughter-in-law, Rose, and seven grandchildren. They live near White Oak, S.C., in a two-room frame house with a one-room box board annex. He works a one-horse farm for Mr. Cathcart and piddles a little at the planing mills at Adgers. His son does the ploughing. The daughter-in-law and grandchildren hoe and pick cotton and assist in the farm work. Henry is of medium height, dark brown complexion, and is healthy but not vigorous.
"I lives out on de John H. Cathcart place, close to White Oak. In slavery time my mammy b'long to old Marse Johnnie Mobley, and us lived in de quarter 'bout three miles to de west of Woodward station, tho' dere was no station dere when I was a boy. De station was down de railroad from dere and then it was called Yonguesville. My mammy name Lucy, my pappy name William, my sisters was Louise, Elsie, and Adeline. My brudders name Tim and Curtis.
"I wasn't a very big boy in slavery time, tho' I 'member choppin' cotton, and pickin' cotton and peas 'long 'side mammy in de field. Pappy was called 'Bill de Giant', 'cause him was so big and strong. They have mighty bad plantation roads in them days. I see my pappy git under de wagon once when it was bogged up to de hub and lift and heft dat wagon and set it outside de ruts it was bogged down in. Him stayed at de blacksmith shop, work on de wagons, shoe de mules and hosses, make hinges, sharpen de plow points and fix de iron rings in de wagon wheels.
"My pappy didn't 'low other slave men to look at my mammy. I see him grab Uncle Phil once, throw him down on de floor, and when him quit stompin' Uncle Phil, they have to send for Dr. Newton, 'cause pappy done broke Uncle Phil's right leg. My old marster no lak dat way one of his slaves was crippled up. Him 'low to whip pappy for it. Pappy tell mammy to go tell Marse John if he whip him, he would run off and go to de North. She beg for pappy so, dat nothin' was done 'bout it. 'Spect Marse John fear to lose a good blacksmith wid two good legs, just 'bout a small nigger man wid one good leg and one bad leg.
"It come to de time old marster have so many slaves he don't know what to do wid them all. He give some of them off to his chillun. He give them mostly to his daughters, Miss Marion, Miss Nancy, and Miss Lucretia. I was give to his grandson, Marse John Mobley McCrorey, just to wait on him and play wid him. Little Marse John treat me good sometime and kick me 'round sometime. I see now dat I was just a little dog or monkey, in his heart and mind, dat 'mused him to pet or kick as it pleased him. Him give me de only money I ever have befo' freedom, a big copper two-cent piece wid a hole in it. I run a string thru dat hole and tied it 'round my neck and felt rich all de time. Little niggers always wanted to see dat money and I was proud to show it to them every time.
"Little Marse John's mother was another daughter of old Marster John. Her name was Dorcas. They live in Florida. I was took 'way down dere, cried pow'ful to leave my mammy, but I soon got happy down dere playin' in de sand wid Marse John and his little brudder, Charlie. Don't 'member nothin' 'bout de war or de Yankees. Freedom come, I come back to de Mobley quarters to mammy. I work for old Marster John up 'til after Hampton was 'lected. I marry Florie Williams, a pretty black gal on de Mobley quarters. Us is had seventeen chillun. So far as I know they is all livin'. Some in Florida, some in Sparrows Point, Virginia, some in Charlotte, N.C., and some in Columbia, S.C. Murdock and his wife, Katie, and deir six chillun live in de same house wid me.
"My old marster have two daughters dat marry McCroreys. Miss Lucretia marry James McCrorey and Miss Dorcas marry John McCrorey. Miss Lucretia have a son name John. Miss Dorcas have a son name John. In talkin' wid old mistress, 'fusion would come 'bout which John of de grandsons was bein' meant and talked 'bout. Old Marster John settle dat.
"Old Marster John and old mistress (her name Katie) had de same birthday, March de 27th, tho' old Marster John was two years older than old Mistress Kate. They celebrate dat day every year. All de chillun-in-laws and grandchillun come to de mansion, have a big dinner and a big time. After dinner one day, all de men folks 'semble at de woodpile. De sun was shinin' and old marster have me bring out a chair for him but de balance of them set on de logs or lay 'round on de chips. Then they begun to swap tales. Marse Ed P. Mobley hold up his hand and say: 'See dis stiff finger? It'll never be straight agin. I got out of ammunition at de secon' battle of Bull Run, was runnin' after a Yankee to ketch him, threw my gun 'way to run faster, ketch him as he was 'bout to git over a fence and choked his stiff neck so hard in de scuffle dat I broke dat finger. General Lee hearin' 'bout it, changed me from de infancy (infantry) to de calvary (cavalry) dat I might not run de danger any more.' Old marster laugh and say: 'Jim, can you beat dat?' Marse Jim Mobley say: 'Well, you all know what I done at Gettysburg? If all had done lak me dat day, us would have won de war. Whenever I see a bullet comin' my way, I took good aim at de bullet wid a double charge of powder in my musket. My aim was so good dat it drove de enemy ball back to kill a Yankee and glanced aside at de right time to kill another Yankee. I shot a thousand times de fust day of de battle and two thousand times de secon' day and kilt six thousand Yankees at Gettysburg!' Old marster slap his sides and fell out de chair a laughin'! When him git back in de chair, him say: 'Zebulon, what you got to say?' Marse Zeb, p'intin' to his empty pants leg, say: 'Me and some officers 'tended a chicken fight on de banks of de Chickenhominy River de day befo' de battle of Shilo. De cocks fight wid gaves on deir heels. Dere was five hundred fights and two hundred and fifty roosters was kilt. Us have big pots of chicken and big pots of hominy on de banks of de Chickenhominy Creek dat night and then de battle of Cold Harbor come de nex' day. I had eat so much chicken and hominy my belly couldn't hold it all. Some had run down my right leg. Us double quicked and run so fast thru swamps nex' day, after Yankees, my right leg couldn't keep up wid my left leg. After de battle I went back to look for dat leg but never could find it. Governor Zeb Vance tell me afterwards, dat leg of mine run on to Washington, went up de White House steps, and slushed some of dat chicken and hominy on de carpet right befo' President Lincoln's chair.'
"Everybody laugh so loud dat old mistress come out and want to know what for they was laughin' 'bout. All dat had to be gone over agin. Then her laugh and laugh and laugh. She turnt 'round to my young Marster John and say: 'John, can you beat dat?' He say: 'Henry, go git grandma a chair.' I done dat. Then my young marster start. Him say: 'One day down in Florida, I saddle my pony, took Henry dere up behind me and went a fishin' on de St. John River. I had some trouble a gittin' thru de everglades when I want to fish but us got dere. Big trees on de banks and 'round, wid long moss hangin' from de limbs. I baited my hook wid a small, wigglin', live, minnow and throwed out into de water. Nothin' happen. In de warm sunshine I must have gone to sleep, when I was startle out my doze by Henry a shoutin': 'Marse Johnnie, Marse Johnnie, your cork done gone down out of sight!' I made a pull but felt at once it would take both hands to land dat fish. I took both hands, put my foot 'ginst de roots of a great live oak and h'isted dat fish in de sky. It was so big it shut out de light of de sun. When it come down, dat fish strip off de limbs of de trees it hit while comin' to de ground. I sent Henry back to de house on de pony, for de four-hoss wagon and all de men on de place, to git de fish home. When us got it home and cut it open, dere was 119 fishes varyin' from de size of de minnow up to de big fish. Marse Ed P. say: 'Was de little minnow dead or 'live when you found him in de belly of de 119th fish? 'He was still wigglin', say my young marster. Old marster say: 'It was a whale of a fish, wasn't it, grandson?' Young marster say: 'It was, grandpa. De river bank show dat de water went down two inches after I pulled him out.' 'Maybe it was a whale', said Marse Ed P. 'In fact, it was', said Marse Johnnie,' 'cause on one of de ribs under de belly was some tatooin'.' 'What was de tatooin'?' ask old mistress, just as innocent as a baby. 'De word Nenivah', say Marse little John. 'Why it might have been de whale dat swallowed Jonah', say Miss Katie. 'It was', say my young marster, 'for just under Nenivah was de name Jonah.' After a good laugh old marster say: 'Your name is changed from John Mobley McCrorey to John Munchawsome McCrorey.' Kin folks call him Barron after dat. Him lak dat but when they got to callin' him, lyin' John McCrorey him git red in de face and want to fight.
"Poor Marse Johnnie! Wonder if him still livin'. Him marry a rich woman in Florida but her soon 'vorce him. What her 'vorce him for? 'Pattybility and temper, they say. What I means by pattybility? I 'spect dat mean de time they was gittin' up in de mornin' and her lam him 'cross de head wid de hairbrush and him take dat same hairbrush, push her down 'cross de bed and give her a good spankin'. Now you're laughin' agin but it was no laughin' wid her dat mornin', de way I hear them tell it."
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist 4 July 15, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I was born in Newberry County, South Carolina. Near Indian Creek above Jalapa. My mammy and pa was Charlie and Frances Gilliam. We belonged to Marse Pettus and Harriet Gilliam who had a big plantation. I married George Glasgow in the yard of Reid place, by a nigger preacher. My husband died about 15 years ago.
"I was a young child when de war stopped, and don't remember so much about slavery times. Marse Pettus and Miss Harriet was good to us. I never got a whipping, except Misses whipped me once wid just one lick. Dey give us a small patch of 'bout half acre fer us to raise cotton or anything we wanted to on it. De master had a big garden and give his slaves plenty vegetables. We had plenty to eat all de time. My pa, Charlie, was de foreman of a crowd of slaves, and dere was a white overseer, too.
"Master Gilliam had a boy dey called 'Bud'. He still lives in Arkansas. Dey all moved to state of Arkansas sometime atter de war. My master was a good man, a church man, and he was steward in Tranquil Methodist Church. Around de place at home he was always singing and in good humor. I 'member one song he sung dat was like dis:
"Lord, Lord, Heaven—Sweet Heaven, Lord, Lord, Heaven—Sweet Heaven, How long will it be? (repeated three times)
"De first time I come to town was when I was a little child, and when we got to College Hill, about ten miles from home, I started to run back home because I heard de train whistle blow.
"Miss Harriet always give us chilluns 'mackaroot tea' fer worms. It's made from roots of a plant dat grow in de woods. We had to drink it before breakfast, and it shore had a bitter taste.
"Slavery wasn't good much, I reckon, but I had a good time ... didn't nothing bother me. When freedom come, all of us stayed with de master until he and his folks moved away.
"Old Dr. Clark was de best doctor in de state. He lived at Jalapa. He used to give barbecues at his home in de yard under big trees. He had niggers dere, too. Dey eat by demselves. Old Mrs. Sligh lived above dere. I waited on her when she was sick. When she died, she made her son promise not to hold against me what I owed her—just let it go—and told him not to ever let me go hungry.
"Once when Master Gilliam took one of his slaves to church at old Tranquil, he told him dat he mustn't shout dat day—said he would give him a pair of new boots if he didn't shout. About de middle of services, de old nigger couldn't stand it no longer. He jumped up and hollered: 'Boots or no boots, I gwine to shout today'.
"I jined de church atter I got married, 'cause I wanted to do right and serve de Lord."
Source: Emoline Glasgow (78), Newberry, S.C. Interviewer: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. (7/8/37)
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 Sept. 16, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I live on Mr. Sim Bickley's farm, about five miles northwest of Newberry Courthouse. I have a fairly good house to live in. I work on the farm, myself, and make a pretty good living from it. I live with my second wife. I had two children but they both died.
"I was born on Dr. Geo. W. Glenn's plantation, about six miles north of Newberry. My parents, Berry and Frances Glenn, were slaves of Dr. Glenn. I was seven years old when freedom come.
"Dr. Glenn gave us good quarters to live in and plenty to eat. He was a good man and was not hard on slaves; but the mistress was mean to some of the slaves that come from the Glenn side. She was good to the slaves that come into her from her daddy.
"I didn't work much around the place when I was small, just did little things to help. The master had a big garden and raised lots of green vegetables like turnips, collards, cabbages and some okra, but little beans except cornfield beans. We had plenty clothes.
"The master whipped us sometimes when we needed it. They would not learn us to read and write. Some of the slaves went to the white folks' church.
"I was married the first time on the Glasgow place by a colored preacher named Boyd. Her daddy didn't want us to marry; he didn't like me. I slipped to the field where she was working and stole her; went to the preacher and got married. I married the second time in town on College Hill.
"A band of Confederate soldiers in 1865 went past the master's house on their way from war, and Mistress had dinner for them. They eat out under big shade trees in the yard where Master always kept a long table for dinners they had sometimes. When freedom come, the master called all his slaves up to the house one night and spoke to them. He said they was free, but any who wanted to stay on with him and help make the crop that year could stay and he would pay wages. All stayed that year.
"The Ku Klux and Red Shirts didn't like Negroes. They would catch them and whip them.
"It was a long time after the war before the negroes had a school. They went to white folks churchs for a long time. Some of them had 'brush harbors' for their churches, and schools, too.
"I don't know nothing about Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. I can't give much about Booker Washington, except I heard of him and believe he is a good man and doing a good turn for the negroes.
"I think slavery was wrong; don't think one man ought to own another man.
"I joined the church when I was about 25 or 30 years old."
Source: Silas Glenn (79), Newberry, S.C. RFD Interviewer: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. 8/9/37.
Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, August 11, 1937
JOHN GLOVER Ex-Slave, 77 Years Timmonsville, S.C.
"Born on Rafter Creek bout 20 miles from Timmonsville on Elija Carson place. My white folks live in big two story house dere cause my Massa was a bankholder in Charleston en dat de reason he go back en forth to Charleston every week or two. My Massa a good man, a good man, en I hope he restin in Heaven dis day."
"De Carsons had bout 2,000 acres of land en 100 head of slaves on dey plantation. Have long row of house up in de quarter whe' all de slaves live. We have a very good livin in dat day en time. Had more to eat den we do dese days cause rations won' scarce like dey is now. Eat potatoes en peas en corn bread en homemade grits mostly, but I likes everything to eat, Captain. Den dey give us a garden to make us greens en things like dat en we is catch possum heap of de time. Uncle Ben (father's father) was a great possum hunter, but he died fore I get big enough to go huntin wid him. He went possum huntin every night till something went up de tree one night en possum talk to him. He used to go huntin on a Sunday night en dat how-come de possum talk to him."
"You didn' see de peoples wear much different clothes like dey wear dese days, but what dey have was very decent. Just have bout one piece, Captain, make out of some kind of homemade cloth wid no extra for Sunday. Wear same kind of pants on Sunday dat wear every day en same kind of shoes call brogans wid brass toes. I ain' see no fittin cloth since dey used to raise sheep en have dey own wool en have loom en spin. Look like God smile on us in dat day en time."
"I work round de white folks house fore freedom come, but I go back to de quarter en sleep when night come. Dem dat live in de quarter have lumber bed wid mattress made out of sacks en hay. Den when dey ring dem bells en blow dem horns in de mornin, dat mean you better get up en go bout your task for dat day."
"Oh, dey work us hard en late in dem times. Work from de sunrise in de mornin to de sundown in de evenin. Dey have a driver dat tote whip en see dat you do what you know to do. Didn' have no jail in dat day, but if you ain' do your task en dey catch you, dey punish you by de whip. Some of de time, dey put em in de screw box what dey press bales of cotton wid. Put em in dere en run press right down whe' can' crush en dey oouldn' move till dey take em out in de mornin en whip em en put em to work. See plenty whipped on de place. Dey make one fellow go over a barrel, en de other peoples hold he head down en de driver whip him. Give em 50 en 75 licks fore dey stop sometimes. Use chains to hold em when dey break ropes so dey couldn' get away."
"I see em sell slaves heap of times. See em gwine along in droves en sayin dey was gwine to market. Sell em if dey ain' stay on de place en work. Bid em off just like horse en mules. What am I bid for dis one? Come en open you mouth en examine you teeth en dey wouldn' miss you a year."
"Oh, Gracious God, didn' get married till after de shake was en I reckon I bout 30 years old den. Captain, we thought it was de Jedgment (Judgment). It come like it was thunderin in de earth, rollin in de earth en de earth was gwine en comin. We pray en all de cows en chickens was yelling. Last dat night bout 30 minutes dat you could look at anything en it look like top spinning. We was all good bout two years after dat."
"My white folks didn' teach none of dey slaves to read en write en didn' let em go bout from one plantation to de other no time. All us know is when we go to dey meetin en dey pray wid us. Peoples used to sing en pray in de quarter on Saturday night en when dey dig grave en have a funeral. Dey didn' do bout buryings den like dey do now. Burying dem times en de funeral would all be over at de burying. Slaves didn' have no way to go to de funeral but to walk. Den a white man would stop you en if you have a ticket wid you dat have pass word on it, you could go on."
"I can tell you all bout when dem Yankees come through dere. Some was on black horses, some on red horses, en some on white horses. De one dat on black horse wear black, de one on white horse wear white, en de one on de red horse wear red. De horses had sense enough to double up when dat man hollo from de top of dem. Dey was wearing soldier clothes en dey come up to you house en set place on fire, kill cow or anything dey want to. Dey burn up Carson house en stay dere till next day. Dey talk to my mamma cause our house de next one to de white folks house. De white folks done been gone. Dey ask her whe' dey hide dey money en she know dey hide it to Stafford Hill, six miles from de house, but she didn' tell dem. Don' know yet what became of de money, but dem Yankees loaded an old chest on de wagon en took all de slaves dat wanted to run away wid dem en left dere."
"Slaves didn' know what to do de first year after freedom en den de Yankees tell de white folks to give de slaves one-third of dey crops. What de slaves gwine buy land wid den, Captain? Won' a God thing to eat in dat time. Had to plow corn wid ox cause de Yankees took all de horses en mules dey wanted. My mother worked on three years dere for de white folks en dey give her one bushel of corn en dey take two. One bushel of corn en dey take two. Measured by de same basket."
"Well, I can' tell you bout people, but I can tell you bout my poor soul. I think I know I'm bless to be here en raise three generation clear up dis world. All my chillun dead en gone en God left me to live among dese wild varments here. I have to cry sometimes when I think how dey die en leave me in dis troublesome world. During slavery time, didn' know what hard times was. I know you see in de Bible dat God sorry he made man done so. I'm sorry dat de last war done. Every time you fight war makes times harder. See three war en every one I see makes time worse. Money gets balled up in one or two hand. Looks bad to me. Didn' know what it was one time to be hungry."
Source: John Glover, Ex-Slave, 77 Years, Timmonsville, S.C. (Personal interview by Mrs. Lucile Young and H. Grady Davis.)
Project, 1885-1 Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, June 28, 1937
HECTOR GODBOLD Ex-Slave, 87 Years
"What you gwine do wid me? I sho been here in slavery time. Talk to dem soldiers when dey was retreatin dey way back home. My old Missus was Miss Mary Godbold en den she marry a Haselden. Dey buy my mamma from de old man Frank Miles right over yonder. Harry en Cindy Godbold was my parents. We live in a one room house in de slave quarter dere on de white folks plantation. My God, sleep right dere on de floor. Had gran'parents dat come here over de water from Africa. Dey tell me dat whe' dey come from dey don' never let no man en he wife sleep together cause dey is scared of em catchin disease from one another. Dat sho a good thing, you know dat. I think dat sho a good thing."
"Dey ain' never give none of de colored peoples no money in dat day en time. Coase dey give us plenty something to eat. Fed us out a big bowl of pot licker wid plenty corn bread en fried meat en dat bout all we ever eat. Dey is let us have a garden of we own dat we had to work by de night time. You see de colored folks know dey had to get up soon as dey hear dat cow horn blow en dat been fore daylight come here. Oh, dey work from dark to dark in dat day en time. Didn' but one day out all de year stand dat was a week day en dat was de big Christmus day. Sweet molasses bread was de thing dat day. Coase dey give us a big supper when dey had dem cornshucking day. Oh, dey had a frolic den dat last way up to de midnight."
"I never live dere to de Haselden plantation wid my parents long fore dey hire me out to Massa John Mace en I stay dere till me en Maggie (his wife) come here to live. Nurse six head of chillun for de white folks dere. I hear em say my Missus was a Watson fore she marry Massa John Mace. Lord, Lord, love dem chillun to death. If Moses Mace been livin, you wouldn' be talkin to no Hector Godbold bout here dese days. He de one what give me en Maggie dat four room house you see settin dere. My Missus give me a good beatin one time when I did drop one of dem baby. Just put me head under her foot en beat me dat way."
"Another thing I had to do was to carry de baby cross de swamp every four hour en let my mamma come dere en suckle dat child. One day I go dere en another fellow come dere what dey call John. He en my mamma get in a argument like en he let out en cut my mamma a big lick right cross de leg en de blood just pour out dat thing like a done a what. My mamma took me en come on to de house en when Miss Jane see dat leg, she say, "Cindy, what de matter?" My mamma say, "John call me a liar en I never take it." Miss Jane tell em to send after Sam Watson right den. Sam Watson was a rough old overseer en he been so bowlegged dat if he stand straddle a barrel, he be settin down on it just as good as you settin dere. Sam Watson come dere en make dat fellow lay down on a plank in de fence jam en he take dat cat o' nine tail he have tie round his waist en strike John 75 times. De blood run down off him just like you see a stream run in dat woods. Dat sho been so cause all we chillun stand bout dere en look on it. I suppose I was bout big enough to plough den. When dey let John loose from dere, he go in de woods en never come back no more till freedom come here. I tellin you when he come back, he come back wid de Yankees."
"Oh, de colored peoples never know nothin more den dogs in dem times. Never couldn' go from one plantation to de other widout dat dey had a ticket wid em. I see Sam Watson catch many of dem dat had run way en buff en gag em. Never have no jails nowhe' in dat day en time. Dey sho sell de colored peoples way plenty times cause I see dat done right here to Marion. Stand em up on a block en sell em to a speculator dere. I hear em bid off a 'oman en her baby dere en den dey bid off my auntie en uncle way down to de country. Dey wouldn' take no whippin off dey Massa en dat how-come dey get rid of em. My gran'pappy been worth $1,000 en it de Lord's truth I tellin you, he drown fore he let em whip him. Den my gran'mammy use to run way en catch rides long de roads cause de peoples let em do dat den. Coase if dey catch her, dey didn' never do her no harm cause she was one of dem breed 'omans."
"Never know nothin bout gwine to school in dem times. Just pick up what learnin we get here, dere, en everywhe'. Learnt something to de white folks meetin house dere to Antioch settin on de back side of dat church on dem benches what de slaves had to set on. I is know dis much dat I voted three times to de courthouse in Marion way back in dem days."
"Sho, we chillun play game en frolic heap of de time. Shinny was de thing dat I like best. Just had stick wid crook in de end of it en see could I knock de ball wid dat. I sho remembers dat. Den I was one of de grandest hollerers you ever hear tell bout. Use to be just de same as a parrot. Here how one go: O—OU—OU—O—OU, DO—MI—NICI—O, BLACK—GA—LE—LO, O—OU—OU—O—OU, WHO—O—OU—OU. Great King, dat ain' nothin."
"Ain' never believe in none of dem charms people talk bout en ain' know nothin bout no conjuring neither, but I know dis much en dat a spirit sho slapped Maggie one night bout 12 o'clock. Den another time me en her was comin home from a party one night en I had a jug of something dere wid me en Maggie ax me for it. Say something was followin after her. De next thing I know I hear dat jug say, gurgle, gurgle, gurgle. I look back en she been pourin it out on de ground. She say she do dat to make de spirit quit followin after her. Dat spirit sho been dere cause I see dat licker disappear dere on de ground wid me own eyes."
"Sho, dey had doctors in dat day en time. Had plant doctors dat go from one plantation to another en doctor de peoples. Dr. Monroe was one of dem doctor bout here en dere ain' never been no better cures nowhe' den dem plant cures was. I get Maggie so she can move bout dat way. She won' able to walk a step en I boil some coon root en put a little whiskey in it en make her drink dat. It sho raise her up too. Dem coon root look just like dese chufas what you does find down side de river. Dat sho a cure for any rheumatism what is. I know dat all right."
"Mighty right, I remembers when freedom was declare. I think dat must a been de plan of God cause it just like dis, if it hadn' been de right thing, it wouldn' been. I know it a good thing. De North was freed 20 years head of de South en you know it a good thing. I a history man en I recollects dat de history say de North was freed 20 years fore de South was."
"I sho hear dem guns at Fort Sumter dere en I remembers when dem soldiers come through dis way dat de elements was blue as indigo bout here. Had parade bout five miles long wid horses dancin bout en fiddles just a playin. Some of dem Yankees come dere to de white folks house one of dem time, when my Massa was way from home workin dere on de Manchester Railroad, en ax my Missus whe' dey horses was. Dem horses done been hide in de bay en dey never get nothin else dere neither, but a little bit of corn dat dey take out de barn."
"I 87 year old now en I here to tell you dat I never done nobody no mean trick in all me life. I does fight cause I cut a man up worth 19 stitches one of dem times back dere. Two of em been on me one time en I whipped both of em. I tellin you I been good as ever was born from a 'oman. It just like dis, I say fight all right, but don' never turn no mean trick back. Turn it to God, dat what do. Dem what go to church in de right way, dey don' have no vengeful spirit bout em. I sho goes to church cause de church de one thing dat does outstand everything—everything."
Source: Hector Godbold, ex-slave, age 87, Pee Dee, Marion Co., S.C. (Personal interview, June 1937).
Project #1855 Stiles M. Scruggs Columbia, S.C.
DANIEL GODDARD EX-SLAVE 74 YEARS OLD.
"My name is Daniel Goddard. I was born in Columbia, S.C. Feb. 14, 1863, to slave parents. You know I recall no contacts I made in slavery for I was too young during that period. You know too, if I had been born in Massachusetts, for example, I should have been free, because all slaves in the United States had been set free when President Lincoln, shortly before my birth, January, 1863, struck the shackles from bondage.
"The Confederate states had seceded from the Union and they paid no attention to the freedom proclamation during the war. So the slaves in the South, generally speaking, stayed on until the Confederacy collapsed in April, 1865, and even then, some of the slaves were slow to strike out for themselves, until the Federal government made ample preparations to take care of them.
"Now you ask, if I heard about escapes of slaves. Sure I did and I heard my parents discuss the efforts of slaves to shake off the shackles. This was probably true because my father's brother, Thomas, was a member of the slave ship which was taking him and 134 others from Virginia to New Orleans. A few miles south of Charleston, the slaves revolted, put the officers and crew in irons, and ran the ship to Nassau.
"There they went ashore and the British Government refused to surrender them. They settled in the Bahama Islands and some of their descendants are there today. That was about 1830, I think, because my Uncle Thomas was far older than my father. I heard about the other slave revolts, where that African prince, one of a large number of slaves that were kidnaped, took over the Spanish ship L'Amada, killing two of the officers. The remaining officers promised to return the slaves to Africa but slyly turned the ship to port in Connecticut. There the Spanish minister at Washington demanded the slaves, as pirates. Appeal was made to the courts and the United States Court ruled that slavery was not legal in Spain and declared the slaves free.
"The Nat Turner insurrection in Virginia and the Vesey uprising in Charleston was discussed often, in my presence, by my parents and friends. I learned that revolts of slaves in Martinique, Antigua, Santiago, Caracas and Tortugus, was known all over the South. Slaves were about as well aware of what was going on, as their masters were. However the masters made it harder for their slaves for a while.
"I have a clipping, now worn yellow with age, which says the Federal census of 1860, showed there were 487,970 free Negroes and 3,952,760 slaves in the United States at that time. I am not at all surprised at the number of free Negroes. Many South Carolina families freed a number of their slaves. Some slaves had the luck to be able to buy their freedom and many others escaped to free areas. The problem of slavery as a rule, was a question of wits, the slave to escape and the master to keep him from escaping.
"I once talked with Frederick Douglass, perhaps the most eminent Negro to appear so far in America. He told me he was born a slave in Maryland, in 1817, and that he served there as a slave for ten years. He escaped to Massachusetts, where he was aided in education and employment by the Garrisons and other abolitionists, and became a leader of his race. He was United States Minister to Haiti at the time I met him and was eminent as an orator. He died in 1895.
"You ask, what do I think of the Presidents. Well, I have always been such an admirer of Andrew Jackson, a South Carolinian, that I may be prejudiced a little. The reason I admire him so much, is because he stood for the Union, and he didn't mean maybe, when he said it. He served his time and God took him, just as he took Moses.
"Then Lincoln was raised up for a specific purpose, to end slavery, which was a menace to both whites and blacks, as I see it. And President Wilson kept the faith of the fathers, when he decided to put the German Kaiser where he could no longer throw the world into discord. But there has only been one President whose heart was touched by the cry of distress of the poor and needy and his name is Franklin D. Roosevelt. He is one white man who has turned the bias of the Negroes from the bait of partisan politics.
"Yes, sir, I recall the reconstruction period here in Columbia. My parents lived until I was about grown and we kept the middle of the road, in the matter of selling out to the Federal soldiers and carpet-baggers on the one hand, or to designing politicians on the other. But my father was an admirer of General Hampton, because General Hampton owned many Negroes at one time and had treated them well. Between Hampton and Chamberlain for governor, in 1876, most of my Negro friends voted for Hampton.
"What have I been doing since I grew up? Well, I have been busy trying to make a living. I worked for various white folks in this community and sometime for the railroads here, in a minor capacity. My younger years were spent in the quest of an education. For the past thirty years I have been the porter for the State Paper Company, Columbia's morning newspaper. As I became proficient in the work, the Gonzales boys grew fond of me. While the youngest one, Hon. William E. Gonzales, was absent in the diplomatic service in Cuba and in Peru for eight years for President Wilson, I looked after the needs of Mr. Ambrose Gonzales. Shortly before he died, Hon. William E. Gonzales returned. He has since been editor and publisher of the 'State', as well as principal owner.
"You ask, if I have applied for an old age pension. No, I have not. I am old enough to qualify, I guess, but I understand, you cannot get a pension if you have a job. If that is so, I shall never enjoy any pension money. I would not leave serving my friend, Captain William E. Gonzales, for any pension that might be offered me."
N.B. This man is well educated, speaks no dialect. He received his education from Northern teachers in Freedman aid, equal to the modern high school curriculum. He afterward studied in Boston. He reads, writes, and speaks excellent English.
Address: 1022 Divine Street, Columbia, S.C.
Project #-1655 Mrs. Genevieve W. Chandler Murrells Inlet, S.C. Georgetown County
AUNT ELLEN GODFREY (Ex-Slave) (Verbatim Conversation)
(Aunt Ellen is a misfit in her present environment. Born at Longwood Plantation on Waccamaw in 1837, all she knows is the easy, quiet life of the country. And the busy, bustling 'RACE PATH' near which her Grandson lives with whom she makes her home doesn't make a fitting frame for the old lady. All day she sits in a porch swing and when hungry, visits a neighbor. The neighbors (colored—all) vie with each other in trying to make her last days happy days. She says they do her washing and provide necessary food. When you start her off she flows on like the brook but usually her story varies little. She tells of the old days and of the experiences that made the greatest impression—the exciting times during the 'Confedrick' war—the 'Reb time day.')
Visitor: "Aunt Ellen home?"
Aunt Ellen's neighbor (from the washtub):
"No'um. She right cross there on the 'Race Path'" (So called because in Conway's early days races were run—horse races—on this street.)
Visitor: "Are you one of the neighbors who take such good care of Aunt Ellen?"
Neighbor: "No'um. I'm off all day. I work for Miss Bernice."
Visitor: "Miss Bernice who?"
Neighbor: "Miss Bernice something nother. I can't keep up with that lady title! See Aunt Ellen white cap yonder?"
Aunt Ellen (Sitting on chair at back door leaning on cane.)
"I want everybody come to my birthday! Seventh o' October coming be a hundred. Baby one dead jew (due) time! Five daughter—one sanctify preacher. Seven one—one Ports-smith Virginia. All dead! All dead! Marry three times; all the husband dead! My last baby child—when the Flagg storm kill everybody on the beach, (1893) the last child I have out my body been a year old!
"Last time I gone see the old Doctor, rap! rap! Doctor: "Come in!" Gone in. Doctor: "Great God! Looker Aunt Ellen! For the good you take care Daddy Harry, God left you live long time!"
Ellen: "Flat 'em all up to Marlboro! (All the slaves) Ten days or two weeks going. PeeDee bridge, stop! Go in gentlemen barn! Turn duh bridge! Been dere a week. Had to go and look the louse on we. Three hundred head o' people been dere. Couldn't pull we clothes off. (On flat.) Boat name Riprey. Woman confine on boat. Name the baby 'RIPREY!' Mama name Sibby."
(Neighbor: "Aunt Ellen been looking for you all day! Keep saying she got to go home. A white lady coming and she got to be there!")
Aunt Ellen: "Doctor come on boat. By name Doctor Lane. White lady come tend woman. Get to Marlboro where they gwine. Put in wagon. Carry to the street. Major Drake Plantation. One son Pet Drake. Wife leetle bit of a woman.
"I see Abram Lincoln son Johnny! Talk with him! Gimme tobacco. I been to loom. Weave. Sheckle flying—flying sheckle!
(Singing): "Tech (touch) me all round my waist! Don't tech my water-fall! Gay gal setting on the rider fence! Don't tech my water-fall!"
"Clothes gone to wash this morning. (Can't go today.) Clothes gone.
"I been here so long—I ax Jesus one day carry me next day! Can't make up my bed. Like an old hog sleep on a tussick." (I always heard it 'Toad on a tussock'—and you?)
(Four lean cats prowled about sniffing around the woodpile where a boy was scaling some pale, dead fish.)
Visitor: "Aunt Ellen, how could you cook on the flat?"
Aunt Ellen: "Dirt bank up. Fire make on dirt. Big pot. Cook. Fry meat. Come PeeDee get off flat. Bake. Bake. Iron oven. Stay PeeDee week. Bake. Pile coals on oven top." (Another slave told of scaffold—four posts buried and logs or planks across top with earth on planks. On this pile of earth, fire was made and on great bed of coals oven could be heated for baking. 'Oven' means the great iron skillet-like vessel with three legs and a snug lid. This oven bakes biscuit, pound cake, and some old timers insist on trusting only this oven for their annual fruit cake. It works beautifully on a hearth. Put your buttermilk biscuit in, lid on and pile live-oak coals on top. Of course only the ones who have done this a long time know when to take the lid off.)
"Dirt camp to stay in—to hide from Yankee." (Her gestures showed earth was mounded up.)
Visitor: "Like a potato bank? A potato hill?"
Ellen: "Dat's it! Pile 'em! Gone in dirt camp to hide we from Yankee. Have a Street Row of house. Yankee coming. Gone in dirt camp.
"I been weave. My loom at door. Six loom on dat side! Six loom on dis side! I see 'em coming. Hat crown high as this." (She measured off almost half of her walking stick—which had a great, tarnished plated silver knob.) "And I tell 'em 'Yankee coming!' I talk with Abram Lincoln own son Johnny and, bless your heart I glad for Freedom till I fool!"
'Freedom forever! Freedom everymore! Want to see the Debbil run Let the Yankee fling a ball The Democrack will take the swamp!'
"Massa been hide. Been in swamp." (This is history. All the old men, too old for the army, hid in Marlboro swamps and were fed by faithful slaves until Yankees passed on. My grandmother and mother gave vivid accounts of this—my mother telling of the sufferings of the women—mental—worrying about her feeble old grandfather down there with the mocassins)
Ellen: "Yankee officer come. 'Where Mahams Ward and John J. Woodward? Come to tell 'em take dese people out the dirt camp! Put we in flat. Carry back!' (In first story Aunt Ellen told the Yankee Captain said, 'Tell 'em be Georgetown to salute the flag!')
"Put food and chillun in flat. We been walk." (Walking back to Waccamaw) We gone. (See 'um! See their feet like the children of Israel in Green Pastures!) In man's house. Man say, 'Come out! You steal my turnip!' Brush arbor. Night come. Make camp. Way down the road somewhere! Make a big bush camp. All squeeze under there. Left Marlboro Monday. Come Conway Friday sun down! Hit Bucksville, hit a friend. Say 'People hungry!' Middle night. Snow on ground. Get up. Cook. Cook all night! Rice. Bake tater. Collard. Cook. Give a quilt over you head. I sleep. I sleep in the cotton. I roost up the cotton gone in there." (Burrowed down in the cotton—'rooted' it up) "December. Winter time. Cook all night. Corn-bread, baked tater, collard. Git to Bucksport, people gin to whoop and holler! Three flat gone round wid all the vittles." (And with the very young and very old) Easier coming home. Current helped. Going up against the current, only poles and cant hooks—tedious going. "Git 'Tip Top' (Plantation) all right. Come home den! Git to double trunk (rice-field trunk) at 'Tip Top' Whoop! Come bring flat! Mother Molly dead on flat! Bury she right to Longwood grave-yard. Nuss. (nurse) Sam'l Hemingway bury there. Horse kill 'em in thrashing mill. Child name Egiburt bury there too. Horse gwine round in thrashing. He lick the horse. Horse kick 'em. Whole gang white jury come!
"Sing and pray all the time. Pray your house. Pray all the time. (I wish to God I could get some of you clam!)
"Salem Baptist? I helped build Salem! I a choir in Salem!"
Aunt Ellen Godfrey Age 99 years 10 months Conway, S.C.
Project 1655 Genevieve W. Chandler Georgetown County, S.C.
MOM ELLEN GODFREY (Ex-slave—Age 100)
"I'm waitin' on the leese (RELIEF). He was to have my birthday the seven of October.
"Slavery time Maussa buy 'em. We Maussa buy me one good shoe. Send slam to England. Gie me (give me) good clothes and shoe. I been a-weave. When the Yankee come I been on the loom. Been to Marlboro district. A man place they call Doctor Major Drake. Got a son name Cap and Pet. Oh, Jesus! I been here TOO long. In my 99 now. Come seven o' October (1937) I been a hundred.
"Three flat (big flat-boats) carry two hundred head o' people and all they things. We hide from Yankee but Yankee come and get we. Ask where Maussa! Maussa in swamp. I in buckra house. I tell Yankee: 'Them gone! Gone to beach!' Yankee say:
"'Tell 'em to be in Georgetown to bow unto flag'.
"That time I been twenty-three years old. Old Doctor Flagg didn't born then. He a pretty child and so fat. Love the doctor too much. Born two weeks after Freedom. He Ma gone to town. Melia Holmes? She ain't no more than chillum to me. Laura and Serena two twin sister. When the Freedom I was twenty-three—over the twenty-five. Great God, have-a-mercy! McGill people have to steal for something to eat. Colonel Ward keep a nice place. Gie'em (give them) rice, peas, four cook for chillum, one nurse. Make boy go in salt crick get 'em clam. That same Doctor Flagg Grandpa. Give you cow clabber. Share 'em and put you bittle for eat.
"Gabe Knox? (A very old colored man who has been dead ten years) I nurse Gabe! I nurse 'em. He Pappy my cousin. I been a big young woman when he born.
"Albert Calina? He a Christian-hearted people. Christian-heart boy. I give my age. My birthday get over I want to go right home to Heaven.
"I gone to see Doctor Wardie when I in my 95. He say:
"'Great Dow! Looker Aunt Ellen! In you 95! What make you live to good age you take such good care you husband—Harry Godfrey.'"
Conversation of Aunt Ellen Godfrey—age 99 years, Conway, S.C. June 25th.
"Would gone wid you Missus, but I waiting on the 'Relief'. He wuz going to bring me the dress and shoe and ting. My birthday the seven of October coming. We Massa have give we good shoe. Right here Longwood Plantation. Massa was kind—you know. Send slam to England gie me good clothes and shoe. I been a weave when the Yankee come. I been on the loom to Marlboro district. A man place they call Doctor Major Drake. Got a son name Cap and Pet. Oh, Jesus, been here too long! In my ninety-nine now. Come seben of October been a hundred. Three flat" (flat boats used for rice field work) "carry two hundred 'o people and all they things. We hide from Yankee but Yankee come and git we. Ask whey (where) Massa. (Massa in swamp! I in buckra house. I say, 'Dem gone! Gone to beach.' Say, 'Tell 'em to be in Georgetown to bow unto the flag.' Dat time I been twenty-three year old. Doctor Flagg didn't born. He a pretty child and so fat! Love duh Doctor too much! Born two weeks after freedom. He Ma gone Georgetown. Granny git 'em there. Melia Holmes! Ain't no more dan chillun to me!" (Aunt Melia is eighty-eight or nine—bony and cripple) "She have two twin sister Laura and Serena. When the Freedom I wuz twenty-three years old.—over the twenty-five. Great God hab a mercy! Couldn't do dat! Colonel Ward keep a nice place. Doctor McGill people hab to steal for someting to eat. Gie 'em rice—peas. Four cook for chillun. One nurse". (Aunt Ellen said 'Nuss') "Make the boy go get 'em clam. That same Dr. Ward GrandPa. Great big sack 'o clam! Give you cow clabber. Shay'm". (Share them—the clabber) "and put on bittle for eat.
"Hagar Brown! She darter (daughter) got a abscess in her stomach. Save Rutledge! I nuss (nurse) Sabe. I nuss 'em. Her pappy my cousin. I been big young women, I nuss Sabe.
"Albert Calina a christian-hearted people. Christian hearted boy. Relief come. I gie 'em my age. My birthday over, I wanter go right home to Heaven. Great Dow! 'Looker Aunt Ellen!' (That is what Dr. Wardie say when I gone see 'um.) 'In you ninety-five! What make you good, you take care of you husband! 'Harry Godfrey waiting man! Marry twice time. He duh last——
"Andrew Johnson? Dropsy? I have wid every chillun—Oh, I buss (burst) one time. Buss here." (Illustrating by drawing line across stomach.) "Till it get to my groin it stop! Every time I get family I swell. Never have a doctor 'Granny' for me yet. My Mary good old Granny. Catch two set 'o twin for me. Isaac and Rebecca; David and Caneezer.
"Sell all my fowl and ting—five dollars—me and old man two come to town to we chillun.
"Been Marlboro four year. Yankee foot where they put on stirrup red. Most stand lak a Mr. Smoak—Big tall—Abraham Lincoln own son Johnny! 'You jess as free as ribbon on my hat!' That what he say. I been weave. Sheckle!" (Aunt Ellen worked foot and hand and mouth in illustrating how the shuttle worked back and forth—and the music it made).
"Conch? Eat 'm many time! Take 'em bile! Grind 'em up!
"Welcome Beas? She son get kill in Charston, Welcome Beas son courting my gal.
"Tom Duncan? He child to me. He wife Susannah. I know duh fambly. I gone knock to duh door.
"Come in! Come in! Come in! 'Here duh beard!" (And Aunt Ellen measured on her chest to show how long Dr. Flagg's beard was).
"Old Daddy Rodgers and merry wuz she! The old man wuz cripple And Mary wuz blind. Keep you hat on you head. Keep you head warm And set down under that sycamore tree! My kite! My kite! My kite! My kite! Two oxen tripe! Two open dish 'o cabbage! My little dog! My spotted hawg! My two young pig a starving! Cow in the cotton patch. Tell boy call dog drive pig out cotton! Heah duh song; Send Tom Taggum To drive Bone Baggum Out the world 'o wiggy waggum!"
(This last song chanted out by Aunt Eleanor Godfrey, age 99, is really a gem. She said 'Bone Baggum' boney old white cow. 'Wiggy waggum' is a picture word making one see the soft, wagging tufts of white cotton.)
Given by Aunt Eleanor Godfrey Age 99 (100 come seben of Oct.) June 25th, 1937 Conway, S.C.
Project 1655 Genevieve W. Chandler Georgetown County, S.C.
(MOM ELLEN SINGS * * *) BONE BAGGUM (Bag o' bones?)
Send Tom Taggum (a man) To drive Bone Baggum (a boney critter) Out the world o' wiggly waggum. (cotton patch)
Rock-a-bye! Rock-a-bye! Down come baby cradle and all! Roll 'em! Roll 'em! Roll 'em! Roll 'em and boll' em! And put 'em in the oven!
"I KNOW when I was a woman Ben was boy!" (Ben now 88)
"Go to writin'!":
If you want to know my name Go to Uncle Amos house. Big foot nigger and he six foot high. Try to bussin' at my waterfall! (Kissin' her waterfall—head-dress.) Oh, the gay gal Settin' on the rider (fence 'rider' on 'stake and rider fence') Gay gal waterfall. Don't tech (touch) my waist But bounce my shirt! Don't touch my waterfall!"
"I sing that sing to 'em and man buss out and cry! 'My God! You talk ME?' I ain't want him! I kick him with that same word.
"They was Zazarus and Lavinia. Dead can't wash for myself. I go wash and lay Lavinia out. And he husband wanter (want to) marry with me. I kick him with that same sing. Hint to wise. If he couldn't understand that he couldn't understand nothing.
"Mr. Godfrey my last husband, he worth all the two I got. I have the chillun. Wenus, Jane, Patient, Kate, Harry, Edmund, Jeemes—"
Source: Mom Ellen Godfrey Age 100 October 1937 Conway, S.C.
S-260-264-N Project #1655 Augustus Ladson Charleston, S.C.
Page 1 No. Words 1654
MASTER WAS NEVER SO MOROCIOUS SLAVES CALLED COW-MEAT FISH SLAVE BORN WITH A 'CALL'
I come frum Mt. Pleasant an' was bo'n January 15, 1855 on Mr. Lias Winning plantation on the Cooper River. I wus den six years ole w'en the war broke out an' could 'member a good many things. My ma an' pa bin name Anjuline an' Thomas Goodwater who had eight boys an' eight gals. I use to help my gran'ma 'round the kitchen who wus the cook for the fambly. I am the older of the two who is alive. Peter, the one alive, live on my place now, but I ain't hear from dem for two years. I don' know for certain dat he's alive or not.
In slavery the people use to go an' catch possums an' rabbits so as to hab meat to eat. De driber use to shoot cows an in de night de slaves go an' skin um an' issue um 'round to all the slaves, 'speciall w'en cows come frum anodder plantation. He go 'round an' tell the slaves dey better go an' git some fish 'fore all go. Any time any one say e hab fish it wus understood e mean cow-meat. Our boss ain't nebber cetch on nor did e ebber miss any cow; Gie Simmons, de collud driber wus under Sam Black, the white overseer. Sam Black wusn't mean, he jus' had to carry out orders of Lias Winning, our master. Dere wus a vegetable garden dat had things for the year round so we could hab soup an' soup could be in the Big House.
One day w'en I wus 'bout fourteen I did supin an' ma didn' like it. A bunch of gals bin home an' ma wheel my short over my head an' start to be at me right 'fore the gals. Dey begged her not to lick me an' she got mad jus' for dat. I couldn't help myself cuz she tie' de shirt over my head wood a string, my han's an' all wuz tie' in de shirt wood the string. In hot wedder gals an' boys go in dere under shirts an' nothin' else.
Boys in dose days could fight but couldn' throw any one on the groun'. We had to stan' up an eider beat or git beat.
I wus married in 1872 to Catharine, my wife. At our weddin' we had plenty to eat. There wus possums, wine, cake, an' plenty o' fruits. I had on a black suit, black shoes, white tie an' shirt. Catharine had on all white. I stay' wood Catharine people for a year 'til I wus abled to buil' on my lan'. I am a fadder of nineteen chillun; ten boys an' nine gals; only two now livin'.
Lias Winning wusn' a mean man. He couldn' lick pa cus dey grow up togedder or at least he didn' try. But he liked his woman slave. One day ma wus in da field workin' alone an' he went there an' try to rape 'er. Ma pull his ears almos' off so he let 'er off an' gone an' tell pa he better talk to ma. Pa wus workin' in the salt pen an' w'en Mr. Winning tell him he jus' laugh cus e know why ma did it.
Dere wus a fambly doctor on de plantation name James Hibbins. My eye use to run water a lot an' he take out my eye an' couldn' put it back in, dats why I am blin' now. He ax ma an' pa not to say anything 'bout it cus he'd lost his job an' hab his license take 'way. So ma an' pa even didn' say anything even to Mr. Winning as to the truth of my blin'ness.
I wus by the "nigger quarters" one day w'en Blake, the overseer start' to lick a slave. She take the whip frum him an' close de door an' give him a snake beatin'.
Our boss had 'bout shree hund'ed acres o' lan' an' ober a hund'ed slaves. De overseer never wake de slaves. Dey could go in the fiel' any time in the mornin' cus ebery body wus given their tas' work on Monday Mornin'. No body neber work w'en it rain or cole. Nuttin' make Lias Winning so mad as w'en one would steal; it make him morocious. Any one he catch stealin' wus sure to git a good whippin'. He didn' like for any one to fight eider.
Dey tell me dat w'en slaves wus shipped to New Orleans dey had to be dress-up in nice clothes. My pa could read an' write cus he live' in the city here. His missus teach him.
Isaac Wigfall run 'way an' went to Florida an' meet a white man on a horse with a gun. He ax de man for a piece o' tobacco. The man give him de gun to hole while he git the tobacco for him. Isaac take the gun an' point it at the man an' ax 'im, "you know wha' in dis gun?" De man got frighten' an' he tell de man "you better be gone or I'll empty it in you." The man gone an' come back wood a group o' men an' houndogs. He'd jus' make it to de river 'fore the dogs cetch him. He had a piece o' light-wood knot an' ebery time a dog git near he hit um on de neck an' kill' all o' them. The men went back to git more help an' dogs but w'en dey git back Isaac wus gone.
Dere wus a collud church fifteen miles frum Mt. Pleasant w'ere we went to service. De preacher wus name' John Henry Doe. I use to like to sing dis song:
Run away, run away Run away, run away Sojus of the cross.
Hole on, hole on Hole on, hole on Hole on, hole on Hole on, sojus of the cross.
Ma too use to sing dat song.
Dere use to be dances almos' ebery week an' the older boys an' gals walk twelve miles dis to be dere. Some time there wus a tamborine beater, some time dey use' ole wash tubs an' beat it wood sticks, an' some time dey jus' clap their han's. W'en any one die dey wus bury in the mornin' or early afternoon.
I always play wood ghost cus I wus bo'n with a "call". I kin see the ghost jus' is plain is ebber. Some time I see some I know an' again others I don' know. Only thing you can' see their feet cus dey walk off de ground. W'en I use to see dem my sister would put sand on de fire den dey would go an' I wouldn' see any for a long time. One mornin' my uncle wus passin' a church an' a ghost appear on the porch. My uncle had a dog wood 'im. He start to run an' the dog start to run too, an' down the road dey went. He didn' hab on anything but his shirt an' he say he run so fas' 'til the wind had his shirt-tail stif as a board. He couldn' out run the dog, nor could the dog out run 'im.
Dis is a spiritual dey use to sing durin' slavery:
Climb up de walls of Zion Ah, Lord, Climb up de walls of Zion Ah, Lord, Climbin' up de walls of Zion Ah, Lord. Climbin' up de walls of Zion Ah, Lord, Great camp meetin' in the promise lan'.
My pa use to sing dis song:
See w'en' 'e rise Rise an' gone, See w'en' 'e rise Rise an' gone.
Gone to Galilee on a Sunday morning. Oh, my Jesus rise an' gone to Galilee On a Sunday morning.
Dey use to sing dis in experience meetin's:
Go round, go round Look at the mornin' star, Go round, go round Got a soul to save.
Wuan' for ole satan I wouldn' have to pray, Satan broke God's Holy Law I got a soul to save.
Dey use to sing dis too:
Room Anough, room anough Room anough, room anough Room anough in de Heaven I know, I can't stay away, Room anough in de Heaven I know, I can't stay away.
Interview with Thomas Goodwater, 108 Anson Street.
P.S. The variations of words and sentences describe interviews with individuals, naturally.
Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, August 31, 1937
No. Words —— Reduced from —— words Rewritten by —— Page 1.
CHARLIE GRANT Ex-Slave, 85 Years
"I born de 24th day of February, 1852 bout 11/2 miles of Mars Bluff. My father, Western Wilson, belonged to Col. William Wilson en my mamma name Chrisie Johnson. She belonged to Dr. William Johnson en we stay dere wid him four or five years after freedom. Dr. Johnson old home still standin yonder. It de Rankin home. I drive carts under dat house lots of times in slavery time." (The house is built high off the ground.)
"Dr. Johnson was a mighty able man, a stiff one, able one. He kill one hundred head of hogs to feed his niggers wid. Oh, I don' know how many acres of land in his plantation, but I reckon dere be bout 1,000 or more acres of land. He have slave house all de way from de side of his house to Tyner. De overseer stay on de lower end of street dat bout 3/4 mile long en all de niggers house up from de overseer to Dr. Johnson house. Over hundreds of dem dere."
"Dr. Johnson en his wife was good to dey niggers as dey could want anybody to be. Had plenty to eat en plenty clothes to wear all de time. He give all de slaves out something on Saturday or he give dem more any time dey needed it. Just go en say, 'Boss, I ain' got no rations en I need some.' Dey give us meat en bread en molasses to eat mostly, but didn' have no wheat flour den. Dey plant 10 or 20 acres of sprangle top cane en make de molasses en sugar out dat. Bill Thomas mash it together en cook it for de molasses. Den he take cane en cook it down right low en make sugar, but it wasn' like de sugar you buy at de store now days. Oh, yes, de slaves had dey own garden dat dey work at night en especially moonlight nights cause dey had to work in de field all day till sundown. Mamma had a big garden en plant collards en everything like dat you want to eat."
"All de niggers dat live in de quarters had bunk beds to sleep on what was thing dat have four legs en mattress put on it. Have mixed bed dat dey make out of cotton en shucks. De boy chillun have shuck bed en de girl chillun have cotton bed."
"De peoples bout dere have good clothes to wear in dat day en time. Dey was homemade clothes. My mamma spin en send dem to de loom house en den dey dye dem wid persimmon juice en different things like dat to make all kind of colors. Dey give us cotton suit to wear on Sunday en de nicest leather shoes dat dey make right dere at home. Clean de hair off de leather just as clean as anything en den de shoemaker cut en sew de shoes. Vidge Frank father de shoemaker. Vidge Frank live down dere at Claussen dis side de planing mill."
"I hear dem tell dat my grandparents come from Africa. Dey fooled dem to come or I calls it foolin dem. De peoples go to Africa en when dey go to dock, dey blow whistle en de peoples come from all over de country to see what it was. Dey fool dem on de vessel en give dem something to eat. Shut dem up en don' let dem get out. Some of dem jump over board en try to get home, but dey couldn' swim en go down. Lots of dem still lost down dere in de sea or I reckon dey still down dere cause dey ain' got back yet. De peoples tell dem dey gwine bring dem to a place whe' dey can live."
"I tellin you dat was a good place to live in slavery time. I didn' have to do nothin but mind de sheep en de cows en de goats in dat day en time. All de slaves dat was field hands, dey had to work mighty hard. De overseer, he pretty rough sometimes. He tell dem what time to get up en sound de horn for dat time. Had to go to work fore daybreak en if dey didn' be dere on time en work like dey ought to, de overseer sho whip dem. Tie de slaves clear de ground by dey thumbs wid nigger cord en make dem tiptoe en draw it tight as could be. Pull clothes off dem fore dey tie dem up. Dey didn' care nothin bout it. Let everybody look on at it. I know when dey whip my mamma. Great God, in de mornin! Dey sho had whippin posts en whippin houses too in dem days, but didn' have no jail. I remember dey whipped dem by de gin house. De men folks was put to de post what had holes bored in it whe' dey pull strings through to fasten dem up in dere. Dey catch nigger wid book, dey ax you what dat you got dere en whe' you get it from. Tell you bring it here en den dey carry you to de whippin post for dat. No men folks whip me. Women folks whip me wid four plaitted raw cowhide whip."
"Niggers went to white peoples church in dat day en time. Dr. Johnson ride by himself en bought carriage for niggers to drive his girls dere to Hopewell Church below Claussen. You know whe' dat is, don' you? Miss Lizzie (Dr. Johnson's daughter) good teacher. She sent me to de gallery en I recollect it well she told me one Sunday dat if I didn' change my chat, dey were gwine to whip me. She say, 'You chillun go up in de gallery en behave yourself. If you don', I gwine beat you Monday.' Dey had catechism what dey teach you en she say, 'Charlie, who made you?' I tell her papa made me. She ax me another time who made me en I tell her de same thing another time. I thought I was right. I sho thought I was right. She took de Bible en told me God made me. I sho thought papa made me en I go home en tell papa Miss Lizzie say she gwine beat me Monday mornin. He ax me what I been doin cuttin up in church. I say, 'I wasn' doin nothin. She ax me who made me en I tell her you made me.' He told me dat God made me. Say he made Miss Lizzie en he made everybody. Ain' nobody tell me dat fore den, but I saved my beaten cause I changed my chat."
"I hear tell bout de slaves would run away en go to Canada. Put nigger dogs after dem, but some of dem would get dere somehow or another. If I was livin on your place, I wouldn' dare to go to another house widout I had a permit from my Massa or de overseer. We slip off en de patroller catch en whip us. One time dey give my daddy a quilting en ax several women to come dere. Dey had a lot of chillun to cover en give a quilting so dey can cover dem up. Mistress tell dem to give so en so dis much en dat much scraps from de loom house. I was settin dere in de corner en dey blow cane. Common reed make music en dance by it. Dat de only way niggers had to make music. Dance en blow cane dat night at grandmother's house (Wilson place). Dey was just a pattin en dancin en gwine on. I was sittin up in de corner en look up en patrol was standin in de door en call patrol. When dey hear dat, dey know something gwine to do. Dey took Uncle Mac Gibson en whip him en den dey take one by one out en whip dem. When dey got house pretty thin en was bout to get old man Gibson, he take hoe like you work wid en put it in de hot ashes. People had to cut wood en keep fire burnin all de year cause didn' have no matches den. Old man Gibson went to de door en throwed de hot ashes in de patrol face. Dey try to whip us, but de old man Gibson tell dem dey got no right to whip his niggers. We run from whe' we at to our home. Dey tried four year to catch my daddy, but dey couln' never catch him. He was a slick nigger."
"I don' remember what kind of medicines dey use in slavery time, but I know my mamma used to look after de slaves when dey get sick. Saw one child bout year or two old took sick en died en Lester Small want me to dig it up en carry him to de office. I expect dey gwine be dere, but dey never come. I took it out en laid it on de bank in sheet dat dey give me. Den I picked it up en carried it in de house. It smeared me up right bad, but I carried it in de office en he look at it. He put it in de corner en say, 'You can go.' Pay me $2.00. Dr. Johnson want to cut dat child open. Dat what he want wid it. I know dis much dat dey use different kind of roots for dey medicines en I see dem wear dime in dey clothes dat dey tell me was to keep off de rheumatism. Send to Philadelphia to get dat kind of dime."
"I tellin you time hard dese days. I had stroke here en can' work, but I doin de best I can. Miss Robinson help me daughter do de best she can. Do washin en ironin. Miss Robinson say she gwine give me old age pension. I ask Miss Robinson, I say, 'I livin now en can' get nothin. If I die, would you help my chillun bury me?' She say, 'I will do de best I can to help put you away nice.' Miss Robinson good lady."
Source: Charlie Grant, ex-slave, age 85, Florence, S.C.
Personal interview by H. Grady Davis and Mrs. Lucile Young, Florence, S.C., May 11, 1937.
Project #-1655 Phoebe Faucette Hampton County
[HW: Grant, Rebecca Jane] NINETY TWO YEAR OLD NEGRO TELLS OF EARLY LIFE AS SLAVE
In Hampton County at Lena, S.C., there lives an old negro woman who has just passed her ninety-second birthday, and tells of those days long ago when man was bound to man and families were torn apart against their will. Slowly she draws the curtain of Time from those would-be-forgotten scenes of long ago that cannot ever be entirely obliterated from the memory.
"Well, just what is it you want to hear about, Missus?"
"Anything, everything, Auntie, that you remember about the old days before the Civil War. Just what you've told your grand-daughter, May, and her friend, Alice, here, many times, is what I want to hear."
"Tell her, mamma," said Alice with a whoop of laughter, "about the time when your Missus sent you to the store with a note!"
"Oh that! Not that Missus?"
"Yes, Auntie that!"
"Well, I was just a little girl about eight years old, staying in Beaufort at de Missus' house, polishing her brass andirons, and scrubbing her floors, when one morning she say to me, 'Janie, take this note down to Mr. Wilcox Wholesale Store on Bay Street, and fetch me back de package de clerk gie (give) you.'
"I took de note. De man read it, and he say, 'Uh-huh'. Den he turn away and he come back wid a little package which I took back to de Missus.
"She open it when I bring it in, and say, 'Go upstairs, Miss!'
"It was a raw cowhide strap bout two feet long, and she started to pourin' it on me all de way up stairs. I didn't know what she was whippin' me bout; but she pour it on, and she pour it on.
"Turrectly she say, 'You can't say "Marse Henry", Miss? You can't say, "Marse Henry"!'
"Yes'm. Yes'm. I kin say. 'Marse Henry'!
"Marse Henry was just a little boy bout three or four years old. Come bout halfway up to me. Wanted me to say Massa to him, a baby!"
"How did you happen to go to Beaufort, Auntie? You told me you were raised right here in Hampton County on the Stark Plantation."
"I was, Miss. But my mother and four of us children (another was born soon afterwards) were sold to Mr. Robert Oswald in Beaufort. I was de oldest, then there was brother Ben, sister Delia, sister Elmira, and brother Joe that was born in Beaufort. My father belong to Marse Tom Willingham; but my mother belong to another white man. Marse Tom was always trying to buy us so we could all be together, but de man wouldn't sell us to him. Marse Tom was a Christian gentleman! I believe he seek religion same as any colored person. And pray! Oh, that was a blessed white man! A blessed white man! And Miss Mamie, his daughter, was a Christian lady. Every Wednesday afternoon she'd fill her basket with coffee, tea, sugar, tobacco and such things, and go round to de houses where dere was old folks or sick folks. She'd give um de things; and she'd read de scriptures to um, and she'd kneel down and pray for um. But we had to leave all de folks we knew when we was took to Beaufort.
"All of us chillun, too little to work, used to have to stay at de 'Street'. Dey'd have some old folks to look after us—some old man, or some old woman. Dey'd clean off a place on de ground near de washpot where dey cooked de peas, clean it off real clean, den pile de peas out dere on de ground for us to eat. We'd pick um up in our hands and begin to eat. Sometimes dey'd cook hoe cakes in a fire of coals. Dey'd mix a little water with de meal and make a stiff dough that could be patted into shape with de hands. De cakes would be put right into the fire, and would be washed off clean after they were racked out from de coals. Sometimes de Massa would have me mindin' de birds off de corn. But 'fore I left Beaufort, I was doin' de Missus' washin' and ironin'. I was fifteen years old when I left Beaufort, at de time freedom was declared. We were all reunited den. First, my mother and de young chillun, den I got back. My uncle, Jose Jenkins come to Beaufort and stole me by night from my Missus. He took me wid him to his home in Savannah. We had been done freed; but he stole me away from de house. When my father heard that I wasn't wid de others, he sent my grandfather, Isaac, to hunt me. When he find me at my uncle's house, he took me back. We walked all back—sixty-four miles. I was foundered. You know if'n a foundered person will jump over a stick of burning lightwood, it will make um feel better."
"Tell us, Auntie, more about the time when you and your mother and brothers and sisters had just gone to Beaufort.
"Well mam. My mother say she didn't know a soul. All de time she'd be prayin' to de Lord. She'd take us chillun to de woods to pick up firewood, and we'd turn around to see her down on her knees behind a stump, aprayin'. We'd see her wipin' her eyes wid de corner of her apron, first one eye, den de other, as we come along back. Den, back in de house, down on her knees, she'd be aprayin'. One night she say she been down on her knees aprayin' and dat when she got up, she looked out de door and dere she saw comin' down out de elements a man, pure white and shining. He got right before her door, and come and stand right to her feet, and say, "Sarah, Sarah, Sarah!"
"What is you frettin' bout so?"
"Sir. I'm a stranger here, parted from my husband, with five little chillun and not a morsel of bread."
"You say you're parted from your husband? You're not parted from your husband. You're jest over a little slash of water. Suppose you had to undergo what I had to. I was nailed to the Cross of Mount Calvary. And here I am today. Who do you put your trust in?
"My mother say after dat, everything just flow along, just as easy. Now my mother was an unusually good washer and ironer. De white folks had been sayin', 'Wonder who it is that's makin' de clothes look so good.' Well, bout dis time, dey found out; and dey would come bringin' her plenty of washin' to do. And when dey would come dey would bring her a pan full of food for us chilluns. Soon de other white folks from round about heard of her and she was gettin' all de washin' she needed. She would wash for de Missus durin' de day, and for de other folks at night. And dey all was good to her.
"One day de Missus call her to de house to read her something from a letter she got. De letter say that my father had married another woman. My mother was so upset she say, 'I hope he breaks dat woman's jawbone. She know she aint his lawful wife.' And dey say her wish come true. Dat was just what happened.
"But we all got together again and I thanks de good Lord. I gets down on my knees and prays. I thanks de Lord for His mercy and His goodness to me every day. Every time I eats, I folds my hands and thanks Him for de food. He's de one that sent it, and I thanks Him. Then, on my knees, I thanks him.
"Aunt Jane receives an ample pension since her husband fought on the side with the Federals. He was known as James Lawton before the war, but became, James Lawton Grant after the war."
Source: Mrs. Delacy Wyman, Mgr. Pyramid Pecan Grove, Lena S.C. Rebecca Jane Grant, ninety-two year old resident of Lena, S.C.
Project #-1655 Phoebe Faucette Hampton County
REBECCA JANE GRANT
"Yes, Ma'am," Aunt Beckie said, "I remembers you, you Miss Mamie Willingham' granddaughter. She was sure a good woman. She'd fill her buggy with sugar, tea, coffee and tobacco, and go every Thursday to see the sick and old people. She wouldn't except none—white or colored. No'm she wouldn't except none! That's the kind of folks you sprung from. You's got a good heritage.
"The most of what I remembers before the war was when I was in Beaufort. They used to take care of the widows then. Take it by turns. There was a lady, Miss Mary Ann Baker, whose husband had been an organist in the church. When he died they would all take turns caring for Miss Mary Ann. I remember I'd meet her on de street and I'd say, 'Good mornin' Miss Mary Ann.' 'Morning Janie.' 'How you this mornin' Miss Mary Ann?' She'd say, 'Death come in and make alterations, and hard living make contrivance.' She'd take any old coat, or anything, and make it over to fit her children, and look good, too. She was a great seamstress. You'd see her children when they turn out on de street and they looked the same as some rich white people's children. Nearly all of her children was girls. Had one boy, as well as I kin remember.
"Dey used to make de clothes for de slaves in de house. Had a seamstress to stay there in de house so de mistress could supervise the work. De cloth de clothes was made out of was hand woven. It was dyed in pretty colors—some green, some blue, and pretty colors. And it was strong cloth, too. Times got so hard during de war dat de white folks had to use de cloth woven by hand, themselves. De ladies would wear bustles, and hoops made out of oak. Old times, they'd make underbodies with whalebone in it. There was something they'd put over the hoop they call, 'Follow me, boy'. Used to wear the skirts long, with them long trains that trail behind you. You'd take and tuck it up behind on some little hook or something they had to fasten it up to. And the little babes had long dresses. Come down to your feet when you hold the baby in your lap. And embroidered from the bottom of the skirt all the way up. Oh, they were embroidered up in the finest sort of embroidery.
"One day when I was nursing, my Missus' son—him and I been one age, 'bout the same age—he go up town and buy a false face. Now I didn't see nuthin' like dat before! He put dat thing on and hide behind de door. I had de baby in my arms, and when I start toward de door with de baby, he jump out at me! I threw the baby clean under the bed I was so scared. If it had of killed it, it wouldn't been me. It'd been dem! Cause I ain't never seen sech a thing before.
"You say what schoolin' de slaves got? They didn't get none—unless it was de bricklayers and such like, and de seamstresses. If de masters wanted to learn them, they'd let 'em hold de book. But they wouldn't miss de catechism. And they was taught they must be faithful to the Missus and Marsa's work like you would to your heavenly Father's work.