Slave Narratives Vol. XIV. South Carolina, Part 2
by Works Projects Administration
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

"The general store at Santuc and the store at the Cross Roads at Fish Dam did good business during the summer while the soldiers were in camp. The 'cross roads' have long been done away with at Fish Dam. The store was under a big oak in front of the house now owned and lived in by W. H. Gist. The Cross Roads were made by the Fish Dam Ferry Road and the old Ninety-Six Road. They tell me that the old Ninety-Six Road was started as an Indian trail by the Cherokee Indians, way yonder before the Revolution. I have been told that a girl named Emily Geiger rode that ninety-six miles in one day to carry a message to an American general. The message kept the general and his army from being captured by the red-coats.

"Near the Kay Jeter place just below the Ninety-six road there was a small drill ground. The place is now known as the Pittman place and is owned by the wife of Dr. J. T. Jeter of Santuc, I believe. Mr. 'Kay' would send a slave on a horse or a mule to notify the men to come and drill there. From here they went on to Mulligan's Field some five or six miles away for the big drills. As I have told you, Mulligan's Field was the big field for all that countryside. They tell me that the same drilling tactics used then and there, are the same used right down yonder at Camp Jackson.

"For about four of five years after the Confederate War, we had very little to eat. We had given everything we could to the soldiers. After the 'May Surrender' there came a big flood and washed everything away, and the crops were so promising that August. As you know, that was in '65. The rains and the high water destroyed everything. I do not believe that Broad River and the Forest and Tyger have ever been as high before or since.

"On Henderson's Island they saved no livestock at all. They just did manage to save themselves. They had a hard time getting the slaves to the mainland. Mrs. Sallie Henderson, her step-son, Jack and her son, Jim, and daughter, Lyde were in the Henderson house when the freshet came down upon them. They had to go up on the second floor of their house but the water came up there.

"Mr. Ben Hancock was the ferryman at Henderson's Ferry at this time. Now you know, Henderson's Ferry is on the Enoree just above where it empties into the Broad. Henderson's Island is in the middle of Broad River in full sight of where old Enoree goes into the channel of the Broad. Well, Mr. Hancock was the best boatman in his day. He knew about the Hendersons, so he tried to go to them but failed the first three times. The fourth time, he got to the house. When he got there, he found the whites and twenty-five slaves trapped with them.

"A barrel of flour had caught in the stairway that had washed down the river from somewhere above. This was pulled upstairs and that is what Mrs. Henderson fed her family and slaves on for about five days, or until they were rescued by Mr. Hancock. Capt. Jack blew his opossum horn every two hours throughout the day and night to let the people over on the mainland know that they were still safe.

"For the rest of that year, river folks had very little to eat until food crops were produced the next spring.

"My own father was shot down for the first time at the Second Battle of Manassas. Here he got a lick over his left eye that was about the size of a bullet; but he said that he thought the lick came from a bit of shell. They carried him to a temporary make-shift hospital that had been improvised behind the breastworks. A soldier who was recovering from a wound nursed him as best he could.

"The second time my father was wounded was in Kingston, N.C. He shot a Yankee from behind a tree and he saw the blood spurt from him as he fell. Just about that time he saw another Yankee behind a tree leveling a gun at him. Father threw up his gun but too late, the Yankee shot and tore his arm all to pieces. The bullet went through his arm and struck the corner of his mouth knocking out part of his jaw bone. Then it went under the neck vein and finally it came out on his back knocking a hole in one of his shoulder blades large enough to lay your two thumbs in. His gun stock was also cut into. He lay on the battlefield for a whole day and night; then he was carried to a house where some kind ladies acting as nurses cared for him for over four months. He was sent home and dismissed from the army just a mile below Maybinton, S.C. in Newberry County. Father was unable to do any kind of work for over two years. The war closed a year after he got home. From that time on I cared for my mother and father.

"We had moved to the plantation of Mr. Ben Maybin in Maybinton before my father was sent home wounded. Father lived until March, 1st, 1932 when he died at the ripe old age of 102. When he died we were living at one of the Jeter plantations near Kelley's Chapel, in Fish Dam township, one-half mile from Old Ninety-Six Road. Father is buried at Kelley's Chapel.

"Mr. Harvey has a bullet that Gov. Scott issued to the negroes during reconstruction times when he was governor of South Carolina under the carpetbag rule. Scott issued these bullets to the negroes to kill and plunder with. Mr. Harvey says that bullets like this one were the cause of many negroes finding their graves in the bottom of Broad River. Mr. Harvey, so it is said, is still a Ku Klux. They were the chief instruments in getting him into the County Home of Union in 1925.

"The Ku Klux made a boat twenty-five feet long to carry the negroes down the river. They would take the negroes' own guns, most of them had two guns, and tie the guns around their necks in the following manner: The barrel of one gun was tied with wire around the negro's neck, and the stock of the other gun was fastened with wire around the negro's neck. When the captain would say, 'A-M-E-N', over the side of the boat the negro went, with his guns and bullets taking him to a watery grave in the bottom of Broad River. The wooden parts of the guns would rot, and sometimes the bodies would wash down on the rocks at Neal's Shoals what was then Jeter's Old Mill. Old gun stocks have been taken from there as mementoes.

"Bill Fitzgerald was my first Ku Klux Captain. He organized the clan in Newberry. When I came to the Klan over on the Union side, Judge W. H. Wallace and Mr. Isaac McKissick were leaders.

"When we got the negroes from the county jail, the same jail that we have now, that were arrested for killing Matt Stevens, I broke the lock on the jail door. Buck Allen was the blacksmith. He held a sledge hammer under the lock while I threw a steel hammer overhanded on the lock to break it.

"I think Abe Lincoln would have done the South some good if they had let him live. He had a kind heart and knew what suffering was. Lee would have won the war if the mighty Stonewall Jackson had lived. Stonewall was ahead of them all. I had two uncles, Jipp and Charlie Clark in Stonewall's company. They would never talk much about him after his death. It hurts them too much, for Stonewall's men loved him so much. Jeff Davis was a great man, too."

Source: Mr. Charlie Jeff Harvey, Rt. 4, Box 85, Union, S.C. Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C. 8/18/35.

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


Eliza Hasty lives with her son-in-law and her daughter, Philip Moore and Daisy Moore, in an old time ante bellum home. It has two stories, eight rooms, and front and back piazzas, supported by slender white posts or columns. It is the old William Douglas homestead, now owned by John D. Mobley. He rents it to Philip Moore, a well behaved Negro citizen, who, out of respect for his mother-in-law, Eliza, supports her in the sore trials and helplessness of blindness and old age. The home is five miles southeast of Blackstock, S.C.

"Boss, you is a good lookin' man, from de sound of your voice. Blind folks has ways of findin' out things that them wid sight know nothin' 'bout and nobody can splain. De blindness sharpens de hearin', 'creases de tech, prickles de skin, quickens de taste, and gives you de nose of a setter, pointer or hound dog. Was I always blind? Jesus, no! I just got de 'fliction several years ago. I see well enough, when I was a young gal, to pick out a preacher for my fust husband. So I did! How many times I been married? Just two times; both husbands dead. Tell you 'bout them directly.

"What dat? Er ha, ha, ha, ha, er ha, ha, ha! Oh Jesus, you makes me laugh, white folks! De idea of my lossin' my sight a lookin' 'round for a third husband! You sho' is agreeable. Ain't been so tickled since de secon' time I was a widow. You know my secon' husband was bad after blind tiger liquor, and harlot eyed, brassy, hussy women.

"Well, I comes down to Winnsboro today to see, I should say to find out, 'cause you know I can't see, 'bout de pension they is givin' out to de aged and blind. My white folks say dat you wanna see me and here I is.

"Yes sir, I was born two miles south of Woodward and one mile south of old Yonguesville, on de Sterling place. I born a slave of old Marse John Sterling. Him have a head as red as a pecker-wood bird dat just de-sash-sheys 'round de top of dead trees, and make sich a rat-ta-ta-tapple after worms. His way of gittin' his meat for dinner. My mistress name Betsy. Deir fust child was Robert, dat never marry; him teach nearly every school in Fairfield County, off and on befo' he died. Then dere was young Marster Tom, small little man, dat carry his Seceeder 'ligion so far, him become 'furiated and carry dat 'ligion right up and into de Secession War. Make a good soldier, too! General Bratton call him, 'My Little Jackass of de Sharp Shooters'! Marse Tom proud of dat name, from de mouth of a great man lak General John Bratton.

"Marse Tom heard de fust gun fire at Fort Sumter, and laid down his gun, him say, under a big horse apple tree at 'Applemattox'.

"Miss Sallie, one of de chillun, marry Mr. Chris Elder, of Blackstock. Miss Hepzibah, they call her Heppie, marry a man named Boyd, in Chester County. Miss Mary Izabella, they call her Bell, marry Marse John Douglas; they are de 'cestors of dat very angel whose house us is settin' in right dis minute. Her name is Martha but when grown-up, they sublet (meaning change) dat name to Mattie, and when her marry, her become Mrs. Thomas P. Bryson. Her is a widow, just lak I is a widow. De only difference is, I's black and her is white. Her can see well enough to run after and ketch another man, but I's blind and can't see a man, much less chase after him. So dere it is! What for you laughin' 'bout? No laughin' business wid me.

"My pappy no b'long to Marse John Sterling: him slave of de Stinsons. Have to git a pass to come to see my mammy, Mary. Him name Aleck. After de war him take de name of Alexander Roseboro. Him lak a big long name dat would make folks set up and take notice of him.

"Us live in a little log-house wid a dirt floor. Us had mighty poor beds, I tell you. Us just had planks to lay de wheat straw mattress on. Pillows? De pillows was just anything you could snatch and put under your head. Yes sir, us had plenty to eat.

"They 'struct us in de short catechism, make us go to church, and sit up in de gallery and jine in de singin' on Sundays. Us was well 'tended to when sick. Marster didn't have many slaves. 'Members only two they have, 'sides us; they was Uncle Ned and Cindy. Seem lak dere was another. Oh yes! It was Fred, a all 'round de creation boy, to do anything and everything. He was a sorta shirt-tail boy dat pestered me sometime wid goo-goo eyes, a standin' in de kitchen door, drappin' his weight from one foot to de other, a lookin' at me while I was a churnin' or washin' de dishes. Dat boy both box-ankle and knock-kneed. When you hear him comin' from de horse lot to de house, his legs talk to one another, just lak sayin': 'You let me pass dis time, I let you pass nex' time.' I let you know I had no time for dat ape! When I did git ready to marry, I fly high as a eagle and ketch a preacher of de Word! Who it was? Him was a Baptis' preacher, name Solomon Dixon. 'Spect you hear tell of him. No? Well, him b'long, in slavery time, to your Aunt Roxie's people in Liberty Hill, Kershaw County. You 'members your Aunt Roxie dat marry Marse Ed D. Mobley, her fust cousin, don't you?

"I love Solomon and went down under de water to be buried wid him in baptism, I sho' did, and I come up out of dat water to be united wid him in wedlock. When us marry, him have on a long-tail coat, salt and pepper trousers, box-toed shoes, and a red lead pencil over his ear, just as long as de one I 'spects you is writin' wid, tho' I can't see it.

"How I dressed? I 'members 'zactly. I wore a blue worsted shirt, over a red underskirt, over a white linen petticoat wid tuckers at de hem, just a little long, to show good and white 'long wid de blue of de skirt and de red of de underskirt. Dese all come up to my waist and was held together by de string dat held my bustle in place. All dis and my corset was hid by de snow white pleated pique bodice, dat drapped gracefully from my shoulders. 'Round my neck was a string of green jade beads. I wore red stockin's and my foots was stuck in soft, black, cloth, gaiter shoes.

"My go-away-hat was 'stonishment to everybody. It was made out of red plush velvet and trimmed wid white satin ribbons. In de front, a ostrich feather stood up high and two big turkey feathers flanked de sides. Oh, de treasures of memory to de blind. I's happy to sit here and talk to you 'bout dat day! I sho' is!

"Us live at Marse John Douglas for a time and dat's where my fust child was born. I name her for your Aunt Roxie, tho' I give her de full name, Roxanna Dixon. Her marry John Craig. They live on your grandpa Woodward's old Nickey place, four miles southeast of Blackstock. I had another baby and I name her Daisy. Her marry Philip Moore. I lives wid them in de old William Douglas mansion. Nearly all de white folks leavin' de country dese days and de colored folks gits de fine country houses to live in.

"Well, after de years fly by, my husband, Solomon, go to de mansion prepared for him and me in hebben. I wait a year and a day and marry William Hasty. Maybe I was a little hasty 'bout dat, but 'spects it was my fate. Him drink liquor and you know dat don't run to de still waters of peace and happiness in de home. Him love me, I no doubt dat, but he get off to de bar room at Blackstock, or de still house in bottom lands, get drunk and spend his money. De Bible say dat kind of drowsiness soon clothe a man in rags. Him dead now. God rest his soul!

"De Yankees come. They took notice of me! They was a bad lot dat disgrace Mr. Lincoln dat sent them here. They insult women both white and black, but de Lord was mindful of his own.

"I knows nothin' else to tell you, 'less you would be pleased to hear 'bout what de cyclone did to my old missus and de old Sterling house. Somewhere 'bout 1880's one of them super knockshal (equinoctial) storms come 'long, commencin' over in Alabama or Georgia, crossed de Savannah River, sweep through South Carolina, layin' trees to de ground, cuttin' a path a quarter of a mile wide, as it traveled from west to east. Every house it tech, it carry de planks and shingles and sills and joists 'way wid it. De old Sterling house was in de path. Dere was a big oak tree in de front yard. Old miss and her son, Robert, was dere and Miss Heppie, a granddaughter, was in dat house. De storm hit dat house 'bout 9 o'clock dat night and never left a bit of it, 'cept some of de bricks. Some of de logs and sills was found de nex' day over at de other side of de railroad track. Some of de planks was found six miles east, some of de shingles across Catawba River, 25 miles east, and curious to say, de wind blowed old miss against de big oak tree and kill her. It blowed Miss Heppie in de top of dat tree where she was settin' a cryin' and couldn't git down, and it never harm a hair of Marse Robert's head. Him look 'round for Miss Heppie, couldn't find her, went off to get help, and when they come back, they have to git a ladder from old Mr. Bob Mobley's house to git her down.

"Well, here comes my daughters. I hear one outside but I bet you don't hear a thing. Dats deir steps I hear. Glad for you to meet them. They is mighty fine gals, if I do have to say so. They come up wid good white folks, de Mills'. Marse Jim Mills have family prayer in de mornin' and family prayer befo' they go to bed. Dat was de fust thing wid him and de last thing wid de Mills' family. If all de families do dat way, dere would be de answer to de prayer, 'Dy kingdom come, Dy will be done, on earth, as 'tis in hebben'.

"Well, give me my stick. Here they is. I bids you goodbye and God bless you."


Personal interview with Aunt Dolly Haynes, age 91 Arthurtown, S.C.


"I nebber wuz no rockin' chair setter. I ain't nebber had no time to set down and do nuthin'. I wuz born at Euta, South Carolina. We belong to Marse Charlie Baumer. My Ma died and lef four motherless chillun but de missus wuz mighty good to us—call us her chillun. Pa rung de bell on de plantation fur ter wake de slaves up fur to go to de fiel'. My Missus wuz blind but she wuz a mighty kin' lady. Mek de cook bring plate of vittals to see ef it wuz heavy nough for her little chillun.

"After freedom all us moved wid de Marse and Missus to Childs, South Carolina and I mar'd Paul Haynes, who belonged to old Colonel Hampton.

"Paul wanted to preach but nedder of us had no learnin' an' I say to Paul, 'Does you think you got nough learnin' to lead a flock of people? I don' wan' you to git up an' mek me shame.' I tell him to go to de Benedicts an' see what book he needs to study, come by town bring me a pair of broggans for me, 'cause I wuz a-gwine to wuk and he wuz a-gwine to school. For t'ree long years I plowed de farm an' sent Paul to de Benedicts 'til he wuz edicated. De briars cut my legs an' de breshes tore my skirt, but I tuck up de skirt an' plow right on 'til I bought my little farm. Paul bin dead now 'bout twelve years, but he preached right up to de day he died.

"I got a neffu but I lives alone, wen deys some one in de house I puts down and dey picks up—I cleans up and dey tears up. I don' owe nobody nuthin'. Wen de nurvus spells leaves me an' I feels a little strong in de legs I wuks mah garden. I loves to be doin' somethin' to keep clean, 'cause I jes ain't no rockin chair setter".

Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, November 11, 1937

Reduced from —— words Rewritten by ——


"Accordin to de way dey figures up my age, dey say I 70 now en I believes dat right, too, en de government ought to give me somethin. When we was born, de white folks put us chillun age down in de Bible en I know from dat I been 19 years old de year of de shake. Cose I gets clothes give to me, but no help no more den dat en all dis here wood en coal bill put on me. No, mam, ain' got no support to help me out no time. But justice will plum de line some day. I just gwine leave it in de hands of de Lord. Ain' gwine cry over it."

"I tell you, I been wid white folks all my days en I was properly cared for long as I been in dey protection. I suffers now more den I is ever think bout would come to me. Yes, mam, I done raise over 20 head of white chillun. Dat de God truth. I been in de white folks kitchen all my days en if I feel right, I think dey ought to take of me in my old age. I don' brag on myself, but if I could work like I used to, I wouldn' ax nothin from nobody. I had a family of white people to send for me de other week to come en live wid dem en dey would take care of me, but I never had nobody to trust aun' Sallie wid. You see, child, she such a helpless, poor creature just settin dere in dat bed all de time en can' see to do one thing widout I give her my hand. Cose de government helps aun' Sallie, but dat ain' me. En, honey, I ain' even able to stand up en iron, I has dis rheumatism so bad. It hurts me so terrible at night, I has to keep my foots out from under de cover. It a sort of burnin rheumatism like. Yes, mam, it does worry me right smart."

"Oh, my Lord, I was raise down dere to old Dr. Durant plantation. Yes, mam, dem Durants had everything right to dey hand. Never had to want for a glass of water or nothin en didn' none of Dr. Durant's colored people never had no trouble wid de law from de time de law take care to dis. I remember old Massa would always kill his plantation people a cow on de fourth of July en couldn' never count de number of hogs dey would have, dere be so many. Honey, dey would take dem hogs up dis time of de year from out de swamp en put dem in dey fattenin pen. Lord, Lord, de many a time dat I been see dem take bucket on a bucket of milk to dat pen. When my mother was dere helpin dem, dey used to been a week to a time tryin up lard en makin blood puddin en sausage en joinin up ears en things like dat. Yes, mam, all dey plantation niggers what been helpin dat day set for hog killin would eat to de white folks yard. Dey would just put two or three of dese big wash pot out in de yard en full dem up wid backbone en haslets en rice to satisfy dem hungry niggers wid en would bake de corn bread to de Missus kitchen. I mean dey would have hog killin days den, too. Would have dese long old benches settin out dere under de trees to work on—long benches, child. Some days, dey would kill 15 hogs en some days, dey would kill 20 hogs en I mean dey was hogs, not pigs. De number dey would kill would be accordin to how many hands was helpin de day dey pick to kill. You see, dey would kill dem one day en hang dem up en den dey would set de next day to cut dem up. Oh, dey would hang dem up right out to de eyes of everybody en didn' nobody never have no mind to bother nothin. My Lord, couldn' trust to do nothin like dat dese days. En dey had de nicest homemade butter en whip cream dere all de time. Seems like things was just more plentiful en dey was better in dat day en time."

"It just like I tellin you, it de way of de past, everything had to be carried out right on Dr. Durant's plantation. When freedom come here, dere couldn' no head never get dem colored people to leave from dere. Yes, mam, dey great grand-chillun dere carryin on to dis very day. Dem Durant chillun ain' never had to hunt for no hand to do somethin for dem. Yes, mam, my white folks had dey own colored people graveyard what was corn crated in en it still dere right now. When one of de colored people on de plantation would die, dey white folks would be right dere to de funeral. En it de blessed truth, old Dr. Durant had his own carpenters right dere on de plantation to make de corpse boxes en line dem en all dat en dig de graves. Dat was a day, honey, en dat a day gone from here, I say."

"I ain' never been one of dese peck abouts when I was comin on cause I didn' done nothin, but nurse de white folks chillun dat was comin up. Yes, mam, I would go all bout wid de white people. Dey never didn' leave me home. Lord, de chillun what I nurse, dey got seven en eight head of chillun of dey own now. Like I been tellin you, some of dem beg me to come en live wid dem, but my God, I can' struggle wid dem chillun no more after I done wash baby breeches all my best days, so to speak. Yes, my Lord, dem chillun would get dey 10:30 lunch in de mornin en I been get mine, too. Ain' never had to work in de field in all my life. Anybody can tell you dat what know me."

"I has a little boy stayin here wid me en aun' Sallie what was give to me. I don' never think hard of de people for not fussin bout him stayin here cause he helps me so much. No, mam, I know his mother fore she die en he been stayin wid his aun' en she chillun en dey treat him mean. He been raise to himself en he can' stand no other chillun en he come home from school one day en ax me to let him stay here wid me. No, child, he ain' no trouble cause de Lord give me dat child. He can stay out dere in dat yard right by himself en play all day fore he would ever get dirty up."

"Well, I tell you, I don' know hardly what to say bout how de world gwine dese days. I just afraid to say bout it. I know one thing, I used to live better, but President Roosevelt, seem like he tryin to do de right thing. But if I could be de whole judge of de world, I think de best thing would be for de people to be on dey knees en prayin. De people talkin bout fightin all de time en dis here talk bout fightin in de air, dat what got my goat. Might lay down at night sound en wake up in de mornin en find us all in destructiveness. I say, de Lord all what can save dis country."

Source: Liney Henderson, age 70, colored, Marion, S.C. Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Nov., 1937.

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


Jim Henry lives with his wife, Mary, in a four-room frame house, three miles southeast of Winnsboro, S.C. He owns the house and nine acres of land. He has only one arm, the other having been amputated twenty years ago. He employs a boy to plough, and he and his wife make a living on the property.

"I was born in the Bratton slave quarter, about six miles northeast of Winnsboro. I was born a slave of General John Bratton. He use to tell me I come from 'stinguished stock, dat he bought my father, James, from de Patrick Henry family in Virginia. Dat's de reason my pappy and us took dat name after freedom.

"My mother, Silva, and her mother, was bought from de Rutledge family in Charleston, by General Bratton. My grandfather, on my mother's side, was name Edward Rutledge. No, sir, I don't mean he was a white man; he just ginger-cake color, so my mother say. My pappy say his father was a full-blooded Indian, so, dat makes three bloods in my veins, white folks, Indian folks, and Negro folks. Derefore, us been thrifty like de white man, crafty like de Indians, and hard workin' like de Negroes.

"In slavery time, us lived in one of de nice log houses in de Bratton quarters. Our beds was pole beds, wid wheat straw ticks, and cotton pillows. De Brattons was always sheep raisers, and us had woolen blankets and woolen clothes in de winter. My mother was one of de seamstresses; she make clothes for de slaves. Course, I'm tellin' you what she tell me, mostly. I was too little to 'member much 'bout slavery time. All de little niggers run 'round in deir shirt-tails in summer time; never work any, just hunt for grapes, muscadines, strawberries, chinquapins, hickory nuts, calamus root, slippery elmer (elm) bark, wild cherries, mulberries, and red and black haws, and was as happy as de days was long.

"I just can 'member de Yankees. Don't 'member dat they was so bad. You know they say even de devil ain't as black as he is painted. De Yankees did take off all de mules, cows, hogs, and sheep, and ransack de smoke-house, but they never burnt a thing at our place. Folks wonder at dat. Some say it was 'cause General Bratton was a high 'gree mason.

"While Marse John, who was a Confederate General, was off in de war, us had overseers. They made mother and everybody go to do field. De little chillun was put in charge, in de daytime, wid an old 'mauma', as they called them in them days. Dere was so many, twenty-five or thirty, dat they had to be fed out of doors. At sundown they was 'sembled in a tent, and deir mammies would come and git them and take them home. Dere used to be some scrappin' over de pot liquor dat was brought out in big pans. De little chillun would scrouge around wid deir tin cups and dip into de pan for de bean, pea, or turnip pot liquor. Some funny scraps took place, wid de old mauma tryin' to separate de squallin', pushin', fightin' chillun.

"De overseers was Wade Rawls and a Mr. Timms. After freedom, us moved to Winnsboro, to Dr. Will Bratton's farm near Mt. Zion College. I went to school to Mr. Richardson and Miss Julia Fripp, white teachers employed by northern white people. I got very 'ligious 'bout dat time, but de brand got all rubbed out, when us went to work for Major Woodward. His 'ligion was to play de fiddle, go fox huntin', and ride 'round gittin' Negroes to wear a red shirt and vote de democrat ticket. I went 'long wid him and done my part. They tell a tale on Marse Tom Woodward and I 'spects it's true:

"He was runnin' for some kind of office and was goin', nex' day, up in de dark corner of Fairfield to meet people. Him hear dat a old fellow name Uriah Wright, controlled all de votes at dat box and dat he was a fox hunter to beat de band. He 'quire 'round 'bout Mr. Wright's dogs. He find out dat a dog name 'Ring Smith' was de best 'strike'. Jolly Wright was de name of de cold 'trailer', and Molly Clowney was de fastest dog of de pack. Marse Tom got all dis well in his mind, and nex' day rode up to old Mr. Wright's, 'bout dinner time.

"De old man had just come in from de field. Marse Tom rode up to de gate and say; 'Is dis Dr. Wright?' De old man say: 'Dat's what de people call me 'round here.' Marse Tom say: 'My name is Woodward. I am on my first political legs, and am goin' 'round to see and be seen, if not by everybody, certainly by de most prominent and 'fluential citizens of each section.' Then de old man say: 'Git down. Git down. You are a monstrous likely man. I'll take you in to see Pinky, my wife, and we'll see what she has to say 'bout it.'

"Marse Tom got down off his horse and was a goin' to de house talkin' all de time 'bout crops. Spyin' de dogs lyin' 'round in de shade, him say: 'Dr. Wright, I am a 'culiar man. I love de ladies and admire them much but, if you'll pardon my weakness, a fine hound dog comes nearer perfection, in my eye, than anything our Father in heaven ever made to live on this green earth!'

"'And what do you know 'bout hounds?' Old man Uriah asked, turnin' from de house and followin' Marse Tom to where de dogs was. Marse Tom set down. De whole pack come to where he was, sniffed and smelt him, and wag deir tails in a friendly way. Marse Tom say: 'What is de name of dis dog? Ring Smith, did you say, Doctor? An uncommon fine dog he seems to me. If dere be any truth in signs, he oughta be a good strike.' De old man reply: 'Good strike, did you say? If dere was 5,000 dogs here, I would bet a million dollars dat Ring Smith would open three miles ahead of the best in de bunch. And you might go befo' a trial justice and swear it was a fox, when he opened on de trail.'

"Marse Tom nex' examined de pale black and tan dog, which was Jolly Wright, de coldest trailer. Feelin' his nose and eyein' him all over, he say at last: 'Dr. Wright, I think dis is one of de most remarkable dogs I has ever seen. I would say he is de coldest trailer of your pack?'

"'Coldest, did you say? Why he can smell them after they have been along three or four weeks.' Molly Clowney was nex' picked out by Marse Tom, and come in for his turn. 'Here ought to be de apple of your eyes, Dr. Wright,' say Marse Tom, 'for if I know anything 'bout dogs, this is the swiftest animal dat ever run on four feet. Tell me now, honor bright, can't she out run anything in these parts?'

"'Run, did you say? No. She can't run a bit. But dere ain't a crow nor a turkey buzzard, dat ever crossed de dark corner, dat can hold a candle to her flyin'. I've seen her run under them and outrun deir shadows many times. Dinner is 'bout ready, and I want you to meet Pinky.'

"Marse Tom was took in de house and de old man led him 'round like a fine horse at a show or fair. 'Why, Pinky, he is smart; got more sense than all de candidates put together. He is kin to old preacher Billy Woodward, de smartest man, I heard my daddy say, in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, or South America.' They say Marse Tom promised befo' he left to pass a bill dat no fence was to be higher than five rails, to suit fox hunters. Then de old man tell Miss Pinky to bring his fiddle, and he played 'De Devil's Dream'. When he finished, Marse Tom grab de fiddle and played: 'Hell Broke Loose In Georgia', wid such power and skill dat de old man, Uriah, hugged Miss Pinky and cut de 'Pigeon Wing' all over de floor. Marse Tom, they say, carry every vote at dat dark corner box.

"I fall in love with Mary Hall. Got her, slick as a fox. Us had ten chillun. Eight is livin'. Robert is at de Winnsboro Cotton Mills. Ed in de same place. Estelle marry a Ford, and has some land near Winnsboro. Maggie marry a Pickett. Her husband took her to Washington. John Wesley is at Greensboro. Florence marry a Barber and lives in Winston Salem, N.C. Charley is in Winnsboro. Corinne marry a McDuff and is in Winnsboro.

"Mighty glad to talk to you, and will come some day and try to bring you a 'possum. You say you would like to have one 'bout Thanksgivin' Day?"

Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 June 1, 1937

Edited by: Elmer Turnage


"Yas Sir, my ole Marster had lots o' land, a big plantation down at Lockhart whar I was born, called de Herndon Plantation. Den he live in a big house jes' outside o' Union, called 'Herndon Terrace', and 'sides dat, he was de biggest lawyer dat was in Union.

"Furs' 'membrance was at de age o' three when as yet I couldn't walk none. My mother cooked some gingerbread. She told de chilluns to go down a hill and git her some oak bark. De furs' one back wid de bark 'ud git de furs' gingerbread cake dat was done. My sister sot me down, a sliding down de side o' her laag, atter she had carried me wid her down de side o' de hill. Dem big chaps started to fooling time away. I grab up some bark in my hand and went toddling and a crawling up to de house. My mother seed me a crawling and toddling, and she took de bark out'n my hand and let me pull up to de do'. She cook de gingerbread, and when de other chilluns got back, I was a setting up eating de furs' cake.

"She put gingerbread dough in a round oven dat had laags on hit. It looked like a skillet, but it never had no handle. It had a lid to go on de top wid a groove to hold live coals. Live coals went under it, too. Mother wanted oak chips and bark, 'cause dey made sech good hot coals and clean ashes.

"Pots biled in de back o' de chimney, a hanging from a pot rack over de blazing fire. It had pot hooks to git it down.

"Bread was cooked in a baker like de ginger cake was. Dey roasted both kinds o' 'taters in de ashes and made corn bread in de ashes and called it ash cake, den.

"Us lived in a one-room log house. Fer de larger families, dey had two rooms wid de fire place in de middle o' de room. Our'n was at de end by de winder. It had white or red oak, or pine shingles to kivver de roof wid. O' course de shingles was hand made, never know'd how to make no other'n.

"All beds was corded. Along side de railings, dar was holes bored to draw de ropes through, as dese was what dey used in dem days instead o' slats. Ropes could be stretched to make de bed lay good. Us never had a chair in de house. My paw made benches fer us to set by de fire on. Marse Zack let de overseer git planks fer us. My paw was called Lyles Herndon. We had a large plank table dat paw made. Never had no mirrows. Went to de spring to see ourselfs on a Sunday morning. Never had no sech things as dressers in dem days. All us had, was a table, benches and beds. And my paw made dem. Had plenty wood fer fire and pine knots fer lights when de fire git low or stop blazing.

"Us had tallow candles. Why ev'ybody know'd how to make taller candles in dem days, dat wudd'n nothing out de ordinary. All you had to do, was to kill a beef and take de taller from his tripe and kidneys. See, it de fat you gits and boil it out. Stew it down jes' as folks does hog lard dese days. De candle moulds was made out'n tin. Fer de wicks, all de wrapping string was saved up, and dar wasn't much wrapping string in dem times. Put de string right down de middle o' de mould and pour de hot taller all around it. De string will be de wick fer de candle. Den de moulds was laid in raal cold water so dat de taller shrink when it harden, and dis 'low de candle to drap easy from de mould and not break up. Why, it's jes' as easy to make taller candles as it is to fall off'n a log.

"Firs' lamp dat I ever seed was a tin lamp. Dat was at Dr. Bates' place in Santuc. Him and his brother, Fair, lived together. It was a little table lamp wid a handle and a flat wick. He had it in his house. I was Dr. Bates' house-boy.

"My son tuck me back to Union last year, 1936, I 'members. Nothing didn't look natual 'cept de jail. Ev'ything else look strange. Didn't see nobody I knowed, not narry living soul. Marse big white house, wid dem kallems (columns) still setting dar; but de front all growed up in pine trees. When I slave time darkey, dat front had flowers and figgers (statues), setting all along de drive from de road to de big house. T'aint like dat now.

"Atter Mr. Herndon died, I was sold at de sale at Lockhart, to Dr. Tom Bates from Santuc. He bought me fer $1800 so as dey allus told me. Marse Zack had a hund'ed slaves on dat plantation. Stout, healthy ones, brung from $1,000 on up to $2,000 a head. When I was a young kid, I heard dat he was offered $800 fer me, but he never tuck it. Dis de onliest time dat I was ever sold. Marse Zack never bred no slaves, but us heard o' sech afar off. He let his darkies marry when dey wanted to. He was a good man and he allus 'lowed de slaves to marry as dey pleased, 'cause he lowed dat God never intent fer no souls to be bred as if dey was cattle, and he never practice no sech.

"I is old and I does not realize who Marse Zack's overseer was, kaise dat been a long while. I was Dr. Bates' house-boy. I allus heard dat Dr. Bates bought my maw fer $1,500, at de same time he bought me. He give $2,000 fer my paw. My brother, Jim, was bought fer $1,800. Adolphus, 'bout fifteen years old, sold fer 'bout $1,400; and my onliest sister, Matilda, was bought fer a maid gal, but I cannot recollect fer what price. She was purty good size gal den. All o' dem is dead now but me, even all my white folks is done gone. I sees a lonely time now, but my daughter treat me kind. I live wid her now.

"Dr. Bates' brother, Fair, was single man dat live in de house wid Dr. Bates fer thirteen years. I lived in slavery fer over twenty-one years. Yas, I's twenty-one when Freedom come; and den Dr. Bates up and marry Mr. Henry Sartor's daughter, Miss Ma'y. Don't know how long she live, but she up and tuck and died; den he pop up and marry her sister, Anne. It was already done Freedom when he marry de furs' time. When he married de second time, Mr. Fair, up and went over to de Keenan place to live. He never did marry, hisself, 'though.

"As house-boy dar, I mind de flies from de table and tote dishes to and fro from de kitchen. Kitchen fer ways off from de house. James Bates, his cook. Sometime I help wash de dishes. Marse never had no big house, kaise he was late marrying. Dar wasn't no company in dem days, neither.

"Rations was give out ev'y week from de smokehouse. Twenty-five or thirty hogs was killed at de time. Lots o' sheep and goats was also killed. All our meat was raised, and us wore wooden-bottom shoes. Raised all de wheat and corn. Hogs, cows, goats and sheep jes' run wild on Tinker and Brushy Fork Creeks. On Sat'day us git one peck meal; three pounds o' meat and one-half gallon black molasses fer a person; and dat's lot mo' dan dey gits in dese days and times. Sunday morning, us git two, or maybe three pounds o' flour. Didn't know nothing 'bout no fat-back in dem times. Had sassafras and sage teas and 'dinty' tea (dinty tea is made from a wild S.C. weed).

"Marse's coachman called Tom 'Cuff', kaise he bought from old Dr. Culp. He driv two black hosses to de carriage. Marse's saddle hoss was kinder reddish. Gen'ally he do his practice on hossback. He good doctor, and carry his medicine in saddle bags. It was leather and fall on each side o' de hoss's side. When you put something in it, you have to keep it balanced. Don't never see no saddle bags; neither does you see no doctors gwine round on no hosses dese days.

"Never seed no ice in dem days 'cep in winter. Summer time, things was kept in de milk-house. Well water was changed ev'y day to keep things cool. Ev'ybody drink milk in de summer, and leave off hot tea, and de white folks only drink coffee fer dere breakfast. T'other times dey also drink milk. It bees better fer your health all de time.

"At de mouth o' Brushy Fork and Tinker Creek whar dey goes together dar is a large pond o' water. Us n'used to fish in dat pond. One day, me and Matilda tuck off a-fishing. I fell in dat pond, and when I riz up, a raft o' brush held my head under dat water and I couldn't git out no ways. 'Tilda sees my dangerment, and she jump in dat deep water and pull me from under dat raff. She couldn't swim but us both got out. Can't think no mo' today."

Source: Zack Herndon, Grenard St., Gaffney, S.C. (col. 93) Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C. 5/11/37

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


Lavinia Heyward, a Negro woman 67 years old, living at 515 Marion Street, Columbia, S.C., is a daughter of ex-slaves. Her parents were Peter Jones and Rachel Bryant Jones. They married in Columbia, soon after they were freed, in 1865. Lavinia reviews her mother's experiences with a famous South Carolina family, before and after bondage, and takes a glance at Columbia's progress in the past half century.

"Sho' I's been here 67 years, and I's seen a stragglin' town of 10,000 grow from poverty to de present great city and riches. Shucks, I 'spects if you was to set me down at Broad River bridge and tell me to go home, I might git lost tryin' to find my way to where I has lived for many years. Durin' my time I's sho' seen dis city sad and glad, and I's happy to say dat it seem to be feelin' a right smart lak itself now.

"My mammy, and her daddy and mammy, was bought from de Bryants at Beaufort by de Rhett family, when my mammy was a little pickaninny. She not able to tell nothin' 'bout her 'speriences with de Bryants, but she sho' recall a lot of things after she jine de Rhetts. She live with them 'til she was just turnin' twelve years old, then she come to Columbia as a slave of Master John T. Rhett. He move here, as a refugee, in 1862. Master Rhett was not healthy 'nough to go to war but some of his folks go.

"One of Master Rhett's brothers, who was too old to go to war, march 'way to fight Yankees at Honey Hill. De Yankee fleet send an army in boats to cut de Charleston and Savannah Railroad, and de Confederates meet them at Honey Hill, half way 'tween Beaufort and Savannah. In a bloody battle dere de Confederates won. Master Rhett, of Beaufort was wounded dere, and his brother, John, leave Columbia and go dere to see him while he was in bed, battlin' for life.

"My mammy never work in de field at Beaufort, nor after she come to Columbia. She was kep' on duty in de big house and learned to sew and make garments, quilts, and things. She also learn to read, write, and cipher, and she could sing many of de church songs them days. She play with de white chillun dat come to see de Rhetts in Beaufort and in Columbia. She tell me 'bout things in Beaufort, where de Rhetts live then.

"She say de Rhetts has been buckra since de time when Colonel William Rhett go out in his battle ships to chase and kill pirates, in de days when Carolina was ruled by de King of England. She say they own many big plantations in Beaufort County and raise big crops of rice and sea island cotton. She say de sea island cotton was so costly that it was handpicked by slaves and placed in hundred pounds sacks. Then it was shipped to France and de growers reap a rich harvest.

"Mammy tell us chillun dat de Rhetts sho' was de 'big folks' of South Carolina, and I reckons dat's so, 'cause de books, swords, guns, windlasses and things lak dat, in a room at de John T. Rhett home, show what they has been doin' for several hundred years.

"Oh yes, you wants to know where 'bouts John T. Rhett live in Columbia? He live at de house now number 1420 Washington Street, right 'cross de street from where de parsonage of the Washington Street Methodist Church now stands. I go dere with Mammy, often, and play 'round de yard. Mammy always work dere as long as she able to serve a-tall. She take sick and die in 1883.

"Master John T. Rhett was mayor of de city three times, in 1882, 1884 and in 1886. I knows well, 'cause he see to it dat us chillun go to school, 'long 'bout then, and not a one of us has been unable to read, write, and cipher since. He see dat we gits chances to become useful citizens, and his very name is sweet to me since he died.

"You ask if I knows R. Goodwin Rhett of Charleston? I sho' does; I has talked with him and he ask me many questions. He was born in Columbia but move to Charleston many years ago and, lak the buckra dat he is, he climb to de top as de mayor of Charleston, big banker, and president of de Chamber of Commerce of de United States. So you see, my mammy was lucky in livin' with such a fine family.

"You asks if my man (husband) has come down from de Heyward family of de Combahee River slaves? No. He come from de North and he say dere was Heywards up dere, both white and black. He got that name in de North. He has been a carpenter, hired by de month, at de State Hospital for many years, and we bought dis two-story home by de sweat of our brow. We lives, and has always lived, as my mammy tell us to. And we git 'long pretty well by trustin' in God and doin' our best."

Project #-1655 Mrs. Chlotilde R. Martin Beaufort County

Approx. 530 Words FOLKLORE


Stories from Ex-slaves Lucretia Heyward Ex-slave Age - 96

W'en gun fust shoot on Hilton Head Islandt, I been 22 year old. Muh Pa name Tony MacKnight and he b'long to Mr. Stephen Elliott. My Ma name Venus MacKnight and she b'long to Mr. Joe Eddings, who had uh plantation on Parri (Parris) Islandt. De overseer been Edward Blunt. He been poor white trash, but he wuk haa'd and save he money and buy slave. He buy my Ma and bring she to Beaufort to wuk in he house by de Baptist chu'ch. I been born den. I hab seven brudder name Jacob, Tony, Robert, Moses—I can't 'member de odders, it been so long ago. I hab one sister Eliza—she die de odder day.

W'en I been little gal, I wuk in de house. Wuk all day. I polish knife and fork, mek bed, sweep floor, nebber hab time for play game. W'en I git bigger, dey send me to school to Miss Crocker to learn to be seamstruss.

W'en I small, I sleep on floor in Miss Blunt room. I eat food left ober from table. Dey nebber learn me to read and write. I ain't hab time for sech t'ing. I go to chu'ch in white Baptis' chu'ch. Nigger hab for sit up stair, white folks sit down stair. If nigger git sick, dey send for doctor to 'tend um. Mr. Blunt nebber lick me, but Miss Blunt cut my back w'en I don't do to suit her. Nigger git back cut w'en dey don't do wuk or w'en dey fight. Dey hab uh jail in town, run by Mr. McGraw. If nigger be too bad, run street and t'ing, he git in jail and Mr. McGraw lick um. I been lock in jail one time. Dey hang me up by wrist and beat me twenty-five lick wid uh cowhide. I forgit w'at I don't to git dat.

W'en Yankee been come de Blunts leab Beaufort, and I walk out house and go back to Parri Islandt. De Yankee tell we to go en Buckra corn house and git w'at we want for eat. Den I come back to Beaufort and go to wuk in cotton house (gin.) De Yankee pay we for wuk and I tek my money and buy twenty acre ob land on Parri Islandt. I ain't had dat land now 'cause de Government tek em for he self and mek me move. (This was when the Government bought Parris Island for a naval station.)

I been hab two husband. De fust name Sephus Brown. How I 'member w'en he die, it been de year ob de ninety-tree storm. My odder husband been Cupid Heyward—he daid (dead) too.

I hear tell ob de Ku Klux, but I nebber shum (see them). I don't know nuting 'bout no night rider.

See um sell slabe? I see um. Dey put um on banjo table and sell um just lak chicken. Nigger ain't no more den chicken and animal, enty? (isn't it so?)

Abraham Lincoln? Sho' I 'members him. He de one w'at gib us freedom, enty? He come to Beaufort. He come 'fo de war. He sho been one fine man. He come to Beaufort on uh ship and go all 'round here, but I nebber shum.

Jefferson Davis? No I nebber hear ob him. Booker T. Washington. I 'members him. I hear him mek speech in Beaufort. It been uh beautiful speech. Dat been one smaa't colored man.

W'at I t'ink 'bout slabery? Huh—nigger git back cut in slabery time, enty?

Does I hate Mr. Blunt? No, I ain't hate um. He poor white trash but he daid now. He hab he self to look out for, enty? He wuk, he sabe he money for buy slabe and land. He git some slabe, but he nebber git any land—de war cum.

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



Aunt Mariah Heywood, born in 1855, was 'Allston labor' on Waccamaw Neck. Given as a bridal present to 'Miss Susan Alston by her father, Mr. Duncan Alston of Midway Plantation Waccamaw, Aunt Mariah has for the last fifty years lived much in the past when 'I wuz raise on the cream of the earth' and her head is just a little higher and her backbone just a little stiffer than that of the average colored person because of pride—family pride—in her people—her white people. And as one can readily see from her testimony, her chief cause for her pardonable snobbery seems to be that her Massa was the last man to surrender and "swear gainst his swear."

Her sons, one of whom is a preacher in the Methodist Conference and 'one a zorter—a locust' and her youngest son John (who got all the credrick) have built her a comfortable house (painted a bilious yaller) which she keeps clean and sweet with flowers in the front yard—two treasured plants having been sent by her brother (born after mancipations) clean from Pittsburgh.

The fact that she was raised by aristocrats shows plainly in her dealing with both races and she is a leader in church activities and her opinion valued when a vote is taken about school matters.

Being the oldest 'communion steward' she is affectionately spoken of as 'THE MOTHER OF HEAVEN'S GATE'—the Methodist church founded in Murrells Inlet community by colored leaders shortly after Mancipation.

"Aunt Mariah, you home?"

"Missus, what you brought me?"


"I too thank you."

(Soon she began to reminisce)

"You could hear 'em over there slamming and banging. The Yankee tear up the Dr. Flagg house but they didn't come Sunnyside. Bright day too! Old man Thomas Stuart lead 'em to Hermitage. Had team they take from Mr. Betts and team they take from Dr. Arthur to Woodland. Free everywhere else and we wasn't free Sunnyside till June third or second. Sunday we got our freedom. Bright day too. Our colored people fare just like the white; wearing, eating, drinking. I wuz raise on the cream of earth.

"They wuz glad. Sign a contract for your boss you would work the same and get pay the end of the year-and tend you when you sick all the same." (The same medical attention to be given that was given before 'Freedom') "Big guns shooting! House jar to Sunnyside and one day water shake out the glass! Miss Susan take her spyglass and stand behind one them big posses (posts) and spy them big boats shooting. And boss say, 'Don't get in front of them posses-they might shoot you!'

"Yankee come to Mrs. Belin and Parson Betts. And they tell Mrs. Belin, they want her to know no more slave holding and she thank 'em and she say, HE people wuz always free! Grandma Harriet, (Harriet Mortor wuz her title but that time they always gone by they Master title). Joe Heywood wuz Joe Belin—he was Parson Belin man—he take the Heywood title after mancipation. Poinsette (Uncle Fred) ALWAYS carry that title. That day, all the right hand servant always take they Massa title. When the big gun shooting, old people in the yard, 'Tank God! Massa, HE COMING!' (Referring to 'Freedom') 'HE COMING!' (Guns gone just like thunders roll now!) Chillun say, "What coming? What coming? What coming, Grandma?"

'You all will know! You all will know!'

"Massa live 'Wee ha kum' for years. We are fifty-five (55) chillun. Mary Rutledge Allston and I one year chillun." (She and Mary R. Allston born same year.) "My missus have four chillun—Mary Rutledge, Susan Bethune, Marsa Pink and Marse Fanuel. (Benjamine Nathaniel!)

"Four years of the war been hold prayer-meeting." (Praying for 'freedom'). Lock me up in house. Me, I been PREsent to Miss Minna—'Miss Mary! We, us lock up! My brother and I listen! (Two brother mancipation chillun. Smart Robert Brockington and Harrison Franklin Brockington in Pittsburgh. I nuss (nurse) him—jess like you hold that book.) Old people used to go to Richmond Hill, Laurel Hill and Wachesaw have these little prayer-meeting. All bout in people house. Hold the four year of the war. Great many time the chicken crow for day. Hear the key. We say 'Yeddy!' Change clothes. Gone on in the house. Get that eight, seven o'clock breakfast.'

"Parson Glennie (Rector All Saints, Waverly lived at Rectory there and did wonderful work teaching and preaching to slaves as well as whites—preaching at beautiful St. Mary's chapel, built by Plowden Weston at Hagley for the slaves of materials from England—baptismal font from this chapel now in Camden Episcopal church and stained glass also removed before chapel burned some few years ago. At this period—prior to mancipation Waccamaw slaves were usually educated in the faith of their masters—the Episcopal.) Parson Glennie come once a month to Sunnyside. Parson Glennie read, sing, pray. Tell us obey Miss Minna. (I wuz little highest.) Two of us 55 chillun! We'd fight. She knock me. I knock back! Wouldn't take a knock! She say, 'I tell Parson Glennie! Lord won't bless you! You bad.' I say, 'You knock me, I knock you!'

"Have a play-house. Charlie buy from Mott. Used to summer it at Magnolia. Row from Bull Creek once a month to Chapel. (10 miles or more) Put them All Saints eleven o'clock service. Four best men his rowsmen. Fuss (first) year war we tuh Bull Creek. Nobody go (to All Saints) but Missus and Massa and the four rowsmen.

"Flat going from Midway to Cheraw. Best rice on flat. (Couldn't grind corn) Kill chicken. Gone to protect from Yankees—to hide! When they come (to Cheraw). Sherman coming from MONDAY till SATDY! Come on RAIL! Said 'twas a shocking sight! When Sherman army enter Cheraw, town full of sojers. Take way from white people and give horses colored people! Didn't kill none the horses. (On Sunnyside on Waccamaw) Cheraw Yankee kill horses! (Indeed—YES! It is history in Marlboro, near Cheraw they were killed and thrown in the wells to pollute the water.)"

"Mr. Charley horse, couldn't nobody ride but him! Father-in-law (Mr. Duncan to Midway) had a pair of grey—BUCK and SMILER. Driver, Tom Carr. Come in carriage every month to Sunnyside. Get the family. Go and spend ten days—Midway! Family wuz MYSELF, MISS MINNA, and the three and the Massa and Miss Susan. Mary Huger one my Missus sister. One marry a Huger to Charleston.

"Major Charles say he'd die in Sunnyside yard fore he'd go there (Georgetown) and take off his hat and 'swear gainst my swear.' He'd die in Sunnyside yard. My Massa, Major Charles Alston, was the last one to gone to Georgetown and gone under that flag! He was Charles Jr., but after Confederick war he was Major Charles! Major Charles the last man off Waccamaw gone under the flag! At Georgetown. Went down in row-boat. My fadder gone and tell old man Tom Nesbitt to have his boat and four of his best mens. Got to go off a piece! Pa gone. Have boat ready. Ma got up. Cook a traveling lunch for 'em. Fore day! Blue uniform. Yellow streak down side—just like this streak in my dress. Yellow bar!" (Most of 'em had to rob dead yankees or go naked) "LAST GENTLEMAN GONE UNDER THE FLAG!

"Walking up and down the piazza! Say, Can I go to town and swear gainst my slave?" Can I? Up and down!

"I hear bout them slave try to run way. Aunt Tella Kinloch eye shot out. Marsh (baby) cry! Mother say take her apron and stuff the child mouth. Blockade (patrollers) wuz hiding. Shot in range of that sound. Row! Row! Row! Put everything in jail! All in jail! Mr. McCuskey tell us! He wuz one of the men help lynch. I got married 1873. They wuz talking bout the time (war) "Mr. McCuskey told us Nemo Ralston was one. Say he never see a fatter man. Fat in there in shield! Like a fattening hog! (They running way from Oregon—Dr. McGill place). Say they put four horses to him—one to every limb. Stretch 'em. And cut horses and each horse carry a piece! Mr. McCuskey was one help lynch Nemo.

"Uncle William Heywood didn't birth till after mancipation. Not a thing to do with slavery time! But I know when the big gun shooting to free me! Yankee come and free Waccamaw! No slave hold. Whole neck free but us! Last people free on 'Neck.' MY MAJOR last one to went under flag to Georgetown! Old man Moses Gibson and Peter Brockington build Sunnyside kitchen.

"I wuz birth November 5th, 1855. Mr. Buck say, 'Aunt Mariah, know your birth?'

"'Yes, sir!'

"'Aunt Mariah, you too old to work! You born 1800, go on home raise your chicken!'"

Aunt Mariah Heywood Age—82 Murrells Inlet, S.C.

Project 1885-1 FOLK LORE Spartanburg, S.C. May 10, 1937

Edited by: Elmer Turnage


Living with his married daughter is an old negro slave by the name of Jerry Hill. He was born Jan. 12, 1852. He and his mother were owned by Jim Fernandes who had a plantation between Union and Jonesville, S.C. His father was a slave owned by another white man on an adjoining plantation. "Uncle" Jerry was nine years old when the war began, and thirteen when he was set free. He was born near Rocky Creek which ran into Fairforest Creek. He was always treated kindly by his master. He was taught to plow and work on the farm, which he did regularly; though he always took his time and would not let anybody hurry him. He said that he had always taken his time to do his farm work, so got along fine with all for whom he worked. He says that he always had plenty to eat; yet most of the "niggers" had to eat Ash-bread. This is corn-bread which is cooked in hot ashes raked from the fireplace. Once a week he was given biscuits, though this was a luxury to colored folks. He said, that when a slave had to have a whipping, he was taken to a whipping post in Jonesville. A bull-whip was used for the punishment and it brought the blood from the bare back of the man or woman being whipped. One day a grown slave was given 150 lashes with the bull-whip, for teaching the young boys to gamble. He saw this punishment administered. He had climbed a tree where he could get a better view. He said that several slaves were being whipped that day for various things, and there were several men standing around watching the whipping. He said that he was laughing at the victim, when some by-stander looked up and saw him; "that boy needs 150 lashes, too," he said. "He is laughing at the punishment being given." So his master told the by-stander to get the boy and give him the lashing if he thought he needed it. When he was led up to the whipping post, some man there shook his head at the by-stander; so the boy did not get whipped. Jerry says that the sister of Jim Fernandas used to carry a bull-whip around her neck when she walked out on the farm, and would apply it herself to any slave she thought needed it.

"When the Yankee soldiers came," he said, "my master had to hide out for awhile, as he had gotten into some trouble with them at Union. They would search the house occasionaly and then go into the woods looking for him. One day the soldiers caught him down on the branch and killed him. As the Yankee soldiers would come to the plantation, they would leave their worn-out horses and take our good ones. They also stole meat, hams, sugar etc.; but they were pretty quiet most of the time. One of our neighbors caught a Yankee stealing his horse and killed him right there. His name was Bill Isom. All his family is now dead. The soldiers would slip around and steal a good horse and ride it off. We would never see that horse again. After we were told by my master that we were now free and could go to work whereever we chose, my mother hired me out to a man and I stayed with him two years. It was pretty hard to make a living after we were free, but I worked hard and always got on."

Source: Jerry Hill, 265 Highland St., Spartanburg, S.C. Interviewed by: F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg Office, Dist. 4.

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



AGE 97

Jane was found in the sunshine on her piazza, busily occupied, as she always would be. With her full cotton skirt she brushed off the hard-wood bench, and asked the writer to have a seat; this being declined, she said,

"Then I'll sit, because I'm old and get tired.

"Now what you want with old Jane? From old Mausa time you can get my age—you can 'pute it up. (compute) I was 95 June before this last June gone. I got a son 70 what lives in the country—he pay my rent. I dunno how many children I had; my son July Ladson lives here with me—he gone out now. One son is gone off somewhere in the world; he's married and has a family—I dunno where he is—somewhere in the world!"—spreading, out her arms.

"I come from Eutawville and Belvidere and Belmont. My Master?—Charles Sinkler, Belvidere Plantation, (a few miles from Eutawville) Mausa went to Eutaw for Miss—I remember all two place, Belvidere and Eutaw. We live at Belvidere. My master house been beautiful—'e dey yet! (in her deep feeling and excitement she lapsed into Gullah). That was the plantation where we lived—and, the beautiful steps went up at the back to the 'pantry and to the side was the smoke house', she jumped up and illustrated—'the smoke come up from here, and the meat was hangin' all here', she showed vital interest in everything she told, and was absorbed in her subject, as when we relate experiences which we have loved.

"You know what 'Daily Gift'?—I was Daily Gift—Mausa give me to Miss Margaret, his daughter, when she was married to Mr. Gaillard—I give to Miss Margaret—I never was sold." She repeated twice, and was very proud of it that she was a "Free Gift". "I never was sold, and my Mama never was sold." (Faithful servants remained for generations in one family, inherited and willed like other valued property)

"What I do?—I milk cows", and she illustrated. "I do outside work wid de hoe—plant corn, potato, peas, rice!" She beamed with pride and pleasure as she told of each thing she could do—"Help fix the hogs, you know, make lard and cracklings to put in bread. When dinner time they blow the big conk and everybody come for dinner. I not the cook. The cook, Delia, stout round, (illustrated) she do cook! We jus' make out now with dese vittles.

"We went to church all de time—an' I sing an' shout in de Heavenly land! De church been on de plantation. Mausa had a white minister for us. His name Mr. Quinbey. I believe in God. Heaven a restin' place—there we is all one spirit—the spirit go about jus' how we go about here."

"Do they come back? Did you ever see one?" she was asked.

"I hear 'bout dat," she frowned, "but I never see um. My mama, Eve, died after freedom. My mama gone—she never come back—my children never come back to me any time. I dont know how many of my children dead. My daughters, dey lookin' to themselves."

"I come to Charleston long after Freedom. I remember all two place—Belvidere and Eutawville. Belmont I cant forget—de name Gaillard I cant forget, cause I was 'Free Gift.' Dese time aint like de times way back dere."

"I been a mid-wife here 60 years. My name writ right down dere and you can find it. No longer than this mornin' I burn up some papers. I aint have any remembrance any more." Here she went in to the house and got some sheets of paper.—"I want to be truthful to you, dese was my nursery book."

"I'm too old to sing.—I did know spirituals but cant remember them—I tell you dese things, then they go out of my remembering."

"My sister been seamstress in de house—her name Rachel—I do de pointing I can work at anything—after supper, before dark come, do cutting out for next days work."

"I cut out a suit for my master," she said proudly—"pants, and a waistcoat—you know?" Then she remembered suddenly that she could spin—card the cotton and spin it into yarn—"'I glad I can remember things I do in those days—.'"

Her farewell benediction was: "I trust de Lord will carry you whereever you want to go!"

Source: Jane Hollins, age 97, the Lane at 50 Ashe St, Charleston, S.C.

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


Cornelius Holmes lives with his wife, Nancy, in a two-room annex to the house that his son, David, occupies. It is on the old Harden place, nine miles northwest of Winnsboro, S.C. The land and the house belong to Mr. John Means Harden, a resident of Winnsboro. Cornelius is intelligent, courteous in manner, tidy in appearance, and polite. His occupation is that of basket-making, in which he is an adept. He picks up a little money by repairing chairs and putting split-bottoms in them.

"I was born in de town of Edgefield, South Carolina, November 29th, 1855, 'cordin' to de Bible, and was a slave of Marse Preston Brooks. Dat name seem to make you set up and take notice of me.

"How come I a slave of Marse Preston? Well, it was dis way. My grands b'long to de Means family of Fairfield County, 'round old Buckhead section. My grandpap, Wash, tell me Marse Preston come dere visitin' de Harpers, 'nother buckra family dat live further toward de Broad River side of de county. When he git up dere, it come over his 'membrance dat de Meanses was some punkins too, as well as him and de Harpers. Maybe he done heard 'bout Miss Martha, how her could ride a horse and dance a cotillion in Columbia, when Marse John Hugh was de governor. Well, de part goes, he comes over dere but didn't do lak they does now, bust right in and 'clare his 'fections to de gal. Him fust, solemn lak, ask to see de marster and ask him if he object to him pursuing Miss Martha, in de light of becomin' his son-in-law? Then, when dat was settled, Marse Preston and Miss Martha gallop and race all 'round de country but de hosses was always neck and neck. Dat fall, dat race ended in a tie. Dat what Grandpap Wash tell me.

"After they marry, my mother, Scylla, was give to Miss Martha and 'company her to Edgefield. Dere she marry de carriage driver, Hillard, who was my pappy. I was born in a room 'joinin' de kitchen and a part of de big kitchen. De plantation was out in de country. I never was dere, so I can't tell you nothin' 'bout dat. De fact is, I was just a small boy and most I know, comes from mother and grandpap. They 'low Marse Preston was in Washington most of de time. One day he marched right in de Senate, wid his gold head cane, and beat a Senator 'til him fainted, 'bout sumpin' dat Senator say 'bout him old kinsman, Senator Butler. Dat turn de world up side down. Talk 'bout 'peachin' Marse Preston. Marse Preston resign and come home. De town of Edgefield, de county of Edgefield, de state of South Carolina, and Miss Martha, rise to vindicate Marse Preston and 'lect him back to Washington.

"Marse Preston go back and stay dere 'til he die, in 1859. His body was brought back to Edgefield. De nex' year de war come on. I's too young to 'member much 'bout it but my pappy die while it was goin' on. Him have three chillun by mother: Me, Audie, and Nancy. They is dead now but I 'members them crawlin' 'round on de plank floor in de winter time and in de sand in de summer time.

"I never worked in slavery time. Us eat from de dairy and de kitchen, just what mistress and her chillun eat. One thing I lak then was 'matoes. They wasn't big 'matoes lak they is now. They was 'bout de size of marbles. Us cooked them wid sugar and they was mighty good dat way.

"My mistress had chillun by Marse Preston. Sho' I recollect them. Dere was Preston; de last I hear of him, him livin' in Tennessee. Then dere was Miss Mary; her marry Mr. George Addison of Edgefield. Miss Carrie; her marry Marse Capers Byrd. De youngest, Miss Martha, marry Col. McBee of Greenville, S.C.

"Does I 'members 'bout de Yankees? Not much. I 'members more 'bout Wheeler's men. They come and take nearly everything, wid de excuse dat de Yankees was not far behind and when they come, they would take all, so they just as well take most of what was in sight.

"When freedom come, my pappy was dead. Mother brought me back to Fairfield County and give me to my grandpap, Washington Holmes. Us live on 'Possum Branch; now own by Mr. Jim Young. I stay dere 'til I 'come twenty-one. Then I marry Maggie Gladden, 'cause I love her. Us had four chillun, in de twenty years her live. Henry is in Philadephia. David, de oldest, is fifty years old, livin' out in de county from Winnsboro. Lula died, unmarried. Carrie lives here, in Winnsboro; her husband is Arthur Rosboro, dat you white folks all know so well. When Maggie die, I marry Nancy Holmes, a widow. Us have had no chillun.

"Now you is finished wid me and you wants me to relax, you say, and talk to you freely 'bout de past and slavery, de present and social conditions, and de risin' generation and de future? Well, dat is a heap of territory. Now let's think. You see I got a heap a white blood in me, and a heap of de Negro too. Slavery did de white race a whole lot a good but it wasn't lastin' good. It did de Negro good, dat will be lastin' good forever. De Negro women protected de pure white woman from enticement and seduction of de white man in slavery time. My grandpap say he never heard of a bad white woman befo' freedom. I leave it wid you if dere's any dese times? Dat was worth more to de South, my grandpap say, dis santification of de white women, than all de cotton and corn dat de Negroes ever makes, in all de years of slavery times.

"Now it was de finest thing could have happen for de Negro, to have been snatched out of Africa and brought here in touch wid civilization and Christianity. It will work out untold benefit to de race. 'Bout social conditions? De Bible say, 'De poor you will have wid you always.' Tho' de slave question am settled, de race question will be wid us always, 'til Jesus come de second time. It's in our politics, in our justice courts, on our highways, on our side walks, in our manners, in our 'ligion, and in our thoughts, all de day and every day.

"De good Marster pity both sides. In de end, will it be settle by hate or by de policy of, love your neighbor, as you do yourself? Who knows? Dere's not much promise at de 'mediate moment of de risin' generation, of either side, and I means no disrespect to you. My grandpap say no race can rise higher than its women. De future of de Negro race, depends on its mothers. I leave you to answer de last half of de question."

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



(Uncle Ben lives in his own cabin with his second wife, Stella. Formerly almost inaccessible, the new Coastal Highway has put Uncle Ben and Aunt Stella in the world. The rural electricity program has current right at their door. Aunt Stella was asked 'Why don't you have lights, Aunt Stella?' and she replied, 'White folks run me if I do that!' So you see the old couple still live with many old and odd beliefs one being that the white man only is entitled to the good things—the better things. Like most old ex-slaves in South Carolina low country, they love and revere the names and memories of their old masters.)

"Right now, I oldest one from Longwood to Prospect—see dere? (Pointing to forest wall—great pines and live-oaks in front of the cabin)—Look! I know when he cleared and plant! Josh Ward have potato there. I have manure and plant tater. I been here, daughter!" (He pronounces it 'Dater' with a short 'a')

(Aside: "Stella, mind now! Don't quarrel me to-night! What you do?"

Aunt Stella: The second wife—some years his junior—probably 65—"I do nuff!")

"Got to go up there and cook supper to the Schoolfield house." (This was Uncle Ben's announcement as he crawled into the car with a bucket in which were his shoes. He was walking down the Coastal Highway and not staying where he belonged—on the shoulder!) "Got to cook crab and ister (oyster). Ain't got much to cook. They don't eat much. Got a gal there to fry fish. They give me recommend for cook. Been get the sea foods for 'em for five year. Iron oven the way we raise." (Aside to his wife) "Stella, if that man come there, see that sack there? Tell that man I put fire there. Gie 'em fork and knife. Tell 'em eat all he want!" (Uncle Ben arranges oyster roasts.)

"That man to Schoolfield house want me to stay and sleep wid 'em. All women gone. Tell me keep the man and lock up the house when he gone. I tell 'em too much o' tief!"

Lillie: "Aunt Stella, ain't you fraid when Uncle Ben stay out all night?"

Uncle Ben: "Stella keep pot o' water boil and tief come she trow 'em!"

Visitor: "Uncle Ben tell Lillie bout your father and the whiskey jug."

Uncle Ben: "You see, to Brookgreen we nuster plant rice and my fadder had the barn key. He kinder boss man. He nuster (used to) take me and go out woods night time." (Aside to mother of child at pump—"Take care dat child!")

"Fadder take me out woods night time (What you say, Primus?) and I hold storch (torch) for him see for trash (thrash) out rice what he take out the barn. Rice been money dem time you know. And he take he rice and gone on down to town for get he liquor. And he come from town wid whiskey. Boss find it out. Five or six chillun and always give us rations. Broke that jug and when they call his name (put rations in pile you know—pile for every one been in fambly) when they call my fadder name but a piece o' broken jug there is discourage him from whiskey—. He come from town and been drop the jug and it break up. And Boss know. Far as I can remember he keep give 'em that broken jug bout a year. You see he sponsible for key. Seem like I member right where we go beat that rice. Pine tree saw off and chip out make as good a mortar as that one I got. Dan'l, Summer, Define! Define the oldest brother my fadder have. Young Missus Bess, Florence, Georgia, Alice. Those boys the musicianer—go round play for the girl."

Aunt Stella: Interrupting, "You orter be carry money with you. Get the meat. I ain't going no whey (where)."

Lillie: To Primus who has walked up. "Handful back yet?" (Handful his wife's basket name.)

Primus: "No. This man bacco barn burn up."

Lillie: "What?"

Primus: "Mr. Len barn. Must'er been asleep!"

Lillie: "Rich most cure all his'n. Taint mine! Rich tease me. He say, 'MY bacco; YOUR kitchen!'"

Lillie: "What you all think bout that tale the Elder tell Sunday bout his Great Uncle and the snakes!"

Stella: (To Uncle Ben) "What you tink bout it? You tink a man truss to go in cypress hollow wid rattle-snake?"

Uncle Ben: "Let me see how was it!" (Deep thought as he rubbed his face in his palm; smile as recollection came) "On Rutledge Plantation a man wouldn't take no beating. Found a large hollow cypress tree been rotten out long years. Gone in. Lie down sleep. Fore day wake up! Feel something crawl over him. Nother one crow like game chicken!" (Negroes all say rattlers crow!) "Smell him. Crawl over him. Crawl out. Get out."

Stella: "Revents had it wuz a man in a cypress tree and seven—how much wuz it? Twelve? These twelve monster snake crawl over him. If you move, he strike."

Uncle Ben: "Right there where Dr. Ward stay had a big old stable—see these two hole in my jaw. Had a stable high as that tree. Big Jersey bull gone in there eating that straw like we thrashing. Big rattle-snake pop 'um. Fell dead."

"How does we mark shoat? Under-bit; upper-bit. Swallow fork in the right year! And a square crop in the left!

"How much been task? A quarter (acre) if you mashing ground. Ten compass digging ground. Cutting rice one half acre a day." (awful job.)

Stella: "Plow; harrow 'em."

Ben: "Ain't you mash 'em?"

Stella: "Mash a bed a day three task deep."

Ben: "Mashing raw ground half acre—some quarter. Mash 'em—take hoe full up them hole, level dem, chop dem big sod!"

Stella: (age 65) "You got a mis-sheen (machine). Ox pull dat mis-sheen!"

Ben: "Dat mis-sheen come in YOU day, darling! My day I trenching hoe trench dat! I done dat, Stella. You come on sow in trench lak (like) dey sow turnip. YOU day got mis-sheen! Ox pull 'em. Great I AM! Missus, fifteen to old islant (island), twenty silver islant, (I been Silver Islant. Cross old islant go Silver islant.) Josh Ward one some four or five hundred acre. Something been here, darling! Something been here! Left Brookgreen go Watsaw; left Watsaw gone Longwood. Plant ALL DEM plantation. I work there. Cut rice there. Cutting rice task been half acre a day.

"Squirrel creek? Cedar tree and cypress hang low. Squirrel love dem ball. Tree work up wid dem. Good place for go shoot squirrel. Give 'em name Squirrel Creek.

"Bury live? I did hear some talk o' that. I didn't know whether they bury 'em to scay 'em (scare 'em) or what. I DID hear tell bout it. I most know that man name. Some these white people that day something! They either manage you or kill you."

Lillie: (To Primus who was a listener to Uncle Ben standing propped by a post of the porch where Uncle Ben, Aunt Stella, and the white visitor sat)

"Prime! Why you keep that church door lock Sunday and not let the Missus out?"

Primus: (Grinning—and he hadn't grinned Sunday but steadfastly shook his head when, after a three hour service, guests thought it time to go) "Second man next to me, Asham, Secretary, tell me keep door shet through sacrament.

Ben: (Who is quite deaf—ignoring interruption—when asked about Oregon Plantation which was owned by a family who, from all accounts, had a cruel overseer.)

"I didn't have to much to do to Oregon in them dark days. If I go from Brookgreen, I go Cap'n Josh git my mittment. Anybody bother me I say, 'I not a run-way nigger! I got mittment!'

"Very FUSS girl—FUSS one I go with name wuz Teena. How many girl? Great God! I tell you! FUSS one Teena; next Candis. Candis best looking but Teena duh largest! Go there every Sunday after school. (Oatland Plantation—blong to Marse Benjamine Allston.) Stay till sunset. Got to have paper. Got to carry you paper. Dem patroller put you cross a log! Beat you to death. I see them beat Ben Sharp. Beat 'em till Ben kin hardly git cross fence. Jump over fence give 'em last chop! Patroll jess like road men now! (Stella! That man ain't coming! I got to go! Got to cook my supper. Cook dem crab—) Blood! Christ! Yes, man. Listen me. Lemme tell you what I see wid my eye now! (here he pried both eyes wide with his ten fingers) If I much of age reckon they have to kill me! I see gash SO LONG (measuring on fore-finger) in my Mama—my own Mama! (aside to Lillie) I shame fore Miss Jinny! If one them driver want you (want big frame gal like you Lillie!) they give you task you CAN'T DO. You getting this beating not for you task—for you flesh!"

Lillie: "That why nation get mix up so!" (Races)

Ben: "Susan wuz a house woman, to buckra woman like a you to Miss Jin. (Susan worked in the house—no field hand—like Lillie works for Miss Jin) To my knowing she had three white chillun. Not WANT 'em. HAB 'em. Boy (you know 'em Lill) near bout clean as them boy of Missus! Tief chillun show up so! Woman over-power! My mother nuss (nurse.) Get up so high—natural nuss for white people.

"Place they call duh 'Bull Pen.' In 'Bull Pen' thing they call 'PONY'. Got to go on there—on the 'PONY.'

Lillie: "RIDE you on it, Uncle Ben?"

Ben: "Ain't going ride you on 'PONY'; going RIDE YOU! I stay there look wid DESE HERE (eyes)! Want you to know one thing—MY OWN DADDY DERE couldn't move! Couldn't venture dat ober-sheer! (Colored overseer) Everybody can't go to boss folks! (Meaning only house servants could contact Missus and Massa). Some kin talk it to Miss Bess. Everybody don't see Miss Bess. Kin see the blood of dat ober-sheer fuss year atter Freedom; and he blood there today! Atter Freedom mens come from French Broad and you know the colored people—we go there whey (where) they music. Agrippa—daddy name Parrish—Redmond one he child outside. (Outside chillun are those not born to a man's legal wife) He say, to gal, 'Go that barn!' YOU GO. You could yeddy him SLAP cross dat creek! When fowl crow (daylight) and you yeddy him SQUALL, you best git to flat! I stand dere and my Daddy HAVE to stand dere and see! Josh Ward from French Broad—hundred mile away. (Boss Massa 'summering it' in mountains) and negro over seer—just fresh out of Africa TURNED LOOSE. White obersheer a little different for one reason! White obersheer want to hold his job. (On Waccamaw—and same true of all south as all know—white overseers worst kind of 'White trash'—respected less by negroes than by whites) Nigger obersheer don't care too much. He know he going stay on plantation anyhow.

"Now, dater, I tell you bout the loom and weaving next time!"

And we left Uncle Ben Horry—age 87 Murrells Inlet, S.C. August 1937.

to go on 'to the Schoolfield house and cook supper for a house-party. This week he stepped up to Con-o-way. Says he had to walk it twice a week—formed the habit when he was on old river Steamer Burroughs and had to walk up to Conway Monday and back home Saturday. About thirty miles (or more from his place) to Conway. At 87 he still takes this little exercise almost weekly. Having such a struggle holding on to his land. All the lawyers saying 'sign here' and trying to rob him! Poor Uncle Ben needs desperately a Massa to help him out with his land. Not many Uncle Ben's left to be robbed—

(told that the cruel negro overseer was shot down after Freedom—blood still on ground (according to Uncle Ben) because he led Yankees to where silver, etc., was buried. Have heard story from other old livers.)

Project # 2570 Mrs. Genevieve W. Chandler, Murrell's Inlet, S.C. Georgetown county.

Ex Slave Story.


Uncle Ben and his wife, aunt Stella, live in their two-room, white-washed cabin that sits sideways to the King's Highway, which Uncle Ben always calls 'the King Road,' near Murell's Inlet, S.C. Paving and straightening this old King's Road, now US 17, has put the two old people in the world. Around the cabin lie the fourteen and three quarter acres that were paid for by Uncle Ben and his father, six or eight acres cleared, the rest woodland. Uncle Ben earns a living by gathering oysters from the Inlet's waters, opening and roasting the oysters for white visitors. Uncle Ben is a great walker. He walks to Conway, the county seat of Horry (Murrell's Inlet is situated on the line between Horry and Georgetown counties), a distance of approximately thirty miles depending on whether one sticks to the paved highway or takes short cuts through the woods, in preference to riding. One day he had walked to Conway and back by eleven o'clock in the morning. Uncle Ben's scrappy conversation will tell how he earns his bread, fears and fights 'the Law', provides for Stella's future, and works for and honors white folks. Brookgreen, which he mentions as the plantation on which he was born and raised, is an open-air museum, donated to South Carolina by A.M. Huntingdon, and visited by thousands of tourists. (See US17, Tour 1).

"I the oldest liver left on Waccamaw Neck that belong to Brookgreen, Prospect, (now Arcadia), Longwood, Alderly Plantations. I been here! I seen things! I tell you. Thousand of them things happen but I try to forget 'em. Looker!" He pointed to what appeared to be primeval forest in front of his battered little porch. "That woods you see been Colonel Josh Ward's taters patch. Right to Brookgreen Plantation where I born. My father Duffine (Divine) Horry and my brother is Richard Horry. Dan'l and Summer two both my uncle. You can put it down they were Colonel Ward's musicianer. Make music for his dater (daughter) and the white folks to dance. Great fiddlers, drummers. Each one could play fiddle, beat drum, blow fife. All three were treat with the same education. You know, when you going to do anything for them big people you got to do it right. Before time (formerly) they danced different. Before strange city people fetched different steps here. But, then, they could use they feet all right!

"My father fore he dead been the head man for old Colonel Josh Ward. Lived to Brookgreen. They say Colonel Ward the biggest rice man been on Waccamaw. He start that big gold rice in the country. He the head rice Cap'n in dem time. My father the head man, he tote the barn key. Rice been money dem day and time. My father love he liquor. That take money. He ain't have money but he have the rice barn key and rice been money! So my father gone in woods (he have a head, my father!), take a old stump, have 'em hollow out. Now he (the stump) same as mortar to the barn yard. And my father keep a pestle hide handy. Hide two pestle! Them pestle make outer heart pine. When that pestle been miss (missed), I wuzn't know nothing! The way I knows my age, when the slavery time war come I been old enough to go in the woods with my father and hold a lightard (lightwood) torch for him to see to pestle off that golden rice he been tote out the barn and hide. That rice he been take to town Sat'd'y when the Colonel and my father go to get provision like sugar, coffee, pepper and salt. With the money he get when he sell that rice, he buy liquor. He been hide that sack o' rice fore day clean (daylight) in the prow of the boat and cover with a thing like an old coat. I members one day when he come back from town he make a miss (step) when he onloading and fell and broke he jug! The Big Boss see; he smell; and he see WHY my father make that miss step; he already sample that liquor! But the Boss ain't say too much. Sat'd'y time come to ration off. Every head on the Plantation to Brookgreen line up at smoke-house to draw he share of meat and rice and grits and meal. (This was fore my father been pint (appointed) head man. This when they had a tight colored man in that place by name Fraser. They say Fraser come straight from Africa). Well, Sat'd'y when time come to give my father he share of rations, the headman reach down in the corner and pull out a piece of that broke whiskey jug and put on top my father rations where all could see! Colonel Ward cause that to be done to broke him off from that whiskey jug. My father was a steady liquor man till then and the Boss broke him off.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse