"Me? I never did git no lickin's when I was a li'l slave. No mam. I allus did obey jis' like I was teached to do and dey didn' hafter whip me. I 'members dat."
"We done our playin' 'roun' dat big house, but dat front gate, we dassen' go outside dat. We uster jump de rope and play ring plays and sich. You know how dey yoke dey han's togedder? Dat de way us uster do and go 'roun' and 'roun' singin' our li'l jumped up songs. Den us jis' play 'roun' lots of times anyt'ing what happen to come up in our min's."
"Dey feed us good back in slavery. Give us plenty of meat and bread and greens and t'ings. Ye, dey feed us good and us had plenty. Dey give us plenty of co'nbread. Dat's de reason I's a co'nbread eater now. I ain't no flour-bread eater. I lubs my co'nbread. Us all eat outer one big pan. Dey give each li'l nigger a big iron spoon and us sho' go to it. Dey give us milk in a sep'rate vessel, and dey give eb'ryone a slice of meat in our greens. And dey never dassent tek de other feller's piece of meat. Eb'ryt'ing better go 'long smoove wid us chillun. We better eat and shut our mouf. We dassent raise no squall."
"I tell dese chillun here dey ain't know nuffin'. Dey got dey glass. We had our li'l go'ds (gourds) pretty and clean and white. I wish I had one of dem ol' time go'ds now to drink my milk outer."
"In good wedder dey feed us under a big tree out in de yard. And us better leave eb'ryt'ing clean and no litter 'roun'. In de winter time dey fed us in de kitchen."
"Us gals wo' plain, long waisted dress. Dey was cut straight and wid long waist and dey button down de back."
"Dey was a cullud man what mek shoes for de slaves to wear in de winter time. He mek 'em outer rough red russet ledder. Dat ledder was hard and lots of times it mek blister on us feet. I uster be glad when summer time come so's I could go barefoot."
"Dey had cabins for de slaves to live in. Dere was jis' one room and one family to de cabin. Some of 'em was bigger dan others and dey put a big family in a big cabin and a li'l family in a li'l cabin."
"I never see no slaves bought and sol'. I heerd my gramma and ma say dey ol' marster wouldn' sell none of his slaves."
"I heerd 'bout dem broom-stick marriages, but I ain't never seed none. Dat was dey law in dem days."
"Dey didn' know nuffin' 'bout preachin' and Sunday School in dem times. De fus' preachin' I heerd was atter dat. I hear a white preacher preach. He uster preach to de white folks in de mornin' and de cullud folks in de afternoons. But de slaves some of 'em uster had family prayer meetings to deyselfs."
"De ol' marster he didn' work he han's on Sunday and he give 'em half de day off on Sadday, too. But he never give 'em a patch to work for deyself. Dat half a day off on Sadday was for de slaves to wash and clean up deyselfs."
"I never git marry 'till way atter freedom come. Dat was up in Jasper county where I's bred and bo'n. I marry Hyman Hawthorne. Near as you kin guess, dat was 'bout 50 year' ago. Den he die and lef' me wid eight chillun. My baby gal she ain't never see no daddy."
"Atter he dead I wash and iron and cook out and raise my chillun. I was raise up in de fiel' all my life. When I git disable' to wuk in de time of de 'pressure (depression) I git on my walkin' stick. I wag up town and I didn' fail to ax de white folks 'cause I wo' myself out wukkin' for 'em. Dey load up my sack and sometime dey bring me stuff in a car right dere to dat gate. But I's had two strokes and I ain't able to go to town no mo'."
"I tell you I never hear nuthin' 'bout chu'ch 'till way atter freedom. Sometime den us go to chu'ch. Dey was one Mef'dis' Chu'ch and one Baptis' Chu'ch in Jasper. Dere moughta been a Cabilic (Catholic) Chu'ch dere too, but I dunno 'bout dat."
"I don' 'member seein' no sojers. I t'ink some of ol' marster's boys went to de war but de ol' man didn' go. I dunno 'bout wedder dey come back or not 'cep'n' I 'member dat Crab Norsworthy he come back."
"When any of de slaves git sick ol' mistus and my gramma dey doctor 'em. De ol' mistus she a pretty good doctor. When us chillun git sick dey git yarbs or dey give us castor oil and turpentine. Iffen it git to be a ser'ous ailment dey sen' for de reg'lar doctor. Dey uster hang asafoetida 'roun' us neck in a li'l bag to keep us from ketch' de whoopin' cough and de measles."
"Dey was a gin and cotton press on de place. Ol' marster gin' and bale' he own cotton. Dat ol' press had dem long arms a-stickin' down what dey hitch hosses to and mek 'em go 'roun' and 'roun' and press de bale."
"Dey raise dey own t'bacco on de place. I didn' use snuff nor chew 'till after I growed up and marry. Back in slavery you couldn' let 'em ketch you wid a chew of t'bacco or snuff in your mouf. Iffen you did dey wouldn' let you forgit it."
"I uster like to go and play 'roun' de calfs, jis' go up and pet 'em and rub 'em. But we dassent git on 'em to ride 'em."
"Marster uster sit 'roun' and watch us chillun play. He enjoy dat. He call me his Annie 'cause I name' after my mistus. Sometime he hab a wagon load of watermilion haul' up from de fiel' and cut 'em. Eb'ry chile hab a side of watermilion. And us hab all de sugar cane and sweet 'taters us want."
"Dey had a big smokehouse. Dey hab big hog killin' time, and dey dry and salt de meat in a big long trough. Dey git oak and ash and hick'ry wood and mek a fire under it and smoke it. My gramma toted de key to dat smokehouse and ol' mistus she'd tell her what to go and git for de white folks and de cullud folks."
"When Crismus come 'roun' dey give us big eatin'. Us hab chicken and turkey and cake. I don' 'member dat dey give us no presents."
"My gramma and my ma and ol' man Norsworthy dey come from Alabama. I never hear of him breakin' up a family. But when dey was livin' in Geo'gy, my ma marry a man name' Hawthorne in Geo'gy. He wouldn' sell him to Marse Norsworthy when he come to Texas. Atter freedom marster go to Geo'gy to git him and bring him to Texas, but he done raisin' up anudder family dere and won't come. Li'l befo' she die her husban' come. When he 'bout wo' out and ready to die, den he come. Some of de ol'es' chillun 'member dey daddy and dey crazy for him to come and dey mek up de money for him. When he git here dey tek care of him 'till he die right dere at Olive. Ma tell 'em to write him he neenter (need not) come. She say he ain't no service to her. But he come and de daughter tek care of her ma and pa bofe."
"I's got 8 gran'chillun and 5 great-gran'chillun. I 'vides (divide) my time 'tween my daughter here and de one in Houston."
"You wants to tek my picture? Daughter, I don' want dat hat you got dere. Dat one of de chillun' hats. Git dat li'l bonnet. Dat becomes me better. I can't stan' much sun. Dey say I's got high blood pressue."
JAMES HAYES, 101, was born a slave to a plantation owner whose name he does not now recall, in Shelby Co., two miles from Marshall, Texas. Mr. John Henderson bought the place, six slaves and James and his mother. James, known as Uncle Jim, seems happy, still stands erect, and is very active for his age. He lives on a green slope overlooking the Trinity river, in Moser Valley, a Negro settlement ten miles northeast of Fort Worth.
"Dis nigger have lived a long time, yas, suh! I's 101 years ole, 'cause I's bo'n Dec. 28, 1835. Dat makes me 102 come nex' December. I can' 'member my fust marster's name, 'cause when I's 'bout two years ole, me and my sis, 'bout five, and our mammy was sol' to Marster John Henderson. I don' 'member anything 'bout my pappy, but I 'member Marster Henderson jus' like 'twas las' week. I's settin' hear a thinkin' of dem ole days when I's a li'l nigger a cuttin' up on ole marster's plantation. How I did play roun' with de chilluns till I's big enough for to wo'k. After I's 'bout 13, I jus' peddles roun' de house for 'bout a year, den 'twarn't long till I hoes co'n and potatoes. Dere's six slaves on dat place and I coul' beat dem all a-hoein'.
"De marster takes good care of us and sometimes give us money, 'bout 25c, and lets us go to town. Dat's when we was happy and celebrates. We'uns spent all de money on candy and sweet drinks. Marster never crowded us 'bout de wo'k, and never give any of us whuppin's. I's sev'ral times needed a whuppin', but de marster never gives dis nigger more'n a good scoldin'. De nearest I comes to gittin whupped, 'twas once when I stole a plate of biscuits offen de table. I warn't in need of 'em, but de devil in me caused me to do it. Marster and all de folks comes in and sets down, and he asks for de biscuits, and I's under de house and could hear 'em talk. De cook says, 'I's put de biscuits on de table.' Marster says, 'If you did, de houn' got 'em.' Cook says, 'If a houn' got 'em, 'twas a two-legged one, 'cause de plate am gone, too.' I's made de mistake of takin' de plate. Marster give me de wors' scoldin' I ever has and dat larned me a lesson.
"Not long after dat, Marster sol' my mammy to his brudder who lived in Fort Worth. When dey took her away, I's powerful grieved. 'Bout dat time de War started. De marster and his boy, Marster Ben, jined de army. De marster was a sergeant. De women folks was proud of dere men folks, but dey was powerful grieved. All de time de men's away, I could tell Missy Elline and her mamma was worried. Dey allus sen's me for de mail, and when I fotches it, dey run to meet me, anxious like, to open de letter, and was skeert to do it. One day I fotches a letter and I could feel it in my bones, dere was trouble in dat letter. Sure 'nough, dere was trouble, heaps of it. It tells dat Marster Ben am kilt and dat dey was a shippin' him home. All de ole folks, cullud and white, was cryin'. Missy Elline, she fainted. When de body comes home, dere's a powerful big funeral and after dat, dere's powerful weepin's and sadness on dat place. De women folks don' talk much and no laughin' like 'fore. I 'members once de missy asks me to make a 'lasses cake. I says, 'I's got no 'lasses.' Missy says, 'Don' say 'lasses, say molasses.' I says, 'Why say molasses when I's got no 'lasses.' Dat was de fus' time Missy laugh after de funeral.
"Durin' de War, things was 'bout de same, like always, 'cept some vittles was scarce. But we'uns had plenty to eat and us slaves didn' know what de War was 'bout. I guess we was too ign'rant. De white folks didn' talk 'bout it 'fore us. When it's over, de Marster comes home and dey holds a big celebration. I's workin' in de kitchen and dey tol' me to cook heaps of ham, chicken, pies, cakes, sweet 'taters and lots of vegetables. Lots of white folks comes and dey eats and drinks wine, dey sings and dances. We'uns cullud folks jined in and was singin' out in de back, 'Massa's in de Col', Har' Groun'. Marster asks us to come in and sing dat for de white folks, so we'uns goes in de house and sings dat for de white folks and dey jines in de chorus.
"Three days after de celebration, de marster calls all de slaves in de house and says, 'Yous is all free, free as I am.' He tol' us we'uns could go if we'uns wanted to. None of us knows what to do, dere warn't no place to go and why would we'uns wan' to go and leave good folks like de marster? His place was our home. So we'uns asked him if we could stay and he says, 'Yous kin stay as long as yous want to and I can keep yous.' We'uns all stayed till he died, 'bout a year after dat.
"When he was a-dyin', marster calls me to his bed and says, 'My dyin' reques' is dat yous be taken to your mama.' He calls his son, Zeke, in and tells him dat I should be fotched to my mamma. And 'bout in a year, Marster Zeke fotches me to my mamma, in Johnson Station, south of Arlington. She's wo'kin' for Jack Ditto and I's pleased to see her.
I's pleased to see my mammy, but after a few days I wants to go back to Marshall with Marster Zeke. Dat was my home, so I kep' pesterin' marster to fetch me back, but he slips off and leaves me. I has to stay and I's been here ever since.
"I gits my fust job with Carter Cannon, on a farm, and stays seven years. Den I goes to Fort Worth and takes a job cookin' in de Gran' Hotel for three years. Den I goes to Dallas and cooks for private families, and wo'ks for Marster James Ellison for 30 years. I stops four years ago and comes out here to wait till de good Lawd calls me home.
"Bout gittin' married, after I quits de Gran' Hotel I marries and we'uns has two chillen. My wife died three years later.
"You knows, I believes I's mo' contented as a slave. I's treated kind all de time and had no frettin' 'bout how I gwine git on. Since I's been free, I sometimes have heaps of frettin'. Course, I don' want to go back into slavery, but I's paid for my freedom.
"I's never been sick abed, but I's had mo' misery dis las' year dan all my life. It's my heart. If I live till December, I'll be 102 years old, and dis ole heart have been pumpin' and pumpin' all dem years and have missed nary a beat till dis las' year. I knows 'twon't be long till de good Lawd calls dis ole nigger to cross de Ribber Jordan and I's ready for de Lawd when he calls.
FELIX HAYWOOD is a temperamental and whimsical old Negro of San Antonio, Texas, who still sees the sunny side of his 92 years, in spite of his total blindness. He was born and bred a slave in St. Hedwig, Bexar Co., Texas, the son of slave parents bought in Mississippi by his master, William Gudlow. Before and during the Civil War he was a sheep herder and cowpuncher. His autobiography is a colorful contribution, showing the philosophical attitude of the slaves, as well as shedding some light upon the lives of slave owners whose support of the Confederacy was not accompanied by violent hatred of the Union.
"Yes, sir, I'm Felix Haywood, and I can answer all those things that you want to know. But, first, let me ask you this: Is you all a white man, or is you a black man?"
"I'm black, blacker than you are," said the caller.
The eyes of the old blind Negro,—eyes like two murkey brown marbles—actually twinkled. Then he laughed:
"No, you ain't. I knowed you was white man when you comes up the path and speaks. I jus' always asks that question for fun. It makes white men a little insulted when you dont know they is white, and it makes niggers all conceited up when you think maybe they is white."
And there was the key note to the old Negro's character and temperament. He was making a sort of privileged game with a sportive twist out of his handicap of blindness.
As the interviewer scribbled down a note, the door to the little shanty on Arabella Alley opened and a backless chair was carried out on the porch by a vigorous old colored woman. She was Mrs. Ella Thompson, Felix' youngest sister, who had known only seven years of slavery. After a timid "How-do-you-do," and a comment on the great heat of the June day, she went back in the house. Then the old Negro began searching his 92 years of reminiscences, intermixing his findings with philosophy, poetry and prognostications.
"It's a funny thing how folks always want to know about the War. The war weren't so great as folks suppose. Sometimes you didn't knowed it was goin' on. It was the endin' of it that made the difference. That's when we all wakes up that somethin' had happened. Oh, we knowed what was goin' on in it all the time, 'cause old man Gudlow went to the post office every day and we knowed. We had papers in them days jus' like now.
"But the War didn't change nothin'. We saw guns and we saw soldiers, and one member of master's family, Colmin Gudlow, was gone fightin'—somewhere. But he didn't get shot no place but one—that was in the big toe. Then there was neighbors went off to fight. Some of 'em didn't want to go. They was took away (conscription). I'm thinkin' lots of 'em pretended to want to go as soon as they had to go.
"The ranch went on jus' like it always had before the war. Church went on. Old Mew Johnson, the preacher, seen to it church went on. The kids didn't know War was happenin'. They played marbles, see-saw and rode. I had old Buster, a ox, and he took me about plenty good as a horse. Nothin' was different. We got layed-onto(whipped) time on time, but gen'rally life was good—just as good as a sweet potato. The only misery I had was when a black spider bit me on the ear. It swelled up my head and stuff came out. I was plenty sick and Dr. Brennen, he took good care of me. The whites always took good care of people when they was sick. Hospitals couldn't do no better for you today.... Yes, maybe it was a black widow spider, but we called it the 'devil biter'.
"Sometimes someone would come 'long and try to get us to run up North and be free. We used to laugh at that. There wasn't no reason to run up North. All we had to do was to walk, but walk South, and we'd be free as soon as we crossed the Rio Grande. In Mexico you could be free. They didn't care what color you was, black, white, yellow or blue. Hundreds of slaves did go to Mexico and got on all right. We would hear about 'em and how they was goin' to be Mexicans. They brought up their children to speak only Mexican.
"Me and my father and five brothers and sisters weren't goin' to Mexico. I went there after the war for a while and then I looked 'round and decided to get back. So I come back to San Antonio and I got a job through Colonel Breckenridge with the waterworks. I was handling pipes. My foreman was Tom Flanigan—he must have been a full-blooded Frenchman!
"But what I want to say is, we didn't have no idea of runnin' and escapin'. We was happy. We got our lickings, but just the same we got our fill of biscuits every time the white folks had 'em. Nobody knew how it was to lack food. I tell my chillen we didn't know no more about pants than a hawg knows about heaven; but I tells 'em that to make 'em laugh. We had all the clothes we wanted and if you wanted shoes bad enough you got 'em—shoes with a brass square toe. And shirts! Mister, them was shirts that was shirts! If someone gets caught by his shirt on a limb of a tree, he had to die there if he weren't cut down. Them shirts wouldn't rip no more'n buckskin.
"The end of the war, it come jus' like that—like you snap your fingers."
"How did you know the end of the war had come?" asked the interviewer.
"How did we know it! Hallelujah broke out—
"'Abe Lincoln freed the nigger With the gun and the trigger; And I ain't goin' to get whipped any more. I got my ticket, Leavin' the thicket, And I'm a-headin' for the Golden Shore!'
"Soldiers, all of a sudden, was everywhere—comin' in bunches, crossin' and walkin' and ridin'. Everyone was a-singin'. We was all walkin' on golden clouds. Hallelujah!
"'Union forever, Hurrah, boys, hurrah! Although I may be poor, I'll never be a slave— Shoutin' the battle cry of freedom.'
"Everybody went wild. We all felt like heroes and nobody had made us that way but ourselves. We was free. Just like that, we was free. It didn't seem to make the whites mad, either. They went right on giving us food just the same. Nobody took our homes away, but right off colored folks started on the move. They seemed to want to get closer to freedom, so they'd know what it was—like it was a place or a city. Me and my father stuck, stuck close as a lean tick to a sick kitten. The Gudlows started us out on a ranch. My father, he'd round up cattle, unbranded cattle, for the whites. They was cattle that they belonged to, all right; they had gone to find water 'long the San Antonio River and the Guadalupe. Then the whites gave me and my father some cattle for our own. My father had his own brand, 7 B ), and we had a herd to start out with of seventy.
"We knowed freedom was on us, but we didn't know what was to come with it. We thought we was goin' to get rich like the white folks. We thought we was goin' to be richer than the white folks, 'cause we was stronger and knowed how to work, and the whites didn't and they didn't have us to work for them anymore. But it didn't turn out that way. We soon found out that freedom could make folks proud but it didn't make 'em rich.
"Did you ever stop to think that thinking don't do any good when you do it too late? Well, that's how it was with us. If every mother's son of a black had thrown 'way his hoe and took up a gun to fight for his own freedom along with the Yankees, the war'd been over before it began. But we didn't do it. We couldn't help stick to our masters. We couldn't no more shoot 'em than we could fly. My father and me used to talk 'bout it. We decided we was too soft and freedom wasn't goin' to be much to our good even if we had a education."
The old Negro was growing very tired, but, at a request, he instantly got up and tapped his way out into the scorching sunshine to have his photograph taken. Even as he did so, he seemed to smile with those blurred, dead eyes of his. Then he chuckled to himself and said:
"'Warmth of the wind And heat of the South, And ripe red cherries For a ripe, red mouth.'"
"Land sakes, Felix!" came through the window from sister Ella. "How you carries on! Don't you be a-mindin' him, mister."
PHOEBE HENDERSON, a 105 year old Negro of Harrison Co., was born a slave of the Bradley family at Macon, Georgia. After the death of her mistress, Phoebe belonged to one of the daughters, Mrs. Wiley Hill, who moved to Panola County, Texas in 1859, where Phoebe lived until after the Civil War. For the past 22 years she has lived with Mary Ann Butler, a daughter, about five miles east of Marshall, in Enterprise Friendship Community. She draws a pension of $16.00 a month.
"I was bo'n a slave of the Bradley family in Macon, Georgia. My father's name was Anthony Hubbard and he belonged to the Hubbard's in Georgia. He was a young man when I lef' Georgia and I never heard from him since. I 'member my mother; she had a gang of boys. Marster Hill brought her to Texas with us.
"My ole missus name was Bradley and she died in Tennessee. My lil' missus was her daughter. After dey brought us to Texas in 1859 I worked in the field many a day, plowin' and hoein', but the children didn't do much work 'cept carry water. When dey git tired, dey'd say dey was sick and the overseer let 'em lie down in de shade. He was a good and kindly man and when we do wrong and go tell him he forgave us and he didn't whip the boys 'cause he was afraid they'd run away.
"I worked in de house, too. I spinned seven curts a day and every night we run two looms, makin' large curts for plow lines. We made all our clothes. We didn't wear shoes in Georgia but in this place the land was rough and strong, so we couldn't go barefooted. A black man that worked in the shop measured our feet and made us two pairs a year. We had good houses and dey was purty good to us. Sometimes missus give us money and each family had their garden and some chickens. When a couple marry, the master give them a house and we had a good time and plenty to wear and to eat. They cared for us when we was sick.
"Master Wiley Hill had a big plantation and plenty of stock and hawgs, and a big turnip patch. He had yellow and red oxen. We never went to school any, except Sunday school. We'd go fishin' often down on the creek and on Saturday night we'd have parties in the woods and play ring plays and dance.
"My husband's name was David Henderson and we lived on the same place and belonged to the same man. No, suh, Master Hill didn't have nothin' to do with bringin' us together. I guess God done it. We fell in love, and David asked Master Hill for me. We had a weddin' in the house and was married by a colored Baptist preacher. I wore a white cotton dress and Missus Hill give me a pan of flour for a weddin' present. He give us a house of our own. My husband was good to me. He was a careful man and not rowdy. When we'd go anywhere we'd ride horseback and I'd ride behin' him.
"I's scared to talk 'bout when I was freed. I 'member the soldiers and that warrin' and fightin'. Toby, one of the colored boys, joined the North and was a mail messenger boy and he had his horse shot out from under him. But I guess its a good thing we was freed, after all.
ALBERT HILL, 81, was born a slave of Carter Hill, who owned a plantation and about 50 slaves, in Walton Co., Georgia. Albert remained on the Hill place until he was 21, when he went to Robinson Co., Texas. He now lives at 1305 E. 12th St., Fort Worth, Texas, in a well-kept five-room house, on a slope above the Trinity River.
"I was born on Massa Carter Hill's plantation, in Georgia, and my name am Albert Hill. My papa's name was Dillion, 'cause he taken dat name from he owner, Massa Tom Dillion. He owned de plantation next to Massa Hill's, and he owned my mammy and us 13 chillen. I don't know how old I is, but I 'members de start of de war, and I was a sizeable chile den.
"De plantation wasn't so big and wasn't so small, jus' fair size, but it am fixed first class and everything am good. We has good quarters made out of logs and lots of tables and benches, what was made of split logs. We has de rations and massa give plenty of de cornmeal and beans and 'lasses and honey. Sometimes we has tea, and once in a while we gits coffee. And does we have de tasty and tender hawg meat! I'd like to see some of dat hawg meat now.
"Massa am good but he don't 'low de parties. But we kin go to Massa Dillion's place next to us and dey has lots of parties and de dances. We dances near all night Saturday night, but we has to stay way in de back where de white folks can't hear us. Sometimes we has de fiddle and de banjo and does we cut dat chicken wing and de shuffle! We sho' does.
"I druv de ox, and drivin' dat ox am agitation work in de summer time when it am hot, 'cause dey runs for water every time. But de worst trouble I ever has is with one hoss. I fotches de dinner to de workers out in de field and I use dat hoss, hitched to de two-wheel cart. One day him am halfway and dat hoss stop. He look back at me, a-rollin' de eye, and I knows what dat mean—'Here I stays, nigger.' But I heered to tie de rope on de balky hosses tail and run it 'twixt he legs and tie to de shaft. I done dat and puts some cuckleburrs on de rope, too. Den I tech him with de whip and he gives de rear back'ards. Dat he best rear. When he do dat it pull de rope and de rope pull de tail and de burrs gits busy. Dat hoss moves for'ard faster and harder den what he ever done 'fore, and he keep on gwine. You see, he am trying git 'way from he tail, but de tail am too fast. Course, it stay right behin' him. Den I's in de picklement. Dat hoss am runnin' away and I can't stop him. De workers lines up to stop him but de cart give de shove and dat pull he tail and, lawdy whoo, dat hose jump for'ard like de jackrabbit and go through dat line of workers. So I steers him into de fence row, and dere's no more runnin', but an awful mix-up with de hoss and de cart and de rations. Dat hoss so sceered him have de quavers. Massa say, 'What you doin'?' I says, 'Break de balk.' He say, 'Well, yous got everything else broke. We'll see 'bout de balk later.'
Massa has de daughter, Mary, and she want to marry Bud Jackson, but massa am 'gainst it. Bud am gwine to de army and dat give dis boy work, 'cause I de messenger boy for him and Missy Mary. Dey keeps company unbeknownst and I carry de notes. I puts de paper in de hollow stump. Once I's sho' I's kotched. Dere am de massa and he say, 'Where you been, nigger?' I's sho' skeert and I says, 'I's lookin' for de squirrels.' So massa goes 'way and when I tells you I's left, it ain't de proper word for to 'splain, 'cause I's flew from here.' I tells Missy Mary and she say, 'You sho' am de Lawd's chosen nigger.'
"De 'federate soldiers comes and dey takes de rations, but de massa has dug de pit in de pasture and buried lots of de rations, so de soldiers don't find so much. De clostest battle was Atlanta, more dan 25 mile 'way.
"When de war come over, Bud Jackson he come home. De massa welcome him, to de sprise of everybody, and when Bud say he want to marry Missy Mary, massa say, 'I guesses you has earnt her.'
"When freedom am here, massa call all us together and tells us 'bout de difference 'tween freedom and hustlin' for ourselves and dependin' on someone else. Most of de slaves stays, and massa pays them for de work, and I stays till I's 21 year old, and I gits $7.00 de month and de clothes and de house and all I kin eat. De massa have died 'fore dat, and dere am powerful sorrow. Missy Mary and Massa Bud has de plantation den, and dey don't want me to go to Texas. But dey goes on de visit and while dey gone I takes de train for Robinson County, what am in Texas.
"I works at de pavin' work and at de hostlin' work and I works on de hosses. Den I works for de Santa Fe railroad, handlin' freight, and I works till 'bout three year ago, when I gits too old for to work no more.
"But I tells you 'bout de visit back to de old plantation. I been gone near 40 year and I 'cides to go back, so I reaches de house and dere am Missy Mary peelin' apples on de back gallery. She looks at me, and she say, 'I got whippin' waiting for yous, 'cause you run off without tellin' us.' Dere wasn't no more peelin' dat day, 'cause we sits and talks 'bout de old times and de old massa. Dere sho' am de tears in dis nigger's eyes. Den we talks 'bout de nigger messenger I was, and we laughs a little. All day long we talks a little, and laughs and cries and talks. I stays 'bout two weeks and seed lots of de folks I knowed when I was young, de white folks and de niggers, too.
"I's too old to make any more visits, but I would like to go back to Old Georgia once more. If Missy Mary was 'live, I'd try, but she am dead, so I tries to wait for old Gabriel blow he horn. When he blow he horn, dis nigger say, 'Louder, Gabriel, louder!'
ROSINA HOARD does not know just where she was born. The first thing she remembers is that she and her parents were purchased by Col. Pratt Washington, who owned a plantation near Garfield, in Travis County, Texas. Rosina, who is a very pleasant and sincere person, says she has had a tough life since she was free. She receives a monthly pension of fourteen dollars, for which she expresses gratitude. Her address is 1301 Chestnut St., Austin, Tex.
"When I's a gal, I's Rosina Slaughter, but folks call me Zina. Yes, sar. It am Zina dat and Zina dis. I says I's born April 9, 1859, but I 'lieve I's older. It was somewhere in Williamson County, but I don't know the massa's name. My mammy was Lusanne Slaughter and she was stout but in her last days she got to be a li'l bit of a woman. She died only last spring and she was a hunerd eleven years old.
"Papa was a Baptist preacher to de day of he death. He had asthma all his days. I 'member how he had de sorrel hoss and would ride off and preach under some arbor bush. I rid with him on he hoss.
"First thing I 'member is us was bought by Massa Col. Pratt Washington from Massa Lank Miner. Massa Washington was purty good man. He boys, George and John Henry, was de only overseers. Dem boys treat us nice. Massa allus rid up on he hoss after dinner time. He hoss was a bay, call Sank. De fields was in de bottoms of de Colorado River. De big house was on de hill and us could see him comin'. He weared a tall, beaver hat allus.
"De reason us allus watch for him am dat he boy, George, try larn us our A B C's in de field. De workers watch for massa and when dey seed him a-ridin' down de hill dey starts singin' out, 'Ole hawg 'round de bench—Ole hawg 'round de bench.'
"Dat de signal and den everybody starts workin' like dey have something after dem. But I's too young to larn much in de field and I can't read today and have to make de cross when I signs for my name.
"Each chile have he own wood tray. Dere was old Aunt Alice and she done all de cookin' for de chillen in de depot. Dat what dey calls de place all de chillen stays till dere mammies come home from de field. Aunt Alice have de big pot to cook in, out in de yard. Some days we had beans and some day peas. She put great hunks of salt bacon in de pot, and bake plenty cornbread, and give us plenty milk.
"Some big chillen have to pick cotton. Old Junus was de cullud overseer for de chillen and he sure mean to dem. He carry a stick and use it, too.
"One day de blue-bellies come to de fields. Dey Yankee sojers, and tell de slaves dey free. Some stayed and some left. Papa took us and move to de Craft plantation, not far 'way, and farm dere.
"I been married three time. First to Peter Collinsworth. I quit him. Second to George Hoard. We stayed togedder till he die, and have five chillen. Den I marries he brother, Jim Hoard. I tells you de truth, Jim never did work much. He'd go fishin' and chop wood by de days, but not many days. He suffered with de piles. I done de housework and look after de chillen and den go out and pick two hunerd pound cotton a day. I was a cripple since one of my boys birthed. I git de rheumatis' and my knees hurt so much sometime I rub wed sand and mud on dem to ease de pain.
"We had a house at Barton Springs with two rooms, one log and one box. I never did like it up dere and I told Jim I's gwine. I did, but he come and got me.
"Since freedom I's been through de toughs. I had to do de man's work, chop down trees and plow de fields and pick cotton. I want to tell you how glad I is to git my pension. It is sure nice of de folks to take care of me in my old age. Befo' I got de pension I had a hard time. You can sho' say I's been through de toughs.
TOM HOLLAND was born in Walker County, Texas, and thinks he is about 97 years old. His master, Frank Holland, traded Tom to William Green just before the Civil War. After Tom was freed, he farmed both for himself and for others in the vicinity of his old home. He now lives in Madisonville, Texas.
"My owner was Massa Frank Holland, and I's born on his place in Walker County. I had one sister named Gena and three brothers, named George and Will and Joe, but they's all dead now. Mammy's name was Gena and my father's named Abraham Holland and they's brung from North Carolina to Texas by Massa Holland when they's real young.
"I chopped cotton and plowed and split rails, then was a horse rider. In them days I could ride the wildest horse what ever made tracks in Texas, but I's never valued very high 'cause I had a glass eye. I don't 'member how I done got it, but there it am. I'd make a dollar or fifty cents to ride wild horses in slavery time and massa let me keep it. I buyed tobacco and candy and if massa cotch me with tobacco I'd git a whippin', but I allus slipped and bought chewin' tobacco.
"We allus had plenty to eat, sich as it was them days, and it was good, plenty wild meat and cornbread cooked in ashes. We toasted the meat on a open fire, and had plenty possum and rabbit and fish.
"We wore them loyal shirts open all way down the front, but I never seed shoes till long time after freedom. In cold weather massa tanned lots of hides and we'd make warm clothes. My weddin' clothes was a white loyal shirt, never had no shoes, married barefooted.
"Massa Frank, he one real good white man. He was awful good to his Negroes. Missis Sally, she a plumb angel. Their three chillen stayed with me nearly all the time, askin' this Negro lots of questions. They didn't have so fine a house, neither, two rooms with a big hall through and no windows and deer skins tacked over the door to keep out rain and cold. It was covered with boards I helped cut after I got big 'nough.
"Massa Frank had cotton and corn and everything to live on, 'bout three hundred acres, and overseed it himself, and seven growed slaves and five little slaves. He allus waked us real early to be in the field when daylight come and worked us till slap dark, but let us have a hour and a half at noon to eat and rest up. Sometimes when slaves got stubborn he'd whip them and make good Negroes out of them, 'cause he was real good to them.
"I seed slaves sold and auctioned off, 'cause I's put up to the highest bidder myself. Massa traded me to William Green jus' 'fore the war, for a hundred acres land at $1.00 a acre. He thought I'd never be much 'count, 'cause I had the glass eye, but I'm still livin' and a purty fair Negro to my age. All the hollerin' and bawlin' took place and when he sold me it took me most a year to git over it, but there I was, 'longin' to 'nother man.
"If we went off without a pass we allus went two at a time. We slipped off when we got a chance to see young folks on some other place. The patterrollers cotched me one night and, Lawd have mercy on me, they stretches me over a log and hits thirty-nine licks with a rawhide loaded with rock, and every time they hit me the blood and hide done fly. They drove me home to massa and told him and he called a old mammy to doctor my back, and I couldn't work for four days. That never kep' me from slippin' off 'gain, but I's more careful the next time.
"We'd go and fall right in at the door of the quarters at night, so massa and the patterrollers thinks we's real tired and let us alone and not watch us. That very night we'd be plannin' to slip off somewheres to see a Negro gal or our wife, or to have a big time, 'specially when the moon shine all night so we could see. It wouldn't do to have torch lights. They was 'bout all the kind of lights we had them days and if we made light, massa come to see what we're doin', and it be jus' too bad then for the stray Negro!
"That there war brung suffrin' to lots of people and made a widow out of my missis. Massa William, he go and let one them Yankees git him in one of them battles and they never brung him home. Missis, she gits the letter from his captain, braggin' on his bravery, but that never helped him after he was kilt in the war. She gits 'nother letter that us Negroes is free and she tells us. We had no place to go, so we starts to cry and asks her what we gwine do. She said we could stay and farm with her and work her teams and use her tools and land and pay her half of what we made, 'sides our supplies. That's a happy bunch of Negroes when she told us this.
"Late in that evenin' the Negroes in Huntsville starts hollerin' and shoutin' and one gal was hollerin' loud and a white man come ridin' on a hoss and leans over and cut that gal nearly half in two and a covered wagon come along and picks her up and we never heared nothin' more.
"I married Imogene, a homely weddin' 'fore the war. We didn't have much to-do at our weddin'. I asks missis if I could have Imogene and she says yes and that's all they was to our weddin'. We had three boys and three gals, and Imogene died 'bout twenty years ago and I been livin' with one child and 'nother. I gits a little pension from the gov'ment and does small jobs round for the white people.
"I 'lieve they ought to have gived us somethin' when we was freed, but they turned us out to graze or starve. Most of the white people turned the Negroes slam loose. We stayed a year with missis and then she married and her husband had his own workers and told us to git out. We worked for twenty and thirty cents a day then, and I fin'ly got a place with Dr. L.J. Conroe. But after the war the Negro had a hard struggle, 'cause he was turned loose jus' like he came into the world and no education or 'sperience.
"If the Negro wanted to vote the Klu Kluxes was right there to keep him from votin'. Negroes was 'fraid to git out and try to 'xert they freedom. They'd ride up by a Negro and shoot him jus' like a wild hawg and never a word said or done 'bout it.
"I's farmed and makin' a livin' is 'bout all. I come over here in Madison County and rents from B.F. Young, clost to Midway and gits me a few cows. I been right round here ever since. I lives round with my chillen now, 'cause I's gittin' too old to work.
"This young bunch of Negroes is all right some ways, but they won't tell the truth. They isn't raised like the white folks raised us. If we didn't tell the truth our massa'd tear us all to pieces. Of course, they is educated now and can get 'most any kind of work, some of them, what we couldn't.
ELIZA HOLMAN, 82, was born a slave of the Rev. John Applewhite, near Clinton, Mississippi. In 1861 they came to Texas, settling near Decatur. Eliza now lives at 2507 Clinton Ave., Fort Worth, Texas.
"Talk 'bout de past from de time I 'members till now, slave days and all? Dat not so hard. I knows what de past am, but what to come, dat am different. Dey says, 'Let de past be de guide for de future,' but if you don't know de future road, hows you gwine guide? I's sho' glad to tell you all I 'members, but dat am a long 'memberance.
"I know I's past 80, for sho', and maybe more, 'cause I's old 'nough to 'member befo' de war starts. I 'members when de massa move to Texas by de ox team and dat am some trip! Dey loads de wagon till dere ain't no more room and den sticks we'uns in, and we walks some of de time, too.
"My massa am a preacherman and have jus' three slaves, me and pappy and mammy. She am cook and housekeeper and I helps her. Pappy am de field hand and de coachman and everything else what am needed. We have a nice, two-room log house to live in and it am better den what mos' slaves have, with de wood floor and real windows with glass in dem.
"Massa am good but he am strict. He don't have to say much when he wants you to do somethin'. Dere am no honey words round de house from him, but when him am preachin' in de church, him am different. He am honey man den. Massa could tell de right way in de church but it am hard for him to act it at home. He makes us go to church every Sunday.
"But I's tellin' you how we'uns come to Texas. De meals am cook by de campfire and after breakfast we starts and it am bump, bump, bump all day long. It am rocks and holes and mudholes, and it am streams and rivers to cross. We'uns cross one river, musta been de Mississippi, and drives on a big bridge and dey floats dat bridge right 'cross dat river.
"Massa and missus argues all de way to Texas. She am skeert mos' de time and he allus say de Lawd take care of us. He say, 'De Lawd am a-guidin' us.' She say, 'It am fools guidin' and a fool move for to start.' Dat de way dey talks all de way. And when we gits in de mudhole 'twas a argument 'gain. She say, 'Dis am some more of your Lawd's calls.' He say, 'Hush, hush, woman. Yous gittin' sac'ligious.' So we has to walk two mile for a man to git his yoke of oxen to pull us out dat mudhole, and when we out, massa say, 'Thank de Lawd.' And missus say, 'Thank de mens and de oxen.'
"Den one day we'uns camps under a big tree and when we'uns woke in de mornin' dere am worms and worms and worms. Millions of dem come off dat tree. Man, man, dat am a mess. Massa say dey army worms and missus say, 'Why for dey not in de army den?'
"After we been in Texas 'bout a year, missy Mary gits married to John Olham. Missy Mary am massa's daughter. After dat I lives with her and Massa John and den hell start poppin' for dis nigger. Missy Mary am good but Massa John am de devil. Dat man sho' am cruel, he works me to death and whups me for de leas' thing. My pappy say to me, 'You should 'come a runaway nigger.' He runs 'way hisself and dat de las' time we hears of him.
"When surrender come I has to stay on with Massa Olham, 'cause I has no place to go and I's too young to know how to do for myself. I stays 'bout till I's 16 year old and den I hunts some place to work and gits it in Jacksboro and stays dere sev'ral years. I quits when I gits married and dat 'bout nine year after de war end.
"I marries Dick Hines at Silver Creek and he am a farmer and a contrary man. He worked jus' as hard at his contrariness as him did at his farmin'. Mercy, how distressin' and worryment am life with dat nigger! I couldn't stand it no longer dan five year till I tooks my getaway. De nex' year I marries Sam Walker what worked for cattlement here in Fort Worth and he died 'bout 20 year ago. Den 'twas 'bout 13 year ago I marries Jack Holman and he died in 1930. I's sho' try dis marrin' business but I ain't gwine try it no more, no, suh.
"'Twixt all dem husbands and workin' for de white folks I gits 'long, but I's old and de last few years I can't work. Dey pays me $12.00 de month from de State and dat's what I lives on. Shucks, I's not worth nothin' no more. I jus' sets and sets and thinks of de old days and my mammy. All dat make me sad. I'll tell you one dem songs what 'spresses my feelin's 'zactly.
"I's am climbin' Jacob's ladder, ladder, I's am climbin' Jacob's ladder, ladder, Soldier of de cross; O-h-h-h! Rise and shine, Give Gawd de glory, glory, glory, In de year of Jubilee. I wants to climb up Jacob's ladder, ladder, Jacob's ladder, till I gits in de new Jerusalem.
"Dat jus' how I feels."
LARNCE HOLT, 79, was born near Woodville, in Tyler County, Texas, a slave of William Holt. He now lives in Beaumont, Texas.
"I's jus' small fry when freedom come, 'cause I's born in 1858. Bill Holt was my massa's name, dat why dey calls me Larnce Holt. My massa, he come from Alabama but my mammy and daddy born in Texas. Mammy named Hannah and daddy Elbert. Mammy cooked for de white folks but daddy, he de shoemaker. Dat consider' a fine job on de plantation, 'cause he make all de shoes de white folks uses for everyday and all de cullud people shoes. Every time dey kill de beef dey save de hide for leather and dey put it in de trough call de tan vat, with de oak bark and other things, and leave 'em dere long time. Dat change de raw hide to leather. When de shoe done us black dem with soot, 'cause us have to do dat or wear 'em red. I's de little tike what help my daddy put on de soot.
"Massa have de big plantation and I 'member de big log house. It have de gallery on both sides and dey's de long hall down de center. De dogs and sometimes a possum used to run through de hall at night. De hall was big 'nough to dance in and I plays de fiddle.
"My mammy have four boys, call Eb and Ander and Tobe. My big brother Eb he tote so many buckets of water to de hands in de field he wore all de hair offen de top he head.
"I be so glad when Christmas come, when I's li'l. Down in de quarter us hang up stocking and us have plenty homemake ginger cake and candy make out of sugar and maybe a apple. One Christmas I real small and my mammy buy me a suit of clothes in de store. I so proud of it I 'fraid to sit down in it. 'Terials in dem day was strong and last a long time. One time I git de first pair shoes from a store. I thought dey's gold. My daddy bought dem for me and dey have a brace in de toe and was nat'ral black.
"When freedom come us family breaks up. Old missy can't bear see my mammy go, so us stay. Dey give my daddy a place on credick and he start farm and dey even 'low him hosses and mule and other things he need. My massa good to de niggers. I stays with my mammy till she die when I ten year old and den my brother Eb he take me and raise me till I sixteen. Den I go off for myself.
"Dem young year us have good time. I fiddle to de dance, play 'Git up in de Cool,' and 'Hopus Creek and de Water.' Us sho' dress up for de dance. I have black calico pants with red ribbon up de sides and a hickory shirt. De gals all wears ribbons 'round de waist and one like it 'round de head.
"Us have more hard time after freedom come dan in all de other time together. Us livin' in trouble time. 'Bout 15 year ago I lost a leg, a big log fall 'cross it when I makin' ties. I had plenty den but it go for de hospital.
BILL HOMER, 87, was born a slave on June 17, 1850, to Mr. Jack Homer, who owned a large plantation near Shreveport, La. In 1860 Bill was given to Mr. Homer's daughter, who moved to Caldwell, Texas. Bill now lives at 3215 McKinley Ave., Fort Worth, Texas.
"I is 87 years old, 'cause I is born on June 17th, in 1850, and that's 'cording to de statement my missy give me. I was born on Massa Jack Homer's plantation, close to Shreveport. Him owned my mammy and my pappy and 'bout 100 other slaves. Him's plantation was a big un. I don't know how many acres him have, but it was miles long. Dere was so many buildings and sheds on dat place it was a small town. De massa's house was a big two-story building and dere was de spinnin' house, de smokehouse, de blacksmith shop and a nursery for de cullud chillens and a lot of sheds and sich. In de nigger quarters dere was 50 one-room cabins and dey was ten in a row and dere was five rows.
"De cabins was built of logs and had dirt floors and a hole whar a window should be and a stone fireplace for de cookin' and de heat. Dere was a cookhouse for de big house and all de cookin' for de white folks was 'tended to by four cooks. We has lots of food, too—cornmeal and vegetables and milk and 'lassas and meat. For mos' de meat dey kotched hawgs in de Miss'sippi River bottoms. Once a week, we have white flour biscuit.
"Some work was hard and some easy, but massa don' 'lieve in overworkin' his slaves. Sat'day afternoon and Sunday, dere was no work. Some whippin' done, but mos' reasonable. If de nigger stubborn, deys whips 'nough for to change his mind. If de nigger runs on, dat calls de good whippin's. If any of de cullud folks has de misery, dey lets him res' in bed and if de misery bad de massa call de doctor.
"I larnt to be coachman and drive for massa's family. But in de year of 1860, Missy Mary gits married to Bill Johnson and at dat weddin' massa Homer gives me and 49 other niggers to her for de weddin' present. Massa Johnson's father gives him 50 niggers too. Dey has a gran' weddin'. I helps take care of de hosses and dey jus' kep' a-comin'. I 'spect dere was more'n 100 peoples dere and dey have lots of music and dancin' and eats and, I 'spects, drinks, 'cause we'uns made peach brandy. You see, de massa had his own still.
"After de weddin' was over, dey gives de couple de infare. Dere's whar dis nigger comes in. I and de other niggers was lined up, all with de clean clothes on and den de massa say, 'For to give my lovin' daughter de start, I gives you dese 50 niggers. Massa Bill's father done de same for his son, and dere we'uns was, 100 niggers with a new massa.
"Dey loads 15 or 20 wagons and starts for Texas. We travels from daylight to dark, with mos' de niggers walkin'. Of course, it was hard, but we enjoys de trip. Dere was one nigger called Monk and him knows a song and larned it to us, like this:
"'Walk, walk, you nigger, walk! De road am dusty, de road am tough, Dust in de eye, dust in de tuft; Dust in de mouth, yous can't talk— Walk, you niggers, don't you balk.
"'Walk, walk, you nigger walk! De road am dusty, de road am rough. Walk 'til we reach dere, walk or bust— De road am long, we be dere by and by.'
Now, we'uns was a-follerin' behin' de wagons and we'uns sings it to de slow steps of de ox. We'uns don't sing it many times 'til de missy come and sit in de back of de wagon, facin' we'uns and she begin to beat de slow time and sing wid we'uns. Dat please Missy Mary to sing with us and she laugh and laugh.
"After 'bout two weeks we comes to de place near Caldwell, in Texas, and dere was buildin's and land cleared, so we's soon settled. Massa plants mostly cotton and corn and clears more land. I larned to be a coachman, but on dat place I de ox driver or uses de hoe.
"Yous never drive de ox, did yous? De mule ain't stubborn side of de ox, de ox am stubborn and den some more. One time I's haulin' fence rails and de oxen starts to turn gee when I wants dem to go ahead. I calls for haw, but dey pays dis nigger no mind and keeps agwine gee. Den dey starts to run and de overseer hollers and asks me, 'Whar you gwine?' I hollers back, 'I's not gwine, I's bein' took.' Dem oxen takes me to de well for de water, 'cause if dey gits dry and is near water, dey goes in spite of de devil.
"De treatment from new massa am good, 'cause of Missy Mary. She say to Massa Bill, 'if you mus' 'buse de nigger, 'buse yous own.' We has music and parties. We plays de quill, make from willow stick when de sap am up. Yous takes de stick and pounds de bark loose and slips it off, den slit de wood in one end and down one side, puts holes in de bark and put it back on de stick. De quill plays like de flute.
"I never goes out without de pass, so I never has trouble with de patter rollers. Nigger Monk, him have de 'sperience with 'em. Dey kotched him twice and dey sho' makes him hump and holler. After dat he gits pass or stays to home.
"De War make no diff'runce with us, 'cept de soldiers comes and takes de rations. But we'uns never goes hungry, 'cause de massa puts some niggers hustlin' for wil' hawgs. After surrender, missy reads de paper and tells dat we'uns is free, but dat we'uns kin stay 'til we is 'justed to de change.
"De second year after de War, de massa sells de plantation and goes back to Louisiana and den we'uns all lef'. I goes to Laredo for seven year and works on a stock ranch, den I goes to farmin'. I gits married in 1879 to Mary Robinson and we'uns has 14 chilluns. Four of dem lives here.
"I works hard all my life 'til 1935 and den I's too old. My wife and I lives on de pensions we gits.
SCOTT HOOPER, 81, was born a slave of the Rev. Robert Turner, a Baptist minister who owned seven slave families. They lived on a small farm near Tenaha, then called Bucksnort, in Shelby County, Texas. Scott's father was owned by Jack Hooper, a neighboring farmer. Scott married Steve Hooper when she was thirteen and they had eight children, whose whereabouts are now unknown to her. She receives an $8.00 monthly pension.
"Well, I'll do de best I can to tell yous 'bout my life. I used to have de good 'collection, but worryment 'bout ups and downs has 'fected my 'membance. I knows how old I is, 'cause mammy have it in de Bible, and I's born in de year 1856, right in Shelby County, and near by Bucksnort, what am call Tenaha now.
"Massa Turner am de bestest man he could be and taken good care of us, for sho'. He treat us like humans. There am no whuppin's like some other places has. Gosh. What some dem old slaves tell 'bout de whup and de short rations and lots of hard work am awful, so us am lucky.
"Massa don't have de big place, but jus' seven families what was five to ten in de family. My mammy had nine chillen, but my pappy didn't live on us place, but on Jack Hooper's farm, what am four mile off. He comes Wednesday and Saturday night to see us. His massa am good, too, and lets him work a acre of land and all what he raises he can sell. Pappy plants cotton and mostest de time he raises better'n half de bale to he acre. Dat-a-way, he have money and he own pony and saddle, and he brung us chillen candy and toys and coffee and tea for mammy. He done save 'bout $500 when surrender come, but it am all 'Federate money and it ain't worth nothin'. He give it to us chillen to play with.
"Massa Turner am de Baptist preacherman and he have de church at Bucksnort. He run de store, too, and folks laughs 'cause 'sides being a preacherman he sells whiskey in dat store. He makes it medicine for us, with de cherry bark and de rust from iron nails in it. He call it, 'Bitters,' and it a good name. It sho' taste bitter as gall. When us feels de misery it am bitters us gits. Castor oil am candy 'side dem bitters!
"My grandmammy am de cook and all us eats in de shed. It am plenty food and meat and 'lasses and brown sugar and milk and butter, and even some white flour. Course, peas and beans am allus on dat table.
"When surrender come massa calls all us in de yard and makes de talk. He tells us we's free and am awful sorry and show great worryment. He say he hate to part with us and us been good to him, but it am de law. He say us can stay and work de land on shares, but mostest left. Course, mammy go to Massa Hooper's place to pappy and he rents land from Massa Hooper, and us live there seven years and might yet, but dem Klu Klux causes so much troublement. All us niggers 'fraid to sleep in de house and goes to de woods at night. Pappy gits 'fraid something happen to us and come to Fort Worth. Dat in 1872 and he farms over in de bottom.
"I's married to Steve Hooper den, 'cause us marry when I's thirteen years old. He goes in teamin' in Fort Worth and hauls sand and gravel twenty-nine years. He doin' sich when he dies in 1900. Den I does laundry work till I's too old. I tries to buy dis house and does fair till age catches me and now I can't pay for it. All I has is $8.00 de month and I's glad to git dat, but it won't even buy food. On sich 'mount, there am no way to stinch myself and pinch off de payments on de house. Dat am de worryment.
ALICE HOUSTON, pioneer nurse and midwife on whom many San Angeloans have relied for years, was born October 22, 1859. She was a slave of Judge Jim Watkins on his small plantation in Hays County, near San Marcos, Texas and served as house girl to her mistress, Mrs. Lillie Watkins for many years after the Civil War. At Mrs. Watkins' death she came with her husband, Jim Houston, to San Angelo, Texas where she has continued her services as nurse to white families to the present time.
Alice relates her slave day experiences as follows:
"I was jes' a little chile when dat Civil War broke out and I's had de bes' white folks in de world. My ole mistress she train me for her house girl and nurse maid. Dat's whar I's gits so many good ideas fer nursin'.
"My mother's name was Mariah Watkins an' my father was named Henry Watkins. He would go out in de woods on Sat'day nights and ketch 'possums and bring dem home and bake 'em wid taters. Dat was de best eatin' we had. Course we had good food all de time but we jes' like dat 'possum best.
"My marster, he only have four families and he had a big garden fer all of us. We had our huts at de back of de farm. Dey was made out of logs and de cracks daubbed up wid mud. Dey was clean and comfortable though, and we had good beds.
"When we was jes' little kids ole marster he ketch us a stealin' watermelons and he say, 'Git! Git! Git! And when we runs and stoops over to crawl through de crack of de fence he sho' give us a big spank. Den we runs off cryin' and lookin' back like.
"Ole marster, he had lots of hogs and cows and chickens and I can jes' taste dat clabber milk now. Ole miss, she have a big dishpan full of clabber and she tells de girl to set dat down out in de yard and she say, 'Give all dem chillun a spoon now and let dem eat dat.' When we all git 'round dat pan we sho' would lick dat clabber up.
"We had straight slips made out of white lowell what was wove on dat ole spinnin' wheel. Den dey make jeans for de men's breeches and dye it wid copperas and some of de cloth dey dye wid sumac berries and hit was sho' purty too.
"Ole miss, she make soda out of a certain kind of weed and dey makes coffee out of dried sweet taters.
"My marster he didn' have no over-seer. He say his slaves had to be treated right. He never 'lowed none of his slaves to be sold 'way from their folks. I's nev'r, nev'r seen any slaves in chains but I's hear talk of dem chains.
"My white folks, dey tries to teach us to read and spell and write some and after ole marster move into town he lets us go to a real school. That's how come I can read so many docto' books you see.
"We goes to church wid our white folks at dem camp meetin's and oh Lawdy! Yes, mam, we all sho' did shout. Sometimes we jined de church too.
"We washed our clothes on Sat'day and danced dat night.
"On Christmas and New Year we would have all de good things old marster and ole missus had and when any of de white folks marry or die dey sho' carry on big. Weddin's and funerals, dem was de biggest times.
"When we gits sick, ole marster he have de docto' right now. He sho' was good 'bout dat. Ole miss she make us wear a piece of lead 'round our necks fer de malaria and to keeps our nose from bleedin' and all of us wore some asafoetida 'round our necks to keep off contagion.
"When de war close ole marster calls up all de slaves and he say, 'You's all free people now, jes' same as I is, and you can go or stay,' and we all wants to stay 'cause wasn't nothin' we knowed how to do only what ole marster tells us. He say he let us work de land and give us half of what we make, and we all stayed on several years until he died. We stayed with Miss Watkins, and here I is an ole nigga, still adoin' good in dis world, a-tellin' de white folks how to take care of de chilluns."
JOSEPHINE HOWARD was born in slavery on the Walton plantation near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She does not know her age, but when Mr. Walton moved to Texas, before the Civil War, she was old enough to work in the fields. Josephine is blind and very feeble. She lives with a daughter at 1520 Arthur St., Houston, Texas.
"Lawd have mercy, I been here a thousand year, seems like. 'Course I ain't been here so long, but it seems like it when I gits to thinkin' back. It was long time since I was born, long 'fore de war. Mammy's name was Leonora and she was cook for Marse Tim Walton what had de plantation at Tuscaloosa. Dat am in Alabamy. Papa's name was Joe Tatum and he lived on de place 'jinin' ourn. Course, papa and mamy wasn't married like folks now, 'cause dem times de white folks jes' put slave men and women together like hosses or cattle.
"Dey allus done tell us it am wrong to lie and steal, but why did de white folks steal my mammy and her mammy? Dey lives clost to some water, somewheres over in Africy, and de man come in a little boat to de sho' and tell dem he got presents on de big boat. Most de men am out huntin' and my mammy and her mammy gits took out to dat big boat and dey locks dem in a black hole what mammy say so black you can't see nothin'. Dat de sinfulles' stealin' dey is.
"De captain keep dem locked in dat black hole till dat boat gits to Mobile and dey is put on de block and sold. Mammy is 'bout twelve year old and dey am sold to Marse Tim, but grandma dies in a month and dey puts her in de slave graveyard.
"Mammy am nuss gal till she git older and den cook, and den old Marse Tim puts her and papa together and she has eight chillen. I reckon Marse Tim warn't no wor'ser dan other white folks. De nigger driver sho' whip us, with de reason and without de reason. You never knowed. If dey done took de notion dey jes' lays it on you and you can't do nothin'.
"One mornin' we is all herded up and mammy am cryin' and say dey gwine to Texas, but can't take papa. He don't 'long to dem. Dat de lastes' time we ever seed papa. Us and de women am put in wagons but de men slaves am chained together and has to walk.
"Marse Tim done git a big farm up by Marshall but only live a year dere and his boys run de place. Dey jes' like dey papa, work us and work us. Lawd have mercy, I hear dat call in de mornin' like it jes' jesterday, 'All right, everybody out, and you better git out iffen you don't want to feel dat bullwhip 'cross you back.'
"My gal I lives with don't like me to talk 'bout dem times. She say it ain't no more and it ain't good to think 'bout it. But when you has live in slave times you ain't gwine forgit dem, no, suh! I's old and blind and no 'count, but I's alive, but in slave times I'd be dead long time ago, 'cause white folks didn't have no use for old niggers and git shet of dem one way or t'other.
"It ain't till de sojers comes we is free. Dey wants us to git in de pickin', so my folks and some more stays. Dey didn't know no place to go to. Mammy done took sick and die and I hires out to cook for Missy Howard, and marries her coachman, what am Woodson Howard. We farms and comes to Houston nigh sixty year ago. Dey has mule cars den. Woodson gits a job drayin' and 'fore he dies we raises three boys and seven gals, but all 'cept two gals am dead now. Dey takes care of me, and dat all I know 'bout myself.
LIZZIE HUGHES, blind Negress of Harrison County, Texas, was born on Christmas Day, 1848, a slave of Dr. Newton Fall, near Nacogdoches. Lizzie married when she was eighteen and has lived near Marshall since that time. She is cared for by a married daughter, who lives on Lizzie's farm.
"My name am Lizzie Fall Hughes. I was borned on Christmas at Chireno, 'tween old Nacogdoches town and San Augustine. Dat eighty-nine year ago in slavery time. My young master give me my age on a piece of paper when I married but the rats cut it up.
"I 'longed to Dr. Fall and old Miss Nancy, his wife. They come from Georgia. Papa was named Ed Wilson Fall and mammy was June. Dr. Newton Fall had a big place at Chireno and a hundred slaves. They lived in li'l houses round the edge of the field. We had everything we needed. Dr. Newton run a store and was a big printer. He had a printin' house at Chireno and 'nother in California.
"The land was red and they worked them big Missouri mules and sho' raised somethin'. Master had fifty head of cows, too, and they was plenty wild game. When master was gone he had a overseer, but tell him not to whip. He didn't 'lieve in rushin' his niggers. All the white folks at Chireno was good to they niggers. On Saturday night master give all the men a jug of syrup and a sack of flour and a ham or middlin' and the smokehouse was allus full of beef and pork. We had a good time on that place and the niggers was happy. I 'member the men go out in the mornin', singin':
"'I went to the barn with a shinin', bright moon, I went to the wood a-huntin' a coon. The coon spied me from a sugar maple tree, Down went my gun and up the tree went me. Nigger and coon come tumblin' down, Give the hide to master to take off to town, That coon was full of good old fat, And master brung me a new beaver hat.'
"Part of 'nother song go like this:
"'Master say, you breath smell of brandy, Nigger say, no, I's lick 'lasses candy.'
"When old master come to the lot and hear the men singin' like that, he say, 'Them boys is lively this mornin', I's gwine git a big day's plowin' done. They did, too, 'cause them big Missouri mules sho' tore up that red land. Sometime they sing:
"'This ain't Christmas mornin', just a long summer day, Hurry up, yellow boy and don't run 'way, Grass in the cotton and weeds in the corn, Get in the field, 'cause it soon be morn.'
"At night when the hands come in they didn't do nothin' but eat and cut up round the quarters. They'd have a big ball in a big barn there on the place and sixty and seventy on the floor at once, singin':
"'Juba this and Juba that, Juba killed a yaller cat. Juba this and Juba that, Hold you partner where you at.'
"The whites preached to the niggers and the niggers preached to theyselves. Gen'man sho' could preach good them times; everybody cried, they preached so good. I's a mourner when I git free.
"I's big 'nough to work round the house when war starts, but not big 'nough to be studyin' 'bout marryin'. I's sho' sorry when we's sot free. Old master didn't tell his niggers they free. He didn't want them to go. On a day he's gone, two white men come and showed us a piece of paper and say we's free now. One them men was a big mill man and told mama he'll give her $12.00 a month and feed her seven li'l niggers if she go cook for his millhands. Papa done die in slavery, so mama goes with the man. I run off and hid under the house. I wouldn't leave till I seed master. When he come home he say, 'Lizzie, why didn't you go?' I say, 'I don't want to leave my preserves and light bread.' He let me stay.
"Then I gits me a li'l man. He works for master in the store and I works round the house. Master give me two dresses and a pair of shoes when I married. We lived with him a year or two and then come to Marshall. My husband worked on public work and I kept house for white folks and we saved our money and buyed this li'l farm. My man's dead fourteen years now and my gal and her husband keeps the farm goin'.
"Me and my man didn't have nothin' when we left Nacogdoches, but we works hard and saves our money and buyed this farm. It 'pear like these young niggers don't try to 'cumulate nothin'.
MOSE HURSEY believes he is about eighty-two years old. He was born in slavery on a plantation in Louisiana, and was brought to Texas by his parents after they were freed. Mose has been a preacher most of his life, and now believes he is appointed by God to be "Head Prophet of the World." He lives with his daughter at 1120 Tenth St., Dallas, Texas.
"I was born somewhere in Louisiana, but can't rec'lect the place exact, 'cause I was such a little chap when we left there. But I heared my mother and father say they belonged to Marse Morris, a fine gentleman, with everything fine. He sold them to Marse Jim Boling, of Red River County, in Texas. So they changes their name from Morris to Boling, Liza Boling and Charlie Boling, they was. Marse Boling didn't buy my brother and sister, so that made me the olderest child and the onliest one.
"The Bolings had a 'normous big house and a 'normous big piece of land. The house was the finest I ever seen, white and two-story. He had about sixty slaves, and he thought a powerful lot of my folks, 'cause they was good workers. My mother, special, was a powerful 'ligious woman.
"We lived right well, considerin'. We had a little log house like the rest of the niggers and I played round the place. Eatin' time come, my mother brung a pot of peas or beans and cornbread or side meat. I had 'nother brother and sister comin' 'long then, and we had tin plates and cups and knives and spoons, and allus sot to our food.
"We had 'nough of clothes, sich as they was. I wore shirttails out of duckings till I was a big boy. All the little niggers wore shirttails. My mother had fair to middlin' cotton dresses.
"All week the niggers worked plantin' and hoein' and carin' for the livestock. They raised cotton and corn and veg'tables, and mules and horses and hawgs and sheep. On Sundays they had meetin', sometimes at our house, sometimes at 'nother house. Right fine meetin's, too. They'd preach and pray and sing—shout, too. I heared them git up with a powerful force of the spirit, clappin' they hands and walkin' round the place. They'd shout, 'I got the glory. I got that old time 'ligion in my heart.' I seen some powerful 'figurations of the spirit in them days. Uncle Billy preached to us and he was right good at preachin' and nat'rally a good man, anyways. We'd sing:
"'Sisters, won't you help me bear my cross, Help me bear my cross, I been done wear my cross. I been done with all things here, 'Cause I reach over Zion's Hill. Sisters, won't you please help bear my cross, Up over Zion's hill?'
"I seed a smart number of wagons and mules a-passin' along and some camp along the woods by our place. I heared they was a war and folks was goin' with 'visions and livestock. I wasn't much bigger'n a minute and I was scared clean to my wits.
"Then they's a time when paw says we'll be a-searchin' a place to stay and work on a pay way. They was a consider'ble many niggers left the Bolings. The day we went away, which was 'cause 'twas the breakin' up of slavery, we went in the wagon, out the carriage gate in front the Boling's place. As we was leavin', Mr. Boling called me and give me a cup sweet coffee. He thought consid'ble plenty of me.
"We went to a place called Mantua, or somethin' like that. My paw says he'll make a man of me, and he puts me to breakin' ground and choppin' wood. Them was bad times. Money was scarce and our feedin' was pore.
"My paw died and maw and me and the children, Nancy and Margina and Jessie and George, moves to a little place right outside Sherman. Maw took in washin' and ironin'. I went one week to school and the teacher said I learned fastest of any boy she ever see. She was a nice, white lady. Maw took me out of school 'cause she needed me at home to tend the other children, so's she could work. I had a powerful yearnin' to read and write, and I studied out'n my books by myself and my friends helped me with the cipherin'.
"I did whatever work I could find to do, but my maw said I was a different mood to the other children. I was allus of a 'ligious and serious turn of mind. I was baptised when I was fifteen and then when I was about twenty-five I heared a clear call to preach the Gospel-word. I went to preachin' the word of Gawd. I got married and raised a family of children, and I farmed and preached.
"I was just a preacher till about thirty years ago, and then Gawd started makin' a prophet out of me. Today I am Mose Hursey, Head Prophet to the World. They is lesser prophets, but I is the main one. I became a great prophet by fastin' and prayin'. I fast Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays. I know Gawd is feedin' the people through me. I see him in visions and he speaks to me. In 1936 I saw him at Commerce and Jefferson Streets (Dallas) and he had a great banner, sayin', 'All needs a pension.' In August this year I had a great vision of war in the eastern corner of the world. I seen miles of men marchin' and big guns and trenches filled with dead men. Gawd tells me to tell the people to be prepared, 'cause the tides of war is rollin' this way, and all the thousands of millions of dollars they spend agin it ain't goin' to stop it. I live to tell people the word Gawd speaks through me.
CHARLEY HURT, 85, was born a slave of John Hurt, who owned a large plantation and over a hundred slaves, in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Charley stayed with his master for five years after the Civil War. In 1899 Charley moved to Fort Worth, and now lives at 308 S. Harding St.
"Yes, suh, I'm borned in slavery and not 'shamed of it, 'cause I can't help how I'm borned. Dere am folks what wont say dey borned in slavery.
"Us plantation am near Maxie, over in Oglethorpe County, in Georgia, and massa am John Hurt and he have near a hunerd slaves. Us live in de li'l cabin make from logs chink with mud and straw and twigs am mix with dat mud to make it hold. De big chimley am outside de cabin mostly, and am logs and mud, too. De cabin am 'bout ten by twenty feet and jus' one room.
"Would I like some dem rations we used to git, now? 'Deed I would. Dem was good, dat meat and cornmeal and 'lasses and plenty milk and sometimes butter. De meat am mostest pork, with some beef, 'cause massa raise plenty hawgs and tendin' meat curin' am my first work. I puts dat meat in de brine and den smokes de hams and shoulders. When hawg-killin' time come I'm busy watchin' de smokehouse, what am big, and hams and sich hung on racks 'bout six feet high from de fireplace. Den it my duty to keep dat fire smoulderin' and jus' smokin'. De more smoke, de better. Den I packs dat meat in hawgs heads and puts salt over each layer. Dat am some meat!
"I mus' tell you 'bout dat whiskey and brandy. Massa have he own still and allus have three barrels or more whiskey and brandy on hand. Den on Christmas Day, him puts a tub of whiskey or brandy in de yard and hangs tin cups 'round de tub. Us helps ourselves. At first us start jokin' with each other, den starts to sing and everybody am happy. Massa watches us and if one us gittin' too much, massa sends him to he cabin and he sleep it off. Anyway, dat one day on massa's place all am happy and forgits dey am slaves.
"De last Christmas 'fore surrender I gits too much and am sick. Gosh a-mighty! Dat de sickest I ever be and dat de last time I gits drunk. Yes, suh, dat spoil dis nigger's taste for whiskey.
"Now, 'bout whuppin's, dere am only one whuppin' what am give. Jerry gits dat, 'cause he wont do what massa say. He tie Jerry on de log and have de rawhide whip.
"Dere am system on dat plantation. Everybody do he own work, sich as field hands, stock hands, de blacksmith and de shoemaker and de weavers and clothes makers. I'm all 'round worker and goes after de mail, jus' runnin' 'round de place.
"When de war start, all massa's sons jines de army. He have three. John am de captain and James carry de flag and I guesses August am jus' de plain sojer. Dey all comes home 'fore de war am finish. August git run over by de wheel of de cannon truck and it cripple he legs so he can't walk good. James gits sick with some kind fever misery and he am sent home. Den John am shot in de shoulder and it stay sore and won't heal. One day Jerry say to massa he want to look at dat sore. Him see somethin' stickin' out and he pull it. It a piece of young massa's coat and de bullet have carry it into de flesh and it am dere a whole year. De sore gits all right after dat out.
"'Fore de boys goes to fightin' dey trains near de place where am de big field for to train hunerds of sojer boys. I likes dat, 'cause de drums goes, 'ter-ump, ter-ump, ter-ump, tump, tump,' and de fifes goes, 'te, te, ta, te, tat' and plays Dixie. One day Young massa trainin' dem sojers and he am walkin' backwards and facin' dem sojers, and jus' as him say, 'Halt,' down he go, flat on he back. Right away quick, him say, ''Bout face,' 'cause him don't want dem sojers to laugh in he face, so he turn dem 'round.
"When surrender come, all dem what not kilt comes home and dey have a big 'ception in Maxie. Dey have lots of long tables and de food am put on 'fore de train come in. Dere was two coaches full of de boys and dey doesn't wait for dat train to stop. No, suh, dey crawls out de windows. Well, dere am huggin' and kissin' of de homefolks, and dey all laughin' and cryin' at de same time, 'cause of de joy dey's feelin'. Den dey all sets down to de feast. Massa make de welcome talk. I done hide in de wagon full of hams and cakes and pies and dere a canvas over dat stuff, and dat how I gits to dat welcome home.
"I crawls out 'fore dey unloads de wagon and 'fore long massa see me and him say, 'Gosh for hemlock! Boy, how comes you here?' I lets my face slip a li'l, 'bout half a laugh. I says, 'I rides under dat canvas.' Dat start him laughin' and he tells de people dat I'm a pat'otic nigger. After dey all eats us niggers gits to eat. For once, I gits plenty pie and cake.
"Us never have much joyments in slave time. Only when de corn ready for huskin' all de neighbors comes dere and a whole big crowd am a-huskin' and singin'. I can't 'member dem songs, 'cause I'm not much for singin'. One go like dis:
"'Pull de husk, break de ear; Whoa, I's got de red ear here.'
"When you finds de red ear, dat 'titles you to de prize, like kissin' de gal or de drink of brandy or somethin'. Dey not 'nough red ears to suit us.
"I'm thirteen year when surrender come. Massa don't call us to him like other massas done. Him jus' go 'mongst de folks and say, 'Well, folks, yous am free now and no longer my prop'ty, and yous 'titled to pay for work. I 'member old Jerry sings, 'Free, free as de jaybird, free to flew like de jaybird. Whew!'
"Some de cullud folks stays and some goes. Mostest dem stays and works de land on shares. I stays till I'm eighteen year and den I works for a farmer den for a blacksmith den some carpenter work and some railroadin'. De fact am, I works at anything I could find to does. I does dat most my life.
"It good for me to stay with Massa Hurt after freedom, 'cause den day plenty trouble in every place. Dere am fightin' 'twixt white and cullud folks over votin' and sich. Dey try 'lect my brudder to Congress one time, but he not 'lect, 'cause de white man what am runnin' 'gainst him gits a cullud preacher to run 'gainst dem both. Dat split de cullud votes and de white man am 'lect. I votes like de white man say, couple times, but after dat I stops votin'. It ain't right for me to vote 'less I knows how and why. I larns to read and den starts votin' 'gain.
"After de war de Ku Klux am org'nize and dey makes de niggers plenty trouble. Sometimes de niggers has it comin' to 'em and lots of times dey am 'posed on. Dere a old, cullud man name George and he don't trouble nobody, but one night de white caps—dat what dey called—comes to George's place. Now, George know of some folks what am whupped for no-cause, so he prepare for dem white caps. When dey gits to he house George am in de loft. He tell dem he done nothin' wrong and for dem to go 'way, or he kill dem. Dey say he gwine have a free sample of what he git if he do wrong and one dem white caps starts up de ladder to git George and George shoot him dead. 'Nother white cap starts shootin' through de ceilin'. He can't see George but through de cracks George can see and he shoots de second feller. So dey leaves and say dey come back. George runs to he old massa and he takes George to de law men. Never nothin' am done 'bout him killin' de white caps, 'cause dem white caps goes 'round 'busing niggers.
"I comes to Texas 'bout 40 year since and gits by purty good till de depression comes, den it hard for me. My age am 'gainst me, too, and many de time I's wish for some dat old ham and bacon on de old plantation.
"First I marries Ann Arrant, in 1898 dat was, and us have three chillen but dey all dead. Us git sep'rate in 1917 and I marries Mary Durham in 1921, and us still livin' together. Us have no chillen. Mammy have ten chillen but I'm de only one what am livin' now, 'cause I'm de youngest.
WASH INGRAM, A 93 year old Negro, was born a slave of Capt. Jim Wall, of Richmond, Va. His father, Charley Wall Ingram, ran away and secured work in a gold mine. Later, his mother died and Capt. Wall sold Wash and his two brothers to Jim Ingram, of Carthage, Texas. When Wash's father learned this, he overtook his sons before they reached Texas and put himself back in bondage, so he could be with his children. Wash served as water carrier for the Confederate soldiers at the battle of Mansfield, La. He now lives with friends on the Elysian Fields Road, seven miles southeast of Marshall, Texas.
"I don' know just how ole I is. I was 'bout 18 when de War was over. I was bo'n on Captain Wall's place in Richmond, Virgini'. Pappy's name was Charlie and mammy's name was Ca'line. I had six sisters and two brothers and all de sisters is dead. I haven't heard from my brothers since Master turn us loose, a year after de war.
"Pappy say dat he and mammy was sold and traded lots of times in Virgini'. We always went by de name of whoever we belonged to. I first worked as a roustabout boy dere on Capt. Wall's place in Virgini'. He was sho' a big man, weighed more'n 200 pounds. He owned lots of niggers and worked lots of land. The white folks was good to us, but Pappy was a fightin' man and he run off and got a job in a gold mine in Virgini'.
"After pappy run away, mammy died and den one day de overseer herded up a big bunch of us niggers and driv us to Barnum's Tradin' Ya'd down in Mississippi. Dat's a place where dey sold and traded Niggers jus' lak stock. I cried when Capt. Wall sold me, 'cause dat was one man dat sho' was good to his niggers. But he had too many slaves.
"Cotton was a good price den and dem slave buyers had plenty of money. We was sold to Jim Ingram, of Carthage. He bought a big gang of slaves and refugeed part of 'em to Louisiana and part to Texas. We come to Texas in ox wagons. While we was on the way, camped at Keachie, Louisiana, a man come ridin' into camp and someone say to me, 'Wash, dar's your pappy.' I didn' believe it 'cause pappy was workin' in a gold mine in Virgini'. Some of de men told pappy his chillen is in camp and he come and fin' me and my brothers. Den he jine Master Ingram's slaves so he can be with his chillen.
"Master Ingram had a big plantation down near Carthage and lots of niggers. He also buyed land, cleared it and sol' it. I plowed with oxen. We had a overseer and sev'ral taskmasters. Dey whip de niggers for not workin' right, or for runnin' 'way or pilferin' roun' master's house. We woke up at four o'clock and worked from sunup to sundown. Dey give us an hour for dinner. Dem dat work roun' de house et at tables with plates. Dem dat work in de field was drove in from work and fed jus' like hosses at a big, long wooden trough. Dey had to eat with a wooden spoon. De trough and de food was clean and always plenty of it, and we stood up to eat. We went to bed soon after supper durin' de week for dat's 'bout all we feel like doin' after workin' twelve hours. We slep' in wooden beds what had corded rope mattresses.
"We had to learn de best way we could, 'cause dere was no schools. We had church out in de woods. I didn' see no money till after de surrender. Guess we didn' need any, 'cause dey give us food and clothes and tobacco. We didn' have to buy nothin'. I had broadcloth clothes, a blue jean overcoat and good shoes and boots.
"De niggers had heap better times dan now. Now we work all time and can't git nothin'. Sat'day night we would have parties and dance and play ring plays. We had de parties dere in a big double log house. Dey would give us whiskey and wine and cherry brandy, but dere wasn' no shootin' or gamblin'. Dey didn' 'low it. De men and women didn' do like dey do now. If dey had such carryin's on as dey do now, de white folks would have whipped 'em good.
"I 'member dat war and I sees dem cannons and hears 'em. I toted water for de soldiers what fought at de Battle of Mansfield. Master Ingram had 350 slaves when de war was over but he didn' turn us loose till a year after surrender. He telled us dat de gov'ment goin' to give us 40 acres of land and a pair of mules, but we didn' git nothin'. After Master Ingram turn us loose, pappy bought a place at De Berry, Texas, and I live with him till after I was grown. Den I marry and move to Louisiana. I come back to Texas two years ago and lived with my friends here ever since. My wife died 18 years ago and I had a hard time 'cause I don' have no folks, but I's managed to git someone to let me work for somethin' to eat, a few clothes and a place to sleep.