MOM JESSIE SPARROW
Ex-Slave, 83 Years
"Good morning, honey, I ain' much today. How you is? No, I can' talk nothin bout dem times today. Ain' know no more den I done tell you. I doin very well considerin I can' get bout like I wants to. Doin very well, honey. Peoples mighty nice to me, white en black. Cose I don' venture to get far off de lot, I be so poorly dese days. Ain' been bout up town dere in a month since Saturday."
"Well, my chillun say for me to go live wid dem, but I don' want to go down to dat other far end of de town. I tell dem dey worry me so dat I think I rather be here in dis piece of house. See, I has such good neighbors bout me here en dere be so much a fightin en gwine on in dat other end of town. All de peoples speaks well of me, both white en black, of dem dat knows me. Yes, mam, Miss Ellen tell me fore she die for me to stay right here in dis house long as I live en ain' nobody is gwine worry me neither. No, child, Miss Mary Watson don' worry me, not one speck bout dis house. Miss Mary de only child dat Miss Ellen got left here. No, honey, I ain' studyin bout gwine nowhe' yet. Cose de house may fall down on me cause dat dere old kitchen over dere was good when I come here, but it rot down. Dat how-come I ain' got no stove. De kitchen rot down en de rain come in on de stove en rust it out. No, dey don' worry me none. I tell dem I ain' got nothin, but I settin here just as satisfied like. Cose I may get a little pension soon, but don' know when it gwine get here. I ain' hear tell of nobody gettin it yet. I tell lady dat come here if I get it, it be all right en if I don' get it, dat be all right too."
"Big sale on today, ain' dere, child? I hear talk bout dey gwine sell all de Witcover property en all dat, but I don' know. Dey sho got a pretty day for it. I had on my old thick sweater, but it too hot. I had to pull it off en put on dis here thin jacket. Can' go bout too naked, honey."
"Yes'um, I know it was you come here de other night. Cose I can' see so good, but I can hear de people voice en tell who dere time I hear dem comin up dat path. You see, I don' light my lamp first night nohow, dere be so much grass round here de mosquitoes comes in en worries me right smart."
"Miss Foxworth en dem fixin to plant dey turnips over dere. Miss Foxworth, I likes her very well to speak. She good-hearted, kind en clever. She comes over en talks wid me often cause us been friends ever since fore de old man been gone. Dey ain' got no kind of garden yet, but dey fixin to plant a fall garden out dere."
"No, child, I done put Miss Betty clothes down. Tell her I ain' able to wash no more en my Lord, Miss Betty sho hate to hear me say dat. Won' dat Miss Betty clothes was so hard, but it was de totin dem back en forth en den dere be so little bit of money in dem, didn' pay to hire nobody to carry dem. Cose she didn' pay me nothin worth much cause she didn' never have nothin much, but a little changin of underclothes en bout one dress. Just had to starch bout one petticoat en one dress, but I can' hardly wash for myself dese days en I wouldn' never venture to do hers no more. No, honey, my conscience wouldn' allow me to overpower Miss Betty for dem little bit of somethin en dey ain' dirty neither. You see, since Miss Emma been stayin dere, she in charge de house en uses all her tablecloths en such as dat. Miss Emma, she mighty nice to me. Every time I go up dere en I ain' been doin nothin for her neither, she see can she find a cup of fresh milk or somethin another to hand me."
"Reckon I gwine be lonesome right bout dis side next week cause all de colored schools gwine be open up Monday. You see, dere be so many school chillun en teacher livin on dis here street. Dat child over dere say she gwine be home right sharp after she be finish pickin cotton next week. I say I ain' be obliged to leave dis country cause my white folks wouldn' never venture to come dere to dat other end of town to see me. All dese chillun bout here mighty good to me. Don' never let me suffer for nothin. Dey caution me not to risk to cook nothin over dat fireplace cause dey say I might tumble over en can' catch myself. No, dey tell me don' do no cookin, I might fall in en burn up. No, child, I ain' chance to cook none on dat fireplace since I been sick. Different ones brings me somethin dis day en dat day. Don' suspicion nothin bout it till I see dem comin. Celeste over dere brings me breakfast en dinner every day en I don' never bother wid no supper cause I lays down too early. Den dey keeps me in plenty bread en rolls en I keeps a little syrup on hand en eats dat if I gets hungry. Dere Marguerite all de time bringin me somethin, if it ain' nothin but a pitcher of ice. You see, dey makes dey ice en it ain' costin her nothin. When I see her turn out dat piazza, I know she comin here. I ain' see her today, but I lookin for her. Used to wash for dem too. Honey, I done a lot of work bout dis town en I don' suffer for nothin. All de people bout here be good to me."
"No, mam, I ain' gwine let you take no more pictures. Ain' gwine take no more. If Miss Montgomery say she comin here to take more pictures, tell her I ain' gwine take no more. No, child, I ain' studyin bout no pictures. I don' want no more. I got one big one up dere on de wall dat show me en my mammy en my son, Sammie, settin in a automobile. Dat my picture settin up dere wid de white blouse on. I tell dem I look like somethin den, but I too old en broke up now. My daughter, she want a picture en she kept on after us till we went up dere to whe' de carnival was. Carnival man had a automobile dat he take your picture in en we get in en set down en he snap de picture. I tell dem dey got one now en dat ought to be sufficient. Dat my mammy settin dere by me. She was sho a fine lookin woman. Lord, Lord, honey, dem chillun love dem pictures, but I ain' studyin bout wantin my picture scatter all bout de country."
"Yes, child, I sleeps all right. Go to bed early too fore anybody else round here do. Yes, mam, I goes to bed early en don' never get up none till I see day shine in dem cracks. I was figurin somebody else ax me dat de other day. Believe it was Dr. Dibble. My Sammie, he a mammy child. He never stop till he send de doctor here to see could he find out de ailment dat seem like was eatin me way. Dr. Dibble come here en set down in dat chair en ax me a heap of questions. Den he test my blood en give me a tonic dat he say would hope me. Yes, mam, dat my Sammie doctor en he goes to see him often, he does have such a misery in his head. Dat de first time Dr. Dibble ever been here, but I likes he manner mighty well. Dr. Zack was a good doctor too. Cose dat what dey tell me, but I ain' know nothin bout it. No, child, I been healthy all my days en I ain' had to worry bout no doctor. I tells dem when I falls down, I won' last long cause I been hearty all my days."
"Your sister still in Dr. Dibble store (office), ain' she? Is she got a cook yet? Dat it, I glad she got somebody to depend on cause dese young people, can' tell bout dem. Dey be one place today en den dey apt to be another place de next day. I used to cook dere to lady house cross de street, but I never didn' cook no Sunday dinner dere. Dat lady been take in sewin en she would sew en press right on de big Sunday. I tell her dat a sin en she say she had to get finish somehow dat de folks was pushin her for dey clothes. I say, 'Well, dat you, ain' me.' I go dere on Sunday mornin en cook breakfast en clean up en put wood in de kitchen. Den I would go to church en left dem to cook what dinner dey get. Dat de reason I won' cook for none dese white folks dis day en time cause when dey pays you dat little bit of money, dey wants every bit your time. I been proud when dat lady move from here cause I was tired walkin de road back en forth. People come here en beg me to cook for dem, but I tell dem I gwine stay right here en do my bit of washin. Gwine get along somehow wid it."
"Bethel, down dere on de other side de jail, de only church I ever been a member of. We got to fix us church twixt now en next year. It need fixin bad. You see, it right on de Main street gwine down en does be right public out to de people. I was fixin to go to church Sunday gone, but my child never come after me. My son, Sammie, never show up, but he come Sunday evenin laughin. Say, 'Ma, I know if I come by your house, you would want to go wid me.' No, I ain' been so I able to go in four Sundays."
"Child, you ought to had brought your parasol wid you cause you been settin here so long, you gwine be late gettin whe' you started. Dis here another hot day we got come here."
"Well, good-day, child. Speak bout how you is find Maggie Black to me when you pass back long dat street dere."
Source: Mom Jessie Sparrow, ex-slave, 83 years, Marion, S.C. Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, October, 1937.
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
ROSA STARKE EX-SLAVE 83 YEARS OLD.
Rosa's grandfather was a slave of Solicitor Starke. Although she has had two husbands since slavery, she has thrown their names into the discard and goes by the name of Rosa Starke. She lives in a three-room frame house with her son, John Harrison, two miles south of Winnsboro, S.C., on the plantation of Mrs. Rebecca V. Woodward. She still does farm work, hoeing and picking cotton.
"They say I was six years old when de war commence poppin' in Charleston. Mammy and pappy say dat I was born on de Graham place, one of de nineteen plantations of my old marster, Nick Peay, in 1854. My pappy was name Bob and my mammy name Salina. They had b'longed to old Marse Tom Starke befo' old Marse Nick bought them. My brudders was name Bob and John. I had a sister name Carrie. They was all older than me.
"My marster, Nick Peay, had nineteen places, wid a overseer and slave quarters on every place. Folks dat knows will tell you, dis day, dat them nineteen plantations, in all, was twenty-seven thousand acres. He had a thousand slaves, more or less, too many to take a census of. Befo' de numerator git 'round, some more would be born or bought, and de nominator had to be sent 'round by Marse Nick, so old Miss Martha, our mistress, say. Her never could know just how many 'twas. Folks used to come to see her and ask how many they had and her say it was one of them sums in de 'rithmetic dat a body never could take a slate and pencil and find out de correct answer to.
"Her was a Adamson befo' her marry old marster, a grand big buckra. Had a grand manner; no patience wid poor white folks. They couldn't come in de front yard; they knowed to pass on by to de lot, hitch up deir hoss, and come knock on de kitchen door and make deir wants and wishes knowed to de butler.
"You wants me to tell 'bout what kind of house us niggers live in then? Well, it 'pend on de nigger and what him was doin'. Dere was just two classes to de white folks, buckra slave owners and poor white folks dat didn't own no slaves. Dere was more classes 'mongst de slaves. De fust class was de house servants. Dese was de butler, de maids, de nurses, chambermaids, and de cooks. De nex' class was de carriage drivers and de gardeners, de carpenters, de barber, and de stable men. Then come de nex' class de wheelwright, wagoners, blacksmiths and slave foremen. De nex' class I 'members was de cow men and de niggers dat have care of de dogs. All dese have good houses and never have to work hard or git a beatin'. Then come de cradlers of de wheat, de threshers, and de millers of de corn and de wheat, and de feeders of de cotton gin. De lowest class was de common field niggers. A house nigger man might swoop down and mate wid a field hand's good lookin' daughter, now and then, for pure love of her, but you never see a house gal lower herself by marryin' and matin' wid a common field-hand nigger. Dat offend de white folks, 'specially de young misses, who liked de business of match makin' and matin' of de young slaves.
"My young marsters was Marse Tom, Marse Nick, and Marse Austin. My young misses was Miss Martha, Miss Mary, and Miss Anne Eliza. I knows Marse Nick, Jr. marry a Cunningham of Liberty Hill. Marse Tom marry a Lyles and Marse Austin marry and move to Abbeville, after de war. Old marster die de year befo' de war, I think, 'cause my mammy and pappy fell in de division to Marse Nick and us leave de Graham place to go to de home place. It was called de Melrose place. And what a place dat was! 'Twas on a hill, overlookin' de place where de Longtown Presbyterian Church and cemetery is today. Dere was thirty rooms in it and a fish pond on top of it. A flower yard stretchin' clean down de hill to de big road, where de big gate, hangin' on big granite pillars, swung open to let de carriages, buggies, and wagons in and up to de house.
"Can I tell you some of de things dat was in dat house when de Yankees come? Golly no! Dat I can't, but I 'members some things dat would 'stonish you as it 'stonished them. They had Marseille carpets, linen table cloths, two silver candlesticks in every room, four wine decanters, four nut crackers, and two coffee pots, all of them silver. Silver castors for pepper, salt, and vinegar bottles. All de plates was china. Ninety-eight silver forks, knives, teaspoons and table-spoons. Four silver ladles, six silver sugar tongs, silver goblets, a silver mustard pot and two silver fruit stands. All de fireplaces had brass firedogs and marble mantelpieces. Dere was four oil paintin's in de hall; each cost, so Marse Nick say, one hundred dollars. One was his ma, one was his pa, one was his Uncle Austin and de other was of Colonel Lamar.
"De smoke-house had four rooms and a cellar. One room, every year, was filled wid brown sugar just shoveled in wid spades. In winter they would drive up a drove of hogs from each plantation, kill them, scald de hair off them, and pack de meat away in salt, and hang up de hams and shoulders 'round and 'bout de smokehouse. Most of de rum and wine was kep' in barrels, in de cellar, but dere was a closet in de house where whiskey and brandy was kep' for quick use. All back on de east side of de mansion was de garden and terraces, acres of sweet 'taters, water millions (watermelons) and strawberries and two long rows of beehives.
"Old marster die. De 'praisers of de State come and figure dat his mules, niggers, cows, hogs, and things was worth $200,000.00. Land and houses I disremember 'bout. They, anyhow, say de property was over a million dollars. They put a price of $1,600.00 on mammy and $1,800.00 on pappy. I 'member they say I was worth $400.00. Young Marse Nick tell us dat the personal property of de estate was 'praised at $288,168.78.[A]
"De Yankees come set all de cotton and de gin-house afire. Load up all de meat; take some of de sugar and shovel some over de yard; take all de wine, rum, and liquor; gut de house of all de silver and valuables, set it afire, and leave one thousand niggers cold and hongry, and our white folks in a misery they never has got over to de third generation of them. Some of them is de poorest white folks in dis State today. I weeps when I sees them so poor, but they is 'spectable yet, thank God.
"After de war I stuck to de Peay white folks, 'til I got married to Will Harrison. I can't say I love him, though he was de father of all my chillun. My pappy, you know, was a half white man. Maybe dat explain it. Anyhow, when he took de fever I sent for Dr. Gibson, 'tend him faithful but he die and I felt more like I was free, when I come back from de funeral, than I did when Marse Abe Lincoln set us free. My brudder, Bob, had done gone to Florida.
"I nex' marry, in a half-hearted way, John Pearson, to help take care of me and my three chillun, John, Bob, and Carrie. Him take pneumonia and die, and I never have a speck of heart to marry a colored man since. I just have a mind to wait for de proper sort, till I git to heaven, but dese adult teachers 'stroy dat hope. They read me dat dere is no marryin' in heaven. Well, well, dat'll be a great disappointment to some I knows, both white and black, and de ginger-cake women lak me.
"Is I got any more to tell you? Just dis: Dere was 365 windows and doors to Marse Nick Peay's house at Melrose, one for every day in de year, my mistress 'low. And dere was a peach tree in de orchard so grafted dat dat peach tree have ripe peaches on it in May, June, July, August, September, and October."
[A] Probate records of Fairfield County. See Roll 110 of the Judge of Probate for Fairfield County.
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 85 YEARS OLD.
Phinie Stewart, as she is known in the community where she lives, is a small, black negress, who shows her age in appearance and movements. She lives with Robert Wood, a hundred yards back of the Presbyterian Church manse at Blackstock, S.C. Robert Wood married Phinie's niece, who is now deceased. Phinie has no property, and depends entirely on the charity of Robert Wood for her support.
"Does you know where de old Bell House is, about a mile de other side of Blackstock, on de Chester road? Yes? Well, dere is where I was borned, in May, 1853.
"I doesn't know who my pappy was. You know in them times folks wasn't particular 'bout marriage licenses and de preacher tying de knot and all dat kind of thing. But I does know mammy's name. Her name was Celie. Dese eyes of mine is dim but I can see her now, stooping over de wash tub and washing de white folks' clothes every Monday and Tuesday.
"Us belonged to Marster Charlie Bell and his lady, Miss Maggie Bell, our mistress in them slavery days. Does I 'member who Miss Maggie was befo' her married Marster Charlie? Sure I does. Mistress was a daughter of Miss Anne Jane Neil, who lived to be a hundred and five years old, and its writ on her tombstone in Concord Cemetery. I 'spect you has seen it, ain't you? Old Miss Anne Neil was a Irish lady, born in Ireland across de ocean. She had a silver snuff box; I seen it. She'd take snuff out dat box, rub it up her nose and say: 'De Prince of Whales (Wales) give me dis box befo' I come to dis country, and I was presented to his ma, Queen Victoria, by de Duke of Wellington on my sixteenth birthday.' Old Miss Anne Neil claims she was born over dere de very night of de battle of Waterloo. And she would go on and 'low dat when de duke took her by de hand and led her up to de queen, him say: 'Your Majesty, dis young lady was born on de night of our great victory at Waterloo.'
"My young mistress was named Miss Margaret. She married Marse Wade Brice. I was give to them when I was 'bout five years old and I went along with them to Woodward, S.C. My mammy was give to them, too, at de same time. Us lived in Marse Wade's quarter, to de east of de white folks' house. Dere was a row of log houses, 'bout ten I think. Mammy and me lived in one dat had two rooms. De chimney was made of sticks and mud, but de floor was a good plank floor. De bed was a wood bedstead wid a wheat straw tick. Dere was no windows to de house, so it was warm in de winter time and blue blazing hot in de summer time.
"My white folks was mighty good to us; they fed us well. Us had wooden shoes and no clothes a-tall in de summer, 'cept a one-piece slip on. My mistress die 'bout a year after her marry, and then Marster Wade marry Miss Tilda Watson, a perfect angel, if dere ever was one on dis red earth. She take a liking to me right at de jump, on first sight. I nussed all her chillun. They was Walter, Ida, Dickey, Lunsford, Wade, Mike, and Wilson. Then I nussed some of her grandchillun. Mr. Brice Waters in Columbia is one of them grandchillun.
"Marse Wade went off to de war and got shot in de hip, but he jined de calvary (cavalry) soon after and was away when de Yankees come through. De Yankees burned and stole everything on de place. They took off all de sheep, mules, and cows; killed all de hogs; cotch all de chickens, ducks and geese; and shot de turkeys and tied them to deir saddles as they left. De gin-house made de biggest blaze I ever has seen. Dere was short rations for all de white folks and niggers after dat day.
"In 1870 I was still dere wid Marse Wade and Miss Tilda, when de devil come along in de shape, form, and fashion of a man. He was name Simon Halleg. I was young then, and a fool, when I married dat no 'count nigger. Us had two chillun, a boy, Allen, and a girl, Louise. Louise sickened and died befo' she was grown. Allen married and had one child, but him and de child are dead. My husband run away and left us.
"About de time of de great cyclone, Miss Tatt Nicholson, a cousin of Miss Tilda, come down and took me to Chester, to be a maid at de Nicholson Hotel. I liked de work, but I got many a scare while I was dere. In them days every hotel had a bar where they would mix whiskey and lemons. Men could just walk up, put deir foots on de brass rail of de bar counter and order what they want, and pay fifteen cents a drink. Sometimes they would play cards all night in de bar. One night an old gent stopped his wagon, dat had four bales of cotton on it, befo' de hotel. He come in to get a drink, saw a game going on and took a hand. Befo' bed time he had lost all his money and de four bales of cotton outside.
"No, I didn't work in slavery times. Chillun didn't have to work. De only thing I 'members doing was minding de flies off de table wid a brush made out of peacock tail-feathers.
"All de slaves had to go to church at Concord twice every month and learn de Shorter Catechism. I has one of them books now, dat I used seventy-five years ago. Want to see it? (She exhibits catechism printed in 1840 for slaves.)
"I left de hotel and come back to Miss Tilda Brice. I married Jacob Stewart then, and he was a good man. Us had no chillun. He been gone to glory eight years, bless God.
"Yes, sir, I 'members de earthquake. It set a heap of people to praying dat night. Even de cows and chickens got excited. I thought de end of de world had come. I jined de Red Hill Baptist Church then, but my membership is now at de Cross Roads Baptist Church. Brother Wright, de pastor, comes to see me, as I'm too feeble to gallivant so far to church.
"Dis house b'longs to Joe Rice. My nephew rents from him and is good enough, though a poor man, to take care of me.
"Please do all you can to get de good President, de Governor, or somebody to hasten up my old age pension dat I'm praying for."
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 May 24, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I was born near old Bush River Baptist Church in Newberry County, S.C. This was the white folks' church, but the colored folks have a Bush River church in that section now. I was grown when the war started. I was a slave of Bonny Floyd. He was a good man who owned several slaves and a big farm. I was the house-girl then, and waited on the table and helped around the house. I was always told to go to the white folks' church and sit in the gallery.
"When the Patrollers was started there, they never did bother Mr. Bonny's slaves. He never had any trouble with them, for his slaves never run away from him.
"The Ku Klux never come to our place, and I don't remember seeing them in that section.
"We took our wheat to Singley's Mill on Bush River to be ground. We made all our flour and grain. We plowed with horses and mules.
"I am an old woman, sick in bed and can't talk good; but glad to tell you anything I can."
Source: Bettie Suber (96), Newberry, S.C. Interviewer: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. (5/18/37).
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg, S.C. May 25, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I was born on the Enoree River in Newberry County. Tom Price was my master. I married Nathan Swindler when I was about grown. My father and mother was Dave and Lucy Coleman. I had a brother and several sisters. We children had to work around the home of our master 'till we was old enough to work in de fields, den we would hoe and pick cotton, and do any kinds of field work. We didn't have much clothes, just one dress and a pair of shoes at a time, and maybe one change. I married in a ole silk striped dress dat I got from my mistress, Miss Sligh. We had no 'big-to-do' at our wedding, just married at home. In cold weather, I had sometimes, heavy homespun or outing dress. When Saturday afternoons come, we got off from work and do what we want. Some of us washed for de week. We had no schools and couldn't read and write. Sometimes we could play in our yards after work was over or on Saturday afternoons. On Christmas the master give us something good to eat. We didn't have doctors much, but de ole folks had cures for sickness. Dey made cherry-bark tea for chills and fever, and root-herb teas for fevers. Lots of chills and fevers then. To cure a boil or wart, we would take a hair from the tail of a horse and tie it tight around both sides of the sore place. I think Abe Lincoln was a great man, and Jeff Davis was a good man too. I think Booker Washington was a great man for de colored race. I like it better now than de way it was in slavery time."
Source: Ellen Swindler (78), Newberry. S.C. Interviewed by: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C., May 20, 1937.
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon, Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 97 YEARS.
Mack Taylor lives six miles southeast of Ridgeway, S.C., on his farm of ninety-seven acres. The house, in which he resides, is a frame house containing six rooms, all on one floor. His son, Charley, lives with him. Charley is married and has a small family.
"Howdy do sir! I sees you a good deal goin' backwards and forwards to Columbia. I has to set way back in de bus and you sets up to de front. I can't ketch you to speak to you, as you is out and gone befo' I can lay hold of you. But, as Brer Fox 'lowed to Brer Rabbit, when he ketched him wid a tar baby at a spring, 'I is got you now.'
"I's been wantin' to ask you 'bout dis old age pension. I's been to Winnsboro to see 'bout it. Some nice white ladies took my name and ask me some questions, but dat seem to be de last of it. Reckon I gwine to get anything?
"Well, I's been here mighty nigh a hundred years, and just 'cause I pinched and saved and didn't throw my money away on liquor, or put it into de palms of every Jezabel hussy dat slant her eye at me, ain't no valuable reason why them dat did dat way and 'joyed deirselves can get de pension and me can't get de pension. 'Tain't fair! No, sir. If I had a knowed way back yonder, fifty years ago, what I knows now, I might of gallavanted 'round a little more wid de shemales than I did. What you think 'bout it?
"You say I's forgittin' dat religion must be thought about? Well, I can read de Bible a little bit. Don't it say: 'What you sow you sure to reap?' Yes, sir. Us niggers was fetched here 'ginst our taste. Us fell de forests for corn, wheat, oats, and cotton; drained de swamps for rice; built de dirt roads and de railroads; and us old ones is got a fair right to our part of de pension.
"My marster, in slavery times, lived on de Wateree River. He had a large plantation and, I heard them say, four hundred slaves. He was a hard marster and had me whipped as many times as I got fingers and toes. I started workin' in de field when I was a boy fifteen years old. De work I done was choppin' de grass out of de cotton and pickin' de cotton. What's become of them old army worms dat had horns, dat us chillun was so scared of while pickin' cotton? I never see them dese days but I'd rather have them than dis boll weevil I's pestered wid.
"My marster's name was Tom Clark. My mistress was a gentle lady, but field niggers never got to speak to her. All I can say is dat de house slaves say she was mighty good to them. I saw de chillun of de white folks often and was glad they would play wid us colored chillun. What deir names? Dere was Marse Alley, Marse Ovid, Marse Hilliard, and Miss Lucy.
"Old marster got kilt in de last year of de war, and Miss Margaret, dat was our Mistress, run de place wid overseers dat would thrash you for all sorts of things. If they ketch you leanin' on your hoe handle, they'd beat you; step out of your task a minute or speak to a girl, they'd beat you. Oh, it was hell when de overseers was around and de mistress nor none of de young marsters was dere to protect you. Us was fed good, but not clothed so good in de winter time.
"My pappy didn't b'long to de Clarks at de commencement of de war. Old marster done sold him, 'way from us, to Col. Tom Taylor in Columbia. After de war, he run a shoe repair shop in Columbia many years befo' he died. His name was Douglas Taylor and dat is de reason I took de name, Mack Taylor, when I give in my name to de Freedman's Bureau, and I's stuck to it ever since.
"I members de Yankees. Not many of them come to Miss Margaret's place. Them dat did, took pity on her and did nothing but eat, feed deir horses, and gallop away.
"Us was never pestered by de Ku Klux, but I was given a warnin' once, to watch my step and vote right. I watched my step and didn't vote a-tall, dat year.
"Mr. Franklin J. Moses was runnin' for governor. Colored preachers was preachin' dat he was de Moses to lead de Negroes out of de wilderness of corn bread and fat grease into de land of white bread and New Orleans molasses. De preachers sure got up de excitement 'mongst de colored women folks. They 'vised them to have nothin' to do wid deir husbands if they didn't go to de 'lection box and vote for Moses. I didn't go, and my wife wouldn't sleep wid me for six months. I had no chillun by her. She died in 1874. After Nancy die, I marry Belle Dawkins. De chillun us had was George, Charley, Maggie and Tommy. Then Belle died, and I married Hannah Cunningham. Us had no chillun. After she died, I marry a widow, Fannie Goings, and us had no chillun.
"My son, George, is in Washington. My daughter, Maggie, is dead. Tommy was in Ohio de last I heard from him. I is livin' wid my son, Charley, on my farm. My grandson, Mack, is a grown boy and de main staff I lean on as I climb up to de hundred mile post of age.
"I b'longs to de Rehovah Baptist Church. I have laid away four wives in deir graves. I have no notion of marryin' any more. Goodness and mercy have followed me all de days of my life, and I will soon take up dis old body and dwell in de house of de Lord forevermore."
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 88 YEARS OLD.
"I's heard tell of you, and sent for you to come to see me. Look lak I can no more git 'bout on dese under pins lak I use to. Dere's de swing you can set in or chair right by me, now which you rather? I's glad you takes de chair, 'cause I can keep steady gaze more better on dat face of your'n. Lord! I been here in dis world a long time, so I has. Was born on de Kilgo place near Liberty Hill, don't know what county 'tis, but heard it am over twenty-five miles from dis town.
"My old marster name Jesse Kilgo, so he was, and Mistress Letha Kilgo, dats his wife, good to him, good to me, good to everybody. My young mistress name Catherine, when her marry Marster Watt Wardlaw, I was give to them for a housemaid, 'cause I was trim and light complected lak you see I is dis very day a setting right here, and talking wid you. 'Members how 'twas young missie say: 'You come go in my room Delia, I wants to see if I can put up wid you'. I goes in dat room, winter time mind you, and Miss Charlotte set down befo' de fire, cook one of them pretty foots on de dog, don't you ketch dat wrong, dat it was a lap dog which 'twasn't but one of de fire-dogs. Some persons calls them andy irons (andiron) but I sticks to my raisin' and say fire-dogs. Well, she allowed to me, 'Delia, put kettle water on de fire'. So I does in a jiffy. Her next command was: 'Would you please be so kind as to sweep and tidy up de room'? All time turnin' dat lovely head of her'n lak a bird a buildin' her nest, so it was. I do all dat, then she say: 'You is goin' to make maid, a good one!' She give a silvery giggle and say: 'I just had you put on dat water for to see if you was goin' to make any slop. No, No! You didn't spill a drop, you ain't goin' to make no sloppy maid, you just fine.' Then her call her mother in. 'See how pretty Delia's made dis room, look at them curtains, draw back just right, observe de pitcher, and de towels on de rack of de washstand, my I'm proud of her!' She give old mistress a hug and a kiss, and thank her for de present, dat present was me. De happiness of dat minute is on me to dis day.
"My pappy name Isom then, but when freedom come he adds on Hammond. His pappy was a white man, and no poor white trash neither. My mammy name Viny. Us live in a log house close up in de back yard, and most all time I was in de big house waiting on de white folks.
"Did us git any 'ligion told us? Well, it was dis way, mistress talk heap to us 'bout de Lord, but marster talk a heap to us 'bout de devil. 'Twist and 'tween them, 'spect us heard most everything 'bout heaven and all 'bout de devil.
"Yankees dat come to our house was gentleman, they never took a thing, but left provisions for our women folks from their commissary.
"My first husband was Cupid Benjamin. My white folks give me a white dress, and they got de white Baptist preacher, Mr. Collins to do de grand act for us. Cupid turned out to be a preacher. Us had three chillun and every night us had family worship at home. I's been no common nigger all my life; why, when a child I set up and rock my doll just lak white chillun, and course it was a rag doll, but what of dat. Couldn't I name her for de Virgin Mary, and wouldn't dat name cover and glorify de rags? Sure it would! Then I 'sociate wid white folks all slavery time, marry a man of God and when he die, I marry another, Tom Thompson, a colored Baptist preacher. You see dat house yonder? Dats where my daughter and grandchillun live. They is colored aristocracy of de town, but they has a mighty plain name, its just Smith. I grieve over it off and on, a kind of thorn in de flesh, my husband used to say. But both my husbands dead and I sets here twice a widow, and I wonders how 'twill be when I go home up yonder 'bove them white thunder heads us can see right now. Which one them men you reckon I'll see first? Well, if it be dat way, 'spect I'll just want to see Cupid first, 'cause he was de only one I had chillun by, and them his grandchillun out yonder."
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 82 YEARS OLD.
Robert Toatley lives with his daughter, his son, his son's wife, and their six children, near White Oak, seven miles north of Winnsboro, S.C. Robert owns the four-room frame house and farm containing 235 acres. He has been prosperous up from slavery, until the boll weevil made its appearance on his farm and the depression came on the country at large, in 1929. He has been compelled to mortgage his home but is now coming forward again, having reduced the mortgage to a negligible balance, which he expects to liquidate with the present 1937 crop of cotton.
Robert is one of the full blooded Negroes of pure African descent. His face, in repose, possesses a kind of majesty that one would expect in beholding a chief of an African tribe.
"I was born on de 'Lizabeth Mobley place. Us always called it 'Cedar Shades'. Dere was a half mile of cedars on both sides of de road leading to de fine house dat our white folks lived in. My birthday was May 15, 1855. My mistress was a daughter of Dr. John Glover. My master married her when her was twelve years old. Her first child, Sam, got to be a doctor, and they sho' did look lak brother and sister. When her oldest child, Sam, come back from college, he fetched a classmate, Jim Carlisle, wid him. I played marbles wid them. Dat boy, Jim, made his mark, got 'ligion, and went to de top of a college in Spartanburg. Marse Sam study to be a doctor. He start to practice and then he marry Miss Lizzie Rice down in Barnwell. Mistress give me to them and I went wid them and stayed 'til freedom.
"My childhood was a happy one, a playin' and a rompin' wid de white chillun. My master was rich. Slaves lived in quarters, 300 yards from de big house. A street run through the quarters, homes on each side. Beds was homemade. Mattresses made of wheat straw. Bed covers was quilts and counter-panes, all made by slave women.
"My mammy's pappy was a slave brick-mason, b'longin' to a white family named Partillo, from Warrington, Virginia. He couldn't be bought 'less you bought his wife and three chillun wid him.
"Never had any money; didn't know what it was. Mammy was a house woman, and I got just what de white chillun got to eat, only a little bit later, in de kitchen. Dere was fifty or sixty other little niggers on de place. Want to know how they was fed? Well, it was lak dis: You've seen pig troughs, side by side, in a big lot? After all de grown niggers eat and git out de way, scraps and everything eatable was put in them troughs; sometimes buttermilk poured on de mess and sometimes potlicker. Then de cook blowed a cow horn. Quick as lightnin' a passle of fifty or sixty little niggers run out de plum bushes, from under de sheds and houses, and from everywhere. Each one take his place, and souse his hands in de mixture and eat just lak you see pigs shovin' 'round slop troughs. I see dat sight many times in my dreams, old as I is, eighty-two years last Saturday.
"'Twas not 'til de year of '66 dat we got 'liable info'mation and felt free to go where us pleased to go. Most of de niggers left but mammy stayed on and cooked for Dr. Sam and de white folks.
"Bad white folks comed and got bad niggers started. Soon things got wrong and de devil took a hand in de mess. Out of it come to de top, de carpetbag, de scalawags and then de Ku Klux. Night rider come by and drap something at your door and say: 'I'll just leave you something for dinner'. Then ride off in a gallop. When you open de sack, what you reckon in dere? Liable to be one thing, liable to be another. One time it was six nigger heads dat was left at de door. Was it at my house door? Oh, no! It was at de door of a nigger too active in politics. Old Congressman Wallace sent Yankee troops, three miles long, down here. Lot of white folks was put in jail.
"I married Emma Greer in 1879; she been dead two years. Us lived husband and wife 56 years, bless God. Us raised ten chillun; all is doin' well. One is in Winnsboro, one in Chester, one in Rock Hill, one in Charlotte, one in Chesterfield, one in New York and two wid me on de farm near White Oak, which I own. I has 28 grandchillun. All us Presbyterians. Can read but can't write. Our slaves was told if ever they learned to write they'd lose de hand or arm they wrote wid.
"What 'bout whuppin's? Plenty of it. De biggest whuppin' I ever heard tell of was when they had a trial of several slave men for sellin' liquor at da spring, durin' preachin', on Sunday. De trial come off at de church 'bout a month later. They was convicted, and de order of de court was: Edmund to receive 100 lashes; Sam and Andy each 125 lashes and Frank and Abram 75 lashes. All to be given on deir bare backs and rumps, well laid on wid strap. If de courts would sentence like dat dese days dere'd be more 'tention to de law.
"You ask me 'bout Mr. Lincoln. I knowed two men who split rails side by side wid him. They was Mr. McBride Smith and Mr. David Pink. Poor white people 'round in slavery time had a hard tine, and dese was two of them.
"My white folks, de Mobleys, made us work on Sunday sometime, wid de fodder, and when de plowin' git behind. They mighty neighborly to rich neighbors but didn't have much time for poor buckra. I tell you poor white men have poor chance to rise, make sump'n and be sump'n, befo' de old war. Some of dese same poor buckra done had a chance since then and they way up in 'G' now. They mighty nigh run de county and town of Winnsboro, plum mighty nigh it, I tell you. It makes me sad, on de other side, to see quality folks befo' de war, a wanderin' 'round in rags and tatters and deir chillun beggin' bread.
"Well, I mus' be goin', but befo' I goes I want to tell you I 'members your ma, Miss Sallie Woodward. Your grandpa was de closest neighbor and fust cousin to Dr. Sam. Deir chillun used to visit. Your ma come down and spen' de day one time. She was 'bout ten dat day and she and de chillun make me rig up some harness for de billy goat and hitch him to a toy wagon. I can just see dat goat runnin' away, them little chillun fallin' out backside de wagon and your ma laughin' and a cryin' 'bout de same time. I picks her up out de weeds and briars."
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 May 25, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
"I was born in the town of Newberry, S.C. I do not remember slavery time, but I have heard my father and mother talk about it. They were Washington and Polly Holloway, and belonged to Judge J.B. O'Neall. They lived about 3 miles west of town, near Bush River. An old colored man lived nearby. His name was Harry O'Neall, and everybody said he was a miser and saved up his money and buried it near the O'Neall spring. Somebody dug around there but never found any money. There were two springs, one was called 'horse spring', but the one where the money was supposed to be buried had a big tree by it.
"I married Sam Veals, in 'gravel town' of Newberry. I had a brother, Riley, and some sisters.
"We would eat fish, rabbits, 'possums and squirrels which folks caught or killed. We used to travel most by foot, going sometimes ten miles to any place. We walked to school, three or four miles, every day when I was teaching school after the war. I was taught mostly at home, by Miss Sallie O'Neall, a daughter of Judge J.B. O'Neall.
"My father and mother used to go to the white folks' church, in slavery time. After the war colored churches started. The first one in our section was Brush Harbor. Simon Miller was a fine colored preacher who preached in Brush Harbor on Vandalusah Spring Hill. Isaac Cook was a good preacher. We used to sing, 'Gimme dat good ole-time religion'; 'I'm going to serve God until I die' and 'I am glad salvation is free'.
"Saturday afternoons we had 'off' and could work for ourselves. At marriages, we had frolics and big dinners. Some of the games were: rope jumping; hide and seek, and, ring around the roses. Of course, there were more games.
"Some of the old folks used to see ghosts, but I never did see any.
"Cures were made with herbs such as, peach tree leaves, boiled as a tea and drunk for fevers. Rabbit tobacco (life everlasting) was used for colds. Small boys would chew and smoke it, as did some of the old folks.
"I have seven children, all grown; fourteen grand-children, and several great-grand-children.
"Judge O'Neall was one of the best men and best masters in the country that I knew of. I think Abraham Lincoln was a good man, according to what I have heard about him. Jeff Davis was the same. Booker Washington was a great man to his country and served the colored race.
"I joined the church because I believe the bible is true, and according to what it says, the righteous are the only people God is pleased with. Without holiness no man shall see God."
Source: Mary Veals (72), Newberry, S.C. Interviewed by: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. May 20, 1937.
Project 1885-1 Folklore Spartanburg, Dist. 4 Oct. 21, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I don't own no house. I live in a rented house. Yes, I work fer my living. I don't 'member much 'bout slavery except what I heard my daddy and mammy say. My pa was Washing Holloway and my ma was Polly Holloway. Dey belonged to Judge O'Neall, and lived at his place 'bout three miles from town, near Bush River.
"Judge O'Neall's house was real old, and dey had a store near it called Springfield, a kind of suburb at dat time.
"After de war, we didn't have much clothes, 'cause everything was so high. Judge O'Neall died befo' de war was over, and his wife went to Mississippi to live wid her married daughter. After de war, Miss Sallie, who was Judge O'Neall's daughter, learn't me to read and write, and other things in books.
"My father and mother went to de white folks' church in slavery time. After de war, de negroes built deir first church and called it a 'brush arbor'. A negro preacher named Simon Miller was a good man and done lots of good when he preached in de brush arbor. Dis was on de old Banduslian Springs hill, near de south fork of Scotts Creek."
Source: Mary Veals (73), Newberry, S.C. Interviewer: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. (9/30/37).
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 80 YEARS OLD.
Manda Walker lives with her son-in-law, Albert Cooper, in a three-room frame cottage in Winnsboro, S.C. Albert's first wife was her daughter, Sallie. Five of their children and Albert's second wife, Sadie, occupy the house with Albert and Manda.
"Does you know where Horse Crick (Creek) branch is, and where Wateree Crick is? Ever been 'long de public road 'tween them water courses? Well, on de sunrise side of dat road, up on a hill, was where my slavery time marster live.
"I was born in de yard, back of de white folks' house, in a little log house wid a dirt floor and a stick and mud chimney to one end of de house. My marster was name Marse Tom Rowe and my mistress name Missy Jane Rowe. They de ones dat tell me, long time ago, dat I was born befo' de war, in 1857. Deir chillun was Miss Mary and Miss Miami.
"I no work much 'til de end of de war. Then I pick cotton and peas and shell corn and peas. Most of de time I play and sometime be maid to my young misses. Both growed into pretty buxom ladies. Miss Miami was a handsome buxom woman; her marry Marse Tom Johnson and live, after de war, near Wateree Church.
"My pappy name Jeff and b'long to Marse Joe Woodward. He live on a plantation 'cross de other side of Wateree Crick. My mammy name Phoebe. Pappy have to git a pass to come to see mammy, befo' de war. Sometime dat crick git up over de bank and I, to dis day, 'members one time pappy come in all wet and drenched wid water. Him had made de mule swim de crick. Him stayed over his leave dat was writ on de pass. Patarollers (patrollers) come ask for de pass. They say: 'De time done out, nigger.' Pappy try to explain but they pay no 'tention to him. Tied him up, pulled down his breeches, and whupped him right befo' mammy and us chillun. I shudder, to dis day, to think of it. Marse Tom and Miss Jane heard de hollerin' of us all and come to de place they was whuppin' him and beg them, in de name of God, to stop, dat de crick was still up and dangerous to cross, and dat they would make it all right wid pappy's marster. They say of pappy: 'Jeff swim 'cross, let him git de mule and swim back.' They make pappy git on de mule and follow him down to de crick and watch him swim dat swif' muddly crick to de other side. I often think dat de system of patarollers and bloodhounds did more to bring on de war and de wrath of de Lord than anything else. Why de good white folks put up wid them poor white trash patarollers I never can see or understand. You never see classy white buckra men a paterrollin'. It was always some low-down white men, dat never owned a nigger in deir life, doin' de patarollin' and a strippin' de clothes off men, lak pappy, right befo' de wives and chillun and beatin' de blood out of him. No, sir, good white men never dirty deir hands and souls in sich work of de devil as dat.
"Mammy had nine chillun. All dead 'cept Oliver. Him still down dere wid de Duke Power Company people, I think. When I come sixteen years old, lak all gals dat age, I commence to think 'bout de boys, and de boys, I 'spects, commence to take notice of me. You look lak you is surprised I say dat. You is just puttin' on. Old and solemn as you is, a settin' dere a writin', I bets a whole lot of de same foolishness have run through your head lak it run through Jerry's, when he took to goin' wid me, back in 1873. Now ain't it so?
"Us chillun felt de pivations (privations) of de war. Us went in rags and was often hungry. Food got scarce wid de white folks, so much had to be given up for de army. De white folks have to give up coffee and tea. De slaves just eat corn-bread, mush, 'taters and buttermilk. Even de peas was commanded for de army. Us git meat just once a week, and then a mighty little of dat. I never got a whuppin' and mammy never did git a whuppin'.
"Us all went to Wateree Presbyterian Church on Sunday to hear Mr. Douglas preach. Had two sermons and a picnic dinner on de ground 'tween de sermons. Dat was a great day for de slaves. What de white folks lef' on de ground de slaves had a right to, and us sure enjoy de remains and bless de Lord for it. Main things he preached and prayed for, was a success in de end of de war, so mammy would explain to us when us 'semble 'round de fireside befo' us go to bed. Her sure was a Christian and make us all kneel down and say two prayers befo' us git in bed. De last one was:
'Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray de Lord my soul to keep. If I should die befo' I wake, I pray de Lord my soul to take. Bless pappy, bless mammy, Bless marster, bless missie, And bless me. Amen!'
"Wheeler's men was just as hard and wolfish as de Yankees. They say de Yankees was close behind them and they just as well take things as to leave all for de Yankees. 'Spect dat was true, for de Yankees come nex' day and took de rest of de hog meat, flour, and cows. Had us to run down and ketch de chickens for them. They search de house for money, watches, rings, and silverware. Took everything they found, but they didn't set de house afire. Dere was just 'bout five of them prowlin' 'round 'way from de main army, a foragin', they say.
"When Miss Margaret marry, old marster sold out and leave de county. Us move to Mr. Wade Rawls' and work for him from 1876 to Jerry's death. Is I told you dat I marry Jerry? Well, I picked out Jerry Walker from a baker's dozen of boys, hot footin' it 'bout mammy's door step, and us never had a cross word all our lives. Us had nine chillun. Us moved 'round from pillar to post, always needy but always happy. Seem lak us never could save anything on his $7.06 a month and a peck of meal and three pounds of meat a week.
"When de chillun come on, us try rentin' a farm and got our supplies on a crop lien, twenty-five percent on de cash price of de supplies and paid in cotton in de fall. After de last bale was sold, every year, him come home wid de same sick smile and de same sad tale: 'Well, Mandy, as usual, I settled up and it was—'Naught is naught and figger is a figger, all for de white man and none for de nigger.'
"De grave and de resurrection will put everything all right, but I have a instinct dat God'll make it all right over and up yonder and dat all our 'flictions will, in de long run, turn out to our 'ternal welfare and happiness."
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 83 YEARS OLD.
Ned Walker lives in the village of White Oak, near Winnsboro, S.C., in a two-room frame house, the dwelling of his son-in-law, Leander Heath, who married his daughter, Nora. Ned is too old to do any work of a remunerative character but looks after the garden and chickens of his daughter and son-in-law. He is a frequent visitor to Winnsboro, S.C. He brings chickens and garden produce, to sell in the town and the Winnsboro Hill's village. He is tall, thin, and straight, with kind eyes. Being one of the old Gaillard Negroes, transplanted from the Santee section of Berkeley County, in the Low Country, to the red hills of Fairfield County, in the Up Country, he still retains words and phrases characteristic of the Negro in the lower part of South Carolina.
"Yes sir, I's tall and slim lak a saplin'; maybe dat a good reason I live so long. Doctor say lean people lives longer than fat people.
"I hear daddy read one time from de Bible 'bout a man havin' strength of years in his right hand and honor and riches in his left hand, but whenever I open dat left hand dere is nothin' in it. 'Spect dat promise is comin' tho', when de old age pension money gits down here from Washington. When you 'spect it is comin'? De palm of my hand sho' begin to itch for dat greenback money. So you think it's on de way? Well, thank God for dat but it seem 'most too good to be true. Now I'll quit askin' questions and just set here and smoke and answer, whilst you do de puttin' down on de paper.
"Yes sir, I was born right here in de southeast corner of Winnsboro, on de Clifton place. De day I was born, it b'long to my master, David Gaillard. Miss Louisa, dats Master David's wife, 'low to me one day, 'Ned don't you ever call de master, old master, and don't you ever think of me as old miss'. I promise her dat I keep dat always in mind, and I ain't gonna change, though she done gone on to heaven and is in de choir a singin' and a singin' them chants dat her could pipe so pretty at St. Johns, in Winnsboro. You see they was 'Piscopalians. Dere was no hard shell Baptist and no soft shell Methodist in deir make up. It was all glory, big glory, glory in de very highest rung of Jacob's ladder, wid our white folks.
"Well, how I is ramblin'. You see dere was Master David and Mistress Louisa, de king bee and de queen bee. They had a plantation down on de Santee, in de Low Country, somewhere 'bout Moncks Corner. One day Master David buy a 1,385 acres on Wateree Creek. He also buy de Clifton place, to live in, in Winnsboro. I can't git my mind back to tell you what I wants for you to put on de paper. 'Scuse me, forgit everything, 'til you git my pedigree down.
"I done name Master David and Mistress Louisa. Now for de chillun. Us was told to front de boys name wid Marse and de young ladies name wid Miss. Now us can go and git somewhere.
"Well, dere was Miss Elizabeth; she marry Mr. Dwight. Miss Maria marry another Mr. Dwight. Miss Kate marry Mr. Bob Ellison, a sheriff. Her got two chillun in Columbia, Marse David and Marse DuBose Ellison. Then for de boys; they all went to de war. Marse Alley got kilt. Marse Dick rise to be a captain and after de war marry Congressman Boyce's daughter, Miss Fannie. Marse Ike marry and live in de Low Country; he die 'bout two years ago. Marse Sam marry a Miss DuBose and went wid General Wade Hampton.
"Marse Sam's son cut a canal that divide half and half de western part of de whole world. Us niggers was powerful scared, 'til Marse David Gailliard took a hold of de business. Why us scared? Why us fear dat de center of de backbone of de world down dere, when cut, would tipple over lak de halfs of a watermelon and everybody would go under de water in de ocean. How could Marse David prevent it? Us niggers of de Gaillard generation have confidence in de Gaillard race and us willin' to sink or swim wid them in whatever they do. Young Marse David propped de sides of de world up all right, down dere, and they name a big part of dat canal, Gaillard Cut, so they did. (Gaillard Cut, Panama Canal)
"Well, I keep a ramblin'. Will I ever git to Marse Henry, de one dat looked after and cared for slaves of de family most and best? Marse Henry marry a Miss White in Charleston. He rise to be captain and adjutant of de fightin' 6th Regiment. After de war him fix it so de slaves stay altogether, on dat 1,385 acres and buy de place, as common tenants, on de 'stallment plan. He send word for de head of each family to come to Winnsboro; us have to have names and register. Marse Henry command; us obey. Dat was a great day. My daddy already had his name, Tom. He was de driver of de buggy, de carriage, and one of de wagons, in slavery. Marse Henry wrote him a name on a slip and say: 'Tom as you have never walked much, I name you Walker.'
"It wasn't long befo' daddy, who was de only one dat could read and write, ride down to Columbia and come back wid a 'mission in his pocket from de 'Publican Governor, to be Justice of de Peace.
"Marse Henry ladle out some 'golliwhopshus' names dat day. Such as: Caesar Harrison, Edward Cades and Louis Brevard. He say, 'Louis, I give you de name of a judge. Dan, I give you a Roman name, Pompey.' Pompey turned out to be a preacher and I see your grandpa, Marse William Woodward, in de graveyard when Uncle Pompey preached de funeral of old Uncle Wash Moore. Tell you 'bout dat if I has time.
"Well, he give Uncle Sam de name of Shadrock. When he reach Uncle Aleck, he 'low: 'I adds to your name Aleck, two fine names, a preacher's and a scholar's, Porter Ramsey.' 'Bout dat time a little runt elbow and butt his way right up to de front and say: 'Marse Henry, Marse Henry! I wants a big bulldozin' name.' Marse Henry look at him and say: 'You little shrimp, take dis then.' And Marse Henry write on de slip of paper: Mendoza J. Fernandez, and read it out loud. De little runt laugh mighty pleased and some of them Fernandezes 'round here to dis day.
"My mammy name Bess, my granddaddy name June, grandmamny, Renah, but all my brothers dead. My sisters Clerissie and Phibbie am still livin'. Us was born in a two-story frame house, chimney in de middle, four rooms down stairs and four up stairs. Dere was four families livin' in it. Dese was de town domestics of master. Him have another residence on de plantation and a set of domestics, but my daddy was de coachman for both places.
"De Gaillard quarters was a little town laid out wid streets wide 'nough for a wagon to pass thru. Houses was on each side of de street. A well and church was in de center of de town. Dere was a gin-house, barns, stables, cowpen and a big bell on top of a high pole at de barn gate. Dere was a big trough at de well, kept full of water day and night, in case of fire and to water de stock. Us had peg beds, wheat straw mattress and rag pillows. Cotton was too valuable.
"Master didn't 'low de chillun to be worked. He feed slaves on 'tatoes, rice, corn pone, hominy, fried meat, 'lasses, shorts, turnips, collards, and string beans. Us had pumpkin pie on Sunday. No butter, no sweet milk but us got blabber and buttermilk.
"Oh, then, I 'bout to forgit. Dere was a big hall wid spinnin' wheels in it, where thread was spin. Dat thread was hauled to Winnsboro and brought to de Clifton place in Winnsboro, to de weave house. Dat house set 'bout where de Winnsboro Mill is now. Mammy was head of de weave house force and see to de cloth. Dere was a dye-room down dere too. They use red earth sometime and sometime walnut stain. My mammy learn all dis from a white lady, Miss Spurrier, dat Master David put in charge dere at de first. How long she stay? I disremembers dat. Us no want for clothes summer or winter. Had wooden bottom shoes, two pair in a year.
"Mr. Sam Johnson was de overseer. Dere was 'bout 700 slaves in de Gaillard quarter and twenty in town, countin' de chillun. De young white marsters break de law when they teach daddy to read and write. Marse Dick say: 'To hell wid de law, I got to have somebody dat can read and write 'mong de servants.' My daddy was his valet. He put de boys to bed, put on deir shoes and brush them off, and all dat kind of 'tention.
"De church was called Springvale. After freedom, by a vote, de members jines up, out of respect to de family, wid de Afican Methodist 'Piscopalian Church, so as to have as much of de form, widout de substance of them chants, of de master's church.
"No sir, us had no mulattoes on de place. Everybody decent and happy. They give us two days durin' Christmas for celebratin' and dancin'.
"I marry Sylvin Field, a gal on de General Bratton Canaan place. Us have three chillun. Nora Heath, dat I'm now livin' wid, at White Oak, Bessie Lew, in Tennessee, and Susannah, who is dead.
"What I think of Abe Lincoln? Dat was a mighty man of de Lord. What I think of Jeff Davis? He all right, 'cordin' to his education, just lak my white folks. What I think of Mr. Roosevelt? Oh, Man! Dat's our papa.
"Go off! I's blabbed 'nough. You 'bliged to hear 'bout dat funeral? Will I pester you for 'nother cigarette? No sir! I ain't gonna smoke it lak you smoke it. Supposin' us was settin' here smokin' them de same? A Gaillard come up them steps and see us. He say: 'Shame on dat white man', turn his back and walk back down. A Woodward come up them steps and see us. He say: 'You d— nigger! What's all dis?' Take me by de collar, boot me down them steps, and come back and have it out wid you. Dat's 'bout de difference of de up and low country buckra.
"Now 'bout Uncle Wash's funeral. Uncle Wash was de blacksmith in de forks of de road 'cross de railroad from Concord Church. He was a powerful man! Him use de hammer and tongs for all de people miles and miles 'round. Him jine de Springvale Afican Methodist 'Piscopalian Church, but fell from grace. Him covet a hog of Marse Walt Brice and was sent to de penitentiary for two years, 'bout dat hog. Him contacted consumption down dere and come home. His chest was all sunk in and his ribs full of rheumatism. Him soon went to bed and died. Him was buried on top of de hill, in de pines just north of Woodward. Uncle Pompey preached de funeral. White folks was dere. Marse William was dere, and his nephew, de Attorney General of Arizona. Uncle Pompey took his text 'bout Paul and Silas layin' in jail and dat it was not 'ternally against a church member to go to jail. Him dwell on de life of labor and bravery, in tacklin' kickin' hosses and mules. How him sharpen de dull plow points and make de corn and cotton grow, to feed and clothe de hungry and naked. He look up thru de pine tree tops and say: 'I see Jacob's ladder. Brother Wash is climbin' dat ladder. Him is half way up. Ah! Brudders and sisters, pray, while I preach dat he enter in them pearly gates. I see them gates open. Brother Wash done reach de topmost rung in dat ladder. Let us sing wid a shout, dat blessed hymn, 'Dere is a Fountain Filled Wid Blood'.' Wid de first verse de women got to hollerin' and wid de second', Uncle Pompey say: 'De dyin' thief I see him dere to welcome Brother Wash in paradise. Thank God! Brother Wash done washed as white as snow and landed safe forever more.'
"Dat Attorney General turn up his coat in de November wind and say; 'I'll be damn! Marse William smile and 'low: 'Oh Tom! Don't be too hard on them. 'Member He will have mercy on them, dat have mercy on others'."
Project #1655 Stiles M. Scruggs Columbia, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 88 YEARS OLD.
"I was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina, in 1849, and my parents, Tobias and Becky Waring was slaves of the Waring family, and the Bookters and Warings was kin folks. When I was just a little shaver I was told I b'longed to the family of the late Colonel Edward Bookter of upper Fairfield County.
"The Bookter plantation was a big one, with pastures for cattle, hogs and sheep; big field of cotton, corn and wheat, and 'bout a dozen Negro families livin' on it, mostly out of sight from the Bookter's big house. Two women and three or four Negro chillun work there, preparin' the food and carin' for the stock. I was one of the chillun. Colonel Bookter's household had three boys; one bigger than me and two not quite as big as me. We play together, drive up the cows together, and carry on in friendly fashion all the time. The nigger chillun eat with the two black women in a place fixed for them off from the kitchen, after the white folks finish. We generally have same food and drink that the white folks have.
"When I was 'bout eleven years old my master took me to Columbia one Saturday afternoon, and while Colonel Bookter was 'round at a livery stable on Assembly Street, he give me some money and tell me I could stroll 'round a while. I did, and soon find myself with 'bout a dozen of Master Hampton's boys. As we walk 'long Gervais Street, we met a big fine lookin' man with a fishin' tackle, goin' towards the river, and several other white folks was with him. As we turn the corner, the big man kinda grin and say to us: 'Whose niggers are you?' The bigger boy with us say: 'We all b'longs to Master Hampton.' He laugh some more and then reach in his pocket and give each one of us a nickel, sayin' to the white folks: 'Blest if I know my own niggers, anymore'.
"Yes sir, I was 'bout fourteen years old when President Lincoln set us all free in 1863. The war was still goin' on and I'm tellin' you right when I say that my folks and friends round me did not regard freedom as a unmixed blessin'.
"We didn't know where to go or what to do, and so we stayed right where we was, and there wasn't much difference to our livin', 'cause we had always had a plenty to eat and wear. I 'member my mammy tellin' me that food was gittin' scarce, and any black folks beginnin' to scratch for themselves would suffer, if they take their foot in their hand and ramble 'bout the land lak a wolf.
"As a slave on the plantation of Colonel Edward Bookter, I had a pretty good time. I knows I has work to do and I does it, and I always has plenty to eat and wear in winter and summer. If I get sick I has a doctor, so we set tight until 1865. After the war we come to Columbia, and mammy made us a livin' by washin' for white folks and doin' other jobs in the kitchen, and I worked at odd jobs, too.
"We didn't get much money from the Freedmen's outfit, which was 'stablished in Columbia. The white men who set it up and administered the Freedmen's funds and rations let some of their pets have much of it, while others got little or nothin'. An' existence become increasin' harder as nigger got more and more in the saddle.
"During the war, and it seem to me it would never end, we heard much 'bout President Lincoln. Niggers seem to think he was foolish to get into war, but they generally give him credit for directin' it right as far as he could. President Davis was powerful popular at the beginnin' of the conflict, but his popularity was far less when the war is over and he is in jail.
"I was 'most grown at the end of the war, and I was at no time popular with the black leaders and their white friends who rule the roost in Columbia for 'most thirteen years. I went back to my white friends in Fairfield County and work for years for Mister T.S. Brice, and others on the plantation.
"I has been married three times, and am now livin' with my third wife. She and me am makin' a sort of livin', and is yet able to work. I can only do de lightest work and the sweetest thought I has these days is the memory of my white friends when I was young and happy."
Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, June 2, 1937
Ex-Slave, 104 years.
"Come in child. Jes set right dere in dat chair whey I c'n be mindful uv yuh cause I ain' hear but sorta hard lak dese days. I jes come in outer de field whey I been chopping 'round uh little wid me hoe, but eve't'ing is grow so black 'fore me eye dat I t'ink I better rest meself uh little. I tries to help Sam (her son) aw I c'n, but I ain' mucha 'count no more. I 104 year old en I ain' gwinna be heah much longer. Me mark done strak (strike) me right dere dis a'ternoon. Dat been jes de way my ole mammy waz call."
"Does yah know whey dat place call Ash Pole? Dat whey I wuz raise up when I b'long to Massa Giles Evanson. He wuz uh good ole fellow. I ain' know wha' it wuz to ge' no bad treatment by my white people. Dey tell me some uv de colored peoples lib mighty rough in dat day en time but I ne'er know nuthin 'bout dat. I 'member dey is spank we chillun wid shingle but dey ne'er didn't hit my mudder."
"My Massa ne'er hab so mucha colored peoples lak some uv dem udder white folks hab. Jes hab my mudder en eight head uv we chillun. Hab 'nough to gi'e eve'yone uv he daughter uh servant apiece when dey ge' marry. Ne'er hab nuthin but women colored peoples. My Massa say he ain' wan' no man colored peoples."
"De preacher Ford, wha' use'er lib right up dere in town, papa hab uh big ole plantation wha' been jes lak uh little town. He hab hundred colored peoples en dey is hab eve't'ing dere. Hab dey preachin' right dere on de plantation en aw dat."
"Coase my white folks hab uh nice plantation en dey keep uh nice house aw de time. I wuz de house girl dere en de one wha' dey'ud hab to wait on de Missus. Dey'ud carry me eve'ywhey dey go. Al'ays know how I wuz faring. My Missus wuz big en independent lak. Talk lak she mad aw de time, but she warnt. She ne'er wear no cotton 'bout dere no time. Hab her silk on eve'y day en dem long yellow ear bob dat'ud be tetchin right long side she shoulder. I al'ays look a'ter de Missus en she chillun. Wash dey feet en comb dey hair en put de chillun to bed. But child, some white folks is queer 'bout t'ings. Dey watch yuh gwine 'bout yuh work en den dey'll wan' yuh to do sumptin fa dem. De ole man take me 'way from helping de Missus en send me out to plow corn en drap peas. I wuz shame too cause I ne'er lak fa he to treat my Missus dat uh way."
"De peoples ne'er didn't cook in no stove den neither. Dey hab big ole round dirt ubben (oven) to cook dey ration in. Dey make dey ubben outer white clay en hadder build uh shelter over it cause dey'ud cook outer in de yard. Dey ne'er cook but jes twice uh week. Cook on Wednesday en den ne'er cook no more till Saturday. I 'member de big ole ham dat dey cook en de tatoes en so mucha bread. Jes hab 'bundance aw de time. I got uh piece uv de ole slavery time ubben heah now. I ge' it outer en show it to yuh. Dis is one uv de leads (lids) en dey'ud put uh chain en hook on dere en hang it up in de fireplace. Dat de way dey cook dey ration. O Lawd, ef I could ge' back to my ole home whey I could look in en see jes one more time, jes one more time, child."
"I wuz jes uh girl when de Yankees come t'rough dere. Dey look jes lak uh big blue cloud comin' down dat road en we chillun wuz scared uv em. Dat land 'round 'bout dere wuz full uv dem Yankees marchin' en gwine on. Dey ne'er bother my white folks but in some uv de places dey jes ruint eve't'ing. Burnt up en tore down aw 'bout dere."
"Yuh ain' ne'er see nobody weave no cloth nowadays. In de winter dey use'er al'ays put woolen on de little chillun to keep em from getting burnt up. Peoples wuz easy to cotch uh fire in dat time. Dey hab plenty uv sheep den en dis jes 'bout de time uv de year dat dey shear de sheep. Al'ays'ud shear de sheep in de month uv May. Dey is make aw kinder nice cloth den. I c'n charge en spin en make any kinder streak yuh wan'. Coase my mudder use'er weave de jeanes cloth en blanketing."
"Dey use'er hab some uv dem corn-shucking 'bout dere but I ne'er take no part in none uv dat. A'ter freedom declare, us pull boxes en dip turpentine. Dat wha' wuz in de style den."
"I won' but 'bout 16 when I marry en I hab uh nice wedding. Marry right dere in my Massa yard en hab white swass dress to wear. I marry uh settled man offen uh rich man plantation en dey ne'er wan' me to marry, but dey ne'er say nuthin 'gainst it. Dey hab good manners den en manners de t'ing dat carry peoples t'rough anyt'ing, child."
Source: Nancy Washington, age 104, colored, Dusty Hills, Marion, S.C. (Personal interview, May 1937).
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 87 YEARS OLD.
"Dis is a mighty hot day I tells you, and after climbing them steps I just got to fan myself befo' I give answer to your questions. You got any 'bacco I could chaw and a place to spit? Dis old darkie maybe answer more better if he be allowed to be placed lak dat at de beginnin' of de 'sperience.
"Where was I born? Why right dere on de Hog Fork Place, thought everybody knowed dat! It was de home place of my old Marster Daniel Hall, one of de Rockefellers of his day and generation, I tells you, he sho was. My pappy had big name, my marster call him Denmore, my mammy went by de name of Mariyer. She was bought out of a drove from Virginny long befo' de war. They both b'long to old marster and bless God live on de same place in a little log house. Let's see; my brother Bill is one, he livin' at de stone quarry at Salisbury, North Carolina. My sister Lugenie marry a Boulware nigger and they tells me dat woman done take dat nigger and make sumpin' out of him. They owns their own automobile and livin' in Cleveland, Ohio.
"Us live in quarters, two string of houses a quarter mile long and just de width of a wagon road betwixt them. How many slaves marster had? Dere was four hundred in 1850, dat was de year I was born, so allowing for de natural 'crease, 'spect dere was good many more when freedom come. Our beds was made of poles and hay or straw. Was my marster rich? How come he wasn't? Didn't he have a Florida plantation and a Georgia plantation? Didn't us niggers work hard for our vittles and clothes? It make me laugh de way de niggers talk 'bout eight hours a day. Us worked by de 'can and de can't system'. What way dat you ask me? Well, was dis way; in de mornin' when it git so you can see, you got to go to work and at night when it git so dark you can't see you ceasted to work. You see what I mean? My marster's white overseer 'dopted de 'can and can't system' of work hours. My mammy had to plow same as a man, she did sir. Sometimes they pulled fodder and fooled wid it on Sunday.
"You is a pushin' me a little too fast. Let me gum dis 'bacco and spit and I can do and say more 'zackly what you expect from me. My marster had sheep, goats, mules, horses, stallion, jackass, cows and hogs, and then he had a gin, tan yard, spinnin' rooms, weave room, blacksmith shop and shoe shop. Dere was wild turkeys on de place, deer in de cane brakes and shad in de Catawba River. De Indians fetch their pots and jars to sell, and peddlers come to big house wid their humps on their backs and bright yards of calico and sich things de missus lak to feel and s'lect from. I see money then, but I never see a nigger wid money in his paws in slavery time, never!
"Us was fed good on corn meal, hog meat, milk, butter, 'lasses, turnips, beans, peas and apples, never hungry. Boss whip me once for fightin' and I never fought anymore, I tells you.
"My mistress name Miss Sarah. Her was a Hicklin befo' she marry. Their chillun was: Tom, Billie, Dan and Jason, all dead 'cept Marster Jason. De white overseer was Strother Ford. He give de slaves down the country maybe sometimes, so heard them say, but I didn't see him.
"Did us sing? Yes sir. What us sing? One was what I's gwine hist right dis minute and sing wid your lieve. (Here Charley sang, 'Give me dat old time religion'.)
"Us made 'simmon beer sometime and lye soap just 'bout in de same way, hopper was 'rected for dat. 'Simmons was put wid locust; hickory ashes was used to make soap. Every Christmas us got ginger cake and sassafras tea.
"Doctor Scott was de doctor for de slaves. Us niggers was mighty sad when his son Willie's gun went off by accident and kill him in 1868. De Doctor never smile again after dat cumbustion of dat gun. Does you 'member de time Mr. Till Dixon was drowned? He your uncle? 'Twas de fourth of July, I 'member dat day, and a boy Freddie Habbernick was drowned in Catawba in 1903. Dat river take a many soul over dat other shore, I tells you."
S-260-264-N Project 935 Samuel Addison Richland County
EX-SLAVE 91 YEARS OLD, CONGAREE, SOUTH CAROLINA
THERE WAS NO GOD BUT MOSSA AN' MISSUS
"My pa name was Nat White who tell me dat I was bo'n about 1842. My ma was name Jane White. My pa use to carry all de votes from McClellanville to Charleston. He come from Tibbin, South Carolina. He also been all 'round de United States. My Ma's Ma bin name Kate. I had sense to know 'em all.
"I know a heap o' sojus had on nice buttons an' had plumes in dere hats. Dey wus singin' an' playin' on a flute dis song, 'I wish I wus in Dixie,' an' dey went in de big house an' broke up ebery thing. Dey say to me, 'you are as free as a frog,' an' dey say to my pa, 'all your chillun are free.' Dey say 'little niggers is free as a frog' an' we holler much.
"I aint nebber do no work, but I kin 'member I use to wear a pant you call chambery. Ma cook a pot o' peas an' weevils wus always on de top. Ma would den turn mush an' clean a place on de floor, she make a paddle an' we eat off de floor. She use to bake ash cake too. I didn' know 'bout no garden, all I know I eat. Dis what dey put on me I wear em. I nebber know nothin' 'bout shoes.
"My master been name Bill Cooper who had a gal an' a son. De gal been name Mary an' de boy Bill like de daddy.
"Tarbin wus a big house, but I aint nebber know de number o' slaves or 'mount o' lan' dat went wid um.
"De slaves had a church name Lazarus an' some went to de white church. Dey had us bar off frum de whites an' we use to look t'rough a glass door. I member when a preacher say, 'honor your missus an' mossa dat your days may be long for dey is your only God.' My Ma tell me when dey use to lick dem she use to sing dis song, 'do pray for me' en ma say w'en de lickin' got too hot she say 'oh God' en mossa say, 'show me dat damn man', den he say, 'I am your only God. My preacher name wus Sabie Mood.
"De slaves couldn't git any news, but dey had to work on Sunday if de week bin bad. W'en it rain dey use to shuck co'n.
"W'en Bill Cooper die he holler to me, 'I'm burnin' up' an' ma say missus say, 'iron me too hot, she meat is red like fire.'
"We use to sing song like dese;
'Mary bring de news an' Martha win de prize. I mus die an' will die in dat day See dat oars like feathers springing'
"I marry Sarah on December 18th. Him de only one I marry an' we had a big weddin' an' plenty o' somethin' to eat. We had fourteen chillun.
"Pa say mossa use to take de fork an' punch holes in dere body w'en he got mad. People always die frum de pisin.
"Dis is all I know I ain't go tell no lie, dat what pa say, I moved here atter de yankees come."
Uncle Dave White, 91 years old Congaree, South Carolina.
S-260-264-N Project 1885 Laura L. Middleton Charleston, S.C.
No. Words: 452
UNCLE DAVE WHITE
An Old Time Negro
Uncle Dave White, one of the waning tribe lives in a simple homestead down a dusty and wind-swept curved country lane on the out skirt of McClenville, forty miles North of Charleston rests the simple shanty of David White, aged Negro, affectionally known to the Negro and white population for many miles around as "uncle Dave".
His quiet unadulterated mode of living and his never changing grateful disposition typifies the true Southern Negro of pre-Civil War days; a race that was commonplace and plentiful at one time, but is now almost extinct, having dwindled in the face of more adequate educational facilities.
His homestead, resembling a barn more than a place to live in. To protect the house against the hazardous affects of imperilling winds, long poles are made to prop the somewhat dilapidated shanty.
A visit to his home, one dark and dreary day in late December, found him as usual in the best of spirits. He welcomed the visitors with a cordiality that would rival the meeting of two long lost friends. The front has no main entrance; the main door is around the back. There are conspicuous displays of many ancient burlap bags, heavy laden, hanging from high rafters, which contained corn and peanuts.
"But why not keep them in your barn, Uncle Dave!" one would ask.
"Well, suh, I keep mah co'n and grain nuts in yuh so mak eye can sta' on 'em," he replies.
A further inspection of the premises revealed other precautions he had taken against the unwelcomed guests; a crude lock on each door and many other precautionary measures convicted, that he was willing to take no unnecessary chances at having his worldly goods stolen.
His age is truly a matter of conjecture. The more you look at him the more uncertain you become. His droopy carriage and shriveled feature betray you at first sight. The first impression will lead one to believe that he is about one hundred years of age, and later it will appear that he is not that old.
We had known "uncle Dave" for a long time; for years it had been a familiar sight to see him trudging the streets of the town with burlap bags thrown across his shoulders containing such household necessities as grits, salt, sugar, etc., and such articles as the house wives would give him out of sheer sympathy. To every friendly greeting he always had the humble response of "Tank Gawd, my eye is open."
He is well known throughout the town. One Sunday night a short time ago, while the services of a white church were in progress, distinguishable sounds of Amen were heard at regular intervals coming from the outside. On investigating they discovered that it was "uncle Dave" reverently enjoying the proceedings. Many times he has been seen outside the same church listening to the services.
SOURCE Interview with (Mrs.) Minnie Huges, age 43, 179 Spring Street, welfare worker.
Project 1655 Martha S. Pinckney Charleston, S.C.
Approx. 637 words
INTERVIEW WITH EX-SLAVE
Everybody in the town of Mt. Pleasant, Christ Church Parish (across the Bay from Charleston) knows "Tena White, the washer," "Tena, the cook," "Maum Tena" or "Da Tena, the nurse"—the same individual, accomplished in each art, but best as a nurse.
The house where Tena lives is the second in a row of Negro houses. The writer, calling from the gate, was answered by Tena, a middle-sized woman of neat figure. As the writer ascended the steps a friendly cur wagged itself forward and was promptly reproved by Tena, who placed a chair, the seat of which she wiped carefully with her dress. The piazza was clean and on the floor a black baby slept on a folded cloth, with a pillow under its head. The writer was soon on friendly terms with Maum Tena, and was told: "As soon as my eye set on you, I see you favor the people I know. My people belonged to Mr. William Venning. The plantation was Remley Point. I couldn't zactly member my pa's name. I member when de war come though. Oh dem drum; I nebber hear such a drum in my life! De people like music; dey didn't care nothing bout de Yankees, but dem bands of music! My mother name Molly Williams. My pa dead long before that. All my people dead. I stayin' here with my youngest sister chile—youngest son. He got seven head ob chillun."
"I can do anything—wash or cook—aint no more cook though. Oh yes" and her eyes sparkled, "I know how to cook de turkey, and de ham wid de little brown spots all over de top. Nobody can collec' my soup for me; I first go choose my soup bone. One wid plenty richness. My chile say, 'While my Tena live I wouldn't want nobody else.' But I couldn't take de sponsibility now."
"Maum Tena, how many children did you have?"
"Maggie an Etta an Georgie an Annie, etc., etc." so fast and so many that one couldn't keep up.
"Wait, Maum Tena. How many were there in all—your own children?"
"I nebber had a chile."
"Oh, those were the children you nursed."
"I marry twice. Caesar Robson an Aleck White."
"Did you ever sing spirituals?"
"No, I nebber had time."
"But you sang lullabies to the children."
"Oh, I sing someting to keep de chile quiet."
"Where is your church, Maum Tena?"
"De Methodist Church right here. I know I got for die some day. He keep me distance,[B] but when I look an see my flesh, I tenk de Lord for ebbery year what pass on my head. Taint my goodness, tis His goodness. Nothing but the pureness of heart will see Him."
[B] Has lived a long time.
Tena was shocked and disgusted at the idea of the Lord being a "black man." She said with perfect certainty that he was "no such."
"We all goin to de same Heaven, and there aint no black people there."
The writer asked Tena her age; before she could answer, her great-niece came to the door and said, "She eighty-eight." Tena was indignant. Her eyes flashed. "I aint goin to hab nobody come along puttin down my age what dunno anyting about it. I ought to be as high as nine. Let um be as high as nine."[C]
"If I didn't been round de house wid white people I wouldn't hab dis opportunity today, an dey good to me an gib me nuf to keep my soul an body together. My mother raise me right. When de Yankee come through we been at Remley Point. My Ma took care ob me. She shut me up and she gard me. De Yankee been go in de colored people house, an dey mix all up, an dey do jus what dey want. Dey been brutish.
"De beautiful tureen, stand so high and hab foot so long" lifting her hands, "an all de beautiful ting smash up, an all de meat an ham in de smoke house de stribute um all out to de people, an de dairy broke up, an de horse an de cow kill. Nothin leave. Scatter ebberyting. Nothin leave."
[C] Meaning her age should be in the nineties.
SOURCE: Tena White, Mt. Pleasant, Christ Church Parish, S.C. Age: Approximately 90.
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 82 YEARS OLD.
Bill Williams lives on the Durham place, nine miles east of Winnsboro, S.C., on the warm charity of Mr. Arthur M. Owens, the present owner. He is decrepit and unable to work.
"I was born a slave of old Marster John Durham, on a plantation 'bout five miles east of Blackstock, S.C. My mistress name Margaret. Deir chillun was Miss Cynthia, Marse Johnnie, Marse Willie and Marse Charnel. I forgits de others. Then, when young Marse Johnnie marry Miss Minnie Mobley, my mammy, Kizzie, my daddy, Eph, and me was give to them. Daddy and mammy had four other chillun. They was Eph, Reuben, Winnie and Jordan. Us live in rows of log houses, a path 'twixt de two rows. Us was close to de spring, where us got water and mammy did de white folks washin' every week. I kep' de fires burnin' 'round de pots, so de water would keep boilin'. Dat's 'bout all de work I 'members doin' in slavery time. Daddy was a field hand and ploughed a big red mule, name Esau. How many slaves was dere? More than I could count. In them days I couldn't count up to a hundred. How, then, I gonna kno' how many dere was? You have to ask somebody else. I'll just risk sayin' dere was big and little ones, just a little drove of them dat went to de field in cotton pickin' time, a hollerin' and a singin' glory hallelujah all day long, and pick two bales a day.