"Marse Johnnie and Miss Minnie mighty good marster and mistress to deir slaves. We had good rock chimneys to our houses, plank floors, movable bedsteads, wid good wheat straw ticks, and cotton pillows. Other folks' slaves was complainin' 'bout dirt floors in de houses, boards to sleep on, no ticks, and rags for pillows. Us got flour bread and 'lasses on Sunday, too, I'm here to tell you.
"They sho' fetch dat catechism 'round on Sunday and telled you who made you, what Him make you out of, and what Him make you for. And they say dat from de crown of your head to de top of your big toe, de chief end of every finger and every toe, even to de ends of your two thumbs, was made to glorify de Lord! Missus more 'ticular 'bout dat catechism than de marster. Her grandpa, old Marster John Mobley was a great Baptist. After de crops was laid by, every August, him visit his granddaughter. While dere, he take de slaves and dam up de branch, to make a pond for to pool de water. Then he take to de hill just 'bove, cut down pine tops, and make a brush arbor to hold de prachin' in. 'Vite white preachers, Mr. Cartledge, Mr. Mellichamp or Mr. Van, to come hold a 'vival for all de slaves in and 'round and 'bout de country. I's seen 27 go down and come up out dat pool, a splashin' water from deir faces, one Sunday evenin'. A terrible thing happen one time at de baptism. It was while de war was gwine on. Marse Johnnie had come back from Virginia, on a furlough for ten days. Old Marse John come to see him and fetch Rev. Mr. Cartledge wid him. People was pow'ful consarned 'bout 'ligion 'long 'bout dat time. Me and all de little slave boys jined dat time and dere was a little boy name Ike, a slave of old Doctor John Douglas, dat jined. Him was just 'bout my age, seven or eight years old. After him jined, him wanna back out of goin' down into de water. Dat evenin', after dinner, us was all dressed in a kind of white slip-over gown for de occasion. When it come Ike's time to receive de baptism, him was led by his mammy, by de hand, to de edge of de water and his hand given to de preacher in charge, who received him. Then he commenced: 'On de confession——'. 'Bout dat time little Ike broke loose, run up de bank, and his mammy and all de slaves holler: 'Ketch him! Ketch him!' Old Marse John holler: 'Ketch him!' They ketch little Ike and fetch him back to old Marse John and his mammy. Marse John explain to him dat it better to have water in de nose, now, than fire in de soul forever after. Little Ike say nothin'. His mammy take his hand and lead him to de preacher de same way her did befo'. Little Ike went down into de water. Preacher take him but when little Ike got down under dat water, de preacher lose de hold and bless God, in some way little Ike got 'twixt and 'tween de preacher's legs and comin' out behind him, turnt him sommersets and climb out on de bank a runnin'. Little Ike's mammy cry out: 'Ketch him! Ketch him!' Old marster say: 'No let him go to de devil. Thank de Lord him none of our niggers anyhow. Him just one of Dr. Douglas' Presbyterians niggers dat's destined to hell and be damned, I reckon."
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 83 YEARS OLD.
At the end of one of the silent streets of west Chester, S.C., that prolongs itself into a road leading to the Potter's Field and on to the County Poorhouse, sets a whitewashed frame cottage. It has two rooms, the chimney in the center providing each with a fireplace. A porch, supported by red cedar posts, fronts the road side. In this abode lives Jesse Williams with his daughter, Edna, and her six children. Edna pays the rent, and is a grenadier in the warfare of keeping the wolf from the door.
"You say I looks pretty old? Well, you's right 'bout de old part but I's far 'way from de pretty part. I got a hand glass in my house and when I shaves on Sunday mornin's, I often wonders who I is. I doesn't look lak me. My best friend couldn't say I got much on looks, but my old dog rap his tail on de floor lak he might say so, if him could speak.
"I's been off and on dese streets of Chester for eighty-three years. I was born a slave of Marse Adam C. Walker and my old miss was Mistress Eliza, dat's his wife.
"My pappy name Henry and mammy name Maria. I can see them plowin' in de field right now. Mammy plowin' same as pappy and me runnin' 'long behind, takin' de dirt off de cotton plants where de twister plow turnt de clods on de plants. Then, when dat cotton field git white and red wid blooms in summer and white agin in de fall, I have to shoulder my poke and go to de field and pick dat cotton. I 'members de fust day dat I pick a hundred pounds. Marse Adam pull out a big flat black pocket-book and gived me a shinplaster, and say: 'Jesse, ever time your basket h'ist de beam of de steelyards to 100, you gits a shinplaster.' I make eighty cents dat year but I have to git up when de chickens crow for day and git in de field when de dew was heavy on de cotton. Does I think dat was cheatin'? Oh, no sir! I wasn't 'ceivin' old marster. Him wink at dat, and take a pound off for dew. I'd a made more money but they took me out de field in November, to drive de mules to de hoss-gin. Dat was play work, just a settin' up dere and poppin' de whip.
"Marster live in a big two-story, eight-room house. De kitchen was out from de house. After Christmas, dat year, I was house boy and drive de buggy for Miss Eliza when her want to go visitin'. I was fed well and spent my money for a knife, candy, and firecrackers.
"My marster and missus have chillun. They was Peter, Jerry, Miss Elnora, and Miss Sallie, dat I play wid in slavery time.
"De Yankees didn't come as far up as Chester. They branched off down 'bout Blackstock, took de sunrise side of dat place and march on 'cross Catawba River, at Rocky Mount. I stay on wid Marse Adam and Miss Eliza, after freedom. I marry a handsome gal. Yes, sir, she dark but not too shady. I harks back to them days, as I sets here in dis rocker a talkin' to you. Did I tell you her name? Her name just suit her. Not Jane, Polly, Mag, Sallie, and de lak of dat! Them was too common for her. Her name Catherine, dat just fit her. Us have ten chillun and her and all them 'cept me and three chillun done gone over to Jordan. Dere was just one thing 'bout Catherine dat I's dubious 'bout. She lak to dance, and I was too clumsy for to ever cut a double shuffle. I 'spect I cut a poor figure at de frolics us went to. Does you think burnin' a candle for her would do any good at dis late day? Why I ask you dat? Well, I has heard them say dat white folks does dat sometimes for deir gone-on ones. My daughter, Edna say: 'It might do you good and it could do mama no harm.' I b'longs to Mount Moriah Church in dis very town of Chester. De preacher am Rev. Alexander. He 'low it was superstition to burn dat candle but if I live I's gwine to light one nex' Christmas.
"Us had a good marster and mistress. They was big buckra, never 'sociate wid poor white trash. They wore de red shirt. De time come 'round when they send me to Marse Will Harden and he pass me on to go see Marse Judge Mackey, who live here then. Did I know Judge Mackey? Sho' I did! While he was a settin' up dere on de bench in de court house, he have all de people laughin'. One time de father of Marse W.B. Lindsey beat up a Radical nigger and de case come up befo' him for trial. Great 'citement 'bout it, over de whole county. Court house packed dat day. Solicitor rise and say: 'Please your honor, de 'fendant, Lindsey, put in a plea of guilty.' You might have heard a breast feather of a chicken fall, so very still was de people in dere, though de niggers and 'publicans was a grinning wid joy. Then Judge Mackey 'low: 'Let de 'fendant stand up.' Wid a solemn face and a solemn talk, him wound up wid: 'Derefore, de court sentence you to de State Penitentiary at hard labor for a period of ten years (Then him face light up, as he conclude), or pay a fine of one dollar!' De white folks holler: 'Three cheers for Judge Mackey!' De judge git up and bow, and say: 'Order in de court.' As dere was no quiet to be got, clerk 'journed de court. De judge take his silk beaver hat and gold headed cane and march out, while de baliffs holler: 'Make way! Make way for de honorable judge!' Everybody took up dat cry and keep it up long as de judge was on de streets. Oh, how dat judge twirl his cane, smile, and strut.
"Did I ever see a spirit? 'Spect I has and I sho' have felt one more than once. 'Spect I was born wid a caul over my eyes. When de last quarter of de moon come in de seventh month of a seventh year, is de most time you see spirits. Lyin' out in de moon, befo' daybreak, I's smelt, I's heard, I's seed and I's felt Catherine's spirit in de moon shadows. I come nigh ketchin' hold of her one night, as I wake up a dreamin' 'bout her but befo' I could set up, I hear her pass 'way, through de treetops dat I was layin', dreamin' under.
"Then another time, I was settin' here 'bout four o'clock in de moonlight a lookin' 'cross de street to de town hall. I see sumpin' rise and jump upon dat rock a lyin' dere 'ginst de town hall. It was de figger of a man. Who it was I don't know, though they de call de rock de 'Aaron Burr Rock', 'cause he made a speech standin' on dat rock, long befo' I was born. De people in de library can tell you 'bout dat speech. Maybe Dr. Lathan tell you 'bout it. Him ninety-five years old dis last past twelfth day of May and knows all 'bout de days dat are gone.
"I live wid my daughter, Edna, and I just can make it back dere from de post office every day."
Code: Folk-Lore Project 1885 -1- District #4 Spartanburg, S.C. May 26, 1937
Aunt Mary Williams stated she remembered slavery times, for she was a girl large enough to walk four miles to go to work "while slavery was on". She said Mr. Alfred Brown used to own her mother, but she was raised by Mrs. Margaret Taylor who used to live where the oil mill is now, below Arkwright Mills. Her father was owned by Mr. Simpson Bobo and drove his horse for him. She stated she was a good hoe-hand, but didn't pick cotton, as Mr. Brown didn't raise any cotton, just raised something to eat.
She said her master was a kind man, didn't allow any "paterollers" on his place, yet she had seen other slaves on other plantations with bloody backs and arms from the whippings they got. When asked why they were whipped, she replied, "Just because their masters could whip them; they owned them and could do what they wanted to them". Her master didn't allow any whipping on his place. One time he kept a slave from another plantation who was fleeing the "paterollers" on his place and in his own house until he was set free.
"I'se got the looking glasses and the thimble my great-grandmother used to use when she worked. She was a good weaver and a good sewer. She made a man an overcoat once, but didn't get but $1.25 for it; she made a pair of men's breeches and got fifty cents for making them. They didn't get nothing for making clothes in those days".
She remembered when the Yankee soldiers came into Spartanburg. She said they took all they could get, stole something to eat, just went into the stores and took liquor and handed it out drink by drink to the other soldiers. Aunt Mary stated she saw Abe Lincoln when he came through Spartanburg; said he was armed himself and had soldiers all around him. He told the colored folks who seemed scared of him that he wasn't going to hurt anybody, not to be scared of him. (Here she must have confused Lincoln with some one else, probably Colonel Palmer, who commanded a detachment in pursuit of Jefferson Davis, which stopped over-night in Spartanburg in April, 1865. FK.)
SOURCE: Aunt Mary Williams, 391 Cudd St., Spartanburg, S.C. Interviewer: F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C.
Project 1655 Genevieve W. Chandler Georgetown County, S.C.
UNCLE WILLIS WILLIAMS
"When wuz I born? Born in August. When I wuz born been August. I wuz a man grown pulling boxes, (turpentine boxes) when the shake wuz. I know the very night the shake come——on a Wednesday night. I wuz on door step loosing my shoe string. There wuz more religion then than they is now. Praying and prayer meeting for a month. Everybody tend meeting.
"I been with the Yankee. I kin tell you bout the Yankee. They come home there to Rock Creek when the war wuz breaking up and carried me to Fayetteville. (N.C.) Kept me with 'em till Johnson surrendered in Raleigh,——then they kept me in Goldsboro and took me on to Petersburg. After everything over they give me free transportation back home. Free on train back to Fayetteville. They had put all the Yankee clothes on me,——all the blue shirt, blue coat and bumps on the shoulder,—and when they start me home took all the Yankee clothes way from me. Put gray clothes on me and sent me back. I member they took me up in a way-up-yonder building—to Richmond. Couldn't tell you the depth of it. Man on the ground looked like boy.
"The man I belonged to been Mass John A. Williams. (Born on the Cape Fear.) I goes by Mass John name—Williams. His sons been John, James, Charlie, Wallis, William, James. James come home from army sick. Had the mumps; thirty days furlough.
"Member when the Yankees come. Been Sunday morning. Ride up to the gate on horses. Old Boss happened to come out and walk to the lot. I happened to be at gate. They took his watch out his pocket, his pistol—had it girded to him—and took all he whiskey and catch chickens and guinea and take them all. Then they gone in the lot and took two breeding mares and hitch them in wagon and loaded wagon full o' corn. Then they took the two carriage horses and hitched to carriage, and gone to smoke-house, and fill that carriage full of all Mass John sides of meat and ham and shoulders. I been following and watching to see what all they going to take, and a soldier looked at me and say,
"'Come on little Nigger! Wanter go?'
"And I done like another fool! I rode off behind the two brood mares, on the corn, and where they rested that night, I rested right there.
"It was mighty cold up there. I suffered a heap in the cold fore I got back home. They give me a horse,—saddled and bridled,—and a little bayonet gun. Put me on that horse to drive cattle. Tell me to take all I see. Didn't except nobody cattle. Night come put 'em in pasture—put 'em in anybody field—on the oats, rye, wheat.
"Sometimes rain sho fall.—Had to tend that bunch of cattle rain or no rain. Didn't kill one beef and stop! (Kill) FOUR beeves a day. Go out git the hog and kill 'em. Skin 'em. Didn't scald 'em and clean 'em like we do. Just eat the ham. Rest throw way. Gone to Wilmington, Fayetteville, Rookfish and Beaver Creek.
"General Sherman? Has I hear bout him? I SEEN him! He had a big name but he warn't such a big man; he was a little spare made man. I member now when I seed him the last time. He had two matched horses going down to Petersburg. Six guards riding by the side of his turnout. Oh my God, what clothes he had on! He was dressed down in finest uniform.
"When I leave the Yankee they give me $35.00 in money. I been so fool had never seen no green back. Throwed it away eating crackers and peanuts. And I bought some brogan shoes. If I'd a helt on to that, I'd a been some body today.
"I members it was Sunday morning that General Johnson throwed up his hand at Raleigh. Done with the war!
"Before Freedom I have a good enough time. Just lay round the house and wait on my boss. When Freedom come and I did have to get out and work it most kill me!
"After Freedom my mother wash for family to Beaver Creek. And after Freedom my father went to working on shares. Old Maas John called 'em up and tell 'em,
"'You free, Asa. You free, Lewis. You free, Handy. You free, Wash. You can do as you please. You have to fadge for yourself now.'
"Mass John Williams had four hundred slaves. He was a man had the colored people. He didn't work all on his own plantation. He'd hire out his people to work turpentine.——Put 'em out for so much a year. He'd give 'em blanket, suit, coat, pants. First of the year come, Boss would collect wages for all he hire out.
"That there my second wife. You know how a man is. How many wife I had? Two or three. Lemme see! (Looking at present wife) You is one! You the last one! Fust one been Jinny Lind. Next one been Mary Dickson. And Caressa Pyatt been one! And there been another one! I forgot that woman name! Got it in my mouth and can't call it! I'll call the name of them others I take up with in a little while! One was Caline; one was Tissue; (Tisha?) I take them a little while and if they didn't do to suit me, I put 'em out! Some I didn't stay with long nuff to find out they name! Jinny Lind sister was Tissue. Jinny Lind gone, try her sister. Just a 'make out'. If they didn't do to suit me, I'd give 'em the devil and put 'em out.
"Don't know bout beating woman. Some say that bout,
'Woman, dog, cypress knee more you beat'em the better they be!'
"But some woman, the more you beat 'em the worse the devil gets in 'em. Get so they won't 'GEE' nor 'HAW'.
"When I was house boy for old Mass John, waiting on white people, that was the best and easiest time I ever had. Ever Satdy drive Mass John to Fayetteville. Ever Satdy they'd think that store belong to me! I'd eat lumps of brown sugar out the barrel, candy, crackers. Did as I please then; NOW do as I kin!
"'Ways of woman and ways of snake deeper than the sea!' I take that to mean——mighty few can tell by the trail of a snake whether its coming or going——
"I hear story bout the rabbit and the fox—all them old things—Some times my mind franzy. Been break up too much! Break two ribs to the lumber mill. Jump out a cart one day and run a ten penny nail through my foot. That lay me up two months. Some mean people ketch me up by that tree yonder with a car and that lay me up sixty-five days. They pick me up for dead that time. All that make my mind get franzy sometimes. Come and go—Come and go."
SOURCE: Uncle Willis Williams. Age, 89 to 90 years old. Conway, S.C. (Horry County).
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 May 25, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I was a Garmany before I married Calvin Wilson. My father was Henry Garmany, and my mother Sidney Boozer. My husband was in the Confederate army with his master. Dey was near Charleston on de coast. I was slave of Lemuel Lane, of de Dutch Fork. He was killed after de war, some say by some of his young slaves, but we'uns did not know naything about who killed him. We had a good house to live in on Marse Lane's plantation. I used to work around the house and in de fields. My mother was a good seamstress and helped de white folks sew, and she learn't me to sew had help too. We didn't get any money for our work. One time after de war, dey paid me only $5.00 and I quit 'em. My mother hired me out to work for her, and I didn't have any money, still; so I said I better get me a man of my own. Marse Lane was mean to most of us, but good to me. He whipped me once and I deserved it because I wouldn't answer him when he called me. He jes' give me about two licks. He was mean to my mother, but he wouldn't let his white overseer whip us, and wouldn't let de padder-rollers come around. He said he could look-out for his own slaves.
"We didn't learn to read and write, but some of de white folks had learned my mother, and she learned me some.
"Niggers had to go to church at New Hope, de white folks' church, in slavery time and after de war too. We had Saturday afternoons to do what we wanted, and we washed clothes then.
"On Christmas, Marse would give de slaves some good things to eat and send some to dere families. Niggers had frolics at dere houses sometimes on Saturday nights. When I married, I had a good hot supper.
"Children played all de ole games like, play-ball (throwing over the house), marbles and base.
"Some saw ghosts, but I never saw any of dem.
"Old-time cures was peach tree leaves boiled and drunk for fever; wild cherry bark was good for most anything if took at night. I have used it for curing some things. The best cure I know, is turpentine and a little oil mixed. Swallow it and it will fix you up.
"The Yanks went through our place and took two of the best horses we had. One had a tail that reached the ground. Dey stole lots of victuals. I 'member de Ku Klux wid dere long white sheets, and den de Red Coats wid white breeches. Dey would walk or ride, but dey never harmed us.
"I don't know much about Abe Lincoln, but I reckon he was a good man, and Jeff Davis, too. I don't know Booker Washington but heard he was a good man.
"I joined de church because de white folks did. Dey wants to go to heaven and I do too. I think everybody ought to try to do right. I used to think we could make heaven down here, but if we jes' do right, dats all we can do."
Source: Emoline Wilson (90), Newberry, S.C. Interviewer: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. May 21, 1937.
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 Sept. 22, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I was born in Newberry County near Cannon's Creek section in the Dutch Fork. I was a slave of Lemuel Lane. He was killed by some slaves just after freedom. They killed him for his money but didn't find any, it was said. When freedom come, my mistress give me some things to eat when we left.
"I can't work much any more; I am old and I can't get about. I live with my son who works when he can find work. We rent a two-room cottage in town.
"I never heard anything about slaves getting 40 acres of land and a mule. None in that section got any. We had to go to work for other people.
"The Ku Klux Klan never bothered us then, and we never had nothing to do with them, nor with politics.
"There was no slaves living in our section who had come from Virginia."
Source: Emoline Wilson (90), Newberry, S.C. Interviewer: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. 8/10/37 (See ES IV, MS. #13).
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 June 15, 1937
Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I am daughter of Billy Robertson and Louisa Robertson; was born about 77 years ago in Newberry, on Marse Job Johnstone's place. My father lived with Judge Job Johnstone as his extra man or servant. He lived in the house with him, slept in his room and waited on him when he became old; and, too, was the driver of his carriage. He drove him to other courthouses to hold court. After the war, my father was janitor at Newberry College, and he was liked by professors, students, and everybody who knew him as 'Uncle Billy'. At commencement, he always made a speech at night on the campus, which the students enjoyed. He told about his travels from Virginia to Newberry before the war. Judge Johnstone never wanted anybody else to be with him when he traveled.
"I belonged to the Avelleigh Presbyterian Church in Newberry, and was christened in the church by the preacher, the Rev. Buist. Colored people were allowed to be members and set in the gallery when they went to church.
"After the war, a colored man named Amos Baxter was killed by the Ku Klux at the old courthouse. My father was on Judge Johnstone's farm a few miles away. He was sent for and came with another colored man to town, and prayed and preached over the body of Baxter. The Ku Klux came to kill my father for doing this, but they never caught him.
"I had to stay home most of the time and help mama keep house. I never worked in the field but once, and the job was so poor they put me back in the house. That was the old Nance place.
"Once I saw a man hung in Newberry. He was a negro named Thompson and killed a white man named Reid. He killed him at a store in Pomaria and burned it over his body. He was hung near the railroad, and a big crowd was there to see it. That was my first time to see a man hung, and I promised God it would be my last. They asked the negro if he had anything to say, and give him five minutes to talk. He was setting on a box smoking; then he got up and said he reckoned his time was over, he was sorry for all the bad things he had done; that he had killed a boy once for 25 cents, and had killed a little girl for 20 cents. He was sorry for his wife and three weeks old baby. His wife saw him hung.
"The Ku Klux wanted to kill any white people who was Republicans. They killed some negroes. A white man named Murtishaw killed Lee Nance, a store keeper. I was a little girl and saw it. Some little children was standing out in front. Murtishaw came up and said he wanted to buy something or pretended he wanted to; then he went up to Nance, pulled his pistol quick and shot him through the throat and head.
"Judge Johnstone's kitchen was away from the house, a brick building. They had large ovens and wide fireplaces in which they cooked.
"My father's favorite horses, when he drove the family, was 'Knox' and 'Calvin', which they kept for many years. When they died the mistress cried awfully about it.
"My husband died at old Mr. Dan Ward's place, on College Hill, where he was living then."
Source: Jane Wilson (77), Newberry, S.C. Interviewer: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. (6/9/37)
Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, June 11, 1937
MOM GENIA WOODBERRY
Ex-Slave, 89 years
"Glad to see yunnah. Who dese udder wid yah? Who yuh? Lawd, I glad to see yunnah. I nu'se aw Miss Susan fust chillun. Ne'er nu'se dem las'uns. Sicily been yo' mamma nu'se. Nu'se Massa Ben Gause child fust en den I nu'se four head uv Miss Susan chillun a'ter she marry Massa Jim Stevenson. Sleep right dere wid dem chillun aw de time. Miss Susan ne'er didn't suckle none uv dem chillun. I tell yunnah dis much, Massa Jim Stevenson was good to aw uv his colored people en Miss Susan wuz good to me. I sho' born right down yonner to Massa Ben Gause plantation. Gade Caesar en Mary Gause wuz my parents. Yas'um, I is glad to see dese chillun cause yuh know whey white folks hab feeling fa yah, it sho' make yuh hab feeling fa dey chillun. I ole now en I can' 'member eve'yt'ing but I ain' ne'er forge' wha' good times dem wuz."
"My Lawd! Yas, my Lawd, de peoples lib well dere to Massa Jim Stevenson plantation. De white folks hab big house dere wid eve'yt'ing 'bout it jes lak uh town. I couldn't tell yunnah how many colored peoples dey hab dere but I know dis, I hear em say dere wuz more den two hundred uv em dat lib in de quarter. Dey house wuz in uh field offen to itself dere on de plantation en wuz strung aw up en down in two long row lak. Dey wuz set up in good libin' den."
"Coase I ain' lib dere in de quarter wid de udder colored peoples a'ter I ge' big 'nough to be nu'se girl, but I know how dey fare dere. My Massa hab uh smoke house full uv meat en uh barn full uv corn aw de time en eve'y Friday a'ternoon aw de colored peoples hadder do wuz to go dere to de big house en ge' dey share uv meat en 'lasses en corn to las' em de whole week. Ne'er hadder worry nuthin 'bout it tall. Dey hab dey gristmill right dere whey dey grind dat corn eve'y week. Yah ain' ne'er see no sech barn en heap uv meat dese days uz dey hab den. Dem hog killin' days wuz big times fa dem plantation peoples. It jes lak I tellin' yunnah my Massa gi'e he colored peoples mos' eve't'ing dey hab en den he 'low eve'y family to hab uh acre uv land uv dey own to plant. Hadder work dat crop in de night. Make light wid fat light'ud stump wha' to see by. Dat crop wha' dey buy dey Sunday clothes wid. Ne'er hadder hunt no clothes but dey Sunday clothes cause dey hab seamstress right dere on de plantation to make aw us udder clothes. Miss Susan larnt Aun' Cynthia en Starrah en Tenna to cut en sew dere to de big house en a'ter dat dey ne'er do nuthin but make de plantation clothes."
"Aw de colored peoples dere to Miss Susan plantation hab dey certain business to go 'bout eve'y day en dey ne'er didn't shirk dat neither. Miss Susan ain' 'low fa no slack way 'round whey she was. Dere been Yaneyki wha' hadder jes wait on Miss Susan; Becky, de house girl; Aun' Hannah, de one wha' cook in de big house; Aun' Dicey, wha' al'ays clean up de white folks kitchen; en Sanco, de house boy. Den I wuz de nu'se dere fa dem chillun. Ne'er lak it but I ha'e it to do. Hadder stay right dere to de big house aw de time. Miss Susan ne'er wouldn't 'low me take dem chillun 'way offen no whey en eve'ybody hadder be mindful uv wha' dey say 'fore dem chillun too. I 'member dat big ole joggling board dere on de front piazza dat I use'er ge' de chillun to sleep on eve'y evenin'. I be dere singin' one uv dem baby song to de child en it make me hu't lak in me bosom to be wid my ole mammy back up dere in de quarter. Coase I ain' le' nobody know dat. Dere ain' nobody ne'er been no better den Miss Susan wuz to me. It jes lak dis, I wuz jes uh child den en yah know it uh child happiness to be raise up wid dey mammy."
"Den de colored peoples lib mighty peaceful lak dere in de quarter cause dey ne'er hadder worry 'bout how nuthin come. My Massa see dat dey hab decent libin' aw de time en 'bundance uv eve't'ing dey need. Hadder keep 'round 'bout dey premises clean up eve'whey. I tellin' yuh, child, my white folks wuz 'ticular uv dey colored peoples when dey wuz sick. Dey hab big ole me'icine book dat dey take down when one uv dem ge' sick en see could dey find wha' wuz good fa dey ailment. Den Miss Susan'ud send in de woods en ge' wha' it say mix up fa de remedy en make de me'icine right dere to de big house. Miss Susan'ud al'ays doctor de plantation peoples en carry em nice basket uv t'ing eve'y time dey wuz sick. Effen Miss Susan t'ink dey hab mucha co'plaint, den dey'ud send fa de plantation doctor 'bout dere. Annuder t'ing dey ne'er didn't 'low de colored girls to work none tall 'fore dey wuz shape lak uh 'oman cause dey 'fraid dat might strain dey ne'ves."
"Aw de colored peoples wha' ne'er hab no work to do 'bout de big house wuz field hand en dey hadder ge' up at de fust crow uv de cock in de morning en go up to de big house en see wha' dey wan' em to do dat day. Coase dey eat dey break'ast 'fore dey leab de quarter. Effen de sun look lak it wuz gwinna shine, de o'erseer'ud send em in de field to work en dey'ud stay in de field aw day till sun up in de evenin'. Carry dey basket uv victual en pot 'long wid em en cook right dere in de field. Jes put dey peas en bacon in de pot en build up big fire 'bout it close whey dey wuz workin' cause eve'y now en den dey hadder push de fire to de pot. Den some uv de day dey'ud go in de tatoe patch en dig tatoe en roast em in de coals. Effen it wuz uh rainy day, dey ne'er go in de field. Shuck corn dat day. Dat wuz how dey done."
"Aw dem wha' work right dere to de big house al'ays wuz fed from Miss Susan table to de kitchen. Dere wuz Gran'mudder Phoebe who hadder look a'ter eve't'ing 'bout Miss Susan dairy. De plantation peoples'ud bring dey gourd eve'y morning en leab it dere to de dairy fa Gran'mudder Phoebe to hab fill wid clabber fa em to carry home in de evenin'. Den when Gran'mudder Phoebe wuz finish wid aw de churning, she use'er pour wha' clabber wuz left o'er in uh big ole wooden tray under uh tree dere close to de dairy en call aw dem little plantation chillun dere whey she wuz. She gi'e eve'yone uv em uh iron spoon en le' em eat jes uz mucha dat clabber uz dey c'n hold. A'ter dat she clean up eve'yt'ing 'bout de dairy en den she go to de big house en ge' her dinner. Gran'mudder Phoebe say she could set down en eat wid sati'faction den cause she know she wuz t'rough wid wha' been her portion uv work dat day."
"Den dere wuz Patience wha' work to de loom house. She help do aw de weaving fa de plantation. Weave aw t'rough de winter en aw t'rough de summer. She make aw kinder uv pretty streak in de cloth outer de yarn dat dey dye right dere on de plantation wid t'ing dat dey ge' outer de woods lak walnut wha' make brown, en cedar en sweet gum wha' make purple. Den dey make de blue cloth outer dat t'ing dat dey raise right dere on de plantation call indigo. Dere some uv dat indigo dat does grow up dere on de Sand Hills dis day en time but ain' nobody ne'er worry 'bout it no more."
"Jes uh little way from de loom house wuz de shoe house whey Uncle Lon'on hadder make shoe aw de day. I 'member dey is make aw de plantation shoe dere. Make em outer cow hide wha' dey hadder tan fust. Jes put de cow hide in uh trough en kiver it aw o'er wid oak en water en le' it soak till de hair come offen it. Den dey take it outer dat en beat it 'cross uh log hard uz dey c'n till dey ge' it right soft lak. A'ter dat ley out de shoe lak dey wan' it en sew it up wid dem long hair wha' dey ge' outer de hosses neck. Dat jes de way dey make aw we shoe den."
"Minus en Chrissus Gause hab job dere to de gin house. Dey'ud jes put de cotton in dat gin en de seed go one way en de lent go de udder way. Minus hadder feed de gin en dem udder helper hadder hand de cotton. Den Bacchus hadder work de screw dat press de bale togedder. Yunnah chillun ain' ne'er see nuthin lak dat dese days. Dem hosses pull dat t'ing round en round en dat screw ge' tighter en tighter. Turn out pretty uh bale uv cotton us yunnah e'er hear 'bout in no time tall. My Lawd, I 'member dey is hab bale uv cotton pile up aw 'bout dat gin house."
"En dey is hab dey own blacksmith shop dere on de place down to de place call de big water. Aw dem peoples from plantation aw 'bout come dere fa Fortune to mend dey plow en t'ing lak dat."
"Yas'um, plantation peoples hadder go dere to de Ole Neck Chu'ch eve'y Sunday. I hear em say dat wuz uh Methodist Chu'ch. Aw dem well to do folks hab dey own pew up dere in de front uv de chu'ch wha dey set on eve'y Sunday. Dey seat wuz painted pretty lak uh bedstead en den de poor peoples set in de middle uv de chu'ch in de yellow kind uv seat. Aw de colored peoples hadder set in de blue seat in de back uv de chu'ch. Peoples ne'er rank togedder den lak yah see de peoples rank togedder dese days. Miss Susan Stevenson en Miss Harriett Woodberry en Miss Maggie McWhite wuz de ones wha' pull togedder den. Know dey chillun time dey hit dat chu'ch door. C'n tell em by dey skin. My blessed, chillun, dere wuz sech uh diffe'ence."
"Dat Ole Neck Chu'ch de same chu'ch wha' yunnah see stand two mile up dat road. Dem peoples oughtna hadder move dat chu'ch neither cause it been dere long time 'fore dey come heah. Ain' been right to do dat. Dem wha' put dat chu'ch dere bury right dere in dat cemetery right 'bout whey dey chu'ch wuz en dem udder peoples ain' hab no right to take dey chu'ch 'way a'ter dey been gone."
"De peoples ne'er hab no cars lak dese peoples hab 'bout heah now. My white folks hab carriage en two big ole white hosses wha' to ride to se'vice en whey dey wanna go den. Coase dey ne'er go aw de time lak dese peoples does dis day en time. Lawd, dem hosses could pull dat carriage too. Dey wuz name Selam en Prince. My Massa en Missus hab seat in de back uv de carriage en I hadder set up dere 'tween dem en de driver en nu'se dem chillun. Isaac wuz Miss Susan driver en he hab seat aw uv he own on de front whey he could mind de hosses. My Lawd, I 'member how I did use'er lub to set up dere in Miss Susan carriage."
"Dese peoples dese days don' know nuthin 'bout dem times den. I 'member how dey use'er sell de colored peoples offen to annuder plantation some uv de time. Man come dere to buy my Gran'mudder a'ter Massa Ben Gause die en tell her to open she mouth so he c'n 'xamine her teeth. Say she say, 'I won' do it.' Wanna know effen dey wuz sound 'fore he buy her. Dat de way dey do when dey sell hosses."
"I 'member when dem Yankees come 'bout dere too. Hear Massa Jim Stevenson say dey mus' herry en hide dey va'uables cause de Yankees wuz comin' t'rough dere en sweep em out. Dey bury dey silver en dey gold watch in de graveyard up in de Beech Field. (De Beech Field wuz de place whey de Indian use'er camp long time ago cause de peoples use'er find aw kinder bead en arrow head wha' dey left dere.) Den Miss Susan put trunk full uv her nice t'ing to de colored peoples house. Ain' been 'fraid de Yankees bother em dere. Didn't no Yankees come no whey 'bout dere till a'ter freedom 'clare en den two uv em come dere en stay right dere to de big house. Dey come to 'vide outer de corn. Hab pile uv corn sot aw 'bout de born (barn) dere wid name uv de colored peoples stick 'bout in eve'y pile."
"Yas'um, I 'member dat aw right. Marry in March dere to my pa house. Us ne'er left Massa Jim Stevenson plantation a'ter freedom 'clare. Ne'er wanna hunt no better libin' den we hab dere. My Lawd, dere sho' wuz big doing 'bout dere when I go' hitch up to Joe Woodberry. Pa kill uh shoat en dey bake cake en hab aw kinder ration cook up. I hab pretty dress make outer white swiss muslin wha' I marry in en aw dem peoples wuz dress up dat evenin'. Dat wuz pretty uh sight uz dere e'er wuz when dey ge' to blowing dat cane en knockin' dem stick en dey aw wuz uh jiggin' 'bout."
"Chillun, seem lak aw de good time gone from heah now. Peoples sho' gotta scuffle fa wha' dey hab dis day en time en den effen dey ge' it, dere ain' no sati'faction no whey 'bout it. T'ing ain' gwinna do nobody no good effen dey gotta worry dey head so mucha 'bout whey de next comin' from."
"Good day, honey. Come back 'g'in. Yunnah white en I black, but I lub yuh."
Source: MOM GENIA WOODBERRY (Eugenia Woodeberry), age 89, colored, Britton's Neck, S.C. (Personal interview, June 1937)
Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, November 23, 1937
Ex-Slave, Age _
"Come in, child. Dis ain' nobody talkin to you from behind dat door, but Julia Woodberry. De door unlatch, just turn de handle en come right in here whe' you can warm yourself by de stove. I tell my daughter for her to take de sick child en walk over dere en make Aun' Liney a visit, while I wipe round bout dis stove a little speck. Cose I ain' able to scour none much, but seems like dis old stove does keep everything so nasty up dat I can' let things bout it get too worser. No, child, I tell dese chillun I done seen most all my scourin days, but I think bout I would do this little job for Alexa dis mornin en let her put her mind to dat child. I say, if I able, I loves to wipe up cause it such a satisfaction. It just like dis, dere ain' nothin gwine shine dat floor en make it smell like I want it to, but soap en water. I don' like dese old stoves nohow. I ain' been raise to dem cause when I come up, de olden people didn' think nothin bout puttin no stoves to dey fireplaces. Oh, dey would have dese big old open fireplaces en would have de grandest kind of fires. My Lord, child, dere wouldn' never be no nastiness bout dey fireplace cause de people never didn' burn no coal in dem days. Slavery people been burn dese great big oak logs en dey would make de finest kind of fires, I say. Yes, mam, I been raise up de slavery way en dat how-come I don' want to be noways departin from it."
"Oh, dat was my granddaughter dat had de straw fever. Yes, mam, look like she mendin right smart since she been settin up. De straw fever, dat what I calls it, but I hear people say it de hay fever. De doctor, he just say it de fever, but from de way he give de pills, it point to de straw fever. Cose dat what we termed it, but like I tell you, some calls it de hay fever. I ain' never hear talk of dat kind of fever till dese late years. Yes, mam, she had a little cold en cough some, but not much. You see, when she first took down, she took wid a blindness en a pain in de stomach at de school en couldn' say nothin. De doctor say de fever was bout broke on her den. You see, she had de pain en, I say, dat a sign de misery broke on her. But dat child, she lay dere on dat bed three weeks en she been mighty weak, mighty weak from de fever. No, mam, she ain' have de fever all de time, but dere would come a slow fever dat would rise on her every night en eat up what strength she had caught durin de day. Cose she ain' never been hearty cause she been havin dis fever long bout two years. No, mam, she been test for de T.B.'s in de school dis last year en dey say dat she never had none of dat. Alexa say she gwine let her get dem shots in time next year. All de school chillun took dem last year. Dey tell me dat be to keep diseases down in school. Cose I don' know nothin bout it cause I been raise de slavery way en dat won' de talk den.
"My mother, she was a freeborn woman. She come from off de sea beach in our own country. Her people was dese Chee Indians en she didn' have no ways like dese other people bout here. Now, I talkin out of her. Ain' talkin out of nobody else, but her. She told me she was born on de sea beach en her parents was Chee Indians. Dat what she told us chillun. Say, when dey stole her en her brother John, dey come dere in dese big old covered wagons en dey stuffed dem way back up in dere en carried dem off. Oh, she say, she was a big girl when dey run her down en caught her. Like I tell you, I talkin out of her. Her en her brother John was out playin one day, near their sea beach home, en first thing dey know, dere come one of dem big old covered wagons dere. Say, dey never know what to think till dey see dis white man gettin down off de wagon en start makin for dem en dey get scared cause dey been learn white man won' no friend. Say, dey broke en run, but de man come right after dem en grabbed dem up wid his hands en stuffed dem way back up in de covered wagon en drove off. She say, she was runnin hard as she could from de man. I remember, I heard my mother speak bout dat she didn' reckon her mother ever knew whe' dey went. She say, dey cried en cried, but dat never do no good. No, mam, de lawyer Phillips stole her. He didn' buy her cause she told me dey brought dem right on to his home en put dem out dere. Her en her brother John were made house servants in de big house en dey went from one to de other in de Phillips' family till after freedom come here. Ma, she say dat she fared good en dey didn' ill treat her no time, but wouldn' never allow dem to get out de family no more durin slavery days. No, mam, she never didn' have no hard time comin up. Cose she had to put de white people chillun to bed at night en den she could go to parties cross Catfish much as she wanted to, but she would have to be back in time to cook dat breakfast next mornin. You see, dey was house servants en dey stayed right dere in de lawyer Phillips' house all de time. Been raise right down dere in dat grove of cedars cross from de jail."
"Well, she didn' say bout dat. No, mam, she didn' have no word bout whe' if she liked de white folks livin or no when she first come dere. You know, when you in Rome, you has to do as Rome do. Reckon dat de way de poor creature took it. No, child, she didn' tell us nothin bout her home no more den dat she was born a Chee Indian. Yes, mam, my blessed old mother told me dat a thousand times."
"My God, my God, child, I couldn' never forget my old mother's face. She bore a round countenance all de time wid dese high cheek bones en straight hair. I talkin out of her now. Yes, mam, can see Ma face dere fore my eyes right now. It de blessed truth, my old mother didn' have no common ways bout her nowhe'. I don' know whe' it true or no, but de people used to say I took after my mother. I recollects, when I would be workin round de white folks, dey would ax me how-come I been have dem kind of way bout me what was different from de other colored people. You know, de Indians, dey got curious ways. My mother, she wouldn' never take a thing from nobody en she was sharp to pick a fight. Yes, mam, she was quick as dat. (Slaps her hands together.) Been fast gettin insulted. Anybody make her mad, she would leave away from dem en dey wouldn' see her no more in a month or two. Hear boss say dat she was quick tempered."
"Well, child, dat bout all I can know to speak bout dis mornin. You see, some days I can get my 'membrance back better den I can on another day. I say, I gwine get my mind fixed up wid a heap to tell you de next time you come here en if you ain' come back, I gwine try en get round dere to your house. God bless you, honey."
Source: Julia Woodberry, Ex-Slave, Age 70-80, Marion, S.C. Personal interview by Annie R. Davis, Nov., 1937.
Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, November 30, 1937
Ex-Slave, Age _
"Oh, my God a mercy, child, dat been a time when dat shake come here. I tell you, dat been somethin. I sho remember all bout dat cause I been a grown woman de year dat earthquake come here. Yes, mam, I gwine tell it to you just like I experience it. We had all just been get over wid us supper en little things dat night en I had washed Auntie en Mr. Rowell's feet for dem to lie down en dere come such a sketch of clouds from over in dat direction dat I never know what to make of it. Auntie en Mr. Rowell never know what to make of it neither. I remember, I run out to help my sister dat been out to de paddlin block en, honey, you ain' never live to see no black cloud like dat been. I washed a piece through en den I left off en went back in de house en set down by de fire to dry my feet. I set dere awhile en seems like somethin just speak right out de fire, bout dat time, en tell me to move my feet dat I was in bad shape. En, child, it de truth of mercy, dere come a big clog of dirt out dat chimney en drap (drop) right down in de spot whe' my foot was. I run to Auntie en Mr. Rowell to see could dey tell what dat was, but dey been in just as much darkness as I been. I look up en seems like de loft had lowered itself en could hear a roarin for miles en miles bout dere en could hear de people hollerin every which a way. Yes, mam, could hear dem hollerin miles en on top of miles bout dere. My God, dem people was scared to lie down dat night en such a prayin en a shoutin as everybody do dat night, I ain' never see de like fore den. Ain' see de like since den neither. Next mornin, I go to work for de white folks en dey all go off dat mornin en I tell you, I was scared bout to death in dat big house by myself. I remember, I left out de house en been out in de 'tatoe patch grabblin 'tatoes right along en when I raise up, dat thing was comin down dat 'tatoe row just a whirlin en a makin right for me. Yes, mam, I been so scared. I ain' see whe' I is grow a bit since de shake. I tell you, I thought it was de Jedgment. Den we hear dere was gwine be another earthquake, but de people get on dey knees en dey stay on dey knees en it never come here dat time. Dat one was in another state, so dey tell me. I hear talk dat all de earth caved in en you could see de people down dere, but couldn' nobody get dem. Some people say dat been de devil do dat, but I tell dem de devil ain' had no such power. De Lord been de power dat bring dat shake here, I say."
"Oh, Lord, de people sho fared better in dat day en time den dey do dese days. Cose dey didn' have a heap of different kind of trashy things like dey have dese days, but dey had a plenty to eat en a plenty to wear all de time en den everything was better in dem times, too. Now, I speak bout what I know bout. De rations eat better en de cloth wear better, too, in dem days den dey do now. You see, mostly, de people would make dey own provisions at home. White folks would raise abundance of hogs en cows to run all dey big plantation from one year to de other. Wouldn' never clear out of meat no time cause de stock been let loose to run at large in dem days. De most dat dey bought was dey sugar en dey coffee, but dem what was industrious en smart, dey made most dey victuals at home. Made dey own rice en winnowed it right dere home. Oh, dey had one of dese pestle en mortar to beat it out. Yes, mam, de pestle been big at one end an little at de other end. Den dey would raise turkeys en geese en chickens en dere wasn' no end to de birds en squirrels en rabbits en fish in dat day en time. Dat is, dem what cared for demselves, dey had all dem things. Cose dere was some den like dere be now dat been too lazy to work en dey hand was empty all de time. I remember, dem poorbuckras would just go bout from one house to another en catch somethin here, dere en yonder."
"Den de people never wore none of dese kind of clothes like de people wear dese days neither. When a person got a dress den, dey made it demselves en dey made dey own underskirts den, too. You see, all dese underskirts en bloomers like de people does buy dese days, dey didn' have nothin like dat den. Used to put 10 yard in a dress en 10 yards in a underskirt en would tuck dem clean up to dey waist. En, child, when dey would iron dat dress, it would stand up in de floor just like dere been somebody in it. When I say iron, I talkin bout de people would iron den, too. Yes, mam, when I come along, de people been take time to iron dey garments right. Oh, dey clothes would be just as slick as glass. Won' a wrinkle nowhe' bout dem. Another thing, dey used to have dese dove colored linen dusters dat dey would wear over dey dress when dey would ride to church. Den when dey went in de church, dey would pull dem off en put dem on again when dey started home. Dey was made sort of like a coat suit, except dey was a little fuller en would come clean down to de tail of de dress. You see, dey was meant to protect de dress while dey was gwine along de road."
"De world sho gwine worser dese days, honey. Oh, Lord, de people worser. Yes, mam, dey worser, I say. Dey ain' got de mother wit. Dey weaker en dey wiser, I say, but dey ain' got de mother wit. Can' set down en talk to de people dese days en dey take dat what you got to say in like dey used to. En de people don' take de time to teach de chillun to know good things like dey used to en dat how-come dey have more time to get in so much of devilment dese days. Yes, mam, de people used to have more chillun en dey raised dem, too. Chillun know more den grown people do dese days, I say. People used to know how to carry demselves en take care of demselves more den dey do now. Seems like, de people more rattlin en brazen den what dey used to be."
Source: Julia Woodberry, colored, Marion, S.C.—Age, 70-80. Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Nov., 1937.
Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, November 5, 1937
Ex-Slave, Age _
"Well, I can speak bout what I used to hear my auntie en my mammy en my grandmammy talk bout what happen in dey day, but I never didn' live in slavery time. My mammy, she been broke her leg long time fore freedom come here en I remember she tell me often times, say, 'Julia, you didn' lack much of comin here a slavery child.' Honey, I mean she been in de family way right sharp fore freedom come here.
"My mammy, she was raise right down dere to de other side de jail to de 'Cedars'. You know dere whe' all dem cedars round dat house what bout to fall down. She belong to de lawyer Phillips dere en he wouldn' never allow her to get out de family. She had been a free woman fore he had stole her off de sea beach to be his house woman. Yes, mam, stole my mammy en uncle John, too, off de sea beach, but uncle John went back after freedom come here. My mammy, she been raise from just a child to be de house woman dere to de lawyer Phillips en she never didn' know nothin bout choppin cotton till her last baby been bout knee high.
"I remember how my mammy used to tell me bout dat de colored people won' allowed to go from one plantation to another widout dey had a 'mit (permit) from dey Massa. Yes, mam, all de niggers had to have dat strip somewhat bout dem to keep from gettin a beatin. Couldn' leave dey home widout showin dat 'mit from dey Massa. You see, de nigger men would want to go to see dey wives en dey would have to get a 'mit from dey Massa to visit dem. Cose dey wouldn' live together cause dey wives would be here, dere en yonder. It been like dis, sometimes de white folks would sell de wife of one of dey niggers way from dey husband en den another time, dey would sell de husband way from dey wife. Yes, mam, white folks had dese guard, call patroller, all bout de country to catch en whip dem niggers dat been prowl bout widout dat strip from dey Massa. I remember I hear talk dey say, 'Patroller, Patroller, let nigger pass.' Dey would say dat if de nigger had de strip wid dem en if dey didn' have it, dey say, 'Patroller, Patroller, cut nigger slash.'"
"Child, I tell you dat been a day to speak bout. When I come along, de women never vote, white nor colored, en it been years since I see a colored person vote, but I remember dey been gwine to vote in dat day en time just like dey was gwine to a show. Oh, honey, de road would be full of dem. Dey had to vote. Remember, way back dere, everybody would be singin en a dancin when dey had de election:
'Hancock ride de big gray horse, Hampton ride de mule, Hancocks got elected, Buckras all turn fool. Buggety, buggety, buggety etc.'"
"White en black was all in a row dere dancin all night long. Ain' made no exception."
"I hear talk dat when freedom come here, de niggers was just turn loose to make dey livin de best way dey could. Say dat some of de white folks give dey niggers somethin to go on en some of dem didn' spare dem nothin. Dey tell me old Sherman didn' come through dis section of de country, but he sent somebody to divide out de things like so much corn en so much meat to de colored people. Now, I talkin bout dat what I hear de old people say. Put everything in Ben Thompson hand to deal out de colored people share to dem. Yes, mam, he was de one had de chair. Talk bout Sherman give Ben Thompson de chair, sayin what I hear de old people say. I don' know exactly how it was, it been so long since de old people talk wid me. Dat it, it been so long till God knows, I forgot."
"Well, I used to know a heap of dem songs dat I hear my auntie en my grandmammy sing dere home when I was comin up. Let me see, child, dey was natural born song too.
'I got somethin to tell you, Bow-hoo, oo-hoo, oo-hoo. I got somethin to tell you, Bow-hoo, oo-hoo, oo-hoo. In a bow-hoo, oo-oo-hoo.
Way cross de ocean, 'Mongst all dem nation, Massa Jesus promise me, He gwine come by en by, He gwine come by en by.
Dere many miles round me, De curried be so bold, To think dat her son, Jesus, Could write widout a pen, Could write widout a pen.
De very next blessin dat Mary had, She had de blessin of two, To think dat her son, Jesus, Could bring de crooked to straight, Could bring de crooked to straight.'"
"Dat was my auntie's grandmother Eve piece way back yonder in slavery time. Dat was her piece."
"It just like I tellin you, dat been a day to speak bout. I remember when dey used to spin en weave all de cloth right dere home. Yes, mam, I wore many a wove dress to church. Dey would get dis here indigo en all kind of old bark out de woods en boil it in de pot wid de yarn en make de prettiest kind of colors. Den dey would take dat colored yarn en weave all kind of pretty streaks in de cloth. Dey would know just as good how many yards of dat thread it would take to make so much of cloth."
"Yes, mam, I know dere been better livin long time ago den dere be now. Know it cause I didn' never have no worryations no time when I was comin up. My God, child, I couldn' make a support today if I know my neck had to be hung on de gallows. No, mam, dis here a sin cussed world de people livin in dis day en time."
Source: Julia Woodberry, colored, Marion, S.C. Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, October-November, 1937.
Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, November 16, 1937
Ex-Slave, Age _
"No, mam, I ain' thought bout nothin no more to tell you. Death been in de family en seems like I just been so worried up wid my daughter sick in de house dere wid de straw fever. De doctor, he say it de fever en dat all we know, but it acts like de straw fever all up en down. I tell dem chillun dere de other night dat I would have to go back en get my mind fixed up wid somethin to speak bout fore you come here another time. Yes, mam, have to get my mind together somewhe' or another."
"I been born down dere in Britton's Neck, but most my days was lived up to Mr. Jim Brown's place to Centenary. My father, he was name Friday Woodberry en my mother, she come from off de sea beach in slavery time, so she told me. Say dat her old Massa stole her en her brother John, too, from off de sea beach. When freedom come here, her brother John went back to de sea beach, but my mother say dat she won' in no shape to go back. She went from family to family till after freedom was declared en her white folks wouldn' never have her ill-treated neither en wouldn' never let nobody else have her no time. When she was let loose from de white people, she went to Britton's Neck wid a colored woman. You see, she was a stranger to de country bout dere fore freedom come en she been know dat woman en dat how-come she went wid her. I mean she didn' know de people bout dere cause de white folks didn' allow dey colored people to go bout much in slavery time. Couldn' go nowhe' widout dey had a ticket wid dem. She stayed dere in Britton's Neck till Pa died en den she come back up here to Marion to live, but her white people was scattered all bout den."
"No, mam, I ain' never marry cause you had to court on de sly in dat day en time. I tell you, I come through de devil day when I come along. I was learned to work by de old, old slavery way en, honey, I say dat I just as soon been come through slavery day as to come under a tight taskmassa dat was colored. Yes, mam, if I never did a thing right, my dress was over my head en I was whipped right dere. I was engaged by letter, but dey kept me under dey foot so close till I never didn' slip de hay. I remember, I was stayin dere wid Mary Jane Rowell en she kept me cowed down so worser, I never couldn' do nothin."
"I tell you, I been a grown girl dere when I leave Mary Jane Rowell's house en go to cookin en a washin for Miss (Mrs.) Louise Brown. Yes, child, I love Miss Louise Brown to dis very day cause she been just like a mother to me. Yes, mam, Miss Brown was just as good to me as she could be. Mr. Jim Brown, he give me a house dere on his plantation to live in just to do de house work to de big house, but seems like de other colored people on de plantation would be tryin to down me most all de time cause I was workin ahead of dem. I know I would go dere to work many a mornin cryin, from what dem niggers been mouthin bout me, en Miss Brown would cry right along wid me. I tell you, Miss Brown was a tender hearted woman, so to speak bout. I tell Miss Brown, 'Carolina say I stole a towel off de line.' En Miss Brown say, 'Julia, if dere a towel gone off dat line, I know whe' it gone.' No, child, I ain' never think bout to lay no shame on dese hands. White folks been used to leave money all bout whe' I bresh (brush) en dust en I ain' never had no mind to touch it no time. Yes, mam, I been through a day since I come here. Erelong I move out Mary Jane Rowell's house, I been in white people house. If it ain' one class, it another. De very day dat Dr. Dibble been pronounce me to de hospital, dey come after me to wait on a woman. Yes, mam, Julia Woodberry ain' beat de state no time. Oh, I tell you, it de God truth, I has done every kind of work in my life. Me en my three chillun dere run a farm just like a man. Why, honey, you ain' know I had three girls? Yes, mam, dem chillun been born en bred right dere in de country to Centenary."
"I hear people talkin bout dat thing call conjurin, but I don' know what to say dat is. It somethin I don' believe in. Don' never take up no time wid dat cause it de devil's work. Dat de olden talk en I don' think nothin bout dat. Don' want nobody round me dat believes in it neither. Don' believe in it. Don' believe in it cause dat en God spirit don' go together. I hear talk dat been belong to de devil, but I was so small, I couldn' realize much what to think cause dat what you hear in dem days, you better been hear passin. No, mam, dey knock chillun down in dat day en time dat dey see standin up lookin in dey eyes to hear. I has heard people say dat dey could see spirits, but I don' put no mind to dat no time. I believe dat just a imagination cause when God get ready to take you out dis world, you is gone en you gone forever, I say. Don' believe in no hereafter neither cause dey say I been born wid veil over my face en if anybody could see spirits, I ought to could. I know I has stayed in houses dat people say was hanted plenty times en I got to see my first hant yet. Yes, mam, I do believe in de Bible. If I hadn' believed in de Bible, I wouldn' been saved. Dere obliged to be a hereafter accordin to de Bible. Dere obliged to be a hereafter, I say. I can' read, but I talkin what I hear de people say. Dat a infidel what don' believe dere a hereafter."
"How-come I know all dat, I was raise up wid de old people. Come along right behind de old race en I would be dere listenin widout no ears en seein widout no eyes. Yes, mam, I took what I hear in, lady, en I ain' been just now come here. I been here a time. Dat de reason I done wid de world. God knows I is done. I is done. I recollects, way back yonder, Pa would sing:
'Dey ain' had no eyes for to see, Dey ain' had no teeth for to eat, En dey had to let de corncake go, Gwine whe' all de good niggers go.'"
"Dat was my father's piece dat he used to sing in slavery time. Dat right cause I can remember back more so den I can forward."
Source: Julia Woodberry, colored, age—about 70 to 75., Marion, S.C. Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Nov., 1937.
Project 1885 -1- District #4 Spartanburg, S.C. June 1, 1937
Edited by: E. Fronde Kennedy
While looking for an ex-slave in a certain part of Spartanburg this morning, I was directed across the street to "an old man who lives there". I knocked at the door but received no answer. Then I noticed an old man walking around by the side of the house. He was tall and straight, standing about 6 feet 2 inches. He said that his name was George Wood and that he was 78 years of age.
He stated that he was born during slavery, and lived on Peter Sepah's place in York County. Peter Sepah's farm, where he was born, was near the North Carolina line; it consisted of approximately 200 acres. His parents were named Dan and Sarah Wood. His mother was given to old man Sepah by his father as a wedding present, and his grandfather had been given to an older Sepah by his parent as a wedding present. He said it was the custom in slavery times that a slave be given to the son or daughter by the white people when they got married.
He was too young to work, but about the time the war was over, he was allowed to drive the horses that pulled the thrasher of wheat. His master used to walk around and around while the wheat was being thrashed, and see that everybody was doing their work all right. His father lived on another plantation. There was only one family of slaves on the whole plantation. He, his mother, and five children lived in a one-room log cabin about 30 or 40 feet from the "big house". Their beds consisted of straw mattresses. They had plenty to eat, having the same food that the white folks did. They ate ash cakes mostly for bread, but once a week they had biscuits to eat. When the wheat was thrashed, they had biscuits mostly for breakfast; but as the wheat got scarcer they did not have much wheat to eat. He said that Buffalo Creek flowed pretty close to their place and that the creek emptied into Broad River. Shelby, N.C., their market, was about ten miles distant. He thinks that it was easier then than now to get something to eat.
The log cabin where he and his mother lived was kept comfortably warm in the winter time. All they had to do, was to go to the wood-pile and get all the wood they needed for the fire. His mother worked on the farm, washed clothes and helped with the cooking at his master's house. The slaves stopped work every Saturday afternoon about three o'clock; then his mistress would have his mother to patch their clothes, as she did not like to see their clothes needing patching. "We used to have lots of fun," he said, "more than the children do now. As children, we used to play marbles around the house; but no other special game."
Uncle George said that the patrollers saw that the colored people were in their houses at 8 o'clock every night. "They would come to the house and look in; of course, if a man had a pass to another plantation or some place, that was all right; or if he had some business somewhere. But everybody had to be in the house by 8 o'clock." He also stated that if a slave strayed off the plantation and didn't have a pass, if he could out-run the "pateroller" and get back upon his own place, then he was all right. The only slave he ever saw get a whipping, was one who had stayed out after hours; then a switch was used on him by a "pateroller". He said he never saw any slaves in chains or treated badly, for his master was a good man, and so was his "Missus". One day his mother went to a church that was not her own church. On coming back, she saw a "pateroller" coming behind her. She began to run, and he did too; but as he caught up with her, she stepped over a fence on her master's place and dared the "pateroller" to do anything to her. He didn't do a thing and would not get over the fence where she was, as he would have been on somebody's place besides his own.
He said that when the corn-shucking time came, both whites and blacks would gather at a certain plantation. Everybody shucked corn, and they all had a good time. When the last ear of corn was shucked, the owner of the plantation would begin to run from the place and all would run after him. When they caught him, he was placed on the shoulders of two men and carried around and around the house, all singing and laughing and having a good time. Then they would carry the man into his house, pull off his hat and throw it into the fire; place him in a chair; comb his head; cross his knees for him and leave him alone. They would not let him raise a second crop under his old hat—he had to have a new hat for a new crop. Then they would all, colored and white, gather to eat. The owner of the farm would furnish plenty to eat; sometimes he would have some whiskey to drink, but not often, "as that was a dangerous thing to have".
He said that if a man who was chewing or smoking met a woman, he would throw his tobacco away before talking with the woman.
There was plenty of fruit in those days, so brandy was made and put into barrels in the smoke-house; and the same way they had plenty of corn, and would put up a still and put the whiskey they made into barrels.
People in those days, he said, had "manners". The white and colored folks would have their separate sections in the church where they sat. "I've seen a white man make another white man get up in church and give his place to a colored man when the church was crowded." He said his father was baptized by Rev. Dixon, father of Tom Dixon, who was a Baptist preacher. His mother was sprinkled by a Methodist white preacher, but he was baptized by a colored preacher.
Asked about marriages among the slaves, he said the ceremony was performed by some "jack-legged" colored preacher who pronounced a few words and said they were man and wife.
He said the colored people did not know much about Jeff Davis or Abraham Lincoln except what they heard about them. All that he remembered was a song that his Missus used to sing:
"Jeff Davis rides a big gray horse, Lincoln rides a mule; Jeff Davis is a fine old man, And Lincoln is a fool."
Another song was:
"I'll lay $10 down and number them one by one, As sure as we do fight 'em, The Yankees will run."
One day his "Missus" came to their house and told his mother they were free and could go anywhere they wanted to, but she hoped they would stay on that year and help them make a crop. He said his mother just folded her hands and put her head down and "studied". She decided to stay on that year. The next year, they moved to another plantation, where they stayed for twenty years.
"Before they were free, every colored man took the name of his master, but afterwards, I took my father's name."
He said that the Yankee soldiers did not come to their place, but they were ready for them if they had come. The silver was buried out in the lot, and stable manure was piled and thrown all about the spot. The two good horses were taken off and hidden, but the old horse his master owned was left. He said that sometimes a Confederate soldier would come by riding an old horse, and would want to trade horses with his master. Sometimes his master would trade, for he thought his horse would be taken anyway. His master would never get anything "to boot", as the soldier didn't have the "to boot" when the trade was made. So the soldier would ride off the horse, leaving the poor, broken-down one behind. Sometimes after the war, the Confederate soldiers would come by the house, sick, wounded and almost starved; but his mistress would fix something to eat for them; then they would go on.
"'Possum and 'taters were plentiful then. When a slave wanted to go hunting, he could go; but we had to work then—nobody works now." He said that on rainy days, his mother did not have to go to the field, but stayed at home and sewed or carded. He said that after freedom came to the slaves, he worked on a farm for $5.00 a month. After he had been on the farm for many years, he heard that Spartanburg was on a boom, so he came here and worked at railroading for many more years. He has quit work now; but still does a little gardening for some white folks. He said that the white people in the South understand the colored people.
When asked if he had ever seen a ghost, he replied that he had never seen one and had never seen a person who had. "I don't believe in those things anyhow," he said. He also stated he had never heard of anybody being "conjured" either. He said that all the niggers in his section were scared of the niggers from way down in South Carolina, for their reputation as conjurers was against them, so they always fought shy of them and didn't have anything to do with the "niggers from way down in South Carolina".
SOURCE: George Woods, 337 N. View St., Spartanburg, S.C. Interviewer: F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C.
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
"You knows de Simonton place, Mr. Wood? Well, dats just where I was born back yonder befo' de war, a slave of old Marster Johnnie Simonton. Five miles sorter south sunset side of Woodward Station where you was born, ain't it so? My pappy was Ike Woodward, but him just call 'Ike' time of slavery, and my mammy was name Dinah. My brother Charlie up north, if he ain't dead, Ike lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Two sisters: Ollie, her marry an Aiken, last counts, and she and her family in Charlotte, North Carolina; sister Mattie marry a Wilson nigger, but I don't know where they is.
"Us lived in a four-room log house, 'bout sixteen all told. Dere was pappy and mammy (now you count them) gran'pappy, Henry Davis, Gran'mammy Kisana, Aunt Anna, and her seven chillun, and me, and my two brothers and two sisters. How many make dat? Seventeen? Well, dat's de number piled in dere at night in de beds and on de floors. They was scandlous beds; my God, just think of my grands, old as I is now, tryin' to sleep on them hard beds and other folks piled 'scriminately all over de log floors! My Gran'pappy Henry was de carpenter, and old marster tell him 'if you make your beds hard, Henry, 'member you folks got to sleep on them.'
"I was just a little black feller, running 'round most of de time in my shirt tail, but I recollect pickin' cotton, and piddling 'round de woodpile, fetchin' in wood for white house and chips and kindling to fresh up de fires. Us had plenty to eat, 'cause us killed thirty-five hogs at a time, and de sausages and lights us did was a sight. Then de lard us made, and de cracklin' bread, why, I hungers for de sight of them things right now. Us niggers didn't get white flour bread, but de cracklin' bread was called on our place, 'de sweet savor of life.'
"Money? Us had eyes to see and ears to hear, but us just hear 'bout it, never even seen money.
"My marster had a fish pond, signs of it dere yet.
"My white folks attended church at Concord Presbyterian Church. Us went dere too, and us set up in de gallery. Yes, they asked us. De preacher asked us to jine in some of de hymns, especially 'De Dyin' Thief' and 'De Fountain Filled Wid Blood,' and dat one 'bout 'Mazing Grace How Sweet de Sound Dat Save a Wretch Like us.'
"Our young Marster Charlie went off to de war, got killed at Second Bull Run. Marster Watt went and got a leg shot off somewheres. Marster Jim went and got killed, Johnnie too, Marster Robert was not old enough to carry a gun.
"De young mistresses was Mary and Martha. Marster John, old mistress and all of them mighty good to us, especially when Christmas come and then at times of sickness. They send for de doctor and set up wid you, such tendin' to make you love them. When de Yanks come us all plead for Marster John and family, and de house not to be burnt. De house big, had ten rooms, big plantation, run fifteen plows.
"You ask 'bout was dere any poor white folks 'round? Not many, but I 'members old Miss Sallie Carlisle weaved and teached de slaves how it was done. Marster give her a house to live in, and a garden spot on de place, good woman. She show me how to spin and make ball thread, little as I was. Marster John had over fifty slaves, and they worked hard, sun up to sun down. It's a wonder but I never got a whippin'.
"Did I ever see a ghost? Mr. Wood, I seen sumpin' once mighty strange, I was gwine to see a gal Nannie, on de widow Mobley place, and had to pass 'tween two graveyards, de white and de colored. She was de daughter of Rev. Richard Cook. When I was just 'bout de end of de white graveyard, I saw two spirits dressed in white. I run all de way to de gal's house and sob when I got dere. I laid my head in her lap and told her 'bout de spirits and how they scared me. I still weepin' wid fear, and she console me, rub my forehead and soothed me. When I got quiet, I asked her some day to be my wife, and dat's de gal dat come to be years after, my wife. Us walk to church hand and hand ever afterwards, and one day Preacher Morris, white man, made us husband and wife. I 'members de song de white folks sung dat day. 'Hark from de tomb a doleful sound'. Don't you think dat a wrong song to sing on a weddin' day? 'Joy to de World,' was in our heart and dat tune would have been more 'propriate, seems to me.
"Marster John give de slaves every other Saturday after dinner in busy seasons, and every Saturday evening all other weeks. Us had two doctors, Doctor Brice at first, and when he git old, us had Doctor Lurkin.
"Was glad when marster called us up and told us we was free. De Yankees made a camp on de Doctor Brice place, and foraged de country all 'round. They made me run after chickens and I had to give up my onliest blue hen dat I had. My pappy was took off by them to Raleigh, wid dat I 'member, was de saddest day of slavery time.
"Nannie and me, under de providence of de Lord Jehovah, has had three chillun to live, and they have chillun too. I owns my own home and land enough to live on, though it is hard to make both ends meet some years.
"How I got my name, you ask dat? Well, after freedom us niggers had to come to Winnsboro and register. Us talk 'bout it by de fireside what us would lak. When us come, Marster Henry Gaillard had a big crowd of Gaillard niggers 'bout him beggin' for names. One of them say, 'Marster Henry, I don't want no little name, I wants big soundin' name.' Marster Henry write on de paper, then he read: 'Your name is Mendozah J. Fernandez, hope dats big enough for you.' De little nigger dwarf seem powerful pleased and stepped to de register. De rest of us spoke to Captain Gaillard and he said no better name than Woodward, so us took dat name. Its been a kind of a 'tection to us at times, and none of our immediate family has ever dragged it in a jail or chaingang, Bless God! and I hope us never will."
Project #1655 W.W. Dixon Winnsboro, S.C.
EX-SLAVE 83 YEARS OLD.
"I knows you since you 'bout dis high (indicating). When was it? Where I see you? I see you at your auntie's house. Dat was your auntie, Miss Roxie Mobley, other side of Blackstock. You was in a little dress dat day, look lak a gal. Oh! Lordy, dat been a long time! What us has come thru since dat day and de days befo' dat, beyond freedom.
"I was born a slave of old Marster Adam Berber, near de Catawba River side de county, in 1854. I's a mighty small gal but I 'members when pappy got his leg broke at de gin-house dat day, in de Christmas week. Seem lak dat was de best Christmas I ever had. White folks comin' and a gwine, loadin' de bed down wid presents for pappy and mammy and me.
"What my pappy name? He was name Joe and mammy go by Millie. Both b'long to Marster Adam and Miss Nellie. Dat was her name and a lovely mistress she be in dat part of de country. Her was sure pretty, walk pretty, and act pretty. 'Bout all I had to do in slavery time was to comb her hair, lace her corset, pull de hem over her hoop and say, 'You is served, mistress!' Her lak them little words at de last.
"They have no chillun and dat was a grief to her more than to Marster Adam. Him comfort her many times 'bout it and 'low it was his fault. Then they 'spute 'bout it. Dats all de rumpus ever was 'twixt them. I 'spects if they had had chillun they wouldn't have been so good to me. What you reckon? They give me dolls and laugh at de way I name them, talk to them and dress them up.
"When de Yankees come, I was a settin' in de swing in de front yard. They ride right up and say: 'Where your mistress?' I say: 'I don't know.' They say: 'You is lyin'. Give her a few lashes and us'll find out.' Another say: 'No, us come to free niggers, not to whip them.' Then they ask me for to tell them where de best things was hid. I say: 'I don't know sir.' Then they ransack de house, bust open de smoke house, take de meat, hams, shoulders, 'lasses barrel, sugar, and meal, put them in a four-horse wagon, set de house, gin-house and barn afire and go on toward Rocky Mount. Our neighbors then, was Marster Aaron Powell and Sikes Gladden, on Dutchman Creek.
"After freedom I marry Alf Woodward. Us had chillun. How many? Let me see; Eli still alive, don't know where he is though. Rosa dead; Susannah live now on Miss Sara Lord's place, up dere near Metford. De rest of de chillun went off to Arkansas 'bout 1885, and us never heard from them.
"I forgot to tell you dat when de Yankees come and find me a settin' in dat swing, I had on a string of beads dat Miss Nellie give to me. Them rascals took my beads off my neck, and what you reckon they did wid them? Well, if you doesn't know, I does. De scamps, dat is one of them did, took my lovely beads and put them 'round his horse's neck and ride off wid them, leavin' me sobbin' my life out in dat swing. They say you must love your enemies and pray for them dat spitefully use you but I never have pray for dat Yankee scamp to dis day. Although I's Scotch Irish African 'Sociate Reform Presbyterian, de spirit have never moved me to pray for de horse and rider dat went off wid my beads dat my mistress give me. When I tell Marster William Woodward, my husband's old marster, 'bout it, him say: 'De low dirty skunk, de Lord'll take vengeance on him.' Marster William give Alf a half a dollar and tell him to git me another string of beads, though Alf never done so.
"Alf was Marster William's coachman and him and Wade Pichett, dat was a slave of Marster William, took fifteen mules, when de Yankees come, and carried them in de Wateree swamps and stayed dere and saved them. Every time Alf or Wade see Marster William, as de years comed and goed, they fetched up de subject of them mules and git sumpin' from him. One day he laugh and say: 'Look here Alf, I done 'bout pay for sixteen mules and dere was but fifteen in de drove.' Alf laugh but he always got way wid it when he see any of de Woodward white folks. Well I's glad to go now, though I has 'joyed bein' wid you. De Lord bless you and keep you."
Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S.C. Date, September 15, 1937
Ex-Slave, 79 Years
"Yes'um, I know I been here in slavery time, but wasn' large enough to do nothin in dat day en time. I reach 79 de first day of November. To be certain dat how old I is, Miss Betty Evans give me my direct age here de other day. She know who I am cause I was raise near bout in de same yard dat she was raise in. Mr. Telathy Henry family was my white folks. Yes'um, I was raise right here in dis town. Ain' never been nowhere else but Marion."
"I was small den, but I remembers my old Missus. I sho remembers her all right. My old boss, he died. I can' remember nothin much bout dem times only I recollects when my old Missus used to get after me en whip me, I would run under de house. Didn' want to sweep de yard en dat how-come she get after me wid a switch. I was small den en she was tryin to learn me."
"No, child, I didn' live on no plantation. Didn' have no quarter for de slaves dere. My white folks live in town en dey just have my mother en her chillun en another old man. He stayed in de kitchen en would work de garden en go off on errands for de Missus. My mother en we chillun stayed in a little small one room house in de yard en he stayed in de kitchen. I wasn' large enough to do nothin much den only as like I tell you, my old Missus tried to learn me to sweep de yard."
"I was small den, child, but I got along all right cause we ate in de white folks kitchen. Oh, no'um, dey cook in de chimney long bout de time I come up. No'um, didn' see no stoves nowhe' when I come up. I remembers we had greens like collards en bread en potatoes to eat sometimes, but say remember all what we had to eat, I couldn' never think bout to do dat. I just knows dat I remembers old Missus provide good livin for us all de time. Wouldn' let nobody suffer for nothin be dat she know bout it. Old Missus used to give us every speck de clothes we had to wear too dat was made out dis here homemade homespun cloth. You see my mother was de cook dere. Old Massa used to keep dry goods store en de first I know bout it, she get de cloth out de store to make us clothes. Den after de old head died, old Missus commence to buy cloth from somebody in de country cause people weave dey cloth right dere on dey own plantation in dat day en time. Had dese here loom en spinning wheel. I remembers old Missus would take out big bolt of cloth en cut out us garments wid her own hands. Den she would call us dere en make us try dem on en mine wouldn' never be nothin troublesome nowhe' bout it. I remembers I used to hear my Missus, when she be readin de paper speak bout Abraham Lincoln en Jefferson Davis, but I was small den en never paid no much attention to it. Only cared bout my new homespun dress wid de pockets shinin right in de front part. My Lord, child, I been de proudest like of dem pockets."
"I hear de older people say de Yankees come en say de Yankees was here, but I was small den. Dey didn' do nothin bout dere dat I know of. I was small en I didn' know. Didn' hear de older peoples say nothin bout it neither."
"Oh, we went to de white peoples service to dat big Methodist church right up dere in dis town what was tore down long time ago. Walked dere to dat church every Sunday en set up in de gallery. Dat whe' all de slaves had place to sit. De only thing I could remember bout gwine to church dere was what I hear dem say. Dey say, 'I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, etc.' Dat all I remembers bout gwine to church dere. Everything I remembers. Don' know as I could tell you dat, but I hear my mother repeat it so much when she come home en be teachin us our prayer. Den Missus teach us de same thing till we get large enough to learn de Lord's Prayer. No'mam, white folks didn' teach us no learnin in dat day en time. Didn' hear bout no books only dese almanacs. When de white folks throw dem out, dey allow us to pick dem up to play wid. Dat all de books we know bout."
"Lord, child, dat was somethin. Dat was sho a time when dat shake come here. I remembers de ground be shakin en all de people was hollerin. Yes'um, I was scared. Scared of dat noise it was makin cause I didn' know but dat it might been gwine destroy me. I was hollerin en everybody round in de neighborhood was hollerin. Didn' nobody know what to think it was. Well, I tell you I thought it must a been de Jedgment comin. Thought it must a been somethin like dat."
"I don' know nothin bout dat. It just like dis, I heard people speak bout conjurin, but nobody never has talked to me nothin concernin no conjurin. My mother wouldn' allow nobody to talk dat kind of speech to us. No, I ain' never seen none of dem things people say is ghost. No, ain' seen none dat I remembers. My husband died en I was right in de room wid him en I ain' see a thing. Never thought bout nothin like dat. Thought when dey gone, dey was gone. When I was able to work, I didn' have no time to bother wid dem things. Didn' have no time to take up wid nothin like dat. I de one dat used to cook dere to Miss Eloise Bethea's mamma. Dis here de one dey call Pauline."
"I tell you my old Missus was good to us, child, good to us all de time. Come bout en doctor us herself when we get sick. Wouldn' trust nobody else to give us no medicine. I remember she give us castor oil en little salts for some ailments. Didn' give us nothin more den dat only a little sage or catnip sometimes. Dat what was good for colds."
"I don' know, child. I can' tell which de worser days den or dese times. I know one thing, dey dances now more den dey used to. I don' go bout much, but I can tell you what I hear talk bout. I don' know as de people any worser dese days, but I hear talk bout more dances. Dat bout all. Coase de peoples used to dance bout, but dey didn' have dese dance halls like dey have now. Didn' have none of dem kind of rousin places den. De peoples didn' have chance to dance in dat day en time only as dey have a quiltin en cornshuckin on a night. Den dey just dance bout in old Massa yard en bout de kitchen. Oh, dey have dem quiltin at night en would play en go on in de kitchen. Turn plate en different little things like dat. I don' know how dey do it, but I remembers I hear dem talkin somethin bout turnin plate. Wasn' big enough to explain nothin bout what dey meant. I just knows dey would do dat en try to make some kind of motion like."
"Honey, didn' never hear my parents tell bout no stories. My mother wasn' de kind to bother wid no stories like dat. She tried to always be a Christian en she never would allow us to tarnish us souls wid nothin like dat. She raise us in de way she want us to turn out to be. All dese people bout here livin too fast to pay attention to raisin dey chillun dese days. Just livin too fast to do anything dat be lastin like. Dat how-come dere be so much destructiveness bout dese days."
Source: Pauline Worth, age 79, ex-slave, Manning St., Marion, S.C. Personal interview, Sept., 1937 by Annie Ruth Davis.
Project #-1655 Phoebe Faucette Hampton County
106 Year Old Ex-Slave
Just around the bend from the old mill pond on the way to Davis Swimming Pool lives a very old negro woman. Her name is Daphney Wright, though that name has never been heard by those who affectionately know her as "Aunt Affie". She says she is 106 years old. She comes to the door without a cane and greets her guests with accustomed curtsey. She is neatly dressed and still wears a fresh white cap as she did when she worked for the white folks. Save for her wearing glasses and walking slowly, there are no evidences of illness or infirmities. She has a sturdy frame, and a kindly face shows through the wrinkles.
"I been livin' in Beaufort when de war fust (first) break out", she begins. "Mr. Robert Cally was my marsa. Dat wuz in October. De Southern soldiers come through Bluffton on a Wednesday and tell de white folks must get out de way, de Yankees right behind 'em! De summer place been at Bluffton. De plantation wuz ten miles away. After we refugee from Bluffton, we spent de fust night at Jonesville. From dere we went to Hardeeville. We got here on Saturday evening. You know we had to ride by horses—in wagons an' buggies. Dere weren't no railroads or cars den. Dat why it take so long.
"Mr. Lawrence McKenzie wuz my Missus' child. We stayed wid him awhile, 'til he find us a place. Got us a little house. We stayed four years dere, 'til de war wuz over. Dey sent de young ladies on—on farther up de country, to a safer place. Dey went to Society Hill. My old Missus stay. Sae wuz a old lady. When de Yankees come she died. I wuz right dere wid her when she died. She had been sickly. After de war dey all went back to de old place. I had married up here, so when dey went back I stay on here.
"I been right here when de Yankees come through. I been in my house asittin' before de fire, jes' like I is now.
"One of 'em come up an' say, 'You know who I is?'
"I say, 'No.'
"He say, 'Well, I is come to set you free. You kin stay wid your old owners if you wants to, but dey'll pay you wages.'
"But dey sure did plenty of mischief while dey wuz here. Didn't burn all de houses. Pick out de big handsome house to burn. Burn down Mr. Bill Lawton' house. Mr. Asbury Lawton had a fine house. Dey burn dat. (He Marse Tom Lawton' brother.) Burn Mr. Maner' house. Some had put a poor white woman in de house to keep de place; but it didn't make no difference.
"De soldiers say, 'Dis rich house don't belong to you. We goin' to burn dis house!'
"Dey'd go through de house an' take everything'. Take anythin' they could find. Take from de white, an' take from de colored, too. Take everything out de house! Dey take from my house. Take somethin' to eat. But I didn't have anythin' much in my house. Had a little pork an' a week's supply of rations.
"De white folks would bury de silver. But dey couldn't always find it again. One give her silver to de colored butler to bury but he wuz kill, an' nobody else know where he bury it. It wuz after de war, an' he wuz walkin' down de road, an' Wheeler's Brigade kill him.
"Been years an' years 'fore everythin' could come together again. You know after de war de Confederate money been confiscate. You could be walkin' 'long de road anytime an' pick up a ten dollar bill or a five dollar bill, but it wuzn't no good to you. After de greenback come money flourish again.
"De plantation wuz down on de river. I live dere 'cept for de four years we refugee. Dat been a beautiful place—dere on de water! When de stars would come out dere over de water it wuz a beautiful sight! Sometimes some of us girls would get in a little 'paddle' an' paddle out into de river. We'd be scared to go too far out, but we'd paddle around. Sometimes my father would go out in de night an' catch de fish with a seine. He'd come back with a bushel of fish 'most anytime. Dey were nice big mullets! He'd divide 'em 'round 'mongst de colored folks. An' he'd take some up to de white folks for dere breakfast. My white folks been good white people. I never know no cruel. Dey treat me jes like one of dem. Dey say dey took me when I wuz five years old. An' I stay wid dem 'til freedom. I am 106 years old now.
"Dem people on de water don't eat much meat. Twenty-five cent of bacon will last dem a week. Dey cut de meat into little pieces, an' fry dem into cracklings, den put dat into de fish stew. It surely makes de stew good. When dey kill a hog dey take it to town an' sell it, den use de money for whatever dey want. Dey don't have to cure de pork an' keep it to eat. Dey jes' eat fish. Dey have de mullets, an' de oysters, an' de crabs, an' dese little clams. Dey have oyster-stew. Dey have roast oysters, den de raw oysters. An' dey have dey fried oysters! Dat sure is good. Dey fish from de boat, dey fish from de log, an' dey fish 'long de edge of de water wid a net. When de tide go down you kin walk along an' jes pick up de crab. You could get a bucket full in no time. We'd like to go up an' down an' pick up de pretty shells. I got one here on de mantel now. It ain't sech a big one, but it's a pretty little shell.