Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States
Author: Various
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[HW: Minister—Interesting]

[TR: Date Stamp "JUN 1 1937"]

[HW: language not negro, very senternous & interesting.] [TR: The above comment is crossed out.]

REVEREND SQUIRE DOWD 202 Battle Street Raleigh, N. C.

My name is Squire Dowd, and I was born April 3, 1855. My mother's name was Jennie Dowd. My father's name was Elias Kennedy. My mother died in Georgia at the age of 70, and my father died in Moore County at the age of 82. I attended his funeral. My sister and her husband had carried my mother to Georgia, when my sister's husband went there to work in turpentine. My mother's husband was dead. She had married a man named Stewart. You could hardly keep up with your father during slavery time. It was a hard thing to do. There were few legal marriages. When a young man from one plantation courted a young girl on the plantation, the master married them, sometimes hardly knowing what he was saying.

My master was General W. D. Dowd. He lived three miles from Carthage, in Moore County, North Carolina. He owned fifty slaves. The conditions were good. I had only ten years' experience, but it was a good experience. No man is fool enough to buy slaves to kill. I have never known a real slave owner to abuse his slaves. The abuse was done by patterollers and overseers.

I have a conservative view of slavery. I taught school for four years and I have been in the ministry fifty years. I was ordained a Christian minister in 1885. I lived in Moore County until 1889, then I moved to Raleigh. I have feeling. I don't like for people to have a feeling that slaves are no more than dogs; I don't like that. It causes people to have the wrong idea of slavery. Here is John Bectom, a well, healthy friend of mine, 75 years of age. If we had been treated as some folks say, these big, healthy niggers would not be walking about in the South now. The great Negro leaders we have now would never have come out of it.

The places we lived in were called cabins. The Negroes who were thrifty had nice well-kept homes; and it is thus now. The thrifty of the colored race live well; the others who are indolent live in hovels which smell foul and are filthy.

Prayer meetings were held at night in the cabins of the slaves. On Sunday we went to the white folk's church. We sat in a barred-off place, in the back of the church or in a gallery.

We had a big time at cornshuckings. We had plenty of good things to eat, and plenty of whiskey and brandy to drink. These shuckings were held at night. We had a good time, and I never saw a fight at a cornshucking in life. If we could catch the master after the shucking was over, we put him in a chair, we darkies, and toted him around and hollered, carried him into the parlor, set him down, and combed his hair. We only called the old master "master". We called his wife "missus." When the white children grew up we called them Mars. John, Miss Mary, etc.

We had some money. We made baskets. On moonlight nights and holidays we cleared land; the master gave us what we made on the land. We had money.

The darkies also stole for deserters during the war. They paid us for it. I ate what I stole, such as sugar. I was not big enough to steal for the deserters. I was a house boy. I stole honey. I did not know I was free until five years after the war. I could not realize I was free. Many of us stayed right on. If we had not been ruined right after the war by carpetbaggers our race would have been, well,—better up by this time, because they turned us against our masters, when our masters had everything and we had nothing. The Freedmen's Bureau helped us some, but we finally had to go back to the plantation in order to live.

We got election days, Christmas, New Year, etc., as holidays. When we were slaves we had a week or more Christmas. The holidays lasted from Christmas Eve to after New Years. Sometimes we got passes. If our master would not give them to us, the white boys we played with would give us one. We played cat, jumping, wrestling and marbles. We played for fun; we did not play for money. There were 500 acres on the plantation. We hunted a lot, and the fur of the animals we caught we sold and had the money. We were allowed to raise a few chickens and pigs, which we sold if we wanted to.

The white folks rode to church and the darkies walked, as many of the poor white folks did. We looked upon the poor white folks as our equals. They mixed with us and helped us to envy our masters. They looked upon our masters as we did.

Negro women having children by the masters was common. My relatives on my mother's side, who were Kellys are mixed blooded. They are partly white. We, the darkies and many of the whites hate that a situation like this exists. It is enough to say that seeing is believing. There were many and are now mixed blooded people among the race.

I was well clothed. Our clothes were made in looms. Shoes were made on the plantation. Distilleries were also located on the plantation. When they told me I was free, I did not notice it. I did not realize it till many years after when a man made a speech at Carthage, telling us we were free.

I did not like the Yankees. We were afraid of them. We had to be educated to love the Yankees, and to know that they freed us and were our friends. I feel that Abraham Lincoln was a father to us. We consider him thus because he freed us. The Freedmen's Bureau and carpet baggers caused us to envy our masters and the white folks. The Ku Klux Klan, when we pushed our rights, came in between us, and we did not know what to do. The Ku Klux were after the carpet baggers and the Negroes who followed them.

It was understood that white people were not to teach Negroes during slavery, but many of the whites taught the Negroes. The children of the white folks made us study. I could read and write when the war was up. They made me study books, generally a blue-back spelling book as punishment for mean things I done. My Missus, a young lady about 16 years old taught a Sunday School class of colored boys and girls. This Sunday School was held at a different time of day from the white folks. Sometimes old men and old women were in these classes. I remember once they asked Uncle Ben Pearson who was meekest man, 'Moses' he replied. 'Who was the wisest man?' 'Soloman', 'Who was the strongest man?' was then asked him. To this he said 'They say Bill Medlin is the strongest, but Tom Shaw give him his hands full.' They were men of the community. Medlin was white, Shaw was colored.

I do not like the way they have messed up our songs with classical music. I like the songs, 'Roll Jordan Roll', 'Old Ship of Zion', 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'. Classical singers ruin them, though.

There was no use of our going to town of Saturday afternoon to buy our rations, so we worked Saturday afternoons. When we got sick the doctors treated us. Dr. J. D. Shaw, Dr. Bruce, and Dr. Turner. They were the first doctors I ever heard any tell of. They treated both whites and darkies on my master's plantation.

I married a Matthews, Anna Matthews, August 1881. We have one daughter. Her name is Ella. She married George Cheatam of Henderson, N. C. A magistrate married us, Mr. Pitt Cameron. It was just a quiet wedding on Saturday night with about one-half dozen of my friends present.

My idea of life is to forget the bad and live for the good there is in it. This is my motto.

B. N.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320079] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 862 Subject: FANNIE DUNN Story Teller: Fannie Dunn Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 17 1937"]

FANNIE DUNN 222 Heck Street, Raleigh, N. C.

I don't 'zakly know my age, but I knows and 'members when de Yankees come through Wake County. I wus a little girl an' wus so skeered I run an hid under de bed. De Yankees stopped at de plantation an' along de road fur a rest. I 'members I had diphtheria an' a Yankee doctor come an' mopped my throat. Dey had to pull me outen under de bed so he could doctor me.

One Yankee would come along an' give us sumptin' an another would come on behind him an' take it. Dats de way dey done. One give mother a mule an' when dey done gone she sold it. A Yankee give mother a ham of meat, another come right on behind him an' took it away from her. Dere shore wus a long line of dem Yankees. I can 'member seeing 'em march by same as it wus yisterday. I wus not old enough to work, but I 'members 'em. I don't know 'zackly but I wus 'bout five years old when de surrender wus.

My name before I wus married wus Fannie Sessoms an' mother wus named Della Sessoms. We belonged to Dr. Isaac Sessoms an' our missus wus named Hanna. My father wus named Perry Vick, after his marster who wus named Perry Vick. My missus died durin' de war an' marster never married anymore.

I don't 'member much 'bout missus but mother tole me she wus some good woman an' she loved her. Marster wus mighty good to us an' didn't allow patterollers to whip us none. De slave houses wus warm and really dey wus good houses, an' didn't leak neither.

I don't 'member much 'bout my grandparents, just a little mother tole me 'bout 'em. Grandma 'longed to de Sessoms an' Dr. Isaac Sessoms brother wus mother's father. Mother tole me dat. Look at dat picture, mister, you see you can't tell her from a white woman. Dats my mother's picture. She wus as white as you wid long hair an' a face like a white woman. She been dead 'bout twenty years. My mother said dat we all fared good, but course we wore homemade clothes an' wooden bottomed shoes.

We went to the white folks church at Red Oak an' Rocky Mount Missionary Baptist Churches. We were allowed to have prayer meetings at de slave houses, two an' three times a week. I 'members goin' to church 'bout last year of de war wid mother. I had a apple wid me an' I got hungry an' wanted to eat it in meetin' but mother jest looked at me an' touched my arm, dat wus enough. I didn't eat de apple. I can 'member how bad I wanted to eat it. Don't 'member much 'bout dat sermon, guess I put my mind on de apple too much.

Marster had about twenty slaves an' mother said dey had always been allowed to go to church an' have prayer meetings 'fore I wus born. Marster had both white an' colored overseers but he would not allow any of his overseers to bulldoze over his slaves too much. He would call a overseer down for bein' rough at de wrong time. Charles Sessoms wus one of marster's colored overseers. He 'longed to marster, an' mother said marster always listened to what Charles said. Dey said marster had always favored him even 'fore he made him overseer. Charles Sessoms fell dead one day an' mother found him. She called Marster Sessoms an' he come an' jest cried. Mother said when Marster come he wus dead shore enough, dat marster jest boohooed an' went to de house, an' wouldn't look at him no more till dey started to take him to de grave. Everybody on de plantation went to his buryin' an' funeral an' some from de udder plantation dat joined ourn.

I 'members but little 'bout my missus, but 'members one time she run me when I wus goin' home from de great house, an' she said, 'I am goin' to catch you, now I catch you'. She pickin' at me made me love her. When she died mother tole me 'bout her bein' dead an' took me to her buryin'. Next day I wanted to go an' get her up. I tole mother I wanted her to come home an' eat. Mother cried an' took me up in her arms, an' said, 'Honey missus will never eat here again.' I wus so young I didn't understand.

Dr. Sessoms an' also Dr. Drake, who married his daughter, doctored us when we wus sick. Dr. Joe Drake married marster's only daughter Harriet an' his only son David died in Mississippi. He had a plantation dere.

I been married only once. I wus married forty years ago to Sidney Dunn. I had one chile, she's dead.

From what I knows of slavery an' what my mother tole me I can't say it wus a bad thing. Mister, I wants to tell de truth an' I can't say its bad 'cause my mother said she had a big time as a slave an' I knows I had a good time an' wus treated right.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320187] Worker: Mary A. Hicks No. Words: 382 Subject: JENNYLIN DUNN Person Interviewed: Jennylin Dunn Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]


An interview with Jennylin Dunn 87, of 315 Bledsoe Avenue, Raleigh, N. C.

I wuz borned hyar in Wake County eighty-seben years ago. Me an' my folks an' bout six others belonged ter Mis' Betsy Lassiter who wuz right good ter us, do' she sho' did know dat chilluns needs a little brushin' now an' den.

My papa wuz named Isaac, my mammy wuz named Liza, an' my sisters wuz named Lucy, Candice an' Harriet. Dar wuz one boy what died 'fore I can 'member an' I doan know his name.

We ain't played no games ner sung no songs, but we had fruit ter eat an' a heap of watermillions ter eat in de season.

I seed seberal slabe sales on de block, front of de Raleigh Cou't house, an' yo' can't think how dese things stuck in my mind. A whole heap o' times I seed mammies sold from dere little babies, an' dar wuz no'min' den, as yo' knows.

De patterollers wuz sumpin dat I wuz skeerd of. I know jist two o' 'em, Mr. Billy Allen Dunn an' Mr. Jim Ray, an' I'se hyard of some scandelous things dat dey done. Dey do say dat dey whupped some of de niggers scandelous.

When dey hyard dat de Yankees wuz on dere way ter hyar dey says ter us dat dem Yankees eats little nigger youngins, an' we shore stays hid.

I jist seed squeamishin' parties lookin' fer sumpin' ter eat, an' I'se hyard dat dey tuck ever'thing dey comes 'crost. A whole heap of it dey flunged away, an' atterwards dey got hongry too.

One of 'em tried ter tell us dat our white folks stold us from our country an' brung us hyar, but since den I foun' out dat de Yankees stole us dereselves, an' den dey sold us ter our white folkses.

Atter de war my pappy an' mammy brung us ter Raleigh whar I'se been libin' since dat time. We got along putty good, an' de Yankees sont us some teachers, but most o' us wuz so busy scramblin' roun' makin' a livin' dat we ain't got no time fer no schools.

I reckon dat hit wuz better dat de slaves wuz freed, but I still loves my white folkses, an' dey loves me.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320125] Worker: Mary A. Hicks No. Words: 1119 Subject: AUNT LUCY'S LOVE STORY Person Interviewed: Lucy Ann Dunn Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 1 1937"]


An interview with Lucy Ann Dunn, 90 years old, 220 Cannon Street, Raleigh, N. C.

My pappy, Dempsey, my mammy, Rachel an' my brothers an' sisters an' me all belonged ter Marse Peterson Dunn of Neuse, here in Wake County. Dar wus five of us chilluns, Allen, Charles, Corina, Madora an' me, all borned before de war.

My mammy wus de cook, an' fur back as I 'members almost, I wus a house girl. I fanned flies offen de table an' done a heap of little things fer Mis' Betsy, Marse Peterson's wife. My pappy worked on de farm, which wus boun' ter have been a big plantation wid two hundert an' more niggers ter work hit.

I 'members when word come dat war wus declared, how Mis' Betsy cried an' prayed an' how Marse Peter quarreled an' walked de floor cussin' de Yankees.

De war comes on jist de same an' some of de men slaves wus sent ter Roanoke ter hep buil' de fort. Yes mam, de war comes ter de great house an' ter de slave cabins jist alike.

De great house wus large an' white washed, wid green blinds an' de slave cabins wus made of slabs wid plank floors. We had plenty ter eat an' enough ter wear an' we wus happy. We had our fun an' we had our troubles, lak little whuppin's, when we warn't good, but dat warn't often.

Atter so long a time de rich folkses tried ter hire, er make de po' white trash go in dere places, but some of dem won't go. Dey am treated so bad dat some of dem cides ter be Ku Kluxes an' dey goes ter de woods ter live. When we starts ter take up de aigs er starts from de spring house wid de butter an' milk dey grabs us an' takes de food fer dereselbes.

Dis goes on fer a long time an' finally one day in de spring I sets on de porch an' I hear a roar. I wus 'sponsible fer de goslins dem days so I sez ter de missus, 'I reckin dat I better git in de goslins case I hear hit a-thunderin'.

'Dat ain't no thunder, nigger, dat am de canon', she sez.

'What canon', I axes?

'Why de canon what dey am fightin' wid', she sez.

Well dat ebenin' I is out gittin' up de goslins when I hears music, I looks up de road an' I sees flags, an' 'bout dat time de Yankees am dar a-killin' as dey goes. Dey kills de geese, de ducks, de chickens, pigs an' ever'thing. Dey goes ter de house an' dey takes all of de meat, de meal, an' ever'thing dey can git dere paws on.

When dey goes ter de kitchen whar mammy am cookin' she cuss dem out an' run dem outen her kitchen. Dey shore am a rough lot.

I aint never fergot how Mis' Betsy cried when de news of de surrender come. She aint said nothin' but Marse Peter he makes a speech sayin' dat he aint had ter sell none of us, dat he aint whupped none of us bad, dat nobody has ever run away from him yet. Den he tells us dat all who wants to can stay right on fer wages.

Well we stayed two years, even do my pappy died de year atter de surrender, den we moves ter Marse Peter's other place at Wake Forest. Atter dat we moves back ter Neuse.

Hit wus in de little Baptist church at Neuse whar I fust seed big black Jim Dunn an' I fell in love wid him den, I reckons. He said dat he loved me den too, but hit wus three Sundays 'fore he axed ter see me home.

We walked dat mile home in front of my mammy an' I wus so happy dat I aint thought hit a half a mile home. We et cornbread an' turnips fer dinner an' hit wus night 'fore he went home. Mammy wouldn't let me walk wid him ter de gate. I knowed, so I jist sot dar on de porch an' sez good night.

He come ever' Sunday fer a year an' finally he proposed. I had told mammy dat I thought dat I ort ter be allowed ter walk ter de gate wid Jim an' she said all right iffen she wus settin' dar on de porch lookin'.

Dat Sunday night I did walk wid Jim ter de gate an' stood under de honeysuckles dat wus a-smellin' so sweet. I heard de big ole bullfrogs a-croakin' by de riber an' de whipper-wills a-hollerin' in de woods. Dar wus a big yaller moon, an' I reckon Jim did love me. Anyhow he said so an' axed me ter marry him an' he squeezed my han'.

I tol' him I'd think hit ober an' I did an' de nex' Sunday I tol' him dat I'd have him.

He aint kissed me yet but de nex' Sunday he axes my mammy fer me. She sez dat she'll have ter have a talk wid me an' let him know.

Well all dat week she talks ter me, tellin' me how serious gittin' married is an' dat hit lasts a powerful long time.

I tells her dat I knows hit but dat I am ready ter try hit an' dat I intends ter make a go of hit, anyhow.

On Sunday night mammy tells Jim dat he can have me an' yo' orter seed dat black boy grin. He comes ter me widout a word an' he picks me up outen dat cheer an' dar in de moonlight he kisses me right 'fore my mammy who am a-cryin'.

De nex' Sunday we wus married in de Baptist church at Neuse. I had a new white dress, do times wus hard.

We lived tergether fifty-five years an' we always loved each other. He aint never whup ner cuss me an' do we had our fusses an' our troubles we trusted in de Lawd an' we got through. I loved him durin' life an' I love him now, do he's been daid now fer twelve years.

The old lady with her long white hair bowed her head and sobbed for a moment then she began again unsteadily.

We had eight chilluns, but only four of dem are livin' now. De livin' are James, Sidney, Helen an' Florence who wus named fer Florence Nightingale.

I can't be here so much longer now case I'se gittin' too old an' feeble an' I wants ter go ter Jim anyhow. The old woman wiped her eyes, 'I thinks of him all de time, but seems lak we're young agin when I smell honeysuckles er see a yaller moon.


N. C. District: No. 3 [320271] Worker: Travis Jordan Subject: Tempie Herndon Durham Ex-Slave 103 Years Old 1312 Pine St., Durham, N. C.

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 23 1937"]


I was thirty-one years ole when de surrender come. Dat makes me sho nuff ole. Near 'bout a hundred an' three years done passed over dis here white head of mine. I'se been here, I mean I'se been here. 'Spects I'se de olest nigger in Durham. I'se been here so long dat I done forgot near 'bout as much as dese here new generation niggers knows or ever gwine know.

My white fo'ks lived in Chatham County. Dey was Marse George an' Mis' Betsy Herndon. Mis Betsy was a Snipes befo' she married Marse George. Dey had a big plantation an' raised cawn, wheat, cotton an' 'bacca. I don't know how many field niggers Marse George had, but he had a mess of dem, an' he had hosses too, an' cows, hogs an' sheeps. He raised sheeps an' sold de wool, an' dey used de wool at de big house too. Dey was a big weavin' room whare de blankets was wove, an' dey wove de cloth for de winter clothes too. Linda Hernton an' Milla Edwards was de head weavers, dey looked after de weavin' of de fancy blankets. Mis' Betsy was a good weaver too. She weave de same as de niggers. She say she love de clackin' soun' of de loom, an' de way de shuttles run in an' out carryin' a long tail of bright colored thread. Some days she set at de loom all de mawnin' peddlin' wid her feets an' her white han's flittin' over de bobbins.

De cardin' an' spinnin' room was full of niggers. I can hear dem spinnin' wheels now turnin' roun' an' sayin' hum-m-m-m, hum-m-m-m, an' hear de slaves singin' while dey spin. Mammy Rachel stayed in de dyein' room. Dey wuzn' nothin' she didn' know' bout dyein'. She knew every kind of root, bark, leaf an' berry dat made red, blue, green, or whatever color she wanted. Dey had a big shelter whare de dye pots set over de coals. Mammy Rachel would fill de pots wid water, den she put in de roots, bark an' stuff an' boil de juice out, den she strain it an'put in de salt an' vinegar to set de color. After de wool an' cotton done been carded an' spun to thread, Mammy take de hanks an' drap dem in de pot of bollin' dye. She stir dem' roun' an' lif' dem up an' down wid a stick, an' when she hang dem up on de line in de sun, dey was every color of de rainbow. When dey dripped dry dey was sent to de weavin' room whare dey was wove in blankets an' things.

When I growed up I married Exter Durham. He belonged to Marse Snipes Durham who had de plantation 'cross de county line in Orange County. We had a big weddin'. We was married on de front po'ch of de big house. Marse George killed a shoat an' Mis' Betsy had Georgianna, de cook, to bake a big weddin' cake all iced up white as snow wid a bride an' groom standin' in de middle holdin' han's. De table was set out in de yard under de trees, an' you ain't never seed de like of eats. All de niggers come to de feas' an' Marse George had a dram for everybody. Dat was some weddin'. I had on a white dress, white shoes an' long white gloves dat come to my elbow, an' Mis' Betsy done made me a weddin' veil out of a white net window curtain. When she played de weddin ma'ch on de piano, me an' Exter ma'ched down de walk an' up on de po'ch to de altar Mis' Betsy done fixed. Dat de pretties' altar I ever seed. Back 'gainst de rose vine dat was full or red roses, Mis' Betsy done put tables filled wid flowers an' white candles. She done spread down a bed sheet, a sho nuff linen sheet, for us to stan' on, an' dey was a white pillow to kneel down on. Exter done made me a weddin' ring. He made it out of a big red button wid his pocket knife. He done cut it so roun' an' polished it so smooth dat it looked like a red satin ribbon tide 'roun' my finger. Dat sho was a pretty ring. I wore it 'bout fifty years, den it got so thin dat I lost it one day in de wash tub when I was washin' clothes.

Uncle Edmond Kirby married us. He was de nigger preacher dat preached at de plantation church. After Uncle Edmond said de las' words over me an' Exter, Marse George got to have his little fun: He say, 'Come on, Exter, you an' Tempie got to jump over de broom stick backwards; you got to do dat to see which one gwine be boss of your househol'.' Everybody come stan' 'roun to watch. Marse George hold de broom 'bout a foot high off de floor. De one dat jump over it backwards an' never touch de handle, gwine boss de house, an' if bof of dem jump over widout touchin' it, dey won't gwine be no bossin', dey jus' gwine be 'genial. I jumped fus', an' you ought to seed me. I sailed right over dat broom stick same as a cricket, but when Exter jump he done had a big dram an' his feets was so big an' clumsy dat dey got all tangled up in dat broom an' he fell head long. Marse George he laugh an' laugh, an' tole Exter he gwine be bossed 'twell he skeered to speak less'n I tole him to speak. After de weddin' we went down to de cabin Mis' Betsy done all dressed up, but Exter couldn' stay no longer den dat night kaze he belonged to Marse Snipes Durham an' he had to back home. He lef' de nex day for his plantation, but he come back every Saturday night an' stay 'twell Sunday night. We had eleven chillun. Nine was bawn befo' surrender an' two after we was set free. So I had two chillun dat wuzn' bawn in bondage. I was worth a heap to Marse George kaze I had so manny chillun. De more chillun a slave had de more dey was worth. Lucy Carter was de only nigger on de plantation dat had more chillun den I had. She had twelve, but her chillun was sickly an' mine was muley strong an' healthy. Dey never was sick.

When de war come Marse George was too ole to go, but young Marse Bill went. He went an' took my brother Sim wid him. Marse Bill took Sim along to look after his hoss an' everything. Dey didn' neither one get shot, but Mis' Betsy was skeered near 'bout to death all de time, skeered dey was gwine be brung home shot all to pieces like some of de sojers was.

De Yankees wuzn' so bad. De mos' dey wanted was sumpin' to eat. Dey was all de time hungry, de fus' thing dey ax for when dey came was sumpin' to put in dey stomach. An' chicken! I ain' never seed even a preacher eat chicken like dem Yankees. I believes to my soul dey ain' never seed no chicken 'twell dey come down here. An' hot biscuit too. I seed a passel of dem eat up a whole sack of flour one night for supper. Georgianna sif' flour 'twell she look white an' dusty as a miller. Dem sojers didn' turn down no ham neither. Dat de onlies' thing dey took from Marse George. Dey went in de smoke house an' toted off de hams an' shoulders. Marse George say he come off mighty light if dat all dey want, 'sides he got plenty of shoats anyhow.

We had all de eats we wanted while de war was shootin' dem guns, kaze Marse George was home an' he kep' de niggers workin'. We had chickens, gooses, meat, peas, flour, meal, potatoes an' things like dat all de time, an' milk an' butter too, but we didn' have no sugar an' coffee. We used groun' pa'ched cawn for coffee an' cane 'lasses for sweetnin'. Dat wuzn' so bad wid a heap of thick cream. Anyhow, we had enough to eat to 'vide wid de neighbors dat didn' have none when surrender come.

I was glad when de war stopped kaze den me an' Exter could be together all de time 'stead of Saturday an' Sunday. After we was free we lived right on at Marse George's plantation a long time. We rented de lan' for a fo'th of what we made, den after while be bought a farm. We paid three hundred dollars we done saved. We had a hoss, a steer, a cow an' two pigs, 'sides some chickens an' fo' geese. Mis' Betsy went up in de attic an' give us a bed an' bed tick; she give us enough goose feathers to make two pillows, den she give us a table an' some chairs. She give us some dishes too. Marse George give Exter a bushel of seed cawn an some seed wheat, den he tole him to go down to de barn an' get a bag of cotton seed. We got all dis den we hitched up de wagon an' th'owed in de passel of chillun an' moved to our new farm, an' de chillun was put to work in de fiel'; dey growed up in de fiel' kaze dey was put to work time dey could walk good.

Freedom is all right, but de niggers was better off befo' surrender, kaze den dey was looked after an' dey didn' get in no trouble fightin' an' killin' like dey do dese days. If a nigger cut up an' got sassy in slavery times, his Ole Marse give him a good whippin' an' he went way back an' set down an' 'haved hese'f. If he was sick, Marse an' Mistis looked after him, an' if he needed store medicine, it was bought an' give to him; he didn' have to pay nothin'. Dey didn' even have to think' bout clothes nor nothin' like dat, dey was wove an' made an' give to dem. Maybe everybody's Marse an' Mistis wuzn' good as Marse George an' Mis' Betsy, but dey was de same as a mammy an' pappy to us niggers.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320160] Worker: Mary A. Hicks No. Words: 466 Subject: EX-SLAVE STORY Story Teller: George Eatman Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: Date Stamp "JUN 1 1937"]


An Interview on May 18, 1937 with George Eatman, 93, of Cary, R. #1.

I belonged ter Mr. Gus Eatman who lived at de ole Templeton place on de Durham highway back as fer as I can 'member. I doan r'member my mammy an' pappy case dey wuz sold 'fore I knowed anything. I raised myself an' I reckon dat I done a fair job uv it. De marster an' missus wuz good to dere twenty-five slaves an' we ain't neber got no bad whuppin's.

I doan 'member much playin' an' such like, but I de 'members dat I wuz de handy boy 'round de house.

De Confederate soldiers camp at Ephesus Church one night, an' de nex' day de marster sent me ter de mill on Crabtree. Yo' 'members where ole Company mill is, I reckon? Well, as I rode de mule down de hill, out comes Wheeler's Calvalry, which am as mean as de Yankees, an' dey ax me lots uv questions. Atter awhile dey rides on an' leaves me 'lone.

While I am at de mill one uv Wheeler's men takes my mule an' my co'n, an' I takes de ole saddle an' starts ter walkin' back home. All de way, most, I walks in de woods, case Wheeler's men am still passin'.

When I gits ter de Morgan place I hyars de cannons a-boomin', ahh—h I ain't neber hyar sich a noise, an' when I gits so dat I can see dar dey goes, as thick as de hairs on a man's haid. I circles round an' gits behin' dem an' goes inter de back uv de-house. Well, dar stan's a Yankee, an' he axes Missus Mary fer de smokehouse key. She gibes it ter him an' dey gits all uv de meat.

One big can uv grease am all dat wuz saved, an' dat wuz burried in de broom straw down in de fiel'.

Dey camps roun' dar dat night an' dey shoots ever chicken, pig, an' calf dey sees. De nex' day de marster goes ter Raleigh, an' gits a gyard, but dey has done stole all our stuff an' we am liven' mostly on parched co'n.

De only patterollers I knowed wuz Kenyan Jones an' Billy Pump an' dey wuz called po' white trash. Dey owned blood houn's, an' chased de niggers an' whupped dem shamful, I hyars. I neber seed but one Ku Klux an' he wuz sceered o' dem.

Atter de war we stayed on five or six years case we ain't had no place else ter go.

We ain't liked Abraham Lincoln, case he wuz a fool ter think dat we could live widout de white folkses, an' Jeff Davis wuz tryin' ter keep us, case he wuz greedy an' he wanted ter be de boss dog in politics.

District: No. 3. [320121] Worker: Daisy Whaley Subject: Ex-slave Story. Interviewed: Doc Edwards, Ex-slave. 84 Yrs Staggville, N. C.

[HW: Capital A—circled]

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 6 1937"]


I was bawn at Staggville, N. C., in 1853. I belonged to Marse Paul Cameron. My pappy was Murphy McCullers. Mammy's name was Judy. Dat would make me a McCullers, but I was always knowed as Doc Edwards an' dat is what I am called to dis day.

I growed up to be de houseman an' I cooked for Marse Benehan,—Marse Paul's son. Marse Benehan was good to me. My health failed from doing so much work in de house an' so I would go for a couple of hours each day an' work in de fiel' to be out doors an' get well again.

Marse Paul had so many niggers dat he never counted dem. When we opened de gate for him or met him in de road he would say, "Who is you? Whare you belong?" We would say, "We belong to Marse Paul." "Alright, run along" he'd say den, an' he would trow us a nickel or so.

We had big work shops whare we made all de tools, an' even de shovels was made at home. Dey was made out of wood, so was de rakes, pitchforks an' some of de hoes. Our nails was made in de blacksmith shop by han' an' de picks an' grubbin' hoes, too.

We had a han' thrashing machine. It was roun' like a stove pipe, only bigger. We fed de wheat to it an' shook it' til de wheat was loose from de straw an' when it come out at de other end it fell on a big cloth, bigger den de sheets. We had big curtains all roun' de cloth on de floor, like a tent, so de wheat wouldn' get scattered. Den we took de pitchfork an' lifted de straw up an' down so de wheat would go on de cloth. Den we moved de straw when de wheat was all loose Den we fanned de wheat wid big pieces of cloth to get de dust an' dirt outen it, so it could be taken to de mill an' groun' when it was wanted.

When de fall come we had a regular place to do different work. We had han' looms an' wove our cotton an' yarn an' made de cloth what was to make de clothes for us to wear.

We had a shop whare our shoes was made. De cobbler would make our shoes wid wooden soles. After de soles was cut out dey would be taken down to de blacksmiyh an' he would put a thin rim of iron aroun' de soles to keep dem from splitting. Dese soles was made from maple an' ash wood.

We didn' have any horses to haul wid. We used oxen an' ox-carts. De horse and mules was used to do de plowin'.

When de Yankees come dey didn' do so much harm, only dey tole us we was free niggers. But I always feel like I belong to Marse Paul, an' i still live at Staggville on de ole plantation. I has a little garden an' does what I can to earn a little somethin'. De law done fixed it so now dat I will get a little pension, an' I'll stay right on in dat little house 'til de good Lawd calls me home, den I will see Marse Paul once more.

N. C. District: No. 11 [320001] Worker: Mrs. W. N. Harriss No. Words: 658 Subject: John Evans Born in Slavery Editor: Mrs. W. N. Harriss


John Evans on the street and in this Office. Residence changes frequently.

[TR: Date Stamp "SEP—1937"]

Story of John Evans Born in Slavery.

I was born August 15th, 1859. I am 78 years old. Dat comes out right, don't it? My mother's name was Hattie Newbury. I don't never remember seein' my Pa. We lived on Middle Sound an' dat's where I was born. I knows de room, 'twas upstairs, an' when I knowed it, underneath, downstairs dat is, was bags of seed an' horse feed, harness an' things, but it was slave quarters when I come heah.

Me an' my mother stayed right on with Mis' Newberry after freedom, an' never knowed no diffunce. They was jus' like sisters an' I never knowed nothin' but takin' keer of Mistus Newberry. She taught me my letters an' the Bible, an' was mighty perticler 'bout my manners. An' I'm tellin' you my manners is brought me a heap more money than my readin'—or de Bible. I'm gwine tell you how dat is, but fust I want to say the most I learned on Middle Sound was' bout fishin' an' huntin'. An' dawgs.

My! But there sho' was birds an' possums on de Sound in dem days. Pa'tridges all over de place. Why, even me an' my Mammy et pa'tridges fer bre'kfust. Think of dat now! But when I growed up my job was fishin'. I made enough sellin' fish to the summer folks all along Wrightsville and Greenville Sounds to keep me all winter.

My Mammy cooked fer Mis' Newberry. After a while they both died. I never did'nt git married.

I don't know nothin' 'bout all the mean things I hear tell about slaves an' sich. We was just one fam'ly an' had all we needed. We never paid no 'tention to freedom or not freedom. I remember eve'ybody had work to do in slavery an' dey gone right on doin' it sence. An' nobody don't git nowheres settin' down holdin' their han's. It do'n make so much diffunce anyhow what you does jes so's you does it.

One time when I was carryin' in my fish to "Airlie" [TR: difficult to read] Mr. Pem Jones heard me laff, an' after I opened dis here mouf of mine an' laffed fer him I didn't have to bother 'bout fish no mo'. Lordy, dose rich folks he used to bring down fum New Yo'k is paid me as much as sixty dollars a week to laff fer 'em. One of 'em was named Mr. Fish. Now you know dat tickled me. I could jes laff an' laff 'bout dat. Mr. Pem give me fine clo'es an' a tall silk hat. I'd eat a big dinner in de kitchen an' den go in' mongst de quality an' laff fer' em an' make my noise like a wood saw in my th'oat. Dey was crazy 'bout dat. An' then's when I began to be thankful 'bout my manners. I's noticed if you has nice manners wid eve'ybody people gwine to be nice to you.

Well, (with a long sigh) I don't pick up no sich money nowadays; but my manners gives me many a chance to laff, an' I never don't go hungry.

John has been a well known character for fifty years among the summer residents along the sounds and on Wrightsville Beach. He was a fisherman and huckster in his palmy days, but now John's vigor is on the wane, and he has little left with which to gain a livelihood except his unusually contagious laugh, and a truly remarkable flow of words. "Old John" could give Walter Winchel a handicap of twenty words a minute and then beat him at his own game. His mouth is enormous and his voice deep and resonant. He can make a noise like a wood saw which he maintains for 2 or 3 minutes without apparent effort, the sound buzzing on and on from some mysterious depths of his being with amazing perfection of imitation.

Any day during the baseball season John may be seen sandwiched between his announcement boards, a large bell in one hand, crying the ball game of the day. "Old John" to the youngsters; but finding many a quarter dropped in his hand by the older men with memories of gay hours and hearty laughter.

District: No. 3 [320198] Worker: Daisy Whaley Subject: EX-SLAVE Storyteller: Lindsay Faucette Ex-Slave Church Street, Durham, N. C.

[TR: Date Stamp "JUL 2 1937"]

LINDSEY FAUCETTE, 86 Yrs. Ex-slave.

Yes, Mis', I wuz bawn in 1851, de 16th of November, on de Occoneechee Plantation, owned by Marse John Norwood an' his good wife, Mis' Annie. An' when I say 'good' I mean jus dat, for no better people ever lived den my Marse John an' Mis' Annie.

One thing dat made our Marse an' Mistis so good wuz de way dey brought up us niggers. We wuz called to de big house an' taught de Bible an' dey wuz Bible readin's every day. We wuz taught to be good men an' women an' to be hones'. Marse never sold any of us niggers. But when his boys and girls got married he would give dem some of us to take with dem.

Marse never allowed us to be whipped. One time we had a white overseer an' he whipped a fiel' han' called Sam Norwood, til de blood come. He beat him so bad dat de other niggers had to take him down to de river an' wash de blood off. When Marse come an' foun' dat out he sent dat white man off an' wouldn' let him stay on de plantation over night. He jus' wouldn' have him roun' de place no longer. He made Uncle Whitted de overseer kase he wuz one of de oldest slaves he had an' a good nigger.

When any of us niggers got sick Mis' Annie would come down to de cabin to see us. She brung de best wine, good chicken an' chicken soup an' everything else she had at de big house dat she thought we would like, an' she done everything she could to get us well again.

Marse John never worked us after dark. We worked in de day an' had de nights to play games an' have singin's. We never cooked on a Sunday. Everything we ett on dat day was cooked on Saturday. Dey wuzn' lighted in de cook stoves or fire places in de big house or cabins neither. Everybody rested on Sunday. De tables wuz set an' de food put on to eat, but nobody cut any wood an' dey wuzn' no other work don' on dat day. Mammy Beckie wuz my gran'mammy an' she toted de keys to de pantry an' smoke house, an' her word went wid Marse John an' Mis' Annie.

Marse John wuz a great lawyer an' when he went to Pittsboro an' other places to practice, if he wuz to stay all night, Mis' Annie had my mammy sleep right in bed wid her, so she wouldn' be 'fraid.

Marse an Mistis had three sons an' three daughters,—De oldest son wuz not able to go to war. He had studied so hard dat it had 'fected his mind, so he stayed at home. De secon' son, named Albert, went to war an' wuz brought back dead with a bullet hole through his head. Dat liked to have killed Marse John an' Mis' Annie. Dey wuz three girls, named, Mis' Maggie, Mis' Ella Bella and Mis' Rebena.

I wuz de cow-tender. I took care of de cows an' de calves. I would have to hold de calf up to de mother cow 'til de milk would come down an' den I would have to hold it away 'til somebody done de milkin'. I tended de horses, too, an' anything else dat I wuz told to do.

When de war started an' de Yankees come, dey didn' do much harm to our place. Marse had all de silver an' money an' other things of value hid under a big rock be de river an' de Yankees never did fine anything dat we hid.

Our own sojers did more harm on our plantation den de Yankees. Dey camped in de woods an' never did have nuff to eat an' took what dey wanted. An' lice! I ain't never seed de like. It took fifteen years for us to get shed of de lice dat de sojers lef' behind. You jus' couldn' get dem out of your clothes les' you burned dem up. Dey wuz hard to get shed of.

After de war wuz over Marse John let Pappy have eighteen acres of land for de use of two of his boys for a year. My pappy made a good crop of corn, wheat an' other food on dis land. Dey wuz a time when you couldn' find a crust of bread or piece of meat in my mammy's pantry for us to eat, an' when she did get a little meat or bread she would divide it between us chillun, so each would have a share an' go without herself an' never conplained.

When pappy wuz makin' his crop some of de others would ask him why he didn' take up some of his crop and get somethin' to eat. He would answer an' say dat when he left dat place he intended to take his crop with him an' he did. He took plenty of corn, wheat, potatoes an' other food, a cow, her calf, mule an' hogs an' he moved to a farm dat he bought.

Later on in years my pappy an mammy come here in Durham an' bought a home. I worked for dem' til I wuz thirty-two years old an' give dem what money I earned. I worked for as little as twenty-five cents a day. Den I got a dray an' hauled for fifteen cents a load from de Durham depo' to West Durham for fifteen years. Little did I think at dat time dat I would ever have big trucks an' a payroll of $6,000.00 a year. De good Lawd has blest me all de way, an' all I have is His'n, even to my own breath.

Den one day I went back home to see my old Marse an' I foun' him sittin' in a big chair on de po'ch an' his health wuzn' so good. He sed, "Lindsey, why don' you stop runnin' roun' wid de girls an' stop you cou't 'n? You never will get nowhere makin' all de girls love you an' den you walk away an' make up with some other girl. Go get yourself a good girl an' get married an' raise a family an' be somebody." An' I did. I quit all de girls an' I foun' a fine girl and we wuz married. I sho got a good wife; I got one of de best women dat could be foun' an' we lived together for over forty-five years. Den she died six years ago now, an' I sho miss her for she wuz a real help-mate all through dese years. We raised five chillun an' educated dem to be school teachers an' other trades.

I have tried to live de way I wuz raised to. My wife never worked a day away from home all de years we wuz married. It wuz my raisin an' my strong faith in my Lawd an' Marster dat helped me to get along as well as I have, an' I bless Him every day for de strength He has given me to bring up my family as well as I have. Der is only one way to live an' dat is de right way. Educate your chillun, if you can, but be sho you give dem de proper moral training at home. De right way to raise your chillun is to larn dem to have manners and proper respect for their parents, be good citizens an' God fearin' men an' women. When you have done dat you will not be ashamed of dem in your old age. I bless my Maker dat I have lived so clos' to Him as I have all dese years an' when de time comes to go to Him I will have no regrets an' no fears.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320223] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 567 Subject: A SLAVE STORY Story Teller: Ora M. Flagg Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]

ORA M. FLAGG 811 Oberlin Road

My name is Ora M. Flagg. I wus born in Raleigh near the Professional Building, in the year 1860, October 16. My mother wus named Jane Busbee. Her marster wus Quent Busbee, a lawyer. Her missus wus Julia Busbee. She wus a Taylor before she married Mr. Busbee. Now I tell you, I can't tell you exactly, but the old heads died. The old heads were the Scurlocks who lived in Chatham County. I heard their names but I don't remember them. Their children when they died drawed for the slaves and my mother wus brought to Raleigh when she wus eight years old. She came from the Scurlocks to the Busbees. The Taylors were relatives of the Scurlocks, and were allowed to draw, and Julia Taylor drawed my mother. It wus fixed so the slaves on this estate could not be sold, but could be drawed for by the family and relatives. She got along just middlin' after her missus died. When her missus died, mother said she had to look after herself. Mr. Busbee would not allow anyone to whip mother. He married Miss Lizzie Bledsoe the second time.

I wus only a child and, of course, I thought as I could get a little something to eat everything wus all right, but we had few comforts. We had prayer meeting and we went to the white people's church. I heard mother say that they had to be very careful what they said in their worship. Lots of time dey put us children to bed and went off.

About the time of the surrender, I heard a lot about the patterollers, but I did not know what they were. Children wus not as wise then as they are now. They didn't know as much about things.

Yes sir, I remember the Yankees coming to Raleigh, we had been taken out to Moses Bledsoe's place on Holleman's Road to protect Mr. Bledsoe's things. They said if they put the things out there, and put a family of Negroes there the Yankees would not bother the things. So they stored a lot of stuff there, and put my mother an' a slave man by the name o' Tom Gillmore there. Two Negro families were there. We children watched the Yankees march by.

The Yankees went through everything, and when mother wouldn't tell them where the silver wus hid they threw her things in the well. Mother cried, an' when the Yankee officers heard of it they sent a guard there to protect us. The colored man, Tom Gillmore, wus so scared, he and his family moved out at night leaving my mother alone with her family. The Yankees ate the preserves and all the meat and other things. They destroyed a lot they could not eat.

Mother and me stayed on with marster after the surrender, and stayed on his place till he died. After that we moved to Peck's Place, called Peck's Place because the property wus sold by Louis Peck. It wus also called the 'Save-rent' section, then in later years Oberlin Road.

I think slavery wus a bad thing, while it had its good points in building good strong men. In some cases where marsters were bad it wus a bad thing.

Abraham Lincoln wus our friend, he set us free. I don't know much about Booker T. Washington. Mr Roosevelt is all right. Jim Young seemed to be all right. Jeff Davis didn't bother me. I guess he wus all right.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320214] Worker: Mary Hicks No. Words: 361 Subject: Ex-Slave Story Story Teller: Analiza Foster. Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]


An interview with Analiza Foster, 68 of 1120 South Blount Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

I wuz borned in Person County ter Tom Line an' Harriet Cash. My mammy belonged ter a Mr. Cash an' pappy belonged ter Miss Betsy Woods. Both of dese owners wuz mean ter dere slaves an' dey ain't carin' much if'en dey kills one, case dey's got plenty. Dar wuz one woman dat I hyard mammy tell of bein' beat clean ter death.

De 'oman wuz pregnant an' she fainted in de fiel' at de plow. De driver said dat she wuz puttin' on, an' dat she ort ter be beat. De master said dat she can be beat but don't ter hurt de baby. De driver says dat he won't, den he digs a hole in de sand an' he puts de 'oman in de hole, which am nigh 'bout ter her arm pits, den he kivers her up an' straps her han's over her haid.

He takes de long bull whup an' he cuts long gashes all over her shoulders an' raised arms, den he walks off an' leabes her dar fer a hour in de hot sun. De flies an' de gnats dey worry her, an' de sun hurts too an' she cries a little, den de driver comes out wid a pan full of vinegar, salt an' red pepper an' he washes de gashes. De 'oman faints an' he digs her up, but in a few minutes she am stone dead.

Dat's de wust case dat I'se eber hyard of but I reckon dar wuz plenty more of dem.

Ter show yo' de value of slaves I'll tell yo' 'bout my gran'ma. She wuz sold on de block four times, an' eber time she brung a thousand dollars. She wuz valuable case she wuz strong an' could plow day by day, den too she could have twenty chilluns an' wuck right on.

De Yankees come through our country an' dey makes de slaves draw water fer de horses all night. Course dey stold eber'thing dey got dere han's on but dat wuz what ole Abraham Lincoln tol' dem ter do.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320088] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 570 Subject: A SLAVE STORY Story Teller: Georgianna Foster Editor: George L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 23 1937"]

GEORGIANNA FOSTER 1308 Poole Road, Route # 2. Raleigh, North Carolina.

I wus born in 1861. I jes' can 'member de Yankees comin' through, but I 'members dere wus a lot of 'em wearin' blue clothes. I wus born at Kerney Upchurch's plantation twelve miles from Raleigh. He wus my marster an' Missus Enny wus his wife. My father wus named Axiom Wilder and my mother wus Mancy Wilder. De most I know 'bout slavery dey tole it to me. I 'members I run when de Yankees come close to me. I wus 'fraid of 'em.

We lived in a little log houses at marsters. De food wus short an' things in general wus bad, so mother tole me. She said dey wus a whole lot meaner den dey had any business bein'. Dey allowed de patterollers to snoop around an' whup de slaves, mother said dey stripped some of de slaves naked an' whupped 'em. She said women had to work all day in de fields an' come home an' do de house work at night while de white folks hardly done a han's turn of work.

Marse Kerney had a sluice of chilluns. I can't think of 'em all, but I 'members Calvin, James, Allen, Emily, Helen, an' I jest can't think of de rest of de chilluns names.

Mother said dey gathered slaves together like dey did horses an' sold 'em on de block. Mother said dey carried some to Rolesville in Wake County an' sold 'em. Dey sold Henry Temples an' Lucinda Upchurch from marster's plantation, but dey carried 'em to Raleigh to sell 'em.

We wore homemade clothes an' shoes wid wooden bottoms. Dey would not allow us to sing an' pray but dey turned pots down at de door an' sung an' prayed enyhow an' de Lord heard dere prayers. Dat dey did sing an' pray.

Mother said dey whupped a slave if dey caught him wid a book in his hand. You wus not 'lowed no books. Larnin' among de slaves wus a forbidden thing. Dey wus not allowed to cook anything for demselves at de cabins no time 'cept night. Dere wus a cook who cooked fur all durin' de day. Sometimes de field han's had to work 'round de place at night after comin' in from de fields. Mother said livin' at marster's wus hard an' when dey set us free we left as quick as we could an' went to Mr. Bob Perry's plantation an' stayed there many years. He wus a good man an' give us all a chance. Mother wus free born at Upchurch's but when de war ended, she had been bound to Wilder by her mother, an' had married my father who wus a slave belongin' to Bob Wilder. Dey did not like de fare at Marster Upchurch's or Marster Wilder's, so when dey wus set free dey lef' an' went to Mrs. Perry's place.

Dey had overseers on both plantations in slavery time but some of de niggers would run away before dey would take a whuppin'. Fred Perry run away to keep from bein' sold. He come back do' an' tole his marster to do what he wanted to wid him. His marster told him to go to work an' he stayed dere till he wus set free. God heard his prayer 'cause he said he axed God not to let him be sold.

Mother an' father said Abraham Lincoln come through there on his way to Jeff Davis. Jeff Davis wus de Southern President. Lincoln say, 'Turn dem slaves loose, Jeff Davis,' an' Jeff Davis said nuthin'. Den he come de second time an' say, 'Is you gwine to turn dem slaves loose?' an' Jeff Davis wouldn't do it. Den Lincoln come a third time an' had a cannon shootin' man wid him an' he axed, 'Is you gwine to set dem slaves free Jeff Davis?' An' Jeff Davis he say, 'Abraham Lincoln, you knows I is not goin' to give up my property, an' den Lincoln said, 'I jest as well go back an' git up my crowd den.' Dey talked down in South Carolina an' when Jeff Davis 'fused to set us free, Lincoln went home to the North and got up his crowd, one hundred an' forty thousand men, dey said, an' de war begun. Dey fighted an' fighted an' de Yankees whupped. Dey set us free an' dey say dat dey hung Jeff Davis on a ole apple tree.

EH [HW in margin:—illegible]

N. C. District: No. 2 [320247] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 815 Subject: FRANK FREEMAN Story Teller: Frank Freeman Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]

FRANK FREEMAN 216 Tappers Lane

I was born near Rolesville in Wake County Christmas Eve, 24 of December 1857. I am 76 years old. My name is Frank Freeman and my wife's name is Mary Freeman. She is 78 years old. We live at 216 Tuppers Lane, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina. I belonged to ole man Jim Wiggins jus' this side o' Roseville, fourteen miles from Raleigh. The great house is standin' there now, and a family by the name o' Gill, a colored man's family, lives there. The place is owned by ole man Jim Wiggins's grandson, whose name is O. B. Wiggins. My wife belonged to the Terrells before the surrender. I married after the war. I was forty years ole when I was married.

Old man Jim Wiggins was good to his niggers, and when the slave children were taken off by his children they treated us good. Missus dressed mother up in her clothes and let her go to church. We had good, well cooked food, good clothes, and good places to sleep. Some of the chimneys which were once attached to the slave houses are standing on the plantation. The home plantation in Wake County was 3000 acres.

Marster also owned three and a quarter plantations in Franklin County. He kept about ten men at home and would not let his slave boys work until they were 18 years old, except tend to horses and do light jobs around the house. He had slaves on all his plantations but they were under colored overseers who were slaves themselves. Marster had three boys and five girls, eight children of his own.

One of the girls was Siddie Wiggins. When she married Alfred Holland, and they went to Smithfield to live she took me with her, when I was two years old. She thought so much o' me mother was willing to let me go. Mother loved Miss Siddie, and it was agreeable in the family. I stayed right on with her after the surrender three years until 1868. My father decided to take me home then and went after me.

They never taught us books of any kind. I was about 8 years old when I began to study books. When I was 21 Christmas Eve 1880, father told me I was my own man and that was all he had to give me.

I had decided many years before to save all my nickles. I kept them in a bag. I did not drink, chew, smoke or use tobacco in any way during this time. When he told me I was free I counted up my money and found I had $47.75. I had never up to this tasted liquor or tobacco. I don't know anything about it yet. I have never used it. With that money I entered Shaw University. I worked eight hours a week in order to help pay my way.

Later I went into public service, teaching four months a year in the public schools. My salary was $25.00 per month. I kept going to school at Shaw until I could get a first grade teacher's certificate. I never graduated. I taught in the public schools for 43 years. I would be teaching now, but I have high blood pressure.

I was at Master Hollands at Smithfield when the Yankees came through. They went into my Marster's store and began breaking up things and taking what they wanted. They were dressed in blue and I did not know who they were. I asked and someone told me they were the Yankees.

My father was named Burton, and my mother was named Queen Anne. Father was a Freeman and mother was a Wiggins.

There were no churches on the plantation. My father told me a story about his young master, Joe Freeman and my father's brother Soloman. Marster got Soloman to help whip him. My father went in to see young Missus and told her about it, and let her know he was going away. He had got the cradle blade and said he would kill either of them if they bothered him. Father had so much Indian blood in him that he would fight. He ran away and stayed four years and passed for a free nigger. He stayed in the Bancomb Settlement in Johnson County. When he came home before the war ended, Old Marster said, 'Soloman why didn't you stay?' father said, 'I have been off long enough'. Marster said 'Go to work', and there was no more to it. Father helped build the breastworks in the Eastern part of the State down at Ft. Fisher. He worked on the forts at New Bern too.

I think Abraham Lincoln worked hard for our freedom. He was a great man. I think Mr. Roosevelt is a good man and is doing all he can for the good of all.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320010] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 976 Subject: ADDY GILL Story Teller: Addy Gill Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "SEP 10 1937"]

ADDY GILL 1614 "B" St. Lincoln Park Raleigh, North Carolina.

I am seventy four years of age. I wus born a slave Jan. 6, 1863 on a plantation near Millburnie, Wake County, owned by Major Wilder, who hired my father's time. His wife wus named Sarah Wilder. I don't know anything 'bout slavery 'cept what wus tole me by father and mother but I do know that if it had not been for what de southern white folks done for us niggers we'd have perished to death. De north turned us out wid out anything to make a livin' wid.

My father wus David Gill and, my mother wus Emily Gill. My father wus a blacksmith an he moved from place to place where dey hired his time. Dats why I wus born on Major Wilders place. Marster Gill who owned us hired father to Major Wilder and mother moved wid him. For a longtime atter de war, nine years, we stayed on wid Major Wilder, de place we wus at when dey set us free.

Mr. Wilder had a large plantation and owned a large number of slaves before de surrender. I only 'members fourteen of de ones I know belonged to him. Mr. Wilder wus a mighty good man. We had plenty to eat an plenty work to do. Dere wus seven in the Major's family. Three boys, two girls, he an his wife. His boys wus named Sam, Will and Crockett. De girls wus named Florence and Flora. Dey are all dead, every one of 'em. De whole set. I don't know nary one of 'em dats livin. If dey wus livin I could go to 'em an' git a meal any time. Yes Sir! any time, day or night.

I farmed for a long time for myself atter I wus free from my father at 21 years of age. Den 'bout twelve years ago I come to Raleigh and got a job as butler at St. Augustine Episcopal College for Colored. I worked dere eight years, wus taken sick while workin dere an has been unable to work much since. Dat wus four years ago. Since den sometimes I ain't able to git up outen my cheer when I is settin down. I tells you, mister, when a nigger leaves de farm an comes to town to live he sho is takin a mighty big chance wid de wolf. He is just a riskin parishin, dats what he is a doin.

I married forty five years ago this past November. I wus married on de second Thursday night in November to Millie Ruffin of Wake County, North Carolina. We had leben chilluns, six boys an five gals. Four of the boys an one of de gals is livin now. Some of my chilluns went north but dey didn't stay dere but two months. De one dat went north wus Sam, dat wus de oldest one. He took a notion to marry so he went up to Pennsylvania and worked. Just as soon as he got enough money to marry on he come back an got married. He never went back north no more.

Mother belonged to Sam Krenshaw before she wus bought by Marster Gill. Her missus when she was a girl growin up wus Mrs. Louise Krenshaw. De missus done de whuppin on Mr. Krenshaw's plantation an she wus mighty rough at times. She whupped mother an cut her back to pieces so bad dat de scars wus on her when she died. Father died in Raleigh an mother died out on Miss Annie Ball's farm 'bout seven miles from Raleigh. Mother an father wus livin there when mother died. Father den come to Raleigh an died here.

I caint read an write but all my chilluns can read and write. Mother and father could not read or write. I haint had no chance. I had no larnin. I had to depend on white folks I farmed wid to look atter my business. Some of em cheated me out of what I made. I am tellin you de truth 'bout some of de landlords, dey got mighty nigh all I made. Mr. Richard Taylor who owned a farm near Raleigh whur I stayed two years wus one of em. He charged de same thing three times an I had it to pay. I stayed two years an made nothin'. Dis is de truth from my heart, from here to glory. I members payin' fur a middlin of meat twice. Some of de white folks looked out fur me an prospered. Mr. Dave Faulk wus one of 'em. I stayed wid him six years and I prospered. Mr. John Bushnell wus a man who took up no time wid niggers. I rented from him a long time.

He furnished a nigger cash to run his crap on. De nigger made de crap sold it an carried him his part. He figgered 'bout what he should have an de nigger paid in cash. He wus a mighty good man to his nigger tenants. I never owned a farm, I never owned horses or mules to farm with. I worked de landlords stock and farmed his land on shares. Farmin' has been my happiest life and I wushes I wus able to farm agin cause I am happiest when on de farm.

I had a quiet home weddin' an I wus married by a white magistrate. I got up one night an' wus married at 1 o'clock.

Atter de weddin she went back home wid me. We have had our ups and downs in life. Sometimes de livin' has been mighty hard, but dere has never been a time since I been free when I could not git a handout from de white folks back yard.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320020] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 2,118 Subject: A SLAVE STORY Story Teller: Robert Glenn Editor: George L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "SEP 10 1937"]

ROBERT GLENN 207 Idlewild Avenue Raleigh, North Carolina.

I was a slave before and during the Civil War. I am 87 years old. I was born Sept. 16, 1850. I was born in Orange County, North Carolina near Hillsboro. At that time Durham was just a platform at the station and no house there whatever. The platform was lighted with a contraption shaped like a basket and burning coal that gave off a blaze. There were holes in this metal basket for the cinders to fall through.

I belonged to a man named Bob Hall, he was a widower. He had three sons, Thomas, Nelson, and Lambert. He died when I was eight years old and I was put on the block and sold in Nelson Hall's yard by the son of Bob Hall. I saw my brother and sister sold on this same plantation. My mother belonged to the Halls, and father belonged to the Glenns. They sold me away from my father and mother and I was carried to the state of Kentucky. I was bought by a Negro speculator by the name of Henry long who lived not far from Hurdles Mill in Person County. I was not allowed to tell my mother and father goodbye. I was bought and sold three times in one day.

My father's time was hired out and as he knew a trade he had by working overtime saved up a considerable amount of money. After the speculator, Henry Long, bought me, mother went to father and pled with him to buy me from him and let the white folks hire me out. No slave could own a slave. Father got the consent and help of his owners to buy me and they asked Long to put me on the block again. Long did so and named his price but when he learned who had bid me off he backed down. Later in the day he put me on the block and named another price much higher than the price formerly set. He was asked by the white folks to name his price for his bargain and he did so. I was again put on the auction block and father bought me in, putting up the cash. Long then flew into a rage and cursed my father saying, 'you damn black son of a bitch, you think you are white do you? Now just to show you are black, I will not let you have your son at any price.' Father knew it was all off, mother was frantic but there was nothing they could do about it. They had to stand and see the speculator put me on his horse behind him and ride away without allowing either of them to tell me goodbye. I figure I was sold three times in one day, as the price asked was offered in each instance. Mother was told under threat of a whupping not to make any outcry when I was carried away. He took me to his home, but on the way he stopped for refreshments, at a plantation, and while he was eating and drinking, he put me into a room where two white women were spinning flax. I was given a seat across the room from where they were working. After I had sat there awhile wondering where I was going and thinking about mother and home, I went to one of the women and asked, 'Missus when will I see my mother again?' She replied, I don't know child, go and sit down. I went back to my seat and as I did so both the women stopped spinning for a moment, looked at each other, and one of them remarked. "Almighty God, this slavery business is a horrible thing. Chances are this boy will never see his mother again." This remark nearly killed me, as I began to fully realize my situation. Long, the Negro trader, soon came back, put me on his horse and finished the trip to his home. He kept me at his home awhile and then traded me to a man named William Moore who lived in Person County. Moore at this time was planning to move to Kentucky which he soon did, taking me with him. My mother found out by the "Grapevine telegraph" that I was going to be carried to Kentucky. She got permission and came to see me before they carried me off. When she started home I was allowed to go part of the way with her but they sent two Negro girls with us to insure my return. We were allowed to talk privately, but while we were doing so, the two girls stood a short distance away and watched as the marster told them when they left that if I escaped they would be whipped every day until I was caught. When the time of parting came and I had to turn back, I burst out crying loud. I was so weak from sorrow I could not walk, and the two girls who were with me took me by each arm and led me along half carrying me.

This man Moore carried me and several other slaves to Kentucky. We traveled by train by way of Nashville, Tenn. My thoughts are not familiar with the happenings of this trip but I remember that we walked a long distance at one place on the trip from one depot to another.

We finally reached Kentucky and Moore stopped at his brother's plantation until he could buy one, then we moved on it. My marster was named William Moore and my missus was named Martha Whitfield Moore. It was a big plantation and he hired a lot of help and had white tenants besides the land he worked with slaves. There were only six slaves used as regular field hands during his first year in Kentucky.

The food was generally common. Hog meat and cornbread most all the time. Slaves got biscuits only on Sunday morning. Our clothes were poor and I worked barefooted most of the time, winter and summer. No books, papers or anything concerning education was allowed the slaves by his rules and the customs of these times.

Marster Moore had four children among whom was one boy about my age. The girls were named Atona, Beulah, and Minnie, and the boy was named Crosby. He was mighty brilliant. We played together. He was the only white boy there, and he took a great liking to me, and we loved each devotedly. Once in an undertone he asked me how would I like to have an education. I was overjoyed at the suggestion and he at once began to teach me secretly. I studied hard and he soon had me so I could read and write well. I continued studying and he continued teaching me. He furnished me books and slipped all the papers he could get to me and I was the best educated Negro in the community without anyone except the slaves knowing what was going on.

All the slaves on marster's plantation lived the first year we spent in Kentucky in a one room house with one fireplace. There was a dozen or more who all lived in this one room house. Marster built himself a large house having seven rooms. He worked his slaves himself and never had any overseers. We worked from sun to sun in the fields and then worked at the house after getting in from the fields as long as we could see. I have never seen a patteroller but when I left the plantation in slavery time I got a pass. I have never seen a jail for slaves but I have seen slaves whipped and I was whipped myself. I was whipped particularly about a saddle I left out in the night after using it during the day. My flesh was cut up so bad that the scars are on me to this day.

We were not allowed to have prayer meetings, but we went to the white folks church to services sometimes. There were no looms, mills, or shops on the plantation at Marster Moore's. I kept the name of Glenn through all the years as Marster Moore did not change his slaves names to his family name. My mother was named Martha Glenn and father was named Bob Glenn.

I was in the field when I first heard of the Civil War. The woman who looked after Henry Hall and myself (both slaves) told me she heard marster say old Abraham Lincoln was trying to free the niggers. Marster finally pulled me up and went and joined the Confederate Army. Kentucky split and part joined the North and part the South. The war news kept slipping through of success for first one side then the other. Sometimes marster would come home, spend a few days and then go again to the war. It seemed he influenced a lot of men to join the southern army, among them was a man named Enoch Moorehead. Moorehead was killed in a few days after he joined the southern army.

Marster Moore fell out with a lot of his associates in the army and some of them who were from the same community became his bitter enemies. Tom Foushee was one of them. Marster became so alarmed over the threats on his life made by Foushee and others that he was afraid to stay in his own home at night, and he built a little camp one and one half miles from his home and he and missus spent their nights there on his visits home. Foushee finally came to the great house one night heavily armed, came right on into the house and inquired for marster. We told him marster was away. Foushee lay down on the floor and waited a long time for him. Marster was at the little camp but we would not tell where he was.

Foushee left after spending most of the night at marster's. As he went out into the yard, when leaving, marster's bull dog grawled at him and he shot him dead.

Marster went to Henderson, Kentucky, the County seat of Henderson County, and surrendered to the Federal Army and took the Oath of Allegiance. Up to that time I had seen a few Yankees. They stopped now and then at marster's and got their breakfast. They always asked about buttermilk, they seemed to be very fond of it. They were also fond of ham, but we had the ham meat buried in the ground, this was about the close of the war. A big army of Yankees came through a few months later and soon we heard of the surrender. A few days after this marster told me to catch two horses that we had to go to Dickenson which was the County seat of Webster County. On the way to Dickenson he said to me, 'Bob, did you know you are free and Lincoln has freed you? You are as free as I am.' We went to the Freedmen's Bureau and went into the office. A Yankee officer looked me over and asked marster my name, and informed me I was free, and asked me whether or not I wanted to keep living with Moore. I did not know what to do, so I told him yes. A fixed price of seventy-five dollars and board was then set as the salary I should receive per year for my work. The Yankees told me to let him know if I was not paid as agreed.

I went back home and stayed a year. During the year I hunted a lot at night and thoroughly enjoyed being free. I took my freedom by degrees and remained obedient and respectful, but still wondering and thinking of what the future held for me. After I retired at night I made plan after plan and built aircastles as to what I would do. At this time I formed a great attachment for the white man, Mr. Atlas Chandler, with whom I hunted. He bought my part of the game we caught and favored me in other ways. Mr. Chandler had a friend, Mr. Dewitt Yarborough, who was an adventurer, and trader, and half brother to my ex-marster, Mr. Moore, with whom I was then staying. He is responsible for me taking myself into my own hands and getting out of feeling I was still under obligations to ask my marster or missus when I desired to leave the premises. Mr. Yarborough's son was off at school at a place called Kiloh, Kentucky, and he wanted to carry a horse to him and also take along some other animals for trading purposes. He offered me a new pair of pants to make the trip for him and I accepted the job. I delivered the horse to his son and started for home. On the way back I ran into Uncle Squire Yarborough who once belonged to Dewitt Yarborough. He persuaded me to go home with him and go with him to a wedding in Union County, Kentucky. The wedding was twenty miles away and we walked the entire distance. It was a double wedding, two couples were married. Georgianna Hawkins was married to George Ross and Steve Carter married a woman whose name I do not remember. This was in the winter during the Christmas Holidays and I stayed in the community until about the first of January, then I went back home. I had been thinking for several days before I went back home as to just what I must tell Mr. Moore and as to how he felt about the matter, and what I would get when I got home. In my dilema I almost forgot I was free.

I got home at night and my mind and heart was full but I was surprised at the way he treated me. He acted kind and asked me if I was going to stay with him next year. I was pleased. I told him, yes sir! and then I lay down and went to sleep. He had a boss man on his plantation then and next morning he called me, but I just couldn't wake. I seemed to be in a trance or something, I had recently lost so much sleep. He called me the second time and still I di [HW: d] not get up. Then he came in and spanked my head. I jumped up and went to work feeding the stock and splitting wood for the day's cooking and fires. I then went in and ate my breakfast. Mr. Moore told me to hitch a team of horses to a wagon and go to a neighbors five miles away for a load of hogs. I refused to do so. They called me into the house and asked me what I was going to do about it. I said I do not know. As I said that I stepped out of the door and left. I went straight to the county seat and hired to Dr. George Rasby in Webster County for one hundred dollars per year. I stayed there one year. I got uneasy in Kentucky. The whites treated the blacks awful bad so I decided to go to Illinois as I thought a Negro might have a better chance there, it being a northern state. I was kindly treated and soon began to save money, but all through the years there was a thought that haunted me in my dreams and in my waking hours, and this thought was of my mother, whom I had not seen or heard of in many years. Finally one cold morning in early December I made a vow that I was going to North Carolina and see my mother if she was still living. I had plenty of money for the trip. I wrote the postmaster in Roxboro, North Carolina, asking him to inform my mother I was still living, and telling him the circumstances, mailing a letter at the same time telling her I was still alive but saying nothing of my intended visit to her. I left Illinois bound for North Carolina on December 15th and in a few days I was at my mother's home. I tried to fool them. There were two men with me and they called me by a ficticious name, but when I shook my mother's hand I held it a little too long and she suspicioned something still she held herself until she was more sure. When she got a chance she came to me and said ain't you my child? Tell me ain't you my child whom I left on the road near Mr. Moore's before the war? I broke down and began to cry. Mother nor father did not know me, but mother suspicioned I was her child. Father had a few days previously remarked that he did not want to die without seeing his son once more. I could not find language to express my feeling. I did not know before I came home whether my parents were dead or alive. This Christmas I spent in the county and state of my birth and childhood; with mother, father and freedom was the happiest period of my entire life, because those who were torn apart in bondage and sorrow several years previous were now united in freedom and happiness.


N. C. District: No. 3 [ ] Worker: Travis Jordan Subject: SARAH ANNE GREEN Ex-Slave, 78 Years Durham County

[TR: No Date Stamp]


My mammy an' pappy wuz Anderson an' Hannah Watson. We fus' belonged to Marse Billy an' Mis Roby Watson, but when Marse Billy's daughter, Mis' Susie ma'ied young Marse Billy Headen, Ole Marse give her me, an' my mammy an' my pappy for er weddin' gif'. So, I growed up as Sarah Anne Headen.

My pappy had blue eyes. Dey wuz jus' like Marse Billy's eyes, kaze Ole Marse wuz pappy's marster an' his pappy too. Ole Marse wuz called Hickory Billy, dey called him dat kaze he chewed hickory bark. He wouldn' touch 'bacca, but he kept er twis' of dis bark in his pocket mos' all de time. He would make us chillun go down whare de niggers wuz splittin' rails an' peel dis bark off de logs befo' dey wuz split. De stuff he chewed come off de log right under de bark. After dey'd skin de logs we'd peel off dis hickory 'bacca in long strips an' make it up in twis's for Ole Marse. It wuz yellah an' tas' sweet an' sappy, an' he'd chew an' spit, an' chew an' spit. Mis' Roby wouldn' 'low no chewin' in de house, but Ole Marse sho done some spittin' outside. He could stan' in de barn door an' spit clear up in de lof'.

Ole Marse an' Mis Roby lived on er big plantation near Goldston an' dey had 'bout three hundred slaves. Hannah, my mammy, wuz de head seamstress. She had to 'ten' to de makin' of all de slaves clothes. De niggers had good clothes. De cloth wuz home woven in de weavin' room. Ten niggers didn' do nothin' but weave, but every slave had one Sunday dress a year made out of store bought cloth. Ole Marse seed to dat. Ole Marse made de niggers go to chu'ch too. He had er meetin' house on plantation an' every Sunday we wuz ma'ched to meetin'. Dey wuz preachin' every other Sunday an' Sunday School every Sunday. Marse Billy an' Mis' Roby teached de Sunday School, but dey didn' teach us to read an' write, no suh, dey sho didn'. If dey'd see us wid er book dey'd whip us. Dey said niggers didn' need no knowledge; dat dey mus' do what dey wuz tole to do. Marse Billy wuz er doctor too. He doctored de slaves when dey got sick, an' if dey got bad off he sen' for er sho nuff doctor an' paid de bills.

Every Chris'mas Marse Billy give de niggers er big time. He called dem up to de big house an' give dem er bag of candy, niggertoes, an' sugar plums, den he say: 'Who wants er egg nog, boys?' All dem dat wants er dram hol' up dey han's.' Yo' never seed such holdin' up of han's. I would hol' up mine too, an' Ole Marse would look at me an say, 'Go 'way from hear, Sarah Anne, yo' too little to be callin' for nog.' But he fill up de glass jus' de same an' put in er extra spoon of sugar an' give it to me. Dat sho wuz good nog. 'Twuz all foamy wid whipped cream an' rich wid eggs. Marse Billy an' Mis' Roby served it demselves from dey Sunday cut glass nog bowl, an' it kept Estella an' Rosette busy fillin' it up. Marse Billy wuz er good man.

When de war come on Marse Billy was too ole to go, but young Marse Billy an' Marse Gaston went. Dey wuz Ole Marse's two boys. Young Marse Billy Headen, Mis' Susie's husban' went too.

De day Ole Marse heard dat de Yankees wuz comin' he took all de meat 'cept two or three pieces out of de smoke house, den he got de silver an' things an' toted dem to de wood pile. He dug er hole an' buried dem, den he covered de place wid chips, but wid dat he wuzn' satisfied, so he made pappy bring er load of wood an' throw it on top of it, so when de Yankees come dey didn' fin' it.

When de Yankees come up in de yard Marse Billy took Mis' Roby an' locked her up in dey room, den he walk 'roun' an' watched de Yankees, but dey toted off what dey wanted. I wuzn' skeered of de Yankees; I thought dey wuz pretty mens in dey blue coats an' brass buttons. I followed dem all 'roun' beggin' for dey coat buttons. I ain't never seed nothin' as pretty as dem buttons. When dey lef' I followed dem way down de road still beggin', 'twell one of dem Yankees pull off er button an' give it to me. 'Hear, Nigger,' he say, 'take dis button. I's givin' it to you kaze yo's got blue eyes. I ain't never seed blue eyes in er black face befo'.' I had blue eyes like pappy an' Marse Billy, an' I kept dat Yankee button 'twell I wuz ma'ied, den I los' it.

De wus' thing I know dat happened, in de war wuz when Mis' Roby foun' de Yankee sojer in de ladies back house.

Down at de back of de garden behin' de row of lilac bushes wuz de two back houses, one for de mens an' one for de ladies. Mis' Roby went down to dis house one day, an' when she opened de door, dare lay er Yankee sojer on de floor. His head wuz tied up wid er bloody rag an' he look like he wuz dead.

Mammy say she seed Mis' Roby when she come out. She looked skeered but she didn' scream nor nothin'. When she seed mammy she motioned to her. She tole her 'bout de Yankee. 'He's jus' er boy, Hannah,' she say, 'he ain't no older den Marse Gaston, an' he's hurt. We got to do somethin' an' we can't tell nobody.' Den she sen' mammy to de house for er pan of hot water, de scissors an' er ole sheet. Mis' Roby cut off de bloody ran an' wash dat sojer boy's head den she tied up de cut places. Den she went to de house an' made mammy slip him er big milk toddy. 'Bout dat time she seed some ho'seman comin' down de road. When dey got closer she seed dey wuz 'Federate sojers. Dey rode up in de yard an' Marse Billy went out to meet dem. Dey tole him dat dey wuz lookin' for er Yankee prisoner dat done got away from dey camp.

After Ole Marse tole dem dat he ain't seed no Yankee sojer, dey tole him dat dey got to search de place kaze dat wuz orders.

When Mis Roby heard dem say dat she turned an' went through de house to do back yard. She walk 'roun' 'mong de flowers, but all de time she watchin' dem 'Federates search de barns, stables, an' everywhare. But, when dey start to de lilac bushes, Mis' Roby lif' her head an' walk right down de paf to de ladies back house, an' right befo' all dem mens, wid dem lookin' at her, she opened de door an' walk in. She sholy did.

Dat night when 'twuz dark Mis' Roby wrap' up er passel of food an' er bottle of brandy an' give it to dat sojer Yankee boy. She tole him dey wuz ho'ses in de paster an' dat de Yankee camp wuz over near Laurinburg or somewhare like dat.

Nobody ain't seed dat boy since, but somehow dat ho'se come back an' in his mane wuz er piece of paper. Marse Billy foun' it an' brung it to Mis' Roby an' ax her what it meant.

Mis' Roby took it an' 'twuz er letter dat sojer boy done wrote tellin' her dat he wuz safe an' thankin' her for what she done for him.

Mis' Roby tole Marse Billy she couldn' help savin' dat Yankee, he too much of er boy.

Marse Billy he look at Mis' Roby, den he say: 'Roby, honey, yo's braver den any sojer I ever seed.'

N. C. District: No. 2 [320356] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 624 Subject: DORCAS GRIFFETH Person Interviewed: Dorcas Griffeth Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: Date Stamp "JUN 26 1937"]

DORCAS GRIFFETH 602 E. South Street

You know me every time you sees me don't you? Who tole you I wus Dorcas Griffith? I seed you up town de other day. Yes, yes, I is old. I is 80 years old. I remember all about dem Yankees. The first biscuit I ever et dey give it to me. I wus big enough to nus de babies when de Yankees came through. Dey carried biscuits on dere horses, I wus jist thinkin' of my young missus de other day. I belonged to Doctor Clark in Chatham County near Pittsboro. My father wus named Billy Dismith, and my mother wus named Peggy Council. She belonged to the Councils. Father, belonged to the Dismiths and I belonged to the Clarks. Missus wus named Winnie. Dey had tolerable fine food for de white folks, but I did not get any of it. De food dey give us wus mighty nigh nuthin'. Our clothes wus bad and our sleepin' places wus not nuthin' at all. We had a hard time. We had a hard time then and we are havin' a hard time now. We have a house to live in now, and de chinches eat us up almos, and we have nuthin' to live on now, jist a little from charity. I fares mighty bad. Dey gives me a half peck of meal and a pound o' meat, a little oat meal, and canned grape juice, a half pound o' coffee and no sugar or lard and no flour. Dey gives us dat for a week's eatin'.

De Yankees called de niggers who wus plowin' de mules when dey came through an' made 'em bring 'em to 'em an' dey carried de mules on wid em. De niggers called de Yankees Blue Jackets.

I had two brothers, both older dan me. George de oldest and Jack. Let me see I had four sisters 1, 2, 3, 4; one wus named Annie, one named Rosa, Annie, and Francis and myself Dorcas. All de games I played wus de wurk in de field wid a hoe. Dere wus no playgrounds like we has now. No, no, if you got your work done you done enough. If I could see how to write like you I could do a lot o' work but I can't see. I kin write. I got a good education acording to readin', spellin, and writin'. I kin say de 2nd chapter of Matthey by heart, the 27 chapter of Ezelial by heart, or most of Ezekial by heart.

I learned it since I got free. I went to school in Raleigh to de Washington School. Dey wouldn't let us have books when I wus a slave. I wus afraid ter be caught wid a book. De patterollers scared us so bad in slavery time and beat so many uv de slaves dat we lef' de plantation jus' as soon as we wus free. Dat's de reason father lef' de plantation so quick. I also remember de Ku Klux. I wus afraid o' dem, and I did not think much of 'em. I saw slaves whupped till de blood run down dere backs. Once dey whupped some on de plantation and den put salt on de places and pepper on 'em. I didn't think nuthin in de world o' slavery. I think de it wus wrong. I didn't think a thing o' slavery.

All my people are dead, and I am unable to work. I haven't been able to work in six years. I thought Abraham Lincoln wus a good man. He had a good name.

I don't know much about Mr. Roosevelt but I hopes he will help me, cause I need it mighty bad.

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SARAH GUDGER [320005] Ex-slave, 121 years

Investigation of the almost incredible claim of Aunt Sarah Gudger, ex-slave living in Asheville, that she was born on Sept. 15, 1816, discloses some factual information corroborating her statements.

Aunt Sarah's father, Smart Gudger, belonged to and took his family name from Joe Gudger, who lived near Oteen, about six miles east of Asheville in the Swannanoa valley, prior to the War Between the States. Family records show that Joe Gudger married a Miss McRae in 1817, and that while in a despondent mood he ended his own life by hanging, as vividly recounted by the former slave.

John Hemphill, member of the family served by Aunt Sarah until "freedom," is recalled as being "a few y'ars younge' as me," and indeed his birth is recorded for 1822. Alexander Hemphill, mentioned by Aunt Sarah as having left to join the Confederate army when about 25 years of age, is authentic and his approximate age in 1861 tallies with that recalled by the ex-slave. When Alexander went off to the war Aunt Sarah was "gettin' t' be an ol' woman."

Aunt Sarah lives with distant cousins in a two-story frame house, comfortably furnished, at 8 Dalton street in South Asheville (the Negro section lying north of Kenilworth). A distant male relative, 72 years of age, said he has known Aunt Sarah all his life and that she was an old woman when he was a small boy. Small in stature, about five feet tall, Aunt Sarah is rathered rounded in face and body. Her milk-chocolate face is surmounted by short, sparse hair, almost milk white. She is somewhat deaf but understands questions asked her, responding with animation. She walks with one crutch, being lame in the right leg. On events of the long ago her mind is quite clear. Recalling the Confederate "sojers, marchin', marchin'" to the drums, she beat a tempo on the floor with her crutch. As she described how the hands of slaves were tied before they were whipped for infractions she crossed her wrists.

Owen Gudger, Asheville postmaster (1913-21), member of the Buncombe County Historical Association, now engaged in the real estate business, says he has been acquainted with Aunt Sarah all his life; that he has, on several occasions, talked to her about her age and early associations, and that her responses concerning members of the Gudger and Hemphill families coincide with known facts of the two families.

Interviewed by a member of the Federal Writers' Project, Aunt Sarah seemed eager to talk, and needed but little prompting.

SARAH GUDGER (born September 15, 1816) Interview with Mrs. Marjorie Jones, May 5, 1937

I wah bo'n 'bout two mile fum Ole Fo't on de Ole Mo'ganton Road. I sho' has had a ha'd life. Jes wok, an' wok, an' wok. I nebbah know nothin' but wok. Mah boss he wah Ole Man Andy Hemphill. He had a la'ge plantation in de valley. Plenty ob ebbathin'. All kine ob stock: hawgs, cows, mules, an' hosses. When Marse Andy die I go lib wif he son, William Hemphill.

I nebbah fo'git when Marse Andy die. He wah a good ole man, and de Missie she wah good, too. She usta read de Bible t' us chillun afoah she pass away.

Mah pappy, he lib wif Joe Gudgah (Gudger). He ole an' feeble, I 'membahs. He 'pend on mah pappy t' see aftah ebbathin' foah him. He allus trust mah pappy. One mo'nin' he follah pappy to de field. Pappy he stop hes wok and ole Marse Joe, he say: "Well, Smart (pappy, he name Smart), I's tard, wurried, an' trubble'. All dese yeahs I wok foah mah chillun. Dey nevah do de right thing. Dey wurries me, Smart. I tell yo', Smart, I's a good mind t' put mahself away. I's good mind t' drown mahself right heah. I tebble wurried, Smart."

Pappy he take hole Ole Marse Joe an' lead him t' de house. "Now Marse Joe, I wudden talk sich talk effen I's yo'. Yo' ben good t' yo' fambly. Jest yo' content yo'self an' rest."

But a few days aftah dat, Ole Marse Joe wah found ahangin' in de ba'n by de bridle. Ole Marse had put heself away.

No'm, I nebbah knowed whut it wah t' rest. I jes wok all de time f'om mawnin' till late at night. I had t' do ebbathin' dey wah t' do on de outside. Wok in de field, chop wood, hoe cawn, till sometime I feels lak mah back sholy break. I done ebbathin' 'cept split rails. Yo' know, dey split rails back in dem days. Well, I nevah did split no rails.

Ole Marse strop us good effen we did anythin' he didn' lak. Sometime he get hes dandah up an' den we dassent look roun' at him. Else he tie yo' hands afoah yo' body an' whup yo', jes lak yo' a mule. Lawdy, honey, I's tuk a thousand lashins in mah day. Sometimes mah poah ole body be soah foah a week.

Ole Boss he send us niggahs out in any kine ob weathah, rain o' snow, it nebbah mattah. We had t' go t' de mountings, cut wood an' drag it down t' de house. Many de time we come in wif ouh cloes stuck t' ouh poah ole cold bodies, but 'twarn't no use t' try t' git 'em dry. Ef de Ole Boss o' de Ole Missie see us dey yell: "Git on out ob heah yo' black thin', an' git yo' wok outen de way!" An' Lawdy, honey, we knowed t' git, else we git de lash. Dey did'n cah how ole o' how young yo' wah, yo' nebbah too big t' git de lash.

De rich white folks nebbah did no wok; dey had da'kies t' do it foah dem. In de summah we had t' wok outdoo's, in de wintah in de house. I had t' ceard an' spin till ten o'clock. Nebbah git much rest, had t' git up at foah de nex' mawnin' an' sta't agin. Didn' get much t' eat, nuthah, jes a lil' cawn bread an' 'lasses. Lawdy, honey, yo' caint know whut a time I had. All cold n' hungry. No'm, I aint tellin' no lies. It de gospel truf. It sho is.

I 'membah well how I use t' lie 'wake till all de folks wah sleepin', den creep outen de do' and walk barfoot in de snow, 'bout two mile t' mah ole Auntie's house. I knowed when I git dar she fix hot cawn pone wif slice o' meat an' some milk foah me t' eat. Auntie wah good t' us da'kies.

I nebbah sleep on a bedstead till aftah freedom, no'm till [HW: asterisk] aftah freedom. Jes' an ole pile o' rags in de conah. Ha'dly 'nuf t' keep us from freezin'. Law, chile, nobuddy knows how mean da'kies wah treated. Wy, dey wah bettah t' de animals den t' us'ns. Mah fust Ole Marse wah a good ole man, but de las'n, he wah rapid—- he sho wah rapid. Wy, chile, times aint no mo' lak dey usta be den de day an' night am lak. In mah day an' time all de folks woked. Effen dey had no niggahs dey woked demselves. Effen de chillun wah too small tuh hoe, dey pull weeds. Now de big bottom ob de Swannano (Swannanoa) dat usta grow hunners bushels ob grain am jest a playgroun'. I lak t' see de chillun in de field. Wy, now dey fight yo' lak wilecat effen it ebben talked 'bout. Dat's de reason times so ha'd. No fahmin'. Wy, I c'n 'membah Ole Missie she say: "Dis gene'ation'll pass away an' a new gene'ation'll cum 'long." Dat's jes' it—ebbah gene'ation gits weakah an' weakah. Den dey talk 'bout goin' back t' ole times. Dat time done gone, dey nebbah meet dat time agin.

Wahn't none o' de slaves offen ouh plantation ebbah sold, but de ones on de othah plantation ob Marse William wah. Oh, dat wah a tebble time! All de slaves be in de field, plowin', hoein', singin' in de boilin' sun. Ole Marse he cum t'ru de field wif a man call de specalater. Day walk round jes' lookin', jes'lookin', All de da'kies know whut dis mean. Dey didn' dare look up, jes' wok right on. Den de specalater he see who he want. He talk to Ole Marse, den dey slaps de han'cuffs on him an' tak him away to de cotton country. Oh, dem wah awful times! When de specalater wah ready to go wif de slaves, effen dey wha enny whu didn' wanta go, he thrash em, den tie em 'hind de waggin an' mek em run till dey fall on de groun', den he thrash em till dey say dey go 'thout no trubble. Sometime some of dem run 'way an cum back t' de plantation, den it wah hardah on dem den befoah. When de da'kies wen' t' dinnah de ole niggah mammy she say whar am sich an' sich. None ob de othahs wanna tell huh. But when she see dem look down to de groun' she jes' say: "De specalater, de specalater." Den de teahs roll down huh cheeks, cause mebbe it huh son o' husban' an' she know she nebbah see 'em agin. Mebbe dey leaves babies t' home, mebbe jes' pappy an' mammy. Oh, mah Lawdy, mah ole Boss wah mean, but he nebbah sen' us to de cotton country.

Dey wah ve'y few skules back in day day an time, ve'y few. We da'kies didn' dah look at no book, not ebben t' pick it up. Ole Missie, dat is, mah firs' Ole Missie, she wah a good ole woman. She read to de niggahs and t' de white chillun. She cum fum cross de watah. She wahn't lak de sma't white folks livin' heah now. When she come ovah heah she brung darky boy wif huh. He wah huh pussonal su'vant. Co'se, dey got diffent names foah dem now, but in dat day dey calls 'em ginney niggahs. She wah good ole woman, not lak othah white folks. Niggahs lak Ole Missie.

When de da'kies git sick, dey wah put in a lil' ole house close t' de big house, an' one of the othah da'kies waited on 'em. Dey wah ve'y few doctahs den. Ony three in de whole section. When dey wanted med'cine dey went t' de woods an' gathahed hoahhound, slipperelm foah poltices an' all kinds ba'k foah teas. All dis yarbs bring yo' round. Dey wah ve'y few lawyers den too, but lawsy me, yo' cain't turn round fer dem now.

I 'membahs when mah ole mammy die. She live on Rims (Reems) Crick with othah Hemphills. She sick long time. One day white man cum t' see me. He say: "Sarah, did yo' know yo' manmy wah daid?" "No," I say, "but I wants t' see mah mothah afoah dey puts huh away."

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