Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States
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I went t' de house and say t' Ole Missie: "Mah mothah she die tofay. I wants t' see mah mothah afoah dey puts huh away," but she look at me mean an' say: "Git on outen heah, an' git back to yo' wok afoah I wallup yo' good." So I went back t' mah wok, with the tears streamin' down mah face, jest awringin' mah hands, I wanted t' see mah manmy so. 'Bout two weeks latah, Ole Missie she git tebble sick, she jes' lingah 'long foah long time, but she nebbah gits up no mo'. Wa'nt long afoah dey puts huh away too, jes' lak mah mammy.

I 'membahs de time when mah mammy wah alive, I wah a small chile, afoah dey tuk huh t' Rims Crick. All us chilluns wah playin' in de ya'd one night. Jes' arunnin' an' aplayin' lak chillun will. All a sudden mammy cum to de do' all a'sited. "Cum in heah dis minnit," she say. "Jes look up at what is ahappenin'", and bless yo' life, honey, de sta's wah fallin' jes' lak rain.[7] Mammy wah tebble skeered, but we chillun wa'nt afeard, no, we wa'nt afeard. But mammy she say evah time a sta' fall, somebuddy gonna die. Look lak lotta folks gonna die f'om de looks ob dem sta's. Ebbathin' wah jes' as bright as day. Yo' cudda pick a pin up. Yo' know de sta's don' shine as bright as dey did back den. I wondah wy dey don'. Dey jes' don' shine as bright. Wa'nt long afoah dey took mah mammy away, and I wah lef' alone.

On de plantation wah an ole woman whut de boss bought f'om a drovah up in Virginny. De boss he bought huh f'om one ob de specalaters. She laff an' tell us: "Some ob dese days yo'all gwine be free, jes' lak de white folks," but we all laff at huh. No, we jes' slaves, we allus hafta wok and nevah be free. Den when freedom cum, she say: "I tole yo'all, now yo' got no larnin', yo' got no nothin', got no home; whut yo' gwine do? Didn' I tell yo'?"

I wah gittin along smartly in yeahs when de wah cum. Ah 'membah jes' lak yestiddy jes' afoah de wah. Marse William wah atalkin' t' hes brothah. I wah standin' off a piece. Marse's brothah, he say: "William, how ole Aunt Sarah now?" Marse William look at me an' he say: "She gittin' nigh onta fifty." Dat wah jes' a lil while afoah de wah.

Dat wah awful time. Us da'kies didn' know whut it wah all bout. Ony one of de boys f'om de plantation go. He Alexander, he 'bout twenty-five den. Many de time we git word de Yankees comin'. We take ouh food an' stock an' hide it till we sho' dey's gone. We wan't bothahed much. One day, I nebbah fo'git, we look out an' see sojers ma'chin'; look lak de whole valley full ob dem. I thought: "Poah helpless crittahs, jes' goin' away t' git kilt." De drums wah beatin' an' de fifes aplayin'. Dey wah de foot comp'ny. Oh, glory, it wah a sight. Sometime dey cum home on furlough. Sometime dey git kilt afoah dey gits th'ough. Alexander, he cum home a few time afoah freedom.

When de wah was ovah, Marse William he say: "Did yo'all know yo'all's free, Yo' free now." I chuckle, 'membahin' whut ole woman tell us 'bout freedom, an' no larnin. Lotta men want me t' go t' foreign land, but I tell 'em I go live wif mah pappy, long as he live. I stay wif de white folks 'bout twelve months, den I stay wif mah pappy, long as he live.

I had two brothahs, dey went t' Califonny, nebbah seed 'em no mo', no' mah sistah, nuther. I cain't 'membah sech a lot 'bout it all. I jes' knows I'se bo'n and bred heah [HW correction: here] in dese pa'ts, nebbah been outten it. I'se well; nebbah take no doctah med'cine. Jes' ben sick once; dat aftah freedom.

[Footnote 7: (One of the most spectacular meteoric showers on record, visible all over North America, occurred in 1833.)]

N. C. District: No. 2 [320007] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 734 Subject: THOMAS HALL Person Interviewed: Thomas Hall Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "SEP 10 1937"]

THOMAS HALL Age 81 years 316 Tarboro Road, Raleigh, N. C.

My name is Thomas Hall and I was born in Orange County, N. C. on a plantation belonging to Jim Woods whose wife, our missus, was named Polly. I am eighty one years of age as I was born Feb. 14, 1856. My father Daniel Hall and my mother Becke Hall and me all belonged to the same man but it was often the case that this wus not true as one man, perhaps a Johnson, would own a husband and a Smith own the wife, each slave goin' by the name of the slave owners, family. In such cases the children went by the name of the family to which the mother belonged.

Gettin married an' having a family was a joke in the days of slavery, as the main thing in allowing any form of matrimony among the slaves was to raise more slaves in the same sense and for the same purpose as stock raisers raise horses and mules, that is for work. A woman who could produce fast was in great demand and brought a good price on the auction block in Richmond, Va., Charleston, S. C., and other places.

The food in many cases that was given the slaves was not given them for their pleasure or by a cheerful giver, but for the simple and practical reason that children would not grow into a large healthy slave unless they were well fed and clothed; and given good warm places in which to live.

Conditions and rules were bad and the punishments were severe and barbarous. Some marsters acted like savages. In some instances slaves were burned at the stake. Families were torn apart by selling. Mothers were sold from their children. Children were sold from their mothers, and the father was not considered in anyway as a family part. These conditions were here before the Civil War and the conditions in a changed sense have been here ever since. The whites have always held the slaves in part slavery and are still practicing the same things on them in a different manner. Whites lynch, burn, and persecute the Negro race in America yet; and there is little they are doing to help them in anyway.

Lincoln got the praise for freeing us, but did he do it? He give us freedom without giving us any chance to live to ourselves and we still had to depend on the southern white man for work, food and clothing, and he held us through our necessity and want in a state of servitude but little better than slavery. Lincoln done but little for the Negro race and from living standpoint nothing. White folks are not going to do nothing for Negroes except keep them down.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, the writer of Uncle Tom's Cabin, did that for her own good. She had her own interests at heart and I don't like her, Lincoln, or none of the crowd. The Yankees helped free us, so they say, but they let us be put back in slavery again.

When I think of slavery it makes me mad. I do not believe in giving you my story 'cause with all the promises that have been made the Negro is still in a bad way in the United States, no matter in what part he lives it's all the same. Now you may be all right; there are a few white men who are but the pressure is such from your white friends that you will be compelled to talk against us and give us the cold shoulder when you are around them, even if your heart is right towards us.

You are going around to get a story of slavery conditions and the persecusions of Negroes before the civil war and the economic conditions concerning them since that war. You should have known before this late day all about that. Are you going to help us? No! you are only helping yourself. You say that my story may be put into a book, that you are from the Federal Writer's Project. Well, the Negro will not get anything out of it, no matter where you are from. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. I didn't like her book and I hate her. No matter where you are from I don't want you to write my story cause the white folks have been and are now and always will be against the negro.


N. C. District: No. 3 [320016] Worker: Travis Jordan Subject: Hecter Hamilton Ex-slave 90 Years.

[TR: Date Stamp "JUN 30 1937"]


Dey wuz two General Lee's, in de 'Federate War. One los' his fight, but de other won his.

One of dese Generals wuz a white man dat rode a white hoss, an' de other wuz a mean fightin' gander dat I named General Lee, though I didn' know den dat he wuz goin' to live up to his name. But when de time come dat long neck gander out fit de whole 'Federate army.

My white fo'ks lived in Virginia. Dey wuz Marse Peter an' Mis' Laura Hamilton. Dey lived on de big Hamilton plantation dat wuz so big dat wid all de niggers dey had dey couldn' 'ten' half of it. Dis lan' done been handed down to Marse Peter from more den six gran'pappys. Dey wuz cotton an' 'bacca fields a mile wide; de wheat fields as far as yo' could see wuz like a big sheet of green water, an' it took half hour to plow one row of cawn, but dey wuz plenty of slaves to do de work. Mistah Sidney Effort, Marse Peter's overseer, rode all over de fields every day, cussin' an' crackin' his long blacksnake whip. He drove dem niggers like dey wuz cattle, but Marse Peter wouldn' 'low no beatin' of his niggers.

Marse Peter had acres an' acres of woods dat wuz his huntin' 'zerve. Dey wuz every kind of bird an' animal in dem woods in shootin' season. Dey wuz snipes, pheasants, patridges, squirrels, rabbits, deers, an' foxes; dey wuz even bears, an' dey wuz wolfs too dat would come an' catch de sheeps at night.

Dey wuz always a crowd at Easy Acres huntin' ridin' dancin' an' havin' a good time. Marse Peter's stables wuz full of hunters an' saddlers for mens an' ladies. De ladies in dem days rode side saddles. Mis' Laura's saddle wuz all studded wid sho nuff gol' tacks. De fringe wuz tipped wid gol', an' de buckles on de bridle wuz solid gol'. When de ladies went to ride dey wore long skirts of red, blue, an' green velvet, an' dey had plumes on dey hats dat blew in de win'. Dey wouldn' be caught wearin' britches an' ridin' straddle like de womens do dese days. In dem times de women wuz ladies.

Marse Peter kept de bes' sideboa'd in Princess Anne County. His cut glass decanters cos' near 'bout as much as Mis' Laura's diamon' ear rings I's goin' tell yo' 'bout. De decanters wuz all set out on de sideboard wid de glasses, an' de wine an' brandy wuz so ole dat one good size dram would make yo' willin' to go to de jail house for sixty days. Some of dat wine an' likker done been in dat cellar ever since Ole Marse Caleb Hamilton's time, an' de done built Easy Acres befo' Mistah George Washington done cut down his pappy's cherry tree. Dat likker done been down in dat cellar so long dat yo' had to scrape de dus' off wid a knife.

I wuz Marse Peter's main sideboa'd man. When he had shootin' company I didn' do nothin' but shake drams. De mens would come in from de huntin' field col' an' tired, an' Marse Peter would say: 'Hustle up, Hecter, fix us a dram of so an' so.' Dat mean dat I wuz to mix de special dram dat I done learned from my gran'pappy. So, I pours in a little of dis an' a little of dat, den I shakes it 'twell it foams, den I fills de glasses an' draps in de ice an' de mint. Time de mens drink dat so an' so dey done forgot dey's tired; dey 'lax, an' when de ladies come down de stairs all dredd up, dey thinks dey's angels walkin' in gol' shoes. Dem wuz good times befo' de war an' befo' Marse Peter got shot. From de day Marse Peter rode his big grey hoss off to fight, we never seed him no more. Mis' Laura never even know if dey buried him or not.

After de mens all went to de war dey won't no use for no more drams, so Mis' Laura took me away from de sideboa'd an' made me a watchman. Dat is, I wuz set to watch de commissary to see dat de niggers wuzn' give no more den dey share of eats, den I looked after de chickens an' things, kaze de patter-rollers wuz all 'roun' de country an' dey'd steal everythin' from chickens to sweet taters an cawn, den dey'd sell it to de Yankees. Dat's when I named dat ole mean fightin' gander General Lee.

Everywhare I went 'roun' de place dat gander wuz right at my heels. He wuz de bigges' gander I ever seed. He weighed near 'bout forty pounds, an' his wings from tip to tip wuz 'bout two yards. He wuz smart too. I teached him to drive de cows an' sheeps, an' I sic'd him on de dogs when dey got 'streperous. I'd say, Sic him, General Lee, an' dat gander would cha'ge. He wuz a better fighter den de dogs kaze he fit wid his wings, his bill, an wid his feets. I seed him skeer a bull near 'bout to death one day. Dat bull got mad an' jump de fence an' run all de niggers in de cabins, so I called General Lee an' sic'd him on dat bull. Dat bird give one squawk an' lit on dat bull's back, an' yo' never seed such carryin's on. De bull reared an' snorted an' kicked, but dat gander held on. He whipped dat bull wid his wings 'twell he wuz glad to go back in de lot an' 'have hese'f. After dat all I had to do to dat bull wuz show him General Lee an' he'd quiet down.

Now I's goin' to tell yo' 'bout Mis' Laura's diamon' ear rings.

De fus' Yankees dat come to de house wuz gentlemens, 'cept dey made us niggers cook dey supper an' shine dey muddy boots, den dey stole everythin' dey foun' to tote away, but de nex ones dat come wuz mean. Dey got made kaze de fus' Yankees done got de pickin's of what Mis' Laura hadn' hid. Dey cut open de feather beds lookin' for silver; dey ripped open de chair cushings lookin' for money, dey even tore up de carpets, but dey didn' fin' nothin' kaze all de valuables done been buried. Even mos' of de wine done been hid, 'twuz' all buried in de ole graves down in de family grave yard wid de tombstones at de head an' foots. No Yankee ain't goin' be diggin' in no grave for nothin'.

Dey wuz one Yankee in dis las' bunch dat wuz big an' bustin'. He strut bigoty wid his chist stuck out. He walk 'roun' stickin' his sword in de chair cushions, de pictures on de walls an' things like dat. He got powerful mad kaze he couldn' fin' nothin', den he look out de window an' seed Mis' Laura. She wuz standin' on de po'ch an' de sun wuz shinin' on de diamon' ear rings in her ears. Dey wuz de ear rings dat belonged to Marse Peter's great-great-gran'mammy. When de sojer seed dem diamon's his eyes 'gun to shine. He went out on de po'ch an' went up to Mis' Laura. 'Gim me dem ear rings,' he say jus' like dat.

Mis' Laura flung her han's up to her ears an' run out in de yard. De sojer followed her, an' all de other sojers come too. Dat big Yankee tole Mis' Laura again to give him de ear rings, but she shook her head. I wuz standin' 'side de house near 'bout bustin' wid madness when dat Yankee reach up an' snatch Mis' Laura's hands down an' hold dem in his, den he laugh, an' all de other sojers 'gun to laugh too jus' like dey thought 'twuz funny. 'Bout dat time Ole General Lee done smell a fight. He come waddlin' 'roun' de house, his tail feathers bristled out an' tawkin' to he'sef. I point to dem sojers an say, "Sic him, General Lee, sic him."

Dat gander ain't waste no time. He let out his wings an' cha'ged dem Yankees an' dey scatter like flies. Den he lit on dat big sojer's back an' 'gun to beat him wid his wings. Dat man let out a yell an' drap Mis' Laura's hands; he try to shake dat goose, but General bit into his neck an' held on like a leech. When de other sojers come up an' try to pull him off, dat gander let out a wing an' near about slap dem down. I ain't never seed such fightin! Every time I holler, Sic him, General Lee start 'nother 'tack.

'Bout dat time dem Yankees took a runnin' nothin. Dey forgot de ear rings an' lit out down de road, but dat gander beat dat bigoty yellin' sojer clear down to de branch befo' he turned him loose, den he jump in de water an' wash hese'f off. Yes, suh, dat wuz sho some fightin' goose; he near 'bout out fit de sho nuff Marse General Lee.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320230] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 942 Subject: GEORGE W. HARRIS Story Teller: George W. Harris Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]


604 E. Cabarrus Street, Raleigh, N. C.

Hey, don't go 'roun' dat post gitting it 'tween you and me, it's bad luck. Don't you know it's bad luck? Don't want no more bad luck den what I'se already got. My name is George Harris. I wuz born November 25, 82 years ago. I have been living in the City of Raleigh onto 52 years. I belonged to John Andrews. He died about de time I wuz born. His wife Betsy wuz my missus and his son John wuz my marster.

Deir plantation wuz in Jones County. Dere were about er dozen slaves on de plantation. We had plenty o' food in slavery days during my boyhood days, plenty of good sound food. We didn't have 'xactly plenty o' clothes, and our places ter sleep needed things, we were in need often in these things. We were treated kindly, and no one abused us. We had as good owners as there were in Jones County; they looked out for us. They let us have patches to tend and gave us what we made. We did not have much money. We had no church on the plantation, but there wuz one on Marster's brother's plantation next ter his plantation.

We had suppers an' socials, generally gatherings for eatin', socials jist to git together an' eat. We had a lot o' game ter eat, such as possums, coons, rabbits and birds.

De plantation wuz fenced in wid rails about 10 ft. in length split from pine trees. De cattle, hogs an' hosses run out on de free range. The hosses ran on free range when de crap wuz laid by. There wuz an ole mare dat led de hosses. She led 'em an' when she come home at night dey followed her.

De first work I done wuz drappin' tater sprouts, drappin' corn, thinnin' out corn and roundin' up corn an' mindin' the crows out of de field. Dey did not teach us to read an' write, but my father could read, and he read de hymn book and Testament to us sometimes. I do not remember ever goin' to church durin' slavery days.

I have never seen a slave whipped and none ever ran away to the North from our plantation.

When I wuz a boy we chillun played marbles, prison base, blind fold and tag, hide an' seek. Dey gave us Christmas holidays, an' 4th of July, an' lay-by time. Dey also called dis time "crap hillin' time." Most o' de time when we got sick our mother doctored us with herbs which she had in de garden. When we had side plurisy, what dey calls pneumonia now, dey sent fer a doctor. Doctor Hines treated us.

We lived near Trenton. When de Yankees took New Bern, our marster had us out in de woods in Jones County mindin' hosses an' takin' care o' things he had hid there. We got afraid and ran away to New Bern in Craven County. We all went in a gang and walked. De Yankees took us at Deep Gully ten miles dis side o' New Bern an' carried us inside de lines. Dey asked us questions and put us all in jail. Dey put my father ter cookin' at de jail and give us boys work 'roun' de yard. Dey put de others at work at de horse stables and houses.

De smallpox and yaller fever caught us dere and killed us by de hundreds. Thirteen doctors died dere in one day. Jist 'fore Gen. Lee surrendered dey carried us to Petersburg, Va., and I waited on Major Emory and de others worked fer de Yankees. When de surrender came we went back home to Craven County, next to Jones County, and went to farmin'. Sumpin' to eat could not hardly be found. De second year atter de war we went back to old marster's plantation. He wuz glad ter see us, we all et dinner wid him. We looked over de place. I looked over de little log cabin where I wuz born. Some of de boys who had been slaves, farmed wid old marster, but I worked at my trade. I wuz a brick moulder. Yes, a brick maker.

My mother was named Jennie Andrews and my father was Quash Harris. My father belonged to de Harris family on de nex' plantation in Jones County. Atter de surrender we all went in his name. We changed from Andrews to Harris. I do not recollect my grandmother and grandfather. I can't recollect them.

Marster told us directly after dey declared war dat he expected we would all soon be free. De majority of de slaves did not want to be free. Dey were stirred up. Dey didn't want it to be. Dey didn't want no fightin'. Dey didn't know.

I married Mary Boylan first, of Johnston County, at Wilsons Mills, Jan. 4, 1878. Here is de family record. Ole marster made me copies after de war, and I copied dis. 'George Harris was married the year 1878, January the 4th. George Harris was born the year 1855 November the 25th.'

I had five brothers, but they are all dead, fur as I know: John Nathan, Louis, David, Jefferson, Donald and my name George. My sisters, Mary Ann, Sara, Lucy, Penny, Emaline, Lizzie, Nancy, Leah and one I can't remember. Dats all.

I thought Abraham Lincoln wuz a great man. I remember him well. I think he done de best he knowed how to settle de country. Mr. Roosevelt is a smart man. He is doing de best he can. I think he is goin' to help de country.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320183] Worker: Mary A. Hicks No. Words: 660 Subject: AN EX-SLAVE STORY Story Teller: Sarah Harris Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[HW: Good points]

[TR: Date Stamp "JUN 11 1937"]


Interviewed May 19, 1937.

Sarah Harris is my name. I wuz borned April 1861, on the plantation of Master John William Walton. My father wuz name Frank Walton and my mother wuz name Flora Walton. My brothers wuz name Lang and Johnny. My sisters: Hannah, Mary, Ellen, Violet and Annie. My grandmother wuz name Ellen Walton. She wuz 104 years old when she died. My mother wuz 103 years old when she died; she has been dead 3 years. She died in October, 3 years this pas' October.

I 'member seeing the Yankees. I wuz not afraid of 'em, I thought dey were the prettiest blue mens I had ever seed. I can see how de chickens and guineas flew and run from 'em. De Yankees killed 'em and give part of 'em to the colored folks. Most of de white folks had run off and hid.

I can't read and write. I nebber had no chance.

De Yankees had their camps along the Fayetteville road.

Dey called us Dinah, Sam, and other names.

Dey later had de place dey call de bureau. When we left de white folks we had nothing to eat. De niggers wait there at de bureau and they give 'em hard tack, white potatoes, and saltpeter meat. Our white folks give us good things to eat, and I cried every day at 12 o'clock to go home. Yes, I wanted to go back to my white folks; they were good to us. I would say, 'papa le's go home, I want to go home. I don't like this sumptin' to eat.' He would say, 'Don't cry, honey, le's stay here, dey will sen' you to school.'

We had nothing to eat 'cept what de Yankees give us. But Mr. Bill Crawford give my father and mother work. Yes, he wuz a Southern man, one o' our white folks. Daddy wuz his butcher. My mother wuz his cook. We were turned out when dey freed us with no homes and nuthin'. Master said he wuz sorry he didn't give us niggers part of his lan'.

While I wuz big enough to work I worked for Porter Steadman. I got 25 cent a week and board. We had a good home then. I just shouted when I got dat 25 cent, and I just run. I couldn't run fas' anuff to git to my mother to give dat money to her. My father died, and my mother bought a home. She got her first money to buy de home by working for de man who give her work after de surrender. The first money she saved to put on de home wuz a dime. Some weeks she only saved 5 cents. Lan' sold fur $10 a acre den.

Just after de war de white and colored children played together. Dey had a tent in our neighborhood. I wuz de cook for de white chilluns parties. We played together fer a long time after de war.

I married Silas Cooper of Norfolk Va. He worked in the Navy yard. I wuz married in Raleigh. I had a church wedding.

I think Abraham Lincoln wuz a great man. He would cure or kill. But I like my ole master. The Lord put it into Abraham Lincoln to do as he done. The Lord knowed he would be killed.

I think slavery wuz wrong. I have a horror of being a slave. You see all dis lan' aroun' here. It belongs to colored folks. Dey were cut off wid nothin', but dey is strugglin' an' dey are comin' on fast. De Bible say dat de bottom rail will be on top, and it is comin' to pass. Sometime de colored race will git up. De Bible say so.

I think Mr. Roosevelt is one of the greatest mans in de world. He wants to help everybody.

I doan think much of Mr. Jeff Davis. Dey used to sing songs uv hanging him to a apple tree. Dey say he libed a long time atter de war dressed like a 'oman, he wuz so skeered.


N. C. District: No. 3 [320122] Worker: Daisy Whaley Subject: Cy Hart Ex-slave, 78 years. Durham, N. C.

[HW: 48]

[TR: Date Stamp: "AUG 6 1937"]

CY HART, 78 Yrs. Ex-Slave.

Ephram Hart was my pappy and my mammy's name was Nellie. He belonged to Marse Ephram Hart. One day Marse Hart took some of his niggers to de slave market an' my pappy was took along too. When he was put on de block an' sold Marse Paul Cameron bought him. Den Marse Hart felt so sorry to think he done let my pappy be sold dat he tried to buy him back from Marse Paul, an' offered him more den Marse Paul paid for him. But Marse Paul said, "No, Suh. I done bought him an' I want det nigger myself an' I am goin' take him home wid me to Snow Hill farm."

Pappy married my mammy an' raised a family on Marse Paul's plantation. We had to be eight years ole before we 'gun to work. I tended de chickens an' turkeys an' sech. I helped tend de other stock too as I growed older, an' do anythin' else dat I was tole to do. When I got bigger I helped den wid de thrashin' de wheat an' I helped dem push de straw to de stack.

We had what wuz den called a 'groun' hog. It wuz a cylinder shaped contraption. We put de wheat straw an all in it an' knock de grain loose from de straw. Den we took de pitchforks an' tossed de straw up an' about, an' dat let de wheat go to de bottom on a big cloth. Den we fan de wheat, to get de dust an' dirt out, an' we had big curtains hung 'roun' de cloth whar de wheat lay, so de wheat wouldn' get all scattered, on de groun'. Dis wheat was sacked an' when wanted 'twus took to de mill an' groun' into flour. De flour wuz made into white bread an' de corn wuz groun' into meal an' grits.

When de war started der wuz some bad times. One day some of Wheeler's men come an' dey tried to take what dey wanted, but Marge Paul had de silver money another things hid. Dey wanted us niggers to tell dem whar everythin' wuz, but we said we didn' know nuthin'. Marse Paul wuz hid in de woods wid de horses an' some of de other stock.

Den Wheeler's men saw de Yankees comin' an' dey run away. De Yankees chased dem to de bridge an' dey done some fightin' an' one or two of Wheeler's men wuz killed an' de rest got away.

Den de captain of de Yankees come to Mammy's cabin an' axed her whar de meat house an' flour an' sech at. She tole him dat Pappy had de keys to go an' ax him. "Ax him nothin'", de captain said. He called some of his mens an' dey broke down de door to de meat house. Den dey trowed out plenty of dose hams an' dey tole Mammy to cook dem somethin' to eat and plenty of it. Mammy fried plenty of dat ham an' made lots of bread an' fixed dem coffee. How dey did eat! Dey wuz jus' as nice as dey could be to Mammy an' when dey wuz through, dey tole Mammy dat she could have de rest, an' de captain gave her some money an' he tole her dat she wuz free, dat we didn' belong to Marse Paul no longer. Dey didn' do any harm to de place. Dey wuz jus' looking for somethin' to eat. Den dey left.

We didn' leave Marse Paul but stayed on an' lived wid him for many years. I lived wid Marse Paul 'til he died an' he done selected eight of us niggers to tote his coffin to de chapel, an' de buryin' groun'. He said, "I want dese niggers to carry my body to de chapel an' de grave when I die." We did. It wuz a lood [HW correction: load] I would have been glad had der been two or four more to help tote Marse Paul for he sho wuz heavy. After everythin' wuz ready we lifted him up an' toted him to de chapel an' we sat down on de floor, on each side of de coffin, while de preacher preached de funeral sermon. We didn' make any fuss while sittin' dere on de floor, but we sho wuz full of grief to see our dear ole Marse Paul lying dere dead.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320130] Worker: Mary A. Hicks No. Words: 381 Subject: THE BLACKSMITH Person Interviewed: Alonzo Haywood Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG—1937"]


An interview with Alonzo Haywood, 67 years old of 1217 Oberlin Road.

On East Cabarrus Street is a blacksmith shop which is a survival of horse and buggy days, and the smiling blacksmith, a Negro, although he has hazel eyes, recounts the story of his father's life and his own.

My father was Willis Haywood and in slavery days he belonged to Mr. William R. Pool. Mr. Pool liked father because he was quick and obedient so he determined to give him a trade.

Wilson Morgan run the blacksmith shop at Falls of Neuse and it was him that taught my father the trade at Mr. Pool's insistence.

While father, a young blade, worked and lived at Falls of Neuse, he fell in love with my mother, Mirana Denson, who lived in Raleigh. He come to see her ever' chance he got and then they were married.

When the Yankees were crossing the Neuse Bridge at the falls, near the old paper mill, the bridge broke in. They were carrying the heavy artillery over and a great many men followed, in fact the line extended to Raleigh, because when the bridge fell word passed by word of mouth from man to man back to Raleigh.

Father said that the Yankees stopped in the shop to make some hoss shoes and nails and that the Yankees could do it faster than anybody he ever saw.

Father told me a story once 'bout de devil traveling and he got sore feet and was awful lame but he went in a blacksmith shop and the blacksmith shoed him.

The devil traveled longer and the shoes hurt his feet and made him lamer than ever so he went back and asked the blacksmith to take off de shoes.

The blacksmith took them off under the condition that wherever the devil saw a horse shoe over a door he would not enter. That's the reason that people hang up horseshoes over their door.

Mother died near twenty years ago and father died four years later. He had not cared to live since mother left him.

I've heard some of the young people laugh about slave love, but they should envy the love which kept mother and father so close together in life and even held them in death.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320127] Worker: Mary A. Hicks No. Words: 547 Subject: AUNT BARBARA'S LOVE STORY Story Teller: Barbara Haywood Editor: Geo. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 4 1937"]


An interview with Barbara Haywood, 85 years old. Address 1111 Mark Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Anything dat I tells you will near 'bout all be 'bout Frank Haywood, my husban'.

I wus borned on de John Walton place seben miles southeast of Raleigh. My father, Handy Sturdivant, belonged to somebody in Johnston County but mother an' her chilluns 'longed ter Marse John Walton.

Marse John had a corn shuckin' onct an' at dat corn shuckin' I fust saw Frank. I wus a little girl, cryin' an' bawlin' an' Frank, who wus a big boy said dat he neber wanted ter spank a youngin' so bad, an' I ain't liked him no better dan he did me.

He 'longed ter Mr. Yarborough, what runned de hotel in Raleigh, but he wus boun' out ter anybody what'ud hire him, an' I doan know whar he got his name.

I seed Frank a few times at de Holland's Methodist Church whar we went ter church wid our white folks.

You axes iffen our white folks wus good ter us, an' I sez ter yo' dat none of de white folks wus good ter none of de niggers. We done our weavin' at night an' we wurked hard. We had enough ter eat but we was whupped some.

Jest 'fore de war wus ober we wus sent ter Mr. William Turner's place down clost ter Smithfield an' dats whar we wus when de Yankees come.

One day I wus settin' on de porch restin' atter my days wurk wus done when I sees de hoss-lot full of men an' I sez ter Marse William, who am talkin' ter a soldier named Cole, 'De lot am full of men.'

Marse Cole looks up an' he 'lows, 'Hits dem damned Yankees,' an' wid dat he buckles on his sword an' he ain't been seen since.

De Yankees takes all de meat outen de smokehouse an' goes 'roun' ter de slave cabins an' takes de meat what de white folkses has put dar. Dat wus de fust hams dat has eber been in de nigger house. Anyhow de Yankees takes all de hams, but dey gibes us de shoulders.

Atter de war we moved ter Raleigh, on Davie Street an' I went ter school a little at Saint Paul's. Frank wus wurkin' at de City Market on Fayetteville Street an' I'd go seberal blocks out of my way mornin' an' night on my way ter school ter look at him. You see I has been in love with him fer a long time den.

Atter awhile Frank becomes a butcher an' he am makin' pretty good. I is thirteen so he comes ter see me an' fer a year we cou'ts. We wus settin' in de kitchen at de house on Davie Street when he axes me ter have him an' I has him.

I knows dat he tol' me dat he warn't worthy but dat he loved me an' dat he'd do anything he could ter please me, an' dat he'd always be good ter me.

When I wus fourteen I got married an' when I wus fifteen my oldes' daughter, Eleanor, wus borned. I had three atter her, an' Frank wus proud of dem as could be. We wus happy. We libed together fifty-four years an' we wus always happy, havin' a mighty little bit of argument. I hopes young lady, dat you'll be as lucky as I wus wid Frank.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320210] Worker: Mrs. Edith S. Hibbs No. Words: 550 Subject: Story of Isabell Henderson, Negro Interviewed: Isabell Henderson 1121 Rankin St., Wilmington, N. C. Edited: Mrs. W. N. Harriss

[TR: No Date Stamp]


* * * * *

1121 Rankin St., Wilmington, N. C.

I'll be 84 years old come August 9. My gran'-daughter can tell you what year it was I was born I don' 'member but we has it down in the Bible.

I lived near the "Clock Church" (Jewish Synagogue)[8], 4th and Market. We had a big place there. My gran'mother did the cookin'. My mother did the sewin'. I was jus five years old when the men went away. I guess to the war, I don' know. Some men came by and conscip' dem. I don' know where they went but I guess dey went to war. I was such a little girl I don't 'member much. But I does know my Missus was good to me. I used to play with her little boy. I was jes' one of the family. I played with the little boy around the house' cause I was never 'lowed to run the streets. They was good to me. They kept me in clothes, pretty clothes, and good things to eat. Yes'm we was slaves but we had good times.

Interviewer: "What did you eat?"

Isabell: "Oh I don't 'member 'special but I et jes what the family et."

Maybe my father was killed in the war maybe he run away I don' know, he jus' neber come back no mo'.

Yes'm I remember when the soldiers came along and freed us. They went through breakin' down peoples shops and everything.

My mother married again. She married Edward Robertson. He was good to me. Yes'm he was better to me than my father was. He was a preacher and a painter. My mother died. When my father, (step-father) went off to preach, me and my sister stayed in the house.

I stayed home all my life. I just wasn't 'llowed to run around like most girls. I never been out of Wilmington but one year in my life. That year I went to Augusta. No'm I don't likes to go away. I don't like the trains, nor the automobiles. But I rides in 'em (meaning the latter).

I remember when the 4th Street bridge was built. I was married over there in St. Stephen's Church, 5th and Red Cross. Yes M'am my auntie she gib me a big weddin'. I was 22 and my husband was 22 too not quite 23. Not a year older than I was. He was a cooper. Yes Ma'm I had a big weddin'. The church was all decorated with flowers. I had six attendants. Four big ones and two little ones. My husband he had the same number I did four big ones and two little ones. I had on a white dress. Carried flowers. Had carriages and everything. My husband was good to me. I didn't stay home with my father but about a month. We wanted to go to ourselves.

We went in our own home and stayed there until I got a "sickness." (She looked shy) I didn't know what was the matter with me. My father told me I better come home. So I went home to my father and stayed there about two years.

I have had five children. Three are livin'. Two are dead.

I never worked until after he died. He left me with five little children to raise.

He was the only man I ever 'knowed' in all my life from girlhood up.

[Footnote 8: The Synagogue has no clock on the exterior, but Isabell persisted with her name of "Clock Church."]

N. C. District: No. 2 [320017] Worker: Mary A. Hicks No. Words: 738 Subject: Ex-Slave Story Story Teller: Essex Henry Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: Date Stamp "JUN 26 1937"]


Ex-Slave Story

An interview with Essex Henry 83 of 713 S. East Street, Raleigh, N. C.

I wus borned five miles north of Raleigh on de Wendell Road, 83 years ago. My mammy wus Nancy an' my pappy wus Louis. I had one sister, Mary, an' one bruder, Louis.

We 'longed ter Mr. Jake Mordecai, an' we lived on his six hundert acres plantation 'bout a mile from Millbrook. Right atter de war he sold dis lan' ter Doctor Miller an' bought de Betsy Hinton tract at Milburnie. Mr. Jake had four or five hundert niggers hyar an' I doan know how many at de Edgecombe County place.

De wuck wus hard den, I knows case I'se seed my little mammy dig ditches wid de best of 'em. I'se seed her split 350 rails a day many's de time. Dat wus her po'tion you knows, an' de mens had ter split 500. I wus too little ter do much but min' de chickens outen de gyarden, an' so I fared better dan most of 'em. You see Miss Tempie 'ud see me out at de gate mornin's as dey wus eatin' breakfas' on de ferander, an' she'ud call me ter her an' give me butter toasted lightbread or biscuits. She'd give me a heap in dat way, an' do de rest of de slaves got hungry, I doan think dat I eber did. I know dat Miss Jenny Perry, on a neighborin' plantation, 'ud give my mammy food, fer us chilluns.

Mo'nin's we sometimes ain't had nothin' ter eat. At dinner time de cook at de big house cooked nuff turnip salet, beans, 'taters, er peas fer all de han's an' long wid a little piece of meat an' a little hunk of co'nbread de dinner wus sont ter de slaves out in de fiel' on a cart.

De slaves 'ud set roun' under de trees an' eat an' laugh an' talk till de oberseer, Bob Gravie, yells at 'em ter git back ter wuck. Iffen dey doan git back right den he starts ter frailin' lef' an' right.

Dar wus a few spirited slaves what won't be whupped an' my uncle wus one. He wus finally sold fer dis.

Hit wus different wid my gran'mother do'. De oberseer tried ter whup her an' he can't, so he hollers fer Mr. Jake. Mr. Jake comes an' he can't, so he hauls off an' kicks granny, mashin' her stomick in. He has her carried ter her cabin an' three days atterward she dies wid nothin' done fer her an' nobody wid her.

Mr. Jake orders de coffinmaker ter make de pine box, an' den he fergits hit. De slaves puts de coffin on de cyart hin' de two black hosses an' wid six or maybe seben hundert niggers follerin' dey goes ter de Simms' graveyard an' buries her. All de way ter de graveyard dey sings, 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot,' 'De Promised Lan', 'De Road ter Jordan,' an' 'Ole Time Religion.'

Hit's a good thing dat none of de white folkses ain't went to de funerals case iffen dey had de niggers can't sing deir hymns. Does you know dat dey warn't no 'ligion 'lowed on dat plantation. Ole lady Betsy Holmes wus whupped time an' ag'in fer talkin' 'ligion er fer singin' hymns. We sometimes had prayermeetin' anyhow in de cabins but we'd turn down de big pot front o' de door ter ketch de noise.

Dey won't gib us no pass hardly, an' iffen we runs 'way de patterollers will git us. Dey did let us have some dances do' now an' den, but not offen. Dey let us go possum huntin' too case dat wus gittin' something ter eat widout Mr. Jake payin' fer hit.

Mr. Henry, Mr. Jake's bruder an' his Uncle Moses uster come a-visitin' ter de house fer de day. Mr. Henry wus little wid a short leg an' a long one, an' he had de wust temper dat eber wus in de worl'; an' he loved ter see slaves suffer, near 'bout much as he loved his brandy. We knowed when we seed him comin' dat dar wus gwine ter be a whuppin' frolic 'fore de day wus gone.

Dar wus three niggers, John Lane, Ananias Ruffin an' Dick Rogers what got de blame fer eber'thing what happens on de place. Fer instance Mr. Henry 'ud look in de hawg pen an' 'low dat hit 'peared dat he bruder's stock wus growin' less all de time. Den Mr. Jake sez dat dey done been stold.

'Why doan you punish dem thievin' niggers, Jake'?

Jake gits mad an' has dese three niggers brung out, deir shirts am pulled off an' dey am staked down on deir stomichs, an' de oberseer gits wored out, an' leavin' de niggers tied, dar in de sun, dey goes ter de house ter git some brandy.

Dey more dey drinks from de white crock de better humor dey gits in. Dey laughs an' talks an' atter awhile dey think o' de niggers, an' back dey goes an' beats 'em some more. Dis usually lasts all de day, case hit am fun ter dem.

Atter so long dey ketched Jack Ashe, a Free Issue, wid one of de pigs, an' dey whups him twixt drinks all de day, an' at night dey carried him ter de Raleigh jail. He wus convicted an' sent ter Bald Head Island ter wuck on de breastworks durin' de war an' he ain't neber come back.

[HW: Asterisk in margin] Dar wus a man in Raleigh what had two blood houn's an' he made his livin' by ketchin' runaway niggers. His name wus Beaver an' he ain't missed but onct. Pat Norwood took a long grass sythe when he runned away, an' as de fust dog come he clipped off its tail, de second one he clipped off its ear an' dem dawgs ain't run him no more.

De war lasted a long time, an' hit wus a mess. Some of Marster Jake's [HW: Asterisk] slaves lef' him an' when de Yankees got ter Raleigh dey come an' tol' 'em 'bout de way Mr. Jake done. Well in a few days hyar comes de Yankees a-ridin', an' dey sez dat dey had tentions o' hangin' Mr. Jake on de big oak in de yard iffen he 'uv been dar, but he ain't. He an' his family had flewed de coop.

Dem Yankees went in de big house an' dey tored an' busted up all dey pleased, dey eben throwed de clothes all ober de yard.

Dey took two big barns o' corn an' haul hit off an' down Devil's Jump on Morris Creek dey buried ever so much molasses an' all.

At Rattlesnake Spring de Yankees fin's whar Marster Jake's still had been, an' dar buried, dey fin's five barrels o' brandy.

Atter de war we stayed on as servants o' Doctor Miller fer seberal years. I 'members de only time dat I eber got drunk wus long den. De doctor an' his frien's wus splurgin', an' I went wid another nigger ter git de brandy from de cellar fer de guests. When I tasted hit, hit drunk so good, an' so much lak sweetin water dat I drunk de pitcher full. I wus drunk three days.

I married Milly, an' sixty years ago we moved ter town. We scuffled along till twenty-eight years ago we buyed dis shack. I hopes dat we can git de ole age pension, case we shore need hit.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320015] Worker: Mary A. Hicks Subject: Ex-Slave Story Story Teller: Milly Henry Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: Date Stamp "JUN 26 1937"]


An interview with Milly Henry 82 of 713 South East Street, Raleigh, N. C.

I wus borned a slave ter Mr. Buck Boylan in Yazoo City, Mississippi. I doan know nothin' 'bout my family 'cept my gran'maw an' she died in Mississippi durin' de war.

Marster Buck owned three plantations dar, de Mosley place, Middle place, an' de Hill place. Me an' gran'maw lived at de Mosley place. One day Marster Buck comes in, an' we sees dat he am worried stiff; atter awhile he gangs us up, an' sez ter us:

De Yankees am a-comin' to take my slaves 'way from me an' I don't 'pose dat dey am gwine ter do dat. Fer dem reasons we leaves fer No'th Carolina day atter termorror an' I ain't gwine ter hyar no jaw 'bout hit.'

Dat day he goes over de slaves an' picks out 'roun' five hundret ter go. He picks me out, but my gran'maw he sez dat he will leave case she am so old an' feeble. I hates dat, but I don't say nothin' at all.

We leaves home in kivered wagons, wid a heap walkin' an' in 'bout three weeks, I reckon, we gits ter Raleigh. You should have been 'long on dat trip, honey; When we camps side of de road an' sleeps on de groun' an' cooks our rations at de camp fires. I think dat dat wus one spring 'fore de surrender wus de nex'.

Marster Buck carries us ter Boylan Avenue dar whar de bridge am now an' we camps fer a few days, but den he sen's us out ter de Crabtree plantation. He also buys a place sommers east o' Raleigh an' sen's some dar.

I misses my gran'maw fer awhile, but at last Uncle Green comes from Mississippi an' he sez dat gran'maw am daid, so I pretty quick stops worrin' over hit.

Marster' cides ter hire some o' us out, an' so I gits hired out ter Miss Mary Lee, who I wucks fer till she got so pore she can't feed me, den I is hired out ter Miss Sue Blake an' sent ter de Company Shop up above Durham.

Miss Mary wus good, but Miss Sue she whup me, so I runs away. I went barefooted an' bareheaded ter de train, an' I gits on. Atter awhile de conductor comes fer a ticket an' I ain't got none. He axes me whar I'se gwine an' I tells him home, so he brung me on ter Raleigh.

I went right home an' tol' Mr. Buck dat Miss Sue whupped me, an' dat I runned away. He said dat hit wus all right, an' he hired me out ter Mis' Lee Hamilton who lived dar on de Fayetteville Street.

She wus a widder an' run a boardin' house an' dar's whar I seed de first drunk man dat eber I seed. He put de back o' his knife ginst my neck an' said dat he wus gwine ter cut my throat. I tell you dat I is knowed a drunk eber since dat time.

I wus drawin' water at de well at de end of Fayetteville Street when de Yankees comed. I seed 'em ridin' up de street wid deir blue coats shinin' an' deir hosses steppin' high. I knowed dat I ought ter be skeered but I ain't, an' so I stands dar an' watches.

Suddenly as dey passes de bank out rides two mens frum Wheeler's calvary an' dey gits in de middle o' de street one of de hosses wheels back an' de man shot right at de Yankees, den he flewed frum dar.

Two of de Yankees retracts frum de army an' dey flies atter de Rebs. When de Rebs git ter de Capitol one o' dem flies down Morgan Street an' one goes out Hillsboro Street wid de Yankees hot in behin' him.

Dey ketched him out dar at de Hillsboro Bridge when his hoss what wus already tired, stumbles an' he falls an' hurts his leg.

Durin' dat time de big man wid de red hair what dey calls Kilpatrick brung his men up on de square an' sets under de trees an' a gang o' people comes up.

When dey brung de young good lookin' Reb up ter de redheaded Gen'l he sez 'What you name Reb?'

De boy sez, 'Robert Walsh, sir.

What for did you done go an' shoot at my army?

"Case I hates de Yankees an' I wush dat dey wus daid in a pile," de Reb sez, an' laughs.

"De Gen'l done got his dander up now, an' he yells," 'Carry de Reb sommers out'r sight o' de ladies an' hang him.'

De Reb laughs an' sez, 'kin' o' you sir,' an' he waves goodbye ter de crowd an' dey carried him off a laughin' fit ter kill.

Dey hanged him on a ole oak tree in de Lovejoy grove, whar de Governor's mansion am now standin' an' dey buried him under de tree.

Way atter de war dey moved his skileton ter Oakwood Cemetery an' put him up a monument. His grave wus kivered wid flowers, an' de young ladies cry.

He died brave do', an' he kep' laughin' till his neck broke. I wus dar an' seed hit, furdermore dar wus a gang of white ladies dar, so dey might as well a hanged him on de Capitol Square.

De Yankees wus good ter me, but hit shore wus hard ter git a job do', an' so I ain't fared as good as I did' fore de war.

Mr. Buck wus good ter us. Sometimes he'd lose his temper an' cuss, den he'd say right quick, 'God forgive me, I pray.' Dat man believed in 'ligion. When de oberseer, George Harris, 'ud start ter beat a slave dey larned ter yell fer Mr. Buck an' make lak dey wus gittin' kilt.

Mr. Buck'd come stompin' an' yellin' 'stop beatin' dat nigger.

Course dis ruint de slaves, case dey could talk lak dey pleased ter Mr. Harris, an' iffen dey could yell loud nuff dey ain't got no whuppin'.

Yessum, I'se glad slavery am over; we owns dis home an' some chickens, but we shore does need de ole age pension. I'se got two fine gran'sons, but let me tell you dey needs ter wuck harder, eat less, an' drink less.

On de count o' dem boys I wants de ABC Stores so's dey won't drink box lye.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320047] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 737 Subject: CHANEY HEWS Person Interviewed: Chaney Hews Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: No Date Stamp]

CHANEY HEWS 80 years old. 104 Cotton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

My age, best of my recollection, is about eighty years. I was 'bout eight years ole when de Yankees come through. Chillun in dem days wus not paid much mind like dey is now. White chillun nor nigger chillun wus not spiled by tenshun.

I got enough to eat to live on an' dat wus 'bout all I keered 'bout. Des so I could git a little to eat and could play all de time. I stayed outen de way of de grown folks. No, chillun wus not noticed like dey is now.

I heard de grown folks talkin' 'bout de Yankees. De niggers called 'em blue jackets. Den one mornin', almost 'fore I knowed it, de yard wus full of 'em. Dey tried to ride de hosses in de house, dey caught de chickens, killed de shoats and took de horses an' anything else dey wanted. Dey give de nigger hardtack an' pickled meat. I 'members eating some of de meat, I didn't like.

We had reasonably good food, clothin', and warm log houses wid stick an' dirt chimleys. De houses wus warm enough all de time in winter, and dey didn't leak in rainy weather neither.

Dere wus a lot of slaves an' marster an' missus wus good to father an' mother. When dey had a cornshuckin' we slaves had a good time, plenty to eat, whiskey for de grown folks and a rastlin' match after de corn wus shucked. A nigger dat shucked a red ear of corn got a extra drink of whiskey. Dat wus de custom in dem days.

No prayermeetings wus allowed on de plantation but we went to Salem to white folks church and also to white folks church at Cary.

Dey whupped mother 'cause she tried to learn to read, no books wus allowed. Mother said dat if de blue jackets had not come sooner or later I would have got de lash.

Mother belonged to Sam Atkins who owned a plantation about ten miles down de Ramkatte Road in Wake County. Father belonged to Turner Utley and father wus named Jacob Utley and mother wus named Lucy Utley. My maiden name wus Chaney Utley. Dey wurked from sun to sun on de plantation.

When de surrender come father an' mother come to town an' stayed about a year an' den went back to ole marster's plantation. Dey wus fed a long time on hardtack and pickled meat, by de Yankees, while in town. Dey stayed a long time wid ole marster when dey got back. Mother wus his cook. Rats got after mother in town an' she went back to marsters an' tole him 'bout it an' tole him she had come back home, dat she wus fraid to stay in town an' marster jes' laughted an' tole us all to come right in. He tole mother to go an' cook us all sumptin to eat an' she did. We wus all glad to git back home.

I wus too little to wurk much but I played a lot an' swept yards. We drank water outen gourds an' marster would tell me to bring him a gourd full of cool water when he wus settin' in his arm chair on de porch. I thought big of waitin' on marster, yes, dat I did.

Dere wus fourteen of us in family, father, mother an' twelve chilluns. Dere is three of us livin', two of de boys an' me.

Slavery wus a good thing from what I knows 'bout it. While I liked de Yankees wid dere purty clothes, I didn't like de way dey took marster's stuff an' I tole 'em so. Mother made me hush. Dey took chickens, meat, hogs an' horses.

We finally left ole marster's plantation an' moved Jes' a little way over on another plantation. Mother an' father died there.

I married Sam Hews in Wake County when I wus fifteen years old. I had no children. After we wus married we stayed on de farm a year or two den we moved to Raleigh. We have wurked for white folks ever since, an' I am still wurkin' for 'em now all I am able. I washes an' irons clothes. Sometimes I can't wash, I ain't able, but I does de bes' I can. De white folks is still good to me an' I likes' em.


District: No. 2 [320158] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 1554 Subject: Joe High Person Interviewed: Joe High Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: Date Stamp "JUN 1 1937"]

[HW: interesting first & last paragraph glad slavery ended but loved Missus]

JOE HIGH [HW:—80 years]

Joe High interviewed May 18, 1937 has long been one of the best independent gardners in Raleigh, working variously by the hour or day.

My name is Joe High. I lives at 527 So. Haywood. St. Raleigh, N. C. Now dere is one thing I want to know, is dis thing goin' to cost me anything. Hold on a minute, and le' me see. I want to be square, and I must be square. Now le' me see, le' me see sumpin'. Sometimes folks come here and dey writes and writes; den dey asts me, is you goin' to pay dis now? What will it cost? Well, if it costs nothin' I'll gib you what I knows.

Let me git my Bible. I wants to be on de square, because I got to leave here some of dese days. Dis is a record from de slave books. I've been tryin' to git my direct age for 35 years. My cousin got my age. I wuz born April 10, 1857. My mother's name wuz Sarah High. Put down when she wuz born, Oct. 24, 1824. This is from the old slave books. We both belonged to Green High, the young master. The old master, I nebber seed him; but I saw old missus, Mis' Laney High. The old master died before I wuz born. We lived two miles north uv Zebulon. You know where Zebulon is in Wake County? I had two brothers, one brother named Taylor High, 'nother named Ruffin High. My sister died mighty young. She come here wrong; she died. I' member seeing my uncle take her to the grave yard. I don't know whe're there's enny rec'ord o' her or not.

My work in slavery times wuz ridin' behin' my Missus, Clara Griffin, who wuz my old missus' sister's daughter. She came to be our missus. When she went visiting I rode behind her. I also looked atter de garden, kept chickens out uv de garden, and minded de table, fanned flies off de table. They were good to us. Dey whupped us sometime. I wuz not old enough to do no fiel' work.

One time I slep' late. It wuz in the fall uv the year. The other chilluns had lef' when I got up. I went out to look for 'em. When I crossed the tater patch I seen the ground cracked and I dug in to see what cracked it. I found a tater and kept diggin' till I dug it up. I carried it to the house. They had a white woman for a cook that year. I carried the tater and showed it to her. She took me and the tater and told me to come on. We went from the kitchen to the great house and she showed the tater to the old missus sayin', 'Look here missus, Joe has been stealin' taters. Here is the tater he stole'. Old missus said, 'Joe belongs to me, the tater belongs to me, take it back and cook it for him. When the cook cooked the tater she asked me for half uv it. I gave it to her. If I had known den lak I knows now, she wuz tryin' to git me to git a whoppin' I wouldn't 'er give her none uv dat tater.

There were some frame houses, an part log houses, we called 'em the darkey houses. The master's house wuz called 'the great house'. We had very good places to sleep and plenty to eat. I got plenty uv potlicker, peas, and pumpkins. All us little darkies et out uv one bowl. We used mussel shells, got on the branch, for spoons. Dey must not er had no spoons or sumpin. The pea fowls roosted on de great house evey night. I didn't know whut money nor matches wuz neither.

I 'member seein' Henry High, my first cousin, ketch a pike once, but I never done no fishin' or huntin'. I 'member seein' the grown folks start off possum huntin' at night, but I did not go.

I wore wooden bottom shoes and I wore only a shirt. I went in my shirt tail until I wuz a great big boy, many years atter slavery. There were 50 or more slaves on the plantation. Old women wove cloth on looms. We made syrup, cane syrup, with a cane mill. We carried our corn to Foster's Mill down on Little River to have it ground. It wuz called Little River den; I don't know whut it is called in dis day.

There wuz a block in de yard, where missus got up on her horse. There were two steps to it. Slaves were sold from this block. I 'member seein' them sold from this block. George High wuz one, but they got him back.

Dey did not teach us anything about books; dey did not teach us anything about readin' and writin'. I went to church at the Eppsby Church near Buffalo, not far from Wakefield. We sat in a corner to ourselves.

My brother Taylor ran away. Young master sent him word to come on back home; he won't goin' to whup him, and he come back. Yes, he come back.

We played the games uv marbles, blind fold, jumpin', and racin', and jumpin' the rope. The doctor looked atter us when we were sick, sometimes, but it wuz mostly done by old women. Dey got erbs and dey gib us wormfuge. Dey worked us out. I wuz not old enough to pay much attention to de doctor's name.

I 'members one day my young master, Green High, and me wuz standin' in de front yard when two men come down the avenue from de main road to the house. Dey wanted to know how fer it wuz to Green High's. Master told 'em it wuz about 2 miles away and gave 'em the direction. Dey were Yankees. Dey got on their horses and left. Dey didn't know dey wuz talking to Green High then. When dey left, master left. I didn't see him no more in a long time. Soon next day the yard wuz full uv Yankee soldiers. I 'members how de buttons on dere uniforms shined. Dey got corn, meat, chickens, and eveything they wanted. Day didn't burn the house.

Old man Bert Doub or Domb kept nigger hounds. When a nigger run away he would ketch him for de master. De master would send atter him and his dogs when a nigger run away. I 'member one overseer, a Negro, Hamp High and another Coff High. Nobody told me nothin' about being free and I knowed nothin' 'bout whut it meant.

I married Rosetta Hinton. She belonged to the Hintons during slavery. She is dead; she's been dead fourteen years. We were married at her mother's home; the river plantation belonging to the Hintons. I wuz married by a preacher at this home. Atter the wedding we had good things to eat and we played games. All stayed there that night and next day we went back to whar I wuz workin' on de Gen. Cox's farm. I wuz workin' dere. We had 6 chillun. Two died at birth. All are dead except one in Durham named Tommie High and one in New York City. Tommie High works in a wheat mill. Eddie High is a cashermiser, (calciminer) works on walls.

I thought slavery wuz right. I felt that this wuz the way things had to go, the way they were fixed to go. I wuz satisfied. The white folks treated me all right. My young missus loved me and I loved her. She whupped me sometimes. I think just for fun sometimes, when I wuz ridin' behind her, she would tell me to put my arms around her and hold to her apron strings. One day she wuz sittin' on the side saddle; I wuz sittin' behind her. She wud try to git old Dave, the horse she wuz a ridin to walk; she would say, 'Ho Dave', den I wud kick de horse in de side and she wud keep walkin' on. She asked me, 'Joe, why does Dave not want to stop?'

I saw a lot of Yankees, I wuz afraid of 'em. They called us Johnnie, Susie, and tole us they wouldn't hurt us.

I think Abraham Lincoln is all right, I guess, the way he saw it. I think he was like I wuz as a boy from what I read, and understand; he wuz like me jest the way he saw things. I liked the rules, and ways o' my old master and missus, while the Yankees and Abraham Lincoln gave me more rest.

How did I learn to read? Atter de war I studies. I wonts ter read de hymms an' songs. I jis picks up de readin' myself.

It's quare to me, I cannot remember one word my mother ever said to me, not nary a word she said can I remember. I remember she brought me hot potlicker and bread down to the house of mornings when I wuz small; but I'se been tryin to 'member some words she spoke to me an' I cain't.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320246] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 936 Subject: SUSAN HIGH Story Teller: Susan High Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]

SUSAN HIGH 519 Haywood Street Raleigh, N. C.

My name is Susan High. I wus born in June. I am 70 years old. My mother wus named Piety an' she belonged to de ole man Giles Underhill before de surrender. My father he wus George Merritt an' he belonged to Ben Merritt, Ivan Proctor's grandfather. Dey lived on a plantation near Eagle Rock, Wake County. Dey called de creek near by Mark's Creek.

My parents said dat dey had a mighty hard time, an' dat durin' slavery time, de rules wus mighty strict. De hours of work on de farm wus from sun to sun wid no time 'cept at Christmas and at lay-by time, 4th of July for anything but work. Dey were not 'lowed no edication, and very little time to go to church. Sometimes de went to de white folks church. Mother said dey whupped de slaves if dey broke de rules.

Dey said de overseers were worse den de slave owners. De overseers were ginerally white men hired by de marster. My father said dey had poor white men to overseer, and de slave owner would go on about his business and sometimes didn't know an' didn't eben care how mean de overseer wus to de slaves.

Dere wus a lot o' things to drink, dey said, cider, made from apples, whiskey, an' brandy. Dey said people didn't notice it lak dey do now, not many got drunk, cause dere wus plenty of it. Father said it wus ten cents a quart, dat is de whiskey made outen corn, and de brandy wus cheap too.

Dey said de clothes were wove, an' dat mos' chillun went barefooted, an' in dere shirt tails; great big boys, goin' after de cows, and feedin' de horses, an' doin' work around de house in deir shirt tails. Grown slaves got one pair o' shoes a year an' went barefooted de res' o' de time. Biscuit wus a thing dey seldom got.

Women cleared land by rollin' logs into piles and pilin' brush in de new grounds. Dey were 'lowed patches, but dey used what dey made to eat. Daddy said dey didn't have time to fish and hunt any. Dey were too tired for dat. Dey had to work so hard.

Daddy said he wus proud o' freedom, but wus afraid to own it. Dey prayed fer freedom secretly. When de Yankees come daddy saved a two horse wagon load of meat for marster by takin' it off in de swamp and hidin' it, an' den marster wouldn't give him nary bit uv it. After de surrender, dey turned him out wid a crowd o' little chillun wid out a thing. Dey give him nothin'. My mother saved her marster's life, Charles Underhill.

Well you see he wus takin' care uv a lot o' meat and whiskey for Dick Jordon, an' de Yankees come an' he treated 'em from whiskey he had in a bottle, an' tole 'em he had no more. Dey searched his home an' found it in a shed room, an' den dey said dey were goin' to kill him for tellin' 'em a lie. She herd [HW correction: heard] 'em talkin' and she busted through de crowd and told 'em dat de stuff belonged to anudder man and dat her marster was not lyin', an' not to hurt 'im. De Yankees said, 'You have saved dis ole son of a bitch, we won't kill' em den.' Dey took all de meat, whiskey, an' everything dey wanted. Marster promised mother a cow, and calf, a sow, and pigs for what she had done for him an' to stay on an' finish de crop. When de fall o' de year come he did not give her de wrappin's o' her finger. Dat's what my mudder tole me. We wus teached to call 'em mammie and pappie. I is gwine to tell you just zackly like it is we were taught dese things. I wants to be pasidefily right in what I tell you.

We lef' dat place an' mammie an' pappie farmed wid Solomon Morgan a Free Issue for several years. De family had typhoid fever an' five were down with it at one time. But de Lawd will provide. Sich as dat makes me say people wont die till deir time comes. Dere is some mighty good white people in dis place in America, and also bad. If it hadn't been for 'em we colored folks would have ben in a mighty bad fix. We got our jobs and help from 'em to git us to de place we are at. Dr. Henry Montague doctored us and none died. It wusn't dere time to go. No, no, hit wasn't deir time to go. We then moved back to Marster's for a year, and then we moved to Rolesville in Wake County.

I married den and moved to Raleigh. I married Robert High. He is dead. He been dead 'bout 30 years. I don't know much 'bout Abraham Lincoln I think he wus a fine man. Mr. Roosevelt's ideas is fine if he can carry 'em out.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320084] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 878 Subject: KITTY HILL Person Interviewed: Kitty Hill Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 17 1937"]

KITTY HILL 329 West South Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

I tole you yisterday dat my age wus 76 years old, but my daughter come home, an' I axed her' bout it an' she say I is 77 years old. I don't know exactly the date but I wus born in April. I wus a little girl 'bout five years ole when de surrender come, but I don't' member anything much' bout de Yankees.

I wus born in Virginia, near Petersburg, an' mother said de Yankees had been hanging' round dere so long dat a soldier wus no sight to nobody.

'Bout de time de Yankees come I' member hearin' dem talk 'bout de surrender. Den a Jew man by the name of Isaac Long come to Petersburg, bought us an' brought us to Chatham County to a little country town, named Pittsboro. Ole man Isaac Long run a store an' kept a boarding house. We stayed on de lot. My mother cooked. We stayed there a long time atter de war. Father wus sent to Manassas Gap at the beginning of de war and I do not 'member ever seein' him.

My mother wus named Viney Jefferson an' my father wus named Thomas Jefferson. We 'longed to the Jeffersons there and we went by the name of Jefferson when we wus sold and brought to N. C. I do not 'member my grandparents on my mother's or father's side. Mother had one boy an' three girls. The boy wus named Robert, an' the girls were Kate, Rosa and Kitty. Marster Long bought mother an' all de chilluns, but mother never seed father anymore atter he wus sent off to de war.

I married Green Hill in Chatham County. I married him at Moncure about nine miles from Pittsboro. We lived at Moncure and mother moved there an' we lived together for a long time. When we left Moncure we come ter Raleigh. Mother had died long time 'fore we left Moncure, Chatham County. We moved ter Raleigh atter de World War.

Mother used ter tell we chilluns stories of patterollers ketchin' niggers an' whuppin' 'em an' of how some of de men outrun de patterollers an' got away. Dere wus a song dey used to sing, it went like dis. Yes sir, ha! ha! I wants ter tell you dat song, here it is:

'Somefolks say dat a nigger wont steal, I caught two in my corn field, one had a bushel, one had a peck, an' one had rosenears, strung 'round his neck. 'Run nigger run, Patteroller ketch you, run nigger run like you did de udder day.'

My mother said she wus treated good. Yes she said dey wus good ter her in Virginia. Mother said de slave men on de Jefferson plantation in Virginia would steal de hosses ter ride ter dances at night. One time a hoss dey stole an' rode ter a dance fell dead an' dey tried ter tote him home. Mother laughted a lot about dat. I heard my mother say dat de cavalry southern folks was bout de meanest in de war. She talked a lot about Wheeler's cavalry.

Dere wus a lot of stealin' an' takin' meat, silver, stock an' anything. Hosses, cows an' chickens jist didn't have no chance if a Yankee laid his eyes on 'em. A Yankee wus pisen to a yard full of fowls. Dey killed turkeys, chickens and geese. Now dats de truth. Mother said de Yankees skinned turkeys, chickens and geese 'fore dey cooked 'em. Sometimes dey would shoot a hog an' jist take de hams an' leave de rest dere to spile. Dey would kill a cow, cut off de quarters an' leave de rest ter rot.

Mother said no prayer meetings wus allowed de slaves in Virginia where she stayed. Dey turned pots down ter kill de noise an' held meetings at night. Dey had niggers ter watch an' give de alarm if dey saw de white folks comin'. Dey always looked out for patterollers. Dey were not allowed any edication an' mother could not read and write nuther.

I 'member de Ku Klux an' how dey beat people. One night a man got away from 'em near whar we lived in Chatham County. He lived out in de edge of de woods; and when dey knocked on de door he jumped out at a back window in his night clothes wid his pants in his hands an' outrun 'em. Dere wus rocks in de woods whar he run an' dat nigger jist tore his feet up. Dey went ter one nigger's house up dere an' de door' wus barred up. Dey got a ax an' cut a hole in de door. When de hole got big enough de nigger blammed down on 'em wid a gun an' shot one of dere eyes out. You know de Ku Klux went disguised an' when dey got ter your house dey would say in a fine voice, Ku Klux, Ku Klux, Ku Klux, Ku Klux.

[HW correction: New paragraph] Some people say dey are in slavery now an' dat de niggers never been in nothin' else; but de way some of it wus I believe it wus a bad thing. Some slaves fared all right though an' had a good time an' liked slavery.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320218] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 997 Subject: JERRY HINTON Person Interviewed: Jerry Hinton Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]


My full name is Jerry Hinton. I wus borned in February, 1855. I am not able ter work. I work all I can. I am trying ter do de best I can ter help myself. Yes, just tryin' ter do sumpin, ain't able ter work much. I am ruptured, an' old. My old house looks 'bout old as I do, it's 'bout to fall down, ain't able ter fix it up. It needs repairing. I ain't able ter make no repairs.

I wus born on a plantation in Wake County. My master wus Richard Seawell, an' Missus wus named Adelaide. His plantation wus on Neuse River. He had two plantations, but I wus a little boy, an' don't remember how many acres in de plantation or how many slaves. There wus a lot of 'em tho'. I would follow master 'round an' look up in his face so he would give me biscuit an' good things ter eat.

My mother, before marriage, wus named Silvia Seawell, an' father wus named Andrew Hinton. Atter they wus married mother went by the name of Hinton, my father's family name. I had—I don't know—mos' anything wus good ter me. Master brought me biscuit an' I thought that wus the greatest thing at all. Yes, I got purty good food. Our clothes wus not fine, but warm. I went barefooted mos' o' the time, an' in summer I went in my shirt tail.

Dey called de slave houses 'quarters', de house where de overseer lived wus de 'Overseer's House'. Master had a overseer to look atter his men; De overseer wus named Bridgers. De house where Master lived wus de 'Great House'.

Dey would not allow us any books. I cannot read an' write. I have seen de patterollers, but I neber saw' em whip nobody; but I saw' em lookin' fer somebody ter whup. I've neber seen a slave sold. I've neber seen a jail fer slaves or slaves in chains. I have seen master whup slaves though. I wus neber whupped. Dey wrung my ears an' pulled my nose to punish me.

Dere wus no churches on de plantation, but we had prayer meetin's in our homes. We went to de white folks church. My father used to take me by de hand an' carry me ter church. Daddy belonged ter de Iron Side Baptist Church. We called our fathers 'daddy' in slavery time. Dey would not let slaves call deir fathers 'father'. Dey called 'em 'daddy', an' white children called deir father, 'Pa'. I didn't work any in slavery time, 'cept feed pigs, an' do things fer my master; waited on him. I went 'round wid him a lot, an' I had rather see him come on de plantation any time dan to see my daddy. I do not remember any possums or other game being eaten at our house. I do not remember eber goin' a-fishin durin' slavery time.

Master had two boys ter go off ter de war. Dey carried 'em off ter de war. I don't know how many children dey had, but I remember two of 'em goin' off ter de war. Don't know what became of 'em.

I shore remember de Yankees. Yes sir, Ha! ha! I shore remember dem. Dem Yankees tore down an' drug out ever'thing, dey come across. Dey killed hogs, an' chickens. Dey took only part of a hog an' lef' de rest. Dey shot cows, an' sometimes jest cut off de hind quarters an' lef de rest. Dey knocked de heads out o' de barrels o' molasses. Dey took horses, cows an' eber'thing, but they did not hurt any o' de children. Dey wus folks dat would tear down things.

Atter de surrender my mother moved over on de plantation where my father stayed. We stayed dere a long time, an' den we moved back to Richard Seawell's, old master's plantation, stayin' dere a long time. Den we moved to Jessie Taylor's place below Raleigh between Crabtree Creek an' Neuse River. When we lef' Taylor's we moved ter Banner Dam northeast of Raleigh near Boone's Pond. Mother an' father both died dere. Atter leaving dere I come here. I have lived in Oberlin ebery since. Guess I'll die here; if I can git de money to pay my taxes, I know I will die here.

I think slavery wus good because I wus treated all right. I think I am 'bout as much a slave now as ever.

I don't think any too much o' Abraham Lincoln, Jeff Davis or any o' dem men. Don't know much 'bout 'em. Guess Mr. Roosevelt is all right. 'Bout half the folks both black an' white is slaves an' don't know it. When I wus a slave I had nothin' on me, no responsibility on any of us, only to work. Didn't have no taxes to pay, neber had to think whur de next meal wus comin' from.

Dis country is in a bad fix. Looks like sumptin got to be done someway or people, a lot of 'em, are goin' to parish to death. Times are hard, an' dey is gettin' worse. Don't know how I am goin' to make it, if I don't git some help. We been prayin' fer rain. Crops are done injured, but maybe de Lawd will help us. Yes, I trust in de Lawd.

I been married twice. I married Henritta Nunn first, an' den Henritta Jones. I had three children by first marriage, an' none b [HW: y] second marriage. My wife is over seventy years old. We have a hard time making enough to git a little sumptin to eat. I wus mighty glad to see you when you come up dis mornin', an' I hopes what I have told you will help some one to know how bad we need help. I feels de Lawd will open up de way. Yes sir, I do.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320179] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 568 Subject: MARTHA ADELINE HINTON Person Interviewed: Martha Adeline Hinton Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: HW Date "8/31/37"]

MARTHA ADELINE HINTON #2—Star St., Route 2, Raleigh, North Carolina.

I wus born May 3, 1861 at Willis Thompson's plantation in Wake County about fifteen miles from Raleigh. He wus my marster an' his wife Muriel wus my missus. My father's name wus Jack Emery an' mother's name was Minerva Emery. My mother belonged to Willis Thompson and my father belonged to Ephriam Emery. Mother stayed with my marster's married daughter. She married Johnny K. Moore.

Marster had three children, all girls; dere names wus Margaret, Caroline and Nancy. There wus only one slave house dere 'cause dey only had one slave whur my mother stayed. Marster Thompson had five slaves on his plantation. He wus good to slaves but his wife wus rough. We had a reasonably [HW correction] good place to sleep an' fair sumptin to eat. You sees I wus mighty young an' I members very little 'bout some things in slavery but from what my mother an father tole me since de war it wus just 'bout middlin' livin' at marster's. Slaves wore homemade clothes an' shoes. De shoes had wooden bottoms but most slave chilluns went barefooted winter an' summer till dey wus ole 'nough to go to work. De first pair of shoes I wore my daddy made 'em. I 'member it well. I will never furgit it, I wus so pleased wid 'em. All slave chillun I knows anything 'bout wore homemade clothes an' went barefooted most of the time an' bareheaded too.

I member de Yankees an' how dey had rods searchin' for money an' took things. I members a Yankee goin' to mother an' sayin' we was free. When he lef' missus come an' axed her what he say to her an' mother tole missus what he said an' missus says 'No he didn't tell you you is free, you jes axed him wus you free.' Father wus hired out to Frank Page of Gary. He wus cuttin cord wood for him, when he heard de Yankees wus coming he come home. When he got dere de Yankees had done been to de house an' gone.

Durin' slavery dey tried to sell daddy. De speculator wus dere an 'daddy suspicion sumpin. His marster tole him to go an' shuck some corn. Dey aimed to git him in de corn crib an' den tie him an' sell him but when he got to the crib he kept on goin'. He went to Mr. Henry Buffaloe's an' stayed two weeks den he went back home. Dere wus nuthin' else said 'bout sellin him. Dey wanted to sell him an buy a 'oman so dey could have a lot of slave chilluns cause de 'oman could multiply. Dey hired men out by the year to contractors to cut cord wood an' build railroads. Father wus hired out dat way. Ole man Rome Harp wus hired out day way. He belonged to John Harp.

Daddy said his marster never did hit him but one blow. Daddy said he wurked hard everyday, an' done as near right as he knowed how to do in everything. His marster got mad ah' hit him wid a long switch. Den daddy tole him he wus workin' bes' he could for him an' dat he wus not goin' to take a whuppin. His marster walked off an' dat wus de last of it, an' he never tried to whup him again.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320225] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 775 Subject: ROBERT HINTON Story Teller: Robert Hinton Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]

ROBERT HINTON 420 Smith Street, Raleigh, N. C.

My name is Robert Hinton. I ain't able to work, ain't been able to do any work in five years. My wife, Mary Hinton, supports me by workin' with the WPA. She was cut off las' May. Since she has had no job, we have to live on what she makes with what little washin' she gets from de white folks; an' a little help from charity; dis ain't much. Dey give you for one week, one half peck meal, one pound meat, one pound powdered milk, one half pound o' coffee. Dis is what we git for one week.

I wus borned in 1856 on de Fayetteville Road three miles from Raleigh, south. I belonged to Lawrence Hinton. My missus wus named Jane Hinton. De Hintons had 'bout twenty slaves on de plantation out dere. Dey had four chillun, de boy Ransom an' three girls: Belle, Annie an' Miss Mary. All are dead but one, Miss Mary is livin' yit. My mother wus named Liza Hinton an' my father wus named Bob Hinton. My gran'mother wus named Mary Hinton an' gran'father Harry Hinton.

We had common food in slavery time, but it wus well fixed up, an' we were well clothed. We had a good place to sleep, yes sir, a good place to sleep. We worked from sunrise to sunset under overseers. Dey were good to us. I wus small at dat time. I picked up sticks in de yard an' done some work around de house, but when dey turned deir backs I would be playin' most o' de time. We played shootin' marbles, an' runnin', an' jumpin'. We called de big house de dwelling house an' de slave quarters de slave houses. Some of 'em were in marster's yard and some were outside. Dey give all de families patches and gardens, but dey did not sell anything.

We had prayer meetin' in our houses when we got ready, but dere were no churches for niggers on de plantation. We had dances and other socials durin' Christmas times. Dey give us de Christmas holidays.

No sir, dey did not whup me. I wus mighty young. Dey didn't work chillun much. I have seen 'em whup de grown ones do'. I never saw a slave sold and never saw any in chains. Dey run away from our plantation but dey come back again. William Brickell, Sidney Cook, Willis Hinton all run away. I don't know why dey all run away but some run away to keep from being whupped.

I have lived in North Carolina all my life, right here in Wake County. We used to set gums and catch rabbits, set traps and caught patridges and doves.

Yes sir, I went blindin'. I 'members gittin' a big light an' jumpin' 'round de bresh heaps, an' when a bird come out we frailed him down. We went gigging fish too. We found 'em lying on de bottom o' de creeks an' ponds at night, an' stuck de gig in 'em an' pulled 'em out.

De white folks, ole missus, teached us de catechism, but dey didn't want you to learn to read and write. I can read and write now; learned since de surrender. Sometimes we went to de white folks church. I don't know any songs.

When we got sick our boss man sent for a doctor, Dr. Burke Haywood, Dr. Johnson, or Dr. Hill.

I 'members when de North folks and de Southern folks wus fightin'. De Northern soldiers come in here on de Fayetteville Road. I saw 'em by de hundreds. Dey had colored folks soldiers in blue clothes too. In de mornin' white soldiers, in de evenin' colored soldiers; dats de way dey come to town.

I married first Almeta Harris. I had six children by her. Second, I married Mary Jones. She is my wife now. We had six children. My wife is now 65 years old and she has to support me. I am done give out too much to work any more.

Yes sir, that I have seen de patterollers, but my old boss didn't 'low 'em to whup his niggers. Marster give his men passes.

I know when de Ku Klux was here, but I don't know much about 'em.

I thought slavery wus a bad thing' cause all slaves did not fare alike. It wus all right for some, but bad for some, so it wus a bad thing.

I joined the church because I got religion and thought the church might help me keep it.

I think Abraham Lincoln wus a good man, but I likes Mr. Roosevelt; he is a good man, a good man.


N. C. District: No. 2 [320048] Worker: T. Pat Matthews No. Words: 922 Subject: WILLIAM GEORGE HINTON Person Interviewed: William George Hinton Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: HW Date: "8/31/37"]

WILLIAM GEORGE HINTON Star Street, R. F. D. #2, Box 171

I was born in Wake County in de year 1859. August 28th. I 'members seeing de Yankees, it seems like a dream. One come along ridin' a mule. Dey sed he wus a Yankee bummer, a man dat went out raging on peoples things. He found out whur the things wus located an' carried the rest there. The bummers stole for de army, chickens, hogs, an' anything they could take. Atter de bummer come along in a few minutes de whole place wus crowded wid Yankees. De blue coats wus everywhere I could look.

Marster didn't have but five slaves, an' when de Yankees come dere wus only me an' my oldest sister dere. All de white folks had left except missus and her chillun. Her baby wus only three weeks ole then.

A Yankee come to my oldest sister an' said, 'Whur is dem horses?' He pulled out a large pistol an' sed, 'Tell me whur dem horses is or I will take your damn sweet life.' Marster hid de horses an' sister didn't know, she stuck to it she didn't know an' de Yankees didn't shoot.

Dey come back, de whole crowd, de next day an' made marster bring in his horses. Bey took de horses an' bought some chickens an' paid for 'em, den dey killed an' took de rest. Ha! ha! dey shore done dat. Paid for some an' took de rest.

I seed de Yankees atter de surrender. Dey wus staying at de ole Soldiers Home on New Bern Avenue. One day mother carried me there to sell to 'em. One time she went there an' she had a rooster who wus a game. His eyes wus out from fighting another game rooster belonging to another person near our home, Mr. Emory Sewell. She carried de rooster in where dere wus a sick Yankee. De Yankee took him in his hands an' de rooster crowed. He give mother thirty-five cents for him. De Yankee said if he could crow an' his eyes out he wanted him. He said, he called dat spunk.

Dere wus a man who wus a slave dat belonged to Mr. Kerney Upchurch come along riding a mule. My oldest sister, de one de Yankees threatened, tole him de Yankees are up yonder. He said, 'Dad lim de Yankees.' He went on, when he got near de Yankees dey tole him to halt.' Instead of haltin' he sold out runnin' the mule fur de ole field. Der wus a gang of young fox hounds dere. When he lit out on de mule, dey thought he wus goin' huntin' so dey took out atter him, jest like dey wus atter a fox. Some of de Yankees shot at him, de others just almost died a laughin'.

We didn't git much to eat. Mother said it wus missus fault, she was so stingy.

We had homemade clothes an' wooden bottom shoes for de grown folks, but chillun did not wear shoes den, dey went barefooted.

All de slaves lived in one house built about one hundred yards from the great house, marsters house wus called the great house.

My father wus named Robin Hinton an' my mother wus named Dafney Hinton. My father belonged to Betsy Ransom Hinton an' mother belonged first to Reddin Cromb in Lenoir County an' then to James Thompson of Wake County. I wus borned after mother wus brought to Wake County. Marster had one boy named Beuregard, four girls, Caroline, Alice, Lena and Nellie. I do not remember my grandparents.

I saw a slave named Lucinda, sold to ole man Askew, a speculator, by Kerney Upchurch. I seed 'em carry her off.

One of de slave men who belonged to ole man Burl Temples wus sent to wurk for Mr. Temples' son who had married. His missus put him to totin' water before goin' to wurk in de mornin'. Three other slaves toted water also. He refused to tote water an' ran. She set de blood hounds atter him an' caught him near his home, which wus his ole marster's house. Ole marster's son come out, an' wouldn't let 'em whup him, an' they wouldn't make him go back.

Missus Harriet Temples wus a terrible 'oman, a slave jest couldn't suit her. De slave dat run away from young marster wus finally sent back. His marster give him a shoulder of meat before he left. He hung it in a tree. Missus tole him to put it in the smoke house. He refused, sayin' he would see it no more.

A slave by the name of Sallie Temples run away 'cause her missus, Mary Temples, wus so mean to her. She stuck hot irons to her. Made 'em drink milk an' things for punishment is what my mother an' father said. Sallie never did come back. Nobody never did know what become of her.

Soon as de war wus over father an' mother left dere marsters. Dey went to Mr. Tom Bridgers. We lived on de farm atter dis. Mother cooked, sister an' I worked on de farm. Sister plowed like a man. De first help my mammy got wus from de Yankees, it wus pickle meat an' hardtack. I wus wid her an' dey took me in an' give me some clothes. Mother drawed from 'em a long time. We have farmed most our lives. Sometimes we worked as hirelings and den as share croppers. I think slavery wus a bad thing.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320116] Worker: Mary A. Hicks No. Words: 465 Subject: Eustace Hodges Story Teller: Eustace Hodges Editor: Geo. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 6 1937"]


An interview with Eustace Hodges, 76 years old, of 625 W. Lenoir Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

I doan know when I wus borned, ner where but at fust my mammy an' me 'longed ter a McGee here in Wake County. My mammy wurked in de fiel's den, ditchin' an' such, even plowin' while we 'longed ter McGee, but he sold us ter Mr. Rufus Jones. My daddy still 'longed ter him but at de close of de war he comed ter Mr. Jones' plantation an' he tuck de name of Jones 'long wid us.

Marse Rufus wus gooder dan Marse McGee, dey said. He give us more ter eat an' wear an' he ain't make us wurk so hard nother. We had our wurk ter do, of course, but mammy ain't had ter ditch ner plow no mo'. She wurked in de house den, an' none of de wimmen done men's wurk. Course she can't wurk so hard an' have 'leben chilluns too. She had a baby one day an' went ter wurk de nex' while she 'longed ter McGee, but at Marse Rufus' she stayed in de bed seberal days an' had a doctor.

Marse Rufus uster let us take Sadday evenin' off an' go swimmin' er fishin' er go ter Raleigh. I 'members dat somebody in town had a fuss wid Marse Rufus 'bout lettin' his niggers run loose in town. Marse Rufus atter dat had a oberseer in town ter see 'bout his niggers.

I got a whuppin' once fer punchin' out a frog's eyes. Miss Sally giv' hit ter me long wid a lecture 'bout bein' kin' ter dumb brutes, but I ain't neber seed whar a frog am a brute yit.

Yes'um I heard a heap 'bout de Yankees but I ain't prepared fer dere takin' eben our bread. Miss Sally ain't prepared nother an' she tells' em whar ter go, den she goes ter bed sick. I wus sorry fer Miss Sally, dat I wus.

De day dat news of de surrender come Miss Sally cried some more an' she ain't wanted mammy ter go, so Marse Rufus said dat we can stay on. Dey said dat Mister McGee runned his niggers offen his place wid a bresh broom dat day.

Atter de war we stayed on Marse Rufus' place till 1898 when pa died. I had married a feller by de name of Charlie Hodges, what lived on a nearby plantation an' we wus livin' on Marse Rufus' place wid pa an' ma. We moved ter Raleigh den an' atter seberal years mammy moved hear too. You can fin' her on Cannon Street, but I'll tell you dat she's pretty puny now, since her stroke.

N. C. District: No. 2 [320195] Worker: Mrs. Edith S. Hibbs and Mrs. W. N. Harriss No. Words: 795 Subject: Alex Huggins' Story Interviewed: Alex Huggins, 920 Dawson St, Wilmington, N. C. Edited: Mrs. W. N. Harriss

[TR: No Date Stamp]


920 Dawson Street, Wilmington, N. C.

I was born in New Bern on July 9, 1850. My father and mother belonged to Mr. L. B. Huggins. My father was a carpenter and ship builder an' the first things I remember was down on Myrtle Grove Sound, where Mr. Huggins had a place. I was a sort of bad boy an' liked to roam 'round. When I was about twelve years old I ran away. It was in 1863 when the war was goin' on.

Nobody was bein' mean to me. No, I was'nt bein' whipped. Don't you know all that story 'bout slaves bein' whipped is all Bunk, (with scornful emphasis). What pusson with any sense is goin' to take his horse or his cow an' beat it up. It's prope'ty. We was prope'ty. Val'able prope'ty. No, indeed, Mr. Luke give the bes' of attention to his colored people, an' Mis' Huggins was like a mother to my mother. Twa'nt anythin' wrong about home that made me run away. I'd heard so much talk 'bout freedom I reckon I jus' wanted to try it, an' I thought I had to get away from home to have it.

Well, I coaxed two other boys to go with me, an' a grown man he got the boat an' we slipped off to the beach an' put out to sea. Yes'm, we sho' was after adventure. But, we did'n get very far out from sho', an' I saw the lan' get dimmer an' dimmer, when I got skeered, an' then I got seasick, an' we was havin' more kinds of adventure than we wanted, an' then we saw some ships. There was two of 'em, an' they took us on board.

They was the North Star an' the Eastern Star of the Aspinwal Line, a mail an' freighter runnin' between Aspinwal near the Isthmus of Panama and New York. We used to put in off Charleston.

Then, in 1864 I joined the Union Navy. Went on board our convoy, the Nereus. We convoyed to keep the Alabama, a Confederate privateer, away. The Commander of the Nereus asked me how's I like to be his cabin boy. So I was 2nd class cabin boy an' waited on the Captain. He was Five Stripe Commander J. C. Howell. He was Commander of the whole fleet off Fort Fisher. When the Captain wanted somethin' good to eat he used to send me ashore for provisions. He liked me. He was an old man. He didn't take much stock in fun, but he was a real man. I was young an' was'nt serious. I jus' wanted a good time. I don't know much about the war, but I do know two men of our boat was killed on shore while we was at Fort Fisher.

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