A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves
TYPEWRITTEN RECORDS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL WRITERS' PROJECT 1936-1938 ASSEMBLED BY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PROJECT WORK PROJECTS ADMINISTRATION FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SPONSORED BY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
SOUTH CAROLINA NARRATIVES
Prepared by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of South Carolina
- TRANSCRIBER NOTES: To reflect the individual character of this document, inconsistencies in formatting have been retained. [HW: ] denotes a handwritten note. -
Abrams, M. E. 1
Adams, Ezra 5
Adams, Mary 9
Adams, Victoria 10
Adamson, Frank 13
Andrews, Frances 17, 18
Arthur, Pete 19
Bacchus, Josephine 20
Ballard, William 26
Barber, Charley 29
Barber, Ed 34
Barber, Millie 38
Bates, Anderson 42
Bates, Millie 46
Bees, Welcome 48
Bell, Anne 51
Bevis, Caroline 55
Black, Maggie 57
Bluford, Fordon 62
Boulware, Samuel 65
Boyd, John 70
Bradley, Jane 74
Brice, Andy 75
Briggs, George 80, 89, 93
Bristow, Josephine 98
Broome, Anne 104
Brown, Hagar 107, 112, 115
Brown, Henry 118, 122
Brown, John C. 127
Brown, Mary Frances 131, 134
Brown, Sara 137, 141
Bryant, Margaret 143
Burrell, Savilla 149
Burton, C. B. 152
Butler, George Ann 153
Butler, Isaiah 155
Butler, Solbert 161
Cain, Granny 166, 168
Caldwell, Laura 169
Caldwell, Solomon 170
Cameron, Nelson 172
Campbell, Thomas 176
Cannon, Sylvia 180, 187
Caroline, Albert 197
Chisolm, Silvia 199
Chisolm, Tom 201
Cleland, Maria 204
Clifton, Peter 205
Coleman, Henry 210
Coleman, Rev. Tuff 216
Collier, Louisa 218
Collins, John 224
Corry, Bouregard 227
Craig, Caleb 229
Cunningham, Dinah 234
Daniels, Lucy 238
Davenport, John N. 240
Davenport, Moses 244
Davis, Charlie 245
Davis, Charlie 250
Davis, Heddie 254
Davis, Henry 260
Davis, Jesse 263
Davis, Lizzie 267, 288, 293
Davis, Louisa 299
Davis, Wallace 304, 306
Davis, William Henry 308
Dawkins, Elias 313
Dill, Will 319
Dixon, Thomas 324
Dorroh, Isabella 326
Downing, Laurence 329
Dozier, Washington 330
Duke, Alice 336
Durant, Silva (Sylvia) 337, 342
* * * * *
Project 1885-1 From Field Notes. District No. 4. April 27, 1937 Edited by: Elmer Turnage
FOLK LORE: FOLK TALES (Negro).
"Marse Glenn had 64 slaves. On Sat'day night, de darkies would have a little fun on de side. A way off from de big house, down in de pastur' dar wuz about de bigges' gully what I is ebber seed. Dat wuz de place whar us collected mos' ev'ry Sa'day night fer our lil' mite o' fun frum de white folks hearin'. Sometime it wuz so dark dat you could not see de fingers on yo' han' when you would raise it fo' your face. Dem wuz sho' schreechy nights; de schreechiest what I is ever witnessed, in all o' my born natu'al days. Den of cose, dar wuz de moonlight nights when a darky could see; den he see too much. De pastur' wuz big and de trees made dark spots in it on de brightest nights. All kind o' varmints tuck and hollered at ye as ye being gwine along to reach dat gully. Cose us would go in droves sometime, and den us would go alone to de gully sometime. When us started together, look like us would git parted 'fo we reach de gully all together. One of us see som'tin and take to runnin'. Maybe de other darkies in de drove, de wouldn't see nothin' jes den. Dats zactly how it is wid de spirits. De mout (might) sho de'self to you and not to me. De acts raal queer all de way round. Dey can take a notion to scare de daylights outtin you when you is wid a gang; or dey kin scare de whole gang; den, on de other hand, dey kin sho de'self off to jes two or three. It ain't never no knowin' as to how and when dem things is gwine to come in your path right fo your very eyes; specially when you is partakin' in some raal dark secret whar you is planned to act raal sof' and quiet like all de way through.
"Dem things bees light on dark nights; de shines de'self jes like dese 'lectric lights does out dar in dat street ever' night, 'cept dey is a scaird waary light dat dey shines wid. On light nights, I is seed dem look, furs dark like a tree shad'er; den dey gits raal scairy white. T'aint no use fer white folks to low dat it ain't no haints, an' grievements dat follows ye all around, kaise I is done had to many 'spriences wid dem. Den dare is dese young niggers what ain't fit to be called darkies, dat tries to ac' eddicated, and says dat it ain't any spe'rits dat walks de earth. When dey lows dat to me, I rolls my old eyes at dem an' axes dem how comes dey runs so fas' through de woods at night. Yes sirree, dem fool niggers sees dem jes as I does. Raaly de white folks doesn't have eyes fer sech as we darkies does; but dey bees dare jes de same.
"Never mindin' all o' dat, we n'used to steal our hog ever' sa'day night and take off to de gully whar us'd git him dressed and barbecued. Niggers has de mos'es fun at a barbecue dat dare is to be had. As none o' our gang didn't have no 'ligion, us never felt no scruples bout not gettin de 'cue' ready fo' Sunday. Us'd git back to de big house along in de evenin' o' Sunday. Den Marse, he come out in de yard an' low whar wuz you niggers dis mornin'. How come de chilluns had to do de work round here. Us would tell some lie bout gwine to a church 'siety meetin'. But we got raal scairt and mose 'cided dat de best plan wuz to do away wid de barbecue in de holler. Conjin 'Doc.' say dat he done put a spell on ole Marse so dat he wuz 'blevin ev'y think dat us tole him bout Sa'day night and Sunday morning. Dat give our minds 'lief; but it turned out dat in a few weeks de Marse come out from under de spell. Doc never even knowed nothin' bout it. Marse had done got to countin' his hogs ever' week. When he cotch us, us wuz all punished wid a hard long task. Dat cured me o' believing in any conjuring an' charmin' but I still kno's dat dare is haints; kaise ever time you goes to dat gully at night, up to dis very day, you ken hear hogs still gruntin' in it, but you can't see nothing.
"After Marse Glenn tuck and died, all o' de white folks went off and lef' de plantation. Some mo' folks dat wuz not o' quality, come to live dare an' run de plantation. It wuz done freedom den. Wo'nt long fo dem folks pull up and lef' raal onexpected like. I doesn't recollect what dey went by, fat is done slipped my mind; but I must 'av knowed. But dey lowed dat de house wuz to draffy and dat dey couldn't keep de smoke in de chimney an' dat de doo's would not stay shet. Also dey lowed dat folks prowled aroun' in de yard in de night time a keepin' dem awake.
"Den Marse Glenn's boys put Mammy in de house to keep it fer 'em. But Lawd God! Mammy said dat de furs night she stayed dare de haints nebber let her git not narr'y mite o' sleep. Us all had lowed dat wuz de raal reason dem white folks lef out so fas'. When Mammy could not live in dat big house whar she had stayed fer years, it won't no use fer nobody else to try. Mammy low dat it de Marse a lookin' fer his money what he done tuck and burried and de boys couldn't find no sign o' it. Atter dat, de sons tuck an' tacked a sign on de front gate, offering $200.00 to de man, white or black, dat would stay dar and fin' out whar dat money wuz burried. Our preacher, the Rev. Wallace, lowed dat he would stay dar and find out whar dat money wuz from de spirits. He knowed dat dey wuz tryin to sho de spot what dat money wuz.
"He went to bed. A dog began running down dem steps; and a black cat run across de room dat turned to white befo' it run into de wall. Den a pair of white horses come down de stairway a rattling chains fer harness. Next a woman dressed in white come in dat room. Brother Wallace up and lit out dat house and he never went back no mo'.
"Another preacher tried stayin' dar. He said he gwine to keep his head kivered plum up. Some'tin unkivered it and he seed a white goat a grinnin' at him. But as he wuz a brave man and trus' de Lawd, he lowed, 'What you want wid me nohow?' The goat said, 'what is you doin' here. Raise, I knows dat you ain't sleep.' De preacher say, 'I wants you to tell me what ole Marse don tuck and hid dat money?' De goat grin and low, 'How come you don' look under your pillar, sometime?' Den he run away. De preacher hopped up and looked under de pillar, and dar wuz de money sho nuf. Peers like it wuz de one on de lef' end o' de back porch, but I jes remembers 'bout dat."
Source: Mrs. M. E. Abrams, Whitmire, S. C.; told her by old "uncle" "Mad" Griffin, Whitmire, (Col. 82 yrs.) Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. 2/25/37.
Project #1655 Henry Grant Columbia, S. C.
REFLECTIONS OF EZRA ADAMS EX-SLAVE 83 YEARS OLD
Ezra Adams is incapable of self-support, owing to ill health. He is very well taken care of by a niece, who lives on the Caughman land just off S. C. #6, and near Swansea, S. C.
"My mammy and pappy b'long to Marster Lawrence Adams, who had a big plantation in de eastern part of Lancaster County. He died four years after de Civil War and is buried right dere on de old plantation, in de Adams family burying grounds. I was de oldest of de five chillun in our family. I 'members I was a right smart size plowboy, when freedom come. I think I must of been 'bout ten or eleven years old, then. Dere's one thing I does know; de Yankees didn't tech our plantation, when they come through South Carolina. Up in de northern part of de county they sho' did destroy most all what folks had.
"You ain't gwine to believe dat de slaves on our plantation didn't stop workin' for old marster, even when they was told dat they was free. Us didn't want no more freedom than us was gittin' on our plantation already. Us knowed too well dat us was well took care of, wid a plenty of vittles to eat and tight log and board houses to live in. De slaves, where I lived, knowed after de war dat they had abundance of dat somethin' called freedom, what they could not wat, wear, and sleep in. Yes, sir, they soon found out dat freedom ain't nothin', 'less you is got somethin' to live on and a place to call home. Dis livin' on liberty is lak young folks livin' on love after they gits married. It just don't work. No, sir, it las' so long and not a bit longer. Don't tell me! It sho' don't hold good when you has to work, or when you gits hongry. You knows dat poor white folks and niggers has got to work to live, regardless of liberty, love, and all them things. I believes a person loves more better, when they feels good. I knows from experience dat poor folks feels better when they has food in deir frame and a few dimes to jingle in deir pockets. I knows what it means to be a nigger, wid nothin'. Many times I had to turn every way I knowed to git a bite to eat. I didn't care much 'bout clothes. What I needed in sich times was food to keep my blood warm and gwine 'long.
"Boss, I don't want to think, and I knows I ain't gwine to say a word, not a word of evil against deir dust lyin' over yonder in deir graves. I was old enough to know what de passin' 'way of old marster and missus meant to me. De very stream of lifeblood in me was dryin' up, it 'peared lak. When marster died, dat was my fust real sorrow. Three years later, missus passed 'way, dat was de time of my second sorrow. Then, I 'minded myself of a little tree out dere in de woods in November. Wid every sharp and cold wind of trouble dat blowed, more leaves of dat tree turnt loose and went to de ground, just lak they was tryin' to follow her. It seem lak, when she was gone, I was just lak dat tree wid all de leaves gone, naked and friendless. It took me a long time to git over all dat; same way wid de little tree, it had to pass through winter and wait on spring to see life again.
"I has farmed 'most all my life and, if I was not so old, I would be doin' dat same thing now. If a poor man wants to enjoy a little freedom, let him go on de farm and work for hisself. It is sho' worth somethin' to be boss, and, on de farm you can be boss all you want to, 'less de man 'low his wife to hold dat 'portant post. A man wid a good wife, one dat pulls wid him, can see and feel some pleasure and experience some independence. But, bless your soul, if he gits a woman what wants to be both husband and wife, fare-you-well and good-bye, too, to all love, pleasure, and independence; 'cause you sho' is gwine to ketch hell here and no mild climate whenever you goes 'way. A bad man is worse, but a bad woman is almost terrible.
"White man, dere is too many peoples in dese big towns and cities. Dere is more of them than dere is jobs to make a livin' wid. When some of them find out dat they can't make a livin', they turns to mischief, de easy way they thinks, takin' widout pay or work, dat which b'longs to other people. If I understands right, de fust sin dat was committed in de world was de takin' of somethin' dat didn't b'long to de one what took it. De gentleman what done dis was dat man Adam, back yonder in de garden. If what Adam done back yonder would happen now, he would be guilty of crime. Dat's how 'ciety names sin. Well, what I got to say is dis: If de courts, now, would give out justice and punishment as quick as dat what de Good Master give to Adam, dere would be less crime in de land I believes. But I 'spose de courts would be better if they had de same jurisdiction as de Master has. Yes, sir, they would be gwine some then.
"I tells you, dis gittin' what don't b'long to you is de main cause of dese wars and troubles 'bout over dis world now. I hears de white folks say dat them Japanese is doin' dis very thing today in fightin' them Chinamens. Japan say dat China has done a terrible crime against them and de rest of de world, when it ain't nothin' but dat they wants somethin' what don't belong to them, and dat somethin' is to git more country. I may be wrong, anyhow, dat is what I has heard.
"What does I think de colored people need most? If you please sir, I want to say dis. I ain't got much learnin', 'cause dere was no schools hardly 'round where I was brung up, but I thinks dat good teachers and work is what de colored race needs worser than anything else. If they has learnin', they will be more ashame to commit crime, most of them will be; and, if they has work to do, they ain't gwine to have time to do so much wrong. Course dere is gwine to be black sheeps in most flocks, and it is gwine to take patience to git them out, but they will come out, just as sho' as you is born.
"Is de colored people superstitious? Listen at dat. You makes me laugh. All dat foolishness fust started wid de black man. De reason they is superstitious comes from nothin' but stomp-down ignorance. De white chillun has been nursed by colored women and they has told them stories 'bout hants and sich lak. So de white chillun has growed up believin' some of dat stuff 'til they natchally pass it on from generation to generation. Here we is, both white and colored, still believin' some of them lies started back when de whites fust come to have de blacks 'round them.
"If you wants to know what I thinks is de best vittles, I's gwine to be obliged to omit (admit) dat it is cabbage sprouts in de spring, and it is collard greens after frost has struck them. After de best vittles, dere come some more what is mighty tasty, and they is hoghead and chittlings wid 'tatoes and turnips. Did you see dat? Here I is talkin' 'bout de joys of de appetite and water drapping from my mouth. I sho' must be gittin' hongry. I lak to eat. I has been a good eater all my life, but now I is gittin' so old dat 'cordin' to de scriptures, 'De grinders cease 'cause they are few', and too, 'Those dat look out de windows be darkened'. My old eyes and teeth is 'bout gone, and if they does go soon, they ain't gwine to beat dis old frame long, 'cause I is gwine to soon follow, I feels. I hope when I does go, I can be able to say what dat great General Stonewall Jackson say when he got kilt in de Civil War, 'I is gwine to cross de river and rest under de shade of de trees'."
[HW: Ezra Adams, Swansea (about 10m. south of Columbia)]
Project 1885-1. Folk Lore District No. 4. May 27, 1937. Edited by: J. J. Murray.
"Aunt" Mary Adams was swinging easily back and forth in the porch swing as the writer stopped to speak to her. When questioned, she replied that she and her mother were ex-slaves and had belonged to Dr. C. E. Fleming. She was born in Columbia, but they were moved to Glenn Springs where her mother cooked for Dr. Fleming.
She remembers going with a white woman whose husband was in jail, to carry him something to eat. She said that Mr. Jim Milster was in that jail, but he lived to get out, and later kept a tin shop in Spartanburg.
"Yes sir, Dr. Fleming always kept enough for us Niggers to eat during the war. He was good to us. You know he married Miss Dean. Do you know Mrs. Lyles, Mrs. Simpson, Mr. Ed Fleming? Well, dey are my chilluns.
"Some man here told me one day that I was ninety years old, but I do not believe I am quite that old. I don't know how old I am, but I was walking during slavery times. I can't work now, for my feet hurt me and my fingers ain't straight."
She said all of her children were dead but two, that she knew of. She said that she had a room in that house and white people gave her different things. As the writer told her good-bye, she said, "Good-bye, and may the Lord bless you".
Source: "Aunt" Mary Adams, 363 S. Liberty Street, Spartanburg, S. C. Interviewer: F. S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S. C.
Project #1655 Everett R. Pierce Columbia, S. C.
VICTORIA ADAMS EX-SLAVE 90 YEARS OLD.
"You ask me to tell you something 'bout myself and de slaves in slavery times? Well Missy, I was borned a slave, nigh on to ninety years ago, right down here at Cedar Creek, in Fairfield County.
"My massa's name was Samuel Black and missus was named Martha. She used to be Martha Kirkland befo' she married. There was five chillun in de family; they was: Alice, Manning, Sally, Kirkland, and de baby, Eugene. De white folks live in a great big house up on a hill; it was right pretty, too.
"You wants to know how large de plantation was I lived on? Well, I don't know 'zackly but it was mighty large. There was forty of us slaves in all and it took all of us to keep de plantation goin'. De most of de niggers work in de field. They went to work as soon as it git light enough to see how to git 'round; then when twelve o'clock come, they all stops for dinner and don't go back to work 'til two. All of them work on 'til it git almost dark. No ma'am, they ain't do much work at night after they gits home.
"Massa Samuel ain't had no overseer, he look after his own plantation. My old granddaddy help him a whole heap though. He was a good nigger and massa trust him.
"After de crops was all gathered, de slaves still had plenty of work to do. I stayed in de house wid de white folks. De most I had to do was to keep de house clean up and nurse de chillun. I had a heap of pretty clothes to wear, 'cause my missus give me de old clothes and shoes dat Missy Sally throw 'way.
"De massa and missus was good to me but sometime I was so bad they had to whip me. I 'members she used to whip me every time she tell me to do something and I take too long to move 'long and do it. One time my missus went off on a visit and left me at home. When she come back, Sally told her that I put on a pair of Bubber's pants and scrub de floor wid them on. Missus told me it was a sin for me to put on a man's pants, and she whip me pretty bad. She say it's in de Bible dat: 'A man shall not put on a woman's clothes, nor a woman put on a man's clothes'. I ain't never see that in de Bible though, but from then 'til now, I ain't put on no more pants.
"De grown-up slaves was punished sometime too. When they didn't feel like taking a whippin' they went off in de woods and stay 'til massa's hounds track them down; then they'd bring them out and whip them. They might as well not run away. Some of them never come back a-tall, don't know what become of them. We ain't had no jail for slaves; never ain't see none in chains neither. There was a guard-house right in de town but us niggers never was carried to it. You ask me if I ever see a slave auctioned off? Yes ma'am, one time. I see a little girl 'bout ten years old sold to a soldier man. Dis soldier man was married and didn't had no chillun and he buy dis little girl to be company for his wife and to help her wid de house work.
"White folks never teach us to read nor write much. They learned us our A, B, C's, and teach us to read some in de testament. De reason they wouldn't teach us to read and write, was 'cause they was afraid de slaves would write their own pass and go over to a free county. One old nigger did learn enough to write his pass and got 'way wid it and went up North.
"Missus Martha sho' did look after de slaves good when they was sick. Us had medicine made from herbs, leaves and roots; some of them was cat-nip, garlic root, tansy, and roots of burdock. De roots of burdock soaked in whiskey was mighty good medicine. We dipped asafetida in turpentine and hung it 'round our necks to keep off disease.
"Befo' de Yankees come thru, our peoples had let loose a lot of our hosses and de hosses strayed over to de Yankee side, and de Yankee men rode de hosses back over to our plantation. De Yankees asked us if we want to be free. I never say I did; I tell them I want to stay wid my missus and they went on and let me alone. They 'stroyed most everything we had 'cept a little vittles; took all de stock and take them wid them. They burned all de buildings 'cept de one de massa and missus was livin' in.
"It wasn't long after de Yankees went thru dat our missus told us dat we don't b'long to her and de massa no more. None of us left dat season. I got married de next year and left her. I like being free more better. Any niggers what like slavery time better, is lazy people dat don't want to do nothing.
"I married Fredrick Adams; he used to b'long to Miss Tenny Graddick but after he was freed he had to take another name. Mr. Jess Adams, a good fiddler dat my husband like to hang 'round, told him he could take his name if he wanted to and dats how he got de name of Adams. Us had four chillun; only one livin', dat Lula. She married John Entzminger and got several chillun. My gran'chillun a heap of comfort to me."
Home Address: Colonial Heights, Columbia, S. C.
Project #1655 W. W. Dixon Winnsboro, S. C.
FRANK ADAMSON EX-SLAVE 82 YEARS OLD.
"I 'members when you was barefoot at de bottom; now I see you a settin' dere, gittin' bare at de top, as bare as de palm of my hand.
"I's been 'possum huntin' wid your pappy, when he lived on de Wateree, just after de war. One night us got into tribulation, I tells you! 'Twas 'bout midnight when de dogs make a tree. Your pappy climb up de tree, git 'bout halfway up, heard sumpin' dat once you hears it you never forgits, and dats de rattlin' of de rattles on a rattle snake's tail. Us both 'stinctly hear dat sound! What us do? Me on de ground, him up de tree, but where de snake? Dat was de misery, us didn't know. Dat snake give us fair warnin' though! Marster Sam (dats your pa) 'low: 'Frank, ease down on de ground; I'll just stay up here for a while.' I lay on them leaves, skeered to make a russle. Your pa up de tree skeered to go up or down! Broad daylight didn't move us. Sun come up, he look all 'round from his vantage up de tree, then come down, not 'til then, do I gits on my foots.
"Then I laugh and laugh and laugh, and ask Marster Sam how he felt. Marster Sam kinda frown and say: 'Damn I feels like hell! Git up dat tree! Don't you see dat 'possum up dere?' I say: 'But where de snake, Marster?' He say: 'Dat rattler done gone home, where me and you and dat 'possum gonna be pretty soon!'
"I b'longs to de Peays. De father of them all was, Korshaw Peay. My marster was his son, Nicholas; he was a fine man to just look at. My mistress was always tellin' him 'bout how fine and handsome-like he was. He must of got use to it; howsomever, marster grin every time she talk like dat.
"My pappy was bought from de Adamson peoples; they say they got him off de ship from Africa. He sho' was a man; he run all de other niggers 'way from my mammy and took up wid her widout askin' de marster. Her name was Lavinia. When us got free, he 'sisted on Adamson was de name us would go by. He name was William Adamson. Yes sir! my brothers was: Justus, Hillyard, and Donald, and my sisters was, Martha and Lizzettie.
"'Deed I did work befo' freedom. What I do? Hoed cotton, pick cotton, 'tend to calves and slop de pigs, under de 'vision of de overseer. Who he was? First one name Mr. Cary, he a good man. Another one Mr. Tim Gladden, burn you up whenever he just take a notion to pop his whip. Us boys run 'round in our shirt tails. He lak to see if he could lift de shirt tail widout techin' de skin. Just as often as not, though, he tech de skin. Little boy holler and Marster Tim laugh.
"Us live in quarters. Our beds was nailed to de sides of de house. Most of de chillun slept on pallets on de floor. Got water from a big spring.
"De white folks 'tend to you all right. Us had two doctors, Doctor Carlisle and Doctor James.
"I see some money, but never own any then. Had plenty to eat: Meat, bread, milk, lye hominy, horse apples, turnips, collards, pumpkins, and dat kind of truck.
"Was marster rich? How come he wasn't? He brag his land was ten miles square and he had a thousand slaves. Them poor white folks looked up to him lak God Almighty; they sho' did. They would have stuck their hands in de fire if he had of asked them to do it. He had a fish pond on top of de house and terraces wid strawberries, all over de place. See them big rock columns down dere now? Dats all dats left of his grandness and greatness. They done move de whippin' post dat was in de backyard. Yes sah, it was a 'cessity wid them niggers. It stood up and out to 'mind them dat if they didn't please de master and de overseer, they'd hug dat post, and de lend of dat whip lash gwine to flip to de hide of dat back of their's.
"I ain't a complainin'. He was a good master, bestest in de land, but he just have to have a whippin' post, 'cause you'll find a whole passle of bad niggers when you gits a thousand of them in one flock.
"Screech owl holler? Women and men turn socks and stockings wrong side out quick, dat they did, do it now, myself. I's black as a crow but I's got a white folks heart. Didn't ketch me foolin' 'round wid niggers in radical times. I's as close to white folks then as peas in a pod. Wore de red shirt and drunk a heap of brandy in Columbia, dat time us went down to General Hampton into power. I 'clare I hollered so loud goin' 'long in de procession, dat a nice white lady run out one of de houses down dere in Columbia, give me two biscuits and a drum stick of chicken, patted me on de shoulder, and say: 'Thank God for all de big black men dat can holler for Governor Hampton as loud as dis one does.' Then I hollers some more for to please dat lady, though I had to take de half chawed chicken out dis old mouth, and she laugh 'bout dat 'til she cried. She did!
"Well, I'll be rockin' 'long balance of dese days, a hollerin' for Mr. Roosevelt, just as loud as I holler then for Hampton.
"My young marsters was: Austin, Tom, and Nicholas; they was all right 'cept they tease you too hard maybe some time, and want to mix in wid de 'fairs of slave 'musements.
"Now what make you ask dat? Did me ever do any courtin'? You knows I did. Every he thing from a he king down to a bunty rooster gits cited 'bout she things. I's lay wake many nights 'bout sich things. It's de nature of a he, to take after de she. They do say dat a he angel ain't got dis to worry 'bout.
"I fust courted Martha Harrison. Us marry and jine de church. Us had nine chillun; seven of them livin'. A woman can't stand havin' chillun, lak a man. Carryin', sucklin', and 'tending to them wore her down, dat, wid de malaria of de Wateree brung her to her grave.
"I sorrow over her for weeks, maybe five months, then I got to thinking how I'd pair up wid dis one and dat one and de other one. Took to shavin' again and gwine to Winnsboro every Saturday, and different churches every Sunday. I hear a voice from de choir, one Sunday, dat makes me sit up and take notice of de gal on de off side in front. Well sir! a spasm of fright fust hit me dat I might not git her, dat I was too old for de likes of her, and dat some no 'count nigger might be in de way. In a few minutes I come to myself. I rise right up, walked into dat choir, stand by her side, and wid dis voice of mine, dat always 'tracts 'tention, jined in de hymn and out sung them all. It was easy from dat time on.
"I marry Kate at de close of dat revival. De day after de weddin', what you reckon? Don't know? Well, after gittin' breakfas' she went to de field, poke 'round her neck, basket on her head and picked two hundred pounds of cotton. Dats de kind of woman she is."
Project 1815-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 June 10, 1937 Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I was born in Newberry County, S. C., near Belfast, about 1854. I was a slave of John Wallace. I was the only child, and when a small child, my mother was sold to Joe Liggins by my old master, Bob Adams. It is said that the old brick house where the Wallaces lived was built by a Eichleberger, but Dr. John Simpson lived there and sold it to Mr. Wallace. In the attic was an old skeleton which the children thought bewitched the house. None of them would go upstairs by themselves. I suppose old Dr. Simpson left it there. Sometimes later, it was taken out and buried. Marse Wallace had many slaves and kept them working, but he was not a strict master.
"I married Allen Andrews after the war. He went to the war with his master. He was at Columbia with the Confederate troops when Sherman burnt the place. Some of them, my husband included, was captured and taken to Richmond Va. They escaped and walked back home, but all but five or six fell out or died.
"My young master, Editor Bill Wallace, a son of Marse John, was a soldier. When he was sick at home, I fanned the flies from him with a home-made fan of peacock feathers, sewed to a long cane.
"After the war, the 'bush-whackers', called Ku Klux, rode there. Preacher Pitts' brother was one. They went to negro houses and killed the people. They wore caps over the head and eyes, but no long white gowns. An old muster ground was above there about three miles, near what is now Wadsworth school."
Source: Frances Andrews (col. 83), Newberry, S. C Interviewer: G. Leland Summer, Newberry, S. C.
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg Dist. 4 Sept. 22, 1937 Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I live in a comfortable two-room cottage which my son owns. I can't do much work except a little washing and ironing. My grandchildren live with me. My other children help me a little when I need it. I heard about the 40 acres of land and a mule the ex-slaves would get after the war, but I didn't pay any attention to it. They never got anything. I think this was put out by the Yankees who didn't care about much 'cept getting money for themselves.
"I come from the Indian Creek section of Newberry County. After about 1880 when things got natural, some of the slaves from this section rented small one-horse farms and made their own money and living. Some would rent small tracts of land on shares, giving the landlord one-half the crop for use of the land.
"Everything is changed so much. I never learned to read and write and all I know is what I heard in old times. But I think the younger generation of negroes is different from what they used to be. They go where they want to and do what they want to and don't pay much attention to old folks anymore.
"My mother's mother come from Virginia and my mother's father was born and raised in this county. I don't remember anything about the Nat Turner Rebellion, and never heard anything about it. We never had any slave up-risings in our neighborhood."
Source: Frances Andrews (83), Newberry, S. C. Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. 8/11/37.
Spartanburg, S. C. District No. 4 May 27, 1937. Edited by R. V. Williams [HW: Lambrigh]
Folk Lore: Folk Tales (negro)
"I was 'bout nine year ole when de big war broke loose. My pa and ma 'longed to de Scotts what libbed in Jonesville Township. When I got big 'nough to work, I was gib to de youngest Scott boy. Soon atter dis, Sherman come through Union County. No ma'm, I nebber seed Sherman but I seed some of his soldiers. Dat's de time I run off in de wood and not narry a soul knowed whar I was till de dus' had done settled in de big road.
"Every Sunday, Marse Scott sent us to church in one of his waggins. White folks rid to church in de buggy and Marse went on de big saddle hoss. 'Bout dis time, Marse Scott went to Columbia to git coffee and sugar. He stay mos' two weeks, kaize he drive two fine hosses to de buggy 'long wid a long hind end to fetch things to and fro in. De roads was real muddy and de hosses haf to res' ever night. Den in Columbia, he would have a little 'joyment befo' he come back home."
Source: Miss Dorothy Lambright, W. Main St., Union, S. C. (Story told her by "Uncle Peter" Arthur.) Information by Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C.
Code No. Project, 1885-(1) Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S. C. Date, January 4, 1938 No. of Words —— Reduced from —— words Rewritten by ——
JOSEPHINE BACCHUS Ex-Slave, 75-80 Years
"No, my mercy God, I don' know not one thought to speak to you bout. Seems like, I does know your face, but I been so sick all de year dat I can' hardly remember nothin. Yes, sweetheart, I sho caught on to what you want. Oh, I wishes I did know somethin bout dat old time war cause I tell you, if I been know anything, I would sho pour it out to you. I got burn out here de other day en I ain' got near a thing left me, but a pair of stockings en dat old coat dere on de bed. Dat how-come I stayin here wid Miss Celia. My husband, he dead en she took me in over here for de present. No'um, I haven't never had a nine months child. Reckon dat what ailin me now. Bein dat I never had no mother to care for me en give me a good attention like, I caught so much of cold dat I ain' never been safe in de family way. Yes, mam, I had my leg broke plenty times, but I ain' never been able to jump de time. Lord, I got a misery in my back dere. I hope it ain' de pneumonias."
"Well, you see, I couldn' tell you nothin bout my mother cause I never didn' know nothin bout my mother. My Jesus, my brother tell bout when dey had my mother layin out on de coolin board, I went in de room whe' she was en axed her for somethin to eat en pushed her head dat way. You know, I wouldn' touch my hand to do nothin like dat, but I never know. Dat it, de coolin board, dat what dey used to have to lay all de dead people on, but dis day en time, de undertaker takes dem en fixes dem up right nice, I say. I tellin you, I ain' had no sense since I lost my people. Sometimes, I axes de Lord what he keepin me here for anyhow. Yes, mam, dat does come to me often times in de night. Oh, it don' look like I gwine ever get no better in dis life en if I don', I just prays to God to be saved. Yes, Lord, I prays to be lifted to a restful home."
"Just like as I been hear talk, some of de people fare good in slavery time en some of dem fare rough. Dat been accordin to de kind of task boss dey come up under. Now de poor colored people in slavery time, dey give dem very little rest en would whip some of dem most to death. Wouldn' none of dem daresen to go from one plantation to another widout dey had a furlough from dey boss. Yes, mam, if dey been catch you comin back widout dat walkin paper de boss had give you, great Jeruseleum, you would sho catch de devil next mornin. My blessed a mercy, hear talk dey spill de poor nigger's blood awful much in slavery time. Hear heap of dem was free long time fore dey been know it cause de white folks, dey wanted to keep dem in bondage. Oh, my Lord, dey would cut dem so hard till dey just slash de flesh right off dem. Yes, mam, dey call dat thing dey been whip dem wid de cat o' nine tail. No, darlin, I hear talk it been made out of pretty leather plaited most all de way en den all dat part down to de bottom, dey just left it loose to do de cuttin wid. Yes, honey, dem kind of whips was made out of pretty leather like one of dese horse whips. Yes, mam, dat been how it was in slavery time."
"Yankees! Oh, I hear folks speak bout de Yankees plunderin through de country plenty times. Hear bout de Yankees gwine all bout stealin white people silver. Say, everywhe' dey went en found white folks wid silver, dey would just clean de place up. Dat de blessed truth, too, cause dat exactly what I hear bout dem."
"Lord, pray Jesus, de white people sho been mighty proud to see dey niggers spreadin out in dem days, so dey tell me. Yes, mam, dey was glad to have a heap of colored people bout dem cause white folks couldn' work den no more den dey can work dese days like de colored people can. Reckon dey love to have dey niggers back yonder just like dey loves to have dem dese days to do what dey ain' been cut out to do. You see, dey would have two or three women on de plantation dat was good breeders en dey would have chillun pretty regular fore freedom come here. You know, some people does be right fast in catchin chillun. Yes'um, dey must been bless wid a pile of dem, I say, en every colored person used to follow up de same name as dey white folks been hear to."
"No'um, I never didn' go to none of dem cornshuckin en fodder pullin en all dem kind of thing. Reckon while dey was at de cornshuckin, I must been somewhe' huntin somethin to eat. Den dem kind of task was left to de men folks de most of de time cause it been so hot, dey was force to strip to do dat sort of a job."
"Lord, I sho remembers dat earth shake good as anything. When it come on me, I was settin down wid my foots in a tub of water. Yes, my Lord, I been had a age on me in de shake. I remember, dere been such a shakin dat evenin, it made all de people feel mighty queer like. It just come in a tremble en first thing I know, I felt de difference in de crack of de house. I run to my sister Jessie cause she had been live in New York en she was well acquainted wid dat kind of gwine on. She say, 'Josie, dis ain' nothin but dem shake I been tellin you bout, but dis de first time it come here en you better be a prayin.' En, honey, everything white en colored was emptied out of doors dat night. Lord, dey was scared. Great Jeruseleum! De people was scared everywhe'. Didn' nobody know what to make of it. I tellin you, I betcha I was 30 years old in de shake."
"Now, I guess time you get done gettin up all dem memorandums, you gwine have a pile. I tell you, if you keep on, you sho gwine have a bale cause dere a lot of slavery people is spring up till now. I ought to could fetch back more to speak to you bout, but just like I been tell you, I wasn' never cared for by a mother en I is caught on to a heap of roughness just on account dat I ain' never had a mother to have a care for me."
"Oh, de people never didn' put much faith to de doctors in dem days. Mostly, dey would use de herbs in de fields for dey medicine. Dere two herbs, I hear talk of. Dey was black snake root en Sampson snake root. Say, if a person never had a good appetite, dey would boil some of dat stuff en mix it wid a little whiskey en rock candy en dat would sho give dem a sharp appetite. See, it natural cause if you take a tablespoon of dat bitter medicine three times a day like a person tell you, it bound to swell your appetite. Yes, mam, I know dat a mighty good mixture."
"Oh, my Lord, child, de people was sho wiser in olden times den what dey be now. Dey been have all kind of signs to forecast de times wid en dey been mighty true to de word, too. Say, when you hear a cow low en cry so mournful like, it ain' gwine be long fore you hear tell of a death."
"Den dere one bout de rain. Say, sometimes de old rain crow stays in de air en hollers en if you don' look right sharp, it gwine rain soon. Call him de rain crow. He hollers mostly like dis, 'Goo-oop, goo-oop.' Like dat."
"De people used to have a bird for cold weather, too. Folks say, 'Don' you hear dat cold bird? Look out, it gwine be cold tomorrow.' De cold bird, he a brown bird. If you can see him, he a fine lookin bird, too. Yes'um, right large en strong lookin, but don' nobody hardly ever see him dese days."
"En I reckon you hear talk bout dis one. Say, not to wash on de first day of de New Year cause if you do, you will wash some of your family out de pot. Say, somebody will sho die. Dat right, too. Den if possible, must boil some old peas on de first day of de New Year en must cook some hog jowl in de pot wid dem. Must eat some of it, but don' be obliged to eat it all. En ought to have everything clean up nicely so as to keep clean all de year. Say, must always put de wash out on de line to be sure de day fore New Years en have all your garments clean."
"What my ideas bout de young folks dese days? Well, dey young folks en dey ain' young folks, I say. Cose I don' bother up wid dem none, but I think wid my own weak judgment, dey quite different from when I come along. Folks is awful funny dis day en time to my notion. Don' care what people see dem do no time. I sho think dey worser den what dey used to be. De way I say dey worser, I used to have to be back at such en such a time, if I went off, but now dey go anytime dey want to en dey comes back anytime dey want to. I sho think dey worser. De fact of it, I know dey worser."
Source: Josephine Bacchus, colored, age 75-80, Marion, S. C. Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Dec., 1937.
Project 1885-1 Folklore Spartanburg Dist. 4 June 14, 1937 Edited by: Elmer Turnage
STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES
"I was born near Winnsboro, S. C., Fairfield County. I was twelve years old the year the Confederate war started. My father was John Ballard and my mother was Sallie Ballard. I had several brothers and sisters. We belonged to Jim Aiken, a large landowner at Winnsboro. He owned land on which the town was built. He had seven plantations. He was good to us and give us plenty to eat, and good quarters to live in. His mistress was good, too; but one of his sons, Dr. Aiken, whipped some of de niggers, lots. One time he whipped a slave for stealing. Some of his land was around four churches in Winnsboro.
"We was allowed three pounds o' meat, one quart o' molasses, grits and other things each week—plenty for us to eat.
"When freedom come, he told us we was free, and if we wanted to stay on with him, he would do the best he could for us. Most of us stayed, and after a few months, he paid wages. After eight months, some went to other places to work.
"The master's wife died and he married a daughter of Robert Gillam and moved to Greenville, S. C.
"The master always had a very big garden with plenty of vegetables. He had fifty hogs, and I helped mind the hogs. He didn't raise much cotton, but raised lots of wheat and corn. He made his own meal and flour from the mill on the creek; made home-made clothes with cards and spinning wheels.
"They cooked in wide chimneys in a kitchen which was away off from the big house. They used pots and skillets to cook with. The hands got their rations every Monday night. They got their clothes to wear which they made on old spinning wheels, and wove them themselves.
"The master had his own tanyard and tanned his leather and made shoes for his hands.
"He had several overseers, white men, and some Negro foremen. They sometimes whipped the slaves, that is the overseers. Once a nigger whipped the overseer and had to run away in the woods and live so he wouldn't get caught. The nigger foremen looked after a set of slaves on any special work. They never worked at night unless it was to bring in fodder or hay when it looked like rain was coming. On rainy days, we shucked corn and cleaned up around the place.
"We had old brick ovens, lots of 'em. Some was used to make molasses from our own sugar cane we raised.
"The master had a 'sick-house' where he took sick slaves for treatment, and kept a drug store there. They didn't use old-time cures much, like herbs and barks, except sassafras root tea for the blood.
"We didn't learn to read and write, but some learned after the war.
"My father run the blacksmith shop for the master on the place. I worked around the place. The patrollers were there and we had to have a pass to get out any. The nigger children sometimes played out in the road and were chased by patrollers. The children would run into the master's place and the patrollers couldn't get them 'cause the master wouldn't let them. We had no churches for slaves, but went to the white church and set in the gallery. After freedom, niggers built 'brush harbors' on the place.
"Slaves carried news from one plantation to another by riding mules or horses. They had to be in quarters at night. I remember my mother rode side-saddle one Saturday night. I reckon she had a pass to go; she come back without being bothered.
"Some games children played was, hiding switches, marbles, and maybe others. Later on, some of de nigger boys started playing cards and got to gambling; some went to de woods to gamble.
"The old cotton gins on de farms were made of wooden screws, and it took all day to gin four bales o' cotton.
"I was one of the first trustees that helped build the first colored folks' church in the town of Greenwood. I am the only one now living. I married Alice Robinson, and had five sons and one daughter, and have five or six grandchildren.
"Abraham Lincoln, I think, was a good man; had a big reputation. Couldn't tell much about Jefferson Davis. Booker T. Washington—Everybody thinks he is a great man for the colored race.
"Of course I think slavery was bad. We is free now and better off to work. I think anybody who is any count can work and live by himself.
"I joined de church when I was 17 years old, because a big preaching was going on after freedom for the colored people.
"I think everybody should join the church and do right; can't get anywhere without it, and do good."
Source: William Ballard (88), Greenwood, S. C. Interviewed by: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. (6/10/37)
Project #1655 W. W. Dixon Winnsboro, S. C.
CHARLEY BARBER EX-SLAVE 81 YEARS OLD.
Charley Barber lives in a shanty kind of house, situated on a plot of ground containing two acres all his own. It is a mile and a half southeast of Winnsboro, S. C. He lives with an anaemic daughter, Maggie, whose chief interests are a number of cats, about the premises, and a brindled, crumple-horned cow that she ties out to graze every morning and milks at evening.
Charley is squat of figure, short neck, popeyed, and has white hair. He tills the two acres and produces garden truck that he finds a sale for among the employees of the Winnsboro mills, just across the railroad from his home. He likes to talk, and pricks up his ears,(so to speak), whenever anything is related as having occurred in the past. He will importune those present to hear his version of the event unusual.
"Well sah, dis is a pleasure to have you call 'pon me, howsomever it be unexpected dis mornin'. Shoo! (driving the chickens out of the house) Shoo! Git out of here and go scratch a livin' for them chickens, dat's followin' you yet, and you won't wean and git to layin' again. Fust thing you know you'll be spoilin' de floor, when us is got company dis very minute. Scat! Maggie; git them cats out de chairs long 'nough for Mr. Wood to set in one whilst he's come to see me dis mornin'.
"And dat's it? You wants me to talk over de days dat am gone? How dis come 'bout and how dat come 'bout, from de day I was born, to dis very hour? Let's light, up our smokestacks befo' us begin. Maybe you wants a drink of, water. Maggie, fetch de water here!
"How old you think I is, sixty-five? My goodness! Do you hear dat Maggie? (Rubbing his hands; his eyes shining with pleasure) Take another look and make another guess. Seventy-five? You is growin' warm but you'll have to come again!
"Bless your soul Marse Wood, you know what old Mudder Shifton say? She 'low dat: 'In de year 1881, de world to an end will surely come'. I was twenty-five years old when all de niggers and most of de white folks was believin' dat old lady and lookin' for de world to come to an end in 1881. Dat was de year dat I jined de church, 'cause I wanted to make sure dat if de end did come, I'd be caught up in dat rapture dat de white Methodist preacher was preachin' 'bout and explainin' to my marster and mistress at deir house on de piazza dat year.
"I is eighty-one years old. I was born up on de Wateree River, close to Great Falls. My marster was Ozmond Barber. My mistress was name Miss Elizabeth; her de wife of Marse Ozmond. My pappy was name Jacob. My mammy went by de name of Jemima. They both come from Africa where they was born. They was 'ticed on a ship, fetch 'cross de ocean to Virginny, fetch to Winnsboro by a slave drover, and sold to my marster's father. Dat what they tell me. When they was sailin' over, dere was five or six hundred others all together down under de first deck of de ship, where they was locked in. They never did talk lak de other slaves, could just' say a few words, use deir hands, and make signs. They want deir collards, turnips, and deir 'tators, raw. They lak sweet milk so much they steal it.
"Pappy care-nothin' 'bout clothes and wouldn't wear shoes in de winter time or any time. It was 'ginst de law to bring them over here when they did, I learn since. But what is de law now and what was de law then, when bright shiny money was in sight? Money make de automobile go. Money make de train go. Money make de mare go, and at dat time I 'spect money make de ships go. Yes sir, they, my pappy and mammy, was just smuggled in dis part of de world, I bet you!
"War come on, my marster went out as a captain of de Horse Marines. A tune was much sung by de white folks on de place and took wid de niggers. It went lak dis:
'I'm Captain Jenks of de Horse Marines I feed my horse on corn and beans. Oh! I'm Captain Jenks of de Horse Marines And captain in de army!'"
"When de Yankees come they seem to have special vengeance for my white folks. They took everything they could carry off and burnt everything they couldn't carry off.
"Mistress and de chillun have to go to Chester to git a place to sleep and eat, wid kinfolks. De niggers just lay 'round de place 'til master rode in, after de war, on a horse; him have money and friends and git things goin' agin. I stay on dere 'til '76. Then I come to Winnsboro and git a job as section hand laborer on de railroad. Out of de fust money,—(I git paid off de pay train then; company run a special pay train out of Columbia to Charlotte. They stop at every station and pay de hands off at de rear end of de train in cash). Well, as I was a sayin': Out de fust money, I buys me a red shirt and dat November I votes and de fust vote I put in de box was for Governor Wade Hampton. Dat was de fust big thing I done.
"De nex' big thing I done was fall in love wid Mary Wylie. Dat come 'bout on de second pay day. De other nigger gals say her marry me for my money but I never have believed it. White ladies do dat 'kalkilating' trick sometime but you take a blue-gum nigger gal, all wool on de top of her head and lak to dance and jig wid her foots, to pattin' and fiddle music, her ain't gonna have money in de back of her head when her pick out a man to marry. Her gonna want a man wid muscles on his arms and back and I had them. Usin' dat pick and shovel on de railroad just give me what it took to git Mary. Us had ten chillun. Some dead, some marry and leave. My wife die year befo' last. Maggie is puny, as you see, and us gits 'long wid de goodness of de Lord and de white folks.
"I b'longs to de St. John Methodist Church in Middlesix, part of Winnsboro. They was havin' a rival (revival) meetin' de night of de earthquake, last day of August, in 1886. Folks had hardly got over de scare of 1881, 'bout de world comin' to an end. It was on Tuesday night, if I don't disremember, 'bout 9 o'clock. De preacher was prayin', just after de fust sermon, but him never got to de amen part of dat prayer. Dere come a noise or rumblin', lak far off thunder, seem lak it come from de northwest, then de church begin to rock lak a baby's cradle. Dere was great excitement. Old Aunt Melvina holler: 'De world comin' to de end'. De preacher say: 'Oh, Lordy', and run out of de pulpit. Everbody run out de church in de moonlight. When de second quake come, 'bout a minute after de fust, somebody started up de cry: 'De devil under de church! De devil under de church! De devil gwine to take de church on his back and run away wid de church!' People never stop runnin' 'til they got to de court house in town. Dere they 'clare de devil done take St. John's Church on his back and fly away to hell wid it. Marse Henry Galliard make a speech and tell them what it was and beg them to go home. Dat Mr. Skinner, de telegraph man at de depot, say de main part of it was way down 'bout Charleston, too far away for anybody to git hurt here, 'less a brick from a chimney fall on somebody's head. De niggers mostly believes what a fine man, lak Marse Henry, tell them. De crowd git quiet. Some of them go home but many of them, down in de low part of town, set on de railroad track in de moonlight, all night. I was mighty sleepy de nex' mornin' but I work on de railroad track just de same. Dat night folks come back to St. John's Church, find it still dere, and such a outpourin' of de spirit was had as never was had befo' or since.
"Just think! Dat has been fifty-one years ago. Them was de glorious horse and buggy days. Dere was no air-ships, no autos and no radios. White folks had horses to drive. Niggers had mules to ride to a baseball game, to see white folks run lak de patarollers (patrollers) was after them and they holler lak de world was on fire."
Project #1655 W. W. Dixon Winnsboro, S. C.
ED BARBER EX-SLAVE 77 YEARS OLD.
Ed Barber lives in a small one-room house in the midst of a cotton field on the plantation of Mr. A. M. Owens, ten miles southeast of Winnsboro, S. C. He lives alone and does his own cooking and housekeeping. He is a bright mulatto, has an erect carriage and posture, appears younger than his age, is intelligent and enjoys recounting the tales of his lifetime. His own race doesn't give him much countenance. His friends in the old days of reconstruction were white people. He presumes on such past affiliation and considers himself better than the full-blooded Negro.
"It's been a long time since I see you. Maybe you has forgot but I ain't forgot de fust time I put dese lookers on you, in '76. Does you 'members dat day? It was in a piece of pines beyond de Presbyterian Church, in Winnsboro, S. C. Us both had red shirts. You was a ridin' a gray pony and I was a ridin' a red mule, sorrel like. You say dat wasn't '76? Well, how come it wasn't? Ouillah Harrison, another nigger, was dere, though he was a man. Both of us got to arguin'. He 'low he could vote for Hampton and I couldn't, 'cause I wasn't 21. You say it was '78 'stead of '76, dat day in de pines when you was dere? Well! Well! I sho' been thinkin' all dis time it was '76.
"'Member de fight dat day when Mr. Pole Barnadore knock Mr. Blanchard down, while de speakin' was a gwine on? You does? Well, us come to common 'greement on dat, bless God!
"Them was scary times! Me bein' just half nigger and half white man, I knowed which side de butter was on de bread. Who I see dere? Well, dere was a string of red shirts a mile long, dat come into Winnsboro from White Oak. And another from Flint Hill, over de Pea Ferry road, a mile long. De bar-rooms of de town did a big business dat day. Seem lak it was de fashion to git drunk all 'long them days.
"Them red shirts was de monkey wrench in de cotton-gin of de carpet bag party. I's here to tell you. If a nigger git hungry, all he have to do is go to de white folk's house, beg for a red shirt, and explain hisself a democrat. He might not git de shirt right then but he git his belly full of everything de white folks got, and de privilege of comin' to dat trough sometime agin.
"You wants me to tell you 'bout who I is, where I born, and how old I is? Well, just cross examine me and I'll tell you de facts as best I knows how.
"I was born twelve miles east of Winnsboro, S. C. My marster say it was de 18th of January, 1860.
"My mother name Ann. Her b'long to my marster, James Barber. Dat's not a fair question when you ask me who my daddy was. Well, just say he was a white man and dat my mother never did marry nobody, while he lived. I was de onliest child my mother ever had.
"After freedom my mother raised me on de Marse Adam Barber place, up by Rocky Mount and Mitford. I stayed dere 'til all de 'citement of politics die down. My help was not wanted so much at de 'lection boxes, so I got to roamin' 'round to fust one place and then another. But wheresomever I go, I kept a thinkin' 'bout Rosa and de ripe may-pops in de field in cotton pickin' time. I landed back to de Barber place and after a skirmish or two wid de old folks, marry de gal de Lord always 'tended for me to marry. Her name was Rosa Ford. You ask me if she was pretty? Dat's a strange thing. Do you ever hear a white person say a colored woman is pretty? I never have but befo' God when I was trampin' 'round Charleston, dere was a church dere called St. Mark, dat all de society folks of my color went to. No black nigger welcome dere, they told me. Thinkin' as how I was bright 'nough to git in, I up and goes dere one Sunday. Ah, how they did carry on, bow and scrape and ape de white folks. I see some pretty feathers, pretty fans, and pretty women dere! I was uncomfortable all de time though, 'cause they was too 'hifalootin' in de ways, in de singin', and all sorts of carryin' ons.
"Glad you fetch me back to Rosa. Us marry and had ten chillun. Francis, Thompkins, William, Jim, Levi, Ab and Oz is dead. Katie marry a Boykin and is livin' in New York. My wife, Rosa, die on dis place of Mr. Owens.
"I lives in a house by myself. I hoes a little cotton, picks plums and blackberries but dewberries 'bout played out.
"My marster, James Barber, went through de Civil War and died. I begs you, in de name of de good white folks of '76 and Wade Hampton, not to forget me in dis old age pension business.
"What I think of Abe Lincoln? I think he was a poor buckra white man, to de likes of me. Although, I 'spects Mr. Lincoln meant well but I can't help but wish him had continued splittin' them fence rails, which they say he knowed all 'bout, and never took a hand in runnin' de government of which he knowed nothin' 'bout. Marse Jeff Davis was all right, but him oughta got out and fought some, lak General Lee, General Jackson and 'Poleon Bonaparte. Us might have won de war if he had turned up at some of de big battles lak Gettysburg, 'Chickenmaroger', and 'Applemattox'. What you think 'bout dat?
"Yes sah, I has knowed a whole lot of good white men. Marse General Bratton, Marse Ed P. Mobley, Marse Will Durham, dat owned dis house us now settin' in, and Dr. Henry Gibson. Does I know any good colored men? I sho' does! Dere's Professor Benjamin Russell at Blackstock. You knows him. Then dere was Ouillah Harrison, dat own a four-hoss team and a saddle hoss, in red shirt days. One time de brass band at Winnsboro, S. C. wanted to go to Camden, S. C. to play at de speakin' of Hampton. He took de whole band from Winnsboro to Camden, dat day, free of charge. Ah! De way dat band did play all de way to Ridgeway, down de road to Longtown, cross de Camden Ferry, and right into de town. Dere was horns a blowin', drums a beatin', and people a shoutin': 'Hurrah for Hampton!' Some was a singin': 'Hang Dan Chamberlain on a Sour Apple Tree'. Ouillah come home and found his wife had done had a boy baby. What you reckon? He name dat boy baby, Wade Hampton. When he come home to die, he lay his hand on dat boy's head and say: 'Wade, 'member who you name for and always vote a straight out democrat ticket'. Which dat boy did!"
Project #1655 W. W. Dixon Winnsboro, S. C.
MILLIE BARBER EX-SLAVE 82 YEARS OLD.
"Hope you find yourself well dis mornin', white folks. I's just common; 'spect I eats too much yesterday. You know us celebrated yesterday, 'cause it was de Fourth of July. Us had a good dinner on dis 2,000 acre farm of Mr. Owens. God bless dat white boss man! What would us old no 'count niggers do widout him? Dere's six or seven, maybe eight of us out here over eighty years old. 'Most of them is like me, not able to hit a lick of work, yet he take care of us; he sho' does.
"Mr. Owens not a member of de church but he allowed dat he done found out dat it more blessed to give than to receive, in case like us.
"You wants to know all 'bout de slavery time, de war, de Ku Kluxes and everything? My tongue too short to tell you all dat I knows. However, if it was as long as my stockin's, I could tell you a trunk full of good and easy, bad and hard, dat dis old life-stream have run over in eighty-two years. I's hoping to reach at last them green fields of Eden of de Promise Land. 'Scuse me ramblin' 'round, now just ask me questions; I bet I can answer all you ask.
"My pa name, Tom McCullough; him was a slave of old Marster John McCullough, whose big two-story house is de oldest in Fairfield County. It stands today on a high hill, just above de banks of Dutchman Creek. Big road run right by dat house. My mammy name, Nicie. Her b'long to de Weir family; de head of de family die durin' de war of freedom. I's not supposed to know all he done, so I'll pass over dat. My mistress name, Eliza; good mistress. Have you got down dere dat old marster just took sick and die, 'cause he wasn't touched wid a bullet nor de life slashed out of him wid a sword?
"Well, my pa b'longin' to one man and my mammy b'longin' to another, four or five miles apart, caused some confusion, mix-up, and heartaches. My pa have to git a pass to come to see my mammy. He come sometimes widout de pass. Patrollers catch him way up de chimney hidin' one night; they stripped him right befo' mammy and give him thirty-nine lashes, wid her cryin' and a hollerin' louder than he did.
"Us lived in a log house; handmade bedstead, wheat straw mattress, cotton pillows, plenty coverin' and plenty to eat, sich as it was. Us never git butter or sweet milk or coffee. Dat was for de white folks but in de summer time, I minds de flies off de table wid the peafowl feather brush and eat in de kitchen just what de white folks eat; them was very good eatin's I's here for to tell you. All de old slaves and them dat worked in de field, got rations and de chillun were fed at de kitchen out-house. What did they git? I 'members they got peas, hog meat, corn bread, 'lasses, and buttermilk on Sunday, then they got greens, turnips, taters, shallots, collards, and beans through de week. They were kept fat on them kind of rations.
"De fact is I can't 'member us ever had a doctor on de place; just a granny was enough at child birth. Slave women have a baby one day, up and gwine 'round de next day, singin' at her work lak nothin' unusual had happened.
"Did I ever git a whippin'? Dat I did. How many times? More than I can count on fingers and toes. What I git a whippin' for? Oh, just one thing, then another. One time I break a plate while washin' dishes and another time I spilt de milk on de dinin' room floor. It was always for somethin', sir. I needed de whippin'.
"Yes sir, I had two brothers older than me; one sister older than me and one brother younger than me.
"My young marster was killed in de war. Their names was Robert, Smith, and Jimmie. My young mistress, Sarah, married a Sutton and moved to Texas. Nancy marry Mr. Wade Rawls. Miss Janie marry Mr. Hugh Melving. At this marriage my mammy was give to Miss Janie and she was took to Texas wid her young baby, Isaiah, in her arms. I have never seen or heard tell of them from dat day to dis.
"De Yankees come and burn de gin-house and barns. Open de smokehouse, take de meat, give de slaves some, shoot de chickens, and as de mistress and girls beg so hard, they left widout burnin' de dwellin' house.
"My oldest child, Alice, is livin' and is fifty-one years old de 10th of dis last May gone. My first husband was Levi Young; us lived wid Mr. Knox Picket some years after freedom. We moved to Mr. Rubin Lumpkin's plantation, then to George Boulwares. Well, my husband die and I took a fool notion, lak most widows, and got into slavery again. I marry Prince Barber; Mr. John Hollis, Trial Justice, tied de knot. I loved dat young nigger more than you can put down dere on paper, I did. He was black and shiny as a crow's wing. Him was white as snow to dese old eyes. Ah, the joy, de fusses, de ructions, de beatin's, and de makin' ups us had on de Ed Shannon place where us lived. Us stay dere seven long years.
"Then de Klu Kluxes comed and lak to scared de life out of me. They ask where Prince was, searched de house and go away. Prince come home 'bout daylight. Us took fright, went to Marster Will Durham's and asked for advice and protection. Marster Will Durham fixed it up. Next year us moved to dis place, he own it then but Marster Arthur Owens owns it now. Dere is 2,000 acres in dis place and another 1,000 acres in de Rubin Lumpkin place 'joinin' it.
"Prince die on dis place and I is left on de mercy of Marster Arthur, livin' in a house wid two grandchillun, James twelve years, and John Roosevelt Barber, eight years old. Dese boys can work a little. They can pick cotton and tote water in de field for de hands and marster say: 'Every little help'.
"My livin' chillun ain't no help to me. Dere's Willie, I don't know where he is. Prince is wid Mr. Freeman on de river. Maggie is here on de place but she no good to me.
"I 'spect when I gits to drawin' down dat pension de white folks say is comin', then dere will be more folks playin' in my backyard than dere is today."
Project 1655 W. W. Dixon Winnsboro, S. C.
ANDERSON BATES EX-SLAVE 87 YEARS OLD.
Anderson Bates lives with his son-in-law and daughter, Ed and Dora Owens, in a three-room frame house, on lands of Mr. Dan Heyward, near the Winnsboro Granite Company, Winnsboro, S. C. Anderson and his wife occupy one of the rooms and his rent is free. His son-in-law has regular employment at the Winnsboro Cotton Mills. His wife, Carrie, looks after the house. Anderson and his daughter, Dora, are day laborers on the neighborhood farms, but he is able to do very little work.
"I was born on de old Dr. Furman place, near Jenkinsville, S. C., in de year, 1850. My pappy was name Nat and mammy name Winnie. They was slaves of old Dr. Furman, dat have a big plantation, one hundred slaves, and a whole lot of little slave chillun, dat him wouldn't let work. They run 'round in de plum thickets, blackberry bushes, hunt wild strawberries, blow cane whistles, and have a good time.
"De old Dr. Furman house is ramshackle but it is still standin' out dere and is used as a shelter for sawmill hands dat is cuttin' down de big pines and sawin' them on de place.
"Where did my pappy and mammy come from? Mammy was born a slave in de Furman family in Charleston, but pappy was bought out of a drove dat a Baltimore speculator fetch from Maryland long befo' de war. Doctor practice all 'round and 'bout Monticello, happen 'long one day, see my pappy and give a thousand dollars for him, to dat speculator. I thank God for dat!
"Dr. Furman, my old marster, have a brudder called Jim, dat run de Furman School, fust near Winnsboro, then it move to Greenville, S. C.
"My mistress name Nancy. Her was of de quality. Her voice was soft and quiet to de slaves. Her teach us to sing:
'Dere is a happy land, far, far 'way, Where bright angels stand, far, far 'way, Oh! How them angels sing! Oh! How them bells ring! In dat happy land, far, far 'way!'
"Dere was over a thousand acres, maybe two thousand in dat old Furman place. Them sawmill folks give $30,000.00 for it, last year.
"My pappy and mammy was field hands. My brudders and sisters was: Liddie, Millie, Ria, Ella, Harriet, Thomas, Smith, and Marshall. All dead but me and Marshall.
"I was fifteen when de Yankees come thru. They took off everything, hosses, mules, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, geese, and chickens. Hogs? Yes sah, they kill hogs and take off what parts they want and leave other parts bleedin' on de yard. When they left, old marster have to go up into Union County for rations.
"Dat's funny, you wants to set down dere 'bout my courtship and weddin'? Well, sir, I stay on de old plantation, work for my old marster, de doctor, and fell head over heels in love wid Carrie. Dere was seven more niggers a flyin' 'round dat sugar lump of a gal in de night time when I breezes in and takes charge of de fireside cheer. I knocks one down one night, kick another out de nex' night, and choke de stuffin' out of one de nex' night. I landed de three-leg stool on de head of de fourth one, de last time. Then de others carry deir 'fections to some other place than Carrie's house. Us have some hard words 'bout my bad manners, but I told her dat I couldn't 'trol my feelin's wid them fools a settin' 'round dere gigglin' wid her. I go clean crazy!
"Then us git married and go to de ten-acre quarry wid Mr. Anderson. I work dere a while and then go to Captain Macfie, then to his son, Wade, and then to Marse Rice Macfie. Then I go back to de quarry, drill and git out stone. They pay me $3.50 a day 'til de Parr Shoals Power come in wid 'lectric power drills and I was cut down to eighty cents a day. Then I say: 'Old grey hoss! Damn 'lectric toolin', I's gwine to leave.' I went to Hopewell, Virginia, and work wid de DuPonts for five years. War come on and they ask me to work on de acid area. De atmosphere dere tear all de skin off my face and arms, but I stuck it out to de end of de big war, for $7.20 a day. I drunk a good deal of liquor then, but I sent money to Carrie all de time and fetch her a roll every fourth of July and on Christmas. After de war they dismantle de plant and I come back to work for Mr. Eleazer, on de Saluda River for $2.00 a day, for five years.
"Carrie have chillun by me. Dere was Anderson, my son, ain't see him in forty years. Essie, my daughter, marry Herbert Perrin. Dora, another daughter, marry Ed Owens. Ed makes good money workin' at de factory in Winnsboro. They have seven chillun. Us tries to keep them chillun in school but they don't have de good times I had when a child, a eatin' cracklin' bread and buttermilk, liver, pig-tails, hog-ears and turnip greens.
"Does I 'member anything 'bout de Klu Kluxes? Jesus, yes! My old marster, de doctor, in goin' 'round, say out loud to people dat Klu Kluxes was doin' some things they ought not to do, by 'stortin' money out of niggers just 'cause they could.
"When he was gone to Union one day, a low-down pair of white men come, wid false faces, to de house and ask where Dick Bell was. Miss Nancy say her don't know. They go hunt for him. Dick made a bee-line for de house. They pull out hoss pistols, fust time, 'pow'. Dick run on, secon' time, 'pow'. Dick run on, third time, 'pow' and as Dick reach de front yard de ball from de third shot keel him over lak a hit rabbit. Old miss run out but they git him. Her say: 'I give you five dollars to let him 'lone.' They say: 'Not 'nough.' Her say: 'I give you ten dollars.' They say: 'Not 'nough.' Her say: 'I give you fifteen dollars.' They say: 'Not 'nough.' Her say: 'I give you twenty-five dollars.' They take de money and say: 'Us'll be back tomorrow for de other Dick.' They mean Dick James.
"Nex' day, us see them a comin' again. Dick James done load up de shotgun wid buckshot. When they was comin' up de front steps, Uncle Dick say to us all in de big house: 'Git out de way!' De names of de men us find out afterwards was Bishop and Fitzgerald. They come up de steps, wid Bishop in de front. Uncle Dick open de door, slap dat gun to his shoulder, and pull de trigger. Dat man Bishop hollers: 'Oh Lordy.' He drop dead and lay dere 'til de coroner come. Fitzgerald leap 'way. They bring Dick to jail, try him right in dat court house over yonder. What did they do wid him? Well, when Marse Bill Stanton, Marse Elisha Ragsdale and Miss Nancy tell 'bout it all from de beginnin' to de end, de judge tell de jury men dat Dick had a right to protect his home, and hisself, and to kill dat white man and to turn him loose. Dat was de end of de Klu Kluxes in Fairfield."
Project 1885-1 From Field Notes Spartanburg, Dist. 4 April 28. 1937 Edited by: Elmer Turnage
FOLK LORE: FOLK TALES (negro)
"I sho members when de soldiers come home from de war. All de women folks, both black as well as white wuz so glad to see 'em back dat we jus jumped up and hollered 'Oh, Lawdy, God bless you.' When you would look around a little, you would see some widout an arm or maybe dey would be a walkin' wid a cruch or a stick. Den you would cry some widout lettin your white folks see you. But Jane, de worsest time of all fer us darkies wuz when de Ku Klux killed Dan Black. We wuz little chilluns a playin' in Dans house. We didn't know he had done nothin' ginst de white folks. Us wuz a playin by de fire jus as nice when something hit on de wall. Dan, he jump up and try to git outten de winder. A white spooky thing had done come in de doo' right by me. I was so scairt dat I could not git up. I had done fell straight out on de flo'. When Dan stick his head outten dat winder something say bang and he fell right down in de flo'. I crawles under de bed. When I got dar, all de other chilluns wuz dar to, lookin' as white as ashed dough from hickory wood. Us peeped out and den us duck under de bed agin. Ain't no bed ebber done as much good as dat one. Den a whole lot of dem come in de house. De wuz all white and scairy lookin'. It still makes de shivvers run down my spine and here I is ole and you all a settin' around wid me and two mo' wars done gone since dat awful time. Dan Black, he wo'nt no mo' kaise dey took dat nigger and hung him to a simmon tree. Dey would not let his folks take him down either. He jus stayed dar till he fell to pieces.
"After dat when us chilluns seed de Ku Klux a comin', us would take an' run breakneck speed to de nearest wood. Dar we would stay till dey wuz plum out o' sight and you could not even hear de horses feet. Dem days wuz worse'n de war. Yes Lawd, dey wuz worse'n any war I is ebber heard of.
"Was not long after dat fore de spooks wuz a gwine round ebber whar. When you would go out atter dark, somethin' would start to a haintin' ye. You would git so scairt dat you would mighty ni run every time you went out atter dark; even iffin you didn't see nothin'. Chile, don't axe me what I seed. Atter all dat killin' and a burnin' you know you wuz bliged to see things wid all dem spirits in distress a gwine all over de land. You see, it is like dis, when a man gits killed befo he is done what de good Lawd intended fer him to do, he comes back here and tries to find who done him wrong. I mean he don' come back hisself, but de spirit, it is what comes and wanders around. Course, it can't do nothin', so it jus scares folks and haints dem."
Source: "Aunt" Millie Bates, 25 Hamlet street, Union, S. C. Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C.
Project #1655 Mrs. Genevieve W. Chandler Murrells Inlet, S. C. Georgetown County
VISIT WITH UNCLE WELCOME BEES—AGE 104 YEARS
The road is perfectly camouflaged from the King's Highway by wild plums that lap overhead. Only those who have traveled this way before could locate the 'turn in' to Uncle Welcome's house. When you have turned in and come suddenly out from the plum thicket you find your road winding along with cultivated patches on the left—corn and peas—a fenced-in garden, the palings riven out by hand, and thick dark woods on the left. A lonesome, untenanted cabin is seemingly in the way but your car swings to the left instead of climbing the door-step and suddenly you find you are facing a bog. The car may get through; it may not. So you switch off and just sit a minute, seeing how the land lies. A great singing and chopping of wood off to the left have kept the inmates from hearing the approach of a car. When you rap therefore you hear, 'Come in'.
A narrow hall runs through to the back porch and off this hall on your right opens a door from beyond which comes a very musical squeaking—you know a rocking chair is going hard—even before you see it in motion with a fuzzy little head that rests on someone's shoulder sticking over the top. And the fuzzy head which in size is like a small five-cent cocoanut, belongs to Uncle Welcome's great-grand. On seeing a visitor the grand, the mother of the infant, rises and smiles greeting, and, learning your errand, points back to the kitchen to show where Uncle Welcome sits. You step down one step and ask him if you may come in and he pats a chair by his side. The old man isn't so spry as he was when you saw him in the fall; the winter has been hard. But here it is warm again and at most four in the April afternoon, he sits over his plate of hopping John—he and innumerable flies. At his feet, fairly under the front of a small iron stove, sits another great-grand with a plate of peas between her legs. Peas and rice, 'hopping John'. (Someone says peas and hominy cooked together makes "limping Lizzie in the Low-Country." But that is another story.)
* * * * *
"Uncle Welcome, isn't Uncle Jeemes Stuart the oldest liver on Sandy Island?" Welcome: "Jeemes Stuart? I was married man when he born. Jeemes rice-field. (Worker in rice-field) posed himself. In all kinds of weather. Cut you down, down, down. Jeemes second wife gal been married before but her husband dead.
"I couldn't tell the date or time I born. Your Maussa (Master) take it down. When I been marry, Dr. Ward Fadder (Father) aint been marry yet. My mother had twelve head born Oatland. He bought my mother from Virginia. Dolly. Sam her husband name. Sam come from same course. When my mother been bought, her been young woman. Work in rice. Plow right now (Meaning April is time to plow rice fields). I do carpenter work and mind horse for plantation. Come from Georgetown in boat. Have you own carriage. Go anywhere you want to go. Oatland church build for colored people and po-buckra. I helped build that church. The boss man, Mr. Bettman. My son Isaac sixty-nine. If him sixty-nine, I one hundred four. That's my record. Maussa didn't low you to marry till you twenty-two. Ben Allston own Turkey Hill. When him dead, I was twelve years old. Me! (Knocking his chest)"
Welcome Bees— Parkersville, S. C. (Near Waverly Mills, S. C.) Age 104.
Project #1655 W. W. Dixon Winnsboro, S. C.
ANNE BELL EX-SLAVE 83 YEARS OLD. HW: (near Winnsboro, S. C.)]
Anne Bell lives with her niece, in a one-room annex to a two-room frame house, on the plantation of Mr. Lake Howze, six miles west of Winnsboro, S. C. Her niece's husband, Golden Byrd, is a share-cropper on Mr. Howze's place. The old lady is still spry and energetic about the cares of housekeeping and attention to the small children of her niece. She is a delightful old lady and well worth her keep in the small chores she undertakes and performs in the household.
"My marster was John Glazier Rabb; us call him Marse Glazier. My mistress was Nancy Kincaid Watts; us call her Miss Nancy. They lived on a big plantation in Fairfield County and dere I come into dis world, eighty-three years ago, 10th day of April past.
"My pappy name just Andy but after de freedom, he took de name of Andrew Watts. My old mammy was Harriett but she come to you if you calls her Hattie. My brudders was Jake and Rafe. My sister name Charity. They all dead and gone to glory long time ago; left me here 'lone by myself and I's settin' here tellin' you 'bout them.
"My mammy was de cook at de 'Big House' for marster, Miss Nancy, and de chillun. Let me see if I can call them over in my mind. Dere was Marse John, went off to de war, color bearer at Seven Pines. Yes sir, him was killed wid de colors a flyin' in his hand. Heard tell of it many times. He lies right now in de old Buck Church graveyard. De pine trees, seven of them, cry and sob 'round him every August 6th; dat's de day he was killed. Oh, my God!
"Marse James went wid old Colonel Rion. They say he got shot but bullets couldn't kill him. No, bless God! Him comed back. Then come Marse Clarence. He went wid Captain Jim Macfie, went through it all and didn't get a scratch. Next was Miss Jesse. Then come Marse Horace, and Miss Nina. Us chillun all played together. Marse Horace is livin' yet and is a fine A. R.P. preacher of de Word. Miss Nina a rich lady, got plantation but live 'mong de big bugs in Winnsboro. She married Mr. Castles; she is a widow now. He was a good man, but he dead now.
"De one I minds next, is Charlie. I nussed him. He married Colonel Province's daughter. Dat's all I can call to mind, right now.
"Course de white folks I b'longs to, had more slaves than I got fingers and toes; whole families of them. De carpenter and de blacksmith on de place made de bedsteads. Us had good wheat straw mattresses to sleep on; cotton quilts, spreads, and cotton pillows. No trouble to sleep but it was hard to hear dat white overseer say at day break: 'Let me hear them foots hit de floor and dat befo' I go! Be lively! Hear me?' And you had to answer, 'Yas sah', befo' he'd move on to de nex' house. I does 'member de parts of de bed, was held together by wooden pins. I sho' 'members dat!
"Mammy Harriett was de cook. I didn't done no work but 'tend to de chillun and tote water.
"Money? Go 'way from here, boss! Lord, no sir, I never saw no money. What I want wid it anyhow?
"How did they feed us? Had better things to eat then, than now and more different kind of somethin's. Us had pears, 'lasses, shorts, middlings of de wheat, corn bread, and all kinds of milk and vegetables.
"Got a whuppin' once. They wanted me to go after de turkeys and I didn't want to go past de graveyard, where de turkeys was. I sho' didn't want to go by them graves. I's scared now to go by a graveyard in de dark. I took de whuppin' and somebody else must have got de turkeys. Sho' I didn't drive them up!
"Slaves spun de thread, loomed de cloth, and made de clothes for de plantation. Don't believe I had any shoes. I was just a small gal anyhow then, didn't need them and didn't want them.
"Yes, I's seen nigger women plow. Church? I wouldn't fool you, all de slaves big enough and not sick, had to go to church on de Sabbath.
"They give us a half Saturday, to do as we like.
"I was 'bout ten years old when de Yankees come. They was full to de brim wid mischief. They took de frocks out de presses and put them on and laugh and carry on powerful. Befo' they went they took everything. They took de meat and 'visions out de smoke-house, and de 'lasses, sugar, flour, and meal out de house. Killed de pigs and cows, burnt de gin-house and cotton, and took off de live stock, geese, chickens and turkeys.
"After de freedom, I stayed on wid mammy right dere, 'til I married Levi Bell. I's had two chillun. Dis my grand-daughter, I visitin'. I never 'spects to have as good a home as I had in slavery time, 'til I gits my title to dat mansion in de sky. Dats de reason I likes to sing dat old plantation spiritual, 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Jesus Gwinter Carry me Home'. Does I believe in 'ligion? What else good for colored folks? I ask you if dere ain't a heaven, what's colored folks got to look forward to? They can't git anywhere down here. De only joy they can have here, is servin' and lovin'; us can git dat in 'ligion but dere is a limit to de nigger in everything else. Course I knows my place in dis world; I 'umbles myself here to be 'zalted up yonder."
Project 1885-1 FOLKLORE Spartanburg, Dist. 4 July 26, 1937 Edited by: Elmer Turnage
"I was raised in the wood across the road about 200 yards from here. I was very mischievous. My parents were honest and were Christians. I loved them very much. My father was William Bevis, who died at the age of eighty. Miss Zelia Hames of Pea Ridge was my mother. My parents are buried at Bethlehem Methodist Church. I was brought up in Methodism and I do not know anything else. I had two brothers and four sisters. My twin sister died last April 1937. She was Fannie Holcombe. I was in bed with pneumonia at the time of her death and of course I could not go to the funeral. For a month, I was unconscious.
"When I was a little girl I played 'Andy-over' with a ball, in the moonlight. Later I went to parties and dances. Calico, chambric and gingham were the materials which our party dresses were made of.
"My grandmother, Mrs. Phoebe Bevis used to tell Revolutionary stories and sing songs that were sung during that period. Grandmother knew some Tories. She always told me that old Nat Gist was a Tory ... that is the way he got rich.
"Hampton was elected governor the morning my mother died. Father went in his carriage to Jonesville to vote for Hampton. We all thought that Hampton was fine.
"When I was a school girl I used the blue back speller. My sweetheart's name was Ben Harris. We went to Bethlehem to school. Jeff and Bill Harris were our teachers. I was thirteen. We went together for six years. The Confederate War commenced. He was very handsome. He had black eyes and black hair. I had seven curls on one side of my head and seven on the other. He was twenty-four when he joined the 'Boys of Sixteen'.
"He wanted to marry me then, but father would not let us marry. He kissed me good bye and went off to Virginia. He was a picket and was killed while on duty at Mars Hill. Bill Harris was in a tent nearby and heard the shot. He brought Ben home. I went to the funeral. I have never been much in-love since then.
"I hardly ever feel sad. I did not feel especially sad during the war. I made socks, gloves and sweaters for the Confederate soldiers and also knitted for the World War soldiers. During the war, there were three looms and three shuttles in our house.
"I went often to the muster grounds at Kelton to see the soldiers drill and to flirt my curls at them. Pa always went with me to the muster field. Once he invited four recruits to dine with us. We had a delicious supper. That was before the Confederacy was paralyzed. Two darkies waited on our table that night, Dorcas and Charlotte. A fire burned in our big fireplace and a lamp hung over the table. After supper was over, we all sat around the fire in its flickering light.
"My next lover was Jess Holt and he was drowned in the Mississippi River. He was a carpenter and was building a warf on the river. He fell in and was drowned in a whirlpool."
Source: Miss Caroline Bevis (W. 96), County Home, Union, S. C. Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S. C. (7/13/37)
Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis Place, Marion, S. C. Date, June 21, 1937
MAGGIE BLACK Ex-Slave, 79 years
"Honey, I don' know wha' to tell yuh 'bout dem times back dere. Yuh see I wus jes uh young child when de free war close en I ain' know much to tell yuh. I born o'er de river dere to Massa Jim Wilkerson plantation. Don' know wha' 'come uv my ole Massa chillun a'ter dey head been gone. Yuh see, honey, Massa Jim Wilkerson hab uh heap uv slave en he hire my mudder out to Colonel Durant place right down de road dere whey Miss Durant lib now. Coase I been back o'er de river to visit 'mongest de peoples dere a'ter freedom wuz 'clare, but I ain' ne'er lib dere no more."
"Gawd been good to me, honey. I been heah uh long ole time en I can' see mucha dese days, but I gettin' 'long sorta so-so. I wuz train up to be uh nu'se 'oman en I betcha I got chillun more den any 60 year ole 'bout heah now dat I nu'se when dey wuz fust come heah. No, honey, ain' got no chillun uv me own. Aw my chillun white lak yuh."
"No, no'mam, dey wear long ole frock den en uh girl comin' on dere when dey ge' to be any kind uv uh girl, dey put dat frock down. Oh, my child, dey can' ge' em short 'nough dese days. Ain' hab nuthin but uh string on dese day en time. Dey use'er wear dem big ole hoop skirt dat sit out broad lak from de ankle en den dey wear little panty dat show down twixt dey skirt en dey ankle. Jes tie em 'round dey knees wid some sorta string en le' em show dat way 'bout dey ankle. I 'member we black chillun'ud go in de woods en ge' wild grape vine en bend em round en put em under us skirt en make it stand out big lak. Hadder hab uh big ole ring fa de bottom uv de skirt en den one uh little bit smaller eve'y time dey ge' closer to de waist. Ne'er hab none tall in de waist cause dat wuz s'ppose to be little bitty t'ing."
"Dey weave aw de cloth dey use den right dere on de plantation. Wear cotton en woolens aw de time den. Coase de Madam, she could go en ge' de finest kind uv silk cause mos' uv her t'ing come from 'broad. Child, I c'n see my ole mammy how she look workin' dat spinning wheel jes us good uz ef dat day wuz dis day right heah. She set dere at dat ole spinning wheel en take one shettle en t'row it one way en den annuder de udder way en pull dat t'ing en make it tighter en tighter. Sumptin say zum, zum, zum, en den yuh hadder work yuh feet dere too. Dat wuz de way dey make dey cloth dat day en time."
"Honey, peoples hadder work dey hand fa eve'yt'ing dey hab mos' den. Dey grew dey own rice right dere on de plantation in dem days. Hadder plant it on some uv de land wha' wuz weter den de udder land wuz. Dey hadder le' de rice ge' good en ripe en den dey'ud cut it en hab one uv dem big rice whipping days. Heap uv people come from plantation aw 'bout en help whip dat rice. Dey jes take de rice en beat it 'cross some hoes dat dey hab fix up somewhey dere on de plantation. Honey, dey hab hoss jes lak dese hoss yuh see carpenter use 'boat heah dese days. Dey'ud hab hundreds uv bushels uv dat rice dere. Den when dey ge' t'rough, dey hab big supper dere fa aw dem wha' whip rice. Gi'e em aw de rice en hog head dey is e'er wan'. Man, dey'ud hab de nicest kind uv music dere. Knock dem bones togedder en slap en pat dey hands to aw kind uv pretty tune."
"Dem dey hab rice mortars right dere on de plantation wha' dey fix de rice in jes uz nice. Now dey hab to take it to de mill. Yuh see dey hab uh big block outer in de yard wid uh big hole in it dat dey put de rice in en take dese t'ing call pestles en beat down on it en dat wha' knock de shaft offen it. Coase dey ne'er hab no nice pretty rice lak yuh see dese days cause it wusn't uz white uz de rice dat dey hab 'boat heah dis day en time, but it wuz mighty sweet rice, honey, mighty sweet rice."
"No'mam, didn't hab no schools tall den. Ne'er gi'e de colored peoples no l'arnin' no whey 'fore freedom 'clare. Wha' little l'arnin' come my way wuz wha' I ge' when I stay wid Miss Martha Leggett down dere to Leggett's Mill Pond. A'ter freedom 'clare, uh lady from de north come dere en Miss Leggett send we chillun to school to dat lady up on de hill dere in de woods. No, honey, yah ain' ne'er see no bresh tent 'bout heah dis day en time. Dis jes de way it waz make. Dey dig four big holes en put postes in aw four corner 'bout lak uh room. Den dey lay log 'cross de top uv dat en kiver it aw o'er wid bresh (brush) dat dey break outer de woods. Ne'er hab none uv de side shet up. En dey haul log dere en roll em under dat bresh tent fa we chillun to set on. Oh, de teacher'ud hab uh big box fa her stand jes lak uh preacher. Eve'ybody dat go to school dere hab one uv dem t'ing call slate dat yah ne'er hadder do nuthin but jes wash it offen. En dey hab dese ole l'arnin' book wha' yuh call Websters."
"My white folks al'ays waz good to me, honey. Ne'er didn't nab to do no field work in aw me life. When I stay dere wid Miss Leggett, I hadder pick up little chip 'bout de yard when I fust come home from school en den I hadder go 'way up in de big field en drib de turkeys up. We didn't find dat no hard t'ing to do lak de peoples talk lak it sumptin hard to do dese days. We wuz l'arnt to work en didn't mind it neither. Al'ays minded to us own business."
"Oh, gourds waz de t'ing in dem days. Dey waz wha' de peoples hab to drink outer en wash dey hominy en rice in aw de time. Dey was de bestest kind uv bowl fa we chillun to eat corn bread en clabber outer. Peoples dis day en time don' hab no sech crockery lak de people use'er hab. Honey, day hab de prettiest little clay bowls den."
"Annuder t'ing de peoples do den dat yuh ain' ne'er hear 'bout nobody doing dese days, dey al'ays boil sumptin fa dey cows to eat lak peas en corn in uh big ole black pot somewhey dere in de back lot. Coase it wuz jes half cooked, but day sho' done dat. Nobody ne'er t'ought 'bout not cookin' fa dey cow den."
"Dat was sho' uh different day from dis, honey. De little chillun wus jes uz foolish den cause de peoples ne'er tell dem 'bout nuthin tall in dat day en time. Aw dese little chillun 'bout heah dese days don' hab no shame 'bout em no whey. Dey hab head full uv eve'yt'ing, honey, aw sorta grown people knowings."
Source: Maggie Black, ex-slave, age 79, Marion, S. C. Personal interview, June 1937
Spartanburg, S. C. June 7, 1937
"I was born in Laurens County, S. C., at the 'brick house', which is close to Newberry County line, and my master was Dr. Felix Calmes. The old brick house is still there. My daddy was Joe Grazier and my mammy, Nellie Grazier.
"We had a pretty good house to live in in slavery time, and some fair things to eat, but never was paid any money. We had plenty to eat like fat meat, turnips, cabbages, cornbread, milk and pot-liquor. Master sent his corn and apples, and his peaches to old man Scruggs at Helena, near Newberry, to have him make his whiskey, brandy, and wine for him. Old man Scruggs was good at that business. The men hunted some, squirrels, rabbits, possums, and birds.
"In the winter time I didn't have much clothes, and no shoes. At nights I carded and spinned on the mistress's wheels, helping my mammy. Then we got old woman Wilson to weave for us.
"Master had a big plantation of several farms, near about 1,000 acres or more. It was said he had once 250 slaves on his places, counting children and all. His overseers had to whip the slaves, master told them to, and told them to whip them hard. Master Calmes was most always mean to us. He got mad spells and whip like the mischief. He all the time whipping me 'cause I wouldn't work like he wanted. I worked in the big house, washed, ironed, cleaned up, and was nurse in the house when war was going on.
"We didn't have a chance to learn to read and write, and master said if he caught any of his slaves trying to learn he would 'skin them alive'.
"There was a church in the neighborhood on Dr. Blackburn's place, but we didn't get to go to it much. I was 17 years old when I joined the church. I joined because the rest of the girls joined. I think everybody ought to join the church.
"On Saturday afternoons the slaves had to work, and all day Sunday, too, if master wanted them. On Christmas Day we was give liquor to get drunk on, but didn't have no dinner.
"When I was sick old Dr. P. B. Ruff attended me. Old Dr. Calmes, I 'member, traveled on a horse, with saddle-bag behind him, and made his own medicines. He made pills from cornbread.
"I saw many slaves sold on the block—saw mammy with little infant taken away from her baby and sent away. I saw families separated from each other, some going to one white master and some to another.
"I married at 14 years old to Arthur Bluford. We had 10 children. I now have about 8 grandchildren and about 7 or 8 great-grandchildren. I was married in the town of Newberry at the white folk's Methodist church, by a colored preacher named Rev. Geo. De Walt.
"When freedom come, they left and hired out to other people, but I stayed and was hired out to a man who tried to whip me, but I ran away. Dat was after I married and had little baby. I told my mammy to look after my little baby 'cause I was gone. I stayed away two years 'till after Dr. Calmes and his family moved to Mississippi."
Source: Gordon Bluford (92), Newberry, S. C. Interviewer: G. Leland Summer, 1707 Lindsey St., Newberry, S. C.
Project #1655 Henry Grant Columbia, S. C.
SAMUEL BOULWARE EX-SLAVE 82 YEARS OLD.
Samuel Boulware's only home is one basement room, in the home of colored friends, for which no rent charges are made. He is old and feeble and has poor eyesight, yet, he is self-supporting by doing light odd jobs, mostly for white people. He has never married, hence no dependents whatever. One of the members of the house, in which Samuel lives, told him someone on the front porch wanted to talk with him.
From his dingy basement room he slowly mounted the steps and came toward the front door with an irregular shamble. One seeing his approach would naturally be of the opinion, that this old darkey was certainly nearing the hundred year mark. Apparently Father Time had almost caught up with him; he had been caught in the winds of affliction and now he was tottering along with a bent and twisted frame, which for many years in the past, housed a veritable physical giant. The winds of 82 years had blown over him and now he was calmly and humbly approaching the end of his days. Humility was his attitude, a characteristic purely attributable to the genuine and old-fashion southern Negro. He slid into a nearby chair and began talking in a plain conversational way.