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WPA American Slave Narratives Assignment – Prompt and Guidelines

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In the 1930’s, different historians, folklorists, and others as a part of the Works Progress Administration, made a point to interview the aging population of black Americans who were alive before the Civil War and remembered slavery. They collected more than 2,300 narratives and memoirs called the WPA American Slave Narratives. They are available in their entirety on the Library of Congress’s website. I am providing you with 11 selections of men and women telling their stories about life before the Civil War. These selections can be found on the main Moodle course page titled “WPA Narrative” under this assignment.

Your assignment is to write a 3 page essay examining the narratives I have provided answering this question: in what ways were the roles of African American men significantly different from the roles of African American women before the Civil War?

There are many ways to approach this essay, but my recommendation is to approach the topic thematically. Pick 2-3 themes, like family, work, or health, etc., create an argument and use the sources to support your argument.

Students will be evaluated on their thesis, their ability to use the sources to support their thesis, their overall comprehensive approach to the topic, as well as their clarity of writing.

Link to selection of stories mentioned above:


Alexander, Alice
Age 88
400 East Grand Avenue
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Bertha P. Tipton, Reporter

Oklahoma Writers Project
Oklahoma Historical Society

1. I was 88 years old 15th of last March. Born March 15, 1839 at Jackson Parish, La. My mother’s name is Mary
Marlow, an’ father Henry Marlow.

2. Lets see, I cannot remembah very much ’bout slavery ’cause you know I was awful small, but I can remembuh
that my mother’s master, Colonel Threff died, an’ my mother, her husband and we three chillun was handed
down to Colonel Threff’s po’ kin folks. Chile Colonel Threff owned about two or three hundred head o’ niggers,
and all of ’em was tributed to his po’ kin. Ooh wee! he had jest a lot o’ dem po’ kin. Marster Joe Threff, one of
his po’ kin took my mother, her husband and three of us chillun fum Louisiana to the Mississippi line.

3. Down thar I worked ’round the house an’ looked aftah de smaller chillun, I mean my mother’s chillun.
4. We lived in a one room log hut, and slept on homemade rail bed steads wid cotton, an’ sum times straw, mos’ly

straw summers an’ cotton winners.
5. My mother died rite heah in dis house. She was 111 yeahs old. She been dead ’bout 20 yeahs.
6. Diden no any Crismus was in dem days.
7. I got great great gran’ chillun heah, rite heah.
8. We et yeller meal corn bread an’ sorghum molasses. I et possums but coulden stan’ rabbit.
9. I can’t membuh nuthin’ ’bout no churches in slavery. I was a sinner an’ luv to dance I remembuh I was on the

floor one nite dancing an I had fo’ daughters on the floor wid me an’ mah son was playing de music – That got
me, I jest stopped and said I woulden cut another step.

10. Know nothing ’bout Abe Lincoln. Heard of ‘im.
11. Know nothing ’bout Jeff Davis. Heard of ‘im.
12. Know nothing ’bout Booker T. Washington. Heard of im
13. Know nothing ’bout patterollers. Heard ’em talkin’ ’bout ’em.
14. Yas, we had a overseers an’ my mother said he was the meanest man on earth. He’d jest go out in de fields and

beat dem niggers, an’ my mother tole me one day he come out in de field beatin’ her sister an’ she jumped on
‘im an’ nelly beat ‘im half to death an’ ole Marster come up jest in time to see it all an’ fired dat overseer. Said he
diden want no man working fer ‘im dat a woman could whip.

15. Remembah just a little ’bout de war. De soljers had on blue clothes. Membuh lot of talk ’bout 4th of August
16. My pappy moved us away an’ stayed ‘roun down dare ’till I got to be a grown woman an’ married. You know I

had a pretty fare weddin’ ’cause my pappy had worked hard an’ commence to be prospus. He had cattle, hogs,
chicken an’ all dat.

17. A college of dem niggers got togedder an’ pack up to leave Louisiana in March. We had covered wagons, an’
chile let me tell you I walked nally all the way fum Louisiana to Oklahoma. We left in March, diden git heah ’till
May. Came in soch of ejecation. I got a pretty fare ejecation down dar but diden take care of it. We come to
Oklahoma looking for de same thang then dat darkies go north looking fer now. We got dissipinted.

18. I luv to fish. Chile I’ve woiked hard in my days. Washed an’ ironed for thirty years. Paid fur dis home. Yes dis is
my home.

19. Never did go to school ’till aftah the surrender. Commence going to school in Memphis. What little I learnt I quit
takin’ care of it and seeing aftah it an’ lost it all.

20. I’m a membuh of the Baptist Church an’ been for 25 or thirty years. I jined ’cause I wanted to be good ’cause I
was a awful sinner.

21. I have three daughters here married. You know Sussie Pruitt, don’tcha? Bertie Shannon an’ Irene Freeman. Irene
lost her husband.

Cauthier, Sheldon F. 9-16-37
Tarrant Co., Dist. #7(Yes)

Andy J. Anderson, 94, was born a slave to Mr. Jack Haley, who also owned Andy’s parents with 12 other families
and a plantation located in Williamson Co., Tex. In view of the fact that all slaves used the name of their owner,
Andy was known as Andy Haley but after his freedom, he changed his name to Anderson, the name his father
used because he was owned by a Mr. Anderson before his sale to Mr. Haley. Shortly after the Civil War began,
Andy was sold to Mr. W. T. House, of Blanco Co., Tex., who sold him again in less than a year to his brother, Mr.
John House. After the Emancipation Act became effective, Andy was hired by a Mr. Whisterman. His first wages
were his clothes, room and board with $2.00 per mo. He farmed all of his life and has been married three times,
now living with his third wife and eight of his children at 301 Armour St., Ft. Worth, Tex. His story:

1. “My name am Andy J. Anderson an’ I’s bo’n on Marster Jack Haley’s plantation in Williamson County, Texas.
Marster Haley owned my folks an’ ’bout 12 udder fam’lies ob cullud folks.

2. “How come I’s took de name ob Anderson, ‘stead ob Haley? It am dis away, my pappy was owned by Marster
Anderson who sold him to Marster Haley, so he goes by de name ob Anderson. Dey use to call me Haley but
aftah Surrendah, I’se change de name to Anderson to have it de same as my pappy’s.

3. “I’s bo’n in 1843. Dat makes me 94 yeahs ol’, an’ 18 yeahs ol’ w’en de war stahted. Tharfo’, dis nigger has seen a
good deal of slave life an’ some hahd ‘speriences dunn’ dat time an’ good times too.

4. “Marster Haley am kind to his cullud folks. In fact, him am kind to ever’body an’ all de folks lak him. Whuppin’s
am not given ‘cept w’en it am necessary an’ dat am not often an’ am reasonable w’en it am given. De udder w’ite
folks use to call weuns de petted niggers.

5. “De plantation have 12 fam’lies ob slaves. Thar am ’bout 30 ol’ an’ young workers an’ ’bout 20 piccaninnies dat
am too young fo’ work. Dem dat am too young fo’ work am took care ob by a nurse durin’ de day w’ile de
mammies am a workin’ in de field an sich.

6. “I’s gwine to ‘splain how it am managed on Marster Haley’s place. Marster Haley am a good manager an’
ever’one am ‘signed to do certain jobs. It am diffe’nt now, dan ’twas den. A plantation am sort ob lak de small
town. Ever’thing dat am used on de place am made thar. So, thar am de shoemaker. Him also am de tanner an’
make de leathah f’om de hides.

7. “Thar am ’bout 1,000 sheep on de Marster’s place, so thar am de person dat ‘tends to de sheep an’ de wool. De
sheep am sheared twice a yeah.

8. “De wool am carded, spun an’ weaved into cloth an’ f’om dat cloth, all de clothes am made. Thar am ’bout 25
head ob cattle, sich p’vides de milk an’ buttah, also beef meat fo’ eatin’. Den thar am turkeys, chickens, hawgs
an’ bees.

9. “De plantation am planted in cotton, mosly. Co’se, dere am co’n an’ wheat. De con am fo’ feed fo’ de stock an’ to
make co’n meal fo’ de humans. De wheat am fo’ to make flouah. Mars- ter don’ sell any co’n or wheat, ‘less if he
have extra. Cotton am w’at he raised fo’ sale.

10. “Let me tell yous how we cut an’ thresh de wheat. Thar am no binders, or threshin’ machines, so weuns cut de
wheat by han’, usin’ a cradle. To thresh de grain, it am hung over a rail wid de heads down, an’ de heads am beat
wid a stick. Dat knocks de kernels out an’ dey falls on a canvass dat am spread to catch dem. Now, to clean de
wheat, weuns have to wait fo’ a day w’en de wind am blowin’ jus’ right. W’en dat day comes, weuns pick de
wheat up wid pails, raise it up an’ pour it out an’ de wind blows de chaff an’ sich away.

11. “De livin’ fo’ de cullud folks am good. De quatahs am built f’om logs lak deys all am in dem days. De flooah am
dirt but weuns have a table an’ bench, a bunk wid straw ticks on fo’ sleepin’ pupose, an’ a fiah place fo’ cookin’
an’ heat. Marster ‘lows plenty ob good rations, but he watch close fo’ de wastin’ oh de food.

12. “De wah stahts an’ dat makes a big change on de Marster’s place. De Marster j’ins de ahmy an’ hires a man
named Delbridge fo’ overseer to he’p de Marster’s son, John. Den, in ’bout three months, de soldiers come an’
took Marster John to de ahmy by fo’ce. Deys put him on a hoss an’ tooks him away.

13. “Thar come pretty neah bein’ some hu’t niggers de day deys took Marster John away. You see, weuns don’ know
dey had de right to took Marster ‘way, so weuns cullud folks crowded ‘roun’ de Marster an’ warnt gwine to ‘low
dem to took him. De Marster tol’ weuns to go ‘way ’cause de soldiers have de right to took him an’ weuns jus’ git
hu’t if weuns try to stop de soldiers, so weuns dispatched.

14. “Aftah Marster John am took away an’ de overseer am lef’ in whole charge, hell stahts to pop. De fust thing he
does am to cut de rations. He weigh out de meat, three pounds to de person fo’ de week an’ he measures out a
peck ob meal, ‘twarnt ‘nough. He ha’f starve do niggers an’ demands mo’ wo’k an’ he stahts de whuppin’s. I’s
guess he ‘cides to edumacate dem. I’s guess Delbridge went to hell w’en he died.. .I’s don’ think he go dat far,
though. I’s don’ see how de devil could stand him.

15. “Weuns cullud folks on Marster’s place am not used to sich treatment an’ some run off. W’en deys am catched,
thar am a whuppin’ at de stake. Thar am a couple ob de runaway niggers dat am never catched.

16. “I’s ‘scaped de worst ob Delbridge ’cause he sol’ me. I’s sol’ to Marster W.T. House ob Blanco County. I’s sho glad
w’en I’s sol’, but it am sho’t gladness. W.T. House am anudder man dat hell am too good fo’. I’s not on dat place
long, jus’ a few months ’til I’s sol’ to his brothah, John House, who had a big plantation close by.

17. “I’s git one whuppin’ while on de W.T. House place. De scahs am on my ahms, see thar, an’ on my back too. Dem
I’s will carry to my grave. De whuppin’ I’s git am fo’ de cause as I’s will ‘splain. ‘Twas dis away; De overseer sent
me fo’ de dry fiah wood. W’en I’s gits de wood loaded an’ stahts to drive, de wheel hits a sho’t stump, de team
jerks an’ dat breaks de whippletree. I’s tries to fix dat so dat de load could be hauled in. I’s delayed quite a spell
while de cook am waitin’ fo’ de wood. Aftah I’s tries an’ tries, it am necessary fo’ me to walk to de bahn fo’
anudder whippletree. De overseer am at de bahn wen I’s gits dere. He am gittin’ ready to staht aftah me. I’s tell
w’at am de delay. Me am poweful mad ’cause I’s hit de stump an’ sich.

18. “De overseer ties me to de stake an’ ever’ ha’f hour, fo’ fouah hours, deys lay 10 lashes on my back. Fo’ de fust
couple ob hours, de pain am awful. I’s never fo’git it. Aftah I’s stood dat fo’ a couple oh hours, I’s could not feel
de pain so much an’ w’en dey took me loose, I’s jus’ ha’f dead. I’s could not feel de lash ’cause my body am
numb, an’ my mind am numb. De last thing I’s ‘membahs am dat I’s wishin’ fo’ death. I’s laid in de bunk fo’ two
days gittin’ over dat whuppin’. Dat is, gittin’ over it in de body but not in de heart. No Sar! I’s have dat in my
heart ’til dis day.

19. “Aftab dat whuppin’, I’s don’t have my heart in de wo’k fo’ de Marster. If I’s see some cattle in de co’n field, I’s
tu’n my back ‘stead ob chasm’ dem out. I’s guess de Marster sees dat I’s not to be d’pended on an’ dat’s m’ybe
de reason he sol’ me to his brothah, John.

20. “John House am jus’ de udder way f’om his brothah ’bout de treatment ob de cullud folks. Marster John never
hit a nigger.

21. “W’en surrendah am ‘nounced, Marster right away tells his niggers dat dey am free. He calls allus together an’
tells weuns dat it am jus’ a sho’t time ’til de o’dah fo’ to free de niggers will be given. He says, “Now, dem who
stays will be paid wages, or weuns shall ‘range fo’ wo’kin’ de land on shares”. Whar he am a talkin’ am in de field
undah a big tree. I’s standim’ neah him an dere’s whar my big mouth gits me all fustup.

22. “De Marster finished his statement asayin’, “All yous niggers can stay wid me”. I’s says to myse’f, not loud ‘nough
fo’ anyone to heah, I’s thinks, but de Marster heahs me w’en I’s says, “Lak hell I’s will”.

23. “Now, I’s don’t mean anything ‘gainst de Marster. W’at I’s mean am dat I’s gwine to take my freedom, but he
took it to mean something else. Something ‘gainst him an’ he says:

24. “W’at is dat yous says, nigger?”
25. “Nothin’, Nothin Marster”, I’s says.
26. “I’s heahs yous an’ I’s will ‘tend to yous later”, he says.
27. W’en dat took place, it am ’bout one hour by sun. I’s ‘gain talk to mysef, but I’s sho keeps my lips closed. I’s says,

“I’s wont be heah long.”
28. “I’s not realize wat I’s am in fo’ ’til aftah I’s stahted, but ‘cose I’s couldn’t tu’n back. Fo’ to tu’n back m’ybe mean a

whuppin’ an’ to go on means dangah f’om de Patter Rollers. Dere I’s was, but I’s kep’ on gwine. De Patter Roller’s
duties am to watch fo’ de nigger dat am widout de pass. No nigger am s’posed to be off his Marster’s place ‘less
he have de statement f’om him. If de Patters catch me, deys would give me a whuppin’ an’ took me back to de
Marster. Well, him am already mad over w’at I’s says an’ I’s ‘spected a whuppin’ dere, so dis nigger am in a

29. “I’s travel at night an’ ever’time I’s see someone acomin’, dis nigger sho hide ’til deys pass out oh de way. In de
day, I’s keeps hidden in de brush wid no an’ no wautah ‘cept w’en I’s come to a creek. I’s sho gittin’ weak an’
tired de second night. Twice I’s sho de Patters pass wile I’s hidin’.

30. “I’s den 21 yeahs ol’ but it am de fust time dat I’s go any place, ‘cept to de neighbahs so I’s worried ’bout de right
way to Marster Haley’s place. However, de monin’ ob de third day, I’s come to de Marster’s place, tired, hongry
an’ skeert ’bout de overseer ’cause Marster Haley am not home f’om de ahmy yet. I’s sho wants to keep away
f’om Delbridge, so I’s waits my chance to see pappy. W’en I’s did, he sho am s’prised to see me. Den I’s tol’ him
w’at I’s done an’ he hides me in his cabin. Dere I’s stay fo’ a week, den luck comes to me w’en Marster Haley
comes home.

31. “De Marster came home at night. De next mo’nin’ befo’ noon, Delbridge am shunt off de place. W’en de Marster
gits up in de mo’nin , he looks at de niggers. Deys all are ga’nt an’ lots have run off an’ de fields am not p’operly
plowed. Dere am ’bout ha’f ob his sheep lef’, an’ de same wid ever’thing.

32. “De Marster called Delbridge, an’ soon aftah, Hell am a poppin’. De Marster says to him, “Whar is my sheep,
chickens, hawgs, an’ all de udder stuff? W’at about dem ga’nt niggers, an’ w’at did yous do wid de rations?”
Delbridge stahts to talk an’ de Marster says befo’ he could says a word, “Shut up! Dere am no words can ‘splain
w’at yous done. Git off my place befo’ I’s smash yous!” Den ‘twarnt long ’til Delbridge am gwine down de road
wid his bundle.

33. “I’s stay wid Marster Haley ’til freedom am o’dered. Den I’s hired out to Marster Whisterman fo’ $2.00 a month
wid de clothes an’ boa’d. De work was fahm work. All my life, I’s follow fahm work.

34. “I’s mai’ied de fust time in 1883. Weuns had two chilluns but dey both died. Den in 1885, I’s mai’ied ‘gain. My
second wife died in 1934. If she had lived 15 days longah, weuns would have been together 50 yeahs. Dere was
six chilluns bo’n to weuns. Three am livin’ heah an’ one in Belton, de udders am dead. I’s mai’ied my present wife
on June 11th, 1936. Dere am no chilluns yet f’om my third mai’age.

35. “De last few yeahs, I’s not fahmed but worked at odd jobs an raise chickens on dis big lot I’s live on. Dere am not
much mo’ work fo’ dis person. Still, I’s healthy an’ able to work but de Bible says fouah score an’ ten, an’ I’s gittin’

R S. Taylor
Little Rock.
Scott Bond

1. Sixty-four* years ago there was born near Canton, in Madison County, Mississippi, a slave child that was
destined to show the possibilities of every American-born child of any race. It was a boy. His mother was subject
to the unhallowed conditions of that time. That her son was to be numbered among the leaders of his
generation was not to be thought of; that he should become the largest planter and land owner of his race and
state seemed impossible; that as a merchant and all-round business man, owning and operating the finest and
one of the largest mercantile establishments in his state was not to be dreamed of; that at the advanced age of
61 he would erect and operate successfully the largest excavating plant of its kind in Arkansas and one of the
only two in the entire southland was beyond conception. Yet, these things and many others equally remarkable
have been accomplished by the little Mississippi-born slave boy whose history these pages recount.

2. At the age of eighteen months, little Scott, removed with his mother to Collierville, Fayette County, Tennessee,
and at the age of five years removed with his mother and step-father, William Bond, to the Bond farm, Cross
County, Arkansas. The question of “States’ Rights’ was uppermost in the mind of the American people. Mighty


things were to happen that would settle forever this vexatious question. The south was drawing farther and
farther from the north. The north was declaring “Union forever.”

3. Bleeding Kansas! Forensic battles in the Congress of the United States! John Browns Raid! Then in April, 1861,
the first shot of the civil war crashed against the solid granite walls of old Fort Sumpter. What has all this to do
with some little obscure mulatto boy born on an obscure plantation somewhere down in Dixie? Just this: Had
these tremendous events not transpired and ended as they did, the country would have still kept in bondage a
race of men who have in fifty years – years of oppression and repression – shown to the world what America was
losing. Booker T. Washington would not have revolutionized the educational methods of the world. Granville T.
Woods would not have invented wireless telegraphy. There would have been no Negro troops to save the
roughriders on San Juan Hill. There would have been no Negro soldiers to pour out their lifeblood at Carrizal.
There would be no black American troops to offer to bare their dusky bosoms in the fiery hell beyond the seas
today in the mighty struggle for world democracy. Scott Bond would have had no opportunity to prove to the
world that if a man will he may.

*(This obviously should be ‘eighty-four.’ Editor’s note.)

Scott Bond’s Mother

4. I have said little about my mother. She was a slave and as such was housemaid. This brought her in close contact
with the white people and gave her training not common to the masses of colored women of her day. Her duties
were such however, that she could give but little attention to me. Still her sympathy and love for me was as
great as any woman ever bore in her bosom for a son. I can remember on one occasion when I was quite small
my heels were chapped. In those days, Negro boys were not allowed to wear shoes until 12 or 14 years of age.
When I would walk early in the morning or late in the evening, blood that would ooze from the cracks in my feet,
would mark my tracks.

5. On one occasion when my mother had finished her task as maid in the house she came to me late at night and
took me from my bed to look at my feet. In those days, tallow was the cure all. One of my heels was so chapped
and cracked open that one could almost lay his finger in the opening. She got some tallow and warmed it in a
spoon and having no idea how hot it was poured it into the crack in my heel. As I held my heel up and my toe on
the floor, the hot tallow filled the crack and ran down over my foot to my toes. I cried because of the intense
pain the hot grease caused. My mother quieted me as best she could and put me to bed. When she got up next
morning she examined my foot and to her amazement the hot tallow had raised a blister full length of my foot
as large as one’s finger. When she saw this she cried as if her heart would break and said as the tears streamed
down her cheeks: “I did not mean to burn my child. I did not dream the tallow was so hot.”

6. As mentioned before, slave boys rarely wore shoes until they were 12 or 14 years of age. It was great fun to go
“possum and coon hunting in those days or rather nights. Young Scott would take long trips through the woods
and swamps with the other slaves and would risk all the dangers of briars and of being bitten by poisonous
reptiles because of his bare feet.

7. On one occasion when the dogs had treed a “possum little Scott was the one to climb the tree and shake him
out. The “possum was away out on the end of a limb. The boys and men on the ground assured him the limb
would not break. He let go the body of the tree and started out on the limb, which broke under the added
weight and there was a squirming mixture of limb, boy, “possum and snapping dogs on the ground. Fortunately
he was not bitten. Scott came out of the scrimmage victorious with a fall and a “possum.

8. On these trips the hunt would continue until all were loaded down with game, then they would return home.
9. On another occasion his mother had secured a pair of old boot tops and had a pair of shoes made for him. The

first time he went out his mother insisted that he wear the shoes. He put them on and started out. When he
reached the woodpile he pulled off the shoes and hid them in the woodpile because their unfamiliar weight
cumbered his progress.

10. It was on one of these hunting excursions that he so sprained his ankle that the next morning his foot was as
large as two feet. An old slave woman advised him to hold his foot in cold water. He accordingly crawled to the
well where the mules were watered and put his foot in the tub of water standing there. One of the hands rode
up to water his mules and compelled the boy to take his foot out of the tub. The mules drank all the water and
left the tub empty.

11. Scott put his foot back into the tub and shortly another man came along, drew water for his mules and then
filled the tub for Scott’s benefit. About this time the overseer came along and asked him what he was doing.
Scott withdrew his foot from the water and showed him his swollen ankle. When asked about it he explained
the cause of the accident. The overseer called one of the hands and had him empty the tub and fill it with fresh
water for Scott and told him that was the best thing he could do.

12. Mr. Bond says that after all these years as he looks back upon that time, He wonders whether it was kindness in
the overseer or the saving of a valuable Negro boy that prompted the action.

13. His mother was away above the average slave woman, in her training being a housemaid and seamstress in the
days before the sewing machine. She came in daily contact with the most cultured and refined white women
and was thereby immensely benefited. She had no time to give to her boy except late at night when her daily
work was through and most other people were in bed. For this reason, Scott missed his mother’s kindly
ministrations in the years when most needed.

14. Poultry wire was unknown, the poultry yards were fenced with rails to keep the hogs from devouring the young
fowls. Imagine if you can, a rail fence built tight enough to keep the hogs out and little goslings, turkeys and
chickens in. It was one of little Scott’s principal duties to march around the poultry yard and look after the young
fowls. In cold weather the frost would bite his bare feet in rainy weather he acted as a brooder. Boys in those
days wore single garments, a long sack-like slip with holes cut for head and arms. When it rains, goslings will
stand with their heads up and drown in a short time if left to themselves. Little Scott would gather little goslings
under his slip as the hen hovers her brood and thus protect them from the falling rain. It must have been a
ticklish task to have a half hundred little geese under one’s single garment scrounging and crowding for warmth.

15. After the war when his stepfather started out on his own hook, Scott’s mother continued in the same line that
she had been trained. It was Scott’s duty to see after the fowls and at times to look out for the welfare of the
sitting hens. His mother would mark the eggs, which she would put under the hen ready to set. Scott would have
to keep the nests in repair and keep fresh eggs from the sitters’ nests. Upon one occasion, Scott in his round,
found a nest out of repair. He removed the hen, took the eggs from the nest and put them on the ground. He
repaired the nest, put the hen back on the nest and left the eggs on the ground. The next morning his mother
discovered the eggs on the ground and took the boy to task for his absent-mindedness. Drawing him across her
1ap, she took her slipper and was applying the treatment in the most approved way. That the operation was
painful to Scott, goes without the saying. His mother told him she was not punishing him for the value of the
eggs, but because of his forgetfulness; and seeing far into the future she told him further that his absent
mindedness was the only thing that would ever “misput’ him in life. Scott noticing the tone of her voice looked
up and found her crying. He says, that from that moment, he felt no further pain from the slipper as his mother
continued for some little time to wield it.

Scott Bond Hunts His Father

16. When the writer asked Mr. Bond what he knew of his father, he related this story of his hunt for his father:
17. “My mother died when I was quite small, and had never explained to me who was my father. She married my

step-father, who is still living, when I was eighteen months old.
18. “As I grew older and found that he was only my stepfather, I began to inquire who was my father, and where he

lived. My Aunt Martha told me I was born in Madison County, Mississippi, twelve miles from Canton, the county
seat, at a little town called Livingston. That my father was a man, Wesley Rutledge, the nephew of Win. H.

19. “After I had gotten started out in life and had accumulated a little spare money, I thought I would like to visit the
place of my birth and, if possible, find my father, and if he was in need, help him.

20. “In ante-bellum days Mr. Goodlow was a very rich man. He owned five hundred slaves and thousands of acres of

21. “My mother had a large chest, which, in those days, was used as a trunk. I had often seen her going through the
things in that old chest. She would take out her calico dresses, which we people called “Sunday Clothes.’ She
would hang them out to air on Sundays. Among the things she would take from the chest was a pair of little red
shoes and a cap, and would say to me: “These are the shoes your father gave you. ” Being only a child, I thought
she referred to my stepfather.

22. “I was married and we had two children and had rented a large farm, and I thought it a good time for this trip.

23. “I purchased a nice suit of clothes, then paid a visit to the barber and got neatly shaved and trimmed up, and
pulled out for Canton, Miss., where arrived at night. The next day was a rainy, drizzly day. It was March, but the
people were bringing into Canton onions, lettuce and other early vegetables. I was surprised to see this and
thought they were being shipped in from farther south. I went to the livery stable the next day and introduced
myself to the livery man as Bond from Arkansas. I told him I wanted to drive to Livingston, sixteen miles away.
The liveryman, thinking I was white, said, “All right Mr. Bond, the horse and buggy and nipper to drive you will
cost you three dollars.

24. “I told him I would be ready in about thirty minutes; and at the appointed time I paid him the money and started
out for Livingston.

25. “We drove about two and one-half miles and opened a gate to the enclosed farm of Mr. Goodlow. The old
colored man who was driving was as active as a boy, although his hair was as white as cotton. This old
gentleman took me to be a white man, and as he had never asked me I did not make myself known to him. He
used these words:

26. “‘White folks, I have been in the country since I was a boy, and since that time I saw the man you are going to
visit, harness up a hundred and fifty mules to be used on this farm. In those days the water almost boiled in this
country. When you went to bed at night you could hear the blood hounds, and in the morning when you would
wake up, you could hear them running colored people. The white folks said the music they made was the
sweetest music in the world. There was once a runaway slave who had been chased at different times for four
years. At last a set of patrolers came in with their dogs and said they were determined to catch him. They ran
him for two days. Once in a while he would mislead the dogs and make them double on their tracks and he
would gain a little rest. Eventually they would again pick up the trail and you could hear the hounds as they ran;
say, here he goes sing-a-ding; there he goes, sing-a-ding. At last, finding that he could not escape, he ran
deliberately into a blazing furnace and was burned to death rather than be caught and suffer the tortures that
awaited him.’

27. “He regaled me with many other stories of slave life that he had witnessed.
28. “He told me that many a time he would be so tired from his day’s work that he would not wake up in the

morning until the horn blew for work. He would not have time to cook himself any bread, and that he would run
to the meal bowl and put a handful or two of meal in his hat and run with his bridle and catch his mule and while
the mule was drinking, he would take water and mix the meal. Then when he got to the field he would go to a
burning log-heap, when the overseer was not looking, and rake a place in the ashes and hot embers, put his cake
in and cover it. Later, when chance permitted, he would take out his ashcake and eat it as he plowed. Thus he
would work until dinnertime.

29. “This old man was more than an average man.
30. “After telling me many other stories of the hardships of the slave, he said that after all, the things that looked

hardest to him, were really blessings in disguise. These hardships had developed his self-reliance and
resourcefulness, and now that he was a free man and a citizen, he could see a benefit, even in the hardships he
had undergone. He said that he knew he was a Christian and that he was respected by all his neighbors, black
and white.

31. “This instance is but one of ten thousand, showing that the Negro in his long apprenticeship, has gained in
adverse circumstances, that he has wrung victory from oppression.

32. “By this time we had reached an elevation. He stopped his horse and pointed to a house in the distance that
looked no larger than a cow. He told me that was the house to which we were going.

33. “As the distance lessened, the house proved to be a great mansion with beautiful lawns.
34. “He stopped in front. I got out, and as I passed up the walk, knowing this to be my birthplace, I felt that I was at

home. I rang the bell. It was answered by a large gentleman, who had a perfect bay window of a stomach. He
was so large that he was unable to tie and untie his shoes.

35. “I said, “I suppose this is Mr. Goodlow?’
36. “”Yes; this is Goodlow.’
37. “Mr. Goodlow, this is Bond from Arkansas.’
38. “”Come in, Mr. Bond.’
39. “As I walked into the parlor over elegant Brussels carpets, I could see myself reflected from the mirrors on either

side of the hall. The furniture was rare and elegant, and was typical of the splendor of the old time southern
mansion. I was invited to sit down and for the next hour answered a rain of questions about Arkansas.

40. “Mr. Goodlow was very much interested in the young state of Arkansas.
41. “At that time wild life in the state had not been much disturbed. Bears, wolves and panthers were plentiful.

Arkansas at that time bore the reputation of being a paradise for murderers and other criminals fleeing from
justice. Hence, Mr. Goodlow was interested to learn from me all he could about these things, as well as about
the climate and country in general.

42. “After I had imparted to him all I knew, I was then able to ask him a few questions, and began by saying:
43. “Mr. Goodlow, can you recollect hiring some slaves from the widow Bond’s estate in 1852?”
44. “To which he replied, ‘Yes; I remember hiring some slaves from the Maben estate. Mrs. Bond was a Miss

45. “I suppose you are right. Do you remember hiring a man named Alex, a woman named Martha and also a bright

mulatto girl named Ann? Ann was said to be your house servant at that time.”
46. “‘Yes,’ he said, “I remember that very distinctly.'”
47. “I proceeded: “Ann gave birth to a child while she was your servant. It is said that Mr. Rutledge, who was your

nephew and manager of your farm at that time, was the father of this child. It is further said that Mrs. Goodlow
dressed the child and called it Scott Winfield.”

48. “‘You are certainly right,’ he said. “All that is true.'”
49. “I then arose from my chair and, standing erect, said, ‘I am the kid.'”
50. “I was at that time a young man, and from what I felt, and others said, I was a very good looking young man. I

had not been married a great while, and I knew my wife was a judge of beauty.
51. Mr. Goodlow said, “Wait a minute. ” He stepped to the parlor door and called Mrs. Goodlow, telling her to come

in, he wanted her to see some one.
52. According to custom it took Mrs. Goodlow sometime to dress and make her appearance.
53. As she entered Mr. Goodlow said to her, “Do you know this boy sitting here?”
54. “I got up and put on my best looks.
55. “‘No;’ she replied. ‘Mr. Goodlow, I have never seen him before.'”
56. “Mrs. Goodlow was a typical southern matron, and with her wealth of silvery hair, was the personification of

womanly grace and dignity.
57. “Yes you have,’ remarked Mr. Goodlow. ‘You put the first rag on him and named him ‘Scott Winfield,’ at the time

our son James was a baby.'”
58. “‘No, Mr. Goodlow. I do not remember.'”
59. “‘Don’t you remember Ann, our housemaid, at the time Wess was managing our business?'”
60. “‘Yes! Yes!’ she exclaimed. ‘I remember now. You are Scott Winfield.’
61. “She grasped my hand and said: ‘I certainly dressed you and named you Scott Winfield.’
62. “It would be impossible to describe the scene that followed this greeting. Tears were shed, words were spoken

that came from deep down in our hearts. A more touching and sincere greeting rarely comes to one in a

63. “I was most hospitably treated and was urged to stay all night. I accepted and was given a nice room. The next
day I was shown the place where I was born.

64. “Mr. Goodlow accompanied me. He had a man go into the “plunder room’ and get out an old chair they used to
tie me in, when my mother was about the duties in the house.

65. “One who does not know the south, can form no conception of the extreme hardships some of the slaves had to
undergo; the many peculiar situations that would arise, nor can he have the faintest idea of the deep regard,
and at times, even real affection that existed between the master and the favored slave. It is a reflex for this
regard that is the basis of all the helpful things the better class of southern white people are now doing to help
the Negro better his condition to rise to higher planes of manhood.

66. The following day I found an opportunity to explain to Mr. Goodlow, privately, the cause of my visit, and to ask
the whereabouts of my father.

67. “I told him that prior to the war, there were many people who were wealthy. Many of these were greatly
impoverished by changed conditions. I had come to find my father, and if he was in need to help him.

68. “I was informed by Mr. Goodlow that he was very sorry he would have to tell me that my father was dead. That
he had moved to Texas twelve years before, and had died two years later. He also informed me that he had
three children living and doing business in Canton, Miss.

69. “When I was ready to leave, Mr. Goodlow had me driven to Canton in his magnificent carriage. I called on the
children in Canton and introduced myself as Bond from Arkansas. I congratulated them on their business but did
not make myself known to them, so that all they ever knew of me was “Bond from Arkansas.

70. This brings up a thought. It has been stated by some careful statisticians that there are about 10,000,000 ____-
blooded Negroes in the United States. Without accepting or rejecting this estimate, we will say that there are
enough of that part of our population mixed-blood to at least keep the pot from calling the kettle black, in point
of moral rectitude.

Settling A Strike

71. I had a tenant on my place named Charley Dilahunty, who claimed that he knew how to lay foundations and set
up engines. He agreed to work for me at $1.50 per day.

72. When the machinery arrived, Charley and I started with our square, level and plumb bob and erected a plant
that answered the purpose and paid for itself in two years.

73. On one occasion Charley claimed on Monday morning to be sick. I went to the gin, fired up and attempted to
run the engine myself. I had been watching Charley pretty closely in order to get an idea as to how to handle the

74. I raised steam, put on two gauges of water, oiled up and opened the throttle to start. The engine failed to turn. I
closed the throttle and examined the engine to the best of my ability. I could find nothing wrong. I then turned
on the steam slowly until I had the throttle wide open, still the engine would not move. I closed the throttle and
had the boys help me turn the flywheel over. Five men put on all their strength and yet they failed to move the

75. By this time the steam gauge showed up one hundred pounds, and the boiler was popping off.
76. I threw open the exhaust, raised the flue door and put on the water. I was afraid to take the wrench and go to

loosening bolts for fear of loosening the wrong one.
77. The ginner came down to the engine room and said, “Mr. Bond I think Charley Dilahunty jammed that engine.”
78. “Why do you think so?”
79. “Because he said Saturday night that he did not expect that engine to turn any more until he got $2.00 per day

for his services.”
80. “Did Charley tell you this?”
81. “He did!”
82. I was at a loss to know what to do. I walked off and sat down on a bench. The more I studied over it, the worse

shape I found myself in. I called for my horse, which was hitched to the fence, jumped into my saddle. I went
half a mile past Charley’s house and a half mile father to my own house.

83. I grabbed my shotgun and returned to Charley’s house. I called Mary, his wife, to the door. I told her to ask
Charley to come out.

84. He came. I said to him, “Come here, Charley.” I moaned the gate. “Get on up the road to the gin house,” I
ordered. He wanted to go back and get his hat. I told him they did not bury men with their hats on.

85. Up the road he went for about three hundred yards. He then stopped and said: “I have not done anything to the

86. “Get on up the road,” I commanded.
87. When we arrived at the gin, I said to him: “Walk up to the door and stop.”
88. I dismounted, advanced on him with my shotgun and told him to get the wrench and unjam that engine. If he

did not do it in ten minutes, I would kill him if he was the last man on earth.
89. He picked up the wrench, made two turns on a certain nut. I asked him if the engine was ready for service.
90. He said, “Yes sir.
91. He opened the throttle. The engine moved off nicely.
92. I said to him, “I look for you to stay here and run this engine until night.” It was about twelve o’clock. Charley

said, “I have not had any dinner yet.”
93. “You may not need any dinner after today.”
94. Charley weighed about 190 pounds. I, a little insignificant Negro, weighed about 108 pounds, so I thought it a

wise plan to keep close company with my shotgun.

95. We ginned six bales of cotton after dinner. I weighed the cotton. At seven o’clock I sent a boy into the engine
room to tell Charley to blow the whistle for quitting time.

96. I locked up the gin and got on my horse. Charley had cooled down and was standing at the door of the engine
room. He said: “Mr. Bond, I want you to forgive me for the wrong I have done.”

97. “What have you done wrong, Charley?”
98. “I jammed the engine and caused you to lose half of the day’s work with all the crew.”
99. “What prompted you to do that?”
100. “I thought I should have more wages–$l.75 a day anyhow.”
101. “Why did you not walk up to me like a man and say so?”
102. “All I can say is I did wrong and I want you to forgive me.”
103. “This was your own contract–to help me set up the engine and run the gin for the season for a dollar

and a half a day. Now, Charley, I am going to give you $2.00 per day and I want steam at five o’clock every
morning from now on.”

104. We were good friends after that. All went well.

Scott Bond Moves To Madison

105. Scott Bond moved to Madison, St. Francis County, Ark., with his stepfather, who had bargained to buy a
farm, in 1872, and remained with him until he was 21 years of age. He then undertook to vouch for himself. His
stepfather contracted with him to remain with him until he was 22 years of age. His pay was to be one bale of
cotton, board, washing and patching. He thought the pay was small, but for the sake of his little brothers, that
they might have a home paid for, he remained that year. The next year he walked eighteen miles to the Allen
farm, having seen the possibilities in the fertile soil of that place in the two years he had worked on it with his
stepfather. He decided that would be the place to make money. He rented 12 acres of land at $6.50 per acre. He
had no money, no corn, no horse, nothing to eat, no plows, no gears; but all the will power that could be
contained in one little hide. In 1876 he rented 35 acres and hired one man. In 1877 he married Miss Magnolia
Nash of Forrest City. The Allen farm, as stated elsewhere, contained 2,200 acres. The proprietor lived in
Knoxville, Tenn. She sent her son over the next autumn, who insisted on Scott Bond renting the whole place.
This he refused to do on the ground that he was unable to furnish the mules, feed, tools and other stock
sufficient to cultivate it. Mr. Allen took a letter from his pocket that read: “Now, Scott, I have told Johnnie to be
sure and do his uttermost to rent you this place, and as I am sure it would be quite a burden on you financially,
you may draw on me for all the money that is required to buy mules, corn and tools.” And at the bottom: “Scott,
I think this will be one of the golden opportunities of your life.” This lady was near kin to Scott Bond’s former
owner. He grasped the opportunity. There were all sorts of people living on the Allen farm. Some half-breed
Indians, some few white families and some low, degraded colored people. The whites were no better than the
others. The first thing Scott Bond had to do was to clean up the farm along those lines. He then secured axes,
cross cut saws, and built a new fence around the entire farm – something that had not been done for 20 years.
When the crops were gathered and disposed of, Scott paid Mrs. Allen and everyone else for the rent and all
other obligations. He received from Mrs. Allen, the owner of the farm, who lived in Knoxville, Tenn., a fine letter
of thanks and congratulations for the improvements on the farm. The net profits, all bills paid, were $2,500, in
addition to the gains on cotton seed. This farm is situated right at the east base of Crowley’s Ridge, 42 miles due
west of the Mississippi River. There were no levees in this county at that time, and when the overflows came we
had a sea of water spread out from the Mississippi to the ridge. Mr. Bond said the next winter there came the
biggest overflow he had ever seen. He took his boat and moved all the people, mules, cattle, hogs and horses to
Crowley’s Ridge. He lived about a mile and a half from Crowley’s Ridge and owing to a deep slough or bayou
between him and the ridge he was compelled to use a boat. There was perhaps no more exciting time in Mr.
Bond’s life than when with his boat he would brave the dangers of the murky flood and with the help of his crew
scout the country over hunting out and rescuing people and stock from the rising, rushing waters. It is said by
those who know, that Scott Bond saved the lives of hundreds of people, white and black. In this particular
overflow he had 7,000 bushels of corn and 10,000 pounds of meat that he had killed and cured. He saved all this
by putting it in the lofts of the different buildings on the place. Having secured his own people and property, he
spent his time looking out and helping his neighbors. He lived in the great house on the Allen farm. He took flour
barrels, placed planks on them for a scaffold to put his cooking stove and bed on. The next day he ran his dugout

into the house and tied it to his bedpost. Three days later he was compelled to get another set of barrels to raise
his scaffold a little higher. On the third evening he arrived at home between sundown and dark with all his
boatmen in dugouts. It was impossible to get in the door on account of the water. They ran the boats in through
the windows, each man to his sleeping place. Every one of them was as wet as rats. They would have to stand on
the head end of their boats to change their wet clothing before getting into their beds. The cook and his helper,
who looked after things in the absence of the boats, were brave to start in with and promised to stay with Scott
Bond as long as there was a button on his shirt, but when they saw the boats coming in through the top sash of
the window their melts drew up. They said, “Mr. Bond, we like you and have always been willing to do anything
you asked us to do, but this water is away beyond where we had any idea it would be. We are going to leave
tomorrow morning.”

106. They had all changed and put on dry clothing, and as a matter of course felt better. The next call was
supper and dinner combined. A big teakettle full of strong, hot coffee, spare ribs, backbones, hog heads, ears
and noses. There was some shouting around that table. Mr. Bond says he did not attempt to pacify the cook and
hostler until after all had finished supper, as the time to talk to an individual is when he has a full stomach.

107. “The next day when we started out,” says Mr. Bond, “I instructed my men to ‘do as you see me do.’ If a
cow jumps over board, follow her and grab her by the tail and stick to her until you come to some sapling or
grape vine; grab it and hold to it until help arrives. Any man can hold a cow by the tail or horn in this way.”

108. All Mr. Bond’s people were comfortably housed on Crowley’s Ridge. In those days people did not need
the assistance of the government to take care of them. They had plenty of corn, meat and bread they produced
at home. Six months later you could not tell that there ever had been an overflow from the looks of the corn and

109. “But to return to the boys who were getting frightened at the ever-increasing flood,” said Mr. Bond, “we
all loaded our pipes and you may know there was a smoke in the building. ‘Twas then I said, ‘Boys, all sit down
and let’s reason with one and another. The water will be at a standstill tomorrow evening. Really know what I
am talking about, because the stage of the river at Cairo always governs the height of the water here. That is a
thing I always keep posted on. While this, the great house, is two-thirds full of water, you must remember that
this is the eddy right along here, and anyone of you take your spike pole and let it down to the floor and you will
find from 8 to 10 inches of sand and sediment.’

110. “One man said, ‘I know he is right, because whenever an overflow subsides I have to shovel out from ten
to twelve inches of sand. This house is built out of hewn logs, 46 feet long and the biggest brick stack chimneys
in the middle I ever saw. Now, boys with all this meat and other things piled on this scaffold you are perfectly
safe. I am feeding you boys and paying you well. I am only asking you to do what you see me do. This satisfied
them and we stuck together.”

Starting a Negro School

111. In 1886, a northern gentleman, Mr. Thorn, was renting the Bond farm. He was very kindly disposed
toward the colored people. He wrote to Memphis for a teacher for a colored school. The parties to whom he
wrote, referred him to Miss Celia Winchester. She accepted the school.

112. There were no railroads in this part of the country at that time. The only method of transportation was
from Memphis, by steamboat, down the Mississippi and up the St. Francis rivers to Wittsburg.

113. When the boat arrived at Wittsburg, Mr. Thorn, not knowing the customs of the south, secured a room
at the hotel for Miss Winchester, who was an Oberlin, Ohio, graduate. She had attended school with the whites
at that famous seat of learning. She too, was ignorant of the customs prevailing in the south.

114. When the proprietor of the hotel learned that Miss Winchester was colored, he went out and bought a
cowhide. He met Mr. Thorn on the street, held a pistol to him and cow-hided him.

115. Mr. Thorn stood and cried. He said that he was seventy years old and had never done any one any harm
in his life. What he had done was not intended as a violation of custom.

116. We lived about sixteen miles out of Wittsburg. The next day a wagon met Mr. Thorn and Miss
Winchester and took them to the farm.

117. Thus was opened the first school for Negroes in this part of the country and the first school I had ever
seen. In the school my stepfather and myself were classmates in the A B C class.

Sitting On A Snake

118. There was a woman named Julia Ann on our plantation, who, one day at dinnertime, went to a tree
where she had hung her dinner bucket. She reached up and got the bucket and backed up to the tree and sat
down between its protruding roots to eat her dinner. When she got up, she found she had been sitting on a
rattlesnake. The snake was killed. He had fifteen rattlers and a button on his tail. Ann fainted when she saw the
snake. She said that she had felt the snake move, but thought that it was the cane giving way beneath her.

119. Snakes of that size and variety were numerous in Arkansas in those times.
120. I heard of an instance where a man built a house on a flat, smooth rock on a piece of land that he had

bought. It was in the autumn when he built his house. When the weather grew cold he made a fire on the rock.
There had been a hole in the rock, but the man had stopped it up.

121. One night he had retired, and late in the night, his child, which was sleeping between him and his wife,
became restless and awakened him. He reached for the child and found what he supposed was his wife’s arm
across the child. He undertook to remove it and to his consternation, found he had hold of a large snake. He
started to get out of bed, to make a light, and the whole floor was covered with snakes. He got out of the house
with his wife and child.

122. The next day the neighbors gathered, burned the house and (manuscript breaks off)

Chessier, Betty Foreman
Age 94
624 N.E. 5th
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Ida Belle Hunter, Reporter

Oklahoma Writers’ Project
Oklahoma Historical Society

1. I was born July 11, 1843 in Raleigh, NC.
2. My mother was name Melinda Manley, the slave of Governor Henley of N.C. an’ my father was name Arnold

Foreman, slave of Bob and John Foreman, two young mastahs. They come over from Arkansas and visit my
mastah an’ my pappy and mammy met an’ got married doe my pappy only seen my mammy ever summah when
his mastahs come to visit our mastah an’ day tuck him rat back. I had three sisters an’ two brothers an’ none of
dem was my whole brothers an’ sisters. Funny t’ing. I stayed in the big house all the time, but my sisters an’
brothers was gived to the mastah’s sons an’ daughters when dey got married an’ dey was tole to sen’ bac’ for
some more when dem died. I diden never stay with my mammy doing of slavery. Honey I stayed in the big
house. I slep’ under the dinin’ room table with three other darkies. Doe now the flo’ was well carpeted. Don’t
remembah my grandmammy and grandpappy, but my mastah was they mastah.

3. I stayed in the big house and waited on the table, kept flies offen my miz and went for the mail. Never made no
money, but dey did give the slaves money at Christmas time.

4. I et what the white folks et an’ dey diden eat no ‘possums and rabbits, doe dey et fish. My choice food was soup
an’ still is. No gardens where I lived, cose I diden live on no plantation. I lived in town all the time. Day all had
gardens out on the plantation doe.

5. I never had over two dresses. One was calico and one gingham. I had sich under cloes as dey wore den.
6. Mastah Manley and Miz had 6 sons an’ six darters. Dey raised dem all tell day was grown too. Dey lived in a

gread big house cross the street from the mansion, rat in town ‘fo Mastah was ‘lected Governor, den day moved
in all dat mansion.

7. Plantation folks had barbecues and lay crops an’ invite the city darkies out. I weren’t hongry, I warent naked and
chile I got five licks from the white folks in my life. Dey was for being sich a big fergitful girl.

8. Mestah had jes’ 15 slaves on the place and when his chillun come home to visit ever summah dey had to bring
day own niggers. Dey brung two a piece.

9. I saw ’em sell niggers once. The only pusson I ever seed whipped at dat whipping post, was a white man.
10. Now, chile I never got no learnin’, day kep’ us fum dat, but you know some of dem darkies learnt anyhow.

11. We had church in the heart of town or in the basement of some old buildin’. I went to the ‘piscopal church mos’
all the time, tell I got to be a Baptist.

12. The slaves run ‘way to the North ’cause dey wanted to be free. Some of my family run away sometime en’ dey
diden catch ‘am neither. The patterollers sho’ watched the streets. But when day caught any of Mastah’s niggers
wid out passes, day jest locked him up in the guard house and mastah coma down in the mawnin’ an’ git ‘er out,
but dem patterollers better not whip one.

13. I doesn’t remembah any play songs, ’cause I was almost in prison chile. I couldn’t play with any of the darkies. I
doesn’t remembah playin’ in my life when I was a little girl en’ when I got grown I diden wanta.

14. When I fust come heah I couldn’t understan’ the folks heah, cause dey diden quit work on Easter Monday. That
is some day in North Caroline even today.

15. I know when the war commenced and ended. Mastah Manley sent me from the big house to the office about
1/2 mile ‘way. Jest as I got to the office door, three man rid up in blue uniforms and said, “Dinah, do you have
any milk in there?” I was sent down to the office for some beans for to cook dinner, but dem men mos’ nigh
scaid me to death. They never did go in dat office, jes’ rid off on horseback about a quarter of a mile and seem
lak rat now. Yankees fell outta the very sky, ’cause hundeds and hundeds was everwhere you could look to save
your life. Old Miz sent one of her grandchillun to tell me to come on and one of the Yankees tole dat chile “You
tell your grandmother she ain’t comm’ now and never will come back there as a slave.” Mastah was setting on
the mansion po’ch. Dem Yankees come up on de porch, go down in cellar and don’t tech one blessed t’ing. Old
Miz tuoh heart trouble. Dem Yankees whipped white folks going and comin’.

16. After the war, I went to mammy and my step-pappy. She done married agin. I left and went to Warrington and
Hallifax, North Carolina jest for a little while nursing some white chillun.

17. I laid in my bed a many night scared to death of Ku Klux Klan. Dey would come to your house and axe for a drink
and no more want a drink den nothin’.

18. When I got married I jumped a broomstick. I am the mother of 4 chillun and 11 grandchillun. To git unmarried,
all you had to do was to jump backwards over the same broomstick.

19. Lincoln and Booker T. Washington was two of the finest men ever lived. Don’t thank nothin’ of Jeff Davis, ’cause
he was a traitor.

20. Freedom for us was the bes’ t’ing ever happened.
21. Prayer is bes’ t’ing in the worl’. Everybody oughtta pray, cause prayer got us outta slavery.
22. I stayed in Raleigh, where I was born tell 7 years ago, when I come to Oklahoma to live wid my only livin’ chile.

Betty Cofer, North Carolina

[NDN Editor’s note. This interview is misidentified in Rawick at that of “Louise J. Evans.”]

(Mary A. Hicks, Interviewer
Daisy Dailey Waitt, Editor

1. The ranks of negro ex-slaves are rapidly thinning out, but, scattered here and there among the ante-bellum
families of the South, may be found a few of these picturesque old characters. Three miles north of Bethania,
the second oldest settlement of the “Unitas Fratrum” in Wachovia, lies the 1500 – acre Jones plantation. It has
been owned for several generations by the one family, descendants of Abraham Conrad. Conrad’s daughter,

Julia, married a physician of note, Dr. Beverly Jones, whose family occupied the old homestead at the time of the
Civil War.

2. Here, in 1856, was born a negro girl, Betty, to a slave mother. Here, today, under the friendly protection of this
same Jones family, surrounded by her sons and her sons’ sons, lives this same Betty in her own little weather-
stained cottage. Encircling her house are lilacs, althea, and flowering trees that soften the bleak outlines of
unpainted out-buildings. A varied collection of old-fashioned plants and flowers crowd the neatly swept
dooryard. A friendly German-shepherd puppy rouses from his nap on the sunny porch to greet visitors
enthusiastically. In answer to our knock a gentle voice calls, “Come in.” The door opens directly into a small, low-
ceilinged room almost filled by two double beds. These beds are conspicuously clean and covered by home-
made crocheted spreads. Wide bands of hand-made insertion ornament the stiffly starched pillow slips. Against
the wall is a plain oak dresser. Although the day is warm, two-foot logs burn on the age-worn andirons of the
wide brick fire place. From the shelf above dangles a leather bag of “spills” made from twisted newspapers.

3. In a low, split-bottom chair, her rheumatic old feet resting on the warm brick hearth, sits Aunt Betty Cofer. Her
frail body stoops under the weight of four-score years but her bright eyes and alert mind are those of a woman
thirty years younger. A blue-checked mob cap covers her grizzled hair. Her tiny frame, clothed in a motley
collection of undergarments, dress and sweaters, is adorned by a clean white apron. Although a little shy of her
strange white visitors, her innate dignity, gentle courtesy, and complete self possession indicate long association
with “quality folks.”

4. Her speech shows a noticeable freedom from the usual heavy negro dialect and idiom of the deep South. “Yes,
Ma’am, yes, Sir, come in. Pull a chair to the fire. You’ll have to ‘scuse me. I can’t get around much, ’cause my feet
and legs bother me, but I got good eyes an good ears an’ all my own teeth. I aint never had a bad tooth in my
head. Yes’m, I’m 81, going on 82. Marster done wrote my age down in his book where he kep’ the names of all
his colored folks. Muh (Mother) belonged to Dr. Jones but Pappy belonged to Marse Israel Lash over yonder.
(Pointing northwest.) Young’uns always went with their mammies so I belonged to the Joneses. “Muh and Pappy
could visit back and forth sometimes but they never lived together ’til after freedom. Yasm, we was happy. We
got plenty to eat. Marster and old Miss Julia (Dr. Jonas wife, matriarch of the whole plantation) was mighty strict
but they was good to us. Colored folks on some of the other plantations wasn’t so lucky. Some of ’em had
overseers, mean, cruel men. On one plantation the field hands had to hussle to git to the end of the row at
eleven o’clock dinner-time ’cause when the cooks brought their dinner they had to stop just where they was and
eat, an’ the sun was mighty hot out in those fields. They only had ash cakes (corn pone baked in ashes) without
salt, and molasses for their dinner, but we had beans an’ grits an’ salt an’ sometimes meat.

5. “I was lucky. Miss Ella (daughter of the first Beverly Jones) was a little girl when I was borned and she claimed
me. We played together an’ grew up together. I waited on her an’ most times slept on the floor in her room.
Muh was cook an’ when I done got big enough I helped to set the table in the big dinin’ room. Then I’d put on a
clean white apron an carry in the victuals an’ stand behind Miss Ella’s chair. She’d fix me a piece of somethin’
from her plate an’ hand it back over her shoulder to me (eloquent hands illustrate Miss Ella’s making of a
sandwich.) I’d take it an run outside to eat it. Then I’d wipe my mouth an’ go back to stand behind Miss Ella again
an’ maybe get another snack.

6. “Yasm there was a crowd of hands on the plantation. I mind ’em all an’ I can call most of their names. Mac,
Curley, William, Sanford, Lewis, Henry, Ed, Sylvester, Hamp, an’ Luke was the men folks. The women was Nellie,
two Lucys, Martha, Hervie, Jane, Laura, Fannie, Lizzie, Cassie, Tensie, Lindy, and MaryJane. The women mostly
worked in the house. There was always two washwomen, a cook, some hands to help her two sewin’ women, a
house girl, an’ some who did all the weavin’ an’ spinnin’. The men worked in the fields an’ yard. One was stable
boss an’ looked after all the horses an’ mules. We raised our own flax an cotton an’ wool, spun the thread, wove
the cloth, made all the clothes. Yasm, we made the mens’ shirts and pants an’ coats. One woman knitted all the
stockin’s for the white folks an’ colored folks too. I mind she had one finger all twisted an’ stiff from holdin’ her
knittin’ needles. We wove the cotton an’ linen for sheets an’ pillow-slips an’ table covers. We wove the wool
blankets too. I used to wait on the girl who did the weavin’. ‘When she took the cloth off the loom she done give
me the ‘thrums (ends of thread left on the loom.) I tied ’em all together with teensy little knots an’ got me some
scraps from the sewin’ room and I made me some quilt tops. Some of ’em was real pretty too! (Pride of
workmanship evidenced by a toss of Betty’s hand.)

7. “All our spinnin’ wheels and flax wheels and looms was handmade by a wheel wright, Marse Noah
Westmoreland. He lived over yonder. (A thumb indicates north.) Those old wheels are still in the family’. I got

one of the flax wheels. Miss Ella done give it to me as a present. Leather was tanned an’ shoes was made on the
place. ‘Course the hands mostly went barefoot in warm weather, white chillen too. We had our own mill to grind
the wheat an’ corn an’ we raised all our meat. We made our own candles from tallow and beeswax. I ‘spect
some of the old candle moulds are over to ‘the house’ now. We wove our own candlewicks too. I never saw a
match ’till I was a grown woman. We made our fire with flint an’ punk (rotten wood). Yes’m, I was trained to
cook an’ clean an’ sew. I learned to make mans’ pants an’ coats. First coat I made, Miss Julia told me to rip the
collar off, an’ by the time I picked out all the teensy stitches an’ sewed it together again I could set a collar right!
I can do it today, too! (Again there is manifested a good workman’s pardonable pride of achievement)

8. “Miss Julia cut out all the clothes for men and women too. I ‘spect her big shears an’ patterns an’ old cuttin’
table are over at the house now. Miss Julia cut out all the clothes an’ then the colored girls sewed ’em up but
she looked ’em all over and they better be sewed right! Miss Julia bossed the whole plantation. She looked after
the sick folks and sent the doctor (Dr. Jones) to dose ’em and she carried the keys to the store-rooms and
pantries. Yes’m, I’m some educated. Muh showed me my ‘a-b-abs and my numbers and when I was fifteen I
went to school in the log church built by the Moravians. They give it to the colored folks to use for their own
school and church. (This log house is still standing near Bethania). Our teacher was a white man, Marse Fulk. He
had one eye, done lost the other in the war. We didn’t have no colored teachers then. They wasn’t educated.
We ‘tended school four months a year. I went through the fifth reader, the ‘North Carolina Reader’. I can figure a
little an’ read some but I can’t write much ’cause my fingers ‘re all stiffened up. Miss Julia use to read the bible
to us an’ tell us right an’ wrong, and Muh showed me all she could an’ so did the other colored folks. Mostly they
was kind to each other.

9. “No’m, I don’t know much about spells and charms. ‘Course most of the old folks believed in ’em. One colored
man used to make charms, little bags filled with queer things. He called ’em ‘jacks’ an’ sold ’em to the colored
folks an’ some white folks too.

10. “Yes’m, I saw some slaves sold away from the plantation, four men and two women, both of ’em with little
babies. The traders got ’em. Sold ’em down to Mobile, Alabama. One was my pappy’s sister. We never heard
from her again. I saw a likely young feller sold for $1500. That was my Uncle Ike. Marse Jonathan Spease bought
him and kep’ him the rest of his life.

11. “Yes’m, we saw Yankee soldiers. (Stoneman’s Calvary in 1865) They come marchin’ by and stopped at ‘the
house. I wasn’t scared ’cause they was all talkin’ and laughin’ and friendly but they sure was hongry. They
dumped the wet clothes out of the big wash-pot in the yard and filled it with water. Then they broke into the
smoke-house and got a lot of hams and biled ’em in the pot and ate ’em right there in the yard. The women
cooked up a lot of corn pone for ’em and coffee too. Marster had a barrel of ‘likker’ put by an’ the Yankees
knocked the head in an’ filled their canteens. There wasn’t ary drop left. When we heard the soldiers comin’ our
boys turned the horses loose in the woods. The Yankees said they had to have ’em an’ would burn the house
down if we didn’t get ’em. So our boys whistled up the horses an’ the soldiers carried ’em all off. They carried off
ol’ Jennie mule too but let little jack mule go. When the soldiers was gone the stable boss said, “if ol’ Jennie mule
once gits loose nobody on earth can catch her unless she wants. She’ll be back!” Sure enough, in a couple of
days she come home by herself an’ we worked the farm jus’ with her an’ little jack.

12. Some of the colored folks followed the Yankees away. Five or six of our boys went. Two of ’em travelled as far as
Yadkinville but come back. The rest of ’em kep’ goin’ an’ we never heard tell of ’em again.

13. “Yes’m, when we was freed Pappy come to get Muh and me. We stayed around here. Where could we go?
These was our folks and I couldn’t go far away from Miss Ella. We moved out near Rural Hall (some five miles
from Bethania) an’ Pappy farmed, but I worked at the home place a lot. When I was about twenty-four Marse H.
J. Reynolds come from Virginia an’ set up a tobacco factory. He fetched some hands with ‘im. One was a likely
young feller, named Cofer, from Patrick County, Virginia. I liked ‘im an’ we got married an’ moved back here to
my folks. (The Jones Family). We started to buy our little place an’ raise a family. I done had four chillen but
two’s dead. I got grandchillen and great-grandchillen close by. This is home to us. When we talk about the old
home place (the Jones residence, now some hundred years old) we just say ‘the house’ ’cause there’s only one
house to us. The rest of the family was all fine folks and good to me but I loved Miss Ella bettern any one or
anythin’. I just asked her an she give it to me or got it for me somehow. Once when Cofer was in his last sickness
his sister come from East Liverpool, Ohio, to see ‘im. I went to Miss Ella to borrow a little money. She didn’t have
no change but she just took a ten dollar bill from her purse an’ says ‘Here you are, Betty, use what you need and
bring me what’s left’.

14. “I always did what I could for her too an’ stood by her – but one time. That was when we was little girls goin’
together to fetch the mail. It was hot an’ dusty an’ we stopped to cool off an’ wade in the ‘branch’. We heard a
horse trottin’ an’ looked up an’ there was Marster switchin’ his ridin’ whip an’ lookin’ at us. ‘Git for home you
two, and I’ll tend to you,’ he says an’ we got! But this time I let Miss Ella go to ‘the house’ alone an’ I sneaked
aroun’ to Granny’s cabin an’ hid. I was afraid I’d get whupped! ‘Nother time, Miss Ella went to town an ‘told me
to keep up her fire whilst she was away. I fell asleep on the hearth and the fire done burnt out so’s when Miss
Ella come home the room was cold. She was mad as hops. Said she never had hit me but she sure felt like doin it

15. “Yes’m, I been here a right smart while. I done lived to see three generations of my white folks come an’ go, an’
they’re the finest folks on earth. There used to be a reglar buryin’ ground for the plantation hands. The colored
chillen used to play there but I always played with the white chillen. (This accounts for Aunt Betty’s gentle
manner and speech) Three of the old log cabins (slave cabins) is there yet. One of ’em was the ‘boys cabin’
(house for boys and unmarried men). They’ve got walls a foot thick an’ are used for store-rooms now. After
freedom we buried out around our little churches but some of th’ old grounds are plowed under an’ turned into
pasture cause the colored folks didn’t get no deeds to ’em. I won’t be long ‘fore I go too but I’m gwine lie near
my old home an’ my folks.

16. “Yes’m, I remember Marse Israel Lash, my Pappy’s Marster, he was a low, thick-set man, very jolly an’ friendly.
He was real smart an’ good too, ’cause his colored folks all loved ‘im. He worked in the bank an’ when the
Yankees come, ‘stead of shuttin’ the door gainst ’em like the others did, he bid ’em welcome. (Betty’s nodding
head, expansive smile and wide-spread hands eloquently pantomine the banker’s greeting.) So the Yankees
done took the bank but give it back to ‘im for his very own an’ he kep’ it but there was lots of bad feelin’ ’cause
he never give folks the money they put in the old bank. (Possibly this explains the closing of the branch of the
Cape Fear Bank in Salem and opening of Israel Lash’s own institution, the First National Bank of Salem, 1866.)

17. “I saw General Robert E. Lee, too. After the war he come with some friends to a meeting at Five Forks Baptist
Church. All the white folks gathered ’round an’ shook his hand an’ I peeked ‘tween their legs an’ got a good look
at ‘im. But he didn’t have no whiskers, he was smooth-face! (Pictures of General Lee all show him with beard
and mustache)

18. “Miss Ella died two years ago. I was sick in the hospital but the doctor come to tell me. I couldn’t go to her
bury’n’. I sure missed her. (Poignant grief moistens Betty’s eyes and thickens her voice). There wasn’t ever no
one like her. Miss Kate an’ young Miss Julia still live at ‘the house’ with their brother, Marse Lucian (all children
of the first Beverly Jones and ‘old Miss Julia’,) but it don’t seem right with Miss Ella gone. Life seems dif’rent,
some how, ‘though there’ lots of my young white folks an’ my own kin livin’ round an’ they’re real good to me.
But Miss Ella’s gone!

19. “Goodday, Ma’am. Come anytime. You’re welcome to. I’m right glad to have visitors ’cause I can’t get out much.”
A bobbing little curtsy accompanies Betty’s cordial farewell.

20. Although a freed woman for 71 years, property owner for half of them, and now revered head of a clan of self
respecting, self-supporting colored citizens, she is still at heart a “Jones negro,” and all the distinguished
descendents of her beloved Marse Beverly and Miss Julia will be her “own folks” as long as she lives.

Holt Collier
from SOURCE MATERIAL FOR MISSISSIPPI HISTORY, Washington County, from microfilm; Compilation and
Interview and Additional material; Historian, Lottie Armistead; Eunice Stockwell

Prominent Negroes.
Holt Collier — Was born in Greenville in 1848, died in Greenville August 1st, 1936, and he was through
almost his entire life a remarkable colored citizen of Washington county. He was an ex-slave and a

Confederate soldier. He did a great deal for the uplift of his race. He achieved great distinction as a
hunter of big game, killing bear all over the country, some on grounds where Greenville homes and
public buildings now stand. He gained notice by being in the hunting party of President Theodore
Roosevelt, when he came to Washington county in quest of this sport. Holt Collier in relating this
colorful incident in his life said: “The President of the United States was anxious to see a live bear the
first day of the hunt. I told him he would see that bear if I had to tie it and bring it to him.” Collier made
good his word. Before the day ended the President had seen the gay old bruin. Upon his return to
Washington Mr. Roosevelt sent to Holt a rifle duplicating the one he had used on the hunt, and which
Holt had so admired.


1. Too feeble to rise unaided from his stout oak rocking chair, Holt Collier, nonegenarian, ex-slave and Washington
county’s most colorful citizen, sits in his own little home on North Broadway.

2. For many years Holt’s erect and sturdy figure was a familiar sight on Greenville streets. A stranger would have
noticed his bearing, his dark face with iron gray mustache and Vandyke beard and the broad-brimmed felt hat
he always wore. Now, the wide hat, similar to those worn by officers in the Confederate army, shades his failing
eyes when he sits on the little porch of his home watching the passersby.

3. Holt Collier was born in Jefferson county in 1848; he lived there only a short while, however, because he was
brought by his master, Howell Hinds, son of General Hinds, to Washington county when he was only a small boy.
Holt’s master, to whom he was devoted, traveled back and forth to the old home in Jefferson county; to New
Orleans, to Louisville and to Cincinnati and Holt always accompanied him in the capacity of juvenile valet.
Traveling at that time was done mostly by boat, and Holt recalls quite a number of the boats that plied the river
in the halcyon days of the steamboat.

4. At the age of twelve, Holt was sent with his master’s sons to Bardstown, Kentucky. All the boys were expected to
attend school, but Holt’s love of hunting caused him to “play hookey” while the others studied. He often hid his
gun in the spring house, returned for it later and slipped away to the fields and forest to hunt instead of going to
the school room. Though Mr. Hinds never succeeded in having the boy educated in books, he, however, trained
Holt to be honorable, truthful and trustworthy, and this training was evident throughout his life.

5. Holt tells us that at the time when the Civil War began, he was living on Plum Ridge, the Hind’s plantation, south
of the present city of Greenville. Mr. Howell Hinds, later Colonel Hinds and always spoken of by Holt as “The Old
Colonel”, and his son, Tom, were making ready to join the Confederate forces. When Holt Collier, then only
fourteen years of age, learned of his master’s preparations for departing, he asked to go with them. To Holt’s
great disappointment, however, his master and Tom agreed that the little colored boy was too young to enter
the army. “I begged like a dog, but they stuck to it — ‘You are too young'”, Holt relates.

6. In front of Old Greenville, seven steamboats were waiting to transport the volunteers from the surrounding
country to Memphis; from there they were to be sent to training camps. During the afternoon the “Old Colonel”
and Tom left for Old Greenville, prepared to join the men already gathered on the river bank. Night came; the
dense forest and the cypress brakes between Plum Ridge and the little town of Greenville became very dark.
Through this darkness, the young colored boy made his way toward the river and its flotilla of steamboats.
Arriving at the village, he loitered at the store of a Jewish merchant, Mr. Rose, and at a propitious moment, he
slipped aboard the “Vernon”, climbing up the back of the boat to the kitchen where he hid himself. While Holt
was in hiding, a man entered the kitchen and beckoning him to come near, Holt won the man’s sympathy and
aid in carrying out his plan to follow his master to the army. Arrangements were made for Holt to occupy a small
room adjoining the kitchen and the cook, whom Holt had seen on the “Vicksburg”, proved friendly. “He hid me
during the trip and told me when to get off at Memphis,” Holt tells. The soldiers from the boat having gone
ashore, the cook thought that the time was ripe for Holt to make his appearance. Leaving the shelter of the
“Cook-house”, he climbed up the high banks at the Memphis landing to find his master standing with a group of
officers, among whom were General Bedford Forrest and General Breckenridge. No more was said of Holt’s
youth and he went into training at Camp Boone; it was in Tennessee. Be served as a soldier and did not go as a
body- servant to Colonel Hinds.

7. After drilling for a time at Camp Boone, he was sent with his company into Kentucky. His first taste of war came
in a fight at a bridge over Green River and there he met his “Old Colonel” again. During the four years conflict,

he served with the Texas Cowboys, Ross’ Brigade and was under Colonel Dudley Jones at the close of the
struggle. After the surrender, he returned to Washington county with his master and Tom Hinds.

8. About that time he began to achieve distinction as a hunter. He killed bear all over the county, some of which
were killed where Greenville homes and public buildings now stand.

9. Quail matches were the fashion then and at various times Colonel Hinds pitted his man, Holt, against such
sportsmen as Major Keep of Mayersville, Mississippi, Jeff Brown and Major Lawrence of Louisville. In a noted
match with Mr. Lomax Anderson of Lake Village, Arkansas, Holt won for Colonel Hinds a purse of one thousand
dollars in gold.

10. When the Carpetbagger regime was in full swing, Holt was involved in serious trouble connected with the killing
of a Yankee soldier. Be was arrested on suspicion and but for the persistent efforts of Colonel W. A. Percy, would
most like have paid the supreme penalty.

11. To this day he has never told who killed the Union soldier, but those who are informed about those troublous
times, have their own opinion, which they never put into words. The trouble arose over a difficulty between the
soldier and Colonel Hinds. During the dispute, the Colonel, though a much older man, knocked the youngster
down several time, each time following the aggression of the younger man. Finally the thoroughly angered
young man drew a knife on his unarmed opponent, but a by-stander prevented his using it. Such conduct,
especially when the aggressor was a much younger man, was considered an insult and Holt regarded it as such.

12. Holt tells that on one occasion, during Reconstruction days, he, the only negro among 500 white men, marched
up Washington Avenue under fire, as a protest against the insults to the white men and women of Greenville.
Several times he was taken to court because of his participation in acts of this kind.

13. After the tragic death of his beloved master, Holt traveled for some time with a race-horse stable and later
worked on the race-horse farm of Captain James Brown near Fort Worth, Texas. There he met Frank James
brother of the celebrated Jessie James. Thence he traveled into old Mexico and later hunted “little bear” in
Alaska. Seeing the world did not wean Holt from his old home in the Mississippi Delta and after a few years of
wandering, he returned to Greenville.

14. Having killed 2212 bear, after which he says, ‘I just quit counting”, Holt and the famous pack of dogs, which he
had trained, were known by hunters and sportsmen, not only in the Delta but in other states. When the great
bear hunt for President Theodore Roosevelt was planned, it was quite natural that Mr. John M. Parker of
Louisiana chose Holt to select the hunting grounds and lead the chase.

15. “One day Major Helm came to me”, says Holt, “and said: ‘If you can get things ready in a month and not let
anybody know what you’re doing, President Roosevelt will go hunting with us’. I got things ready; found a
beautiful campin’ place. I was boss of the hunt. Along came the President with a car-load of guards, but he left
all but one of ’em in the car. Anyway he was safer with me than with all the policemen in Washington. The
President was a pleasant man; when he was talking he’d stop every little while to ask other people’s opinion.
Sometimes he asked my opinion about something, and he talked to me about as much as he did to anybody
else; he had a thousand questions to ask. We sat on a log to talk and in ten minutes, thirty-five people were
sitting on the log. It was going to be a ten day hunt, but the President was impatient. ‘I must see a live bear the
first day,’ he said. I told him he would if I had to tie one and bring it to him. Mr. Foote made fun of me. The
President looked doubtful, but Mr. Percy and Major Helm said I could do it.”

16. Holt tells that he got on the trail of a bear fairly early next morning. In following the dogs, he left the party far
behind; at noon or shortly after, the bear headed for the lake where the chase had started. The rest of the party
were to meet him there. “We got to the lake”, he continued, “and the bear went right into the water. The party
had returned to camp. I followed the bear into the lake with my Texas rope on my arm. I slicked up the rope
with the blue mud from the bottom. I had one dog in the water with me; he tangled with the bear and they
went under. I kicked the bear and he stuck his head up. While he was shaking the water from his eyes, I dropped
the rope over his head, moved back about ten feet or so, and tied it to a tree. The bear was old, but he was fat;
he had gray hair on his paws and head, and he had two big black teeth. That bear killed several fine dogs for

17. The pack Holt was using was one for which he had been offered a thousand dollars, but he had kept them.
18. “I went to camp and brought ’em down to see the bear. I had tied it but wouldn’t take it to the President like I’d

said I would. When they all got there the President ran into the water, and I said to him, with my head down,
‘Don’t shoot him while he’s tied.’ Everybody tried to get him to do it but he couldn’t. Some of the other
gentlemen wanted to shoot the bear, but I knew the dogs would rush in and get killed before the bear died, so I

told ’em if they gave me fifteen hundred dollars for the dogs they could have the bear. They didn’t want him
after that.

19. The President had seen his bear and everybody was getting ready to go back to camp. One of my best friends,
Mr. John Parker, came up to me and said, ‘Holt, I want that bear; how can I get him? I told him to follow me and
I’d show him. Be followed me into the water. I teased the bear out to the end of his rope and put my hand on his
back; he couldn’t get at me, but everybody thought I was crazy. I told Mr. Parker to take the knife out of my belt
and stick the bear. I put my finger over his heart, where I wanted him to stab him.

20. When the knife went in, the bear jumped. Mr. Parker nearly pushed me on top of the bear, trying to get out of
the lake and left me to pull the knife out of the bear he had stabbed.

21. Back in camp that night the President told me I was the best guide and hunter he’d ever seen. Mr. Foot didn’t
laugh at that either.”

22. Upon his return to Washington, Mr. Roosevelt sent to Holt a rifle just like one he had used on his hunt and which
Holt had admired.

23. Holt recalls with pleasure that he was in company with Major George M. Helm when he killed his first bear and
another pleasant recollection is that “I taught M. LeRoy Percy how to shoot quail”.

24. During his long life Holt has been closely associated with many of Washington county’s leading citizens and
speaks more correctly than the average negro. An article published in the “The Literary Digest” several years
ago, quoted him as talking like the ordinary corn-field negro, which is far from correct.

25. Holt’s most thrilling tale is of a hunt when his dogs found a bear in the huge trunk of a fallen tree and went in to
get it. Trained dogs being too valuable to lose, Holt determined to go in to their rescue. Be wore soft, fine
hunting boots ordered especially for him by his friend Mr. J. C. Greenley, who kept a men s furnishing store.
Dropping down he began to make his way into the log against the protest of his white friends, one of whom in
his zeal caught his foot to deter him. Wriggling his foot from the boot he made his way, knife in mouth to the
tangle of bear and dogs. The bear passed him as it made its way out of the log and Holt stabbed it with his left
hand and was slashed by the bears claws, but he saved some of his dogs. Only twice in his long hunting career
was he clawed by a bear.

26. This master hunter tells that sixty years ago this country was a hunter’s paradise. It is fascinating to listen to his
tales of gun and woods. He gave a list of animals in Washington county 60 years ago, as follows: bear, deer,
raccoon, opossum, fox, wild hog, wild-cat, pole-cat, mink, weasel, otter, beaver, squirrel, rabbit, field rat,
meadow mouse, chipmunk, panther, and wolf.

27. Birds he mentioned were: wild turkey, quail, woodcock, dove, snipe, plover, rail, wild geese, wild ducks of many
kinds, pelican, swan, crane, heron of many kinds, flights of parakeets, wild pigeons, rice birds, starlings,
blackbirds, cedar birds, mocking-birds, bluebirds, flickers, yellow- hammers, yellow-bill cockoos, kingfishers,
catbirds, swallows, wood-peckers, martens, thrush, butcher-birds, wrens, jaybirds, and robins only in the winter.
(They now nest here and spend the summer.)

28. For a few years after the Civil War and certainly before, there were great numbers of wild pigeons. Colonel
Hinds made a habit of bringing from his old home in Jefferson county, pine knots to be used for out-of-door
lighting and for night hunting, and these lighted knots were used in securing pigeons. Holt would accompany
Tom Hinds to a pigeon roost and beat the birds from the low branches with fishing poles. It was only a short
time before they would have a buggy full of the birds.

29. Everyone has heard that the pigeons would perch so thickly on the tree limbs that often a good sized limb would
be broken by their weight. So ruthlessly were these birds slaughtered that today they are extinct.

30. The U. S. government offers a good price for a single specimen, but none are to be found.
31. Soon no one will be left to tell of the days before the war from his own recollection and very soon the oldtime

faithful slave, so interesting, so picturesque will have vanished from the south as completely as the pigeons of
which Holt tells.


(Greenville Times, July 9th, 1881)

32. A white man named Stacks was killed at Dr. Washburn’s store on the Bogue Phalia River, Wednesday morning,
the 6th instant, by Holt Collier, a well known colored man, under the following circumstances.

33. Holt had started out on a bear hunt, when he was met by a constable, who told him that he had just passed a
man who he believed from the description was the man who recently killed the two young Lotts, at Floyd,
Louisiana. The constable requested Holt to ride to Washburn’s ferry and stop the man should he attempt to
cross there, while the constable would watch for him at another ferry near by.

34. Holt rode on to Washburn’s store, and there found the man, sitting on his horse in front of the store, with a
Winchester rifle in his hand. Holt knew him as a man who some three years before had lived in the
neighborhood, and was known as Stacks. Dismounting from his own horse, and keeping his gun in his hand, Holt
approached the man and spoke to him. He also knew Holt, and they entered into conversation. Holt asked him
to let him see the rifle, and it was handed to him. He put it down leaning against the gallery. Then, keeping
between the rifle the man, who still sat on his horse, Holt told him that he had a warrant for him for the murder
of the young Lotts.

35. A man standing on the gallery by the rifle told Holt to let the man go – that he was a poor man, and had killed a
rich man who was trying to bulldoze him. The man himself swore he would not be arrested and attempted to
ride over Holt, forcing him all the time towards the gallery where the rifle stood. Holt is a very active and
courageous man and baffled the efforts to ride him down. The man, while pressing Holt toward the gallery, kept
calling upon the man standing by the gun to give it to him. And when near enough to receive it, the man raised
the gun by the muzzle and passed it over Holt’s head, breech foremost to Stack, who threw it to his shoulder and
attempted to shoot Holt. But in the excitement as he was bringing the gun down, it struck the horse’s head,
causing him to swerve, when Holt, realizing his own peril, fired, and Stacks fell from his own horse dead, with his
rifle cocked but undischarged in his hands.

36. Holt immediately came into town and surrendered himself, and after examination by Justice O’Bannon was
discharged from custody.

37. Stack’s body was also brought here and buried. He had a bowie knife upon his person, and 60 odd dollars in
money, some of it Louisiana bank money, besides some Confederate money. Upon the pocketbook containing
the money was written: “A.M. Key Pocketbook”. This is said to be the name of a man living in Carroll Parish,
where the killing of the Lotts occurred. Stacks crossed the Mississippi River at Gaines’ Landing, Arkansas, and
came into this county last Friday. He was a man of a very bad reputation. A photograph of him has been sent to
Floyd, La. for identification.


38. Since Holt’s death about ten days ago the following material has been given me by Mrs. T. A. Holcombe, who felt
an interest in Holt and from time to time saw him. From her various conversations she had gathered
considerable information on which she had planned to base a sketch of his life. She talked with him when he
was stronger and better able to give details of his early life than when I saw him recently. Mrs. Holcombe visited
him in the hospital where he spent the last week or ten days of his life, and was able at times to minister to his
comfort and happiness. Having long been interested in him, he naturally told her more than he would have told
in one interview, especially when one considers how feeble he was when I saw him last.

39. In the interview I am sending in I have incorporated some material which I remember from tales I heard him tell
several years ago and prior to my undertaking the collecting of historical data. The last interview was not nearly
so full as might have been desired so to make it of much interest. Therefore I had to add to it from other

40. When I last talked with him he was very feeble and was easily overcome by emotion, especially when talking of
his Old Colonel and some very lovely white lady who lived at Bardstown, KY in whose charge he was placed
when as a boy he was sent there to go to school.

41. Enclosed you will find account of his death as published in the local paper. The Commercial Appeal also carried a
notice of his death last week which was published again in the Sunday edition.

(Some Interesting Incidents in Holt Collier’s Life as Told to Mrs. T. A. Holcombe)

42. During troublous times after Civil War, on one occasion Col. Hinds and a party of white men were riding about
12 miles north of Greenville when they realized that they had run into an ambush. Setting spur to their horses
they dashed for safety. Col. Hinds horse stumbled, pitching him off. Holt riding ahead, looked back and Col.

Hinds signaled him to ride on, but he wheeled and dashed back to his old master’s rescue. Col. Hinds was
running with his arms elevated above his head when Holt came abreast of him and without stopping his horse,
reached down and jerked Col. Hinds up onto the horse with him, thus saving his life.

43. During the war Holt was in the company with Mr. J. C. Burrus of Bolivar county and on one occasion the two
were in a cane-brake riding toward a slough when suddenly they realized that they were surrounded by the
enemy. Mr. Burrus felt that all hope of escape was gone, but Holt was more optimistic. Hastily he revealed his
plan of escape and the two made a wild dash through the slough firing two pistols each and shouting with all
their might the “Rebel yell”. So swiftly did they pass through the line and so completely did they deceive the
enemy that they made good their escape.

44. “I am black, but my associations with my Old Col. gave me many advantages. I was freer then than I have ever
been since and I loved him better than anybody else in the world. I would have given my life for [him],” said Holt
with tears rolling down his withered cheeks.

45. “When my Old Col. left to join the army, he left me sitting on the fence crying and begging him to let me go with
him. He said, ‘No, you might get killed. I said I’ve got as good a chance as you. He left me sitting there watching
him go across the fields to Old Greenville to catch the boat. That night I ran away and went to Greenville where I
saw the artillery being loaded on a boat. After dark I slipped aboard. At Memphis when we were about half
unloaded I marched across the gang-plank to shore. Mr. Thomas (Hinds) saw me and turned and called, ‘Father
look yonder.’ My Old Colonel looked at me and took off his hat and smoothed his hair back with his hand and
said, ‘Thomas, if we both go to the devil that boy will have to go along, I said, ‘I got as good a chance as you.’ It
seemed to me that all the soldiers in the world were there. There were General Breckenridge, old Gen. Clark
from Jefferson county, Gen. Bragg, General Wirt Adams and General Bedford Forrest. We were sent to Camp
Boone in Tennessee and from there to Ky. One moon-light night we were ordered double quick to Mulger Hill, to
beat Col. Rousseau of the Northern army to that place. When we reached Bowling Green my folks shot down the
Union flag flying at the top of a hill and Lieut. Marschalk climbed the pole and cut down the staff. We started on,
but the Unions had torn up the railroad track and we had to stop and fix it before we could go on. That is why
Col. Rousseau beat us to Mulger Hill. We reached Green River Bridge and entrenched on a mountain and had a
skirmish with Col. Rousseau who fell back and we returned to Bowling Green where we went into winter
quarters. The weather was the coldest I ever felt. Because of my being an expert with a gun and a horse and my
knowledge of the woods, Gen. Forrest talked with Capt. Evans to whose company I had been assigned when we
left Camp Boone, about my enlisting as a soldier. They asked permission of my Old Colonel and he called me to
him and told me to choose for myself. I said ‘I will go with Capt. Evans’ cavalry. I loved horses and felt at home in
the saddle. I was in Gen. Ross’ Brigade, Col. Dudley Jones Regiment and Capt. Perry Evans co. 9th Texas Regt. My
Old Col. gave me a horse — one of three fine race horses he had brought from Plum Ridge. He was a beauty,
iron-gray and named Medock. After leaving Bowling Green it was a long time until I saw my Old Colonel again.

46. In the spring the union forces drove us back to Iuka and from there to Chattanooga where we went into battle.
We retreated through Tennessee into Alabama fighting every step of the way.

47. News that my Old Colonel had been wounded came through the lines to Mr. Thomas (Lieut. Thomas Hinds). He
came to me and said, ‘Holt can you go to my father? I can’t go.’ I got a pass from Capt. Evans and left that night.
Riding night and day I reached the home of a relative of the Colonel’s. I hid my horse in a cane-brake nearby and
slipped up to the house after dark. Miss Eliza, the Colonel’s cousin let me in and showed me where he lay. I went
in and when he saw me he waved his hand for everyone to leave the room. I went over and knelt down by his
bed and put my arms around him and hugged him close. He began to cry and said, ‘Holt, I am badly hurt, but I
believe I will pull through.’ I said, ‘You must; I can’t live if you die.’ After awhile the family came in and we talked
until day-break. I was treated like a royal guest by Miss Eliza and the others. She made me a couch beside the
Colonel’s bed and I slept there during my stay. I never left the house and the family were on guard all the time I
was there. The Federals were thick as hops and I began to get uneasy. On the fourth night I told my Old Colonel

48. My horse, hearing me coming, nickered which frightened me, but I reached the lines in safety. I did not see my
Old Colonel again until we met on the battle-field of Shiloh. He said ‘Holt, I have worried a heap about you.’ I
said, ‘Yes sir, I got as good a chance as you. The soldiers were falling thick and fast, but I was never hit once.
General Albert Sidney Johnston, in command of the Confederate troops was riding a big white horse when a
bullet struck him in the thigh, severing an artery. I was only a few yards away at the time. Six soldiers carried him
to the shade of a tree where he died in a short while. We retreated to Corinth (to protect an important

connection with the Trans-Mississippi Division) and Capt. Evans Company was detailed for scout duty along the
Mississippi River and up near Old Greenville. We did a heap of good too; saved our folks property and ran the
Unions out. During that time I did a great deal of scout duty. The whole country was a wilderness and if our boys
got lost I could always find the way out. I had been raised in this part of the country and had hunted in the
woods all my life.

49. “Well Mam, when the war was over we went to Vicksburg and were mustered out under General Kirby Smith of

50. “After I came home I had a heap of trouble. The Federals were garrisoned at Greenville (the new town of that
name) and they arrested me four times. At that time the country was under military rule and I had to go to
Vicksburg for trial.

51. Nugent stood by me through thick and thin. I will never forget them, my old white friends – they are all gone
now. Col. Percy and Col. Hinds went with me to Vicksburg for the trial. Col. Percy told them if they put me in jail
he wanted a cot put beside mine for he was going to jail with me.

s/ Eunice Stockwell

Fleming, George
349 Highland St.
Spartanburg, S.C.
Oct. 28, 1937

Project 1885-1
Prepared by: Elmer Turnage
Spartanburg, S. C. Dist. 4
November 3, 1937

1. George Fleming and his wife, Elizabeth, live in a small two-room cottage at 349 Highland Street in Spartanburg,
S. C. Their humble abode is typical of the average negro dwelling in this city. It is furnished with only the bare
necessities compatible with comfortable living; but to George and Elizabeth it holds the same warmth and
feeling of security which their ides of a home depicts. George has a keen memory and he talked freely of slavery.

2. “I was born in 1854 in de month of August. I disremembers what dat pension lady said was de dey. She de one
dat found out all about it. I ‘clar dat was de biggest plantation whar I was born dat I is ever seed or heard tell of.
Lawd a-mercy! Ain’t no telling how many acres in dat place, but dar was jes’ miles and miles of it. It was in
Laurens County, not fur (far) frum de town of Laurens. I ‘longed to Marse Sam Fleming. Lawd chile, dat’s de best
white man what ever breathed de good air. I still goes to see whar he buried every time I gits a chance to
venture t’wards Laurens. As old as I is, I still drops a tear when I sees his grave, fer he sho was good to me and all
his other niggers.

3. “Marse Sam’s boys, Lyntt and Frank, sho was tigers, but cose dey wasn’t mean tigers. Dey had real long beards.
Marse Lyntt was my young marster, and he de bestest man I ever know’d, ‘cepting his daddy. He allus doing
something to have fun outen us lil’ niggers; but us didn’t mind, ’cause we got fun outen it, too. I ‘member how
he used to sot us in de hog pens, but we wasn’t scared as we ‘lowed we was.

4. My pa named Bill. He was stole frum Virginia. I don’t know how Marse got him. Sometimes dey would buy ’em
and agin dey would steal ’em, sort of like stealing a dog. Ma, her name Hannah. Dey got married on de
plantation. After pa got kil’t, Ma married a man called Charles. I only has one whole sister living, and she name

Jennie. Viney and Millie be dead. My brother, Richard, he dead too. My half-sister, Sallie Ann, she stay in
Jacksonville, or some fureign state.

5. “Mercy on us, dem was de happy days; dey was heavenly days ‘sides what we ‘speriences now. Us lil’ kids played
lots of games den, some of dem like what dey playsnow, but we had a better time. Befo’ we was big enough to
work, ‘capt tote water and de like of dat, we played sech things as marbles. We had purty red and blue marbles
dat Marse Lyntt brung frum de store. Sometimes we wrestle, too, and old Marse laugh till his fat belly shake all
over when he see de lil’ nigger’s head buried in de white sand. Sometimes we play ‘warm jacket’. Dat was
worked by each one gitting a brush frum a tree or bush and frailing de other ‘un till it got too hot fer him.

6. “De older boys and gals had big frolics, ‘specially in de fall of de year. Sometimes dey be on our plantation, and
agin dey be on neighboring ones. When dey have ’em close home, some of us lil’n would slip off and git in de
corner or up in he loft of de house and spy on ’em. Dey cotch us sometimes and thrash us out. One game dey
played was ‘please and displease’. When de gal say, ‘What it take to please you?’ de boy say, ‘A kiss from dat
purty gal over dar’. Yes, dey played ‘hack-back’, too. Dat’s when dey faced each other and trotted back and
forth. Lawd, dey sho had some awful times dancing and cutting jigs. Twan’t much drinking, ‘cepting on de side.

7. “White ladies didn’t go to de frolics, but some of de white men did. De patrollers was allus around to see dat
everybody had passes, and if dey didn’t have ’em dey was run back home. Sometimes de overseer was dar, too.
Lawd, dey sho did kick up de dust at dem frolics. De music was mostly made by fiddles, and sometimes dey had
quill blowers. De quills was made frum cane, same as de spindles was but dey was cut longer and was different
sizes. All de quills was put in a rack and you could blow any note you wanted to off of dem. Boy, I sho could blow
you out of dar wid a rack of quills. I was de best quill blower dat ever put one in man’s mouth. I could make a
man put his fiddle up; hit you so hard wid Dixieland dat I knock you off de seat. Gals wouldn’t look at nobody
else when I start blowing de quills.

8. “Dar was also heaps and lots of other big affairs ‘sides de frolics. De cornshuckings — Lawd a-mercy, you ain’t
seen nothing. Niggers frum all over de place shucking corn and somebody setting on one of de big piles calling
de cornshucking song, jes’ like dey do in de square dance. Dat kept ’em happy — everybody jine in de chorus. A
jug of liquor set at de bottom of de pile; everybody try to be first to get to de liquor. Lawd, dey holler and take
on something awful when dey get to de bottom. White folks have big supper ready; liquor brandy and
everything. Dem was de times; pick up somebody and kivver ’em up wid de shucks. Had cotton pickings, too. Dat
work not so fast but we had good times. Sometimes dey be on our plantation; den we sometimes go to other

9. “Didn’t need no passes when a bunch of slaves went to other plantations to dem big gatherings. ‘Rangements
was already made so de patrollers wouldn’t bother nobody. Dat policy didn’t hold fer de frolics, though. Sho had
to have a pass frum de marse if you went.

10. “On de plantation we lived jes’ like a great big family wid Marsa de daddy of ’em all. Cose he had overseers to
watch after de work and keep things straight. He allus kept more dan 200 head of slaves. De quarters was made
up of lots of cabins, some wid one room, some wid two or three. Dat’ ‘cording to how big de family was. Dey
wasn’t built in rows, but scattered about over de plantation. Some of de cabins was made of logs and some wid
planks, but all was warm and comfortable. Dey had all kinds of chimneys, too. Some brick, some rock and some
de old stick and mud kind. Dey all had big fireplaces. Dat was whar us done de cooking. Hitches (hooks) was on
de sides of de fireplace whar big iron pots hung to bile and cook in. We had pans and leads (lids) and things to
bake in, too, yes Lawd, dem was de days, fer we sho had plenty to eat — everything we wanted.

11. “All de things we had in de house was home-made, but we sho had good beds. Dey made wid boards, and ‘stead
of slats, ropes was stretched twixt de sides real tight by slipping dem through holes and making knots in de ends.
Over dese we laid bags; den feather or straw ticks. We had plenty kivvers to keep us warm. We had shelves and
hooks to put our clothes on. We had benches and tables made wid smooth boards. Missus Harriet, dat Marse
Sam’s wife, she give us a looking-glass so we could see how to fix up. Lawd a-mercy, Missus Harriet was one fine
woman. She allus looked after us to see dat we didn’t suffer fer nothing.

12. “Some of de women dat didn’t have a passel of lil’ brats was signed to de job of cooking fer de field hands. Some
of ’em come home to eat, but mostly dey stayed in de fields. De dinner horn blow’d ‘zactly at 12 o’clock and dey
know’d it was time fer grub. Everybody dropped what dey was doing and compiled demselves in groups. Dey
could see de buckets coming over de hill. Der was more den one group, fer de fields was so big dat dey couldn’t
all come to one place. Cose all dat was planned out by de overseers. Had lots of overseers and dey had certain
groups to look out fer.

13. “Most of de food was brung to de fields in buckets, but sometimes de beans and de like of dat come in de same
pots dey was cooked in. It took two big niggers to tote de big pots. Dar was no want of food fer de hands. Marse
know’d if dey worked dey had to eat. Dey had collards, turnips and other good vegetables wid cornbread Chunks
of meat was wid de greens, too, and us had lots of buttermilk.

14. “Women worked in de field same as de man. Some of dem plowed jes’ like de men and boys. Couldn’t tell ’em
apart in de field, as dey wore pantelets or breeches. Dey tied strings ’round de bottom of de legs so de loose dirt
wouldn’t git in deir shoes. De horn blow’d to start work and to quit. In de morning when de signal blow’d dey all
tried to see who could git to de field first. Dey had a good time and dey liked to do deir work. Us didn’t pay much
mind to de clock. We worked frum sun to sun. All de slaves had to keep on de job, but dey didn’t have to work
so hard. Marse allus said dey could do better and last longer by keeping ’em steady and not overworking ’em.

15. “Dar was all kinds of work ‘sides de field work dat want on all de time. Everybody had de work dat de could do
de best. My daddy worked wid leather. He was de best harness maker on de place, and he could make shoes.
Dey had a place whar dey tanned cow-hides. Dat was called de tannos. Dey didn’t do much spinning and
weaving in de home quarters; most of it was done in one special place Marse had made fer dat purpose. Some
of de slaves didn’t do nothing but spin and weave, and dey sho was good at it, too. Dey was trained up jes’ fer
dat particular work.

16. “I don’t know how many spinning wheels and looms and dem things Marsa had, but he sho had lots of ’em. Dat
business making cloth had lots to it and I don’t know much ’bout it, but it was sort of his way. Dey picked de
seeds out of de cotton; den put de cotton in piles and carded it. Dey kept brushing it over and over on de cards
till it was in lil’ rolls. It was den ready fer de spinning wheels whar it was spun in thread. Dis was called de filling. I
don’t know much ’bout de warp, dat is de part dat run long ways.

17. “Dem spinning wheels sho did go on de fly. Dey connected up wid de spindle and it go lots faster dan de wheel.
Dey hold one end of de cotton roll wid de hand and ‘tach de other to de spindle. It keep drawing and twisting de
roll till it make a small thread. Sometimes dey would run de thread frum de spindle to a cornshuck or anything
dat would serve de purpose. Dat was called de broach. Some of dem didn’t go any further dan dat, dey had to
make sech and sech breeches a day. Dis was dair task. Dat’s de reason some of dem had to work after dark, dat
is, if dey didn’t git de task done befo’ dat.

18. “Dey run de thread off de broach on to reels, and some of it was dyed on de reels. Dey made deir own dyes, too.
Some of it was made frum copparas, and some frum barks and berries. After while, de thread was put back on
de spinning wheel and wound on lil’ old cane quills. It was den ready fer de looms. Don’t know nothing, de looms
– boom! boom! sho could travel. Dey put de quills, after de thread was wound on dem, in de shettle and
knocked it back and forth twixt de long threads what was on de beams. Can’t see de thread fly out of dat shettle
it come so fast. Dey sho could sheckle it through dar. Dey peddled dem looms, zip! zap! making de thread rise
and drop while de shettle zoom twixt it. Hear dem looms booming all day long ’round de weaving shop. De
weaving and spinning was done in de same place.

19. “Overseers lived on de plantation. No, dey wasn’t poor whites. All Marse Sam’s overseers was good men. Dey
lived wid dair families, and Marse’s folks ‘sociatad wid dem, too. Dey had good houses to live in. Dey built better
den ours was. Marse didn’t ‘low dem to whip de slaves, but dey made us keep straight. If any whipping had to be
done, Marse done it, but he didn’t have to do much. He didn’t hurt ’em bad, den, jes’ git a big hickry and lay on a
few. He would say if dat nigger didn’t walk de chalk, he would put him on de block and settle him. Dat was
usually enough, ’cause Marse meant dat thing and all de niggers know’d it.

20. “Jes’ one or two of Marse Sam’s slaves ever run away, but lots of other niggers hid. Some of dem try to go to de
North, but mostly dey come polling back by demselves when dey git hungry. If dey didn’t come back purty soon,
deir marse sent out to look fer ’em. Lawd, I heard de nigger hounds yelping befo’ day many times. Dat was de
bloodhounds dey sicked on de runaway niggers, and dey sho run ’em back home. When dey hear de hounds dey
was glad to git home.

21. “De patrollers would go out and look fer de niggers. Dey almost skin ’em alive if dey catch ’em befo’ dey git
home. Patrollers was made up of jes’ anybody dat wanted to jine ’em, poor white trash and all. One thing dey
sho couldn’t do, and dat was tech a nigger aftar he done got on his marse’s grounds. Dey almost got pa one
time, but he saved his hide by falling over a rail fence jes’ befo’ dey cotched him. All de plantation owners, dey
pay so much to de patrollers to be on de look-out fer de slaves, and dat’s de way dey kept so many frum running

22. “Some men, like old Joe Crews, was reglar nigger traders. Dey bought niggers, stole ’em frum Virginia and places,
and drove ’em through de country like a bunch of hogs. Dey come in great gangs. In town dey have big nigger
sellings, and all de marsters frum all over de countryside be dere to bid on ’em. Dey put ’em up on de block and
holler ’bout dis and dat dey could do and how strong dey was. ‘Six hundred –Yip Yip, make it six-fifty’ I heard ’em
call many times when I be dere wid Marse. Some of dem throw a thousand dollars quick as dey would ten at a
purty gal. Some traders stop a drove of niggers at de plantation and swap or sell some. Dey didn’t call dat
putting ’em on de block like when day had de big selling.

23. “Slaves started to work by de time dey was old enough to tote water and pick up chips to start fires wid. Some of
dem started to work in de fields when dey about ten, but most of ’em was older. Lawd, Marse Sam must have
had more dan a dozen house niggers. It took a lot of work to keep things in and ’round de house in good shape.
Cose most of de slaves was jes’ field hands, but some of dem was picked out fer special duties. Slaves didn’t get
any pay in money fer work, but Marsa give ’em a lil’ change sometimes.

24. “Everybody have plenty to eat. Lots of times we had fish, rabbits, possums and stuff like dat; lots of fishing and
hunting in dem days. Some slaves have lil’ gardens of deir own, but most de vegetables come frum de big
garden. Missus was in charge de big garden, but cose she didn’t have to do no work. She sho seed after us too.
Even de poor white trash had plenty to eat back in dem times. Marse have a hundred head of hogs in de
smokehouse at one time. Never seen so much pork in my life. We sho lived in fine fashion in hog killing time,
cose de meats was cured and us had some all de year. Yes sir, Marse ration out everybody some every week.
Watermelons grow awful big, some of ’em weigh a hundred pounds. Dey big striped ones, called ‘rattlesnakes’
so big you can’t tote it no piece. All de baking and biling was done over de big fireplaces.

25. “Didn’t wear much clothes in summer ’cause we didn’t need much, but all de grown niggers had shoes. Lawh, I
wore many pair of Narse Lyntt’s boots, I means sho ’nuff good boots. Marse had his own shoemakers, so twan’t
no use us gwine widout. Had better clothes fer Sunday. Most de washing was done on Saturday afternoons, and
we be all setting purty fer Sunday. Cold weather we was dressed warm, and we had plenty bed kivvers, too.
Cose all slaves didn’t have it as good as Marse Sam’s did. Lawd, I is seed lil’ naked niggers setting on de rail
fences like pacel of buzzards; but Marse Sam’s niggers never had to go dat way.

26. Slaves didn’t have no church or schools. Lots of dem went to de white folks’ church, but Marsa Sam didn’t make
his slaves go if dey didn’t want to. Dair benches was on de sides and in de back of de church. All preachers was
white men. Old preacher Moore sho was a humdinger, and a good one. He pizen dair minds wid Salvation, soak
’em in de oil of Holy Ghost and set ’em on fire. Lawd-a-me! When he got lit up all over till his eyes shine and
sparkle, he sho could bring down de house. Twant no seats in school fer de slaves, though. Some of de slick ones
slipped around and larn’t de letters.

27. “When de slaves come from de field, dair day’s work was done. Fact is, everybody’s work was done ‘cept maybe
some of de spinners or weavers dat didn’t quite finish dair task. Dey was de onliest ones dat had to ever work
after dark, and dat not often. Sometimes on Saturdays we didn’t have to work a-tall, dat is in de fields, and
sometimes we had to work till 12 o’clock. Lots of de men went fishing and hunting, and mostly de women
washed. Saturday nights some groups would git together and sing. I can still hear dem old songs in my mind, but
I doesn’t recalls de words. Christmas sho was handsome time. Christmas and New Years we had a good time.
Marse jes’ sort of turned ’em loose. We got a lil’ extra liquor and brandy on de holidays, but cose we had some
all along enduring de whole entire year. Marse had three stills on de place and dar was plenty liquor, but he
didn’t let anybody git drunk. He call de lil’ niggers, too, sometimes and give ’em a drink, and he give ’em jelly
biscuits. He call everybody up to de big house on Christmas and make a speech; den he give everybody some
good brandy.

28. “I doesn’t recalls nothing ’bout no ghosts. Ain’t nothing in dem things. Cose if you goes ’round de graveyards
after dark, you might see sech things, but I ain’t gwine dar. Nigger come in once a-telling something ’bout a
witch making a knot in his horse’s tail, but I don’t think der was nothing to it.

29. “When any of de slaves got sick, Marse took good care of ’em till dey got well. If dey bad sick de sent fer de
doctor. Some of de woman know’d how to bile up herbs and roots and make tea fer colds and fevers, but I don’t
know what kind dey used. When de chilluns was born, Marse seed to it dat de mammy was rightly took care of.
He kept a old granny woman wid dem till dey got up and well.

30. “De slaves mostly got married in Marse Sam’s back yard, and he sho fixed up fine fer ’em. Dat’s de way ma and
pa got married. I got married twice on Dr. Wright’s place. He fixed up fer de ‘casion like Marse did. Had twelve
waiters both times. We had supper in de kitchen and den had dancing and music. Dem dat got married back den

sho did have it in high fashion. Man would have a good striped suit, and de woman have silk and satin clothes.
Dey was married by a white preacher same as de white folks. A dinner was fixed in dair honor, too. Cose, as I
say, Marse Sam’s slaves was treated better dan most any ever know’d of, and all of dem loved him, too.

31. “Dar was a burying ground jes’ fer de slaves and de funeral was sort of like dat of de white folks. Niggers was
baptized jes’ like de white people, too, and by de same preacher. I saw thirty niggers baptized at one time in de
river. Dat’s whar everybody was baptized, den. Now dey has a basin in de church, wid glass all ’round de top, but
I ‘spects it do ’bout as much good.

32. “During de war, food got kind of scarce but didn’t nobody suffer none on our place. Lawd yes, we carried de
farming right on while de war was gwine on. Marse Sam’s boys went to de war, but dey come back all right. Dey
sho had a home-coming time fer ’em when dey got back. I heard ’bout de Yankees coming through and ‘stroying
things, but I never seed none. Our place stood jes’ like it was all enduring de war. I didn’t see no Ku Klux, neither.
When freedom come, Marse called all de slaves up to de big house and say, ‘I wants to know what you all is
gwine to do now, fer you is free to go if you wants to.’ Everybody spoke alike, ‘We wants to stay wid Marse.’
Everyone of de slaves stayed right on wid Marse Sam till dey could git a place to go to. Lots of ’em stayed till dey
died. He divided de land up in patches and give each one a third of what was made.

33. “Soon after de war der was a lot of trouble ’bout voting fer de governor. Some folks (like old Joe Crews) tried to
put in de niggers heads to vote fer de Republicans, but I know’d better. I voted fer Hampton like Marse did. Fact
is, I voted twice fer him. (Joe Crews and other scalawags like him,) Some scalawags had done made all de money
dey could off selling niggers, so dey thought dey could make some more by making ‘greements wid de
Republicans. My daddy, Bill, was bullheaded. He done got dem ideas in his head and he said he gwine to vote fer
de Republicans in spite of hell.

34. “De Democrats done got scared ’cause so many niggers gwine to vote fer de other side, so dey formed a society
called de Red Shirts. Dat was jes’ to scare de niggers frum coming to de po11s. I was young, but I jined right up
wid dem and wore a red shirt, too.

35. “Dey had a reg’lar battle in Laurens when de voting started. All de Republican niggers had deir guns stored in Tin
Pot Alley, fer Joe Crews told ’em dey couldn’t bring ’em to de polls. He thought de Yankees would protect de
niggers, but fact is, de Yankees done been paid off by de Democrats and left town. Us Democrats broke in de
storehouse in Tin Pot Allay and got every one of dem guns. De niggers names was on de stock of de guns. We
sho had a hot time when dem niggers come up dar trying to vote. Dat’s when my daddy got kilt. He had already
been shot in de leg befo’ dat, and dey called him ‘cripple Bill’. Dem was de purtiest guns I ever seed.

36. “Dey click three times when de trigger was pulled back. Old Jim Crews was kilt too, at dat time. Wash Hill was de
one dat got him. He was shot at Crew’s Branch. Twan’t long after dat till things begin to settle down, fer de
Democrats sho did lick up dem Republicans.

37. “I been married three times, first time I married Sarah Peterson. I ‘clar to goodness I sho can’t ‘member dat
second one. Let me see, let me see — Lonie, Lonie, oh yes, Lonie Gelding. Us married in Laurens County on Dr.
Wright’s place whar I married de first one. She didn’t live long and we didn’t have no chilluns. My last wife name
Elizabeth McKantz, she frum Abbeville. She cooked fer Mr. Jones. Her daddy was a white man, and she look jes’
like a Indian. I jes’ had one chile by de first wife, but he dead. His name was Richard. I got two chilluns by de last
wife dat be living. Dat’s Mattie, de oldest, and Hugh, de third one. I doesn’t know whar neither one lives now.
My other two dat’s dead was Anna and George Anna. Yes, dey both named Anna, but de first one dead befo’ de
other one was born.

38. “Some folks didn’t like slavery, but I sho did. Marcy Lawd, we had a good time, den; heap better dan now. I been
a long time gitting dis pension, and it ain’t much when you gits it. Back in slavery times we didn’t have no
worries ’bout rent or something to eat. We had a job long as we lived, dat is if freedom hadn’t come.

Godbold, Hector
Marion County, S.C.
Annie Ruth Davis
June 28, 1937

1. Wha’ yuh gwinna do wid me? I sho’ been heah in slavery time. Talk to dem sodjurs when dey wuz ‘treatin’ dey
way back home. My ole Missus wuz Miss Mary Godbold en den she marry uh Haselden. Dey buy my mamma
from da ole man Frank Miles right o’er yonner. Harry en Cindy Godbold wuz my parents. We lib in uh one room
house in de slave quarter dere on de white folks plantation. My Gawd, sleep right dere on de floor. Hab
granparants dat come haeh o’er de water from Af’ica. Dey tell me dat whey dey come from dey don’ ne’er ‘low
no man en he wife to sleep togedder cause dey is scared uv katchin disease from one annuder. Dat sho’ uh good
t’ing, yuh know dat. I t’ink dat sho’ uh good ting.

2. Dey ain’ ne’er gi’e none uv da colored peoples no money in dat day en time. Coase dey gi’e us plenty sumptin to
eat. Fed us outer big bowl uv pot licker wid plenty corn bread en fried meat en dat ’bout aw we e’er eat. Dey is
le’ us hab uh garden uv we own dat we hab to work by da night time. Yuh see de colored folks know’d dey
hadder ge’ up soon uz dey heared dat cow horn blow an dat been ‘fore daylight come heah. Oh, dey work from
dark to dark in dat day en time. Didn’t but one day outer aw da year stand dat wuz uh week day an dat wuz de
Christmas day. Sweet molasses bread wuz da t’ing dat day. Coase dey gi’e us big supper when dey hab dem
cornshucking day. Oh, dey hab uh frolic den dat las’ ‘way up to de midnight.

3. I ne’er lib dere to de Haselden plantation wid my parents long ‘fore dey hire me to Massa John Mace en I stay
dere till ma en Maggie (his wife) come heah to lib. Nu’se six head uv chillun fa de white folks dere. I hear em say
my Missus wus uh Watson ‘fore she marry Massa John Mace. Lawd, Lawd, lub dem chillun to death. Effen Moses
Mace been libin’ yuh wouldn’t be talkin’ to no Hector Godbold ’bout heah dese days. He de one wha’ gi’e me en
Maggie dat four room house yuh see settin’ dere. My Missus gi’e me uh good beatin’ one time when I did drop
one uv dem baby. Jes put me head under her feet en beat me dat way.

4. Annuder t’ing I hadder do wuz to carry de baby ‘cross de swamp evey four hour en le’ my mamma come dere en
suckle dat child. One day I go dere an annuder fellow come dere wha’ dey call John. He en my mamma ge’ in uh
a’gument lak en he le’ out en cut my mammy a big lick right ‘cross da leg en de blood jes pour outer dat t’ing lak
uh done uh wha’. My mamma took me an come on to de house en when Miss Jane see dat leg, she say, “Cindy,
wha’ de matter?” My mamma say, “John call me uh liar en I ne’er take it. “Miss Jane tell em to send a’ter Sam
Watson right den. Sam Watson wuz uh rough ole o’erseer en ha been so bowlegged dat effen he stand straddle
uh barrel, he’ud be settin’ down on it jes uz good uz yuh settin’ dere. Sam Watson come dere en make dat fellow
lay down on uh plank in de fence jam en he take dat cat o’ nine tail he hab tie ’round de waist en strak John 75
times. De blood run down offen him jes lak uh stream run in dat woods. Dat sho’ been so cause aw we chillun
stand ’bout dere en look on it. I s’ppose I wus ’bout big ‘nough to plough den. When dey le’ John loose from
dere, he go in de woods en ne’er come back no more till freedom come heah. I tellin’ yuh when he come back,
he come back wid de Yankees.

5. Oh, de colored peoples ne’er know nuthin more den dogs in dem times. Ne’er couldn’t go from one plantation
to de udder widout dat dey hab uh tickee’ wid em. I see Sam Watson ketch many uv dem dat ha’ run way en buff
an gag em. Ne’er hab no jails no whey in dat day en time. Dey sho’ sell de colored peoples ‘way plenty times
cause I see dat done right heah to Marion. Stand em up on uh block en sell em to uh speculator dere. I hear em
bid offen uh ‘oman en uh baby en den dey bid offen my auntie en uncle ‘way down to da country. Dey wouldn’t
take no whippin’ offen dey Massa an dat how come dey ga’ rid uv em. My grandaddy been worth $1000 en it de
Lawd’s truth I tellin’ yuh, he drown ‘fore he le’ em whip him. Den my granmudder use’er run ‘way en ketch rides
‘long de roads cause de peoples le’ em do dat den. Coase effen dey ketch her, dey didn’t ne’er do her no harm
cause she wuz one uv dem breed ‘omans.

6. Ne’er know nuthin tall ’bout gwinne to school ’bout dere den. Jes pick up wha’ l’arnin’ we ge’ heah, dere en
eve’ywhey. Larned sump’tin to de white folks chu’ch dere to Antioch settin’ on de back side en dem benches
wha’ de slaves hab to set on. I is know dis mucha dat I voted t’ree times to de courthouse in Marion ‘way back in
dem days.

7. Sho’ we chillun play game en frolic heap uv de time. Shinney wuz de t’ing dat I lak best. Jes hab stick wid crack in
it en see could I knock de ball wid it. I sho’ ‘member dat. Den I wuz one uv de grandest hollerers yuh e’er hear.

Use’er be jes de same us uh parrot. Hear how one go: O-OU-OU-0U, DO-MI-NICI-O, BLACK-GA-LE-LO, O-OU-OU-
O-OU, WHO-O-OU-OU. Great King, dat ain’ nuthin’.

8. Ain’ near believe in none uv dem charms people talk ’bout an ain’ know nuthin’ ’bout no conjuring neither, but I
know dis mucha en dat uh sperit sho slapped Maggie (his wife) one night ’bout 12 o’clock. Den annuder time me
an her wuz comin’ home from uh party one night en I hab uh jug uv sumptin dere wid me an Maggie ax me fa it.
Say sumptin wuz followin’ a’ter her. Da next t’ing I know I hear dat jug say guggle, guggle, guggle. I look back en
she been pourin’ it out on da ground. She say she do dat to make da sperit quit followin’ her. Dat sperit sho’
been dere cause I see dat licker when it disappear dere on de ground wid me own eyes.

9. Sho’ dey hab doctors in dat day en time. Hab plant doctors dat go from one plantation to annuder an doctor de
people. Dr. Monroe wuz one uv dem doctor ’bout heah an dere ain’ ne’er been no better cures no whey den
dem plant cures. I ge’ Maggie so she c’n move ’bout dat way. She won’ able to walk uh step en I boil some coon
root en put uh little whiskey in it en make her drink dat. It sho’ raise her up too. Dem coon root look jes lak dese
chufas wha’ yuh does find down side da river. Dat sho’ uh cure fa any rheumatism wha’ is. I know dat aw right

10. Mighty right, I ‘member when freedom wuz ‘clare. I t’ink dat must uv been de plan uv Gawd cause it jes lak dis,
ef it haddna been da right ting, it wouldna been. I know it uh good t’ing. De North wuz freed 20 years head uv de
South an yuh know it uh good t’ing. I uh history man an I sho’ recollect dat de history say de North wus freed 20
years ‘fore de South wuz.

11. I heared dem guns at Fort Sumter dere en I ‘member when dem sodjurs come t’rough dis way dat da elements
wuz blue uz indigo ’bout heah. Hab parade ’bout five miles long wid hoss dancin’ ’bout an fiddles jes uh playin’.
Some uv dem Yankees come dere to da white folks house one uv dem time, when my Massa wuz ‘way from
home workin’ dere on de Manchester Railroad, an ax my Missus whey dey hossas wuz. Dem hossas done been
hide in de bay an dey ne’er ge’ nuthin’ else dere neither, but uh little bit uv corn dat dey take outer da barn.

12. I 87 year ole now an I heah to tell yuh dat I ne’er done nobody no mean trick in aw me life. I does fight cause I
cut uh man up worth 19 stitches one uv dem times back dere. Two uv em been on me one time an I whipped
both uv em. I tellin’ yuh I been good uz e’er wuz born from uh ‘oman. It jes lak dis, I say fight aw right but don’
ne’er turn no mean trick back. Turn it to Gawd, dat wha’ do. Dem wha’ go to chu’ch in de right way, dey don’ hab
no ‘vengful sperit ’bout em. I sho’ goes to chu’ch cause de chu’ch de one t’ing dat does outstand eve’t’ing —

Source: Hector Godbold, age 87, ex-slave, Pea Dee, Marion County.
(Personal Interview, June 1937)

James Green
February 8, 1938

James Green is half American Indian and half Negro, who believes in Fate, and indeed his nearly half
century of life has been so crowded with the unexpected that there is little wonder he considers himself
a victim of destiny. He was born a slave, then became a “free boy”, only to be kidnapped and sold in
Virginia slave market to a Texas ranchman. His mind is remarkably clear and his reminiscences are
interesting, not only because of his own eventful experiences, but because they shed colorful light upon
the moral conditions that existed in Texas slave colonies.

1. This old ex-slave is a strange appearing black Redskin with an intense expression, piercing eyes, and long white
hair the texture of cotton. A research worker discovered him sitting on the porch of a comfortable San Antonio

house at 323 North Olive Street, chatting away like a youngster to his wife. He is ninety-seven and his wife,
Lizzie, is eighty-six. During the Civil War they slaved on adjoining ranches in Columbus, Texas. But thereby hangs
a tale which can best be told in the old man’s own words:

2. “I never knew my age until after de Civil War when I was set free for de second time. Then my marster gets out a
great big book and it showed dat I was twenty-five years old. It shows more too: It shows I was twelve when I
was bought and $800 was paid for me. Dat $800 was stolen money, cose I was kidnapped. Dis is about how it

3. “My mother was owned by John Williams of Petersburg, Virginia. I come born to her on a plantation, and den
my father went about getting me free. He was a full blooded Indian, and had done some big favor for a big man
high up in de courts, and by and bye Mr. Williams comes to my mother and says I am a ‘free boy’. I never knowd
what was mixed up in it, but Mr. Williams used to laugh and call me ‘free boy, Jim’. I never had to do much work
for nobody but my mother.

4. “Then, one day, along comes a Friday. Friday is my unlucky star and it is my lucky star day, too. I was playin’
around de house, Mr. Williams comes up and says:

5. “‘Delia, will you let Jim walk down the street with me?’
6. “‘All right, moster,’ says my mother. ‘And, Jim, you be a good boy.
7. “Dat was de last time I ever heard my mother speak, or ever see her. We walks down where de houses grows

close together, and pretty soon we comes to de slave market. I ain’t ever seed one before and didn’t knowd
what it was. Mr. Williams says to me to get up on de block. It was about so high –(three feet). I gets up like I was
told. As soon as I stood straight I got a funny feelin’. I knows somehow what was happenin’. But I just stood
there. In a few minutes they told me to get down and turned me over to a man named John Pinchback.

8. “Pinchback was my new master. He had St. Vitus dance. It seems he likes to make niggers suffer to make up for
his own squirmin’ and twistin’. He was the biggest devil on earth.

9. “We starts to leave right away for Texas. My master lives there on a ranch in Columbus. It was a part plantation
and part wild country, and it was owned by two men, Pinchback and Wright. I was put to work when we got
there without eating. I was told to carry de water for de stock.

10. “Dat night I makes up my mind to run away. But de next day they drives me and some other new slaves over to
look at the dogs. The dogs lived in a fine house with a fence around it. Den they chooses me to train de dogs
with. I was told I had to play the part of a runnin’ away slave. Before I start they tells me to run any direction I
want and after I had run five miles to climb up in a tree. I didn’t know what it meant, but one of the nigger
drivers tells me kind of nice to climb up as high in de tree as I could if I didn’t want my body to be tore off my
legs. So I runs a good five miles and climbs up in a tree where the branches was gettin’ small.

11. “I sits there a long time. Den I sees the dogs comin’. They had their heads down not lookin’ where they was
runnin’. When they gets under my tree they stops and runs around. Den they looks up and sees me and starts to
bark. After dat I never got thinkin’ of runnin’ away, and I don’t believe no slave ever escaped from Texas in spite
of all de stories de niggers tells.

12. “Time goes on and de war comes along. Half of it must have been over before I knows about it. Everythin’ goes
on just like it did. No change come in our life at all. Sometimes slaves die and get put in a box. De driver would
go and tell Pinchback and he would come out and tell someone to dig a hole. He’d say: ‘De rest of you niggers
get out on de field and go to work.’ It didn’t make no difference if it was a mother or what dat died. De chillen
had to go out and work and not even see where the hole was dug.

13. “But more slaves was gettin’ born dan dies–old Pinchback would see to dat himself. He breeds de niggers as
quick as he can, like cattle, cause dat means money for him. He chooses de wife for every man on the place. No
one had no say as to who he was goin’ to get for a wife. All de weddin’ ceremony we had was with Pinchback’s
finger pointin’ out who was whos’ wife. If a woman wern’t a good breeder she had to do work with de men, but
Pinchback tried to get rid of women who didn’t have chillen. He would sell her and tell de man who baught her
dat she was all right to own.

14. “But de nigger husbands wern’t the only ones dat keeps up havin’ chillen. De mosters and the drivers takes all de
nigger girls day want. One slave had four chillen right after the other with a white moster. Their chillen was
brown, but one of ’em was white as you is. But dey was all slaves just de same, and de niggers dat had chillen
with de white men didn’t get treated no better. She got no more away from work dan de rest of ’em.

15. “One day I sees Lizzie (his second wife shown in the photograph)[Editor’s note: We have not located the
photograph referred to here.] workin’ in de field when she was a girl. She was owned by Pinchback’s brother.

But dat William Pinchback was a kind master. Well, I likes her and she likes me. But nobody could marry any one
dat didn’t belong to de same moster. It was many years before Fate fixes things so we comes together and
marries. But my first wife was a good woman too. Her name was Mary Hardy. I never had no chillen by her. She
dies of pneumonia two years after I marries her.

16. “After a while de end of de war came. We didn’t know nothin’ about it. They was about 125 niggers workin’ out
in the field when old Pinchback come limpin’ along. All he says to us was:

17. “‘You niggers come on in. Don’t do nothin’, but be around, and in the mornin all of you comes to de big house.’
18. “Well we gets talkin’ and figurin’ and we decides dat maybe we was free. It was on a Friday again, and I tells ‘en

the war was sure over and we was goin’ to get freed. Saturday mornin’ comes and we all stands around waitin’.
Den out comes Pinchback carrin’ a great big book. He tells us:

19. “‘All you niggers is free–just as damn free as I am.’
20. “Den he opens his book and gives us all a name. I had my own name dat was give to me by my father. He tells us

all about ourself–where we come from and how old we was. After he got dun with this he says he will pay any of
us niggers forty cents a day to work for him. He says that those niggers who don’t want to stay can get out by
sundown. About half the niggers stays on and about half of ‘en starts scattering in different directions. I stayed
on for some over a year and got my forty cents like he promises.

21. “No great change come about in de way we went on. We had de same houses, only we all got credit from de
store and baught our own food. We got shoes and what clothes we wanted, too. Some of us got whipped just de
same but nobody got nailed to a tree by his ears. De white men in de habit of havin’ Negro girls still goes on
havin’ them. I don’t know how much dey paid ’em for it, but they got treated better. But after de war folks,
white and black folks, looks down on white men and black women who had children together. Before we was
free nobody thought nothin’ about it.

22. “It wasn’t long before old Pinchback dies himself. And what do you think? When he was buried de lightnin’ came
and split de grave and de coffin wide open.

23. “Well times goes on some more. Den comes along another Friday. On dat Friday Lizzie here she comes along
over. She looks just like she did when I seed her in the field. We gets together and we marries regular with a real
weddin’. And today is Friday, and my son-in-law, is gettin on good.”

24. The old ex-slave seemed to think that this was a very fitting place to end his narrative and he settled back in his
chair, thoroughly pleased with his efforts. However, the old man was pressed further and was asked if he could
remember any songs the Negroes sang in Civil War days. This was the only one he could recall:

25. “Old moster eats beef and sucks on de bone,
And gives us de gristle —
To make, to make, to make, to make,
To make de nigger whistle.”

26. The song ended, accompanied by gay laughter from Lizzie, and then the researcher turned to Mollie Huff, the
aged couples daughter. She was asked what she thought about her father’s story. “Right fair enough”, she
thought it was, but she took exception to her father’s claim that he was half Indian. It was fortunate, however,
that she was present for she remembered an old Negro song that her mother sang to her when she was a child:

“I goes to church in de early morn,
De birds just a-sittin’ on de tree–
Sometimes my clothes gets very much worn,
Caus I wears dem out at de knee.
I sings an’ I shouts wid all my might
To drive away de cold–
An’ de bells keep a-ringin’ in de gospel light,
Till de story of de Lamb is told.”

Brown, Rev.
Washington, D.C.

Mrs. Lancy Harris.
84 years old
407 55th St., N.E.
Born in Edgecombe County, N.C. about July 1852.

1. I dunno my father nor my mudda. Jessup Powell always went o’ Richmond to buy good breeders. Perry Powell
(an ex-slave), who died here last month was one o dem da Jessup Powell bought o Richmond. Jessup Powell
drawd my father and moudda, den Lewis drawd my father and he took the name o Lewis. Dey neber hab no no
chillen. I didn’ t no my father. One day my mudda showd me a man driving his missus to town and said dat wus
my father.

2. I remember when he throwd me ma first dress from the hoot of the marriage. I remember whut it look like.
Yeah, jes a red dress wid black flowers in it.

3. Ma bed had fo’ posts and a cord running from pos’ to pos’ to make spring. We sleep in a room wid pot racks
near the fire place, a barrel of soap up in a corner, but the floors wus white like a bread tray. Everything wus in
one room. We used to call granpa William Joiner cause he wus a blacksmith and carpenter. He joined so many
things togeder. Ha, ha! my mem’ry goes and comes. Billie was my grandpa’s name. My sight is better now than
den, wood you blive it?

4. I didn’t work. I used to stay wid Aunt Kate. I done all the cooking for Aunt Kate — ash cake, ho-cake. William
Joiner used to fetch possums, coon and sometimes raccoon and rabbit and I used to do the cooking. My husban’
and I used to pick cotton every day. When fodder time come I work Sunday. Some Sunday I worked my own

5. So many chillen didn’t wear clothes. But the missus owned the loom and de servants weave. When de chillen are
big enough to work dey gib ’em some cloth from the loom. When I got my issue and my clothes wus good I wud
make my cloth into dresses and gib to da chillen.

6. Old man Jessup Powell married the Doctor’ s wife after the doctor was dead. The doctor had lots o land. All went
to his wife so Jessup didn’t know how much land he had fo his new missus had plenty o’ land and slaves. I reckon
dey had well ni 500 or 600 slaves.

7. Dick Harrison was another slave owner. He was never married, never had no chillen wid the slave girls. He was
good to his niggers. He never allowed anybody to whip his slaves. “I neber would for anyone to whip niggers,” he
wud say. But when Dick need money tho he wud send the nicest looking one to Richmond jail fo sale. (They
evidently had no jail on the plantation. The only jail existed was the one in Richmond.)

8. Old man Henry Downing (nigger-driver) he wud eat you alive– L-o-r-d he wus so mean. Yo’ud better not let him
see you wid a book let alone learning to read.

9. We used to go over to the plantation of ole man Stanley White. Sometimes we used to call him ‘Stamper.’ He
wud come and preach to us. We wud go up stairs and dey (white folks) downstairs. We had another preacher
we used to call Preacher Gold.

10. I remember Fred Douglass, Perry Coston from Virginia, and a man by the name of Mason. I shook hands with
Booker T. Washington.

11. I joined the church the year Garfield was shot in the 6th depot near the old Center Market.
12. I have two grandsons living somewhere. Their names are George Barnes and Joseph Dellworth.

Oklahoma State Historical Society
Indian Pioneer History
Vol. 4

Interview With John Harrison
By L.W. Wilson
Field Worker

Historical Indian Research Work

John Harrison answered the questions asked and volunteered the following information.

1. I was born in 1857 on a plantation owned by Moses Perryman. This plantation was located near the present
inland town of Clarkesville, Oklahoma or about eight miles east of the present town of Haskell, Oklahoma and is
known as the Choski bottoms.

2. Perryman was a Creek Indian and later his brother Joe Perryman became a Creek chief of the Creek Nation. I
now live near the present east city limits of Haskell, Oklahoma on the Haskell-Porter Oklahoma highway.

3. Mother – Katie Harrison was born in Georgia and was moved to Indian Territory as a slave in 1837, was sold on
the block at a place unknown to me, shortly after her arrival from the old country (meaning Georgia). Moses
Perryman bought mother. She is buried at Yahola, Oklahoma.

4. Father – Harry Harrison was born in Georgia and came same time as mother in 1837. Perryman bought him and
later sold him to a slave buyer just before the Civil War – took him away – and no one ever knew what become of

Life and Customs Before the Civil War

5. I don’t know much about things before theWar, only what Mother told me. She said she did not have to worry
about food, clothing, medicines, etc., because her master cared well for all of them.

6. There was game of all kinds, squirrel, rabbits, wild turkeys, o’possum, coon, quails, deer, etc.
7. The cabins on the plantation were constructed of logs-stood on end and some were laid horizontally with clap

board roofs, puncheon floors, shuttle windows and large stone fireplaces.
8. The slaves were made to card the wool and cotton and would spin it on the spinning wheel into thread and then

reel it and run it through the loom and make their own cloth. The thread was usually dyed before it was woven.
The dye was made with sumac, and copperas which would make a very good tan. Indigo was purchased at
trading posts and all shades of blue could be made. Sycamore and Red Oak bark would make a pink or red.

9. They made their own shoes on the plantation. A cow hide would be freed from hair by ashes and would be
tanned with bark and from these cow hides shoes were made as well as pieces of harness. As there was no shoe
nails, shoe pegs were whittled out and the soles were put on with these pegs. The rest of the shoes were sewed
together with waxed thread attached to hog bristles and drawn through the hole that was made by the pegging

10. The provisions for the plantation was hauled from Ft. Gibson, Indian Territory, Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and
Coffeyville, Kansas, by freight wagons owned by Moses Perryman, who owned the plantation.

11. The cooking of their food was dome in the fire place with pots, skillets, Dutch ovens, etc. Other instruments
about the fire place were fire dog, hooks, and tongs. Master Perryman had a cook stove in his home at this time,
but like the slaves cooked their food in the fire place a long time before the day of his cook stove.

12. There were all kinds of wild fruit and berries. Blackberries, dewberries, gooseberries, strawberries, mulberries,
grapes, cherries, and wild plum.

13. Wild game was in abundance. Wild turkey, quail, rabbit, squirrel, mink, muskrat, deer, wild pigeon, and some
bear, and buffalo. The streams were full of fish.

14. There were plenty of nuts in the fall of the year. Hickory nuts, walnuts, and pecans.
15. Mother has told me that before the War that the people as a whole were living very comfortably and satisfied.

The Indians, Creek Indians had intermarried with the white and colored and became citizens of the tribe and
that they, too, were satisfied with the full-blood in this new land of theirs.

Civil War

16. The slave owners which were practically all Indians or descendants of the Indians owned many slaves and
naturally they were not interested in the War at its beginning. They did not care to take sides with either the
North or the South until the question of slavery arose. Most all of the slave owners made a treaty with Albert
Pike, Confederate Commissioner, to fight with the South. This is also true of many of the full-blood Creeks. There
was a faction, however, that did not care to be bound to the treaty and sought to take refuge in Kansas and
arranged to go there taking with them all of their possessions. Enroute to Kansas they were overtaken and
attacked by the Confederates. They suffered a great loss at the hands of the Confederates, and they finished
their trip into Kansas in a terrible storm in the dead of winter, sick, dying, and destitute. They were very angry at
the Confederates and all of them enlisted in the Northern Army. There were some, however, who enlisted in the
Northern Army that stayed at home and if I remember right they organized three regiments of the Creeks and
they were stationed at Ft. Gibson under the command of General Blunt. Those who joined the Confederacy
were also organized into regiments and they were stationed in the Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nation at Ft.
Washita and at other forts in that locality under the command of Colonel D. H. Cooper and J. M. McIntosh.

17. Mother and I were taken to Ft. Washita and finally to Texas and then returned to Indian Territory in 1886. I was
about ten years old. The Negroes were freed and mother knew nothing more to do than to return to the locality
in the Indian Territory where she had lived. We finally got back to what is now Yahola, Oklahoma. I don’t
remember the road we traveled, but it must have been the old Arbuckle Road. I remember mother and I walked
across the prairie through the high grass and we came to the Bluford Miller ranch near the old trading post at
Lee. Mother went to work there for Mr. Miller and I helped around the ranch as only a boy could do. We stayed
there about five years and moved to the Creek Agency which was on the South side of Fern Mountain northwest
of the present city of Muskogee, Oklahoma. I can’t tell of any battles other than what I was told after I grew up,
by my relatives. They have told me that the battle of Honey Spring which was located near the present town of
Oktaha, Oklahoma, was fought in mid-summer -in July, and that the Northern Army whipped the Southern Army
and drove them back into the wilderness of the North Canadian River. Many lives were lost on both sides. The
battle lasted from the break of day until late that evening in July. (If you will see my nephew, Jake Simmons, he
has all the records and can tell you more about the battle on Elk Creek or Honey Spring. See the interviewers
report on Jake Simmons.)

Life and Customs Before the Civil War

18. All of the Nations of the Five Tribes suffered extensively account of the war. The Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nation
suffered because it was in their territory that the Confederate Army was quartered and lived during the life of
the War and it was naturally a drain on the citizenship of those tribes. The Creek Nation suffered a great deal
because most of the fighting and pilfering was done in the Creek Nation. Cabins were burned, horses and cattle
were driven off. Part of their land was taken away from then due to a Confederate hold at Ft. Smith, Arkansas, in
1865, thus reducing the acreage. For my personal advantage, however, my folks who were slaves were freed,
and more too, the slaves became citizens of the tribe and became ownership in the land as much as the Creek
themselves and also, we enjoyed a part of the tribal fund.

19. It required a number of years for the people to reestablish themselves after the War because they had to go
about building cabins, schools, and churches. In short, they had to do all over again what they had done before
the war. They were benefited by the railroads being built through the Territory although many objected for fear
it would prevent them from retaining their ranches intact. Wild Indians began to move in from Kansas,
Nebraska, and Colorado. The Sac and Fox Indians came to the Creek Nation. Part of the Creek Nation had
already been given to the Araphoes on the extreme west of the originally Cherokee Nation. The Sac and Fox
Indian later became citizens of the Nation. We were surrounded by the Delawares, Shawnees, Osages, Quapaws,
Senecas, and other small tribes in the Cherokee Nation with the Kiowas, Kickapoo, Cheyennes, Arapahoes,
Comanchies and other tribes to the south and west of us in the Choctaw, Seminole, and Chickasaw Nations.

20. There was a great deal of trouble existing at all times between these wild Indians and it became necessary for
the Government to send troops into the Territory and rehabilitate their forts and make additional forts to house
the troops so that they could handle these wild Indians from committing all kinds of lawlessness, not only
between themselves but others who lived in the Territory. It required a number of attacks on these Indians by
the troops driving them back to their own reservation but they at last made them understand that the
Government really meant business and little trouble was experienced thereafter.

21. The country as a whole was of original virgin state except for clearings here and there.
22. Wild game, wild fruit, and berries, nuts and fish were as plentiful as they were before the war. The population

had not increased to the extent that these things would be destroyed or used.
23. Corn, Wheat, Oats, and cotton were being raised. They raised some sheep and the cattle industry grew

immensely. From the old mortar and pestle like the one I have shown you back by the side of the house in which
we ground our corn and wheat, as they did before the war, came the hand grinders, horse power, and water
mills to grind the grain. From cutting the grain with a scythe and cradle attached and threshing it out with frails
and treadding out with horses came the mowing machine, reapers, and binders to do the work.

24. I remember the first grist mill at Muskogee. It was located near the present sight of the Selby Mills in Muskogee
which is located between Callahan Street and Little Dayton Street on North Cherokee Street. It was owned by a
man named Foreman. Mr. Foreman constructed a large tank or pond at what would be now Commercial Street,
between North Second and Third Streets in the city of Muskogee, Oklahoma, at the present site of the Swift
Packing Company. From this pond he secured his water for the mill to operate. Later on he erected a cotton gin
and one day the gin broke down. While he was working on it his arm got caught in the gin, seriously injuring it,
and he sold out stock, lock, and barrel and left for Texas.

25. A little north and west of the present Veteran’s Hospital on Agency Hill was located a grist mill and saw mill
owned and operated by an old German named Dresback. He also owned a saw mill at one time up on the
Verdigris River.

Overland Cattle Trade

26. Shortly after the war people in Texas who owned thousands of heads of cattle began driving them to the
northern markets in Kansas, Missouri and some as far as Illinois. The price of meat in the Northern states was
very high due to the scarcity of cattle. There were no railroads on which the cattle could be shipped and they
had no other alternative than to drive them through the country, and they chose to drive them through the
Territory because the grass was abundant, namely Buffalo grass, sage grass and blue stem grass and more too
there were a number of Creeks, Rivers, and streams where the cattle could secure water. This method of
marketing cattle started in about 1871 and ceased in 1875. The cattle at first were driven straight through the
country without delay and naturally when they reached the market they were poor and unfit for human
consumption. The owners of cattle thus driven suffered great losses and they would often arrive at Wichita,
Kansas or Abilene, Kansas with what is known as Texas fever and they would spread the disease among the
native cattle of Kansas and the people began to criticize this method and would often cause their herds to
stampede and often times would take some of the herders and hang them which naturally spread fear among
the herders. They also lost many cattle on these drives which were unprofitable. I mean they died enroute.

27. As this system proved to be so unprofitable they got the idea that they could start grazing them through slowly
and they started this practice. From herds of fifty thousand head they continued increasing the herds until I
would say before they ceased this practice that it had increased to five thousand head. This proved very
profitable for the cattle gradually became acclimated and with the abundance of grass they would arrive at the
Northern markets, fat and in the best of condition. After the railroads were built this practice of grazing them
through diminished and the railroad began to handle them to market.


28. After the railroads started operation, cattle were shipped to points in Oklahoma and placed on the open range.
Were fattened, reloaded into freight cars, and then to the market. These Texas cattle were of all kinds and
description and were of all colors. Some were the old long horn type and some were Mexican type. In the early
eighties ranches sprang up all over the Territory. They were no fences and the cattle grazed at will and naturally
would mix and mingle into cattle on various ranches. I mean by that, that these ranches would over lap each

29. On each ranch was a number of buildings which consisted of the owners home if he lived at the ranch and if he
did not, there was a house which the foreman and his family resided in, cook shack, bunk house, sheds, and
corrals. The Corral was used mostly for the branding of calves and yearlings.

30. The employees on the ranch consisted of foreman, herder, wrangler, and a group who would care for the salt
licks and etc. The number of employees was of course according to the size of the ranch.

31. They would have round ups of cattle two or three times a year, at which time they would cut out all cattle that
did not belong to them and drive them back to their home range.

32. The ranch hands as a rule were all jolly good fellows and enjoyed their work. Most of them despised lawlessness
in all its forms. Very few of them were educated but they were brave men and loved to play pranks on each
other. They, as a rule, enjoyed a stomp dance with the Indians as much as did the Indians themselves.


33. Land was being opened all over the Territory to white settlers at various times but the two principal and major
openings were the opening of the Oklahoma Country in 1889 and the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893. The
settlers at these two openings had plenty of trouble in trying to make a living on the land but with perseverance
and patience they succeeded. They had to construct themselves cabins, schools, dig wells, and start farming.


34. The Indians rations consisted of all kinds of wild game, corn bread, hominy grits, and pork. They did their
cooking in pots and skillets on the open fire and fire place. Having all kinds of wild fruits and berries they had
what we called plenty of dessert. Many of the Indians made their dishes from clay like plates, cups, bowls, and
etc., and from these they would eat their meals.

35. They painted their fences with a solution made from barks of trees. They would take bark and boil it down to a
thick liquid and in this liquid they would stir a starch made from corn meal, and in some cases there was
different colored rocks that were soft enough to rub on their fences.

36. Each year, usually in July they would have their annual stomp dances. At these stomp dances they would tie
shells around their ankles and beat on a drum made from a cow hide and dance and sing. They would usually
fast three days and then would take a medicine that would cause them to vomit, claiming that would cleanse
their system and souls of all the impurities and then they would enjoy the roasted corn and barbecue that was in
waiting for them.

37. They had medicine men which we would call Doctors, that would minister to them in case of illness. These
medicine men gathered all kinds of roots, herbs, and leaves, and prepared them into the form of medicine. They
used what they called bone set, button snake roots, sassafras, butterfly root, golden rods, and etc,.

38. The Indians naturally loved to make pretty things out of bark and clay. Out of clay they would make all kinds of
beads. They would take the clay and roll it into little balls of all sizes and let them lay in the sun and dry. Of
course, a hole would be punched through each bead so that they could string then and they were dyed with
different solutions of bark in order to make then different colors. From bark they would make baskets of all sizes
including the ladle and riddle through which they sifted their meal.


39. I know a lot of burial grounds. I can’t tell you how to get to them, however, I could take you to many of them.
Every family had their own private cemetery. You can easily locate the old cemetery where my mother is buried,
at the present town of Yahola, Oklahoma. There is a number of old graves there. Yahola, after whom the town is
named, is buried there.


40. As you are today interviewing Jake Simmons, I will not go into detail of the different ranches because he can give
you those much better than I, but if you choose, I will name some of them for you and that will assist you in
getting the details regarding them. The names of these ranches are as follows: Moss Perryman ranch, Rider
Fields ranch, Dave Anderson ranch, Fort Sango ranch, A Choler Fife ranch, Dave Carr ranch, McDermott ranch,
Judge M. B. Moore ranch, Billy Brown ranch, Billy Harvester ranch, George Martin ranch, Jeff Davis ranch, Nip
Biackstone ranch, Ed Halsell ranch, Blue Starr ranch, Jim Edgewood ranch and Hector Perryman ranch.


41. I will give you the names of the fords and ferries which I call to memory and will also let Jake Simmons give you
the details as we both know them in the same way. These ferries are as follows: The Mingo ferry, Gentry ferry,
Googy Soogy ferry, Fry ferry, Simon Brown ferry, and the Tobe Drew ferry.

42. I cannot recall any particular Fords, but I do remember of hearing Jake say there was a ford across the north or
south Canadian River that they called Rock Ford.


43. In the early days there were no banks in the country and people had to do their banking with the merchant. The
first bank that I can recall was in Muskogee Indian Territory and was run by a man by the name of John Dill. It
was located on north Main street on the east side of the street between Okmulgee and Broadway, in the city of
Muskogee, Oklahoma, and this was in about 1888 and the next year what is now the First National Bank and
Trust Company of Muskogee was organized.


44. I told you in the beginning that I moved to the old Creek Agency on the south side of Fern Mountain which is
some three miles northwest of the present city of Muskogee, Oklahoma. When I first moved there it consisted
of only two stores which were owned by two men by the names of Adkinson and Patterson. Later on two
additional merchants came in but I do not remember their names. There was a hotel also that was run by a
colored woman known to all as Big Sarah. She later moved to Muskogee. This was a thriving village after the
war, and quite a few families lived there. I remember some of them as being Peter Stidham, Simon Brown,
(Simon Brown operated the ferry) Joe Davis, Jess Franklin, Morris Stidham, Tobe McIntosh, Nap Wiseman, and
their families together with many more. This village no longer exists.

45. Lee Post was about three miles north of the present town of Boyston, Oklahoma, on Cedar Creek. This village
consisted of a store, Post office, Stage stand, Hotel, Creek Court House, and the whipping post. It no longer

46. Sawokla was located about a mile south and a mile west of the present town of Haskell, Oklahoma and consisted
of one store and the Post office in connection. This store was first owned by a man by the name of Bradford and
later by a man named E. B. Harris who is still living and runs a store at Haskell, Oklahoma. With the railroad
coming through the country, the town of Haskell sprang up and the town of Sawokla passed out.

47. The Choski Post was located about two and one half mile east of the present town of Haskell, and consisted of a
store run by C.W. Turner and there was also a post office in connection with this store. There was a hotel there
and this building still stands and is being used as a farmhouse. Like Sawokla, this town passed out when Haskell
sprang up. There were other places I know but I can’t recall them just now. Maybe Jake will be able to help you.


48. Each tribe had their own laws and Police. In the Creek Nation they had an organization known as the Light
Horsemen. The Nation was divided into three districts and in each district was a Squad of Light Horsemen of five,
and one of these five was the Captain. I recall some of them as being John Sixkiller, Wiley McIntosh, George
McIntosh and John West.

49. The Judge of the Court was Judge Reed, a colored man and he held Court in the one-room log cabin at Lee Post
that I have spoken of as now being a ghost town. If the Light Horsemen picked up a prisoner for any offense he
would be taken before Judge Reed. Minor offenses were usually paid out, but like stealing, or what we would
call petit larceny, if found guilty would be sentenced to be whipped at the Whipping Post; for the first offense
the prisoner would get twenty-five lashes. For the second offense fifty lashes, and for the third offense he would
be shot. For the crime of murder he was always shot. Yes, I remember some who were whipped to the post
particularly one by the name of Charlie Adams and others namely, Sonny Grayson, Tom Canard and many
others. There was one shot as I recall it for killing his wife or his neighbor’s wife, I forget which, by the name of
Jerry Stidham.


50. The Green Peach War started as I recall it in 1882 and was not settled until the summer of 1884. This war started
due to an entanglement between the Ischarsphieche and the Checotah factions. An election was held in 1882
and the result of that election was that Ischarsphieche was defeated for Creek Chief and he enlisted forces
against the Checotah faction as he did not want to permit Checotah to take charge of the Creek Nation. They
were hundreds of men lined up on both sides and I believe their first skirmish was near the present town of Taft
Oklahoma and another near the present town of Yahola, Oklahoma. They continued fighting at intervals until in
the late Fall of 1882, when Ischarsphieche through his spokesman Lee Perryman declare to quit the rebellion.

51. At this point things rather quieted down but Ischarspieche went to Okmulgee, Indian Territory and met one of
his bosom friends “Sleeping Rabbit” and they re-organized and again met the Checotah Army southwest of
Okmulgee and a number were killed on both sides including “Sleeping Rabbit”. Ischarsphieche retreated into the
Sac and Fox country and finally into the Cheyenne country where he and his organization were taken captive by
the troops from Fort Gibson and held prisoners at Fort Gibson until a treaty was signed by Ischarspheche. I went
with them to Fort Gibson – but I will let Jake tell you more of this for he was active with the Ischarspheche


52. There is a number of Indian mounds in the vicinity of the present Bald Hill, Oklahoma, Council, Oklahoma,
Summitt, Oklahoma, and about 4 miles northeast of Muskogee, Oklahoma.


53. I will also leave the roads and trails of which I know to Jake, to give you the details and will only name them
here. The Texas Road, the Chisolm Trail, the Arbuckle Road, and the Old Stage Road.


54. The Crazy Snake Rebellion happened only a few years ago. The reason they called it Crazy Snake was because an
old Indian by the name of Chitto Herjo was called crazy for his activities. He went about the country soliciting
funds for the purpose of employing lawyers to defend what he called the Indian rights on account of certain
treaties and that it was a violation for the Territory to become a state and some of the Indians were crazy
enough to believe him. While in fact it was just a get-rich-quick scheme with Chitto, and of course, the law
stepped in and took a hand and possibly one or two of the officers and a like number of the Indians were killed,
but Chitto was arrested and things quieted down and they let him go.


55. I knew quite a number of the outlaws. The James boys, the Dalton Boys, Cherokee Bill, The Buck Gang, Verdigris
Kid, and a number of others, and could tell many episodes in which they figure but will leave this to someone
else to tell.


56. I can’t recall all the Chief’s, but I will say that I do remember Ischarspieche, Sam Checotah, Joe Perryman, Legas
Perryman, Pleas Porter, Moty Tiger, and Lojo Harjo.


57. The following railroads were built through the Territory: The M. K. & T. in 1871-2-3. The Santa Fe through the
Oklahoma County in 1886. The Midland Valley Railroad in 1904, and the K. 0. & G. from Miami, Indian Territory,
to Dennison, Texas, in 1906-7-8.


58. Before the Civil War the High Spring Court House was located at what is known as Council Hill, Oklahoma. The
Council House was built of logs and was a double log house.

59. After the War, the Creek Council House was built at the present town of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and it was out of
stone construction and is still standing today.


60. The Wealaka Mission was located near the present town of Leonard, Oklahoma, and was of brick construction.
61. The Pecan Mission was located on Pecan Creek about seven miles west of the present town of Muskogee,

62. The Creek School was located at the present town of Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
63. The Creek orphanage was located and is still standing at the Northeastern city limits of the present town of

Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
64. The Asberry Mission was located at the present town of Eufaula, Oklahoma.
65. The Boy’s Seminary in the Cherokee Nation was located one and one-half miles south of the present town of

Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
66. The Female Seminary in the Cherokee Nation now the North Eastern Teacher’s College, is located at the north

end of Main street, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
67. The Park Hill Mission was located at about the present location of the village of Park Hill, Oklahoma.


68. John Harrison is a character all within himself. He is very supple, being a man of his age, and he does not seem
to be any the worse for his laboring and striving to make the country in which we live today the country that it
is, with it’s towering churches and magnificent schools.

69. He enjoys meeting his old friends and relatives and talking of the happy days as well as those of lean times with
his friends, and really gets more pleasure out of it than most any one you can meet and talk to.

70. John is an Uncle of Jake Simmons and they have lived the greater part of their lives together, and he feels a
hesitancy in giving information and data unless he has his nephew Jake Simmons to corroborate his sahing and

71. In order to get the results of this interview it will become necessary to handle in connection therewith the
interview of Jake Simmons.

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor
Person interviewed: Matilda Hatchett
424 W. Twenty-fifth Street,
North Little Rock, Arkansas
Age: Between 98 and 100

1. I was born right here in Arkansas about nine miles from Dardanelles (Dardanelle) in Sevier County. I think it’s
Sevier. No, it was Yell County. Yell County, that’s it. You put the Dardanelles there and if they get that they’ll get
the Yell part. Can’t miss Yell if you get Dardanelles.

2. I wish I could get holt of some of my old white folks. Maybe you can find ’em for me. There’s one big policeman
here looks like them but I don’t know whether he is or not. The first white owners that I knowed was Jackie
George in South Carolina. That is where I heard them talkin’ about him comin’ from. I wasn’t born there; I was
born here. I wasn’t born when he come from South Carolina. His wife was named Nealie. He was just like a ole
shoe. Never whipped me but one time in my life.

3. I’ll tell you about it. This is what they whipped me for. Me and my brother, Sam, had to water the horses. I didn’t
have to go with Sam, but I was big enough to do that. We had one ole horse named John- big ole horse. I would
have to git up on a ten-rail fence to git on him. One day I was leading ole John back and I got tired of walking. So
when I come to a ten-rail fence, I got up on ole John. I got up on ‘im backwards and I didn’t have hold of no
bridle nor nothin’ because I was lookin’ at his tail.

4. The others got back there before they did. Ole master said to them, ‘Where’s Tillie?’
5. They said to him, ‘She’s comin’, leadin’ ole John.’
6. After a while they saw me comin’, an one of ’em said, ‘There’s Tillie now.’
7. An’ ‘nother one, ‘Man, she’s sittin’ on the horse backwards. And ole John was amblin’ along nippin’ the grass

now an’ then with his bridle draggin’ and me sittin’ up on his back facin’ his tail end slippin’ and slidin’ with every

8. Ole John was gentle. But they were scairt he would throw me off. 0le missis come out the gate and met him
herself, ’cause she was ‘fraid the others would ‘cite him and make him throw me down. She gentled him and led
him up to ole master. They was careful and gentle till they got me off that horse, and then ole master turned
and lit into me and give me a brushin’.

9. That’s the only whippin’ he ever give me. But that didn’t do me no good. Leastwise, it didn’t stop me from ridin’
horses. I rode ole John ever chance I could git. But I didn’t ride him backwards no more.


10. We used to wear homespun dresses. I have spun a many a yard and wove it. Did you ever see a loom? I used to
have a wheel, and my children tore it up some way or ‘nother. I still have the cards. We done our own knittin’
and spin our own thread and knitted our socks and stockings.


11. The white folks lived in pretty good houses and we did too. They lived in big log houses. The white folks’ houses
had piazzas between the rooms. That Haney didn’t build them houses. His daddy, Tim Haney, built ’em. The
Haney’s come in by Tim bein’ Thad’s father. Thad married Jackie George’s daughter- Louisa George. George was
her daddy and Haney was her husband.

12. There were four rooms besides the piazza. On one side, there was a big room built out of lumber. On the other
side, there was a big room that a doctor lived in. There was a great big kitchen west of the piazza. The kitchen
was about fifteen by fifteen. I know it was that large because we’d all eat at the same time. The old man, Tim,
owned about thirty niggers. After he died they were all divided out among the boys. Every boy took his part of
the land and his part of the niggers. But I wasn’t at his house then. I was livin’ with ole Jackie George. The white
folks hadn’t moved together then.

13. But I went to ole Tim Haney’s funeral. The old white woman fainted and they rubbed her with camphor and stuff
and had her layin’ out there. I wasn’t old enough to cry over him and wouldn’t anyhow because I didn’t care
nothin’ much about him. But I would have cried for my ole master though, because I really loved him.


14. I saw the soldiers when they come through our place. The first start of us noticin’ them was this. I was always up
to the white folks’ house. Thad was goin’ back to the Rebel army. Ole master tole my dad to go git ‘im a hat. He’d
got ‘im one and was ridin’ back with Thad’s hat on top of his’n. Before he could git back, here come a man jus’ a

15. Thad was eatin’. He look out, and then he throwed his head back and said, ‘Them’s the Federals.’

16. Thad finished his breakfast and then he ran on out and got with the Federals. He didn’t Join ’em. He Jus’ fooled
’em. The bridge was half a mile from our house and the Yankee army hadn’t near finished crossing it when the
head of it reached us.

17. While they were at the house, pa came ridin’ up with the two hats on his head. They took the hats and throwed
pa’s on the ground and tried Thad’s on. They took the mare but they give it back.

18. Them folks stood ’round there all day. Killed hogs and cooked them. Killed cows and cooked them. Took all kinds
of sugar and preserves and things like that. Tore all the feathers out of the mattress looking for money. Then
they put ole miss (Nealie Haney) and her daughter (Louisa Haney) in the kitchen to cookin’.

19. Ma got scairt and went to bed. Dreckly the lieutenant come on down there and said, ‘Auntie, get up from there.
We ain’t a goin’ to do you no hurt. We’re after helpin’ you. We are freein’ you. Aunt Dinah, you can do as you
please now. You’re free.’

20. She was free!
21. They stayed ’round there all night cooking and eatin’ and carryin’ on.They sent some of the meat in there to us

colored folks.
22. Next mornin’ they all dropped off goin’ down to take Dardanelles. You could hear the cannons roarin’ next day.

They was all night gettin’ away. They went on and took Dardanelles. Had all them white folks runnin’ and hidin’.
23. The Secesh wouldn’t go far. They would just hide. One night there’d be a gang of Secesh, and the next one,

there’d come along a gang of Yankees. Pa was ‘fraid of both of ’em. Secesh said they’d kill ‘im if he left his white
folks. Yankees said they’d kill ‘im if he didn’t leave ’em. He would hide out in the cotton patch and keep we
children out there with him. Ole mis’ made him carry us.

24. We was freed and went to a place that was full of people. We had to stay in a church with about twenty other
people and two of the babies died there on account of the exposure. Two of my aunts died, too, on account of
exposure then.

25. The soldiers didn’t take anything that night but food. They left all the horses, What they took was what they
could eat. But they couldn’t catch the turkeys. The lieutenant stayed around all the time to make the soldiers
behave themselves, The meals he made my ole mis’ and her daughter cook was for the officers.

26. Yes Lawd! I have been here so long I ain’t forgot nothin’. I can remember things way back. I can remember things
happening when I was four years old. Things that happen now I can’t remember so well. Bit I can remember
things that happened way back yonder.


27. I learnt to read a little after peace was declared. A ole lady, Aunt Sarah Hunly, learnt us how to spell and then
after that we went to school. I went to school three weeks. I never went to school much.

28. Didn’t git no chance to learn nothin’ in slavery. Sometimes the children would teach the darkies ’round the
house their ABC’s. I’ve heard of folks teachin’ their slaves to read the Bible. They didn’t teach us to read nothin’.
I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never seen it, that some folks would cut off the first finger of a nigger that could write.

Father’ a Children Freed Before Emancipation

29. My father had some children that were set free. They lived down on river bottom. Their ole master was named
ole Crow. He died and set niggers free. He had four slaves. He had five. If any of you know Philo Pointer, his
father was one of ’em. They set him free, His daughter- Crow’s daughter- wanted the niggers and they would
break the ole man’s will. They furnished them a wagon and set them free. They come by my father’s place and
he killed his hog and fed them and they put the rest of it in the wagon and went on to the free state. I’ve got an
old piece of a dish them boys give my mama, It’s done broke up to a piece now, but I saves that.

30. Patsy Crow was the name of the girl that was freed, and one of the boys was named Joe Crow, and the others I
don’t know what it was, I guess it was Jim. Their old master had left a will givin’ them the wagon and tean
because he knew it wouldn’t be possible for them to stay there after he died. He said he didn’t want his niggers
to be under anybody after he died. Wills was wills in them days. His daughter wanted them niggers, but they
didn’t give them to her. They set them free and sent them off.

Wants to See Her People

31. I nursed three children for Thad Haney and Louisa, his wife. Them girls’ mamma was: the oldest was Julia; the
next one was named Erma; and the youngest one was named Virginia. If I can find them and see them again, I’ll
be so happy. I jus’ want to meet them one more time- some of them- all of them if they’re livin’; but I know they
can’t all be living.

32. Matilda Haney was my name then, and I nursed Thad’s children in slavery time.


33. I think I’m between ninety-seven and ninety-eight years old. They had an old-age contest in Reverend Smith’s
time. They had Reverend Coffee and another man here since Reverend Smith. The pastor we have now is Yates.
Our church is Lee Chapel A.M.E. Church. The contest was in 1935 I think and the people all agreed that I was the
oldest colored woman in North Little Rock. They said I was ninety-six years old then. That would make me about
ninety-eight years old now. But I saw my children afterwards and they said I was a year older. I used to have my
age in the Family Bible and my husband’s too, but it got burnt up. Accordin’ to them I oughta be about ninety-
nine or a hundred.


34. My folks didn’t raise no cotton. They raised about two bales a year. Didn’t have nobody to raise it. Thirty slaves
were not enough for that. And they didn’t care nothin’ about it nohow. They had forty-six acres of land in wheat
and lots in corn end potatoes, They raised cows, hogs, horses, turkeys, chickens, and everything else. Even had
peafowls. The geese used to run me ’round many a day.

35. They ran a cotton gin and my father managed it. That was his job all the time before the War.
36. After the War, my father farmed. He worked on shares. They never cheated him that he knew about. If they did,

he didn’t know it. He owned his horses and cows.

JAMES Martin, 31l Dawson St., San Antonio, Texas, is 90 years old. His parents were Preston and Lizzie
Martin and he was born in Alexandria, Va. Uses little dialect.

1. “I was born in Virginia in 1847. My mother was a slave and my grand father was one of the early settlers in
Virginia. He was born in Jamaica and his master took him to England. When the English came to Virginia, they
brought us along as servants, but when they got here, everybody had slaves, so we was slaves, too. My mother
was born in the West Indies.

2. “A man named Martin brought my grandfather here and we took his name. And when master was ready to die,
he made a will and it said the youngest child in the slaves must be made free, so that was my father and he was
made free when he was 18. That left me and my brothers and sisters all free, but all the rest of the family was

3. “My mother was born a slave near Alexandria. The marster’s daughter, Miss Lisa, read to my mother, so she got
some learning. When my mother’s owner died he left her to Miss Lisa, and then my father met my mother and
told her they should get married. My mother said to Miss Lisa: “I’d like fine to marry Preston Martin.” Miss Lisa
says, ‘You can’t do that, ’cause he’s a free nigger and your children would be free. You gotta marry one of the
slaves.’ Then Miss Lisa lines up 10 or 15 of the slave men for my mother to pick from, but mother says she don’
like any of ’em, she wants to marry Preston Martin. Miss Lisa argues but my mother is just stubborn, so Miss Lisa
says ‘I’ll talk to the marster.’ He says, ‘I can’t lose property like that, and if you can raise $1,200 you can buy
yourse’f free.’ So my mother and my father saves money and it takes a long time, but one day they goes to the

marster and lays down the money, and they gits married. Marster don’ like it, but he’s promised and he can’t
back out.

4. “So me and my brothers and sisters is free. And we sees others sol’ on the auction block. They’re put in stalls like
pens for cattle and there’s a curtain, sometimes just a sheet in front of them, so the bidders can’t see the stock
too soon. The overseer’s standin’ just outside with a big black snake whip and a pepper box pistol in his hand.
Then they pulls the curtain up and the bidders crowds ’round. The overseer tells the age of the slaves and what
they can do. One bidder takes a pair of white gloves they have and rubs his fingers over a man’s teeth, and he
says, ‘You say this buck’s 20 years old, but there’s cups worn to his teeth. He’s 40 years if he’s a day. So they
knock that buck down for $1,000, ’cause they calls the men ‘bucks’ and the women ‘wenches.’ Then the overseer
makes ’em walk across the platform, he makes em hop, he makes ’em trot, he makes em jump.

5. “When I’m old enough, I’m taught to be a saddler and when I’m 17 or 18 I enlist in the Confed’rate Army.
6. “Did they whip the slaves? Well, they jus’ about half killed em. When it was too rough, they slipped into Canada.
7. “A marriage was a event. The bride and groom had to jump over a broom handle. The boss man had a white

preacher, sometimes. and there was plenty good beef cornbread. But if the boss didn’t care much, he jus’ lined
’em up and said, ‘Mandy, that’s your husband and, Rufus, that’s your wife.’

8. “After the war we were sent to Texas, the 9th U.S. Cavalry, under Capt. Francis F. Dodge. I was at Fort Sill, Fort
Davis, Fort Stockton and Fort Clark. I was in two battles with Indians in the Guadalupe Mountains. I served under
Col. Shafter in 1871 and I got my discharge under Gen. Merritt in 1872. Then I come to San Antonio

9. “I helped bring the first railroad here. The S.P. in them days only ran near Seguin and I was a spiker and worked
the whole distance. Then I helped build the old railroad from Indianola to Cuero and then from Cuero to Corpus,
and Schleister, I think, and Cunningham were the contractors. That was in 1873 and 1874.

10. “I drove cattle for big outfits, and drove 2,000 or 3,000 head from South Texas sometimes clean up to Dakota. I
drove for John Lytle, Brockhaus, Kieran and Bill Sutton. There wasn’t no trails and no fences. The Indians would
come ask for meat and we knew if we didn’t give it ’em they’d stampede the cattle.

11. “If I wasn’t so old, I’d travel ’round again. I don’t believe any man can be educated who ain’t traveled some.

JERRY MOORE, a native of Harrison County, Texas, was born May 28, 1848, a slave of Mrs. Isaac Van
Zandt, who was a pioneer civic leader of the county. Jerry has always lived in Marshall. For fifty years
after he was freed he worked as a brick mason. He now lives alone on the Port Caddo road. and is
supported by a $15.00 per month pension from the government.

1. “My name is J. M. Moore, but all the white and cullud folks calls me Uncle Jerry, ’cause I has lived here mos’
since Marshall started. I was born on the 28th of May, in 1848, up on the hill where the College of Marshall is
now, and I belonged to the Van Zandts. That was their old home place.

2. “I never did see Col. Isaac Van Zandt, my mistresses’ husband, but has heared her and the older folks talk lots a
him. They say he was the one who helped set up Marshall and name it. They say he run for Governor and had a
good chance, but was never honored as Governor ’cause he died ‘fore election.

3. “My mistress was named Fanny and was one sweet soul. She had five children and they lived here in town but
have a purty big farm east of town. My mother sewed for Mistress Fanny, so we lived in town. There were lots
of niggers on the farm and everybody round these parts called us ‘Van Zandt’s free niggers,’ ’cause our white
folks shared with their darkies and larned ’em all to read and write. The other owners wouldn’t have none of
Van Zandt’s niggers.

4. “My mother was Amy Van Zandt Moore and was a Tennessian. My father was Henry Moore and he belonged to
a old bachelor named Moore, in Alabama.

5. “Moore freed all his niggers ‘fore ‘mancipation except three. They was to pay a debt and my father was Moore’s
choice man and was one of the three. He bought hisself. He had saved up some money and when they went to
sell him he bid $800.00. The auctioneer cries ’round to git a raise, but wouldn’t nobody bid on my father ’cause

he was one of Moore’s ‘free niggers’. My father done say after the war he could have buyed hisself for $1.50. So
he was a free man ‘fore the ‘mancipation and he couldn’t live ‘mong the slaves and he had to have a guardian
who was ‘sponsible for his conduct till after surrender. They was lots of niggers here from the free states ‘fore
the war, but they wasn’t ‘lowed to mix with the slaves.

6. “Mistress Fanny allus give the children a candy pullin’ on Saturday night and the big folks danced and had
parties. She allus gave the children twenty-five cents apiece when the circus come to town. The patterrollers
wasn’t ‘lowed ’bout our place and her darkies went mos’ anywhere and wasn’t ever bothered, I never seed a
slave whipped on our place, She give her darkies money along for doin’ odd jobs and they could spend it for
what they wanted. She was a Christian woman and read the Bible mos’ all the time. She give my mother two
acres of land at ‘mancipation.

7. “The first thing I seed of the war was them musterin’ and drillin’ sojers here in Marshall, back in Buchanan’s
time. Politics was hot in ’59 and ’60. I ‘member ’em havin’ a big dinner and barbecue and speakin’ on our place.
They had a railroad to Swanson’s Landing on Caddo Lake and the train crew brung news from boats from
Shreveport and New Orleans. Soon as the train pulled into town it signaled. Three long, moarnful whistles meant
bad news, Three short, quick whistles meant good news. I went to town for the mail with my sister durin’ the
war. She’d say to me, ‘Jerry, the sooner the war is over, the sooner we’ll be free. All the Van Zandt Negroes
wanted to be free. They didn’t understand how well they was bein’ treated till after they had to make their own

8. “I rec’lect the time the cullud folks registered here after the war. They outnumbered the whites a long way.
Davis was governor and all the white folks had to take the Iron Clad oath to vote. Carpetbaggers and Negroes
run the government. In the early days they held the election four days. They didn’t vote to precincts but at the
court house. The Democratic Party had no chance to ‘timidate the darkies. The ‘publican party had a ‘Loyal
League’ for to protect the cullud folks. First the Negroes went to the league house to get ‘structions and ballots
and then marched to the court house, double file, to vote. My father was a member of the 11th and 12th
legislature from this county. He was ‘lected just after the Constitutional Convention, when Davis was elected
governor. Two darkies, Mitch Kennel and Wiley Johnson, was ‘lected from this county to be members of that

9. “‘Durin’ the Reconstruction the Negroes gathered in Harrison County. The Yankee sojers and ‘Progoe’ law made
thousands of darkies flock here for protection. The Ku Klux wasn’t as strong here and this place was
headquarters for the ‘Freedman.’ What the ‘Progoe’ Marshall said was Gospel. They broke up all that business in
Governor Hogg’s time. They divided the county into precincts and the devilment was done in the precincts, just
like it is now.

10. “My father told me about old Col. Alford and his Kluxers takin’ Anderson Wright out to the bayou. They told him,
‘You’d better pray.’ Wright got down on his knees and acted like he was prayin’ till he crawled to the bank and
jumped in the bayou. The Klux shot at him fifty or sixty times, but he got away. The Loyal League give him money
to leave on and he stayed away a long time. He came back to appear against Alford at his trial and when the Jury
gave Alford ninety-nine years. Anderson was glad, of course.

11. “I left the Van Zandts two years after I was freed and worked in hotels and on the railroad and saved up money
and went in business, helping people ship cotton. I’ve seen a thousand cotton wagons in town at one time. I
stayed in business till I was burnt out. I came back to Marshall and took up the brick mason trade, and worked at
it till I got too old to hold out.

12. “I’ve sat on the jury in the county, justice and federal courts. I know enough to vote or set on a jury but I think
the restriction on colored folks votin’ is all right in this State. The white folks has a good government system. Our
leaders ain’t hard-hearted people and the cullud folks is well off or better as if they voted. I’ve lived here in
Marshall most all the time since I was born and ain’t had no trouble. As long as the Negroes treat the white folks
right, the white folks will treat them right.

Henry Turner

Name of Interviewer
Watt McKinney
Phillips County, Arkansas

I’m gettin’ old and feeble now and cannot walk no more
And I’ve laid the rusty-bladed hoe to rest.

Ole marster and ole missus are sleeping side by side
And their spirits are a-roamin’ with the blest.

1. The above lines, had they been composed today, might well have been written with reference to “Uncle” Henry
Turner, ninety-three years of age, of Turner, Arkansas, in Phillips County, and among the very few remaining ex-
slaves, especially of those who were old enough at the time of their emancipation to have now a clear
recollection of conditions, customs, events, and life during those days long past immediately preceding and
following the Civil War. Uncle Henry’s eyes have now grown dim and he totters slightly as supported by his cane,
he slowly shuffles along the path over a short distance between the clean, white-washed cabin where he lives
with a daughter and the small, combination store and post office, on the porch of which he is accustomed to sit
in an old cane-bottomed chair for a few hours each day and the white folks in passing stop to speak a few words
and to buy for him candy, cold drinks, and tobacco.

2. Though “Uncle” Henry is approaching the century mark in age, his mind is remarkably clear and his recollection
is unusually keen. He was born a slave in northern Mississippi near the small towns of Red Banks and Byhalia,
was the property of his owner, Edmond Turner, and was brought to Phillips County by “his white folks” some
months before the war. Turner, who owned some fifty other slaves besides Henry, settled with his family on a
large acreage of land that he had purchased about fifteen miles west of Helena near Trenton. Both Turner and
his wife died soon after taking up residence in Arkansas leaving their estate to their two sons, Bart and Nat, who
were by that time grown young men, and being very capable and industrious soon developed their property into
one of the most valuable plantations in the County.

3. As “Uncle” Henry recalls, the Turner place was, it might be said, a world within itself, in the confines of which
was produced practically everything essential in the life of its inhabitants and the proper and successful conduct
of its operations. Large herds of cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats provided a bountiful supply of both fresh and salt
meats and fats. Cotton and wool was carded, spun and woven into cloth for clothes, fast colored dyes were
made by boiling different kinds of roots and barks, various colored berries were also used for this purpose.
Medicine was prepared from roots, herbs, flowers, and leaves. Stake and rider fences enclosed the fields and
pastures and while most of the houses, barns and cribs were constructed of logs, some lumber was
manufactured in crude sawmills in which was used what was known as a “slash saw”. This was something like
the crosscut saws of today and was operated by a crank that gave the saw an alternating up and down motion.
Wheat was ground into flour and corn into meal in mills with stone burrs similar to those used in the rural
districts today, and power for this operation was obtained through the use of a treadmill that was given its
motion by horses or mules walking on an inclined, endless belt constructed of heavy wooden slats. Candles for
lighting purposes were made of animal fats combined with beeswax. Plows, harrows and cultivating implements
were made on the plantation by those Negroes who had been trained in carpentry and blacksmithing. Plows for
breaking the land were sometimes constructed with a metal point and a wooden moldboard and harrows made
of heavy timbers with large, sharpened wooden pegs for teeth. Hats of straw and corn shucks were woven by

4. Small, crude cotton gins were powered by horses or mules hitched to a beam fastened to an upright shaft
around which they traveled in a circle and to which was attached large cogwheels that multiplied the animal’s
power enormously and transmitted it by means of a belt to the separating machinery where the lint was torn
from the seed. No metal ties were available during this period and ropes of cotton were used to bind the bales
of lint. About three bales was the daily capacity of a horse-powered plantation gin.

5. It was often difficult to obtain the services of a competent doctor and except in cases of serious illness home
remedies were administered.

6. Churches were established in different communities throughout the County and the Negro slaves were allowed
the privilege of attending the services, certain pews being set apart from them, and the same minister that
attended the spiritual needs of the master and his family rendered like assistance to his slaves.

7. No undertaking establishments existed here at this time and on the death of a person burial was made in crude
caskets built of rough cypress planks unless the deceased was a member of a family financially able to afford the
expensive metal caskets that were available no nearer than Memphis. “Uncle” Henry Turner recalls the death of
Dan Wilborn’s little six-year-old boy, Abby, who was accidentally killed when crushed by a heavy gate on which
he was playing, and his burial in what “Uncle” Henry described as a casket made of the same material as an old-
fashioned door knob; and while I have no other authority than this on the subject, it is possible that in that day
caskets were made of some vitrified substance, perhaps clay, and resembling the present day tile.

8. The planters and slaveowners of this period obtained the greater share of their recreation in attendance at
political rallies, horse races, and cock fights. Jobe Dean and Gus Abington who came to Trenton from their home
near La Grange, Tennessee were responsible for the popularity of these sports in Phillips County and it was they
who promoted the most spectacular of these sporting events and in which large sums of money were wagered
on the horses and the game cocks. It is said that Marve Carruth once owned an Irish Grey Cock on which he bet
and won more than five thousand dollars one afternoon at Trenton.

9. No Negro slave was allowed to go beyond the confines of his owner’s plantation without written permission.
This was described by “Uncle” Henry Turner as a “pass”; and on this “pass” was written the name of the Negro,
the place he was permitted to visit, and the time beyond which he must not fail to return. It seems that numbers
of men were employed by the County or perhaps by the slaveowners themselves whose duty it was to patrol the
community and be on constant watch for such Negroes who attempted to escape their bondage or overstayed
the time limit noted on their “pass”. Such men were known then as “Paddy Rolls” by the Negroes and in the
Southern states are still referred to by this name. Punishment was often administered by them, and the very
mention of the name was sufficient to cause stark terror and fear in the hearts of fugitive slaves.

10. At some time during that period when slavery was a legal institution in this country, the following verse was
composed by some unknown author and set to a tune that some of the older darkies can yet sing:

Run nigger run, the Paddy Roll will get you
Run nigger run, it’s almost day.
That nigger run, that nigger flew
That nigger tore his shirt into.
Run nigger run, the Paddy Roll will get you
Run nigger run, it’s almost day.

11. Both Bart Turner and his brother Nat enlisted in the services of the Confederacy. Nat Turner was a member of
the First Arkansas volunteers, a regiment organized at Helena and of which Patrick R. Cleburne was colonel. Dick
Berry and Hilt Wiseman, friends and neighbors of the Turners, also volunteered and enlisted in Cleburne’s
command. These three stalwart young men from Phillips County followed Cleburne and fought under his battle
flag on those bloody fields at Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Ringgold gap, and Atlanta; and they were with him that day
in November in front of the old gin house at Franklin as the regiment formed for another and what was to be
their last charge. The dead lay in heaps in front of them and almost filled the ditch around the breastworks, but
the command though terribly cut to pieces was forming as coolly as if on dress parade. Above them floated a
peculiar flag, a field of deep blue on which was a crescent moon and stars. It was Claiborne’s battle flag and well
the enemy knew it; they had seen it so often before. “I tip my hat to that flag” said the Federal General Sherman
years after the war. “Whenever my men saw it they knew it meant fight.” As the regiment rushed on the Federal
breastworks a gray clad figure on a chestnut horse rode across the front of the moving column and toward the
enemy’s guns. The horse went down within fifty yards of the breastworks. The rider arose, waved his sword, and
led his men on foot to the very ramparts. Then he staggered and fell, pierced with a dozen balls. It was Cleburne,
the peerless field-marshal of Confederate brigade commanders. The Southern cause suffered a crushing defeat
at Franklin and the casualty list recorded the names of Nat Turner, Dick Berry, and Hilt Wiseman, who like their
beloved commander had given their life for their country. There is an inscription on the stone base of the

magnificent bronze statue of General N. B. Forrest astride his war horse in Forrest Park in Memphis that could
well be placed above the graves of Cleburne, Turner, Berry, and Wiseman, those brave, heroic soldiers from
Phillips County. The inscription in verse is as follows:

Those hoof beats die not on fame’s crimson sod
But will live on in song and in story.
He fought like a Trojan and struck like a god
His dust is our ashes of glory.

12. This information given by “Uncle” Henry Turner; Place of residence Turner, Phillips County, Arkansas;
Occupation – plantation hand; Age – 93.

William Webb Tuttle
Watkins, Hettie
District No. 2
Muncie, Indiana

1. Louis Watkins was born in the year 1853 on the plantation of Peeler Parker, situated about 15 miles out of
Chattanooga, Tennessee, near White Oak mountain. Louis relates that his master was good to him and his
overseer never whipped him. He was permitted to go to church with his parents on Sunday, and this day was
made a day of rest for the slaves. He had a white tutor who came on Sunday afternoon and taught the slaves in
a room in the big house. They were taught to read and write and to figure, and go as far as they were capable.
They were encouraged to read books and look at pictures at certain times outside of their work hours. All the
slaves were well clothed, fed and housed. The master kept four grown slaves for the fields and the mistress kept
two to do the work in the big house. After the white folks had eaten, the slaves were taken in the big dining
room, or rather the kitchen, and served their meal together. They were presided over by a slave woman who
was single, and she saw that they got all the substantial food they desired. None needed to leave the table
hungry on any pretext. His parents were never sold off of the plantation and none of the others were sold.

2. His master had a powder mill on the plantation which he conducted as a separate institution. He conducted this
enterprise himself and managed it mainly with white help. The subject of this sketch was a boy at the time and
ran errands in and out of the powder mill under the watchful eye of those in charge. The lad failed to clean the
powder off the soles of his bare feet one time and went to the cottage of his parents and sat down in front of
the stove. He stuck his feet too near the grate, a spark flew out, there was a puff of fire and a flash that encircled
his bare feet. The callous of his soles was so badly burned that he was compelled to remain in his bed until the
new flesh covered his feet. The grime of powder smutting his ankles joined in the ignition leaving behind a
generous patch of blisters. Mr. Watkins still recalls this experience as the outstanding event of his slave days.

3. When he was freed his parents were informed of that fact by their master and was given their choice of
remaining on the plantation with wages or to go elsewhere. None went away in any haste, but took time to
relocate in the adjoining villages where they found work and wages. Louis was about twelve years of age when
his parents went to Coltewah, a small village, to live.

4. After the War had well passed Louis found work, married and established a home. Three children were born to
them. He brought his family to Muncie, Delaware County, in the year 1907. His wife being deceased he resides
with his daughter, Hettie, at 813 South Pershing Street, Muncie, Indiana.

* * *

5. Miss Watkins, while giving the sketch of her father to this writer, related a story of one of her uncles which I
regarded as a reflection of that courage with which the colored ex-slave was called upon, on various occasions,
to defend his newly acquired rights as an American citizen. By such acts the ex-slave showed he appreciated his
freedom, although it was not a point to be proven more than had already been proven by the many who had
run away to join the northern army, thus paying for their own freedom.

6. After the war Miss Watkins uncle, Sidney Graham, lived in Coltewah, Tennessee, and was employed in Peeler
Parker’s powder mill on his farm. He was working along with the whites in the mill and by accident allowed some
hot water he was handling to splash over one of the white men who was working near him. This caused some
confusion and at the close of the day the men who were incensed at this ex-slave remarked that the “Ku-Klux”
would call on him that night. Knowing the spirit and feeling of the men, Sidney Graham barricaded his dwelling
that night and prepared to make a firm resistance. In the middle of the night the sheeted forms approached the
house and a solemn voice called on one Sidney Graham to come forth. The forms received no answer and
growing impatient, hurled themselves against the front door. It did not yield so they concentrated their attacks
against the rear door which was at last forced to yield. The room was dark inside and the clansmen applied a
torch to a big ball of cotton and threw the blazing brand into the middle of the room. The colored uncle shot and
instantly killed the first man that attempted to enter and this tragedy caused the company to remove the body
of their dead friend and depart until dawn. In the hours of the night that remained the ex-slave slipped away.
Later his family joined him at Nashville, Tennessee, and never afterward was the uncle, Sidney Graham,
disturbed or arrested.

Reference: Miss Hettie Watkins, 813 south Pershing Street, Muncie, Indiana.


Autobiography of Charles Williams

Charles Sums up his “Konkors”

1. In all my coming up, I never did eat no idle bread. Allers (Always) love my job whatever. Never was no inside
man, but Give Me outside. I haven 1/2 told what has been accomplish in my boy Hood. I nurse my youngest
sister and she is gray headed today. Some peppl (people) say that what Make the hairs turn gray is Trubbl. Well,
gentlemen, my hairs what on my skull is gray through age, not trubbl. I am One man what don’t has no trubbl.
Some peopl don’t like there hairs be gray. I’ll tell the world I no shame of mine.

2. Now, Gentlemen, I am going at a New Thing. All What I has Master since a Boy 5 year old. I has Master a greatell
of job. I has Master everry job I put my mits apond. I master them all, except them 2. My Mother & her Old Cow
Hide Slavey Whip.

3. When I was age 14 I was leading 75 Hoe Hands. Nothing but a kid. No women in them hoe hands – all Men. I
master them.

4. I had 16 milk cow to milk every Morning. I had them 10 row Coton to chop before I go to schoal & 10 row
waiting when I get home at night from same schoal. I master that job.

5. I master my job for 3 year Collectioner for Tax in Adams Co. Miss.
6. I master that Job making 7000 thousand of shingle er day. I master that job.
7. I cure 1000 thousand babie in Adams County. Master that job when Docttor man fail. I come erlong & stop them

from crying.
8. I master that job er punching 250 sack sand & Run 500 yard every morn for 2 month, getting reddy to take the

horns off the Champeen Bully of Miss., what had whip every man he ever tangle up with. I master him, but did
not care for bully business.

9. I master that job hunt alligators & Large Loggerhead turtles & ship to New Orleans French Market. Konkor that
job in big way. I master job of running raft to Placamine (Plaguemine). 300-log raft, it was. Me & 4 men was all it
took. I master that job. I cut down big gum trees 6 & 7 Ft ercrost the stump, geting Black Moss to ship to N.O
(New Orleans) to make cushion for chairs & Buggy & Bed ticks for matressus in them times. I whent all eround
the country bieing up all moss. Give 1 1/2 cts per Lbs. Allers when I be at one thing, I be at a nuther. I master
that job all OK. When I was a farmer I work 40 to 50 acre. Allways got a Boy to do my plowing & I attend the
hoeing myself. Simple because I cin hoe 31/2 to 4 acre Per Day. Time I got between 17 & 18, never had been a
Man what culd Equel me with a hoe. Sure did Master that job all my life.

10. We had and ocashun (Occasion) to go over in La. to Bill (build) a Verry Large Leavy. Had 100 of men Shover
Wheelbar (shove a wheel barrow) of soil I was leader for that gang. Ef you loose one bar (barrow) of dirt coming
up out of the pit, it was 25 cts. gone from you money. Master that job. White man, Jim Pullian, was a find man.
Dead Now. Ef he like you, he give you anything you asks for. Nothing too good for you.

11. 18 years was my starting point. Christ start His Mission at same age.
12. Here are a nuther job I master for 2 year ontel I get tired of it. I usto love to call figgers for dance. I cut out the 8

figger all together, simple because no buddy could master it but myself. Everything not nice was cut out. No card
playing, no crap shooting, no whisky drinking eround, No Cursien among the Girls, no spiting own the floor. I put
up a Signed Board for to go by. White people come eround for to see Culard joyous theyselfs, in a nice way. So
after all that, they put us a nice Dancing Hall for to joy ourselfs in in Respectfully Way. But without no spiting on
floor. Thay was spits toons – 12 of them -for such purpose. I hanle that job two to 3 year.

13. I master job ketch Mr. Possums for steamboat Lady Capt. First every I seen. She name me “Black Possum” simple
because I ketch her & husband all possum they want & deliver when they boat come to wood pile. I master
water melon patch. Raise them skonk so thick you cant walk in patch. Thick as hickry nuts on there tree.

14. I Master my eddication. Learnt all Book by heart. Whey my Mother carry me to teacher, I alreddy know what she
had to learn me. Had to get 9 more higher book. Had fine enterlect. I studdy so hard I had head ake continual.
Mama had to bie hart Horn for me to carry in my pocket every day of my life. I grow up with that pain of head,
but it brought me to my knowing at lest $2.00 worth. Evenuly it left me all at once. Talk erbout Negro what do
his studdying. I was him. All what I had to undergo, ent a Nuther Negro Boy in America has accomplish & living
today. All jobs what I have konkor has left me for the better. But I had callification while going erlong through
this world. You have to be beticular. Done most of the going eround before I was married, to see the world.


15. My mother learnt me something while she was living and I am glad of it. I cin (can) make soap. I cin patch. I cin
wash and starch cloths. I am a all a-round man. I know my stuff.

16. They are not a Negro boy in American has done and went through and master many as jobs as I did and is living
to tell. I started my job when 12 year old by healing infants and babe and growing people. I only cure 1000
thousand in my own County. There one thing furthermore lays apond my mind thats this: All my school mates
are gone into Judgment. Look like to me I am leff erlone. I would like come ercrost some old schoal mate
sometime and talk over our schoal time. I am satisfied I got to go sum day and when my time expires in this here
sinfuld world I determine to see Jesus Christ simple because he told me when he forgive my sins to keep on a
walking in his statue and keep his command and I will liff you on high. Jobe said in his lusteration (illustration?)
every strand hairs apond our skulls is number. I want this world to be my hell.

17. Those 3 year I work hard I made it good. Not so much for myself as for parrient (parents) and wife. I never was
much a lover of money but I knowed what it take to Get it. I has handel greatell of money in my time and the
principle part was mine; all excusing when I was tax collect in Adams County. Many thousand of dolar went
through my mits. I was only getting $120 per month but it kept my mother and dady from lossing on thay crop. I
was glad to do it toward my mother and dady and youngest sister and wife. Allers I tell Mama don’t let her crop
be slite. Keep field clean get all vegetation out from you crop. Don’t get behind with it. Even if rain every day,
keep that old plow rolling. I say “Mama, I cant negleck my job to help you now with you crop. I furnish money to
hire you a first class coton hand When I go home I walk over they land to see what condishun they crop. Be in
find shape. I was suporting the hold gang.

18. Sometime my Angel write ask me does I wish a nice pound cake. I write: “It will be excepted verry much, ice
cream endall (and all). Raily, I didn care much for pound cake, bud I never told her so. I wrote to her what day I

be home, to meet me at landdine (landing). Then I come in. Stay o er 1 night, next morning tell my Angel I come
ergain and stay couple day mabbe. She say: “Nolonger er that,” Me: “I should say that longer anuff to my idea.
Lisen: in them 2 day I am turn loose 200 tax Receipt”. All time jest doing it to satisfy my Angel Mama. Next my
wife come telling me: “It wouldn hurt you none to stay here with us a week.” “Yes”, I reply back, “I stay them 2
week, and you want me to stay 2 more.” When I start ketching my horse and curry him, she know what going be
result. Never stay with them own a Sunday. never did work on a Sunday, but use it to put me clost to my job
own Monday morn.

19. Now friends, lisen. I usto give a melon feast every Sunday. Never charge enny one for all they could hold. Everry
buddy cany raise melon. I cin raise melon with jest only own see in. Usto make my wagon loan full. Here a style
you can play with a watermelon. You get a small mellon, jes size of hen egg and dig a hole in diameter erbout 3
foot round; now lisen. Place this little melon down in that hole. Be shure let it be sized off hen egg and I
guaratied (guarantee) it will fill that hole up. but it only have one seed in the middle. I had Adams county tired
out of growing melons. Here is something also, Gentlemen. When you save seeds from a melon to plant a
nuther season, never take seeds from the stem end. Always save your planting seeds from the blossom end. Cut
the melon half way acrost and always take and save what seeds I am tell you. Understand me, I cin improve a
water melon.

20. I will further make statement towards raising melons. Be show to keep out the vegetation from the vine. Don’t
ketch and stop running. Thay is a way that you cin planted melon but before you plant, be shore to know what
you doing. Aint careful, you cin chase melons away before they begin to come on vines when vine 41/2 to 5 to 6
feet long, before they begin to put on mellons and if you mind the facts, they drops off. But when the vine
erbout es long as you arm, they begin to put on you melon and no dropping off entel you get reddy to pull. A
nother pointe erbout raisin melon, you half to, every morn and even while cool, suck you melons. There is a little
vine comes right at the joint of the melon and ef you let that runner continual to stay there, it will come to be
longest is you arm. That suck belone (belong) to take the strength from that melon. You don’t half to have three
or maybe 4 acre. I want jest 1 1/2 acres and I am satisfy. 1/2 acres will produce me enough melon. Jest sell them
at 15 or 20 cts highest price and I satisfied that I make 1 hundred or 125 dolar over my expenses.

21. When my boy was living I take 2 horse wagon and go in my patch and load that wagon up to it brim with findest
kind melon. The highes price was 20 c apiece and 15 c for some. That was my price. Put 150 apond that wagon
own a Friday night and get up Saterddi morning. 8 miles to carry them melons to place where day hands get paid
off every Saterdday. Laborers didn have no time to make anything like that an you cin get you own price. But I
never did sale enny for no big price. Sum time me and son put own 200 or 300 melon own wagon. The high side
planks come very near off. After that we carry only 140.

22. Them melons was planted in black loaned soil. It was black as I am. It don’t take no hold lot grownd to raise
mellon but you got to kno you unions. Gentlemen, a greatell of thing in my life experence is simple because I
allers take advanace (advantage). Some work against their own selfs.

23. Ef a man cant make a crop in rainy weather, he cany make none in dry spell. I was the leading farmer in Adams
Co. Ef a man know his unions about farming, he can make crop in 90 days. When coton come up you got a fight
on from Mon. to Sat. night. Any man what fight his crop inside those 3 month, he make his crop in 90 days all 0
K. Don’t leave no day out except Sundays. When I am farming that way, gentlemen, I farm. I love it. I has broke
the record in the upper part Miss.

24. Been working every sience I 5 or 7 years and right now I cin kick a man hat of his head, old as I am. A nother
thing, regardless of what it is, small or little, in log toating I come clost up to carrying my part and I ent slow.
When I been a farming, the time sum men a geting up, I alreddy don a 1/2 day work. I always master every job I
has my mits apond. I was almost 2 men, when growing up. All I had in my brains before I got married was how to
make a dolar, and my book. I like to put heart and mind on my matters. Some people will go to Hell for a dolar.
Money matters are the ornimint of action.

25. Another thing, gentlemen: Guard your manners ef you would pertect you moral. Good temptor (temper) is
essens of good manner. He that has no character is not a man, only a thing. Sow good service and sweet
rememberances will grow. Good manners are the shadows of virtue. They is virtue in all profesion and
occupation. Good manners necessary to success. Ef you speacke the words of an angel in bad words and with
disgreable utterance, nobuddy will hear you twice. It great misfortune not to have anuff wit to speake well and
anuff judgment to keep mouth shut at proper time. Best way of making oneself loved is to be churfield
(cheerful) . Joy soften more heart than tears. To live with our ennimis (enemies) as if they may sumtime become

to be our friend, and live with our friend as if that may sometime become our enemy, is not a moral, but a
political maxim. Men of evvil manners live as in brass, there virtues we write in water.

Honor and Shame from no Condishun Rise,
Act well you Part, there All the Honor lies.

26. I knows one Beauty thing erbout myself. I cin ackomplush anything I lays my mits apond. What I know has been
testered out by white gentlemen what has gradurated. People here don’t know me ho (who) I am. See me going
erlong and want to find out erbout myself. Right now I cin do as much work es enny young negro in Prairie Co.
Sometime be little ailing in my health. Don’t stay long at that period. Ergain, I feels like I could stand flat footed
and kick a man hat offen he head and want tech hairs on head. All in taken care you self. Go to bed suddently
and bee reddy to rise same, reddy for a days work. I been living in Des Arc 13 year and outen that time I give Mr.
C.W. Johnson the best of my time inside them years. Not, a blemish cin he said erbout me, and longest I every
work for one man. When in Adams County where ever buddy knew my rept (reputation) I might labor one or 2
week and change to a nother fellow. Ef they make me mad I don’t quit sudden. I stay over one fully week and
esk for settlement at once. No settlement coming, I work for him no more. Greatell of time he come after me. I
refuse. When I working, I don’t like to be disturb. Only jest tell me what you want done, and I the guie what fill
you order. Ef I don’t, I will chew up my old and greasey cap. My Mama, she taught me that. “Don’t change words
with no buddy. Ef they owes you a settlement, call for it at once, but don’t hold no arnuments (arguments)

My Education.

27. My mother carried me to 6 grade and turn me loose. One month before she did, she carried me to Teacher. She
took snap, judgement, least she thought she did. I was out Doores doing something. Here comes Mama eround
the house. I meet her when I discover her and look towards her. She had 5 Reader in Right Hand and in Left her
old cow hide. She shuch Old Cow Hide in my face and tell me git reddy. I am carry you erway from this morn. I
am go on my job. docttoring. Chas., get those 6 reader reddy. “Yes, Mama, I will be ready now any minute.”

Will I Now Make Further Decasium & Statement.

28. Sooner we got reddy Mama say: “Jump up, Chas., behimb me on this here horse and lets get going.” So we went
dashing. Got there pretty sooner. She had those 6 readers in her purse. Started towards old school howse. I
jump down first and help Mama down. I hitch her horse while she was gone in to teach right now. I burges in
with a smile. Mama then mence (commence)tell teacher the cause of her errance (errand). It was towards me,
her Son. “My boy, I am erbout to turn over to you and make tell all what I want you to do to him.” She hand
Teach those 6 book. Continue: “I carry my onliest boy to 6 grade. I got a job to attend and must get to it; raily got
to carry own”. She also tell Teacher “Don’t spare no rod on him’ before I leave I want to see you start on him and
carry through his 6 book”. They set me tween them and started. Went through first jest like taking candy from
infant. Started in alferbits from A B C. Me, I tell her I don’t know them that away, No Mam. “Well”, speake up
the teach, “lest see ef you cin say them back words (backward) I started them A B C back words and went strait
ahead. When finish she say: “Throught you couldn say them strait erlong.” I told her it ent no telling erbout me,
what I do next, teacher “Bleev that, Chas.”, she reply.

29. She retched down and lift up seccint book. I done same surprise on her. Retch for third. I had them old book all
by heart. When she finish up 1/2 them she say to Mama: “Mrs. Morris, how long as this boy look in he books?”

30. Mama: “2 or three Mo.”
31. Teacher: “This boy got great interlick. He got you brains. You cin make a man outen him. Mrs. Norris, Chas. need

new set books right now.”
32. She make out the kine new books I need. 9 difference books. Says when I are mastered them I be in 12 grade.
33. Now read and take good notice. Read and search every word I am saying. When I was going to schoal years

back- not yestiday – 16- schollar going to same schoal. Was 2 head teacher and 6 hide grade schollar to help out.
Allways I last schollar get to schoal every morning. Teacher, she ask me: “What make you alway last to schoal?”
Told I had to milk 6 head of cow ever morn and eve and then 10 roes (rows) coton to be chop before every I
start, and more 10 roes waiting me get home when I leave schoal at even. Now teacher, she say:

34. “What time, then, does you studdy?” She full sprised at my good interlick and good remembrance. Furtherance
she expond me: “Chas., would you make man youself, jest keep on gait you now got. Press on. Dont give the
struggle over. Fight own (on). Schollars went to same schoal as me. All now dead and gone to Jedgenent. Old
ugly black Charles eround here yet, something to look at. all right.

35. That time I tell Mama I going get married in short, it seem to strike her. She went on talking erbout this and that
and other. I let her talk. Then I spoken to her in nice way. Tells her I been working for her and others these 26
year and continue it to do.” Now I’m come to my 26 year and still you ent staisfy erbout me get married. Mama
then replied: “Chas., you is old enuff, all OK, but I want you get all education you cin get bye on”. She told me
pack my trunck, she carrying me to High Schoal. Ef I had of went like she say, and had a continuance to strain my
brains I might been difference man. Ergain, I might went crazy. With brains like mine, they only stand so much
on taxing. When anything get on my mind it stick like musage (mucilage) own a letter. I done forgot moren sum
people ever did know. My ways is quit indifference from most of Negro.

36. One thing that I could allers get away with was writing. Slow penman. Wrote pretty good hand all OK. No
teacher cin instruck to write. All cin do is put up coppy. When they give me a coppy I look at at and lay aside and
use my own thourght erbout the matter. That how I learnt to shove a pen. Took it in my own brains. Sometime
coppy on slate, sometime on coppy book. I never did paid any on them any mind Allers took own theo (theory)
on the matter. When teacher call in slate and coppy books, I carry up mine. Had write 8 to 10 line jest like her
hand write. Soon cut out that stuff and went out for myself. Found evenuly (eventually) that my way was best. I
cin write 3 difference hand writing today. Ef I didn work my hands so hard onecet, -jest set down like some men,
I would of been like John Adams. He was the greatest penmanship they was in Congress. After his death his wife
purchase his hand writing for thirty-thousand dolar. His writing was too good to be throwed and kick eround and
tramp apond. So ef I had nothing to do but set down, like some men, I would show you some penmanship. My
hands little stiff by grub and strain my nerve.

37. What I say erbout Jno. Adams, I reed. A history book erbout him I read years ago. I ent talk what I heen told, jest
read for myself. His nishel (initial) was J.Q. Adams. He wrote finest writing any man in Congress. John Quincy
Adams, that master penman writing never no burden to him. Not to me either. I done my part of penman in this
world. For 20 year I don this for a church what carried 300 hundred member in good standing and good morals.

38. When first teacher hand Mama name of books she find I in need of, my Mama take the kind, all 7 of those, and
intend to bie for me. Those high book costed my mother $7.50. When I come at those book, I natural master
those. Any thing I set my heart and mind towards, I master like take candy from er infant, all accept those 2
what I never master. “What they, Chas?” that my mother and cow hide Negro behavor whish she swing over
slavy and on me twice time. Now gentlemen, I ent tell no fib erbout my training and rise coming up.


39. Before I left home, Adams Co., I cure 1000 babie. I have started babie to go back to nurse they mother nipper
when Docttor fail to do so. Science left my home I cured 15 babie of thrash, & I cure another 6 over at Colotchia
Bay. Thay is 2 kind thrash, black & red. Red are worse kind. I cure owne (one) old girl with thrash. She 19 year
old. I can’t make no charge in this matter.

40. I never will forget. I was 12 year old, lying down on a Sunday night. Woman come before me. She look down
own me. Had a prety babie in her arms. She a prety brown skin woman. “My babie got thrash verry bad. I want
you to cure my babie.” I told her I can’t cure no thrash. “Yes you cin She keep on worrying me in the matter. At
last I tell her: “Give me you babie.” She stoop down and give me her babie. I did not set up atall, jest took babie,
get on my back and I blowed 3 times in the babie Mouth, & hand the child back to her. That brown skin woman,
she disapear from me. I commence from that.

I has cure babie in amt 9.50

& .50 old Negro .50


total amt 10.50

41. I am not menshion those what I cure sence I left Native Home in Adams Co. I cure 1000 babie before I left home.
Dr. Taylor make inditement against me. I have to meet 12 men, but I met them with a smile on my lipses. One
big black Negro dressed to death with all them diamonds. When I walk in, he know me all O.K.

42. Every buddy in Adams Co. knew my raisons (raising) and my training. When I walk in, he the first to tell me be
seated. He Look at Me for minute. When he did speak, him say: “Chas., this is indiction (indictment) against you
for going eround a curing Babie what got thrash. Is this indicement true? Is you got licens to heal babie? Does
you carry medicine? What charge do you charge for that work? None? How come? How come you start on this
job in first place?”

43. As aforsed, I met them like a man. The big black gui, after being me seated, he ritch ercrost the table and read
the charge about the matter to me. He say: “Is you power from the Almighty er how you go erbout curing
babies?” To him I make answer: “I has been behimb docttor what could not master they job. I carry my medicine
in my mouth. I am healer sent by my Maker.”

44. Charles, you state you carry you medicine in you mouth. What that?”
45. “Gentlemen of the jury, I don’t carry no medicine stall. I blow in they mouth 4 or 5 time and thrash is gone. I

inherit this matter. I carry my medicine in my mouth.”
46. “How longer you been at this job, Chas?”
47. “Started when I am 12 years old. Now I am 25 year old.”
48. “They tells me you is all sorts of Negro.”
49. “I am like any other young man, ecept few you can find like me.”
50. He asks the other fellows: “Any you all wants to quisseted (question) this man?”
51. “No.”
52. “Well, Chas., we excuses you to go ahead curing you babies, same as you been a doing.”
53. When I got out and slam door, I herd them all laugh. Was not studdying erbout them, noway. Thay couldn harm

me. I was jest erbout sharp as thay was. That close that subject, right now. One woman did not born the only
sharp child.

M. M. W. M. C.
M. F. W. M. S.
C. H. W. M. C.


My Mother

54. She lived to be 124 years old and died on the 8 Day of Jan. in 1918. Dat same year my Angel dye, on Aug 5. 1918.
My mama was the oldest daughter of her old father. He had 8 girl and she last one to die.

55. My dear mother had a fine education by her owner and she carry me up to the 6 grade. She was a Docttor
woman too and had to go out on her mission. She put me under a teacher. My mother was a sharp woman. She
taken snap judgement on me and haden (had not) look at my book for 4 mo. She never did say eny thing to me
erbout the matter till one morn she called: “Chas., get reddy. I am going to carry you and turn (you) over to the
teacher.” So, I prepair to do jest what she say in the matter, simples because I know those 6 book was no more
than a trick to me to handle. So I cought the horse and saddle him and led up to porch and she jump up own
(on) the horse and say to me to jump up behind her. Here we go. She taken snap judgement by think I had
forgot what in them books When we come at school house I jump down and Help her down. We go inside. She
spoken to teacher. Tell her business what cause Her to come at this time was to bring my boy to turn over to
you. “I am got to go to my job.” She pull out old book and carry me through 1/2 of them. She stop. She say to
Mama: “All he need is new books.” At once she take down name of what Higher Books I need. All 7 of those
Book cost my Mama $7.50. When I get there, I just naturly master.

56. When I was growing up in this Life, I thought my mother was awful cruel to me. But she not. She Know exactly
what she doing and I glad. I love her dust, since I come to look into the matter. Usto make me go to school with
Bagging around my feet. Children all make fun at me It was not because my parient (parent) did have no money.

Right now at that time Mama had in that old Red Box $800 hundred dolar. Simple enuff. My step father was
drawing pension. My step father was getting eround $40 per Mo.

57. I was drill coming up. My Mother did not had me in no swinging blanket, and it going backward and forward,
with a big hunk of candy chucked in my mouth. I am proud of it. She made a man of me. If you is black as ace
spade (ace of spades), yet you cin be relible and have some good morale & Pricciples and treat all boddies right.
My mother taught me that, and what she taught me I don’t have no troubble with. By mother did not allow me
to run in no fast crowd. I was 25 year old when I got my last flogging from Mama. She would whip me today ef I
done something she didn intellurate (intellucally agree) with, ef she was living.

58. My mother was a slave driver for her master. Part time she slave driver, part time help in the house. She fine
cook. She weight 185 lbs. I bet. She was put over twenty five or 30 heads of women and child to have hoe coton
– hoe it right – and chop coton, trim the corn; plant corn and pead (spread) seed. She walk erlong with her old
cow Hide whip and tell how to do it. She was a Negro slave Driver, pointed by the riding boss. She was strong.

59. Having a pappy in them days was sorter like Santy Claus is now. My mother tell me about my dady. His old
master use to eat logger head turtle. There thys was big as my leg right here. Fine meat. Oncet my dady in house
and et a thy (thigh). When old master ask cook where two thys of that turtle, my dady say “I et it.” Old marster
say I going to whip you for that’, and my dady left. Put 16 nigger hounds after him. My dady was 200 lbs. He kill 6
or 7 of them hounds when they come up to him. But they shot my dady and roll him in the river. I cin show you
the very spot.

60. I always obey my Mother, every thing she say. She was strick (strict) on me and on her girls. When that old cow
Hide came down on you thinks your seeing stars in the day time.

61. My mother was a hard nut to crack. I did leave from her, and leave to my Angel, but I did Not Forsook My
Mother when I married, but setel down and carry my mother erlong because she was now getting feebly and in
age. When I was under her as a minor. I did do what she tell me without no hesetate. I precieate her training to
full extent. I believe that old Cow Hide akshually was haunted. I don’t care how still a day was that Cow Hide was
in moving dispersision, swinging back Ward and For Ward. Never still. I did not Under Stand that. One day my
youngest sister was standing up talking erbout Old Hide. I ask her: “Say, how come Mama don’t whip you with
Old Cow Hide? Every time Mama get ready to lashes you, she go out a doors and get lot a switches. Never yet
seen her to towards old cow Hide to use on you.’ Furthermore, I tells my youngest sister: “Some these days I’m
going to ask Mama.”

62. “Don’t you do it; don’t you ast her that.”
63. “Why.”
64. “Because you aunt not to do so. You got no right. She kill me.” Once when we was talking erbout old Cow Hide, I

take hold on it to feel it. That old Cow Hide flewed right outen (out of) my hands and struck me on the head. I
was surprise at that act.” My sister, it tickkel her.

65. If it had been just one More Boy out side of myself, I would don erway with Old Cow Hide. But they was no boy
but just me, which was reason I did Not Made way with it. That same old Cow Hide overtook me again in 1881.
After that lashing, when I had been married a week, it never did overtook me no more. I don’t know what
becamed of it after Mama died. I was raily afraid of my mother and her Cow Hide. She was what you call tite on
me. I recond she know what she was doing. A girl not out ramblen so much as a boy. I was train to be in bed by 7
and up at 4. Been in that latitude every sience.

66. My honny moon brought all the trubble. I have herd about hony moons. Angel and myself was setting on edge
of bed playing and slapping each other. I slap my Angel little too hard, caus her to cry. Then mama hear. She
came charging in with Old Cow Hide. The Lady went for me. For some while I tried to go bye her -eround her-
but raily could not make way arond. She just natural anuff got me and give me my seccont whipping with Old
Cow Hide on my honny Moon. When Mama bulge in, she push me down. Before I hit the floo (floor) she took
that old Negro Behavior and started whipping me. What made me so mad, that Girl said to Mama, “Mother,
don’t whip him no more so he get blue.” Mama went outten (out of) the door smiling, and say: “You cin all go
own with your rat killing now.” One of my sister what live not far from us say: “Bud, who that Mama was
whipping on -you or your wife,- been fighting a-ready?”

67. “No, jest playing.”

* * *

68. Every thing what in my History of My Life I been keeping in my mind sience 1880. My Dear Mother told me to do
this: “When you get about 70 year old, I want you to make record of your life. I want you take you Life History. It
is worth it to do so & let the Communit see what you been through. How you was Drill and train by Negro Slave
Driving Mother with Old Cow Hide Whip.”

69. No one on earth know what all I had to underwent. By Mother carry me through a heap, in this process. I am
glad for the profferssision she was. One thing I raily did not like. When at age 5 when I pick her best hen clean as
you hand, after she finish whippeing me, she tell me to scrape my feet back & bow my head to her, that
meaning, simple, I had to bow. I didn’t see no future to that. I didn like it for nothing. But I had to do it. Raily
never could see through it. Sum buddy give you a whipping & when they close down, you got to get up and give
them a greatell Gratitude for such a acct.

70. After all them 18 years till she flog me ergain. when I slap my Angel on hony moon, she make me do that back-
step again. Only time in my hold life. I bowed to a whipping from my mother. If she living today and say: “You
get down, you black rascal,” you see me getting down, and quick erbout it too.”

My Angel

71. When my mama get reddy to sence me to High School I told Mama I was going to get married. Mama did not
like at all. Also I tell Mama I am going to marry now in short time.

72. I raily loved my Wife from My Heart. I lover (love her) simple, because we live together 40 long year without a
blemish between us. She was a pretty col. girl. Pretties they was at that school, it was given up by White and
colored. She was brown skin Girl. She was the prettiest out of 80 or 90 girls. She was 12 year old when I began to
spark around her. I didn’t want a nother fellow to gaine her. To beat He gaining her effections So I think to put
my claime in in plenty time. So I done that with all My Heart & Desire.

73. So me and her coming from school after dinner, the other schollar either behind me & her or front of me and
Her. 12 year old at that time. I ask her the privilege of coming to see her, er drop her letter now & then & she
grant it all right, but say “Now lissen, Mr. Williams, I am jes little over 12 year old. But ef you wait on me till I get
14 I will marry you if nothing don’t pervent. I believe you will make me a fine husband. Ef you work for your
Mother like you do, I think you make living for a wife.” So walk & talk ever chance we had the opportunity to do
so. When she get them 14 year, I marry her & live together with her 40 year without blemish.

74. The White people in Adams Co. declare she was Jew woman. She was so difference than culard wimmen. Brown
skin & pretty feature. Heavie eie (eye) Brims (brows). Pretty Haire. Tooths look like Ivory. No shoe was No 3. She
was a beauty. Nices Girl. We live together 40 year. When White people all saying, “Ent she Jew.” I say “Yes she is,
no she ent, you don’t No.” They say: “I can’t see how you got sich beautiful woman. She is sure a good looking
Jew girl.” Then I begin to notice her ways. I watch in every instance. Her ways were sure difference from any
other culard girl. Then I came believe what that tell in Natchez, Miss. The longest (longer) me & her stay
together, more things I nottist (notice). She had a Jews nose and they close ways. She preserved everything like
Jews. She kep everything right up to date, — never did throw away nothing you know how Jew is clost. Cloestest
race that is in the world. They get rich quickern (quicker than) any nation on earth. When they drop in in some
city er town, it don’t take them long to full up by some means er other. I formly (firmly) believe that my Angel
was a Jew. She had different views opend many matter from other wimmins. She talk & ask difference, too. All
together she didn’t talk verry much to nobody onless you ask her something. Verry slow in speaking, but allers
(always) give the best of her idea apond the subject.

75. My Angel Kept inventory of her expenses own the House also inventory of the cash she made with her machine
& chicken & garden & eggs & milk & butter. Her cash always run far above her house Expenses all the time.
Close preserve, was my Angel. If she only live 5 moe year we been setting pretty. I was farming so could get no
money till fall of year. Being clost preserver, she could take 1 pt floor (flour) – mebbe sometime not quite that
much- & make biskets enuff for 8 to 10 men. All they cin eat. All they wants and some left. One day I ask my
Angel: How come you take such little floor & make so many biskets & them biskets, they invoporations
(evaporates) in your mouth.” Furtherance I see her taken one of them bisket what she make up & place in the
water. It would float around in that tub for 16 or 20 min. before it would invoporate. Look & live.

76. When I witness how My Angel such preserver, I tell her I get her a blotter for to Keep exopensies (expenses) &
cooking accts. So I bought the same. With all them things she done to make money, sometimes she have $14
per week. She put nothing in the shop barrel. I never will get a nether wife liken unto my first Wife. If she lived

another five year. I been standing Pretty today. Bud (but) her time was out. I never did allowed My Angel in no
field. She had a job – 2 job – what she raily did master. Our house was never without 35 to 45 Dolars no time. She
was first class Seamstes by trade & first class cook. Ore (oh), I had a wife what Jesus give me. That Angel, she did
not have much to say to no one. Not much to say to me sometime. I lover her. She was grand & good person.

77. One day I ask her-I say: “Mrs. Williams, where are you blotter – she go and get to hand me. I sit down to look
through her bizzness. Everything was first class shape. She done sewing fer the hold (whole) of Catochie Bay and
for the hold entirly plantations. Never use no tape line Just stands her lady up in floe (floor) and looks her up and
down. Up to head & down to feets. That ladies, that ask her: “Mis Williams, I allers see a seamster use a
tapeline.” “No, I don’t” say my Angel. My head is my tapeline. My seamster trainer did not learn me to intangle
with no tapeline. If I don’t fit you, I don’t want none you money. I has been verry apt to ketch on & I cin master
this job. I stay with my trainer for 12 mos and she test me before she turn me loose. I not oneasy about this sew
job.” My Angel was smart. I wouldn take nothing fer her. Every woman aust to New something & put something
in their brains. She never did visited eround much- not eny that I can see. I told her: “Angel, you aust to take on
a little plesoure.” Her reply: “I haven got no grown daughter to help my work. I staying to do it. Look at that big
pile cloft own that Bed. I got do these people sewing.” Get it offen my hands, so I cin demand my money.

78. My Angel first wife sure made hard times for the other femail Kind. I more rather to live like I am and to be living
in a Hell. Women don’t no nothing. Cant cook, cant make no garment. Still they wants to marry you. Lady, you
oust first to learn something. Aint no 2 going stay together if she don’t Know nothing. Not long they stay. First
place, a woman should no her unions (onions).

79. My Angel was worth any man work and any man money- all too little for angel like her. I don’t think I will ever
love nother woman in this life. Verry hard to suit in the wimmin line. 40 year a long time 2 people to live
together. Mighty seldom you find stay together now that long. These young race coming own has good women
verry scarce.

80. Now gentlemen, I hade nothing to do with whiskey and with no whiskey heads. But my Angel, she done it all OK.
I had to bie it for her. I firmily believe which I could of got her little licker she would been living today. She
couldn run her machine without taking little sup. I kept it fer her all time ontel Whiskey voted out. I never
indulge it all time. I always much prefer to have my right mind towards myself. Never did they find my Angel
staggering. She had good trains. Old whiskey stay in house 3 to 4 mo at the time simple becauses no one to use
it but herself. At time she was awful sick 25 year ago, doctter, he tell me: “Chas. the best thing you do is to allers
to keep a little likcer for you wife. This better for her health. After voting time when I reilly could not start no
whiskey for her she took down sick. She wouldn of needed over 2 tablespoon full. That would be three times a
day. I never got her none but fustest class whiskey. What you call the Black Stone cost me $3.75 per galon. I love
to see her enjoying it. I sure did go my last length fer my angel simple because I love my wife. I carry her $14 to
$15 dolar per week every week.

81. After Mr. Robt. Leonard was get rich I told My Angel: “Don’t ask no one for they sewing.” She jest loose her
Patticoats, I tells her: “Jest let be, now, and it will draw you money in times.” I was satisfied that she had the day
tire (sic ?) out towards her sewing. What I tell her was to make herself a suit and ware to Church on First Sunday.
She did so, and that what Killed the Cat. She git the Devil by tail on Down Hill Pull.

82. Me and My Angel was crossing own ferry, going over to church. I declaire, My Angel look good anuff to eat. Hole
(whole) gang was standing outside church. Had jest took in 35 to 45 new members. We got to men first, before
we come to the sisters. I excuse myself. Angel went on in lady company. When I looks, I railly could not see my
Angel. Some sisters call to my attention and I went unto them. One want ask me did Mrs. Williams railly make
that suit she have own. “Is that what you all calls me for. All OK for me to tell what they ask. “She raily did. She
raily made it verry suddently; she didn’t miss it.”

83. When later we setting to the table serving dinner I tell My Angel what: “Don’t go eround asking no one fer that
sewing. Jest draw you a pattient (pattern) and I carry you to Cotton Plant and you can picket (pick) 10 yds good
goods which cost me $1 dolar per yard, excusing trimmings & thread.” I tell her carry you order book and led
pencil. She didn’t half to go eround asking job. All she do was lay that pattient and she made her right up to
date. We had to crost the ferry to go over to church. My Angel got 7 order that day for that suit she perform and
woe (wore) over to church on first Sunday in the mo. After that ony went under first class seamster and also first
class pastry cook for 2 year at $20 dolar per month. I not say all this erbout My Angel simple because she mine; I
give anybuddy what belong to them.

84. She was 54 when she die. She look like 35, well take care off. She allers master every job in every enstance
(instance) She was a poor girl adrift from place to place. Father got shot down in Cilvil Armie. Mother dye when
she was 2 weeks old. Her mother sister went & got her and she live with her aunt what sent her to school when
she verry apt.

85. Those 7 wimmen what bought those 7 dresses comes over to her after the First Sunday. “Stand Erect and
Puccindicul (perpendicular) she tell the first, when she take her tipe (type). “Mrs., don’t you use no tape line?” “I
was not train on tapeline. My Angel tell her, and if I don’t square and fit you, I ent want you money.” Woman,
she say: “You set down there and start a basting and a cutting.” When she got done then, she start her fun.
Made woman tried suit own and go look at glass and take a view on herself all way eround. “Aint it jest like you
skin?” My Angel ask of her. “Never see such in all my life. Sure, you don’t need no tape line.”

86. The White ladies & same gentlemen declared My Angel a culard Jew woman. She talk like Jewish. Had thare
appearing — high nose, brown skin & pretty haire. In waist, very neat– 16 inches eround her middle. Of pretty
shape-up in every part she was. Visited the poore but visited not much others she allers try to better her
condition in all inst. You hardly every see her tough. Quite in diference from most culard wimmen.

87. White ladies what I usto work for, they ask of me: “Charles, where you find that culard Jew woman. Tell me:
“Hear white man say she a born Jew and has all they looks. How you manage to marry that good looking
woman?” Well I suppose she was for Me. Christ give me a pretty wife.

88. When I marry Angel and be erway for long spell, I come to wanting to see her. Haden look into her face in quite
while. She writes to me, but that ent like looking into her darling face. I had little to do, marrying that girl.

89. When she got 14 I did not hesertate a moment. She only woman I every love anyway. Plenty young men was
address her at that time. I was black & ugly, all right. Pretty don’t last, but ugly just hang on, hold its own. Now,
it make me feel awful lively jest to think over Boyhood days. But My Angel was not for any one but jest for me.

90. My Angel died on 5 day of Aug. 1918. She was a black Jew. We stay together 40 year and never a cross word
inside all them years. Prettiest girl that ever was in school. I lost my mind when I lost My Angel.

91. I never seen a woman take on about rabbits like she did. She found them at house where she went to Del. some
milk & butter. White lady spoken to husband erbout sell two old red-eye white rabbits. Angel ask him how much
he want. He tell her 40 ct. a piece, which made 80 cts. Angel tell me when she come home. So in eve, I take my
Angel and go ask white man & bring those rabbit back home for My Angel. I made nice rabbit house. Her
pleasoure was them two old red-eye. Get in front of they house and play ball for 2 to 3 hrs. all time she setting
down in the rocking chair jest laugh and laugh et the way they carry on. I love so to see her enjoy self with those
old rabbit with thay eye red as pod peppers. They had lots of games for her to enjoy. First try leaping and then
turn summersets. Then they run to there base, one go one way, one go other way. Then meet and clinch. Look
like try to play leap frog. Have a race to there bases. Both of us fergit to go Ketch them red-ey rabbits and put in
there cage. In Spring she ask me, “Where are my pets, Chas.?” My answer to her: “I reilly can’t say. Surpose
sombuddy passing jest lift them and went own erbout they bizziness. Then I tell: “I will get you couple more.”
But white gentleman move from there. No buddy had any more red-eye rabbit. After while she didn’t take on so
much, but every eve she bring her chair and set by empty cage. She look very frail about hole matter. I raily was
sorry about the matter and try to comfort her. I had what you might call a first class wife. Find cook. Fond
seamster. What you call a all eround good woman. Had her morals good & interllecl same kind. Raily made a
woman out er herself. She was girl what take the cake. I wouldn a miss her for no means in this world.
Whenever I was eround, I raily didn Low (allow) no fly to light own my Angel. What I thank Jesus Christ, he let
me stay with her 40 year. I thank him verry much. I knew all erlong she had to die some day. I will see her again,
simple because I’m heaving (heaven) bound. She was belong to her maker. Only he lend her to me for small
spacer (space of) time. Our oldest babie girl would be 50 year old & Boy would Been 48 if they live, but they ent.
That show you whar I am Now in Age.

92. I’se heap of a man


93. My Angel made it good in the Melon Professhun. Our Boy hope (help) His Mother out in selling those Melon.
Every Day my Boy carried wagon full while a meting went on. A person have no idea what that pick Up at a
Crowd like that. My Boy done the selling & rec’d the Money & turn over to His Mother. Our Boy, he make good
in the Melon Line.

94. Our Boy was 26 year old when he died. I Raily give that Black Negro what you call first Class Education. He could
talk three langue (languages). I didn let him work for me & No one else. We had a schoal 4 Or 6 mile from where
we Live. It was the Low Schoal. Upper schoal allers turn out before Low Schoal turn loose. I give him 2 sessions
for 5 year in success. He was awful apt towards his Books. Well, he took that after both sides, his Mother & old
Black ugly Chas. B.H. Williams pappy. So he was better man than I was, and I has been a Man among Men. But
he could tie me & whip me. Jest natural better man and I know I was a man among men. Thare was one thing He
couldn get away with & that was writing. I could write 3 letter while he work on 2. He wrote putty (pretty) good
hand, alright, but slow penman.

95. My Boy finish up his learning when he was 18 year old & got his Diplumar. When present with His Mother &
myself, he started telling erbout the Girl & Boy at High Schoal. Next he start on his Langues. I raily did not know
what he was talking erbout, no more than a monkey & asks his Mother. The he go over & speak for us the
meaning of all words. I was sure proud. It done me so much good. So put My Son 3 steps above me. I didn go to
no High Schoal. When my Mama got reddy to sence me to one I told Mama I am going to get married. She didn
like that atall.

96. I know that my Boy was born to dye. He stood 6 ft. 7 inches. When I had him standing Up full face to face talking.
I had to look up in his face, but he didn had no Future. He didn have no feetures like his Mother. No, she did not
look like her Son. He had all my feeture, black like myself.

97. His Nishels (initials) was C.J. Williams. Half his name was after his Mother & half after his father. I wish to God
that every man had my Dispershion as I is got. I train that C.J. Williams jest as I is drill. Everyone like my boy,
brought erlong in same model as his father.

98. He never did call his Mother from a little fellow nothing but “Girl”. Never did call her nothing else. When my Boy
was 13 year old He had full sets Whisker black & shiny. He was a stout built young negro & I surpose he was a
short liver. I did not expect to raise him.

99. “Now Chas., ho’ come you to think that way bout him?”
100. “I jest had that idea. He grew too fast For Me. Never seen a Boy Grow so fast in all my life. He was born

in 1882 own the 30 of July.”
101. I was proud to see his education that me and His Mother give, her running her sewing Machine 1/2 the

night. I was making shingles to make the money to send him to schoal. We never regret. He much sprier
(superior) to all other Young Men. His schoaling cost us eight dolar er Mo. His teacher, she wrote to me: “Chas. J.
Williams now erbout to finish up His education. Soon be getting his Deplumer”. He stay away from home 6 Mo. I
was sitting down pulling my shingle knife, me at one end and my Angel at other. If my Boy had lived, my
intenshun was to Having Him in Congress. He had the learning, all OK. His learning made me felt grand. I went in
patches and rags for to educate My Boy to full extent. I didn’t know my A.B.C. beside of him, what he knew in

102. I got him in good shape. I could of been in the same shape as my Negro Boy, but I took My Angel. I had
enuff learning to get by on. I was satisfied my Boy had the stuff. He use it in intelergent way. He was all OK.
Treated everybuddy nice, his Race and whites. I had but one fault of My Boy. He wouldn fight when any one
mistreat Him. But he come by that earnest (honest) own his Mother side & own his farther side. When He arrive
Home I declair, me & his Girl doo not know hour only Child. When he left he way only 15O lbs. Afore time for
him to arived he write us: “Look out. On such date I will Be in Route for you all Home.” His weight, when he
Come home, it were 186 lb. I declair, when anyone look at me, you are look at Him. Blackest kind of Negro, but
good Looking. His Mother was so proud to see her only child that she had got those letter from. Got them all
erlong, but she say that ent like face to face, hisn to hers. He didn’t have no favor like her but one. Her Jew none
Like her. But he was my immige, Presisely, up & Down. Never did call his Mother anything but jest Girl from a
little Boy, nothing hut Girl. Wrote to his Girl: “Be shore to cook up a good dinner; I will be home on a
(suddently?) date. And you talking erbout a woman prepairing for her only chile, she did jest that for shure.

103. We had plenty cash in house. When he walk in door she was ironing. She herd some steps on porch. She
plitely look. Say hullo at top er her voice. Say, why he steal apond her in that fashon. I couldn see my boy for his
Girl. Jest stand eround & wait till she get through with him. Then he turn to me: “Papa, how are you get erlong?
All OK I hope. You & Girl look fine. You haven been sick much I hope.” Him wants there to help Girl in that dinner
bissiness. She ask him. “How you like you schoalling times? That what the family wants to know.”

104. While grand dinner going, he began on his 3 diference Langue. Saluting to us in them. Caus us greatell of
laughing. But he soon drap back to his inglish. Then we knowed what he was saluting erbout. We say, Good

Chas., now we know what you trying to talk erbout. Right away he go back to them 3 langue & Big Laugh come
back to all. He tell us what he talking erbout in them 3 diference langue. I was glad of that. Glad I had a son what
could learn me something. Glad I had earn enough money to put him where he was. He was the only child we
own. It grieve me when he died, but in little time I could give him up. I knew he was come here but for to die.

105. His Girl took on severe erbout the matter. Look like jest the time he finish up his education and copped
that deplummer, he took sick & Pass out. He died all right with His Lord.

106. I am got 2 boys now, but they will never be nothing at all. Got the wrong mother.

Now, gentlemen, I Proceed in my Decasion.

107. These 3 years I was own (on) the road for Uncle Sam, I made it good. There was young man erbout 21
years. He was the Only one I care any thing for. He told me if I happen to get a Job Before Him – would I make a
Promisory (agreement) between ourselves that I must Get Him own. And I raily did. The Reason I did, simple
because he Look like that he try to make something out of his self. Out of 160 students, they was but 2 of us
what strove to be some buddy. Then we keep in tech With each others. I raily stood to my promous (promise). I
said at the winding up: “I had a concret conversation with the High Sheriff of Adams county when Fall time a
drawing pretty close. After that talk with the High Sheriff then I had a talk with my Bawn man (Bond man). I put
the question to him and told Him this young man was 21 year old and I am satisfied that he cin handl the job all
Right. I don’t say that he could turn loose as Many receipt in a Day as I could- which there is few cin (can) do so.

108. When the time roll eround, the big thing come off so my Barn ment (bondsman) went on he’s security
and they signed up this young man and all was O. K. But he only could turn of from 65 to 70 Per Day. He jest is
good otherwise. But he coming in year he sail through a dumps; couldn’t find no treasure. Had to go in in April
drawing near. He lacken (lacked) fin Hundred Receipt. Before that time, he call on me come assist him. So I went
every day. I turn loose 100 receipt every day when I was working for myself. But I got up steam in shoving my
pen and in 4 day and 1/2 killed those five hundred receipt. I usto tell that B.H. Clay: “You all 0 K, all except you
don’t use that pen like you should Do. I did not charge Him one penny for my work. He kept that Job for 5 year –
2 year moren (more than) I did. All the other girl & Boy never tried to work they brain and et too much grease
and fat meat.

109. That why the object of Life went all dead for so many – all excepting my Lonely self. Many a man &
Others carries on too Fast a Life. I never did like that Job when I was boy and the Same way today. I always took
my time. “I am get my life Time to go in”, I say to myself, “to get through this here World.” Ef I would a lisen at
mama, no telling what I would been in this life. I had the Tallent all 0 K & Brain. When Mama told me what the
Teacher wrote to her – that she had to send Me to High schoal where they could larn me, I told Mama, No, I am
going to git marry. When Mama open that letter & Read, & tell me I to pack my trunck, I had to strack (strike)
her that way. I hate to tell her, but it had to come out. Mame says: “Chas., would you more rather to neglect
your education for a Woman”, I told her: “Now lisen, mama, I have been Working for you for 25 years and
willing to work for you still own.”

110. “No”, come from mama, “you married, you half to work for wife.”
111. “That all right”, from me, “I cin work for two.”
112. “Chas. you have got no money to surport all of us.”
113. Thay had not the simple idea about the matter & they did not know My Mind. I had my Business all 0 K

before me. Cut and Carve the Bible. It tell me: “Don’t let your Left hand know What you Right hand am a doing

114. Lisen, gentlemen. Here is a nother object I follow. While was boy 15 year I was Alligator Great Hunter.
Myself and 3 more Boys, we go twice er week (twice a week) . They was a lake 4 mile; calls it Gillyard lake. Jest
plum full alligator of all kind. You shine they eyes like you do a coon. We see one eye, we go up to him. We be in
skiff. Lanton (lantern) in head of skiff. I will be right behimb the lanton and pull the skiff, until We get clost up to
Him. He aint paying you no mind, jest looking at the light. You have the gun in You hand. Every now then you
gives him jest a little punch. He aint studdying about what you doing – jest looking at the light. Then we rope
him. When I Get Tired teasing him, I shoot him where He Heart lie jest back of his Head. Beshow (be sure) now
he is dead before you pull Him in the Boat. Ef you don’t, the big thing going to come off. He will be from 12 to 16
foot Long when get Him in Wagon. His oil sell for 40 cts Per Galon & the Hide 60 cts per Foot. Usto be Great
Demand in them times. Fat of Alligator only layered in two places in them. Jest only places. That in his tail and

tong (tongue) . Every gator turn out from 4 to 3 galon to each gator. Here is a nother thing about Mr. Gator. He
lays from 160 to 80 eggs. Oldest one lay 160. The middle age one, 80 eggs. Layes them in bresh (brush) Piles. The
son hatch them eggs (sun). When thay a few days old, if they be any racket around, Old Miss Gator, she open
her Mouth & all babie run down in her mouth until the Noise is Over and she puke them up. Every egg Has 2
young alligator in. You railly cant brake none except you take a ax to it and come down hard. Some people is
afraid of alligators. No harm in them. I cin take a harpoon and go into a Lake. I want the Water to be erbout 4
feet deep. I jest natual (naturally) Run them own (on) to land. It great sport. The Negroes in Low part off Miss.,
thay Eat more Alligator meat of any people I every seen. One Negro, he had been Sick for One Year. Doctor man,
he cin do him no good. I told that Darkiar: “Ef I give you 9 mess of Alligator, after you eat that first 9 mess, I give
you a nether 9 mess, and ef 18 mess Alligator don’t cure you, you aint never going to be cured. You better get
you bundle Clost to you and Look over you deeds and prepare to Meet you God in Piece.

115. Gentleman, that Negro et them 18 mess & he got up. When I leff (left) home, that Negro, he Recuvar
Health & fat. He way (weigh) 195 lb. Alligator meat, are the Healthierst meat you cin eat right today. I bie (buy)
alligator meat enny time before I bie Beef meat. More gators in Miss, en (than) every I seen in any Place in all my
life. Jest get up some Fine Morn, soon there is a alligator Going Crost you yard. Fine sport. I love it. They don’t
like a dog for nothing: Alligators live to get 90 or or 100 year old. I usto ketch those lager Headded turtle.
Frenchmen in New Orleans bie all you cin ketch. In French market They Sells for $1.50 to $2.00 dolar apiece
according to thay size. When I was a Negro growing up I was a kind of sport.

116. As aforesaid, I konkor everything I lays my mints upon and all Kind of Job, but them 2 jobs what I reilt
never konkor. I tell the World I never did Master them 2. Thay was my mother and her old Cow Hide. Excusing
(excepting) them 2, thay aint a Negro ever Borned in Americar has done as much as I done & now living to tell it.
Started my life work at 12 years. Christ done the same. He start his mess (mission?) When he was 12. He konkor
& konkor and tare down Great Mts. of Sin. He soon Let old World know who was Ruler. He is Almity and Great.
He die to Save the World. Now, I am so glad that every man got to die & Go Before Him, His Naker and Give acct
of his deeds. Jesus spoken piece to My Dying Sole in 1883. It must die once and no more. Me told me: “Charles,
ef you keep my Command & Walk in my Statute, I will lift you own High. Just any buddy cin plung (plunge) they
way down to a ternal (eternal) Hell, & I am not going Thare. Gentlemen, ef you live right, you will die right. Christ
taken (took) snap judgement on people that usto linger. Verry few lingers now. I usto see people what linger for
2 or 3 year; don’t do it now. Which seem funny to my Idea is that people ort (ought) to know they didn’t come
here to stay. If they got education and cin read they will know we cant tell when the Son of man is Coming. Hell
is a Mighty Eater. We Got Pestenerys (penitentiaries) & Jail & County farm to send them to. Sometime the
Governor Have to Repreve them from there because they is to many crimers (criminals) . Cant crowd em all in.
But Hell aint never sent no word being over crowd. It Mighty eater. No buddy been sent beck. So, gentlemen,
you better be making Up you Mind and Return from you Sin end come Own (on) the Lord Side. No use to hollow
when ole Devil Get you. You is hollow too late. There is but only 2 places – Heaven & Hell. Ef you miss one you
get the other. People all is Grasping at this World and what is in it. I want this World to be my hell. It sure seem
like hell to any trying to be Christian.

117. A Nother thing I want to state. Greetell (Great deal of) people don’t know Today there is difference
between Nigger end Negro. Those 2 word spell, to my idea, a difference. Now here is a nigger, what I call. A
Nigger is a dirty Breed. Will Do any thing, don’t care what. Jest natral low down. That a Nigger. Now here come a
Negro whet am decent. I don’t admire that I am a Negro, but it bettern (better then) nigger. Difference in them
is a syleble. It is not the collar (color) whet make a man er a women. It the Principle. Don’t care how Darksome is
you, the collard don’t touch

I make this statement.

118. I never has forgot sience 5 year old, every thing I ever done. Kept all in my brains. First deed I ever done
was when 5. While a growing up boy I go all Through Adams County, State of Miss. Bieing (buying) up Moss. You
don’t see nothing like it in this here Co. I has seen no raily moss sience I been in Ark. You hafto cut down trees 5
to 6 feet ercrost the stump and pull the moss off end hall (haul) it Inn. Start in first part of fall, after laying the
Craps by. They give 11/2 cts for lb. Black Moss. Shop to New Orleans to make buggy cushin and Chair bodums. It
was great demand years ago. I shipper one time 14 Bale at one shipping. Got from 41/2 to 5¢ Per lb. After laying
you Crap bye, always something to get At to get you money. I has had a Good time, but not for myself on1y. I

never couldd do near to much for my dear mama. Jesus has give me long life. 160 schollairs went to same schoal
as me. All now dead and gone to they judgement. Old ugly Chas. is around here yet, something to look at, all
right. My mama’s 7 boy child, she took pains to raise me. She didn’t kick me up like some chilren is brung up.
One thing, you is got to have Good Blood. Blood is the index of Life.

119. The first Year I begin to make sale over Adams Co. working for Uncle Sam, I told Mama and Dady: “I
wants you all to work now, and keep the crap out of Debts.” Mama had some money. but I did not want her to
spend her money. Why are she, when I making fore dolar per day? I was not make it for myself only, but for my
mother and dady. my angel and my sister. The first year I started sale over Adams County, I place under my
mother Shed 17 B.C. (bales of cotton). and her rent was paid which was 3 B/C (bales of cotton). Did not owe no
own (one) one coppery. Now, before I ever start to Collectioning Tax, or even before I married I had more than
one way to made Money. Was not I ship loger head turtle to New Orleans? What about Moss growing on timer
(timber). And lisen, When high Water is up making Shingle, I am first class Shingle Maker. Paid a colurd men $5
to learn me all erbout making Shingle. They as plenty shingle makers in Adams Co. but it was given up that this
one I hire was the fasest (fastest) shingle maker in Adams Co. He learn me it a long-arm man to Pull shingle. That
Negro could pull 8 hundred to C One Thousand per day. He a naturally born shingle getter.

Gentlemen, here is a matter.

120. I does have no rembrance of staying out from my mother house all night. I never did shot no craps end
played no cards. Two jobs of not my liking. I never did like no sporting life. Always some thing what was money
in it. Never had but 2 flogging in my whole life. No, gentlemens, I toed the mark and kept the faith. I em the
father of 5 chilren, only 2 live. I had one boy live to 26. Fine workker, bit I keep him in schoal always. Never work
for me nor for no one else. Jest went to schoal. I Never ded go there, but what brains I got, mighty few ever had.
All what is writen in this History of My Life I has been kept in my brains and have forgot nothing that every I did.
My boy could talk 3 Difference Langure. I could to, ef I heden Get marry to quick. I was 25, turning 26, I think I
wait good while. This Negro of mine could tie me and whip me jest liken I was child. But, gentlemens at large,
know that oncet I was a man ermong men. You know, when I taken the horns of from that Hiss. Bully. Ef I had
dolar for every time I seen him Bully whup men inside 25 year, I be rich man.

121. I enjoyed married life in every inst. Me and my Angel live together 40 year and never did had no acrost
word between uses. She was a fine cook and find seamster. Sure Jesus did give me that Black Jew Pretty
Woman. All white ladies and gents did declair she had raily Jew Immege. Quickly to ketch on. Ef thare be a
Woman passing her Gate all dress up, she look at her suit, and goes in and make up the same undentified
(identical) outfit.

122. Mrs. Green Leaf never did know How it was my Angel wood not give up her secrecks (secrets) about
cooking. She never half to go and peep a cooker book. She had her Deplumer (diploma) . She was head in largest
Hotel in Natches. Got her $25.00 per month. Had privlige to get what all she want to cook. She carried more
border en (than) any Hotel in Natches. I stop my Angel from that cooking for many Jest Come cook for me.

Now listen, Gentlemens at large.

123. My Angel had no need to work for no one but me. Then my mother move 7 mile from me. When we
married 3 year, she stay with us. I was, and Angel was, always going to see her and Dolly, my sister. I had close
out of my Tax collect. I could not stand to be alone away from my Angel.

Some Strange Things I have seen

124. I see Squrl in 1869 come all through you homes. They was immegrading (emigrating). Going in every
Directtion. Come in you house, pay you no mind atall. You could put you hand all over them & they wouldn get
out you way. People cought enough squrl to fill Up a barl (barrel). Inside of 2 day you did not see one single
squirl left no where. I never see so many squirl in my whole life.

* * *

125. They was a panic one year. It last one year, 6 Mo. Times begin to get a little better. People had to eat lie
hominy with black molusus (molasses). Gentlemen, that a turible diet. One blessing thing, My mother was
cooking for her owner. I seen people take one coffee seed and make cofe and glad to drink it.

* * *

126. I have seen the Culary (cholera). So numerous people die so fast you raily couldn dig grave faster nuff.

* * *

127. One old blacksmith usto live down home years ago. I was bye & he said: “Come here, boy, quick.” I said:
“What is you want?” I had herd tell that old man cut teeth every month. I never herd tell such a thing before in
my life. “I am getting sick,” he say, “I want you stay here little while, till I feels better.” He say he feel so mighty
sick, and started to heave, and when started heaven (heaving), here come teeth jest falling out his mouth. He
friten me. After 4 Or 5 minute he feel all OK. He pick up those teeth and Put in the fire. Time Roll around.

* * *

128. A old man was sick, like nigh onto death. Greatell (Great deal) of Church members to Hold Prayer
meeting over Him. He now Verry low; too low to get up. Every buddy was down on they Knees. Some one was
watching this old Sick Negro. Suddent he retch and got hold his shot gunn. That made the crowd of prayers scat.
He made one Shot and that one got en old lady in the leg. He broke up that norse going on about him. It was jest
a flesh woond. So that give me anoff of going about singing and prayering over a sick person. If they going to
hell, let them go. He curse everybody out and run them off, so I quit fooling eround. He curse out that crowd,
even when Death was on Him. That grate Monster. Ef you put on yourself the hold (whole) armie of Faith and
been wash in Jesuses blood, you don’t half to carry out in Disposion.

* * *

129. They was 2 more old men selbrat (celebrate) they birthday. They was drinking whisky and having a Good
time, as they thought. So much of this good time bring on sorry time. There house was not so far from my
house. Own that Friday night- the wind was pertickerler blowing. Steamboat was coming, and it blowed and
blowed, so I got up to See what would happen. The burning of there house give big lite through my window.
Worse ever I witnes in my whole life. Next morning I went to join the awful crowd gather around look at the
awful site. The main building in where man and wife live had cought from a little room attach. The man woke up
and grab wife and trow her through the window. Him & wife went to my sister what live nearby and they give
them some close (clothes). These 2 selbrating men got burnt. One was jest brown, like a sweet potato when you
put in the stove to bake. The other was about 21/2 feet burnt to the body. You could look up in him & see his
Heart jest Leaping & Pitching. They tell me it is a matter of impposbility (impossibility) to burn up a human
Person Heart.

* * *

130. A Nother site I seen was not So Far from my House. I watch that white Man. He went to the river bank &
Look eround first up and down. I don’t Know what He was alooking for. I watch him Verry clost. He step back.
Jest before he get to bank, he turn summer set into the river. I told some naburs eround, so we gather and start
a grabing. They grab after him 11/2 day. Venuary (eventually) we got him. You raily couldn’t see his flesh for the
swimps. Swimps is a great demand in Miss. River. I usto love swimps, but after I seen that, it give me anuff of
wanting any swimps to eat every again.

* * *

131. There was another old man, when Death struck him, got his shotgun and went after evvery buddy he
seen and shot after them. Him and Death had a rounce for quite while, but the great Old Monster overpower
him. Gentlemen, it awful to die without you dieing soul be saved. My dieing Soul had peace spoke to it 44 year
ago. Sience I ent shot no craps, ent indulge in intosincating (intoxicating) licker. My biggest sin, when young, was
being a Ball Room man. I more rather to call figgers & to eat. Soon cut that out. When I was a child I acct. as a
child. When I became man, I acct. a man; put down child ways.

* * *

132. It was the Writer’s exaperence in His Boyhood to Board around in a family where the Farther, in His Old
Age had had Bequeathted his Entirely property to his children. When same was divided Between them, there
aged farther then Became a burden. He got sent from Daughter to Son, as all had obligation therselves to care in
turn for aged farther. But he never come into the home of enny son or Daughter where he was welcome guest
into the Family. Remember, this writer board where aged farther was at. Then, if cup of coffe was short in
morning, was old man cup that was not fill. Ef meals & food was short, was old mans plate what indicate the
shortage. Ef the pie was somewhat Difficient, it was the old mans peace what was cut in two. He was compel to
step in cold Garriet At Night. When brokened hearted old man pass away no Doubt every child felt instead of
Sorry in they hearts, they felt a amen.

* * *

133. 50 year ago- & I cin witness this fact – there was culard man he had so much property didn know what to
do. The necessaries of life & love & devotion of you children will never grow cold as long as there is something in
store for them. That old man share up his all property betwixt his heires. Had 4 girl & 2 boy. Well when them all
got to be his owners, left him out to pitty. His coffe cup was often short & hison plate skimp down of food.
Venuary old man stricken down & died a Porpus. All OK to will some to you children, but more better to hold
back something for to surport own old febble days. Of all my mothers children I love my self the Best. Nothing
wrong in this matter, but it a pretty hard broblin (problem) to infold. If you mother was in a ditch at One Place &
you wife was in another Place, calling you for Help, which one would you make it to first & you love both of
them? Both Near & Dear to you. I know what one I would grab for, but I keeping this to myself & God. It only
natual for a Man to cleave from his Mother & Cleave to Wife. Nothing is greater than love. Love is turrible thing.

More Memories

134. In 1870 over 500 Hundred people Col. & White a standing own the Bank of Miss. Steamer Leather and
Steamer Robt. E. Lee running a race from New Orleans to Memphis. Did burn no wood. Did burn nothing but Big
Hunkky of Meat. Jest keep on throwing in Middlings of Meat. Gentlemen, meat was a Coming out the Smoke
Stack, all roast, as large as I am. The R.E. Lee was in the front of Steamer Natches. Capptain Tom Leather I know.
He was the first man every to put Little Boat – a little steamer boat- in Miss. Took him 27 day to make a round

135. Not so long, 2 more White men Put in 2 Steamer Boats. Wons (once) Capt. Tom Leathers, – I seen him
take he Cow Hide and go own the Boat and whip them men jest like you would whip a chile. Capt. Tom was
much built of a man. He weigh in at 210 lbs. and woe (Wore) number 14 shoes. He had 1 son. I knowed Paul
Leather jest like I know myself, simple because I caught mandy (many) Possum for him & his wife. Paul Leather
wife, she Capttain own his Boat. First Capt. woman ever I seen. Paul, he only head clerk.

136. Here is a nother object I never Has seen in My life. I has Master alligator, but in a deference way from
this Negro boy do I master those skonk. This Negro, he not had but one eye. He staid on south side of Gilyard
Lake. Crall 25 or 40 feet, old gater come to lay in sun. This Negro come acrost this alligator several time, always
with his mouth open. When it get full flies, then he champ down. That the way he ketch his flies what come and
go in he mouth till he champ. You must believe that fact, because I is telling you.

137. That own-eye (one-eyed) Negro, he keep on at sum men to Go With Him. He going mount old gaiter and
ride him acrost lake. He made a sharp piece at both end. 25 men want to see that site. He told us: “You men jest
stand here ontil I go see Wheather He is in the same Place where he has been Customerry laying.” Next he come

back to us, say: “Now you all men going see some fun. from here all way acrost to other Side Lake.” His sperle
(spear) was sharp at two ends – both ends sharp and Keen. He told 2 men to bring skiff, “because I mount this
alligator,” he tells them, “and the minute I mounts, he going throw his mouth oppen wide, that jest what I
want,” he say. We got clost enuff to see him Mount him. Minute he straddle Him, put sperle in his mouth and
old gaiter, he champ down. It went deeper en deeper in he mouth.

138. When Negro mount, alligator was sleeping head towards the water, and he start there. Ever now and
then Him and that gaiter come up own top of water and mediate (immediately) dart down. When every they
come up, boy he hollow: “Boys, I got Him.” He had moss all over the heed. That Negro carry that Gator own the
side and was not long doing it. Boy said when they got where they was, alligator Was Dead and the Negro a
sitting own a log. That beat all alligator trick ever I seen, and as I aforesaid, I had been alligator master myself.
That old gaiter was 18 feet long. His head bigest (big as) a Keg of Nails. That Alligator sure carry that Negro Boy a
trip. Every time the Monster Rise up the Boy hollow: “I having a sweet wride.” Every time they go down and
come up, he hollow: “This Rise I got him.” Old she alligator, they more Danger then the hees. Nothing like that
all in any job of Mine.

I give farther evidunce.

139. Gentlemen, I remember every Sunday Morning after Breakfast, 80 or 90 Slave Had to go around for the
owner Master & make 4 rounce (rounds) singing something. Master a-setting on front Porch with a old Cow
Hide in his Hand. Ever one what did not toe the mark and sing to the top of his voise, he call to him and whip 4
tears deep, all time him a-setting jest Drunk as he cin Be. Bottle Whisky setting Right Bie his Side. Ever now &
then reach down get Him a Drink. I seen this. I know what I talking erbout. This was done on ever Sunday
morning Breakfast. Gone was Holy Sabbath Day in folly. Jesus Christ fround upond such act. Mrs. Clarrie Baker
was my Mistress and after he done that dirty act toward his slave. He did not allowed them to have no church to
exercise they gift what Jesus alowed for them toward service and worship as He demand of them they do.

140. One Right Old Lady was little crippel. She raily could not keep up with the Gang on them Sunday
morning after Breakfast parades before Master. But him, he call that little old crippel lady and Give her 3
rapteses (raps) and send her back in Gang. I could see no differently in result. Old lady not keep up with gang
any better then before them rapteses. My dear mother not in Gang. She always stay in house to cook and help

141. Now I talking ours owner, Lewis Baker & Mrs. Jane Baker. Noland Baker was then there son. Onliest Boy
they had and he got shot Down liken a Beef. His Brother law shot him. I am talking bout something I knows for
myself. The Way it Come Up. Mrs. Nonie Baker Had a babie. Noland Baker come in Drunk, took that Babie &
Carry it to go a-riding in a dug-out Boat in Miss River. Mrs. Nonie was taking on severry (severely) about her little
babie, afeard it would possible get drowned. At that time her Bro. Came in and seen her crying. Tom Rodgers,
when he come up, he ask his sister what the matter was. She pointed down towards the Boat. Hee take time to
run in House & get gun & raise it & shot. I raily could not see how come he did not Shot the Babie. But he didn’t.
Instead, he took a dead aim when fied gun, and killed Noland Baker jest as dead as a mackrel fish when he is put
down in Brian to keep. You knows how dead they is then. Gentlemen, I seen this for myself; no buddy aint told
me no vishun. All time before shooting come off, Noland Baker go off and come back & run ever buddy outen
the House. Some go one way, some nother. Some come to our house, it was not so far. Nolan Wife end mother
law come to my Mama House in they night cloth. It was a dirty shame for any man to carry out in such away. He
allway drunk. My mother, she suckle Him and see after him when he was infand (infant). Every sience, he always
lisen to what my mother say. Atter (after) while, here he come, that old Horse reeling and rocking, half drunk.
He never would bring his gun with Him. He come on up to Gate and call for my Mother to asks her: “Is some
People stay here last night?” My Mama, she tell him yes. Then she open up, and she Give him Hail Columbus
erbout those White Ladies, and she shamme him at the Same Time. His Decession (claim) was, he did not run
them out. Mama said to him “Oh yes you did.” I was allways Comfordence (confident) that he would get kill in
that family. Anny one cin go To Far in any matter, if they carry any Matter to a extreame. Noland allways lisen to
Mama and what she said. Lewis Baker jest found one boy & he was The Devil, but I never had no trouble
towards Him. All he Pappa Nigroes took own (on) most misterous erbout Him got killed.

142. I was in a store own Saturday nite. Store Crowdet & Noland Baker shot a Negro in the throat & it caused
this Negro to had to eat Gruel through a quill for 3 week by the Docttor Orders, but venually he got all 0 K.

143. Gentlemen, in them times, Negroes and White men was Cruelty. You know that when the High Sheriff
and the Deputy Sheriff never would come down in Dead Man Bend. That what they call the place – Dead Man
Bend because it was outlawed. I never did get in that ruff gang. Not askeered (afraid) no own do nothing to me,
only I jest cared not for ruff gang. Same today. Down at the Bend they usto kill 4 to 5 men per week but Crowner
(coroner) jest didn’t trouble to go. My greatest trouble was that Miss. bully. For 20 year he Ruler over All Men,
but jest haden met His Man. When God pick up hand full dust & perform a Man, He did not perform only one &
let it go at that. He perform a worl full of mans. There is good, and there is batter. So this Miss, bully once in his
time he thought that he had Dead Man Bend with a Down-the-Hill-Pull. All time I was punching that 250 sack of
sand and preparing for Bully, it was for any time them 2 lions may meet. Gentlemen, I was prepare for war in
times of peace. Gentlemen, in them days of training where I put my mints, my feets going there, too, jest the
same, and at same time I Butt him. But at same time, I allowed him a esquare deal. Every time crook for him ef
he could not stand on his feet I allowed him a chancet to Get Up. I punch him 6 times, but the 7 rounce he layed
and growned. Could not come to my call. He utterly fail to answer to my call. He Give up the Ghost, but did not
die. But he is dead now. Been so for a good long while. I will now advise farther.

144. Them 3 year I sailing Adams Co. for High Sheriff they was trials. I was eating jest what I Could get. Sum
tine it where I stay at. I say to Lady of the House: “Jest get me biscuit cup coffe”. I hardly ever et no breakfast. So
when I finish up that I throw her a quarter. She say to me: “Mr. Williams, I could charge you 25¢ for that”. I say
to her: “Go on; that all right, I got to make my report; I get to spend so much per day (for) my Room & bords and
my Horse Feed; everything has be charge own a little book to itself”. Same time I saying to myself; “Watch
yourself. You aint up to no careless business in my afaires.” Everything rock erlong for good while, till those bale
coton come erlong to borther. I didn’t want nothing to do with shipping thoe 17 bale. I told Mame I make out Bill
of Lading. All they do was carry Both Bill Lading. Leave the Boat own (one) and bring one to have it signed by the
Clerk, and the other goes to Hugh Allison & Co. Either My Angel or my Mother could done that much, after make
out Bill Lading myself. Has make out over a one thousand of them, shipping first one thing and a nother. Make
out my own Bill Lading when ship loggerheaded turtle to French in New Orleans. Make out for Moss and
alligator Hides. But erbout them 17 bale, I had to lay off my job and go to it, when they could of did it jest as well
as I could of, when the Bill Lading was already made out. It made me a little crost in this matter, with then 3 or 4
day lost. I ship them bale on a Thursday. Own a Friday I saddle my horse and throw old saddlebag ercrost and all
my emplement (equipment) aboard. Fixeing to mount readdy for saleing, here come my good looking Jew Girl,
throw her arms around me. “Sweet when you be back. You write to me now, same place where you has been
writing. Every day I go to my post office.” Not so fast did they have knowledgement they had made me a little
crost about them bale cotton. When you be back to see me”, she ask. “I tell her: I don’t have the simpil idea, but
I drap you a letter when I make my arival.” Then Angel say: “Hold down and let me kiss you, maybe for last time.
“Don’t you talk that a way” I told her, “Jesus Christ is my guider”. Then I camm to Mama: “Come and kiss you
loving son.” She come down steps to kiss me. “Chas., take care you self. I prays allers for you that you will
overcome.” I mounts my horse and is gone for 5 weeks.

145. Angel ask me in her letter: “Will you come home to see me.” I answer her letter: “Meet me Saturday for
show (sure). Boat allers (always) come down before night; ort (ought) to be home before sundown.” When boat
come up by landding, there come I down from cabbin and go walking up the bank. My angel had the buggy and
she sitting up in it. I kiss her before I get in the buggy. I ask her can I drive home “No, sweet, it no burden for me
to drive when you with me, she say. In driving erlong, talking tak place. Her is Angel: “I want you to cut out long
staying away from Home. So long away from me I believe you forget you married me; coming to think you got
no wife.” I, Chas. Williams speak: No, Angel, I raily think, I raily know I am married. You must consider, my
darling, I raily half to go to my job and work for you and Mama.” “Charles”, she say, “you stay too long for me.”
So then I know I been stay too raily long from my Angel. Mama, she got to buise (abuse) me erbout same thing. I
look through the matter for myself, so I cut out that long staying Away. I come to a conclusion.

146. At end of 3 week I wrote to my Angel: “I will be home Friday is nothing don’t prevail (prevent). I been
staying away to much to long. I have now cut it out.” She talk so pius, tell me what right, so I yeel (Yield) to her
decasion. A man will some times yeel to his wife. I love my little wife simple because she was my angel and so
nice to me. I was the same to her inside those 40 year we live Together without a blemish toward such others.
There is no more Wife for Me and am not Particular erbout those shaddow what going around. I like femail kind
in a way. My mother was a woman. All ways like to run my afaires myself, simple because I cin run it better any
any buddy. I am got difference idea upond some matters. Sum people do not look from the nose to the lips.

When God pick hand full of dust to make a man, give him sense and so many ounce of brains. Brains is what
keeps you head from being a hat rack.

Expounds The Scriptures.

147. Callification (qualification), Gentlemen, is Great Thing toward Humality (humanity). Christ says Look &
Live. The meaning of this word is this: “If you is sindfuld & sick, come into Me & Live. I will drive out that Dead
Man which you pulls around everywhere you go & I will give you eternald life. If you will make one step to me, I
will make 3 towards you; I will meet you the best part of the ground. If you sin is mountain big, my Blood
surfishion (sufficient) to wash all erway.

148. Ever huming being is got his race to Run. Some run It to Extream & till too late. Christ say in His Devine
Word that he jest as please at our Dam Nation as he is at our Sal Vation. He died on Crosst that we have Right to
Tree of Life. When Here Below he carried out many miracle to Convience thay of the world what Did Not Believe
nothing. But one thing he did convience of. He went on a journey But he knew Laziores was Deed the minnet He
died. Mary & Marthie wisht Christ was present at the time. The news went like wildfire all over the Land. Them
sisters carried on tremenious about their Bro. They went to Meet the Savior coming back. “Ef you had been here
Our Bro. not died. Now we cant not see Him no more till Day of Isralrecttion (Resurrection) Christ said: “I am the
Isrelerecttion. You will see your Broergain.” Great Multitude of People Gang around jest thicke es the Haire own
you head. Most urenous (numerous) Gang to see Christ Call Lazious from the Grave. Great multitude Gathering
around to see Wheathar he come from the grave. So Christ say: “Move that stone erway from there.” Then he
call Lazious with all powerful. Venualy the body come on forth with all his grave ramon (raiment) own. “Turn him
loose” Jesus tell them. Every person that was standing around fell victom showtie, showtie (shouting) “This Must
Be the Son of God.” That the onliest thing what convince that multitude of people. “No man cin do such onless
He Son of God.”

149. So, sinner man, God pick up handful dust and perform you like a Man. You ourt to know that Christ didn
make you to jest lay down like a hog or a Dog and be no more to you. It is a grand mistake on you side. Jest Keep
the gate to you Mind open & see more better into the future. You ourt to know that God didn intend for His Son
to go through all what he did without the Good Spirit come to visit every man & Woman. Ef you carry the 9
Commands & leave the 10 undun, you havent done nothing atall.

150. Now, when God pick up dust for to perform a man, thay was a council held. Everything went erlong all
OK ontel they get to where “Lets make Him in our immige.” Making him was saved for the last thing to do by
Council. He couldnt be made like a cow or Horse or a Mule. Them has no soulds (souls) to save. Man had to had
a sould to save. Either you serve Christ here on this weekit (wicked) World or serve him in Hell. They ent but
them two Places, except Heaven. Christ will Save His Hearts Delight. I been serveing him for 44 year & ant tired
yet. Wish to God I could go back 50 year jest to see my shcoal mates. It would be a conserlation to do so. But
oppurtunitie wont surmit (permit). Them 160 has all gone to sleep, & left me erlone in this proud world. The will
of God must be done. Some day we going to shake the Glad Hand & Give God Highest Praise. Live Wright & You
will Dye Wright. Dont expect that you can walk tangle legged, get excuse from His command, and get any place.
Jesus didn Give us his Grace to get around telling fibs and funny stories. You rally get to have callifications. I
recon (reckon) you dont know what that call for, but ef you every been to schoal you ourt to know that much. It
mean to do by you nabor as you want them to do by you.

151. To carry a young Man through schoal, he got to be able to answer 18 word out of 36 & tell dafernition if
he going to pass. When Christ was a traveling man on airth he Had occashun to Go visit the Hall of Fame & Wise
men who was up there making the Law. There own Law. Christ was but 12 year, but smart enough to know what
they was doing in thare. First question he put to them was “Have you all Got any Bans of Gaylord (Balm of Gilled)
to cure the Sin Sick Sold with,” Answer was: “We have not.” Next quest: “Then how cin you all redeem man
sould from Hell?” Answer: “No, we cant, cin you?” “Well,” next put Jesus, “cin you all Heal the sick & raise the
Dead?” “No. Cin You?” He trying them out. “Cin you give site unto the blin?” “No. Cin You?”

152. Jesus say: “Cin you hew down a mountain of Sin & set Prisons free?”
153. Jesus was standing up. Had not set down. They could not answer his quest. “Cin you turn water into

wine? Cin you tred the wine press erlone?” When Jesus ask all them & they not answer none, he soon depart,
whent own his own jurney. Furthermore he told a croud that it was not the rich Was he come to call, but Sinners

to recompenance. He tred the wine press without no assistance. Ha konker of Death Hell & Grave. I am full of
thanks to my redemmer that every individually got to stand before his Maker.

154. Old Saton was once thought: “Now I Big Boss of Heaven. Once in a time he start a War on up Thare. In
old time he Got to High in his Merrits. Jest exacly like some people gets now days get too big for they pantloons.
Saton theo (theory) was, he take Jesus Place. It was onresemble (unreasonable) to do so. They had a Swift angel
up there, but happen to be away for a little while. But this Mical got the news what going on at a moment &
Girdle his self together & made one Million Miles a seccond getting back. Him & old Saton held right Good fight
for a while, but no good for Saton. They turn loose thunder Bolt & Lighten own Him. They capture his Stinger &
Pulls out by the Root & thrust Him outta God Kingdom. He was three days in fallen & brought erlong 3 part with
him. Christ being allwise & knowing of all Thing, knew very time he due to arived at home. Verry minute Saton
land there, Christ right on the spot to Buckle & tie him Down.

155. We read in Bible – least I does – Christ went down in Hell but didn stay verry long. But he seen what it
was like. When he come back he say we either come at His command or we depart for Hell & he jest as please
with our Dam Nation is at our Salvation.

156. Sometime it seem like old Devvil is got loose ergain. No sucha thing. Its jest His imps going arround to do
they duty. Ha send them out for to devour people what is getting wossar every day. I read & know what I am
talking erbout. The other day a storm went through & Destroy 2000 People. Clean up one town slick. I
disremembers where, but in a Northern State. That was a sudently judgement Day for them people. Jesus got
heap of suddently ways to bring His judgement against his own.

157. I will now leave this off. I cin say a greatell on this matter, but said anuff alreddy to save the world, ef
people will take heed., & read & studdy the Way from Dark to Light.

158. Now I come down to another thing. I Hope this does some good in future. Its bout minsters whet tries to
preach Christ Gospel. They should learn something before they gets up in pulpit. We get some Noble Baptiss
preachers, but when they gets up in the stand, they ourt to be able to learn us something from that high place.
Of lately now, these young coons don’t know they alferbits. Cant say them back words (backwards), mebbe not
forwards, even. Not so well equip. I am got huming (human) nature down find.

159. Heap people says negro ent got no brains. Jest got a arangement. I surpose this is because they ent
never carried out no Bizziness. Some negro don’t know what it take to carry out bizziness. Mighty few knows the
Lord Prayers. Thay go to bed like a hog & get up like a Dog. Gentleman it ent the culard what make a man, it the
callification. What all I has put in my brains in lifetime, it still stick there like musaga (muscilage) . My Mind is
what you may call Broad. It take to ecomardate my intelleck. You aurt to know that when a Negro boy
remember every act he done sience he 5 year old till of 80, he is a man among men. My ways is allers been quite
in diference from the Most of Negro. Jesus say Look & Live.

160. I want to put my History of My Life in 3 State. At my Native Home which Adams County, where I em wall
knowing, and also in Helena, Ark. I wrote to Heading Leader of Natchez erbout it. They wrote me “It will be
accepted”. But I don’t think I cin get readdy before this Coming spring. I may cin get it off. Ef I go south, I will
Make Out my History Before I left Natchez. When I do go home, I am well knowing there, among White & Col.
My White People in Miss, is all O.K. Ise alway carried myself right.

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