Shivers Family Legends Website ©
A Family History of Religious Migration
SLAVE INTERVIEWS- Taken by various Government and News Agencies 1865-1900
The Slaves said "Times were better when they were Slaves"
And "we didnt run away to de nawth cause de was good to us"
Interviews out of 80000 pages pertaining to many matching family connections stored here.
These were picked to begin evaluation against Family farms with mention's of Ancestors, and linking will be finished soon.
Our intent is to locate these Slaves and families due to possible Blood kinship between Masters and Slaves as found in other documents. These relationships between many of my family included Native Americans, Blacks and Mulatto connections as evident from later data retrieved after the civilwar. The slaves being documented are family in the opinion of the researcher and attempts to remove the slave designation and correctly add them into the genealogy tree. Use of the word is only used to identify the period, leg of family and religion.
State: Alabama Interviewee: Jones, Hannah "My last Marsters was two brothers an' dey had one sister, Miss Sarah Smark. "We didn't hage no jail on de place, an' most of us never went offen de plantation, just stayed 'roun' an' had a good time playin' mongst ourselves. Us niggers had a church dar on de place an' a white man preached to us, but in Virginny we went to de same church as de Marster did. I didn't jine no church dough till I come to Alabamy. "None of us slaves ever tried to run away to de nawth 'ca'se dey was good to us. "We useta have a doctor dat'd come roun' eve'y two weeks to see how de slaves was doin' an' iffen we was sick he would give us some medicine. Some of de women would tie assfedity 'roun' de chilluns necks to keep de sickness away. "Some Saddays we had to work after dinner, but most of the time mister would let us have a good time. On Christmas day us had a big celebration an' didn't do no work at all. State: Alabama Interviewee: Jurdon, Lucindy She narrated, "Old Moster had 'bout three or four hundred acres in his plan tation. Mr. Leroy Lawrence, he show wus good to us niggers too. His father wus Mr. Billy. Moster had four chillun. "Us lived in a two room log house wid er lean-to, ter hit. Dey wus well off in dem times and did't know it tho, show did have plenty er good victuals. Us had broiled meat, on hot rocks, roasted tatters, ash-cake and course on Sunday, us had ash-cake cooked in collared leaves and beef when dey killed, Moster would always give de colored folks some too. State: Alabama Interviewee: King, Ellen (Mobile, AL, Mary A. Poole, Federal Writers' Project, Dist. 2, August 20, 1937) Ellen King lives in a two room cabin nestling back in the woods near Mauvilla, AL, about twelve miles above Mobile. A little Negro boy led me along a circuitous path to the ex-slave, showing the weight of her 86 years. After talking awhile she became interested and told that she was born at Enterprise, Miss. on the plantation of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey., but could not recall their given names, or the names of their children, of which there were three, two girls and one boy. They lived in a big white house and the cabins in the slave quarters were built of planks, with streets between and little gardens in front of them. Some planted vegetables and others flowers. The Harveys were good masters, they had plenty to eat, and good homespun clothes to wear and home-tanned leather shoes. The women gathered leaves, bark, and indigo to dye the cloth to make their dresses of different colors. The plantation was large and had several slaves. Aunt Ellen, however, could not recall the number of acres or the number of slaves, but knew there was a crowd of them. The Harvey's raised wheat, cotton and corn, and lots of live stock. Aunt Ellen sat quiet for a few moments and said: "Lady, when I sits and thinks of all the good things us had to eat and all the fun we had 'course we had to work, but you knows lady, when a crowd all works together and sings and laughs, first thing you knows work's done." Aunt Ellen recalled the Yankees coming through and telling all the slaves they were free, and that a lot of the slaves went with them, but Aunt Ellen laughed and said: "My Pa and some of the others got scared and hid in a big cave and just stayed there until the soldiers left, and, lady, he still stayed on atter the war with the Harveys, and I was married there in the white folks church. They gave me a big wedding, lots to eat, plenty of music, singing and dancing. Jest like they used to say, we danced all night to broad daylight.'" Aunt Ellen was asked how many times she was married and she replied: "Twice, first one dead and don't know where t'other is, and had no children by either." When asked about religion, Aunt Ellen said: "Lady, I prayed and prayed and religion came to me, and I jined the Big Zion Methodist Church, in Mobile, AL, but moved here to Mauvilla where there was no Methodist Church, so I jined the Baptist Church." Aunt Ellen says the people of today are going back not forward. "All they study is idleness and to do devilment these days. Young generation done gone, Satan got 'am, too much 'juking' these days, have no time to study 'bout the Lord and their dying day. All they do, is juke, juke, juke! When they closed the schools up here in Mauvilla, they had children all juking. The writer was somewhat at a loss to know just what Aunt Ellen meant by "juking," but thought best to let her talk on and not make a direct inquiry, and after a little Aunt Ellen continued: "No, lady, we used to call figgers for our dancing, had a big fiddle and two small fiddles, and a set in one room and one in t'other. None of this twisting and turning. I just can't stand all that juking, just won't look at it." By "juking" Aunt Ellen meant rough dancing of the generation of today. Aunt Ellen firmly believes the old-time religion was best for all, and tried to sing in a wavering voice the following: State: Alabama Interviewee: Lewis, Dellie "Mr. Munger was our oberseer, but he had money of his own. He was better dan mos' oberseers, an' dere warn't no po' white trash, dem onery buckers libed further back in de woods. "When us was sick Dr. Lewis Williams, who was de doctor of de massa, 'tended to us slaves. I remembers sittin' in de doctor's lap while he tried to soothe my ailments. "Us house servants was taught to read by de white folks, but my gran'-mammy, Alvain Hunter, dat didn't have no learnin' but dat knowed de Bible backards an' farwards, made us study. When me an' my brother was learnin' outen de Blue Back Speller she say: "'How's dat? Go ober it.' "Den we would laugh an' answer, 'How you know? You can't read." "'Jus' don't soun' raght. De Lawd tell me when its raght. You-all can't fool me so don't try.' "When de marriages was preformed, de massa read de ceremony an' de couples would step off over a broomstick for luck. Den we all had a big supper, an' dere was music an' dancin' by de plenty." (Wash. Copy, 5/25/37, L. H.) [Note: The following excerpts were taken from another interview with the preceding person. All repeated information has been omitted.] They always had big Christmas celebrations with gifts for every one, and big quilting bees, the men holding the lights and the women quilting, until all quilts were finished, and if one of the boys could throw the quilt over one of the girls and catch her, he was entitled to a hug and a kiss. A big supper and dance for the workers followed. State: Alabama Interviewee: Lightnin' Lightinin' was born at old Cahawba, Alabama, but knows not the date, month, nor the year, but according to his references to the War Between the State, he was an overgrown, gangling boy of fourteen or fifteen years of age, at the time of the uncivil war. He was born a slave on the plantation of Mr. Joel Matthews at old Cahawba. "Ah reckins Y'all wondahs hah ah cames ter be called 'Lightnin' (?) but dat's right easyfied ter 'splain, mah ole mahstah Mistah Jole, ---Mistah Jole Mathyers ef y'all pleases, done tole me ter hurry up one day, and ah was so slow dat he done breck out in er great beeg laugh at me. Ah done felt right sorry faw mahse'f, an den he say yew sho is slow an ah's gwinter call yer aftah der fasses thing awn earf.....an datz Lightnin". Marse Jole, yew sho is thowin off on diss niggah, kase ya'll knows ah's ez slow ez er ox kyart. Yall 'll haf ter skuse me kase ah didn't bawnded in no great beeg hurry. "Lawdy mussy, dem was der bes' days uv mah whole life tahm, an hit makes me feel right weepyfied right offen, ter fink erbout hit. Marse Jole was one uv der finess white mens der Good Lawd evvah done brunged awn dissearf. Evvy day he camed tew der slave quattahs wid der fambly doctah an quired aftah evvy niggah awn der place kase he done say'd,- er well fed, helthy niggah nex tew er mule is der bess propersition er man can vess his money in. An'us slaves fared juss ez good es twus poss'ble fur ennybuddy ter fare. "Marse Jole mustah be'd bawned awn er sunshahny day kase he sho was alluz bright and good natured. Oh man, evvy niggah awn der place done luv him lak ez he wuzz der Son uv Gawd saunt back awn earf ter show His luvin' kineness. "Naw suh ah, nevvah cieved er lick fum mah Mastah Jole in mah life. An he say er well niggah whut doan wuck, sho haint got no oats an simperby camein' his way, an aughter be sent off. "Me? ah's done marry foe tahms, an us done raise sevvil chilluns. Hit's mighty hard ter git er long some tahms, an ah feeshes in boaf der Allerbammer an der 'Hawby Rivvahs' kase us haves ter eat. Ah nevvah waunted faw nothin no tahm jess hadder good tahm surving mah young Marse Tom ez bady gua'd jess er goin lak er houn at his heels all der tahm. "Yassuh, ah allers payed wid der white chillun, done rid behine Marse Tom on der hawse, an awn der foe seat uv der caiage wid der driver. Ah hunt an feesh wid Marse Taum. Lawd bless der membry ev mah blessed white fokes. "But dat's all in de pas', an de good Lawd say no man kin bring back de pas'. So I rechon, ef you all 'll 'sense me, I gwinter go fish my trot line an git somp'in to make de skillit meal." (Wash. Copy, 4/23/37) State: Alabama Interviewee: Longslaughter, Billy Abraham (Note: The writer had also talked with this same old Uncle Billy during the first days of the "depression" and the establishing of a negro department of the Transient Bureau in Mobile, and to direct him to find that registration office. Old Uncle Billy at this time was carrying the same slat basket filled with chair-cane, etc. Other negroes along the Mobile river front said Uncle Billy was his given name all right, but that they doubted if "Longslaughter" was his surname, as they had also questioned him and he said it was Jones at one time and Smith, Jackson and Williams at another, and even other aliases. It was thought by some of these negroes, however, that old Uncle Billy, while he was without a doubt born in slavery times, pronounced his ante-bellum Marster's name as "Longslaughter," when it was some other similar name.) State: Alabama Interviewee: Louis, Uncle Of course you know that we always called the older colored men "Uncle" and the older colored women "Aunt." It was proper manners. Louis was the oldest slave on the plantation, Uncle" Toby having died. Louis was a "Guinea nigger." His ancestors had been brought from the Guinea coast of Africa. He had the characteristic marks of his tribe, being short, strong and very black, with heavy neck, thick lips, flat nose and eyes like those of a hog. He had great knowledge of wild plants, claimed to understand the language of birds and beasts. He prided himself on his powers as a hunter and also claimed intimate friendship with ghosts and spooks. Being what was known as a "yard servant," he had picked up much of the talk of his white masters and spoke his own version of their language. Old Louis was what was called a "runaway nigger." He would run away in the latter part of the summer once in every two or three years and come back in time to help dig sweet potatoes. I was out in the sweet potato patch one morning when he returned. The doctor was there, also. When Louis walked up he simply said, "Hello, Louis; are you well?" "Yas sir, Marster." "Well, take that basket and go to picking up potatoes." Not a word was said about his running away. After the hands had knocked off work and Louis was sitting in front of his cabin, I went to him for an interview. "Uncle Louis, what makes you run away? You don't get whipped of abused in any way." The old slave scratched his grizzled head, puffed at his clay pipe and pondered the subject for some time before he replied: "Marse Davie, I does cause de woods seems to call me. When de fall inseo's is singin' in de grass an' the 'simmons is gettin' soft an' de leaves is beginnin' to turn, I jes natcherly has ter go. De wild sloes, de red haws an' de crab apples is ripe. De walnuts an de hickory nuts an de beach mast drappin' an de blue smoke comes over de woods, an de woods birds an de yard birds goes souf wid de cranes an ducks an wil'geese an de blackbirds an de crows goes in droves - it seem lack all dat is jes callin' me." "Where do you go?" I asked. "Lorsy, Marse Davie, I never goes off de plantation. I always go to de woods back o' de past'er. Ole Master knows whar I is an so does Henry. Don't you know dat holler dat come down on de lef' han' side of de branch - de fus holler you comes to, not more dan two hundred yards in de woods?" I knew it well. "Don't you 'member a big green oak tree growin' on de right han' side of de holler bout a hunder yard up de path?" State: Alabama Interviewee: Mandy "Go to school? Yassum I sho did. I had three months a year for three years, and a extra month onc't, that my mammy paid for. Dat made ten months for me. I was de forwardest chile my mammy had. When ley was any readin' to do my mammy sont for me. "Sis Kate kin turn off more work then I kin, but I can mek more cotton. Oncet I won a contest wid a man an' made 480 pounds. Dey gimme a hundred pounds for doin' it. State: Alabama Interviewee: Mcalpin, Tom "De docta Jus had a small plantation, 'bout 100 acres, I s'pose, an' he didn't have but 12 slaves, 'caze dere warn't no need for no mo'. He was busy in town adoctorin' folks. He didn't have no time to do any real farmin. "My job aroun' de place was to nuss de chilluns, white an' nigger. We all played 'roun' together. Sometimes we play coon an' rabbit, fox an' houn' and snatch, but what was de mostes' fun was aridin ole Sut. Sut was a donkey an' us useta hitch him to a wagon, an' six of de chilluns would ride in de wagon an' I'd ride on his back. Sometimes us'd ride all de way into Talladega wid Sut. "Nawsuh I ain't neber got no whuppin' but one, and it was a sho' 'nough complete one, boss, wid all de trimmin's. It all happened when de Massa told me he better not cotch dem hogs in de corn, an' iffen he did, I was agoin' to git a whuppin'. Well, boss, dere was one ole hog dat I jus' couldn't keep outten dere so I tuk a needle an' sewed up his eyes. 'Course I was jus' a little black 'un an' didn't know whut I was adoin', but I sho' sewed up dat hogs eyelids so's he couldn't see nothin'. Dat kep' him outten de corn all raght, but when de Massa found it out he gave me a lickin' dat I ain't forgot yit. Boss, dat was de onlies' lesson I ever needed in my life. It done de wuk. "Yassuh, dere was pattyrollers 'roun' our place, but dey never cotched me, 'caze I was too swif' for 'em. Boss, I could take holt of a hosses tail an' run 'roun' de pasture an' keep up wid him. I was sho' fas' on my feets' Nawsuh, us wan't never given no money for nothin', but I learnt how to make baskets an' I would take 'em in to Talladega on Sat'day evenings an' sell 'em to de white folks for fifteen cents. Den when I needed somp'n lak 'bacca or a little piece of chocolate, I could go to de sto' an' buy it. Lots of slaves on yuther plantations warn't 'lowed to make any money dough"Nawsuh, I ain't never had no schoolin', 'ceptin' what I could git outen de little white folks' books myself. Ue niggers useta tote dere books to school for 'em an' on de way I would look in de book an' git a little learnin'. "When us niggers on de McAlpin place at, us et raght at de same table dat de white folks et at. Atter dey finiched dere meal, us slaves would sit down raght atter dem an' eat de same kinda food. Yassuh."Sho' I 'members de war. I 'members when do war commence, Jeff Davie called for volunteere; den a little later when de south needed mo' mens to fight, Jeff Davis' officers would go th'ough de streets, an' grab up de white mens an' put ropes 'roun' dere wrists lak dey was takin' 'em off to jail. An' all de while dey was jus' takin' 'em off to de war. Dey made all de white mens go. It was called de 'seription. Some niggers went too. Dem niggers fought raght side of dere masters. Some went as body guards an' some went as soldiers."Yassuh, Boss, I recalls de time dat de 'federate soldiers, bless dere souls, hid dere few hosses in de basement of de old Masonic Institute in Talladega an' hid dere amunition in de hollow stone pillars. Gen'l Wilson an' his raiders come th'ough dar, but dey never did fin' dem 'Federate supplies. Dem Yankees jus" lak to scare eve'ybody roun' de place to death. Dey shot up de town an' dem blue coats tuk eve'ything we had: cotton, sugar, flour, hams, preserves, clothes, corn; eve'ything, Boss, eve'ything. Dey even burned up some houses. "But Boss, dere ain't never been nobody afightin' lak our 'Federates done, but dey ain't never had a chance. Dere was jes' too many of dem blue coats for us to lick. I seen our 'Federates go off laughin' an' gay; full of life an' health. Dey was big an' strong, asingin' Dixie an' dey jus knowed dey was agoin" to win. An' boss, I seen 'em come back skin an' bone, dere eyes all sad an' hollow, an' dere clothes all ragged, Boss, dey was all lookin' sick. De sperrit dey lef' wid jus' been done whupped outten dem, but it tuk dem Yankees a long time to do it. Our 'Federates was de bes' fightin' men dat over were. Dere warn't nobody lak our 'Federates. "I was in Richmond dat cold day dat Gen'l Lee handed his sword over to de yuther side, an' I seen Jeff Davis when he made a speech 'bout startin' over. I seen de niggers leavin' dere homes an' awanderin' off into de worl' to God knows whar, aeeyin' good-bye to dere white folks, an' atryin' to make dere way de bes' dey kin. But, white boss, it jee' seem lak you let a nigger go widout a boss an' he jes' no good. Dere ain't much he kin do, 'caze dere ain't nobody to tell him. Yaseuh, I was sont to Richmond to bring home some of our wounded Federates. Dey sont me 'caze dey knowed I was agoin' to do my bes', an' caze dey knowed I warn't afeered of nothin'. Dat's de way I've always tried to be, white bose, lak my white people what raised me. God bless 'em." State: Alabama Interviewee: Murder Of Allen Page "Hits a funny thing how places an folks too, gitsser name fassened on ter'm an thar it stays! Yer couldn' git shet uv'it in spite er hell!" The native sliced off a generous plug of 'Brown Mule,' propped the lean worn chair with its goat hide bottom against the wall as he hooked his feet on the low round of the chair. He wedged his plug in the recess of his left cheek and "took his text": "Take Gallows Foad. Didjer every hear how cum hit?" "Do you mean Gallows Ford in Beat One, where there is no bridge over the creek?" I asked."Yer right, thet's hit, right up thar in Fork Sepulga. Yer know whut I been wushin'? I been wushin' fer a long time thet sombody would horn out er nuther name fur that place. One thet would keep them creepin' fellins outter mer back. Looks lack ever time I goes up in thet neck er the woods, mer coller gits uncomfortin', an I jes' ain't never hankered atter nuthin' bindin' eround mer neck." A lazy smile crept over the native's face and settled around the wad of tobacco bulding out from his thin cheek: "I was fixin' ter say, thets whar Mister Allen Page was murdered, an thet was th' startin' uv how come Gallus Foad." To make way for easy speech, the native leaned forward, took aim at a sapling and hit his mark with a generous splash of Brown's Mule, subsequently reducing his left cheek to normal."Yer see, Mister Allen Page lived up thar clos't ter Gallus Foad, an a better man never drawed breath. Hit's hard ter berleave folks kin be ser ongrateful as ter shoot down a good man in cold blood. I've hearn tell thet Mister Page was one er them millionaires, allus rollin' inner plenty, an many's ther time when he outten out give them Wardzies cloze an sumthin' t'eat, when they was cold and hongry." "What was the name?" I asked."Wardzies, jess lack I said. They was Irvin Ward an Steve Ward. Bofe uv um was brothers, an ef it had'n been fer thet little piece er homespun they might er got erway with manslaughter." The native stretched his legs, installed another wad of Brown Mule in the accustomed cheek and leaned forward: "Hit happened sumwhars erbout eighteen hundert'n fifty nine er sixty. Early uv er Tewsday mawnin', Mister Allen Page an Mister John Wright sent all er their cotton waggins down ter Claiborne so' ter git th' cotton on ther boat goin' ter Mobile. A whole passell er folks went, an' this here Irvin Ward was one uv'm."Th' next day, atter they was all gone, Mister Page an Mister Wright driv down in er hawse an buggy. All er th' way down ter Claiborne, there here Irvin Ward kep' his ears skin't, tryin' ter find out when Mister Wright an Mister Page was comin' home. He knowed they would have nigh on ter fifteen hundert dollers on'm an he figgered on gittin' it. "Bout time th' waggins got nelly ter Claiborne, he wuzzer gittin' powerful perlite an mighty speecherfied. He say he was ser sorry he could'n go on down ter Claiborne, but he's b'leeged ter go ter Clark county ter see some sick relashuns. He snicked his gun out from under er bale er cotton whar twuz hid an he put out terwards Clark county. "Soon as th' waggins got outter hearin', erbout er holler an a half I reckon, he tuck thew th' woods back terwards Fork Sepulga, till he retch Little Brewer crick whar his brother was waitin', an' right thar they sot th' trap. "Fu'st they laid a tree acrost th' road, ter look lack hit had fell accidental, an' up th' road, jess fer ernough ter git a good aim back terwards whar th' tree wuzzer lyin', they laid er log on th' edge er th' road, an stuck gall berry bushes erround hit fer petecksun, so's one uv'm could squat down an' shoot from in front, whilst th' tother one hid hisself back up th' road whar he could shoot from berhind. They did'n aim ter miss nuthin', cummin' er goin. Howsumever thar was one p'int they failed ter fix, an' thet was th' gun waddin'. Ther homespun in them doublebar'l guns jess natchel ruint th' Wardzies."Anyhow when Mister Page and Mister Wright com ridin' erlong home, they fotch up at th' tree, ter see how they was goin' ter git by. Mister Wright had done got outter th' hawse an' buggy ter look eround, when fust thing he knowed here com er whole load er buckshot whizzin' outer them gallberry bushes lack th' devil hisself wuzzer pourin' it right in th' buzzum uv a ninnersent man. Mister Page jess thowed up his hans an say: 'I'se kilt!' Mister Wright sees he wuzzer fallin' outter th' hawse an' buggy an' he helt him in whilst ernuther load er shot punkcherated Mister Wright's cloze from berhind. Somehow ernuther hit did'n pepper his skin none ter hurt, an he kep er clammin' in th' buggy. He jecked up th' buggy whup an' th' buggy whup an' th' reins an come down ser hard th' hawse tore out over thet tree layin' in th' road, hell fer leather, an' did'n stop fer nuthin'. He run fer erbout two mile, an' then Mister Wright jecked him in at Miz Bidgoodzies house, whar he left th' corpse an' run out ter git help. Well sir! hits beyond me how bad news kin serkerlate an kewmerlate ser fass. Buffore they knowed nuthin' er tall, th' swampzies was kivered with black an' white folks, an' from lawd knows whar. "At fu'st hit looked lack they could'n git no evidunce ter hitch on ter nobody, when aller th' time thet scrap er homespun gun waddin' was layin' in th' buzzum uv Mister Page's murdered body." Again the native spotted the sapling across the road and again made way for better speech, with more emphasis than usual: "I'm mer tellin' yer right now, jess as shore as gun's iron, yer sins'll come home ter yer, an' when they does come, hits ginnerly er woman thet brung'm. Hits funny ter me how er aprun an' er piece er cloth could 'mount ter ser much. But hit shore told off on th' Wardzies. They did'n take realize thet a homespun scrap might do unto them whut hit had done unter Mister Page."Co'se yer know thet homespun cloth in them days come right up from th' cotton patch ter th' spinnin' wheel hitsself. Then thar was th' homemade dye. They biled down roots an' yarbs en got whutsumever color they wanted. Co'se ever feller's homespun was jess a little diffunt t'other feller's. "When them people found th' homespun in Mister Page's buzzum they was hotter than ever. They got ter progickin' with hit fuss one way an' er nuther. Way up ter the next day, they had done come plum nelly ter sun down when they kotch sight er th' Wardzies sister with er new homespun aprun an' hit was identerkul ter th' scrap er gun waddin'. "I'm a-fixin' ter tell yer, now an' furever! Hits shore dangerous ter monkey er roun' with wimmen. Yer cain't never tell whar yer are goin' ter fotch up at. A heap er folks in th' kermunity had done already 'spicioned th' Wardzies. Fu'st uv all, they had er pore name, an' then they was ser allfired anxshus ter see justice did, they could'n wait ter git ther hands on th' crimmernul. They was th' grievenest ones at th' fewnrul, an' when th' coffin was unkivered at th' grave so's everbody could git er lass impresshun uv Mister Page, one er th' Wardzies whut had done th' killin', was a-cryin, an a-lookin, an a-sayin': 'Jess ter think! thet whosumever kilt him is no doubts right here, unberknowinst ter anybody, an fer all we know he is a-lookin' at him right now.'"After they had brung th' scrap er gun waddin' an' th' aprun tergether, they scared up some more evidence ergainst th' Wardzies, an' then they took um clean upter Mister Page's house, inner room upstairs, an' fer ten days they tried ter make um 'fess up. "How in Sam Hill they helt out ser long, is beyon' me. Shet up in thet dead man's house, er feelin' lack eyes was er lookin', an' fingers er pointin' out from everwhars! Hit shore must er been purnishmunt. After ten days uv sech torment, they broke down an' said they done hit, jess fer the money. "Them fellers up in Beat One did'n wait fer no law ter come en fix justice ner nuthin', they jess put them Wardzies in th' back uv er ox waggin, an' tied some ropes eround ther necks an' driv straight off ter th' place whar th' murder was did. I allus nearly cry er thinkin bout th' pore old mother and father an' Steve's wife an' baby, jess six weeks old, commin' out ter th' waggin ter tell um goodbye when they passed th' house. Well when they got down ter th' crick whar th' murder was did, they jess thew th' ropes cross't th' limb uvver tree an' fassened um down ter some brush, an' driv out an' let'm swing."Whilst they wuzzer swingin', them ropes stretched ser fur ther toes retched th' ground an' drug backerds an' furrards ser bad they left trenches in th' ground, an' thar they is been, from thet day ter this. No grass hain't never growed, an' no leaves never lies in them trenches. Hits as clean as th' pam uv yer hand! "How come? Thets hit! How come! Hit's somethin' don't nobody know nuthin' erbout, sep' they is been some folks ter say thet they is seed th' Wardzies sperrits come out thar uv a night an' swing therselves in them trenches lack they was lookin' erroun fer somethin' er somebody, an' thet must be whut allus keeps th' place 'witched' sor bad. One thing shore, yer cain't ketch nobody handker'n eround thar atter dark. Yer jess cain't breathe th' air, excusin' yet gits choked er somethin'. Ef yer don't berleeve it, jess try it fer yerself. Anyhow, now yer know who got murdered an' how come. [This story is authentic. The main facts conform to Riley's History of Conecuh. Other incidents were given by members of the Page family and others who know the story. Mrs J.R. Taylor, Director of the Dept of Public Welfare, states that her father, a boy then, was taking corn to the mill that day, and as he came over the hill, he looked down towards the creek and saw the hanging take place. There were 40 men who decided upon this method of justice. The traditions and mystery of the trenches is believed to be explained by some who claim that an old family Negro for years has kept the place swept clean, in memory of his white folks. The baby who was six weeks old when his father was hanged still lives in Beat One. He has a water gristmill and makes baskets and chair bottoms from wood and cane. Descendants of Mr Page are prominent in Evergreen today.] State: Alabama Interviewee: Nettles, Hattie Anne (Lee County, Alabama) There is something impressive about the presence of persons of quality or real merit; be it the king on his throne, the priest in his functions or the judge on the bench, but around none of these is that atmosphere more evident than around one of the old-time slaves whose early associations were in intimate contact with the flower of the white race in the South. Particularly is this true of those Negroes who were brought up as house servants in those mansions where culture and good breeding were in such thorough evidence. It was but natural that manners and customs of the refined white people should be acquired and absorbed as their own by those slaves so fortunate as to be wondered that the few remaining members of that race should carry throughout lives now nearing the century mark, the impressions and lessions of that truly "golden era." Typical of that era and its customs, we find "Aunt" Georgia Flourney, now in her ninetieth year, alert in mind and fairly active - only her snow-white hair testifying to her advanced age. "Aunt Georgia", as she is affectionately called by a legion of friends, lives on Orange Street in Eufaula, and readily gave me this account of her early life and surroundings: "Honey, my Old Marster was Americus Mitchel, and I was born at 'Elmoreland', near Glenville. My mother died when I was born, and my Old Mistis, Mary Mitchell, raised me in de 'big house' (and it is a big house - Elmoreland is one of the finest examples of ante-bellum homes in Alabama), and I was named atter Old Marster's sister, Miss Georgia Mitchell. I was raised a house girl and slept in Miss Georgia's room and wore good clean clothes all de time, cause I was a nurse maid and did not associate wid de common niggers. I nussed de white babies, en lubbed em much as dey own folks did. When freedom come I stayed right on wid Old Mistis, tell Old Marster died en she moved to Eufaula to live with her son, "Marse Merry." I asked Aunt Georgia if she remembered much about the war: "Honey, dey say de Yankees is comin, de Yankees is comin' en us sho was scared." (It was General Grieson marching from Mobile to Eufaula.) We driv all de horses, en cows en hogs to de swamp on de north creek (Chewalla) en dey took de feather beds down dar too en hid em under bresh (brush) en leaves. My Mistis tied her trinkets (jewels) in sacks en put em in sacks en put em in de most "outlandish" places - in de top if de gat-loft; in de hen house, she put her gold watch under er settin-hen. I disremember all de funny places she did put thing. "Aunt Georgia, where did they hide their silver?" "Law, Honey, dey planted it in de fields lak it was corn, en de Yankees never did find it, neither. And over Aunt Georgia' face came a smile of satisfaction that her "white folks" had got the best of the "yankees". Can one imagine a race problem associated with people like Aunt Georgia and her legions of white friends? A peculiarity of "Aunt Georgia's" speech, is use of perfect English as used by her Master's family, for a sentence or two and then she will drop into something like the vernacular of the Negroes among whom she now lives. She even detects the difference herself and plainly tries to use her early training in speech, when talking to white people. [Note: The following excerpts were taken from another interview conducted with the preceding person. All repeated information has been omitted.] Grandfather was a preacher, George Benson, and his wife Mary was a cook; they cooked on the large fireplaces on the griddle hoe. "Our dresses wus homespun cloth dyed with indigo. Master was a good christian hearted man and had good children cept two boys that just would fight. Master sho did love to sing, "I'm gwine home to die no more." The women folks had good times at quiltings and spinning frolics and us most always had a Saturday night supper and dance, and did dey cut de high step. "Xmas mornings us had to go to morning prayer and den had some foolishness up at de big house. "I married Bill Lockhart and had fifteen children and eight granchillun. Niggers asked the white Master for the bride and no license needed but if de left they plantation the other Master bought her so she could go with her man. Our Master looked after his slaves too when dey got sick and got de doctor, de would bleed you in dem days ef you got sick and would draw nearly a quart of blood from de body and you'd get well too. "You'd see people leaving, drums beating and fifes blowing all leaving for de war and wus sad times, my brother wus sold as a substitute for Master's son. "The K.K.Ks. broke up prayer meeting one night and beat up lots of the niggers," she said. "If a nigger didn't behave, dey'd nigh 'bout kill him." Hattie lives in Opelika with a daughter. Flowers dot her clean yard and her old days are full of happiness. (Washington Copy, /10/37, R H.) State: Alabama Interviewee: Owens, Rev. Wade (Alabama, Preston Kline, Opelika, Pettersen Marzoni, Editor) The Reverend Wade Owens of Opelika was born in Loachapoka, Alabama, in 1863 and just missed slavery but he has heard his homefolks talk so much about freeing the Negroes, he feels as if he was grown then. His mother and father, Wade and Hannah Owens, came from Virginia and moved into "Jenks Quarters" on the Berry Owens place. They had several children, Wade, Nettie, Chance, Anderson and Iowa. Wade used to help drive up the cows. This cabin was of logs, mud and sticks with lear and mud chimneys and slab floors. The beds fitted into the wall with plank sides, two posts with planks nailed on top, resembling tables. A box served as a dresser."All ash-cakes were cooked on poplar an' chestnut leaves, when dey roasted taters," Wade says. "Us chillun used to go early in de mornin' an' lick de honey offen de leaves for sweets den. Us didn't wear nothin' but our long shirts, an' us had homemade hats and brogans, hard as bricks with brass caps on de toes. I thought dey was de prettiest taings I ever seed."Marsa Berry an' Miss Fanny Owens was good to us niggers. My daddy was de carriage driver for Miss Fanny but take keer of dat man Ben Boddy, the overseer. He was de meanes' man God ever put life in. He wouldn't let us have no fire, matter not how cold us had to work jes' de name or de nigger hounds 'ud sho' get you. Iffen not dog caught, dey would beat you to death nearly. He was so mean massa run him off. Dey blew de risin' horn an' us worked from daylight ''til dark or frum'can to can't.""Marsa had a pretty two-story log house, big columns an' big porch. We had 'bout two or three hundred acres an' worked 'bout three hundred slaves. Us had a jail an' looked runaways in hit. Brother Lockhart used to preach to us niggers in de white church at Lebanon an' us walked to hit. "My daddy was sold fer $160. When dey put chains on de niggers dey was put 'roun' de legs and arms an' to a post. Dey took pains to hope my mammy an' pappy to learn. Dey would teach de Bible to 'em too. Marsa used to sing dem good ole songs, My heart frum de tomb, a doleful sound, My ears attend to cry, and Amazing grace how sweet it sounds."At baptising dey'd give de water invitation an' den go in water. An' didn't dey come out happy, shouting and praying? Ol' man Buck could hear dem two miles off, but hit was a glorious baptising."All de hands stopped when dey was a funeral an' didn't work no mo' 'till de body was buried. All de whites would go too. Dey would make de boxes, pour hot water over de plank to shape it up into a casket, den take turpentine an' smut to paint it. Den another big time, settin' up wid de dead, sing, shout an' holler an' try to preach. "De patrollers would come to de colored frolic an' one time a han' slipped off an', gentlemen, didn't he give 'em trouble to ketch him an' dey didn't. When dey had dem Saddy night frolics an' dance all night long an' nearly day when hit was goin, dey would turn de pot upside down in de floor to hold de soun' in. My daddy pick de banjo. At de cornshuckings dey'd sing All 'roun' de Corn Pile Sally, an' dey had whiskey an' gin. Us had good time on Chris'mas, give us toys, syrup candy, bread an' grape wine. "My brother married up at de Big House an' dey giv' him a big dance an' marsa made me drunk. 'Twas fust one den tother giv' it to me 'knocked me out. Dey had de preacher an' didn't jump de broom. Dey had de preacher so would be tied good'. Dey would tell us chillun all kinds of ghos' stories 'bout witches gittin' outter dey skins. Us had free jumping grapevine ropes an' mumble peg. One night I was at Notasulga an' I heard some singing. I stopped an' hit was right at my feet an' would go futher off. I took out wid hit an' hit kept stoppin' an' startin' off ag'in ''til hit giv' out entirely. I looked to see where I was an' I was at de cemetery an' nothin' didn't bother me neither. I eased out an' shut de gate an' never foun' whut carried me dere. "When us 'ud git sick, dey would bleed you, stick somp'n in your arm and draw de blood. Den dey would giv' us scurry grass and fever weed. Bone-set was use'as teas for colds an' fever to sweat you. An' hit sho' would sweat you, too. Marsa said war was comin' an' thought hit was to free us. Pappy went to war with young marsa an' stayed ''til he got killed."Dey hid de carriage horses, meat silver an' plates. Yankees asked iffen marsa was good, an' us said yes. Dey searched de smokehouse an' some scraps no good an' nothin' but scrappy horses so dey didn't bother a thing. Us stayed one year an' worked on one-eighth farm. (The Ku Klux Klan was turrible. One John Lyons would out off a woman's breast an' man's ear or thumb.)"Atter I got growed I married Leila Benford at Mr. Lockhart's house, an' us had a nice little frolic, wid cake, syrup pudding an' wine. It was a fine night wid me, 'caze all kissed de bride. Us had fourteen children, jes' eight living, Minnie, Wade, Robert, Walter, Viola, Joe, Jim and Johnnie, an' ten grand-chilun."I heered Abraham Lincoln speak once at Chicaumaugee Mountain an' he said For people, by people, and through people. I always 'membered at. I jined de church 'caze I got converted." State: Alabama Interviewee: Phillips, Simon (Alabama, J. Morgan Smith) Simon Phillips, ex-slave, at 90 years is still as clear-thinking as a young man and a leader among the oldsters of his race in Birmingham and Alabama. He has been for the past twenty-three years president of the union of ex-slaves which is composed of 1,500 Negroes scattered throughout Alabama. He is the only one of the Birmingham organizers of the society living today and though one of the oldest of his group, he shows but few signs of decrepitude. He walks with the aid of a hickory cane which has been in his possession for almost a half century, and his memory is not only accurate but vivid. His physical activity is shown by the fact that he had already spaded his garden and tiny stalks had pushed themselves above the ground on a plot of earth covering approximately seventy-five yards square, on the Spring morning when he took a little time off" to talk of the past.Well does he recall the days when, under Alabama skies in the 80's, he curried his marster's fine carriage horses; the times old aunt Hannah cured him of "achin's" with vegetable and root herbs; the nights he spent in the slave quarters singing spirituals with his family.Simon Phillips was one of 300 Negroes belonging to Bryant Watkins, a planter of Creensboro, Alabama. He was a house man, which meant that he mixed the drinks, opened the carriage doors, brought refreshments on the porch to guests, saw that the carriage was always in the best of condition and tended the front lawn. When asked about slave days, he gets a far-away expression in his eyes; an expression of tranquil joy."People," he says, "has the wrong idea of slave days. We is treated good. My massa never laid a hand on me durin' the whole time I was wid him. He scolded me once for not bringin' him a drink when I was supposed to, but he never whup me." Whe old slave added that (every plantation had a still and there much brandy, but he rarely ever saw a drunk man.) He says that the men felt themselves becoming intoxicated, they would go and lie down; now, he says, they go home and fall down. The plantation on which Simon lived was seven miles long and three miles wide. When luncheon was served, the Negroes far off in the bottom lands had their food brought to them by the trash gang (boys and women) while those in the nearer cotton fields ate in a large mess hall. The food consisted of turnip greens, meat, peas, crackling bread and syrup, and plenty of it. "Not since those days," he states, "have I had such good food." "What about the marriage situation, Simon?" he was asked. Did you go about getting a wife?""Well, nigger jus' go to the massa and tell him that there's a gal over in Cap'n Smith's place that he want for a wife, if she wanted to be there. Then the massa go to Cap'n Smith and offer to buy her. Maybe he do and maybe he don't. It depend on whether the cap'n will sell her, and iffen she a good strong, healthy nigger. Niggers was bought mostly like hosses. I was too young to have me a wife when I was wid de massa, but I got me one later on after the war." During the War between the States, Simon served as body guard for John Edward Watkins, son of the plantation owner. Body guards went with their owners and cleaned the guns, kept the camp in order and did some cooking. Simon entered the war at the age of fourteen in Joe Wheeler's 51st cavalry. He distinctly recalls the time he stood within ten feet of the great general while he was making a speech. Sometimes slaves were parted from their families, because when a planter bought a Negro from another planter, he did not necessarily buy his wife or children, or husband, as the case might be. (The slaves were advertised around and put on a block to stand while they were auctioned. Women invariably brought more than men.) He was decided about overseers, Simon. What sort of men were they?"Well," he answered, "some was mighty mean. (When the massa went away, they tried to think up things to whup us for. But when the massa around, had he catch 'em gettin' ready for to beat a slave, he say, 'don't cut no blood from that Migger!') Born in Hale County in 1847, Simon Phillips stayed with his mother until 1866 at which time he went to live in Tuscaloosa to earn 17 cents a day, but he says he fared better on it than on three dollars now. After the war many Negroes stayed with their masters and he remembers that some of the carpetbaggers came through his plantation and tried to make the ex-slaves stake off the land, saying that half it belonged to them. "One day," says Simon, "a few niggers was stickin' sticks in the ground when the massa come up." "What you Niggers doin'?" he asked."'We is stakin' off de land, massa. The Yankees say half of it is ourn?' The massa never got made. He jus' look calm like. "'Listen, niggers' he says, 'what's mine is mine, and what's yours is yours. You are just as free as I and the missus, but don't go foolin' around my land. I've tried to be a good master to you. I have never been unfair. Now if you wants to stay, you are welcome to work for me. I'll pay you one third the crops you raise. But if you wants to go, you sees the gate.'" "The massa never have no more trouble. Them niggers jus' stays there and works. Sometime they loaned the massa money when he was hard pushed. Most of 'em died on the old grounds. I was the youngest of a family of sixteen and I has one sister still livin' de old plantation. I'm going down to see her next week, 'cause you never tell when the Great Master is goin' to call. We's bes' be ready when he does, and both us is gettin' mighty old. I wants to be sure and see her and the old place once more." State: Alabama Interviewee: Poole, Irene (Susie R. O'Brien, Uniontown, AL) Under the spreading branches of an enormous fig tree laden with ripe fruit "Aunt Irene" sat dreaming of old times. At her feet several chickens scratched and waited for the soft plop of an over ripe fig as it fell to the ground. Aunt Irene's back is bent with age and rheumatism, but her two-room cabin is as clean and neat as a pin. Her small yard is a mass of color where marigolds, zinnias, verbena and cockscomb run riot, and over the roughly-made arch at the gate trailed cypress vine in full bloom. "Good morning Aunt Irene," I said. "A penny for your thoughts." "Well honey, I don't know as dey is wo'th a penny; not to you anyhow. I was jes' stud'in' 'bout ole times an' 'bout mah ole marster. You know if he was livin' today he would be a hundred an' sixteen years ole." "Who was your master Aunt Irene? Tell me about him.""His name was Jeff Anderson Poole an' he was de bes' man in de world. Mah ole miss was name Mollie. I was born on his plantation three miles from Uniontown eighty five years ago. "Mah pappy, Alfred Poole, b'longed to Marse Jeff an' he bought mah mammy, Palestine Kent, from another plantation 'cause mah pappy jes' couldn' do no work fer thinkin' 'bout her. "Marse Jeff paid fifteen hunderd dollars for my mammy an' her three little chillun. Marse Jeff was rich, he owned three big plantations an' Lawd knows how many niggers. Dey was a hunderd head on our plantation. He lacked to race horses an' had a stable full o' fine racers. I spec' he made lots o' his money on dem horses. Miss Mollie say when he win he swell out his ches' an' stick his thum's in de armhole of his ves' an' talk 'bout it, out when he lose he don't say nothin'. "Yas ma'am dere was always plenty to eat. A thousan' poun's o' meat wasn't nothin' to kill on our plantation. My mammy was de cook in de big house an' my pappy driv de carriage an' went 'roun' wid Marse Jeff when he tuck trips. I was a house servant too. When I wasn' nothin' mo' in a baby, de oberseer's wife tuck me to train, so I would know how to ac' in de big house."One day she started to give me a whuppin'. Us was out in de yard an' when she bent over to get a switch I runned under her hoopskirt. When she look 'roun' she didn't see me nowhar. After while she started on up to de house an' I runned along wid her under de hoopskirt, takin' little steps so I wouldn't trip her up, till I seed a chance to slip out." Irene threw back her head and laughed loud and long at this amusing memory. Asked then about her mistress she said "Yas ma'am she was good. She never punished me, she used to go 'roun' de quarters eve'y mornin' to see 'bout her sick niggers. She always had a little basket wid oil, teppentine an' number six in it. Number six was strong medicine. You had to take it by de drap. I always toted de basket. She gived me mah weddin' dress. It was white tarletan wid ban's o' blue ribbin. I sole de dress las' year but I can show you de pantalets she made me. I used to wear 'em to meetin' on Sunday when us had singin' an' de preacher said words." Aunt Irene brought out the deep ruffled pantalets carefully folded and yellow with age, she had treasured them for seventy-five years."No ma'am, Marse Jeff didn't go to de war, I don't know why. I guess it was 'cause he was so rich. Now don't you be thinkin' he was gun shy, 'cause he wasn't an' he done his part too 'cause he took keer o' five widders an' dey chillun when dey men got kilt in de war."My pappy lef' de night de Yankees tuck Selma. It was on Sunday, an' I ain't seed him since."After de surrender us staid on with Marse Jeff. Us didn't keer nothin' 'bout bein' free 'cause us had good times on de plantation. On Sadday dey had corn shuckin's an' de niggers had a week at Chris'mas wid presents for eve'ybody. Camping at de big house an' mo' to eat in one day den I sees now in a year."Aunt Irene" do you remember anything about the conjurers in the old days?" "I don't put much sto' by dem folks. Dey used to give you de han' so you could please yo' mistess an' dey would sell you hush water in a jug. Hush water was jes' plain water what dey fixed so if you drink it you would be quiet an' patient. De mens would git it to give to dey wives to make 'em hush up. I reckon some of de mens would be glad to git some now 'cause gals dese days is got too much mouf." (R.L.D., 8-10-37) State: Alabama Interviewee: Pugh, Nicey (Mobile, Alabama, Ila B. Prine, Federal Writers' Project, Dist. 2 May 21, 1937) "I was bawn a slave, but I ain't neber been a slave", was Aunt Nicey's first remark to me as I came upon her pulling up potato draws in her garden in Prichard, Alabama. "Dere was 'leben chilluns in my family an' all 'em is daid ceptin' me an' one brother who is seventy-five year old at de present time. My pappy's name was Hamp West an' my mammy was Sarah West. All my folks belonged to Massa Jim Bettis, an' was born an' raised on his place. "When I was a little pickaninny I worked in Massa Jim's house, sweepin' an' a-cleanin'. Us slaves had to be up at de house by sunup, build de fires an' git de cookin' started. Dey had big open fireplaces wid potracks to hang de pot on. Dats whar us boiled de vegetables. An' honey, us sho had plenty somp'n' t'eat: greens, taters, peas, rosenyurs an plenty of home killed meat. Sometimes my oldest brother, Joe West, and Friday Davis, anudder nigger, went huntin' at night an' kotched mo' possums dan we could eat. Dey'd kotch lots of fish; 'nuf to las' us three days."I remembers one day when me an' anudder little nigger gal was goin' atter de cows down in de fiel' an' us seed whut I reckon' was de Klux Klan. Us was so skeered us didn't know whut to do. One of 'em walked up to us an' say: 'Niggers, whar you agoin'?'"'Us is jus' atter de cows, Mr. Ku Klux,'" us say. 'Us ain't up to no debilment.' "'All right den,' "dey say," 'jus' you be sho dat you don't git in to none.'"Atter we got home us told de massa 'bout de 'sperience, an' he us' laugh. He tol' us dat we warn't goin' to be hurt iffen we was good; he say dat it was only de bad niggers dat was goin' to be got atter by dem Ku Klux. "When we was little we didn't hab no games to play, kaze Massa Jim an' Miss Marfa didn't hab no chilluns, an' I ain't neber had no sperences wid hants or hoodoos. Dey neber teach us to read or write kaze when de niggers learn anything, dey would git upitty an' want to run away. We would hab Sadday afternoons off, den us would sweep de yards, an' set aroun on benches an' talk. It was on de benches dat mos' of us slaves set in warm weather. We et outen tin cups an' us used iron spoons to shovel de food in. "At Christmas time, Massa would have a bunch of niggers to kill a hog an' barbecue him, an' de womens would make' lasses cake, an' ole massa Jim had some kinda seed dat he made beer outen, an' we-alls drank beer 'roun' Christmas."But dere warn't no udder time such as New Years. Us all celebrated in big way den. Most of dem no count niggers stayed drunk fo' three days."An' as fo' de funerals, don't eber remember but three white folks dyin'. Dey jus' didn't seem to die in dem days, an' de ones dat did die was mostly kilt by somp'n'. One white gentman got hisself kilt in a kin 'chinery an' anudder was kilt a workin' on de big road. Den dere was a white 'oman who was kilt by a nigger boy kaze she beat him for sicking a dog on a fine milk cow. He was de meanest nigger boy I eber seed. I'll neber forgits de way dem white mens treated him atter he done had dis trial. Dey drug him through de town behin' a hoss, an' made him walk over sharp stones wid his bare feets, dat bled lak somebody done cut 'em wid a knife. Dey neber gib him no water all dat day an' kep' him out in de boilin' sun till det got ready to hang him. When dey got ready to hang him dey put him up on a stand and chunked rocks at his naked body; dey threw gravel in his eyes and broke his ribs wid big rocks. Den dey put a rope around his neck an' strung him up till his eyes pop outen his head. I knowed it was a blessin' to him to die. "But all and all, white folks, den was de really happy days for us niggers. Course we didn't hab dem 'vantages dat we has now, but dere wus somp'n' back dere dat we ain't got now, an' dats secu'aty. Yassuh, we had somebody to go to when we was in trouble. We had a Massa dat would fight fo' us an' help us an' laugh wid us an' cry wid us. We had a Mistis dat would nuss us when we was sick, an' comfort us when we hadda be punished. I sometimes wish I could be back on de ole place. I kin see de cool-house now packed wid fresh butter an' milk an' cream. I can see de spring down amongst de willows an' de water a trickling down between little rocks. I can hear de turkeys a gobblin' in de yard and de chickens a runnin' aroun' in de sun, an' shufflin' in de dus'. I can see de bend in de creek jus' below our house, an' de cows as dey come to drink in de shallow water an' gits dere feets cool. "Yassuh, white folks, you ain't neber seed nothin' lak it so you can't tell de joy you gits fum lookin' for dewberries an' a huntin' guinea pigs, an' settin' in de shade of a peach tree, reachin' up an' pullin' off a ripe peach and eatin' it slow. You ain't neber seed your people gathered 'bout an' singin' in de moonlight or heered de lark at de break of day. You ain't neber walked acrost a frosty fiel' in de early mornin', an' gone to de big house to build a fire for your Mistis, an' when she wake up slow have her say to you: 'Well, how's my little nigger today?' "Nawsuh, jus' lak I told you at fus'. I was bawn a slave, but I ain't neber been one. I'se been a worker for good peoples. You wouldn't calls dat bein' a slave would you, white folks?"[Note: The following excerpts were taken from another interview conducted with the preceding person. All repeated information has been omitted.] When asked who the "pattyrollers" were, Aunt Nicey, said, "Dey was white men, who whipped de slaves ef dey catch dem out widout a pass from dere Marster or overseer. I 'members one evein' Margaret Shaver an' I was goin' atter de cows down in de fiel' an' us seed whut I reckon was de Ku Kluf Klan mens. Us was so skeered us didn't know what it was, us tole Marse Jim dat we see sumthin' whut had long years, an' wings, an' dey axed us who libed on dis place? An' us tole dem dat us didn't know, us was jes' going atter water, but dey didn't bodder us. Marse Jim jes smiled an' said dat dey wouldn't bodder us so long as us behaves. I sho' was skeery den, cayse at night atter de days wurk was done, us all would go to de house and ol' Miss wud gib us certain tasks, sich as cardin' de cotton an' de wool, den spinnin' de thread an' weavin' de cloth. Dere was one woman by de name ob Hannah Davis who done all de weavin' an' de cookin'. Den dere was anudder widder women who did all de milkin'. Dey sho' had plenty ob milk cayse Marse Jim had droves of cattle. Atter our task was finished in de big house at night, I'd be skeered tuh go tuh our cabin, an' sometimes I wud beg ol' Miss to let me stay wide her an' she would let me make a pallett but den I'd call her durin' de night to know ef she was wake, so ol' miss quit lettin' me stay dere, an' when I'd hab to go tuh de cabin by mahse'f an' I'd holler all de way dere, an' den mah mamma wud whip me. I 'members gittin' whippin's cayse I was so 'omanish, and would git out mah place, but I thank God 'cayse I knows how tuh stay in mah place now, an' I hab been through so much, but I'se allus had he'p from de white folks, cayse I knowed how tuh stay in mah place. Nicey said "dat Marse Jim's house warn't so big, but hit set in front ob de cabins, dat was built of logs and ceiled wid planks an' de chimneys dat was made of clay an' sticks. Dey didn't hab beds lack dey do now, de beds were built wid boards nailed to de wall, wid one leg at de corner away from de wall. Dey was happy days, too. I sumtimes wish I cud be back on de ol' place. I kin see de dairy now whar dey kept de milk an' butter out in de back yard, dere was de big bored well, where dere was two buckets on de chain to draw de water wid, an' us wud draw de water an put in de (cistern) round hole under de dairy to keep de milk fresh and sweet. "Den I 'members gatherin' de eggs an' de las' whippin ol' Miss gib me was, I had gone out and picked up a lap full of guinea eggs an' 'ste'd me bringin' dem tuh de house, I went tuh de peach tree tuh git peaches, an' broke four ob de eggs. Thinking 'bout dem trees, I 'members when ol' Marster planted dem an' den I 'members pickin' de peaches."Anudder whippin' I got afore dat, was when I went wid brudder Joe tuh de wild turkey pen tuh bring de turkeys home an' I'se let one de turkeys git away, an' brudder Joe sho' beat me, an' den ol' Marster whip him fo' whippin' me. Aunt Nicey said, "Joe would build a trap dat was covered over an' den wud dig a hole under one side an' prop de trap up, den he wud sweep a long path clean leading tuh de trap, and place corn all along dis path, so de turkeys would eat right up to de trap and den goin tuh git de odder corn inside, den de trap wud spring down an' shet de turkeys inside, an' dey would nebber look down tuh come out de hole, but wud look up an' try tuh git out dat way. Oh, dem was good times, Marster Jim was so good, us nebber had no overseer, an' he provided well, we jes had home made chothes an' shoes. De men wud shear de sheep and' us chilluns wud pick de burrs out ob de wool and den wash it an' spread it on de grass tuh dry, den we'd card it an den spin de thread, an' weave de cloth. Dat was harder tuh do dan spinning de cotton and weaving it. Our dresses were plain ansenberg an' we would dye it wid cherry bark, dogwood and gallberry, an' our shoes was made dere on de place by George Bettis one ob de slaves, Marse Jim had plenty ob hides an' he had George tuh make de shoes. Dey was plain heavy red tanned shoes. For Sunday us had mingled calico dresses, dat us wore tuh church when us went. Us didn't hab no church our own, but we'd sit in de back ob de white folk's church."Sumtimes us slaves would hab meetin' down in a li'l shed on de lower end ob de quarter when Marse Jim gib us a paper 'lowin' us to; but us had tuh be quiet and not make no heap o' noise. Marse Jim neber read de Bible tuh us, as I 'members, 'ceptin' once, when mah paw was plannin' tuh run away 'cayse he an' anudder one ob de slaves had had a fuss, so Marse Jim talk to dem an' den got his Bible an' read to dem, an' talk to paw, 'cayse Marse Jim said paw was de smartest an' de honestest nigger he had. He den gib paw a pair ob wool pants atter dat. Marse Jim had twelve slaves an' he sho' tho't a heap o' paw, 'cayse when de Yankees come through, he called all de slaves an' exed dem ef dey was going away when dey was free, an' he said tuh paw, Hamp is you going away an' paw said I reckon so 'cayse I ain't got nothing, so Marse Jim gib paw twenty five cents and paw went off sum whar an' cum back de nex mawning wid a li'l piece ob meat. I 'members when I just hyard dat I was free, I was out sweepin' de bac' yard an' Margaret Shaver come a runnin' an' tol' me, us was free. I knowed sumthin' was agoing to happen, 'cayse Marse Jim was so worried an' "Miss" Marfa cried so much an' dey didn't eat much b'fore den, an' when Marse Jim called us all up and axed us ef us was going tuh stay. Miss Marfa den went in her room an' locked de door an' wouldn't let none ob us in. I 'members going to de door an' beggin her tuh let me in. "Den on Friday, paw took us ober tuh Widow Harris' house to lib. Widow Harris was rich and she tuk me into her house tuh he'p de house girl, an' on de following Tuesday de Yankees come through, an' honey, I'se neber been as skeered in mah life as I was den. A great crowd o' men rode up on horses all dressed in ol' blue suits an' den dey turned all de horses loose an' come up tuh de door an' Miss Harris made me go to de door an' dey axed me fo' sum salt, so I went runnin' back to Miss Harris an' she tol' me to giv dem de salt den her an' de house girl an' I got under de bed, In a few minutes dey called agin an' wanted matches so Miss Harris said gib dem de matches, den I runned back an got under de bed, an' dere we stayed all night on a pallett, Miss Harris an' us two slaves. Nes' mawning I got up an' went out in de yard an' dere was de men, an' dey azed if I wanted a bone, an' I said yas suh, but I was skeered tuh death, I went running back in de house and crawled under de bed, an' de slave gal an' I got grease all ober us gnawing dat bone under de bed. Atter while de mens called and said tuh me whut's yo' crying 'bout, an' I tol' dem I was cold an' dey laughed an' said, 'you needn't be afraid, we is going now, and you can go wid us if you wants to, 'cayse you'se free."Den dey rode off, and, Lor', Missy, yo' ought tuh seed Miss Harris' place, dey had killed two ob her big, fine hogs an' barbecued dem, an' had opened a new barrel o' 'lasses an' lef' hit open an' dere was 'lasses all ober de place, hit run clean tuh de branch from de house. We was glad dey was gone, 'cayse jes' afore de Yankees cum Miss Harris an' us tuk big stone jars ob lard out tuh a big gully an' hid dem, an' covered dem over wid straw. Dem was good days eben do dey was plenty ob work to do, an' I wish I cud go back tuh de table an' eat again lack we did den. State: Arkansas Interviewee: Jackson, Clarice Eighteenth and Virginia, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age 82 "I was six or seven when they begin goin' to the Civil War. We had a big old pasture opposite and I know they would bring the soldiers there and drill 'em. "Oh my God, don't talk about slavery. They kept us in so you know we couldn't go around."But if they kept 'em a little closer now, the world would be a better place. I'm so glad I raised my children when they was raisin' children. If I told 'em to do a thing, they did it 'cause I would always know what was best. I got here first you know."People now'days is just shortening their lives. The Lord is pressin' is now tryin' to press us back. But thank God I'm saved."Did you over see things like they is now? "I looks at the young folks and it seems like they is all in a hurry--looks like they is on the last round. "These here seabirds, (a music machine called seaburg--ed.) is ruinin' the young folks."I feels my age now, but I thank the Lord I got a home and got a little income. "My children can't help me--ain't got nothin' to help with but a little wishin'. My daughter been bustin' the buds for a livin' 'bout thirty-two Mrs now."I never went to school. My dad put me to work after freedom and then when schools got so numerous, I got too big. Ain't but one thing I went to learn this side of the River, is to read the Bible. I wants to confirm Jesus' words."The fus' place we went after we left the home place durin' of the war, we went to Wolf Creek. And then they pressed 'em so close we went to Red River. And they pressed 'em so close again we went to Texas and that's where we was when freedom come."That was in July and they closed the crap (crop) and then six weeks 'fore Christmas they loaded the wagons and started back to Arkansas. We come back to the Johnson place and stayed there three years, then my father rented the Alexander place on the Tamo."I stayed right there till I married. I married quite young, but I had a good husband. I ain't sayin' this just 'cause he's sleepin' but ever'body will tell you he was good to me. Made a good livin' and I wore what I wanted to."He come from South Carolina way before the war. Come from Abbeville. They was emigratin' the folks. "I tell you all I can, but I won't tell you nothin' but the truth." Owns her home and lives on the income from rental property. Interviewer Mrs. Bernice Bowden" Additional Interview "My daughter's got a big old black snake on her arm. I got scared of a snake. I was goin' across some water on a log and a little bit of a snake was comin' toward me. "I tell you the truth, I seen a man---his name was Meyers Edwards and he worked for my husband down on the Johnson place---he had a whole snake started on his neck. The snake's head p'inted to his head and just come right down over his shoulder under his arm." Age 82 Jones, Eliza 610 E. Eighteenth Pine Bluff, Arkansas (Mrs. Bernice Bowden) Jackson, Clarice -- Additional Interview "I tell you the truth, I seen a man---his name was Meyers Edwards and he worked for my husband down on the Johnson place---he had a whole snake started on his neck. The snake's head p'inted to his head and just come right down over his shoulder under his arm."This information given by Clarice Jackson; Place of residence - Eighteenth and Virginia, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Occupation - None; Age - 82. "Was I here in slavery days? Well, I remember when the soldiers went to war. Oh, I'm old -- I ain't no baby. But I been well taken care of -- I been treated well. "I was bred and born right here in Arkansas and been livin' here all the time 'cept when they said the Yankees was comin'. I know we was just closin' up a crop. They put us in wagons and carried us to Wolf Creek in Teras and then they carried us to Red River. That was because it would be longer 'fore we found out we was free and they would get more work out a us."Old master's name was Robert Johnson and they called him Bob."After freedom they brought us back to Arkansas and put the colored folks to workin' on the shares. Yes'm they said they got their share. They looked like they was well contented. They stayed three or four years. We was treated more kinder and them that was not big enough to work was lot go to school. I went to school awhile and then I had a hard spell of sickness -- it was this slow fever. I was sick five or six weeks and it was a long time 'fore I could get my health so I didn't try to go to school no more. Seemed like I forgot everything I knowed."When I was fifteen I got tired of workin' so hard so I got married, but I found out things was wusser. But my husband was good to me. Yes ma'm, he was a good man and nice to me. He was a good worker. He was deputy assessor under Mr. Triplett and he was a deputy sheriff and then he was a magistrate. Oh, he was a up-to-date man. He went to school after we was married and wanted me to go but I thought too much of my childun. When he died, 'bout two years ago, he left me this house and two rent houses. Yes ma'm, he was a good man. "They ain't nothin' to this here younger generation. Did you ever see 'em goin' so fast? They won't take time to let you tell 'em anything. They is in a hurry. The world is too fast for me, but thank the Lord my childun is all settled. I got some nieces and nephews though that is goin' too fast. "Yes'm, I'm gettin' along all right. I ain't got nothin' to complain of." Interviewer Mrs. Bernice Bowden" State: Arkansas Interviewee: Jackson, Israel 3505 Short Second, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age 78 "My name's Israel Jackson. No ma'am, I wasn't born in Arkansas--born in Yaller Bush County, Mississippi August de third, 1860. "My old master? Called him General--General Bradford. I don't know where he was but he was gone somewhere. Don't know her name--just called her missis."Yes'm, I was big enough to work. Dey had me to lead out my young master's horse on de grass. I had a halter on it and one time I laid down and went to sleep. I had de rope tied to my leg and when it come twelve o'clock de horse drug me clear to de house. No ma'am, I didn't wake up till I got to de house. It was my young master's saddle horse."Yes'm, I knowed dey was a war 'cause de man come past just as thick. No'm, I wasn't afraid. I kept out of de way. Old missis wouldn't let us get in de way. I 'member dey stopped dere and told us we was free. Lots of de folks went off but my mother kept workin' in de field, and my father didn't leave."Old master had us go by his name. Dat's what dey called 'em--all de hands on de place."I thought from boyhood he was awful cruel. Didn't 'low us chillun in de white folks' house at all. Had one woman dat cooked. Day was fifty or a hundred chillun on de place and dey had a big long trough dug out of a log and each chile had a spoon and he'd eat out of dat trough. Yas'm, I 'member dat. Kat greens and milk. As for meat, we didn't know what dat was. My mother would go huntin' at night and get a 'possum to feed us and sometimes old master would ketch her and take it away from her and give her a piece of salt meat. But sometimes she'd bury a 'possum till she had a chance to cook it. And dey'd take sackin' like you make cotton sacks and dye it and make us clothes."When de conch would blow at four o'clock every mornin' everybody got up and got ready for de field. Dey'd take dere chillun up to dat big long house. When nother went to de field I'd go along and lead de horse till I got to where dey was workin', then I'd sit down and let the horse sat. I was young and it's been so long."No ma'am, I never went to school. No ma'am, can't read or write. Never had no schools as I remember."Dey stayed on de place after freedom. No ma'am, dey did not pay 'em. I'se old but I ain't forgot dat. Dey fed theirselves by stealin' and gettin' things in de woods."After dem Blue Jackets come in dere General Bradford never did come back and our folks stayed dere and when dey did leave dey went to Sunflower County. After dat we got along better."How many brothers and sisters? I b'lieve I had five."I stayed with my parents till I was grown. No ma'am, dey didn't 'low us to marry. When we was twenty we was neither man nor boy; we was considered a hobble-de-hoy. And when we got to be twenty-one we was considered a man and your parents turned you loose, a man. So I left home and went to Louisana. I stayed dere a year, then I went back to Mississippi and worked. I come here to Arkansas twenty-six years ago. Is die Jefferson? Well, I come here to de west end. "Since I been here I been workin' at de foundry--Dilley's foundry."'Bout two years ago I got sick and broke up and not able to work and Mr. Dilley give me a pension--ten dollars a month. But de wages and hour got here now and I don't know what he's gwine do. When de next pay-day comes he might give me somethin' and he might not."Miss, de white folks has done so bad here dat I don't know what day's gwine a do. Mr. Ed and his father been takin' care of me for twenty years. Day sure has been takin' care of me. Miss, I can't find no fault of Mr. Ed Dilley at all. "I can do a little light work but when I work half a day I get nervous and can't do nothin'. "No ma'am, I never did vote. Dey didn't 'low us to vote. Well, if dey did I didn't know it and I didn't vote."Well, Miss, I think de young folks is near to de dogs and de dogs ought to have 'em and bury 'em. Miss, I don't 'cept none of 'am. I wouldn't want to go on and tell you how dey has treated me. Dey ain't no use to ask 'cause I ain't gwine tell you. The people is more wicked and more wuss and ever'thing. I don't think nothin' of 'em."Miss, let me tell you de only folks dat showed me any friendly is Mr. Ed Dilley. I worked out dere night and day, Sunday and Monday--any time he called."Miss, I ain't never seen any jail house; I ain't never been to police headquarters; I ain't never been called a witness in my life. I try to live right, all I know, and if I do wrong it's somethin' I don't know. I ain't had dat much trouble in my life."I went up here to Judge Brewster to see about de pension and he said, 'Got a home?' I said, 'Yes.' 'Got it paid for?' 'Yes.' 'Got a deed?' 'Yes.' 'Got a abstract?' 'Yes.' 'Well, bring it up here and sign it and go get de pension.' "But I wouldn't do it. Miss, I would starve till I was as stiff as a peckerwood peckin' at a hole 'fore I'd sign anything on my deed. Miss, I wouldn't put a scratch on my deed. I wouldn't trust 'em, wouldn't trust 'em if dey was behind a Winchester." Interviewer Miss Irene Robertson" Helena, Arkansas State: Arkansas Interviewee: Jackson, Virginia Age 74 "Mother said I was born the same year peace was declared. I was born before the Civil War close, I reckon. I was born in Tunisa, Mississippi. Mother belong to Mistress Cornelia and Master John Hood. He come from Alabama in wagons and brought mother and whole lot of 'em, she said, to Tunica, Mississippi. My mother and father never sold. They told me that. She said she was with the master and he give her to father. He ask her did she want him and ask him if he want her. They lived on joint places. They slept together on Wednesday and Saturday nights. He stayed at Hood's place on Sunday. They was owned by different masters. They didn't never say 'bout stepping over no broom. He was a Prince. When he died she married a man named Russell. I never heard her say what his name was. My father was Mathew Prince. They was both field hands. I never knowed my father. I called my stepfather popper. I always did say mother."Mother said her master didn't tell them it was freedom. Other folks got told in August. They passed it 'round secretly. Some Yankees come asked if they was getting paid for picking cotton in September. They told their master. They told the Yankees 'yes' 'cause they was afraid they would be run off and no place to go. They said Master Hood paid them well for their work at cotton selling time. He never promised them nothing. She said he never told one of them to leave or to stay. He let 'em be. I reckon they got fed. I wore cotton sack dresses. It wasn't bagging. It was heavy stiff cloth. "Mother and her second husband come to Forrest City. They hoped they could do better. I come too. I worked in the field all my whole life 'cepting six years I worked in a laundry. I washed and ironed. I am a fine ironer. If I was younger I could get all the mens' shirts I could do now. I do a few but I got neuralgia in my arms and shoulders. "I don't believe in talking 'bout my race. They always been lady folks and smart folks, and they still is. The present times is good for me. I'm so thankful. I get ten dollars and some help, not much. I don't go after it. I let some that don't get much as I get have it. I told 'em to do that way." Slave Narratives State: Arkansas Interviewee: King, Anna "Some of 'em stayed in Memphis but I wouldn't stay 'cause dat's the meanest place in the world. State: Arkansas Interviewee: Shaver, Roberta West Memphis, Arkansas Age 50 "I was born close to Natchez, Mississippi. Grandma was sold at Wickerson County, Mississippi. They took her in a wagon to Jackson, Tennessee. She was mother of two children. They took them. She was part Indian. She was a farm woman. Her name was Dicy Jackson. They sold her away from the Jacksons to Dobbins. She was a house woman in Jackson, Tennessee. She said they was good to her in Tennessee. Grandma never was hit a lick in slavery. Grandpa was whooped a time or two. He run off to the woods for weeks and come back starved. He tended to the stock and drove Master Clayton around. He was carriage driver when they wanted to go places."After freedom grandma set out to get back to grandpa. Walked and rode too I reckon. She brought her children back. After a absence of five years she and grandpa went back together. They met at Natchez, Mississippi. Mama was born after freedom."The way grandma said she was sold was, a strange man come there one day and the master had certain ones he would sell stand in a line and this strange man picked out the ones he wanted and had them get their belongings and put them in the wagon and took them on off. She never seen grandpa for five years." Interviewer Mrs. Bernice Bowden" State: Alabama Interviewee: Lewis, Cudjoe (Alabama Archives, Montgomery. Louise Porter (Colored) Identification No. 0149-4249. Federal Writers Project, Dist. 6. WPA Project 694, New No. 2661. August 15, 1936) On April 20, 1861, the last cargo of negro slaves imported to the United States was brought to Mobile. This date was given by the obituary of Captain Tim Meaher, who died in 1892. The War between the States at this time was already on, and this black cargo created quite a sensation in Mobile, and the South, hundreds going down to the foot of St Anthony St to see the slaves gibbering in their tribal language.The planters of the South generally did not desire savages from Africa, but desired those either born in the United States or the West Indian Islands, because they did not have to break them in for laboring purposes. The schooner Clotilde sailed from Lonanda in Africa with several hundred negroes, prisoners captured by the warriors of the tribe in a war with another tribe, and sold to American speculators. The Clotilde safely reached the Mississippi sound and was taken in charge by Captain Tim Meaher and run up Mobile Bay and river by night. The negroes were then hidden in the delta marshes of upper Baldwin County at the head of Mobile Bay, and the Clotilde was taken to Bayou Conner and burned to the hull edge. The authorities took proceedings against Captain Tim Meaher, and although the case was tried with able lawyers on either side, the Captain of the Clotilde was kept out of the way and Captain Meaher proved that he had been in and about Mobile all the time. The result was that he was acquitted. After everything had blown over the slaves were divided by Captain Meaher among different person in interest. Many of the negroes were sent up the river to plantations, others were also employed in building redans and redoubts up the river, while the remainder remained in the neighborhood of Mobile river above Mobile on Meaher's land and that part of the suburb of Plateau known as "Affrishy Town", were up to the death of these slaves (Cudjoe Lewis, the subject of this article being the last), the pure African Lonanda tribal was spoken.These last slaves were known as the "Tarkars", an African tribe, captured and brought here on the ship "Clotilde". In this number was Raseola Lewis, but later known to every one as "Uncle Cudjoe Lewis". Uncle Cudjoe lived in an old cabin, next door to the Union Baptist Church in the Plateau Community for nearly a century or until he died Friday, October 2nd, 1935, being the last of the number who came on the "Clotilde". He was a member of this church and served as janitor for seventy years, very active, and able to perform his duties until a few months before he died at the ripe old age of 105 years. Uncle Cudjoe was intelligent and possessed with a keen memory. He could relate stories about his early life in Africa and the United States, and was often interviewed by representatives of the leading newspapers and magazines of the country. He loved his church and could quote intelligently many scriptures in the Bible. Uncle Cudjoe's life was a great influence on the people of his community. He was respected by members of both races. Hundreds of whites as well as Negroes attended his funeral, paying homage to his bier. Members of both races spoke on the life and struggles of this historical character.The population of Plateau is 2,537 (all negroes) being descendants of Uncle Cudjoe and others who came with the last load of slaves. [Reference: Obituary of Captain Timothy Meaher, in Mobile Register, March 4, 1892; Mobile Under Five Flags, by Peter J. Hamilton; Dropped Stitches from Mobile's Past, by Erwin Craigbad, in The Mobile Register, Sunday, April 21, 1929; The Mobile Sun, Negro paper.]