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Person Interviewed: Hattie Thomas
Location: Dade County, Florida
Hattie Thomas was six years old when peace was declared. She was ‘borned’ near Custer, Ga. on Bob Morris’ plantation. At the tender age of five, she can remember of helping to care for the other children, some of whom were her own brothers and children, for her mother kept her eight children with her.
Bob Morris’ plantation being a large one, the problem of feeding all the slaves and their children was, in itself, a large one. Hattie can well remember of ‘towing’ the milk to the long wooden troughs for the children. Her mother and the other servants would throw bread crusts and corn breads into the milk troughs and when they would become well-soaked, all the little slave-children would line up with their spoons.
“So it happened that the ones who could eat the fastest would be the ones who would get the fattest.
“We had a good plenty to eat and it didn’t make much difference how it was served. We got it just the same and didn’t know any better.
“We stayed on after de ‘mancipation an’ ah wants t’ tell y’ ah worked hard in dose days. Of course, ah worked hardest after Peace wuz declared.
“I wuz on dat plantation when there wuz no matches. Yes, dat wuz befo’ matches wuz made an’ many-a time ah started fire in de open fire place by knookin’ two stones together until I’d sen’ sparks into a wad o’cotton until it took fire.
“Now, mind y’ this was on Bob Morrison’s plantation between Custard and Cotton Hill, Ga. We had no made brooms; we just bound broom corn tops together and used them for brooms and brushes. We didn’t have no stoves either. We just cooked in a high pot on a rack. I done all dat.
“Ah haint had no husband for 38 years, but ah raised two sets o’chilluns, nine in all and now ah has 25 grandchildren and I don’t know how many great gran’ chillun.”