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Slave Narrative of Alonzo Haywood

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks
Person Interviewed: Alonzo Haywood
Location: 1217 Oberlin Road, Raleigh, North Carolina
Age: 67
Occupation: Blacksmith

The Blacksmith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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