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Slave Narrative of Daniel Waring

Interviewer: Stiles M. Scruggs Person Interviewed: Daniel Waring Location: Columbia, South Carolina Place of Birth: Fairfield County, South Carolina Date of Birth: 1849 Age: 88 “I was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina, in 1849, and my parents, Tobias and Becky Waring was slaves of the Waring family, and the Bookters and Warings was kin folks. When I was just a little shaver I was told I b’longed to the family of the late Colonel Edward Bookter of upper Fairfield County. “The Bookter plantation was a big one, with pastures for cattle, hogs and sheep; big field of cotton, corn and wheat, and ’bout a dozen Negro families livin’ on it, mostly out of sight from the Bookter’s big house. Two women and three or four Negro chillun work there, preparin’ the food and carin’ for the stock. I was one of the chillun. Colonel Bookter’s household had three boys; one bigger than me and two not quite as big as me. We play together, drive up the cows together, and carry on in friendly fashion all the time. The nigger chillun eat with the two black women in a place fixed for them off from the kitchen, after the white folks finish. We generally have same food and drink that the white folks have. “When I was ’bout eleven years old my master took me to Columbia one Saturday afternoon, and while Colonel Bookter was ’round at a livery stable on Assembly Street, he give me some money and tell me I could stroll ’round a while. I did, and soon find myself with ’bout a dozen of...

Slave Narrative of Alfred Sligh

Interviewer: Stiles M. Scruggs Person Interviewed: Alfred Sligh Location: Columbia, South Carolina Place of Birth: Newberry County, South Carolina Date of Birth: 1837 Age: 100 Place of Residence: 1317 Gregg Street Ex-Slave 100 Years Old Alfred Sligh, who lives in a rented house at 1317 Gregg Street, says he was born in Newberry County, South Carolina, in 1837. His hair is white and he is feeble. He goes about the city, on fair days, collecting small sums of money from his white friends and sometimes from his own race. In this way he earns most of his income. “My folks was slaves of the Sligh family for many years, befo’ I was born. My mammy and daddy and me b’long to Butler Sligh, at de time I begin to do chores and take notice of things. I be nearly half grown when my young master, Butler Sligh, am just four years old. He die, four or five years ago. I guess you ‘member, ’cause he was a powerful well-known white man. He was seventy-five years old when he die. “De young master, he name for my old master. De old master and ‘most all de white men of de neighborhood, ’round ’bout us, march off to de war in 1861. One day I see them ridin’ down de big road on many hosses and they wavin’ deir hats and singin’: ‘We gwine to hang Abe Lincoln on a sour apple tree!’ and they in fine spirits. My young master, Butler, who they call Junior at de time, he am too young to go with them so we stay home...

Slave Narrative of Mack Taylor

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Mack Taylor Location: Ridgeway, South Carolina Age: 97 Mack Taylor lives six miles southeast of Ridgeway, S.C., on his farm of ninety-seven acres. The house, in which he resides, is a frame house containing six rooms, all on one floor. His son, Charley, lives with him. Charley is married and has a small family. “Howdy do sir! I sees you a good deal goin’ backwards and forwards to Columbia. I has to set way back in de bus and you sets up to de front. I can’t ketch you to speak to you, as you is out and gone befo’ I can lay hold of you. But, as Brer Fox ‘lowed to Brer Rabbit, when he ketched him wid a tar baby at a spring, ‘I is got you now.’ “I’s been wantin’ to ask you ’bout dis old age pension. I’s been to Winnsboro to see ’bout it. Some nice white ladies took my name and ask me some questions, but dat seem to be de last of it. Reckon I gwine to get anything? “Well, I’s been here mighty nigh a hundred years, and just ’cause I pinched and saved and didn’t throw my money away on liquor, or put it into de palms of every Jezabel hussy dat slant her eye at me, ain’t no valuable reason why them dat did dat way and ‘joyed deirselves can get de pension and me can’t get de pension. ‘Tain’t fair! No, sir. If I had a knowed way back yonder, fifty years ago, what I knows now, I might of gallavanted ’round...

Slave Narrative of Isom Roberts

Interviewer: Henry Grant Person Interviewed: Isom Roberts Location: Columbia, South Carolina Place of Residence: 1226 Waverly Street, Columbia, SC Age: 80 Ex-Slave 80 Years Old Isom Roberts rents one room at 1226 Waverly Street, Columbia, S.C., and lives alone. However frail he appears, he is able to support himself by working in the yards about the city. “Well, sir, white folks, I is eighty years old, or leastwise I is so close to it, dat it don’t make much difference. But even if I is dat old, it don’t seem so long since I was a little boy. Years flies by mighty fas’ to old folks, ’cause deir ‘memberance is shorter, while young folks ‘members everything, and in dat way months and years drags ‘long slower to them. “I was a very small boy when de Civil War was gwine on. It seems like I knows all ’bout Sherman’s army comin’ through dis State, a burnin’ Columbia and destroyin’ and takin’ away everything what folks had. I has heard so much ’bout slavery and all them times, from my mammy and daddy, dat it ‘pears to me dat I ‘sperienced it all. I ‘spects knowin’ ’bout things is just ’bout as good and true as seein’ them. Don’t you? “My daddy and mammy b’long to Marster Sam Louie, who had a big plantation over in Calhoun County. He had ’bout fifty or more grown slaves, ‘sides many chillun of de slaves. Old marster was a good farmer; raised big crops and saved what he made. He sho’ was a fine business man but he was mighty hard on everybody...

Slave Narrative of Uncle Ransom Simmons

Interviewer: Hattie Mobley Person Interviewed: Ransom Simmons Location: Columbia, South Carolina Place of Birth: Mississippi Age: 104 Uncle Ransom is one of the few remaining slaves who still lives and whose mind is still clear and active. He has just passed his one-hundred and fourth birthday, was born in Mississippi, and brought to South Carolina by his master Wade Hampton, the father of the illustrious General Wade Hampton, before the Civil War. When the war broke out and General Wade Hampton went to war Uncle Ransom cried to be allowed to follow his young master. He went and served as a body guard. Uncle Ransom learned to read the Bible while attending a night school held for slaves before freedom, and it was only in recent years that he was taught to write his name. This old man lives alone in a shack at Taylor, a little village on the outskirts of Columbia. He is furnished with all the milk and ice cream he can eat by the Columbia Dairy. He purchases a little food with the state pension of twenty-five dollars a year paid to Negroes who served the Confederacy in some military capacity. Uncle Ransom says his master was the kindest man in the world, and that as far as he is concerned, he has never had a worry in his life, and as he said this, his face radiated with a broad and satisfied...

Slave Narrative of Ned Walker

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Ned Walker Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Place of Birth: Winnsboro, South Carolina Age: 83 Ned Walker lives in the village of White Oak, near Winnsboro, S.C., in a two-room frame house, the dwelling of his son-in-law, Leander Heath, who married his daughter, Nora. Ned is too old to do any work of a remunerative character but looks after the garden and chickens of his daughter and son-in-law. He is a frequent visitor to Winnsboro, S.C. He brings chickens and garden produce, to sell in the town and the Winnsboro Hill’s village. He is tall, thin, and straight, with kind eyes. Being one of the old Gaillard Negroes, transplanted from the Santee section of Berkeley County, in the Low Country, to the red hills of Fairfield County, in the Up Country, he still retains words and phrases characteristic of the Negro in the lower part of South Carolina. “Yes sir, I’s tall and slim lak a saplin’; maybe dat a good reason I live so long. Doctor say lean people lives longer than fat people. “I hear daddy read one time from de Bible ’bout a man havin’ strength of years in his right hand and honor and riches in his left hand, but whenever I open dat left hand dere is nothin’ in it. ‘Spect dat promise is comin’ tho’, when de old age pension money gits down here from Washington. When you ‘spect it is comin’? De palm of my hand sho’ begin to itch for dat greenback money. So you think it’s on de way? Well, thank God for dat but it seem...

Slave Narrative of Martha Richardson

Interviewer: Stiles M. Scruggs Person Interviewed: Martha Richardson Location: Columbia, South Carolina Place of Residence: 924 Senate Street, Columbia, SC Date of Birth: 1860 Martha Richardson, who tells this story, lives at 924 Senate Street, Columbia, S.C. Her father was an Indian and her mother a mulatto. She was born in Columbia in 1860 and was five years old, when General W.T. Sherman’s Federal troops captured and burned the city in 1865. “When I gits big ‘nough to pick up chips for de cook stove, we was livin’ in de rear of Daniel Gardner’s home, on Main Street, and my mammy was workin’ as one of de cooks at de Columbia Hotel. De hotel was run by Master Lowrance, where de Lorick & Lowrance store is now. “My daddy, like de general run of Indians, love to hunt but de game not bring much cash in. My mammy often give him some change (money) and he not work much but he always good to mammy and she love him and not fuss at him, much. I soon learn dat if it had not been for mammy, we wouldn’t a had much to eat and wear. We go ‘long lak dat for a good while and my mammy have friends ‘nough dat she seldom had to ask for a job. “De game was so scarce dat my daddy sometimes make a little money a showin’ people how to make Indian medicine, dat was good for many complaints, how to cover deir houses, and how to kill deir hogs, ‘cordin’ to de moon. He tell us many times ’bout de great...

Slave Narrative of Jesse Rice

Interviewer: Caldwell Sims Person Interviewed: Jesse Rice Date of Interview: January 8, 1938 Location: Gaffney, South Carolina Stories From Ex-Slaves “My people tells me a lot about when I was a lil’ wee boy. I has a clear mind and I allus has had one. My folks did not talk up people’s age like folks do dese days. Every place dat I be now, ‘specially round dese government folks, first thing dat dey wants to know is your name. Well, dat is quite natu’al, but de very next question is how old you is. I don’t know, why it is, but dey sho do dat. As my folks never talked age, it never worried me till jes’ here of late. So dey says to me dat last week I give one age to de man, and now I gives another. Soon I see’d dat and I had to rest my mind on dat as well as de mind of de government folks. So I settled it at 80 years old. Dat gives me respect from everybody dat I sees. Den it is de truth, too, kaise I come along wid everybody dat is done gone and died now. De few white folks what I was contemperment (contemporary) wid, ‘lows dat I is 80 and dey is dat, too. “You know dat I does ‘member when dat Sherman man went through here wid dem awful mens he had. Dey ‘lowed dat dey was gwine to Charlotte to git back to Columbia. I never is heard of sech befo’ or since. We lived at old man Jerry Moss’s in Yorkville, way...

Slave Narrative of Sam Rawls

Interviewer: G. Leland Summer Person Interviewed: Sam Rawls Date of Interview: June 9, 1937 Location: Newberry, South Carolina Place of Birth: Lexington County, SC Date of Birth: 1835 Stories From Ex-Slaves “I was born in 1835 in Lexington County, S.C. I know I was 12 years old de last year of de war. I belonged to John Hiller in Lexington County, near Columbia, S.C. Old Marse Hiller was strict to his slaves, wasn’t mean, but often whipped ’em. I thought it was all right then. When de Yankees come through burning, killing and stealing stock, I was in marse’s yard. Dey come up whar de boss was standing, told him dere was going to be a battle, grabbed him and hit him. Dey burned his house, stole de stock, and one Yankee stuck his sword to my breast and said fer me to come wid him or he would kill me. O’ course I went along. Dey took me as fer as Broad River, on t’other side o’ Chapin; then turned me loose and told me to run fast or they would shoot me. I went fast and found my way back home by watching de sun. Dey told me to not go back to dat old man. “De slaves never learnt to read and write. If any o’ dem was caught trying to learn to read or write, dey was whipped bad. I kotched on to what de white chilluns said, and learnt by myself to say de alphabet. “We went to de white churches atter de war, and set in de gallery. Den de niggers set up...

Slave Narrative of Charlie Robinson

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Charlie Robinson Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Age: 87 Ex-Slave 87 Years Old Charlie Robinson lives nine miles northwest of Winnsboro, S.C., on lands of Mr. R.W. Lemmon. There is one other occupant in the four-room house, John Giles, a share cropper. The house has two fireplaces, the brick chimney being constructed in the center of the two main rooms. The other two rooms are shed rooms. Charlie ekes out a living as a day laborer on the farm. “They been tellin’ me to come to de social circle and see ’bout my pension but I never is got dere. It been so hot, I hate to hotfoot it nine miles to Winnsboro and huff dat same distance back on a hot summer day. “Glad you come out here but sorry of de day, ’cause it is a Friday and all de jay-birds go to see de devil dat day of de week. It’s a bad day to begin a garment, or quilt or start de lye hopper or ‘simmon beer keg or just anything important to yourself on dat day. Dere is just one good Friday in de year and de others is given over to de devil, his imps, and de jay-birds. Does I believe all dat? I believes it ‘nough not to patch dese old breeches ’til tomorrow and not start my ‘simmon beer, when de frost fall on them dis fall, on a Friday. “You wants me to set down so you can ask me sumpin’? I’ll do dat! Of course I will! (He proceeded to do so—wiping his nose...
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