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Ancient Tumuli on the Oconee River

About a mile and a half north of the Fontenoy Mills, in Greene County, Georgia, and located on the left bank of the Oconee River, are three tumuli surrounded by traces of extensive and long-continued inhumations. The largest (A) is situated rather more than 100 yards east of the river, and rises about 40 feet above the level of the valley. In general outline it may be described as a truncated cone. Its apex diameters, measured north and south, and east and west, were respectively, 65 and 68 feet. At the base, however, the flanks are extended in the direction of the east and west to such a degree that there is a difference of 35 feet between the base-diameters running north and south, and east and west; the former being 133 feet and the latter 168 feet. At the center of the top may be seen a circular depression, some 20 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Toward the north the face of this tumulus is quite precipitous. When first observed by the European, this monument was covered with a growth of trees as dense and apparently as old as that of the circumjacent lowlands. When the neighboring fields were cleared, this mound was also denuded of its vegetation and cultivated, its rich surface yielding generous harvests both of corn and cotton. Although now overgrown with brambles and small trees, which materially retarded minute inspection, it appeared quite probable from the scars on the surface of the valley in the immediate vicinity, that some severe freshet years ago impinged upon the northern base of this mound and carried...

Slave Narrative of Mary Colbert

Interviewer: Sadie B. Hornsby Person Interviewed: Mary Colbert Location: Athens, Georgia (NOTE: This is the first story we have had in which the client did not use any dialect. Mary Colbert’s grammar was excellent. Her skin was almost white, and her hair was quite straight. None of us know what a “deep” slave was. It may have the same meaning as outlandish Negro. The “outlandish Negroes” were those newly arrived Negroes who had just come in from any country outside of the United States of America, and were untrained. They were usually just from Africa. Sarah H. Hall) With the thermometer registering 93 degrees in the shade on a particularly humid July day, the visitor trudged up one steep, rocky alley and down another, hesitantly negotiated shaky little bridges over several ravines, scrambled out of a ditch, and finally arrived at the address of Mary Colbert. It was the noon hour. A Negro man had tied his mule under an apple tree in one corner of Mary’s yard. The animal was peacefully munching hay while his master enjoyed lunch from a battered tin bucket. Asked if Mary was at home, the man replied: “Yessum, jus’ call her at de door.” A luxuriant Virginia creeper shaded the front porch of Mary’s five-room frame house, where a rap on the front door brought the response: “Here I am, honey! Come right on through the house to the back porch.” The aged mulatto woman was hanging out clothes on a line suspended between two peach trees. To the inquiry for Mary, she answered: “Yes, Honey, this is Mary. They say I am...

Slave Narrative of Bill Austin

Interviewer: Martin Richardson Person Interviewed: Bill Austin Location: Greenwood, Florida Bill Austin – he says his name is NOT Williams – is an ex-slave who gained his freedom because his mistress found it more advantageous to free him than to watch him. Austin lives near Greenwood, Jackson County, Florida, on a small farm that he and his children operate. He says that he does not know his age, does not remember ever having heard it. But he must be pretty old, he says, “cause I was a right smart size when Mistuh Smith went off to fight.” He thinks he may be over a hundred – and he looks it – but he is not sure. Austin was born between Greene and Hancock Counties, on the Oconee River, in Georgia. He uses the names of the counties interchangeably; he cannot be definite as to just which one was his birthplace. “The line between ’em was right there by us,” he says. His father was Jack; for want of a surname of his own he took that of his father and called himself Jack Smith. During a temporary shortage of funds on his master’s part, Jack and Bill’s mother was sold to a planter in the northern part of the state. It was not until long after his emancipation that Bill ever saw either of them again. Bill’s father Jack was regarded as a fairly good carpenter, mason and bricklayer; at times his master would let him do small jobs of repairing a building for neighboring planters. These jobs sometimes netted him hams, bits of cornmeal, cloth for dresses for...

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