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Slave Narrative of Della Briscoe

Interviewer: Adella S. Dixon Person Interviewed: Della Briscoe Location: Macon, Georgia Della Briscoe, now living in Macon, is a former slave of Mr. David Ross, who owned a large plantation in Putnam County. Della, when a very tiny child, was carried there with her father and mother, Sam and Mary Ross. Soon after their arrival the mother was sent to work at the “big house” in Eatonton. This arrangement left Della, her brother and sister to the care of their grandmother, who really posed as their mother. The children grew up under the impression that their mother was an older sister and did not know the truth until just after the close of the Civil War, when the mother became seriously ill and called the children to her bedside to tell them goodbye. Mr. David Ross had a large family and was considered the richest planter in the county. Nearly every type of soil was found on his vast estate, composed of hilly sections as well as acres of lowlands. The highway entering Eatonton divided the plantation and, down this road every Friday, Della’s father drove the wagon to town with a supply of fresh butter, for Mrs. Ross’ thirty head of cows supplied enough milk to furnish the city dwellers with butter. Refrigeration was practically unknown, so a well was used to keep the butter fresh. This cool well was eighty feet deep and passed through a layer of solid rock. A rope ladder was suspended from the mouth of the well to the place where the butter was lowered for preservation. For safety, and to shield it...

Slave Narrative of Berry Clay

Interviewer: Adella S. Dixon Person Interviewed: Berry Clay Location: Macon, Georgia Age: 89 Telfair County was the home of some colored people who never were slaves, but hired their services for wages just as the race does today. Berry Clay, half Indian, half white, was the son of Fitema Bob Britt, a full blood Indian, who died shortly after his son’s birth. His mother later married William Clay, whose name was taken by the children as well as the mother. The family then moved to Macon. Clay, next [TR: ‘to the’ scratched out] oldest of five children was 89 years old on August 5, 1936, and while he was never a slave, remembers many incidents that took place then. Not many years after his mother remarried, she became very ill and he recalls being lifted by his step-father to kiss her good bye as she lay dying. After her death, the family continued to live in South Macon where the father was employed as overseer for a crew at the Railroad yard. This position often called for the punishment of slaves but he was too loyal to his color to assist in making their lives more unhappy. His method of carrying out orders and yet keeping a clear conscience was unique—the slave was taken to the woods where he was supposedly laid upon a log and severely beaten. Actually, he was made to stand to one side and to emit loud cries which were accompanied by hard blows on the log. The continuation of the two sounds gave any listener the impression that some one was severely beaten. It...

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...

Slave Narrative of Samuel Simeon Andrews

Interviewer: Rachel A. Austin Person Interviewed: Samuel Simeon Andrews Location: Jacksonville, Florida Age: 86 For almost 30 years Edward Waters College, an African Methodist Episcopal School, located on the north side of Kings Road in the western section of Jacksonville, has employed as watchman, Samuel Simeon Andrews (affectionately called “Parson”), a former slave of A.J. Lane of Georgia, Lewis Ripley of Beaufort, South Carolina, Ed Tillman of Dallas, Texas, and John Troy of Union Springs, Alabama. “Parson” was born November 18, 1850 in Macon, Georgia, at a place called Tatum Square, where slaves were held, housed and sold. “Speculators” (persons who traveled from place to place with slaves for sale) had housed 84 slaves there – many of whom were pregnant women. Besides “Parson,” two other slave-children, Ed Jones who now lives in Sparta, Georgia, and George Bailey were born in Tatum Square that night. The morning after their births, a woman was sent from the nearby A.J. Lane plantation to take care of the three mothers; this nurse proved to be “Parson’s” grandmother. His mother told him afterwards that the meeting of mother and daughter was very jubilant, but silent and pathetic, because neither could with safety show her pleasure in finding the other. At the auction which was held a few days later, his mother, Rachel, and her two sons, Solomon Augustus and her infant who was later to be known as “Parson,” were purchased by A.J. Lane who had previously bought “Parson’s” father, Willis, from a man named Dolphus of Albany, Georgia; thus were husband and wife re-united. They were taken to Lane’s plantation three miles...

Slave Narrative of Salena Taswell

Interviewer: Cora M. Taylor Person Interviewed: Salena Taswell Location: Miami, Florida 1. Where, and about when, were you born? (Answer) In Perry, Ga. in 1844. 2. If you were born on a plantation or farm, what sort of farming section was it in? (Answer) Ole Dr. Jameson’s plantation near Perry, Ga. north of Macon. 3. How did you pass the time as a child? What sort of chores did you do and what did you play? (Answer) I worked around the table in my Massy’s dining room. I didn’t play. I sometimes pulled threads for mother. She was a fine seamstress for the plantation. 4. Was your master kind to you? (Answer) Yes; I was the pet. 5. How many slaves were there on the same plantation or farm? (Answer) He must have had about 400 slaves. 6. Do you remember what kind of cooking utensils your mother used? (Answer) We had copper kettles, crocks, and iron kettles. “I waited on de table when Lincum came dare. That day we had chicken hash and batter cakes and dried venison.” 7. What were your main foods and how were they cooked? (Answer) We had everything that was good (I ate in my Massy’s kitchen) Sweet potatoes biscuits, corn bread, pies and everything we eat now. 8. Do you remember making imitation or substitute coffee by grinding up corn or peanuts? (Answer) No, we always had the best of Java coffee. I used to grind it in the coffee mill for my Massy. 9. Do you remember ever having, when you were young, any other kind of bread besides corn bread?...

Slave Narrative of Vera Roy Bobo

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person Interviewed: Vera Roy Bobo (Mulatto, almost white) Location: Holly Grove, Arkansas Age: 68 “My parents come from Macon, Georgia. My mother was Margaret Cobb. Her people were owned by the Cobbs. They reared her. She was a house girl and a seamstress. She sewed for both white and black. She was light color. “My father was St. Roy Holmes. He was a C.M.E. preacher in Georgia and later in Arkansas. He came on the train to Forrest City, 1885. He crossed the Mississippi River on a ferry boat. Later he preached at Wynne. He was light color. “I never heard them say very much about slavery. This was their own home. “My husband’s father was the son of a white man also—Randall Bobo. He used to visit us from Bobo, Mississippi. The Bobo a owned that town and were considered rich people. My husband was some darker and was born at Indian Bay, Arkansas. He was William Bobo. I never knew him till two months before I married him. We had a home wedding and a wedding supper in this...

Hitchiti Indians

Hitchiti Tribe. Perhaps from Atcik-hata, a term formerly applied to all of the Indians who spoke the Hitchiti language, and is said to refer to the heap of white ashes piled up close to the ceremonial ground. Also called: At-pasha-shliha, Koasati name, meaning “mean people.” Hitchiti Connections. The Hitchiti belonged to the Muskhogean linguistic family and were considered the mother town of the Atcik-hata group. (See Apalachicola) Hitchiti Location. The Hitchiti are oftenest associated with a location in the present Chattahoochee County, Georgia, but at an earlier period were on the lower course of the Ocmulgee River. (See also Florida and Oklahoma.) Hitchiti Villages Hihaje, location unknown. Hitchitoochee, on Flint River below its junction with Kinchafoonee Creek. Tuttallosag, on a creek of the same name, 20 miles west from Hitchitoochee. Hitchiti History. The Hitchiti are identifiable with the Ocute of De Soto’s chroniclers, who were on or near the Ocmulgee River. Early English maps show their town on the site of the present Macon, Georgia, but after 1715 they moved to the Chattahoochee, settling first in Henry County, Alabama, but later at the site above mentioned in Chattahoochee County, Georgia. From this place they moved to Oklahoma, where they gradually merged with the rest of the Indians of the Creek Confederacy. Hitchiti Population. The population of the Hitchiti is usually given in conjunction with that of the other confederate tribes. The following separate estimates of the effective male Hitchiti population are recorded: 1738, 60; 1750, 15; 1760, 50; 1761, 40; 1772, 90; in 1832 the entire population was 381. Connection in which they have become noted. In early days,...

Edwards, Elsie Ammons – Obituary

Mrs. Elsie Harris, 49, of 3277 Washington Way, Longview, died Nov. 23 in a local hospital. She was born Jan. 3, 1914 in Macon, Ga., and was a member of the Kelso Assembly of God Church. She also served as a swimming instructor for retarded children at the Longview YMCA. She is survived by the widower, Marshall; three daughters, Mrs. Esther Carrol, Portland; Mrs. Jane Carrol, Fresno, Calif.; Mrs. Barbara Fitch, Bakersfield, Calif; two brothers, the Rev. Bert Ammons, Kelso; Melvin Ammons, Longview; four sisters, Velma Allender, Longview; Mrs. Georgia Ryan, Rainier; Mrs. Lorene McAllister, Aberdeen; Mrs. Ruth Evenson, Clatskanie, and nine grandchildren. Contributed by: Shelli...

Achese: Birthplace of the Creek Confederacy

The four versions of the de Soto Chronicles say very little about this American Indian town, whose ruins are now known as “the Lamar Village Component of Ocmulgee National Monument.” This is surprising, since the town figures prominently in Creek Indian history. In fact, the chroniclers could not even agree on the town’s name. The Gentleman of Elvas called the town, Achese. Other versions called it Ochese, Ichese and Uchese. English colonists, 200 years later, would call it Ochese. That name stuck.

United Brotherhood of Georgia

The most important gathering of Negroes that probably has ever occurred, was in Macon, Ga., a few weeks since. Five hundred leading Negro representatives convened to discuss and adopt “a thorough plan of State organization.” A permanent organization was effected and named the “United Brotherhood of Georgia,” the purpose of which is “to resist oppression, wrong and injustice.” We note the following resolutions, which were passed by the convention: Resolved, That we, in convention assembled, respectfully but earnestly demand of the powers that be, that the Negro be given what, and only what, he is entitled to. Resolved further, That never, until we are in the fullest enjoyment of our rights at the ballot-box, will we cease to agitate and work for what justly belongs to us in the shape of suffrage. Further resolved, That it shall be the policy of the colored race to vote so as to bring the greatest division to the white voters of this country, for in this we believe lies the boon of our desire. The last resolution is not entirely plain to us, and we refrain from comment upon it, but the convention itself, the fact of leadership taking shape among the Negroes, and the forth-putting of their purposes, are very significant. When the Glenn Bill was born, and when the Georgia House of Representatives stood sponsor for its baptism, we believed that the enemy of righteousness had made a mistake, and that this particular piece of artillery would kick. They who think to thwart the providence’s of God usually help them forward. Christianity has had many a help from its opposers....
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