Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

Slave Narrative of Julia Woodberry

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Julia Woodberry Date of Interview: November 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina “Come in, child. Dis ain’ nobody talkin to you from behind dat door, but Julia Woodberry. De door unlatch, just turn de handle en come right in here whe’ you can warm yourself by de stove. I tell my daughter for her to take de sick child en walk over dere en make Aun’ Liney a visit, while I wipe round bout dis stove a little speck. Cose I ain’ able to scour none much, but seems like dis old stove does keep everything so nasty up dat I can’ let things bout it get too worser. No, child, I tell dese chillun I done seen most all my scourin days, but I think bout I would do this little job for Alexa dis mornin en let her put her mind to dat child. I say, if I able, I loves to wipe up cause it such a satisfaction. It just like dis, dere ain’ nothin gwine shine dat floor en make it smell like I want it to, but soap en water. I don’ like dese old stoves nohow. I ain’ been raise to dem cause when I come up, de olden people didn’ think nothin bout puttin no stoves to dey fireplaces. Oh, dey would have dese big old open fireplaces en would have de grandest kind of fires. My Lord, child, dere wouldn’ never be no nastiness bout dey fireplace cause de people never didn’ burn no coal in dem days. Slavery people been burn dese great big oak...

Slave Narrative of Julia Woodberry

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Julia Woodberry Date of Interview: November 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina “Oh, my God a mercy, child, dat been a time when dat shake come here. I tell you, dat been somethin. I sho remember all bout dat cause I been a grown woman de year dat earthquake come here. Yes, mam, I gwine tell it to you just like I experience it. We had all just been get over wid us supper en little things dat night en I had washed Auntie en Mr. Rowell’s feet for dem to lie down en dere come such a sketch of clouds from over in dat direction dat I never know what to make of it. Auntie en Mr. Rowell never know what to make of it neither. I remember, I run out to help my sister dat been out to de paddlin block en, honey, you ain’ never live to see no black cloud like dat been. I washed a piece through en den I left off en went back in de house en set down by de fire to dry my feet. I set dere awhile en seems like somethin just speak right out de fire, bout dat time, en tell me to move my feet dat I was in bad shape. En, child, it de truth of mercy, dere come a big clog of dirt out dat chimney en drap (drop) right down in de spot whe’ my foot was. I run to Auntie en Mr. Rowell to see could dey tell what dat was, but dey been in just as much...

Slave Narrative of Julia Woodberry

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Julia Woodberry Date of Interview: November 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina “No, mam, I ain’ thought bout nothin no more to tell you. Death been in de family en seems like I just been so worried up wid my daughter sick in de house dere wid de straw fever. De doctor, he say it de fever en dat all we know, but it acts like de straw fever all up en down. I tell dem chillun dere de other night dat I would have to go back en get my mind fixed up wid somethin to speak bout fore you come here another time. Yes, mam, have to get my mind together somewhe’ or another.” “I been born down dere in Britton’s Neck, but most my days was lived up to Mr. Jim Brown’s place to Centenary. My father, he was name Friday Woodberry en my mother, she come from off de sea beach in slavery time, so she told me. Say dat her old Massa stole her en her brother John, too, from off de sea beach. When freedom come here, her brother John went back to de sea beach, but my mother say dat she won’ in no shape to go back. She went from family to family till after freedom was declared en her white folks wouldn’ never have her ill-treated neither en wouldn’ never let nobody else have her no time. When she was let loose from de white people, she went to Britton’s Neck wid a colored woman. You see, she was a stranger to de country bout...

Slave Narrative of Mom Jessie Sparrow

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Jessie Sparrow Date of Interview: December 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina Age: 83 “No, I ain’ cold. I settin in de sun. Miss Ida, she went by here just now en call at me bout de door been open en lettin dat cold wind blow in on my back wid all de fire gone out. I tell her, it ain’ botherin me none, I been settin out in de sun. Well, I don’ feel much to speak bout, child, but I knockin round somehow. Miss Ida, she bring me dis paper to study on. She does always be bringin me de Star cause she know dat I love to see de news of Marion. It right sad bout de Presbyterian preacher, but everybody got to die, I say. Right sad though. We hear dat church bell here de other evenin en we never know what it been tollin for. I holler over dere to Maggie house en ax her how-come de church bell tollin, but she couldn’ tell me nothin bout it. Reckon some chillun had get hold of it, she say. I tell her, dat bell never been pull by no chillun cause I been hear death note in it. Yes, honey, de people sho gwine horne (grieve) after Dr. Holladay.” “I say, I doin very well myself en I thankful I ain’ down in de bed. Mighty thankful I ain’ down in de bed en can set up en talk wid de people when dey comes to see me. I ain’ been up dere on your street in a long time....

Slave Narrative of Mom Jessie Sparrow

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Jessie Sparrow Date of Interview: September 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina Age: 83 “No, honey, dere ain’ not a soul live here but me. Man stay in dat other room dere just to be a little bit of company for me when night come. He ain’ not a speck of kin to me, not a speck. Oh, he pay me a little somethin, but it not much. Mostly, I does want him for protection like. Ain’ got but just dis one room for myself cause dat part out dere does be just like out in de yard. Dis Miss Mary Watson house en she tell me stay on here dat de house ain’ worth no fixin. Don’ know how long I be here. No, honey, I ain’ got no property only just myself. Ain’ got not a bit. Ain’ got nothin, child. I can’ do no work dese days but dat little bit of washin dat Miss Betty have en dat ain’ nothin to depend on. Just try to do a little somethin to help myself along. Nothin worth to speak bout though.” “Miss Betty say we bout one age. My daddy belonged to Miss Betty father en dat how-come she know dere ain’ much difference in us age. My mammy was de house ‘oman on old man Sam Stevenson plantation en dat whe’ I was born. When we was freed, I was a little small girl en my daddy moved us up here in town right over dere on de Gibson place. Fore den, when he have a mind to see us,...

Slave Narrative of Mom Jessie Sparrow

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Jessie Sparrow Date of Interview: May 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina Age: 83 “I dunno, child, I don’ ‘member nuthin more den I tell yuh de udder time. Is yuh been to see Maggie Black yet? I dunno how old she, but I know she been here. No, child, Maggie ain’ dead. She lib right down dere next Bethel Church. She move ‘way from Miss Mullins house when Gus die. Coase I ain’ ne’er been in she house a’ter she move dere, but dey say she hab uh mighty restful place dere. Dat wha’ dey tell me. Maggie oughta could tell yuh aw ’bout dem times. I ain’ know nuthin more to tell yuh. Don’ tell yuh aw I know.” “Who my mammy wuz? My mammy been Sallie Stevenson ‘fore she marry en den a’ter she marry, she waz Sallie Bowens. Don’ know whey dey ge’ de Bowens from cause my pa been b’long to be uh Evans. Dat how come Miss Betty know so much ’bout me. She say we mighty nigh de same age. Coase I don’ never ‘spute Miss Betty word, but I don’ t’ink so.” “No, child, I dunno. Dunno how many chillun my mammy is hab. Dey aw been die sech uh long time dat I don’ forgot. Coase George, de carpenter, my brother. He been train up by uh good carpenter man en Henry, wha’ paint aw dese house ’bout here, b’long to be annuder one uv we. It jes lak ’bout my own chillun, I ain’ ‘member how many dey wuz. I know dere ’bout t’ree...

Slave Narrative of Nancy Washington

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Nancy Washington Date of Interview: May 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina Age: 104 Ex-Slave, 104 years “Come in child. Jes set right dere in dat chair whey I c’n be mindful uv yuh cause I ain’ hear but sorta hard lak dese days. I jes come in outer de field whey I been chopping ’round uh little wid me hoe, but eve’t’ing is grow so black ‘fore me eye dat I t’ink I better rest meself uh little. I tries to help Sam (her son) aw I c’n, but I ain’ mucha ‘count no more. I 104 year old en I ain’ gwinna be heah much longer. Me mark done strak (strike) me right dere dis a’ternoon. Dat been jes de way my ole mammy waz call.” “Does yah know whey dat place call Ash Pole? Dat whey I wuz raise up when I b’long to Massa Giles Evanson. He wuz uh good ole fellow. I ain’ know wha’ it wuz to ge’ no bad treatment by my white people. Dey tell me some uv de colored peoples lib mighty rough in dat day en time but I ne’er know nuthin ’bout dat. I ‘member dey is spank we chillun wid shingle but dey ne’er didn’t hit my mudder.” “My Massa ne’er hab so mucha colored peoples lak some uv dem udder white folks hab. Jes hab my mudder en eight head uv we chillun. Hab ‘nough to gi’e eve’yone uv he daughter uh servant apiece when dey ge’ marry. Ne’er hab nuthin but women colored peoples. My Massa say he ain’ wan’...

Slave Narrative of Mom Jessie Sparrow

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Jessie Sparrow Date of Interview: May 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina Age: 83 “Honey, my white folks been well-to-do peoples. Dey ain’ been no poor white trash. Dey hab ‘stonishing blood in dey vein. I been b’long to Massa Sam Stevenson wha’ lib right down dere ‘cross Ole Smith Swamp. Dey ain’ hab no chillun dey own, but dey is raise uh poor white girl dere, Betty. Dey gi’e (give) she eve’yt’ing she ha’e en dey school she too.” “De ole man, he mind ain’ been zactly right when he die. Dey say he bury some o’ he money down dere on he place jes ‘fore he die. Coase I dunno nuthin ’bout it, but dats wha’ dey tell me. Dey say dey never is find dat money a’ter he been dead. Reckon it dere yet, I dunno. Peoples use’er aw de time be plough up kegs en box full o’ money en va’uables wha’ de well-to-do folks been hide dere.” “De white peoples use’er bury dey silver en dey money en aw dey va’uables late on uh evenin’ er early on uh mornin’ when de Yankees come ’bout. De Yankees ‘stroy aw us white peoples va’uables wha’ dey is see. Um——dem Yankees sho’ was ‘structive whey dey is went.” “My ole mammy been Sally Stevenson ‘fore she marry en den she wuz Sally Bowens. My ole Missus take she ‘way from her mammy when she wuz jes uh little small girl en never wouldn’t ‘low her go in de colored settlement no more. She been raise up in de white folks house...

Slave Narrative of Pauline Worth

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Pauline Worth Date of Interview: September 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina Date of Birth: November 1 Age: 79 “Yes’um, I know I been here in slavery time, but wasn’ large enough to do nothin in dat day en time. I reach 79 de first day of November. To be certain dat how old I is, Miss Betty Evans give me my direct age here de other day. She know who I am cause I was raise near bout in de same yard dat she was raise in. Mr. Telathy Henry family was my white folks. Yes’um, I was raise right here in dis town. Ain’ never been nowhere else but Marion.” “I was small den, but I remembers my old Missus. I sho remembers her all right. My old boss, he died. I can’ remember nothin much bout dem times only I recollects when my old Missus used to get after me en whip me, I would run under de house. Didn’ want to sweep de yard en dat how-come she get after me wid a switch. I was small den en she was tryin to learn me.” “No, child, I didn’ live on no plantation. Didn’ have no quarter for de slaves dere. My white folks live in town en dey just have my mother en her chillun en another old man. He stayed in de kitchen en would work de garden en go off on errands for de Missus. My mother en we chillun stayed in a little small one room house in de yard en he stayed in de kitchen....

Slave Narrative of Julia Woodberry

Interviewer: Annie Ruth Davis Person Interviewed: Julia Woodberry Date of Interview: October-November, 1937 Location: Marion, South Carolina “Well, I can speak bout what I used to hear my auntie en my mammy en my grandmammy talk bout what happen in dey day, but I never didn’ live in slavery time. My mammy, she been broke her leg long time fore freedom come here en I remember she tell me often times, say, ‘Julia, you didn’ lack much of comin here a slavery child.’ Honey, I mean she been in de family way right sharp fore freedom come here. “My mammy, she was raise right down dere to de other side de jail to de ‘Cedars’. You know dere whe’ all dem cedars round dat house what bout to fall down. She belong to de lawyer Phillips dere en he wouldn’ never allow her to get out de family. She had been a free woman fore he had stole her off de sea beach to be his house woman. Yes, mam, stole my mammy en uncle John, too, off de sea beach, but uncle John went back after freedom come here. My mammy, she been raise from just a child to be de house woman dere to de lawyer Phillips en she never didn’ know nothin bout choppin cotton till her last baby been bout knee high. “I remember how my mammy used to tell me bout dat de colored people won’ allowed to go from one plantation to another widout dey had a ‘mit (permit) from dey Massa. Yes, mam, all de niggers had to have dat strip somewhat...

Pin It on Pinterest