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Slave Narrative of Aleck Woodward

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Aleck Woodward Location: South Carolina Age: 83 “You knows de Simonton place, Mr. Wood? Well, dats just where I was born back yonder befo’ de war, a slave of old Marster Johnnie Simonton. Five miles sorter south sunset side of Woodward Station where you was born, ain’t it so? My pappy was Ike Woodward, but him just call ‘Ike’ time of slavery, and my mammy was name Dinah. My brother Charlie up north, if he ain’t dead, Ike lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Two sisters: Ollie, her marry an Aiken, last counts, and she and her family in Charlotte, North Carolina; sister Mattie marry a Wilson nigger, but I don’t know where they is. “Us lived in a four-room log house, ’bout sixteen all told. Dere was pappy and mammy (now you count them) gran’pappy, Henry Davis, Gran’mammy Kisana, Aunt Anna, and her seven chillun, and me, and my two brothers and two sisters. How many make dat? Seventeen? Well, dat’s de number piled in dere at night in de beds and on de floors. They was scandlous beds; my God, just think of my grands, old as I is now, tryin’ to sleep on them hard beds and other folks piled ‘scriminately all over de log floors! My Gran’pappy Henry was de carpenter, and old marster tell him ‘if you make your beds hard, Henry, ‘member you folks got to sleep on them.’ “I was just a little black feller, running ’round most of de time in my shirt tail, but I recollect pickin’ cotton, and piddling ’round de woodpile, fetchin’ in...

Slave Narrative of Betty Foreman Chessier

Person Interviewed: Betty Foreman Chessier Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: July 11, 1843 Age: 94 I was born July 11, 1843 in Raleigh, N. C. My mother was named Melinda Manley, the slave of Governor Manley of North Carolina, and my father was named Arnold Foreman, slave of Bob and John Foreman, two young masters. They come over from Arkansas to visit my master and my pappy and mammy met and got married, ‘though my pappy only seen my mammy in the summer when his masters come to visit our master and dey took him right back. I had three sisters and two brothers and none of dem was my whole brothers and sisters. I stayed in the Big House all the time, but my sisters and brothers was gived to the master’s sons and daughters whey dey got married and dey was told to send back for some more when dem died. I didn’t never stay with my mammy doing of slavery. I stayed in the Big House. I slept under the dining room table with three other darkies. The flo’ was well carpeted. Don’t remembah my grandmammy and grandpappy, but my master was they master. I waited on the table, kept flies off’n my mistress and went for the mail. Never made no money, but dey did give the slaves money at Christmas time. I never had over two dresses. One was calico and one gingham. I had such underclothes as dey wore then. Master Manley and Mistress had six sons an’ six darters. Dey raised dem all till...

Slave Narrative of Martha Allen

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Martha Allen Location: 1318 South Person Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Place of Birth: Craven County NC Age: 78 Ex-Slave Story An interview with Martha Allen, 78, of 1318 South Person Street, Raleigh. I wuz borned in Craven County seventy eight years ago. My pappa wuz named Andrew Bryant an’ my mammy wuz named Harriet. My brothers wuz John Franklin, Alfred, an’ Andrew. I ain’t had no sisters. I reckon dat we is what yo’ call a general mixture case I am part Injun, part white, an’ part nigger. My mammy belonged ter Tom Edward Gaskin an’ she wuzn’t half fed. De cook nussed de babies while she cooked, so dat de mammies could wuck in de fiel’s, an’ all de mammies done wuz stick de babies in at de kitchen do’ on dere way ter de fiel’s. I’se hyard mammy say dat dey went ter wuck widout breakfast, an’ dat when she put her baby in de kitchen she’d go by de slop bucket an’ drink de slops from a long handled gourd. De slave driver wuz bad as he could be, an’ de slaves got awful beatin’s. De young marster sorta wanted my mammy, but she tells him no, so he chunks a lightwood knot an’ hits her on de haid wid it. Dese white mens what had babies by nigger wimmens wuz called ‘Carpet Gitters’. My father’s father wuz one o’ dem. Yes mam, I’se mixed plenty case my mammy’s grandmaw wuz Cherokee Injun. I doan know nothin’ ’bout no war, case marster carried us ter Cedar Falls, near Durham an’...

Slave Narrative of Aunt Laura Bell

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Laura Bell Location: 2 Bragg Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 73 An interview with Laura Bell, 73 years old, of 2 Bragg Street, Raleigh, North Carolina. Being informed that Laura Bell was an old slavery Negro, I went immediately to the little two-room shack with its fallen roof and shaky steps. As I approached the shack I noticed that the storm had done great damage to the chaney-berry tree in her yard, fallen limbs litterin’ the ground, which was an inch deep in garbage and water. The porch was littered with old planks and huge tubs and barrels of stagnant water. There was only room for one chair and in that sat a tall Negro woman clad in burlap bags and in her lap she held a small white flea-bitten dog which growled meaningly. When I reached the gate, which swings on one rusty hinge, she bade me come in and the Carolina Power and Light Company men, who were at work nearby, laughed as I climbed over the limbs and garbage and finally found room for one foot on the porch and one on the ground. “I wus borned in Mount Airy de year ‘fore de Yankees come, bein’ de fourth of five chilluns. My mammy an’ daddy Minerva Jane an’ Wesley ‘longed ter Mr. Mack Strickland an’ we lived on his big place near Mount Airy.” “Mr. Mack wus good ter us, dey said. He give us enough ter eat an’ plenty of time ter weave clothes fer us ter wear. I’ve hearn mammy tell of de corn shuckin’s an’ dances...

Slave Narrative of Lizzie Baker

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Lizzie Baker Location: 424 Smith Street, Raleigh, North Carolina I was born de las’ year o’ de surrender an’course I don’t remember seein’ any Yankee soldiers, but I knows a plenty my mother and father tole me. I have neuritis, an’ have been unable to work any fer a year and fer seven years I couldn’t do much. My mother wus named Teeny McIntire and my father William McIntire. Mammy belonged to Bryant Newkirk in Duplin County. Pap belonged to someone else, I don’t know who. Dey said dey worked from light till dark, and pap said dey beat him so bad he run away a lot o’ times. Dey said de paterollers come to whare dey wus havin’ prayer meetin’ and beat ’em. Mammy said sometimes dey were fed well and others dey almost starved. Dey got biscuit once a week on Sunday. Dey said dey went to de white folks’s church. Dey said de preachers tole ’em dey had to obey dere missus and marster. My mammy said she didn’t go to no dances ’cause she wus crippled. Some o’ de help, a colored woman, stole something when she wus hongry. She put it off on mother and missus made mother wear trousers for a year to punish her. Mammy said dey gave de slaves on de plantation one day Christmas and dat New Years wus when dey sold ’em an’ hired ’em out. All de slaves wus scared ’cause dey didn’t know who would have to go off to be sold or to work in a strange place. Pap tole...

Slave Narrative of Charity Austin

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Charity Austin Location: 507 South Bloodworth Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: July 27, 1852 Place of Birth: Granville County NC I wus borned in the year 1852, July 27. I wus born in Granville County, sold to a slave speculator at ten years old and carried to Southwest, Georgia. I belonged to Samuel Howard. His daughter took me to Kinston, North Carolina and I stayed there until I wus sold. She married a man named Bill Brown, and her name wus Julia Howard Brown. My father wus named Paul Howard and my mother wus named Chollie Howard. My old missus wus named Polly Howard. John Richard Keine from Danville, Virginia bought me and sent me to a plantation in Georgia. We only had a white overseer there. He and his wife and children lived on the plantation. We had slave quarters there. Slaves were bought up and sent there in chains. Some were chained to each other by the legs, some by the arms. They called the leg chains shackles. I have lived a hard life. I have seen mothers sold away from their babies and other children, and they cryin’ when she left. I have seen husbands sold from their wives, and wives sold from their husbands. Abraham Lincoln came through once, but none of us knew who he wus. He wus just the raggedest man you ever saw. The white children and me saw him out at the railroad. We were settin’ and waitin’ to see him. He said he wus huntin’ his people; and dat he had lost...

Slave Narrative of Sarah Louise Augustus

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Sarah Louise Augustus Location: 1424 Lane Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 80 Age 80 years 1424 Lane Street Raleigh, North Carolina I wus born on a plantation near Fayetteville, N. C., and I belonged to J. B. Smith. His wife wus named Henrietta. He owned about thirty slaves. When a slave was no good he wus put on the auction block in Fayetteville and sold. My father wus named Romeo Harden and my mother wus named Alice Smith. The little cabin where I wus born is still standing. There wus seven children in marster’s family, four girls and two boys. The girls wus named Ellen, Ida, Mary and Elizabeth. The boys wus named Harry, Norman and Marse George. Marse George went to the war. Mother had a family of four girls. Their names wus: Mary, Kate, Hannah and myself, Sarah Louise. I am the only one living and I would not be living but I have spent most of my life in white folk’s houses and they have looked after me. I respected myself and they respected me. My first days of slavery wus hard. I slept on a pallet on the floor of the cabin and just as soon as I wus able to work any at all I wus put to milking cows. I have seen the paterollers hunting men and have seen men they had whipped. The slave block stood in the center of the street, Fayetteville Street, where Ramsey and Gillespie Street came in near Cool Springs Street. The silk mill stood just below the slave market. I saw...

Slave Narrative of Jane Arrington

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Jane Arrington Location: 301 Fowle Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: December 18, 1852 Age: 84 I ort to be able to tell sumpin cause I wus twelve years old when dey had de surrender right up here in Raleigh. If I live to see dis coming December I will be eighty five years old. I was born on the 18th of December 1852. I belonged to Jackson May of Nash County. I wus born on de plantation near Tar River. Jackson May never married until I wus of a great big girl. He owned a lot of slaves; dere were eighty on de plantation before de surrender. He married Miss Becky Wilder, sister of Sam Wilder. De Wilders lived on a jining plantation to where I wus borned. Jackson May had so many niggers he let Billy Williams who had a plantation nearby have part of ’em. Marster Jackson he raised my father and bought my mother. My mother wus named Louisa May, and my father wus named Louis May. My mother had six chilluns, four boys and two girls. The boys were Richard, Farro, Caeser, and Fenner. De girls Rose and Jane. Jane, dats me. We lived in log houses with stick an’ dirt chimleys. They called ’em the slave houses. We had chicken feather beds to sleep on an’ de houses wus good warm comfortable log houses. We had plenty of cover an’ feather pillows. My grandmother on my mother’s side told me a lot of stories ’bout haints and how people run from ’em. Dey told me ’bout...

Slave Narrative of Uncle David Blount

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: David Blount Location: Raleigh, North Carolina Days On The Plantation As told by Uncle David Blount, formerly of Beaufort County, who did not know his age. “De Marster” he refers to was Major Wm. A. Blount, who owned plantations in several parts of North Carolina. Yes mam, de days on de plantation wuz de happy days. De marster made us wuck through de week but on Sadays we uster go swimmin’ in de riber an’ do a lot of other things dat we lak ter do. We didn’t mind de wuck so much case de ground wuz soft as ashes an’ de marster let us stop and rest when we got tired. We planted ‘taters in de uplan’s and co’n in de lowgroun’s nex’ de riber. It wuz on de Cape Fear an’ on hot days when we wuz a-pullin’ de fodder we’d all stop wuck ’bout three o’clock in de ebenin’ an’ go swimmin’. Atter we come out’n de water we would wuck harder dan eber an’ de marster wuz good to us, case we did wuck an’ we done what he ast us. I ‘members onct de marster had a oberseer dar dat wuz meaner dan a mean nigger. He always hired good oberseers an’ a whole lot of times he let some Negro slave obersee. Well, dis oberseer beat some of de half grown boys till de blood run down ter dar heels an’ he tole de rest of us dat if we told on him dat he’d kill us. We don’t dasen’t ast de marster ter git rid of...

Slave Narrative of Mary Anngady

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Mary Anngady Location: 1110 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 80 (Princess Quango Hennadonah Perceriah) 1110 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina. I was eighteen years old in 1875 but I wanted to get married so I gave my age as nineteen. I wish I could recall some of the ole days when I was with my missus in Orange County, playing with my brothers and other slave children. I was owned by Mr. Franklin Davis and my madam was Mrs. Bettie Davis. I and my brother used to scratch her feet and rub them for her; you know how old folks like to have their feet rubbed. My brother and I used to scrap over who should scratch and rub her feet. She would laugh and tell us not to do that way that she loved us both. Sometimes she let me sleep at her feet at night. She was plenty good to all of the slaves. Her daughter Sallie taught me my A B C’s in Webster’s Blue Back spelling Book. When I learned to Spell B-a-k-e-r, Baker, I thought that was something. The next word I felt proud to spell was s-h-a-d-y, shady, the next l-a-d-y, lady. I would spell them out loud as I picked up chips in the yard to build a fire with. My missus Bettie gave me a blue back spelling book. My father was named James Mason, and he belonged to James Mason of Chapel Hill. Mother and I and my four brothers belonged to the same man and we also lived in the town. I...
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