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Slave Narrative of Aunt Mary Williams

Interviewer: F. S. DuPre Person Interviewed: Mary Williams Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina Aunt Mary Williams stated she remembered slavery times, for she was a girl large enough to walk four miles to go to work “while slavery was on”. She said Mr. Alfred Brown used to own her mother, but she was raised by Mrs. Margaret Taylor who used to live where the oil mill is now, below Arkwright Mills. Her father was owned by Mr. Simpson Bobo and drove his horse for him. She stated she was a good hoe-hand, but didn’t pick cotton, as Mr. Brown didn’t raise any cotton, just raised something to eat. She said her master was a kind man, didn’t allow any “paterollers” on his place, yet she had seen other slaves on other plantations with bloody backs and arms from the whippings they got. When asked why they were whipped, she replied, “Just because their masters could whip them; they owned them and could do what they wanted to them”. Her master didn’t allow any whipping on his place. One time he kept a slave from another plantation who was fleeing the “paterollers” on his place and in his own house until he was set free. “I’se got the looking glasses and the thimble my great-grandmother used to use when she worked. She was a good weaver and a good sewer. She made a man an overcoat once, but didn’t get but $1.25 for it; she made a pair of men’s breeches and got fifty cents for making them. They didn’t get nothing for making clothes in those days”. She remembered when...

Slave Narrative of “Aunt” Nina Scott

Interviewer: F. S. DuPre Person Interviewed: Nina Scott Date of Interview: May 17, 1937 Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina “Aunt” Nina Scot sat on her front porch. She was drinking some liquid from a bottle which she said would help her trouble. Being short of breath, she was not able to talk very much. She said that she was very small at the time she was set free. “My Marster and his folks did not treat me like a nigger,” she said, “they treated me like they did other white folks.” She said that she and her mother had belonged to Dr. Shipp, who taught at Wofford College, that they had come here from Chapel Hill, N.C. and that she was a tarheel negro. She said that white people in slavery days had two nurses, one for the small children and one for the older ones. “Yes sir, those were certainly fine people that lived on the Campus during those days. (Wofford Col. Campus) When the ‘raid’ came on, people were hiding things all about their places.” She referred to the Yankee soldiers who came to Spartanburg after the close of the Civil War. “My mother hid the turkeys and told me where she had hidden them.” Dr. Shipp came up to Nina one day and asked her where the turkeys were hidden. She told him they were hidden behind a clump of small trees, and pointed them out to him. “Well,” he said, “tell your mother to go and hide them somewhere else and not to tell you about it. You would tell the Yankees just where those turkeys...

Slave Narrative of Jane Smith

Interviewer: F. S. DuPre Person Interviewed: Jane Smith Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina Age: 80 “Aunt” Jane Smith, 80 years old, says that she was only eight years old when the war ended, and that her recollections are very meagre as to conditions during slavery. Her mother belonged to John Snoddy, who owned a farm a few miles west of Spartanburg. Her father was owned by Dr. Miller of a nearby plantation. She stated that she was old enought to rock the cradle for the white babies during slavery. She stated that she could remember seeing some of the slaves being whipped on their bare backs with a plaited hickory stick, or thong. She never received any whippings. She said that a man once cut at her with his thong, but that she escaped the blow by dodging. She said she remembered seeing a small child with a piece of bread in its hand when a hog entered the house and in snatching at the bread, caught the child’s hand near the thumb with its tusks. When running off, the hog carried the child with it, dragging it along into the field. All the other children and some men ran after the hog and caught it. The other colored children were whipped, but by staying in the house and watching the babies, keeping them safe from other pigs which had also entered the house, she was not whipped. Aunt Jane said that when the Yankee soldiers came to the house, they were just as thick as the “fingers on her hands.” She held up her hands for inspection to illustrate...

Slave Narrative of George Woods (Wood)

Interviewer: F. S. DuPre Person Interviewed: George Woods Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina Age: 78 While looking for an ex-slave in a certain part of Spartanburg this morning, I was directed across the street to “an old man who lives there”. I knocked at the door but received no answer. Then I noticed an old man walking around by the side of the house. He was tall and straight, standing about 6 feet 2 inches. He said that his name was George Wood and that he was 78 years of age. He stated that he was born during slavery, and lived on Peter Sepah’s place in York County. Peter Sepah’s farm, where he was born, was near the North Carolina line; it consisted of approximately 200 acres. His parents were named Dan and Sarah Wood. His mother was given to old man Sepah by his father as a wedding present, and his grandfather had been given to an older Sepah by his parent as a wedding present. He said it was the custom in slavery times that a slave be given to the son or daughter by the white people when they got married. He was too young to work, but about the time the war was over, he was allowed to drive the horses that pulled the thrasher of wheat. His master used to walk around and around while the wheat was being thrashed, and see that everybody was doing their work all right. His father lived on another plantation. There was only one family of slaves on the whole plantation. He, his mother, and five children lived in...

Slave Narrative of “Uncle” Bill Young

Person Interviewed: Bill Young Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina Seated on the front steps of his house, holding a walking cane and talking to another old colored man from Georgia, who was visiting his children living there, the writer found “Uncle” Bill Young. He readily replied that he had lived in slavery days, that he was 83 years old, and he said that he and Sam were talking about old times. He was owned by Dave Jeter at Santuc, S.C.; though he was just a boy at the time his mother was a slave. He used to mind his “Missus” more than anybody else, as he stayed around the house more than anywhere else. His job, with the other boys, both white and black, was to round up the milk cows late every afternoon. The milk cows had to be brought up, milked and put up for the night; but the other cows and calves used to stay in the woods all night long. Some times they would be a mile away from the house, but the boys would not mind getting them home, for they played so much together as they slowly drove the cows in. When asked if he got plenty to eat in slavery days, he replied that he had plenty, “a heap more than I get today to eat”. As a slave, he said he ate every day that the white folks ate, that he was always treated kindly, and his missus would not let anybody whip him; though he had seen other slaves tied and whipped with a bull-whip. He said he had seen the...

Slave Narrative of Herndon Bogan

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Herndon Bogan Location: State Prison, Raleigh, North Carolina Place of Birth: Union County, South Carolina Age: 76 (?) Occupation: Houseboy, Night Watch Railroad Tracks An interview with Herndon Bogan, 76 (?) of State Prison, Raleigh, N. C. I wus bawned in Union County, South Carolina on de plantation o’ Doctor Bogan, who owned both my mammy Issia, an’ my pap Edwin. Dar wus six o’ us chilluns; Clara, Lula, Joe, Tux, Mack an’ me. I doan’ member much ’bout slavery days ‘cept dat my white folkses wus good ter us. Dar wus a heap o’ slaves, maybe a hundert an’ fifty. I ‘members dat we wucked hard, but we had plenty ter eat an’ w’ar, eben iffen we did w’ar wood shoes. I kin barely recolleck ‘fore de war dat I’se seed a heap o’ cocks fightin’ in pits an’ a heap o’ horse racin’. When de marster winned he ‘ud give us niggers a big dinner or a dance, but if he lost, oh! My daddy wus gived ter de doctor when de doctor wus married an’ dey shore loved each other. One day marster, he comes in an’ he sez dat de Yankees am aimin’ ter try ter take his niggers way from him, but dat dey am gwine ter ketch hell while dey does hit. When he sez dat he starts ter walkin’ de flo’. ‘I’se gwine ter leave yore missus in yore keer, Edwin,’ he sez. But pa ‘lows, ‘Wid all respec’ fer yore wife sar, she am a Yankee too, an’ I’d ruther go wid you ter de...

Slave Narrative of John Daniels

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: John Daniels Location: North Carolina I’se named fer my pappy’s ole massa down in Spartanburg, South Carolina, course I doan know nothin’ ’bout no war, case I warn’t borned. I does ‘member seein’ de ole ‘big house’ do’, maybe you want me ter tell you how hit looked? It wuz a big white two-story house at de end uv a magnolia lane an’ a-settin’ in a big level fiel’. Back o’ de big house wuz de ole slave cabins whar my folks uster live. Dey said dat de massa wuz good ter ’em, but dat sometimes in de mo’nin’ dey jist has lasses an’ co’nbread fer breakfas’. I started ter tell you ’bout de Joe Moe do’. You mebbe doan know hit, but de prisoners hyar doan git de blues so bad if de company comes on visitin’ days, an’ de mail comes reg’lar. We’s always gittin’ up somepin’ ter have a little fun, so somebody gits up de Joe Moe. Yo’ sees dat when a new nigger comes in he am skeerd an’ has got de blues. Somebody goes ter cheer him up an’ dey axes him hadn’t he ruther be hyar dan daid. Yo’ see he am moughty blue den, so mebbe he says dat he’d ruther be daid; den dis feller what am tryin’ ter cheer him tells him dat all right he sho’ will die dat [HW correction: ’cause] he’s got de Joe Moe put on him. Seberal days atter dis de new nigger fin’s a little rag full of somepin twix de bed an’ mattress an’ he axes...

Biography of James Littlefield

JAMES LITTLEFIELD. The subject of this sketch was for a number of years one among the many successful farmers of Baxter County, Arkansas, and is as conspicuous for his outspoken views in sanctioning that which is just and right as in his denunciation of that which he considers unjust and wrong. He is an intelligent citizen, and he wields considerable influence in the affairs of his section. He was born in Spartanburg District, South Carolina, April 4, 1829, a son of Joseph Littlefield, who was also a native of the Palmetto State. He moved to Caldwell County, Kentucky, when his son James was a lad, and there he engaged in tilling the soil until his removal to Arkansas in 1859, his death occurring here in 1880, when nearly ninety years of age. He was first a Whig but afterward a Democrat in politics. His wife, Sarah Harris, was born in South Carolina, was married there, but died in Arkansas in 1862 when sixty-three years of age. They were members of the Primitive Baptist Church, and became the parents of six children, of whom the subject of this sketch was the fifth, and three of whom are now living: Ellen is the widow of David T. Colley, and resides in Lawrence County, Missouri; Sarah Ann is the widow of Madison L. Ford, and lives in Scottsburgh, Caldwell County, Kentucky, and James. The latter attended the common schools of his native county for a short time, but the most of his education has been acquired in the rough but most practical school of experience and by contact with the business affairs...

Biography of Nathaniel G. Tracy

It is a pleasure to chronicle the history of a man whose life has been one of honor and usefulness, and although he is considerably past the zenith of his career, Mr. Tracy has accumulated sufficient means to enable him to enjoy most thoroughly the comforts and conveniences of life and the society of his numerous friends. Although he has attained the age of sixty-six years he still keeps up the active and industrious life that brought him in such substantial rewards, and many men much younger than he display less activity, mentally and physically than does Mr. Tracy. He was born in Spartanburg District, S. C., in 1828, the son of Nathaniel H. and Polly (Henry) Tracy, who were also born there and were there reared and married, but they afterward moved to Georgia and from there to Arkansas in 1851, and located on the farm which is now owned by the subject of this sketch. It was at that time quite a heavily timbered tract of land, and a road had to be hewed out of the forest to the house. The father, a thrifty farmer, greatly improved his land by clearing and building, and in time became well to do. He held the rank of major in the State Militia, was for many years justice of the peace and was an exceptionally useful and substantial citizen. He died at the age of sixty-five years while visiting in the Old North State, prior to the war, and his widow died in Arkansas after the war. He had been a member of the Baptist Church for about five...

Biography of James Harvey Forney

A visit to the library of the gentleman whose name is above and a chat with him in his pleasant home at Moscow, are sufficient to dispel any idea that the new west is without culture or men of ability interested in its educational progress and development. Mr. Forney has given some of the best years of an active and useful life to the cause of education in Idaho, and has attained more than local distinction otherwise. James Harvey Forney, a prominent citizen of Moscow, Idaho, and ex-United States district attorney for the district of Idaho, was born in Rutherford County, North Carolina, forty-seven years ago, a son of James H. and Emily (Logan) Forney. The old homestead in North Carolina, where Mr. Forney was born, has been in the po-session of his family for four generations. The Forneys are of French-Huguenot descent and Mr. Forney’s great-great-grandfather, who was born in 1640, fled from his native land in 1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and settled in Alsace, on the Rhine. His son, Mr. Forney’s great-grandfather, was born in 1721. In 1754 he married a Miss Maria Bergner, of Canton Berne, Switzerland, and thereafter settled in Lincoln County. North Carolina. The fact that they and their sons, Jacob, Peter and Abraham, were uncompromising Whigs, and that the family sustained the cause of American liberty by the expenditure of their means and by force of arms, did not tend to make their relations with Cornwallis’ men any more pleasant, and they were deprived of about everything they possessed, even to their gold, silver and jewelry, much of...
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