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Slave Narrative of Robert Toatley

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Robert Toatley Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Date of Birth: May 15, 1855 Age: 82 Robert Toatley lives with his daughter, his son, his son’s wife, and their six children, near White Oak, seven miles north of Winnsboro, S.C. Robert owns the four-room frame house and farm containing 235 acres. He has been prosperous up from slavery, until the boll weevil made its appearance on his farm and the depression came on the country at large, in 1929. He has been compelled to mortgage his home but is now coming forward again, having reduced the mortgage to a negligible balance, which he expects to liquidate with the present 1937 crop of cotton. Robert is one of the full blooded Negroes of pure African descent. His face, in repose, possesses a kind of majesty that one would expect in beholding a chief of an African tribe. “I was born on de ‘Lizabeth Mobley place. Us always called it ‘Cedar Shades’. Dere was a half mile of cedars on both sides of de road leading to de fine house dat our white folks lived in. My birthday was May 15, 1855. My mistress was a daughter of Dr. John Glover. My master married her when her was twelve years old. Her first child, Sam, got to be a doctor, and they sho’ did look lak brother and sister. When her oldest child, Sam, come back from college, he fetched a classmate, Jim Carlisle, wid him. I played marbles wid them. Dat boy, Jim, made his mark, got ‘ligion, and went to de top of a college...

Slave Narrative of Ned Walker

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Ned Walker Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Place of Birth: Winnsboro, South Carolina Age: 83 Ned Walker lives in the village of White Oak, near Winnsboro, S.C., in a two-room frame house, the dwelling of his son-in-law, Leander Heath, who married his daughter, Nora. Ned is too old to do any work of a remunerative character but looks after the garden and chickens of his daughter and son-in-law. He is a frequent visitor to¬†Winnsboro,¬†S.C. He brings chickens and garden produce, to sell in the town and the Winnsboro Hill’s village. He is tall, thin, and straight, with kind eyes. Being one of the old Gaillard Negroes, transplanted from the Santee section of Berkeley County, in the Low Country, to the red hills of Fairfield County, in the Up Country, he still retains words and phrases characteristic of the Negro in the lower part of South Carolina. “Yes sir, I’s tall and slim lak a saplin’; maybe dat a good reason I live so long. Doctor say lean people lives longer than fat people. “I hear daddy read one time from de Bible ’bout a man havin’ strength of years in his right hand and honor and riches in his left hand, but whenever I open dat left hand dere is nothin’ in it. ‘Spect dat promise is comin’ tho’, when de old age pension money gits down here from Washington. When you ‘spect it is comin’? De palm of my hand sho’ begin to itch for dat greenback money. So you think it’s on de way? Well, thank God for dat but it seem...

Slave Narrative of Alexander Robertson

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Alexander Robertson Location: White Oak, South Carolina Age: 84 Ex-Slave 84 Years Old Alexander Robertson lives as a member of the household of his son, Charley, on the General Bratton plantation, four miles southeast of White Oak, S.C. It is a box-like house, chimney in the center, four rooms, a porch in front and morning glory vines, in bloom at this season, climbing around the sides and supports. Does Alexander sit here in the autumn sunshine and while the hours away? Nay, in fact he is still one of the active, working members of the family, ever in the fields with his grandchildren, poke around his neck, extracting fleecy cotton from the bolls and putting it deftly into the poke. He can carry his row equally as well as any of the six grandchildren. He has a good appetite at meal time, digestive organs good, sleeps well, and is the early riser in the mornings. He says the Negro half of his nature objects to working on Saturday afternoon, and at such times his tall figure, with a green patch cloth over the left eye, which is sightless, may be seen strolling to and fro on the streets of Winnsboro. “Well, well! If it ain’t de youngun dat use to sell me sugar, coffee, fat back and meal, when he clerk for Calvin Brice & Company, at Woodward, in ’84 and ‘long dere. “I hopes you is well dis mornin’. I’s told to come to Winnsboro and gits blanks for a pension. Andy Foster, man I knows, d’rect me up dese steps and...

Slave Narrative of Al Rosboro

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Al Rosboro Location: Woodward, South Carolina Age: 90 Ex-Slave 90 Years Old Al Rosboro, with his second wife, Julia, a daughter, and six small grandchildren, lives in a three-room frame house, three hundred yards east of the Southern Railway track and US #21, about two miles south of Woodward, S.C., in Fairfield County. Mr. Brice gives the plot of ground, four acres with the house, to Al, rent free. A white man, Mr. W.L. Harvey does the ploughing of the patches for him. Al has cataracts on his eyes and can do no work. Since this story was written he has received his first old age pension check of eight dollars from the Social Welfare Board in Columbia, S.C. “Does I know what a nonagenarian is? No seh, what dat? Old folks? Well, dats a mighty long name and I been here a mighty long time. Glad you say it’s a honor and a privilege by de mercy of de Lord. I’s thankful! You wants to know where I was born and who my white folks then? “I was born just one and a half mile b’low White Oak, S.C., on de old Marse Billie Brice place. My pappy b’long to old Miss Jennie Rosboro, but mammy b’long to Marse William Brice. Her name Ann. My old mistress name Mary, daughter of de Simontons, on Dumpers Creek. “You wants de fust thing I ‘members, then travel ‘long de years ’til I come to settin’ right here in dis chair. Well, reckon us git through today? Take a powerful sight of dat pencil to...

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