The following data is extracted from North Carolina Slave Narratives.
86 Yrs. Ex-slave.
Yes, Mis', I wuz bawn in 1851, de 16th of November, on de Occoneechee Plantation, owned by Marse John Norwood an' his good wife, Mis' Annie. An' when I say 'good' I mean jus dat, for no better people ever lived den my Marse John an' Mis' Annie.
One thing dat made our Marse an' Mistis so good wuz de way dey brought up us niggers. We wuz called to de big house an' taught de Bible an' dey wuz Bible readin's every day. We wuz taught to be good men an' women an' to be hones'. Marse never sold any of us niggers. But when his boys and girls got married he would give dem some of us to take with dem.
Marse never allowed us to be whipped. One time we had a white overseer an' he whipped a fiel' han' called Sam Norwood, til de blood come. He beat him so bad dat de other niggers had to take him down to de river an' wash de blood off. When Marse come an' foun' dat out he sent dat white man off an' wouldn' let him stay on de plantation over night. He jus' wouldn' have him roun' de place no longer. He made Uncle Whitted de overseer kase he wuz one of de oldest slaves he had an' a good nigger.
When any of us niggers got sick Mis' Annie would come down to de cabin to see us. She brung de best wine, good chicken an' chicken soup an' everything else she had at de big house dat she thought we would like, an' she done everything she could to get us well again.
Marse John never worked us after dark. We worked in de day an' had de nights to play games an' have singin's. We never cooked on a Sunday. Everything we ett on dat day was cooked on Saturday. Dey wuzn' lighted in de cook stoves or fire places in de big house or cabins neither. Everybody rested on Sunday. De tables wuz set an' de food put on to eat, but nobody cut any wood an' dey wuzn' no other work don' on dat day. Mammy Beckie wuz my gran'mammy an' she toted de keys to de pantry an' smoke house, an' her word went wid Marse John an' Mis' Annie.
Marse John wuz a great lawyer an' when he went to Pittsboro an' other places to practice, if he wuz to stay all night, Mis' Annie had my mammy sleep right in bed wid her, so she wouldn' be 'fraid.
Marse an Mistis had three sons an' three daughters,--De oldest son wuz not able to go to war. He had studied so hard dat it had 'fected his mind, so he stayed at home. De secon' son, named Albert, went to war an' wuz brought back dead with a bullet hole through his head. Dat liked to have killed Marse John an' Mis' Annie. Dey wuz three girls, named, Mis' Maggie, Mis' Ella Bella and Mis' Rebena.
I wuz de cow-tender. I took care of de cows an' de calves. I would have to hold de calf up to de mother cow 'til de milk would come down an' den I would have to hold it away 'til somebody done de milkin'. I tended de horses, too, an' anything else dat I wuz told to do.
When de war started an' de Yankees come, dey didn' do much harm to our place. Marse had all de silver an' money an' other things of value hid under a big rock be de river an' de Yankees never did fine anything dat we hid.
Our own sojers did more harm on our plantation den de Yankees. Dey camped in de woods an' never did have nuff to eat an' took what dey wanted. An' lice! I ain't never seed de like. It took fifteen years for us to get shed of de lice dat de sojers lef' behind. You jus' couldn' get dem out of your clothes les' you burned dem up. Dey wuz hard to get shed of.
After de war wuz over Marse John let Pappy have eighteen acres of land for de use of two of his boys for a year. My pappy made a good crop of corn, wheat an' other food on dis land. Dey wuz a time when you couldn' find a crust of bread or piece of meat in my mammy's pantry for us to eat, an' when she did get a little meat or bread she would divide it between us chillun, so each would have a share an' go without herself an' never conplained.
When pappy wuz makin' his crop some of de others would ask him why he didn' take up some of his crop and get somethin' to eat. He would answer an' say dat when he left dat place he intended to take his crop with him an' he did. He took plenty of corn, wheat, potatoes an' other food, a cow, her calf, mule an' hogs an' he moved to a farm dat he bought.
Later on in years my pappy an mammy come here in Durham an' bought a home. I worked for dem' til I wuz thirty-two years old an' give dem what money I earned. I worked for as little as twenty-five cents a day. Den I got a dray an' hauled for fifteen cents a load from de Durham depo' to West Durham for fifteen years. Little did I think at dat time dat I would ever have big trucks an' a payroll of $6,000.00 a year. De good Lawd has blest me all de way, an' all I have is His'n, even to my own breath.
Den one day I went back home to see my old Marse an' I foun' him sittin' in a big chair on de po'ch an' his health wuzn' so good. He sed, "Lindsey, why don' you stop runnin' roun' wid de girls an' stop you cou't 'n? You never will get nowhere makin' all de girls love you an' den you walk away an' make up with some other girl. Go get yourself a good girl an' get married an' raise a family an' be somebody." An' I did. I quit all de girls an' I foun' a fine girl and we wuz married. I sho got a good wife; I got one of de best women dat could be foun' an' we lived together for over forty-five years. Den she died six years ago now, an' I sho miss her for she wuz a real help-mate all through dese years. We raised five chillun an' educated dem to be school teachers an' other trades.
I have tried to live de way I wuz raised to. My wife never worked a day away from home all de years we wuz married. It wuz my raisin an' my strong faith in my Lawd an' Marster dat helped me to get along as well as I have, an' I bless Him every day for de strength He has given me to bring up my family as well as I have. Der is only one way to live an' dat is de right way. Educate your chillun, if you can, but be sho you give dem de proper moral training at home. De right way to raise your chillun is to larn dem to have manners and proper respect for their parents, be good citizens an' God fearin' men an' women. When you have done dat you will not be ashamed of dem in your old age. I bless my Maker dat I have lived so clos' to Him as I have all dese years an' when de time comes to go to Him I will have no regrets an' no fears.
Source: North Carolina Slave Narratives