Slave Narrative of Amanda Oliver
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Person Interviewed: Amanda Oliver
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Place of Birth: Missouri
Date of Birth: November 9, 1857
I ‘membuh what my mother say, I was born November 9, 1857, in Missouri. I was ’bout eight years old, when she was sold to a master named Harrison Davis. They said he had two farms in Missouri, but when he moved to northern Texas he brought me, my mother, Uncle George, Uncle Dick and a cullud girl they said was 15 with ‘im. He owned ’bout 6 acres on de edge of town near Sherman, Texas, and my mother and ’em was all de slaves he had. They said he sold off some of de folks.
We didn’t have no overseers in northern Texas, but in southern Texas dey did. Dey didn’t raise cotton either: but dey raised a whole lots of corn. Sometime de men would shuck corn all night long. Whenever dey was going to shuck all night de women would piece quilts while de men shuck de corn and you could hear ’em singing and shucking corn. After de cornshucking, de cullud folks would have big dances.
Master Davis lived in a big white frame house. My mother lived in the yard in a big one-room log hut with a brick chimney. De logs was “pinted” (what dey call plastered now with line). I don’t know whether young folks know much ’bout dat sort of thing now.
I slept on de floor up at de “Big House” in de white woman’s room on a quilt. I’d git up in de mornings, make fires, put on de coffee, and tend to my little brother. Jest do little odd jobs sech as that.
We ate vegetables from de garden, sech as that. My favorite dish is vegetables now.
I don’t remember seeing any slaves sold. My mother said dey sold ’em on de block in Kentucky where she was raised. I don’t remembuh when de war broke out, but I remembuh seeing the soldiers with de blue uniforms on. I was afraid of ’em.
Old mistress didn’t tell us when he was free, but another white woman told my mother and I remembuh one dey old mistress told my mother to git to that wheel and git to work, and my mother said. “I ain’t gwineter, I’m jest as free as you air.” So dat very dey my mother pecked up all our belongings and moved us to town, Sherman, Texas. She worked awful hard, doing day work for 50cents a day, and sometimes she’d work for food, clothes or whatever she could git.
I don’t believe in conjuring though I heard lotta talk ’bout it. Sometimes I have pains and aches in my hands, feel like sometime dat somebody puts dey hands on me, but I think jest de way my nerves is.
I can’t say much ’bout Abe Lincoln. He was a republican in favor of de cullud folk being free. Jeff Davis ? Yeah, the boys usta sing a song ’bout ‘im:
Lincoln rides a fine hoss.
Jeff Davis rides a mule.
Lincoln is de President.
Jeff Davis is de fool.
Booker T. Washington, I guess he is a right good man. He’s for the culled people I guess.
I been a Christian thirty some odd years. I’ve been here some thirty odd years. Had to come when my husband did. He died in 1902. We married in 18, I’ve forgot, but we went to de preacher and got married. We did more than jump over de broom stick.
In those days we went to church with de white folks. Dey had church at eleven and the cullud folks at three, but all of us had white preachers. Our church is standing right there now, at least it was de last time I was there.
I don’t have a favorite song, theys so many good ones, but I like, “Bound for the Promised Land.” I’m a Baptist, my mother was a Baptist, and her white folks was Baptist.
I have two daughters, Julia Goodwin and Bertha Frazier, and four grandchildren, both of ’ems been separated. Dey do housework.