Slave Narrative of Dan Bogie
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Interviewer: Eliza Ison
Person Interviewed: Dan Bogie
Location: Garrard County, Kentucky
Date of Interview: May 5, 1858
Garrard County. Ex-Slave Stories. (Eliza Ison) [HW: Ky 9]
Uncle Dan tells me “he was born May 5, 1858 at the Abe Wheeler place near Spoonsville, now known as Nina, about nine miles due east from Lancaster. Mother, whose name was Lucinda Wheeler, belonged to the Wheeler family. My father was a slave of Dan Bogie’s, at Kirksville, in Madison County, and I was named for him. My mother’s people were born in Garrard County as far as I know. I had one sister, born in 1860, who is now dead, and is buried not far from Lancaster. Marse Bogie owned about 200 acres of land in the eastern section of the county, and as far as I can remember there were only four slaves on the place. We lived in a one-room cabin, with a loft above, and this cabin was an old fashioned one about hundred yards from the house. We lived in one room, with one bed in the cabin. The one bed was an old fashioned, high post corded bed where my father and mother slept. My sister and me slept in a trundle bed, made like the big bed except the posts were made smaller and was on rollers, so it could be rolled under the big bed. There was also a cradle, made of a wooden box, with rockers nailed on, and my mother told me that she rocked me in that cradle when I was a baby. She used to sit and sing in the evening. She carded the wool and spun yarn on the old spinning wheel. My grandfather was a slave of Talton Embry, whose farm joined the Wheeler farm. He made shingles with a steel drawing knife, that had a wooden handle. He made these shingles in Mr. Embry’s yard. I do not remember my grandmother, and I didn’t have to work in slave days, because my mother and father did all the work except the heavy farm work. My Mistus used to give me my winter clothes. My shoes were called brogans. My old master had shoes made. He would put my foot on the floor and mark around it for the measure of my shoes.
Most of the cooking was in an oven in the yard, over the bed of coals. Baked possum and ground hog in the oven, stewed rabbits, fried fish and fired bacon called “streaked meat” all kinds of vegetables, boiled cabbage, pone corn bread, and sorghum molasses. Old folks would drink coffee, but chillun would drink milk, especially butter milk.
Old master would call us about 4 o’clock, and everybody had to get up and go to “Starring”[TR:?]. Old Marse had about 30 or 40 sugar trees which were tapped, in February. Elder spiles were stuck in the taps for the water to drop out in the wooden troughs, under the spiles. These troughs were hewed out of buckeye. This maple water was gathered up and put in a big kettle, hung on racks, with a big fire under it. It was then taken to the house and finished upon the stove. The skimmings after it got to the syrup stage was builed down and made into maple sugar for the children.
We wore tow linen clothes in summer and jeans in winter. Sister wore linsey in winter of different colors, dyed from herbs, especially poke berries; and wore unbleached cotton in summer, dyed with yellow mustard seed.
My grandfather, Jim Embry mended shoes and made fairly good ones.
There were four slaves. My mother did cooking and the men did the work. Bob Wheeler and Arch Bogie were our masters. Both were good and kind to us. I never saw a slave shipped, for my boss did not believe in that kind of punishment. My master had four boys, named Rube, Falton, Horace, and Billie. Rube and me played together and when we acted bad old Marse always licked Rube three or four times harder then he did me because Rube was older. Their daughter was named American Wheeler, for her mother.
White folks did not teach us to read and write. I learned that after I left my white folks. There was no church for slaves, but we went to the white folks church at Mr. Freedom. We sat in the gallery. The first colored preacher I ever heard was old man Leroy Estill. He preached in the Freedom meeting house (Baptist). I stood on the banks of Paint Lick Creek and saw my mother baptized, but do not remember the preachers name or any of the songs they sung.
We did not work on Saturday afternoon. The men would go fishing, and the women would go to the neighbors and help each other piece quilts. We used to have big times at the corn shuckings. The neighbors would come and help. We would have camp fires and sing songs, and usually a big dance at the barn when the corn was shucked. Some of the slaves from other plantations would pick the banjo, then the dance. Miss Americe married Sam Ward. I was too young to remember only that they had good things to eat.
I can remember when my mothers brother died. He was buried at the Wheeler, but I do not recall any of the songs, and they did not have a preacher. My mother took his death so hard.
There was an old ash hopper, made of slats, put together at the bottom and wide at the top. The ashes were dumped in this and water poured over them. A drip was made and lye caught in wooden troughs. This was then boiled down and made into soap. My mother let me help stir it many a time. Then the big kettle would be lifted from the fire and left until cold. My mother would then block it off, and put on a wooden plank to dry out until ready for use.”
Bibliography: Interview with Dan Bogie, Ex-Slave.