Location: Fairfield County SC

Slave Narrative of Daniel Waring

Interviewer: Stiles M. Scruggs Person Interviewed: Daniel Waring Location: Columbia, South Carolina Place of Birth: Fairfield County, South Carolina Date of Birth: 1849 Age: 88 “I was born in Fairfield County, South Carolina, in 1849, and my parents, Tobias and Becky Waring was slaves of the Waring family, and the Bookters and Warings was kin folks. When I was just a little shaver I was told I b’longed to the family of the late Colonel Edward Bookter of upper Fairfield County. “The Bookter plantation was a big one, with pastures for cattle, hogs and sheep; big field of cotton, corn and wheat, and ’bout a dozen Negro families livin’ on it, mostly out of sight from the Bookter’s big house. Two women and three or four Negro chillun work there, preparin’ the food and carin’ for the stock. I was one of the chillun. Colonel Bookter’s household had three boys; one bigger than me and two not quite as big as me. We play together, drive up the cows together, and carry on in friendly fashion all the time. The nigger chillun eat with the two black women in a place fixed for them off from the kitchen, after the white folks finish. We generally have same food and drink that the white folks have. “When I was ’bout eleven years old my master took me to Columbia one...

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Slave Narrative of Josephine Stewart

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Josephine Stewart Location: Blackstock, South Carolina Place of Birth: Blackstock, South Carolina Date of Birth: May, 1853 Age: 85 Phinie Stewart, as she is known in the community where she lives, is a small, black negress, who shows her age in appearance and movements. She lives with Robert Wood, a hundred yards back of the Presbyterian Church manse at Blackstock, S.C. Robert Wood married Phinie’s niece, who is now deceased. Phinie has no property, and depends entirely on the charity of Robert Wood for her support. “Does you know where de old Bell House is, about a mile de other side of Blackstock, on de Chester road? Yes? Well, dere is where I was borned, in May, 1853. “I doesn’t know who my pappy was. You know in them times folks wasn’t particular ’bout marriage licenses and de preacher tying de knot and all dat kind of thing. But I does know mammy’s name. Her name was Celie. Dese eyes of mine is dim but I can see her now, stooping over de wash tub and washing de white folks’ clothes every Monday and Tuesday. “Us belonged to Marster Charlie Bell and his lady, Miss Maggie Bell, our mistress in them slavery days. Does I ‘member who Miss Maggie was befo’ her married Marster Charlie? Sure I does. Mistress was a daughter of...

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Slave Narrative of Mack Taylor

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Mack Taylor Location: Ridgeway, South Carolina Age: 97 Mack Taylor lives six miles southeast of Ridgeway, S.C., on his farm of ninety-seven acres. The house, in which he resides, is a frame house containing six rooms, all on one floor. His son, Charley, lives with him. Charley is married and has a small family. “Howdy do sir! I sees you a good deal goin’ backwards and forwards to Columbia. I has to set way back in de bus and you sets up to de front. I can’t ketch you to speak to you, as you is out and gone befo’ I can lay hold of you. But, as Brer Fox ‘lowed to Brer Rabbit, when he ketched him wid a tar baby at a spring, ‘I is got you now.’ “I’s been wantin’ to ask you ’bout dis old age pension. I’s been to Winnsboro to see ’bout it. Some nice white ladies took my name and ask me some questions, but dat seem to be de last of it. Reckon I gwine to get anything? “Well, I’s been here mighty nigh a hundred years, and just ’cause I pinched and saved and didn’t throw my money away on liquor, or put it into de palms of every Jezabel hussy dat slant her eye at me, ain’t no valuable reason why them dat...

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Slave Narrative of Reuben Rosborough

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Reuben Rosborough Location: Ridgeway, South Carolina Age: 82 “No sir, I can ‘member nothin’ ’bout de State of Verginny, where pappy said us was born. He told me, when I was ’bout two years old he and mammy Kitty was took from somewhar in dat state to Richmond, wid de understandin’ to sell us as a family, and to give a man name Johnson, de preference. He say de trader couldn’t find de man Johnson, and sold us to my marster, John Rosborough. My pappy name William, my brothers, Tom and Willie and my sisters, Mary and Alice. “My marster was a kind and tender man to slaves. You see a man love hosses and animals? Well, dat’s de way he love us, though maybe in bigger portion, I ‘low. Marster John never marry. Set down dere dat he was good enough to buy my old gran’ mammy Mary, though she never could do much work. “Us knowed dat our gran’pappy was a white man back in Verginny, but dat was her secret, dat she kept locked in her breast and carried it wid her to de grave. You say I’s very light color myself? So I is, so was she, so was pappy. Ease your mind, us had none of de white Rosborough in us. Us come on one side from de...

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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...

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Slave Narrative of Tom Rosboro

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Tom Rosboro Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Age: 79 Ex-Slave 79 Years Old Tom Rosboro lives with his daughter, Estelle Perry, in a three-room frame house, on Cemetery Street, Winnsboro, S.C. The house stands on a half-acre plot that is used for garden truck. Estelle owns the fee in the house and lot. Tom peddles the truck, eggs, and chickens, in the town and the suburban Winnsboro mill village. “My pappy was name Tom, just lak I is name Tom. My mammy was name Sarah but they didn’t b’long to de same marster. Pappy b’long to old Marse Eugene McNaul. Mammy b’long to old Marse John Propst. De ownership of de child followed de mammy in them days. Dat throwed me to be a slave of old Marse John Propst. “My young marsters was name Marse Johnnie, Marse Clark, Marse Floyd, and Marse Wyatt. I had two young misses. Miss Elizabeth marry a McElroy and Miss Mamie marry a Landecker. You know Marse Ernest Propst dat run dat ladies’ garment store and is a member of de Winnsboro Town Council? Yes? Well, dat is one of Marse Floyd Propst chillun. “I hear mammy say dat daddy’s mistress was name Miss Emma but her mistress and my mistress was name Miss Margaret. My daddy have to have a pass every time he come to see...

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Slave Narrative of Manda Walker

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Manda Walker Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Age: 80 Manda Walker lives with her son-in-law, Albert Cooper, in a three-room frame cottage in Winnsboro, S.C. Albert’s first wife was her daughter, Sallie. Five of their children and Albert’s second wife, Sadie, occupy the house with Albert and Manda. “Does you know where Horse Crick (Creek) branch is, and where Wateree Crick is? Ever been ‘long de public road ‘tween them water courses? Well, on de sunrise side of dat road, up on a hill, was where my slavery time marster live. “I was born in de yard, back of de white folks’ house, in a little log house wid a dirt floor and a stick and mud chimney to one end of de house. My marster was name Marse Tom Rowe and my mistress name Missy Jane Rowe. They de ones dat tell me, long time ago, dat I was born befo’ de war, in 1857. Deir chillun was Miss Mary and Miss Miami. “I no work much ’til de end of de war. Then I pick cotton and peas and shell corn and peas. Most of de time I play and sometime be maid to my young misses. Both growed into pretty buxom ladies. Miss Miami was a handsome buxom woman; her marry Marse Tom Johnson and live, after de war, near Wateree...

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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...

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Slave Narrative of Rosa Starke

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Rosa Starke Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Date of Birth: 1854 Age: 83 Occupation: Farm work, hoeing and picking cotton. Rosa’s grandfather was a slave of Solicitor Starke. Although she has had two husbands since slavery, she has thrown their names into the discard and goes by the name of Rosa Starke. She lives in a three-room frame house with her son, John Harrison, two miles south of Winnsboro, S.C., on the plantation of Mrs. Rebecca V. Woodward. She still does farm work, hoeing and picking cotton. “They say I was six years old when de war commence poppin’ in Charleston. Mammy and pappy say dat I was born on de Graham place, one of de nineteen plantations of my old marster, Nick Peay, in 1854. My pappy was name Bob and my mammy name Salina. They had b’longed to old Marse Tom Starke befo’ old Marse Nick bought them. My brudders was name Bob and John. I had a sister name Carrie. They was all older than me. “My marster, Nick Peay, had nineteen places, wid a overseer and slave quarters on every place. Folks dat knows will tell you, dis day, dat them nineteen plantations, in all, was twenty-seven thousand acres. He had a thousand slaves, more or less, too many to take a census of. Befo’ de numerator git ’round, some...

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Slave Narrative of Dan Smith

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Dan Smith Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Place of Birth: Richland County SC Date of Birth: January 11, 1862 Age: 75 Occupation: Construction Dan Smith lives in one room, rent free, of a three-room frame house, the property of his son-in-law, Jim Cason. It is situated on the southeast corner of Garden and Palmer streets in the town of Winnsboro, S.C. He is tall, thin and toothless, with watery eyes and a pained expression of weariness on his face. He is slow and deliberate in movements. He still works, and has just finished a day’s work mixing mortar in the construction of a brick store building for Mr. Lauderdale. His boss says: ‘The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.’ There is nothing organically wrong with Dan but he appears, in human anatomy, as Doctor Holmes’s One Horse Shay must have looked the day before its final collapse. “You been here once befo’ and now here you is again. You say you wanna git additions? Well, I’s told you dat I was born in Richland County, a slave of Marse John Lever and on his plantation, January de 11th day, 1862, when de war was gwine on. How I know? ‘Cause my mammy and pappy told me so. They call my pappy Bob and my mammy Mary. Strange as it seem, my mistress...

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Slave Narrative of Mary Raines

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Mary Raines Location: South Carolina Age: 99 Ex-Slave 99 Years Old. Mary Raines is the oldest living person, white or black, in Fairfield County. If she survives until next December, she will have attained her century of years. She lives with her widowed daughter, Fannie McCollough, fifty-seven years old, and a son, Joe Raines, aged 76 years. They rent a two-room frame house, on lands of Mrs. Sallie Wylie, Chester County, S.C. Joe, the son, is a day laborer on nearby farms. Fannie cooks for Mrs. W.T. Raines. Old Mother Mary has been receiving a county pension of $5.00 per month for several years. “How old would Marse William Woodward be if he hadn’t died befo’ I gwine to die? A hundred and twenty, you say? Well, dat’s ’bout de way I figured my age. Him was a nephew of Marse Ed, de fust Marse Ed P. Mobley. Him say dat when him ‘come twenty-one, old marster give him a birthday dinner and ‘vite folks to it. Marse Riley McMaster, from Winnsboro, S.C., was dere a flyin’ ’round my young mistress, Miss Harriett. Marse Riley was a young doctor, ridin’ ’round wid saddlebags. While they was all settin’ down to dinner, de young doctor have to git up in a hurry to go see my mammy. Left his plate piled up wid turkey,...

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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...

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Slave Narrative of Bill Williams

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Bill Williams Location: Winnsboro, South Carolina Age: 82 Bill Williams lives on the Durham place, nine miles east of Winnsboro, S.C., on the warm charity of Mr. Arthur M. Owens, the present owner. He is decrepit and unable to work. “I was born a slave of old Marster John Durham, on a plantation ’bout five miles east of Blackstock, S.C. My mistress name Margaret. Deir chillun was Miss Cynthia, Marse Johnnie, Marse Willie and Marse Charnel. I forgits de others. Then, when young Marse Johnnie marry Miss Minnie Mobley, my mammy, Kizzie, my daddy, Eph, and me was give to them. Daddy and mammy had four other chillun. They was Eph, Reuben, Winnie and Jordan. Us live in rows of log houses, a path ‘twixt de two rows. Us was close to de spring, where us got water and mammy did de white folks washin’ every week. I kep’ de fires burnin’ ’round de pots, so de water would keep boilin’. Dat’s ’bout all de work I ‘members doin’ in slavery time. Daddy was a field hand and ploughed a big red mule, name Esau. How many slaves was dere? More than I could count. In them days I couldn’t count up to a hundred. How, then, I gonna kno’ how many dere was? You have to ask somebody else. I’ll just risk...

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Slave Narrative of Aleck Woodward

Interviewer: W. W. Dixon Person Interviewed: Aleck Woodward Location: South Carolina Age: 83 “You knows de Simonton place, Mr. Wood? Well, dats just where I was born back yonder befo’ de war, a slave of old Marster Johnnie Simonton. Five miles sorter south sunset side of Woodward Station where you was born, ain’t it so? My pappy was Ike Woodward, but him just call ‘Ike’ time of slavery, and my mammy was name Dinah. My brother Charlie up north, if he ain’t dead, Ike lives in Asheville, North Carolina. Two sisters: Ollie, her marry an Aiken, last counts, and she and her family in Charlotte, North Carolina; sister Mattie marry a Wilson nigger, but I don’t know where they is. “Us lived in a four-room log house, ’bout sixteen all told. Dere was pappy and mammy (now you count them) gran’pappy, Henry Davis, Gran’mammy Kisana, Aunt Anna, and her seven chillun, and me, and my two brothers and two sisters. How many make dat? Seventeen? Well, dat’s de number piled in dere at night in de beds and on de floors. They was scandlous beds; my God, just think of my grands, old as I is now, tryin’ to sleep on them hard beds and other folks piled ‘scriminately all over de log floors! My Gran’pappy Henry was de carpenter, and old marster tell him ‘if you make your...

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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...

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