Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Midge Burnett Location: 1300 S. Bloodworth Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 80 Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY INTL Start Now Plantation Life In Georgia An interview with Midge Burnett, 80 years old, of 1300 S. Bloodworth Street, Raleigh, North Carolina. I wus borned in Georgia eighty years ago, de son of Jim an’ Henretta Burnett an’ de slave of Marse William Joyner. I wurked on de farm durin’ slavery times, among de cotton, corn, an’ sugar cane. De wurk wusn’t so hard an’ we had plenty of time ter have fun an’ ter git inter meanness, dat’s why Marse William had ter have so many patterollers on de place. Marse William had near three hundret slaves an’ he kept seben patterollers ter keep things goin’ eben. De slaves ain’t run away. Naw sir, dey ain’t, dey knows good things when dey sees dem an’ dey ain’t leavin’ dem nother. De only trouble wus dat dey wus crazy ’bout good times an’ dey’d...Read More
Location: Raleigh North Carolina
Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Eustace Hodges Location: 625 W. Lenoir Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 76 I doan know when I wus borned, ner where but at fust my mammy an’ me ‘longed ter a McGee here in Wake County. My mammy wurked in de fiel’s den, ditchin’ an’ such, even plowin’ while we ‘longed ter McGee, but he sold us ter Mr. Rufus Jones. My daddy still ‘longed ter him but at de close of de war he comed ter Mr. Jones’ plantation an’ he tuck de name of Jones ‘long wid us. Marse Rufus wus gooder dan Marse McGee, dey said. He give us more ter eat an’ wear an’ he ain’t make us wurk so hard nother. We had our wurk ter do, of course, but mammy ain’t had ter ditch ner plow no mo’. She wurked in de house den, an’ none of de wimmen done men’s wurk. Course she can’t wurk so hard an’ have ‘leben chilluns too. She had a baby one day an’ went ter wurk de nex’ while she ‘longed ter McGee, but at Marse Rufus’ she stayed in de bed seberal days an’ had a doctor. Marse Rufus uster let us take Sadday evenin’ off an’ go swimmin’ er fishin’ er go ter Raleigh. I ‘members dat somebody in town had a fuss wid Marse Rufus ’bout lettin’...Read More
Interviewer: T. Pat. Matthews Person Interviewed: Robert Glenn Location: 207 Idlewild Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: Sept. 16, 1850 Location of Birth: Orange County NC Age: 87 I was a slave before and during the Civil War. I am 87 years old. I was born Sept. 16, 1850. I was born in Orange County, North Carolina near Hillsboro. At that time Durham was just a platform at the station and no house there whatever. The platform was lighted with a contraption shaped like a basket and burning coal that gave off a blaze. There were holes in this metal basket for the cinders to fall through. I belonged to a man named Bob Hall, he was a widower. He had three sons, Thomas, Nelson, and Lambert. He died when I was eight years old and I was put on the block and sold in Nelson Hall’s yard by the son of Bob Hall. I saw my brother and sister sold on this same plantation. My mother belonged to the Halls, and father belonged to the Glenns. They sold me away from my father and mother and I was carried to the state of Kentucky. I was bought by a Negro speculator by the name of Henry Long who lived not far from Hurdles Mill in Person County. I was not allowed to tell my mother and father...Read More
Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Analiza Foster Location: 1120 Sound Blount Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Person County NC Age: 68 An interview with Analiza Foster, 68 of 1120 South Blount Street, Raleigh, North Carolina. I wuz borned in Person County ter Tom Line an’ Harriet Cash. My mammy belonged ter a Mr. Cash an’ pappy belonged ter Miss Betsy Woods. Both of dese owners wuz mean ter dere slaves an’ dey ain’t carin’ much if’en dey kills one, case dey’s got plenty. Dar wuz one woman dat I hyard mammy tell of bein’ beat clean ter death. De ‘oman wuz pregnant an’ she fainted in de fiel’ at de plow. De driver said dat she wuz puttin’ on, an’ dat she ort ter be beat. De master said dat she can be beat but don’t ter hurt de baby. De driver says dat he won’t, den he digs a hole in de sand an’ he puts de ‘oman in de hole, which am nigh ’bout ter her arm pits, den he kivers her up an’ straps her han’s over her haid. He takes de long bull whup an’ he cuts long gashes all over her shoulders an’ raised arms, den he walks off an’ leabes her dar fer a hour in de hot sun. De flies an’ de gnats dey worry her, an’ de sun...Read More
Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Mattie Curtis Location: Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Orange County NC Age: 98 Occupation: Sewing Before And After The War An interview with Mattie Curtis, 98 years old, of Raleigh, North Carolina, Route # 4. I wus borned on de plantation of Mr. John Hayes in Orange County ninety-eight years ago. Seberal of de chilluns had been sold ‘fore de speculator come an’ buyed mammy, pappy an’ we three chilluns. De speculator wus named Bebus an’ he lived in Henderson, but he meant to sell us in de tobacco country. We come through Raleigh an’ de fust thing dat I ‘members good wus goin’ through de paper mill on Crabtree. We traveled on ter Granville County on de Granville Tobacco path till a preacher named Whitfield buyed us. He lived near de Granville an’ Franklin County line, on de Granville side. Preacher Whitfield, bein’ a preacher, wus supposed to be good, but he ain’t half fed ner clothed his slaves an’ he whupped ’em bad. I’se seen him whup my mammy wid all de clothes offen her back. He’d buck her down on a barrel an’ beat de blood outen her. Dar wus some difference in his beatin’ from de neighbors. De folks round dar ‘ud whup in de back yard, but Marse Whitfield ‘ud have de barrel carried in his parlor...Read More
Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Chaney Hews Location: 104 Cotton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 60 My age, best of my recollection, is about eighty years. I was ’bout eight years ole when de Yankees come through. Chillun in dem days wus not paid much mind like dey is now. White chillun nor nigger chillun wus not spiled by tenshun. I got enough to eat to live on an’ dat wus ’bout all I keered ’bout. Des so I could git a little to eat and could play all de time. I stayed outen de way of de grown folks. No, chillun wus not noticed like dey is now. I heard de grown folks talkin’ ’bout de Yankees. De niggers called ’em blue jackets. Den one mornin’, almost ‘fore I knowed it, de yard wus full of ’em. Dey tried to ride de hosses in de house, dey caught de chickens, killed de shoats and took de horses an’ anything else dey wanted. Dey give de nigger hardtack an’ pickled meat. I ‘members eating some of de meat, I didn’t like. We had reasonably good food, clothin’, and warm log houses wid stick an’ dirt chimleys. De houses wus warm enough all de time in winter, and dey didn’t leak in rainy weather neither. Dere wus a lot of slaves an’ marster an’ missus wus good to father...Read More
Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Adeline Crump Location: 526 Cannon Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 73 My name is Adeline Crump, and I am 73 years old. My husband’s name wus James Crump. My mother’s wus Marie Cotton and my father’s name wus Cotton. My mother belonged to the Faucetts; Rich Faucett wus her marster. Father belonged to the Cottons; Wright Cotton wus his marster. My maiden name wus Cotton. Mother and father said they were treated all right and that they loved their white folks. They gave them patches, clothed them tolerably well, and seed that they got plenty to eat. The hours of work wus long. Nearbout everybody worked long hours then, but they said they wus not mistreated ’bout nothing. When they got sick marster got a doctor, if they wus bad off sick. They wus allowed holidays Christmas and at lay-by time, an’ they wus ‘lowed to hunt possums an’ coons at night an’ ketch rabbits in gums. They also caught birds in traps made of splinters split from pine wood. Mother and father had no learnin’. They would not allow them to learn to read and write. Marster wus keerful ’bout that. I cannot read an’ write. My mother and father told me many stories ’bout the patterollers and Ku Klux. A nigger better have a pass when he went visitin’ or if...Read More
Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Julia Crenshaw Location: North Carolina As Julia Crenshaw recalled her mother’s story. My mammy wuz named Jane an’ my pappy wuz named Richard. Dey belonged ter Lawyer R. J. Lewis in Raleigh, dar whar Peace Institute am ter day. Mammy said dat de white folkses wuz good ter dem an’ gib ’em good food an’ clothes. She wuz de cook, an’ fer thirty years atter de war she cooked at Peace. Before de Yankees come Mr. Lewis said, dat he dreamed dat de yard wuz full uv dem an’ he wuz deef. When dey comed he played deef so dat he won’t have ter talk ter ’em. Him he am dat proud. Mammy said dat she ain’t cared ’bout been’ free case she had a good home, but atter all slavery wusn’t de thing fer...Read More
Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: George W. Harris Location: 604 E Cabarrus Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: November 25, 1855 Age: 82 Hey, don’t go ‘roun’ dat post gitting it ‘tween you and me, it’s bad luck. Don’t you know it’s bad luck? Don’t want no more bad luck den what I’se already got. My name is George Harris. I wuz born November 25, 82 years ago. I have been living in the City of Raleigh onto 52 years. I belonged to John Andrews. He died about de time I wuz born. His wife Betsy wuz my missus and his son John wuz my marster. Deir plantation wuz in Jones County. Dere were about er dozen slaves on de plantation. We had plenty o’ food in slavery days during my boyhood days, plenty of good sound food. We didn’t have ‘xactly plenty o’ clothes, and our places ter sleep needed things, we were in need often in these things. We were treated kindly, and no one abused us. We had as good owners as there were in Jones County; they looked out for us. They let us have patches to tend and gave us what we made. We did not have much money. We had no church on the plantation, but there wuz one on Marster’s brother’s plantation next ter his plantation. We had suppers an’...Read More
Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Robert Hinton Location: 420 Smith Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Date of Birth: 1856 My name is Robert Hinton. I ain’t able to work, ain’t been able to do any work in five years. My wife, Mary Hinton, supports me by workin’ with the WPA. She was cut off las’ May. Since she has had no job, we have to live on what she makes with what little washin’ she gets from de white folks; an’ a little help from charity; dis ain’t much. Dey give you for one week, one half peck meal, one pound meat, one pound powdered milk, one half pound o’ coffee. Dis is what we git for one week. I wus borned in 1856 on de Fayetteville Road three miles from Raleigh, south. I belonged to Lawrence Hinton. My missus wus named Jane Hinton. De Hintons had ’bout twenty slaves on de plantation out dere. Dey had four chillun, de boy Ransom an’ three girls: Belle, Annie an’ Miss Mary. All are dead but one, Miss Mary is livin’ yit. My mother wus named Liza Hinton an’ my father wus named Bob Hinton. My gran’mother wus named Mary Hinton an’ gran’father Harry Hinton. We had common food in slavery time, but it wus well fixed up, an’ we were well clothed. We had a good place to sleep, yes...Read More
Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Hannah Crasson Location: North Carolina Location of Birth: Wake County NC Age: 84 My name is Hannah Crasson. I wuz born on John William Walton’s plantation 4 miles from Garner and 13 miles from Raleigh, N. C. in the County of Wake. I am 84 years ole the 2nd day uv dis las’ gone March. I belonged to Mr. John William Walton in slavery time. My missus wuz named Miss Martha. My father wuz named Frank Walton. My mother wuz named Flora Walton. Grandma wuz 104 years when she died. She died down at de old plantation. My brothers were named Johnnie and Lang. My sisters were Adeline, Violet, Mary, Sarah, Ellen, and Annie. Four of us are livin’, Ellen, Mary, Sarah and me. De old boss man wuz good to us. I wuz talkin’ about him the udder night. He didn’t whup us and he said, he didn’t want nobody else to whup us. It is jis like I tell you; he wuz never cruel to us. One uv his sons wuz cruel to us. We had a plenty to eat, we shore did, plenty to eat. We had nice houses to live in too. Grandma had a large room to live in, and we had one to live in. Daddy stayed at home with mother. They worked their patches by moonlight;...Read More
Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: Thomas Hall Location: 316 Tarboro Road, Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Orange County NC Age: 81 My name is Thomas Hall and I was born in Orange County, N. C. on a plantation belonging to Jim Woods whose wife, our missus, was named Polly. I am eighty one years of age as I was born Feb. 14, 1856. My father Daniel Hall and my mother Becke Hall and me all belonged to the same man but it was often the case that this wus not true as one man, perhaps a Johnson, would own a husband and a Smith own the wife, each slave goin’ by the name of the slave owners, family. In such cases the children went by the name of the family to which the mother belonged. Gettin married an’ having a family was a joke in the days of slavery, as the main thing in allowing any form of matrimony among the slaves was to raise more slaves in the same sense and for the same purpose as stock raisers raise horses and mules, that is for work. A woman who could produce fast was in great demand and brought a good price on the auction block in Richmond, Va., Charleston, S. C., and other places. The food in many cases that was given the slaves was not...Read More
Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Mandy Coverson Location: 103 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Union County NC Age: 78 Ex-Slave Story An interview with Mandy Coverson, 78, of 103 South Wilmington Street, Raleigh. I wuz borned in Union County to Sarah an’ Henderson Tomberlin. My mother belonged to Mr. Moses Coverson, an’ my pappy belonged to Mr. Jackie Tom Tomberlin. I stayed wid my mammy, of course, an’ Marster Moses wuz good ter me. Dey warn’t so good ter my mammy, case dey makes her wuck frum sunup till sundown in de hot summertime, an’ she ain’t had no fun at all. She plowed two oxes, an’ if’en yo’ has eber been around a steer yo’ knows what aggravatin’ things dey is. De oberseer, whose name I’se plumb forget, wuz pore white trash an’ he wuz meaner dan de meanest nigger. Anyhow I wuz too little ter do much wuck so I played a heap an’ I had a big time. My mammy, died ‘fore I wuz very old an’ missus kept me in de house. I wuz petted by her, an’ I reckon spoiled. Yo’ knows dat den de niggers ain’t neber eat no biscuits but missus always gimmie one eber meal an’ in dat way she got me interested in waitin’ on de table. I wuzn’t old enough ter know much, but...Read More
Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks Person Interviewed: Milly Henry Location: 713 South East Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Location of Birth: Yazoo City, Mississippi Age: 82 Ex-Slave Story An interview with Milly Henry 82 of 713 South East Street, Raleigh, N. C. I wus borned a slave ter Mr. Buck Boylan in Yazoo City, Mississippi. I doan know nothin’ ’bout my family ‘cept my gran’maw an’ she died in Mississippi durin’ de war. Marster Buck owned three plantations dar, de Mosley place, Middle place, an’ de Hill place. Me an’ gran’maw lived at de Mosley place. One day Marster Buck comes in, an’ we sees dat he am worried stiff; atter awhile he gangs us up, an’ sez ter us: De Yankees am a-comin’ to take my slaves ‘way from me an’ I don’t ‘pose dat dey am gwine ter do dat. Fer dem reasons we leaves fer No’th Carolina day atter termorror an’ I ain’t gwine ter hyar no jaw ’bout hit.’ Dat day he goes over de slaves an’ picks out ‘roun’ five hundret ter go. He picks me out, but my gran’maw he sez dat he will leave case she am so old an’ feeble. I hates dat, but I don’t say nothin’ at all. We leaves home in kivered wagons, wid a heap walkin’ an’ in ’bout three weeks, I reckon, we gits ter Raleigh. You should...Read More
Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews Person Interviewed: W. S. Debnam Location: 701 Smith Street, Raleigh, North Carolina Age: 78 Yes, I remember the Yankees coming to Raleigh. I don’t know very much about those times, I was so young, but I remember the Yankees all right in their blue clothes; their horses, and so on. I’ll be 78 years old the 8th of this comin’ September an’ I’ve heard mother an’ father talk about slavery time a whole lot. We belonged to T. R. Debnam at Eagle Rock, Wake County. His wife was named Priscilla Debnam. My father was named Daniel Debnam an’ my mother was named Liza Debnam. My master had several plantations an’ a lot of slaves. I don’t know how many, but I know he had ’em. He fed us well; we had a good place to sleep. We had wove clothes, enough to keep us warm. He treated me just like he had been my father. I didn’t know the difference. Marster an’ missus never hit me a lick in their lives. My mother was the house girl. Father tended business around the house an’ worked in the field sometimes. Our houses were in marster’s yard. The slave quarters were in the yard of the great house. I don’t remember going to church until after the surrender. I remember the corn shuckin’s, but not the Christmas...Read More
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