H B Holloway
From: More Arkansas
Name of Interviewer--S. S. Taylor
Person interviewed--H. B. Holloway (Dad or Pappy)
"I never lived in the country. I lived in town. But sometimes my father
would go into the country to hunt and I would go with him.
"I was born in Austin County, Fort Valley, Georgia, 105 miles below
Atlanta one way, and by Macon it would be 140. I was thirteen years old
when the war began and seventeen when it ended. I was born the fifteenth
day of February, 1848.
"My mother was a nurse and midwife. My father was a finished mechanic. I
never had to do any work until after the Civil War, but I was just crazy
about railroading and went to railroading early. I railroaded all my
life. I did some draying too and a lot of concreting too.
"I was born free. There weren't so many free Niggers in Georgia. None
that I knew owned any slaves. I never heered of any owning any slaves.
My mother was a full blooded Cherokee woman, and my father was a dark
Spaniard." [("Dad" or "Pappy" Holloway is a fine looking old white man
and shows evidence of White and Indian blood; however, Negro blood
shows.) [HW: omit]]
"I am the only one out of twelve children that can't talk my mother's
language and don't know my father's. I remember the Indian war whoop,
and the war dance--used to do that myself. When they run the Indians out
of Georgia into Florida, my mother never did go. She was one hundred
seven years old when she died."
Marriage, Breeding, Weddings, Separations
"You know, there weren't no marriages like now with Niggers--just like
if you and your wife owned a man and I owned a woman, if your man wanted
to marry, he got consent from you and my woman would get consent from
me. And then they would marry, and I either got to buy your slave or you
got to buy mine. Sometimes the white folks wouldn't want you to marry.
"They didn't force nobody to marry. They might force you to marry if
both of you had the same master, but not if they belonged to different
masters. They were crazy about slaves that had a lot of children.
"Niggers didn't separate in slave times because they never was married
except by word of mouth. There was a lot of old souls that came out of
slavery times that lived together and raised children that never was
married (except by word of mouth), just got together. But they made out
better and were better husbands and wives and raised better families
than they do now.
"Sometimes folks would get separated when the slave traders would sell
them, and sometimes families would get separated when their white folks
died or would run into debt."
"They had a slave block in Georgia. You see they would go to Virginia
and get the people that they would bring across the water--regular
Africans. Sometimes they would refugee them four or five hundred miles
before they would get the chance to sell them. Sometimes a woman would
have a child in her arms. A man would buy the mother and wouldn't want
the child. And then sometimes a woman would holler out: 'Don't sell that
pickaninny.' (You know they didn't call colored children nothin' but
Pickaninnies then.) 'I want that little pickaninny.' And the mother
would go one way and the child would go the other. The mother would be
screaming and hollering, and of course, the child wouldn't be saying
nothin' because it didn't know what was goin' on.
"They had a sale block in my home (Fort Valley, Georgia), and I used to
go and see the Niggers sold often. Some few wasn't worth nothin' at
all--just about a hundred dollars. But they generally ran about five or
six hundred dollars. Some of them would bring thousands of dollars. It
depended on their looks. The trader would say, 'Look at those shoulders;
look at those muscles.'
"Someone would holler out, 'A thousand dollars.'
"Then another would holler out, 'Fifteen hundred.'
"They went like horses. A fine built woman would bring a lot of money. A
woman that birthed children cost a heap.
"Virginia was where the slaves would be brought first. The slave traders
would go there and get them and take them across the country in
droves--just like you take a drove of cattle. They would sell them as
they would come to sale blocks. The slaves would be undressed from the
shoulders to the waist."
Houses, Food, Clothes
"The slaves lived in log huts on the plantations. Some men would
weatherboard them. They didn't put any ceiling in. You could lay back in
your bed and see the moon and stars shining through.
"Some got good food and some of the owners would make the Niggers steal
their food from other folks. Old Myers Green would make his Niggers
steal and he would say, 'If you get caught, I'll kill you.' One or two
of them let themselves get caught, and he would whip them. That was to
save him from paying for it. They couldn't do anything to you but whip
you nohow. But they could make him pay for it.
"They used homemade clothes made out of homemade cotton cloth. They
would spin the cotton to a thread. When they would get so many broaches
of it, they would make it into cloth. A broach was just a lot of thread
wound around a stick. They would take it to the wheel and make the
cloth, them women used to have tasks:--spinning, weaving, dressmaking,
and so on. Sometimes they would have five and six spinning wheels
running before they would get to the weaving.
"I don't know who made the clothes. But you know them Niggers made them.
They used to learn some slaves how to do some things,--the right way.
Jus' like they learned themselves. There was plenty of nice
seamstresses. The white folks used to make them make clothes for their
children. The white folks wouldn't do nothin'. They wouldn't even turn
down the bed to get in it."
"Colored folks in slavery times didn't know how old they was. When you
would buy a drove of darkies, you would go by what they would tell you,
but they didn't know how old they was. Some of those Niggers they bought
from Africa wouldn't take nothin' neither.
"They would say: 'Me goin' do what you say do, but me aint goin' to get
no whipping.' And when they whipped them, there was trouble.
"The masters kept records of ages of those born in their care. Some of
them did. Some of them didn't keep nothin'. Jus' like people nowadays.
Raised them like pigs and hogs. Jus' didn't care."
"There used to be plenty of colored folk fiddlers. Dancing, candy
pulling, quilting,--that was about the only fun they would have. Corn
shucking, too. They used to enjoy that. They would get on top of that
pile and start singing--the white folks used to like that--sometimes
they would shuck corn all night long. And they would sing and eat too.
"They had what they called the old-fashioned cotillion
dance--partners--head, foot, and two sides--four men and four
women--each man danced with his partner. Music by the fiddlers. I used
to dance that.
"At the quilting, they'd get down and quilt. The boys and young men
would be there too and they would thread the needles and laugh and talk
with the girls, and the women would gossip.
"The masters would go there too and look at them and see what they'd do
and how they'd do and make them do. They would do that at the candy
pullin' too, and anything else.
"The candy pulling--there they'd cook the candy and a man and a girl
would pull candy together. Look to me like they enjoyed the corn
shucking as much as they did anything else."
"They'd give time to celebrate Christmas time. They'd dance and so on
like that. But they worked them from New Year's day to Christmas Eve
night the next year. The good white people would give them a pig and
have them make merry. They'd make merry over it like we do now. That's
where it all come from."
"I seen a many a runaway slave. I've seen the hounds catch them too. You
could hear the hounds all hours of the night. Some Nigger was gone. Some
of them would run away from the field. And some of them would slip out
"I used to mock them hounds. The first hound would say 'Oo-oo-oo,
He-e-e-e-re he-e-e-e-e G-o-o-o-oes.' The others would say, 'Put 'im up.
Put 'im up. Put 'im up. Put 'im up. Put 'im up.' My mother would laugh
at me. The lead-hound howled, and the catch dog wouldn't say nothin' but
you could hear the sound of his feet. The lead hound didn't catch the
Nigger, but he would just follow him. When he caught up with him, he
would step aside and let the catch dog get him if he wasn't treed."
"The pateroles were for Niggers just like police and sheriffs were for
white folks. They were just poor white folks. When a Nigger was out from
the plantation at night, he had to have a pass. If the pateroles seen
him, they would stop him and ask for his pass. If'n he didn't have it,
he'd mos' likely get a beating. I was free and didn't have no pass.
Sometimes they would stop me, but I never had no trouble with 'em. I was
a boy then, and everybody knowed me."
"Men like Colonel Troutman, Major Holmes, and Preacher Russell--Thomas
Russell--they didn't whip their Niggers and didn't allow no one else to
whip them. They had a little guardhouse on the plantation and they would
lock them up in it. You'd better not hit one of their Niggers. They'd
take a pole or something and run you ragged."
"White folks was cruel in slavery times. You see I was free and could go
where I wanted too, and I see'd a lot. Old Myer Green would take a
Nigger and tie his feet to one side of a railroad track and tie his
hands to the other side, and whip him till the blood ran. Then he would
take him down to the smoke house and rub him down with lard and red
pepper. 'Rub plenty in,' he would say, 'Don't let him spoil.'
"Then I have seen them take up a ten-rail fence end set it down on a
Nigger's neck and whip him. If he would rare and twist and try to jump
up, he would break his neck."
[HW: To follow 1st. par, P.7]
Pateroles (See also on Page 9)
"One night, when me and my mother was coming from town, my mother had a
demijohn of whiskey. They (pateroles) tried to take it. And she snatched
a palling off the fence and nearly beat them poor white trash to death.
My mother was a good woman, strong as any man. I was sitting on the
demijohn. I was a little fellow then. They didn't do nothin' to her
neither, 'cause they knew what old Colonel Troutman would do."
(Holloway's mother was midwife to Colonel Troutman's wife and nurse and
'mammy' to his boy, although a free Indian.) [HW: Delete last
"I can carry you to Columbus, Georgia. There was ten mulatto Niggers
born there and you would think they were all white; but they were all
colored. They were slaves, but their master was their Daddy.
"I'll tell you somethin'. W. H. Riley and Henry Miller,--You know them
don't you--they are blood brothers,--had the same mother and the same
father. Riley's grandfather was a white man named Miller. Miller got mad
at his son, Riley's father, and sold him to a white man named Riley.
Riley took the name of his father's second master. After freedom, Henry
and Josephine took the name of Miller, their real grandfather. They
said, 'Miller had never done anything' for them."
Curious Beliefs and Slave Expectations of Freedom
"I was looking right in Lincoln's mouth when he said, 'The colored man
is turned loose without anything. I am going to give a dollar a day to
every Negro born before Emancipation until his death,--a pension of a
dollar a day.' That's the reason they killed him. But they sure didn't
get it. It's going to be an awful thing up yonder when they hold a
judgment over the way that things was done down here."
Lincoln's Visit to Atlanta
"When the war was declared over, Abraham Lincoln came South and went to
the capitol (of Atlanta), and there was so many people to meet him he
went up to the tower instead of in the State House. He said, 'I did
everything I could to keep out of war. Many of you agreed to turn the
Negroes loose, but Jeff Davis said that he would wade in blood up to his
neck before he would do it.'
"He asked for all of the Confederate money to be brought up there. And
when it was brought, he called for the oldest colored men around. He
said, 'Now, is you the oldest?' The man said, 'Yes Sir.' Then he threw
him one of those little boxes of matches and told him to set fire to it
and burn it up.
"Then he said, 'I am going to disfranchise every one of you (the white
folks), and it will be ten years before you can even vote or get back
into the Union.'"
"Grant was the one that killed the Republican party. We ain't had but
three real Republican presidents since the war--Garfield, McKinley and
Teddy Roosevelt. They killed Garfield, and they killed McKinley, and
they tried to kill Teddy Roosevelt. Well, they asked Grant if they could
make state constitutions. Grant said, 'Yes, if they didn't conflict with
the national constitution.' But they did conflict and Grant didn't do
nothin' about it."
Schooling, Antebellum and Postbellum
"Northern teachers were sent down here after the war and they charged a
dollar a month until the State set up schools. Some of the Niggers
learned enough in the six months school to teach, and some white persons
"In slave times, they didn't have any schools for Niggers. Niggers
better not be caught with a book. If he were caught with a book they
beat him to death nearly. Niggers used to get hold of this Webster's
Blue Back Book and the white folks would catch them and take them away.
They didn't allow no free Niggers to go to school either in slave times."
"I used to see Niggers in Georgia share cropping. Nigger work all the
year. Christmas eve night they would be going back to the plantation
singing--done lost everything--sitting on the wagon singing:
'Sho' pity Lawd forgive
That ar' pentant rebel live.'
"Then they would have to get clothes and food against the next year's
crop. Then you'd see 'em on the wagon again driving back to the
plantation loaded down with provisions, singing:
'Lawd revive us agin
All our increase comes from thee.'
"I used to study how them people could live. They didn't give but ten
dollars a month for common labor. They didn't give anything to the share
cropper. They took all of it. They said he spent it, borrowed it, and on
Didn't Want To Be Free
"Some that didn't know any better didn't want to be free. Especially
them that had hard taskmasters. When the Nigger was turned loose sho
nuff, some of them didn't have a good shirt to their back. The master
hated to lose them so bad, he wouldn't give them anything.
"But for twenty-five years after slave times, there ain't no race of
people ever traveled as fast as the Nigger did. But when the young ones
came up, they are the ones what killed the thing. An old white man said:
'We thought if you folks kept it up we or you one would have to leave
this country. But when the young ones came on, and began begrudging one
another this and that and working against one another, then we saw you
would never make a nation.'"
Riots and KKK
"I have been in big riots. I was in the Atlanta riots in 1891. We lost
about forty men, and I don't know how many the white folks lost, but
they said it was about a hundred. I used to live there. I came here in
"We had a riot there when the KKK was raising so much Cain. The first Ku
Klux wore some kind of hat that went over the man's head and shoulders
and had great big red eyes in it. They broke open my house one night to
"I was working as a foreman in the shops. One night as I was going home,
some men stopped and said 'Who are you.' I answered 'H. B. Holloway.'
Then they said, 'Well we'll be over to your house tonight to whip you.'
"I said, 'We growed up together and you couldn't whip me then. How you
'spect to do it now. You might kill me, but you can't beat me.'
"And one of them said, 'Well we'll be over to see you at eleven thirty
tonight, and we are going to beat you.'
"I went on home end told my wife what had happened. She was afraid and
wanted me to leave and take her and the children with her.
"But I said, 'No, you must take the little children and go in the
bedroom and stay there.'
"She did. I had three sons that were grown up, between twenty and
twenty-eight years old, and I had a Winchester, a shotgun and a pistol.
I gave the Winchester to the oldest, the shotgun to the next, and the
pistol to the youngest. I took my ax for myself. I stationed the boys at
the far end of the room--away from the door.
"The oldest said, 'Papa, let's kill them.'
"I said, 'No. You just stand there and do nothing till I tell you. When
they break in, I'll knock the first one in the head with the ax. But
don't you do nothin' till I tell you.'
"After a while, we heard a noise outside, and I took my stand beside the
door. Then they gave a rush, and battered the door down. A man with a
gray hood on jumped inside. I hit him side the head with the flat of the
ax, and he fell down across the door.
"Then the others rushed up, and the boys cut loose with all three of the
guns, and such another uproar you never heard. They high-tailed it down
the street, and the boys took right after them, shooting at their legs.
The Winchester shot sixteen times, and the pistol shot six, and the boy
with the shotgun was shooting and breaking down and reloading and
shooting again as fast as he could.
"I went outside and whistled for the boys to come back. They come. They
would always obey me. I told them to carry the man I had hit out. He was
still lying there. Through all the fuss and uproar, he had been lying
there across the doorway. Carried him out, and threw him on the
sidewalk. My eldest son said the man said, 'Holloway, don't hit me no
"I didn't, but if I had known who he was then, I would have gone out and
cut his throat. He was old Colonel Troutman's son. There was just two
hours difference in our birth. Me and him both nursed from the same
breast. We grew up together and were never separated until we were
thirteen (beginning of the war). Many people thought we were brothers. I
had fought for him and he had fought for me. When he wasn't at my house,
I was at his, and his father partly raised me. That's the reason I don't
trust white people.
"We had a big dog that everyone was scared of. We always kept him
chained up. I unchained the dog, and took the boys and we went out in
the woods. It was cold; so we made a fire under a tall sapling.
"Near daylight, I said, 'The dog sees something, but we can't see what
it is.' The eldest son said, 'Pappy, if you get astride the dog, and
look the way he's looking, you can see what he sees.'
"I got astride him and looked, and finally way off through the trees and
the branches and leaves, I saw six men riding through the woods on
horseback. I took the guns away from the boys and put the pistol and
shotgun under the leaves at my feet. I made the boys separate and hide
in the brush at a good distance from me and from each other. I made the
dog lie down beside me. Then I waited.
"When the men came near me and were about to pass on looking for me, I
hailed them. I told them to stop right where they were or I'd drop them
in their tracks. It was Colonel Troutman and five other of the old men
from town out hunting me.
"Colonel Troutman said, 'We just wanted to talk to you Holloway.'
"I said, 'Stand right where you are and talk.'
"After some talk, I let them come up slowly to a short distance from me.
The upshot of the whole thing was that they wanted me to go back to town
with them to 'talk' over the matter. They allowed I hadn't done nothin'
wrong. But Colonel Troutman's man was hurt bad, and some of the young
men in the mob had had their legs broke. And they were all young men
from the town, boys that knew me and were friendly to me in the daytime.
Still they wanted me to go to town in their charge, and I knew I
wouldn't have a chance if I did that. Finally I told Colonel Troutman,
that I was going home to see my wife that evening, and that if he
wanted to talk to me, he could come over there and talk.
"When they left, I sent the boys along home and told them to tell my
wife. That night when I got home, Colonel Troutman was in the house
talking to my wife. I went in quietly. He said that they said I had
forty Niggers hid in the house that night. I told him that there wasn't
anybody there but me and my family, and that all the damage that was
done I done myself. He said that well he didn't blame me; that even if
it was his son, they broke in on me and I had a right to defend my
family, and that none of the old heads was going to do anything about
it. He said I was a good man and had never given anybody any trouble and
that there wasn't any excuse for anybody comin' stirrin' up trouble with
me. And that was the end of it."
"My wife was sick, down, couldn't do nothin'. Someone got to telling her
about Cain Robertson. Cain Robertson was a hoodoo doctor in Georgia.
They there wasn't nothin' Cain couldn't do. She says, 'Go and see Cain
and have him come up here.'
"I says, 'There ain't no use to send for Cain. Cain ain't coming up here
because they say he is a "two-head" Nigger.' (They called all them hoodoo
men 'two-head' Niggers; I don't know why they called them two-head.)
'And you know he knows the white folks will put him in jail if he comes
"But she says, 'You go and get him.'
"So I went.
"I left him at the house and when I came back in, he said, 'I looked at
your wife and she had one of then spells while I was there. I'm afraid
to tackle this thing because she has been poisoned and it's been goin'
on a long time. And if she dies, they'll say I killed her and they
already don't like me and lookin' for an excuse to do somethin' to me.'
"My wife overheard him and says, 'You go on, you got to do somethin'.'
"So he made me go to town and get a pint of corn whiskey. When I brought
it back, he drunk a half of it at one gulp, and I started to knock him
down. I'd thought he'd get drunk with my wife lying there sick.
"Then he said, 'I'll have to see your wife's stomach.' Then he scratched
it, and put three little horns on the place he scratched. Then he took
another drink of whiskey and waited about ten minutes. When he took them
off her stomach, they were full of blood. He put them in the basin in
some water and sprinkled some powder on them, and in about ten minutes
more, he made me get them and they were full of clear water and there
was a lot of little things that looked like wiggle tails swimming around
"He told me when my wife got well to walk in a certain direction a
certain distance and the woman that caused all the trouble would come to
my house and start a fuss with me.
"I said, 'Can't you put this same thing back on her.'
"He said, 'Yes, but it would kill my hand.' He meant that he had a
curing hand and that if he made anybody sick or killed them, all his
power to cure would go from him.
"I showed the stuff he took out of my wife's stomach to old Doc Matthews
and he said, 'You can get anything into a person by putting it in them.'
He asked me how I found out about it, and how it was taken out, and who
"I told him all about it, and he said, 'I'm going to see that that
Nigger practices anywhere in this town he wants to and nobody bothers
him.' And he did."
Opinions of Young People
"The young Niggers aint got as much sense as the old ones had,--those
that were born before the war. One thing, they don't read enough. They
don't know history. I can't understand them. Looks like to me they had a
mighty good chance; but it looks like the more they get the worse they
are. Looks like to me their parents didn't teach them right--or
somethin'. Young ladies--I look at them every day of my life--coarse,
swearing, running with bootleggers, and running the hoodlums down,
smoking, going half-naked, and so on. They don't care what they do or
"My brother was in Collodiusville, Georgia, the last time I heard from
him. That is in Monroe County, or Upton County,--I don't know what
county it's in. I know he is there if he is living because he owns a
"William always lived in Macon but he is dead. Bud,--I don't know where
he is. Milton, Irving, and Zekiel, I don't know where they are. I used
to keep up with them regular. But we ain't written to each other in a
"The last time I heard from Mahala and Laura, their husbands were
bricklayers and they were living in Atlanta, I think. They went some
other place where there was plenty of work. I think it was to Cleveland,
Ohio. There's Josephine, Mandy, and little Mary--five sisters and seven
"Outside of William, Crawford, and Milton, I haven't seen none of them
since fifty years. I haven't seen Zekiel since the year of the
surrender. I seen some of the white folks the year they had the re-union
here. They seen me on the street, and came over and talked to me, and
wanted me to go back to Fort Valley, and offered to pay my railroad
fare. But I told 'em I was goin' to stay here in God's country."
This information given by: H. B. Holloway (Dad or Pappy)
Place of Residence: 1524 Valentine Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
Occupation: Formerly railroader and drayman--Pension now.
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