From: North Carolina
N.C. District: No. 2
Worker: Mary A. Hicks
No. Words: 794
Subject: SLAVERY DAYS IN FRANKLIN COUNTY
Story teller: Lily Perry
Editor: Geo. L. Andrews
[TR: Date stamp: JUL 24 1937]
SLAVERY DAYS IN FRANKLIN COUNTY
An interview with Lily Perry, 84 years old, of 9 McKee Street, Raleigh,
"I wus borned on de plantation of Mister Jerry Perry near Louisburg,
about eighty-four years ago. My daddy, Riddick, 'longed ter him an' so
did my mammy, do she 'longed ter a Mis' Litchford 'fore she married
"De fust things dat I can remember wus bein' a house gal, pickin' up
chips, mindin' de table an' feedin' de hogs. De slop buckets wus heavy
an' I had a heap of wuck dat wus hard ter do. I done de very best dat I
could but often I got whupped jist de same.
"When dey'd start ter whup me I'd bite lak a run-mad dog so dey'd chain
my han's. See hyar, hyars de scars made by de chains. Dey'd also pick
me up by de years an' fling me foun',[TR: roun'] see hyar, I can wiggle
my years up an' down jist lak a mule can, an' I can wiggle' em roun'
an' roun' lak dat, see!
"One day I ain't feelin' so good an' de slops am so heavy dat I stops
an' pours out some of it. De oberseer, Zack Terrell, sees me an' when I
gits back ter de house he grabs me ter whup me.
"De minute he grabs me I seize on ter his thumb an' I bites hit ter de
bone, den he gits mad an' he picks me up an' lifts me higher dan my
haid an' flings me down on de steel mat dere in front of de do'.
"Dey has ter revise me wid cold water from de spring an' I wus sick fer
a week. We ain't had good food which makes me weak an' I still has ter
do heavy wuck.
"Dar wus a slave block in Louisburg an' I'se seed many a slave sold
dar. Very few wus put in chains, most of 'em wus put in a kivered wagon
wid a guard an' wus chained at night. I'se seed many a 'oman cryin' fer
her chile when one er de tother wus put on de slave block in Louisburg.
"I wus 'bout twelve years old when de Yankees come. I wus pickin' up
chips in de yard when dey comes by wid dere hosses steppin' high an'
dere music playin' a happy chune. I wus skeered, but I don't dasent run
case marster will sho have me whupped, so I keeps on wid my wuck.
"Dey pass fast on down de road an' dey doan bother nothin' in our
community but de white folkses hates 'em jist de same.
"Marster Jerry tells us 'bout a week later dat we am free an' all of de
two hundret 'cept 'bout five er six goes right off. He tells all of us
dat he will pay us effen we will stay an' wuck, so me an' my family we
"We lives dar fer seberal years den I marries Robert Perry who lives on
de same plantation wid us. We ain't had but one daughter an' dat's
Kate, who still libes wid me.
"Me an' Robert wus raised up tergether, he bein' five years older'n me
an' I loved him frum de time I wus borned. I know how he uster hate ter
see me git dem beatin's an' he'd beg me not ter let my mouth be so
sassy, but I can't help hit. He uster take my beatin's when he could
an' a heap of times he sneak out ter de fiel's in de ebenin' an' toted
dat slops ter de pigs.
"Onct when marster wus whuppin' me Robert run up an' begged marse ter
put de whuppin' on him 'stead of me. De result wus marse whupped us
both an' we 'cided ter run away.
"We did run away, but night brung us back ter another whuppin' an' we
ain't neber run away no mo'.
"We wus at a frolic at Louisburg when he proposes ter me an' he do hit
dis way, 'Honey gal, I knows dat you doan love me so powerful much,
but will you try ter do hit fer me?'
"Course I sez, 'Go long, nigger, iffen I doan love yo' den dar ain't no
water in Tar Riber.' Den I sez, 'We can git Marse Henry outen de bed
an' he'll marry us ternight.'
"Rob wus tickled pink an' sho nuff we wus married right away dat very
"We lived pore, dat I knows, but we wus too happy in ourselves ter
worry 'bout sich things an' de lack.
"I laughs now ter think how ignorant we niggers wus. We'd do our
washin' an' 'bout de time we hung hit on de line, we'd see a string of
folks comin' home frum de Prospect Church an' we'd know dat we'd done
our washin' on a Sunday."
Next: Valley Perry
Previous: Amy Penny