From: South Carolina
=EX-SLAVE 97 YEARS.=
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
"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 did dat way and 'joyed deirselves can get
de pension and me can't get de pension. 'Tain't fair! No, sir. If I had
a knowed way back yonder, fifty years ago, what I knows now, I might of
gallavanted 'round a little more wid de shemales than I did. What you
think 'bout it?
"You say I's forgittin' dat religion must be thought about? Well, I can
read de Bible a little bit. Don't it say: 'What you sow you sure to
reap?' Yes, sir. Us niggers was fetched here 'ginst our taste. Us fell
de forests for corn, wheat, oats, and cotton; drained de swamps for
rice; built de dirt roads and de railroads; and us old ones is got a
fair right to our part of de pension.
"My marster, in slavery times, lived on de Wateree River. He had a large
plantation and, I heard them say, four hundred slaves. He was a hard
marster and had me whipped as many times as I got fingers and toes. I
started workin' in de field when I was a boy fifteen years old. De work
I done was choppin' de grass out of de cotton and pickin' de cotton.
What's become of them old army worms dat had horns, dat us chillun was
so scared of while pickin' cotton? I never see them dese days but I'd
rather have them than dis boll weevil I's pestered wid.
"My marster's name was Tom Clark. My mistress was a gentle lady, but
field niggers never got to speak to her. All I can say is dat de house
slaves say she was mighty good to them. I saw de chillun of de white
folks often and was glad they would play wid us colored chillun. What
deir names? Dere was Marse Alley, Marse Ovid, Marse Hilliard, and Miss
"Old marster got kilt in de last year of de war, and Miss Margaret, dat
was our Mistress, run de place wid overseers dat would thrash you for
all sorts of things. If they ketch you leanin' on your hoe handle,
they'd beat you; step out of your task a minute or speak to a girl,
they'd beat you. Oh, it was hell when de overseers was around and de
mistress nor none of de young marsters was dere to protect you. Us was
fed good, but not clothed so good in de winter time.
"My pappy didn't b'long to de Clarks at de commencement of de war. Old
marster done sold him, 'way from us, to Col. Tom Taylor in Columbia.
After de war, he run a shoe repair shop in Columbia many years befo' he
died. His name was Douglas Taylor and dat is de reason I took de name,
Mack Taylor, when I give in my name to de Freedman's Bureau, and I's
stuck to it ever since.
"I members de Yankees. Not many of them come to Miss Margaret's place.
Them dat did, took pity on her and did nothing but eat, feed deir
horses, and gallop away.
"Us was never pestered by de Ku Klux, but I was given a warnin' once, to
watch my step and vote right. I watched my step and didn't vote a-tall,
"Mr. Franklin J. Moses was runnin' for governor. Colored preachers was
preachin' dat he was de Moses to lead de Negroes out of de wilderness of
corn bread and fat grease into de land of white bread and New Orleans
molasses. De preachers sure got up de excitement 'mongst de colored
women folks. They 'vised them to have nothin' to do wid deir husbands if
they didn't go to de 'lection box and vote for Moses. I didn't go, and
my wife wouldn't sleep wid me for six months. I had no chillun by her.
She died in 1874. After Nancy die, I marry Belle Dawkins. De chillun us
had was George, Charley, Maggie and Tommy. Then Belle died, and I
married Hannah Cunningham. Us had no chillun. After she died, I marry a
widow, Fannie Goings, and us had no chillun.
"My son, George, is in Washington. My daughter, Maggie, is dead. Tommy
was in Ohio de last I heard from him. I is livin' wid my son, Charley,
on my farm. My grandson, Mack, is a grown boy and de main staff I lean
on as I climb up to de hundred mile post of age.
"I b'longs to de Rehovah Baptist Church. I have laid away four wives in
deir graves. I have no notion of marryin' any more. Goodness and mercy
have followed me all de days of my life, and I will soon take up dis old
body and dwell in de house of de Lord forevermore."
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