Sarah Louise Augustus
From: North Carolina
N. C. District: No. 2 
Worker: T. Pat Matthews
No. Words: 1,426
Subject: SARAH LOUISE AUGUSTUS
Source: Sarah Louise Augustus
Editor: George L. Andrews
[TR: No Date Stamp]
SARAH LOUISE AUGUSTUS
Age 80 years
1424 Lane Street
Raleigh, North Carolina
I wus born on a plantation near Fayetteville, N. C., and I belonged to
J. B. Smith. His wife wus named Henrietta. He owned about thirty slaves.
When a slave was no good he wus put on the auction block in Fayetteville
My father wus named Romeo Harden and my mother wus named Alice Smith.
The little cabin where I wus born is still standing.
There wus seven children in marster's family, four girls and two boys.
The girls wus named Ellen, Ida, Mary and Elizabeth. The boys wus named
Harry, Norman and Marse George. Marse George went to the war. Mother had
a family of four girls. Their names wus: Mary, Kate, Hannah and myself,
Sarah Louise. I am the only one living and I would not be living but I
have spent most of my life in white folk's houses and they have looked
after me. I respected myself and they respected me.
My first days of slavery wus hard. I slept on a pallet on the floor of
the cabin and just as soon as I wus able to work any at all I wus put
to milking cows.
I have seen the paterollers hunting men and have seen men they had
whipped. The slave block stood in the center of the street, Fayetteville
Street, where Ramsey and Gillespie Street came in near Cool Springs
Street. The silk mill stood just below the slave market. I saw the
silkworms that made the silk and saw them gather the cocoons and spin
They hung people in the middle of Ramsey Street. They put up a gallows
and hung the men exactly at 12 o'clock.
I ran away from the plantation once to go with some white children to
see a man hung.
The only boats I remember on the Cape Fear wus the Governor Worth, The
Hurt, The Iser and The North State. Oh! Lord yes, I remember the stage
coach. As many times as I run to carry the mail to them when they come
by! They blew a horn before they got there and you had to be on time
'cause they could not wait. There wus a stage each way each day, one up
and one down.
Mr. George Lander had the first Tombstone Marble yard in Fayetteville
on Hay Street on the point of Flat Iron place. Lander wus from Scotland.
They gave me a pot, a scarf, and his sister gave me some shells. I have
all the things they gave me. My missus, Henrietta Smith, wus Mr.
Lander's sister. I waited on the Landers part of the time. They were
hard working white folks, honest, God fearing people. The things they
gave me were brought from over the sea.
I can remember when there wus no hospital in Fayetteville. There wus a
little place near the depot where there wus a board shanty where they
operated on people. I stood outside once and saw the doctors take a
man's leg off. Dr. McDuffy wus the man who took the leg off. He lived on
Hay Street near the Silk Mill.
When one of the white folks died they sent slaves around to the homes
of their friends and neighbors with a large sheet of paper with a piece
of black crepe pinned to the top of it. The friends would sign or make a
cross mark on it. The funerals were held at the homes and friends and
neighbors stood on the porch and in the house while the services were
going on. The bodies were carried to the grave after the services in a
black hearse drawn by black horses. If they did not have black horses to
draw the hearse they went off and borrowed them. The colored people
washed and shrouded the dead bodies. My grandmother wus one who did
this. Her name wus Sarah McDonald. She belonged to Capt. George
McDonald. She had fifteen children and lived to be one hundred and ten
years old. She died in Fayetteville of pneumonia. She wus in Raleigh
nursing the Briggs family, Mrs. F. H. Briggs' family. She wus going home
to Fayetteville when she wus caught in a rain storm at Sanford, while
changing trains. The train for Fayetteville had left as the train for
Sanford wus late so she stayed wet all night. Next day she went home,
took pneumonia and died. She wus great on curing rheumatism; she did it
with herbs. She grew hops and other herbs and cured many people of this
She wus called black mammy because she wet nursed so many white
children. In slavery time she nursed all babies hatched on her marster's
plantation and kept it up after the war as long as she had children.
Grandfather wus named Isaac Fuller. Mrs. Mary Ann Fuller, Kate Fuller,
Mr. Will Fuller, who wus a lawyer in Wall Street, New York, is some of
their white folks. The Fullers were born in Fayetteville. One of the
slaves, Dick McAlister, worked, saved a small fortune and left it to
Mr. Will Fuller. People thought the slave ought to have left it to his
sister but he left it to Mr. Will. Mr. Fuller gives part of it to the
ex-slaves sister each year. Mr. Will always helped the Negroes out when
he could. He was good to Dick and Dick McAlister gave him all his
belongings when he died.
The Yankees came through Fayetteville wearing large blue coats with
capes on them. Lots of them were mounted, and there were thousands of
foot soldiers. It took them several days to get through town. The
Southern soldiers retreated and then in a few hours the Yankees covered
the town. They busted into the smokehouse at marstar's, took the meat,
meal and other provisions. Grandmother pled with the Yankees but it did
no good. They took all they wanted. They said if they had to come again
they would take the babies from the cradles. They told us we were all
free. The Negroes begun visiting each other in the cabins and became so
excited they began to shout and pray. I thought they were all crazy.
We stayed right on with marster. He had a town house and a big house on
the plantation. I went to the town house to work, but mother and
grandmother stayed on the plantation. My mother died there and the
white folks buried her. Father stayed right on and helped run the farm
until he died. My uncle, Elic Smith, and his family stayed too.
Grandfather and grandmother after a few years left the plantation and
went to live on a little place which Mrs. Mary Ann Fuller gave them.
Grandmother and grandfather died there.
I wus thirty years old when I married. I wus married in my missus'
graduating dress. I wus married in the white folks' church, to James
Henry Harris. The white folks carried me there and gave me away. Miss
Mary Smith gave me away. The wedding wus attended mostly by white
My husband wus a fireman on the Cape Fear river boats and a white man's
Negro too. We had two children, both died while little. My husband and I
spent much of our time with the white folks and when he wus on his runs
I slept in their homes. Often the children of the white families slept
with me. We both tried to live up to the standards of decency and
honesty and to be worthy of the confidence placed in us by our white
My husband wus finally offered a job with a shipping concern in
Deleware and we moved there. He wus fireman on the freighter
Wilmington. He worked there three years, when he wus drowned. After his
death I married David Augustus and immediately came back to North
Carolina and my white folks, and we have been here ever since. I am a
member of several Negro Lodges and am on the Committee for the North
Carolina Colored State Fair.
There are only a few of the old white folks who have always been good
to me living now, but I am still working with their offspring, among
whom I have some mighty dear friends. I wus about eight years old when
Sherman's Army came through. Guess I am about eighty years of age now.
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