From: South Carolina
Spartanburg, Dist. 4
Oct. 15, 1937
STORIES OF EX-SLAVES
"I live in a little two-room house beyond Helena where I work a little
patch of land which I rent. I don't own anything. I make a living
working de land.
"I was born on Indian Creek in Newberry County, S. C. about 1856. My
mammy was Rhody Davis and my pa was Ivasum Davis. We belonged in slavery
to Bill Davis. He lived at de place called "Rich Hill". De old house is
done tore down, but young Riser now lives in de new house on de place.
"Our master was good to us, but whipped us a little sometimes. He would
not allow his overseer to whip any of us. He give us enough to eat and a
fair place to live in. We didn't want fer anything. Dey had plenty to
eat on de farm, and sure had good eatings. Dere was a brick oven which
could cook good bread and cakes. We had a big garden which de mistress
looked after, and she had plenty from it which she shared wid de slaves.
"De old spinning wheel was used lots of times and dey made all de
clothes everybody on de place wore.
"We didn't have no church to go to, but dey sometimes made some slaves
go to white folks churches where dey set on de back seats. We didn't
have schools and couldn't learn to read and write till after freedom
come; den some niggers learned at de brush arbors.
"Befo' freedom de patrollers marched up and down de road but didn't
bother us. Our master always give us a pass when we went somewhere. On
Christmas he give us big dinners.
"I married Lilla Davis at de white folks' Baptist church in Newberry.
"When slaves got sick some of dem took tree barks and made teas to
drink, and some made tea from root herbs. We had doctors, too, but dey
made lots of deir medicine from de barks and herbs.
"I can't remember much what de Ku Klux did, but heard about dem. Just
after de war de Yankees marched through our place and stole some cattle
and run away wid dem. In some places dey burned down de barns and gin
"I had a good master and always had plenty to eat, so I thought slavery
was all right. We didn't have nothing of any kind to worry about.
"I don't know nothing much about Abe Lincoln or Jefferson Davis."
Source: Wallace Davis (N. 88), Newberry, S. C.
Interviewer: G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C. (9/15/37).
Next: William Henry Davis
Previous: Louisa Davis