Adeline Grey

Project #-1655

Phoebe Faucette

Hampton County

Approx. 390 words




Adeline Grey seemed in good health as she sat before her granddaughter's

comfortable fire. She spoke quietly, with little excitement, and readily

recalled events of her early childhood.

"I was a girl when freedom was declare, an' I kin remember 'bout de

times. My Ma used to belong to ole man Dave Warner. I remember how she

used to wash, and iron, an' cook for de white folks durin' slavery time.

"I member when de Yankees come through. I wuz right to de old boss'

place. It wuz on de river side. Miss Jane Warner, she wuz de missus. De

place heah now--where all de chillun raise. Mr. Rhodes got a turpentine

still dere now--jes after you pass de house. Dey burn de ginhouse, de

shop, de buggyhouse, de turkeyhouse an' de fowlhouse. Start to set de

cornhouse afire, but my Ma say: 'Please sir, don't burn de cornhouse.

Gie it to me an' my chillun.' So dey put de fire out. I member when dey

started to break down de smokehouse door, an' ole Missus come out an'

say: 'Please don't break de door open, I got de key.' So dey quit. I

remember when dey shoot down de hog. I remember when dey shoot de two

geese in de yard. Dey choked my Ma. Dey went to her an' dey say; 'Where

is all de white people gold an' silver?' My Ma say she don't know. 'You

does know!' dey say, an' choke her till she couldn't talk. Dey went into

de company room where de ole Miss wuz stayin' an' start tearin' up de

bed. Den de captain come an' de ole Miss say to him: 'Please don't let

'em tear up my bed,' an' de captain went in dere an' tell 'em 'Come


De ole Miss wasn't scared. But de young Miss May was sure scared. She

was courtin' at de time. She went off an' shut herself up in a room. De

ole Miss ask de captain: 'Please go in an' talk to de Miss, she so

scared'. So he went in an' soon he bring her out. We chillun wasn't

scared. But my brother run under de house. De soldiers went under dere

a-pokin' de bayonets into de ground to try to find where de silver

buried, an' dey ran 'cross him. 'What you doin' under heah?' dey say.

'I'se jes runnin' de chickens out, sir,' he say. 'Well, you kin go on

out,' dey say. 'We aint gwine to hurt you.'

'I remember when dey kill de hog an' cook 'em. Cook on de fire where de

little shop been. Cook 'em an' eat 'em. Why didn't dey cook 'em on de

stove in de house? Didn't have no stoves. Jes had to cook on de

fireplace. Had an oven to fit in de fireplace. I remember when my Ma saw

de Yankees comin' dat mornin' she grab de sweet potatoes dat been in dat

oven and throw 'em in de barrel of feathers dat stayed by de kitchen

fireplace. Jes a barrel to hold chicken feathers when you pick 'em.

Dat's all we had to eat dat day. Dem Yankees put de meat in de sack an'

go on off. It was late den, 'bout dusk. I remember how de Missus bring

us all 'round de fire. It was dark den.

'Well chillun,' she say, 'I is sorry to tell you, but de Yankees has

carry off your Ma. I don't know if you'll ever see her any mo.' Den we

chillun all start cryin.' We still a-sittin' dere when my Ma come back.

She say she slip behind, an' slip behind, slip behind, an' when she come

to a little pine thicket by de side of de road, she dart into it, drop

de sack of meat dey had her carryin, an' start out for home. When we had

all make over her, we say to her den: 'Well why didn't you bring de sack

of meat 'long wid you?'

Dey took de top off ole Marse John carriage, put meat in it, an' made

him pull it same as a horse. Carry him way down to Lawtonville, had to

pull it through de branch an' all. Got de rock-a-way back though--an' de

ole man. I remember dat well. Had to mend up de ole rock-a-way. An' it

made de ole man sick. He keep on sick, sick, until he died. I remember

how he'd say: 'Don't you all worry'. An' he'd go out in de orchard.

Dey'd say: 'Don't bother him! Jes let him be! He want to pray!' Atter a

while he died an' dey buried him. His name was John Stafford. Dey Massa

wasn't dere. I guess he was off to de war.

"But after freedom was de time when dey suffered more dan before. Dese

chillun don't know how dey blessed. My Ma cooked for de white folks for

one year after freedom. I remember dey cook bread, an' dey ain't have

nuthin' to eat on it. Was thankful for a cornbread hoecake baked in de

fireplace. But dey had some things. Had buried some meat, an' some

syrup. An' dey had some corn. My Ma had saved de cornhouse. De rice burn

up in de ginhouse. After freedom, dey had to draw de best thread out of

de old clothes an' weave it again. Ole Miss had give my Ma a good moss

mattress. But de Yankees had carry dat off. Rip it up, throw out de

moss, an' put meat in it. Fill it full of meat. I remember she had a red

striped shawl. One of de Yankee take dat an' start to put in under his

saddle for a saddle cloth. My brother go up to him an' say: 'Please sir,

don't carry my Ma's shawl. Dat de only one she got.' So he give it back

to him. To keep warm at night, dey had to make dere pallet down by de

fire; when all wood burn out, put on another piece. Didn't have nuthin'

on de bed to sleep on.

"I remember when de ole Miss used to have to make soap, out of dese red

oaks. Burn de wood, an' catches de ashes. Put de ashes in a barrel wid a

trough under it, an' pour de water through de ashes. If de lyewater dat

come out could cut a feather, it was strong.

"Used to weave cloth after freedom. Used to give a brooch (hank) or two

to weave at night. I'se sometimes thread de needle for my Ma, or pick

out de seed out de cotton, an' make it into rolls to spin. Sometimes I'd

work de foot pedal for my Ma. Den dey'd warp de thread. If she want to

dye it, she'd dye it. She'd get indigo--you know dat bush--an' boil it.

It was kinder blue. It would make good cloth. Sometimes, de cloth wuz

kinder strip, one strip of white, an' one of blue. I remember how dey'd

warp de thread across de yard after it wuz dyed, an' I remember seem' my

Ma throw dat shuttle through an' weave dat cloth. I member when de ole

Miss made my Mamma two black dresses to wear through de winter. She'd

keep 'em clean; had two so she could change.

"I don't know why dey didn't burn de house. Must have been 'cause de

captain wuz along. De house dere now. One of de chimney down. I don't

think dey ever put it up again. Colored folks are in it now.

"I never did know my Pa. He was sold off to Texas when I was young. My

mother would say, 'Well, chillun, you aint never known your Pa. Joe

Smart carry him off to Texas when he went. I don't guess you'll ever see

him.' My father wuz name Charles Smart. He never did come back. Joe

Smart come back once, an' say dat our father is dead. He say our Pa had

three horses an' he want one of them to be sent to us chillun heah; but

no arrangements had been made to get it to us. You see he had chillun

out dere, too.

"Atter freedom, my Ma plow many a day, same as a man, for us chillun.

She work for ole man Bill Mars. Den she marry again. Part of de time dey

work for Mr. Benny Lawton, de one-arm man, what lost his arm in de war.

Dese chillun don't know what hard times is. Dey don't know how to

preciate our blessings.

=Source:= Adeline Grey, 82-year old resident of Luray, S.C.

Adeline Cunningham Adeline Rose Lennox facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail