Alice Bradley



Hull Street near Corner of Hoyt Street

Athens, Georgia


243 Macon Avenue

Athens, Georgia

Written by:

Miss Grace McCune

Athens, Georgia

Edited by:

Mrs. Leila Harris


Federal Writers' Project

Augusta, Georgia

[APR 20 1938]

[TR: These two interviews were filed together, though not recorded at

the same place or time.]

Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley, or "Aunt Alice" as she is known to everybody, "runs

cards" and claims to be a seeress. Apologetic and embarrassed because

she had overslept and was straightening her room, she explained that she

hadn't slept well because a dog had howled all night and she was uneasy

because of this certain forerunner of disaster.

"Here t'is Sunday mornin' and what wid my back, de dog, and de

rheumatics in my feets, its [TR: 'done' crossed out] too late to go to

church, so come in honey I'se glad to hab somebody to talk to. Dere is

sho' goin' to be a corpse close 'round here. One night a long time ago

two dogs howled all night long and on de nex' Sunday dere wuz two

corpses in de church at de same time. Dat's one sign dat neber fails,

when a dog howls dat certain way somebody is sho' goin' to be daid."

When asked what her full name was, she said: "My whole name is Alice

Bradley now. I used to be a Hill, but when I married dat th'owed me out

of bein' a Hill, so I'se jus' a Bradley now. I wuz born on January 14th

but I don't 'member what year. My ma had three chillun durin' de war and

one jus' atter de war. I think dat las' one wuz me, but I ain't sho'. My

pa's name wuz Jim Hill, and ma's name wuz Ca'line Hill. Both of 'em is

daid now. Pa died October 12, 1896 and wuz 88 years old. Ma died

November 20, 1900; she wuz 80 years old. I knows dem years is right

'cause I got 'em from dat old fambly Bible so I kin git 'em jus' right.

One of my sisters, older dan I is, stays in Atlanta wid her son. Since

she los' one of her sons, her mind's done gone. My other sister ain't as

old as I is but her mind is all right and she is well."

"I wuz raised in Washin'ton, Wilkes County, and de fust I 'members was

stayin' wid Miss Alice Rayle. She had three chillun and I nussed 'em.

One of de boys is a doctor now, and has a fambly of his own, and de las'

I heared of 'im, he wuz stayin' in Atlanta.

"I'se been married' two times. I runned away wid Will Grisham, when I

wuz 'bout 14 years old. Mr. Carter, a Justice of de Peace, met us under

a 'simmon tree and tied de knot right dar. My folks ketched us, but us

wuz already married and so it didn't make no diffunce.

"I lived on a farm wid my fust husband, and us had three chillun, but

dey is all gone now. I 'members when my oldes' gal wuz 'bout 2 years

old, dey wuz playin' out on de porch wid dey little dog, when a mad dog

come by and bit my chillun's dog. Folks kilt our dog, and jus' 'bout one

week atterwards my little gal wuz daid too. She did love dat little dog,

and he sho' did mind 'er. She jus' grieved herself to death 'bout dat


"Atter my fust husband died, I married Rich Bradley. Rich wuz a railroad

man, and he went off to Washin'ton, D.C., to wuk. He sont me money all

de time den, but when he went from dar to Shecargo to wuk I didn't hear

from 'im long, and I don't know what's happened to 'im 'til now, for

it's been a long time since I heared from 'im.

"I loves to run de cyards for my friends. I always tells 'em when I sees

dere's trouble in de cyards for 'em, and shows 'em how to git 'round it,

if I kin. None of de res' of my folks ever run de cyards, but I'se been

at it ever since I wuz jus' a little gal, pickin' up old wore out

cyards, dat had bean th'owed away, 'cause I could see things in 'em. I

'members one time when I wuz small and didn't know so good what de

cyards wuz tellin' me, dat a rich man, one of de riches' in Wilkes

County, wuz at our place, I tol 'im de cyards when I run 'em. I saw

sompin' wuz goin' to happen on his place, dat two colored mens would be

tangled up wid, but I didn't know jus' what wuz goin' to happen. And

sho' 'nuff, two colored mens sot fire to his barns and burned up all his

horses and mules, de onlies' thing dey saved wuz one ridin' horse. Dey

ketched de mens, and dey served time for what dey done. One of 'em died

way out yonder where dey sont 'em.

"I 'members one white lady way out in Alabama sont a note axin' me to

run de cyards for her. I runned 'em and got one of my friends to writer

her what I seed. Dey had run bright and dat wuz good luck. One time I

runned de cyards for two sisters dat had done married two brothers, and

de cyards run so close kin date I wuz able to tell 'em how dey wuz

married and dey tol me dat I wuz right.

"And jus' a few days ago a old man come to see me thinkin' dat he wuz

pizened. When I runned de cyards, I seed his trouble. He had been

drinkin' and wuz sick, so I jus' give him a big dose of soda and cream

of tartar and he got better. Den I tole him to go on home; dat nobody

hadn't done nothin' to 'im and all he needed wuz a little medicine.

"I told Mr. Dick Armell of how he wuz goin' to git kilt if he went up in

his airyplane dat day and begged him not to try it but to wait. He

wouldn't listen and went on and got kilt jus' lak I tole 'im he would.

I runned de cyards for Mrs. Armell lots of times for I liked 'im, and he

wuz a fine man. I runned de cyards for 'im one time 'fore he went to de

World's Fair, and de cyards run bright, and his trip wuz a good one jus'

lak I tole 'im it would be.

"All de old white folks dat I wuz raised up wid, de Hills from

Washin'ton, Wilkes, is gone now, 'cept I think one of de gals is wukin'

at de capitol in Atlanta, but she done married now and I don't 'member

her name."

Alice excused herself to answer a knock at the door. Upon her return she

said: "Dat wuz one of my white chillun. I wukked for 'em so long and one

of 'em comes by every now an' den to see if I needs sompin'. Her ma done

had a new picture of herself took and wanted me to see it. Dey sho' is

good to me."

Alice doesn't charge for "running the cards." She says she doesn't have

a license, and is very thankful for anything that visitors may care to

give her. She will not run the cards on Sunday. "Dat's bad luck," she

said. "Come back some day when tain't Sunday, and I'll see whats in de

cyards for you!"

Kizzie Colquitt

Old Aunt Kizzie Colquitt, about 75 years old, was busily washing in her

neat kitchen. She opened the door and window frequently to let out the

smoke, saying: "Dis old wore out stove don't draw so good." Her hands

and feet were badly swollen and she seemed to be suffering.

"I'll be glad to tell all I kin 'member 'bout dem old times," she said.

"I wuz borned durin' de war, but I don't 'member what year. My pa wuz

Mitchell Long. He b'longed to Marster Sam Long of Elbert County. Us

lived on Broad River. My ma wuz Sallie Long, and she b'longed to Marster

Billie Lattimore. Dey stayed on de other side of Broad River and my pa

and ma had to cross de river to see one another. Atter de war wuz over,

and dey wuz free, my pa went to Jefferson, Georgia, and dar he died.

"My ma married some nigger from way out in Indiana. He promised her he

would send money back for her chillun, but us never heered nothin' from

'im no mo'. I wuz wid' my w'ite folks, de Lattimores, when my ma died,

way out in Indiana.

"Atter Marse Bob died, I stayed wid my old Missus, and slep' by her bed

at night. She wuz good to me, and de hardes' wuk I done wuz pickin' up

acorns to fatten de hogs. I stayed dar wid her 'til she died. Us had

plenty t'eat, a smokehouse filled wid hams, and all de other things us

needed. Dey had a great big fireplace and a big old time oven whar dey

baked bread, and it sho' wuz good bread.

"My old Missus died when I wuz 'bout 6 years old, and I wus sont to

Lexin'ton, Georgia, to live wid my sister. Dere wuz jus' da two of us

chilluns. Den us wukked every day, and went to bed by dark; not lak de

young folks now, gallivantin' 'bout all night long.

"When I wuz 'bout 14 I married and come to live on Dr. Willingham's

place. It wuz a big plantation, and dey really lived. When de crops wuz

all in and all de wuk done, dey had big times 'round dar.

"Dere wuz de corn shuckin' wid one house for de corn and another house

for de shucks. Atter all de shuckin' wuz done, dere wuz eatin' and

dancin'. And it wuz eatin' too! Dey kilt hogs, barbecued 'em, and

roasted some wid apples in dey mouf's to give 'em a good flavor, and

course a little corn likker went wid it. Dey had big doin's at syrup

makin' time too, but dat wuz hard wuk den. Makin' syrup sho' wuz a heap

of trouble.

"Later us lived wid de Johnson fambly, and atter my old man died, I come

to dis town wid de Johnsons. Dere wuz three chilluns, Percy, Lewis, and

a gal. I stayed wid 'em 'til de chilluns wuz all growed up and

eddicated. All my other w'ite folks is gone; my sister done gone too,

and my son; all de chillun dat I had, deys done daid too.

"Now I has to wash so I kin live. I used to have plenty, but times is

changed and now sometimes I don't have nothin' but bread, and jus' bread

is hard to git, heap of de time.

"I put in for one of dem old age pensions, but dey ain't give me nothin'

yet, so I jus' wuk when I kin, and hope dat it won't be long 'fore I has

plenty again."

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