Anne Broome

Project #1655

W. W. Dixon

Winnsboro, S. C.



"Does you recollect de Galloway place just dis side of White Oak? Well

dere's where I was born. When? Can't name de 'zact year but my ma say,

no stork bird never fetch me but de fust railroad train dat come up de

railroad track, when they built de line, fetched me. She say I was a

baby, settin' on de cow-ketcher, and she see me and say to pa: 'Reubin,

run out dere and get our baby befo' her falls off and gets hurt under

them wheels! Do you know I believed dat tale 'til I was a big girl? Sure

did, 'til white folks laugh me out of it!

"My ma was name Louisa. My marster was Billie Brice, but 'spect God done

write sumpin' else on he forehead by dis time. He was a cruel marster;

he whip me just for runnin' to de gate for to see de train run by. My

missus was a pretty woman, flaxen hair, blue eyes, name Mary Simonton,

'til she marry.

"Us live in a two-room plank house. Plenty to eat and enough to wear

'cept de boys run 'round in their shirt tails and de girls just a

one-piece homespun slip on in de summer time. Dat was not a hardship

then. Us didn't know and didn't care nothin' 'bout a 'spectable

'pearance in those days. Dats de truth, us didn't.

"Gran'pa name Obe; gran'ma, name Rachel. Shoes? A child never have a

shoe. Slaves wore wooden bottom shoes.

"My white folks went to New Hope Church. Deir chillun was mighty good to

us all. Dere was Miss Martha, her marry Doctor Madden, right here at

Winnsboro. Miss Mary marry Marster John Vinson, a little polite smilin'

man, nice man, though. Then Miss Jane marry Marster John Young. He

passed out, leavin' two lovely chillun, Kitty and Maggie. Both of them

marry Caldwells. Dere was Marster Calvin, he marry Congressman Wallace's

daughter, Ellen. Then dere was Marster Jim and Marster William, de last

went to Florida.

"It was a big place, I tell you, and heaps and heaps of slaves. Some

times they git too many and sell them off. My old mistress cry 'bout dat

but tears didn't count wid old marster, as long as de money come a

runnin' in and de rations stayed in de smoke house.

"Us had a fine carriage. Sam was de driver. Us go to Concord one Sunday

and new Hope de next. Had quality fair neighbors. Dere was de

Cockerells, 'Piscopalians, dat 'tend St. John in Winnsboro, de Adgers,

big buckra, went to Zion in Winnsboro. Marster Burr Cockerell was de

sheriff. 'Members he had to hang a man once, right in de open jailyard.

Then dere was a poor buckra family name Marshall. Our white folks was

good to them, 'cause they say his pappy was close kin to de biggest

Jedge of our country, John Marshall.

"When de slaves got bad off sick, marster send for Dr. Walter Brice, his

kin folks. Some times he might send for Dr. Madden, him's son-in-law, as

how he was.

"When de Yankees come, all de young marsters was off in de 'Federate

side. I see them now, gallopin' to de house, canteen boxes on their hips

and de bayonets rattlin' by deir sides. De fust thing they ask, was:

'You got any wine?' They search de house; make us sing: 'Good Old Time

'Ligion'; put us to runnin' after de chickens and a cookin'. When they

leave they burnt de gin house and everything in dere. They burn de

smoke-house and wind up wid burnin' de big house.

"You through wid me now, boss? I sho' is glad of dat. Help all you kin

to git me dat pension befo' I die and de Lord will bless you, honey. De

Lord not gwine to hold His hand any longer 'ginst us. Us cleared de

forests, built de railroads, cleaned up de swamps, and nursed de white

folks. Now in our old ages, I hopes they lets de old slaves like me see

de shine of some of dat money I hears so much talk 'bout. They say it's

free as de gift of grace from de hand of de Lord. Good mornin' and God

bless you, will be my prayer always. Has you got a dime to give dis old

nigger, boss?"

Anne Bell Anne Clark facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail