Bill Crump

N. C. District: No. 2 [320232]

Worker: Mary A. Hicks

No. Words: 844


Person Interviewed: Bill Crump

Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]

[HW: "photo"]


Ex-Slave Story

An interview with Bill Crump, 82 of State prison, Raleigh North


I reckon dat I wus borned in Davidson County on de plantation of Mr.

Whitman Smith, my mammy's marster.

My daddy wus named Tom an' he 'longed ter Mr. Ben Murry fust an' later

ter Mr. Jimmy Crump. Daddy wus named atter his young marster. Dey lived

in Randolph, de county next ter Davidson whar me mammy an' de rest of de

chilluns, Alt, George, Harriet, Sarah, Mary an' de baby libed.

Both of de marsters wus good ter us, an' dar wus plenty ter eat an'

w'ar, an' right many jubilees. We ain't none of de dozen er so of us

eber got a whuppin', case we ain't desarved no whuppin'; why, dar wusn't

eben a cowhide whup anywhar on de place. We wucked in de fie'ls from

sunup ter sundown mos' o' de time, but we had a couple of hours at

dinner time ter swim or lay on de banks uv de little crick an' sleep.

Ober 'bout sundown marster let us go swim ag'in iff'en we wanted ter do


De marster let us have some chickens, a shoat an' a gyarden, an' 'tater

patch, an' we had time off ter wuck 'em. In season we preserved our own

fruits fer de winter an' so we larned not ter be so heaby on de

marster's han's.

My daddy wus a fiddler, an' he sometimes played fer de dances at de

Cross Roads, a little village near de marster's place. All what ain't

been mean could go, but de mean ones can't, an' de rest o' us has ter

habe a pass ter keep de patterollers from gittin us.

Yes mam, we had our fun at de dances, co'n chuckin's, candy pullin's,

an' de gatherin's an' we sarbed de marster better by habin' our fun.

I'se seed a bunch o' slaves sold a heap of times an' I neber seed no

chains on nobody. Dey jist stood dem on de table front of de post office

at Cross Roads an' sol' 'em ter de one what bids de highes'.

We hyard a whisper 'bout some slaves bein' beat ter death, but I ain't

neber seed a slave git a lick of no kin', course atter de war I seed de

Ku Klux runnin' mean niggers.

Dar wus no marryin' on de plantation, iffen a nigger wants a 'oman he

has got ter buy her or git her marster's permit, den dey am married.

When one o' de slaves wus sick he had a doctor fast as lightnin', an'

when de died he wus set up wid one night. De marster would gibe de

mourners a drink o' wine mebbe, an' dey'd mo'n, an' shout, an' sing all

de night long, while de cop'se laid out on de coolin' board, which

'minds me of a tale.

Onct we wus settin' up wid a nigger, 'fore de war an' hit bein' a hot

night de wine wus drunk an' de mo'ners wus settin' front o' de do'

eatin' watermillons while de daid man laid on de coolin' board. Suddenly

one of de niggers looks back in at de do', an' de daid man am settin' up

on de coolin' board lookin right at him. De man what sees hit hollers,

an' all de rest what has been wishin 'dat de daid man can enjoy de wine

an' de watermillons am sorry dat he has comed back.

Dey doan take time ter say hit do', case dey am gone ter de big house.

De marster am brave so he comes ter see, an' he says dat hit am only

restrictions o' de muscles.

De nex' mornin', as am de way, dey puts de man in a pine box made by

'nother slave an' dey totes him from de cabin ter de marster's buryin'

groun' at de cedars; an' de slaves bury's him while de marster an' his

fambly looks on.

I doan know much 'bout de Yankees case de warn't none 'cept de skirtin'

parties comed our way.

Atter de war we stays on fer four or five years mebbe, an' I goes ter

school two weeks. De teacher wus Mr. Edmund Knights from de No'th.

I'se sarbed four years an' ten months of a eight ter twelve stretch fer

killin' a man. Dis man an' a whole gang o' us wus at his house gamblin'.

I had done quit drinkin' er mont' er so 'fore dat, but dey 'sists on

hit, but I 'fuses. Atter 'while he pours some on me an' I cusses him,

den he cusses me, an' he says dat he am gwine ter kill me, an' he

follers me down de road. I turns roun' an' shoots him.

Dat am all of my story 'cept dat I has seen a powerful heap of ghostes

an' I knows dat dey comes in white an' black, an' dat dey am in de shape

er dogs, mens, an' eber'thing dat you can have a mind to.


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