Brawley Gilmore





Project 1885-1

FOLKLORE

Spartanburg Dist. 4

June 10, 1937



Edited by:

Elmer Turnage



STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES





"We lived in a log house during the Ku Klux days. Dey would watch you

just like a chicken rooster watching fer a worm. At night, we was

skeered to have a light. Dey would come around wid de 'dough faces' on

and peer in de winders and open de do'. Iffen you didn't look out, dey

would skeer you half to death. John Good, a darkey blacksmith, used to

shoe de horses fer de Ku Klux. He would mark de horse shoes with a bent

nail or something like that; then atter a raid, he could go out in the

road and see if a certain horse had been rode; so he began to tell on de

Ku Klux. As soon as de Ku Klux found out dey was being give away, dey

suspicioned John. Dey went to him and made him tell how he knew who dey

was. Dey kept him in hiding, and when he told his tricks, dey killed

him.



"When I was a boy on de 'Gilmore place', de Ku Klux would come along at

night a riding de niggers like dey was goats. Yes sir, dey had 'em down

on all-fours a crawling, and dey would be on dere backs. Dey would carry

de niggers to Turk Creek bridge and make dem set up on de bannisters of

de bridge; den dey would shoot 'em offen de bannisters into de water. I

'clare dem was de awfulest days I ever is seed. A darky name Sam Scaife

drifted a hundred yards in de water down stream. His folks took and got

him outen dat bloody water and buried him on de bank of de creek. De Ku

Klux would not let dem take him to no graveyard. Fact is, dey would not

let many of de niggers take de dead bodies of de folks no whars. Dey

just throwed dem in a big hole right dar and pulled some dirt over dem.

Fer weeks atter dat, you could not go near dat place, kaise it stink so

fer and bad. Sam's folks, dey throwed a lot of 'Indian-head' rocks all

over his grave, kaise it was so shallah, and dem rocks kept de wild

animals from a bothering Sam. You can still see dem rocks, I could carry

you dere right now.



"Another darky, Eli McCollum, floated about three and a half miles down

de creek. His folks went dere and took him out and buried him on de

banks of de stream right by de side of a Indian mound. You can see dat

Indian mound to dis very day. It is big as my house is, over dere on de

Chester side.



"De Ku Klux and de niggers fit at New Hope Church. A big rock marks de

spot today. De church, it done burnt down. De big rock sets about seven

miles east of Lockhart on de road to Chester. De darkies killed some of

de Ku Klux and dey took dere dead and put dem in Pilgrims Church. Den

dey sot fire to dat church and it burnt everything up to de very bones

of de white folks. And ever since den, dat spot has been known as 'Burnt

Pilgrim'. De darkies left most of de folks right dar fer de buzzards and

other wild things to eat up. Kaise dem niggers had to git away from dar;

and dey didn't have no time fer to fetch no word or nothing to no folks

at home. Dey had a hiding place not fer from 'Burnt Pilgrim'. A darky

name Austin Sanders, he was carring some victuals to his son. De Ku Klux

cotch him and dey axed him whar he was a gwine. He lowed dat he was a

setting some bait fer coons. De Ku Klux took and shot him and left him

lying right in de middle of de road wid a biscuit in his dead mouth.



"Doctor McCollum was one of dem Ku Klux, and de Yankees sot out fer to

ketch him. Doc., he rid a white pony called 'Fannie'. All de darkies,

dey love Doc, so dey would help him fer to git away from de Yankees,

even though he was a Ku Klux. It's one road what forks, atter you

crosses Wood's Ferry. Don't nobody go over dat old road now. One fork go

to Leeds and one to Chester. Well, right in dis fork, Mr. Buck Worthy

had done built him a grave in de 'Woods Ferry Graveyard'. Mr. Worthy had

done built his grave hisself. It was built out of marble and it was

kivered up wid a marble slab. Mr. Worthy, he would take and go dar and

open it up and git in it on pretty days. So old Doc., he knowed about

dat grave. He was going to see a sick lady one night when dey got atter

him. He was on old Fannie. Dey was about to ketch de old Doc. when he

reached in sight of dat graveyard. It was dark. So Doc., he drive de

horse on pass de fork, and den he stop and hitch her in front of some

dense pines. Den he took and went to dat grave and slip dat top slab

back and got in dar and pulled it over him, just leaving a little crack.

Doc. lowed he wrapped up hisself in his horse blanket, and when de

Yankees left, he went to sleep in dat grave and never even woke up till

de sun, it was a shinning in his face.



"Soon atter dat, my sister took down sick wid de misery. Doc., he come

to see her at night. He would hide in de woods in daytime. We would

fetch him his victuals. My sister was sick three weeks 'fore she died.

Doc, he would take some blankets and go and sleep in dat grave, kaise he

know'd dey would look in our house fer him. Dey kept on a coming to our

house. Course we never know'd nothing 'bout no doctor at all. Dar was a

nigger wid wooden bottom shoes, dat stuck to dem Yankees and other po'

white trash 'round dar. He lowed wid his big mough dat he gwine to find

de doctor. He told it dat he had seed Fannie in de graveyard at night.

Us heard it and told de doctor. Us did not want him to go near dat

graveyard any more. But Doc, he just laugh and he lowed dat no nigger

was a gwine to look in no grave, kaise he had tried to git me to go over

dar wid him at night and I was skeer'd.



"One night, just as Doc was a covering up, he heard dem wooden shoes a

coming; so he sot up in de grave and took his white shirt and put it

over his head. He seed three shadows a coming. Just as dey got near de

doc, de moon come out from 'hind a cloud and Doc, he wave dat white

shirt and he say dem niggers just fell over grave-stones a gitting outen

dat graveyard. Doc lowed dat he heard dem wooden shoes a gwine up de

road fer three miles. Well, dey never did bother the doctor any more.



"Doc, he liked to fiddle. Old Fannie, she would git up on her hind legs

when de doc would play his fiddle."



=Source:= Brawley Gilmore (col), 34 Hamlet St., Union, S.C.

Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C. (12/3/36)





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