Caroline Farrow





Project 1885-1

Folklore

Spartanburg, Dist. 4

Oct. 14, 1937



Edited by:

Elmer Turnage



STORIES FROM EX-SLAVES





"I lives in Newberry in a small three-room house which belongs to my

son. He helps me some 'cause I can't work except jest a little 'round de

house.



"I don't know much 'bout de war times. All I know is what I told you

befo'. I 'member when de war quit and freedom come. Most of de slaves

had to find work where dey could. Some had to work as share-croppers,

some fer wages, and later on, some rented small plots of land. Many

niggers since de war moved to town and worked as day hands, such as

carpenters, janitors, dray drivers and de like.



"De old time folks had blacksmith shops on de farm and made most of de

tools dey used. Dey had plenty to eat. We never wanted fer nothing and

always lived good. I had it better den dan I does now.



"In slavery when de patrollers rode up and down de roads, once a nigger

boy stole out to see his gal, all dressed up to kill. De patrollers

found him at his gal's house and started to take off his coat so dey

could whip him; but he said, 'Please don't let my gal see under my coat,

'cause I got on a bosom and no shirt'. (The custom was to wear stiff,

white bosoms held up around the neck when no shirt was on. This gave the

appearance of a shirt.)



"My sister-in-law and mother-in-law both come from Virginia but I don't

'member anything dey said 'bout dat country. My sister-in-law went back

dere atter freedom come, but her mama died here.



"Us slaves went to de white folks' church at Cross Roads, and our

mistress made us go. She often would teach us to read and write at home

when we would try to learn. Mistress had a nigger driver fer her

carriage, and when he drove he wore a high beaver hat and a long coat.

Our white folks had a big kitchen way off from de house. Dey had a big

wide fireplace where dey cooked over de fire in skillets. My mistress

had me to work in de house, kind of a house-girl, and she made me keep

clean and put large ear rings in my ears so I would look good. When

Christmas come, Marse and Mistress always give de slaves good things to

eat. Dey had lots of cows, and dey give us good butter and milk,

molasses, meats and other good things to eat. We always worked on week

days except Saturdays, and sometimes on dat day until 12 o'clock. We

always had Christmas and Easter holidays.



"We had corn-shuckings and cotton-pickings. De niggers would sing: 'Job,

Job, farm in a row; Job, Job, farm in a row'. Sometimes on moonlight

nights we had pender pullings and when we got through we had big

suppers, always wid good potatoes or pumpkin pies, de best eating ever.

We made corn bread wid plenty of milk, eggs and lard, and sometimes wid

sweet potatoes, de best corn bread in de world. 'Simmon bread was made

wid sifted 'simmon juice cooked wid flour.



"I married first time to Joe Todd, and had a big wedding what my

mistress give me in her back yard. She had a big shoat killed fer de

wedding dinner. My mistress den was Miss Cornelia Ervin. When I married

de second time, I married in town to West Farrow, in de colored people's

Baptist church, by Rev. West Rutherford, a nigger preacher, de pastor.

My second husband died, too, a few years ago.



"I can't 'member much 'bout old songs, but a Baptist song was: 'Down to

de water, River of Jordon; Down to de water, River of Jordon; Dere my

Savior was baptized.'



Another version went thus:



"Come along, come along, my dear loving brother,

Come along and let's go home;

Down into de River where my Savior was baptized.'



"De present generation of niggers ain't like de ones when I come along.

Dey don't work like I did.



"I don't know much about 'Abramham' Lincoln, Jefferson Davis or Booker

Washington. I just hear about Booker Washington, reckon he is all right.



"I think slavery helped me. I did better den dan I do now. When I joined

de church I was grown and married, and had two chilluns. I joined de

church because I thought I ought to settle down and do better fer my

family, and quit dancing and frolicing."



=Source:= Caroline Farrow (N. 80), Newberry, S.C.

Interviewer: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. (9/16/37)





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