Chaney Hews

N. C. District: No. 2 [320047]

Worker: T. Pat Matthews

No. Words: 737


Person Interviewed: Chaney Hews

Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: No Date Stamp]


80 years old. 104 Cotton Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

My age, best of my recollection, is about eighty years. I was 'bout

eight years ole when de Yankees come through. Chillun in dem days wus

not paid much mind like dey is now. White chillun nor nigger chillun wus

not spiled by tenshun.

I got enough to eat to live on an' dat wus 'bout all I keered 'bout. Des

so I could git a little to eat and could play all de time. I stayed

outen de way of de grown folks. No, chillun wus not noticed like dey is


I heard de grown folks talkin' 'bout de Yankees. De niggers called 'em

blue jackets. Den one mornin', almost 'fore I knowed it, de yard wus

full of 'em. Dey tried to ride de hosses in de house, dey caught de

chickens, killed de shoats and took de horses an' anything else dey

wanted. Dey give de nigger hardtack an' pickled meat. I 'members eating

some of de meat, I didn't like.

We had reasonably good food, clothin', and warm log houses wid stick an'

dirt chimleys. De houses wus warm enough all de time in winter, and dey

didn't leak in rainy weather neither.

Dere wus a lot of slaves an' marster an' missus wus good to father an'

mother. When dey had a cornshuckin' we slaves had a good time, plenty to

eat, whiskey for de grown folks and a rastlin' match after de corn wus

shucked. A nigger dat shucked a red ear of corn got a extra drink of

whiskey. Dat wus de custom in dem days.

No prayermeetings wus allowed on de plantation but we went to Salem to

white folks church and also to white folks church at Cary.

Dey whupped mother 'cause she tried to learn to read, no books wus

allowed. Mother said dat if de blue jackets had not come sooner or later

I would have got de lash.

Mother belonged to Sam Atkins who owned a plantation about ten miles

down de Ramkatte Road in Wake County. Father belonged to Turner Utley

and father wus named Jacob Utley and mother wus named Lucy Utley. My

maiden name wus Chaney Utley. Dey wurked from sun to sun on de


When de surrender come father an' mother come to town an' stayed about a

year an' den went back to ole marster's plantation. Dey wus fed a long

time on hardtack and pickled meat, by de Yankees, while in town. Dey

stayed a long time wid ole marster when dey got back. Mother wus his

cook. Rats got after mother in town an' she went back to marsters an'

tole him 'bout it an' tole him she had come back home, dat she wus fraid

to stay in town an' marster jes' laughted an' tole us all to come right

in. He tole mother to go an' cook us all sumptin to eat an' she did. We

wus all glad to git back home.

I wus too little to wurk much but I played a lot an' swept yards. We

drank water outen gourds an' marster would tell me to bring him a gourd

full of cool water when he wus settin' in his arm chair on de porch. I

thought big of waitin' on marster, yes, dat I did.

Dere wus fourteen of us in family, father, mother an' twelve chilluns.

Dere is three of us livin', two of de boys an' me.

Slavery wus a good thing from what I knows 'bout it. While I liked de

Yankees wid dere purty clothes, I didn't like de way dey took marster's

stuff an' I tole 'em so. Mother made me hush. Dey took chickens, meat,

hogs an' horses.

We finally left ole marster's plantation an' moved Jes' a little way

over on another plantation. Mother an' father died there.

I married Sam Hews in Wake County when I wus fifteen years old. I had no

children. After we wus married we stayed on de farm a year or two den we

moved to Raleigh. We have wurked for white folks ever since, an' I am

still wurkin' for 'em now all I am able. I washes an' irons clothes.

Sometimes I can't wash, I ain't able, but I does de bes' I can. De white

folks is still good to me an' I likes' em.


Chana Littlejohn Chaney Richardson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail