Daniel Goddard

Project #1855

Stiles M. Scruggs

Columbia, S.C.



"My name is Daniel Goddard. I was born in Columbia, S.C. Feb. 14, 1863,

to slave parents. You know I recall no contacts I made in slavery for I

was too young during that period. You know too, if I had been born in

Massachusetts, for example, I should have been free, because all slaves

in the United States had been set free when President Lincoln, shortly

before my birth, January, 1863, struck the shackles from bondage.

"The Confederate states had seceded from the Union and they paid no

attention to the freedom proclamation during the war. So the slaves in

the South, generally speaking, stayed on until the Confederacy collapsed

in April, 1865, and even then, some of the slaves were slow to strike

out for themselves, until the Federal government made ample preparations

to take care of them.

"Now you ask, if I heard about escapes of slaves. Sure I did and I heard

my parents discuss the efforts of slaves to shake off the shackles. This

was probably true because my father's brother, Thomas, was a member of

the slave ship which was taking him and 134 others from Virginia to New

Orleans. A few miles south of Charleston, the slaves revolted, put the

officers and crew in irons, and ran the ship to Nassau.

"There they went ashore and the British Government refused to surrender

them. They settled in the Bahama Islands and some of their descendants

are there today. That was about 1830, I think, because my Uncle Thomas

was far older than my father. I heard about the other slave revolts,

where that African prince, one of a large number of slaves that were

kidnaped, took over the Spanish ship L'Amada, killing two of the

officers. The remaining officers promised to return the slaves to Africa

but slyly turned the ship to port in Connecticut. There the Spanish

minister at Washington demanded the slaves, as pirates. Appeal was made

to the courts and the United States Court ruled that slavery was not

legal in Spain and declared the slaves free.

"The Nat Turner insurrection in Virginia and the Vesey uprising in

Charleston was discussed often, in my presence, by my parents and

friends. I learned that revolts of slaves in Martinique, Antigua,

Santiago, Caracas and Tortugus, was known all over the South. Slaves

were about as well aware of what was going on, as their masters were.

However the masters made it harder for their slaves for a while.

"I have a clipping, now worn yellow with age, which says the Federal

census of 1860, showed there were 487,970 free Negroes and 3,952,760

slaves in the United States at that time. I am not at all surprised at

the number of free Negroes. Many South Carolina families freed a number

of their slaves. Some slaves had the luck to be able to buy their

freedom and many others escaped to free areas. The problem of slavery as

a rule, was a question of wits, the slave to escape and the master to

keep him from escaping.

"I once talked with Frederick Douglass, perhaps the most eminent Negro

to appear so far in America. He told me he was born a slave in Maryland,

in 1817, and that he served there as a slave for ten years. He escaped

to Massachusetts, where he was aided in education and employment by the

Garrisons and other abolitionists, and became a leader of his race. He

was United States Minister to Haiti at the time I met him and was

eminent as an orator. He died in 1895.

"You ask, what do I think of the Presidents. Well, I have always been

such an admirer of Andrew Jackson, a South Carolinian, that I may be

prejudiced a little. The reason I admire him so much, is because he

stood for the Union, and he didn't mean maybe, when he said it. He

served his time and God took him, just as he took Moses.

"Then Lincoln was raised up for a specific purpose, to end slavery,

which was a menace to both whites and blacks, as I see it. And President

Wilson kept the faith of the fathers, when he decided to put the German

Kaiser where he could no longer throw the world into discord. But there

has only been one President whose heart was touched by the cry of

distress of the poor and needy and his name is Franklin D. Roosevelt. He

is one white man who has turned the bias of the Negroes from the bait of

partisan politics.

"Yes, sir, I recall the reconstruction period here in Columbia. My

parents lived until I was about grown and we kept the middle of the

road, in the matter of selling out to the Federal soldiers and

carpet-baggers on the one hand, or to designing politicians on the

other. But my father was an admirer of General Hampton, because General

Hampton owned many Negroes at one time and had treated them well.

Between Hampton and Chamberlain for governor, in 1876, most of my Negro

friends voted for Hampton.

"What have I been doing since I grew up? Well, I have been busy trying

to make a living. I worked for various white folks in this community and

sometime for the railroads here, in a minor capacity. My younger years

were spent in the quest of an education. For the past thirty years I

have been the porter for the State Paper Company, Columbia's morning

newspaper. As I became proficient in the work, the Gonzales boys grew

fond of me. While the youngest one, Hon. William E. Gonzales, was absent

in the diplomatic service in Cuba and in Peru for eight years for

President Wilson, I looked after the needs of Mr. Ambrose Gonzales.

Shortly before he died, Hon. William E. Gonzales returned. He has since

been editor and publisher of the 'State', as well as principal owner.

"You ask, if I have applied for an old age pension. No, I have not. I am

old enough to qualify, I guess, but I understand, you cannot get a

pension if you have a job. If that is so, I shall never enjoy any

pension money. I would not leave serving my friend, Captain William E.

Gonzales, for any pension that might be offered me."

N.B. This man is well educated, speaks no dialect. He received his

education from Northern teachers in Freedman aid, equal to the modern

high school curriculum. He afterward studied in Boston. He reads,

writes, and speaks excellent English.

Address: 1022 Divine Street, Columbia, S.C.

Dan Thomas Daniel Waring facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail