Easter Jackson

[TR: date stamp MAY 8 1937]

Life Story as Told by Aunt Easter Jackson


It was during the height of slavery days that Frances Wilkerson and one

child came to make their home in Troup County, having been bought by Mr.

Tom Dix from a Mr. Snow, of Virginia. Frances, being an unusually

intelligent slave, able to weave, spin, and do all kinds of sewing, cost

Mr. Dix $1500.00. She received excellent care, never once being allowed

to do any field work, and was kept at the "Big House" to do the sewing

for the household.

Frances' husband, Silas Wilkerson, was bought by the Wilkerson Family,

who were neighbors.

It was here on the Dix plantation, located about one mile from what is

now the Court Square, that another child, Easter, was born, a few years

before the Civil War. It is with a smile of tenderness that she

described her life on the old plantation.

"Yes, chile, I can see Mistus now a-ridin' up on her grey horse, "Pat",

wid er basket on her arm plum full of biscuit! Yes, chile, white

biscuits! and ain't no short cake ever been made what could hold a light

to dem biscuits. Mistus would say, 'Where's dem chillun, Mammy?'

"Lawdy, you never seed so many little niggers pop up in all yo'

life--just 'peared lak de come right out o' de groun'. Sometimes dere

'ud be so many chillun, she'd have to break de biscuits to make 'em go

'roun' and sometimes when she's have an extry big basket, she'd say,

'Bring on de milk, and less feed dese chullun.' A big bucket o' milk

would be brung and po'd in little troughs and de'd lay down on dey

little stommacks, and eat jest lak pigs! But de wuz jest as slick and

fat as yer please--lots fatter an us is now! And clean too. Old Mustus

would say, 'Mammy, you scrub dese chillun and use dat "Jim-Crow."' Lawd,

chile! I done fergot you doan know what a "Jim-Crow" wus--dat's a little

fine com' what'll jest natchully take the skin plum off yo' haid 'long

wid de dirt.

"Dem was good old days, plenty ter eat and a cabin o' sticks and dirt to

call yo' own. Had good times too, 'specially on de 4th of July and

Christmas, when old Marster Tom allus let de niggers have pigs to kill

for de feas'; why chile, you should er seen de pot we cooked dem pigs

in, it wus so big an' heavy, it took two to put the i'on led on. And

sech music! Music played on harps, saws, and blowin' quills. Ever'body

had a good time; even de "white folks" turned out for de dance which

went 'way into de night.

"Den dere wus de prayer meetin's, once a week, first on one of the

plantations den a nother; when all de niggers would meet and worshup,

singin' praises unto the Lord; I can hear 'em now, dere voices soundin'

fur away. Yes sir! Folks had religun in dem days, the "Old Time

Religun." Our white folks belonged to the First Baptis' Church in

LaGrange, and all de slaves went to de same church. Our services wus in

de basement.

"But t'wasn' long 'fore de war broke out, and den things wuz turrible;

de niggers would huddle 'roun' de "Big House" scared ter death o' de

orful tales that wus told er bout de war! It wusn't but er bout a year

til young Marster Tom, John, and Bee wus called to de war. Albert and

Scott Dix, two young slaves, went with Marster Tom and John and stayed

by them 's close as de could, cookin' and gettin' good for de camp. But

t'wus a sad day when de word come dat Marster Tom wus dyin'. Old Mistus

left right straight, all us slaves goin' down to de train wid her, an'

when she got on, she wave her han' an' said, 'I want all o' you, white

and black, to take keer o' my baby.'

"When she got dere 'twuz a two-story house where they had Marster

Tom--the blood had run down de stairs.

"Ole Mistus had stood so much she couldn't stan' no mo',--the next

mornin' she wus dead in de bed! One o' de slaves, Albert, and her son,

John, carried her on dere shoulders for five miles, but the war bein' so

bad dey couldn't carry her no further, so dey buried her by de road and

after de war wus over, de took her to de fam'ly graveyard.

"Den de word spread lak wild fire: "The Niggers wuz free". That night

all the slaves went up to the "Big House", wurried an' askin' 'Young

Marster Tom, where is we goin'? What is we goin' to do?' Young Marster

Tom said, "Go on back to your cabins and go to bed, dey are your homes

and you can stay on here as long as you want to.""

* * * * *

According to Aunt Easter's statement, life for the slaves on the Dix

plantation changed very little after the war. She later was married to

John Henry Jackson, whose mother also came from Virginia. Aunt Easter

had fourteen children, six of them are now living in Troup County and

have good jobs. She has made her home with her children and has the

respect of all the "white folks", and she often boasts that "her white

folks" will care for her till she dies. She now lives on West Haralson

Street, LaGrange, Troup County, Georgia.

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