Elizabeth Watson

Elizabeth Watson

BOB MOBLEY, Ex-Slave, Aged about 90

Pulaski County, Georgia


[Date Stamp: JUL 20 1937]

When recently interviewed, this aged colored man--the soul of humbleness

and politeness--and long a resident of Pulaski County, sketched his life

as follows (his language reconstructed):

"I was the seventh child of the eleven children born to Robert and

Violet Hammock, slaves of Mr. Henry Mobley of Crawford County. My

parents were also born in Crawford County.

My master was well-to-do: he owned a great deal of land and many


Macon was our nearest trading town--and Mr. Mobley sold his cotton and

did his trading there, though he sent his children to school at

Knoxville (Crawford County).

My mother was the family cook, and also superintended the cooking for

many of the slaves.

We slaves had a good time, and none of us were abused or mistreated,

though young Negroes were sometimes whipped--when they deserved it.

Grown Negro men, in those days, wore their hair long and, as a

punishment to them for misconduct (etc.), the master cut their hair off.

I was raised in my master's house--slept in his room when I was a small

boy, just to be handy to wait on him when he needed anything.

If a slave became sick, a doctor was promptly called to attend him. My

mother was also a kind of doctor and often rode all over the plantation

to dose ailing Negroes with herb teas and home medicines which she was

an adept in compounding. In cases of [HW: minor] illness, she could

straighten up the sick in no time.

Before the war started, I took my young master to get married, and we

were certainly dressed up. You have never seen a Nigger and a white man

as dressed up as we were on that occasion.

An aunt of mine was head weaver on our plantation, and she bossed the

other women weavers and spinners. Two or three seamstresses did all the


In winter time we slaves wore wool, which had been dyed before the cloth

was cut. In summer we wore light goods.

We raised nearly every thing that we ate, except sugar and coffee, and

made all the shoes and clothes worn on the place, except the white

ladies' silks, fine shawls, and slippers, and the men's broadcloths and

dress boots.

My young master went to the war, but his father was too old to go. When

we heard that the Yankees were coming, old mister refugeed to Dooly

County--where he bought a new farm, and took his Negroes with him. But

the new place was so poor that, right after the war closed, he moved

back to his old plantation. I stayed with Mr. Henry for a long time

after freedom, then came to Hawkinsville to work at the carpenter's

trade. And I did pretty well here until I fell off a house several years

ago, since which time I haven't been much good--not able to do hardly

any work at all."

Now old, feeble, and physically incapacitated, "Uncle" Bob lives with a

stepdaughter--a woman of 72--who, herself, is failing fast. Both are

supported mainly by Pulaski County and the Federal Government.

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