Fannie Dunn

N. C. District: No. 2 [320079]

Worker: T. Pat Matthews

No. Words: 862


Story Teller: Fannie Dunn

Editor: G. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 17 1937"]


222 Heck Street, Raleigh, N. C.

I don't 'zakly know my age, but I knows and 'members when de Yankees

come through Wake County. I wus a little girl an' wus so skeered I run

an hid under de bed. De Yankees stopped at de plantation an' along de

road fur a rest. I 'members I had diphtheria an' a Yankee doctor come

an' mopped my throat. Dey had to pull me outen under de bed so he could

doctor me.

One Yankee would come along an' give us sumptin' an another would come

on behind him an' take it. Dats de way dey done. One give mother a mule

an' when dey done gone she sold it. A Yankee give mother a ham of meat,

another come right on behind him an' took it away from her. Dere shore

wus a long line of dem Yankees. I can 'member seeing 'em march by same

as it wus yisterday. I wus not old enough to work, but I 'members 'em. I

don't know 'zackly but I wus 'bout five years old when de surrender


My name before I wus married wus Fannie Sessoms an' mother wus named

Della Sessoms. We belonged to Dr. Isaac Sessoms an' our missus wus named

Hanna. My father wus named Perry Vick, after his marster who wus named

Perry Vick. My missus died durin' de war an' marster never married


I don't 'member much 'bout missus but mother tole me she wus some good

woman an' she loved her. Marster wus mighty good to us an' didn't allow

patterollers to whip us none. De slave houses wus warm and really dey

wus good houses, an' didn't leak neither.

I don't 'member much 'bout my grandparents, just a little mother tole

me 'bout 'em. Grandma 'longed to de Sessoms an' Dr. Isaac Sessoms

brother wus mother's father. Mother tole me dat. Look at dat picture,

mister, you see you can't tell her from a white woman. Dats my mother's

picture. She wus as white as you wid long hair an' a face like a white

woman. She been dead 'bout twenty years. My mother said dat we all fared

good, but course we wore homemade clothes an' wooden bottomed shoes.

We went to the white folks church at Red Oak an' Rocky Mount Missionary

Baptist Churches. We were allowed to have prayer meetings at de slave

houses, two an' three times a week. I 'members goin' to church 'bout

last year of de war wid mother. I had a apple wid me an' I got hungry

an' wanted to eat it in meetin' but mother jest looked at me an' touched

my arm, dat wus enough. I didn't eat de apple. I can 'member how bad I

wanted to eat it. Don't 'member much 'bout dat sermon, guess I put my

mind on de apple too much.

Marster had about twenty slaves an' mother said dey had always been

allowed to go to church an' have prayer meetings 'fore I wus born.

Marster had both white an' colored overseers but he would not allow any

of his overseers to bulldoze over his slaves too much. He would call a

overseer down for bein' rough at de wrong time. Charles Sessoms wus one

of marster's colored overseers. He 'longed to marster, an' mother said

marster always listened to what Charles said. Dey said marster had

always favored him even 'fore he made him overseer. Charles Sessoms fell

dead one day an' mother found him. She called Marster Sessoms an' he

come an' jest cried. Mother said when Marster come he wus dead shore

enough, dat marster jest boohooed an' went to de house, an' wouldn't

look at him no more till dey started to take him to de grave. Everybody

on de plantation went to his buryin' an' funeral an' some from de udder

plantation dat joined ourn.

I 'members but little 'bout my missus, but 'members one time she run me

when I wus goin' home from de great house, an' she said, 'I am goin' to

catch you, now I catch you'. She pickin' at me made me love her. When

she died mother tole me 'bout her bein' dead an' took me to her buryin'.

Next day I wanted to go an' get her up. I tole mother I wanted her to

come home an' eat. Mother cried an' took me up in her arms, an' said,

'Honey missus will never eat here again.' I wus so young I didn't


Dr. Sessoms an' also Dr. Drake, who married his daughter, doctored us

when we wus sick. Dr. Joe Drake married marster's only daughter Harriet

an' his only son David died in Mississippi. He had a plantation dere.

I been married only once. I wus married forty years ago to Sidney Dunn.

I had one chile, she's dead.

From what I knows of slavery an' what my mother tole me I can't say it

wus a bad thing. Mister, I wants to tell de truth an' I can't say its

bad 'cause my mother said she had a big time as a slave an' I knows I

had a good time an' wus treated right.


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