Fannie Griffin

Project #1655

Everett R. Pierce

Columbia, S.C.



"You wants me to tell you all what I 'members 'bout slavery in slavery

time? Well ma'am, I was just a young gal then and I's a old woman now,

nigh on to ninety-four years old; I might be forgot some things, but

I'll tell you what I 'members best.

My massa, Massa Joe Beard, was a good man, but he wasn't one of de

richest men. He only had six slaves, three men and three women, but he

had a big plantation and would borrow slaves from his brother-in-law on

de 'joining plantation, to help wid de crops.

I was de youngest slave, so Missy Grace, dats Massa Joe's wife, keep me

in de house most of de time, to cook and keep de house cleaned up. I

milked de cow and worked in de garden too. My massa was good to all he

slaves, but Missy Grace was mean to us. She whip us a heap of times when

we ain't done nothing bad to be whip for. When she go to whip me, she

tie my wrists together wid a rope and put that rope thru a big staple in

de ceiling and draw me up off de floor and give me a hundred lashes. I

think 'bout my old mammy heap of times now and how I's seen her whipped,

wid de blood dripping off of her.

All that us slaves know how to do, was to work hard. We never learn to

read and write nor we never had no church to go to, only sometimes de

white folks let us go to their church, but we never jine in de singing,

we just set and listen to them preach and pray. De graveyard was right

by de church and heap of de colored people was scared to go by it at

night, they say they see ghosts and hants, and sperits but I ain't

never see none, don't believe there is none. I more scared of live

people than I is dead ones; dead people ain't gwine to harm you.

Our massa and missus was good to us when we was sick; they send for de

doctor right off and de doctor do all he could for us, but he ain't had

no kind of medicine to give us 'cepting sperits of turpentine, castor

oil, and a little blue mass. They ain't had all kinds of pills and stuff

then, like they has now, but I believe we ain't been sick as much then

as we do now. I never heard of no consumption them days; us had

pneumonia sometime tho'.

You wants to know if we had any parties for pastime? Well ma'am, not

many. We never was allowed to have no parties nor dances, only from

Christmas Day to New Year's eve. We had plenty good things to eat on

Christmas Day and Santa Claus was good to us too. We'd have all kinds of

frolics from Christmas to New Years but never was allowed to have no fun

after that time.

I 'members one time I slip off from de missus and go to a dance and when

I come back, de dog in de yard didn't seem to know me and he bark and

wake de missus up and she whip me something awful. I sho didn't go to no

more dances widout asking her. De patarollers (patrollers) would ketch

you too, if you went out after dark. We most times stay at home at night

and spin cloth to make our clothes. We make all our clothes, and our

shoes was handmade too. We didn't have fancy clothes like de people has

now. I likes it better being a slave, we got along better then, than we

do now. We didn't have to pay for everything we had.

De worst time we ever had was when de Yankee men come thru. We had heard

they was coming and de missus tell us to put on a big pot of peas to

cook, so we put some white peas in a big pot and put a whole ham in it,

so that we'd have plenty for de Yankees to eat. Then when they come,

they kicked de pot over and de peas went one way and de ham another.

De Yankees 'stroyed 'most everything we had. They come in de house and

told de missus to give them her money and jewels. She started crying and

told them she ain't got no money or jewels, 'cepting de ring she had on

her finger. They got awfully mad and started 'stroying everything. They

took de cows and horses, burned de gin, de barn, and all de houses 'cept

de one massa and missus was living in. They didn't leave us a thing

'cept some big hominy and two banks of sweet potatoes. We chipped up

some sweet potatoes and dried them in de sun, then we parched them and

ground them up and that's all we had to use for coffee. It taste pretty

good too. For a good while we just live on hominy and coffee.

No ma'am, we ain't had no celebration after we was freed. We ain't know

we was free 'til a good while after. We ain't know it 'til General

Wheeler come thru and tell us. After that, de massa and missus let all

de slaves go 'cepting me; they kept me to work in de house and de


Home address:

2125 Calhoun St.

Columbia, S.C.

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