George W Harris

N. C. District: No. 2 [320230]

Worker: T. Pat Matthews

No. Words: 942


Story Teller: George W. Harris

Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: No Date Stamp]


604 E. Cabarrus Street, Raleigh, N. C.

Hey, don't go 'roun' dat post gitting it 'tween you and me, it's bad

luck. Don't you know it's bad luck? Don't want no more bad luck den what

I'se already got. My name is George Harris. I wuz born November 25, 82

years ago. I have been living in the City of Raleigh onto 52 years. I

belonged to John Andrews. He died about de time I wuz born. His wife

Betsy wuz my missus and his son John wuz my marster.

Deir plantation wuz in Jones County. Dere were about er dozen slaves on

de plantation. We had plenty o' food in slavery days during my boyhood

days, plenty of good sound food. We didn't have 'xactly plenty o'

clothes, and our places ter sleep needed things, we were in need often

in these things. We were treated kindly, and no one abused us. We had as

good owners as there were in Jones County; they looked out for us. They

let us have patches to tend and gave us what we made. We did not have

much money. We had no church on the plantation, but there wuz one on

Marster's brother's plantation next ter his plantation.

We had suppers an' socials, generally gatherings for eatin', socials

jist to git together an' eat. We had a lot o' game ter eat, such as

possums, coons, rabbits and birds.

De plantation wuz fenced in wid rails about 10 ft. in length split from

pine trees. De cattle, hogs an' hosses run out on de free range. The

hosses ran on free range when de crap wuz laid by. There wuz an ole mare

dat led de hosses. She led 'em an' when she come home at night dey

followed her.

De first work I done wuz drappin' tater sprouts, drappin' corn, thinnin'

out corn and roundin' up corn an' mindin' the crows out of de field. Dey

did not teach us to read an' write, but my father could read, and he

read de hymn book and Testament to us sometimes. I do not remember ever

goin' to church durin' slavery days.

I have never seen a slave whipped and none ever ran away to the North

from our plantation.

When I wuz a boy we chillun played marbles, prison base, blind fold and

tag, hide an' seek. Dey gave us Christmas holidays, an' 4th of July, an'

lay-by time. Dey also called dis time "crap hillin' time." Most o' de

time when we got sick our mother doctored us with herbs which she had in

de garden. When we had side plurisy, what dey calls pneumonia now, dey

sent fer a doctor. Doctor Hines treated us.

We lived near Trenton. When de Yankees took New Bern, our marster had us

out in de woods in Jones County mindin' hosses an' takin' care o' things

he had hid there. We got afraid and ran away to New Bern in Craven

County. We all went in a gang and walked. De Yankees took us at Deep

Gully ten miles dis side o' New Bern an' carried us inside de lines. Dey

asked us questions and put us all in jail. Dey put my father ter cookin'

at de jail and give us boys work 'roun' de yard. Dey put de others at

work at de horse stables and houses.

De smallpox and yaller fever caught us dere and killed us by de

hundreds. Thirteen doctors died dere in one day. Jist 'fore Gen. Lee

surrendered dey carried us to Petersburg, Va., and I waited on Major

Emory and de others worked fer de Yankees. When de surrender came we

went back home to Craven County, next to Jones County, and went to

farmin'. Sumpin' to eat could not hardly be found. De second year atter

de war we went back to old marster's plantation. He wuz glad ter see us,

we all et dinner wid him. We looked over de place. I looked over de

little log cabin where I wuz born. Some of de boys who had been slaves,

farmed wid old marster, but I worked at my trade. I wuz a brick moulder.

Yes, a brick maker.

My mother was named Jennie Andrews and my father was Quash Harris. My

father belonged to de Harris family on de nex' plantation in Jones

County. Atter de surrender we all went in his name. We changed from

Andrews to Harris. I do not recollect my grandmother and grandfather. I

can't recollect them.

Marster told us directly after dey declared war dat he expected we would

all soon be free. De majority of de slaves did not want to be free. Dey

were stirred up. Dey didn't want it to be. Dey didn't want no fightin'.

Dey didn't know.

I married Mary Boylan first, of Johnston County, at Wilsons Mills, Jan.

4, 1878. Here is de family record. Ole marster made me copies after de

war, and I copied dis. 'George Harris was married the year 1878, January

the 4th. George Harris was born the year 1855 November the 25th.'

I had five brothers, but they are all dead, fur as I know: John Nathan,

Louis, David, Jefferson, Donald and my name George. My sisters, Mary

Ann, Sara, Lucy, Penny, Emaline, Lizzie, Nancy, Leah and one I can't

remember. Dats all.

I thought Abraham Lincoln wuz a great man. I remember him well. I think

he done de best he knowed how to settle de country. Mr. Roosevelt is a

smart man. He is doing de best he can. I think he is goin' to help de


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