Gracie Gibson

Project #1665

W.W. Dixon

Winnsboro, S.C.



"I was born at Palatka, Florida. I was a slave of Captain John Kinsler.

Wish all white men was just like him, and all white women like Miss

Maggie Dickerson, de lady that looks after me now.

"Captain John wouldn't sell his niggers and part de members of de

family. He fetched us all, Daddy George, Mammy Martha, Gran'dad Jesse,

Gran'mammy Nancy, and my two brothers, Flanders and Henry, from Florida

to Richland County, South Carolina, along wid de rest.

"My mistress was named Mary. Marster John had a daughter named Adelaide,

but they call her Ada. I was called up on one of her birthdays, and

Marster Bob sorta looked out of de corner of his eyes, first at me and

then at Miss Ada, then he make a little speech. He took my hand, put it

in Miss Ada's hand, and Say: 'Dis your birthday present, darlin'.' I

make a curtsy and Miss Ada's eyes twinkle like a star and she take me in

her room and took on powerful over me.

"We lived in a two-room log house daubed wid mud and it had a wood and

mud chimney to de gable end of one room. De floor was hewed logs laid

side by side close together. Us had all we needed to eat.

"De soap was made in a hopper for de slaves. How dat you ask? A barrel

was histed on a stand 'bove de ground a piece; wheat straw was then put

into de barrel, hickory ashes was then emptied in, then water, and then

it set 'bout ten days or more. Then old fats and old grease, meat skins,

and rancid grease, was put in. After a while de lye was drained out, put

in a pot, and boiled wid grease. Dis was lye-soap, good to wash wid.

"Slaves had own garden. Some of de old women, and women bearin' chillun

not yet born, did cardin' wid hand-cards; then some would get at de

spinnin' wheel and spin thread, three cuts make a hank. Other women

weave cloth and every woman had to learn to make clothes for the family,

and they had to knit coarse socks and stockin's. Mighty nigh all de

chillun had a little teency bag of asafetida, on a string 'round they

necks, to keep off diseases.

"Us slaves had 'stitions and grieve if a black cat run befo' us, or see

de new moon thru de tree tops, and when we start somewhere and turn

back, us sho' made a cross-mark and spit in it befo' we commence walkin'


"I 'member Wheeler's men come to our house first, befo' de Yankees. They

took things just like de Yankees did dat come later. Marster John was a

Captain, off fightin' for Confeds but dat didn't stop Wheeler's men from

takin' things they wanted, no sir! They took what they wanted. Wasn't

long after then dat the Yankees come and took all they could and burnt

what they couldn't carry off wid them.

"After de war I marry Abe Smith and had two chillun by him, Clifton and

Hattie. De boy died and Hattie marry a man named Lee. She now lives at

White Oak.

"My husband die, I marry Sam Gibson, and had a nice trousseau dat time.

Blue over-skirt over tunic, petticoats wid tattin' at de borders, red

stockin's and gaiter shoes. I had a bustle and a wire hoop and wore a

veil over my hair."

Gordon Bluford Gracie Mitchell facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail