Granny Cain

Project 1885-1

District #4

Spartanburg, S. C.

May 31, 1937


"I was born on the other side of Maybinton, in Newberry County, South

Carolina. Old Squire Kenner was my master and his wife, Lucy, my

mistress. My pa was Joseph Gilliam, who was a slave of John Gilliam, and

my mamma was Lou Kenner, who was a slave of Squire Kenner. I stayed with

my mamma at Squire Kenner's and waited on my mistress, Mrs. Lucy Kenner,

who was the best white woman I know of--just like a mother to me, wish I

was with her now. I stayed there 'till my mistress died, was right by

her bed.

"It sure was a good place to live. Dey didn't give us money for work but

we had enough to eat and place to sleep and a few clothes. Squire had a

big farm he got from the Hancocks, some of his kin. He didn't have

overseers; he looked after his own farms. Master had a big garden and

give us lots from it to eat. We hunted 'possums, rabbits, squirrels,

wild turkeys, on the river. We lived right near Broad River.

"I remember de padderrolers; dey come to my pa's house and want to come

in, but pa had an old musket gun and tole them if dey come in dey

wouldn't go out alive--and dey went away.

"After the day's work was done, the slaves would set down and talk, and

on Saturday afternoons, they would stay home, go fishing or wash up, and

sometimes the chaps would go to de river and watch the boats full of

cotton go by. On Sundays we go to church. They made us go to Baskets

church, de white folks church, and set in the gallery. On Christmas Day

we would get time off and master would give us good things to eat. We

never had any corn-shuckings and cotton pickings there. All of the

family and the slaves do that work on moon-shiney nights. We had some

games we played, like Molly Bright, Hiding Switches, Marbles. We played

on Sunday, too, unless the mistress calls us in and stops us.

"When a slave got sick we sent for the doctor. We never put much store

in herb root tea and such like.

"The Yankees went through Maybinton but didn't get over as far as us.

Some say they stole cattle and burned ginhouses.

"Squire Kenner was killed in the war, and when the war was over we

stayed on with de mistress; she was like a mamma. She had a son who was

killed in the war, too. Another son lived there and we worked for him

after Mistress died, but he soon moved far away and sold out his

plantation. His name was Howsen Kenner.

"I married Walter Cain at Mr. Walter Spearman's house, a good white man,

and the white folks give us a good supper after the wedding. I had one

child, 2 grandchildren, and one great-grand-child. I joined the church

before I married 'cause I wanted to do better, do right and live right,

and get religion. I think everybody ought to join the church and live

right. That is the reason the Lord blesses me in lots of ways today. We

had good time in slavery--sometimes I wish I was back there--would have

somebody to take of you and help you. If my mistress was living I would

rather be back in slavery."

Source: Granny Cain (90), RFD, Newberry; by G. L. Summer, Newberry, S. C.

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