Hannah Crasson

N. C. District: No. 2 [320159]

Worker: T. Pat Matthews

No. Words: 1453


Story Teller: Hannah Crasson

Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

[TR: HW notes at bottom of page illegible]


My name is Hannah Crasson. I wuz born on John William Walton's

plantation 4 miles from Garner and 13 miles from Raleigh, N. C. in the

County of Wake. I am 84 years ole the 2nd day uv dis las' gone March. I

belonged to Mr. John William Walton in slavery time. My missus wuz named

Miss Martha.

My father wuz named Frank Walton. My mother wuz named Flora Walton.

Grandma wuz 104 years when she died. She died down at de old plantation.

My brothers were named Johnnie and Lang. My sisters were Adeline,

Violet, Mary, Sarah, Ellen, and Annie. Four of us are livin', Ellen,

Mary, Sarah and me.

De old boss man wuz good to us. I wuz talkin' about him the udder

night. He didn't whup us and he said, he didn't want nobody else to whup

us. It is jis like I tell you; he wuz never cruel to us. One uv his sons

wuz cruel to us. We had a plenty to eat, we shore did, plenty to eat. We

had nice houses to live in too. Grandma had a large room to live in, and

we had one to live in. Daddy stayed at home with mother. They worked

their patches by moonlight; and worked for the white folks in the day


They sold what they made. Marster bought it and paid for it. He made a

barrel o' rice every year, my daddy did.

Mr. Bell Allen owned slaves too. He had a plenty o' niggers. His

plantation wuz 5 miles from ourn. We went to church at the white folks

church. When Mr. Bell Allen seed us cummin' he would say, 'Yonder comes

John Walton's free niggers.'

Our marster would not sell his slaves. He give dem to his children when

they married off do'. I swept yards, churned, fed the chickens. In de

ebening I would go with my missus a fishin'. We eat collards, peas, corn

bread, milk, and rice. We got biskit and butter twice a week. I thought

dat de best things I ever et wuz butter spread on biskit. We had a corn

mill and a flour mill on the plantation. There wuz about 24 slaves on de

place. Dey had brandy made on de plantation, and de marster gib all his

slaves some for dere own uses.

My grandmother and mother wove our clothes. Dey were called homespun.

Dey made de shoes on de plantation too. I wuz not married til atter de

surrender. I did not dress de finest in the world; but I had nice

clothes. My wedding dress wuz made of cream silk, made princess with

pink and cream bows. I wore a pair of morocco store bought shoes. My

husband was dressed in a store bought suit of clothes, the coat wuz made

pigen [HW correction: pigeon] tail. He had on a velvet vest and a white

collar and tie. Somebody stole de ves' atter dat.

One of our master's daughters wuz cruel. Sometimes she would go out

and rare on us, but old marster didn't want us whupped.

Our great grand mother wuz named granny Flora. Dey stole her frum

Africa wid a red pocket handkerchief. Old man John William got my great

grandmother. De people in New England got scured of we niggers. Dey were

afrid me would rise aginst em and dey pushed us on down South. Lawd, why

didn't dey let us stay whur we wuz, dey nebber wouldn't a been so menny

half white niggers, but the old marster wuz to blame for that.

We never saw any slaves sold. They carried them off to sell 'em. The

slaves travelled in droves. Fathers and mothers were sold from their

chilluns. Chilluns wuz sold from their parents on de plantations close

to us. Where we went to church, we sat in a place away from de white

folks. The slaves never did run away from marster, because he wuz good

to 'em; but they run away from other plantations.

Yes, we seed the patterollers, we called 'em pore white trash, we also

called patterollers pore white pecks. They had ropes around their necks.

They came to our house one night when we were singin' and prayin'. It

wuz jist before the surrender. Dey were hired by de slave owner. My

daddy told us to show 'em de brandy our marster gib us, den dey went on

a way, kase dey knowed John Walton wuz a funny man about his slaves. Dey

gave us Christmas and other holidays. Den dey, de men, would go to see

dere wives. Some of the men's wives belong to other marsters on other

plantations. We had corn shuckin's at night, and candy pullin's.

Sometimes we had quiltings and dances.

One of the slaves, my aint, she wuz a royal slave. She could dance all

over de place wid a tumbler of water on her head, widout spilling it.

She sho could tote herself. I always luved to see her come to church.

She sho could tote herself.

My oldest sister Violet died in slavery time. She wuz ten years old

when she died. Her uncles were her pall bearers. Uncle Hyman and Uncle

Handy carried her to the grave yard. If I makes no mistake my daddy made

her coffin. Dere wuz no singin'. There were seven of the family dere,

dat wuz all. Dey had no funeral. Dere were no white folks dere.

Dey baptized people in creeks and ponds.

We rode corn stalks, bent down small pine trees and rode' em for

horses. We also played prison base. Colored and white played, yes sir,

whites and colored. We played at night but we had a certain time to go

to bed. Dat wuz nine o'clock. [HW: New paragraph indicated]

De boss man looked atter us when we wuz sick. He got doctors. I had the

typhoid fever. All my hair came out. Dey called it de "mittent fever."

Dr. Thomas Banks doctored me. He been dead a long time. Oh! I don't know

how long he been dead. Near all my white folks were found dead. Mr. John

died outside.

Walton died in bed. Marster Joe Walton died sitting under a tree side de

path. Miss Hancey died in bed.

I 'member the day de war commenced. My marster called my father and my

two uncles Handy and Hyman, our marster called 'em. Dey had started back

to the field to work in the afternoon. He said, 'Cum here boys,' that

wuz our young marster, Ben Walton, says 'cum here boys. I got sumptin'

to tell you.' Uncle Hyman said, 'I can't. I got to go to work.' He said

'Come here and set down, I got sumptin' to tell you.'

The niggers went to him and set down. He told them; 'There is a war

commenced between the North and the South. If the North whups you will

be as free a man as I is. If the South whups you will be a slave all

your days.'

Mr. Joe Walton said when he went to war dat dey could eat breakfast at

home, go and whup the North, and be back far dinner. He went away, and it

wuz four long years before he cum back to dinner. De table wuz shore set

a long time for him. A lot of de white folks said dey wouldn't be much

war, dey could whup dem so easy. Many of dem never did come back to

dinner. I wuz afraid of the Yankees because Missus had told us the

Yankees were going to kill every nigger in the South. I hung to my mammy

when dey come through.

I thought Abraham Lincoln wuz the Medicine man, with grip in his han',

cause he said every borned man must be free.

I did not think anything of Jeff Davis. I thank de will of God for

setting us free. He got into Abraham Lincoln and the Yankees. We are

thankful to the Great Marster dat got into Lincoln and the Yankees. Dey

say Booker Washington wuz fine, I don't know.

The white folks did not allow us to have nuthing to do wid books. You

better not be found, tryin' to learn to read. Our marster wuz harder

down on dat den anything else. You better not be ketched wid a book. Day

read the Bible and told us to obey our marster for de Bible said obey

your marster.

The first band of music I ever herd play the Yankees wuz playin' it.

They were playin' a song. 'I am tired of seeing de homespun dresses the

southern women wear'.

I thinks Mr. Roosevelt is a fine man. Jus' what we need.

Hannah Austin Hannah Davidson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail