Janie Gallman

Project 1886 -1-

District #4

Spartanburg, S.C.

From Field Notes


May 26, 1937


Journeying on Cudd Street this morning and stopping at the "Old Ladies'

Home" (an institution for negroes), the writer found two ex-slaves

sitting on the porch passing the time of day with those who passed the

house. They both spoke very respectfully and asked me to come in.

One was seated and she asked me to have a seat by her. Her name was

Janie Gallman and she said she was 84 years of age. Upon my telling her

my name she stated she knew my father and grandfather and had worked for

them in days gone by. "If your father or Mr. Floyd was living I wouldn't

want for a thing".

She was born in slavery on the plantation of Bill Keenan in Union

County. The place was situated between Pacolet River and Fairforest

Creek and near where Governor Gist had a plantation. Her mother and

father were both owned by Bill Keenan and he was a good master. She

never saw any of the slaves get a whipping and never saw any slave in

chains. When she, her father, and mother were set free, she said, "My

master gave my father a barrel of meal, a cow and a calf and a wagon of

corn when he sot him free. He gave every one of his slaves the same. He

had a big plantation, but I don't know how many acres of land there was,

but it was a big place."

She was married three times and her mother had 12 children, but she has

never had any.

Her young life was spent in playing with the children of the white

overseer. They used to jump rope most of the time. Whenever the overseer

left home to spend the night anywhere, his wife would send for her to

spend the night with the family. The overseer was "poor white trash".

She had plenty to eat in slavery days. Her father and mother had their

own garden, and she did her share of eating the vegetables out of the

garden. She remembered seeing plenty of wild turkeys as a child, but as

for hogs and cattle, she did not remember them running wild. She had

heard of conjuring, but she did not know how it was done--never saw

anybody who had been conjured--yet she had seen ghosts two or three

times. One night she saw a light waving up against a piece of furniture,

then come towards her, then flicker about the room, but she wasn't able

to see anybody holding the light. She had heard of headless men walking

around, yet had never seen any.

A neighbor told her a woman ghost came to her house one night, just sat

on the front steps and said nothing, repeated her visits several nights

in succession, but said no word as she sat on the front step. One night

the neighbor's husband asked the ghost what did she want, why she sat on

the steps and said nothing. The ghost then spoke and told him to follow

her. He followed her and she led him to the basement of the house and

told him to dig in the corner. He did and pretty soon he unearthed a

jar of money. The woman ghost told him to take just a certain amount and

to give the rest to a certain person. The ghost told the man if he

didn't give the money to the person she named, she would come back and

tear him apart. He very obediently took the small amount of the money

and gave the balance where the ghost directed, and he never saw the

woman sitting on his steps any more.

Another time she heard footsteps approaching a certain house in the

yard, but she could never see anybody walking, though she could

distinctly hear the gravel crunching as the ghost walked along. "God is

the only one who can do any conjuring. I don't believe anybody else


=Source:= Aunt Janie Gallman, 391 Cudd St, Spartanburg, S.C.

Interviewer: F.S. DuPre, Spartanburg, S.C.

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