John Hamilton

Project #-1655

Gyland H. Hamlin

Charleston, S.C.



"Good a'ternoon, suh. Yassuh, I'ze gittin' on up in de years. I be

eighty-one year ole nex' May. I name John Hamilton an' I lib at

sickty-t'ree Amherst Street.

"I 'member sumptin' 'bout slabery. I wuz 'bout big as dat gal gwine dere

w'en de Fed'rul war broke out," indicating a child, passing down the

street who appeared to be about eight years old.

"I belong' to Maussa Seabrook, an' he lib at W'ite Point, ten mile from

Adams Run. De Maussa, he been daid but he got some boys. Dem boys all

scatter', dough. Yassuh, ole Maussa treat us good. I not big 'nough to

wuk, I jus' a li'l boy den. My fadder name' Rhode Hamilton, an' 'e hab

two acre to wuk. Dere didn't been no hoss, an' 'e grub it wid de hoe.

"Some slabes no good an' not satisfy fo' tuh wuk. Dey run 'way fum de

plantation. Dere been big dawgs high as street-cyar, yassuh, high as dat

street-cyar. Dey name' nigger-dawg an' dey trace nigger an' put dem

nigger back to wuk. Dere been Yankee man name' Tom Cudry. I kin sho' de

house 'e been in. He say 'e tired see colored mans wuk hard an' git

nuttin'. He put colored mans on banjoo (vendue) table an' 'e be free.

"I didn't be marry till I git in my t'irty year. My wife, she 'bout

sickty-fibe year ole'. We got fibe chillun libbin', 'bout twelbe haid in

all. Grand-chillun? 'Bout sebben haid an' one gal. Hab great

grand-chillun, too.

"I ain't been know nuttin' 'bout jailhouse. Ain't see a jailhouse in my

life. I hab to look all day to find one in Charleston, an' don't know

where 'bouts de court-house. Ain't gwine to jailhouse. Nobody hab to

'rest me no how.

"I be a Babtis'. I babtize' in de ribber, de Edisto ribber. I tryin' git

to Hebben. Hebben be glory. Yassuh, Hebben be glory. You got to lub all

God's chillun to git dere. God send w'ite folks an' colored folks, an'

dey mus' he'p each odder an' wuk togedder. Dey got to lib in union.

Yassuh, got to lib in union to git to Hebben.

"I 'pend on de w'ite folks to he'p me. Dese pore colored folks ain't got

nuttin'. Nawsuh, I ain't be too ole to wuk an' mek a honest libbin' like

lot o' dem no good nigger what too stiff fo' to speak. I wuk some

flower-yard fo' some w'ite folks, an' I wuk a li'l gyarden.

"Yassuh, I hol' up berry well, but I can't see at night w'en de sun go

down. My sight gone back den. I got git 'long now.

"You gimme a nickel or dime? T'ank you, suh. T'ank you kin'ly."

=Source:= Personal interview with John Hamilton, colored,

of 63 Amherst Street, Charleston, S.C.

John H Smith John Henry Gibson- facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail