Katie Sutton





Folklore

District #5

Vanderburgh County

Lauana Creel



"A TRADITION FROM PRE-CIVIL WAR DAYS"

KATIE SUTTON, AGED EX-SLAVE

Oak street, Evansville, Ind.





"White folks 'jes naturally different from darkies," said Aunt Katie

Sutton, ex-slave, as she tightened her bonnet strings under her wrinkled

chin.



"We's different in color, in talk and in ligion and beliefs. We's

different in every way and can never be spected to think oe [TR: or?] to

live alike."



"When I was a little gal I lived with my mother in an old log cabin. My

mammy was good to me but she had to spend so much of her time at

humoring the white babies and taking care of them that she hardly ever

got to even sing her own babies to sleep."



"Ole Missus and Young Missus told the little slave children that the

stork brought the white babies to their mothers but that the slave

children were all hatched out from buzzards eggs and we believed it was

true."



"Yes, Maam, I believes in evil spirits and that there are many folks

that can put spells on you, and if'n you dont believe it you had better

be careful for there are folks right here in this town that have the

power to bewitch you and then you will never be happy again."



Aunt Katie declared that the seventh son of a seventh son, or the

seventh daughter of a seventh daughter possesses the power to heal

diseases and that a child born after the death of its father possesses a

strange and unknown power.



While Aunt Katie was talking, a neighbor came in to borrow a shovel from

her.



"No, no, indeed I never lends anything to nobody," she declared. After

the new neighbor left, Aunt Katie said, "She jes erbout wanted dat

shovel so she could 'hax' me. A woman borrowed a poker from my mammy and

hexed mammy by bending the poker and mammy got all twisted up wid

rhumatis 'twill her uncle straightened de poker and den mammy got as

straight as anybody."



"No, Maam, nobody wginter take anything of mine out'n this house." Aunt

Katie Sutton's voice was thin and her tune uncertain but she remembered

some of the songs she heard in slavery days. One was a lullaby sung by

her mother and the song is given on separate pages of this artical.



Three years ago Aunt Katie was called away on her last journey although

she had always emmerced the back and front steps of her cottage with

chamber lye daily to keep away evil spirits death crept in and demanded

the price each of us must pay and Katie answered the call.



Aunt Katie sprinkled salt in the foot prints of departing guests "Dat's

so dey kain leave no illwill behind em and can never come agin 'thout an

invitation," she explained.



She said she one time planted a tree with a curse and that her worst

enemy died that same year.



"Evil spirits creeps around all night long and evil people's always able

to hex you, So, you had best be careful how you talks to strangers.

Always spit on a coin before You gives it to a begger and dont pass too

close to a hunchbacked person unless you can rub the hump or you will

have bad luck as sure as anything."



Aunt Katie declared a rabbit's foot only brought good luck if the rabbit

had been killed by a cross eyed negro in a country grave yard in the

dark of the moon and she said that she believed one of that description

could be found only once in a lifetime or possibly a hundred years.





"A Slave Mammy's Lullaby."



Sung by Katie Sutton, Ex-slave of Evansville, Indiana.



"A snow white stork flew down from the sky.

Rock a bye, my baby bye,

To take a baby gal so fair,

To young missus, waitin there;

When all was quiet as a mouse,

In ole massa's big fine house.



Refrain:

Dat little gal was borned rich and free,

She's de sap from out a sugah tree;

But you are jes as sweet to me;

My little colored chile,

Jes lay yo head upon my bres;

An res, and res, and res, an res,

My little colored chile.



To a cabin in a woodland drear,

You've come by a mammy's heart to cheer;

In this ole slave's cabin,

Your hands my heart strings grabbin;

Jes lay your head upon my bres,

Jes snuggle close an res an res;

My little colored chile.



Repeat Refrain.



Yo daddy ploughs ole massa's corn,

Yo mammy does the cooking;

She'll give dinner to her hungry chile,

When nobody is a lookin;

Don't be ashamed, my chile, I beg,

Case you was hatched from a buzzard's egg;

My little colored chile."



Repeat Refrain.





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