Laura Hood

Mary A. Crawford

Re-search Worker

Laura Hood


Laura was born in Griffin December 23, 1850 on Mr. Henry Bank's place.

Her mother, Sylvia Banks (called "Cely Ann" by the darkies) married her

father, Joe Brawner, a carpenter, who was owned by Mr. Henry Brawner.

Joe and Sylvia were married in Mr. Henry Bank's parlor by this white


Mr. Banks, Laura's master, owned a tannery in Griffin and had "around

fifty slaves" according to Laura's memory. Most of the slaves worked at

the tannery, the others at Mr. Bank's home. Laura's mother was the cook

in the Bank's home for over forty years. Joe, Laura's father, was a

carpenter and the four little darkies of the family helped about the

house and yard doing such work as feeding the chickens, sweeping the

yards and waiting on the Mistress. Laura, herself was a "house girl",

that is, she made the beds, swept the floors and sewed and helped the

Mistress do the mending for the family.

When asked if the Master and Mistress were good to the slaves, Laura

replied that they certainly were, adding, "Marse Henry was as good a man

as ever put a pair of pants on his legs." As to the punishments used by

the Banks, Laura was almost indignant at such a question, saying that

Marse Henry never whipped or punished his darkies in any way, that he

did not believe in it. The only whipping that Laura herself ever had was

one lick across the shoulders with a small switch used by her Mistress

to keep her mother, Celie Ann, from whipping her.

Laura relates that the darkies worked all the time except Sunday. On

Sunday they could do as they pleased so long as they went to church. All

the Bank's darkies attended service in the "cellar" (basement) of the

First Baptist Church and had a colored preacher.

When any of the darkies were sick if 'ole Marster' and 'ole Miss' could

not "set them straight" they called in "ole Marse's" white doctor.

Mr. Banks, himself, was too old "to fight the Yankees" but young 'Marse

Henry' fought but did not "get a scratch" and when he came home all of

them were sure glad to see him.

"After freedom, when 'ole Mars' was gone, 'young Marster' was as good as

gold to all the darkies." Laura can remember when he gave her $5.00 to

$20.00 at a time."

She also recalls that when the slaves were freed that her ole Marse

called all of the darkies around him out in the yard and told them that

they were as free as he was and could leave if they wanted to, but if

they would stay 'till Christmas and help him that he would pay them

wages. All of them stayed except one Negro named "Big John" who left

with a bunch of Yankees that came along soon after.

As to what happened at the Bank's home when the Yankees came through,

Laura does not remember, but she does recall that the Banks family

"refugeed to Florida to get out of the path of the Yankees."

"No, mam," said Laura in reply to the question "Did your master have his

slaves taught to read and write?" "We never had any school of any kind

on the Bank's place. 'Marse Henry did not believe we needed that."

Laura has lived in her present home since 1867 and recalls when Griffin

was "mostly a big woods full of paths here and there." She recalls the

"auction block" which was on or near the site of the present Court


The old woman is very feeble, in fact, unable to walk but is cared for

by a niece.

Laura Pood

432 E. Solomon Street

Griffin, Georgia

September 23, 1936

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