Laurence Downing

Project 1885-1

Spartanburg, S. C.

May 31, 1937

Edited by: Martha Ritter


"I was born in Newberry County, S. C. below Prosperity on Capt. George

De Walt's place. My daddy and mammy was Giles and Lizzie De Walt

Downing. My daddy belonged to de Outz family, but changed his name to

Downing--his master was Downing Outz. I was born about 1857. My mother

had 16 children, some died young.

I was a little chap when the war was here, but I remember de soldiers

coming home from de war. De Yankees went through here and stole all the

cattle and all the eats. De Ku Klux marched down de road dressed in

white sheets. Freedom come and most of the slaves went away, but I

stayed on wid Marse De Walt. Daddy worked wid Downing Outz for wages.

When I was 15 years old I worked in de fields like grown folks. I never

learned to read and write. We had no schools then for colored people. De

only church we had after freedom come was a small "brush arbor" church.

"We hunted rabbits, 'possums, squirrels, wild turkeys, doves and

partridges there.

"I joined de church when I was 20 years old, 'cause I thought times

would be better for me then. Of course, I kind of back-slided little

afterwards, but always tried to do right.

Source: Laurence Downing (80), Newberry, S. C.

Interviewer: G. Leland Sumer, Newberry, S. C.

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