Lizzie Hughes

LIZZIE HUGHES, blind Negress of Harrison County, Texas, was born on

Christmas Day, 1848, a slave of Dr. Newton Fall, near Nacogdoches.

Lizzie married when she was eighteen and has lived near Marshall

since that time. She is cared for by a married daughter, who lives

on Lizzie's farm.

"My name am Lizzie Fall Hughes. I was borned on Christmas at Chireno,

'tween old Nacogdoches town and San Augustine. Dat eighty-nine year ago

in slavery time. My young master give me my age on a piece of paper when

I married but the rats cut it up.

"I 'longed to Dr. Fall and old Miss Nancy, his wife. They come from

Georgia. Papa was named Ed Wilson Fall and mammy was June. Dr. Newton

Fall had a big place at Chireno and a hundred slaves. They lived in li'l

houses round the edge of the field. We had everything we needed. Dr.

Newton run a store and was a big printer. He had a printin' house at

Chireno and 'nother in California.

"The land was red and they worked them big Missouri mules and sho'

raised somethin'. Master had fifty head of cows, too, and they was

plenty wild game. When master was gone he had a overseer, but tell him

not to whip. He didn't 'lieve in rushin' his niggers. All the white

folks at Chireno was good to they niggers. On Saturday night master give

all the men a jug of syrup and a sack of flour and a ham or middlin' and

the smokehouse was allus full of beef and pork. We had a good time on

that place and the niggers was happy. I 'member the men go out in the

mornin', singin':

"'I went to the barn with a shinin', bright moon,

I went to the wood a-huntin' a coon.

The coon spied me from a sugar maple tree,

Down went my gun and up the tree went me.

Nigger and coon come tumblin' down,

Give the hide to master to take off to town,

That coon was full of good old fat,

And master brung me a new beaver hat.'

"Part of 'nother song go like this:

"'Master say, you breath smell of brandy,

Nigger say, no, I's lick 'lasses candy.'

"When old master come to the lot and hear the men singin' like that, he

say, 'Them boys is lively this mornin', I's gwine git a big day's

plowin' done. They did, too, 'cause them big Missouri mules sho' tore up

that red land. Sometime they sing:

"'This ain't Christmas mornin', just a long summer day,

Hurry up, yellow boy and don't run 'way,

Grass in the cotton and weeds in the corn,

Get in the field, 'cause it soon be morn.'

"At night when the hands come in they didn't do nothin' but eat and cut

up round the quarters. They'd have a big ball in a big barn there on the

place and sixty and seventy on the floor at once, singin':

"'Juba this and Juba that,

Juba killed a yaller cat.

Juba this and Juba that,

Hold you partner where you at.'

"The whites preached to the niggers and the niggers preached to

theyselves. Gen'man sho' could preach good them times; everybody cried,

they preached so good. I's a mourner when I git free.

"I's big 'nough to work round the house when war starts, but not big

'nough to be studyin' 'bout marryin'. I's sho' sorry when we's sot

free. Old master didn't tell his niggers they free. He didn't want them

to go. On a day he's gone, two white men come and showed us a piece of

paper and say we's free now. One them men was a big mill man and told

mama he'll give her $12.00 a month and feed her seven li'l niggers if

she go cook for his millhands. Papa done die in slavery, so mama goes

with the man. I run off and hid under the house. I wouldn't leave till I

seed master. When he come home he say, 'Lizzie, why didn't you go?' I

say, 'I don't want to leave my preserves and light bread.' He let me


"Then I gits me a li'l man. He works for master in the store and I works

round the house. Master give me two dresses and a pair of shoes when I

married. We lived with him a year or two and then come to Marshall. My

husband worked on public work and I kept house for white folks and we

saved our money and buyed this li'l farm. My man's dead fourteen years

now and my gal and her husband keeps the farm goin'.

"Me and my man didn't have nothin' when we left Nacogdoches, but we

works hard and saves our money and buyed this farm. It 'pear like these

young niggers don't try to 'cumulate nothin'.

Lizzie Hawkens Lizzie Johnson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail