Mammy Dink

[HW: Dist. 6

Ex-Slave #119 v.3]



Place of birth:

On the Walton plantation, near old Baughville,

Talbot County, Georgia

Date of Birth: About 1840

Present residence:

Fifth Avenue, between 14th and 15th Streets,

Columbus, Georgia

Interviewed: August 1, 1936

Dink Walton Young, better known as "Mammy Dink", is one of the oldest

ex-slaves living in Muscogee County. She was born the chattel of Major

Jack Walton, the largest ante-bellum planter and slave-holder of Talbot

County, a man who owned several hundred Negroes and ten thousand or more

acres of land. As a child, "Mammy Dink" was "brung up" with the Walton

white children, often joining and playing with them in such games as

"Mollie Bright", "William Trembletoe", and "Picking up Sticks".

The boys, white and black, and slightly older than she, played "Fox" and

"Paddle-the-Cat" together. In fact, until the white boys and girls were

ten or twelve years of age, their little Negro playmates, satellites,

bodyguards, "gangs", and servants, usually addressed them rather

familiarly by their first names, or replied to their nicknames that

amounted to titles of endearment. Thus, Miss Susie Walton--the later

Mrs. Robert Carter--was "Susie Sweet" to a host of little Negro girls of

her age. Later on, of course, this form of familiarity between slave

child and white child definitely ceased; but for all time there existed

a strong bond of close friendship, mutual understanding, and spirit of

comradeship between the Whites and Blacks of every plantation. As an

example, Pat Walton, aged 18, colored and slave, "allowed" to his young

master in 1861: "Marse Rosalius, youse gwine to de war, ain't yer?" and

without waiting for an answer, continued: "So is Pat. You knows you

ain't got no bizness in no army 'thout a Nigger to wait on yer an keep

yer outa devilment, Marse Rosalius. Now, doen gin me no argyment, Marse

Rosalius, case ise gwine 'long wid yer, and dat settles it, sah, it do,

whether you laks it or you don't lak it." Parenthetically, it might be

here inserted that this speech of Pat's to his young master was typical

of a "style" that many slaves adopted in "dictating" to their white

folks, and many Southern Negroes still employ an inoffensive, similar

style to "dominate" their white friends.

According to "Mammy Dink", and otherwise verified, every time a Negro

baby was born on one of his plantations, Major Dalton gave the mother a

calico dress and a "bright, shiny", silver dollar.

All Walton slaves were well fed and clothed and, for a "drove" of about

fifty or sixty little "back-yard" piccaninnies, the Waltons assumed all

responsibility, except at night. A kind of compound was fenced off for

"dese brats" to keep them in by day.

When it rained, they had a shelter to go under; play-houses were built

for them, and they also had see-saws, toys, etc. Here, their parents

"parked dese younguns" every morning as they went to the fields and to

other duties, and picked them up at night. These children were fed about

five times a day in little wooden trough-like receptacles. Their

principal foods were milk, rice, pot-licker, vegetables and corn

dumplings; and they stayed so fat and sleek "dat de Niggers calt 'em

Marse Major's little black pigs."

The average weekly ration allowed an adult Walton slave was a peck of

meal, two "dusters" of flour (about six pounds), seven pounds of flitch

bacon, a "bag" of peas, a gallon of grits, from one to two quarts of

molasses, a half pound of green coffee--which the slave himself parched

and "beat up" or ground, from one to two cups of sugar, a "Hatful" of

peas, and any "nicknacks" that the Major might have--as extras.

Many acres were planted to vegetables each year for the slaves and, in

season, they had all the vegetables they could eat, also Irish potatoes,

sweet potatoes, roasting ears, watermelons and "stingy green" (home

raised tobacco). In truth, the planters and "Niggers" all used "stingy

green", there then being very little if any "menufro" (processed

tobacco) on the market.

The standard clothes of the slaves were: jeans in the winter for men and

women, cottonades and osnabergs for men in the summer, and calicos and

"light goods" for the women in the summer time. About 75% of the cloth

used for slaves' clothing was made at home.

If a "Nigger come down sick", the family doctor was promptly called to

attend him and, if he was bad off, the Major "sat up" with him, or had

one of his over-seers do so.

Never in her life was "Mammy Dink" whipped by any of the Waltons or

their over-seers. Moreover, she never knew a Negro to be whipped by a

white person on any of the dozen or more Walton plantations. She never

"seed" a pataroler in her life, though she "has heard tell dat Judge

Henry Willis, Marses Johnnie B. Jones, Ned Giddens, Gus O'Neal, Bob

Baugh, an Jedge Henry Collier rid as patarolers" when she was a girl.

When the Yankee raiders came through in '65, "Mammy Dink" was badly

frightened by them. She was also highly infuriated with them for

"stealin de white fokes' things", burning their gins, cotton and barns,

and conducting themselves generally as bandits and perverts.

In 1875, the year of the cyclone "whooch kilt sebenteen fokes twixt

Ellesli (Ellerslie) and Talbotton", including an uncle of her's. "Mammy

Dink" was living at the Dr. M.W. Peter's place near Baughville. Later,

she moved with her husband--acquired subsequent to freedom--to the Dr.

Thomas D. Ashford's place, in Harris County, near Ellerslie. There, she

lost her husband and, about thirty-five years ago, moved to Columbus to

be near Mrs. John T. Davis, Jr., an only daughter of Dr. Ashford, to

whom she long ago became very attached.

When interviewed, "Mammy Dink" was at Mrs. Davis' home, "jes piddlin

'round", as she still takes a pride in "waiting on her white fokes."

Naturally, for one of her age, the shadows are lengthening. "Mammy Dink"

has never had a child; all her kin are dead; she is 96 and has no money

and no property, but she has her memories and, "thank Gawd", Mrs.

Davis--her guardian-angel, friend and benefactress.

Mamie Thompson Mammy Dink facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail