Marse Glenn

Project 1885-1

From Field Notes.

District No. 4.

April 27, 1937

Edited by:

Elmer Turnage


"Marse Glenn had 64 slaves. On Sat'day night, de darkies would have a

little fun on de side. A way off from de big house, down in de pastur'

dar wuz about de bigges' gully what I is ebber seed. Dat wuz de place

whar us collected mos' ev'ry Sa'day night fer our lil' mite o' fun frum

de white folks hearin'. Sometime it wuz so dark dat you could not see de

fingers on yo' han' when you would raise it fo' your face. Dem wuz sho'

schreechy nights; de schreechiest what I is ever witnessed, in all o' my

born natu'al days. Den of cose, dar wuz de moonlight nights when a darky

could see; den he see too much. De pastur' wuz big and de trees made

dark spots in it on de brightest nights. All kind o' varmints tuck and

hollered at ye as ye being gwine along to reach dat gully. Cose us would

go in droves sometime, and den us would go alone to de gully sometime.

When us started together, look like us would git parted 'fo we reach de

gully all together. One of us see som'tin and take to runnin'. Maybe de

other darkies in de drove, de wouldn't see nothin' jes den. Dats zactly

how it is wid de spirits. De mout (might) sho de'self to you and not to

me. De acts raal queer all de way round. Dey can take a notion to scare

de daylights outtin you when you is wid a gang; or dey kin scare de

whole gang; den, on de other hand, dey kin sho de'self off to jes two or

three. It ain't never no knowin' as to how and when dem things is gwine

to come in your path right fo your very eyes; specially when you is

partakin' in some raal dark secret whar you is planned to act raal sof'

and quiet like all de way through.

"Dem things bees light on dark nights; de shines de'self jes like dese

'lectric lights does out dar in dat street ever' night, 'cept dey is a

scaird waary light dat dey shines wid. On light nights, I is seed dem

look, furs dark like a tree shad'er; den dey gits raal scairy white.

T'aint no use fer white folks to low dat it ain't no haints, an'

grievements dat follows ye all around, kaise I is done had to many

'spriences wid dem. Den dare is dese young niggers what ain't fit to be

called darkies, dat tries to ac' eddicated, and says dat it ain't any

spe'rits dat walks de earth. When dey lows dat to me, I rolls my old

eyes at dem an' axes dem how comes dey runs so fas' through de woods at

night. Yes sirree, dem fool niggers sees dem jes as I does. Raaly de

white folks doesn't have eyes fer sech as we darkies does; but dey bees

dare jes de same.

"Never mindin' all o' dat, we n'used to steal our hog ever' sa'day night

and take off to de gully whar us'd git him dressed and barbecued.

Niggers has de mos'es fun at a barbecue dat dare is to be had. As none

o' our gang didn't have no 'ligion, us never felt no scruples bout not

gettin de 'cue' ready fo' Sunday. Us'd git back to de big house along in

de evenin' o' Sunday. Den Marse, he come out in de yard an' low whar wuz

you niggers dis mornin'. How come de chilluns had to do de work round

here. Us would tell some lie bout gwine to a church 'siety meetin'. But

we got raal scairt and mose 'cided dat de best plan wuz to do away wid

de barbecue in de holler. Conjin 'Doc.' say dat he done put a spell on

ole Marse so dat he wuz 'blevin ev'y think dat us tole him bout Sa'day

night and Sunday morning. Dat give our minds 'lief; but it turned out

dat in a few weeks de Marse come out from under de spell. Doc never

even knowed nothin' bout it. Marse had done got to countin' his hogs

ever' week. When he cotch us, us wuz all punished wid a hard long task.

Dat cured me o' believing in any conjuring an' charmin' but I still

kno's dat dare is haints; kaise ever time you goes to dat gully at

night, up to dis very day, you ken hear hogs still gruntin' in it, but

you can't see nothing.

"After Marse Glenn tuck and died, all o' de white folks went off and

lef' de plantation. Some mo' folks dat wuz not o' quality, come to live

dare an' run de plantation. It wuz done freedom den. Wo'nt long fo dem

folks pull up and lef' raal onexpected like. I doesn't recollect what

dey went by, fat is done slipped my mind; but I must 'av knowed. But dey

lowed dat de house wuz to draffy and dat dey couldn't keep de smoke in

de chimney an' dat de doo's would not stay shet. Also dey lowed dat

folks prowled aroun' in de yard in de night time a keepin' dem awake.

"Den Marse Glenn's boys put Mammy in de house to keep it fer 'em. But

Lawd God! Mammy said dat de furs night she stayed dare de haints nebber

let her git not narr'y mite o' sleep. Us all had lowed dat wuz de raal

reason dem white folks lef out so fas'. When Mammy could not live in dat

big house whar she had stayed fer years, it won't no use fer nobody else

to try. Mammy low dat it de Marse a lookin' fer his money what he done

tuck and burried and de boys couldn't find no sign o' it. Atter dat, de

sons tuck an' tacked a sign on de front gate, offering $200.00 to de

man, white or black, dat would stay dar and fin' out whar dat money wuz

burried. Our preacher, the Rev. Wallace, lowed dat he would stay dar and

find out whar dat money wuz from de spirits. He knowed dat dey wuz tryin

to sho de spot what dat money wuz.

"He went to bed. A dog began running down dem steps; and a black cat run

across de room dat turned to white befo' it run into de wall. Den a pair

of white horses come down de stairway a rattling chains fer harness.

Next a woman dressed in white come in dat room. Brother Wallace up and

lit out dat house and he never went back no mo'.

"Another preacher tried stayin' dar. He said he gwine to keep his head

kivered plum up. Some'tin unkivered it and he seed a white goat a

grinnin' at him. But as he wuz a brave man and trus' de Lawd, he lowed,

'What you want wid me nohow?' The goat said, 'what is you doin' here.

Raise, I knows dat you ain't sleep.' De preacher say, 'I wants you to

tell me what ole Marse don tuck and hid dat money?' De goat grin and

low, 'How come you don' look under your pillar, sometime?' Den he run

away. De preacher hopped up and looked under de pillar, and dar wuz de

money sho nuf. Peers like it wuz de one on de lef' end o' de back porch,

but I jes remembers 'bout dat."

Source: Mrs. M. E. Abrams, Whitmire, S. C.; told her by old "uncle"

"Mad" Griffin, Whitmire, (Col. 82 yrs.) Interviewer: Caldwell Sims,

Union, S. C. 2/25/37.

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