Mary Frances Brown

Project #1655

Martha S. Pinckney

Charleston, S. C.


Approx. 660 words


Age 88-90

Mary Frances Brown is a typical product of the old school of trained

house servants, an unusual delicate type, somewhat of the Indian cast,

to which race she is related. She is always clean and neat, a refined

old soul, as individuals of that class often are. Her memory, sight and

hearing are good for her advanced age.

"Our home Marlboro. Mas Luke Turnage was my

master--Marlboro-Factory-Plantation name 'Beauty Spot'. My missis was

right particular about neat and clean. She raise me for a house girl. My

missis was good to me, teach me ebbery ting, and take the Bible and

learn me Christianified manners, charity, and behaviour and good

respect, and it with me still.

"We didn't have any hard times, our owners were good to us--no over

share (overseer) and no whippin'--he couldn't stan' that. I live there

'til two year after freedom; how I come to leave, my mother sister been

sick, and she ask mother to send one of us, an she send me. My mother

been Miss Nancy cook. Miss Nancy was Mas Luke's mother--it take me two

years learning to eat the grub they cook down here in Charleston. I had

to learn to eat these little piece of meat--we had a dish full of meat;

the big smoke house was lined from the top down. (Describing how the

meat hung) I nebber accustom to dese little piece of meat, so--what dey

got here. Missis, if you know smoke house, didn't you find it hard? My

master had 'til he didn't know what to do with. My white people were

Gentile." (Her tone implied that she considered them the acme of gentle

folks). "I don't know what the other people were name that didn't have

as much as we had--but I know my people were Gentile!"

Just here her daughter and son appeared, very unlike their mother in

type. The daughter is quite as old looking as her mother; the son, a

rough stevedore. When the writer suggested that the son must be a

comfort, she looked down sadly and said in a low tone, as if

soliloquizing, "He way is he way." Going back to her former thought, she

said, "All our people were good. Mas Luke was the worse one." (This she

said with an indulgent smile) "Cause he was all the time at the race

ground or the fair ground.

"Religion rules Heaven and Earth, an there is no religion

now--harricanes an washin-aways is all about. Ebberything is change. Dis

new name what they call grip is pleurisy-cold--putrid sore-throat is

called somethin'--yes, diptheria. Cuttin (surgery) come out in 1911!

They kill an they cure, an they save an they loss.

"My Gran'ma trained with Indians--she bin a Indian, an Daniel C. McCall

bought her. She nebber loss a baby." (the first Indian relationship that

the writer can prove). "You know Dr. Jennings? Ebberybody mus' know him.

After he examine de chile an de mother, an 'ee alright, he hold de nurse

responsible for any affection (infection) that took place.

"Oh! I know de spiritual--but Missis, my voice too weak to sing--dey

aint in books; if I hear de name I can sing--'The Promise Land', Oh, how

Mas Joel Easterling (born 1796) use to love to sing dat!"

"I am bound for de Promise Land!

Oh! who will arise an go with me?

I am bound for the Promise Land!

I've got a mother in the Promise Land,

My mother calls me an I mus go,

To meet her in the Promise Land!"

Source: Mary Frances Brown, Age 88-90, East Bay Street, Charleston,

S. C.

Mary Flagg Mary Frances Brown facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail