Mom Ellen Godfrey





Project 1655

Genevieve W. Chandler

Georgetown County, S.C.



FOLKLORE



MOM ELLEN GODFREY

(Ex-slave--Age 100)





"I'm waitin' on the leese (RELIEF). He was to have my birthday the seven

of October.



"Slavery time Maussa buy 'em. We Maussa buy me one good shoe. Send slam

to England. Gie me (give me) good clothes and shoe. I been a-weave. When

the Yankee come I been on the loom. Been to Marlboro district. A man

place they call Doctor Major Drake. Got a son name Cap and Pet. Oh,

Jesus! I been here TOO long. In my 99 now. Come seven o' October (1937)

I been a hundred.



"Three flat (big flat-boats) carry two hundred head o' people and all

they things. We hide from Yankee but Yankee come and get we. Ask where

Maussa! Maussa in swamp. I in buckra house. I tell Yankee: 'Them gone!

Gone to beach!' Yankee say:



"'Tell 'em to be in Georgetown to bow unto flag'.



"That time I been twenty-three years old. Old Doctor Flagg didn't born

then. He a pretty child and so fat. Love the doctor too much. Born two

weeks after Freedom. He Ma gone to town. Melia Holmes? She ain't no more

than chillum to me. Laura and Serena two twin sister. When the Freedom I

was twenty-three--over the twenty-five. Great God, have-a-mercy! McGill

people have to steal for something to eat. Colonel Ward keep a nice

place. Gie'em (give them) rice, peas, four cook for chillum, one nurse.

Make boy go in salt crick get 'em clam. That same Doctor Flagg Grandpa.

Give you cow clabber. Share 'em and put you bittle for eat.



"Gabe Knox? (A very old colored man who has been dead ten years) I nurse

Gabe! I nurse 'em. He Pappy my cousin. I been a big young woman when he

born.



"Albert Calina? He a Christian-hearted people. Christian-heart boy. I

give my age. My birthday get over I want to go right home to Heaven.



"I gone to see Doctor Wardie when I in my 95. He say:



"'Great Dow! Looker Aunt Ellen! In you 95! What make you live to good

age you take such good care you husband--Harry Godfrey.'"



Conversation of Aunt Ellen Godfrey--age 99 years,

Conway, S.C. June 25th.





"Would gone wid you Missus, but I waiting on the 'Relief'. He wuz going

to bring me the dress and shoe and ting. My birthday the seven of

October coming. We Massa have give we good shoe. Right here Longwood

Plantation. Massa was kind--you know. Send slam to England gie me good

clothes and shoe. I been a weave when the Yankee come. I been on the

loom to Marlboro district. A man place they call Doctor Major Drake. Got

a son name Cap and Pet. Oh, Jesus, been here too long! In my ninety-nine

now. Come seben of October been a hundred. Three flat" (flat boats used

for rice field work) "carry two hundred 'o people and all they things.

We hide from Yankee but Yankee come and git we. Ask whey (where)

Massa. (Massa in swamp! I in buckra house. I say, 'Dem gone! Gone to

beach.' Say, 'Tell 'em to be in Georgetown to bow unto the flag.' Dat

time I been twenty-three year old. Doctor Flagg didn't born. He a pretty

child and so fat! Love duh Doctor too much! Born two weeks after

freedom. He Ma gone Georgetown. Granny git 'em there. Melia Holmes!

Ain't no more dan chillun to me!" (Aunt Melia is eighty-eight or

nine--bony and cripple) "She have two twin sister Laura and Serena. When

the Freedom I wuz twenty-three years old.--over the twenty-five. Great

God hab a mercy! Couldn't do dat! Colonel Ward keep a nice place. Doctor

McGill people hab to steal for someting to eat. Gie 'em rice--peas. Four

cook for chillun. One nurse". (Aunt Ellen said 'Nuss') "Make the boy go

get 'em clam. That same Dr. Ward GrandPa. Great big sack 'o clam! Give

you cow clabber. Shay'm". (Share them--the clabber) "and put on bittle

for eat.



"Hagar Brown! She darter (daughter) got a abscess in her stomach. Save

Rutledge! I nuss (nurse) Sabe. I nuss 'em. Her pappy my cousin. I been

big young women, I nuss Sabe.



"Albert Calina a christian-hearted people. Christian hearted boy. Relief

come. I gie 'em my age. My birthday over, I wanter go right home to

Heaven. Great Dow! 'Looker Aunt Ellen!' (That is what Dr. Wardie say

when I gone see 'um.) 'In you ninety-five! What make you good, you take

care of you husband! 'Harry Godfrey waiting man! Marry twice time. He

duh last----



"Andrew Johnson? Dropsy? I have wid every chillun--Oh, I buss (burst)

one time. Buss here." (Illustrating by drawing line across stomach.)

"Till it get to my groin it stop! Every time I get family I swell. Never

have a doctor 'Granny' for me yet. My Mary good old Granny. Catch two

set 'o twin for me. Isaac and Rebecca; David and Caneezer.



"Sell all my fowl and ting--five dollars--me and old man two come to

town to we chillun.



"Been Marlboro four year. Yankee foot where they put on stirrup red. Most

stand lak a Mr. Smoak--Big tall--Abraham Lincoln own son Johnny! 'You

jess as free as ribbon on my hat!' That what he say. I been weave.

Sheckle!" (Aunt Ellen worked foot and hand and mouth in illustrating how

the shuttle worked back and forth--and the music it made).



"Conch? Eat 'm many time! Take 'em bile! Grind 'em up!



"Welcome Beas? She son get kill in Charston, Welcome Beas son courting

my gal.



"Tom Duncan? He child to me. He wife Susannah. I know duh fambly. I gone

knock to duh door.



"Come in! Come in! Come in! 'Here duh beard!" (And Aunt Ellen measured

on her chest to show how long Dr. Flagg's beard was).









"Old Daddy Rodgers and merry wuz she!

The old man wuz cripple

And Mary wuz blind.

Keep you hat on you head.

Keep you head warm

And set down under that sycamore tree!

My kite! My kite!

My kite! My kite!

Two oxen tripe!

Two open dish 'o cabbage!

My little dog!

My spotted hawg!

My two young pig a starving!

Cow in the cotton patch. Tell boy call dog drive pig out cotton!

Heah duh song;

Send Tom Taggum

To drive Bone Baggum

Out the world 'o wiggy waggum!"



(This last song chanted out by Aunt Eleanor Godfrey, age 99, is really a

gem. She said 'Bone Baggum' boney old white cow. 'Wiggy waggum' is a

picture word making one see the soft, wagging tufts of white cotton.)



Given by Aunt Eleanor Godfrey

Age 99 (100 come seben of Oct.)

June 25th, 1937

Conway, S.C.





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