Mrs Amanda Jackson

[HW: Ex-Slave Interview: Mrs. Amanda Jackson]

Mrs. Amanda Jackson was born a slave. She is unable to give her age but

she can tell of some of the conditions, etc. on the plantation where she

lived. Following are the things that she remembers most vividly:

"I wuz born in Glasscock county 'bout twelve miles fum Davisboro, Ga. My

marster's name wuz Lowry Calhoun--he did'nt have no chillun--jes' him

an' his wife an' her mother. He wus a rich man an' he had a big

plantation an' 'bout fifty slaves or more--I 'members de big quarters in

de back o' his house, where me an' de res' o' de slaves lived, an how we

uster git up an' do 'roun."

"Besides me I had two sisters an' one brother--I wuz de younges' child."

"All of de slaves on de plantation worked in de fiel'--even de cook--dat

is 'till time fer her to cook de meals. On dis plantation dey raised

practically everything--corn, cotton, wheat, an' rye, an' a heap o' live

stock. Dey wuz runnin' 'bout twenty-five or thirty plows all de time.

Dere wuz one overseer."

"Every mornin' de slaves had to git up an' by de time it wuz light enuff

to see dey had to be in de fiel' workin'". When asked how they were

awakened Mrs. Jackson replied: "Dey knowed how to git you up alright--de

overseer had a horn dat he blowed an' dem dat did'nt wake up when de

horn wuz blowed wuz called by some of de others in de quarters".

Continuing, she said: "Dey wuz in de fiel' fore de sun rose an' dere

'till after it went down--fum sun to sun". "De fiel' han's had one hour

fer dinner--dem dat had families done dere own cookin' an' dere wuz a

special cook fer de single ones. De women whut had families would git up

soon in de mornin's 'fore time to go to de fiel' an' put de meat on to

boil an' den dey would come in at dinner to come in at dinner time an'

put de vegetables in de pot to cook an' when dey come home in de evenin'

dey would cook some corn bread in de ashes at de fireplace".

"All dat I could do den wuz sweep de yards, water de cows an' de

chickens an' den go to de pasture to git de cows an' de calves--we had

two pastures--one fer de calves an' one fer de cows, I had to git de

cows so de womens could milk 'em."

"All of de hard work on de plantation wuz done in de summertime. In

rainy weather an' other bad weather all dat dey had to do wuz to shell

corn an' to help make cloth. As a rule ol' marster wuz pretty good to

his slaves but sometimes some of 'em got whupped kinda bad fer not

workin' an' stuff like dat--I seen 'im cut womens on dey shoulders wid a

long whip 'till it looked like he wuz gonna cut de skin off'n 'im."

"You had to do yo' own work on Saturdays an' Sundays--I members seeing

my po' mother wash her clothes on Sundays many times. We did'nt have no

holidays except Sundays an' den we did'nt have nowhere to go except to

church in de woods under a bush-arbor".

"De white folks clothes an' all o' de slaves clothes wuz all made on de

plantation. De marster's wife could sew an' she an' her mother an' some

of de slaves done all o' de spinning an' weaving on de place. I've

worked many a day in de house where dey made de cloth at. To color de

clothes dey made dyes out o' all kinds o' barks. If dey wanted

yellowstripes dey used dye made out o' hickory bark. Dere wuz always

plenty o' clothes fer everybody 'cause dey give two complete outfits two

times a year--one in de summer an' one in de winter. Fer blankets we

used homespun spreads."

"Even de shoes wuz made on de plantation--dere wuz a man on de place

dat made all o' de shoes. Dey wuz made out o' cowhide an' wuz very

stiff. You had to grease 'em to wear 'em an' after you done dat you

could do pretty well. De clothes dat dey wore on Sunday wuz'nt no

different fum de ones dat dey wore in de week--dey didn't have nowhere

to go on Sundays unless dey had services somewhere in de woods."

"Dere wuz a always plenty to eat 'cause dey raised everything dat you

c'n think of. Dere wuz all kinds o' vegetables an' big fiel's of hogs

an' 'bout fifteen or twenty head'a cattle dat had to be milked everyday.

Dem dat had families got a issue o' food everyday an' de others whut wuz

single wuz fed at de cookhouse. De only time we ever got biscuits wuz on

Sundays--de res' o' de time we et cornbread. Marster had two

smokehouses--one fer de lard an' one fer de meat. Besides des he 'lowed

de slaves to raise dere own vegetables in dey wanted to but dey could'nt

raise no chickens on stuff like dat".

"De place where de slaves lived wuz in de back o' de white folks house.

Dey called it de "quarters". Dere wuz lotsa log cabins kinda 'ranged

'roun in a sorta circle an' all of 'em had big dirt chimneys on de

outside. De holes in de walls wuz stopped up wid dried mud to keep de

weather out. Fer furniture dey jes' nailed up anything--dere wuz a bench

or two an' a few boards nailed together fer a bed. De mattress wuz a big

tickin' stuffed wid straw or dried grass. Some of de houses had big iron

pots so dat dey could cook if dey wanted to. De fireplaces wuz big ones

an' dey had racks in de inside of 'em so dat de pots could hang dere

when dey wuz cookin'. De only light dat dey had wuz de firelight--don't

care how hot it wuz--if you wanted to see you had to make a fire in de

fireplace. De floors in all de cabins wuz made wid wood.

"Hardly anybody ever got sick on de plantation. When dey wuz sick de

white lady would come out once in a while to see how you wuz gittin'

'long. If anybody wuz very sick de doctor would come on his horse an'

bring his medicine wid 'im when he come. When you wuz sick like dis

somebody from de fiel' would stay in an' do de nursin'. All de medicine

I 'members is big blue mass pills an' salts--dey would give you des fer

anything. When you wuz too sick to go to de fiel' an' not sick enuff to

be in bed you had to report to de white lady at de house--she could tell

pretty much if you wuz sick an' she would work on you--if you did'nt git

better den she would send fer de doctor."

"On des plantation dey did'nt have no regular church fer de slaves an'

so when de weather wuz good de slaves went to de woods an' had church in

a bush-arbor. Dey made a bush-arbor by takin' some posts an' puttin' dem

in de groun' an' de coverin' de top wid bushes. Later on dey had a

shelter covered wid boards. De prechin' wuz done by a ol' man dey called

Caesar--he wuz too old to do anything else an' so prechin' wuz de

biggis' thing he done."

"My marster never did sell any o' his slaves--'course if dey wanted to

go to somebodyyelse he'd let 'um go p'vided de one dey wanted to go to

paid fer 'em. He let one or two go like dat once. Other folks uster put

'em on de block an' sell 'em like dey would a chicken or sumpin' like


"Dere wuz'nt much whuppin on our plantation--not by de marster. Dey

usually got whupped fer not workin'. Others got whupped by de

Paddie-Rollers when dey wuz cot off'n de plantation widout a pass. Dey

would come to de plantation an' whup you if dey knowed you had been off

wid out a pass. Der man whose plantation we wuz on did pretty well by

us--he did'nt like fer de Paddie-Rollers to come on his place to do no


In reply to a query regarding the possibility of a slave buying his

freedom Mrs. Jackson replied: "De only ones I knowed to go free wuz some

whose marsters willed 'em enuff money to buy deyself out an' dey wuz

mighty few".

Continuing Mrs. Jackson said: "When de Yankee soldiers come through we

had to fit busy an' hide all de meat an' de other food dat wuz in de

smokehouse so dat de soldiers would'nt take it."

"My mother an' father stayed on de plantation a long time after freedom

wuz declared".

Moses Jeffries Mrs Duncan facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail