Perry Lewis


Sept. 4, 1937


PERRY LEWIS, Ex-slave.

Reference: Personal interview with Perry Lewis, ex-slave,

at his home, 1124 E. Lexington St., Baltimore.

"I was born on Kent Island, Md. about 86 years ago. My father's name was

Henry and mother's Louise. I had one brother John, who was killed in the

Civil War at the Deep Bottom, one sister as I can remember. My father

was a freeman and my mother a slave, owned by Thomas Tolson, who owned a

small farm on which I was born in a log cabin, with two rooms, one up

and one down.

"As you know the mother was the owner of the children that she brought

into the world. Mother being a slave made me a slave. She cooked and

worked on the farm, ate whatever was in the farmhouse and did her share

of work to keep and maintain the Tolsons. They being poor, not having a

large place or a number of slaves to increase their wealth, made them

little above the free colored people and with no knowledge, they could

not teach me or any one else to read.

"You know the Eastern Shore of Maryland was in the most productive slave

territory and where farming was done on a large scale; and in that part

of Maryland where there were many poor people and many of whom were

employed as overseers, you naturally heard of patrollers and we had them

and many of them. I have heard that patrollers were on Kent Island and

the colored people would go out in the country on the roads, create a

disturbance to attract the patrollers' attention. They would tie ropes

and grape vines across the roads, so when the patrollers would come to

the scene of the disturbance on horseback and at full tilt, they would

be throwing those who would come in contact with the rope or vine off

the horse; sometimes badly injuring the riders. This would create hatred

between the slaves, the free people, the patrollers and other white

people who were concerned.

"In my childhood days I played marbles, this was the only game I

remember playing. As I was on a small farm, we did not come in contact

much with other children, and heard no children's songs. I therefore do

not recall the songs we sang.

"I do not remember being sick but I have heard mother say, when she or

her children were sick, the white doctor who attended the Tolsons

treated us and the only herbs I can recall were life-everlasting boneset

and woodditney, from each of which a tea could be made.

"This is about all I can recall."

Pernella Anderson Interviews Ex-slaves Perry Madden facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail