Rev Thomas Harper

Project 1885-1


Spartanburg Dist. 4

May 25, 1937

Edited by:

Elmer Turnage


"I was born in Fairfield County, S.C. near Broad River. I was de son of

John and Harriet Harper. I worked in slavery time and was a slave of

John Stanley who was a good man and easy to work with. He give me a good

whipping once when I was a boy. We earned no money but had our place to

sleep and something to eat and wear. We didn't have any gardens, but

master had a big plantation and lots of slaves, and worked a garden

himself. I remember he whipped mother once the last year of the

war,--just about to get freedom.

"Master belonged to patrollers, and let dem come on the place and punish

the slaves if needed. They whipped my sister once. He had a house to

lock slaves in when dey was bad. He learned us to read and write. He had

a school on de plantation for his niggers. After the days work was over,

we frolicked, and Saturday afternoons we had off to do what we wanted.

We had to go to the white folks church and set in back of de church.

Corn shuckings, cotton picking and carding and quilting, the old folks

had when dey had big times and big eats.

"Weddings and funerals of slaves were about like white folks. Some would

go walking and singing to de grave in back of hearse or body. There was

a conjurer in our neighborhood who could make you do what he wanted,

sometimes he had folks killed. The Yankees marched through our place,

stole cattle, and meat. We went behind dem and picked up lots dat dey

dropped when dey left. When de war was over, de niggers was promised

small farms but dey didn't get 'em.

"I have been preaching many years in colored Methodist churches. I have

7 children, 22 grand-children but no great-grand-children.

"I think Abraham Lincoln was a great man, and Jefferson Davis, too.

Booker Washington was a grand educator for the colored race. Bishop S.D.

Chappell, colored preacher of the A.M.E. church South, one time

president of Allen University at Columbia, S.C. was a great colored man,

too. He went to Nashville, Tenn. as secretary-treasurer of the Sunday

School Union.

"I don't believe slavery was good--much better for all of us now.

"I joined the church when I was young, because I thought it right to be

a member. I think everybody ought to join some church, and they ought to

join early in life, when quite young."

=Source:= Rev. Thomas Harper (84), Newberry, S.C., interviewed by:

G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. May 21, 1937.

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