Sim Greeley

Project 1885-1


Spartanburg, Dist. 4:

Sept. 8, 1937

Edited by:

Elmer Turnage


"Miss Alice Cannon give me my age from de foundation of my mother. Dey

been bringing my things out to me--is dat what you'se doing, setting

down here by me? I was born on de first Christmas Day, I means de 25th

of December, 1855; in Newberry County on de Sam Cannon place. You had to

turn off de Ashford Ferry Road about seven and a half miles from de town

of Newberry. My mother was Frances Cannon of near Cannon Creek Church.

"I'll try to give you a straight definition. Old man Sim Gallman was my

old missus' brother; she was Miss Viny Cannon. My boss was overseer for

Mr. Geo. Gallman. We was on Mr. George's place. When Mr. Gallman started

overseeing, Mr. Sim Gallman come over dar for dem to take his place and

care for him.

"My boss, Sam Cannon, promised me a place. Miss Viny Cannon suckled me

and her son Henry at de same time, me on one knee and Henry on t'other.

Dey calls me 'Timber'. Miss Sallie said to us atter Freedom, 'You ain't

got no marsters'. I cried. My Ma let me stay wid Miss Sallie. Mr. Henry

Gallman promised to marry Miss Sally Cannon, my young missus; but he

went to de war and never come back home no mo'. Mr. Jeff Gallman went,

but he come back wid one arm. Mr. Tom Gallman went and married his first

cousin, Miss Addie Cannon; he never got to go to de war.

"My father was a full-blooded Indian from Virginia. He was a refugee.

But you know dat dey had a way of selling people back den. Somebody

caught him and sold him at one of dem sales. De man what bought him was

Mr. Jeff Buzzard. He went back to Virginia atter de surrender. I would

not go. He took another woman on de place, and my mother would not let

me go. De woman's name dat he took was Sara Danby. She had two brothers

and a sister--Samuel, Coffee, and Jenny.

"My mother was mixed Indian and African blood. My folks got 'stroyed up

in a storm. My grandfather was named Isaac Haltiwanger. My grandmother,

his wife, was named Annie. Dey had one child who was my mother; her name

Frances. My grandmother's name was Molly Stone.

"My parents, talking 'bout de Africans, how funny dey talked. Uncle

Sonny and uncle Edmund Ruff was two of de old 'uns. Old man Charles

Slibe was de preacher. He was a Methodist. My father was a Baptist. His

white folks, de Billy Caldwells, prepared de barn for him to preach to

dere slaves. In dat day, all de Africans was low chunky fellers and raal

black. Dey said dat in Africa, little chilluns run 'round de house and

de fattest one fall behind; den dey kill him and eat him. Dat's de worst

dat I ever heard, O Lawd!

"I hates dat Missus didn't whip me mo' and let me be teached to read and

write so dat I wouldn't be so ignant.

"For de neuralgia, take and tie two or three nutmegs around yo' neck.

Tie brass buttons around de neck to stop de nose a-bleeding."

Greeley's house has four rooms and it is in great need of repair. It is

badly kept and so are the other houses in "Fowler's Row". He lives with

his wife, Eula, but she was not home during the visit.

"My house 'longs to a widder woman. She white but I does not know her

name. Her collector is Mr. Wissnance (Whisenant). He got a office over

here on E. Main St., right up in de town. I rents by de month but I pays

by de week--a dollar. De house sho is gwine down. Rest of de houses on

de Row is repaired, but mine ain't yet; so she have Mr. Wissnance drap

off twenty-five cents, and now I is paying only seventy-five cents a

week. Me and Eula has to go amongst de white folks fer bread and other

little things. Ain't got no bread from 'Uncle Sam' since last August.

See my tater patch, wid knee-high vines.

"De case worker want to git my age and whar I's born. I told her jest

what I told you. She say she got to have proof; so I told her to write

Mr. Cannon Blease who was de sheriff. I means de High Sheriff, fer nigh

thirty years in Newberry. And does you know, she never even heard of Mr.

Cannon Blease. Never had no money but Mr. Blease knowed it, so he up and

sont my kerrect age anyway. It turn't out jest 'zactly like I told you

it was. What worried me de mostest, is dat she never knowed Mr. Cannon

Blease. Is you ever heard of sech a thing as a lady like dat not knowing

Mr. Blease?

"Now Mr. Dr. Snyder is a man dat ain't setting here 'sleep. He's a

mill'onaire, kaise he run Wofford College and it must take a million

dollars to do dat, it sho must. My case worker knowed him.

"De case worker calls me 'Preacher', but I ain't got up to dat yet--I

ain't got dat fer. I been sold out twice in insurance. I give my last

grand-baby de name 'Roosevelt', and his daddy give him 'Henry'. His Ma

never give him none. Some folks loads down babies and kills dem wid

names, but his ma never wanted to do dat. So us jest calls him Henry

Roosevelt. Us does not drap none and us does not leave none out.

"Went to church one night and left my pocketbook in a box on my mantel.

Had $120.00 in it in paper, and $8 in silver. Some niggers dat had been

watching me broke down my do' dat I had locked. Dey took de $120 and

left de $8. Went home and I seed dat broke do'. I went straight to my

mantel and see'd what was done. Dey never bothered de books and papers

in dat box. Next morning, de nigger what lived next do' to me was gone.

I went to a old fortune teller, a man; he say I know dat you lost a lot.

De one I thought got de money, he said, was not de right one. He say dat

three hobos got it. One had red hair, one sandy hair and de other had

curly hair. He say somebody done cited dem and dey sho going to be

caught dis very day. He say dat dey come from Asheville. But he was

wrong, kaise dey ain't never caught no three hobos dat I ever learn't


"One day when I was plowing, I struck de plow 'ginst something. My plow

knocked off de handle. I heard money rattle. It ringed three times. I

couldn't see nothing, so I called my wife and son and dey looked, but we

never found but five cents. Never in my life did I hear of a bank in

slavery times. Everybody buried dere money and sometimes dey forgot

where dey put it. I thought dat I had run on some of dat money den, but

I never found none. Lots of money buried somewhars, and folks died and

never remembered whar it was.

"A nigger republican leader got kilt. I hel't de hosses fer de Ku klux.

Great God-a-mighty, Dave and Dick Gist and Mr Caldwell run de sto' at de

Rutherford place in dem times. Feeder of dem hosses was Edmund Chalmers.

Mr. Dick say, 'Hello, Edmund, how come dem mules so po' when you got

good corn everywhar--what, you stealing corn, too?' Mr. Oatzel say,

'Yes, I cotch him wid a basket on his shoulder.' 'Whar was you carrying

it?' Edmund say, 'To Mr. Caldwell'. Mr. Caldwell say he ain't see'd no

corn. Dey took Edmund to de jail. He had been taking corn and selling it

to de carpetbaggers, and dat corn was fer de Ku Klux hosses.

"Dere was a Mr. Brown, a white man, dat come up to live in Newberry. Dey

called him a refugee. Us called him Mr. 'Refugee Brown'. He was sorter

destituted and not a bit up-to-date. He settled near de Gibson place. I

fed de Gibson boys' fox-dogs about dat time fer dem.

"I want to git right wid you, now; so I can meet you lovely. In '73, I

thought someone was shaking my house; I come out doors wid my gun; see'd

white and colored coming together. Everybody was scared. All got to

hollering and some prayed. I thought dat de earth gwine to be shook to

pieces by morning. I thought of old Nora (Noah).

"Dem Bible folks see'd a little hand-span cloud. Nora had done built him

a house three stories high. Dat little cloud busted. Water riz in de

second story of de wicked king's palace. He sont fer de northern lady.

When she come a-shaking and a-twisting in de room de king fell back in

his chair. He say dat he give her anything she want, all she got to do

is ask fer it. She say to cut off John Wesley's head and bring it to

her. De king had done got so suluctious dat he done it. Dat king and all

of dem got drowned. Nora put a lot of things in de ark dat he could have

left out, sech as snakes and other varments; but de ark floated off

anyhow. No sir, dat wasn't de Clifton flood, dat was Nora's flood."

=Source:= Sim Greeley (82), 280 Fowler's Row, Spartanburg, S.C.

Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C. (8/27/37)

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