Uncle Pen Eubanks

Project 1885-1


Spartanburg--Dist. 4

May 18, 1937

Edited by:

Elmer Turnage


"White folks. I sho nuff did ride wid de 'Red Shirts' fer Marse Hampton.

Dar was two other darkies what rid wid us. Dey is bof daed now. One was

Jack Jones, and de t'othern I does not recollect his name. Him and Jack

is both daed. Dat leave me de onliest living one what rid in de company.

"I rid in de company wid Marse Jimmie Young and he was de Cap'un. He

live out yonder at Sardis Church. Ev'ybody know Marse Jimmie. He ain't

quite as aged yet as I bees. Mr. J.T. Sexton, he rid from up around

Cross Keys, he got de 'hole in de wall' and I calls on him yit, and us

talks over de olden days. Miss Bobo's husband, he rid in Marse Jimmie's

company. (Mr. Preston B. Bobo) Our company camped at de ole Brick church

out whar de mansion set now. It has allus been called de Lower

Fairforest Baptist Church, whar de white folks still goes, 'cept de done

move de church down on de new road, further from de mansion and de ole

graveyard. I lows dat you knows I is speaking o' de new mansion--Mr.

Emslie Nicholson's house on de forest at de Shoals. I is got memory, but

I ain't got no larning; dat I is proud of, kaise I is seed folks wid

larning dat never knowed nothing worth speaking about. All de way 'fru',

I is done tuck and stuck to my white folks--de Democratic white folks,

dat I is.

"Sho was a pretty sight to see 'bout a hun'ded mens up on fine horses

wid red shirts on. I still sees dem in my mind clear as day. Our red

shirts fastened wid a strong band 'round de waist. Dar wasn't nar'y

speck o' white to be seed no whars on 'em. Dey was raal heavy and

strong. Fact, dey was made from red flannel, and I means it was sho

'nough flannel, too. I had done kept one o' mine here till times got

hard and den I tuck and tore it up fer me a undershirt, here past it

been two winters when it got so cold.

"One night us sot up all night and kept a big fire. Next morning it was

de biggest frost all over de ground; but us never got one mite cold. De

good white ladies of de community made our red shirts fer us. I 'spects

Marse Jimmie ken name some fer you.

"I got eve'y registration ticket in my house, and I still votes allus de

democratic ticket. I has longed to de Democratic club ever since de red

shirt days and I has voted dat way all de time. I was jes' turn't

seventeen when I jined de Red Shirts and got into de Democratic Club,

and I has been in it ever since. It ain't gwine out neither.

"I sho seed Hampton speak from Dr. Culp's porch. I voted fer him. At dat

time, I lived on de Keenan place. Marse Jimmie Young, he de overseer fer

Mr. Keenan. Mr. Charles Ray owns and lives on it now. Dat brick church

straight up de road from de Keenan place; straight as a bee line. Dat

whar us met most o' de time fer de Red Shirt gatherings. Our Red Shirt

Club was called de 'Fairforest' club atter de Lower Fairforest white

folks Baptist church. De church has allus sot on de banks o' Fairforest

Creek. Atter us got organized, I used to tote our flag. I was de onliest

darky dat toted it.

"I is done handed you a few names: dey is all Democratic names. Lots of

dem 'scapes my knowledge, it has all been so long ago. Dar was Mr.

Gilmer Greer. Miss Gilmer Blankenship what lives out dar, she his niece.

Mr. John Sims 'nother white man I members. Dar was lots o' companies in

dis county, but I does not recall how many.

"Captain Jimmie Young would allus notify when dar was to be a meeting.

Us darkies dat 'longed 'ud go and tell de white mens to come to de

church. Us met sometime right 'fo de 'lection and all de companies come

together at de ole courthouse dat stood right whar de new one is now.

"Robinson's Circus come to Union. De circus folks gib everbody a free

ticket to de circus dat 'longed to de Democratic Club. Dey let all de

scalawag niggers in fer registration tickets dat de Republicans had done

give dem to vote fer Chamberlain. Dem niggers wanted to go to de circus

wu'se dan dey wanted to do anything else. Dey never dre'mt dat dey was

not a going to git to vote like de carpetbaggers, and de scalawags had

done tole dem to do. Fact is, dey never much cared jes' since de got in

de circus. Dem dat wanted de registration tickets back when de come out,

never seed nobody to git 'em from nohows. Robinson's Circus was so big

dat dey never showed it all in Union, but what dey had was out on

McClure's field. It wasn't no houses dar den, and, o' course, dar wasn't

no mill no whar about Union in dem days. All de tents dat was staked was

staked in McClure's ole field over on 'Tosch' Branch. In dem days, dat

field was de biggest territory in de clear around Union. Atter dat, all

de Red Shirts met on de facade in front o' de courthouse. Mos' all de

mens made a speech. Another darky sung a song like dis: 'Marse Hampton

was a honest man; Mr. Chamberlain was a rogue'--Den I sung a song like

dis: 'Marse Hampton et de watermelon, Mr. Chamberlain knawed de rine.'

Us jest having fun den, kaise us had done 'lected Marse Hampton as de

new governor of South Ca'linia."

=Source:= "Uncle Pen" Eubanks, Hampton Ave. Union, S.C. (age 83)

Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C. (5/4/37)

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