Willis Gillison

Project #-1655

Phoebe Faucette

Hampton County



Luray, S.C.

There is no doubt that "Uncle Gillison" is old. He is knock-kneed and

walks slowly. His long thin hands clutch his chair strongly for support

as he continually shifts his position. When he brings his hands to the

back of his head, as he frequently does, in conversation, they tremble

as with palsy. He enjoys talking of the old times as do many of his


"Yes, Maam," he starts off. "I been heah when de war was on. I seen when

de drove of people come up. Dey was dress in blue clothes. Call dem

Yankees. Had de Scouts, too. But dey was de Southerners. I knowed all

dem! I wasn't nuthin' but a little boy but I kin remember it.

"Mr. Jesse Smith wife been my young Missus. Dey lived at Furman. My

mother mind Mr. Trowell's father. His name was Mr. Ben Trowell. I call

him, Bub Ben. Bub was for brother. Dat de way we call folks den--didn't

call 'em by dere names straight out. Mr. Trowell's mother we call, Muss,

for Miss. Sort of a nickname. We call Mr. Harry Fitts grandmother, Muss,


"My daddy was name Aleck Trowell. After freedom he was call by his own

name, Aleck Gillison. After freedom some was call by dere own name--some

were, and some weren't. My father was sold from a Gillison, first off.

"How old I is? Well, Missus, I been put on de road to 75 years, but I'm

more than dat. I'm between seventy and eighty years old.

"I knows Mr. Tom Lawton. Dey was rich people. My old Massa and him been

boys together. Dey was a place call de Trowell Mill Pond right at de

Lawton place. Mr. Lawton was sure rich, 'cause we all had a

plenty--plenty to eat, and sech likes--Mr. Lawton was rich! When Mr.

Trowell got up a little higher than what he was, he trade his Lena place

for a place at Stafford. De Stafford place was some better.

"Yes Maam, de records was burn. Dey had a courthouse at Gillisonville in

dem times. Dat fact 'bout it Miss. Now I don't want you to say a nigger

'spute your word, or nuthin' like that, (this, in response to the

visitor having remarked that the records were burned at Beaufort) but I

don't think that Beaufort was built up till after the war. Gillisonville

was right muchly built up. I don't think de records was burn at

Beaufort. I think it was at de courthouse at Gillisonville dey was burn

up. Now de district was call Beaufort District, but de courthouse was at

Gillisonville. Gillisonville was where dey had de trial of de Mr. Martin

dat kill Mr. Peeples. De Morrisons lived at Gillisonville. Plenty of


"I kin tell you where two of de old Robert homes used to be. One was

back dis way toward Scotia from Robertville. Dat was de Mr. John H.

Robert' place. Had a whole string of cedar trees going up to his place.

Now den, 'bout two miles out from Robertville going from de white folk'

church out toward Black Swamp was another Robert place. Dat where old

Major Robert lived. He had a whole tun (turn) of slaves. Dere was no

Robert live right in de village of Robertville. De Lawtons was de only

people live right in Robertville--and one family of Jaudons. I don't

know of no other Robert home.

"Dat's all I kin tell you 'bout de old times, Missus. I don't want to

tell you what ain't true."

=Source:= Willis Gillison, 75 years old, (Ex-slave) Luray,


Willis Easter Willis Williams facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail