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Maggie Mails

From: North Carolina

N.C. District: No. 2
Worker: T. Pat Matthews
No. Words: 680
Story teller: MAGGIE MIALS
Editor: George L. Andrews

[TR: Date stamp: SEP 10 1937]

73 years old, of 202 Maple Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

"I'll never forgit de day when de Yankees come through Johnston County.

"I belonged to Tom Demaye an' ole missus in slavery time wus named

"De Demayes lived in Raleigh when I wus born, so mother tole me, but
dey moved to a place near Smithfield. He had 'bout a dozen slaves. We
had little cabins to live in, but marster had a big house to live in
that set in a grove. De food I got wus good because I was a pet in de
family. My mother was a cook an' a pet. My marster wus good to all of
us an' I fared better den dan I do now. Ole marster thought de world of
me and I loved him. Marster allowed his slaves to visit, have prayer
meetings, hunt, fish, an' sing and have a good time when de work wus
done. Some of de slave owners did not like marster cause he wus so good
to his slaves. They called us 'Ole Man Demayes damn free niggers.' I
don't know my age zackly but I was a big gal, big enough to drag a
youngin roun' when de Yankees come through. I wus six years old if no

"When de Yankees come dey called us to de wagons an' tole us we wus
free. Dey give each of us a cap full of hard-tack. Dey took clothes an'
provisions an' give us nothin'. One crowd of Yankees would come on an'
give us something an' another would come along an' take it away from
us. Dey tole us to call marster an' missus Johnny Rebs, that we wus
free an' had no marsters. Dat wus a day for me. Some of de Yankees wus
ridin', some walkin', an' some runnin'. Dey took de feather beds in
marsters house to de windows, cut dem open an' let de feathers blow
away. It wus a sad time to me 'cause dey destroyed so much of marster's

"After de Yankees left we stayed right on with marster a long time, den
we moved away to other members of de family. Mother would not give up
de family an' she an' daddy stayed wid dem as long as dey lived. I love
de family now an' I rather be livin' wid 'em den like I is. Dere is
only a few of de younger set of de Demayes livin'. Ole marster an'
missus' had three boys, Sye, Lee, Zoa; girls, Vick, Correna and
Phidelia, six chilluns in all. Dey is all dead but I can't never forgit
'em if I live to be a hundred years ole.

"I tries to live right before God an' man cause I knows I haint got
much longer on dis earth. I knows I got to lay down sometime to rise no
more till Judgment Day, den I wants to meet ole marster, missus an' de
family in dat country where dere'll be no more goodbyes.

"I was married at twenty years ole to Theodore Miles at de ole Mack
Powell place near de Neuse River, in Wake County. I wus hired as a
house girl at dis place wid Mr. Alango Miles family. Dey wus some of de
Demaye family. I had ten chillun, four boys an' six girls. Six of my
chillun are livin' now. Two boys an' four girls. My husband been dead
'bout 16 years. He died in Oct. 1921. Buried on de third Sunday in

"I have farmed most of my life an' have raised a big family. Sometimes
we wus hongry an' sometimes we had plenty. None of my chilluns wus
never arrested an' none ever went to prison. I thinks dats something to
knock on wood about.

"Slavery was a good thing by all niggers who happened to have good
marsters. De owners wus to blame for slavery gettin' such a bad
reputation. Some of 'em jus' done a little too much an' sich caused de
war an' give de niggers freedom. Slavery wus good for some an' bad for


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