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Perry Lewis

From: Maryland

Sept. 4, 1937

PERRY LEWIS, Ex-slave.
Reference: Personal interview with Perry Lewis, ex-slave,
at his home, 1124 E. Lexington St., Baltimore.

"I was born on Kent Island, Md. about 86 years ago. My father's name was
Henry and mother's Louise. I had one brother John, who was killed in the
Civil War at the Deep Bottom, one sister as I can remember. My father
was a freeman and my mother a slave, owned by Thomas Tolson, who owned a
small farm on which I was born in a log cabin, with two rooms, one up
and one down.

"As you know the mother was the owner of the children that she brought
into the world. Mother being a slave made me a slave. She cooked and
worked on the farm, ate whatever was in the farmhouse and did her share
of work to keep and maintain the Tolsons. They being poor, not having a
large place or a number of slaves to increase their wealth, made them
little above the free colored people and with no knowledge, they could
not teach me or any one else to read.

"You know the Eastern Shore of Maryland was in the most productive slave
territory and where farming was done on a large scale; and in that part
of Maryland where there were many poor people and many of whom were
employed as overseers, you naturally heard of patrollers and we had them
and many of them. I have heard that patrollers were on Kent Island and
the colored people would go out in the country on the roads, create a
disturbance to attract the patrollers' attention. They would tie ropes
and grape vines across the roads, so when the patrollers would come to
the scene of the disturbance on horseback and at full tilt, they would
be throwing those who would come in contact with the rope or vine off
the horse; sometimes badly injuring the riders. This would create hatred
between the slaves, the free people, the patrollers and other white
people who were concerned.

"In my childhood days I played marbles, this was the only game I
remember playing. As I was on a small farm, we did not come in contact
much with other children, and heard no children's songs. I therefore do
not recall the songs we sang.

"I do not remember being sick but I have heard mother say, when she or
her children were sick, the white doctor who attended the Tolsons
treated us and the only herbs I can recall were life-everlasting boneset
and woodditney, from each of which a tea could be made.

"This is about all I can recall."

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