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Roberta Manson

From: North Carolina

N.C. District: No. 2
Worker: T. Pat Matthews
No. Words: 1060
Person Interviewed: Roberta Manson
Editor: G.L. Andrews


317 N. Haywood Street, Raleigh, N.C. Age 74.

"I wus borned de second year of de war an' de mos' I know 'bout slavery
wus tole to me by other colored folks. My marster wus Weldon Edwards
and my missus wus Missus Lucy. The plantation wus in Warren County near
Ridgeway. My father wus named Lanis Edwards and my mother wus named
Ellen Edwards. They both 'longed to Weldon Edwards. Father and mother
said he wus mighty rough to 'em. I heard my mother say dat marster
whupped father so bad dat she had to grease his back to git his shirt

"Marster allowed de overseers to whup de slaves. De overseers wus named
Caesar Norfeir, Jim Trissel, and David Porter.

"Dere wus a ole man dere by de name of Harris Edwards who fed up the
hogs an' things. He wus sick an' he kept him sick. Well after awhile de
ole marster tried to make him work. De overseers den took him out way
down in the plum orchard. Dey pulled his tongue out an whupped him. He
died an' wus found by de buzzards. De overseers wus named Jim Trissel
an David Porter dat did dat. Dis ole slave 'longed to missus; and when
she found it out dere wus a awful fuss. One of de white overseers tried
to put it off on de udder. It finally fell on Jim Trissel and dey soon
got rid of him. Missus tole him, 'you have killed my poor ole sick
servant.' Mr. Jim Trissel killed several slaves an dey wus shore 'fraid
of him. He knocked my father down wid a stick an when he fell my
father knocked his hip out of place. Dey whupped father 'cause he
looked at a slave dey killed an cried.

"Dey didn't allow no prayermeetings or parties in de houses. No books
in de houses. No books or papers, no edication.

"Some of de owners when dey knowed freedom wus commin' dey treated de
slaves wusser den ever before. De ole men an women dat wus unable to
work wus neglected till dey died or was killed by beatin' or burnin'.
Col. Skipper did dat thing. He lived near Clarksville, Va. He put a lot
of ole men an women on a island in the Roanoke River. De river rose an
stayed up eighteen days an dey parished to death. Dey were sent dere
when sick and dey died. Mr. Skipper had over two hundred slaves. He wus
one of the richest men in the south and Mr. Nick Long wus another rich
man. Nick Long owned de plantation now known as the Caledonia State's
Prison Farm. Gen. Ransom's plantation wus a part of de land 'longing to
the Caledonia State Prison Farm now. It joined Nick Long's plantation.

"Father and mother had bad fare, poor food, clothes an shoes. Dey
didn't sift slave meal. Dey had no sifters. Sometimes de collards and
peas was not cleaned 'fore cookin'. Dey said de more slaves a man had
de wusser he wus to slaves. Marster had dirt floors in de cabins. Dey
slept on straw bunks made outen baggin' and straw. Some slept on wheat,
straw an' shucks an' covered wid baggin.

"Ole man Mat Bullock, a negro slave, an' his mother Ella an'
grandmother Susan, also slaves, froze to death. Mat Bullock the son of
Ole man Mat Bullock tole me this. Dese slaves 'longed to Jim Bullock
who's plantation wus near Townsville, N.C.

"Weldon Edwards who owned father and mother had a whuppin post an dey
said dey whupped ole man Jack Edwards to death 'cause he went to see
his sick wife. He crawled from de whuppin post to de house atter bein
whupped and died. Dey tole him 'fore dey whupped him dat dey wus goin
to stop him from runnin' away. Families wus broken up by sellin'. Dey
couldn't sell a slave dat wus skinned up. Aunt Millie, Agie, Gracy and
Lima wus sold from the Edwards family. Aunt Millie cried so much cause
she had to leave her young baby dat dey talked of whuppin her, ut den
dey say 'we cannot sell her if we whup her an' so dey carried her on.
Mother sed Marster Weldon Edwards sole four women away from dere young
chilluns at one time.

"We lived in log cabins with dirt floors, one door, and one small
winder at de back. De cabins had stick an dirt chimbleys.

"When freedom come mother and father stayed on wid marster cause dey
didn't have nuthin. Dey couldn't leave. Dey farmed for shares. Next
year the overseer who had beat father so bad come atter him to go an
work with him. It wus Mr. David Porter. I axed pa ain't dat de man who
beat you so when you wus a slave? An pa say, 'you shet your mouth.' He
stayed with Mr. Porter two years den we went to Mr. William Paschal's.
We stayed there four years. Endurin' the next fifteen years we moved a
good many times. We farmed round and round an' finally went to Mr.
Peter Wyms' place near where I wus borned.

"I wus married there to Jack Manson, 52 years ago in January. I had
eight chilluns five girls an' three boys. Three are living now. One boy
and two girls. Two of the chilluns are in N.C. and one, a girl, is in

"I think slavery wus a bad thing but when freedom come there wus
nuthin' else we could do but stay on wid some of de white folks 'cause
we had nuthin to farm wid an nuthin to eat an wear.

"De men who owned de plantations had to have somebody to farm dere lan'
an' de slaves had to have somewhur to stay. Dats de way it wus, so if
dere wus a lot of movin' about de exslaves kept doin de wurk cause
dat's de only way dey had to keep from perishin'. De marsters needed
'em to farm dere lan' an' de exslaves just had to have somewhur to live
so both parties kept stayin' an' wurkin together.

"De nigger made mos' dey has out of workin' fer white folks since de
war 'cause dey didn't have nuthin' when set free an dat is all dere is
to it."

Next: Millie Markham

Previous: Jacob Manson

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