Marlboro County, SC
AFRICAN-AMERICAN
 
 

SLAVE NARRATIVES

Contributed by Brenda Wagner

MARY FRANCIS BROWN

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
Mary Frances Brown is a typical product of the old school of trained house servants, an unusual delicate type, somewhat of the Indian cast, to which race she is related. She is always clean and neat, a refined old soul, as individuals of that class often are. Her memory, sight and hearing are good for her advanced age.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
"Our home Marlboro. Mas Luke Turnage was my master - Marlboro-Factory-Plantation name 'Beauty Spot'. My missis was right particular about neat and clean. She raise me for a house girl. My, missis was good to me, teach me ebbery ting, and take the Bible and learn me Christianified manners, charity, and behaviour and good respect, and it with me still.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
"We didn't have any hard times, our owners were good to us - no over share (overseer) and no whippin' - he couldn't stan' that. I live there 'til two year after freedom; how I come to leave, my mother sister been sick, and she ask mother to send one of us, an she send me. My mother been Miss Nancy cook. Miss Nancy was Mas Luke's mother - it take me two years learning to eat the grub they cook down here in Charleston. I had to learn to eat these little piece of meat - we had a dish full of meat; the big smoke house was lined from the top down. (Describing how the meat hung) I nebber accustom to dese little piece of meat, so - what dey got here. Missis, if you know smoke Mouse, didn't you find it hard? My master had 'til he didn it know what to do with. My white people were Gentile." (Her tone implied that she considered them the some of gentle folks). "I don't know what the other people were name that didn't have as much as we had - but I know my people were Getile!"

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
Just here her daughter and son appeared, very unlike their mother in type. The daughter is quite as old looking as her mother; the son, a rough stevedore. When the writer suggested that the son must be a comfort, she looked down sadly and said in a low tone, as if soliloquizing, "He way is he way." Going back to her former thought, she said, "All our people were good. Mas Luke was the worse one." (This she said with an indulgent smile) "Cause he was all the time at the race ground or the fair ground.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
"My massa, he 'low no whipping on de plantation, he talk heap an' he scold plenty, but den he hab to. Dere was haad time for two year after de war was ober (over) but after dat it better den it is now. Dis is de wust time eber. I ain't ober git use to de wittle (victual) you hab down here.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
I lib ober Mount Pleasant twenty five year after I come from de old place up Marlboro, den I come to Charleston.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
"Dey were happy time back dere. My massa, he run round ebery way, spend plenty money on horse race, he gib good time to eberybody an' tell us we mus' tek good care of de missus when he ain't dere. An de wittles we hab I ain't nebber see de lak no time. Dem were de times to lib. I old now but I ain't forgit what my missus larn (learn) me. It right here in me."

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
"Religion rules Heaven and Earth, an there is no religion now - hurricanes an washin-aways is all about. Ebberything is change. Dis new name what they call grip is pleurisy-cold - putrid sore-throat is called somethin' - yes, diptheria. Cuttin (surgery) come out in 1911! They kill an they cure, an they save an they loss.
State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
Mary Frances Brown, about ninety years of age, born in slavery, on the plantation of Luke Turnage, in Marlboro County, was raised as a house-servant and shows today evidence of most careful training. Her bearing is rather a gentle refined type, seemingly untouched by the squalor in which she lives. She willingly gives freely of her small store of strength to those around her.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
Her happiest days seem to have been those of her early youth, for when she was questioned about the present times, and even about those closely associated with her today she howed her head and said: "Deir way is deir way. O! let me tell you now, de world is in a haad (hard) time, wust (worse) den it eber (ever) been, but religion! It eberywhere in Hebben an' in de ert (earth) too, if you want em. De trouble is you ain't want em; 'e right dere jes de same but de time done pass when dis generation hold wid anyt'ing but de debbul. When I a gal, grown up, I had a tight missus dat raise me, you hab to keep clean round her, she good an' kind an' I lub her yet, but don't you forgit to mind what she say.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
"My Gran'ma trained with Indians - she bin a Indian, an Daniel C. McCall bought her. She nebber loss a baby." (the first Indian relationship that the writer can prove). "You know Dr. Jennings? Ebberybody mus' know him. After he examine de chile an de mother, an 'ee alright, he hold de nurse responsible for any affection (infection) that took place.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
"Oh! I know de spiritual - but Missis, my voice too weak to sing - dey aint in books; if I hear de name I can sing - 'The Promise Land', Oh, how Mas Joel Easterling (born 1796) use to love to sing dat!
THE PROMISE LAND

Way over in the promised land,
O Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah! (pronounced Hal-le-lool-yah)
Way over in the Promised land,
O Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I will meet my Massa Jesus,
O Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I will meet my Massa Jesus,
O Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I will tell the world good bye
O Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I will tell the world good bye,
O Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I will live with my Jesus,
O Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
I will live with my Jesus,
O Glory Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
"I am bound for de Promise Land!
Oh! who will arise an go with me?
I am bound for the Promise Land!
I've got a mother in the Promise Land,
My mother calls me an I mus go,
o meet her in the Promise Land!"
State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Brown, Mary Frances
SOURCE: Mary Frances Brown, Age 88-90, East Bay Street, Charleston, S. C.
(Project #-1655, Cassels R. Tiedeman, Charleston, S. C., FOLKLORE)




RICHMOND AND MARY ELLERBE

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
A darkie, ninety years old, feeble, yet fat and jolly, Uncle Richmond, sits on the little porch of his bran' new house on the old Plank Road just at the edge of the old town of Cheraw and thinks of the past.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
A slouching lazy dog: Uncle Richmond's wife, Sister Mary; a gran' chile coming in and out of the gate (latched by a chain on a nail); a perfume peddler interrupt as Uncle Richmond tells his stories which he himself also interrupts with his frequent chuckles.
State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
Uncle Richmond, once a slave under William Ellerbe in Marlboro Co., remembers when steamboats plied along The Great Pee Dee River, remembers when he ran on the "Planter," the "Alice Clark," and the "Swan." He remembers the place the stage coach blew its "station blow" just before entering Cheraw on the old Plank Road which in town becomes First St. --- in stage coach days the main street, today the negro section of Cheraw.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
Converted 73 years ago, Uncle Richmond or "Doc" was a preacher for 35 years.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"When I was converted somthin' struck me wide open. I seed two men wid basin an' towel. Dey say 'You travlin' rite'. Dey hab a wide book, turn a leaf or two ober an' as dey 'gins to rite, I'se put back to-gether an' am hole agin. Dey write my name in de book. Dey say 'Go in peace an' sin no mo'. Yo' sins hab been forgiven.' I'se seen de Holy Spirit many times; I'se seen visions ob de green fiels ob Eden, de people dere makin' happy move. An' I'se seen the sinner, Hamp Pleasure, when he die. He say 'Awe, Awe, an' rung de roun's outer de chair fo he die."

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
Uncle Richmon' pause and then tells other adventures.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"One tim' I was travelin' down to Gardiner's Ferry -- fifteen mile 'cross de riber -- 'Long come a wil' cat -- We fought at de bridge. He jumped ober my shoulder an' tear my coat. I hit him a lick dat knocked his heart outer place an' he die.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"Agin I was goin' to Gardiner's Ferry an' I hear somethin' behin' me sayin'. 'Dat Richmon''. Den de oder. 'No taint'. I look bac'. De fus say 'Den' I tell you so?' --- Dey was hants.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"Den' one time I was in de grabe yard. Dere wa two hant. dere an' dey say de sam'ting tree time: 'Dat Richmon'' an' "No taint'. Den dey clap dere han's an a pine tree, just alk' dis, tree time. I turn 'round an' den one say 'I tole you'

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"Its wicked to fish on Sunday. Jeff use to fish ebby Sunday. People say to Jeff, 'You ough't fish ebby Sunday, Jeff.' But Jeff say 'Gota work in de week'. One Sunday he coched a fish wid fo' eyes. Jeff was scared. He neber fish no mo'. --- He die two months atter dat."

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"Den dere was a man nam' Jim who hunt ebbery nite. One time win he was huntin', sometin' say to him 'Ebby nite hunt? Monday nite hunt? Tuesday nite hunt? Wednesday nite hunt? Thursday nite hunt? Friday nite hunt? Sadday nite hunt? Ebby nite hunt?' Den he say who he is speakin'. 'Jackey, Jackey, 'longs to ole 'state.'"

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
Once dere was a hanted house. None ob de ole people was libin'. Nobody could stay in de house. One night 'wen a man was dere a witch hant appear. He cut off tree ob de hants fingers an' she lebe. De man put de fingers in his pocket an' de nex' mornin' dere was rings on de fingers.
State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"Long com' a shoe-maker. He was tole he could have de house if he could stay dere. So he stay. He was makin' his shoes one night w'en a cat appear. De cat turn herself roun' and roun' fo de fire an' den reach out her foot at de man an' den run out de door. De man run behin'. He follow 'er to de swamp. She run in de hollow ob a tree. De man mark de tree. De next mornin' he go back dere an' dug up som' money. Dere was a note say to dig on tother side. Dere were mo' money. --- No mo' hants com' to dat hous' atter dat."

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"Me an' some white men went to hunt hidden treasur' one nite. We dug 'til we had it up outer de groun'. Den com' a wil' cat wid horns on his head. De white mens run. I stay. Atter w'ile dey all com' back. Den dey say 'Les lef' dis place.' We lef'. --- It was dere do --- de treasur' --- Some mo' people com' an' got it. Dere was nine thousan' dollar."

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"One time I had a male cow---mighty fitin' cow. He hooked a horse an' throwed him down. One day he knock' my brother, Elli thru de fence. One day we put de bull in a flat to cross ober de riber. He jump off an' swum cross an' ran 'bout two mile tryin' to kill ebery ting on de way.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"Sis Mary was runned by a bull once. She runned 'cross de fiel' an' pile rock on his head.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"Sis Mary's kin 'longed to ole Col. Cash---Dey was rich. Col Cash kill Ole Man Snow, Sis Mary's great uncle. Ole Man Snow help Col. Cash hide de silber 'fore Sherman com'. Den Col. Cash dress up like Sherman's soldier an' com' down to Ole Man Snow's hous'.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
Col. Cash talk like de yankee, 'You know whare yo' marser hid de silber?' Ole Man Snow sey 'Yea, I kno' whare it tis.' An' he were gwine to tell. Col. Cash got mad wid Ole Man Snow an' say 'Git 'way from here 'fore tomorrow' mornin' or I kill you.' But w'en de col. com nex' mornin' to Ole Man Snow hous', Ole Man Snow standin' in de do'. Col. Cash shot him an' kill him. 'Cose he was Col. Cash own slave an' crazy not to go w'en Col. Cash tole him to lebe."

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
"My maser had 5,000 colored people an' no trouble feedin' dem. --Dere ware a snow in 1853--on de groun' 4, 5, 6, an' 10 feet deep. Snow stayed on de groun' three months."

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Ellerbe, Richmond And Mary
(Fielder, Hampton, Project #1655, Stiles M. Scruggs, Columbia, S. C.)


AUNT ELLEN GODFREY

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
(Ex-Slave) (Verbatim Conversation)

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
(Aunt Ellen is a misfit in her present environment. Born at Longwood Plantation on Waccamaw in 1837, all she knows is the easy, quiet life of the country. And the busy, bustling 'RACE PATH' near which her Grandson lives with whom she makes her home doesn't make a fitting frame for the old lady. All day she sits in a porch swing and when hungry, visits a neighbor. The neighbors (colored - all) vie with each other in trying to make her last days happy days. She says they do her washing and provide necessary food. When you start her off she flows on like the brook but usually her story varies little. She tells of the old days and of the experiences that made the greatest impression - the exciting times during the 'Confedrick' war - the 'Reb time day.') 


State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
Aunt Ellen: "Doctor come on boat. By name Doctor Lane. White lady come tend woman. Get to Marlboro where they gwine. Put in wagon. Carry to the street. Major Drake Plantation. One son Pet Drake. Wife leetle bit of a woman.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
Ellen: "Flat 'em all up to Marlboro! (All the slaves) Ten days or two weeks going. PeeDee bridge, stop! Go in gentlemen barn! Turn duh bridge! Been dere a week. Had to go and look the louse on we. Three hundred head o' people been dere. Couldn't pull we clothes off. (On flat.) Boat name Riprey. Woman confine on boat. Name the baby 'RIPREY!' Mama name Sibby."


State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
"I see Abram Lincoln son Johnny! Talk with him! Gimme tobacco. I been to loom. Weave. Sheckle flying - flying sheckle!

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
"Clothes gone to wash this morning. (Can't go today.) Clothes gone.
"I been here so long - I ax Jesus one day carry me next day: Can't make up my bed. Like an old hog sleep on a tussick." (I always heard it 'Toad on a tussock' - and you?)
(Four lean cats prowled about sniffing around the wood-pile where a boy was scaling some pale, dead fish.)

Visitor: "Aunt Ellen, how could you cook on the flat?"

Aunt Ellen: "Dirt bank up. Fire make on dirt. Big pot. Cook. Fry meat. Come PeeDee get off flat. Bake. Bake. Iron oven. Stay PeeDee week. Bake. Pile coals on oven top." (Another slave told of scaffold - four posts buried and logs or planks across top with earth on planks. On this pile of earth, fire was made and on great bed of coals oven could be heated for baking. 'Oven' means the great iron skillet-like vessel with three legs and a snug lid. This oven bakes biscuit, pound cake, and some old timers insist on trusting only this oven for their annual fruit cake. It works beautifully on a hearth. Put your buttermilk biscuit in, lid on and pile live-oak coals on top. Of course only the ones who have done this a long time know when to take the lid off.)

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
"Dirt camp to stay in - to hide from Yankee." (Her gestures showed earth was mounded up.)
Visitor: "Like a potato bank? A potato hill?"
Ellen: "Dat's it! Pile 'em! Gone in dirt camp to hide we from Yankee. Have a Street Row of house. Yankee coming. Gone in dirt camp.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
"I been weave. My loom at door. Six loom on dat side! Six loom on dis side! I see 'em coming. Hat crown high as this." (She measured off almost half of her walking stick - which had a great, tarnished plated silver knob.) "And I tell 'em 'Yankee coming!' I talk with Abram Lincoln own son Johnny and, bless your heart I glad for Freedom till I fool!"

(Singing)
'Freedom forever!
Freedom everymore!'
Want to see the Debbil run
Let the Yankee fling a ball
The Democrack will take the swamp!'

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
"Massa been hide. Been in swamp." (This is history. All the old men, too old for the army, hid in Marlboro swamps and were fed by faithful slaves until Yankees passed on. My grandmother and mother gave vivid accounts of this - my mother telling of the sufferings of the women - mental - worrying about her feeble old grandfather down there with the mocassins) Ellen: "Yankee officer come. 'Where Nahams Ward and John J. Woodward? Come to tell 'em take dese people out the dirt camp! Put we in flat. Carry back!' (In first story Aunt Ellen told the Yankee Captain said, 'Tell 'em be Georgetown to sal ute the flag!')

"Put food and chillun in flat. We been walk." (Walking back to Waccamaw) We gone. (See 'um! See their feet like the children of Israel in Green Pastures!) In man's house. Man say, 'Come out! You steal my turnip!' Brush arbor. Night come. Make camp. Way down the road somewhere! Make a big bush camp. All squeeze under there. Left Marlboro Monday. Come Conway Friday sun down! Hit Bucksville, hit a friend. Say 'People hungry!' Middle night. Snow on ground. Get up.  Cook. Cook all night! Rice. Bake tater. Collard. Cook. Give a quilt over you head. I sleep. I sleep in the cotton. I roost up the cotton gone in there." (Burrowed down in the cotton - 'rooted' it up)" December. Winter time. Cook all night. Corn-bread, baked tater, collard. Git to Bucksport, people gin to whoop and holler! Three flat gone round wid all the vittles." (And with the very young and very old) Easier coming home. Current helped. Going up against the current, only poles and cant hooks - tedious going) "Git 'Tip Top' (Plantation) all right. Come home den! Git to double trunk (rice-field trunk) at 'Tip Top' Whoop! Come bring flat! Mother Molly dead on flat! Bury she right to Longwood grave-yard. Nuss. (nurse) Sam'l Hemingway bury there. Horse kill 'em in thrashing mill. Child name Egiburt bury there too. Horse gwine round in thrashing. He lick the horse. Horse kick 'em. Whole gang white jury come!

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Ellen
"Slavery time Maussa buy'em. We Maussa buy me one good shoe. Send slam to England. Gie me (give me) good clothes and shoe. I been a-weave. When the Yankee come I been on the loom. Been to Marlboro district. A man place they call Doctor Major Drake. Got a son name Cap and Pot. Oh, Jesus! I been here TOO long. In my 99 now. Come seven o' October (1937) I been a hundred.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Ellen
"Three flat (big flat-boats) carry two hundred head o' people and all they things. We hide from Yankee but Yankee come and get we. Ask where Maussa! Maussa in swamp. I in buckra house. I tell Yankee: Them gone! Gone to beach!' Yankee say:
"'Tell 'em to be in Georgetown to bow unto flag'.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
"Sing and pray all the time. Pray your house. Pray all the time. (I wish to God I could get some of you clam!)

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
"Salem Baptist? I helped build Salem! I a choir in Salem!"

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Godfrey, Aunt Ellen
Age 99 years 10 months
Conway, S. C.



MARIAH HEYWOOD

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Heywood, Mariah
"Flat going from Midway to Cheraw. Beat rice on flat. (Couldn't grind corn) Kill chicken. Gone to protect from Yankees - to hide! When they come (to Cheraw). Sherman coming from MONDAY till SATDY! Come on RAIL! Said 'twas a shocking sight! When Sherman army enter Cheraw, town full of sojers. Take way from white people and give horses colored people! Didn't kill none the horses. (On Sunnyside on Waccamaw) Cheraw Yankee kill horses! (Indeed - YES! It is history in Marlboro, near Cheraw they were killed and thrown in the wells to pollute the water.)

BEN HORRY

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Horry, Ben
"Two Yankee gun boats come up Waccamaw river! Come by us Plantation. One stop to Sandy Island, Montarena landing. One gone Watsaw (Wachesaw landing). Old Marse Josh and all the white buckra gone to Marlboro county to hide from Yankee. Gon up Waccamaw river and up Pee Dee river, to Marlboro county, in a boat by name Pilot Boy. Take Colonel Ward and all the Cap'n to hide, from gun boat till peace declare. I think Pilot Boy been a rear-wheeler. Most boats like the Old Planter been side wheeler.

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Horry, Ben
"Ward had on Prospect and Brook-green. You know what I see? Right there to Oaks sea-sho after them people done that murdering with that man? Take all the slave, get on flat and gone out way of shell. Gone sand hole. Take all the people from Brookgreen and Springfield - and carry dem to Marlboro. Boat tow flat. Carmichael came through and established the freedom through here. They come back from Marlboro where they refugee to and Maham Ward come back on the flat. And this Ward, share out the rice - broke open barn. We people? Anything like a silver, bury right there in that garden! Right to Brookgreen garden,

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Horry, Ben
"They come have big dinner. Cap'n come from Muldro. (Marlboro). Drum beatin' little one dancin'. Gone back to Muldro. (Maham Ward and these udder come from Muldro.) And they leave ting in Uncle William Gaillard hand. And he carry on till overting surrender. And then the Cap's come home from

State: South Carolina    Interviewee: Horry, Ben
"They come have big dinner. Cap'n come from Muldro. (Marlboro). Drum beatin' little one dancin'. Gone back to Muldro. (Maham Ward and these udder come from Muldro.) And they leave ting in Uncle William Baillard hand. And he carry on till everting surrender. And then the Cap'n come home from Muldro and they try give you sumpin to make start on like cow and ting. They ain't treat you like a beast. Ain't take no advance o' you. What the Cap'n do he do for you good. I b'long Dr. Ward. I entitle to bring him two string o' bird. Rice bird come like jest as tick as dat (thick as that). Sometimes a bushel one shot.

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