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Federal Writers' Project: Slave Narrative Project, Vol. 11, North

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Text of Federal Writers' Project: Slave Narrative Project, Vol. 11, North


    A Folk History of Slavery in the United States

    From Intervieivs with Former Slaves


    1936-1038 ASSEMBLED RY



    Illustrated with Photographs

    WASHINGTON 19-1.1



    PART 2

    Prepared by

    the Federal Writers1 Project of

    the Works Progress Administration

    for the State of North Carolina


    Jackson, John II. 1 Johnson, Ben 8 Johnson, Isaac 14 Johnson, Tina 20 Jones, Bob 23 Jones, Clara 27,30 Jordon, Abner 34

    Lassiter, Jane 37 Lawson, Dave 43 Lee, Jane 51 Littlejohn, Chana 54

    McAllister, Charity 60 McCoy, Clara Cotton 64 McCullers, Henrietta 72 McCullough, Willie 76 McLean, James Turner 82 Magwood, Frank 90 Manson, Jacob 95 Manson, Roberta 100 Markham, Millie 105 Mials, Maggie 109 Mitchel, Anna 113 Mi tenner, Patsy 116 Moore, Erneline 124 Moore, Fannie 127 Moring, Richard C. 138

    Kelson, Julius 143 Nichols, Lila 147

    Organ, Martha 151

    Parker, Ann 155 Penny, Amy 158 Perry, Lily 162 Perry, Valley 167 Pitts, Tempe 173 Plutnmer, Hannah 177 Pool, Parker 183

    Raines, Rena 192 Ransome, Anthony 196 Richardson, Caroline 198 Riddick, Charity 203 Riddick, Simuel 207 Rienshaw, Adora 212 Robinson, Celia 216 Rogers, George 220

    Rogers, Hattie 226 Rountree, Henry 232

    Scales, Anderson 236 Scales, Catherine 244 Scales, Porter 252 Scott, William 259 Shaw, Tiney 265 Smith, John 269 Smith, John 276 Smith, Josephine 281 Smith, Nellie ^ 285 Smith, Sarah Ann ~ 289 Smith, William 292 Sorrell, Laura 295 Sorrell, Ria 299 Spell, Chaney 306 Spikes, Tanner 309 Stephenson, Annie 312 Stewart, Sam T. 316 Stone, Emma 324 Sykes, William 327

    Taylor, Annie 332 Taylor, R. S. 335 Thomas, Elias 342 Thomas, Jacob 348 Thornton, Margaret 352 Tillie 355 Trell, Ellen 359 Trentham, Henry James 363

    Upperrnan, Jane Anne Privette 367

    Whitley, Ophelia 371 Wilcox, Tora 376 Williams, Catharine 380 Williams, Rev. Handy 385 Williams, John Thomas 390 Williams, Lizzie 394 Williams, Penny 401 Williams, Plaz 406 Willianson, Melissa 410 Woods, Alex 414 Wright, Anna 420

    Yellady, Dilly 425 Yellerday, Hilliard 431

  • Tina Johnson

    Fannie Moore


    Facing page



    Julius Nelson -j.43

    Lila Nichols 147

    Tempe Pitts 173



    Tiney Shaw 265

    John Smith 269

    Josephine Smith 281


    Adora Rienshaw

    William Scott

    Sam T. Stewart

    William Sykes 327

  • (> 20144

    "SJ*C' ^'

    N. C. District No, 2

    Worker Mrs. "*tf. N. Harriss

    No. Words 1363

    Sub j ect Memories of Uncle Jackson

    Interviewed John H. Jackson

    309 S> Sixth St

    Wilmington, N. C

  • S201U ft 2


    "I was bom in 1851, in the yard where my owner

    lived next door to the City Hall. I remember when they

    was finishin* up the City Hall. I also remember the foreman,

    Mr. James talker, he was general manager. The overseen,

    (overseer) was Mr. Keen. I remember all the bricklayers;

    they all was colored. The man that plastered the City Hall

    was named George Price, he plastered it inside* The men

    that plastered the City Hall outside and put those columrs

    up in- the front, their names was Robert Finey and William.

    Finey, they both was colored* Jim Artis now was a contractor

    an' builder* He done a lot of work * round Wilmington

    "Yes'm, they was slaves, mos' all the fine work

    'round Wilmin'ton was done by slaves. They called 'em

    artisans. None of *em could read, but give 'em any plan an*

    they could foiler it to the las1 line."

    Interviewer: "Did the owner collect the pay for the

    labor, Uncle Jackson?'1

    "No, ma'm. That they did'n. We had a lot of them

    artisans 'mongst our folks. They all lived on our place with

    they fam'lies. They hired theyselves where they pleased*

    They colle'ted they pay, an* the onliest thing the owner took

    was enough to support they fam*lies. They all lived in our

  • fe.

    yard, it was a great big place, an1 they wimmen cooked for 'em

    and raised the chilluns.

    'You know, they lays a heap o* stress on edication

    these days. But edication is one thing an1 fireside trainin*

    is another. We had fireside trainin'.

    "We went-to church regular. All our people marched

    behind our owners, an* sat up in the gallefy a the white

    folks church. Now, them that went to St. James Church behind

    their white folks didn1 dare look at nobody else. 'Twant

    allowed. They were taught they were better than anybody

    else. That was called the 'silk stockin' church. Nobody

    else was fitten to look at.

    "My mother was the laund'ess for the white folks.

    In those days ladies wore clo'es, an' plenty of 'em. My

    daddy was one of the part Indian folks. My mammy was brought

    here from Washington City, an' when her owner went back home

    he sold her to my folks. You know, round Washin1ton an' up

    that way they was Ginny (Guinea) niggers, an' that's what my

    mammy was. We had a lot of these malatto negroes round here,

    they was called "ShUffer Tonies", they wasiree issues and

    part Indian. The leader of 'em was James Sampson. We

    child'en was told to play in our own yard and not have

    nothin' to do with free issue chil'en or the common chil'en

    'cross the street, white or colored, because they was'nt fitten

    to.*soeiate with us. You see our owners was rich folks.

  • 3. .4

    Our bi^ house is the one where the ladies of Sokosis

    (Sorosis) has their ^lub House, an1 our yard spread all

    round there, an' our house servants, an' some of the bes'

    artisans in Y/ilmin' ton lived in our yard.

    "You know, I'm not tellin1 you things what have been

    told me, but I'm tellin' you things I knows>

    "I remember when the ^oabbes company came from Georgia

    here to V/ilmin1ton an' they had all ladies as officers**

    nI remember when the Confederates captured part of

    the Union Army at Fort Sumter, 3. C, and they brought them

    here to .ilmin'fcbn and put them out under Fourth Street

    bridge, and the white ladies of Wilmin'ton, N. C. cooked

    food and carried it by baskets full to than, v/e all had

    plenty of food. A warehouse full of everything down there

    by the river nigh Hed Cross Street, an' none of us ever

    went hungry 'till the war was over*

    "I remember when Gen'ral Grant's Army came to the

    river. They mounted guns to boorabar the city. Mr* John

    Dawson an' Mr. Silas Martin, they went on the corner of

    Second an' Nun Streets'on the top of Ben Berry's house

    an' run up a white sheet for a flag, an' the Yankees did*nr

    *Note: Have not been able to verify this memory, and think perhaps the unusual uniforms of the Zoaves caused the small boglr to think they were women, or some adult may have amused themselves by telling him so*

  • to 4.

    boombar us. An' Mr. Laartin gave his house up to the Progro

    karshells, and my mother cleaned up the house an' washed

    for them. Her name was Caroline West. ,rI remember when that Provo Marshell told the colored

    people that any house in Y/ilmin'ton they liked, that was

    empty, they could go take it, an' the first one they took

    was the fine Bellamy Mansion on Market an1 Fifth Street,*

    "Uncle Jackson", asked the interviewer, "don't you

    remember that house was headquarters of the Federal Army?

    Kow could colored people occupy it?"

    Uncle Jackson: "I don't remember nothin' about

    Federal soldiers bein1 in that house, but I'm tellin1

    you I knows a lot of common colored folks was in it because

    I seen 'em sittin' on the piazza an' all up an' down those

    big front steps. I seen 'em, Nice colored people wouldn't

    'a gone there. They had respec' for theirselves an' their

    white folks. But Dr. Bellamy came home soon with his fam'ly

    an' those colored people got out. They wan't there long,

    "Endurin1 of slavery 1 toted water for the fam'ly to

    drink. I remember when there was springs under where the

    new Court House is now, and all the white folks livin'

    'round there drank water from those springs. They called

    it Jacob Spring, There was also a spring on i^rket Street

    between Second and Third Streets, that was.called McCrayer

    (McCrary) spring. They didn't 'low nobody but rich folks"

    to get water from that spring. Of co'se I got mine there

  • 5. i

    whenever I chose to tote it that far. We did'n' work so

    hard in those days. I don't know nothin' about field

    ban's an1 workmen on the river, but so far as I knows the

    carpenters an' people like that started work at 8 o'clock

    A. M. and stopped at 5 o'clock P. M. Of course 'round

    the house it was different. Our folks done pretty much

    what the white folks did because we was all pretty much

    one an' other.

    "Did I ever know of any slaves bein' whipped? I

    seen plenty of 'em whipped over at the jail, but them was

    bad niggers, (this with a grimace of disgust, and shaking

    of the head), they n

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