Interview Conducted by William Elmer Smith & Cleo Bennett Smith|
Mollie Dawson was born in Navarro County, Texas, January 1852. Her home was
in the forks of the Richland and Pin Oak Creeks. Her mother was the slave of
Nath Newman. Her father was a slave of a near by owner. She knows practically
nothing of her grandparents as she only has seen her grandmother on her father's
side once. She has one half brother and two half-sisters. Her mother was married
three times, once during slavery and twice since freedom. Her master was a poor
man owning only a few slaves and manages his own farm without the aid of
overseer or driver. All slaves were treated much better than the slaves of
adjoining plantations. After the war all slaves remained with their master for
two years, at which time Mollie's stepfather rented a small place at Pisgah
Ridge some fifteen miles distance away on the shares.
[The page in the original was torn off at this point. Editor's note].
There aint much 'bout mah life dat would interest anybody 'ceptin me and
dar is lots of dat I wish I could fergit and lots of it I wish I could live ovah
But, jest ter git acquainted first, mah name is Mollie Dawson, and ter de
best of mah recollection from de information mah maw gives me I is about
eighty-five years old. You know us slavery niggers never did have no correct
account of when we was bo'n and how ole we is, puts it all together, we ain't
got much sense but we got nor'n dese young niggers wid all der edgecation.
A slavery nigger didn' have no edgecation---only whut dey got by dem
Dat makes me bo'n in January some time, of 1852, de bes' I kin figger out,
in de fo'ks of Richland and Pin Oak Creeks in Navarro County, clost ter whar de
Indians and dem surveyors had dat big fight when dey was surveyin' dis country.
I'se heard lots of talk of dem. (Note---this is the account of the Surveyors'
Fight that is recorded in Texas History that the negress refers to.)
Mah maw was de slave of Nath Newman and dat made me his slave. Mah maw's
name was Sarah Benjamin.
Mah father's name was Carrol Benjamin and he belonged ter different white
fokeses and I never did know what his white fokes name was and from whut I sees,
dat happen ovah dere one day, I nevah does wants ter know.
De plantation dat he worked on was jinin' our'n and I would go ovah ter
see him once in a while when I was little, and de last time I goes ovah der he
whips a man wid a long whip dat looks sorter lak a black snake whip. He had dis
man's hands and feet tied and bent ovah on a stick under his arms and ovah his
knees and had him stripped off naked and he was layin' on de groun', dis white
man was whippin' him and de blood was all ovah dis nigger and he was sayin'
"O, Marser, O, Marser, I pray you not to hits me any more. Oh, Lo'dy, Oh,
Lo'dy, has mercy on me. Marser, please has mercy on me, please has mercy."
But dis man wouldn' stops a minute and spits terbaccer juice and cuss him and
den starts in whippen him agin. Dis nigger was jumpin' roun' on de groun' all
tied up, jest lak a chicken when you chops his head off when dis man was whippin'
him and when de white folks would stop awhile dis nigger would lay dar and roll
from side ter side and begs for mercy.
I runs off a good piece when dis white folks started whippin' him and
stopped and looks back at him, I was so skairt dat I jest stood dar and watched
him till he quits. Den he tells some of de slaves ter wash him off and put salt
in de cut places and he stood dar ter watch dem ter see dat dey did. He was
chewin' his terbaccer, spittin' and cussin' dat nigger, and when dey gits him
washed off and puts salt in de raw places he sho did scream and groan.
But when he groaned dey jest kept puttin' de salt in ter de wounds on his
po' ole beat up body.
De first things dat I knows mah father was pattin' me on de back and said,
"Honey, you better run along home now," and I sho did and I didn't
goes back ovah dar any mo'. Dat was the only slave I ever seed gits a whippin'
and I never did wants ter see dis white folks any mo' nor I didn' wants ter know
his name. I jest wants ter git away from dar and stays away.
Mah father told mah mother dat de white folks whipped dis nigger cause he
had been lettin' de calves suck too much milk afore he 'gins to milkin'. Dat man
was hard to please. I thinkd dat he was a bully kin' of white folks from what I
can remember about him.
'Cose mah mother and father was slavery time married darkies dat didn't
mean nuthin' den day but jest raisin' mo' darkies and every slave darky woman
had ter do dat whether she wanted to or not. Dey would let you pick out a man or
a man pick him out a woman and you was married and if de woman wouldn't has de
man dat picks you, dey would takes you ter a big stout high husky nigger
somewhere and leaves you a few days jest lak dey do stock now'days and you
bettah begins raisin' chilluns too. If you didn' dey would works you ter death,
dey say dat you no count and dey soon sells you.
Mah mother and father never did loves each other laks dey ou't to, so dey
separated as soon as dey was free and mah father marries another woman by law
and mah mother marries George Baldwin and dey lives together fer about twelve
years and dey separated den and she marries Alfred Alliridge and dey lives
together till she dies.
I didn't has no own brother or sister, but I had one half-brother and two
half-sisters. Mah half-brother's name was George Baldwin, he was named after
he's father and mah two half-sisters name was Mahailie and Annie Baldwin, 'cose
all dem was younger den me.
We lived in de fo'ks of Richland and Pin Oak Creeks with marser Newman
till two years after freedom, den mah step father rented a farm ovah at Pisgah
Ridge on de halvers, dat was 'bout fifteen miles I guess from where we did live
in de southern part of the country
When we lived on de plantation as dey was called but dis one was a farm
instead of a big plantation. We lived in a little ol' one room log house wid a
shed clear 'crost de back and his house had punchenn floors in it too, and all
de houses had a giant stick and dirt chimney ter do de cookin' on and ter do the
heatin' of de house. Dey all burned long wood, longer dan dey do now.
De beds in all de cabins was made in de corner and it was made outten a
rail er a pole and bored holes in it, den took raw hide strings and run through
dem holds and across de bed, den we took some more raw hide strings and run dem
long ways and puts dem ovah and undah de ones runnin' across, weavin' dem lak a
basket er a cane bottam chair we had dem days and cose we tied de strings good
ter keeps dem from fallin' wid us. Den we would git some straw or grass and
shucks and make a mattress outen dem, only it wasn't a matress, it was jest a
bed, laks you beds down hogs er cows now' days. But we was glad ter gits ter
sleeps on dis when de day's work was did.
We done our cookin', eatin', sleepin', and ever'thin' in dis little one
room log house. All de cookin' was done ovah a fire in de big stick and dirt
chimney. Der was a big rod er a pole dat runs across up high and some crooked
irons er hooks hung down from dis ovah de fire and we hung our kettles and pots
on de end close ter de fire to do our bilin'.
When we done bakin' er roastin' we would gits a big bed of coals and ashes
in de fire-place and we would puts our food in a pan wid a cover on it and drag
back lots of de coals and ashes and puts de pan and food in dar wid de cover on
it and den cover it up wid de coals and ashes. But when we baked taters we would
bury dem in hot ashes and lets dem stay dar till dey was done.
All de slave women done der breakfas' and dinnah cookin' in de mornin'
befo' dey went ter work and carried der dinnah ter de fiel wid dem den comes in
dat night and cooks suppah.
We generally has plenty taters and peas ter eat de year roun' and in de
spring we has some vegetables. Marser Newman would gives us vegetables outten de
garden, dar was one big garden and all de vegetables was issued out by marser
Newman. He had lots of hogs dat runs out in de timbah all de year and dey was
all marked so in de wintah he would take some of de slaves wid him and kills a
hog where dey runs on to it, and hauls it in and some would be scrapin' and and
scaldin', and one would gits de lard meat and dey would renders de lard. All de
meat was put down in salt for a while and it was took outten dat and hung up in
de smoke house and smoked good and proper. Meat done dis way is a lot bettah dan
de meat you buys at de grocery sto', now. Marser Newman would gives dis meat and
some lard ter de slaves out along as dey needed it.
We had plenty of possum, coon, rabbit, squirrels, and hog and some times
we had beef and deer meat ter eats, but I was allus glad ter see hog killin'
time. I is yet, 'cause I sho does lak good hog meat.
I don't ever remambah eatin fish in slavery time and we lived between two
creeks and Richland had plenty of fish in it too, I know for after slavery I
remembahs people ketchin plenty fish outten it, and we went fishin' in it lots
after slavery. We allus caught plenty of fish too, but I don't cares much fer
When all the slaves went to work dey would send de small chilluns dat was
too small ter take ter de field. Dey would send dem down ter de marser's yard to
play, as Marser Newman allus kept an old woman ter see after dem and do de
cookin and de housework for his family. He had a big yard and de was plenty of
room fer dem to play.
Chilluns dem days was under bettah control den dey is now. If any of de
chilluns got out of line dey got a good spankin and dey didn't fergit it very
soon. All mos' of dem had ter do was ter look our de connah of de eye at dem
kids and dey got good right now.
Mah mother didn't has no father and mother ter raise her as she was sold
when she was a nursin' baby and she didn't ever remembah her folks. But, marser
Newman brought her up in Tennessee and brought her to Texas when he comes down
here. Mah father was not around very much so I don't knows much about him, and I
only saw his mother one time and never did see his father. I don't know where
dey come from.
I was too young ter do much work durin' slavery time, but I picks lots of
cotton, and all de pay we got fer it was a place ter stay, water ter drink, wood
ter burn, food ter eats, and clothes ter wear and we made de food and clothes
ourselves. And we eats cornpones three times a day 'ceptin Sunday and Christmas
mornings. Marser Newman lets us have flour fer biscuits den.
In de Summah we wore cotton clothes, all of dem was made on de plantation.
Some of de women would spin and some would weave and some would make clothes.
All dis was usually done on rainy days er cold days in de wintah time and a
woman had ter spin so many cuts a day, and each one had ter weave so many knots
a day. De loom and de spinnin wheel was fixes so it would cloks and knot when it
was sposed to.
At the end of the day Marser Newman would counts dem to see dat each woman
was doin' what she was sposed to, but lots of de womens could lots mo' den dey
was sposed to, but dey knew jest about how fast ter work ter gits what dey was
tasked to do, so dey jest gits a few mo' den dey was sposed ter gits and Marser
Newman thought he got about all outten dem dey could do. We wore jest plain
homemade clothes all de time. When we went ter church er anywhere we had a real
nice dress and de men folks had a nice shirt, and pants made ter wear and we
kept dem to wear'est on special occasions.
We didn't wears no shoes only in de Wintah time and on special occasions,
and de was made on de plantation too. Dey sho' was ugly lookin' things, dey was
made outten hides dat was tanned on de plantation, what dey calls rawhide and
when dey gits wet dey was like tryin' ter hold a eel, sho' did feel messy and
look messy too. When de slaves was gittin' ready ter goes ter a dance er church
you could see dem all gittin' soot outten de chimney and mixin' it wid water der
shoe polish, and dis is what dey all polish der shoes wid. It didn't look nice
and slick like it does now, but it made dem ole buckskin shoes looks a lot
Of course, Marser Newman and his folks wore a little bettah clothes den de
slaves did, but de clothes dat dey wore fer every day on de farm was jest like
ours, but de clothes dat dey had fer special occasions was made outten de best
cotton and was bettah made den ours, and sometimes dey would buy cloth at de sto'
and makes der clothes to wear away from home. But the most of der clothes was
made on de plantation jest as ours was made by de slave women, but de bought der
shoes either at de sto' er had dem made at de shoe or harness shop. Marser
Newman wore cowboy boots mostly, and I knows he had his made, and de sho' was
Marser Newman was a tall slender man nearly six foot tall and was blue
eyed, and he sho' was good ter all us slaves, but we all knew he means fer us
ter work. He never whipped any of us slaves, but he hit one of de men wid a
leather line 'bout two times once, cause dis slave kinda talked back ter him. He
threatened to whip him good if he didn't go and do what he was told ter do
without any back talk. Dis slave danced round a little when he hit him wid dat
line and trotted offter git his job done befo' Marser Newman had time to say
anything else to him.
Marser Newman was a slow easy goin' sort of a man and took everything as
it comes, takin' bad and good luck jest a'lak, and he says not ter worry 'bout
bad luck, cause worryin' won't do no good, and it would do you a lot of harm. He
hardly ever did get mad, but when he did gits mad you bettah leave him alone.
Marser Newman was tender hearted too. I know because 'bout de maddest I
ever see'd him was one evenin' he comes in from one of de neighbor slave owners,
and he sho' was mad, he was jest shakin'. Missus Jane, dat was his wife, went
out ter her horse when he rode up cause she could tell dat sumpin' was wrong,
and she said, "Nath, what in de world is wrong?" And he begin tellin'
her 'bout seein' dis feller whip one of his slaves unmercifully, and dis slave
beggin' him ter stop, and dis man laughin' and cussin. Dis man keeps on whippin'
him, and Marser Newman got on his hoss and comes home ter keeps from jumpin' on
him. I didn't hear all he was sayin', but I heard enough ter tell dat it was
'bout dis man beatin' one his slaves nearly ter death. I was afraid ter let
Marser Newman see me listenin' ter what he was saying while he was mad. I can
see him ter day as he got down off his hoss and Miss Jane runnin' out dar, and
Marser Newman jest standing dar shaking all over. We all thought sho' he had
killed a man. A man here in Corsicana had mistreated Marser in some kind of a
deal and we thought sho' dat dey had some more trouble, and Marser Newman had
killed him de way he acted, but we scared to let him know we was listening.
I don't knows if he had been married befo' he married de Missus or not.
I'se often wondered 'bout dat. He was lots older den his wife. She was a real
young woman, and they 'peared ter think quite a bit of each other. Missus Newman
was slender like Marser Newman and she had blue eyes too. She hardly every
scolded any of us. She slapped me one time cause I spilled some hot coffee on
her, but I didn't blame her fer dat. I would 'bout done de same thing if a big
gaulky gal spilled some on me. She slapped the house maid one time ova'h sumpin'
'bout cookin' dinner. I got out of dar, I was skeared dat she would gits hold of
And I didn't stay ter hear what it was all about, but I think it was about
cookin some food in a pan dat she hadn't washed clean, any way dey throwed it
outten de pan and she washed it good and put some mo' on.
When Missus Newman got mad enuff ter scold any of us she had a good cause
to do it, jest anybody whippin der chilluns, dey don't whip dem unless dey needs
it, and don't whip dem lots of times when dey do needs it. Dat was de way Missus
Newman was by us slaves and she sho' was good and kind when any of us got sick.
Marser and Missus Newman jest had two chilluns and both of dem was little
girls, Martha was de oldest and Lizzie was de youngest. Both of dem looks jest
lak der mother, dey sho' was pretty little gals and dey was smart too.
Dey played wid de little slave chilluns all de time, and corse dey was de
boss same as dar mother and father.
Marser Newman was a poor man, compared wid some of de other slaves owners
and he only had about seven slaves big enuff ter work all de year round in de
fields, and he was de owner, over-se'er and manager of his plantation. He didn't
has no drivah, he would jest start dem all out ter work and dey kept at it all
day, but he generally worked around pretty close ter dem.
I don't know how many acres was in his plantation, but he didn't has near
as much land as de rest of de owners around him. But I do members dat we had ter
walk along ways ter de field and it was a big field, in two different places in
de bottom and one place on de hill, dis field on de hill jest gradually slopes
off to de bottom and dar was Post Oak Creek, den one of de bottom fields and de
other bottom field was on below dis one across a small branch dat runs in to
Post Oak Creek.
Dat man sho' wid raise de cotton and corn and other feeds on dis land. It
was fresh and strong den and de creeks didn't overflow laks dey do now, we never
did loose any crops by high waters or insects either laks dey do now.
Dey uster has de ole cotton gins dat was pulled by oxens dat went roun'
and roun' laks a mule do now at a syrup mill, and dar was one ovah at Pisgah
Ridge and one on Elm Creek close ter Corsicana and one on Richland Creek close
ter Richland. Dat was de one dat Marser Newman took his cotton to, but we made
all our clothes at home.
Didn't but one of us knows how ter read and write, and he was one of de
old slaves. He could writes a little and he could read de Bible, and he reads it
ter us a lot. De white folks never did tries ter learn us ter read or write
Dey was no slave weddin anything lak dat, most all de slave weddins was
jest de maser says ter de man, "Slave Mose, yer laks Nancy and wants ter
marry her? Does you love her? Will you work fer her and bring home food ter
her?" and some other foolish questions and Mose says "Yas Sah".
Den he ask Nancy, "If she will obey Mose and love him and raise his
chilluns and lots mo' silly questions and she says "Yas Sah". And den
de maser says, "Now both of you jump over dis broomstick and den he says
you'se is married. But some of de massers' would make de slaves git married by a
preacher, dat would be about one slave owner out of ten though. De rest would do
de marryin dem selves and has a lot of fun out of de ones dat was gitten married.
De slaves was about de same things as mules or cattle, dey was bought and
sold and dey wasn't supposed ter be treated lak people anyway. We all knew dat
we was only a race of people as our master was and dat we had a certain amount
of rights but we was jest property and had ter be loyal ter our masers. It hurt
us sometimes ter be treated de way some of us was treated but we couldn't help
ourselves and had ter do de best we could which nearly all of us done.
Some of de slaves tried ter run away when dey was mistreated and dey would
put de blood houns on der trail and ketch dem and whips dem and some of dem
would gits whipped nearly ter death, some would gits away, and some I hears
about run away ter de north and some would gits killed by a lot of white folks
dat was trailin dem, course dat would scare de rest of dem and dey wouldn't
tries it fer fear dey would git killed, whipped unmercifully wid de
cat-o-nine-tails, and dat was sumpin awful.
De little chilluns was de only ones dat had things easy during slavery,
jest as dey do now, fer dey all knew dat dey was going ter git sumpin ter eat
and now some of dem don't gits enough ter eat. Some of de slave owners made de
little chilluns do de chores and dey all has ter pick cotton lak most of dem
does now, and dey wasn't taught ter steal ter gits sumpin ter eats laks some of
dem are now, and if any mothers chilluns wasn't sold dey all knew whar dey was,
and dat is more than some mothers can say dese days about der chilluns.
When I was a chile we all plays down on de lawn at maser Newman's house,
and we played everything mostly I think. We would climb trees, turn somersaults
and all kinds of stunts on de grass in de front yard. One of the ring games dat
we played more dan any other was "Bald Horse". We would all form a
ring and puts one in de middle and starts goin around and singin, "Bald
horse buried in de turnip parch, de buzzards are after me. Do do let me out of
here, I'se in some ladies garden."
Another little song we sung a lot was "Up de hill, Down de level,
Grandmas little dog treed de devil."
One of de riddles I remembahs very well was, "Riddlem, Riddlem,
Riddlem, right guess whar I stayed last night, De wind did blow, mah heart did
ache, ter see what a hole Mr. Fox could make."
Most all de young girls had what we called a charm string, see det would
every one of der friends and kin folks dey would ask dem fer a pretty button ter
put on dis charm string. I has seed some of dem charm strings five feet long and
some of de prettiest I ever seed in my life, dey was a lot prettier den dese
beads dat we buys at de store now. Dis charm string was supposed ter bring good
luck ter de owner of it.
All de men folks carried a rabbits foot fer good luck. A good luck charm
lak dat would bring you plenty ter eat and you'se wouldn't git in no trouble wid
de maser and jest as sho' as you lose dat rabbit foot you gwine ter have some
bad luck and iffen you'se is hoein cotton er corn you'se goin ter gits a bad row
and gits behind and de maser is gwin ter gits on your neck and balls you out, er
if you is pickin cotton yer gwine ter gits a mean row ter pick. It ain't only de
man dat gits in ter trouble, it can be any one of his family, his chilluns will
git sick er sumpin will happen ter bring him bad luck. I allus keeps a horseshoe
nailed up over my front do' now. You jest watch dese stores dat do so much
business dey got a horseshoe nailed up somers ter bring dem good luck. If I was
ter take dat horseshoe down from my front do' I would either starves ter death
or freeze dis winter. My pension would be cut off and I knows I would starve den
sho'nuff. A horseshoe or a rabbits foot is good luck ter anybody if dey keeps it
all de time but be sho' and don't lose dem for you sho' will have bad luck.
I tells you all dem ole darkies back in slavery time has all de chilluns
scared ter death bout "Raw Head and Bloody Bones". Not jest little
chilluns great big chilluns too, if dey done sumpin der mother and father didn't
like er wouldn't goes ter sleep at night, all der mother and father has ter say,
"Boy you jest goes on ter sleep er I will put you outside and lets Raw Hide
and Bloody Bones gits you", and dat would be de last of it. Or if de
chilluns was makin too much racket some of de grown folks would say, listen I
thought I hears a racket roun dis house outside some whar, and he goes and peeps
out side and slams de do' and says I sees ole "Raw Hide and Bloody
Bones" outside, dey hears dese chilluns makin racket and dey is waitin fer
one of dem ter come outside er ter be put outside, and dem kids would gits quite
as a mouse and stays dat way. Our parents kept us chilluns scared ter death all
de time bout first one thing and another but we all did mind better den de
chilluns does these days.
I remembahs one time in de winter after I was a great big girl we was all
polishing our shoes and hurryin around gettin our best clothes out and gittin
ready ter go ter a dance and maser Newman had give all a pass ter go ter de
dance at another plantation close ter ourn. We all got off and was in a big way
fer we was all thinkin about what a good time we was goin ter have ovah at de
dance and how we was all poppin off about what we was goin ter do all de way
ovah ter de dance, and we couldn't hardly gits dar fast enough, we hadn't
thought nuthin about it bein cold. Well, we all got dar and de dance started, we
was all in a big one room log house wid a stick and dirt chimney in one end of
it, and it had de ole puncheon floors in it. Couldn't so many couples git on de
flo' at one time fer de couples ter dance, but we all crowded in some way and
had danced fer about two er three hours. I guess it was about ten er eleven
o'clock when one of de men stepped out de do' and der was three or four ghosts
walkin aroun and aroun de house, dey was about thirty er forty feet away from de
house and jest walkin in a circle aroun de house. Dis man opened de do' and
started out and he stopped jest outside de do' when he saw dem ghost and stood
dar, directly some of de others saw dese ghost over dis man's head, dese ghost
had done jest paralized dis man, he couldn't move and some of de others caught
hold of him and pulls him back inside, and laid him on de floor. His eyes was
big as my fist and was jest bulged out and his face was white as de ghost. He
was plumstiff. He laid dar and stared at de roof of de house, everybody stopped
dancin and gangs up ter look at him and somebody said ghost outside. Some of us
opens de door a little and peeps out, and dar was four of dem ghosts and one of
dem was a great tall one and could walk about as fast as de other one could
trot. We all knew dat we couldn't outrun dem, so we shut de door and got back in
de house and we begins talking about how we was going ter git out of dar and git
rid of dem ghost. Dar wasn't no window in de house and we had ter look out de
door. By dis time dis cullud man dat first sees dem come from out under de spell
de ghost had on him, and got up jest scared ter death. Some of dem wanted one
ter start running out de door and if he got away from de ghost we would all
tries it, but wouldn't no one go. While he was talking and arguing we heard dem
on de roof, dey was going ter jump off de house on our backs when we come out de
door. About dat time one of dem comes round ter de door and begins trying ter
git in de door, but we holds it and directly one of dem begins choppin on de
back side of de house, dey was going ter chop a hole and come on in. Den dey
knocks some chinks out de cracks where dey was chopping and peeks through and
says wo-o-o-o and bout dat time all us darkies hit dat front door and jest bust
it into kindling wood and out we goes. One of dem was standing at de corner of
de house and de tall one was out in front by a big ash tree and de one at de
corner of de house was saying, catch dat one, no dis one and on like dat, and
dis tall one would try ter catch every one he told him to. He was jumping back
and forth trying ter catch all of us. When I got up and started out he told dat
tall one ter catch me. I sho' did fly de opposite way from him and dat was de
wrong way home. But I didn't care, I knew dat I had ter gits away from dat ghost
before I could has a chance ter git home.
We all scattered everywhere, I got home bout two o'clock and some of dem
didn't gits home til daylight- jest in time ter eats breakfast and go ter work.
One de men dat lived on Maser Newman's place said one dem ghost followed him all
night, and everwhere he would go dat ghost would follow him even when he slowed
down to git his breath dat ghost would comes right up on him and finally he got
ter circling back home and de closer home he got de farther behind de ghost got.
We all got home together with a few scratches on us and our clothes was tore up
some, where we run through de brush, and climbed er jumped over some fences. Dem
ghosts' didn't catch any of us dat night. Every one of us got away from dem.
De white folks comes out with der guns and shot at dem ghost, but course
ain't no use trying ter shoot a ghost. You can drive dem away by shooting at dem
but you sho' can't shoot one. De noise from de gun scares dem I guess, and de
white folks sho' had lots of trouble wid der slaves after dat, dey finally jest
had ter move der quarters, but dey left dis log house where it was cause it was
hainted. Didn't anyone go around it anymore, and dey finally tore it down and
burned it up. De white folks did, but didn't none of de darkies burn a stick of
dat haunted wood.
I remembahs another time after me and my second husband was married, we
went to some of our kinfolks bout four miles in de country and stayed all night
and went ter Sunday School, and Church Sunday morning and back to church Sunday
night and started home a foot after de services. We had got about a mile and a
half from de church and was coming ter a little creek and woods all around us
when we saw a ghost step over a fence out of a cullad graveyard, and out in de
road and stop. Will says ter me, "Mollie we is going ter have some trouble
right here and now". We jest as well ter git out of de road. "I said,
Will let's go back, "He says, "Oh! let's jest walk on lak we never
seed it, "I says "ain't you got your pistol? And when he says
"Yes", I says, shoot at it a time er two, I know you can't hit a ghost
but maybe you can scare it. He says, "I'se going ter shoot me a ghost, if
it don't leaves us alone, honey you hold on ter me I ain't going ter let it hurt
you." Bout dat time dat thing swells up til it was bout four times as big
as it was-and it was bout four feet wide. Will calls out, "If you don't git
out of de road and let us by I is going ter shoot. Dat thing begins hopping from
one side of de road ter de other and toward us. Will pulls out his pistol and
shoots twice and it still hopped and started coming toward us. I turned Will
loose and started running back toward de church and I was away down de road when
Will caught me. He wouldn't caught me at all but I knowed dat it was him coming.
We went on back over ter our kinfolks and stayed de rest of de night and comes
back de next morning. Dat is de last ghost I'se seed. Some folks say dar ain't
no ghost but I knows der is, cause I'se seed dem wid my own eyes, and what I
sees I knows.
Dar wasn't very many slaves on our plantation, and we didn't have much
sickness among us- bad colds in de winter and malaria in in de spring of de
year. We does most of de doctoring ourselves. If we got much sick Maser Newman
didn't wait very long to get a Doctor out to see about us, and he didn't had de
doctor out but a very few times. Just when a bad cold was gettin too bad. Mos of
de white folks was pretty good bout dat cause dey had lots of money invested in
us slaves. A big stout slave sold for lots of money jest like a good cow or mule
does now and de weaker slave was de smaller de price.
We always used de Barmonia weed ter make a tea and drink dat fer chills
and fever and it sho was good fer it. It would always cure it if you didn't wait
too long and den it would helps ter break it up. Dar was several weeds and bark
of some roots dat dey would gits and let it dry and dem boils it down ter a
strong tea and make it fer different kinds of ailment. I was young den and
didn't pay much attention ter it, but I sho members dat Barmonia weed. I bet I
have drunk a barrelful of dat tea. Assa"