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“The first overseer I remember was named Kurt Johnson* The next was
named Mack McKenzle* The next one was named Pink ffomack* And the next was
named Tom Fhipps* Meant Liked aeannessi Mean a man as he could be* Ifve
seen him take them down and whip them till the blood run out of them*

“My master* 8 mother took me to the house after my mother died. And
the first thing I remember doing was cleaning up* Bringing water, putting
up mosquito-bars, cooking. My master’s mother was Susan Bead* I have done
x
everything but saw* I never sawed in my life. The hardest work I did was
after slavery0 I never did no hard work during slavery. I used to pack
water for the plow hands and all such as that* But when my mother died,
my mistress took me to the house.
“But Lawdl Irve seen such brutish doin1 s—runnin1 niggers with hounds
and whippin9 them till they was bloody* They used to put ’em in stocks.
When they didnH put vem in stocks, used to be two people would whip fem—
the overseer and the driver* The overseer would be a man named Elijah at
our house. He was Just a poor white man* He had a whip they called the
BLACK SNAKE.
“I remember one time they caught a man named George Tinsley. They
put the dogs on him and they bit Tim and tore all his clothes off of fim#
Then they put 9im in the stocks. The stocks was a big piece of timber with
hinges in it* It had a hole in it for your head* They would lift it up
and put your head in it* There was holes for your head, hands and feet in
it* Then they would shut it up and they would lay that whip on you and you
couldnft do nothin1 but wiggle and holler, fPray, master, pray!1 But when
theyfd let that man out, hefd run away again*
4.
•They would make the slaves work till twelve o9 clock on Sundayf and
then they would let; them go to church* The first time I was sprinkled* a
white preacher did it; I think his name was Williams*
“The preacher would preach to the white folks in the forenoon and to
the colored folks in the evening* The white folks had them hired* One of
them preachers was named Hackett; another, Williams; and anotherf Gowan*
There was five of them but I just remember them three* One man used to
hold the slaves so late that they had to go to the church dirty from their
work* They would be sweaty and smelly* So the preacher •baked him 9bout
it* That was old man Bill Rose*
“The niggers didn’t go to the church building; the preacher came and
preached to them in their quarters* He’d Just say, fServe your masters*
Donft steal your master1 s turkey* Don’t steal your master’s chickens*
Don’t steal your master’s hawgs* Don’t steal your master’s meat* Do what-*
someever your master tells you to do*’ Same old thing all the time*
“My father would have church in dwelling houses and they had to
whisper* My mother was dead and I would go with him* Sometimes they would
have church at his house* That would be when they would want a real meet in’
with some real preachin’* It would have to be durin’ the week nights* You
couldn’t tell the difference between Baptists and Methodists then* They
was all Christians* I never saw them turn nobody down at the conmunion*
but I have heard of it* I never saw them turn no pots down neither; but I
have heard of that* Baey used to sing their songs in a whisper and pray in
a whisper* That was a prayernaseting from house to house once or twice-**
once or twice a week*
“Old Phipps whipped me once* He aimed to kill me but I got loose*
He whipped me about a colored girl of his’n that he had by a colored woman*
35
5*
Phipps went with a colored woman before he married his wife* He had a girl
named Martha Ann Phipps* I beat Martha ’bout a pair of stockings* My
mistress bought me a nice pair of stockings from the store* You see* they
used to knit the stockings* I wore the stockings once; then I washed thai
and put them on the fence to dry* Martha stole them and put them on* I
beat her and took them off of her* She ran and told her father and he ran
me home* He couldnft catch me, and he told me hefd get no* I didn’t run
to my father* I run to my mistress, and he knew he’d better not do nothin’
then* He said, 9I’ll get you, you little old black something’ Only he
didn’t say ‘something’ He didn’t get me then*
“But one day he caught me out by his house* I had gone over that way
on an errand I needn’t have done* He had two girls hold me* They was
Angelina and Hancy* They didn’t much want to hold me anyhow* Sena niggers
would catch you and kill you for the white folks and then there was some
that wouldn’t* I got loose from them* He tried to hold me hisself but he
couldn’t* I got away and went back to my old mistress and she wrote him a
note never to lay his dirty hands on me again* A little later her brother*
Johnson Chatman, came there and ran him off the place* My old mistress’
name was Susan Chatman before she married* Then she married Toliver* Then
she married Reed* She married Reed last—after Toliver died*
“One old lady named Emily Moorehead runned in and held my mother once
i
for Phipps to whip her* And my mother was down with consumption too* I
aimed to git old Phipps for that* But then I got religion and I couldn’t
do it* Religion makes you forglt a heap of things*
•Susan Reed, my old mistress, bought my father and paid fifteen
hundred dollars far him and she hadn’t never seen fim* Advertising*
He had run away so much that they had to advertise and sell ‘ia*
36
«•           3?
He never would run away from Hiss Susan* She was good to him till she got
that old nigger beater—Fhipps* Her husband, Bead, was called a nigger
spoiler* Uj father was an old nan when Fhipps was an overseer and waan9t
able to fight mxch then*
“Fhipps sure was a bad man* Be wasn9t so bad neither; but the
niggers was scared of him* You know in slave tines, sometimes when a
master would git too bad, the niggers would kill him—tole him off out in
the woods somewheres and git rid of him* Two or three of them would git
together and scheme it out, and then two or three of them would git him way
out and kill fim* But they didnvt nobody ever pull nothln9 like that on
Phipps* They was scared of him*

 

Source: http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mesn/021/021.1.txt

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