Home

“I was sold the third year of the war for fifteen years
old. That would be in 1864, That would make my “birthday come
in 1849, I must have been 12 year old when the war started and
sixteen when Lee surrendered, I was born and raised in Russell
County, 01′ Virginny. I was sold out of Russell County during
the war,  01f Man Menefee refugeed me into Tennessee near Knox-
ville. They sold me down there to a man named Jim Maddison,
He carried me down in Virginny near Lynchburg and sold me to
Jim Alec Wright. He was the man I was with in the time of the
surrender. Then I was in a town called Liberty, The last time
I was sold, I sold for #2,300, — more than J’m worth now,
“Police were for white folks, Patteroles were for nig-
gers. If they caught niggers out without a pass they would whip
them. The patteroles were for darkies, police for other people,
“They run me once, and I ran home, I had a dog at home,
and there wasn’t no chance them gettin’ by that dog. They
caught me once in Liberty, and Mrs, Charlie Crenchaw, 6lr John
Crenchaw’s daughter, came out and made them turn me loose.
She said, ‘They are our darkies; turn them loose,•
“One of them got after me one night, I ran through a
gate and he couldn’t get through. Every time I looked around,
105
I would see through the trees some bush or other and think it
was him gaining on me, God knows J I ran myself to death and
got home and fell down on the floor,
“The slaves weren’t expecting nothing. It got out some-
how that they were going to give us forty acres and a mule. We
all went up in town. They asked me who I belonged to and I told
them my master was named Banner. One man said, ‘Young man, I
would go by my mama’s name if I were you,’  I told him my mother’s
name was Banner too. Then he opened a book and told me all the
laws. He told me never to go by any name except Banner, That
was all the mule they ever give me, *
“I started home a year after I got free and made a crop.
I had my gear what I had saved on the plantation and went to
town to get my mule but there wasn’t any mule,^
“Before the war you belonged to somebody. After the war
you weren’t nothin’ but a nigger. The laws of the country were
made for the white man. The laws of the North were made for man,
“Freedom is better than slavery though, I done seed both
sides,  I seen darkies chained.  If a good nigger killed a white
overseer, they wouldn’t do nothin* to him. If he was a bad nig-
ger, they’d sell him. They raised niggers to sell; they didn’t
want to lose them. It was just like a mule killing a man,
“Yellow niggers didn’t sell so well. There weren’t so
many of them as there are now. Black niggers stood the climate
better. At least, everybody thought so.
“If a woman didn’t breed well, she was put in a gang and
sold. They married just like they do now but they didn’t have
3,
106
no license. Some people say that they done this and that thing
but it!s no such a thing. They married just like they do now,
only they didnft have no license,
“01′ man came out on April 9, 1865, and said, ‘General
Lee’s whipped now and dam badly whipped. The war is over. The
Yankees done got the country. It is all over. Just go home
and hide everything you got. General Leefs army is coming this
way and s tealing everything they can get their hands on,’ But
General Lee’s army went the other way,
“I saw a sack of money setting near the store,  I looked
around and I didn’t see nobody. So I took it and carried it
home. Then I hid it,  I heard in town that Jeff Davis was dead
and his money was no good,  I took out some of the money and
went to the grocery and bought some bread and handed her five
dollar bill.  She said, ‘My goodness, Henry, that money is no
good; the Yankees have killed it,f And I had done gone all over
the woods and hid that money out. There wasn’t no money. No-
body had anything, I worked for two bits a day. All our money
was dead,
“The Yankees fed the white people with hard tacks (at Lib-
erty, Virginia), All around the country, them that didn’t have
nothin’ had to go to the commissary)and get hard tacks,
“I started home,  I went to town and rambled all around but
there wasn’t nothin’ for me,
“I was set free in April. About nine o’clock in the morn-
ing when we went to see what work we would do, ol’ man Wright
called us all up and told us to come together. Then he told us
we were free.  I couldn’t get nothin’ to do; so I jus’ stayed on
and made a crop,”
30808                                                                   107
Interviewer                                   Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed   John W* H* Barnett* Marianne. Arkansas
Age  81

 

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

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s