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“When de War come, Marse John hid out in de woods. Men come ’round huntin’ fer   him but dey couldn’ fin’ him. One day two men caught me an’ said, ‘Whar you   been, boy?’ An’ I said, ‘To take Marse John his dinner.’ Dey said, ‘Whar is   Marse John?’ An’ I said, ‘He is back of de cow pen.’ Dey sho’ got him an’ made   him go wid ’em. I got a whuppin’.

  “Afte while, de Yankees come an’ went all thu de big house an’ tuk all de   silver an’ money an’ flour an’ ever’thing dey could. Dey went out an’ got our   cattle an’ mules. Miss Elviry had two fine mules – one name Nannie an’ de   other name Nancy, an’ de man whut sot on his pony wid de big brass buttons on   his coat made de sojers kill old Nancy. De sojers skin’t her an’ fo’ long had   her on a big fire cookin’ dat meat.

  “I run up to de sojer an’ said, ‘Whut fer you kill Miss Elviry’s car’iage   mule?’ He tol’ me to shut up. I hit him wid a stick an’ said, ‘You oughter’n   to kill Miss Elviry’s mule.’ He turn an’ slapped my face, an’ den I went to de   house cryin’, an’ Miss Elviry said, ‘You got whut was comin’ to you.’ I said,   ‘Miss Elviry, what makes you let ’em do dat?’

  “She had me shut up in de closet. Miss Elviry was skeered dey was goin’ to   burn her house. Befo’ dey lef’ dey put de well bucket in de bottom of de well   an’ tuk ever’thing outter de smokehouse.

  “We had mighty li’l lef’ to eat. No salt, an’ Miss Elviry had de dirt dug up   in de smokehouse an’ put in a hopper an’ water poured on it an’ dripped it,   an’ den boiled it, an’ made salt. You know we had to go a mighty long way to   git salt ever’ year.

  “I was nine years old, so I was tol’, when de War closed. When Marse John come   home he an’ Miss Elviry called all de slaves up an’ tried to make a ‘pack’ wid   ’em. Dey didn’ know nothin’ ’bout a ‘pack’ an’ dey wouldn’ do it. Ever’ one of   ’em lef’. My Aunt Clarissa lef’ too, an’ tuk me wid her. Miss Elviry tol’ my   aunt ef she would leave me she would give her a hun’red dollars. But my aunt   wouldn’ leave me. We went over on de Fort Adams an’ Woodville Road an’ hired   to a man by de name of Fletch Lewis. We had a hard time an’ went frum place to   place – git work fer a while an’ den go on ag’in.

  “When Marse John was in de war he had his arm shot off an’ afte’ he come back,   he didn’ live long. Miss Elviry an’ her mother, Miss Fanny, was lef’ alone.   Dey sho’ got to be po’ folks. Dey had to sell dey beddin’ an’ furniture in de   house fer suppo’t. All de old slaves sho’ was glad to hear it. Dey was so mean   to ’em. You know, lady, ‘whut goes over de Devil’s backbone is boun’ to pass   under his stomach’ – an’ dey got whut was comin’ to ’em.

http://msgw.org/slaves/ashley-xslave.htm

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