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Cruelties: There was a very wealthy plantation owner who lived near the Davis plantation; he had eleven plantations, the smallest one was cultivated by three hundred slaves. Oftimes they would work nearly all night. Will states that it was not an unusual thing to hear in the early mornings the echoes of rawhide whips cracking like the report of a gun against the bare backs of the slaves who were being whipped. They would moan and groan in agony, but the whipping went on until the master’s wrath was appeased. John Stokes, a white plantation owner who lived near the Davis’ plantation encouraged slaves to steal from their masters and bring the stolen goods to him; he would purchase the goods for much less than their value. One time one of the slaves “put it out” that “Massa” Stokes was buying stolen goods. Stokes heard of this and his wrath was aroused; he had to find the “nigger” who was circulating this rumor. He went after him in great fury and finally succeeded in locating him, whereupon, he gave him a good “lacing” and warned him “if he ever heard anything like that again from him he was going to kill him.” The accusations were true, however, but the slave desisted in further discussion of the affair for “old Massa Stokes was a treacherous man.” On another occasion one of the Stokes’ slaves ran away and he sent Steven Kittles, known as the “dog man,” to catch the escape. (The dogs that went in pursuit of the runaway slaves were called “Nigger dogs”; they were used specifically for catching runaway slaves.) This particular slave had quite a “head start” on the dogs that were trailing him and he hid among some floating logs in a large pond; the dogs trailed him to the pond and began howling, indicating that they were approaching their prey. They entered the pond to get their victim who was securely hidden from sight; they dissapeared and the next seen of them was their dead bodies floating upon the water of the pond; they had been killed by the escape. They were full-blooded hounds, such as were used in hunting escaped slaves and were about fifty in number. The slave made his escape and was never seen again. Will relates that it was very cold and that he does’nt understand how the slave could stand the icy waters of the pond, but evidently he did survive it.

http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/docs/s/slave/slave32.htm

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