Mollie Dawson
of Navarro County, Texas


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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 again.

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 selves.

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 fish.

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 bettah though.

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 good ones.

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 me too.

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 either.

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"

 

Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox