Annie B. Boyd


CHRISTIAN CO.
(Mamie Hanberry) [TR: also spelled Hanbery.]

Annie B. Boyd, born August 22nd 1851, resides at corner of Liberty and First Street, Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Born a slave belonging to Charles Cammack near Gordonsville, Kentucky in Christian County. “My mother and me war put on de block in front of de Courthouse in Hopkinsville and sold to Mr. Newt. Catlett and we brung $500.00. Marse Catlett lived on the corner of Seventh and Clay Streets, Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Wen I was older the white folks had me foh to nurse dar chilluns. I noes wen de war broke out marse had a store and den marsa took me to his wife’s kinfolks down in de country till freedom war declared den my stepfather come an’ got me. Of course I hed ter work and den I went ter nurse foh Dr. Fairleigh and nussed his daughter Madge. De white folks wont good to me. My marster was a good man but my missus wont no good woman. She uster box my ears, stick pins in me and tie me ter de cedar chest and whoop me as long as she wanter. Oh, how I did hate dat woman.

“Yes, once in my life I seed a ghost. We was goin’ thru de woods to a neighbors ter a prayer meeting en a man stepped out in de woad without no head wid all his clothes on en I had jes wropped my head dat day and wen I seed him all my hair strings en all jes stood straight up. I got hot den I’se got cold and he jest stepped ter de side of de road en I went by running. Yes, we got ter de prayer meeting en den we went back home de same way en did us niggers run?

“I was nurse in slave time en I carried de chilluns all ober de house en one day I had de chilluns upstars en my missus called me en I went ter see whar she wont and while I’se war gone de baby got hodter Indian Turnip an hed bit it by de time I git back dar en I called my missus en she come en made me eat de rest of de turnip en my face enall swelled up en my eyes war closed foh days. After missing de baby en tending ter de uther chilluns all de day an night wen I put de baby ter bed I bed ter knit two round ebery night en would be sleepy en my missus would reach ober en jab a pin in me to keep me awake. Now dat is what I calls a mean woman.

“I kin read en write at first of freedom I sent ter school some en learned ter read and write. “I sho do believe in dreams. I had one once I laid down on de bed ter take er nap en den I dreamed dat somethin was a chokin me en I pulled at my dress en a big snake dropped out of my bosom rolled down on de bed. Den on de floor en when I woke up sho nuff dar war a snake on de floor by de bed en I killed it en den I knowed dat I had an enemy sho nuff in a few days a woman I thot was my friend turned gain me. By killing de snake I knowed dat I would conquer dat enemy.

“I noes wishes cen come tru seems ter me I hev but my memory aint so good but still I believes hit. “Wen de smoke flies low hit sho is goin ter snow.” “Spilling salt or ter waste salt is bad luck. I always wen I makes my bread put de salt in de bread den I puts some of de salt in de fire ter bring me good luck.

“Sometime de moon affects people wen it changes hit makes some folks crazy en dey is hard to git alon wid.” “If you plant Irish pertatoes on de light of de moon you hev nuthin but top. Whatever ter be made underneath de ground like turnips, potatoes, onions is ter be planted by de dark of de moon. Beans, peas, corn in de light of de moon.

“Yes, spit will cure, cause I had ringworms once en in de morning wen I woke up afore I spoke ter anyone I’d take spit en put on my face en hit sho cured de ringworms.”

Advertisements

Tale of Mary Wooldridge


Tale of Mary Wooldridge: (Clarksville Pike–Age about 103.)

“Mary and her twin sister were slaves born in Washington County, Kentucky, near Lexington, belonging to Bob Eaglin. When Mary was about fourteen years old she and her sister was brought to the Lexington slave market and sold and a Mr. Lewis Burns of the same County purchased her. Mary doesn’t know what became of her sister. Five or six years later she was again put on the block and sold to a Negro Trader but Mary does not remember this traders name. While here she was kept in a stockade and it was several years before she again was bought by a white man. Mr. Thomas McElroy near Lexington bought her and she remained his slave until the slaves were freed. Mary looks her age. She is a tall gaunt black Negro with white hair about one inch long and very kinky, and still she dresses as the older slave woman dressed in the past days. She wears an old bodice with a very full skirt that comes to her ankles and this skirt has very long deep pockets and when I asked her why she had such pockets in her skirt her answer was, “Wal you sees honey I jes am used ter dis dress and thar is no way foh youse to had me git shud of hit, dese pockets is powerful venient foh weh I goes inter some ones house why I turns dose pockets wrong side out and dat always brings me good luck.

Mary contends that she always wears three petticoats.

“Marse Thamos lived in a big log house wid a big plantation all around hit. He had three hundred slaves on de two plantations. Marse Thamos sho was good ter us niggers. No nigger mus whoop his stock wid a switch. “I’se heared him say many time don’t youse niggers whoop dese mules. How would you like to have me whoop you det way?” And he sho would whoop dem dem niggers if he cotched dem. Lawd have mercy who whould haw thot I’d be here all dis time. I’d thot I’d be ded and gone. All dese ole niggers try to be so uppity by jes bein raised in de house and cause dey was why
dey think is Quality. Some of dese nigger gals was raised in de house but most of dem was made work ebery whar on de plantation. My Massa has his nigger gals to lay fence worms, mak fences, shuck corn, hoe corn en terbacco, wash, iron, and de missus try to teach de nigger gals to sew and knit. But shucks niggers aint got no sense nuf ter do fancy things. Sometimes I tended de chilluns.

“Yah, yah, I sho do member Abraham Lincoln. My Missus and Massa did not like Mr. Lincoln, but pshaw, all de niggers did. I member him, I seed him once, soon after I was freed.

“Pshaw, dey was hard times durin de war, my Missus and sum of de nigger gals and de chilluns hae to stay in the woods several days ter keep way from de soldiers. Dey eat all de chickens and kilt the cows and tuk de horses and we sho scairt out dar wid dem varmints roving roun.

“Nigger aint got no business being sot free, niggers still oughter be slaves. Us niggers did not hev to bother bout de victuals sor nuthin.

“Wen my Missis called us niggers gether and told us we was free I was as happy as a skinned frog but you seed I didn’t have any sense. All niggers are fools. Now she says, she did, you can all stay here en work en we will pay you foh your work, or you can work foh some body else, but I hev raised you hones, and don’t you steal, and work foh nuf money
so you wont hev to steal it if youse gits hongry and haint got no money to buy vittals jus you ask de white folks foh hit and dey will giv hit to youse. Oh how I miss my Missis and Massa so much. Wish I hed dem now.

“Shucks on dese niggers and dar ways now. I lef de plantation my old Missus and Massa home and got on a steam boat on de Ohio Ribber and nursed de chillun foh de Captain and he’s wife on dat boat foh about two year. An den He, He, He, a nigger don got much sense, Miss Fannie an Mr. Harry Campbell whot paid me foh my work on de boat gives Five Dollars foh de work en I’se didn’t hev sense nuf ter know what ter do wid dis money. So I goes ter de store en buys me a cedar tub and filled hit wid candy. Miss Fannie gave me back de money foh de tub an den I ate nuf candy ter git sick and den Miss Fannie took de candy back to de store and she got my money back, she did.

“But shucks, I did not no whot ter do wid de money. Wen I lef Miss Fannie I rode to Henderson on a log raft en wen I got dar dey was a big circus and sum one was sayin, “de perade be here directly, He, He, He, I didn’t no whot dey meant, big ignorant fool dat I was and still is, en wen I seed de elephants and de uther varmints I ran like a big pop-eyed fool nigger cause I never seed such things. Dat day on de road in town I met my ole Missus McElroy en she had me ter help her wid de chilluns and tuk me ter de circus and wen I got in de tent and saw all de cages and things I was sho scairt of ebery thing till I seed dem babboons dem I felt all right and at home cause I jes knowed dey was my first cousins. I stayed in Henderson foh sometime working foh furst one and tother en den Mr. Henry Shackleford hired me en brung me to Christian County. Not long fore I was married ter Albert Wooldridge we sho had a big wedding. Zack Major a nigger preacher of de Baptist faith did de ceremony right here in Hopkinsville.

“Yes, sho I has ben a mid-wife or granny. All dese high falutin things dey is doin now in child birth is tommy-rot dey oughter hev jes grannies now. I livered more babies den most doctors sometimes de white folks had doctors but I don’t take no stock in dese doctors. De furst thing you does wen a new baby is born is ter let hit lay twenty minutes den cut de cord and dan grease a scortched rag wid lard jes hog lard en den put de belly band on den grease de baby all over. Neber wash de baby till tis over a week ole. Wen de babies had colic I’d take dirt dobber nest and make a tea, den giv did ter de baby. Sometimes If I couldn’t fin no dirt dobber nes I would git a spider web and make a tea den giv dis or else jes shake de baby by de heels. If folks would tend ter babies like dey uster why dese people now wouldn’t hev heart trouble.

“Sho I seed a ghost once, I soed Miss Annie Wooldridge after she died up here on Main St. I was jes settin on de back porch steps jes a lookin while da white folks was er eatin supper. Miss Annie allways got de eggs en I seed her dat day. She jes come thru de hen house door en hit was locked en den thru de pantry door and hit was locked en I jes called her
daughter and I knowed I seed her, sho, I did, it who was Miss Annie.

“Of course dar is hanted houses. De ole Sharp house were dat er way and all de Sharps were ded but dis house were empty. You neber did see anything but I sho had heared de doors slam en de silver rattle en at night in my cabin near to hit I’d sees lights bob up en down. Any body in dis town can tell you dats so foh dey tore dis house down ter run de
hants eraway.

“People don bother bout de moon much now but if dey would lissen ter de ole niters dey would always hev good crops. Now if you plant pertatoes by de dark of de moon you will always hev good crops en if you plant dem on de light of de moon den you hes all vine. Corn planted on de light de moon den you has a good crop. I’se knows cause I ken member fore de niggers wore freed you could jes plant by de moon and plant anything in God’s ground en by de moon en de crops would grow. Now dey jes buther up God’s ground en put ole stinky messy fertilizer on hit en de crops jes
burn up. Nobody oughter mess wid God’s ground.

“I’se a Publican who ever heared of a Democrat nigger. Nigger neber did own enything so dey cant be Democrats en if dey vote a Democrat ticket dey is jes votin a lie. Cause no nigger neber did own slaves only the old nigger slave traders and dey werent nuthin but varmints anyway. Ye jes has to hev owned slaves to vote a Democrat ticket en den no nigger eber did own slaves er hed nothing.”

(Mary lives in Clarksville, Pike R.R. #1, Hopkinsville, Kentucky)

HOO-DOOISM


CHRISTIAN CO. (Mamie Hanbery)

HOO-DOOISM

A snake head an’ er lizard tail, Hoo-doo; Not close den a mile o’ jail, Hoo-doo; De snake mus’ be er rattlin’ one, Mus’ be killed at set uv sun, But never while he’s on de run, Hoo-doo.

Before you get de lizard cot, Hoo-doo; You mus’ kill it on de spot, Hoo-doo; Take de tail an’ hang it up, Ketch de blood in a copper cup, An’ be sure it’s uv a pup, Hoo-doo.

Wait until sum stormy weather, Hoo-doo; Put de head an’ feet together, Hoo-doo; In a dry ol’ terrapin shell, Let ’em stay fer a good long spell, But don’t you ever try to sell, Hoo-doo.

De rattlers mus’ be jus’ seben, Hoo-doo; But mus’ not be ober leben, Hoo-doo; He mus’ be curl’d up fix’d to fight, But see dat you don’ let him bite, Den you hit w’en de time is right, Hoo-doo.

Ef you do, it’s power is dead, Hoo-doo; ‘Cause it is all right in de head, Hoo-doo; Save de head and de buttons, too, Fer de work you’ll have ter do, You will need ’em till you’re thru, Hoo-doo.

Ketch a live scorpen wid you han’, Hoo-doo; Drown in mare’s milk in a pan, Hoo-doo; Den dry it on a pure lime rock, Ninety-nine minutes by de clock, Hoo-doo.

Den git a hand which is a bag, Hoo-doo; Made uv any sort uv rag, Hoo-doo; An’ let de top be color’d blue, Den git de hair frum out de shoe, Hoo-doo.

Now we’n you find de folks ain’t well, Hoo-doo; An’ dey wants you to move de spell, Hoo-doo; Git your gredients together, Ster dem up wid a goose feather, In sum dark an’ cloudy weather, Hoo-doo.

Den put ’em in de hoo-doo bag, Hoo-doo; In dat little blue top rag, Hoo-doo; Den slip ’em in between de ticks, Ef you want de conjure fixed, Is de way you do de tricks, Hoo-doo.

Ef dey wants you to git ’em well, Hoo-doo; Dat is de han’ dat moves de spell, Hoo-doo; Take it out before der eyes, An’ you mus’ be awful s’prised, And dey will think dat you is wise, Hoo-doo.

Den lay right down on your back, Hoo-doo; Ef you hear de timbers crack, Hoo-doo; Den yer kno’s yer trick has won, Den you’ll ast er-bout de mon, For you kno’s yer work is done, Hoo-doo.

Now ef you wants de conjure fixt, Hoo-doo; All you do is to turn de tricks, Hoo-doo; Jes git dat bottle what you had, An’ to make your patient glad, Is but to make de conjurer mad, Hoo-doo.

Negro Holiness Meetings In Hopkinsville



Once a year a group of 200 or 300 negroes give a religious Camp Meeting in a field on the Canton Pike about one mile southeast of Hopkinsville. There is quite a settlement of negroes call themselves or their church the Holiness Church. They claim to be sanctified and cannot sin. A few nights ago I was invited to attend one of these meetings, the negroes reserve some benches under the tent for white people.

The night that I attended there were two preachers and it seems as though it is the duty of these preachers to bring their discourse to such a point as to play on the emotions of their congregation. The order of service begun with a hymn by the choir. The music for this consisted of a piano, banjo guitar and numerous tambourines. The negroes being naturally born with a great sense of rhythm the songs were not in the same tempo as the songs of the whites but were of a jazz tempo and with
the banjo and tambourines it makes one think of the stories of the African jungles. The services start around 7:30 P.M. and usually break up around midnight.

The negroes in about one hour after the services start being[TR: begin?] to testify and then after each testimony someone offers a prayer then by this time someone in the congregation will be worked up to the pitch of shouting “Glory Hallelulah”. “When this shout starts the tambourine players will begin shaking the tambourines and shortly the majority of the congregation would be shouting, moaning or praying. The tambourines players bounce around in time to the music. There were some excellent untrained voices, in the choir and the congregation. The mourners bench was always full of mourners and when one of the Mourners would begin to shout the “Workers” would then let the congregation know that this brother or sister had repented by saying “Lets pray for Bro. or Sister —-, for he or she had “Come Through”. The congregation would begin clapping their hands while this prayer was in progress and general moanings with one or both of the preachers praying at the same time why
this brother or sister is taken in to the flock to sin no more.

While the above is in progress there are other workers talking and singing to the rest of the mourners and when two or three “Come Through” at once there is great shouting rejoicing, clapping of hands and the tambourines continue to clang and the choir members dance and this process continues for hours or until the preachers become so exausted
with their exhortations and contortions that the meeting is adjourned.

Superstitions of the Negro Race:

In interviewing the different negroes in this community I have not found a single negro that could admit if I asked the direct question that they are the least bit superstitious. The following story happened in my experience with this race about ten years ago.

Fifteen years ago I purchased a farm from the estate of a gentleman that had committed suicide. It seems as though the gentleman took his gun and told the family that he was going to the tobacco barn to shoot rats. This barn was located a short distance from the main dwelling on the farm and then on the other side of this barn were three negro tenant houses.

My first trouble with negroes superstition was to get a tenant to inhabit the house nearest the barn. This cabin was in better repair and larger than the other two cabins and the hardest thing to do was to get a tenant or negro cropper to take this cabin.

They would give every excuse imaginable but the direct answer until finally one man I was trying to make a trade with admitted that “De cabin war ter clos ter de barn Mr. —- killed himself in.” Finally I prevailed on this man to move in by giving him a different garden spot, hog-pen and cowpen as these were still nearer the barn. In fact I moved those buildings thinking I would have an easier time gettin a tenant the next year.

Everything went along beautifully until time came to House the tobacco and not a negro cropper would use this barn for his tobacco. So I had my individual crop housed in this barn. As the type of tobacco mostly grown at that time was bark fired someone had to stay at the barn night and day to attend the fires and watch that a stick of tobacco did not drop in the blaze and burn the barn and contents. As long as my husband or myself stayed in or around the barn we did not have trouble with these darkies but sometimes it to attend to other matters on this farm and had to leave a hired negro in charge and as soon as we would get out of sight of the barn the negro would desert his post. It became evident that one or the other of us stay at this barn night and day until firing season was over. The same thing happened when the stripping season began. These conditions continued until a wind storm blew this barn down. Still I hoard some of the negroes express their thoughts.

Mr. G—- sho had no tention of dat barn standing. I had the tenants separate this lumber for different uses on the farm and the scrap lumber was to be taken to the cabin or the main dwelling to be used as kindling and not a negroe would use this kindling. One negro a tall black man around seventy years old said, “No dat wood wont burn”. I asked, “Why”? He said, “Mr. G—- would sho hant me if I teched a single piece of dat wood ter burn.” So naturally the main dwelling had a bountiful supply of kindling.

This farm was watered by a big spring and branch that ran along behind the stables and near this particular barn and this branch run into a big sink hole and then through a small crevice underground. Once cold and disagreeable winter something blocked this crevice and the waters soon overflowed the sink hole and extended all over the lowlands near. The winter was severely cold and this water began to moderate and a light drizzle of rain was falling and most of the tenants on the farm had
retired for the night when suddenly this ice on the stream broke up and in some manner the crevice had been opened and the sound from this water going in its course underground was terrific. My family as well as myself were very much frightened. No one can imagine the commotion that existed at the cabins on the tenant row near the stream. Negroes poured
from the cabins in all manners of dress or undress even the cold weather did not tempt them to take time to don shoes and hose but came to the back door of my house some crying and moaning and praying, and if there is such a thing as a pale negro these darkies were certainly pale, eyes rolling and the majority of them wanting to leave the farm before daybreak or by that time anyway or else staying in our home all night. Fires were made in the kitchen and they congregated there and most of
them remained there all night. One old negro said or acted as spokesman or the crowd. “Dat all this crowd of niggers need dat Mr. G—- was afer dem and meant foh dem to move or git.”

My husband took one or two of the older men with lanterns and made an investigation. When they reached the branch the overflow was gone and there was no evidence that there had been any water over these fields except for the large blocks of ice that was lying in the field.

With much persuading and cajoling the majority of these negroes went to their cabins that night and the most skeptical stayed in my kitchen all the rest of the night. But peace and quiet reigned once more and from that day as long as these tenants remained with me I did not have any trouble with them being superstitious but each time the tenants were changed the same superstitions had to be met with and their fears had to be quieted.

Story of Easter Sudie Campbell


CHRISTIAN CO.
(
Mamie Hanbery) [HW: Ky 3]

Story of Easter Sudie Campbell, (age about 72, Webber St., Hopkinsville, Ky.)

Born in Princeton, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, her parents were slaves, the property of Will and Martha Grooms of Princeton.

Aunt Easter as she is called has followed the profession of a mid-wife for forty years. She is still active and works at present among the negroes of Hopkinsville.

“Yes, sho, I make my own medicines, humph, dat aint no trouble. I cans cure scrofula wid burdock root and one half spoon of citrate of potash. Jes make a tea of burdock root en add the citrate of potash to hit. Sasafras is good foh de stomach en cleans yer out good. I’se uses yeller percoon root foh de sore eyes.

“Wen I stayed wid Mrs. Porter her chaps would break out mighty bad wid sores in de fall of de year and I’se told Mrs. Porter I’se could core dat so I’se got me some elder berries en made pies out of hit en made her chaps eat hit on dey war soon cored.

“If twont foh de white folks I sho would hev a hard time. My man he jes wen erway en I haint neber seed him ergin en I’se had five chilluns en de white folks hev heped me all dese years. Dese trifling niggers dey wont hepe dey own kind of folks. If youse got de tooth ache I makes a poultice of scrape irish pertatoes en puts hit on de jaw on de side de tooth is aching en dat sho takes de fever out of de tooth. I’se blows terbacco smoke in de ear en dat stops de ear ache.

“Wen I goes on er baby case I jest let nature hev hits way. I’se alays teas de baby de first thing I does is ter blow my breath in de baby’s muff en I spanks it jes a little so hit will cry den I gives hit warm catnip tea so if hit is gwine ter hev de hives dey will break out on hit. I alays hev my own catnip en sheep balls foh sum cases need one kind of tea en sum ernother. I give sink field tea ter foh de colic. Hit is jes good fuh young baby’s stomach. I’se been granning foh nigh unter forty year en I’se only lost two babies, dat war born erlive. One of dese war de white man’s fault, dis baby war born wid de jaundice en I tolds dis white man ter go ter de store en git me sum calomel en he says, “whoeber heard of givin a baby sech truck”, an so dat baby died.

“Of course youse can tell wheder the baby is gwine ter be a boy er girl fore tis born. If de mother carries dat child more on de left en high up dat baby will be a boy en if she carries hit more ter de middle dat will be a girl. Mothers oughter be more careful while carrying dar chilluns not ter git scared of enthing foh dey will sho mark dar babies wid turrible ugly things. I knows once a young wooman war expecting en she goes black-berry hunting en er bull cow wid long horns got after her en she was so scairt dat she threw her hands ober her head en wen dat baby boy war born he hed to nubs on his head jes like horns beginning ter grow so I’se hed her call her doctor en dey cuts dem off. One white wooman I’se waited on like hot choclate en she alays wanted more she neber hed nuff of dat stuff en one day she spills sum on her laig en it jes splotched en burned her en wen dat gal war born she hed a big brown spot on her laig jes like her Mammy’s scar frum de burn. Now you see I noes yer ken mark de babies.

“Dar war a colored wooman once I’se waited on dat hed to help de white folks kill hogs en she neber did like hog liver but de white folks told her ter take one home en fix hit foh her supper. Well she picked dat thing up en started off wid hit en hit made her feel creepy all ober en dat night her baby war born a gal child en de print of er big hog-liver war standing out all ober one side of her face. Dat side of her face is all blue er purplish en jes the shape of a liver. En hits still dar.

“I’se grannied ober three hundred chilluns en I noes wat I’se talking about.

“Hee! Hee! Hee! One day dar war a circus in Hopkinsville en er black wooman I’se war ergoing ter wait on war on de street to watch foh de parade en wid de bands er playing en de wild varmits en things dis woman give birth ter dat girl chile on de corner of Webber and Seventh St. Dat gal sho got er funny name ‘Es-pe-cu-liar’. (I did not get the drift of the story so I asked her what was so funny about the name. Of course it is a name I have never heard before so the following is what the girls Mother said about it to Aunt Easter. M.D. Hanbery)

“Well the gals Mammy thought hit war jes peculiar dat, dat happened wen she war er looking at the parade. (So this woman Especuliar is still in Hopkinsville and her story is known in quite a few of the older circles.)

“Yah! Yah! I sho remember how de ole folks uster dress. De women wore hop skirts en de men wore tight breeches. De night gowns war made on er yoke aufull full en big long sleeves wid a cuff at de hand en a deep hem at de bottom of de gown, dese gowns war made of domestic en wen dey war washed en starched en ironed dey wur be so stiff dey could stand erlone.” De men en de women both wore night caps. If de gown war a dress up gown why dey war home made knit en crochet lace in de front en lots en lots of tucks some of dem had deep ruffles on dem at the bottom.

“Wen my Pappy kum home from de war, he war on de “Govmint” side he brung a pistol back wid him dat shot a ball dey hed caps on hit en used dese in de war. De Ku Klux jum after him one night en he got three of dem wid dis pistol, nobody eber knowed who got dose Kluxes.

Ghosts—-

“Sho dar is ghosts. One night es I war going home from work de tallest man I eber seed followed me wid de prettiest white shirt on en den he passed me, en waited at de corner I war a feeling creepy en wanter run but jes couldn’t git my laigs ter move en wen I’se git ter de corner war he war I said ‘Good Ebening’ en I seed him plain es day en de did not speak en jes disappeared right fore my eyes.

“Den ergin I went ter de fish pond one day fishing en cotched two or three big fish wen I went home thot I’d go back dat night en I begun to dig sum fishing worms en my boss he saw me en axed, ‘Wot I doing’. I told him I war ergoing ter de pond ter fish dat night. He said ‘don you go ter dat pond ternight Easter foh if you does something will run you erway.’ I jes laughed at him en dat night I en my boy wese goes ter d pond en as we war er standing in dar quiet like we heared something squeeching like er new saddle en er horses er trotting. We listened en waited wen something wen inter dat pond right twixt us liker er ball er fire. Weums sho did leave dar an de next morning my boss axed me if we cotched enthing en we told him wot we saw en he said he knowed weums would be run erway foh he war run erway hisself.

“Course dar is hainted houses dese haints in dese places jes wont leave you erlone. Wen I’se war er living in Princeton, Uncle Lige my Mammy’s brother en I’se moved in er cabin one Christmas day en war ergoing ter stay dar en dat night we war er setting bore de fire en de fire light war es bright as day, wen I looks up at de wall foh I hears er scratching noise en dar war er big white cat on de wall wid all he’s hair standing on dat cat jos jumps from wall ter de nother en Uncle Lige en me jes open dat cabin door en started ter de tother cabins on de place en we deed dat thing dat war bigger den eny cat I eber seed jes
come thru dat door in de air en hit de front gate, dis gate hed er iron weight on hit so hit would stay shot en dis thing hit at de top den wen erway. No I neber seed whar hit went. Dis gate jes banged en banged all night. We could heat from de tother cabin. Uncle Liga en me moved erway next day en other people moved in dis cabin en dey saw de same thing en nobody would stay dar. Dem some time after dis diz cabin war torn down.

“Once I hed a dream I knowed I ner bout saw hit. I alays did cook ebery night er pot er beans on de fire foh de chilluns ter eat next day while I war at work en Lizzie my daughter uster git up in de night en git her some beans en eat dem en dis dream war so real dat I couldn’t tell if hit war Lizzie er no but dis wooman jes glided by my bed en went afore de fire en stood dar den she jes went twixt my bed en went by de wall. I jes knowed wen I woke up dat my child was sick dat lived erway from home en wanted my son ter take me ter see her. He said he would go hisself en see so he wen en wen he come back he hed a headache en fore morning dat nigger war dead. So you see dat war de sign of da dream. I war jes warned in de dream en didn’t hev sense nuff ter know hit.”

Scott Mitchell


BREATHITT CO.

As told by Scott Mitchell, a former slave:
Scott Mitchell, claims his age as somewhere in the 70’s but his wool is white on the top of his head. Negroes don’t whiten near as quickly as white people, evidently he is nearly 90, or there-a-bouts.

“Yes’m I ‘members the Civil Wah, ’cause I wuz a-livin’ in Christian County whah I wuz bohn, right wif my masteh and mistress. Captin Hester and his wife. I wuz raised on a fahm right wif the, then I lef there.

“Yes, Cap’n Hester traded my mother an my sister, ‘Twuz in 1861, he sent em tuh Mississippi. When they wuz ‘way from him ’bout two years he bot em back. Yes, he wuz good tuh us. I wuz my mistess’ boy. I looked afteh her, en she made all uv my cloes, en she knit my socks, ’cause I wuz her niggah.

“Yes, I wuz twenty yeahs old when I wuz married. I members when I wuz a boy when they had thet Civil Wah. I members theah wuz a brick office wheah they took en hung colohed folks. Yes, the blood wuz a-streamin’ down. Sumtimes theah hung them by theah feet, sometimes they hung them by theah thumbs.

“I cum tu Kentucky coal mines when I wuz ’bout twenty years old. I worked for Mistah Jenkins. I worked right here et the Davis, the R.T. Davis coal mine, en at the Bailey mine; that was a-fore Mistah Bailey died.

“When I worked for Mistah Davis he provided a house in the Cutt-Off, that’s ovah wheath the mine’s at. We woaked frum 7 o’clock in the mawnin’ til 6 ‘clock at night. Yes, I sure liked tuh woak for Mistah Davis. I tended fuahnaces some, too. I sure wuz sorry wen Mistah Davis died.”

Kate Billingsby


Kate Billingsby, Ex-slave, according to a record in a Bible the Buckners gave her when she married was born in 1828. She was owned by Frank and Sarah Buckner. Born in this County and has spent her life in and around Hopkinsville. She lives on what is known as the Gates Mill Road about one half mile east of US 41E and owns her own home.

Aunt Kate as she is generally called is a small black negro and in going into her home you will find it furnished in lovely antique furniture in a disreputable state of repair. She met me with a dignity and grace that would be a credit to any one of the white race to copy, illiterate though she may be. Her culture and training goes back to the old Buckner family, at one time one of the most cultured families in Christian County. She is not a superstitious negro. Being born a Buckner slave, she was never sold and her manners and ways proclaim that she surely must have been raised in “De white folks house” as she claims, being a maid when old enough, to one of Frank Buckner’s daughters. She stated, “Dese Buckners war sho good to me, eben now dey chilluns comes to see me and always bring me something. Dey don let my taxes lapse am I’se neber widout somting to eat.” My man and I was married by Mr. Alexander at McClain College. I was de cook an he was the janitor. My man followed his Massa in de Secess War. If he was a livin’ now he would be 110 years
old, he bin ded ’round fifteen year.”

No I’se done believe in no ghosts hants or anything of that kind my white folks being “quality”. I’se been raised by “quality”! Why I’se “quality nigger”. “Wen any of my folks git sick or eny of my white folks de doctor would always bee sent foh.”

(Her address is: R.R. #2, Hopkinsville, Ky.)