Oklahoma Slave Narrative
I was 80 years old the 18th of March. I was born in 1849,
at Jackson Parish, Louisiana. My mother's name was Mary
Marlow , and father's Henry Marlow
. I can't remember very much 'bout slavery 'cause I was
awful small, but I am remember that my mother's master,
Colonel Threff died, and my mother, her husband, and as three
chillun was handed down to Colonel Threff's
'poor en folks. Colonel Threff owned about
two or three hundred head of niggers. and all or 'em was tributed to his poor
kin. Ooh wee! he sho' had fact a lot of them too! Master
Joe Threff , one of his poor kin, took my nether, her husband, and
three of us chillun from Louisiana to the Mississippi Line.
Down there we lived in a one-room log hut, and slept on
homemade rail bad steads with cotton, and sometimes straw, mostly straw summers
and cotton winners. I worked round the house and locked after de smaller chillun,
I mean my mother's chillun. Mostly we ate yeller meal corn bread and sorghum
molasses. I ate possums when we could get 'em, but jest couldn't stand rabbit
meat. Didn't know there was any Christmas or holidays in dem days.
I can't 'membuh nothing 'bout no churches in slavery. I was
a sinner and loved to dance. I remembuh I was on the floor one night dancing and
I had four daughters on the floor with me and my son was playing de music ---
that got me! I jest stopped and said I wouldn't cut another step and I haven't.
I'm a member of the Baptist Church and been for 25 or 50 years. I jined 'cause I
wanted to be good 'cause I was an awful sinner.
We had a overseer back on Colonel
Threff's plantation and my mother said he was the meanest man on
earth. He'd jest go out in de fields and beat den niggers, and my mother told me
one day he come out in de field heating her sister and she jumped on him and
nearly beat him half to death and old Master come up jest in time to see it all
and fired dat overseer. Said he didn't want no man working fer him dat a woman
could whip. After de war set us free my pappy moved
us away and I stayed round down there till I got to be a grown woman and
married. You know I had a pretty fine nodding 'cause my pappy had worked hard
and commenced to be prosperous. He had cattle, hogs, chickens and all those
things like that.
A college of dem niggers got together and packed up to leave
Louisiana. Me and my husband went with them. We had covered wagons, and let me
tell you I walked nearly all the way from Louisiana to Oklahoma. We left in
March but didn't git here till May. We came in search of education. I got a
pretty fair education down there but didn't take care of it. We come to Oklahoma
looking for de same thing then that darkies go North looking for now. But we got
dissapointed. What little I learned I quit talking care of it and seeing after
it and lost it all. I love to fish. I've worked hard
in my days. Washed and ironed for 30 years, and paid for dis home that way. Yes
sir, dis is my home. My mother died right here in dis house. She was 111 years
old. She is been dead 'bout 20 yeahs. I have three
daughters here married, Sussie Pruitt ,
Bertie Shannon , and
Irene Freeman . Irene lost her
husband, and he's dead now.
I was 88 years old 15th of last March.
Born March 15, 1839 at Jackson Parish, La. My mother's name is Mary, lets see, I
can't remembah very much 'bout slavery 'cause you know I was awful small, but I
can remembuh that my mother's master, Colonel Threff
died, an' my mother, her husband and we three chillun was handed down to
Colonel Threff's po' kin folks. Chile
Colonel Threff owned about two or three
hundred head o' niggers, and all of 'em was tributed to his po' kin. Ooh wee! he
had jest a lot o' dem po' kin. Marster Joe Threff, one of his po' kin took my
mother, her husband an' three of us chillun fum Louisiana to the Mississippi
line.Down thar I worked 'round the house an' looked aftah de smaller chillun, I
mean my mother's chillun. We lived in a one room log
hut, an' slept on homemade rail bed steads wid cotton, an' sum times straw,
mos'ly straw summers an' cotton winners.
My mother died rite heah in dis house. She was 111 yeahs
old. She been dead 'bout 20 yeahs. Did'n no any Crismus was in dem days.
I got great great gran' chillun heah, rite heah.
We et yeller meal corn bread an' sorgum malasses. I et
'possums but couldn stan' rabbit. I can't membuh nuthin' 'bout no churches in
slavery. I was a sinner an' luv to dance I remembuh I was on the floor one nite
dancing an' I had fo' dauters on the floor wid me an' mah son was playing de
music. That got me, I jest stopped and said I woulden cut another step.
Know nothing 'bout Abe Lincoln. Heard of 'im.
Know nothing 'bout Jeff Davis
. Heard of 'im. Mary Marlow , an' father
Henry Marlow . Know nothing 'bout
Booker T. Washington . Heard of 'im.
Know nothing 'bout patterollers. Heard 'em talkin' 'bout 'em.
Yas, we had a overseers an' my mother said he was the
meanest man on earth. He'd jest go out in de fields and beat dem niggers, an' my
mother tole me one day he come out in de field beatin' her sister an' she jumped
on 'im an' nelly beat 'im half to death an' ole Marster come up jest in time to
see it all an' fired dat overseer. Said he diden want no man working fer 'im dat
a woman could whip. Remembuh jest a little 'bout de
war. De soljers had on blue clothes. Membuh lot of talk 'bout 4th of August.
My pappy moved us away an' I stayed 'roun down dare 'till I
got to be a grown woman an' married. You know I had a pretty fare weddin' 'cause
my pappy had worked hard an' commence to be prospus. He had cattle, hogs,
chickens an' all dat. A college of dem niggers got
togedder an' pack up to leave Louisiana in March. We
had covered wagons, an' chile let me tell you I walked nelly all the way fum
Louisana to Oklahoma. We left in March, diden git heah 'till May. Came in sech
of ejecation. I got a pretty fare ejecation down dar but diden take care of it.
We come to Oklahoma looking for de same thang then dat darkies go north looking
fer now. We got dissipinted. I luv to fish. Chile
I've worked hard in my days. Washed an' ironed for thirty years. Paid fur dis
home. Yes dis is my home. Never did go to school
'till aftah the surrender. Commence going to school in Memphis. What little I
learnt I quit takin' care of it and seeing aftah it an' lost it all.
I'm a membuh of the Baptist Church an' been for 25 or thirty
years. I jined 'cause I wanted to be good 'cause I was a awful sinner. I have
three dauters here married. You know Sussie Pruitt
, don'tcha? Bertie Shannon an' Irene
Freeman. Irene lost her husband.
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