Oklahoma Slave Narrative
When he first get sick he was worried about the Federals
coming and taking his money. He had gold and silver around the house, heaps of
it. He stack it on the floor in long rows to count it before he sack it up
getting ready to hide it from the soldiers or the stealing bands that rove
around the country. The money was buried by the master and
an old slave man who was the most trusted one on the place. Folks heard about
the money being buried and after master died some white man get hold of the old
slave and try to make it tell where it was buried. The man heated an old ax and
burn the old slave's feet, but he never told. Not until young
Master Dick come back from the war.
Young master was full of grieving when he find his daddy
dead and the money gone. The old slave ask him, "What you worry so for,
Master Dick ?'
Master Dick just set there on the porch, face buried in his hands. 'Everything
lost in the war,' the young master groaned. 'My daddy is gone, the money is all
gone, don't know what me and mama will do.' 'Hush!
Young Master Dick, I show where is the money hid. I show you that, but I can't
bring back your old daddy; I can't bring back the old master.'
After freedom some of the slaves kept on with old mistress
and young Dick, working for good wages. Right after
the war I come to Fort Gibson. Camped in a tent house made of elm bark. A Creek
Indian drifter moved out and we moved in. Lived
about one-half mile from the garrison. Been around here ever since. Once I lived
in Jesse James cave at McBride Switch they
calls it nowadays; another time I live on a patch of ground where folks say
Cherokee Bill (Crawford
Goldsby) , hanged in 1896, by order of Judge Parker's court at Fort
Smith), had a battle with officers on Fourteen-Mile Creek.
When I get to thinking about slave days always I remember of
the slaves that run away. Master Bean had a
white overseer, but he didn't allow for no
whippings, 'cept maybe he cuff a young one around if he done something real mean
or maybe sometimes he sell one for the same reason. Whippings, like some of them
rich owners did, No! The old master's hide get all turned around if somebody hit
a Negro. He'd let nobody chunk 'em around. But the ones that run away, well,
they get the dogs after 'em. Blood hounds they call 'em, and if a slave be gone
two days say, the dogs was used to track, and the masters would say, 'If we
don't catch them on this farm catch 'em on the next!'
One time I saw a slave whipped on another plantation. He was
a new slave, what I mean, they had just bought him and the overseer said the
whipping was 'just to break him in!' First they beat him with a whip, then with
a strap, after tieing him to a log. Peeled off his shirt and laid on with the
whip, and then pour salt and pepper water over him so's his back would sting and
burn. I see them use blood-hounds a long time after
the war. That's when the store safe was robbed at Melvin (Oklahoma), not far
from where I live. Went to town when I heard about it, and they brought the dogs
in to trail the robber. Them blood hounds look like fat cur dogs to me, but they
starts out trailing and pretty quick they's barking and howling at a colored
man's house. Somebody yelled, 'We got him!' But when
they all get to where the dogs are they found then all fighting over the
pickings of the scrap bucket! And the robber is still free.
A black wool suit and a white poplin shirt, them's my
wedding clothes. Got them from the store at Fort Gibson. I married
Louisa Alberty ; she was a free. Worked for
Reverend Dunkin , she did, who was our
preacher at the wedding. Married Mary Rogers
the next time. There was lots of children, can't
remember all the names. Minnie ,
Linda , John ,
Jack , Tom
, Potum , lots more than that, can't
remember. I belong to the colored Baptist church
because I want a good resting place when I go; if they is such a place as hell
it don't seem like such a good resting place to me.
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