Texas Slave Narrative
My mammy and pappy cum from Alabama wid de Mullins fambly befo' de Civil War. I forgot de name of de oldest Mullins , but he had three boys, dey was Ben , Porter an' Issac . Porter Mullins had a son named Tom dat I belonged to, dis Tom Mullins went to de Civil War wid de company dat was organized in Waco wid a young man by de name of Ryan for dey Captain. I 'members dey was de young men from de community near de Tehuacana creek, in de Brazos bottom whar we all lived, some of dey names dat was in dis company, was W. W. Dunklin , de son of de ole man Dunklin who had a plantation jes back of de Harrison place, Tom Mullins an' a young man by de name of Downs from Waco an' young Billingsley , from de Billingsley plantation farther down de river near Marlin. Den de Ross lived in dis community too, an' you knows about de young Captain Sul Ross who was de Captain of de Ranger Campany an' who fought de Indians an' brought back some of de w'ite folks children, dat he took away from de Indians, dey was one little curley haired girl dat he brought home once, an' never did find out who she was, his mother raised her. Den dey was de capture of Cynthia Ann Parker from de Comanches over at Parkers Fort dat every body knows about. Dis Sul Ross after dis, was de governor of Texas you knows, an' hit was in dis community dat his decendants lived. Dey was Shapley Ross , who married one of de ole General Harrison's girls, den Dr. Dunklin's girl Rena married de son of Captain John H. Harrison , an' Allison Harrison , an' one of de Harrison girls married Ab Bedwell , de son of old Dr. Bedwell . As yer go on down de Brazos an' de Tehucanan Creek yer will find dat de Mullins an' de Billingsley families cum next, de Mullins fambly dat I belonged to was connected wid de Morgan fambly dat was massacred by de Indians in what dey called de Marlin-Morgan Massacre. If yer 'member about dis, dey was a little girl named Stacy Ann Morgan de Indians left for dead, but she rolled under de floor of de cabin w'en dey was killin' de famblies, an' jes she an' her little brother dat hid in de brush out by de lot fence an' de one dat run to de nearest settlement to give de alarm, was all dat escaped. Well dis little girl lived to raise a fambly of her own an' she had a daughter named Nancy who married Issac Mullins , an' dey had a son dey named Porter Mullins who lives at Reisel Texas to dis day. Dis Porter Mullins has de pipe dat his gran-mammy, Stacy Ann Morgan , smoked as she would sit in de corner by de fireplace an' tell de chillun an' de gran-chillun about dem days w'en de Indians would make dey raids, so dese stories is 'bout all de ones dat I kin 'member 'bout de things dat was handed down to us little nigger chillun's.
But befo' I tell yer de stories of de Indians I will tell yer a little more 'bout de folks an' how dey lived dat I knew w'en I was growin' up. One of dese things dat I 'members was 'bout how dey had desperadoes in Texas, de one dat I 'members de best was 'bout how de desperado by de name of Bill Longley killed Thaddow Rice , who was de father of Missus Porter Mullins of Reisel. De Rice's had a dance at dey house an' dis desperado named Longley got into a quarrel wid one of de boys at de dance an' de man who was givin' de dance, Mr. Rice tried to make him be quiet an' dis Longley pulled out his gun an' shot him, den dey wounded dis Longley but he made his escape an' dey finally caught him at Giddings Texas, tried him an' hung him. Dey is a story 'bout how dat w'en dey went to hang him, de crowd had wimmen an' men bof' from all over de country an' dey crowded up to see him hung, an' he called out, Stan' back gentlemen an' let de ladies see de show.
Den I kin 'member hearin' ole man Jim Capps , dat lived over near Marlin, tell 'bout how he would ride his horse into Waco, an' how one time he was offered a block of land between de two bridges for his horse an' saddle, but he would not trade, for de horse an' saddle was worth more dan de land to him den. De way de men traded was dey stock, dey did'nt bother 'bout if dey had any money or not, if dey had anything at all in de way of stock, horses, cattle, sheep, mules, cotton or corn, dis is de way dey traded. Ole General Harrison first built a saw-mill an' a gin over between Manos an' Tehuacana creek, after de Harrisons had died den dey was de Punchards, de father of Mr. Ed. Punchard dat owned one, I suppose hit was de same ones, maybe built over a little bit. De folks from all up an' down de bottom cum's to de gin to gin dey cotton, an' dey bring's dey lumber to de saw-mill, an' de grain to de grist-mill. Dey carried de cotton an' de things to sell from de plantations to Waco after de Houston an' Texas Central Railroad cum, long time befo' an' some times after dis, dey had sent hit by wagons trains to Houston to de market's. De very first trading place for all de country was over on de old Tehuacana-Tradin' House, dat in de early days was run by Torrey Brothers from Houston. Yes Mam I has heard dem talk 'bout hit, dey was a Mr. Kendall dat was lookin' after de land after de ole Tradin' House burned, an' a lawyer named Sleeper from Waco after Mr. Kendall . I has heard dem tell 'bout how de old house was built of logs an' de windows was called port-holes, up high in de wall so w'en de Indians made any raids dey could stand up an' look out de windows to shoot. De Tehuacana Creek has always been several miles wide at dis place, w'en de big rains an' de overflows cum, so w'en General Harrison an' de folks up an' down de Brazos bottom built dey houses dey built on de higher groun', so dey would not have to move de folks every time hit cum's de big spring overflows, but lower down near what is de town of Marlin dey built on de plantations for de land was level farther out, so dey has always had to move de niggers in de cabins out.
In de days w'en de slaves belonged to de w'ite folks, dey all had dey different places in de plantation. Dey all had dey own station to de Master an' de Mistis an' dey fambly. De house servants was what de Master an' de Mistis called a different "class", dey was above de fiel'-hands, de house servants called dem "corn-field niggers", in de house servants, dey was de mammy, de butler, de body-servant, de coachman, de ladies-maids, de cook, de gardner, an' den on down was de boys an' girls dat was in tradin' for de oldest ones places if dey is sold or leave.
In de fiel's dey had de head men or de overseer who told de slaves what to do, but in de plantations dat I was aroun' de old Master himself saw to what dey did too. On de plantation was de cabins dey called de quarters, I kin see in my mind de old Uncle Bill , he was de coachman, to my mind no one could begin to hold de horses reins like he did, for de high steppin' horses was spirited an' hard to hold. Den dey was his cobblers bench for he was de harness maker an' de cobbler, an' his coopers bench for he made de piggin's an' de pails for de Missus milkmaids. An' at de w'ite folks races in de later years I has oftin wished dat uncle Bill could have been there to tell dem a few things 'bout horses. Uncle Bill lived forty years after de war was over, but he lived on wid de old an' de new Masters of de old plantation an' w'en he died de w'ite an' de black folks bof' cum to his funeral. Each cabin had its little yard an' garden an' each fambly had its chicken house an' yard at de back. De w'ite folks called de servants "My servants" or "My people" an' de masters an' his wife was called "De Master an' de Mistis", sometimes dey say "My w'ite folks", is de way dey call de ones dey work for at dis day. It was from de ole plantation mammies dat we learned de stories of "Uncle Remus an' Brer Fox, an' dey was de ones dat would tell us an' de w'ite chillun how to behave at de table, one of dey old sayin' dat I kin 'member to dis day was, "Good manners will carry you whar money wont". De next to mammy in de house was de butler, he was de one dat de boys had to ask if dey might have dey company, what ever de limit to company hit was due to de fact dat de servants had to be considered. I 'member in one of de famblies on de Brazos dat dey was a butler by de name of Joe, dey used to call him to de room whar de w'ite chillun was sick to make dem take dey medicine. I 'member one time dat dey had de measles an' dey was havin' a time wid keepin' dem in dey beds an' hit was Unc' Joe dat told dem de stories dat made dem keep quiet so dey git well.
Mos every one of de plantations had some who was always runnin' away, dey would run away if dey was crossed in dey love affairs, dey would run away if dey was whipped, an' dey was whipped w'en dey was lazy an' would'nt work. Den w'en he was whipped he would be good worker an' not run away for awhile, den w'en de spirit to run away git him all hebben an' earth could not stop him, until he was treed by de hounds. But dey did not use de hounds on my ole Masters plantation, he did not have so many but what dey liked to stay wid him an' did not run away but de Brazos bottom was a good place for de run-a-way slaves to hide an' sometimes dey would cum from way down in Texas an' live up in de Tehuacana an' de Brazos bottom wid de Indians, den hit was said dat de Mexicans down on de border would git de slaves to run away befo' de Civil War cum. W'en de young men went to de war dey had a hard time a decidin' which one of de young slave boys was to go wid him, for dey all wanted to go. I kin 'member de story of how de w'ite folks from Waco an' de town of Marlin cum to de Brazos bottom to hunt, an' my Massa Tom Mullins would go wid dem, dey was Unc' Alec dat had charge of de stables, some times w'en he would drive up de cows from de pasture he would carry his old gun an' shoot some rabbits. One time dey was some of de hunters cum down from Waco an' Massa Tom went huntin' wid dem, Ole Alec say Massa Tom, dont you shoot any of dem rabbits down in de bottom, de birds is gittin' so dey fly fas' for me, but I takes my gun an' sometimes I kill a rabbit w'en I go after cows. Uncle Alec goes on about his wuk an' he forget about de hunters, de hunters goes on down de Tehuacana Creek an' dey kill all de doves dey want, w'en direckly an' old Jack rabbit run out in front of Massa Tom , an' befo' Massa Tom know what he do he fires away an' shoot de rabbit den he thinks of what Uncle Alec tell him 'bout not shootin' any of dem, he is so skeered dat Uncle Alec will be angry wid him dat he put hit way down in de bottom of de bag of game. W'en dey git to de house Uncle Alec say what you got look so big in dat bag? an' Massa Tom say Oh, we kill a lot of birds an' doves down there. Uncle Alec know from a little boy w'en Massa Tom is tryin' to git out of anythin', so he goes an' look in de bag, pokes down in de bottom an' pulls out de Jack rabbit, he looks at Massa Tom so sorrowful, den he say Massa Tom , times is sho' changed, yer pappy would not have told me a lie for a hoss, let 'lone for a ole Jack rabbit. Dis was Massa Tom Mullins , w'en he was a young man.
I started to tell yer 'bout de boys goin' to de war, Massa Tom Mullins was in Hood Texas Brigade wid de company dat I tole yer 'bout from Waco, de captain's name was Ryan. I has heard him talk 'bout de battle of Bunker Hill an' Gettysburg so I think dat he was in dem bof'. I know dat he was wounded in de shoulder an' hit give him trouble all his life. After he cum home from de war he married a Miss Lizzie Strange , dey had several chillun's but jes one is still livin' Charley Mullins of Reisel. After Mistis Lizzie Strange died he married Mistis Sallie Jackson , who was a Mistis W. A. Frazell an' was livin' in de Brazos bottom at de time she married Massa Tom Mullins on de ole Frazell had several chillun w'en she married Massa Tom , dey was Mistis L. M. Turner , Reisel , Mrs. Irene Gillespie Reisel , R. S. Frazelle an' W. A. Frazelle , Mart . De ole man Frazelle , who was de father of dese chillun was a cavalry man in de Civil War, wid de First Texas, an' was wounded in battle, but he lived to cum home, I does not 'member whar he was in dese battles but hit was somewhar back in de old States, for I kin 'member him gittin a fourlough an' cumin' home on horseback, an' how he had to dodge de bushwhackers an' how he had to sleep at night in de nigger cabins to keep from bein' captured by de Yankees. Den dey was de days w'en Massa Tom Mullins , Captain John H. Harrison , Dr. W. W. Dunklin , Ab Bedwell , Shell Hogan , an' de two Ross Boys, Pete an' Bob Ross , brothers of Gov. Sul Ross , an' Shapley Ross , an' I think one of de Billingsley boys, would meet at old Proctor Springs in Waco, whar dey would have a reunion an' as dey would live de days of de war over again in stories, dey would take a sociable drink an' de one dat could 'member de most stories of de war was de one who won de drinks on de other fellows, dey forget all de hard times an' 'members jes de good times. But I kin 'member two who went to de war an' did'nt cum back an' dey was Lott an' Oliver Strange , dey was both killed, but dey left dey chillun to take up dey lives for dem. Lott was de father of Mistis Lizzie Strange dat Massa Tom first married, den dey was Mistis Carrie who married Massa Shelton , an' Mistis Rachel an' de one who married Massa John Punchard , (Mistis Mary ). Dese three daughters is still livin' in de town of Mart, Texas, an' dey had two brothers named will an' Robert Strange , de last one is dead, but Massa Will is still livin' at Mart too.
I has told yer 'bout de life on de plantation befo' de Civil War, de way de slaves an' de w'ite folks dat we call de quality lived, an' den 'bout dem goin' to de war, an' 'bout de ones dat cum back an' de ones who did'nt, how dey has gone on wid dey lives an' how dey folks dat dey leave to follow de trail dat de pioneers made for dem, has kept on de way de trail leads dem. As de ones who made dis trail has left dey names in de pages of de history of de days of de trail blazin' we jes hope de ones of dese famblies will follow in de trail dey fore-fathers made. I often look upward an' wonder, if de green fiel's will seem half so fair, if any de wrong has taken, An' fail to "be in" over there.
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