Texas Slave Narratives

Texas Slave Narrative

  Lucendy Griffen

The slave story of Lucendy Griffen as told by her.

I'se born in North Carolina and I'se 80 years old. My fathers name was Alex Griffen and mother's name Carolina Griffen . They was brought to Africa when they was small. I'se had brother name Tom , one name George , one name Jim , then I'se had a sister name Sally , and one Allen . Boss, we had great times when we young. We play hide and seek, wolf over the river. Master he sells Tom and the new master he left that county and I'se never heard from Tom since that day. We have good quarters. They was built down under a bluff and all the front end was rocked in our bed. They was built in one corner of the room and we have dry moss to sleep on. I'se don't remember my great parents cause they was raised in Africa and they turn their children aloose when they gets four or five years old and lets them rustle for their selves. I'se never did very much work in slavery days. What work I did was cooking and hoeing. Master, he was a tobacco grower. He jest had a small crop every year. I'se never earned any money them days. I'se never saw any money until long time after freedom then I'se married before I ever knew what money was. Yessir, boss master he always had plenty to eat. He was a great hunter and have plenty deer meat, wild turkey, opossum, and some times he would kill a rabbit for his slaves cause they all like rabbit. Then we have corn bread, no flour bread. We cook our meat in great big iron skillet and we have hand grate to make our corn bread. That was the young slave kids job, grating corn for bread, some time we would cook it in skillet then other time we would cook it in the ashes. No sir, master he always had a large garden and he gave the slave what he wanted to out of his garden. Master he was named Thomas Griffen . He was good to his slaves. He was young man. Mistress Effie , she was large woman and she was real good to her black folks, bless her soul. They never had no children at that time. They have big old house built out of logs, it had two large room in it. Master he had about fifty acres in his plantation. He jest have two grown slaves, six little one. He just a young man jest starting out in life then. Master he would whip slave when he git stubbering. Master use whip of cat o nine tails. Master he would wake the slave on work days about 4:40 every morning and we worked jest as long as we could see.

Master he auctioned off brother Tom , and he made him grease his face and wash up real good, then he made him run to and fro in front of his buyers. And all the hollering and crying it took place cause Tom he was jest a small kid eight or nine years old. The man he offered master a price for him and they went off to one side and talk for some time and master he come back and says Tom you go back with this man. He is your new master. Then that man took Tom and clear left the country.You asked me what kind of clothes we wore. We have clothes made out of deer skin. Sometimes in hot weather master would let us wear loyal cloth made into shirts, come down to our feet open all the way down the front. I'se married several years after the war and by that time I'se have white dress trimmed in red. Master, he never learn us nothing about writing or reading. But master he make us go to church on another plantation there close by, white folks church, and master he read the Bible to us some times. Old Brother Alexander he use to preach to us negroes, telling us all about the Bible. He tells us the Lord is Our Shepherd, and if we believes in him we shall not want and always teaching to tell the truth. It is the old time religion it good enough for our father and it good enough for me, boss, I'se believe that old song too dont you.We most generally fall in at the door because we nearly always be tired and give out. The patterrollers they would come and step all over us but we be so tired until we would lay their and be plum still until they would leave. Then we would get up and go too. No sir, master he always give us Saturday for holiday, sos we could wash and clean up our clothes and do our cooking for Sunday cause we had to go to church on Sunday, and didnt have time for any cooking that day and mistress, she wasn't able to do anything at all. She was so big and fat.On Christmas day we have plenty cooked. We then had lots of fire works to shoot. And master he would tell old Santa Claus to bring us a big sack nuts candy and some big old red apples to eat. We sure did have big time on Christmas. Master he would have just as much fun as we negroes. When master didnt have any work for us to do he would let us roam where we pleased just so we didnt get off the plantation, and let the patter rollers get us. Them days there was creek run through masters farm and if we wasnt workin we would always be on that creek fishing and swimmin. We played hide and seek, wolf over the river and then some times we played drop rag where both young and old could play. Yessir I'se seen several ghost when I'se young. We lost one of our children one night that child he just come back to see me. I'se sleep and he come sat on the bed went to calling mama. I'se heard that child. I'se gets up, begins to look round but lord me that child was gone, I'se call Mott , told him what I'se seen and he just laugh at me. I'se lays back down in bed and when I'se gets to sleep Mott he jump out across the bed and starts out across the woods to a white man house. Ise gets up and followers him. That there negro he just white son as you are now. When I'se gets there I asked what was the matter and he swore he never had gone back to sleep when that child just come in at the door walks right up to the bed and hugs him right around the neck then he puts out his hands to take that child in his arms and that child was gone just the way he came. It come there that way three nights and Mott says Lucendy , pack our clothes we not gone stay here. No more. Then we went and moved to another house that we never seed. Then that child no more comes until after Mott he dies, ten or twelve years ago and that baby has come right here to this house and calls me but I'se gettin old and blind. I'se never been able to see that child but I'se heard it call me several times here in this very house.

When we gets sick, master he would first go get old negro mammy. She would get her gunny sack and go to the woods and go to getting several kids of herbs, brings them in and boil them all together for lung pneumonia, fevers and she would get red oak bark sassafras roots, prickly pear roots, then she would gets one other kind, but I'se forgot that there week. Then she would wear rabbit foot on string hung down our breast to keep off them their fevers that will work. Yessir boss, to this day, youse see this here rabbit foot I'se got on, I'se never sick either, no sir.I'se remember plenty about the war cause where we was you could hear all them there guns a popping and them cannons aroaring. Master he goes to the war and boss one them there guns gets him. Yessir, master he gets kilt in the war. Father he goes with master and when one of them guns killed him father he just grabs him puts him on his shoulder and brings him home sos Mistress Effie she could bury him, then father he goes back cause master he had brother in the war and when that war was over masters brother he come back and goes in the room and talk a long with Mistress Effie then he calls father up to the house and told him that Mistress Effie was gone to live with him and Mistress Alice to do as he pleased, but father told him he wanted to stay with him. Sos father made trade to work for him for $3.00 per month there on the plantation. Then I'se married to one of masters brothers slave negroes name Mott Griffen . We have big weddin cause father and Motts father they go hunting and kills deer, dancing every night for a solid week. Yessir, I'se plum wore out over that wedding. Yessir I'se have 11 children, still living, one dead, three boys and eight girls all alive. They are all farming save one and she in New York working at big hotel and I hasnt seen her in thirty years.No sir, I'se expect to live over a hundred cause I'se have some great grand children. I'se not going to die soon. Mott , he say the government they ought to have treated the negro better then they did. Cause some of the white folks when the war was over they wouldnt let the negro stay made, then they get out and look out for there own self. Mott , he say the government ought to give him a mule and some land where he could make living but they didnt, most of white folks they just turned negro folks out just like cattle.No sir, master he got kilt in the war, but his brother never give us nothing but what we work for and some time we never got that. He would pay us when he got ready. We'se get about $1.00 month and that was all. If Mott hadnt been good hunter, we would have starved to death, cause lots time we never had anything to eat but meat that Mott killed in the woods. The poor negro gets beat outs of nearly all theys make some times Mott he make good. When he work but everytime he think he was gone got something ahead, some white man gets him in debt to him and looks like most never gets out.

Yessir, the KKK they would make the negro do jest like they wanted them to because the negro they was afraid not to do what they told them to because they were two negro men there in the county that thought they would be smart and do jist like they wanted to but the KKK they showed them different, one of them he went to town and voted that night they was some KKK come all robed like ghost and take that negro out and give him fifty licks, then put hot tar and feathers all over him. The other negro went to town and was jest roaming around and they gets that negro and does him the same way only lots worse. I think the negro of this day ought to be allowed more privilege in voting because have got to shoulder all the load of his race, pay taxes and up keep of every thing that, is a benefit to his people. I'se keep house nearly all my life since I'se married help my old man, farm worked in the field when I could. I'se gets a small pension from the government. I think this here young bunch of negroes are going to the dogs. They want tell the truth nor work. But they has had a pretty raw deal. Of course, the condition of the county is a hole lot to blame for the negroes being like they is if they could get fair wages I believe they do better.