Texas Slave Narratives





Texas Slave Narrative

  Thesan Young

Teshan Young , 86, was born a slave to Easkner Scott , who owned a plantation in Harrison County, Texas, and had over one hundred slaves, Teshaw married Moses Young in 1867 and lived near her old home until 1916, when she moved to Fort Worth. She lives in a negro settlement on the catskirts of Stop Six, a suburb of Fort Worth.

I'se 86 years ole. Bo'n in Harrison County, Texas. Marster Scott owned me and my parents, one brudder and three sisters. Marster never sold any of we'uns, so dere was no separation of de family long's we lived on de Marster's place. He had awful big plantation, 'bout seven miles long. "On dat plantation de Marster have everything. Hims have de gin and de mill for to grind de meal and feed, de big blacksmith shop and dere was a house whar day spins de yarn and makes de sloth, de shoes and sich. He have 'bout 30 quarters for de cullud folks back of him's house, and dere an a house for de nursery, wid a big yard dat have swings and sich for de cullud chillun. Each cullud family have de cabin for themself. De cabins have bunks for sleepin', fireplace for to cook, bench for to set on - but dat's all de furniture. Marster Scott feeds all us niggers good. We'uns have beans, peas, milk, vegetables, 'lasses and plenty of meat. De marster have hawgs on top of hawgs on dat place, for to make de meat. We'uns have all de clothes dat we'uns need for to keep warm. De marster says, 'De nigger sus' have plenty of food and keep warm for to work good. How many hours we'uns work? Dat depen's on de time of de year it am. When its time for de hoein' or de pickin' of de cotton, day work late. 'Twarn't sich long hours udder times. But de marster makes do cullud folks work and whaps 'em when dey don', I'se 'member one slave dat gits whupped so had hims never gits up, hims died. We'uns chillens would go roun' whar hims was and lock at 'im. De Marster lets we'uns do dat. Yes, suh, dey whupped pow'ful hard sometimes. My mammy gits whupped one time 'cause she come from do fiel' for to nuss her baby, and once for de cause she don' keep up her row in de fiel'. My pappy gits shoot in de shoulder by de overseer, 'cause hims runs from de whuppin.' 'Twas dis way, de overseer says, 'Come here, I'se gwine whup you for not workin' like I says.' Dere was a fence dere and my pappy runs for dat and am crawlin' over it when de overseer shoots. 

I'se 'bout 10 year ole when de war starts. It makes no diff'rence, dat I'se 'members, 'sept de Marster jines de army. I'se tend to all de cullud chillen while dey mammies workin' in de fiel'. De Marster am sho' partic'lar 'bout dem chillen. He foods 'em well, mush, milk, bread, 'lasses, vegetables and sich. De food am put in de long bowl, like de trough. De chillen have wooden spoons and we'uns line dem 'long de bowl. Den de fun starts. I'se have de long switch and keeps walkin' back and forth to make dem debils behave. De Marster comes in sometimes and hims laugh at dem, day so funny. After I'se gits married, I'se has 13 chillen of my own. I'se never calls de doctor for my chillen. I'se goes in de woods and gits de plants and de herbs. For de stomach misery I'se uses de red petals, boils dat and takes de juice. For de cold, I'se takes de Kalense Root, boils dat and takes de juice. When do chores am done on Sunday or Christmas, we'uns can have de music, dance and singin'. We'uns have some good ole times. De songs am de ole timers, sich as Swanee River, Ole Black Joe and dere am de fiddles and banjos dat dey play. We'uns sho' celebrate on Christmas. De women all cooks cakes and cookies and sich. De men saves all de bladders from de hawgs dey kill, blows 'em full of air and lots 'em dry. De young'uns puts dem on sticks and holds 'em over a fire in de yard. Dat makes 'em bust and dey goes 'bang' jus' like a gun. Dat was de fireworks. Marster comes back from de war widout gettin' hurt. At de time freedom comes, some cullud folks stays on and works for money. 'Twas de fust money dey over had, and dey don' know what to do wid it and what its worth. Some of dem are still on dat lan'! Dey rents or have bought. My brudder lives dere, jus' a few yards from de ole quarters. My pappy worked for ole Marster till he died. I'se stays wid him till I marries. I'se married in a cullud church and I'se have a pretty pink dress and hat. My husban' have hims own farm, part of de ole plantation. We finally buys it from de Marster. In 1902 my husban' dies and I'se stays dere till 1915. Den I'se comes to Fort Worth. I'se still nussin' some but I'se gettin' de pension of nine dollars a month. Dat she' helps out.

Teshan Young , 86, (a typical negro mammy to such an extent that 'mammy' has replaced her original name of Teshan ) was born a slave to Buckner Scott . Mr. Scott owned and operated a plantation in Harrison County, Texas. Mr. Scott owned Teshan's parents, three sisters, and one brother in addition to approximately one hundred other slaves. Teshan nursed the slave children until the Emancipation Act became effective in December 18, 1865. She then moved with her parents onto a tract of land the family rented from Mr. Scott , and lived there until she married Moses Young in 1867. She lived with him on the tract he had rented himself and later bought from Mr. Scott . Moses died in 1902, leaving Teshan and her children to work the place until she sold it in 1915. She then moved her children to Fort Worth and now lives in a negro settlement on the outskirts of Stop Six, a suburb of the city. She still nurses and receives a State pension of nine dollars monthly.

Ise eighty-six yeahs ol', Bo'n in Harrison County, Texas. Marster Scott owned me an' my pa'ents, one brudder and th'ee sistahs. Marster neber sol' any ob we uns, so dere war no sepration ob de family long's we libed on de Marster's place. Marster Scott hab awful big plantation, 'twas 'bout seben miles long. On dat plantation, de Marster hab eberything. Hims hab de gin an' de mill fo' to grind de meal an' feed. De big blacksmith shop an' dere was a house whar dey spins de yarn an' makes de cloth, de shoes an' sich. He hab 'bout thirty quatahs fo' de cullud fo'ks back ob hims house an' dere am a house fo' de nu'sery wid a big yahd dat hab de swings an' sich fo' de cullud chilluns. Each cullud fam'ly hab de cabbin fo' dem se'f. De cabbins hab bunks fo' sleepin', fiah place fo' to cook, bench fo' to set on but dats all de fu'niture. Marster Scott feeds all us niggers good. We uns hab beans, peas, milk, veg'tables, lasses, co'n meal, w'ite flouah sometimes, an' meat, dere am plenty ob meat. De Marster hab hawgs on top ob hawgs on dat place fo' to make de meat.  We uns hab all de clothes dat we uns need fo' to keep wahm. De Marster sez, "De nigger mus' hab plenty ob food an' kep' wahm fo' to wo'k good. How many houahs we uns wo'k? Dat depen's on de time ob de yeah it am. W'en its de time fo' de hoein' or de pickin' ob de cotton, dey wo'k late. 'Twarnt sich long houahs udder times. But de Marster makes de cullud fo'ks wo'k an' whups dem w'en dey don' an' w'en dey gits bad an' don' mine de o'dahs. Ise membah one slave dat gits whupped so bad hims neber gits up, hims died. We uns chilluns would go roun' whar hims was an' look at 'im. De Marster lets we uns do dat. Ise guess, fo' to larn we uns dat 'tis bes' fo' to mine. Yes sar, dey whupped pow'ful hahd sometimes. My mammy gits whupped one time 'cause she come f'om de field fo' to nuss her baby, an' once fo' de 'cause she don' keep up her row. My pappy gits shoot in de shoulder by de obersee', 'cause hims runs f'om de whuppin'. 'Twas dis way, de obersee' sez: "Come hyar, Ise gwine whup you fo' not doin' de wo'k lak Ise sez." Dere was a fence dere an' my pappy runs fo' dat an' am crawlin' ober it w'en de obersee' shoots. Some ob de shot hits 'im in de shouldah but 'twarnt bad; hims gits ober dat in sho't w'ile. "De wah makes no diff'ence dat Ise membahs, 'cept de Marster jines de ahmy an' hiahs anudder obersee' dat takes hims place. Hims boy was too small fo' to go.

 Ise 'bout ten yeahs ol' w'en de wah stahts. De Marster larns dis nigger to nuss. Ise ten' to de cullud chilluns w'ile dey mammys was a wo'kin' in de field. Dats de wo'k Ise do all de time Ise wid de Marster. All de chillun dat am ol' nuff fo' to eat, dey keeps in de nusse'y. We kep' 'em in de day w'en dey mammys was in de field. De mammys don' come in at noon, de dinnah was fetched to dem. You see, dey was far off some times on dat big plantation. W'en dere mammys come f'om de fields at night, dey takes de chilluns to dere cabbins.  De Marster sho am pa'ticulah 'bout dem chilluns. He don' wants 'em git hurt. Hims sez: "De pa'ticulah time is w'en dey am young. Gib dem a good staht an' dey makes strong niggers Ise gits whuppin' some times fo' lettin' dem hurt dey se'fs. Some time 'twas hahd 'tendin' dem chilluns 'cause dey gits to fightin' b'fo' you know it. 'Specially w'en dey eats, dey acts lak little pigs. Marster feeds dem chilluns well. Dey gits mush, milk, bread, lasses, veg'tables an' sich. De food am put in de long bowl, lak de trough. De chillun hab wooden spoons an' we uns line dem 'long de bowl. Den de fun stahts. Ise hab de long switch, an' keeps walkin' back an' fo'th to make dem debils behabe. De Marster comes in some time an' hims laugh at dem. Bout all Ise done am nussin' chilluns. Fust fo' de Marster, den aftah Ise gits mai'ied, Ise done plenty nussin', thirteen chilluns ob my own. Ise sho larns how to take care ob de sick. Ise neber calls de doctah fo' my chilluns. Ise goes in de woods an' gits de plants an' de herbs. Sho, Ise tells you some ob dem Ise use.

Fo' de female trouble Ise use Red Shank, boils it an' den takes de juice. Fo' de stomach misery, Ise use de Red Peddal, boils dat an' takes de juice, dat sho stops de misery. Fo' de col', Ise takes de Kalemas Root, boils dat an' takes de juice. Fo' de fevah, Ise takes de juice ob de fruit, sich as de apple, pear, peach, an' de likes, takes nothin' else. "W'en de chores am done on Sundays, Chris'mas, an' sich days dat we uns don' wo'k, we uns can hab de music, dance an' singin'. We uns hab some good ol' times. De songs am de ol' timers, sich as Swanney Ribber, Ol' Black Joe an' dere am de fiddles an' banjos dat dey play. On Chris'mas, we uns sho celeb'ate. De mammys all cooks de cakes an' cookies an' sich, fo' us younguns an' we uns hab extry fo' to eat. De men sabes all de bladdahs w'en dey kills de hawgs an' blows dem full ob air an' den lets 'em dry. W'en Chris'mas night comes, de ol' fo'ks builds de fiah out in de yahd. De young uns puts dem bladdahs on de stick an' hol's 'em ober de fiah an' dat makes dem bust. Dey goes "Bang", jus' lak a gun. Dat was de fiahwo'ks. De young uns hab moah fun dem days wid de bladdahs dan de young uns hab today wid de fiahwo'ks.
 "Ise neber see de Kluks or de patter rollers. Ise neber pesters 'roun' fo' to see 'em. Ise jus' heahs 'bout 'em. Marster comes back aftah de wah am ober widout gittin' hurt.

At de time freedom comes, some ob de cullud fo'ks stays on an' wo'ks fo' wages. 'Twas de fust money dey eber had, an' dey don' know w'at to do wid it an' w'at it's wo'th. Some ob dem am still on dat lan', some rents it an' some hab bought. My brudder now libs on dat lan', jus' a few yahds f'om de ol' quatahs. My pappy wo'ked fo' de Marster 'til hims dies. Ise stays wid de Marster 'til Ise mai'ied.
 Ise mai'ied Moses Young 'bout three yeahs aftah freedom in a cullud chu'ch dat hab been built by we uns cullud fo'ks. Ouah weddin' am lak de w'ite fo'ks. Ise hab de purty pink dress an' hat dat Ise weahs. We uns hab de bes' wimmins an' de man dat stan' up fo' us, w'en de preachah sez de sermon. We uns hab thirteen chilluns. My husban' hab hims own fahm, 'twas paht ob de ol' plantation. We uns rented it at fust, den buys it f'om de Marster. In 1902, my husban'
dies. Ise stay on de fahm wid de younger chilluns until 1915. Ise den sells it an' come to Fo't Wo'th, an' heah Ise been eber since, libbin' wid my chilluns. Eight ob dem am libbin', six ob dem heah in Stop Six and two in Ok'ahoma. Ise still nussin' some but Ise gittin' de State pension ob nine dollahs a month. Dat sho he'ps out. I gotta go now an' see 'bout my gran'chillun.