Slave Narratives

from the Rawick Papers, Series 5
Davis, Margaret
Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Western Historical Manuscripts Collection
University of Missouri Columbia, Missouri

[Reported by] Ima Byrd
Federal Writers' Project
May 27, 1936


A.   Davis, Mrs. Margaret, 209 S. Lorimier Street, Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

She was hired out as nurse maid before she was ten years old--she stood on a chair to wash. She had done a washing the day I interviewed her. Her granddaughter teaches at Cobb School.

Her father was offered $1000 by Gen. Scott and tried to buy his family from slavery but their master would not sell them--so he bought a farm.

She remembers wading in the branch on William Street from Lorimier's Spring with Doctor Maple's wife. (Doctor Maple was a pioneer pastor of First Baptist Church at Cape Girardeau). There were fish in this branch.

Soldier hanged at Cape. A soldier was hanged on a big gate near St. Francis Hospital. He is buried in Lorimier Cemetery. They put his hat on a stick on his grave.

Before his death the priest went and talked to him. He just whistled and danced and sang. His father came to see him, and told him, "I have bought you out from under the gallows three times and I won't do it any more."

She went up to the courthouse and looked through the iron bars at him. He was a Yankee soldier with Colonel Ross's Regiment.

She was always afraid to go toward the cemetery for fear of seeing his hat waving at night.

Fortifications in Cape.

"Right across" from Hirsch's store there was a fort for light

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artillery tor emergencies. There was a company for every street as a guard. There was a camp near May Greene School.

Punishment of soldiers.

To punish soldiers who didn't obey orders they bucked and gagged them. This was done if they didn't get back to town on time. They were stretched out in the sun for hours.

Treasure found.

When Mr. Jack Painter died he had a chest out in the shed where he threw scrap iron. But after his death money was found in the chest. His home was on the levee next to Dempsey's Store on about where Albert's Store is at 101 Water Street.

(This negro uses unusually good language. She has pictures of many of her "white babies".)

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Document scanned by Carol Robinson.