Slave Narratives

from the Rawick Papers, Series 5
Harriet Jones

Folklore Ex-slave
Miss Effie Cowan, P. W.
McLennan County, Texas
District No. 8
No. of words 3000
File No. 240
Page No. 1

Interview with Harriet Jones, R. F. D. Mart, Texas

"My daddy an mammy's names wuz Henry and Zilphy Guest, dey wuz slaves of Martin Fullbright who brung dem from Missouri ter de state of Texas befo' freedom an settled in Red River County, near de town of Clarksville. My great grand-dad an gran-mammy cum from Nerth Carlina ter Missouri wid dar Marster befo' de Civil War.

"I wuz one of eight chillun born while dey wid Mr. Fullbright I wuz born in eighteen-hundred and forty-four an I'se ninety three years ole. My folks stayed wid dar Marster, Mr. Fullbright until dey raised our fambly an den went te dar reward whar dey die no mo'.

"Our Marster, Mr. Fullbright raise corn, oats, wheat, potatoes, cowpeas, all kind ol vegatables, and cotton, den he has stock, hogs, cattle, an' horses, de nearest place ter ship ter de market is at Jefferson Texas, ninety miles from Clarksville, from Jefferson dey ship up de river ter Shreveport, Louisians, an' from dcr ter de market sometime Memphis Tennessee an some time New Orleans, dey send de cotton by wagon trains ter Jefferson, sometimes, but mostly by de boat up de Bayou.

Befo' freedom de soljers pass by our house, befo' de Yankees an de rebels, an dey mos' allers stop an ask my mamy ter cook dem something ter eat. W'en de Yankees stop we chillun would hide.

"Once two men cum's an stay at de Marster's two or three weeks an jes look 'roun, pretend dey is goin' ter buy lan' but w'en de white folks gits 'spicious den dey leaves right sudden an hit turns out dat dey is Yankee spies, day never wuz heard of no mo'.

"Befo' my Massa Mr. Fullbright died he divided de slaves ter his folks an I fell ter his daughter, Miss Ellen Fullbright, efn ever dar wuz

Effie Coweng P. W.
McClennan County, Texas
District No. 8
File No 240
Page No. 2

we watched for de Yankee soldiers when dey camped near where we lived an' we'd aIlways go an' hunt, fur sumpin dey lef'.

"'We raised corn, oats, hogs, cattle, sheep, an' goats, an' all de vegetalbes dat we wanted. With cows an' plenty of milk an' butter we had plenty to eat. We did not raise cotton at first, not until after Freedom, an' when de wimmen bought de calico hit wuz fifty an sixty cents a yard. Dey made de cloth on de spinnin' wheel an de loom.

"When I wuz jes a boy I used to help to cut de oats with a cradle an' tie dem with my hands. After Freedom an' we went back to Waco I went to school where Central Texas College for Negroes was, on North Sixth Street. We had three teachors, Professor Wright, who was a white man , an' de other two Negroes, a professor Jones an' his wife. After I was grown an' thro' school I worked on de farms of Mr. Overton Davis an' Mr. Harrison at Abbott.

When Waco first commenced to have new settlers the Old Suspension Bridge was one of de first things dat was built. Bridge Street wuz jes commencing to be built up. De farmers come to town drivin' oxen to dere wagons a few had buggies, but dey mostly had oxen an' mules.

"De first gin that I 'members wuz over in East Waco, an' hit wuz built my a man named Bannister, the farmers fur miles kim to dis gin. The first church dat wuz built fer de niggers wuz down on First Street, where de oil mi11 stands. It wuz called St. James.

"De fust court dat I'members wuz called a Bureau, dey had a Judge an he wuz hit all, Jedge an' jury too, he passed sentence on all de law-breakers. Dey held it first one place an' den anudder, finally dey built a Courthouse whar de City Hall now stan's, hit wuz a two-story brick building. Dey later moved hit to where Crow Brothers Laundry

....File No. 240
Page No. 3

was later. Dey used to have day an' night watchman fur de Courthouse an' de jail. De mos' of de cases wuz for cattle an' horse stealin'.

De first hangin' dat I 'members wuz in East Waco, hit were a nigger named Perry Davis. He beat his wife an de Sheriff went to 'rest him and den dis nigger shot de sheriff an' killed him. Waco wuz not as big as Mart is now. When he killed de sheriff he let de officers take him to keep de people from hangin' him by a mob. Dey tried him an' sentenced him to hang an' put him in jail over on Third Street.

"Jes befo' dey hung him de preacher name Steve Cobb baptised him in de Brazos ribber. De preacher had a prayer service an' prayed an' den de prisoner sang "On Jordans Stormy Banks I Stan' ". Den day jes hung him befo' de crowd. Hit wuz de biggest crowd dat had ever been in Waco befo'. Hit wuz over in Eact Waco, but we could see de gallows an' de crowd from de river in West Waco. Hit seem dat ebery man in de county wuz dere. De county buried him. Dis was Waco's fust hangin' so fur as I know's.

"I 'members goin' on a hunt, as cook for eight men dat lived in Waco, but I does not member any of dere names but Mr. Fort an' John Flint. We went to de Colorado riber near Sulphur Spring, an' found a cave dat wuz later knows as Bat Cave. This cave was eleven-hundred feet long, inside wuz a little stream of water, the air was des as cool as a day in de early fall, but it wuz de summertime. We had our camput outfit but we did not cmap in it kase de water sometimes got up in de cave. We went out on de prairie an' camped, hunted prairie chickens, wild turkeys, an' wild hog, so had enough from dis hunt to las mos all de winter.

De kind of game laws dat we had in dem days wuz to turn a hog loose in de woods, den we had de right to hunt wild hogs, an' when we

File No. 240
Page No. 4

went on de coon an possum hunts we went on de moonlight nights mostly in de fall of de year. We would take a pack of hounds an' trace de coon an' possums, if hit wuz a coon he'd jump outa de tree, but if hit wuz a possum den him would have to be shook outa de tree.

"De first hos' race I ever went to in Waco wuz over in East Waco. When day had de ponny rades, later on de commenced to having fairs an' dey would bring fine race horses from the Old States, Alabama, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee. De rich folks from de big citieswould come to de races an' bet money on dem.

When de day for de races kum, here de folks would start to kum to town, some in buggies, some in carriages wid big horses, soem in de little carts an some in de wagons driving de mules, dey doen gone past de oxen now. Dey would have a band an' we all would go jes as fast as we could to de races. Hit made de nigger feel big to bet on dem effen he did loose him money.

"I kin remember when de white man an de nigger bof' went to de big convetions, when dey had de political meetim's, some of de niggers owuld be constables an work under de sheriff. Dey did not have any toruble over dar politics in Waco dat I remember. Den about de time dey commenced to use de reaper an de threshing machines on de farm. De thresher wuz little an run by horses pullin' de lever, but hit did de work. De grain wuz cleaned an measured an de straw at de same threshin'.

"After few years de horse rakes, grain drills, two horse cultivators

Electronic editor's note: the mimeographed sheets end here. Once I have the bound set of narratives, I will check for missing pages. Taylor

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