The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography (Supplement, Series 2) - Vol. 10

The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography (Supplement, Series 2) - Vol. 10

The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography (Supplement, Series 2) - Vol. 10

The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography (Supplement, Series 2) - Vol. 10

Excerpt

Reeves Tucker, a 98 year old Negro farmer of Harrison County, was born in Bibb County, Alabama, as a slave of George Washington, Tucker, Sr. At the age of six years his master died and Reeves was separated from his mother, brothers and sisters and brought to Upshur County, Texas with his father by George Washington, Jr. He married several years after Emancipation and reared seven children to be grown and married. He now lives with his son, Reeves Tucker, who owns a farm nine miles northwest of Marshall on the Harleton Road.

"My father was Armistead Tucker and my mother was Winnie Tucker. They was both born as slaves of Master George Washington Tucker, who lived in Bibb County, Alabama, between Silman and Mapleville. My brothers was Andy, John and Peter; and there was two girls, Anna and Dorcus. We was all bo'n there on Master Tuckers place in Bibb County, Alabama. My Mistress died 'fore I was bo'n, and my old Master died when I was jest a shirt-tail boy. When he died, the children had a "dividement" of the property. Mammy and all the chil'ren fell to his daughter, and Pappy was giv' to his son, George Washington Tucker, what was fixing to move to Texas. Pappy begged so hard fer some of the chil'ren that finally they let me go with him. I never seed Mammy or any of my relations after that, being as how Miss Emogene stayed in Alabama and my young Master come to Texas and settled twelve miles north of Gilmer.

He had a big place and lived in a good house, but didn't have so powerful many slaves. He never 'lowed no overseer on his place. Master Tucker didn't believe in having his "Niggers" beat up, they cost too much. I'se saw slaves on other places whipped till the blood run off them onto the ground. When they cut them loose from the tree they fell over like they was dead. I'se saw lots of slaves bid off like stock, and babies sold from their mothers breast. Some of them brought $1,500, owing to how strong they was. Speculators rode all over the country buying up "Niggers". I'se seed as many as fifty in a gang being driven like convicts. The bosses 'round where we lived made the old wimmen what was too old to work, tend to the chil'ren while the slaves worked. They built them a house to themself and first thing in the mo'ning everybody had to take the chil'ren to them.

Master Tucker was good to his darkies, and give us plenty to eat and wear. We et po'k and flour bread jest like the white fo'ks. Every woman had to spin so many yards of cloth 'fore she go to bed after we come in from the field. None of Master Tuckers "Niggers" ever run off 'cept my father. One night he started to go 'cross a "shirt" of woods to one of the neighbors. Young Master was a Pattyroller and told him to wait and go with him, but Pappy was hard headed as a mule and went on by his-self. The Pattyrollers cotched him might nigh beat him to death. Young Master was sho' mad as fire, cause he didn't want his "Niggers" skinned up. I think them Pattyrollers kinda beat some sense in his head, for after that he allus went with young Master or got a pass.

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