I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives - Vol. 2

By Yuval Taylor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIV.
HOW I GOT AWAY FROM JEPSEY JAMES’.

MY new master’s place was distant about a hundred and fifty yards from the landing. He and his family dwelt in a dirty log hut, which formed the principal building in a group of about thirty negro picket cabins, the whole enclosed within a large “yard,” about four acres in extent. These cabins were made of four crotches set upright in the ground, with cypress slabs across. The floor was of plank laid on the bare earth. It was an uncomfortable, prison-looking sort of a place, and the sight of it did not cheer me much. His wife was a small, fiery woman, and as good a “man of business” as himself. They were both rich, and had about a hundred and fifty slaves. The farm was a cotton farm. James grew nothing else.

After we reached our quarters, we got supper and turned in to rest. At four next morning we were roused up by the “nigger bell.” It hung upon a post in the yard, twenty feet high, and was rung by a rope. It was, I think, the month of February, for it was towards the close of cotton-picking time, and we all went out into the field to pick cotton from the bole, the children from ten years of age going out with us. We picked until twelve o’clock, when the cotton was weighed by a negro driver named Jeff, and we got our first meal, consisting of potatoe soup, made of Indian corn meal and potatoes, boiled up. It is called “lob-lolly,” or “mush,” or “stirt-about.” A pint was served out to each hand. It was brought into the field in wooden pails, and each slave being provided with a tin pannikin21 buckled round his waist, the distribution and disposal of the mess did not take long. After the meal, we set to again until night-fall, when our baskets were weighed a second time, and each hand’s picking for the day told up. I had outpicked all the new hands. The rule is a hundred pounds for each hand. The first day I picked five pounds over this quantity; much to my sorrow as I found, in the long run, for as I picked so well at first, more was exacted of me, and if I flagged a minute, the whip was liberally applied to keep me up to the mark. By being driven in this way, I at last got to pick a hundred and sixty pounds a day. My good picking, however, made it worse for me, for, being an old picker, I did well at first; but the others, being new at the work, were flogged till they fetched up with me; by which time I had done my best, and then got flogged for not doing better.

I may here observe that the women pick much faster than the men, their fingers being naturally more nimble; but as their baskets get filled, they become heavier to lift, and they lose time in removing them from place to place, so that by the time evening comes the men have fetched up with or out-picked them. The baskets are hamper-shaped, and contain from eighty-five to a hundred and twenty-five pounds. For every pound that is found short of the task, the punishment is one stroke of the bull-whip. I never got flogged for short weight, but many of the others did, poor things; and dreadful was the punishment they received, for the bullwhip is a dreadful instrument of torture, which I may as well describe in this place.

First a stock is chosen of a convenient length, the butt of which is loaded with lead, to give the whip force. The stock is then cleverly split to within a foot

-367-

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I Was Born a Slave: An Anthology of Classic Slave Narratives - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Introduction xvii
  • Henry Bibb 1
  • Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb 4
  • Introduction 5
  • Author’s Preface 12
  • Chapter I 13
  • Chapter II 16
  • Chapter III 21
  • Chapter IV 27
  • Chapter V 32
  • Chapter VI 39
  • Chapter VII 44
  • Chapter VIII 49
  • Chapter IX 52
  • Chapter X 58
  • Chapter XI 61
  • Chapter XII 66
  • Chapter XIII 72
  • Chapter XIV 75
  • Chapter XV 78
  • Chapter XVI 81
  • Chapter XVII 85
  • Chapter XVIII 91
  • Chapter XIX 94
  • Chapter XX 96
  • Index 99
  • James W. C. Pennington 103
  • The Fugitive Blacksmith; or, Events in the History 107
  • Preface 108
  • Contents 113
  • Chapter I 114
  • Chapter II - The Flight 119
  • Chapter III - A Dreary Night in the Woods — Critical Situation the Next Day 128
  • Chapter IV - The Good Woman of the Toll-Gate Directs Me to W.W. —My Reception by Him 133
  • Chapter V 137
  • Chapter VI 141
  • Chapter VII - The Feeding and Clothing of the Slaves in the Part of Maryland Where I Lived, &C 145
  • Appendix 150
  • Liberty’s Champion 155
  • Solomon Northup 159
  • Twelve- Years a Slave 163
  • Contents 166
  • Editor’s Preface 171
  • Chapter I 172
  • Chapter II 176
  • Chapter III 181
  • Chapter IV 188
  • Chapter V 193
  • Chapter VI 198
  • Chapter VII 204
  • Chapter VIII 211
  • Chapter IX 217
  • Chapter X 222
  • Chapter XI 229
  • Chapter XII 235
  • Chapter XIII 241
  • Chapter XIV 248
  • Chapter XV 255
  • Chapter XVI 261
  • Chapter XVII 267
  • Chapter XVIII 273
  • Chapter XIX 279
  • Chapter XX 286
  • Chapter XXI 291
  • Chapter XXII 301
  • Roaring River 308
  • Appendix 309
  • John Brown 319
  • Slave Life in Georgia- A Narrative of the Life, Sufferings, and Escape of John Brown, Now in England 322
  • Preface 323
  • Chapter I - My Childhood and First Troubles 324
  • Chapter II - My New Master- And How He Came to Sell Me 327
  • Chapter III - I Am Sold Again. How I Fared 329
  • Chapter IV - The Story of John Glasgow 334
  • Chapter V - Dr. Hamilton’s Experiments upon Me. My Master Dies, and I Again Change Hands 339
  • Chapter VI - John Morgan 341
  • Chapter VII - Something about Some of My Fellow-Slaves 344
  • Chapter VIII - I Make an Attempt to Escape. How It Ended 347
  • Chapter IX - More Tribulation 351
  • Chapter X - I Make Another Attempt to Escape 354
  • Chapter XI - Fortune and Misfortune 357
  • Chapter XII - The Slave-Pen in New Orleans 361
  • Chapter XIII - I Am Once More Sold 364
  • Chapter XIV - How I Got Away from Jepsey James’ 367
  • Chapter XV - How I Came to Be John Brown 370
  • Chapter XVI - I Am Advertised as a Run-Away 374
  • Chapter XVII - I Am Booked to Canada, Express, by the Underground Railroad 377
  • Chapter XVIII - The Cultivation of Cotton, Tobacco, and Rice 382
  • Chapter XIX - A Few Words on the Treatment of Slaves 388
  • Chapter XX - My Reflections 392
  • Chapter XXI - The Underground Railroad 395
  • Declaration 401
  • John Brown’s Testimonials 405
  • John Thompson 413
  • The Life of John Thompson, a Fugitive Slave; Containing His History of 25 Years in Bondage, and His Providential Escape 415
  • Preface 416
  • Chap. I 417
  • Chap. II 419
  • Chap. III 420
  • Chap. IV 423
  • Chap. V 425
  • Chap. VI 427
  • Chap. VII 429
  • Chap. VIII 433
  • Chap. IX 435
  • Chap. X 439
  • Chap. XI 443
  • Chap. XII 446
  • Chap. XIII 450
  • Chap. XIV 454
  • Chap. XV 458
  • Chap. XVI - Voyage to the Indian Ocean 462
  • Chap. XVII 466
  • Chap. XVIII 471
  • Chap. XIX 474
  • William and Ellen Craft 481
  • Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom 484
  • Preface 486
  • Part I 487
  • Part II 517
  • Harriet Jacobs (Linda Brent) 533
  • Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl 539
  • Preface by the Author 540
  • Introduction by the Editor 541
  • Contents 542
  • I - Childhood 544
  • II - The New Master and Mistress 546
  • III - The Slaves’ New Year’s Day 550
  • IV - The Slave Who Dared to Feel like a Man 552
  • V - The Trials of Girlhood 559
  • VI - The Jealous Mistress 561
  • VII - The Lover 565
  • VIII - What Slaves Are Taught to Think of the North 570
  • IX - Sketches of Neighboring Slaveholders.49 571
  • X - A Perilous Passage in the Slave Girl’s Life 577
  • XI - The New Tie to Life 580
  • XII - Fear of Insurrection.56 583
  • XIII - The Church and Slavery 587
  • XIV - Another Link to Life 592
  • XV - Continued Persecutions 595
  • XVI - Scenes at the Plantation 599
  • XVII - The Flight 605
  • XVIII - Months of Peril 607
  • XIX - The Children Sold 612
  • XX - New Perils 615
  • XXI - The Loophole of Retreat." 618
  • XXII - Christmas Festivities 620
  • XXIII - Still in Prison 622
  • XXIV - The Candidate for Congress 624
  • XXV - Competition in Cunning 626
  • XXVI - Important Era in My Brother’s Life 630
  • XXVII - New Destination for the Children 632
  • XXVIII - Aunt Nancy 637
  • XXIX - Preparations for Escape 640
  • XXX - Northward Bound 646
  • XXXI - Incidents in Philadelphia 648
  • XXXII - The Meeting of Mother and Daughter 651
  • XXXIII - A Home Found 653
  • XXXIV - The Old Enemy Again 655
  • XXXV - Prejudice against Color 658
  • XXXVI - The Hairbreadth Escape 659
  • XXXVII - A Visit to England 663
  • XXXVIII - Renewed Invitations to Go South 664
  • XXXIX - The Confession 666
  • XL - The Fugitive Slave Law 667
  • Xli - Free at Last 671
  • Appendix 676
  • Jacob D. Green 683
  • Narrative of the Life of J. D. Green, a Runaway Slave, from Kentucky, Containing an Account of His Three Escapes, in 1839, 1846, and 1848 685
  • Testimonials 686
  • Narrative, &C 688
  • What the "Times"14 Said of the Secession in 1861 710
  • Secession Condemned in a Southern Convention. Speech 712
  • The Confederate and the Scottish Clergy on Slavery 715
  • Slavery and Liberty.18 718
  • James Mars 721
  • Life of James Mars, a Slave Born and Sold in Connecticut 723
  • Introduction 725
  • A Slave Born and Sold in Connecticut 726
  • William Parker 741
  • Part I 745
  • Early Plantation Life 746
  • Part II 764
  • Bibliography 789
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