The Slave Narrative Collection
An OKGenWeb Special Project
I was 88 years old the 18th of March. I was born in 1849, at Jackson perish, Louisiana. My mother’s name was Mary Marlow, and father’s Henry Marlow.
I can’t remember very much ‘bout slavery’ cause I was awful small, but I can remember that my mother’s master, Colonel Threff died, and my mother, her husband, and us three chillun was handed down to Colonel Threff’s poor kin folks. Colonel Threff owned about two or three hundred head of niggers, and all of ‘em was tributed to his poor kin. Ooh wee! He sho’ had jest a lot of them too! Master Joe Threff, one of his poor kin, took my mother, her husband, and three of us chillun from Louisiana to the Mississippi line.
Down there we lived in a one-room log hut, and slept on homemade rail bed steads with cotton, and sometimes straw, mostly straw summers and cotton winners. I worked around the house and looked after de smaller chillun – I mean my mother’s chillun. Mostly we ate yeller meal corn bread and sorghum malasses. I ate possums when we could get ‘em, but jest couldn’t stand rabbit meat. Didn’t know there was any Christmas or Holidays in dem days.
I can’t membuh nothing ‘bout no churches in slavery. I was a sinner and loved to dance. I membuh I was on the floor one night dancing and I had four daughters on the floor with me and my son was playing de music – that got me! I jest stopped and said I wouldn’t cut another step and I haven’t. I’m a member of the Baptist church and been for 25 or 30 years. I jined ‘couse I wanted to be good ‘cause I was an awful sinner.
We had a overseer back on Colonel Threff’s plantation and my mother said he was the meanest man on earth. He’s jest go out in de fields and beat dem niggers, and my mother told me one day he came out in de field beating her sister and she jumped on him and nearly beat him half to death and old Master come up jest in time to see it all and fired dat overseer. Said he didn’t want no man working for him dat a woman could whip.
After de war set us free my pappy moved us away and I stayed round down there till I got to be a grown woman and married. You know I had a pretty fine wedding ‘cause my pappy had worked hard and commenced to be prosperous. He had cattle, hogs, chickens and all those thing like that.
A college of dem niggers got together and packed up to leave Louisiana. Me and my husband went with them. We had covered wagons, and let me tell you I walked nearly all the way from Louisiana to Oklahoma. We left in March but didn’t git here till May. We came in search of education. I got a pretty fair education down there but didn’t take care of it. We come to Oklahoma looking for de same thing then that darkies go North looking for now. But we got disappointed. What little I learned I quit taking care of it and seeing after it and lost it all.
I love to fish. I’ve worked hard in my days. Washed and ironed for 30 years, and paid for dis home that way. Yes sir, dis is my home. My mother died right here in dis house. She was 111 yeahs old. She is been dead ‘bout 20 yeahs.
I have three daughters here married, Sussie Pruitt, Bertie Shannon, and Irnen Freeman. Irenen lost her husband, and he’s dead now.
Contributed by M. Dawson, May 2002