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The Slave Narrative Collection
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Annie Groves Scott

Age 93
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Just before the war broke out I was fifteen year old and my mistress told me I was born March 18, 1845, at a little place she called Lyonsville, South Carolina.

Ma, That's all the name she ever called her mother, was born at Charlotte, N. C., and father was born at Lyonsville, same as me, and his name was Levi Grant, which changed to Groves when he was sold by Master Grant. Dat was when I was a baby and I wants to tell you about dat on down the line. I had a brother named Robert.

How old my folks was I never know, but I know their folks come from Africa on a slave boat. One of my uncles who was done brought here from that place, and who was a slave boatman on the Savannah River, he never learned to talk plain, mostly just jabber like the negros done when they first get here.

Ma told about how the white people fooled the Negros onto the slave boat; how the boatmen would build pens on the shore and put red pieces of cloth in the pens and the fool Negroes would tear the pen down almost getting themselves after the cloth and then getting caught. Den dey get 'em onto the boat and shove off on the big waters, leaving the little children crying on the shore, never to be seen no more. Dem's the Negroes who just jabber, jabber when dey was brought here; wasn't many of dem learn to read or write but some of the children like me the old mistress would teach; dat's how come me to know about words and things.

Like I said, my father was sold when I was a baby and Ma saw him sold. He had another woman and some children somewheres and the master say to him one day, I'm going to sell you at the auction tomorrow!

Ma said the next day all the slaves to be sold was brought to the auction block down by the master's barn and dere was a white man dere who lived about two hundred miles from the Grant plantation who bought my father, paying $1,000 for him because he was a good strong worker. Dat was the last we ever see of him.

Sometimes the master go clean to New Orleans for to buy some new slaves, especially girl slaves. One time he brought back two of the prettiest ones I ever see; they had long hair, their faces was kinder bright and dey seem different than the real black girls. One of dem work in the kitchen, the other in the store room, and dey stayed 'till the freedom come.

Squire Tom Grant of Lyonsville, South Carolina, dat's the way my master use to speak of himself. The mistress' name was Emma Grant and she was the one who really raised me because she took me into the big house when I was a baby, so I was raised among the rich folks just like their own children, Dick and Larry. Dick was the oldest and he got to be a doctor; and the medicine that boy could fix up for the slaves was something! Rhubarb pills and calomel was the main medicine.

The young boy, Larry, was sent down to school in Lexington, Georgia, and he didn't come to the old plantation but once after the war started. Don't know if he was in the Confederacy army or just if he kept on at the school; after the war we all scattered so's I don't know what happen to him.

The master's house was a big one, with a hall in the middle and a long front porch where I would set and watch the slave children playing in the yard, but when the mistress see me looking like I wanted to go run with dem, she frown and say: "Don't you go out dere with dem dirty children, the Devil will get you sure!"

The master was the same way about it, too. "Stay on the porch." he say to me, times and more, "your place is here by the mistress and not out chasing with them rascals."

Dey treat me good all the time; made a pet of me is what the folks said. I slept in the same room with the mistress; there was a little bed for me that was pushed under her big bed during the day and pulled out at night. The mistress' bed had high posts what come almost to the ceiling of her room and she was might fussy about it being made up careful, with no wrinkles in the covers.

Along in the war times, and dem was trouble days, the master give me some of the Confederate money when I help to hide some of the keepsakes he was afraid the Yanks would get if dey come around, He gave Ma enough of dat kind of money dat she trade it in before it got so worthless and had $100 all for herself. Sometimes she get a pass and go to town and always she bring back new muslin for a dress or something to wear, she spoil me just like the mistress did.

She never went to town without a pass. Afraid the patrollers get after her unless she got the word it's alright for her to be away from Master Grant's. She was more afraid than ever after what happened to my uncle Bill Grant. He schemed out to run off and got as far as the river, but the water was high and he couldn't get across of it. He hid around in the brush and pretty soon the hounds was after him, and the patrollers, too, with bull whips what they carried all the time.

Anyway, dem bloodhounds track Uncle Bill to the river and smell him out where he was hiding. they tell about if after they come back to tell Master Grant his slave is dead. "The dogs got him" one of the men say, "they got him so good he is tore to pieces!: From what dey say the dogs just eat him like dey would cow meat; dere wasn't nothing left to bury.

The master was always afraid of the Yankees coming and one day during the war he called Ma and some of the other slaves in one of the big rooms and say to them, "The damn Yanks ain't here, but dey is coming soon enough! Dey'll take everything on the place unless we hide it. Dat's what I want you all to do, hide the lard, put the meats in the hard place and all the trinkets of things dat you don't want to lose."

So dat was all done when the Yankee soldiers first come to the big house. The mistress and master was upstairs time of the coming and I was rocking on the front porch. Dat day I had on a white muslin dress, flounced up with blue and a blue hair ribbon on my curls. Dat time I was sure scared; dey got to coming around the place so regular after dat I wasn't scared no more.

The captain ride up to the porch and say, "Where is your mother?" "Down in the cornfield." I was most to scared to answer him and when he say he wants to water all dey horses, I just say, "Go ahead!" When dey leave the place and dey don't do nothing but water the horses, the captin stops by and gives me some money. "Give part of it to your mother!" And away he rides.

Dere was fighting around the country all the time after dat, but I seen no battles. Only sometimes I hear the guns going BOOM! BOOM! away off and know that pretty soon the soldiers will come running by the place going every which way, dey come by lots of times and I see them bleeding and wanting water to drink.

One morning I got up and went out on the porch. Dere was a man dere waiting for help. "Would your master give me some medicine?" the man say to me, and I go into the house and get Master Grant.

When the master come out he look at the man and say, "Henry!  What's the matter?" When he finds out the man is shot and sick he takes him into the house and lets him stay. Henry Hill, dat was the man's name, was kin to Tom Hill, one of the plantation owners down in the country more. They say he married a sister of Master Grants after the war ended.

Before the war was over Master Grant search out all the things dat was hid and take his slave to Elberton, Georgia. All the other slave owners do the same. Dat was the last year of the war and dat is where we was all freed.

The master got mean along about the time of freedom; some of the slaves was shot because dey wouldn't work. The master say, "If dey won't work just git rid of dem!" The overseer done what he said, but Ma and me was one of the family and nobody git mad at us for nothing we do or nothing we don't.

Somehow after the freedom Ma got a little farm and worked on it. She didn't do no more spinning for Mistress Grant and no more working in the master's garden, but she had to work harder than ever before, even though it was for her ownself. Dat's when I work too. Wore myself out after freedom and got kinder tired hearing folks yelling about Grant and Lincoln setting us free.

I married Abraham Scott, then sometime after come to Muskogee; before Statehood it was. Dere was four children; two of dem died. The living are Lizzie and Booey; the boy Booey had a good job at Atlanta. The dead are Robert Scott and John Henry Washington Scott.

I belong to the church every year since 80 years ago. Everybody ought to have religion and if anybody gets behind in their religion, just boot him back into the church, just like the overseer boot 'em along the cotton rows in slave times.

 

  

Contributed by M. Dawson, 05/06/03


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