The Slave Narrative Collection
An OKGenWeb Special Project
We strongly recommend that you read the information below from the Library of Congress explaining the language used in these interviews.
Age 87 Yrs.
West Tulsa, Okla.
My mother and father just about stocked Jess Tenneyson's plantaion with slaves. That's a fact. The old folks had one big family -- twenty-three Children was the number. With the old folks that make twenty-five (there were only five more slaves), so I reckon they done mighty well by Master Jess.
The Master done well by them, too. Master Jess and Mistress Lula was Christian peoples. They reaised their two sons, Henry and George, the same way.
There was so many of us children I don't remember all the names. Three of the boys was named after good southern gentlemen who soldiered in the War. Price, Lee and Beaugard. Beaugard is me. Proud of the name just like I'm proun of the Master's name.
My folks named Patrick and Harriett. Mother worked round the house and father was the field boss. They was close by the Master all the timel
The plantation was down in Craig County, Texas. Nine hundred acre it was. They raised everything, but mostly corn and cotton. Big times when come the harvest. Master fix up a cotton gin right on the place. It was an old-fashioned press. Six horses run it with two boys tromping down the cotton with their feets.
In the fall time was the best of all. Come cotton picking time, all the master from miles around from miles around send in their best picker -- and how they'd work. Sometimes pick the whole crop in one day! The one who picked the most win a prize. Then come noon and the big feast, and at night come the dancing.
Something like that when the corn was ready. All the folks have the biggest time. Log rollings. Clearing the new ground for planting. Cutting the trees, burning the bresh, making ready for the plow. The best worker wins hisself a prize at these log rollings, too.
Them kind of good times makes me think of Christmas. Didn't have no Christmas tree, but they set up a long pine table in the house and that plank table was covered with presents and none of the Negroes was ever forgot on that day.
master Jess didn't work his slaves like other white folks done. Wasn't no four o'clock wake-up horns and the field work started at seven o'clock. Quitting time was five o'clock - just about union hours nowadays. The Master believed in plenty of rest for the slaves and they work better that way. too.
One of my brother took care of the Master's horse while on the plantation. When the Master join in with rebels that horse went along. So did brother. Master need them both and my brother might pleased when he get to go.
When Master come back from the war and tell us that brother is dead, he said brother was the best boy in all the army.
The Tenneyson slaves wasn't bothered with partollers, neither the Klan. The Master said we was all good negroes - nobody going to bother a good negro.
We was taught to work and have good manners. And to be honest. Just doing them three things will keep anybody out of trouble.
Contributed by M. Dawson, May 2002