Slave Testimony: Alexander, Alice Age 88

“I was 88 years old 15th of last March. Born March 15, 1839 at Jackson Parish, La. My mother’s name is Mary Marlow, an’ father Henry Marlow. Lets see, I cannot remembah very much ’bout slavery ’cause you know I was awful small, but I can remembuh that my mother’s master, Colonel Threff died, an’ my mother, her husband and we three chillun was handed down to Colonel Threff’s po’ kin folks. Chile Colonel Threff owned about two or three hundred head o’ niggers, and all of ’em was tributed to his po’ kin. Ooh wee! he had jest a lot o’ dem po’ kin. Marster Joe Threff, one of his po’ kin took my mother, her husband and three of us chillun fum Louisiana to the Mississippi line. Down thar I worked ’round the house an’ looked aftah de smaller chillun, I mean my mother’s chillun. We lived in a one room log hut, and slept on homemade rail bed steads wid cotton, an’ sum times straw, mos’ly straw summers an’ cotton winners.

My mother died rite heah in dis house. She was 111 yeahs old. She been dead ’bout 20 yeahs. Diden no any Crismus was in dem days. I got great great gran’ chillun heah, rite heah. We et yeller meal corn bread an’ sorghum molasses. I et possums but coulden stan’ rabbit. I can’t membuh nuthin’ ’bout no churches in slavery. I was a sinner an’ luv to dance I remembuh I was on the floor one nite dancing an I had fo’ daughters on the floor wid me an’ mah son was playing de music – That got me, I jest stopped and said I woulden cut another step. Know nothing ’bout Abe Lincoln. Heard of ‘im. Know nothing ’bout Jeff Davis. Heard of ‘im. Know nothing ’bout Booker T. Washington. Heard of im. Know nothing ’bout patterollers. Heard ’em talkin’ ’bout ’em. Yas, we had a overseers an’ my mother said he was the meanest man on earth. He’d jest go out in de fields and beat dem niggers, an’ my mother tole me one day he come out in de field beatin’ her sister an’ she jumped on ‘im an’ nelly beat ‘im half to death an’ ole Marster come up jest in time to see it all an’ fired dat overseer. Said he diden want no man working fer ‘im dat a woman could whip.

Remembah just a little ’bout de war. De soljers had on blue clothes. Membuh lot of talk ’bout 4th of August. My pappy moved us away an’ stayed ‘roun down dare ’till I got to be a grown woman an’ married. You know I had a pretty fare weddin’ ’cause my pappy had worked hard an’ commence to be prospus. He had cattle, hogs, chicken an’ all dat. A college of dem niggers got togedder an’ pack up to leave Louisiana in March. We had covered wagons, an’ chile let me tell you I walked nally all the way fum Louisiana to Oklahoma. We left in March, diden git heah ’till May. Came in soch of ejecation. I got a pretty fare ejecation down dar but diden take care of it. We come to Oklahoma looking for de same thang then dat darkies go north looking fer now. We got dissipinted. I luv to fish. Chile I’ve woiked hard in my days. Washed an’ ironed for thirty years. Paid fur dis home. Yes dis is my home. Never did go to school ’till aftah the surrender. Commence going to school in Memphis. What little I learnt I quit takin’ care of it and seeing aftah it an’ lost it all. I’m a membuh of the Baptist Church an’ been for 25 or thirty years. I jined ’cause I wanted to be good ’cause I was a awful sinner. I have three daughters here married. You know Sussie Pruitt, don’tcha? Bertie Shannon an’ Irene Freeman. Irene lost her husband.”


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