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(title page) Fifty Years of Slavery in the United States of America
183 p., ill.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.
WEST MICHIGAN PRINTING CO.
Call number E444 .S63 1891 (Special Collections, University of Virginia Library)
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998
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[Title Page Image]
In presenting this volume to the public it is only just here to remark, it has been the intentions of the writer who is perfectly acquainted with Smith that the work is written with malice toward none, but with the full intention of enlightening the public and future generations on the subject of slavery in the United States of America. It has been impossible to note all the dates of scenes, incidents and important events, as the subject of this work could neither read nor write, therefore could not note them down. Depending on his remarkable memory, the writer has intended to picture to the intelligent mind, both sides of the subject, good and bad, during his life and experiences in slavery. Many things of important events contained in this work will be of historical interest. There is nothing contained in the work but the most fatidious can read and gain instructions from. While living in Indiana, the author was often requested by many prominent men to have his history written for future generations to read.
After many years residence in Michigan, by repeated requests of prominent men of his acquaintance, in the winter of 1891 he undertook and completed this history. The subject of American Slavery as it existed in the United States is truly an important one in the great history of this country. Very few men in the annals of history have passed through and witnessed the scenes in all phases of life as the author of this work has. Born and continued in slavery over fifty years now at a ripe old age, can enjoy the blessings of God under his own vine and fig tree with a degree of sympathy with all his fellow kindsmen. While many may doubt the truthfulness herein contained, many are living witnesses to these scenes. The intelligent mind may grasp its flaming truths, forgiving mistakes and hand it down to future generations as an important factor in the history of this great and glorious country, the United States of America.
Harry Smith was born in Nelson county, Kentucky, in the year 1815. The book contains a full account of his birth, boyhood, early life, thrilling scenes in slavery, narrow escapes from blood hounds, knifes and revolvers. Explaining in full the complete history of American Slavery, together with an account of the "Patrollers," showing their mode and manner of catching and punishing runaway slaves, and what finally led to their extermination.
Embracing a brief history of all the different slave owners he was hired and sold to, how treated, tied to the whipping post and whipped, explaining the reason he could not be sold to be taken away to New Orleans in the cotton picking.
Annual hiring out, buying and selling of slaves.
Slave pens and laws governing the same. Describing his great feats of markmanship, foot races, conversations with noted men in public life, such as General Taylor, Cassius M. Clay and many others. Thrilling scenes witnessed
during the great rebellion; inhuman treatment of our Union men by the Guerillas.
Explaining how he was finally sold for eleven hundred dollars; the last slave owner he lived with; what followed on the announcement by his master of his freedom from slavery while on the plantation.
Describing his feelings while witnessing the first battle General Bragg and Buel fought on Charles Hayes' plantation in Kentucky, sixteen miles from Louisville, where he lived when set free. His removal from Kentucky to Indianapolis, Indiana, after his freedom. Afterwards his final settlement in Osceola county, Michigan, where he now lives, including his struggles in trying to hew out a home in the wilds of Michigan.
Harry Smith was born in the village of Fairfield, Nelson Co., Kentucky on the 1st day of October, 1819. His grandfather was a native of Virginia. They were slaves and owned by a slaveholder by the name of Higby, of Virginia, who moved to Kentucky with his slaves in an early day. His father, Ralph Smith, was born in Maryland, Virginia, 1787, and died at Harry Smith's home in Osceolo Co., Mich., the 4th day of December, at the ripe old age of 90 years. His mother, Eliza Smith, was born in the Higby family a slave owner. She was born in Spencer Co., Kentucky, 1785, died 1865. His father married her in the Higby family in the Catholic church, of Fairfield Co., Kentucky, by Father Elliot. Old Massa Lisha Midcalf bought her of Higby, so his father could have her society at home on the plantation. She lived and died a true Catholic, a devoted christian. She was the mother of eighteen children, eight sons and ten daughters, all christened in the Catholic church, Fairfield. His father was raised in Jack Smith's family, who owned hundreds of slaves. The later part of his life he took
to drinking and drank up the value of ten slaves a year. Among the slaves sold was Harry Smith's father, Misses Eliza Midcalf bought him. Misses Midcalf owned his father and mother then.
Old Massa Midcalf was born in Lexington, Kentucky, in an early day. After he grew up and married, he moved to Spencer Co., Kentucky and commenced business where he built a fine brick building. Connected with this was a fine hotel and also a liquor distillery in Fairfield, Nelson Co., Kentucky. Harry Smith was born on this plantation in the loom house where they wove woolen, tow, linen and flax cotton cloth.
After he grew up to years of understanding, he witnessed Massa Midcalf take his mother, tie her to a locus tree in front of the house, her clothing nearly all stripped from her body, his own son and two other colored boys, and all were whipped, each in their turn. Harry's mother begging for Massa not to kill her, and mingled with the groans of the others it made a scene almost beyond description, Harry crying and begging for Massa not to kill his mother. He kept on until he struck each one hundred blows.
This inhuman treatment took place right in front of the public highway, with each blow blood would follow, and with each stroke of the lash he would utter oaths that would put to shame the most infamous demon on earth. They were ordered to cut corn stalks off the wheat. After cutting with all their might the first half of the day they stopped in a little ravine at a spring to rest and get a drink of water. Massa Midcalf was up in his tower overlooking
his plantation, when he discovered them resting at the spring, their time did not consume over ten min-minutes. He sprang from his pinacle and swore he would give each of them one hundred lashes. The following morning, each in his turn took the whipping mentioned.
MASTER MIDCALF WAS JUSTICE OF THE PEACE AT THIS TIME.
There was considerable petty theiving done among the slaves mostly to get something to eat. They worked very hard, and being ignorant, did not realize the danger of
stealing. The white folks would watch them close and when caught would enter complaint to Justice Midcalf, who would individually order them to be tied and receive thirty-nine lashes on their naked back. Often the blood would run down to the earth. It was no uncommon thing for Massa to have forty or fifty slaves tied and whipped a day for these trifling affairs. For each slave punished, Justice Midcalf received twenty-five cents, and with each blow would send forth the most fiendish oaths possible to imagine.
On one occasion some white person broke into old Burdines store and stole $8. Of course, it was charged to the slaves. Justice Midcalf was kept busy whipping negroes for four weeks in order to try and make them own up to what they were not guilty of. The theft never reached the right one and many a poor slave was unmercifully whipped principally for the twenty-five cents.
Another incident on Simpson Creek while under Midcalf, between Fairfield and Bloomfield, with old Joe Ray an inhuman slave owner. He owned a large plantation and hundreds of slaves, tobacco being his principal crop. Old Joe was a powerful man, weighing nearly 300 pounds, and if the slaves missed picking a worm off the tobacco Massa Ray would split their backs open with his bull whip. Many of the slaves after being severely punished would run away and remain six or eight months, and when found were nearly whipped to death. Ray owned an old slave, called Uncle George, who ran away, and after an absense of a few months, was returned by some low white person who received $25, but often $100 was paid for the return of a runaway slave. Uncle George was stripped naked, bound in the hen house, directly under their droppings,
taken out, received one hundred lashes from Ray, the same from his son, and placed back under the roost naked, face up. The next morning, received the same, with his flesh all lacerated, was bound to a shovel plow to cultivate tobacco, compelled to do a hard days work, after this inhuman treatment. The day being spent, old Ray's son saddled his horse going to the field untied Uncle George from the plow and conducted him to the house, where he received his rations as follows:
One cup of Bonaclaffer, known among the whites as the coarsest corn meal, small piece of poor meat, then chained in the corn crib compelled to shell twelve bushels of corn before he could sleep, remaining there chained until morning.
As faithful a slave as he was he was put on the block, sold to Richardson, put into his chain gang and taken to New Orleans in the cotton fields.
At another time in the spring of the year while his slaves were attending to tobacco fields, there suddenly came a terrible thunder storm, the rain coming down in torrents. The darkies all started for shelter, were met by Massa Ray, riding up on the great stallion and using all the oaths at his command, ordered them to return to their work. After they all resumed work again, rain still coming in sheets, suddenly there burst forth from the heavens terriffic thunder and lightning. Master Ray, straddle of his horse, umbrella over his head, cursing and swearing, the lightning struck the umbrella running down one side of him knocking him off his horse, and the slaves assisted him to the house, where he was confined a long time. In three years he died as a result of this shock.
The day he died he called in one of his slaves who could fiddle, using an old gourd for a fiddle. Calling in two of his darkies who could dance he ordered his bull whip brought in; then the music and dancing began in earnest; when they would slack up he would hit them a clip using an oath and a blow.
After their performance was over, the woman cook was ordered to prepare some corn bread and bacon and ordered to place the food in his mouth as he was hungry and too weak to wait on himself. He then expired with the provision still in his mouth. He was buried as he directed in front of his door, so he could see all of his (d--m negroes) and whites who came there. It rained for the space of one week after he was buried.
Shortly after as the wash woman was bringing in the clothes she stepped on the head of his grave, the ground being all softened from the effects of the heavy rain she sank up to the middle of her body. She screamed with all her might, "for de Lord, old massa had her by de leg, and to come and help her out." She was taken out, while some enjoyed a hearty laugh, others were very serious over it.
Atkinson and Richardson were two southern men, living in New Orleans. They made annual tours to Kentuckey in the spring attending all the resorts of Tennessee and Kentuckey buying all the slaves they could find, large and small, they could get. When the planters would learn of their presence in the vicinity they would
tell their negroes who would not toe the line that they would sell them to go south and drink Mississippi water.
When the slaves were aware of the presence of these two slave buyers a number of them would run away to the hills and remain often a year before they returned. Some would reach Canada for fear of being sold.
Going to New Orleans was called the Nigger Hell, few ever returning who went there. Usually those who ran away when caught were sold. As fast as they were brought back by Richardson and Atkins, they were taken to Louisville and placed in the negro pen and guarded until fall, when they were fettered, chained together and started on their long journey South.
Mr. Smith's old Massa Midcalf, as the reader is aware, kept a large hotel and when they were on their way with droves of negroes every negro that would stop there that night would be ordered not to leave the plantation under penalty of death. All night long chains would rattle. Some were crying for a mother left behind, some for an only child, and altogether it made a scene almost indescribable; and all the consolation they could hear would be the crack of the bull-whip of some watchman and floods of profanity. Some were tired out by their bloody feet walking on the frozen ground, and were compelled to dry up. "I will take you where it is warm enought--where you d--m backs will crack instead of your feet." Many were so crippled they could not walk and were thrown into some old wagon and conveyed in this manner to their journey's end. Water and mud made no difference; they were compelled to move right along.
At that time there were no turnpikes. The roads were
all dirt and rock roads. After reaching Louisville they were put in a negro pen--barracks where they could not get away. Then these traders had them all washed and each one had a new suit of clothes, consisting of hard time cotton, this was for the man's breeches and shirts; and then cheap calico for the woman and a hard-time shirt constituted the woman's clothing. No shoes on any of them. There were two negro pens in Louisville. Nat Garrison owned one of them and Artiburn owned the other. They were marched out hundreds at a time after dressing and put on the steam boats and taken down the river.
In their boyhood days there was a law enacted that any person found off the plantation where they belonged, if caught by the patrollers, would receive forty lashes on their bare back and blood must follow every stroke. At the time Mr. Smith was growing up the patrollers never caught him as he was one of the fleetest runners in the whole South.
Dancing was one of the main amusements in the South. Mr. Smith's old massa would give him a pass to prevent his being whipped, but he seldom asked for it, because he was so fleet of foot no one could catch him, not even the blood hounds as the reader will find later on. Many were caught by these patrollers when the corners of the fence were raised enough to get their heads through, their backs made bare and they received their punishment in this attidude.
The patrollers became so desperate that the colored people cut off their horses' tails and saddle skirts. At last some would remain and take charge of the animal while others would go and search the cabins and see if colored visitors had passes.
At that time all the grain harvested was stacked, and thrashed by horses walking and tramping it out. Some colored person who had received a severe whipping from the patrollers would wreak out his vengance by firing the grain in the field. One of those men, when the firing was going on, was captain of the patrollers. This man was John Montgomery. He was one of the most desperate
men with the colored folks then known in Kentucky. He had most all the colored folks whipped in Nelson and Spencer counties. The same night his grain was burning up he was several miles from home whipping negroes. He saw the fire and on reaching home found his grain and barn all consumed; then he directly set about to find out who did the deed. Mr. Smith's old Massa Midcalf, at that time was justice, also whipping master, and over 300 slaves were brought there at a time to be whipped. They all had to give an account of where they were the night of the burning. Some had one excuse and some another. It was several days before any were whipped as the examination was going on. The town was alive with white men who owned slaves and they would not allow them to be whipped unless the cause was proved against them. They would remain until eleven o'clock P. M. examining them, after that they were taken in charge of by Massa Midcalf until the following day when the same preliminary service would be gone through.
After about ten days they commenced whipping to compel them to tell who did the firing. Many were so frightened that they would tell a lie to prevent being whipped, and when that was found out they would receive thirty-nine lashes which would cause the blood to run down their backs. Finally it was decided that George Willis and Soloman, two colored men belonging to George Wells were the guilty ones. The way it happened to be fixed on them they were out possum and coon hunting the night of the fire. They had to go with a large company of men and show them tracks and cut trees, and also the routes where they climbed over the fences and where they came home that night. They caught eight possums
and five coons. After proving their innocence they still insisted on whipping them, but George Wills would not permit it. Old Montgomery and George Wills together with their friends went to law about it. George Wills had to take his two men and put them in jail at Bardstown, Nelson county. They commenced lawing in the fall and ended in the summer. George Wills beat Montgomery. Thus the men did not receive the whipping. It cost Montgomery $2,000.00. After this Montgomery continued whipping negroes just the same.
It was not long after that the darkies got up a plot to destroy the patrollers. A number met together and arranged the following plan: The plan was this, to get in a ravine and stretch wild grape vines across the road where they knew the patrollers were sure to come. Then they would get on an elevation and commence to sing comic songs. When they would discover them they would start on the run. The patrollers coming in contact with the vines it would knock them off injuring many of them.
Many were thrown against the banks and rocks and severely injured; then they would directly set about to find out who the guilty parties were; the darkies would run home slip into bed and to deceive them, would pretend to be sound asleep. Mass Bill at that time was Mr. Smith's foreman and was in the habit of drinking. Uncle Bill was in the still with Mr. Smith one night, when the patrollers came there to get some whiskey and also to look for darkies. Mr. Smith having no pass they concluded to whip him. Down by the still house was a steep bank, and a few rods from there was a large creek, so they took Mr. Smith out and wanted to know if he could run, he
answered them he could. One white man by the name of Joe Radish, was an expert runner. The creek was frozen nearly over. He informed Smith if he could catch him before he got to the point of the island, some eighty rods away, he would give him one hundred lashes. Montgomery, the captain, would run the whip over Smith's mouth saying he wanted some nigger meat tonight. Mr. Smith was started in the race, Radish pulled off his great coat and pursued him; before reaching ths opposite bank Radish caught him. That stirred up Smith's blood. The second heat Smith distanced him and ran home, amid all the cursing Radish was capable of. Smith was the greatest runner in the state of Kentucky. This was Smith's first race in his boyhood with the patrollers. The man who destroyed Montgomery's property was Bailey. He was not whipped but sent down the river.
Finally Magroo, who lived on the Bargetown turnpike, turned out to be a patroller. He was cruel and wicked to the colored folks. He owned a large steam distillery. He caught a colored man out one night and undertook to whip him, he resisted and it took six men to accomplish it, but they succeeded in cutting his flesh all into pieces, striking him over six hundred lashes. He finally reached home and was confined to his bed six weeks before he was able to resume work. Dick said nothing until the next fall. Then he repeated he would fix old Magroo for whipping him. When Magroo commenced making whiskey in the fall, he had a fine colored girl who Dick was paying some attention to. Magroo happened in one night when Dick was there and ordered him home; Dick started at the word. A few nights following, Magroo's still house and mill was all on fire. There was another
great excitement among the colored folks, as it was all laid to them. So they had about a week's whipping to find out who fired the mill. All the clue they could get on Dick, some of the colored people heard him say. he would fix Magroo. Uncle Dick was taken before Squire Salone, his sentence was to place him in jail, and in a few days send him down the river. The patrollers still continued in their nefarious business. This concludes Smith's trials and scenes in his boyhood with the patrollers.
SMITHS MANHOOD--FLEET OF FOOT--WHIPPING NEGROES--THE PATROLLERS DEFEATED--$100 FOR A SINGLE HAIR--END OF THE PATROLLERS--PISTOLS.
The scene following took place with the patrollers after Smith grew up to be a man. The reader will bear in mind Smith never was caught by no man, as his equal as a runner could not be found. During the time that he was hired out in Jefferson county, Kentucky, patrollers were in the heighth of their glory, and it seemed as though they were part blood hounds and wanted nigger meat. Sim Lewis was captain of Jefferson county at that time, and Smith had a pass to go to a dance on Fern creek, ten miles from Louisville. The patrollers came there that night, about twelve of them, there being about one hundred and fifty colored people at the dance. They whipped about fifty that night who were so unfortunate as not to have a pass. Finally a colored man there by the name of Armstage Brisee, a powerful man weighing two hundred and twenty-five pounds, whom they had threatened previous
to this time, but had never whipped him, had no pass; so Captain Lewis went to Massa Brisco and informed him that he must give his negroes passes or he would whip them. He informed him that he would not give them passes and if he whipped any of his negroes he would law them to the full extent of the law. Finally he told Massa Brisco that he should whip them the next time he caught them--Mr. Armstead being there the night of the dance. After going through and whipping all who had no pass they came to Armstead and informed him they would whip him. He told them that he guessed not.
The patrollers had an iron rod with a large head to knock negroes down with. Armstead was standing in the corner by an old time fire place, eight of the patrollers were in the house and five outside to prevent the darkies from getting away. Captain Lewis came to Armstead and asked him for a pass. He informed him that he did not have any, and says, "you will not whip me." The patrollers closed in on him. The captain struck at him, missing his head the blow landed on his shoulder. The wildest excitement then commenced. On the fire was a stick of wood about three inches through all ablaze. Armstead seized this blazing piece and struck down several of the gang. He cleared them all out of the room and then went out of doors and resumed the same business. They struck him with their iron canes and at every blow blood would flow. Armstead seized one of the iron canes and every white man that he struck disturbed him no more. He soon had the yard all to himself. The patrollers were so enraged that they cried out, "Shoot the d--d nigger." They fired three rounds at him with
common shot. He still lived through all of this. His master sued them and it cost them $3,000.00 to settle their inhuman treatment of the slaves. The darkies carried the news to his master that Armstead was shot. He sent a conveyance after him and placed him under the doctor's care.
The next encounter the patrollers got into, was with a colored man belonging to old John Hycus, Harrison was his name, and he was away visiting his girl, where they found him and took him out to whip him. Harrison resisted them. They struck him as usual with their iron canes. Harrison was getting the best of them. One of them stabbed him. Harrison whipped out his knife and the wildest excitement ensued. The man who owned the girl Harrison called to see, saw the whole affair, also his three sons and his wife. In the fight at that time the darkies wore their hair long, many took great pains with their hair. In the melee that ensued, one of the first party struck Harrison on the head with his iron cane and cut off a large tuft of hair, clearing the skin from the scalp. They succeeded in getting the advantage of him at last, and leaving him for dead they quit the bloody scene. Immediately his owner, John Hycus, was informed and he came down with a conveyance and took him home. When Harrison got a little better, the patrollers sued John Hycus for injuring some of them, then he sued them for barberously using his colored man. For each man Harrison cut with his knife, the court granted them $700 each. For every hair they knocked and cut off from Harrison's head it cost the patrollers the sum of $100, which amounted to a good many thousand dollars.
The hairs were counted in the court house at Louisville.
John Hycus won the suit after one year. This tragic affair forever ended in Kentucky the nefarious work of the patrollers. Mr. Smith at this time was about twenty years old, about the time Mr. Smith changed from the Midcalf family to Mass Salone's plantation. Mr. Smith's mistress married Jack Salone. Mr. Smith came into Mass Salone's family when he was ten years old.
MISSES SALONE.Smith was his mistress' pet. After two years elapsed they had a child, Smith was at once put in charge of this child, and he by his faithfulness in taking care of it was their
favorite. He was raised and granted many favors and at times was very saucy and mischevious and many times deserved punishing, in all of Smith's experiences in slavery he never found any person who treated him so kindly as Master and Mrs. Jack Salone. He never struck any of his slaves with a cowhide whip, as he did not believe in that kind of business. He was a kind and indulgent master, and his excellent wife had few superiors. Smith was great at making wagons and sleighs. He was very ingenious and far above the ordinary man, either colored or white, and as a result, most all came to him to get what articles they wanted made, and one of his favorable amusements was making water mills on the small streams that are so numerous in the South. During the time he was nursing this child when out on the creeks making mills, often the child wanted to go home he would try and stop her crying and not go until he was ready. His mother lived on the plantation at that time. He was very saucy and mischevious for over-indulgence and when it became necessary to punish him his mother did it. His mother was a great spinner in flax and linen. One evening his father was taken sick. His mother sent him to a neighbor to get some red pepper for his father's cholic. He remained there, playing with the children some two hours or more. His mother came out on a rise of ground and called for him. He lit out for home as lively as possible; his mother took the pepper and immediately prepared it for use; he commenced to play with the children, perfectly contended. His mother seized him, placing his head between her knees gave him a good warming up. His sister Maria was engaged holding the baby. He was standing in the corner pouting, while his
sister was making fun of him for getting such a smart whipping. His mother was spinning and singing; they had an old-fashioned fireplace, the fore sticks rested on large stones which after using awhile would all crumble to pieces.
His sister continued to keep up her mirth and tormented him. He stepped out of doors and picked up a piece of one of these broken stones. He secreted the stone and came in while his sister continued to laugh. He threw the stone, knocking his sister over together with the baby, and skipped out. The moon was shining bright--this was in the fall. In a clover field was a large poplar tree turned up by the roots. He ran throug the orchard toward this fallen tree. His mother sent one of the servants in pursuit of him, and after due course of time reached the fallen tree. Not thinking any one was there in the hole at the turned up tree he gave a spring and landed all right, only to find the servant there whom his mother had sent in pursuit. He grabbed Smith who set up a terriffic yelling. His mother, hearing the noise, came to the scene with the raw hide whip. She led him home and tied him to the bedstead. She whipped him severely; so much that it was necessary to wash the sheets the following morning; they were covered with blood as a result of the whipping he got.
While his mistress was engaged clearing up the house one Sunday morning--it was customary in those days to eat breakfast at nine o'clock--during this time his mistress kept him in the house most of the time. While cleaning out the clothes press Harry espied in the corner an old
pistol. Taking the pistol he went out of doors, pulled back the hammer and continued to snap it in order to see the fire fly, but did not realize the danger while handling it. Peter, Uncle Peter, most every fall would try and run away to Canada in order to be free.
Uncle Peter ran away and came to Michigan. His master and brother pursued and overtook him. At the time he loaded the pistol previously mentioned. Not having any trouble in catching Peter they did not use the pistol, but brought it home and placed it in the closet. It had been there about four years, not having been used. Harry of course used it as a plaything to see the fire fly. The white child he nursed, as has been mentioned, was near him and he snapped it in her face several times, but fortunately it did not go off. So he would slip up and snap it in his mistress' face occasionly and it did not respond with any harm. She finally drove him out of the house and threatened him severely if he continued to use it, but he knew she would not harm him. His master had gone to a neighbor's. After he had left Harry took more liberty and did as he pleased. He went out among the children who took turns in snapping the pistol in each other's faces to see the fire roll. It seemed to be very fortunate for him in this carelessness, as it did not seem to harm any one. The old cook, Aunt Hanna, being about four feet square, would occasionally have the deadly weapon pointed at her and snapped in her face. It seemed that providence had a hand in all this and stayed the danger. The old cook would drive them out with the poker. There were about twenty-five of the children, all taking part in the exercises.
The master had about twenty-five Fox hounds. They
would snap at them to see them howl and run. There was one boy among them named Buck who was the oldest. He was a knock-kneed, awkward boy and stuttered considerable. There was a large bull dog named Tag. During this time old Tag was lying at the corner of the house in the shade. After old Aunt Hanna called to Harry to come and take the milk pans and put them on the bench outside in the sun. The awkward boy said, "ha, ha, ha! Give me the pi-pis-pistol while you put out the milk pans! I-I-m-I'm g-g-going to shoot Tag!" Providence seemed to interfere previous to shooting Tag. There had arrived on the scene some neighbor children. Buck pulled the trigger on Tag and to the great astonishment of all it went off, the ball passing through Tag lodged in his hip. When the pistol went off the children all ran, yelling at the top of their voices. All seemed frightened out of their wits. Buck, who shot the dog, stood dumfounded, yelling, "Ya! Ya! O! O!" Tag was bounding up in the air howling and tearing like a mad bull. It seemed that that pistol was heard for miles around. Tag ran out into the garden and stopped on the walk. His mistress yelled to Buck to bring her the pistol. He continued to jump up and yell as though he was scared to death.
Finally Buck took the pistol to her and she said run and see if he is hurt bad. They all ran to see if Tag was hurt much; Tag was cold in death. Buck says "go and get a piece of meat and put it in his mouth and it will bring him to life again." Harry presented the meat, but there was no eat there. Buck says "I will hold his mouth open, you put the meat in first and the bread next." Harry placed it in his mouth, the hoecake was so hard old Jumbo could not have broken it had he stepped on it. Then the
children concluded they would take Tag out in the wheat field in a little ravine and hide him before Massa came home. At eleven o'clock Massa came home and a number of children came there to play marbles. It seemed as if all who came would go to the field and see Tag. As a result they would tramp down a good deal of wheat. Massa did not say anything about the affair until about four o'clock in the afternoon. He did not keep any raw hide whips, but used his riding whip. Massa was six feet six inches tall, very slim and sickly. While the children were playing he put in his appearance with a whip in his hand and ordered Harry and Buck to follow him to the barn. When the marble game was concluded they repaired to the barn and Massa took off the lines from the harness and ties Harry and Buck and then takes them out in the barn yard and ties them each to a poplar tree. The reader will understand, at that time both boys and girls wore nothing but tow linen shirts. They were tied in such a manner giving them twenty feet to play on and ordered to run so that each revolution would bring them closer to the trees. He had struck them about thirty lashes each during the time they were winding up, then after giving them about twenty lashes each, he sat down to rest. He had three turns at this whipping. He united them, ordered Buck to skin old Tag and hang the skin up in the barn. Harry held the dog's legs and Buck did the skinning. They made terrible bad work of the job. He charged Buck to be very careful not to cut the hide, if he did he would be whipped. After they had finished, each picked up the fragments of the skin and brought it up to Massa. He asked Buck if he skinned him good, he replied that he had done a good job.
Now Massa told them to take it up to the barn and hang it up on a pole very carefully. They immediately did as ordered, and as a good many white folks came there he would take them and show how nice his boys had skinned old Tag. The skin was cut in fifty pieces or more and they would leave with a broad grin. Massa did not renew his whipping however. The reader will learn that Master Jack Salone and Misses were the best slave owners that Harry ever had the good luck to be under, and this dog experience will long live in his memory.
Some of the children, together with Harry, concluded to go fishing. Harry, to be a little cute, started ahead of the rest. While the children were getting bait Harry was at the river digging his. Harry reached the river at a point where they used to launch flat boats, never having learned to swim. The water at that place was twenty feet deep. Harry was engaged with a long pole prying muck out of the bank for bait when suddenly the pole broke and he landed away out in the stream. Harry realized the danger he was in. When his head came out of water he began to paw, puff and blow, and no stream-boat could possibly have made more noise or thrown water livelier than he. He finally reached the bank much exhausted with his narrow escape. While resting on the bank he discovered the rest of the party coming. He did not want the boys to see him so he ran on toward home. Within about one mile of home he had to pass up a lane, and he imagined he heard an old goose setting, so he thought he would have some eggs to take with him. Climbing on the fence to see where the nest was the first thing
that met his gaze were two large black snakes staring him directly in the face. He sprang off the fence and ran with all his might. The snakes close behind they ran him nearly a half mile, but Harry being such a fleet runner he outdistanced them and reached home much exhausted and frightened over his first fishing day. After reaching home, finding no one there and the cattle in the oat field, he took his bow and arrows and concluded to shoot the old bull, as he was the one which broke the fence. Some of the arrows were steel pointed and in order to make some of the cattle run he would shoot them with blunt arrows; when he encountered the bull he showed fight, so placing one of the steel-pointed arrows in his bow, fired away striking him in the forehead bringing him to his knees. For fear of being hurt he neglected to pull the arrow out of his head, and he soon jumped and ran with the rest of the cattle, the arrow still sticking in his head. After nearly two hours trying to corner him to get the arrow, he finally concluded to get him in the barn with the rest of the cattle. After considerable trouble he succeeded in pulling the arrow much to his relief. Smith was nearly scared out of his wits and turned the cattle out. Night coming on he drove the cattle up as usual. The milk maid informed Massa the bull's head was bleeding and he must be hurt bad. Massa enquired of Harry if he had hit him with a rock. Harry informed him to the contrary. Massa then thought that some one had shot him, trying to kill him. He enquired of Harry if he was bleeding when first discovered. The answer was yes. The next day being Monday massa informed his neighbors some one had shot his bull. Massa remained ignorant through his life of how Harry wounded the bull, while as yet a mere boy.
Harry and his mistress were working in the garden. She had a goose setting in one corner of the lot.
The goose got terrible noisy all at once and Harry was dispatched immediately to see the cause of the alarm. This pleased Harry thinking he would get rid of pulling weeds for awhile. He made his tow linen shirt snap, as this was all he wore at that time, running to see what was troubling the goose. Reaching the goose, who was all excited, feathers all ruffled up, it tickled him so that he did not at once discover the intruder. Raising the goose up he saw a huge black snake wound around the nest, eleven feet in length, with a goose egg in his mouth trying to swallow it. Harry took to his heels, nearly frightened to death and every jump brought forth a yell that made the earth almost quake, screaming all the time "snake, snake oh! Misses." Harry not only ran but joined the bird company and flew as it were. Misses at this time was in no proper condition to encounter such a monster;
she however, concluded to go, and after working around a while, struck his head off with the hoe. Harry saw her dragging the snake to the house as a trophy, and still frightened he ran away down the creek. An old man on the plantation skinned it and kept it to show what a monster it was.
The foregoing instances transpired while living in Jack Salone's family. Harry at this time was taken to Bryant Salone's family, father of Jack Salone, and was still looking after the child so often spoken of in a previous chapter.
There were a number of colored children on this plantation. There were boys from twelve to thirteen who never had anything on but a tow linen shirt; girls from ten to twelve nothing but tow linen chemise on, except when their parents worked overtime and bought them dresses; all these children were raised and nursed by an old colored negro, named Uncle Paul, about four feet in height, called a Guina negro. There were four acres in the door yard. Old Master Salone's house stood nearly in the center of it. The house was two stories, built of hewed logs, with a huge stone fireplace at each end of it. Three sides of this yard were negro cabins, none over ten feet high, all joined together. One end of the cabin constituted the fireplace, built of large flat rocks set edgewise to take in a large back log. Nothing but clay floors to sit or dance on, as occasion demanded.
Old Massa Bryan Salone, who was an Englishman, was born in Burkhamshire, England, in 1733, and was one of the smartest men who ever lived in Kentucky and one of the earliest slave owners. He brought fourteen slaves with him and settled in Spencer county, Kentucky, where he remained during life. Some of his colored children he bought for nine-pence and others he stole. At that time the Indians were very troublesome to the settlers. He lived in the hollow of an old Sycamore tree for fourteen
years and was constantly on the watch for Indians. He took up 7000 acres of land, claiming it as his own, but in the course of time other parties arrived and procured a portion of it, and in this way he lost considerable. After giving each of his children 300 acres apiece there still remained 2,400 for himself. After the Indians became hostile he rallied and commenced to clear and improve the land. He was possessed with great perseverance and forethought. During the fourteen years he lived in a hollow tree a number of colored children were born and old massa was all the doctor there was, as there were no physicians in these parts. While the slaves were working he was on the watch, as he never trusted an Indian, uncivilized or hostile. He was familiar with their habits, and with his flint-lock rifle he has sent many an Indian to his happy hunting ground, and they all stood in great fear of him. He lived single this way until he had a large tract of land under cultivation; then he married a lady by the name of Miss King and moved out of the hollow tree and built a log cabin, and one son was born to them. His wife soon after died and six month later he married his first wife's sister whose name was Nancy. His farm soon began to pay him abundantly and he branched out in other enterprises. His first enterprise outside of farming was the building and operating of a still house. Corn was worth nine-pence per bushel and whiskey brought twenty-five cents per gallon. The corn was taken off the cob at night by the slaves, both men and women using the flail It was conveyed to the mill to be cracked and prepared for the still by putting it in sacks, placed on horses, a boy or girl thrown on and in this manner often twenty would be loaded and started at one
time. Massa was very severe on his slaves, and very peculiar in many respects. He would not allow any person to interfere with his business in any manner whatever.
He only allowed each slave one pair of shoes per year and the soles were sewed with heavy twine. They were made on the plantation by an old colored man named Uncle Jakey and were called flat-downs instead of shoes. They were handed to each man and woman the day before Christmas and then they would not get any until the next Christmas. For winter clothing, one pair of Linsey breeches and one blouse for the men; one Linsey dress for the women, and those had to last, for winter clothing, until winter came again The colored folks thought more of this menial outfit, than the people at the present day would of silk and broadcloth. For summer wear, each received two pair of tow linen shirts, the collar was made with a string to tighten, and pants of the same material. From September until the last of April, they had only two meals per day. Rations were measured out to them, consisting of a piece of hoe cake, a small piece of wild pork and sour milk, never sweet milk. In the fall corn was gathered, first by topping it and the tops were then used in making what they called a fodder house, by sticking crotches in the ground and covering with stalks, often being forty rods in length, then the corn was taken off and thrown into piles, shucks all on. Some two or three teams would haul it and pile it in front of the fodder house and would average forty loads a day. After working all day, this corn had to be shucked before bed time. All the corn shucked at night the women had to pack in baskets and crib it. The children both boys and girls
carried the shucks and packed them in the fodder house as fodder for winter. These scenes were often followed up by the children in all the merriment possible. Uncle Paul, the overseer, was there with his bull whip, hustling them up. They usualy quit at eleven o'clock at night. Then Uncle Paul had to report to Massa how many loads were hauled and how much corn shucked. Often other negroes would come in and help them out and then all would join in and have a big time. Then the cook, Aunt Hannah, would have supper ready, Uncle Paul served out their rations, each taking it in their hand, none dared, under penalty of a severe whipping, to disturb the provender in any other way. The bread was baked in a large oven in front of the fireplace. The meal was baked as it came from the mill, never allowed to be sifted. Their meat was an old stag from twelve to fifteen years old. They were fatted with the hogs, all in one pen. Bull meat and wild hog was all the meat they received, each had a tin cup filled with bonaclapper, a puter plate and the bread, all of which they held in their hands, never being allowed to sit at the table while eating. In the cook room, on large iron crane, stewing all the time, two large kettles filled with corn and beans mixed. Uncle Paul always did the serving of rations. After eating, often preaching and prayer meetings by some of the old folks in some of the cabins, and in others fiddles would ring out. It was a scene never to be forgotten, as the old christians sing and pray until four in the morning, while at the other cabins many would be patting, singing and dancing. At five in the morning Uncle Paul would make his rounds to the cabins with the end of his bull whip knocking on the doors. His first words would be, "is you all here?
any sick?" then Paul had to make a full report to Massa. Paul would then inform him what he thought ought to be done through the day. Breakfast was served from nine to ten, some ten to twelve. Women usually worked in the field with the men and several of them would be nursing children; then a member of the family would bring their breakfast out. It was carried in large wooden pails, often in their hands. Neither rain or storm would stop them. Many were employed to bring out the babies to nurse. Then the babies were taken back to the cabins where they remained until four, for dinner. Many of the old colored men and women were detained at the cabins to look after the babies. Cotton and flax was raised in abundance, from fifteen to twenty acres of cotton had to be attended to and from thirty to forty acres of flax would be sown. In cotton picking time, women were employed night and day, picking and carding cotton. Uncle Paul had this all to look after, he being overseer. Three hundred sheep were kept on the plantation and all the wool was carded and spun there also. Two looms were kept busy the year round handling flax, cotton and linen. In corn pulling and husking, marks of blood would often remain on the husks, caused by their hands being all cracked, and their feet would all be done up in rags, as they did not have shoes but once a year. Nights they used to grease their hands and feet with salve made from wild turnips.
In harvesting time, grain was all cut with sickles and was stacked in the field forming a circle and tramped out or thrashed by horses. Usually the last of August would begin the thrashing time. This was all done under Uncle
Paul's administration; and as many as fifty horses would be employed at a time. The floor would be covered very thick with wheat. Iron forks were not known at that time and crotched forks made of wood was used. At sundown Uncle Paul would put on the last floor to be thrashed, this all had to be cleaned up and stacked before quitting, often it would be twelve o'clock before they would finish the work set for them to do.
In the afternoon everything having suited Uncle Paul, he would take three or four darkies and repair to the orchard with sacks, fill them with apples and returning with them would scatter them on the ground, the same as hogs were fed, and they were picked up and eaten by the slaves This is all the dinner that they would get, and this depended on how Paul felt. If he happened to have a good streak occasionally several would be dispatched to the woods to fill up baskets with pawpaws which would be served the same as apples. This would continue until the wheat was all thrashed. From fifteen thousand to twenty thousand bushels usually the thrashing. The next job would be to clean up the wheat. They used what they called old-time wheat fans, putting through from seventy-five to eighty bushels per day, running it once through. The wheat had to go through this operation two or three times before it was fit for market. Wheat at this time was worth from eighteen to twenty-five cents per bushel.
The next work to be done was shucking corn for the still house to make whiskey with. They had invented a cast iron corn sheller and the men had to shell twenty-five bushels of corn every night after their day's work was done, except Saturday night. After all this work was
over, before they could retire, each had to bring in twelve sticks of tobacco and strip them and hand them up to be counted, examined and reported by Uncle Paul, and if it was not done they would receive thirty lashes from old massa.
HUNTING WILD HOGS--SMITH'S DREAM--APPLE AND CIDER TIME--SELLING APPLES AND BACON.
HUNTING WILD HOGS--SMITH'S DREAM--APPLE AND CIDER TIME--SELLING APPLES AND BACON.
The reader can get an idea from the following sketch about how the slaves secured their year's meat. Uncle Paul would take a force of men and women, repair to the hills and arm themselves with hog clubs and kill as many wild hogs as they could. It was attended with great danger as often the slaves were treed and dogs were devoured by these ferocious animals. The hunt would last four or five days, and when a large number had been slain they would gather them up. Some of the wild boars were of enormous size amd many of their tusks would measure eight inches in length. Some of the hogs were seven and one-half feet in length. Many when taken to the plantation were frozen so that ashes and water were used in order to get the hair off. This was salted and kept expressly for the colored folks to eat, they never being allowed to eat tame meat under Massa Salone's treatment.
As New Years in the time of slavery was the occasion of buying and selling slaves, scenes of separation of the mother from her children, father from son, husband from wife were numerous and heart-rending, making a scene impossible for the mind to contemplate. We will digress a little from the regular form of writing this history, as this is New Year's day, and will relate a dream of buying and selling on that day. Mr. Smith was back in slavery and trying to get away, and they were after him with blood hounds. Making for the woods with a knife, now in his possession, presented to him by a friend, and the hounds coming on to him so close, he rushed for a small body of water. Being closely pursued he came out and made for the hills--they after him in hot pursuit. They at last overtook and surrounded him. Fighting at once commenced. Smith drew his knife and fought bravely. After fighting some time they overpowered him; then they brought him back, and in passing through the stream the water was tinged with blood as many were badly cut. It appears that he came to a town where his wife lived, and seeing him a captive she cried, "I knew the whites would catch you and sell you down the river."
Smith's answer was this, "I do not care a d--where they send me."
Carrying him on to where they had a number of others bound and chained they served him in the same way. Some said shoot him, while others insisted on selling him so to get their money back. Some wanted to whip him, while others were sure that he would die any way, for the cuts he received in the melee were of a serious nature.
Others more sympathetic wanted him placed under the doctor's care. Finally they were all chained together and taken down to the cotton picking. He awoke finding it only a dream. The reader will bear in mind this is a memorable day to the poor slaves.
Twenty-five bushels of apples had to be brought in every day and peeled prepared to dry; they were usually brought in by the children. Old misses had a scaffold made out doors, twenty rods long. Timber put up this way and the fruit was dried. The following night peaches would be brought in and go through the same process. This was continued until the apples and peaches were disposed of.
Old misses would often have three hundred bushels of apples and peaches, and often they were all dried, the work being done nights. Old misses would then have a large load of apples, and usually from three to four yoke of stags would be hitched up to draw it, and another load of bacon and proceed in the same manner to market, and each would sell their load and keep the proceeds. It often took ten days to make the trip to Louisville, as the roads would often be in such bad condition. If prices were good they would return, each load up and make another trip. Old misses would send away several loads of cotton and gin, worked up on the plantation. Two looms were constantly in operation, year after year. They kept three hundred geese, and sometimes went to market with a large load of feathers. Old massa would send away at the same time bales of tobacco, usually drawn by three yoke of cattle. Uncle Paul, as usual,
superintending all of this business, and making a report to massa. The nights were taken up until ten by picking and grinding apples and pressing out the cider. The old mill could be heard two miles. When old misses sent word to stop that business, some repaired to their cabins, while others patted and danced during the night as they felt inclined. Uncle Paul would attend to boiling the cider down, barrel up the rest and make a report as usual.
SKETCH OF THE OLD COLORED FOLKS ON THE PLANTATION--TERRIFIC BATTLE WITH SNAKES--RETURN OF A RUNAWAY.
SKETCH OF THE OLD COLORED FOLKS ON THE PLANTATION--TERRIFIC BATTLE WITH SNAKES--RETURN OF A RUNAWAY.
Uncles Juber and Josh, Bonny and Lewis were never off the plantation. All they did was to see to the children, shuck corn and stem tobacco. Massa Salone was endowed with a remarkable memory, he could remain in his yard giving orders and never make a mistake how and where to do the work. He remembered plainly all the reports handed him by his colored overseer, Uncle Paul, and had not been out of his yard for forty years previous to his death.
A number of slaves were engaged in plowing, and the women cutting briars around the edges of sink holes, when suddenly they came upon a snake den filled with a
large number of venomous reptiles. The men quite their plowing and came to the assistance of the women, and for several hours the battle between the colored people and the snakes, the old Massa in the meantime giving instructions from the distance, not to get bitten, waxed warm but finally they succeeded in killing all that made their appearance.
Little Suky was hired out to a man by the name of Cunning in Jefferson county, Kentucky, who gave her a severe whipping, for a trifling affair. Suky after this, concluded not to remain with Cunning any longer and started back to her old Master Salone. On her way back, a white man by the name of Porter demanded of her where she was going and who she was. She informed him she was on her way back to her old Master. He compelled her to mount a horse behind him and took her home and charged her master ten dollars for returning Suky and it was promptly paid. Then Salone asked Porter if Suky was coming towards home. His answer was yes; but he thought she might not reach home. Massa Salone sent the sheriff back over the route enquiring all along if Suky was coming towards home. All informed him she was. Massa Salone then sued Porter for taking her up on her way home and demanded of him $500 to settle the affair.
Porter, seeing he was caught, offered to pay the amount, but afterwards refused to do so. The law allowed a man who returned a runaway slave, outside the county from $50 to $100. The case was carried to the Supreme court. Salone winning the case, Porter then offered
Salone $1,500 to settle. Salone had his English fully aroused. Porter was a man of very small means and became alarmed fearing this suit would ruin him. His friends often begging of Massa Salone to settle; he yielded, receiving the $1,500. Porter never molested any more negroes. Salone never lost a case in law, in his life. He hired by the year two of the most noted lawyers in Kentucky. Their names were Bob Weekly and Ben Harder; they lived at this time in Bardstown. The following case will show the ability of Ben Harder as a lawyer. A man in Kentucky was sentenced to be hung, Harder was his attorney. The case was tried in Louisville. The day was set and the hour appointed; at eleven o'clock a. m. to a minute for the hanging, the friends of the condemned man offered Harder $10,000 if he could in any manner succeed in saving this man from being hung. Harder put his wits at work and settled upon the following plan:
He disguised himself completly, fooling his most personal friends. The day and hour arriving, an old man was seen slowly wending his way through the crowd with a valise, umbrella and a book in his hands. He claimed to be a preacher and noticing the condemned man with the rope around his neck, requested the privilege of holding a season of prayer before the trap fell. The privilege of reading and praying was granted. He continued in his exercises fully five minutes after the time had expired in which he was to swing.
Closing his prayer he suddenly and unexpectedly sprang to his feet, throwing off his disguise, when to their astonishment Ben Harder was before them, and speaking in tones of thunder said: "I am Ben Harder. The time
that this man was to hung has passed, fully seven minutes. Now gentlemen, you have no lawful right to hang this man, and if you do I will prosecute every one of you to the full extent of the law." The scene that followed was a pantomine. He succeeded in saving the condemned man and received the one thousand dollars.
Before we proceed farther in this work we desire to relate an incident in reference to this same Harder to show the blood that coursed in his veins.
Lawyers Harder and Weekly had sons who were lawyers. They were employed in a law suit of a very exciting nature, and being opponents, got into a dispute and called each other liars. All who are acquainted with southern life are aware that this is a chance for a duel at once.
These two young lawyers drew their bowie knives, and walking out doors one of them sprang into an empty hogshead and dared the other to climb in. Their fathers standing there never said a word, while the two rivals in the law practice continued to stab each other, and from the loss of blood both sank down in the hogshead and expired in a few moments.
This happened at election time, as the men belonged to opposite parties. Able was billed to make a speech in a country town near by. Going to Bryant's livery barn he hired a rig to go to his destination. Bryant returning
enquired where was such a rig, and was informed Jack Able had taken it out in the country. Bryant became mad and said he would be d--d if Jack Able should be riding around with his rigs to make speeches, and immediately ordered a horse saddled, declaring as he left, he would have his horse that day or die. Bryant overtook his horse, finding it hitched to a post outside and Able inside making a speech. He did not say a word to Able, but quietly untied his horse and returned, leaving Able to walk back. After finishing his speech and discovering his rig was taken, he walked back to town, through the hot dust and sun. Reaching home he took his double barreled shot gun; his wife asking him what he intended to do. He replied he was going to remove the load of fine shot and reload with buck shot and kill Bryant. After reloading his gun with buck shot his wife asked him why he desired to kill Bryant. He informed her, for taking the horse and leaving him to walk back through the dust after his speech was through; and he would kill him at first sight. On learning the particulars his wife declared that he was right and to go ahead. Bryant was on the watch expecting trouble, and being in the barn discovered Able coming up the street with his gun in his hand, Bryant passed out through the back door into the yard, his house being directly opposite of his stable. Able pursued him as he was making for his house in order to get his gun. Able coming around the corner of the stable, out into the street, discovered Bryant on his door step and he heard him tell his wife to hand him his rifle quick. Able raised his gun and fired kllling Bryant instantly he falling in his own doorway. This circumstance was never brought into the courts.
Reaching up to this date brings Smith to a young man of eighteen years and still with Salone.
Massa George and Massa Jack Salone lived on Powel's Run, which empties into the Salt river. Gooden's Spring is the head of Powel's Run. Massa George had about four hundred bushels of apples buried there. Some twenty youngsters met there one night to enjoy their fun, thinking the white folks were all asleep. A number were sent to the apple hole to get some apples. While they were all engaged roasting apples and talking to their girls Massa George was watching them undiscovered. Massa George, who kept a large stallion, was obliged to keep a large black whip to subdue him in his ugly freaks. Opening the cabin door with this black whip he enquired where they got their apples. Then all who had apples secretly commenced to pluck them out of their pockets, and throw them into the fire, each trying to hide his guilt. Massa George compelled them to pick the apples out of the fire, and if possible to find out how many they had taken. Then each one was ordered to step out on the floor and he would strike them fifty blows with this large whip.
Massa George kept fourteen dogs, three of which were Blood hounds. Among the number was one female called Trance. She was the most vicious and bloodthirsty of all. The hounds usually slept in the house.
Old Miss Sally Salone was standing in the door listening to the whipping going on. Soon Harry was called out
to receive his whipping, and as usual did not propose to be whipped, making for the door massa in hot pursuit. After getting outside, the hounds hearing the disturbance came out. Old miss set the hounds after him and just as he sprang on the style block old Trance grabbed him by the seat of the pants. Harry tore loose from her and outdistanced all the hounds, and after he reached home he could distinctly hear Massa George whipping and hear the poor darkies begging for their lives--to not whip them so hard. "Oh! for de Lord's sake, Massa George, save me! save me!" This closes the apple business, and Harry, alone, escaped being whipped, but carries the marks of the blood hound to this day.
The next day Massa George was informed of Harry's punishment and knowing Harry's boss would not whip him he took his dirk knife and went over to try and scare Harry. Calling him up in the presence of his massa and mistress, he seized him by the collar and enquired of him all about the apple business. After unbuttoning his shirt he asked him what he intended doing and reaching down his massa pulled out his dirk which frightened him terribly, and exclaimed, "by the Lord God I'm going to cut out your bowels." Looking around to his massa and mistress, Harry spoke out saying Massa George was going to kill him. He ordered Harry to stand perfectly still as he was going to cut his bowels out. Harry became so scared that he sprang up and after a few minutes succeeded in getting away and making for the woods, where he remained until he was certain the danger was all over. Thus by his fleetness of foot he escaped what might have terminated in his death. It seems as if providence had an interest in sparing this man to explain to the world the horrors of slavery.
It was customary for the sons of slave owners to be called massa. Jack Salone was Harry's boss at this time and had the early training of him and indulged him in many things. Smith was never whipped as he did not believe in whipping his slaves. Smith often speaks of this being the best white folks he ever lived with. Massa Jack concluded to go fox hunting and took Harry along to blow the horn for him as massa was sickly. They had not gone far when Harry was sent back after something which did not please him, and in going back he passed through Massa George's melon patch, and at once destroyed a number of them, and not returning in time his massa went on hunting alone. On returning he discovered some one had destroyed his melons and questioned Harry if he knew who destroyed them; his answer was, no, but believing him guilty he ordered him to go and bring him a rope from the barn, and placing it around a timber above the stoop pulled him up and let him down several times nearly frightening him to death. He asked him again if he did not destroy his melons and demanded him to tell the truth or he would hang him. Harry looked around to old misses for assistance, as she often took his part, but she did not make any reply. His master again asked him, but received the same answer. He was agan drawn up and this time fully realizing his situation, as this kind of business was anything but amusement for him on reaching his feet, and being again questioned he at once owned up to it, and on being relieved never again deceived his Massa.
A SKETCH IN THE LIFE OF UNCLE PAUL--MASTER BRYANT,
A SKETCH IN THE LIFE OF UNCLE PAUL--MASTER BRYANT,
The first thing that we shall call the reader's attention to in the life of this remarkable man was his ability to charm hogs. During his life with Massa Salone he had charmed and stolen hundreds of hogs. He would decoy them away from home and put his master's mark on them. After this was done no man dare undertake to get them. Men have been there from different parts of the country and proved their property, but never, in one instance, did they take a hog from the field or pen. Massa Salone would inform them that his overseer never stole a hog in his life, and at the same time he was stealing all the hogs possible, and would tell them that if they disturbed one of his hogs he would law them for twenty years.
Uncle Paul was half Guina negro, a good worker and an obedient servant.
Master Salone was a powerful man, seven feet in height, and he could be heard for miles cursing and swearing, and,
as the reader is already aware had great ability in the law, having never been known to loose a case in his life. This stealing by Paul, not only hogs but cattle as well, added much to Salone's wealth. It was conducted all through his life. There were over one hundred different hog pens on the plantation in different localities, located so as to secret the stolen hogs. Paul's word was law, and outside of it no man must interfere. Bryan Salone was one of the most profane men known, and very shrewd. The best lawyers took counsel with him. After Paul became very old he had to have assistance to mount his horse to ride out and oversee the negroes.
After riding around in this manner a few years he became so old he could not ride nor attend to the business. One morning he informed Massa Salone that he was unable to oversee the business, as he was feeling very bad. Misses Salone informed her husband the same thing, and also a number of the slaves. No more faithful man than Paul was found. Having, by his cunning, stolen hundreds of dollars worth of hogs and cattle, Massa Salone ordered him to go and attend to the business. Paul still informed him of his inability. Massa Salone, arising to his feet, exclaiming in tones of thunder, mingled with the most fiendish oaths possible for the human mind to conceive, "You can ride a thousand years yet," and swinging around his cane, which he always carried to knock niggers down with--this cane was seven feet long and loaded at one end--aimed a blow at Paul, but missed his aim, and swinging himself so forcibly he was thrown to the floor. After arising to his feet he swore that Paul had knocked him down. (The oaths will not be proper to write here that Massa Salone used). Old Misses informed him plainly
Paul did not do it, and he became so enraged he endeavored to knock old Misses down, but failed. Massa Salone, at this time, was very old and nearly blind. After cursing and swearing nearly an hour, with his fiendish oaths, ordered Paul off the plantation, informing him never to return again; if he did, he would kill him, or give him a thousand lashes. He wanted Old Misses to tie him then, so he could give him two hundred lashes. Old Misses would not tie him, because he was innocent. Uncle Paul at this time was one hundred years of age. Old Misses directed Paul to retire to his cabin, and by no means allow his master to see him. In order to save Paul's life it was necessary to have it understood by old Massa Salone that Paul was at his son's, Massa George. Massa George would inform his father three or four times a week Uncle Paul was at his place, in order to keep his father from whipping and perhaps killing him. After the expiration of two years Uncle Paul died at his cabin on the plantation. Massa George had orders to throw him in a deep hole of water, right back of his barn. Old Massa Salone exclaiming "the vile sun-of-a-gun! he ought to have died a thousand years ago for knocking me down." News reached him through the negroes on the plantation that Paul was dead in his cabin. Old master at once started for the cabin taking with him his bull whip and also the rope he kept in the house to tie negroes to whip them. As he always done his own whipping, no man dare lay hands on one of his negroes, unless they calculated to law it for the next twenty years. He then repaired to the cabin to wreak out his vengence on Paul although still in death.
Old Misses learning what was transpiring started for the cabin, at the same time calling several colored men to
her assistance and kept old master at bay until Mass George could come. Old master began cursing and swearing about Uncle Paul and repeating over all the mean things he could possibly imagine, declaring Paul was not dead but only playing possum. The negroes becoming frightened for fear old master would deface the silent dead, commenced praying and calling to the Lord to prevent master from tearing Paul's corpse to pieces. Massa George arrived on the scene only to enrage the master all the more, he cursing George for telling him a lie and he could not quiet his father. After an hour of cursing old master ordered them to take Paul and throw him into the hog pen and not to bury him but they finally got consent to bury Paul not over two feet so the hogs could dig him up and devour him. Mr. Gilbert made a rough box and Paul was buried with no prayer or services of any religious character whatever, in the family burying ground. This closes the life of Uncle Paul who was one of Massa Salone's first slaves, having been with him in the early day when he lived with his slaves in the hollow Sycamore tree. Uncle Paul was one hundred and two years old at his death.
There was a large meadow on Massa's farm which covered about forty acres, and for thirty years in succession it never was plowed, yielding a large crop of hay each year. Large stacks of hay were put up there each year. The darkies used to carry manure from the decayed stacks for their melons. Rats were so numerous that they would frequently undermine the stacks and completely destroy them.
Massa Salone had one of the finest farms in Kentucky.
Slaves would work about twenty acres, under the instruction of Massa George who would often tell the people that his father would not live long if he did not stop drinking; and then he would make things hustle, but George died several years before his father.
Massa George was consumptive, and did not eat any flesh, except wild meat. As a result Harry would go with him to carry the game, which was the beginning of his first experience in handling the rifle, which made, in after years, his name famous all over the country. Returning from a hunt one day, Harry carrying the squirrels, they came by the old still house. As the still house had not been used for a number of years, the weeds had grown up around it, making it a regular forest. Massa George was on ahead, some twenty rods from the still house. Harry had not reached it yet; when he did reach it he heard something hissing, which sounded like a goose. After passing he thought to return and see what it was making such a noise. Harry saw a goose setting, and approaching a little nearer, he discovered a large black snake disturbing her. There being a number of snakes they took after Harry, who in his flight dropped some of the game, and yelled to Massa George, "snakes, snakes." He told him to stop, but Harry kept on running. The snake came on to where Massa George stood, when he seized it, succeeded in getting hold of its tail, and raising him high in the air, used him like a whip, circling him around his head, and finally giving him a quick jerk which snapped
his head off. At the same time another snake put in his appearance and was served in like manner. They were called the Black Racer, and measured eight feet in length. Harry was trembling with fear and at the same time trying to get Massa George to come, as the snakes would kill him. Before reaching home, in crossing a small creek, they discovered a squirrel making a terrible noise. Harry as usual discovered a large milk snake, charming the squirrel. Calling Massa George's attention to it, he immediately raised his rifle and brought the snake to the ground, and it measured nine feet. This closed the hunting for that day.
Discovering one of the cows giving bloody milk, they sent Harry with some others to find out if possible the cause. Going some distance they heard a cow bellowing, and to their surprise discovered a huge snake, ten feet in length, sucking the cow. The snake was killed and for several days the cow would go there and bellow for the snake. This same woods was supposed to be haunted. Harry loaded his pistol one day as he was going to see his girl that night and had to pass through this piece of woods. There was a lane leading from the house to the woods and a number of horses had became frightened there and thrown their riders which gave rise to the belief that the woods was haunted. On reaching the woods he had his pistol ready expecting to see a ghost. Sure enough he saw something coming; the moon was shining bright and he got in readiness to shoot. When the ghost came up Harry pulled his pistol, which went off with a
great noise. The ghost proved to be a large white ram which sprang in the air bleating and jumping scaring Harry almost to death, which caused him to take to his heels down the lane; then commenced a race for life, Harry screaming with all his might thinking all the time it was a ghost. As the ram was close at his heals bleating and bunting him in the rear every jump, he yelling, "Oh Lord! oh Lord!" and putting forth every effort outdistanced the ram he reached the house minus his hat, shirt all tore to pieces, feet and hands bleeding and eyes bulging out.
It will be remembered that Harry had to take care of those orphan children, and he could not be sold to go down the river until the youngest child was twenty-one, and as a result he was hired out from year to year. The first man who hired him was Jim Bridle, three months before Christmas. He was about seventeen at this time, and remained with Massa Bridle until the following Christmas, receiving but one small whipping. Then he was put on the auction block and bid off to a man by the name of Arion Ferman, living between Salt river and Plumb creek. Harry was full of life and quite fond of the girls, ane had not been there long before he commenced sparking Ferman's brother's girls. They became greatly attached to each other.
The girl's brothers mistrusting what was transpiring, desired Harry to ask old massa and misses for her hand in marriage. He kept putting them off from time to time, but still kept going to see the girl. One night they tried to force Harry to ask permission to marry her, but he refused. In the cabin were stones used to keep up the back logs, and some were broken into pieces. While
Harry and the boys were talking--in the corner was a pair of quilting frames--one of the boys declared that if he did not ask him for the girl he would whip him, and at the same time he seized one of the quilting frames. Harry dodged the blow, and taking one of the pieces of stones he threw it, striking him in the face and nearly blinded him. He then started for Massa Fern's. Ben Fern came up to his brother's the next day and informed his brother if Harry was ever found on his place again he would give him a thousand lashes for striking his son, nearly killing him. Harry did not seem to regard this threat.
Harry went to see his girl one night, and while there they discovered him. After knocking down several of them they overpowered him, took him out in the woods and gave him one of the most cruel whippings he ever received. In about a month he went back to see his girl, and continued until the end of the year; but the remembrance of that whipping will never be forgotten. They would rub salt and water on his back until there seemed to be no feeling left in it.
Ben Fernan, one year from this date, lost his still-house, a large barn and mill. A number of persons mistrusted that some of the slaves did it, because he was so cruel to them. Smith was taken to the house, after this whipping, and confined to his bed six weeks. When able to move around, he ran away to the woods, remaining there until Christmas, when the hiring season commenced.
At one time Fernan's old cook woman was suspended by her feet in mid air, and after receiving a severe whipping, and to still further wreak out his vengence, he called in two of his colored women and ordered them to insert red pepper
in her eyes, and left her in this condition for one-half hour.
The third year Harry was hired out to George Hycus in Jefferson county, Kentucky.
At the time of gathering the corn they would break off several hundred bushels and take it under the shed or in the barn, and invite a number to help husk it out. After the corn was husked out they would choose leaders and form in two parties, and then dancing, wrestling and various amusements would be in order. Those who lived on Plum Creek were called Plum Creek Tigers and those on Salt river were called Salt River Tigers. Then dancing, boxing and wrestling. Then supper was called, the older eating first. Harry was a Salt river tiger, and was looking at one of the opposite boys, thinking how he could whip him; so in order to get up a fuss he stepped up to him and called him a name and wanted to know why he spit in his face. Both sides urged the boys on to see the fun, as they called it. The other men, hearing the fuss, still urged them on, and some of the older ones got to fighting in dead earnest; then the boys quit. Men fought all around on both sides, bunting and biting and running into the kitchen knocked the stove over, setting fire to an old colored cook's dress who ran screaming with all her might out of doors, up-setting the table, breaking dishes in all shapes.
The darkies tore the fences all down around the cabin hammered each other with the pickets until the white men came out with guns and threatened to shoot them if
they did not stop. After the fight was over the owner came out and ordered them to leave his plantation. After they all left, Harry, who had caused all the fuss, thought he would go back and see the girls, and being seen by the overseer, he seized a club and struck Harry, almost breaking his neck. He went home a little the worse, with a sore head, for having got up such a serious disturbance.
Fishing was the order of the day, after which marble-playing commenced, when a dispute arose. There were about twenty-five boys in the party. About one-half of them white. The battle commenced by throwiug stones. One of the white boys got one of his eye knocked out and this broke up the fight, and all being scared started for home. The boy's father came the next day and tried to find out who struck his son, so to have him punished, but not finding out, he did not get a chance to whip any of them.
We come back now to the time when he was hired out to young George Hycus, near Louisville. Smith lived there three years driving team. His master had one of the meanest white women for a wife in that county, known as Mrs. Ann Hycuss. Harry was a young man and being an expert with cards, and drinking some, created quite an episode at times. Smith's business after the summer was over was hauling stone for the turnpike. Misses Hycus had a colored woman who was hired out all the time, because she would not submit to being whipped. Harry was a good teamster and did not allow any one to feed or interfere with his team. After returning
from a riding one Sunday--he did not get home until nearly moring--his misses wanted to know why he did not come soon enough to build her a fire. He replied that he did not come to build fires but to feed his team. Harry was putting off his nice coat, not thinking any harm, and old misses seized an iron shovel and dealt him a blow nearly breaking his back. Harry seized her and threw her out doors with all his might, intending to nearly kill her. She set up a tremendous noise to arouse her old Massa Hycus, who weighed nearly three hundred pounds. Harry went to the barn to attend to his business.
Massa Hycus spoke to Harry and said: "Young man, I will be there soon and bring you Hell fire." He, however, did not put his threat into execution. Time passed on smoothly for about a year. During the three years' stay there Harry was away most every night, enjoying himself as best he could. One day while his team was resting Harry crawled upon the hay mow and fell asleep. Old misses noticing the team, went to the barn, crawled up very carefully, saw Harry asleep and struck him a terriffic blow, nearly breaking his head. Springing to his feet he seized her and threw her off the mow, landing her among the boxes and machinery, injuring her so that a doctor had to be called, and after a few weeks she was again on her feet. Old massa did not punish him for this, knowing she took such an under-handed way to wake him. It cost over three hundred dollars for doctor bills to settle this fracus. In the fall of the year, in lifting on an old thrashing machine, he hurt his spinal column, and when he came to, after three days, he found himself suspended by the heels and Dr. Betin fanning him.
On the plantation was a large goose pond which they used for skating in the winter. Harry wishing to become expert in skating took a pair and sauntered to the pond all alone; putting on the skates he took a running jump and when he struck the ice his feet flew like lightning out from under him and he struck the back of his head full on the ice in such a manner that it nearly killed him, and he never repeated the experiment. Smith remained there three years without any further adventures of any note, and speaks in high praise of Massa Hycus as he was very good to his slaves. But Misses Hycus seemed in her glory when she could succeed in causing a negro to be punished, as she seemed possessed of the evil one. She never fully recovered from her flight down the hay mow, and after that took more proper means to wake up sleeping darkies.
Before leaving Hycus we will give a little episode while panther hunting. The hunt started in what was known as the wet woods. There was a good many hundred acres in it and a great resort for hunters. There was an animal who baffled the skill of all the hunters, often seen but never caught, twenty-five dollars being offered for its capture. It had at different times killed a number of dogs. Some said it was a panther. Harry, one snowy day, late in the fall, got permission of Massa Hycus to take the rifle and try if possible to capture the singuler animal. He traveled all day and just at night struck a panther's track, as he called it. Following the track about four miles through swamps and brush, keeping the rifle cocked in case of danger, walked on very confident of success. He tracked him to a large beach tree, and there it seemed to stop. Proceeding
very cautiously with eyes wide open, rifle cocked and expecting the panther might make a spring on him at any moment. Looking the tree over he discovered a hollow up a few feet, and looking in he saw the panther glaring him full in the face. The panther set up a fearful scream. Harry sprang into the air, screaming still louder, nearly frightened to death. The panther, springing to the ground, lit out full speed. Harry standing there shaking and trembling and yelling at the top of his voice. The panther turned out to be a red fox; and after putting about forty rods between him and Harry, he thought of his gun, but trembling so, could not hold it still enough to fire.
While at Hycus' a slave owner lived close by, joining farms, whose name was Jack Bray, who was one of the most severe slave owners at that time, working them all day and until ten in the evening. Smith had often heard him whipping and heard the groans of the unfortunate darkies. Scarcely a day but he was whipping some one. He owned hundreds of colored folks and was very wealthy.
The next neighbor was old Cradock, who owned seven hundred slaves. There were seventy single young women and forty of them were so nearly white you could not tell them from the whites. Cradock was away from home most of the time. Not having any overseer, his slaves enjoyed many priviledges, he was never known to whip any of his slaves. Much credit is due to Mr. Cradock for his humanity. Smith spent most of his evenings there while at Massa Huycus.
The next slave owner living there Smith remembers was Austin Pease. His bull whip was heard most every day, and the sound of his blood hounds made the air
hideous with their howling in chasing the slaves. He was so cruel the slaves could not bear it and they would run away to the woods. Many of them often remained there so long exposed to cold and nearly starved that when they did return they often died from hunger and exposure. At one time three men and two women reached Canada, one of them left two children and the other leaving her husband; they never returned and were never found. This was considered a loss of several thousand dollars. A number of the slaves after working all day were compelled to grind out cider every night until ten before their days work was considered done. His horn blew every morning at four and then business commenced. He ranked among the most cruel masters.
We will give a brief sketch of old Maltimore, an extensive slave owner, who ranked among the meanest of men because he almost starved his slaves. He owned about one thousand acres of land, and many times could be heard cursing and swearing two miles away, never allowing any of his slaves to step off the plantation without permission under severe penalty.
He had one man called Uncle John who had been hired out to him twenty-six years in succession driving team, and had to make a trip to Louisville every day, year after year. He allowed one hundred and seventy-five dollars for his services. The twenty-seventh year he ran away to Canada and wrote back to Massa to take care of the old gray mare, that he worked all the time he was there. The mare was six years old when Uncle John was hired to him. Following Uncle John's advice the old mare was never worked and kept in the best of manner The day Uncle John ran away he was sixty-two years of
age. His misses hearing of his escape sued Massa Maltimore for allowing him to get away, and received twenty-five hundred dollars and twenty-six years pay was granted her by the court. He often made this expression that he would like to see any negro he and his three sons could not take and whip, they were all large powerful men weighing over two hundred pounds and six feet and some inches high. To hear him curse and swear at his negroes on the farm and see him use his bull whip sent terror through the community for miles around.
Old bachelor Cracroff had one hundred and seventy-five slaves and among the number he raised two colored boys named Miles and Martin. Cracroff could not whip them so he hired them one year to old Maltimore. Old Cracroff informed them that he would hire them to Maltimore, so the next new year he did so. Old Maltimore said it did not matter how good a negro was he ought to have five hundred lashes a year. The boys done well; Maltimore could not find any fault with them. Old Maltimore had a hundred acres of potatoes to dig in the fall. The way they dug potatoes was to take a team and shovel plow turn them out and the hands picked them up. Each person had a bushel basket and filling the basket they were emptied in a large pile. The orders were not to straighten up his back until the basket was full. Old massa was standing under a large Mulberry tree in the field and his three sons were sitting on the fence a short distance away watching them work. His own slaves did not dare to straighten up under fear or being severely whipped. One of the boys not used to this kind of treatment, after filling his basket straightened up. Old massa discovered it and commenced to curse and swear using the most horrible
oaths imaginable, because he dared disobey this inhuman order, which it was. Old massa informed him if he straightened up again he would whip him severely. Martin told him his back ached picking up potatoes. After a few minutes passed Martin straightened again. Then old massa lit out with his big gold headed cane with a spear in it fifteen inches in length. He struck at Martin with the butt end of it with all him might. Martin threw up his hand grabbed the cane out of his hand and knocked old massa down and he lay there until his three sons came across the field and helped him up; when the sons came up they had each hickory canes and revolvers. They did not dare to shoot because the slave belonged to another man. Two of the sons struck at Martin at the same time. Miles a brother of Martin came to his-assistance drawing his knife struck one of the sons in the shoulder cutting him clear down to the hip, and struck the other son cutting him in a horrible manner. Some of the darkies picked up old massa and the two sons and took them to the house and sent for the doctor who came and dressed their wounds. That night over fifty whites came there loaded with revolvers determined to take the two boys and whip them. Their owner Massa Cracroff sent word to whip them but if they killed them he would law them a hundred years but what he would beat them. The men surrounded the boys with their guns ordering them to surrender; the boys held on to the cane and each was armed with a hemp hook told them to shoot if they wanted but the man came within their reach would get his head cut clean from his body. They were kept in this way four days and nights without food or drink to make them surrender. White men were laying around
in different places for two weeks to catch the boys and whip them. But the boys were too cute for them.
That the reader may understand more minutely only in a good many instances darkies were killed outright for daring to defend themselves we will explain before we proceed further. Any slave owner having negroes belonging to another man might whip them but if he killed them the owner of the negro would sue him for as many years as the court would grant which would be the natural life of the slave which might extend for a period of eighty years, from one hundred dollars to two hundred dollars per year as the darky might be worth, in case the darkey belonged to a very wealthy man. Knowing if the darkey was killed it would cost a good many thousand dollars to settle it. Sometimes planters would unite together and hire this slave owner to sell this darkey down the river in the cotton picking as he was a dangerous man among their slaves teaching them to stand up for their rights, and in case the darkey belonged to a man in ordinary circumstances, if he did not submit to all their brutal treatment they might conclude to kill him and pay for him from one thousand dollars to two thousand dollar as in their judgment they though he was worth.
At the expiration of the two weeks the boys resumed their work. No better men could be found to work than they were, but Maltimore and his sons never attempted to punish them thereafter, and they returned to their former owner at the end of the year. Massa Cracroff then hired them out to work on a boat. The crew abused them, and the boys, being so quick and powerful, whipped the whole crew, and the captain put them off the boat a long distance from home in a dense wilderness. In due length of
time the boys returned home. Massa Cracoff sued the captain for putting them off the boat in the wilderness, where they were exposed to all dangers, as he did not return them according to agreement. At the end of an extensive lawsuit, the captain of the boat, whose name was Shillcross, had to pay Massa Cracroff $4,000.00 to settle this matter.
There were three brothers named Phillips, close to Louisville. They owned thousands of acres of land, and often had one hundred and fifty acres of tobacco. Old Sam Phillips employed two overseers. They were all very severe with their slaves. From three to four were in the woods most of the time as the result of being so severely whipped. In one of their severe punishments they whipped a colored woman so brutal that her back was all raw, and two hours after she gave birth to a child in this larcerated condition. This transpired when Smith lived, or was hired to Joe Chamberlin. He lived and joined farms with Phillips. Several of Phillips' hands were drawing rails one day. Smith with some darkies were cutting brush on Chamberlin's farm. It was in the fall and cold and raining some. A number of the slaves, men and women belonged to Phillips, and others to Chamberlin, were standing around a pile of rails that were burning, and warming themselves. Phillips' overseer saw them standing around the fire. Among the number was a one-armed woman, who through some brutal treatment from Phillips, had to have one arm taken off. They called her Aunt Lucy. Phillips' foreman put spurs to his horse and used all the oaths imaginable, for the simple reason that they were warming themselves. He approached the one-armed woman in a gruff manner and
said: "Why are you standing here?" She replied that she was warming herself. Alighting from his horse he gave her a few strokes with his bull whip. She seized a fire brand and knocked him about twice his length. After he came to himself he sprang on his horse and flew for home, declaring at night that he would fix her, but she was not punished for this, as the foreman was so ashamed to be so beaten by a woman that he did not make a report of it. These different men mentioned all owned farms adjoining Chamberlin. The first year Smith was hired to him he was engaged most of the time in working in a large brick yard. A man whose name was Johnson was Chamberlin's overseer. Smith and his brother George were hired to him. His home was in Jefferson county. Johnson gave orders not to leave at night to go to a neighbor's or elsewhere without permission from him. Harry, not being used to this, replied that when his work was done he should do as he pleased.
Massa Chamberlin was in Louisville attending a big store that he owned there, and would come out to the farm once or twice a week and see how things were progressing. Massa Chamberlin had given strict orders to watch and not allow any of the negroes to be out nights, and if they did to tie them and whip them, and if he could not, let him know and he would attend to it. So one night Smith's brother, George, taking his fiddle went out to spend the evening. The next morning Johnson ordered George to cross his hands so he could tie him, and then whip him. Smith informed his brother if he submitted to that treatment he would kill him. Johnson let it pass on and in order to still get a chance to whip George sent Harry Smith in the field, some distance away,
to hauling rails; and then Johnson sent for a notorious slave owner, who had a wide reputation in subduing darkies, named Brisco. George was tied in the barn, and the whipping commenced in earnest. Smith hearing some one crying, "Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord!" mistrusting what was up set out for the house. Discovering him coming and knowing his temper, and also the fact that he did not fear any man, being either white or black, knew if he should catch them murdering his brother in this way, perhaps one or both might get killed, and they quit whipping. George came on toward Smith who enquired what George was crying so for, as he could scarcely talk. Brisco informed him that they had given him a whipping for disobeying orders. Smith, wild with anger, spoke in tones of thunder, using an oath every word. "Why did you not whip a man instead of a mere boy?" asked Smith. Brisco informed him that he could whip him and would. Smith sezing a rail and breaking it in two as though it was a mere pipe stem, stepped up to Brisco and informed him to try it then and there. He said he would drive him into the ground and drive the ground in after him. Brisco was never baffled in this manner before, as no colored man in all his life dare say one word back to him. Brisco seeing death in Smith's eye, in case he even made an attempt to strike, passed on, leaving Smith master of the ground, and well for him he did, as Smith was known all through the country as one of the best of slaves when well used, and being a powerful man did not fear to face any man on earth. Brisco passed on and Johnson, the overseer, went to the city and informed Massa Chamberlin about the fuss. Massa told him to return, as he would be there the next morning and give Smith a thousand lashes. The next
day Chamberlin came with a new cow hide whip. Smith was in the woods cutting a wild Cherry log out of the road when Chamberlin came up. He spoke to him in this manner: "Well, Harry I hear that you have been making threats to kill Brisco and my foreman, Johnson." Smith informed him to the contrary, but said that he told Brisco and Johnson that they could not whip him as they did his brother.
"Do you know that I am your master for the present year?"
Smith informed him that he knew it.
"Were you not aware that you must obey your master's orders?"
The answer was yes.
"Then why did you not obey Johnson's orders?"
Smith informed him that he had.
"Then why do you leave the plantation nights without orders from Johnson?"
Smith replied that he was not in the habit while living with Massa Jack Salone of getting a pass to go out nights.
His master told him that he did not care for Mr. Salone as he was a negro spoiler anyway; then added, "I have with me a new whip, and if you do not obey orders I will whip you." Smith stepped up to him, with ax in hand, and asked him to whip him then and there. Massa Chamberlin lit out on the keen run. The year passed on with no further trouble. Smith was hired back to him the following year. Johnson was still retained as foreman on the plantation. The business the next year passed on quite smoothly until cutting and harvesting hay commenced.
One day Master Chamberlin came out to assist in
drawing in hay. He was on the load when through some carelessness he slipped off the load and in falling his leg ran through between the spokes of the wagon wheel and broke his leg, and as a result he was laid up all the rest of the summer moving around on crutches. Previous to breaking his leg as he was on his way from the city to the farm he lost his pocketbook containing five hundred and fifty dollars. The overseer was dispatched back to hunt for it and found it but returned and told Chamberlin he could not find it. Chamberlin believing this lie thinking some one had picked it up gave it no more thought. After Chamberlin's leg had got so he could use his crutches he came out in the field one day, and while there discovered Harry lying on the ground and enquiring found him very sick, he told him he had better go to the house, so they both started. Smith being so sick they took a short cut to reach the house, and in parting the weeds with his crutches discovered the lost pocketbook, reaching the house not finding the money, sent for Johnson, who the reader will remember, was sent in the first place to find it.
Master Chamberlin knowing that was not the route he took when he lost the pocketbook questioned Johnson in different ways, who denied everything. To investigate this still further, Chamberlin looked over Johnson's house and found they had bought a number of fine things recently and knowing he was a very poor man and receiving small wages, suspicion at once rested on him as the guilty party and he was discharged from Chamberlin's employ and he managed the farm the balance of the year himself. Harry was very sick with fever and did not do any more work the balance of that year, only some light chores, usually going to market. Quite a number of the slaves
were cutting briars one day, when they came in contact with a huge black snake. It got up a big excitement and came running after them, and they turned and took after the snake who retreated, and after about an hours running over brush and scratching their feet and hands succeeded in killing the snake, much to their relief.
The following year Smith was hired to Paul Chamberlin, a brother of the Chamberlin already mentioned. Master Chamberlin run and carried on an extensive business in making lime. Smith being expert in blasting rock was there every day during the year. The work was quite rough and hard. In connection with this he carried on a big farm, working seventy-five men, white and black, and also carried on quite a dairy, milking seventy-five cows, he ran two milk wagons twice a day to Louisville. A man by the name of Alf Miller, was his overseer, living on the plantation with his family. The first year passed off fine, there were several among the slaves who could play the violin and banjo, making the evenings merry, with singing and dancing for the young folks. Among the number was a man by the name of Peter Moulton, a preacher, he was a very good man, but not being of very good morals, the slaves were aware of it, which made his preaching less effective among his followers. He was a colored man.
It was no uncommon thing for the darkies to steal a fine hog or a few chickens, repair to some cabin, cook, eat and with dancing and music enjoy a big time generally. On one occasion a number stole and dressed a hog, repaired to Aunt Liza's cabin; she had complete charge of her master's meat and milk house. She got up a fine supper. A large number had drank too much whisky.
Some were dancing, others playing cards. Unexpectedly, it being a bright moonlight night, Master Chamberlin, while strolling around the yard thinking the darkies were unusually noisy, came to the cabin and knocking at the door as usual was directed to walk in. On entering to his surprise, found them gambling and the table provided with luxuries; besides a good many darkies there, strangers to him, he terrified them with his oaths. The darkies were very much frightened, the room being so full and all starting at once to get out of the way, a regular stampede ensued. A darky named Pease Thornton ran between Chamberlin's legs raising him from the floor, ran out doors Master clinging to him, at the same time pounding him the best he could which nearly frightened the darkey to death. The darkies at the cabin cheering and having a great time over the race. Master thinking he had gone far enough sprang from the darkey who still kept running and shouting, "oh master! oh master! for de Lords sake don't kill me." Master returning found a strange darkey there asleep in a chair enquired who he was and what he was there for eating up his meat and drinking his whiskey. Receiving no answer took up a chair and dealt him a terrible blow on the head which crazed him and jumping around the room tipped over the table, breaking dishes and scattering provisions all over the cabin. In the excitement in trying to get out of the way, massy was knocked down, the darkies running over him bruising him, spoiling his plug hat, while he was exclaiming at the same time, "get off from me you d--m negroes." After he was able to extricate himself from this condition, in his madness he hit Aunt Liza, who was his foremost woman, having charge of the milk and pork
houses. She being a powerful woman beat him in a severe manner. At the same time he trying to have her hold on. She completely destroyed his broadcloth suit, and gathering up what was left of his clothes departed, only glad to reach his house with no broken bones.
This Thornton, who Master Chamberlin took his ride on, in order to show how low and debased he was, we will relate the following transaction:
A free negro named Squire Taylor, owned forty acres of fine land joining a rich planter, who had often tried to buy it but met with no success. Taylor was much respected by all, as an honest, upright man. Thornton belonged to a man named Pease who gave him three dollars to go there with a load of corn and try and get Taylor to buy it. The old man informed him he did not wish to buy any corn as he had plenty. Thornton could not in any manner get the Squire to take the corn or under any circumstances to offer him anything for it. Finally Thornton, seeing he could not accomplish his nefarious scheme to ruin the Squire informed the Squire he would bring the corn next Saturday night any way and he could give him what it was worth. He told him not to bring the corn. On Saturday night Thornton came with the corn and unbeknown to the Squire unloaded the corn and knocked at the door, the Squire came to the door and enquired what he wanted, he informed the Squire the corn was delivered, he told him to take the corn back. It was offered him for one dollar, but he refused to take it. Thornton still insisted and after wearing the old man's patience out he begged him to offer him something. The old man gave him fifty cents. At the same time, secreted near, was Thornton's Master Pease, who was the main
one, as he wanted to break Squire up, and three more who overheard this conversation. They came back, called the Squire up again and enquired what he was doing at that time of the night with the corn. The poor honest old darkey was completely surprised and endeavored to explain how the corn came there. But they beat him down and seized and arrested him and locked him up in Louisville. And after an extensive lawsuit, swearing to the most infamous lies the poor old darkey was beaten and sentenced to three years in the state prison. Not satisfied with all of this nefarious business, caused letters pretended to be written by the prison warden stating the Squire was dead. The white men who lay in wait the night the Squire was arrested and more particular this Pease, would go to Mrs. Taylor and tell her she better sell and go to Indiana or some other place. Not believing these reports, she went to the prison only to find them perfectly false. They failed in all these schemes and at the expiration of three years the Squire came out.
During the time this Taylor was in prison, this Austin Pease, who was the principal character in trying to ruin the old darkey had his large hemp and tobacco houses consumed by fire, entailing a loss of thousands of dollars. The reader can judge who might, possibly, have caused the loss. Taylor, at the expiration of his time, came out of prison, and continued on his farm, and at his death his children carried it on, the rich planters failing to get it after all their trouble.
Returning to Chamberlin we will give an account of the return of his son, who had been absent forty-five years. His name was Charles and he left home when he was fourteen years old on account of receiving a severe
whipping from his father. After many fruitless attempts to find his son he gave him up as lost or dead. Charles took passage on board a steamer and set sail for New Orleans. After reaching his destination he set out sailing on the sea. His adventures on the waters were very fortunate, as he became one of the most trustworthy men, commanded large steam boats and became very wealthy.
One bright morning in the month of May a gentleman alighted from a carriage in front of Chamberlin's door, enquired if the gentleman was at home. The servant calling her master invited the gentleman in, who enquired if he wanted to sell his farm was informed he did. The price of the farm and negroes was $175,000. After breakfast was over the two started out to look over the plantation. It was soon made known among the negroes a very wealthy man was arranging to buy the plantation and all the negroes. There was great excitement among them all. There were two slaves on the place who were living there when Charley left home, who mistrusted that this gentleman was some relative of Chamberlin, and had spoken about it several times while they were viewing the plantation. After viewing the farm and looking over the negroes, discoursing on the merits of each one was in many cases interesting. Many were trembling for fear of being sold. Some would roll their eyes around, wondering what old massa was going to do with them.
All manner of things were imagined by the slaves. Some were called up and asked what they were worth, Smith among the number was viewed, and being asked what he was worth was informed that he had not the power to sell him as he could not be sold until two orphan children he had charge of both became of age, but
informed him he was one of the best slaves to work on the plantation. Smith overheard this conversation and was nearly frightened out of his wits and began to plan some means to run away, as he was always on the lookout. The plantation and negroes being all looked over arrangements were made to draw up the papers the next day. The gentleman asked Chamberlin if he had any children, and he said he had, and he was asked their names. Among the number was his son, Charles, who he said had been gone forty-five years, and he was believed to be dead, when the gentleman informed him he must be mistaken, as he was acquainted with him and saw him very recently. He then made himself known saying, "I am your son Charlie." Then followed a scene almost indescribable. The old man embraced his son and the tears ran down his cheek crying for joy over his long lost son. They immediately repaired to the house, word was sent to all the slaves to quit work and come and see Massa Charley. Instantly fear and trembling were turned into gladness. Slaves, old and young, came running in every direction to see this noted gentleman and long lost son. Preparations were immediately set about to celebrate the great event of his return. The best rig was put in readiness. Old massa started for Louisville to engage the finest speakers, and the best music and table waiters were hired from the best hotels. Four large fine young hogs, ten cattle and twenty sheep were slaughtered. The best cooks were employed to prepare the meal. The meat was cooked in pits made in the ground. The day finally came, tables were set reaching twenty rods in length, loaded with the best the land could afford. Both white and colored were invited for miles around. After speaking and several pieces by
the band, the dinner being over, the orchestra began music and dancing was kept up by the whites until they were tired; then ths slaves were called up, hundreds from Louisville and other places being present, and continued dancing until the following morning. This was one of the largest entertainments given by one man, up to date, of any in the state of Kentucky. It was conducted with no small expense, costing old massa $10,000.00. His son was very wealthy, not knowing his own possessions. He made all his acquaintances good presents, left a good many thousand dollars with his father and returned to the briny ocean to look after his business, as he owned several fine boats himself, and the business continued on the plantation as before.
A NEGRO WHIPPING SCENE WHILE SMITH WAS WITH
A NEGRO WHIPPING SCENE WHILE SMITH WAS WITH
He was engaged as usual blasting a rock and discovered a darkey coming toward him running, with a blood hound right on to him. He seized the darkey and held him until the man came up. The slave was owned by a man named Jim Breckenridge. The foreman was the one who was after the darkey. Calling off the blood hound he tied the negro to the fence, and whipping was kept up on his bare back a long time. When he quit he ordered him to get up and follow him, but he was so nearly dead that he could not. He then left him, and going back, brought a conveyance, took him back to the plantation where he was laid up a long time as a result of the whipping.
Smith's last experience while working at Chamberlin's was in the spring. There had been quite an amount of lard stolen from the meat house, and orders were at once given not to allow any darkies to leave the plantation
until this lard could be traced out. Smith had always after his work was over went out evenings, and dressing himself started for Louisville. Massa Chamberlin enquired where he was going. Being informed he told him if he went he would give him five hundred lashes. Smith went on to Louisville, and on his return, Monday morning, was at once arrayed before Massa Chamberlin, who had secured the services of two men whose names were Hamilton, and the notorious slave whipper, Brisco, and ordered Harry to prepare for a whipping. Harry not relishing this treatment seized a large knife and rushed for the door, and was met by Massa Chamberlin who pressed a pistol to his ear and called to Hamilton to knock him down. Harry dropped his knife and seized Massa Chamberlin and threw him with all his might clear out in the yard, and walked on. When old massa came to himself he ordered Pearl, his son; to take the rifle and overhaul him and shoot him down.
Pearl came out in the lane a short distance ahead of Harry and ordered him to return or he would shoot him on the spot. Harry came on, knocked him down, threw the gun out into the field and declared in tones of thunder if he pursued him farther he would smash every bone in his body. Harry, after some deliberation, concluded to return to Spencer county, where his old home was. He met with many dangers on his way home. Directly preparations were made to pursue him and if possible bring him back. Harry was smart and cunning. At one time Brisco, Hamilton and Pearl Chamberlin were within a few feet of him, but fortunately did not discover him. They repaired to a long bridge where they expected he would pass, but Harry was acquainted with the country and took
another course and baffled them. When within a few miles of his old home he saw a negro coming toward him pursued by a blood hound. Instantly drawing his knife when the blood hound came up he struck him a fearful blow in the throat which so wounded him that he did not pursue the negro any farther. Reaching his old platation, being so worn out in this engagement at Chamberlin's, he had to rest up before he was able to work. In due course of time Massa Chamberlin arrived at Salone's with hand-cuffs prepared to take Harry back with him, and being informed that he was there, requested Salone to hand-cuff him, telling him at the same time that he had nearly killed one of the white men in throwing him out doors. Salone answered him in this manner: "I hired Harry to you for a year and if you want him hand-cuffed you must do it yourself," and he said he could not. Salone being so vexed to see Harry so impaired from his encounter demanded of Chamberlin an immediate settlement, and pay for his year's work. At this time Mrs. Salone came in and being so angry in seeing Harry so ill-treated ordered Chamberlin to pay for the year's work which he did. At the same time ordered him to leave the plantation or she would turn the hounds loose on him and tear to pieces. He at once left without farther trouble.
Smith never was hired outside the county in which he lived. In fact it was a law that it could not be done, as so many slaves were ill-treated when on their way to their old homes. They were often subject to so many dangers, from exposure, causing heavy losses to their owners.
We desire to relate a very singular phenomenon that transpired while Smith was hired at Chamberlin's. Standing in a field near by was a very large black Walnut tree
that was struck by lightning, breaking the top off and leaving the balance about seventy-five feet high. It caught fire and continued to burn for two years, leaving only a short stump. In all the two years fire and smoke could be seen from this stub with no intermission.
A brief history of David L. Ward, the hell hawk, the minute man, as he allowed no one to call him by any other name. He was unquestionably the most cruel slave owner in Kentucky. He was one of the early planters and owned three hundred slaves and was noted for his cruelty to them. He was the most inhuman man known in his day. He owned an extensive salt block, using three hundred salt kettles on the furnace. Salt at that early day was worth from four to five dollars per bushel, people often coming one hundred and fifty miles for salt. He was the first man to manufacture it in Kentucky.
We note the following circumstance as witnessed by Smith's father, as Ward's operations in slavery existed before Smith's remembrance. His father used to work for him, and witnessed the following: Two men, one of them his slave, the other a white man he had hired, were cutting wood, and felled a large red oak, and it being hollow, broke in two near the center, and they discovered something unusual, and upon close inspection found it to be gold.
Massa Ward, who was riding around on the plantation, noticed the men engaged looking at something, rode up and at once discovered the meaning. He ordered them to pick it up and place it in a sack he had with him. After it was all gathered there was a bushel of Spanish gold dollars. Placing it on his horse he rode away.
How it came there was a great mystery. It was surmised
that some wealthy planter might have placed it there for safe keeping, in the earilest days of Kentucky and on the other hand the Indians might have killed some white man and secreted it there. In a few days after this affair Massa Ward was passing where this same white man was working who first found the gold. He mentioned the affair to Ward, asking him if he did not think he was entitled to some of it, as he first discovered it. He made no reply, but picking up a hand-spike he beat his brains out immediately.
One of his slaves, who usually worked at the plaster mill, went home to see his wife on Saturday night as was his custom. On learning of this Ward started after him and finding him, ordered him to get back without delay. Ward followed close to him on his big black horse with his bull whip, striking him with all the force possible. This was continued until the poor slave fell exhausted to the ground. Ward continued riding over him until he killed him. Reaching home he sent some of the darkies back who buried him where Ward murdered him. All his slaves in speaking to him dare not approach him with any other language than "David L. Ward, the Hell hawk, the minute man." The last part of this name was added by himself.
While viewing his salt works one day he discovered a little salt that had burned on one of the kettles. Upon enquiring found out who it was that allowed the salt to burn. The man making some reply back which offended him, he picked up an iron shovel and struck the man a terrible blow on the head and knocked him senseless. Not satisfied with this brutal treatment he picked him up and threw him in the furnace and burned him up. His old
slaves say, to their knowledge, Ward has at different times burned up in his furnace fifteen colored people.
The brine for making salt was all pumped by hand. High derricks were built for the negroes to stand on to keep the wolves from devouring them. They were very troublesome in the early days of Kentucky.
Twenty-four of his slaves ran away at one time. Twelve were caught and brought back, the balance were never found and it was supposed they reached Canada. The twelve negroes brought back were all hung by Ward four miles northwest from Louisville on his plantation. The names of the twelve were engraved on a large beach tree and have often been seen by Smith when passing there. While one of the poor white men was working and fixing a wagon, Ward came up and provoked him who on making some reply Ward struck him with the linch pin, breaking in his skull, killing him instantly. Space will not permit of relating more of this notorious slave owner. There was no one his equal in cruelty known in those days. Having murdered more slaves than there has been any record made of.
The reader's attention is next called to Edward Brisco. In cruelty he had no equal, although he did not kill any of his slaves, done worse than that and was know all throught the country as the negro ruler, and he used this argument, it didn't matter how good they were they must be whipped once a year to let them know they were negroes. Two old men who had been with him for years, whose names were John and Jim, after they were seventy years of age were taken just before Christmas stripped and bent over a barrel and given fifty lashes each. Brisco married Daniel Doubt's daughter the richest man in Jefferson
county, who backed him in all his meanness. Brisco's son-in-law, whose name was Wright, owned a small colored man who they called Luke who was a good worker, and not being willing to submit to his inhuman treatment, turned him over to Brisco to whip and break him, as he called it. Things went along for some time he trying all the time to find some fault to get a chance to whip him. He had about one hundred acres of potatoes to pick up, and was watching to see that they were all picked up clean. Coming along where this Luke was working discovering a few small potatoes in his row commenced abusing him in a brutal manner, kicking and knocking him on the head with his cane, until Luke seized him knocked him down and beat him severely. Brisco called several Low Dutch who he hired, to come to his assistance and Luke knocked them down as fast as they reached him. This so enraged Brisco he sent after more help armed them with shot guns and started them into the cane brakes. The blood hounds were sent after him and in short time by hounding and shooting they brought him to the ground. A conveyance was sent for and Luke was taken to the house tied to a tree in the yard called the Heavenward tree where he whipped his negroes. The ground for some distance around was soaked with human blood. Brisco tore his back all to pieces with his bull whip, rubbing his raw back with salt. Then loading his shot gun clear to the muzzle, stepped in front of him, and uttering the most fiendish oaths possible, was in the act of pulling the trigger when his wife, with the assistance of others, took the gun away from him, after which he seized a huge knife and rushed at him threatening to cut his heart out and striking his knife into his face cut his
cheek open clean to his mouth on both sides. His wife again interfered and with help bound Brisco and took him up stairs, and then untied Luke took him to Louisville where he was treated and kept secreted until he was well, then he was employed as waiter in a fine hotel, and remained there for many years and finally died while there, Brisco never getting another chance to wreak out his vengence on him. He had hired a colored man whose name was George Newton belonging to a widow woman living in Bardstown, Kentucky. He was employed in hauling oats to Louisville and in some way or manner lost ten dollars on his way home. Brisco after cursing and swearing for a long time finally gave him his sentence which was that he was to receive one hundred lashes just before each meal every day for seven days. The whipping commenced on Monday and this inhuman treatment was kept up until Friday morning. The groans and beggings of this poor man was beyond all description, his back was a mass of raw flesh, in several places the bones were laid bare. He was kept tied with a large anvil fastened around his neck.
Opposite was a large Catholic college and the groans of this poor victim was heard there three times a day and lasting over an hour each time which attracted the attention and sympathy of the school in such a manner
it was impossible to conduct it. On Friday morning the bishop of the college came over and after praying for the poor man informed Brisco if he ever struck that man another blow he would prosecute him to the full extent of the law. Such inhuman treatment as had transpired never was known in history. Brisco released him and never dared to strike him again. At another time one of his slaves overslept after being out one night a little late. On finding him in the morning, Brisco took him and screwed his hands into a vice and struck him five hundred lashes, the poor man begging until completely exhausted. Then he rubbed his back with salt, and informed him in this manner, "I will teach you a lesson." This man was laid up for a number of weeks, and with all this treatment was compelled to creep on his hands and knees and pull weeds in the garden until he was able to work. At another time a man came along and being weary crawled in under a stack of straw and remained there until morning. Brisco discovering him, compelled him to get in his buggy and go to Louisville, where he entered a false complaint against the man, claiming he was there to burn his barn. Brisco was beaten and after paying the costs told the man he could ride with him a few miles on his way back. The man not thinking any harm, accepted the offer. After getting out some distance from town he put the handcuffs on him, tied him to a tree and struck him five hundred lashes on the bare back, cutting it all to pieces. The man begging for his life, he then untied him ordered him to pass on, telling him if he ever saw him in that part of the country again he wouldwhip him to death. Such scenes and incidents often transpired but space will not allow further mention. Smith was
hired to him two years and he never attempted to whip him, for he was the only man he was afraid of, and well for him he did not, as he certainly would have gone to his reward. The cruelty enacted by Brisco has no parallel in the annals of history. He died as he lived cursing and swearing. The day he was buried this Heavenward tree mentioned in his yard, where hundreds of poor slaves have been nearly whipped to death, that very hour parted in the center and died, and up to the last war no grass or green shrub, with all the care possible, ever was known to grow there, where so much blood had been shed.
There was great rejoicing all over the country, among the whites as well as black, on learning of the death of this notorious inhuman fiend, for such he truly was, and the best writer would come far short of describing the true history of this specimen of a man.
A little sketch of Jim Brown, a famous hemp raiser, who lived on the Lexington turnpike will be of interest. He was a wealthy man, owning three thousand acres of land, and kept one hundred and eighty men busy from February until May breaking hemp. He was very severe with his negroes, and his foreman, a big Scotchman, employed on a big salary, was terrible severe and seemed to enjoy whipping slaves in the most cruel manner. His slaves have often earned considerable money working over time, and a number would take the money and go to Canada. So many doing this he adopted a plan of giving them small amounts at a time, never paying up his hired ones until the close of the year.
Two men, whose names were Richard and John were the greatest hemp breakers known in the world. Brown
offered one day to the one who could break the most hemp a new hat worth nine dollars. One broke four hundred and twenty pounds and the other four hundred pounds, the smallest one coming ahead. One hundred pounds was considered a day's work. Brown then offered $10,000 to any two men in the world to equal this record. They never were matched.
Foreman Heekly was a terribly man. On one of Brown's farms, three miles away, the old men as well as the old women lived. At the ages of seventy-five, eighty and ninety they were compelled to walk three miles and break twenty-five pounds for their day's work, and upon being inspected by Heekly if any of them lacked even one-half pound had to walk back the three miles and make out the number of pounds required. It took the strongest men and women to break hemp, as very few white men could stand the work.
His foreman, old Heekly, who was Brown's head man for ten years, came up missing one night. All his things were in the office undistubed. Great search was kept up for days, and every nook and corner being searched, but no trace of him was ever found. He was a desperate mean overseer. The colored people were all glad to get rid of him. Brown's son went down south in the cotton picking and bought a plantation. His father gave him twenty slaves to start with, and a good many thousand dollars besides. He became very wealthy. Brown was a very good slave owner, and on his immense plantation he had some of the finest stock in the country. It was quite a common affair for the slaves to kill unbeknown to Brown a fat beef, and have a good time at night eating it, as every Monday the week's rations were dealt
out to each one, and barely enough, in many cases, to satisfy hunger, and the killing of a beef resulted in getting a good square meal occasionally. They repaired to their quarters and old massa seldom calling there did not know all that transpired.
The next planter we call the attention of the reader to was Bill Bullett, whose plantation joined Brown's. He was a very good man, but his overseer was hard on the colored men. He would whip and slash in a terrific manner. Sometimes there would be several who would run away in the woods and remain several weeks at one time. Thirteen ran away from Tennessee and came north as far as Kentucky. They remained there in the woods six weeks. Bullet had some in the woods at the same time. The Tennessee darkies and Bullet's came together and planned how they could get across the Ohio river successfully. They finally wove a lot of hemp together in strips of different lengths. The night was set, which was Saturday. They all met about nine miles above Louisville. The rails along there were walnut and poplar, being light were tied together and made into rafts to enable them to cross.
They made oars of fence boards. Smith, with a number of others, assisted in getting them across. They were fed while in the woods by Bullet's slaves, Smith, with the rest, doing all they could to assist them. Not learning any more of the fugitives it was supposed that they reached Canada all safe. Bullet owned one slave who had the greates voice, and could sing songs, often being heard five miles away. He had no equal in all the South in this respect. He was a great fun making darkey.
One of Smith's adventures with a bull and a field of
cattle while working at Bullet's we will now relate, which came near costing him his life, and had he not been as fleet of foot as an antelope, they would have torn him in pieces. Crossing the field early in the morning, and coming up to where a good many cattle and a ferocious bull were feeding thinking to have some fun, he took off his hat and commenced to swing it back and forth in front of them, bellowing to imitate them. Instead of scaring them the bull, which was the first animal to start, rushed after Smith, bellowing with all his might, followed by the rest in mad array; then a race for life commenced. It was sixty rods to the fence. Smith, springing to his feet and with all the power that he could command, rushed on. On, on, came the cattle bellowing and foaming, Smith only a few feet in advance, and frightened nearly to death, expecting every second to be torn to pieces. On, on, the race continued. The bull was so close at one time he could feel his hot breath, and striking Smith with his horn tore his pants nearly off--reaching the fence nearly exhausted, with one desperate effort he sprang upon it in a second. They rushed against it so strong it knocked off a number of rails. A small Ironwood tree stood in the fence corner, and Smith sprang into it, landing into a crotch completely exhausted, and remained for hours before he had a chance to leave. This attempt to frighten cattle was never tried by Smith again.
The following scene was known to have transpired with the Canaday's and happened nine miles from where he was working at Floyd Parks'.
MISSES AND HER SERVANT.
When Canaday was living he had a man for overseer whose name was McLean, a Scotch Irishman, who was a desperate mean man. Canaday was taken sick and died and McLean was still retained as overseer. In a few years the widow Canaday married McLean, as he was a
great negro driver. Soon after being married he began to be very important and ugly, treating the negroes in the worst manner. There was an old negro who had been on the plantation ever since Canaday had owned negroes and was one of his first darkies, having taken care of all his children in their infancy, and was employed as carriage driver. The widow and all her four sons were good to the slaves and this old negro whose name was Uncle Nelson was a favorite with all and universally admired by them. This McLean was very insulting to Uncle Nelson. And one afternoon Mrs. McLean wanted Uncle Nelson to hitch up her carriage horse. McLean not liking this, being very jealous, ordered Uncle Nelson away, and going into the house came out with a large knife and stepping in front of Uncle Nelson informed him, using an oath, "I am going to kill you." Uncle Nelson did not believe it and did not make any resistance, when unexpectedly he plunged the knife into him ripping his inwards out and he fell dead. Word was at once sent to Mrs. McLean's four sons who came, and being so angry to find Uncle Nelson cold in death, caused by this fiend, their stepfather, they attempted to hang him on the spot. The neighbors interfered and prevented them. The next day the boys, who were all grown up and owned fine farms, came over, seized McLean and beat him into pieces to satify their vengence for killing Uncle Nelson; he only lived a few hours. Uncle Nelson was buried on the plantation in a christian manner. Very little respect was shown at the burial services of this fiend, McLean. Mrs. Canaday was highly respected. Her marriage to McLean was a great surprise to everyone.
A cock fight took place on Jefferson street at Hamilton pork house at the foot of a street, on a spot of ground where after years was a brick yard. Both whites and blacks repaired to gamble and cock fight. At the time of this transaction there were assembled one, Sunday afternoon, hundred of rich white men mingled with scores of negroes engaged in fighting cocks, and many more gambling. Over one hundred and fifty cocks were fighting on the ground. They had been warned at different times to not fight or gamble on this ground, often some were shot or stabbed quarreling over a game of cards or cock fight, as the case might be when all were in their height of enjoyment there was discovered coming nearly a thousand citizens and officers to arrest the offenders. Coming on to them suddenly they did not have time to gather up anything. Those who were not willing to be arrested, were knocked down and handcuffed and the greatest confusion prevailed, fine broadcloth coats, money, revolvers were all left on the ground. There were so many officers and men they succeeded in gathering the most of them up and commenced to march them to jail and other places of safe keeping until tried.
Smith discovering the danger, at once started for the toll gate was knocked down by some one coming up behind. Quckly springing to his feet on he flew, when within a short distance of the gate he was ordered by Brooks, who kept the gate, to halt. On, on he flew, Brooks shot at him, but being so excited, missed him, and Smith passed on through the gate out on the pike in safety, up the pike road and reaching the top of the hill
saw hundreds marching up the street. Smith was the only one who escaped. For two weeks after, whipping was kept up among the slaves, and all the whites who were unable to pay their fine were kept in the jail. Many were so disabled in this fracas they were under the doctor's care for weeks although no one was killed.
A friend of Smith's who knew he did not know anything about these places got him to accompany him there. On entering the place, a young woman known as Cincinnati Jane made herself very familiar with him, and reached into his pocket and took out some money. Remaining there a few minutes Smith requested her to give back the money as he wanted to go. She refused and called him all manner of vile names, and he not being used to such treatment instantly knocked her down. Immediately several big colored women appeared on the scene and with knives sprang after him. Instantly drawing his knife he ordered them to halt but they rushed after him and backing up to the door he went out only to be followed by them. Instead of finding the street as he expected he found himself in a yard surrounded by a tight board fence and in the distance was a large massive English bull dog chained to a block, who on seeing Smith came after him. The women urging the dog on he ran to the fence and got over it and to his dismay landed in the mud knee deep and he had to wade in it for several rods before he came out. It being Sunday morning many were returning from church and seeing him in this condition enquired how
he came there. Not knowing nor realizing he had been in this notorious place informed them. Reaching home very much embarrassed but some wiser for this terrible experience, he concluded not to repeat it again.
He was, and continued for years, a noted gambler, having won thousands of dollars.
While engaged in poker playing with a companion one day in Louisville they got into a dispute, when two burley darkies attempted to make themselves too familiar. One of them knocked Smith down, striking him a terriffic blow on the head On rising to his feet he struck the foremost one with a bottle felling him to the floor, while the other one stabbed him in the leg.
Raising a heavy chair, and with the assistance of his companion, they knocked their way out. On reaching the street the police took after them, but failed to catch either of them. Arriving at Massa Hycus' he was very much exhausted over his experience in the poker room. His leg was very painful and it was several days before he could resume work again.
Smith has cut corn and broke cane on the ground where the cemetery is now located; and also worked on the ground when Judge Shaw owned it. He well remembers the first grave dug in it. John J. Jacobs and a man named Means owned a large tract of timbered land. The
line run directly lengthwise where Broadway street now is.
These men were famous shots. They arranged a shooting match between themselves. The best shots should be entitled to all the land. They were to shoot at a forked target, placed two hundred yards distance. In the center of the target was a small hole drilled. Breaking the center was disturbing the circle. Driving the center was hitting the wooden pin in the center and driving it through.
They were to shoot five times each, the best out of the five to be declared the winner.
The day arrived. Thousands were on the ground to witness the shooting between these famous marksmen, as they were the best in Kentucky.
Means drew the choice for the first shots. Placing his rifle to his shoulder he fired away, his fifth shot breaking the center. Wild excitement prevailed and heavy betting began in earnest on both sides. Thousands of dollars were bet on Means.
Jacobs realizing that in order to beat Means he must make a desperate effort, requested to have four days in which to practice. It was granted him as he claimed his gun was out of order. He continued to practice each day. At the appointed time a large number was present and heavy betting on both sides was in order.
Jacobs, placing his rifle to his shoulder, drove his five shots, his fourth driving the center pin. He was declared the winner; them followed the greatest excitement, making the woods ring with loud and long hurrahs. Jacobs being the richest man in the country immediately set about to arrange for a big feast to be accompanied with music and dancing.
He being a great sportsman, especially in cock fighting, and to add still more to celebrating this memorable shooting day, gave out that he would give five hundred dollars to the owner of the best fighting cocks, the fight to be in this tract of timber he had won of Means, to take place the day of this great feast.
All were invited, rich and poor, black and white. Prominent speakers were engaged, the finest music, cooks and waiters employed.
Five fat cattle, twenty sheep and a quantity of small game was slain and cooked in barbacue style. Tables were set in the woods and all preparations possible were made to make this a great day never to be forgotten.
People were invited from all parts of Kentucky. The woods were completely packed with people, white and black. After all had partaken of the bountiful feast, then came speaking.
Then all who desired retired to the pits to witness the cock fight, heavy betting on all sides being in order. Over three hundred fighting cocks were on the ground. Great excitement prevailed. Some were taking care of dead cocks, others putting on steel spurs preparing them for the pit.
One-eyed Kit, from New Orleans, was present with twenty cocks. She was called so from having lost one of her eyes in handling her cocks. She came all the long distance to take part in these exercises, and she carried a brace of revolvers and a bowie knife. She was an all-around gambler, making her money in that manner. She was known all over as a great cock fighting, sporting woman.
After the excitement had progressed some time, nearly
all having a chance in the pits, Kit was declared the winner and received the money.
She then challenged any one to match her in a cock fight for two hundred dollars a side. She was quickly taken up and there was heavy betting on both sides.
In due course of time Kit was declared the winner amid the cheers of the great crowd. After this dancing began and continued all night. Thus closed one of the greatest days ever witnessed in Louisville.
He always spoke in high terms of Parks as one of the best men he ever lived with. He never whipped his negroes and did not believe in it. He was generous to a fault. He never asked his slaves to do any work on Sunday unless he paid them for it.
Every Saturday afternoon his slaves were drawn up in line and each one received a dollar from their master.
This was something no other planter was known to do in the south. Every meal time all who desired it were treated to whisky.
He never urged his negroes to work beyond their strength.
He preferred colored men to work, as they done more work. Most of his colored men were free. He was always satisfied with the amount of work done.
Smith took a job cutting forty acres of wheat for which he was to receive twenty dollars. He made a bee on Sunday to cut the wheat, when night came it was all shocked. Then Massa gave them a fine snpper after
which all repaired to a building in the field and had a big dance. One of his men stole a dressed hog, Massa tracked him up and instead of whipping him as others did paid no attention to it.
Smith well remembers hearing General Taylor speak in Louisville at the Gault House after his famous fight at Monteray, Mexico, and also seeing a scar in his face which he received when engaged in this battle, when General Taylor exclaimed, although badly wounded, "Give it to them boys, but dodge the balls if possible." Smith was at the dock in Louisville when General Taylor landed, and in the excitement when engaged in cannonading and celebrating this event three men were killed. Taylor was driven to the Gault House in a hack drawn by six white horses. And after his famous speech, instead of taking dinner, for fear of being poisoned, repaired to his brother-in-laws, who lived two miles in the country. After General Taylor's death at the White House, his remains were taken to his large farm near Louisville at a place called Gillman's Point for burial.
All of Parks' men were at the funeral, Smith with the number and speaks of it as the grandest funeral he ever saw as there were thousands present. He was buried with great military honors. It was a sad and memorable day all through the United States. His large fine horse, the one he used in Mexico, whose name was Whity, was dressed in mourning. So many people, to keep in memory this sad event, pulled many hairs out of his tail to make watch chains and different ornaments with, it became quite necessary, in order to keep any hair on him, to lock him up and many offered large sums of money for him. Every day after the funeral he was taken out saddled and
exercised accompanied by a large Newfoundland dog owned by the General, but no one was allowed to ride him, being led by his groom. The writer does not remember what became of Whity in after years, undoubtedly he was well cared for and at his death was buried with respectable honor, out of respect for the great man that used to ride him.
Smith remembers the first silverware used, such as knifes, spoons, casters, etc. His Master Parks' daughter Cyntha, was married to a negro trader whose name was Otterman, and he made a great wedding and everything used on the table was the finest of silver. After the whites, who had been invited to attend the wedding were through eating, then all the negroes were invited to eat which was greatly enjoyed by all.
Burks was a wealthy planter and owned a great number of slaves, he was very severe, showing no mercy when he had occasion to punish a negro. He would tie them to a maple tree in his yard and would whip each negro half a day. He would give them fifty lashes, rest awhile, and then repeat the dose.
A number of different time slaves would kill sheep and cattle unbeknown to Massa Burks and when it was found out the whipping would commence in earnest. Telling them at the same time, he was not whipping them for stealing, but because they did not conceal it better. No person under any circumstances, was allowed to punish his negroes. He was a noted gambler, and traveled most of the time on that business. His son John,
was also a noted gambler, and always took with him one of his slaves to wait on him. On one of his gambling excursions, he had with him a smart colored man whose name was Hank and he put explicit confidence in him. Having on one of his gambling tours won five thousand dollars, he sent Hank home to put it in the bank. Hank instead of obeying orders, struck out for Canada with the money, and not returning as soon as expected, Master Burks became uneasy and search was made supposing Hank had been robbed. After due course of time he wrote back from Canada, thanking Master Burks for the money, and stating he was doing well, and he never returned to Kentucky again.
Master Burks was a great sport with horses, at one time betting sixty thousand dollars on a great race, betting against the celebrated trotting horse "John Henry," the fastest horse at that time in the country. Burks lost the race by a very few inches. This was the last race trotted by "John Henry," he being a stallion, was kept for other purposes. Master Burks also enjoyed cock fighting, and it was no uncommon thing for him to win or lose five hundred dollars iu one fight. His slaves were usually smart and were allowed many priviledges and often attended him in his great cock fights, sometimes when disputes would arise and he would be in danger, the slaves would fight for him and would save him many times from bodily harm.
Before leaving Master Burks, we will relate an instance that transpired which could never be accounted for, and was very cruel in its nature. Massa Burks and a friend of his whose name was Olden Bass, took into their confidence a man from an eastern state named Foster, and
became to all appearances intimate friends. They were together at the gambling tables, cock fights, and were all-around sports. One Sunday morning, Boss and Burks invited Foster to take a stroll in the woods and see how the slaves were getting along cutting wood. They took with them three burly negroes. Arriving at the woods Burks and Boss ordered one of the colored men to take a stick of wood and knock Foster down, the negro replied he did not want to do so, and Foster not thinking any harm, passed it off as a joke. Again they ordered the negro to strike him and this time he complied with their request and knocking him down he was immediately bound, stripped and tied to a tree, and all cut to pieces, they striking him five hundred lashes each one in his turn. After nearly whipping him to death he was ordered to leave the country and never be seen in these parts again under penalty of death. This inhuman treatment by white men whipping one of their race has no parallel in history as no cause was ever known to exist for this transaction.
We will now relate some of Smith's courting experience while living at Massa Burks. A widow woman whose name was Liza Huntly, who owned a good plantation, took a great fancy to him. Smith used to call there quite often, and they became very intimate friends. A number of the young colored folks used to joke him about going to see his mother, as she was so much older than he was. Smith was a great favorite with the widow. She offered to buy him and give him the charge of the plantation if he would marry her, but they bothered him so much about visiting the widow he discontinued going there.
Another in Louisville was a wealthy white woman who had separated from her husband, becoming acquainted with her on account of marketing there so much. She took a great fancy to him and finally requested and invited him to come and see her. The first chance he got he did so. She then told him how much she loved him and arranged a plan to run away to Canada and marry him. They became fast friends and lovers. She sold her property and preparations were made and the time appointed to start. Smith mistrusting something might possibly be managed to make him trouble did not go as agreed upon. He often speaks about this and believes the woman was sincere. She was smart and well educated. He never saw her after their agreement and does not know her history afterwards.
A certain tree in Massa Burke's garden where he used to whip negroes. Fifteen slaves have been whipped to death while tied to this tree, either by Massa Bates or his overseer. The tales of cruelty and inhuman treatment by this man could scarcely be written. He was a man weighing nearly four hundred pounds, and when on his death bed paid two doctors each five hundred dollars a day to keep him alive to see and witness his slaves whipped, remarking that he could not die and leave the negroes and all his money.
He lived a number of days after entering into this contract with the doctors to keep him alive, but the fatal hour came, and thus passed away one of the most inhuman fiends known in history. When he died he burst open and the stench was so strong that it cost a large sum of money to lay him out and bury him. While few mourned
his loss, hundreds rejoiced, and the slaves held a great barbecue celebrating this event.
Being a large planter, a great sport and owning a number of fast horses he had a good track on his plantation. He was also a good poker player and had won and lost thousands of dollars. In his desperate gambling freaks he would often put up a negro against his opponent, and the winner would take them both. It was no uncommon affair for him to win or loose five thousand dollars a night playing poker.
He was a man who treated his slaves well, and did not practice the inhuman treatment used by many of his kinsman. Being very wealthy he was extremely fond of all manner of sports, and great for getting up horse races. He owned large powerful negroes, both men and women, and would not allow a small, inferior negro on his premises, claiming that they might do some damage to his stock as he termed it. He had a negro, whose name was Washington, a powerful man and the greatest cattle manager and breaker known in the whole country. He would subdue the most vicious bull or cow in a few minutes. Dropping on his knees he would, when they were coming at him full force, bellowing and roaring, roll up his sleeves, seize them by one horn and the nose and throw them perfectly easy. He never encountered an animal he could not manage in this way.
One peculiarity about this celebrated negro was that he did not, nor would not do anything but attend to cattle. Breaking steers and cows was his delight, and many came
from a great distance to see him subdue animals and have cattle broke. A celebrated planter living in the southern part of Kentucky had a powerful negro who was also noted as a great cattle subduer. His master hearing of Washington immdiately arranged for a match. Massa Hycus sent a challenge to him and offered to bet two thousand dollars that his slave could beat his negro in throwing and holding cattle, with one hand, any minute that he could be brought. The offer was quickly accepted and the arrangements were made, the money put up and the day appointed, and everybody invited. The winner was to give a big supper and a plantation dance. The great day arrived and hundreds were an the ground, all anxious and excited. The animal selected was a ferocious bull, and he was to be let out in an open field on Massa Hycus' plantation. Men were armed with rifles, in case the bull got the advantage of the men, to shoot him on the spot. A Mexican dollar was thrown in the air for first trial, and it fell on the negro who came from the distance. The bull was let loose and came at his antagonist with great fury. The negro grabbed for the bull, but missing his hold he was thrown high in the air by that animal, coming down with great force, and springing on his feet ran for his life pursued by the infuriated bull, which was kept from any further injury by the crowd. Heavy betting had been going on, on both sides, as to who should win. Time was called for Massa Hycus' man, and he was given a drink of brandy. The bull was turned loose and came on with great force. Washington rolling up his sleeves, dropped on his knees as the animal was about to make its final leap. He caught him by one horn, securely fastening one hand in the animal's nose, threw him with force, causing the bull to bellow furiously.
Washington hit him a clip, and amid the cheers of the multitude, came leading the bull up to the stand perfectly subdued. Cheer after cheer rent the air, and the large crowd immediately joined in a grand jubilee. Washington's master being certain of winning had prepared an elegant banquet at which liquors flowed freely. He had also engaged several prominent speakers from Louisville, and after the banquet was over and the toasts had all been responded to, Massa Hycus stepped to the front and presented Washington with an elegant gold watch. After hand-shaking and congratulations all-around, the crowd dispersed.
Washington was one of the proudest negroes in the land with his gold watch to remember his great achievement on that day.
Massa Andy, or Captain Hycus, was truly an exceptional man among slave owners, as he used them well, fed them good, and granted them many privileges that others would not. All of his slaves liked him.
JIM BRECKENRIDGE'S PLANTATION--A SLAVE HUNTING HIS MASTER--RIDING ON A CANNON--THE SLAVES BEFORE THE WAR--EXCITING SCENE AND A RACE FOR LIFE.
JIM BRECKENRIDGE'S PLANTATION--A SLAVE HUNTING HIS MASTER--RIDING ON A CANNON--THE SLAVES BEFORE THE WAR--EXCITING SCENE AND A RACE FOR LIFE.
We next call the reader's attention to Jim Breckenridge, who was a great land owner and owned so many slaves he did not at times know some of them when he met them on the street. He raised great quantities of hemp, and was a kind man to his slaves. His overseer, who in after years he discharged for his cruelty, went by the name of Jim Danford. He was a very inhuman man, and many times, unbeknown to Massa, would whip some poor slave for a mere trifle in a brutal manner. He was like a good many white men, who, receiving a little promotion, were often worse than the slave owners themselves. Massa Breckenridge never sold any of his slaves to go away south in the cotton picking, with the exception of one, whose name was Dick. In order to save him from prison he sold him to go south. Massa's great negro catching
dog was killed by some person, supposed to be a slave, perhaps for being bitten. He was an old English bull dog and was valued at two thousand dollars, and was found one morning in the yard stabbed to death. A great deal of money was offered to find the guilty one, but he was never caught.
This dog was terrible savage with the poor slaves. And has caught a number who were trying to get away. He used to hold the negros for the overseer to whip. The colored people scarcely ever told on each other in any work they undertook to do.
The next person we call the readers attention to, was a slave owner, named Jim Lewis, who lived ten miles from Louisville, on the Bardstown and Nashville turnpike. He was noted for raising and selling thoroughbred blood hounds, and he had some fine dogs for catching runaway slaves, and would often get $50 for catching one. He owned a large plantation, and also kept a fine hotel where the stage changed horses. One particular instance that transpired which came under Smith's notice, was this He owned a very smart colored man called Square, that he had raised. And when Square became a man, old Massa for some triffling affair whipped him one day, quite severe, and when he had finished whipping him he asked him if he was through. Massa asked him, "why do you ask, if you are not satisfied I will give you another turn." Square spoke in this manner: "I have enough but it is my turn now." And snatching the whip from Masa's hand commenced to use it freely; Massa started for the hotel, followed by Square, in hot pursuit, and he gave his master a severe punishing. All who witnessed it expected to see Square nearly whipped to death, but to the utter astonishment
of all, Massa did not punish him, but appointed him overseer on the plantation, and he proved to be of great value to Massa Lewis. It was truly a remarkable instance, but Massa seemed to take it as a joke, and Square being such a fine, noble negro, about 21 years of age, he appointed him to this position. The great mystery among all was the reason Massa Lewis did not kill Square for this. Some of the slave owners came to see Massa Lewis, and urged him to punish Square, as such treatment would encourage other negroes, and make them unmanageable. Massa paid no attention to them, but kept on running his own business.
Across the ravine from Massa Lewis' was a large hill, known as Perserve Hill, deriving its name from the following incident. A slave owner whose name was Gus Kelly, owned a few slaves and who was very overbearing and mean to them, and also his wife. A great driver and hustler, he worked his slaves very hard. Coming in one day and his wife not having dinner ready right on time, seized a large kettle of perserves his wife was cooking, and to wreak out his vengeance, threw it out, it rolled down the hill, and ever afterwards it was called Preserve Hill. Kelly was an all round mean man, disliked by most all who knew him. His slaves never had any privileges, but hard work from day to day.
Old Pete Johnson, a thorough planter, who lived near this hill, will relate an incident that took place during the war. Johnson was a mean man, and very severe on the yankees. He was taken together with his slaves, compelled to ride on a cannon from Louisville into Tennessee, and did not reach his plantation again for the space of three months, and then to find everything destroyed and
his slaves gone. He was thankful his own life was spared.
We will now relate a few scenes while Smith was living at Massa Charles Hays, who bought him, paying $1,100 for him. Massa Hays lived sixteen miles north of Louisville, and was a large planter and slave owner. This was just before the war. The slaves were all talking and wondering what the war would bring about.
Their masters would get telegrams and papers, and meet in council, and the slaves would listen at the door. Prominent men would be seen approaching, and the slaves would be wondering what they were talking about with Massa. Some of the lower classes of whites who could, would steal away to the cabins among the slaves, and with a person watching to see if Massa was coming, would read about the coming war. If any were caught reading to the slaves, or giving them any information, they were tied and received fifty lashes.
Any white man passing with a pack on his back or a satchel in his hand, was styled "a yankee," and the negroes were given strict orders, under penalty, not to pass a word with them, and if seen talking, Massa would ask all manner of questions, such as "what did that man say to you, did he want you to leave here and go to the war, did he ask any questions about the war," and many more similar questions. The slaves did not tell many things that were said by these men, as Massa would pursue, overtake and kill them. And many a northern man was never heard from after reaching the south, but was killed in this way. All the fire arms either bought or stolen, were taken farther south, which created no small confusion among the slaves. Slaves were told all manner
of lies to influence them against the North. Some speaking in this manner, "the Yankees will steal and sell you, take you all away from us and kill you and do all manner of mischief. Do not pass a word with those Yankees."
General Rosseau was at Louisville drilling Yankees, greatly to the annoyance of the rebels, who forced him across the line to Indiana to do his drilling there. Space will not permit of giving all the incidents relative to the superstition, anxieties and fears among the slaves and the ignorant whites, and even among many rich planters, previous to the breaking out of the war.
When General Bragg fired his first gun in Kentucky, which was on Massa Hays plantation he was on his way to save Louisville. General Nelson was stationed at Louisville, forcing all the men to assist in building breast works. The darkies were nearly frightened to death, while many were anxious to see the coming battle. The two great armies were on Hays' plantation. Smith and a number of slaves were stationed on the fence supposed to be out of danger. The rebels informed them that the damned Yankees could not hurt them as long as they remained with them.
Soldiers on both sides as far as the eye could see in solid column. As soon as the firing commenced, the bullets began to fall thick and fast around Smith, as wanting a good view, was between the two armies, and becoming badly frightened, started for the lower plantation, running with all his might, imagining all the time they were all shooting at him, as the balls were flying thick around
him. Reaching the lower plantation he found them fighting just as hard, and amid the roar of musketry mingled with the groans of the dying, made a scene which nearly paralized him. Dodging between the rebels horses and men, he ran to a cliff, and climbing down in a ravine ran into a cave. The beating of his own heart scared the wits out of him. Looking out he could plainly see shells flying through the air, he retreated back into the cave and remained there until the following morning. When he came out he found the rebels had retreated and the army away in the advance.
He ventured back to the old plantation only to find everything devastated, fences and cattle all gone. Reaching the house it was full of bullet holes and everything still as death, he thought old massa and all the rest were killed. Going out on a rise of ground and looking around he saw in the distance under a large rock a number of negroes who were still afraid to venture forth. He then went back and ventured into the house and while standing gazing on the destruction and desolation, everything torn up, furniture and piano all broken to pieces, and pondering over all this scene, his old massa come in, all broke up, having been absent four days to keep clear of the Yankees. In the clothes press when massa left, stood a barrel of beans where he had secreted two thousand dollars in gold, but beans and gold were gone. His large pork house was empty, where he had left tons of the finest of meat. In the cellar twenty-five barrels of the best of whisky was all wasted which caused old massa to bound in the air with madness, the house was completely stripped as well as all the out-buildings, and all through the day negroes could be seen cautiously creeping back from their
hiding places, none of them being killed. This great plantation, full of the best the land could afford, was literally stripped, and amid all this, old massa exclaimed, "Take everything, but leave me the negroes."
The rebels retreated to Perrysville, followed by the Yankees, and had some hard fighting. It was reported the Yankees lost five men to one of the rebels. But in the spring, in moving an old straw stack a number of dead rebels were found covered with straw, where they had been secreted. Buel was a brother-in-law of Bragg and was given all the chances possible to defeat the union men, but after this defeat his commission as a general was taken from him.
Smith lived close to a toll gate near Salt river bridge in Bullet county, twenty-three miles from Louisville, and him and his wife buried a great number of our brave men who had been parolled, and assisted and secreted scores of union men to save them from these fiends who were scouring the country night and day seaching for the northern men, and when found were shot or hung as the case might be in the presence of Smith but under fear of death he dare not attempt any assistance. So many had to pass this toll gate on the pike, that Smith had great opportunities to find out and witness many scenes. He could often have given information to the union men and assisted in the capture of squads of guerrillas, but through fear he kept their whereabouts to himself; while at the same time he was secreting them and the Yankees were at the door looking for them.
What first induced him to keep a close mouth and attend to his own business during the exciting times through the war, saved him then, and perhaps is the reason he lived to have this work completed. Many with even a word or a look of the least information, both white and black, have gone to their long home.
The circumstance which first set Smith to thinking was this, he with a number of men were breaking rock on the pike one day when a number of union soldiers came riding up and asked a white man, who was a thorough rebel named Tom Wilcox, if he knew where they could get some water melons was informed that a man who kept a grocery store a short distance from there, and a union man, had water melons. The soldiers rode up to the store and upon enquiry were informed he had no melons, not satisfied with this they searched his premises and found nothing. This enraged the merchant and he asked the commanding officer, who informed him he had melons. They told him a white man working on the pike a short distance below. He requested the officer to bring the man before him. Going back Wilcox was brought up, the balance who were working on the pike wondered what the soldiers intended to do with him. The merchant and also the officer presented their revolvers to him, and the merchant asked him if he told the soldiers he had melons, and seeing the revolvers pointed at him, commenced stammering and crying. The officer then ordered him to step out a short distance and informed him he was going to kill him, and pinning a small piece of paper over the heart of the man selected twelve men to aim at the paper and fire when he ordered. The balance of the
negroes and white men were nearly scared to death. Wilcox was trembling and begging them not to shoot.
After the soldiers had stood with their guns presented at him fully five minutes, they were ordered to take them down. The officers informed him they would spare his life, and then spoke to him in this manner, "you infernal rebel now from this time on, attend strictly to your own affairs, and never say you know a thing you do not, and bear in mind what I tell you." Smith, after witnessing this, never gave any information either to Rebel or Union men, but when he thought prudent would aid the Union men all he possibly could. It required great cunning and ingenuity to manage and arrange assistance to Union men, for the rebels would have shot him on the spot had they known it. He was well known, but being shrewd and cunning they did not find that he aided and assisted any one.
Twelve negro men and women were caught in giving information where a lot of guerrellas were secreted. The men were taken down to salt river, a hole cut in the ice and they were singled out, shot and pushed under the ice.
Nearly one mile from this toll-gate fifty slaves were overtaken, who were on their way to join the Union army, and shot by their friends. Smith assisted in burying all of them.
Smith was a witness to the following inhuman treatment: several negroes were overtaken, on the pike to join the Yankees, by the Southern men, and their ears cut off, they then rode up to a saloon where a Yankee was selling
liquor, and after drinking, threw the ears in the saloon-keeper's face, saying to him, "there you Yankee, is some scrip for you, take that." And then they passed on to hunt for some one else to practice their beastly treatment on.
Before proceeding further in this work, least it might be neglected, we will relate a horrible and beastly crime which took place under Smith's observation. An old man who had been free for some time, had no use of his feet being born a cripple, and being a great religious man, he was often found praying. He was taken by the Rebels, holes cut through his thighs large enough to receive his crippled feet, and crossing them, they forced them through the holes and left him to die, which he very soon did. The poor negro praying all the time. They left him in this dying condition with curses on their lips, exclaiming at the same time, "now die you d--d negro, and pray for yourself instead of us."
It would be impossible to give the reader even a faint idea of all the scenes and circumstances enacted by our Union men, with these notorious guerrillas.
There was great excitement and amusing scenes occured when the slaves on Hay's plantation heard the news of Lincoln's emancipation proclamation.
Some days had elapsed after the freedom of the slaves, when a number of Union men were passing, enquired of the slaves if their master had set them free. Massa Hays began to be alarmed for fear of being arrested, in case he did not inform them of their freedom. One morning as the slaves were eating. Massa Hays came in an walked around the table very uneasy, and bracing himself up in
the best manner possible, spoke to them in this manner, "Men and women hear me, I am about to tell you something I never expected to be obliged to tell you in my life, it is this: it becomes my duty to inform you, one and all, woman, men and children, belonging to me, you are free to go where you please." At the same time cursing Lincoln and exclaiming, if he was here, I would kill him for taking all you negroes away from me.
After old Massa had cooled off from this painful duty, he told them to go to the grocery where he had whiskey barreled up and help themselves and get what they wanted. Then commenced a great jubilee among, not only the slaves, but old Massa, and all on the plantation seemed to join in the festivities. Old Massa got drunk and repaired to his room. His daughter, a fine young lady never known to drink, was much the worse for drinking. All were cheering Abraham Lincoln, while old Massa was too drunk to notice much. Old Aunt Bess an old colored woman, and very religious, who looked after the children, as well as the rest, used too much wine and to show her mode of rejoicing, sang old time songs, which added very much to the celebration. Preparations were made and at night dancing was began in earnest, and kept up until morning. Old Massa giving all liberty to help themselves to everything. Some of the slaves did not fully comprehend what it all meant, while others, more intelligent, enjoyed it to the full extent. Never was such a scene witnessed on the plantation before.
The writer cannot picture it to the reader, the rejoicing on this plantation and other places in the vicinity, on the announcement of the freedom of the slaves. Old Aunt
Bess exclaimed, "bress de Lord, Im glad de Lord has spared me to see dis great day, my children are all free," she singing and shouting all the time.
Knowing what a great day this was to the enslaved negro, it is truly no wonder to the intelligent reader that they rejoiced and still keep in memory the emancipation day and will for all future time to come. History will repeat itself, and in ages to come, President Lincoln and many of the brave men will be immortalized.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF FREEDOM--HOW COLORED PEOPLE RECEIVED
ANNOUNCEMENT OF FREEDOM--HOW COLORED PEOPLE RECEIVED
One month after the announcement of the freedom of the slaves, there was a day appointed in Louisville to celebrate this great event. Senator Palmer and several other noted speakers, both white and black, made appropriate speeches and shout after shout rent the air. Old men and women praised God that they were free. Old plantation songs rent the air. Louisville was alive with people, negroes coming from all over the country. The speeches made by the colored people at this great day would make the sadest heart laugh, while many wept for joy. Music and dancing was indulged in. Every preparatlon was made to make this day memorable in the annals of history. A number went back and lived with their masters for years, choosing to live in the Sunny South where their joys and sorrows had mingled together so many years.
Massa Hays would explain, after the Yankees were away out of danger, how he would like to serve them, but when
he discovered any Yanks he would be sure to keep out of their way. Sometimes he would be asked by the Yankees, "Who lives in that house?" His reply would be Mr. Hays. Telling him that they would like to find the old rebel, Hays would be much pleased when they left him. Then he would blow about the Yankees again, and inform his slaves if he could see a Yankee he would kill him on the spot, always being careful that none of the Yanks were near when he had one of his courageous freaks.
After the children Smith had taken care of had all become of age and old Bryant Salone had died, Smith then fell to his son, young Bryant. The reader has already had a short history of his old Massa.
The children having reached the age when they were their own bosses if Smith's master chose to he could sell him. The negroes were divided up on their becoming of age and Smith fell to young Bryant Salone. There was a number of slave owners who intended to sell slaves to go to New Orleans, as they could get good prices for them. Massa Salone, among the rest, intended to sell some, and Smith being extra shrewd he thought he could get a good price for him, as Smith would make a good overseer for he was such a great worker himself, and Massa Salone mentioned this to him. Smith informed him that he did not want to go south and leave his wife and family. Massa Salone still insisted upon his going, and used very smooth language, telling him he wanted to make an overseer of him. He said that he did not want to, neither should he go. Smith, determined not to go down in the cotton picking, began to arrange to go to Canada. A white woman
by the name of Jennie Hartman, who used to be his misses, offered to take her uncle's horse and buggy and go to Louisville, cross the Ohio river and drive through to Canada, and pay all expenses. Massa Salone hearing of this scheme, and knowing Smith's perseverance and cunning, told him he had changed his mind. If he would find some one to buy him and pay eleven hundred dollars for him he might stay.
Smith, not wishing to go Canada and leave his family, started out and at once made his way to Massa Hays, a planter, whom he was acquainted with, and who had the reputation of being good to his slaves. On reaching Massa Hays' he informed him of his mission. Massa Hays seemed to be pleased to learn that he could get Smith, and at once told him to go back and tell his master he would pay the amount asked in gold. Massa Salone being informed of this went over and received the money. Taking Harry by the hand, and speaking to him, said, "Now, Harry, you have been a good negro, continue, and obey your master." This was all the satisfaction he received after being under the Salones' management for forty years, never receiving a penny for his services while there.
A large number of slaves were sent away south, and among the number not one ever returned among Smith's acquaintances. At the expiration of two years Massa Salone, who went with them, was taken with the Yellow fever which resulted in his death and he was brought back and buried on his father's plantation.
Lewis Salone, a brother of the one just mentioned, was one of the proudest of southern men, considering it an
insult for a white man to speak to him unless he was counted a man ranking high among the aristocracy, and wearing very costly diamonds. Misfortune seemed to follow him, and the last account Smith had any tidings of him he was in Louisville performing some menial service for a living.
A sketch of Lewis Salone, last mentioned, might be of interest to the reader, showing the immense fortune that fell to him from his father, old Massa Bryant Salone, of which the reader has had some knowledge. Lewis' father gave him three hundred acres of land and a number of slaves, and after his father's death the old plantation consisting of twenty-four thousand acres, together with all the darkies fell to him. Lewis, thinking slavery might extend into Illinois and wishing to increase his immense wealth, sold all his slaves and his plantation and started for Illinois. Had the money he then had been in gold and silver a good span of horses could not have drawn it. He moved to Decatur and built up the town.
Misfortune seemed against him and fire and wind destroyed it. He built it up again only to be followed by destruction a second time. Returning to Louisville, reduced to abject poverty, he was, up to a year ago living with a relative, and has to live out the balance of his days depending upon charity for his support.
We will now give an interesting account of the life of Massa Maxwell, who was murdered by his own slaves for unlawful cohabitation with the wife of one of them and the hanging of the negroes who did the act.
Massa Maxwell lived in Bardstown, Kentucky. He was a wealthy planter and an inhuman wretch, hated by
all of his slaves and most of the whites. He had made it a practice for years for using this colored woman, who was the wife of one of the slaves, compelling her at any time he saw fit to submit to his passions, and compelled her husband not to mention it under fear of death, and had whipped him very severely several times for mentioning it. Her husband had often thought to himself he would kill his master for this and was waiting for a proper chance. One day massa approached this woman and on her refusal to comply with his demands in the presence of her husband was stripped and received a brutal treatment nearly using her up. This so enraged her husband, he counseled with two colored men, his relatives, and determined to lay a plan and kill him. Massa Maxwell had business to town that day, and knowing he would have to pass through a certain gate on the plantation, and not likely to return until evening determined to conceal themselves at the gate and kill him.
The three men repaired to the gate and waited for massa, who soon after dark rode up to the spot, they sprang out and beat him with clubs and he wounded one of his negroes with his knife. After they thought he was dead, they left him and came back to the house. Not coming home at night, old misses became alarmed about him. In the morning she sent the husband of this woman back to look for old massa and going to the barn he took a pitch fork with him, and on going back not finding massa as he expected dead at the gate, followed his trail a few rods and discovered massa in the brush a short distance away. Seeing the negro coming he motioned for him to go back, as he was too near used up to speak. The
poor injured negro now thought his time had come to wreak out his promise to massa for destroying all his comfort and nearly killing his wife, sprang on to him and pounded his head to pieces and sticking the fork through his body, came back to the house and reported him dead, and on investigation found it true. Amid the excitement as to who were the guilty parties, three brave men determined to own up the crime and take up with what might follow, if to die they would have the satisfaction of knowing it was in a good cause. They confessed the crime and were arrested and placed in the jail at Bardstown. They were tried, convicted and sentenced to be hung, all three at the same time. After the announcement, orders were sent out all over the country to slave owners, to be there at Bardstown the day and hour with all their slaves, men, women and children and witness the hanging of these men who dare kill their master that it might teach them a lesson. All the slaves, whether willing or not, had to go and witness this event. The day arriving thousands of people were there, the slaves were placed in front in order to better enable them to witness this. On the scaffold on being permitted to speak, they explained in brief the cause which led them to the act. The injured husband made a pathetic speech, explaining the cause of killing his master, claiming he did not do anything he felt sorry for, was only glad he lived to see the end of this wretch. This was the ending of Massa Maxwell, one of the most inhuman wretches that ever lived.
The following is an account of Mr. Allen, a planter, who lived in Spencer county, and whose only son was killed by a falling limb and the crime laid to a colored man.
Massa Allen owned a number of slaves and in his
absence he would appoint his son to look after them and see they were all working. Leaving home one day, his son as usual looked after business, one of the slaves was cutting wood in a strip of woods near by and he took a walk down to see how he was getting along. As he was standing under a tree suddenly a large limb gave way and struck young massa on the head killing him instantly. This nearly scared the negro to death, who at once started for the house to report the sad news. On arriving at the scene, they were excited and suspected it was the negro who had killed his young master. The news spread all through the community, Massa Allen's son had been killed in the woods by a negro. Men came from all directions with ropes, determined to hang him if they caught him. They captured and bound him firmly with ropes so he could not get away. He told them plainly he did not kill young massa and pointed out to the angry crowd the limb and the tree it fell from. Still they insisted he killed young massa, they were so eager to hang him that they lost all sense of reason. Finally the more wise ones proposed to make a ladder, climb up the tree and take the limb and see. On trying the broken limb it fitted to perfection as the negro had been trying to explain to the mob who intended to hang him.
The examination of the limb convinced all present of the negroes innocence, and he was loosened from his bonds, much to his joy. As he was perfectly innocent of the crime, Massa Allen ever after this treated this negro with respect and granted him many privileges, for the truth, as he believed, regarding his sons death, and treated all the slaves better than he had heretofore.
A peculiar circumstance that transpired while Smith and a number of others, were engaged in cutting wheat for Abe Vandyke. A rich planter who lived near Taylorsville, had fields which contained a hundred acres each, and usually had one each year of all the different kinds of grain. He owned a great number of slaves, and was severe and overbearing to them. There was forty men and women engaged in cutting wheat one day, in a field where stood a large oak tree that had been dead a number of years. While they were standing under this tree it began to rain, and they all dropped their tools and started for the woods for shelter. Massa Vandyke was on his horse holding an umbrella over him. A gust of wind started the tree to falling. Old Massa was directly under it, and noticing the danger, the darkies spoke and beckoned to him to flee, as the tree was falling; putting spurs to his horse, he just had time to make clear of the tree when it struck the ground, some of the limbs brushing him. This so frighteded him, he ordered all of the slaves to go immediately to the house, and on reaching home, Massa ordered a great feast prepared, and whiskey was free. To show forth his rejoicing for being saved from death. They all had a great time, Massa and all got drunk. All day and night was used up in this manner.
Massa Cunigan owned scores of colored men, but had no children or near relatives. He was one of the best men to his slaves, and was called, by other slave owners, the negro spoiler, because he was so lenient with them. On Massa becoming old and very wealthy, he bought a tract of land in
the free States, and set his colored people all free and bought them horses. While he remained on the plantation all who chose to remain with him, he gave them land sufficient to maintain them. A colored man who belonged to Massa Vandyke already mentioned, had married a slave who belonged to Cunigan when his slaves were set free, and had gone to the territory bought for them, this man belonging to Vandyke concluded to go where his wife was, and his friends set about to plan his escape. One Saturday night they made a large box, and placing this man in it, shipped it as freight to Canada. Massa Vandyke missing this man on Monday morning, began searching for him. Men were sent out in all directions, but returned with no tidings. Finally he sent a man to where Massa Cunigan had sent most of his slaves, to see if he was there, and continued to watch for two years. In the meantime this colored man sent away in the box, was in Canada, living with his wife and family, happy as may be, while Massa Vandyke had to grin and bear it.
Massa Vandyke lost several of his slaves by being shipped in the manner described. For instance a slave belonging to another man, married one of his slaves, on condition that he would not sell him or her, as the case might be. They were taken by some friend and shipped to some place as freight. The darkies in many similar instances showed their cunning and shrewdness.
He was a desperate slave owner, and nearly lost his life together with three of his sons, in trying to whip one of his slaves named Albert. And also the loss of a number
of buildings burned, owned by a family named Collings as the result of this attempt to punish a slave.
For some triffling affair one day, Massa Ferman undertook to punish this negro Albert, who was a powerful negro, when he seized his master, and threw him with great force on the ground. Massa failed to accomplish his design this time, so he contrived to get Albert in a large corn-crib to shucking corn, and then went there with sufficient force to bind and whip him. Massa Ferman with his three sons prepared themselves with clubs, and repaired to the corn crib, and spoke to Albert, telling him, to throw up his hands, as they were going to bind and give him a thousand lashes. Albert took in the situation at once, and seizing a large wooden maul in the crib, knocked them all down, and they all begged for him not to kill them. Old Misses hearing the disturbance came out and implored him not to murder them all. And he finally, after a few minutes consideration let up on them.
In about one year after this, Massa Ferman contrived with some rich planters, to arrange and whip Albert. Massa and about twenty of them, rushed onto Albert, and after several had been knocked senseless, they overpowered him, bound and whipped him so, he was laid up for several weeks. In about six months after this whipping, the Collings who had assisted in whipping Albert, saw their buildings, including barns, gin houses and graineries light up the heavens about midnight, for miles around with flames. They owned several acres of fine buildings, and when the fire reached the whiskey there was a great illumination, almost beyond description. All
was consumed, together with fine stock, fine horses, tobacco, &c., making a loss of over $150,000. Then excitement ran high, as to who was the guilty parties.
Then, as usual on such occasions, enquiry was made among all who owned slaves, where were your negroes on such a night. The whipping soon began in earnest, to make someone own up to who done the deed, as there must have been several engaged in it, to destroy so much property in one night. The whipping was kept up for two weeks with no knowledge of who were the guilty ones. When this ceased, and no positive proof had been found, those who were suspected, were sold and sent down the river as a punishment, Albert among the number. Only a faint idea can be drawn by the reader, of the suffering entailed among the slaves as the result of the burning of these buildings. The Cunigans made their darkies work all the harder, if possible, to make up their great loss. Many others lost property for their cruelty to the poor slave.
A sketch of Jim Hayden, a Guiana negro, who was the most powerful man, either white or black, that ever was known in the State of Kentucky. He belonged to a planter named Ned Hayden, who lived near Louisville.
Massa Ned Hayden was a bachelor, and was a man who treated his negroes well. He finally married a desperate character whose name was old Kit Queen. She owned a number of negroes. Her brother owned a negro pen at Bardstown, Kentucky. She was noted for her cruelty to the negroes, and many times she would go into the pen where
the negroes were placed preparatory to going south, and while some were crying for having to leave perhaps a wife or a mother behind, never to see again, she would whip and slash them with the greatest enjoyment. No woman in the south was known to be as cruel as old Kit.
Before she married old Jim Hayden she was her own overseer, riding around among her negroes with revolvers at her side and bull whip, with all the audacity of the most cruel man. And for the least offense she would order a colored man or woman tied and shirt taken off, and stand and whip them with great delight to herself. The cruelty this woman has alone inflicted on slaves, would, if all known and written up, make a large book. After she married old Ned Hayden, she commenced her abuse on the darkies, and tried her cruelty on them, and in order to follow out her hellish design, would report to Old Ned something false. This Jim Hayden, the subject of this sketch, had been one of his masters first slaves, and was a very useful one, he being so strong. In clearing land, no two men could be found that could do the work he could.
Old Kit took a dislike to him because she could not tie and whip him, and he never was, as they could not get men enough to do it unless they shot him. Kit managad to provoke Jim one day, and sprang at him, revolvers in hand; failing to scare him she made a complaint to her husband, who informed her he never had any trouble with Jim, and he was very useful on the plantation. When a number of negroes would get to fighting, Jim was called, and quickly dispersed the mob. Old Kit determined on managing some way to sell Jim to go away south, and after various schemes, finding Jim asleep one day, sent for
her brothers who ran the negro pen, and they bound him and put him in the pen where he remained nearly a year. We will remark here, when Jim got asleep it was most impossible to wake him. And this was the way she accomplished her hellish design.
After Jim had been in the pen nearly a year, the jailor getting careless, and coming a little too near for safety, it being nearly time for the negro buyers to come up from the south, Jim determined to make his escape, so knocking the jailor senseless, Jim, with shackles on his feet, walked out and started on his way home. Some two hours elapsed before the jailor regained consciousness, and when he came to himself, he rallied a force of men, and took after him. They followed him into a ravine, where he commenced throwing rocks with such force, that for fear of being killed or perhaps having a horses leg broken, they departed, leaving him master of the situation. With shackles on his feet, Jim passed on to where Uncle Thomas an old preacher lived, and finding a sharp ax cut the irons off his feet and came home, and was there nearly three years before old Kit found him asleep again, determined still to ruin him. Finally finding him asleep again as usual sent for her brothers who were notorious men and after deceiving and lying to her husband, succeeded in binding him. Not thinking it best to put him in the pen again, sent him as fast as possible away south. On arriving there Jim was taken out in the field where there were over one hundred negroes at work, and was ordered, by the overseer, to lay down and receive forty lashes as an introduction to his slaves. Jim informed him he did not deserve any such treatment. The overseer then
ordered the negroes to seize him, determined to whip him any way. He knocked down over fifty men, and the rest refused to advance, he walked a little distance, and while getting over the fence the overseer shot at him the ball passing through his left side. Jim sprang off the fence and pulling up a cane brake, something no man was ever known to do before, sprang toward the overseer, the negroes trying to protect their master as he dare not shoot for fear of killing some of his negroes. Jim pressed on before reaching the overseer he had killed seven men, and coming up to the overseer he beat his brains out and beat the ground where they lay. The negroes seeing the overseer and seven of their number dead, all ran for their life and told the news. As soon as possible a large force of white men, fiends in the proper sense, came back and he stood there and did not offer to get away. They surrounded him and riddled him with bullets, and then cut his heart out and placed it on a high pole in the field and his body was given to the hogs to devour. Thus was murdered a negro who had done more hard work in Kentucky than any man known.
He was a man weighing one hundred pounds, and the strongest man known in the state of Kentucky. As he would handle men in a friendly scuffle, weighing two hundred and twenty-five pounds, as easy as tossing a rubber ball. Massa Hayden on hearing the news of this murdering of his old Jim, it nearly used him up. We have mentioned this circumstance, as Smith was well acquainted with Jim, and knew all about this sad affair. We have brought this out, not to show the enormous strength of this noted colored man, but to inform the reader of the
inhumanity of the southern blood, when once aroused. Smith has seen this powerful negro, the subject of our sketch, take a forty-five gallon cask of whisky and raise it to his mouth and drink.
Old Kit still continued on the plantation and was at the time the great rebellion began. Plenty of proof could be furnished to substantiate these facts regarding this affair.
A CIRCUMSTANCE OF AN OVERSEER KILLING A NEGRO--SWEARING TO A LIE IN COURT TO GET RID OF PAYING FOR HIM--KILLING SNAKES.
A CIRCUMSTANCE OF AN OVERSEER KILLING A NEGRO--SWEARING TO A LIE IN COURT TO GET RID OF PAYING FOR HIM--KILLING SNAKES.
Bill Jones was the overseer for a widow named Still-well. This overseer was very cruel, and a noted liar, and all round mean to the slaves, and he killed a colored boy about twenty years old for a mere trifle. The overseer approached him with a drawn club, and ordered him to throw up his hands, as he was going to bind and whip him. On his not complying, he struck the slave three times with a club, and then the slave clinched him and threw him down. He drew his revolver and shot, killing the poor slave, and in the court room swore the negro commenced on him, and he only acted in self-defence. The mother of the murdered boy ordered the overseer to leave or she would kill him for swearing to a lie and murdering her son. Fearing he would be killed he left the country, returning in two years, after untold suffering, died with
consumption. This closes the career of this vile murderer.
While writing this history of Southern slavery we will deviate a little and mention killing snakes, and the most ever known to be killed at one time. A man named Larkin Fields, who was respected for truth and responsibility, had moved from Bullet county, Kentucky, to Davis county, Kentucky, to locate a site and build a mill. And in blasting rock late in the fall for his mill, the black snakes began to come out of the crevices in the rocks, and they commenced killing them and kept it up for two days.
One morning Fields heard a roar, sounding like distant thunder, and on moving a large rock, the snakes commenced to make their exit, so many coming, help was called; men and women, the whole neighborhood became interested in killing snakes. Help was solicited, and the people armed with strong weapons and clubs killed all possible, many getting away. This was continued for six days with no let up. Thousands were slain. And after killing them they were gathered together in a large heap, and while being burned the odor was unbearable. While this may look unreasonable it is a fact. For farther witness we refer to his son Jim, living at Seymour, Indiana, who was there also at the killing bee.
An interesting account in relation to a very wealthy planter named Graham, who lived a few miles north of Louisville. His buildings were all very fine, most of them were brick. He hired a number of men outside of his negroes. He had in his employ two Dutchmen for a number of years, they were good workers. And often, he would give them milk and other things. After a few years
they demanded a settlement. He owed the two men $1,000 a piece, and in the settlement, all that he had given them, with all the milk their families had used, which was to be furnished free, according to the contract, he charged them for, offsetting their account. And as Graham had figured it, he only owed them $250 apiece, and plainly refused to allow them any more. Time passed on, nothing further was done, as he utterly refused to pay them what he honestly owed them. After two years had passed away, some of Graham's principal buildings were burned to the ground.
The buildings were brick and filled with grain and stock, many fine horses and a number of cows and his loss was considered at seventy-five thousand dollars. The whole country was wild with excitement as to who were the guilty parties. Negroes were arrested for miles around; whipping commenced in earnest; many were in, jail in Louisville. All who were out the night the buildings were burned, were questioned very particular where they were, what they were doing and when they returned, and no information could be obtained. Whipping was kept up for two weeks with no information as to who was the guilty ones. So many innocent negroes were being whipped every day in the most cruel manner, the authorities took the matter in hand and put a stop to this inhuman taeatment of the innocent slaves.
The burning of the buildings took place just before the war. After the war had commenced and as General Buel and army were marching through Kentucky, an officer with a few soldiers in passing Graham's residence reined up in front of his mansion. One of the soldiers
stepped up to Graham with revolver in hand and said to him: "I am the man, the poor Dutchman, you cheated out of his pay, I am the one who burned your buildings." Graham seeing the Dutchman had the drop on him, offered to pay him the full amount he claimed. But no settlement would satisfy the Dutchman. Graham, for the offense of cheating the Dutchman and whipping the poor slaves, was ordered to straddle one of the cannons, and in this manner was compelled to ride clear into Tennessee, and as he was never heard of afterward the supposition is he was killed either by an enemy or friend.
SMITH'S SPORTING SCENES, SHOWING HOW EXPERT HE WAS AS A MARKSMAN--SCENES IN THE COCK PITS, RAT DENS AND GAMBLING DENS, WHERE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WERE MADE AND LOST--GREAT SHOOTING MATCHES AND GENERAL SPORTING.
SMITH'S SPORTING SCENES, SHOWING HOW EXPERT HE WAS AS A MARKSMAN--SCENES IN THE COCK PITS, RAT DENS AND GAMBLING DENS, WHERE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS WERE MADE AND LOST--GREAT SHOOTING MATCHES AND GENERAL SPORTING.
Smith, as an expert with the rifle, had no superior in Kentucky, having a large target gun weighing eighteen pounds. When at the shooting matches their custom was to measure off two hundred and twenty-five paces, fasten the turkey to a string allowing it a few feet play, and then shoot off hand at ten cents per shot. Often while at the card table with his gun on his lap he would rise, shoot and kill the game and resume playing again. At one of these shooting matches, a man whose name was Ike Murphy, cut the circle with a ball, Smith arising from the card table placed his rifle to his shoulder fired away driving the center, winning the fifteen dollars. Shouts and hat throwing was the motto for Smith then.
He was a noted gambler and encountered many dangers
in this business. Most of this sporting took place on Cox's creek. There were large cock pits there and all manner of sporting was conducted. He became such an expert marksman, the whites became jealous of him and finally made a law not to allow any slave to use fire-arms. His wifes young master often went with him, and under pretence of the rifle being his gun Smith would be allowed to shoot, and eleven times out of twelve would either win the game or money, as the case might be. In the cock pits, where hundreds of sporting men were assembled, there was a saloon attached. Money, betting and whisky was used freely, long fine places fixed for cock fighting was made and often hundreds of dollars were lost or won. Many times shooting and stabbing would occur, making this business very dangerous.
A very large building, often several rods in length, was built, the floor cemented and places made for the rats to live in. When the killing commenced they were all driven out in the center, then a number of dogs were turned loose, often one thousand rats would be running at one time. Heavy betting would be in order to see how many rats a dog could kill in a given time. Thousands of dollars are gambled away here in these rat pits. Previous to the great time to kill rats they are bought up, hundreds of them, and placed here in this building and fed by men on purpose. A great number of men and boys earn their living catching rats for this occasion. The rats
are bought up at five cents apiece. Men who are wealthy go there with their dogs to loose or make large sums of money.
The cock pits are places where hundred of sporting men assemble bringing with them hundreds of the feathered tribe, and thousands upon thousands of dollars are won and lost. Great men from all parts of the world are there to witness the sport and gamble and win or loose as it happens. Attached to this is one of the most brilliant saloons in the world, made in the most attractive style to charm all who come. That the reader may have some idea the expense of these great cock pits, it might be of interest to say, the manager pays for his whisky and rent together for the privilege of cock fighting over one hundred thousand dollars per year. As none but wealthy sporting men can hold out here long, thousands of people throughout the world are ignorant of the tons of money won in this great cock pit in Louisville. Drinking, gambling and fighting the feathered tribe is all the business conducted here.
On Massa Hays plantation on the Barbacue ground, was a great place for cock fighting. Sunday was the day usually selected for the occasion. Sporting men from all parts of the country usually congregated here, betting large sums of money, sometimes horses and buggies. Men would often get so excited in the games, that they would often bet their last dollar. To show the reader to what extent the excitement of cock fighting will lead, we will mention Dick Gentry, whose farm adjoined Massa
Hays', and he was a great sporting man. He gambled away 1,200 acres of land, and a number of his negroes. in betting on cock fighting. He was considered a man of wealth and influence. He continued in this kind of business until he was reduced to poverty, and in the final summing up of this mans career, he died a pauper, depending on the charity of his friends to take care of him.
An interesting account of Smith's experience the first two years of his life, after being free. In March he took a place to work on shares, but circumstances seemed to be against him. As he was turned off without anything to help himself with, not even one cent, after faithfully serving different slave holders, fifty years of his life. The place he took was close to a river, and one night in March he heard someone making a great noise. On dressing he found a man and his wife, who had undertook to ford the river, and finding the water deeper than expected, were in the act of drowning. Smith plunged in to help them at the risk of his own life, and succeeded after many dangerous attempts in getting them out. After this exposure he was taken sick and for many weeks was confined to his bed under the doctor's care, expecting any time to leave this world, but finally was permited to live.
This severe sickness the first year, was very embarresing indeed, as he barely lived through it. Meat was 20c per pound, and nearly all the meat they had was coon or possum he and his son succeded in catching with their traps, failing in this went without. The next year a man whose name was John McCrockin owned a fine farm, and insisted on Smith renting it. Smith informed him he had nothing to work with, but prominent men who knew him
offered to assist him, and he started in on this enterprise. The farm rented for $375 per year, cash. By close economy, by raising corn and hemp seed, being blessed with good health, his crops bringing good prices, after buying a team and wagon, and some other farm tools, and paying up the rent, he saved this year over $400 cash. The man urged him to still continue on the farm. But after due consideration, he and his wife concluded to remove from their native state. The news of some negro who had been murdered by some lurking Southerner, would reach their knowledge, and they were liable at any time to be killed. Although great inducements were offered them to remain, they thought more of their lives than of money, and made arrangements at once to remove to Indiana. Previous to their departure, prominent men, both in Spencer, Bullet and Nelson counties gave him and his family a first-class recemmend, to show to the best people they might chance to come in contact with, anywhere in the world. As Smith was well thought of among the whites during his stay in Kentucky, no man ever left there with better papers, signed by more prominent men of all professions, than he did.
Ths was considered a great sport in Kentucky. A space of some five miles would be surrounded by men, women, children, and hounds, and a general stampede would ensue, after running them until the day was nearly gone, they would close in on them, seldom ever killing them, but
keep them and let them out for another chase some future time. Smith had an exciting experience in pursuing and running a fox up a leaning tree. The fox came into Massa Salone's enclosure and caught a chicken. The hounds were turned loose on him, and after a time they treed him up a leaning tree. Smith crawled up after him and the fox opened up the fight. Not having anything to defend himself with, and the fox getting the advantage, Smith missed his hold and fell to the ground a distance of twelve feet.
Returning to the house Massa Salone came back and succeeded in knocking the fox from the tree, then the chase was renewed with great excitement, at three in the afternoon. The dogs holed him, and Massa set a snare and caught him, and kept him for some future race. Smith was much bruised in his flight from the leaning tree, and often thinks of his adventures that day.
Singular incidents in the life of Dr. Barns, the celebrated snake charmer, and although he was a black man and belonged to the Barns, who were very cruel to his slaves. This man never was whipped, done as he chose, and never would work, and was often arrested for being drunk, but never was known to have a key turned on him.
He was the greatest snake charmer known in history. He was called doctor, because he was sure cure in all cases of poison, if not too far gone. A mysterious phenomenon seemed to prevail in this man. He would handle
the most dangerous snakes, with no sign of danger. At one time a large menagerie and circus came into Louisville. They had among their snakes a large poisonous one that never had been handled. Dr. Barns requested of the manager to allow him to handle it. The man informed him he had never been handled and he would certainly injure him. But he finally got permission to handle him, which he did with success before the astonished multitude. He was offered a large salary to follow the show, but refused, choosing to remain at home. He never was known to be without a snake around his body inside of his clothes. A number of saloons in Louisville, where, if a blackman entered, it was almost sure death, Dr. Barnes would enter them, call for what he wanted and pass out without anyone offering to molest him anywhere. He was well respected by both whites and blacks.
He seemed to separate or bring together families, never failing. In a number of severe cases of poisoning the doctors had given up, Dr. Barnes on being called would tell you in one minute the result of the case, and would tell the hour whether it was life or death. He always kept a large snake in the house, and on going away sometimes would place the reptile in the doorway and tell the snake not to allow his wife to pass out, and she was never known to try while the reptile was there. Belonging as he did to a severe master he was never whipped, and he done as he pleased. He was hired for a number of years to attend the office of Dr. Wibble, a prominent physician of Louisville, where all these proofs could be verified.
Regarding handling snakes and predicting things to transpire this man had no peer. His father was noted for this same business. While the reader may doubt the truth of these statements, the half has not been told about this wonderful magician and colored snake charmer. Plenty of witnesses, still living in Louisville, could testify to these things on application. People coming from great distances to see this man handle with perfect ease the most vicious reptile, and predict things past and to come.
Seen by the author, twenty-three miles from Louisville, at the toll gate, and also by a great many more. The night was clear and starlight, when first noticed, there was discovered in the south a black cloud increasing until it covered the whole space in the south, while in the north it was all starlight and clear. Those who first saw it thought there was a terrific cyclone coming, but it still remained dark for hours. Many predicted the south was conquered, and the war was over, and in a few days the news came of Lee's surrended. This was truly a singular circumstances.
Brooks lived a few miles out of Louisville and owned a number of slaves. Worden Horn lived in Louisville, was a half-breed and carried on brick making, was a very wealthy man. Worden Horn was a powerful man and every man in his employ failing in the least to obey his
orders he would whip him, and often made this remark any man either white or black he could not handle he never would call on assistance. Any ordinary man he could kick all over the yard perfectly easy.
He hired one of Brooks' negroes named Dan one season to work in the brick yard. He was a wonderful man physically, the only colored man Brooks did not whip because he could not get white men enough around him to undertake it. For some affair Dan displeased him and he threatened to whip him. He informed Worden it was no easy matter to do as it took a full man to do that job. Worden opened up the battle and as the two men were very well matched they fought for a long time in the brick yard, no one daring to interfere. Dan seemed to be getting the advantage of Worden when he seized a stick of wood and broke Dan's arm. This only enraged him the more and with his arm all smashed flew into his antagonist with renewed vigor and compelled him to give up, and openly acknowledged to Dan he was the only man that ever he undertook to whip and failed.
Brooks sued Worden Horn for damage to his Dan, who had to have his arm taken off, and Worden had two thousand dollars to pay aside from all the expense of taking care of him until he was well. After this, Dan was employed as coachman and received many presents for being the only man that ever whipped Worden Horn.
Master Jim Brooks was the only slave owner who was ever known to use the following inhuman treatment: After whipping his slaves until their backs were red with blood he would take a cat and holding it by the tail draw it down the victim's back, this was called cat hauling. It
seemed to be his delight to cause the poor helpless victim tied to the post all the suffering possible. He never could whip Dan because he was afraid of him, he being so strong.
COMIC SCENE, DESCRIBING A BAPTISMAL AND CARRYING A PIG THROUGH THE STREETS AT TAYLORSVILLE, SPENCER COUNTY, KENTUCKY.
COMIC SCENE, DESCRIBING A BAPTISMAL AND CARRYING A PIG THROUGH THE STREETS AT TAYLORSVILLE, SPENCER COUNTY, KENTUCKY.
A slave owner whose name was McCamel had a colored man by the name of Henry. He had one fault and that was it was impossible to break him of stealing everything he could lay his hands on. In the spring of the year Henry stole a pig from a man named McKey, who lived in Taylorsville, and kept it a long time in a pen. In due time McKey missed his pig and after a while it was proved that Henry stole it. His master compelled him to return to Taylorsville with the pig, and on reaching the village he had to carry the animal through the streets on his back with all the men, women and children gazing and making sport of him, with his master close to his heels, whip in hand. This was embarassing to Henry but it did not stop him. Occasionally
a chicken or turkey would come up missing, and of course it was charged to Henry.
During a revival of religion at Taylorsville, this Henry was so impressed with the services conducted by a colored preacher, named Charles Wells, and one Sunday a number were to be baptized, among them was Henry. Large crowds had assembled on the banks to witness the ceremonies. When nearly all had been baptized, Henry, to the suprise of all, stepped into the water with great solemnity. The preacher, who was small and not very strong, in taking hold of a scarf around Henry's body it became unfastened and Henry was completely submerged and on coming to the surface clinched the preacher and both went under. The excited crowd on the bank becoming uneasy, prepared to save the unfortunate men. Some spoke out, "Let the negro go, save the preacher," others exclaimed, "Let Henry go then our chickens will be safe." Henry's master, who was among the excited crowd, became greatly alarmed and cried out, "Save my Henry! save my Henry! don't let him drown."
Others were crying, save the old preacher, some were praying, others were crying and a great stampede prevailed generally. After trying and putting forth every effort they rescued them, nearly exhausted from their narrow escape from drowning. The evening services were conducted with much rejoicing, over the saving of the preacher and Henry. This narrow escape quieted Henry for some time. Attending to his religious duties very close, but chickens were missed as usual. He would often steal a few chickens and invite some of the negroes to a
big feast. On one occasion Henry and his wife were absent from home a few days, and during his absence his master's old sow and pigs had taken up their quarters in his cabin occupying the bed. Coming home in the evening, on entering the cabin, the hogs were frightened and rushing from the bed, nearly scaring Henry and his family to death, he ran out exclaiming "de Lord habe mercy, save us, save us." Superstition prevaded Henry's mind more than ever, thinking the evil one was in the swine, and for a long time the chickens and turkeys were not molested, as Henry was very serious concerning his religion, after this, and it seemed to prove a blessing to him.
Bill Ferman a southern planter, sold out his property and departed for Texas. He was grandfather of Phil Croon, the subject of the sketch. After Phil became of age he came back to Kentucky, to settle up and get the property belonging to him from his father, as he was the only son. John Murry, Smith's brother-in-law had been guardian of the estate, together with a great number of negroes, and on young Phil coming of age the property all fell into his hands, leaving immense wealth to this young man.
Being young and not experienced, never doing anything but attend school, he naturally felt very proud and haughty. He was a thorough southerner and rebel. On the
death of his father, Phil would not take any money but southern, or Jeff Davis money as he termed it. Murry had the gold and silver money, but he openly refused it, and Murry spent over two weeks in gathering up Jeff Davis money enough to settle with Phil. When young Phil departed for Arkansas, he had a trunk packed with this money. It was a sad scene. A number of negroes had married and were obliged to leave wife and children. The only negro on the plantation who did not go, was Big Alick, who was born and raised on the plantation, and informed young Phil he might kill him, but he never should leave his native state and family. The morning of their departure was sad indeed. The order to start left many weeping, never to see their children or husband again.
Nearly all of these slaves were playmates of Smiths, had grown up and hired out at the same time. And many pleasant associations were rent asunder on this occasion. Smith never had any knowledge of young Phil or the negroes after their removal from Kentucky.
Smith and Tom Hardman were fishing on a creek known as Dutchman Creek, twenty three miles east of Louisville, which empties into Salt River. This fishing tour was in the night. After fishing for some time, a terrible noise was heard like distant thunder, seemed to attract their attention, rocks and pebbles seemed to be heard tumbling down the bank, the earth trembled, and looking down the creek from the bridge, they discerned a huge animal resembling a dog.
It was spotted and about eight feet in length, and four feet high; coming up to them on the bridge. The animal had no head or tail, and nothing seemed to stop it in its course. On went this mysterious animal up the creek, rocks were heard tumbling a mile away. This mysterious phenomenon was, and is to this day, a wonderful mystery to Smith. As he never could account for its appearance. He being a man of great nerve it did not frighten him as it would many others.
While Smith was living with Massa Charles Hayes, sixteen miles east of Louisville, on returning home from a party one night, reaching the Barbacue ground, he discovered a possum coming directly across his path. Picking up a club he pursued it, striking and kicking it with all the power he had. Either blow or kick under similar circumstances, has killed many a possum.
On went the possum, never faltering in its course in the least, Smith continually kicking and striking it. After pursuing it some forty rods, on coming to a ledge of rock overlooking a small creek, where he has often played cards and gambled, the possum sprang off and continued running up the stream, rocks could be heard tumbling down the banks a great distance away. Smith returned to the house, completely bewildered with his singular adventure with the possum, and was sore and lame a number of days. And it remains a great mystery in his mind to this day, why he could not kill or injure this animal in the least, or turn it from its course, as he had previously killed scores of possums with very little effort.
Smith's place at this time was twenty-three miles east of Louisville at the toll gate. A band of the marauders came to his house near midnight. Mrs. Smith had just retired, and knocking at the door, Mrs. Smith enquired who was there. The foremost one speaking, she recognized the voice and they were permitted to enter, bringing with them a sack full of chickens, and requested her to prepare them some supper as soon as possible. In due course of time, all was ready. One of the band was detailed to watch for the Yanks, while the rest partook of the feast prepared. When all had eaten, paying Mrs. Smith for her trouble, all sprang on their horses and departed, much to the relief of Mrs. Smith.
His death occured on the old plantation in 1840, the first day of October, at the advanced age of 107 years He was an Englishman by birth, was born in Buckinghamshire in the year of 1713. His death was terrible in the extreme, and he was all day dying. His great tenacity to live made it still more wonderful. His friends and slaves had severe trouble to keep him on the bed, he imagining snakes and devils after him, and he would spring up throwing everything before him. His great strength made it much worse, as he was determined not to give up. All who witnessed his death struggle will never forget it.
He died as he lived, never acknowledging anything superior to him. A man with wonderful mind and brain, his equals were not found in his days. The terrors of all his past life seemed to come all at once. He was buried with military honors. Many revolutionary soldiers and prominent men in public life, were present at his funeral. They never knew his immense wealth.
In 1856 a secret society was organized through the country and known as the Knownothings. Its object was to keep all foreigners out of office, and at enmity against the Catholics. In Louisville they were very strong. One Monday in the month of October, 1856 they opened up on the Catholics, many were put to death. Immense excitement prevailed. The mayor of the city mounted a cannon and endeavoring to make a speech to quell the mob, he was hit in the head with a flying missle and nearly killed. An attempt was made to tear down the Catholic Church. The city authorities making a desperate effort, by calling out the militia, succeeded in preventing the destruction of the church, and saved a good many lives. This day of blood and carnage will always be called bloody Monday in Louisville. Had it not been for the prompt action of the militia, a great many more would have lost their lives that day.
SCENE AS WITNESSED BY SMITH ON THE COURT HOUSE STEPS AT LOUISVILLE KENTUCKY IN 1844, AS CASCIUS M. CLAY WAS DELIVERING A POLITICAL SPEECH, WHEN HIS FATHER HENRY WAS NOMINATED FOR PRESIDENT.
SCENE AS WITNESSED BY SMITH ON THE COURT HOUSE STEPS AT LOUISVILLE KENTUCKY IN 1844, AS CASCIUS M. CLAY WAS DELIVERING A POLITICAL SPEECH, WHEN HIS FATHER HENRY WAS NOMINATED FOR PRESIDENT.
Thousands of people had congregated together to listen to the famous speech delivered by Cacius M. Clay. Excitement was running high all through the south this year. As the speaker was hotly engaged in his speech standing on the court house steps, someone in the crowd several times interrupted him by calling him, a damned liar. The speaker who was well guarded, paid no attention, but continued more eloquent. Presently a well dressed young lady was seen wending her way through the crowd, and stopping in the centre of the assemblage, exclaimed in a clear and modest voice, "I will give any man $500 who will point out the individual who called my husband a liar." Silence reigned supreme, and a death like stillness prevailed.
After waiting a few moments and receiving no reply, she again repeated her offer. The lady remained standing during the remainder of the speech, no one daring to insult her husband again. Silence reigned through that great crowd during the balance of the speech. After speaking, cheer after cheer rent the air for this noble and patriotic lady, for so nobly defending her husband. This year was attended with the greatest excitement all through the South ever witnessed. The slaves among the rest were given their time to go to all political gatherings, carrying flags, banners, polk yokes--a year of great jubilee among the colored race. Heavy bets were made, as to who should be president, many losing their farms. Fine horses, valuable property, was won and lost on both sides.
The Henry Clay party assembled at Louisville to raise a massive poll. They had some trouble in adjusting the flag. We will remark right here, this flag was the longest and largest ever floated in the breezes or ever unfolded in the world. The weight of it nearly bent the poll to the ground. It reached over one third the distance across the Ohio river and great trouble was experienced in getting it properly placed. After many fruitless efforts among the great crowd, someone offered $1,500 to any person who would climb the poll and adjust the flag properly. After a pause for a few minutes, a man offered his services, who was an expert seaman, and climbing the poll, after putting forth all his efforts, succeeded in arranging it, and as it
proudly floated out over the Ohio river, cheer after cheer echoed up and down the water, making the earth tremble, he received $1,500 besides other presents for his brave services.
Another exciting scene witnessed by Smith in Louisville, was the result of the shooting and killing of Prof. Butler, principal of the high school, and what followed.
This transaction happened long before the rebellion. Prof. Butler had punished a brother of a man named Ward. Ward was one of the wealthiest men in Louisville, and was so enraged as the result of the slight punishment of his brother, that he presented himself, armed with a revolver, and called Prof. Butler's attention to the whipping of his brother. The Professor endeavored to explain the affair, but instead of listening to any reason, immediately pulled the weapon and shot him, he dying soon after. Prof. Butler was highly respected, while on the other hand Ward was very wealthy. The case was carried through the courts, and in every case the jury rendered a verdict of guilty of murder in the second degree. Ward was determined to beat at any hazard cost what it might.
Ward's sister, Sally, was a millionaire, and furnished thousands of dollars to assist her brother. They selected a jury from Indiana of the basest kind, who were bribed and received large sums of money from Ward to render a verdict in his favor. The final trial came off, after many days of close engineering. The judge asked the jury what they came there for, and some remarked they came to clear him, and this unprincipled jury rendered a verdict of not guilty, greatly to the disgust of all present.
Following this Butler's friends summoned all their
forces, determined to take the law in their own hands. Hundreds were dispatched in all directions to buy all the eggs of every kind, good and bad at any cost. They were brought in wagon loads, blockading the street, and the crowd all met near the close of the day in front of Ward's mansion, as he owned the finest dwelling in Louisville, hundreds of men, women and children were there, and the word being given eggs were thrown on three sides of the mansion. This was kept up all night, wagon loads of eggs coming to the scene constantly. Every room in this great mansion was completely submerged with eggs, all the window lights were broken, furniture and everything was covered with eggs. During this time Ward was disguised by his friends, made his escape and was never seen in Louisville after this. He went away south and bought a large plantation. A great number of negroes contined there until the breaking out and during the war.
He was in the habit of furnishing the rebels with provisions and all other information regarding the union forces. During the war a union colonel was killed on his plantation and he saved the coat taken off from his dead body. One day Ward put on this coat and while walking in his garden, a squad of rebels rode up to see him on business and seeing this blue coat, supposed it to be a Yankee officer. Raising their rifles riddled his body with bullets. The reader can judge their surprise on viewing
the dead body of their friend. This was the close of the life of this notorious character.
While living on Master Jack Salone's plantation, when quite a young man, he was paying his attentions to a young colored lady, who lived a short distance away, and in order to facilitate matters and be able to reach his girl's residence sooner, undertook to make a flying machine. So taking his master's large umbrella and stealing one from his old misses fastened them together, braced them as best he could, imagined to himself what a wonderful means to travel he had invented, and thinking by this means he might make his escape from slavery.
He had selected a large high corn crib to make his flight from, as he must be well elevated in order to carry out his design. Near sun-set he ascended the corn crib with his machine, looking about to see if any one was looking at him, as he was very high minded about this time. Seeing no one looking at him and being very anxious to see his girl and exhibit his new mode of travel, began to make his flight, first looking over his route to see his way was clear, as he expected to make rapid progress, and after viewing it all over to his satisfaction, selecting the highest spot on the crib, spread out his large umbrellas and waiting patiently until a good breeze of air came up, sprang up under full sail and began his journey through the air, when suddenly like the sound of heavy cannonading or the bursting of a bomb shell Harry landed with his full length upon the earth. He remained in
this condition nearly two hours before he came to himself again.
While lying on the ground, a heavy rain storm came on, and washed all the barn yard filth over him, completely spoiling his Sunday best. With his fine clothes all demolished, face and hands all bruised, one eye injured so he could not see out of it, presented a picture that Frank Leslie would have been proud to have secured. He was laid up for a number of days, and many weeks passed before he started out to see his girl again, using the conveyance he had at his command instead of flying machines to carry him safe through. He never applied for a patent on this wonderful flying instrument, leaving it to others to take up and make rapid journeys, he choosing to travel slower and with much more safety than flying. While flying was not so dangerous, alighting was the all important point with him.
SMITH'S REMOVAL FROM KENTUCKY TO INDIANAPOLIS,
SMITH'S REMOVAL FROM KENTUCKY TO INDIANAPOLIS,
He left Salt river toll gate the first day of April, 1868, with his family, a good team, wagon and one year's provisions. Remaining in Louisville over night and leaving in the morning for their destination. Arriving in Indianapolis they rented a house and after three weeks residence there removed to Squire Trout's farm, twelve miles north of Indianapolis, cutting and hauling wood, getting out ties and some farming, and in the spring took the farm to work. In the following summer Smith and his wife were married over again by Squire Penticost under the new constitution in order that his children might hold property. A big dance was given and many white people were present to witness the ceremony. A fine supper was given and all enjoyed the affair splendidly. Smith and his family remained on this farm nearly seven years, made considerable money and was wonderfully blessed.
While living on this farm Mrs. Smith's young master from Kentucky came out there and worked for Smith, his name being Tom Hartman, and while there he married and his wife dying he continued to work for Smith. He proved to be a dishonest man as he collected considerable money belonging to Smith in Indianapolis and returned to Kentucky. He was a thorough rebel and instead of being a friend to Smith, he was an enemy and a confirmed thief. He had no means to bury his wife and Smith paid all expenses. After leaving Squire Trout's place he moved to Boom county near Whitestown on Bob Rosensteel's farm. Smith only remained on this place one year, Whitestown was death on negroes and the people made the remark that they would kill the first negro who made his appearance in that place. Smith often went there but never was molested, and gained many friends.
While living on this place, misfortune seemed to overtake him. His crops all failed him. He bought a piece of land and failing to make the payments when due, lost what had been paid. Having lost since living in Indiana, seven horses, some were killed and others died from diseases.
A white man who was void of all principle, basely insulted Smith for no cause whatever. Smith seized him by the thoat, completely overpowering him, and on letting go of him, he drew a revolver and attempted to shoot. Smith seeing the danger he was in, picked up a barrel stave, and the man ran through the streets with all possible speed, Smith in hot pursuit. On they flew, but Smith
being advanced in years, was out-distanced, and turned back. The man ran on home, and for one year was not seen in Whitestown again, fearing his life would be taken.
The following spring as Smith was going out into the country one day, he was saluted by a white lady, who enquired if his name was Smith. On being informed that it was, she asked him if he was the one who whipped and ran her husband through the streets of Whitestown last season. Smith informed her that he did, and related the cause which led him to do so, as he was basely insulted by him, not knowing who he was. She informed him it was her husband and thanked him for it, saying at the same time, it had been the means of making a man of him. He had not drank any since, had been at home at work steady, and under no consideration could he be induced to go to Whitestown, replying, he did not want to come in contact with that black man again, because he was certain he would kill him. All in Whitestown treated Smith with respect after this.
One Sunday Smith took his gun and went out to shoot some game. Jeff McCoy saw him, and the following day entered a complaint before Squire Lucas. Smith on being arraigned before the court, plead guilty, and payed his fine. And seeing, on the same Sunday he was hunting, Jeff McCoy working in his garden, entered a complaint before the same justice, he was found guilty and his fine was double that of Smith's. After this was over and all
were out of the office, Smith stepped up to McCoy and saluted him in this manner, "Yon are the man who complained of me. Now sir allow me to inform you that, while you are a white man at heart, you are blacker than I am, and although you are considered the bully of Boon county, having the credit of whipping men by the dozen you never had the honor of whipping a black man, and I can whip you blind in one minute, you white fiend and coward, and I dare you here in Whitestown to even attempt to lay a finger on me, and I will drive you in the ground and drive the ground after you."
Many of the white men cheered Smith, and only wished he would whip him, he being the only man in Boon county who ever dared to use such language to McCoy. He informed Smith he desired no trouble, and during Smith's stay in Indiana he was a warm and earnest friend to him. Having found a man he could not domineer over.
The following is an interesting account of Smith's being arraigned before the grand jury in Whitestown for gambling for money, and also showing his cunning, clear and acute head work in the court room.
Smith had been playing cards with Oscar Deming, a silversmith, who lived in Lebanon, Indiana, and had won his watch, some money and a coat. Bill Curry who lived in Whitestown, was a meddlesome man, and always watching for a chance to make money other than working, saw Smith and Deming playing cards, and entered a complaint. Smith was indicted and brought before the grand jury. The judge asked him if he ever played cards, Smith replied he did some times for amusement. Do you not
play for money, asked the judge, he answered, no I am a working man. Did you not on a certain day play cards with Oscar Deming for five dollars.
He informed the jury he never had that amount of money to throw away, and again presented his hard hands exclaiming, I am a hard worker, look at my hands.
Did you not again play with Asburg Anderson, and win considerable money and a paint brush from him.
His answer was, "I am no painter, what would I do with those articles."
Smith are you not a thorough blackleg?
I know said Smith my legs are black, was born so, and I cannot help it.
The judge replied, I do not mean that, but do you not make your living by gambling.
No sir! was the reply.
The judge was so vexed and confused, he ordered Smith out of the court room, and dismissed the case.
The news reached William Trout, where Smith remained so long when first reaching Indiana, that the nigar was a fool in the court room, and he could not be made to understand anything.
Trout informed them that black Smith was smarter than any of them or their lawyers. That Smith knew more law than all the click, and congratulated him on his success. Trout informed them all in Whitestown not to disturb that black man, as he could outgeneral them all in law or anything else, as he had been on his farm seven years, and knew him to be honest. A lamb in peace, but a lion in war.
He was in Wright's saloon one day, and while engaged in conversation with the bar-tender, two men whose names were Mann and Straughter got into a dispute in a room near the bar. Mann drew his revolver and commenced shooting at Straughter, one of the balls, missing its mark, struck Smith's pipe knocking it out of his mouth.
This aroused Smith's anger, and he started for Mann, who seeing the danger he was in, ran out of the back door.
Smith ran in hot pursuit, determined to punish him severely if he overtook him, supposing the shot was intended for him. On they ran, Mann seeing he would be overtaken ran into a barber shop, out through the back door and made his escape. This was an exciting race, and serious damage might have followed had Smith overtaken him.
SMITH'S ARRIVAL IN MICHIGAN ON A HUNTING EXPEDITION--
SETTLING IN OSCEOLA COUNTY--HIS DANCE HALL.
SMITH'S ARRIVAL IN MICHIGAN ON A HUNTING EXPEDITION--
In the month of October, 1872, Smith started on a hunting expedition for the wilderness of Northern Michigan. Arriving at Todd's Slashing, now called Reed City, who owned the land where Reed city is now located. Smith boarded at George Nelson's hotel. This building was located south of Dick Adam's livery stable. Reed City being nearly a wilderness then. Smith was the first black that boarded there, and when he landed he was the subject of many remarks, and the whites gazed at him leading him to believe he might possibly be some wild animal broken loose from some menagerie. After the whites became more acquainted with him, many a long evening was passed away by Smith, singing plantation songs and telling some plantation possum or coon hunts. Many of the older settlers can remember the enjoyment and amusement furnished by Smith. He bought a lot there and returned to Indiana after his family.
Smith arrived back with his family from Indiana, the third day of March, 1873. He rented a house on Chestnut street, and with his family remained there two years, cutting wood by the cord, his wife and daughter working at the laundry business, and by close economy, earned a good living. Wages were very low, good men only received one dollar per day, and board themselves. Men who owned teams received good pay. At the end of two years he bought twenty acres of wild land, three and a half miles north of Reed City, on the G. R. & I. railway, of Richard Herrington, in the township of Lincoln, Osceola county. He paid fifty dollars down on his land, only leaving him fifty cents, and leaving him in debt one hundred and fifty dollars.
There were no buildings on the place, not even a log cabin. Thomas Pecock of Reed City, who operated a planing mill, came to his aid in this trying time, and kindly consented to furnish him building material enough to put up a fine house. Leaving him in debt at this time, seven hundred dollars, with only his hands and his courageous wife and daughter to pay the debt. They still continued in the laundry work, Smith carrying large baskets to and from Reed City, on his head through storm and sunshine. While his wife and daughter were busy in the house, doing laundry work, Smith would be chopping, rolling logs together and clearing his land with his hands not having any team. His fires were kept burning late and early while many were asleep.
A number of his neighbors tried to discourage him by telling him he never would succeed in paying off his indebtedness on his place, but with the assistance of his persevering wife and daughter, met his payments, maintained
themselves with proper food and clothing, cleared up their place and built them a good frame barn. A few years later he erected a dance hall, one hundred feet long, and by his courteous manner and respect for all, his dance hall has often been filled with all who love to trip the light fantistic toe.
None were more nimble on the floor than Smith. Nearly all the white ladies felt slighted unless they were invited to dance with Uncle Smith. And for miles around, old and young enjoy meeting at his hall, and they are always greeted with a smile and a hearty shake of the hand from Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They all enjoy playing pedro, listening to amusing stories of his life and experiences in slavery, hearing him play on the tamborine and sing coon songs. All who form his acquaintance respect his jolly good nature.
He was a long, lean, lantern-jawed, lobered-mouth, high cheeked Englishman, knock-kneed and club footed, with no hair on his head, and lived about four miles west of Reed City.
Smith while walking on the streets one day, was politely invited by two respectable citizens named Ace Buck, who operated a bucket shop, and Lawyer Holden to walk into a fashionable saloon, and take a cigar. He complied with their request, and stepping inside was waited on in a becoming manner. While the trio were holding a pleasent conversation, some ill-bred person was heard to remark from one corner of the room, exclaiming in this manner, "say nigger, say nigger." Smith on turning around
discovered this lantern-jawed, knocked-kneed Pease seated in one corner with a bologna sausage, a little less than a yard in length, in his hand, besides what he had in his mouth, with a glass of beer in his paw. Smith not paying any attention to this remark, resumed conversation with his friends, again Pease saluted him in these words "say nigger, say nigger." Smith asked him who he was calling nigger. Pease replied, "you, you nigger, come here, come here nigger, come here."
Smith's southern blood was up, and seizing a heavy bar-room chair, came up to him, raising it over his head, saluted him in this manner, "who raised you, you knock-kneed, low down white trash." Pease undertook to say something, but was not permitted to, as Smith informed him if he opened his mouth, he would smash him into the floor and never stop to sharpen him. Smith's friends urged him to give Pease an eye-opener, that it might teach him a lesson in the future, but he with-held his hand and let him go by, bestowing on him his everlasting blessing. And up to this date Pease never dare to cross Smith in any form.
Smith, while busy in conversation on the streets one day, some uncouth, back woods moss-back, who from his appearance, never saw a colored man before, and very few white men, having spent his time in the wilderness, and having for his company, owls and coons, came to Reed City to paint the town red, pacing up and down the streets with a large bologna sausage and a hunk of gingerbread, and
putting the children to flght from his savage appearance, discovered Smith on the opposite side of the street he stepped into a saloon, filled himself with fire water, came out and began calling out in loud tones, "charcoal, charcoal." Smith thinking it was a chimney sweep, paid no attention to him. Some of his friends noticing he did not seem to hear, called his attention to this would be town painter. As he continued to sing "charcoal," Smith stepped up to him and enquired what he meant by charcoal, his southern grit being again up to concert pitch. After giving out his text, and preaching a short discourse to him, this wild specimen of humanity began to think that a little farther away from the black man would suit him better. Smith discovering that he was about to take leg bail for security, assisted him to start by measuring his averdupois on the toe of his big number eleven boots, which started him on his home stretch lively. Then the race began in earnest. Smith was gaining on him so fast he dropped his sausage, ginger-bread, whisky bottle, in fact the side walk was strewn with clothing and provisions from the charcoal man. Smith's friends urging him to run that insulting scoundrel out of town, and women and children running in all directions to see the fun, dogs were barking, whistles were ringing out from mills and factories, and the fugitive thinking the whole city was after him, divested himself of his hat, coat and boots and nearly doubled his speed, finally he outdistanced Smith, and when last seen he was making for Milton Junction, with all speed possible, and he never returned to gather up his clothing. He never has been seen in Reed City since.
In conclusion we will say, some things have been left out in accordance with strict propriety, it being advisable not to publish, while many things that has transpired in the life of Smith, of interest to the public generally, has been forgotten. But we trust enough has been written, that the reader can gather sufficient information from, to enlighten the intelligent mind on slavery in America. It has been impossible to arrange the work strictly according to rule, as the subject had to depend on his memory. Notwithstanding all that has been said and written on the subject of slavery, there is still a large amount of ignorance throughout the world. The design of this book is to dispell the prevailing ignorance on this subject. Most heartily do we recommend it to all who wish for information of the African race. Viewing Africa from a philantropic christian standpoint, what a field for benevolent purposes--while the work is not written with high flavored polish, the main object is to give the reader an idea in
a plain manner, what the colored race have suffered in American slavery.
There was a time when the white man imagined to himself, he was the complete sovereign of the universe, forgetting the fact that God made from one blood, all nations to dwell upon the face of the earth. The colored race are being clothed, their minds filled with thought, and we infer that the negro race has a glorious part to fill in the great drama of history. What a change has been wrought in the country. We are observing constantly illustrations of a remark once made by Edward Evart. "All doubts of the capacity of the negro race for self government, under favorable circumstances, seems to be removed by what we witness at the present day. Education has removed superstition." It would not be surprising ere the close of another half century rolls around, as far as color and nationality is concerned, we shall all be able to understand the remark made by the noted Indian Chief Black Hawk, when introduced to President Jackson, "I'm a man and you are another." Conveying the idea a man is a man regardless of race or color.
Much credit is due Smith, born and remaining in slavery fifty years of his life, raised among the roughest element, never gaining the first letter of the English language, having practiced for years, gambling and drinking, and lost large sums of money from some of the most noted sporting men of the day. As his native state Kentucky ranks among the first in sporting, in the country. Since living in Michigan, he has been a strick temperance man, giving up gambling, and is an upright, honorable, law-abiding citizen. Although advanced in years, very few
men twenty years younger can perform the work he can. His place is a resort for all to congregate and enjoy a hearty laugh, listening to Uncle Smith's southern adventures. He is endowed with one intelligence, good judgment, benevolent and kind hearted. No man in trouble calling on Uncle Smith, but receives kind words and a helping hand. He often speaks of the kindness of the citizens of his neighborhood and Reed City people, who have contributed much to his happiness, by their kind words and helping hands. All who enjoy a good visit and a hearty good time, should call on Mr. and Mrs. Smith, at their home in Osceola county, Mich., three and one half miles from Reed City.
Mrs. Harry Smith, whose maiden name was Hagar Ellison, was born in Bullet County, Kentucky, in 1822. She was born and raised in the family of Obid Swinegen, a slave owner. When ten years old Swinegen died, and she was sold to John Myers, for three hundred and fifty dollars. Her mother and the rest of the family being sold to different slave owners. When she arrived at the age of thirteen, her master sold or traded her for a piece of land to Thomos Hardman, who kept the toll gate, twenty-three miles from Louisville, on the Salt river, where she remained until proclaimed free by President Lincoln. In 1841 she married George Samuels, by him she had six children In 1852 was again married to Henry Smith, as the result of their union four children were born, being the mother of ten children in all. Mrs. Smith is endowed with great physical power, weighing two hundred and
eighty pounds, and was considered the strongest woman in Bullet county, Kentucky.
She has a remarkable memory, fine intelligence, and good judgment, never having experienced the cruel treatment of slaves generally. But has witnessed many thrilling incidents during her slave life and through the rebellion. She has passed through many hardships in slavery, working in the fields doing all kinds of manual labor, doing as much and sometimes more than the best of men. This manual labor developed her great natural strength. She is without a question the strongest woman of her age in Michigan, will pick up a bag of wheat or sack of potatoes and handle them as easy as a child would a rubber ball.
To give the reader an idea of her remarkable strength we will relate a circumstance while she was living at Massa Hardmans, at the toll gate mentioned.
A man named John Catlin whose home was in Washington county, Kentucky, came along one day driving a team. Mrs. Smith was left in charge of the toll gate as her mistress was away on business at the time. Catlin refused to pay the amount of toll required, calling Mrs. Smith a liar and striking her with a whip. She resented it and informed him if he repeated it she would knock him down. He struck her again, and she struck him a terrific blow with a sad-iron she was using, which felled him to the ground. On rising he struck her in the forehead and endeavored to kick her. She seized him with her left hand and held him with an iron grasp, and dealt him several terrific blows with her right. One of the children thinking the man was beating Mrs. Smith, started for a
blacksmith's shop a short distance away, to summon help. Several appeared on the scene, only to see Mrs. Smith still beating him severely. Several minutes elapsed before they succeded in separating them, as Mrs. Smith had knocked him into insensibility, and beat him up in a severe manner, one of his eyes being swollen shut and his face badly disfigured. He was very glad to get free from Mrs. Smith as he never was whipped before in his life.
He was considered the champion fighter of Washington county, Kentucky, and was the terror of all who knew him. Mrs. Smith experienced no damage over the encounter, and was cheered all over the country for whipping this notorious white man. He was a subject of ridicule all through the surrounding country for being whipped by a woman. Ever after this he was more cautious who he insulted, as this encounter with Mrs. Smith had taught him a serious lesson.
Mrs. Smith is a great worker, has passed through many hardships with her husband in trying to get and maintain a home. After her removal from Kentucky to Indianapolis, Indiana, she assisted on the farm all possible. In her final settlement in Michigan, together with her daughter did laundry work for years, and added largely to their paying for a home. She left many earnest friends in Kentucky and Indiana and no happier couple can be found in Osceola county, than Mr. and Mrs. Smith. She is kind hearted and generous to a fault, no person being turned from her hungry. And all who form her acquaintance, enjoy her candid sociability and tables well laden with rich produce of the soil. Aunt Smith is a familiar name with old and young, among her large circle of friends. No young lady can outdo her now in getting up a fine
meal, handling the sad-iron or washboard. All who desire to visit Aunt Smith will be benefitted. After spending most of her time in slavery, in her old age with her husband and children, it is hoped in her declining years she may enjoy peace and comfort under her own vine and fig tree. She is a firm believer in religion as taught in the Christian's Bible.