Title: Mississippi Slave Narratives from the WPA Records
Submitter: MSGenWeb Slave Narrative Project
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From the WPA Slave Narratives:
Nat Plummer age 96 Jackson County
"Yassum, I was a slave. Dem was de good old days - I had a good master. His name was J. L. Plummer. We lived in Tennessee and den we moved down heah. Dat was in de days befo' railroads. Yassum, we came on hoss back and drove ox teams. Dat's when de steamboats us't dock heah. Dey'd bring all de mail and provisions. Dey was a wharf, and dere was some tracks on it, with a little car to run on it. Dey'd hitch a mule to dat car to bring the cargo from the steamboats to de shore. Den, de ox carts would be loaded to carry it into town.
"But the most excitin' times was during the war! It was hard too! All de soljers, dey was camped down on the beach on the W. B. Schmidt place-yassum, right where dat place is today. You know dem high bluffs? Wall, dat's where dey kep' a look-out for dem Yankees.
"One day a message come. You see dat house right on de corner? Dat's de old Godstine house. Wall, dat's where dey got de message dat de Yankees was comin'. Yassum, can't you see up dere, dat hole where de wires went through? Dere was a telegraph operator dere who couldn't pay his board, so he swapped info'mation for vittles.
"And see dat house over yonder? Dat's de old W. R. Stewart house. Well, de Yankees went dere and got a man what was hidin' dere. Dey called him a conscript.
"Yassum, my old master was good to me, and when he died, his wife's brother came to live wid us, and he was my young master. He was good, too. One day I said, 'Massa Sam, when was I born?' My master's name was Sam Lauderdale. He said, 'Nat, you was born in 1840.' So dat makes me ninety-six years old. I'se gettin' old.
"Den, after us niggahs was set free, I stayed on with Missus Plummer. I'd burn charcoal and cut wood f' de steamboats, and when de trains started comin' through, I cut wood for dem too. Mrs. Plummer, she give me mos' of de money too.
"Well, I'se gettin' tired now, from settin' up, but I loves to talk over de good ole' days - we didn't need no relief den."
Transcribed by Ann Allen Geoghegan
The Federal Writer’s Project of
The Works Progress Administration
For the State of Mississippi
"If you teach them where they come from, they won't need as much help finding where they are going!"
Cordelia Carothers " Aunt Dee" Geoghegan (1894-1987)
Project Manager: Ann
Assistant State Coordinators and
Transcriptionists: Ann Allen Geoghegan, Debbie Leftwich, and
Rose Diamond and Linda Durr Rudd
Banner designed by: Melissa McCoy-Bell
Unknown worker photograph provided by L. Stephen Bell Photography, and family photo albums of Karen Schweikle, Lucy Gray and Jens Burkhart.
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