When men ran away, if in the day, they returned at night and secured a mowing scythe and took the crooked handle off and put a straight handle on it. Then they made a scabbard of bark, and would swing their saber to their side. This was to fight blood hounds with, and if the negro hunters got too close, many times they were hew ndown. On that night three different parties were out foraging, and returned with considerable provisions. But the next morning, while we were eating breakfast, negro hunters suddenly appeared with shot guns and drawn revolvers, and demanded every one of us to wade over to them.
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They had negro men to hold the hounds and cut the cane so they could pass through. These men had worked noiselessly all night, cutting the way through the cane. I told Uncle Amos several times that I thought I heard something, but he seemed to think it more fear in me than reality, and he failed to give the proper attention. We all jumped to our feet, with instructions from the old man to march over in a body, and each choose his man and dog to cut down when they reached the other shore, but the hunters were on the alert and demanded all to stand in a row, then march over one at a time.
One of the hunters said to Frank Anderson, "if you run I'll blow your brains out. We heard the crack of a gun, saw Frank throw up both his hands and fall, and in a minute he lay cold in death.
Murdered because he wouldn't consent to be tied up and whipped when he was late returning home from a Saturday night dance. One by one we all marched over and were handcuffed to each other and marched off to the road, and the colored men who were with the hunters carried Frank over and put him in the mule cart which they had with them, and he could he tracked for thirteen miles by the blood which dropped through the cracks in the cart.
His father rode over the sand stained by the blood of his son, whom he had commanded to be murdered. This is but a small portion of the horrors through which my people passed. No tongue has ever been able to utter, nor has the pen been forged that can pen the horrors through which my people have passed. But they kept a constant knocking by faith at mercy's door, until God moved in his mighty power and touched the heart of Lincoln, who was a type of a second Moses, through whom he delivered us.
They surrendered us to the jailor or keeper of the negro pen. There was no jail after all, only negro pens for slaves. If a poor white man transgressed the law, they simply took what he had and gave him time to get out of the country. The Lords, who were our masters, hoodwinked the law. If the negro transgressed, he paid the penalty with a lacerated back, from fifty to three hundred lashes. So you see there was no need for jails, only negro pens where slaves were bought and sold as goods and chattels. These men received for capturing us the paltry sum of three dollars per head as the reward for the capture of runaway negroes, and the additional two hundred offered for the head of Frank Anderson, which had been a standing reward from his master, as be couldn't be captured in the first six months after he ran away.
This was equivalent to his father's saying that it was better his own son should die than have all the other negroes spoiled. Nearly all of us were struck thirty-nine lashes according to the law, then returned to our several masters.
For some cause I was among the few exempted from the thirty-nine lashes. My master paid the stipulated amount of three dollars and ordered me home. I walked off in front of him under a storm of oaths and threats, and expecting him to kick me or knock me down at every step. But I was agreeably disappointed. When I arrived home I found that my mother, one brother and one sister that were with her when I left, had been sold to negro traders, and three brothers who fell to Hezekiah Cowens were also sold away, and no one could tell me anything about their whereabouts.
Of course my master wouldn't tell me. This was the hour of great sorrow and distress with me. My master gave me the task of piling up stove wood, and for three weeks nearly every stick of wood I picked up was wet with tears of grief and sorrow, weeping for that mother who was the best friend on earth to me, and for my brothers and sisters, and expecting every day to be whipped.
And this suspense was one of the most severe punishments or whippings I could have undergone. There was another old woman whom I called mother, doing the cooking.
One day at the expiration of the third week, master sent me to the store to get some goods, and in the packages there was a cow-hide in its crude state, but I didn't see it wrapped up. After unwrapping the cow-hide my master asked me how I liked the looks of it. I told him that I didn't like it at all. We were in his bed room. He stood between me and the door. His wife came in with his decanter of whiskey, glass and water and he locked the door, then demanded me to pull off my shirt.
I had not forgotten the promise I made my father, so I fully made up my mind to fight him until I got a chance to jump out of the window. But I looked toward the bureau and saw an old fashioned pistol which you load from the muzzle and fired with a cap. My master was standing very close to this and the sight of it knocked all the manhood out of me, so I reluctantly pulled off my shirt with their assistance, and he tied my hands behind me, my feet together, and ran a stick between them. This left me in a doubled up position on the floor. He whipped and cursed me until he had cut my back to pieces.
My mistress tried to take the whip from him, but he pushed her away so violently that once she fell on the floor. The second time she fell on the bed, but had secured the whip. He gave me a kick in my side, from which I have never recovered, and staggered from the room, being too drunk to whip me any more.
His wife untied me and at the same time the old mother came to the door and said, "Master Scott, I came here to break this door open, for it's a shame for any woman's son to be cut up as you have done that child. I went up stairs and lay down on my stomach with my face across my arms. The next morning when I awoke the blood had dried the shirt in the wounds on my back. The cook had to grease the shirt so as to get it out of the wounds.
Then he gave her medicine to heal my back. Every day after this when I would go to pile up wood I had to stoop my whole body, for my back was so sore that I couldn't bend it, and if I had not been so young I was only eleven years, the marks would have been visible until now, and like many other slaves, I would have carried them to judgment as a testimony against him. After four or five weeks, when my back had become somewhat healed up, he told me one day if any one asked me if I had ever been whipped to tell them no. Is it not a wonder that negroes are not inveterate thieves and liars?
They worked all the week for their masters, with only a peck of meal and three pounds of fat bacon, and after each day's labor they were compelled to go to their master's smoke house or chicken roost and steal enough to subsist upon the next day, to do that master's work, then, after this master had cut his back all to pieces he would compel him to tell a lie in order to sell him. But, thank God, we, like other nations, are born with the same natural instinct that others are, and although manhood was crushed for two hundred and forty odd years, yet, with the same surroundings and opportunities to develop them, we have risen above our environments.
One afternoon five negro traders came; my master called me, met me at the door, and repeated his former command "if any one asked me had I been whipped, to tell them no. The first question they addressed to me was, had I ever been whipped. I suspect I was too slow in speaking, for the punishment had been too severe, and was too fresh in my memory for me to tell a lie on the spur of the moment.
I had on a long straight gown which reached to my feet. The trader raised that and looked at my back and that told the story. They offered my master a small price for me, he refused it, and they left.
The mature plant can be poisonous. I differed from him. These shoes usually begin to rip in a few weeks. Selected Bibliography. A pair of scales being in the house, some of the party weighed the body of the slave, and made a calculation Page 94 of the price of the slave per pound. That round of Parliamentary hearings ended in early , and in the few weeks they had, the abolitionists distilled 1, pages of House of Commons testimony and the pages of Privy Council testimony into a page account to give to every MP before the next debate in the Commons.
I remained with him about three or four weeks longer, when one day he wrote a note and sent me to the trader's pen. The keeper, Mr. Howard, read it and told me to take it back to James, the negro turnkey, who also did all the whipping in the jail.
He ordered me put in a cell and closed the big iron door, which told me that I was bound for Richmond, or some other slave market, and I was truly glad, for I now hated the soil upon which I was born. I was in the trader's pen about three weeks. There were from one to ten slaves brought in every day. All of my brothers and sisters save two had been sold from Wilmington. Other slaveholders passing through had bought them, and it was said they were taken to Georgia. At the end of three weeks the gang of three hundred and fifty was made up and we were chained and started for Richmond, Virginia.
In this gang was a woman named Fannie Woods. She had two children, the oldest about eight years, the other a nursing baby. She was not handcuffed as the others were, but tied above the elbow so she could shift the nursing baby in her arms. She led the older one by the hand. The first half of the day the little boy kept up pretty well; after that he became a hindrance in the march.
The trader came back several times and ordered her to keep up. She told him she was doing the best she could. He threatened each time to whip her if she did not keep up, and finally he ordered a negro, a strong muscular man six feet in height, who went along to give us water and help drive, to untie her, made her give the baby to another woman, then ordered her to take off her waist. They buckled a strap around each wrist and strapped her to a large pine tree less than ten feet from the rest of us, and with a blacksnake whip the colored man was made to hit her fifty lashes on her bare back.
The blood ran down as water but she never uttered a sound. She was ordered to put on her waist. They retied her and told her to see if they could keep up. After going a few miles farther they sold the little boy she was leading to a man along the way. I heard the wails of the mother and the mourning of the other slaves on account of her sorrow, and heard the gruff voice of the trader as he ordered them to shut up.
We marched until nine or ten o'clock, when we came to a boarding house that was kept especially for the accommodation of negro traders. This was a large log house of one room, about eighteen by twenty feet, with staples driven in all around the room and handcuffs attached to chains about four feet long.
They would handcuff two or three slaves to each chain. In the summer they had nothing but the bare floor to lie upon; in the winter straw was put upon the floor. There was a very large fire place in this room. We stopped at this boarding house. This was our first night's stop after leaving Wilmington.