Slave Narrative of Cora Torian

Interviewer: Mamie Hanberry
Person Interviewed: Cora Torian
Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky
Place of Birth: Christian County KY
Age: 71
Place of Residence: 217 W. 2nd St., Hopkinsville, KY

Story of Cora Torian: (217 W. 2nd St., Hopkinsville, Ky.-Age 71.)

Bell Childress, Cora’s Mother, was a slave of Andrew Owen. He purchased Belle Childress in the Purchase and brought her to Christian County. Cora was born in Christian County on Mr. Owen’s farm and considered herself three years old at the end of the Civil War. She told me as follows:

“I has dreamed of fish and dat is a sure sign dat I would git a piece of money, an I always did. Dreamed of buggy and horse an it was a sign of death in family and I no’s hits tru. Dream of de ded hit always rains. My Mistus and Marster fed and clothed us good and we lived in a little log cabin of one room and cooked on an open fire. Some Marsters wud whoop ther slaves til the blood would run down daw backs dese slaves would run away sometimes den sum would come to Ise Marse and would have to send dem back to dar own marsters and how my ole marster hated to see dem go.

“I hang horse shoes oer my door to keep the Evil Spirits away. My Mammy always wore and ole petticoat full gather at de waist band wid long pockets in dem and den to keep peace in de house she would turn de pocket wrong side out jes as she would go to somebodys elses house.

“I sho do no dar is ghosts, I seed one oncet hit was a man wid no head on standin in my house and pullin the crammin out of de house and puttin hit on de table. Oooh I no’s dat is so cause I seed hit wid my own eyes.

“My Mammy had a woman dat lived wid us and she died, and sometimes afterwards, she called me and I looked in de room and dis woman was sitting on de side of de bed and wen i spoke to her she slowly ris up and went thru a crack about two inches wide. now dats a fak!

“Humph, no I’se not gwine ter go near no hainted house, much less stay in one. I’se scairt.

“Hee, hee, sho you can find things by spitting in yer han and de way the spit goes if youse will go dar you will be sho to find hit.

“Aint got no time for fortune tellers, don believe in dem, day don’t do nuthin.

“Wen de moon changes if youse see hit thru de bresh you sho will have bad luck, but if youse sees hit and nuthin to hinder youse from lookin at hit straight and make a wish it who will come true. I’se no’s cause my son was way down South an I woant to seed him and I looks at de moon and hit was changing and I wished de would come home and looked up de road and “Lawd daw he were.

“Youse plants de pertatoes by de moon. Irish pertatoes planted on de light of de moon will go ter vine and der neber will be a tater on de vine. If youse plant dem by de dark of de moon yourall’s pertatoes will be plentiful.

“If youse maks soap it must be made by de light of de moon or de soap will all turn to grease.

“If youse sneeze wen you eats you will shorely die.

“If youse see a blue gummed negro be shore one don bite you foh dey are shore pizenous.

“If youse have yer year to ring, sho sing of death.

“Move on Friday, “Good Lawd No”, youse would sho have bad luck.

“One tru sign of death, if a dog howls at midnight, you will sho to die. If you dreams of you teeth falling out is a tru sign of death and if youse dreams of a marriage is nuther tru sign of death.

“If I dream of a naked purson I’se is sho to die. No cat mus come in wen dar is a ded body for de cat will sho eat de body.

“If a cat crosses youse path to de left some kind of bad luck is sho to overtake on yer journey.

“If a peckerwood pecks on de roof of youse house you will sho lose some member of youse family. Dey is pizen.

“No I’se jes ter scairt ter go whar day call up Spirits.”

Childress, Owen, Torian,

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007-2024. The WPA Slave Narratives must be used with care. There is, of course, the problem of confusion in memory resulting from (73+ years) of the participants. In addition, inexperienced interviewers sometimes pursued question lines related to their own interests and perspectives and attempted to capture the colloquialism of the informant's speech. The interviews provide fascinating insight and surprisingly candid information, however.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Access Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top