Slave Narrative of George Scruggs

Interviewer: L. Cherry
Person Interviewed: George Scruggs
Location: Calloway County, Kentucky
Place of Birth: Murray, Kentucky

Story of Uncle George Scruggs, a colored slave:

I wuz a slave befo de wa. My boss, de man dat I b’long to, wuz Ole Man Vol Scruggs. He wuz a race hoss man. He had a colod boy faw evy hoss dem days and a white man faw evy hoss, too. I wuz bawn rite here in Murry. My boss carrid me away frum here. I thought a heap uv him and he though a heap uv me. I’d rub de legs uv dem hosses and rode dem round to gib em excise. I wuz jes a small boy when my boss carrid me away from Murry. My boss carrid me to Lexinton. I staid wid Ole Man Scruggs a long time. I jes don no how long. My boss carrid me to his brother, Ole Man Finch Scruggs. He run a sto and I had to sweep de flo uv de sto, wash dishes and clean nives and falks evy day. Ole Man Finch Scruggs carrid my uncle up thar wen Ole Vol carrid me. Ole Man Finch Scruggs liv’d at a little town called Clintinvil on tuther side uv Lexinton. Wen Ole man Vol Scruggs marid, he take me away from Old Man Finch Scruggs and carrid me to liv wid him. I wuz den wid my ole boss again. He den hired me to wuk faw a docta in Lexinton. My job wuz to clean up his ofis and wen he went out en de cuntry, he took me long to open de gates. I had to skowa nives and fawks and ole brass canel stix. Dats been a long time ago, Ize tellin you, white man. While I wuz sweepin de doctas ofis one day I saw droves uv colud folks gwine by wid two white men ridin in front, two ridin in de midel, and two ridin behind. De colud folks wuz wulkin, gwine down town to be sold. When I fust seen em comin I got scared an started to run but de white man said, “stop, boy, we is not gwine a hurt you.” I staid wid dat boss docta sumpin like a yer, an den wont back to my Ole Boss. I’d a been up thar wid im yet but he kep telin me I wuz free. But I diden no whut he mean by sich talk. Wen my Ole Boss sole out up thar, he brung me wid him on to Paducah.

He had a neffu in de wholesale grocy bisness in Paducah. My Old Boss carrid me to his neffu and lef me thar. Dat wuz de las time I eva saw my good Ole Boss caus he went on to Missouri. My Old Boss wuz sho good to me, white man. I sho do luv im yet. Wy, he neva wood low me to go barfooted, caus he wuz afraid I’d stick thorns in my feet, an if he eva caut me barfooted, he sho wod make my back tell it. Wen he lef me in Paducah, his neffu took me over to my ant, Rose Scruggs to stay all nite wid her. Nex day I walked wid my cousin to Mayfield, carryin two toe sacks uv cloes dat my Good Ole Boss give me wen he lef me in Paducah. De cloze wuz faw me an my muther. Wen we got to Mayfield, we went strate to Judge Williams caus he marrid my Ole Boss’ sister and I wuz sho we could stay wid dem. My Ole Boss an my muther wuz play-children together. My muther’s name wuz Patsy Malone. Mr. Maline’s wife wuz my Ole Boss’ sister and my muther fell to her as a slave. Next day I come to Murry whar my muther lived wid Miss Emily Malone. I wuz gone a long time caus my Ole Boss took me way from Murry wen I wuz a small boy. I staid wid my muther til she died. I now live in one mile uv de house whar I wuz bawn. Mr. Hugh Wear sez I is 100 years old.

Malone, Scruggs,

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007.

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