Slave Narrative of Harriet Mason

Interviewer: Sue Higgins
Person Interviewed: Harriet Mason
Location: Garrard County, Kentucky
Age: 100

Story of Aunt Harriet Mason age 100-a slave girl:

“When I was seven years old my missis took me to Bourbon County, when we got to Lexington I tried to run off and go back to Bryantsville to see my mammy. Mas’r Gano told me if I didn’t come the sheriff would git me. I never liked to go to Lexington since.

“One Sunday we was going to a big meetin’ we heared som’in rattling in the weeds. It was a big snake, it made a track in the dust. When we got home missis asked me if I killed any snakes. I said to missis, snake like to got me and Gilbert, too.

“They used to have dances at Mrs. Dickerson’s, a neighbor of General Gano (a preacher in the Christian Church). Mrs. Dickerson wouldn’t let the “Padaroes” come to the dances. If they did come, whe[TR:she?] would get her pistol and make them leave.

“When General Gano went from Texas to Kentucky, he brought 650 head of horses. He sold all of them but Old Black.

“Mas’r Gano went back to Texas to take up a child he had buried there. The boat blowed up, and he came nigh gittin’ drowned.

“One time I wus out in Mas’rs wheat field. I would get the wheat heads and make chewin’ wax. I told missis I want to go up to Bryantsville to see my mammy. Mas’r took me in about a week.

“Up at Miss Jennie West’s house they had an ole icehouse. Some boys made out like they had a bear up there to scare every body away.

“I saw a flock of wild geese fly over one evenin’ late. Some boys saw them and one boy shot the leader. The rest of the flock wound round and round, they didn’t know where to go.

“One time when I was actin’ nurse for missis, there was another nigger gal there and we was playin’ horse-shoes. Celia hit me in the head. It got blood all over the baby’s dress. Missis came out, she say, “I’ll hit you niggers if you don’t stop playing with horse-shoes.” The scar is on my head yet whar Celia hit me. I ain’t played since. Do you blame me?

“Missis told her brother Sam one day to whoop me. Every time he hit me, I’d hit him. I wan’t feared then. I didn’t know no better. Look like white folks goin’ to have their way and niggers goin’ to have theirs.

“I used to say I wish I’d died when I was little. But now I thank De Lord I’m here and I want to stay here as long as Lilly (my daughter) lives.

“Missis wanted all of us little niggers to call Kate, Missis’ little daughter, Miss Kate. But missis say, “They will call me old missis then”.

“Kate had red hair. A little nigger boy say, ‘Look! Harriet, the town’s on fire’, I say git away from here nigger, I ain’t goin’ to have you makin’ fun of my chil’en.

“Me and missis was goin’ to a neighbor’s house one day in a sleigh. The baby was wrapped up in a comfort (it had a hole in it). The baby slipped out. I say, ‘Lor’ missis, you’re lost that baby.’

“No, I haven’t, Missis say. We stopped and shook the comfort and John was gone. ‘Ain’t that awful, Miss Mat?’ We went back and found him a mile behind.”

I asked Aunt Harriet to sing. She said, “I have to wait for the speret to move me”. (S. Higgins).

Gano, Mason,

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

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