Slave Narrative of Kisey McKimm

Interviewer: Betty Lugabill
Person Interviewed: Kisey McKimm
Location: Ohio
Place of Birth: Bourbon County, Kentucky
Date of Birth: 1853
Age: 83

Betty Lugabill, Reporter [TR: also reported as Lugabell] Harold Pugh, Editor R.S. Drum, Supervisor Jun 9, 1937

Folklore: Ex-Slaves Paulding Co., District 10

KISEY McKIMM Ex-Slave, 83 years

Ah was born in Bourbon county, sometime in 1853, in the state of Kaintucky where they raise fine horses and beautiful women. Me ‘n my Mammy, Liza ‘n Joe, all belonged to Marse Jacob Sandusky the richest man in de county. Pappy, he belonged to de Henry Young’s who owned de plantation next to us.

Marse Jacob was good to his slaves, but his son, Clay was mean. Ah remembah once when he took mah Mammy out and whipped her cauz she forgot to put cake in his basket, when he went huntin’. But dat was de las’ time, cauz de master heard of it and cussed him lak God has come down from Hebbin.

Besides doin’ all de cookin’ ‘n she was de best in de county, mah Mammy had to help do de chores and milk fifteen cows. De shacks of all de slaves was set at de edge of a wood, an’ Lawse, honey, us chillun used to had to go out ‘n gatha’ all de twigs ‘n brush ‘n sweep it jes’ lak a floor.

Den de Massa used to go to de court house in Paris ‘n buy sheep an’ hogs. Den we use to help drive dem home. In de evenin’ our Mammy took de old cloes of Mistress Mary ‘n made cloes fo’ us to wear. Pappy, he come ovah to see us every Sunday, through de summer, but in de winter, we would only see him maybe once a month.

De great day on de plantation, was Christmas when we all got a little present from de Master. De men slaves would cut a whole pile of wood fo’ de fiah place ‘n pile it on de porch. As long as de whole pile of wood lasted we didn’t hab to work but when it was gone, our Christmas was ovah. Sometimes on Sunday afternoons, we would go to de Master’s honey room ‘n he would gib us sticks of candied honey, an’ Lawd chile was dem good. I et so much once, ah got sick ‘nough to die.

Our Master was what white folks call a “miser”. I remembah one time, he hid $3,000, between de floor an’ de ceilin’, but when he went fur it, de rats had done chewed it all up into bits. He used to go to de stock auction, every Monday, ‘n he didn’t weah no stockings. He had a high silk hat, but it was tore so bad, dat he held de top n’ bottom to-gether wid a silk neckerchief. One time when ah went wid him to drive de sheep home, ah heard some of de men wid kid gloves, call him a “hill-billy” ‘n make fun of his clothes. But he said, “Don’t look at de clothes, but look at de man”.

One time, dey sent me down de road to fetch somethin’ ‘n I heerd a bunch of horses comin’, ah jumped ovah de fence ‘n hid behind de elderberry bushes, until dey passed, den ah ran home ‘n tol’ ’em what ah done seen. Pretty soon dey come to de house, 125 Union soldiers an’ asked fo’ something to eat. We all jumped roun’ and fixed dem a dinnah, when dey finished, dey looked for Master, but he was hid. Dey was gentlemen ‘n didn’t botha or take nothin’. When de war was ovah de Master gave Mammy a house an’ 160 acre farm, but when he died, his son Clay tole us to get out of de place or he’d burn de house an’ us up in it, so we lef an’ moved to Paris. After I was married ‘n had two children, me an my man moved north an’ I’ve been heah evah since.

McKimm, Sandusky, Young,

Bourbon County KY,

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.

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