Slave Narrative of Mary Veals

Interviewer: G. Leland Summer
Person Interviewed: Mary Veals
Date of Interview: September 30, 1937
Location: Newberry, South Carolina

“I don’t own no house. I live in a rented house. Yes, I work fer my living. I don’t ‘member much ’bout slavery except what I heard my daddy and mammy say. My pa was Washing Holloway and my ma was Polly Holloway. Dey belonged to Judge O’Neall, and lived at his place ’bout three miles from town, near Bush River.

“Judge O’Neall’s house was real old, and dey had a store near it called Springfield, a kind of suburb at dat time.

“After de war, we didn’t have much clothes, ’cause everything was so high. Judge O’Neall died befo’ de war was over, and his wife went to Mississippi to live wid her married daughter. After de war, Miss Sallie, who was Judge O’Neall’s daughter, learn’t me to read and write, and other things in books.

“My father and mother went to de white folks’ church in slavery time. After de war, de negroes built deir first church and called it a ‘brush arbor’. A negro preacher named Simon Miller was a good man and done lots of good when he preached in de brush arbor. Dis was on de old Banduslian Springs hill, near de south fork of Scotts Creek.”

Holloway, O'Neall, Veals,

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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