Slave Narrative of Adeline Crump

Interviewer: T. Pat Matthews
Person Interviewed: Adeline Crump
Location: 526 Cannon Street, Raleigh, North Carolina
Age: 73

My name is Adeline Crump, and I am 73 years old. My husband’s name wus James Crump. My mother’s wus Marie Cotton and my father’s name wus Cotton. My mother belonged to the Faucetts; Rich Faucett wus her marster. Father belonged to the Cottons; Wright Cotton wus his marster. My maiden name wus Cotton. Mother and father said they were treated all right and that they loved their white folks. They gave them patches, clothed them tolerably well, and seed that they got plenty to eat. The hours of work wus long. Nearbout everybody worked long hours then, but they said they wus not mistreated ’bout nothing. When they got sick marster got a doctor, if they wus bad off sick.

They wus allowed holidays Christmas and at lay-by time, an’ they wus ‘lowed to hunt possums an’ coons at night an’ ketch rabbits in gums. They also caught birds in traps made of splinters split from pine wood.

Mother and father had no learnin’. They would not allow them to learn to read and write. Marster wus keerful ’bout that. I cannot read an’ write. My mother and father told me many stories ’bout the patterollers and Ku Klux. A nigger better have a pass when he went visitin’ or if they caught him they tore up his back. The Ku Klux made the niggers think they could drink a well full of water. They carried rubber things under their clothes and a rubber pipe leadin’ to a bucket o’ water. The water bag helt the water they did not drink it. Guess you have heard people tell ’bout they drinking so much water.

Marster didn’t have no overseers to look after his slaves. He done that hisself with the help o’ some o’ his men slaves. Sometimes he made ’em foreman and my mother and father said they all got along mighty fine. The colored folks went to the white folk’s church and had prayer meeting in their homes.

Mother lived in the edge o’ marster’s yard. When the surrender come after the war they stayed on the plantation right on and lived on marster’s land. They built log houses after de war cause marster let all his slaves stay right on his plantation. My mother had twenty-one chillun. She had twins five times. I was a twin and Emaline wus my sister. She died ’bout thirty years ago. She left 11 chillun when she died. I never had but four chillun. All my people are dead, I is de only one left.

Marster’s plantation was ’bout six miles from Merry Oaks in Chatham County. We moved to Merry Oaks when I wus fourteen years old. I married at seventeen. I have lived in North Carolina all my life. We moved to Raleigh from Merry Oaks long time ago. My husband died here seventeen years ago. I worked after my husband died, washin’ and ironin’ for white folks till I am not able to work no more. Hain’t worked any in fo’ years. Charity don’t help me none. My chillun gives me what I gits.

Slavery wus a bad thing, cause from what mother and father tole me all slaves didn’t fare alike. Some fared good an’ some bad. I don’t know enough ’bout Abraham Lincoln an’ Mr. Roosevelt to talk about ’em. No, I don’t know just what to say. I sho’ hopes you will quit axin’ me so many things cause I forgot a lot mother and father tole me.

Cotton, Crump, Faucett,

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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