Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks
Person Interviewed: Eustace Hodges
Location: 625 W. Lenoir Street, Raleigh, North Carolina
I doan know when I wus borned, ner where but at fust my mammy an’ me ‘longed ter a McGee here in Wake County. My mammy wurked in de fiel’s den, ditchin’ an’ such, even plowin’ while we ‘longed ter McGee, but he sold us ter Mr. Rufus Jones. My daddy still ‘longed ter him but at de close of de war he comed ter Mr. Jones’ plantation an’ he tuck de name of Jones ‘long wid us.
Marse Rufus wus gooder dan Marse McGee, dey said. He give us more ter eat an’ wear an’ he ain’t make us wurk so hard nother. We had our wurk ter do, of course, but mammy ain’t had ter ditch ner plow no mo’. She wurked in de house den, an’ none of de wimmen done men’s wurk. Course she can’t wurk so hard an’ have ‘leben chilluns too. She had a baby one day an’ went ter wurk de nex’ while she ‘longed ter McGee, but at Marse Rufus’ she stayed in de bed seberal days an’ had a doctor.
Marse Rufus uster let us take Sadday evenin’ off an’ go swimmin’ er fishin’ er go ter Raleigh. I ‘members dat somebody in town had a fuss wid Marse Rufus ’bout lettin’ his n*****s run loose in town. Marse Rufus atter dat had a oberseer in town ter see ’bout his n*****s.
I got a whuppin’ once fer punchin’ out a frog’s eyes. Miss Sally giv’ hit ter me long wid a lecture ’bout bein’ kin’ ter dumb brutes, but I ain’t neber seed whar a frog am a brute yit.
Yes’um I heard a heap ’bout de Yankees but I ain’t prepared fer dere takin’ eben our bread. Miss Sally ain’t prepared nother an’ she tells’ em whar ter go, den she goes ter bed sick. I wus sorry fer Miss Sally, dat I wus.
De day dat news of de surrender come Miss Sally cried some more an’ she ain’t wanted mammy ter go, so Marse Rufus said dat we can stay on. Dey said dat Mister McGee runned his n*****s offen his place wid a bresh broom dat day.
Atter de war we stayed on Marse Rufus’ place till 1898 when pa died. I had married a feller by de name of Charlie Hodges, what lived on a nearby plantation an’ we wus livin’ on Marse Rufus’ place wid pa an’ ma. We moved ter Raleigh den an’ atter seberal years mammy moved hear too. You can fin’ her on Cannon Street, but I’ll tell you dat she’s pretty puny now, since her stroke.