Slave Narrative of George Eatman

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks
Person Interviewed: George Eatman
Date of Interview: May 18, 1937
Location: Cary, North Carolina, R. #1
Age: 93

I belonged ter Mr. Gus Eatman who lived at de ole Templeton place on de Durham highway back as fer as I can ‘member. I doan r’member my mammy an’ pappy case dey wuz sold ‘fore I knowed anything. I raised myself an’ I reckon dat I done a fair job uv it. De marster an’ missus wuz good to dere twenty-five slaves an’ we ain’t neber got no bad whuppin’s.

I doan ‘member much playin’ an’ such like, but I de ‘members dat I wuz de handy boy ’round de house.

De Confederate soldiers camp at Ephesus Church one night, an’ de nex’ day de marster sent me ter de mill on Crabtree. Yo’ ‘members where ole Company mill is, I reckon? Well, as I rode de mule down de hill, out comes Wheeler’s Calvalry, which am as mean as de Yankees, an’ dey ax me lots uv questions. Atter awhile dey rides on an’ leaves me ‘lone.

While I am at de mill one uv Wheeler’s men takes my mule an’ my co’n, an’ I takes de ole saddle an’ starts ter walkin’ back home. All de way, most, I walks in de woods, case Wheeler’s men am still passin’.

When I gits ter de Morgan place I hyars de cannons a-boomin’, ahh–h I ain’t neber hyar sich a noise, an’ when I gits so dat I can see dar dey goes, as thick as de hairs on a man’s haid. I circles round an’ gits behin’ dem an’ goes inter de back uv de-house. Well, dar stan’s a Yankee, an’ he axes Missus Mary fer de smokehouse key. She gibes it ter him an’ dey gits all uv de meat.

One big can uv grease am all dat wuz saved, an’ dat wuz burried in de broom straw down in de fiel’.

Dey camps roun’ dar dat night an’ dey shoots ever chicken, pig, an’ calf dey sees. De nex’ day de marster goes ter Raleigh, an’ gits a gyard, but dey has done stole all our stuff an’ we am liven’ mostly on parched co’n.

De only patterollers I knowed wuz Kenyan Jones an’ Billy Pump an’ dey wuz called po’ white trash. Dey owned blood houn’s, an’ chased de niggers an’ whupped dem shamful, I hyars. I neber seed but one Ku Klux an’ he wuz sceered o’ dem.

Atter de war we stayed on five or six years case we ain’t had no place else ter go.

We ain’t liked Abraham Lincoln, case he wuz a fool ter think dat we could live widout de white folkses, an’ Jeff Davis wuz tryin’ ter keep us, case he wuz greedy an’ he wanted ter be de boss dog in politics.


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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