Slave Narrative of Hannah McFarland

Person Interviewed: Hannah McFarland
Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Place of Birth: Georgetown, South Carolina
Date of Birth: February 29, 1853
Age: 85

I was born in Georgetown, South Carolina, February 29, 1853. My father was name James Gainey and my mother was name Katie Gainey. There was three chillun born to my folks doing slavery. My father was a free man, but my mother was do slave of the Sampsons, some Jews. My father was do richest Negro in South Carolina doing this time. He bought all three of we chillun for $1,000 apiece, but dem Jews jest wouldn’t sell mamma. Dey was mighty sweet to her. She come home ever night and stayed with us. Doing the day a Virginian nigger woman stayed with us and she sho’ was mean to we chillun. She used to beat us sumpin’ terrible. You know Virginia people is mean to culled people. My father bought her from some white folks too.

We lived in town and in a good house.

It was a good deal of confusion doing do war. I waited on the Yankees. Dey captured mamma’s white people’s house. Dey tried to git mamma to tell den jest what de white folks done done to her and all she could say was dey was good to her. Shucks. dey wouldn’t sell her. She jest told them she had a free husband.

My father was a blockader. He run rafts from one place to another and sho’ made a lot of money. He was drowned while doing this while I was a good size child.

Den patrollers tied you to a whipping post iffen dey caught you out after 10 o’clock. They ‘tempted to do my mother that way, but my papa sho’ stopped dat. I can’t say I lak white people even now. ’cause dey done done so much agin us.

I was free. but I couldn’t go to school, ’cause we didn’t had none. I been in Oklahoma over 40 years. Have done some traveling and could go some whar else, but I jest stays here ’cause I ain’t got no desire to travel.

All we ever wore to keep off diseases was asafetida, nothing else.

I done heard more ’bout conjure in Oklahoma than I ever heard in South Carolina. All dat stuff is in Louisiana. I didn’t head nothing ’bout the Klu Klux Klan till I come to Oklahoma neither. More devilment in Oklahoma than any place I know. South got more religion too. I jest as soon be back with the Rebels.

Bushwhackers whipped you iffen you stayed out late, and sho’ nuff if dey didn’t lak you.

I felt sorry for Jeff Davis when the Yankees drilled his through the streets. I saw it all. I said, “Mama, Mama, look, dey got old Jeff Davis.” She said, “Be quiet, dey’ll lynch you.” She didn’t know no better! She was a old slave nigger. I showed the Yankees where the white folks hid their silver and money and jewelry, and Mamma sho’ whipped me about it too. She was no fool ’bout slavery. Slavery sho’ didn’t he’p us none to my belief.

I didn’t care much ’bout Lincoln. It was nice of him to free us, but ‘course he didn’t want to.

The overseer was sho’ nothing but poor white trash, the kind who didn’t lak niggers and dey still don’t, old devils. Don’t let ’em fool you dey don’t lak a nigger a tall.

I’m a Methodist. People ought to praise God ’cause he done done so much for dace sinners. Dey was heap more religious in my early days. I jined church in 1863. I jined the Holiness so I could git baptized and the Methodist wouldn’t baptize you. After my baptism. I went back to the Methodist Church. You know my pastor. Reverend Miller, is the first Methodist preacher I ever knowed that was baptized, and that baptizes everybody.

I was married in Akin, South Carolina to Andrew Pew. We had 12 chillun. Jest one boy is my only living child today.

Gainey, McFarland, Pew, Sampson,

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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