Oklahoma Slave Narrative
L. B. BarnerI's born near N. Palestine Texas. I don't know how old I is. I was 9 years old when freedom cried out. My father was name Kater Barner after master Mat Swanson and my Mothers name Amy Swanson . My father wouldn't work and just scouted through the woods. One day they decided to catch him and he ran into the woods and when they had ran him down he killed 18 white men or patrollers. I have 2 brothers he says, "me and my brother" and one sister. As a child I played around in the quarters during the day and did a little work for my mistress such as churning and many nights after staying at my mistress house late at nights I would sleep across the foot of her bed at her feet. My mother plowed a brown mule and that mule had so much sense all you had to do was turn that mule out and he would go to the field and back up to the right plow and wait until my mother got there to hitch him up. As a slave I ate at my masters house as I waited on the table and fanned the flies. In hot weather we wore a long shirt but in winter we wore jean pants and shoes made en the plantation. My master and mistress was good to their slaves. He never whipped his slaves unless he caught one of them in a lie as they gave him no trouble and worked hard. They had one child girl name Julia. Their house was a 3 room house on the plantation. The overseer was a Negro who would tell them each morning what to do and as my master had so many hogs and cattle Unkle John the overseer would send the work hand to the field and he would go look up the hogs and cattle as they ran wild in the woods and feed them corn, etc. My master owned a large amount of land and between 400 and 500 slaves including children. At 4 o'clock the Negro overseer would awake the slave for their breakfast as they cooked for themselves. One Negro lady (Aunt Charidy ) stayed in the quarter and cook for the 150 or more Negro slave children and also worked around for the mistress during the other part of the day. On Saturday's and Sunday's the slaves would have church in the quarters. There were 3 or 4 preachers among them but preacher John Swanson was thought the favorite and best. The patrollers traveled from plantation to plantation during the nights with dogs, guns and bull whips. They would sick the hounds on the slaves and when they would climb a tree they would, if slave was mean, climb tree and knock him out and the dog would sometime tare him up before they could get them off him, or else if he would come down at their demand they would whip him so that he would be unable to work and that is how the master would know they were caught out at nights.
On Christmas and New Years our master would buy barrels of whiskey at the end of the harvests and on these two holidays call the slaves up to the big house and give them all they could drink until some would become drunk. The slaves also would carry plenty pepper with them to rub on the bottom of their feet at nights when they slipped off so that the dogs couldn't scent them. The pepper would go up the dogs nose so that they could not track them. When a slave got sick Dr. Link would come to them and give them calomel and pills. The slaves would keep asafetida around the children's neck to keep them from having the hooping-cough, etc. Just before the war started some of the Negro slaves went to build breast works and returned and the next day war broke out. When master notified or told his slaves that they were free he told them "you are free now just like I am and as you have no places to go you can remain in the quarters until you see fit to go." My wife was name Lizzie Billinger and have 4 girls and 2 boys and 11 grandchildren. "I think Abraham Lincoln much of a man. My pick." "Now that slavery is over I don't care to go in it any more. I would fight first."