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Texas Slave Narrative

  Reeves Tucker

Reeves Tucker , 98 year old Negro farmer of Harrison Co., Texas, was born in Bibb Co., Alabama, a slave of George Washington Tucker , Sr . When Reeves was six his master died and Reeves was separated from his family and brought to Texas by George Tucker Jr . Reeves now lives with his son, who owns a farm nine miles northwest of Marshall, Texas. My father was Armistead Tucker and my mother Winnie Tucker and they's both born slaves of Massa George Washington Tucker . He lived over in old Alabama between Silmen and Mapleville. My brothers was Andy and John and Peter and there was two girls, Anna and Dorcus , and we was all born on Massa Tucker's plantation. My missy died 'fore I was born and my old massa died when I was jest a shirt-tail boy and his chillen had a dividement of his lands and mammy and all the chillen but me fell to the daughter and pappy was give to the son. Pappy begs to hard for me to go with him that fin'ly they lets me.

I never seed my mammy after that, bein' as how Missy Emogene stays in Alabama and us come to Texas. Massa George settles near Gilmer and he sho' have a big place with lots of acres and a good house. He didn't 'low no beatin' on that place but I've saw slaves on other places whopped till the blood run off them onto the groun'. When they was cut loose from the tree or whippin' post they falls over like dead. But our massa was good to us and give us lots to eat and wear. We et pork meat and white flour jest like the white folks and every woman have to spin so many yards cloth 'fore she go to bed. so we allus had the clothes. I've saw lots of slaves bid off like stock and babies sold from their mammy's breast. Some brung 'bout $1,500, owing to how strong they is. Spec'lators. used to ride all over the country near our place and buy up niggers and I've saw as many as fifty in a gang, like convicts. But Massa George wouldn't sell and buy slaves and none of 'em ever run off 'cept my pappy and one night he started to go 'cross a shirt of woods to the neighbors and young massa was a pattyroller and tells pappy to wait and go with him, but pappy hard headed as a mule and goes hisself and the pattyrollers cotches him and nigh beats him to death. young massa was sho' mad as fire, 'cause he didn't want his niggers beat up. Them circuit ridin' preachers come to the white church and tries to make the white folks bring their slaves to preaching. Preacher say. 'Nigger have a soul to save same as us all.' Massa allus went to church but I don't 'lieve it done him any good, 'cause while he there at meetin' the niggers in the field stacking that fodder. He did give us Christmas Day and a big dinner and 'cept for workin' the lights outten us. gen'rally treated us decent and we had heap easier time than any other slaves 'round. I 'member the war and Jeff Davis and Abe Lincoln was warfaring 'bout freein' the niggers 'bout four year 'fore they fought. Massa Tucker jest grunted when we was freed, 'cause he knowed the thing was up, and he tells us if we'd stay and help the crop out he'd give us a horse and saddle but we didn't git nothin'. Se I lef' him soon as the crop laid by the year of freedom and then moved with pappy to a farm near Hallsville and stays with him till I marries. I had seven chillen to be growed and married and I farmed near Hallsville mos' my life, till I too old. My son, Reeves after me, owns this farm and we's all right. Never did have hard tines after freedom, like some niggers, 'cause we just sot down on the land.


Reeves Tucker , a 98 year old Negro farmer of Harrison County, was born in Bibb County, Alabama, as a slave of George Washington Tucker Sr . At the age of six years his master died and Reeves was separated from his mother brothers and sisters and brought to Upshur County, Texas with his father by George Washington Jr . He married several years after Emancipation and reared seven children to be grown and married. He now lives with the son. Reeves Tucker , who owns a farm nine miles northwest of Marshall on the Harleton Road. "My father was Armistead Tucker and my mother was Winnis Tucker . They was both born as slaves of Master George Washington Tucker , who lived in Bibb County, Alabama, between Silman and Mapleville. My brothers was Andy , John and Peter and there was two girls, Anna and Dorcus . We was all bo'n there or wester Tuckers place in Bibb County, Alabama. My Mistress died 'fore I was bo'n, and my old Master died when I was best a shirt-tall boy. When he died, the children had a "dividement" of the property. Mammy and all the chil'ren fell to his faushter, and Pappy was giv' to his son, George Washington Tucker , what was fixing to move to Texas. Pappy begged so hard fer some of the chil'ren that finally they let me go with him. I never seed Marry or any of my relations after that, being as how Miss Emogene stared to Alabama and my young Master come to Texas and settled twelve miles north of Gilmer. He had a big place and lived in a good house, but didn't have so powerful many slaves. He never 'lowed no overseer on his place. Master Tucker didn't believe in having his "Niggers" beat up, they cost too much. I'se saw slaves on other places whipped till the blood run off them onto the ground. When they cut them loose from the tree they fell over like they was dead. I'se saw lots of slaves bid off like stock, and babies sold from their mothers breast. Some of them brought $1,500, owing to how strong they was. Speculators rode all over the country buying up "Niggers". I'se seed as many as fifty in a gang being driven like convicts. The bosses 'round where we lived made the old wimmen what was too old to work, tend to the chil'ren while the slaves worked.

They built them a house to themself and first thing in the mo'ning everybody had to take the chil'ren to them. Master Tucker was good to his darkies, and give us plenty to eat and wear. We et po'k and flour bread jest like the white fo'ks. Every woman had to spin so many yards of cloth 'fore she go to bed after we come in from the field. None of Master Tuckers "Niggers" ever run off 'cept my father. One night he started to go 'cross a "shirt" of woods to one of the neighbors. Young Master was a pattyroller and told him to wait and go with him, but Pappy was hard headed as a mule and went on by his-self. The Pattyrollers cotched him might nigh beat him to death. Young Master was sho' mad as fire, cause he didn't want his "Niggers" skinned up. I think them Pattyrollers kinda beat some sense in his head, for after that he allus went with young Master or got a pass. There was a white chu'ch 'bout a mile and a half from the place. Them circuit-rider preachers made the bosses bring their slaves to preaching. He say, "They have a soul to save as same as us". Master did not think so and would make us wo'k on Sunday. He allus went to chu'ch but I don't believe it done him any good cause while he was up there at "meeting", having a big time us "Niggers" was in the fiel' stacking that fodder. He giv' us Christmas day and a big dinner and 'cept for wo'king the "lights" out of us mos' generally treated us decent. We had heap easier time than the other slave 'round there. Them days we never put co'n in a crib with shucks on it like they do now. The bosses would give big co'n shuckings at night. There was allus plenty to eat and four or five gallons of "licker" at the co'n shuckings. When we was through we had a big dance and party and cut up gener'lly.

I 'member 'bout the war. Jeff Davis and Abe Lincoln was warfaring 'bout freeing the "Niggers" 'bout four years 'fore they fought. Master Tucker didn't say anything when we was freed, he jest grunted cause he knowed the thing was up. He called us all to the house and told us we was free and that if we stay and help get the crop out, he'd give us a horse and saddle, but we didn't get nothing. I left the Tuckers soon as the crop was laid by the year of freedom, and moved with my father to a farm near Hallsville and lived with him till I was married. I'se saw two "ghostes" in my life. I allus heard talk of ghostes but didn't take no stock in sich like till I seed two. I'd heard lots of talk 'bout a certain place over there by Hallsville and one night I was coming long there. Jest as I was going up a hill I saw "it"  I couldn't tell you what it looked like only it was by the side of the road and white as driften-snow. I was single footing along the road but when I saw "that thing" all white as snow, I say, "I guess that is the "ghost" they talk of". It didn't take me long to change that single foot into a run. I never did look back, but jest close my eyes and "flew". The next day I went back down there and look all round in the bushes where I saw it, but there warn't a thing. The other ghost I saw between Marshall and Harleton. Me and a man that lived jining farms was called to Marshall on court-day. They was building the new courthouse and had court over Sid Perry's Drug Store. They turned us loose 'bout nine o'clock at night and we started home. 'Bout four miles out of Marshall as we was walking long the road something that looked like a big black dog walked out of the bushes right out in front of us. My partner picked up a rock and chuncked at it. But he didn't pay no mind but jest kep' walking slow a few feet in front of us. Then we both chuncked it, and I know we was close enough to hit it, but he never made no sound or seem to care a bit fer the chuncking. I got scared and tell my partner not to throw at "it" again. We wanted to run but was 'fraid to try to pass what ever it was. My friend say he guess it was a "ghost" that some of the Niggers talk 'bout seeing on that road. He say one time that "Something" that looked like a black dog come out in front of a friend of his that was riding 'long that road horseback and make the horse throw him and break his leg. "It" walked slow along in front of us fer more than a mile then turned off in the woods. We sho' didn't loose no time getting home you can bet.


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