SELLERS SLAVES

Slave Narratives
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State: Arkansas   Interviewee: Hannah Hancock
I was born in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. My mother's name was Chloa. We lived on Hardy Sellers
plantation. She was the white folks cook. I et in the white folks kitchen sometimes and sometimes wid the
other children at maw's house. Show my daddy was livin. But he lived on another man's farms. His master's
name was Billy Hancock and his name was Dave. Der was a big family of us but dey all dead now but three
of us. Ize got two sisters and a brother still livin, I reckon. I ain't seed them in a long time. Mrs. Sellers had
several children but they were all married when I come along and she was a widow. Joe Pete was her son
and he lived close, about a mile across the field, but it was farther around the road. Billy Hancock married
Mrs. Sellers daughter. My mistress didn't do much. Miss Becky Hancock wove cloth for people. You could
get the warp ready and then run in the woof. She made checked dresses and mingledy looking cloth. They
colored the cloth brown and purple mostly. Mrs. Sellers get a bolt of cloth and have it all made up into
dresses for the children. Sometimes all our family would have a dress alike. Yesm, we did like dot. Granny
made de dresses on her fingers. She was too old to go to de field an she tote water from the big spring and
sometimes she water de hands when dey be hoeing.

(2.)

She would cut and dry apples and peaches. Nobody knowed how to can. They dried de beef. It show was
good. It was jess fine. No maam, Granny didn't have no patterns. She jess made our dresses lack come in
her haid. We didn't get many dresses and we was proud of em and washed and ironed and took care of em.

I recollects hearing de men talking about going off to war and em going. No jess de white men left from
Mrs. Sellers place. De children didn't set around and hear all that was said. They sent us off to play in the
play houses. We swept a clean place and marked it off and had our dolls down there. We put in anything we
could get, mostly broken dishes. Yes maam, I had rag dolls and several of them. No wars real close but I
could hear the guns sometimes.

Mrs. Sellers had two large carriage horses. The colored boys took them down in the bottoms and took off a
lot of the meat and groceries and hid them 'fo the Yankees come along. They didn't nebber fin them things.
Mrs. Sellers was awful good and the men jess looked after her and tock care of her. Me or maw stayed at
the house with her all the time, day and night. When anybody got sick she sent somebody to wait on them
and went to see what they needed and sometimes she had 'em brought up to the house and give 'em the
medicine herself. She didn't have no foman. Uncle Sam and uncle John was the oldest and uncle Henry. They
was the men on the farm and they went right on with the work. Folks had bigger families than they do now.
They show did work, but de field work don't last all de time. They cleared land and fixed up the rail fences in
the winter.

(3.)

A rail fence was on each side of a long lane that led down to the pasture. The creek run through the pasture.
It was show a pretty grove. Had corn shuckings when it was cold. We played base down there. We always
had meat and plenty milk, collards and potatoes. Old missus would drip a barrel of ashes and make corn
hominy in the wash pot nearly every week and we made all the soap we ever did see. If you banked the
sweet potatoes they wouldn't rot and that's where the seed come from in the spring. In the garden there was
an end left to go to seed. That is the way people had any seed. Times show have changed. I can't tell what to
think. They ain't no more like than if they was another kind of folks. So much different. I jess look and live. I
think they ought to listen to what you say. Say anything to them they say "Kaint run my business." I don't
know if they spected anything from freedom. Seemed like they thought they wouldn't have to work if dey
was free and dey wouldn't have no boss. Missus let a lot of her land grow up in pine trees. Said she had no
money to pay people to work for her. Some of de families staid on. My maw and paw went on a farm on
share not far from Mrs. Sellers. When she was going to have company or she got sick she sent for my maw.
My maw washed and ironed for her till they moved plum off. They said somebody told them it was freedom.
When dey picked up and moved off de missus show didn't give em nothing. They didn't vote. They didn't
know how. I heard a lot about the Ku Klux Klan but I wasn't scared. I never did see none.

De younger generation jess lives today and don't know what he'll do tomorrow or where he'll be. I ain't never
voted and I don't know if my boys do or not.

(4.)

I never heard of uprisings. De paddyroll was to see after dot and Mrs. Sellers didn't have none. Uncle Sem
and uncle John made em mind.



State: Arkansas   Interviewee: Jane Birch
"I was three years old when the Yankees come through. I can't recollect a thing about them. Ma told us
children if we don't be quiet the Ku Kluck come take us clean off but I never seed none. When we be
working she say if we don't work the grass out pretty soon the Ku Kluck be taking us out whooping us. So
many of us she have to scare us up to get us to do right. There was fifteen children, nearly all girls. Ma said
she had good white folks. She was Floy Sellers. She belong to Mistress Kary Sellers. She was a widow. Had
four boys and a girl. I think we lived in Chester County, South Carolina. I am darky to the bone. Pa was
black. All our family is black. My folks come to Arkansas when I was so young I jes' can't tell nothing about
it. We farmed. I lived with my husband forty years and never had a child.

State: Georgia   Interviewee: John F. Van Hook
"Marse George Sellars, him that married Miss Ca'line Angel, was my real master. They had four children,
Bud, Mount, Elizabeth, and, and er; I just can't bring to recollect the name

(6.)

of their other girl. They lived in a two-story frame house that was surrounded by an oak grove on the road
leading from Franklin, North Carolina, to Clayton, Georgia. Hard Sellars was the carriage driver, and while I
am sure Marse George must have had an overseer, I don't remember ever hearing anybody say his name.

"Really, Miss, I couldn't say just how big that plantation was, but I am sure there must have bean at least
four or five hundred acres in it. One mighty peculiar thing about his slaves was that Marse George never had
more than 99 slaves at one time; every time he bought one to try to make it an even hundred, a slave died.
This happened so often, I was told, that he stopped trying to keep a hundred or more, and held on to his 99
slaves, and long as he did that, there warn't any more deaths than births among his slaves. His slaves had to
be in the fields when the sun rose, and there they had to work steady until the sun went down. Oh! Yes,
mam, Marse Tommy Angel was mighty mean to his slaves, but Miss Jenny, his sister, was good as could be;
that is the reason she gave my mother to her sister, Miss Ca'line Sellars; because she thought Marse Tommy
was too hard on her.

"I heard some talk as to how after the slaves had worked hard in the field all day and come to the house at
night, they were whipped for mighty small offenses. Marse George would have them tied hand and foot over
a barrel and would beat them with a cowhide, or cat-o'-nine tails lash. They had a jail in Franklin as far back

(7.)

as I can recollect. Old Big Andy Angel's white folks had him put in jail a heap of times, because he was a
rogue and stole everything he could get his hands on. Nearly everybody was afraid of him; he was a great big
double jointed man, and was black as the ace of spades. No, mam, I never saw any slaves sold, but my
father's mother and his sister were sold on the block. The white folks that bought 'em took them away. After
the war was over my father tried to locate 'em, but never once did he get on the right track of 'em.

"Oh! Why, my white folks took a great deal of pains teaching their slaves how to read and write. My father
could read, but he never learned to write, and it was from our white folks that I learned to read and write.
Slaves read the Bible more than anything else. There were no churches for slaves on Marse George's
plantation, so we all went to the white folks' church, about two miles away; it was called Clarke's Chapel.
Sometimes we went to church at Cross Roads; that was about the same distance across Sugar Fork River.
My mother was baptized in that Sugar Fork River by a white preacher, but that is the reason I joined the
Baptist church, because my mother was a Baptist, and I was so crazy about her, and am 'til yet.

"There were no funeral parlors in those days. They just funeralized the dead in their own homes, took them
to the graveyard in a painted home-made coffin that was lined with thin bleaching made in the loom on the
plantation, and buried them in a grave that didn't have any bricks or cement about it. That brings to my
memory

(8.)



State: Arkansas   Interviewee: Carry Allen Patton
We farmed all my life in Arkansas and Mississippi. I married in Mississippi and we come back here before
Joe died. I live out here and in Memphis. My son is a janitor at the Sellers Brothers Store in Memphis. My
daughter cooks about here in town and I keep her children. I rather farm if I was able.

(3.)

"I think young folks, both colors, shuns work. Times is running away with itself. Folks is living too fast.
They ride too fast and drinks and do all kinds of meanness.

"My father was a mighty poor hand at talking. He said he was sold in a gang shipped to Memphis from New
Orleans. Master Allan bought him. He was a boy. I don't know how big. He cleaned fish--scaled them. He
butchered and in a few months Mr. Allen set him free. It was surrender when he was sold but Mr. Allen
didn't know it or else he meant to keep him on a few years. When he got loose he started farming and farmed
till he died. He farmed in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. He owned a place but a drouth come along.
He got in debt and white folks took it.

"I married in Mississippi. My husband immigrated from South Carolina. He was Joe Patton. I washed and
ironed and farmed. I rather farm now if I was able.

"I never got no gov'mant help. I ain't posing it. It is a fine thing. I was in Tennessee when it come on. They
said I'd have to stay here six months. I never do stay."

Interviewer Mrs. Annie L. LaCotts

Harriett Mcfarlin Payne

DeWitt, Arkansas

Age 83



Subject:
             Hardy Sellers, Chesterfield, SC
 
             Wed, 8 Nov 2000 00:48:57 EST
        From:
             Jsellars3@aol.com
 
Hi Marie,

I saw this at Ancestry.com regarding slaves of the Hardy Sellers plantation
in Chesterfield Co., SC. I noticed some were reeaserching Hardy's line.
Thought they might find this interesting.

Jim Sellars

Works Project Administration. Federal WritersProject. Slave Narratives.
[database online] Provo, UT: Ancestry.com,2000. Original data from: Works
Project Administration. Federal WritersProject. Slave Narratives: A Folk
History of Slavery in the United Statesfrom Interviews with Former Slaves.
Washington, D.C.: n.p.

Hannah Hancock of Arkansas.
Age Past 80

I was born in Chesterfield County, South Carolina. My mother's name was
Chloa. We lived on Hardy Sellers plantation. She was the white folks cook.
I et in thewhite folks kitchen sometimes and sometimes wid the other children
at maw'shouse. Show my daddy was livin. But he lived on another man's
farms.
Hismaster's name was Billy Hancock and his name was Dave. Der was a big
family ofus but dey all dead now but three of us. Ize got two sisters and a
brotherstill livin, I reckon. I ain't seed them in a long time. Mrs.
Sellers
hadseveral children but they were all married when I come along and she was
awidow. Joe Pete was her son and he lived close, about a mile across the
field,but it was farther around the road. Billy Hancock married Mrs.
Sellersdaughter. My mistress didn't do much. Miss Becky Hancock wove cloth
for people.You could get the warp ready and then run in the woof. She made
checked dressesand mingledy looking cloth. They colored the cloth brown and
purple mostly.Mrs. Sellers get a bolt of cloth and have it all made up into
dresses for thechildren. Sometimes all our family would have a dress alike.
Yesm, we did likedot. Granny made de dresses on her fingers. She was too
old to go to de fieldan she tote water from the big spring and sometimes she
water de hands when deybe hoeing.

She would cut and dry apples and peaches. Nobody knowed how to can. They
driedde beef. It show was good. It was jess fine. No maam, Granny didn't
have nopatterns. She jess made our dresses lack come in her haid. We didn't get
manydresses and we was proud of em and washed and ironed and took care of
em.

I recollects hearing de men talking about going off to war and em going.
Nojess de white men left from Mrs. Sellers place. De children didn't set
aroundand hear all that was said. They sent us off to play in the play
houses. Weswept a clean place and marked it off and had our dolls down
there.
We put inanything we could get, mostly broken dishes. Yes maam, I had rag
dolls andseveral of them. No wars real close but I could hear the guns
sometimes.

Mrs. Sellers had two large carriage horses. The colored boys took them down
inthe bottoms and took off a lot of the meat and groceries and hid them 'fo
theYankees come along. They didn't nebber fin them things. Mrs. Sellers was
awfulgood and the men jess looked after her and tock care of her. Me or maw
stayedat the house with her all the time, day and night. When anybody got
sick shesent somebody to wait on them and went to see what they needed and
sometimesshe had 'em brought up to the house and give 'em the medicine
herself. Shedidn't have no foman. Uncle Sam and uncle John was the oldest
and
uncle Henry.They was the men on the farm and they went right on with the
work. Folks hadbigger families than they do now. They show did work, but de
field work don'tlast all de time. They cleared land and fixed up the rail
fences in the winter.

A rail fence was on each side of a long lane that led down to the pasture.
Thecreek run through the pasture. It was show a pretty grove. Had corn
shuckingswhen it was cold. We played base down there. We always had meat
and
plentymilk, collards and potatoes. Old missus would drip a barrel of ashes
and makecorn hominy in the wash pot nearly every week and we made all the
soap we everdid see. If you banked the sweet potatoes they wouldn't rot and
that's wherethe seed come from in the spring. In the garden there was an
end
left to go toseed. That is the way people had any seed. Times show have
changed. I can'ttell what to think. They ain't no more like than if they
was
another kind offolks. So much different. I jess look and live. I think they
ought to listen towhat you say. Say anything to them they say "Kaint
run
my business."I don't know if they spected anything from freedom.
Seemed like they thoughtthey wouldn't have to work if dey was free and dey
wouldn't have no boss.Missus let a lot of her land grow up in pine trees. Said she
had no money topay people to work for her. Some of de families staid on. My maw
and paw wenton a farm on share not far from Mrs. Sellers. When she was
going to havecompany or she got sick she sent for my maw. My maw washed and
ironed for hertill they moved plum off. They said somebody told them it was
freedom.
When deypicked up and moved off de missus show didn't give em nothing. They
didn'tvote. They didn't know how. I heard a lot about the Ku Klux Klan but
I wasn'tscared. I never did see none.

De younger generation jess lives today and don't know what he'll do
tomorrow orwhere he'll be. I ain't never voted and I don't know if my boys do or
not.

I never heard of uprisings. De paddyroll was to see after dot and Mrs.
Sellersdidn't have none. Uncle Sem and uncle John made em mind.

Sing -- I say dey did sing. Sing about the cooking and about the milking
andsing in de field.

I never did see nobody sold. But I heard them talk about selling em. They
tookem off to sell em. That was the worst part about slavery. The families
wasbroke up. I never lived nowhere 'cept in South Carolina and Prairie
County(Arkansas). My folks come here and they kept writing for me to come,
and I comeon the train. Mrs. Sellers son, Joe Sellers, killed himself, shot
himself, oneSunday evening. Didn't know how come he dons it. I was too
little
to know whatthey expected from the war. The colored folks didn't have
nothing
to do with it'cept they expected to get freed. A heap of people went to the
cities, some ofthem died. After freedom things got pretty scarce to eat and
there was nomoney. I worked as a house girl, tended to the children,
brushed the flies offthe table and the baby when it slept and swept the house and
the yard too.After I come here (to Arkansas) I married and I worked on the
farms.
We sharecropped. I raised my children, had chickens, geese, a cow and hogs.
When thecotton was sold we got some of it. Yes maam, I show had rether be
out there ifI could jess work. We lived on Mr. Dick Small's place till he sold
out. We cometo town a year and went back and made enough in one year to buy
dis place. Itcost $300. Jess my two sons and me. The others were married.
My husband died onthe farm. I come in town and done one or two washings a
week.
Yes maam I walkedhere and back. That kept me in a little money. It was
about two miles. I washedfor Mr. L. Hall and part of the time for Mrs. Kate
Hazen.
I guess they treated usright about the crop settlement. We thought they
did.
We knowed how much wasmade and how much we got. The cheatin come at the
stores where the trading wasdone.

I lives with my son and his wife. Sometimes I do my cooking and sometimes I
eatin there. I get $8.00 from the RFC and prunes, rice, and a little dried
milk. Ibuys my meal and sugar and lard and little groceries with the money.
It don'tbuy what I used to have on the farm.

Idon't remember much about the war. I was so little. I heard them talk a
lotabout it and the way they killed folks. I thought it was awful. My
hardest timeis since I got old and can't work.

(Little Rock District, 7-11-36, FOLKLORE SUBJECTS)

Name of Interviewer Irene Robertson

Subject Spells - Voodoo -

I asked her if she believed anyone could harm her and she said not not
unlessthey could get her to eat or drink something. Then they might. She
said a Gipsywas feeling her and slipped a dollar and a quarter tied up in her
handkerchieffrom her and she never did know when or how she got it. Said
she never believedtheir tales or had her fortune told. She didn't believe
anyone could putanything under the door and because you walked over it you would
get
a "spell".She said some people did. She didn't know what they put
under the doors. Shenever was conjured that she knew of and she doesn't
believe in it. Said she hadto work too hard to tell tales to her children
but she used to sing. She can'tremember the songs she sang. She can't read or
write.

The old women is blind and gray, wears a cap. Her Mistress was Mrs. Mary
andher Master was Mr. Hardy Sellers in Chesterfield County, South Carolina.
Herhusband died and left her with six children. Her brother came with a lot
ofother fellows to Arkansas. "Everybody was coming either here on
toTexas";.
Mr. David Gates at DeValls Bluff sent her a ticket to come to hisfarm. Her
brother was working for Mr. Gates Wattensaw plantation and that iswhere she
has been till a few years ago she moved to Hazen and lives with herson and
his wife. She remembered when the Civil War soldiers took all theirfood,
mules and hitched Mrs. Sellers driving horses to the surry and drove off.

Her Mistress cried and cried. She said she had a hard time after she left
Mr.and Mrs. Sellers, they was sure good to them and always had more than
she
hadever had since. She wanted to go back to South Carolina to see the ones
sheleft but never did have the money. Said they lived on Mr. Dick Small's
placeand he was so good to her and her children but he is dead too now.

This information given by Hannah Hancock (c)

Place of Residence Hazen, Arkansas
Occupation Work in the cotton field - Cook and wash. Age 90
Sheis blind. She gets $8.00 pension, she is proud to tell.
Interviewer Samuel S. Taylor"
=====================
Possibilities =
1880  Census Place: Mount Croghan, Chesterfield, South Carolina
 Source: FHL Film 1255225  National Archives Film T9-1225     Page 355A
 Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace
Geo. HANCOCK Self M M B 25 SC
 Occ: Mechanic Fa: --- Mo: SC
Hanah HANCOCK Wife F M B 37 SC (ca 1843)
 Occ: Keeping House Fa: SC Mo: ---
Rosan HANCOCK Dau F S B 7 SC
   Fa: SC Mo: SC
Grafton HANCOCK Son M S B 4 SC
   Fa: SC Mo: SC
Levi HANCOCK Son M S B 7M SC
   Fa: --- Mo: ---

 Census Place: Mount Croghan, Chesterfield, South Carolina
 Source: FHL Film 1255225  National Archives Film T9-1225     Page 355A
 Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace
Daniel HANCOCK Self M M W 62 SC
 Occ: Farmer Fa: SC Mo: SC
Elizabeth HANCOCK Wife F M W 57 SC
 Occ: Keeping House Fa: SC Mo: SC

 Census Place: Mount Croghan, Chesterfield, South Carolina
 Source: FHL Film 1255225  National Archives Film T9-1225     Page 355A
 Relation Sex Marr Race Age Birthplace
Flory SELLERS Self F W W 82 NC
 Occ: Keeping House Fa: SCOT Mo: SCOT
Henry HANNA Other M S B 22 SC
 Occ: Laborer On Farm Fa: --- Mo: ---