Jake Terriell

Jake Terriell, born a slave of Felix Terriell in Raleigh, South Carolina, does not know his age. He was grown and married at the close of the Civil War, so is probably in the 90's. He lives in Madisonville, Texas.

"Pappy and mammy was called Tom and Jane and they's cotched in Africy and brung to America and sold. My brother was called James and my sisters Lucindy and Sally. Massa Felix Terriell owned me and pappy and mammy but when I's still a chile he done give me to he son, Massa Dalton Terriell.

"My papy was de wild man and he so wild Massa Felix have to keep him locked up at night and in de chains by day to keep him from runnin' off. He had to wear de chains in de field and den he couldn't run fast.

"Massa Dalton growed de tobaccy. He was a good massa and give me de nickel and de dime sometime and I'd buy candy. He have lots of slaves and de cook fix our grub in big old skillets. We allus have de cornbread and de syrup and some meat. I likes possum cooked with sweet 'taters.

"Missy Mary try larn me read and write but I never did care for de book larnin'. Massa wake us 'bout four o'clock with de great iron and hammer and us work long as us could see.

"Massa didn't have to whip us but I seed pappy whip, with de rawhide with nine tails. He got thirty-nine licks and every lick, it brung de blood.

"I seed slaves sold and you has heared cattle bawl when de calves took from de mammy and dat de way de slaves bawls. When massa sell de slave he make 'em wash up and grease de face good and stand up straight and he fatten 'em jus' like you do hawgs to sell. I had de good massa. He was good to black debbils, what he call us niggers. Us could rest when us git to de quarters or go by de big tank and take de bath, and every Saturday night us git de holiday and have banjo and tin pan beatin' and dance. On Christmas massa kilt de big hawg and us fix it jus' like us wants and have big dinner.

"Massa have doctor when us sick. He say us too val'ble. If us sold us brung 'bout $1,000. Old mammy could fix de charm and git us well. She gather bark and make de tea. Most us sickness chill and fever. Sometime a slave git leg broke and massa say he no more 'count and finish him up with de club.

"Massa nearly kilt in de fightin' and he had he doctor write missy to set us free. I had two wives and missy said I couldn't keep but one, so I takes Mary and us starts out for Texas, a-foot. Us most starved to death 'fore us got here and then us have hard time. But dere plenty wild meat and dat what us lived on three, four year. Us had two chillen and den she dies and I marry a half-Indian gal and she died. Us jus' 'greed to live together in dem days, no weddin'. Then I marries Lucie Grant and us have 11 chillen and de preacher calls us man and wife. I's pappy to 17 chillen and I don't know how many grandchillen. Lucie say more'n a hun'erd."