"I was born near three mile from Dayton. That's over in Tennessee, and it was the sixteenth of February, in 1856. Master's name was Major John Day and my father's name was Alfred Day, and he was a first-class blacksmith. Blacksmithin' was a real trade them days, and my father made axes and hoes and plow shares and knives and even Jew's harps.
"Master was good to my father and when he done done de day's work he could work and keep the money he made. He'd work till midnight, sometimes, and at de end that war he had fifteen hundred dollars in Confederate money. I never seen such a worker.
"Master John thunk lots of father but he took de notion to sell him one time, 'cause why, he could git a lot of money for him. He sold him, but my mama and even Old Missy, cried and took on so dat Master John went after de men what bought him, to git him back. Dey already done crossed de river, but master calls and dey brung my father back and he give dem de money back. Dat de only time master sold one of us.
"He was a preacher and good to us, never beat none of us. He didn't have no overseer, but saw to all de work heself. He had twenty-five slaves and raised wheat and corn and oats and vegetables and fruit. He had four hundred acres and a house with twelve rooms.
"A man what owned a farm jinin' ourn, de houses half a mile apart. He had two slaves, Taylor and Jennie, and he whip dem every day, even if dey hadn't done nothin'. He allus beatin' on dem, seemed like. One awful cold day in February, Taylor done go to Denton for somethin', and when he come back his master starts beatin' on him, and cursed him somethin' awful. He kep' it up till my mama, her name was Mariah, gits a butcher knife and runs out dere and say, 'Iffen you hits him 'nother lick, I'll use this on you.' Old Missy was watchin' and backed her up. So he quit beatin' on Taylor dat time. But one day dat white man's own son say to him, 'Iffen you don't quit beatin' on dem niggers, I'll knock you in de head.' Den he quit.
"Master was in de Confederate army. He gits to be a major and after he done come out dat war he sho' hated anythin' what was blue color. I got hold a old Yankee cap and coat and is wearin' dem and master yanks dem off and burns dem.
"We heared dem guns in de Lookout Mountain battle. Dey sounded like thunder, rumblin' low. One day de Feds done take Dayton and de soldiers goes by our place to drive dem Feds out. Dere a valley 'bout two miles wide 'twixt our place and Dayton and we could see de Confederate soldiers till dey go up de hill on de other side. Long in evenin' de Confederates come back through dat valley and they was travelin' with dem Yankees right after dem. Dey come by our house and we was gittin' out de way, all right. Old Missy took all us chillen, black and white, and puts us under half a big hogshead, down in de stormhouse.
"De Yankees got to de place and 'gin ransack it. Old Missy done lock dat stormhouse door and sot down on it and she wouldn't git up when dey done tell her to. So dey takes her by de arms and lifts her off it. Dey didn't hurt her any. Den dey brekks de lock and comes down in dere. I didn't see whay dey hadn't found us kids, 'cause my heart beatin' like de hammer. Dey turned dat hogshead over and all us kids skinned out dere like de Devil after us. One de Yanks hollers, 'Look what we done hatch out!'
"I tore out past de barn, thinkin' I'd go to mama, in de field, but it look like all de Yanks in de world jumpin' dere hosses over dat fence, so I whirls round and run in dat barn and dives in a stack of hay and buries myself so deep de folks like to never found me. Dey hunted all over de place befo' dey done found me. Us kids scart 'cause we done see dem Yanks' bayonets and thunk dey was dere horns.
"Dem Yanks done take all de flour and meal and wheat and corn and smoked meat. After dat master fixes up a place in de ceilin' to store stuff, and a trap door so when it closed you couldn't tell its dere.
"I lives in and round de old place till 1910, den comes to Texas. I jist works round and farms and gits by, but I ain't never done nothin' worth tellin'.