Reeves Tucker

"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 Selma and Maplesville. My brothers was Andy and John and Peter and there was two girls, Anne 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 too 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'. So 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 times after freedom, like some niggers, 'cause we just sot down on the land."