Mandy Morrow

Mandy Morrow, 80, was born a slave of Ben Baker, near Georgetown, Texas. Mr. Baker owned Mandy's grandparents, parents, three brothers and one sister. After she was freed, Mandy was Gov. Stephen Hogg's cook while he occupied the Governor's Mansion in Austin. She married several times and gave birth to eight children. Two of her sons were in the World War and one was killed in action. She now receives a $11.00 Old Age Pension check each month, and lives at 3411 Prairie Ave., Fort Worth, Texas.

"Massa, I don' know 'zactly how old I is, 'cause I never gits de statement from my massa. My daddy keep dat record in he Bible and I don't know who has it. But I's old 'nough for to 'member de war 'cause I carries uncle's lunch to him and sees de 'federate sojers practicin'.

"One day I stops a li'l while and watch de sojers and dey am practicin' shootin', and I seed one sojer drap after de shot. Den dere lots of 'citement, and sho' 'nough, dat sojer dead. Dey says it's a accident.

"I's born in Burnet County on Massa's farm, and I has three brothers call Lewis and Monroe and Hale, and one sister, Mollie. Most de time Massa am in de town, 'cause he have blacksmith shop dere. From what I's larnt by talk with other slaves, we's lucky slaves, 'cause dere no sich thing as whippin' on our farm. Sho', dere's spankin's, and I's de one what gits dem from my mammy, 'cause I's de pestin' chile, into something all de time. I gits in de devilment.

"Massa smoked and I 'cides to try it, so I gits one old pipe and some home-cured tobaccy and goes to de barn and covers up with de hay. Mammy miss me, 'cause everything am quiet 'round. She look for me and come to de barn and hears de crinklin' of de hay. She pulls me out of dat and den dere am plenty of fire put on my rear and I sees lots of smoke. I sho' 'members dat 'sperience!

"We all lives in one big family, 'cept us have dinin' room for de cullud folks. Grandpappy am de carpenter and 'cause of dat us quarters fixed fine and has reg'lar windows and handmade chairs and a real wood floor.

"Mammy and my grandma am cooks and powerful good and dey's larnt me and dat how I come to be a cook. Like everybody dem times, us raise everything and makes preserves and cure de meats. De hams and bacons am smoked. Dere am no hickory wood 'round but we uses de corncobs and dey makes de fine flavor in de meat. Many's de day I watches de fire in dat smokehouse and keeps it low, to git de smoke flavor. I follows de cookin' when I gits big and goes for myself and I never wants for de job.

"When surrender breaks all us stay with Massa for good, long spell. When pappy am ready to go for hisself, Massa gives him de team of mules and de team of oxen and some hawgs and one cow and some chickens. Dat give him de good start.

"My uncle gits de blacksmith shop from de Massa and den him and pappy goes together and does de blacksmithin' and de haulin'. I stays in Georgetown 'bout 20 year and den I goes to Austin and dere I works for de big folks. After I been dere 'bout five year, Gov'nor James Stephen Hogg sends for me to be cook in de Mansion and dat de best cook job I's ever had. De gov'nor am mighty fine man and so am he wife. She am not of de good health and allus have de misery, and befo' long she say to me, 'Mandy, I's gwineter 'pend on you without my watchin'.' Massa Hogg allus say I does wonders with dat food and him proud fer to have him friends eat it.

"Yes, suh, de Gov'nor am de good man. You knows, when he old nigger mammy die in Temple, him drap all he work and goes to de fun'ral and dat show him don't forgit de kindness.

"No, suh, I don't know de names of de people what comes to de Mansion to eat. I hears dem talk but how you 'spose dis igno'mus nigger unnerstand what dey talks 'bout. Lawd A-mighty! Dey talks and talks and one thing make 'pression on my mind. De Gov'nor talk lots 'bout railroads.

"I works for de Gov'nor till he wife die and den I's quit, 'cause I don't want bossin' by de housekeeper what don't know much 'bout cookin' and am allus fustin' 'round.

"I cooks here and yonder and den gits mixed up with dat marriage. De fust hitch lasts 'bout one year and de nex' hitch lasts 'bout two year and 'bout four years later I tries it 'gain and dat time it lasts till I has two chillen. Three year dat hitch lasts. After 'while I marries Sam Morrow and dat hitch sticks till Sam dies in 1917. I has six chillen by him.

"My two oldes' boys jines de army and goes to France and de young one gits kilt and de other comes home. All my chillen scattered now and I don't know where they's at. In 1920 I's married de last time and dat hitch lasts ten years and us sep'rate in 1930, 'cause dat man am no good. What for I wants a man what ain't of de service to me? If I wants de pet, den I gits de dawg or de cat. Shucks! It didn't take me long. When dey don't satisfy dis nigger, I transports dem.

"De last five and six year I does li'l work, 'cause I don't have no substance to me no more. I's jus' 'bout wore out. I gits dat pension from de state every month and with dat $11.00 I has to git on."