"I's borned in Grimes County, ninety years ago. Dat am long time, child. It am heap of change since den. We couldn't see dem airplanes flyin' in de air and hear folks sing and talk a thousand miles away. When I's de young'un de fartheres' you could hear anybody am 'bout a quarter mile and den dey has to holler like a stuck hawg.
"My massa's name am John Mueldrew and he have a small plantation near Navasota, and 'bout twenty cullud folks, mos' of 'em 'lated to each other. There was seven chillen in mammy's family and I's de baby. Pappy dies when I's a year old, so I don't 'member him.
"Dey larnt me to weave cloth and sew, and my brudder am de shoemaker. My mammy tend de cows and Uncle John am de carpenter. De Lawd bless us with de good massa. Massa John die befo' de war and Missie Mary marries Massa Mike Hendricks, and he good, too. But him die and young Massa Jim Mueldrow take charge, and him jus' as kind as he pappy.
"Nother thing am change a heap. Dat buyin' all us wears and eats. Gosh 'mighty, when I's de gall, it am awful li'l us buys. Us raise nearly all to eat and wear, and has good home-raised meat and all de milk and butter us wants, and fruit and 'lasses and eggs and tea and coffee onct a week. Now I has to live on $7.00 a month and what place am I bes' off? Sho', on de massa's place.
"We'uns has Sundays off and goes to church. Old man Buffington preaches to us after dinner. Dere am allus de party on Saturday night on our place or some other place nearby. We gits de pass and it say what time to be home. It de rule, twelve o'clock. We dances de quadrille and sings and sich. De music am fiddles.
"But de big time and de happy time for all us cullud folks am Christmas. De white folks has de tree in de big house and somethin' for all us. When Missie Mary holler, 'Santa Claus 'bout due,' us all gathers at de door and purty soon Santa 'pears with de red coat and long, white whiskers, in de room all lit with candles. He gives us each de sack of candy and a pair of shoes from de store. Massa never calls for work from Christmas to New Year's, 'cept chores. Dat whole week am for cel'bration. So you sees how good massa am.
"Young Massa Jim and Sam jines de army and I helps make dere army clothes. I's 'bout fourteen den. Lots of young men goes and lots never comes back. Sam gits his right leg shot off and dies after he come home, but Jim lives. Den surrender come and Massa Jim read de long paper. He say, 'I 'splain to yous. It de order from de gov'ment what make it 'gainst de law to keep yous slaves.' You should seed dem cullud folks. Dey jus' plumb shock. Dere faces long as dere arm, and so pester dey don't know what to say or do.
"Massa never say 'nother word and walks away. De cullud folks say, 'Where we'uns gwine live? What we'uns gwine do?' Dey frets all night. Nex' mornin' massa say, 'What you'uns gwine do?' Uncle John say, 'When does we have to go?' Den massa laughs hearty and say dey can stay for wages or work on halves.
"Well, sir, dere a bunch of happy cullud folks after dey larnt dey could stay and work, and my folks stays nearly two years after 'mancipation. Den us all move to Navasota and hires out as cooks. I cooks till I's eighteen and den marries John Love. He am de carpenter and right off builds a house on land he buy from Dr. Terrell, he old massa. I has four chillen, and dey all dead now. He died in 1881, 'way from home. He's on his way to Austin and draps dead from some heart mis'ry. Dat am big sorrow in my life. There I is, with chillen to support, so I goes to cookin' 'gain and we has some purty close times, but I does it and sends dem to school. I don't want dem to be like dey mammy, a unknowledge person.
"After eight years I marries Dave Reece and has two chillen. He am de Baptis' preacher and have a good church till he died, in 1923. Den soon after I gits de letter from old Missie Mary, and she am awful sick. She done write and visit me all dem years since I lef' de old plantation. I draps everything and goes to her and she am awful glad to see me. She begs me not to go back home, and one day she dies sudden-like with a heart mis'ry. She de bes' friend I ever has.
"I comes to Fort Worth in 1926 and lives with my daughter. I's paralyze in de right side and can't work no more, and it am fine I has de good daughter."