Callie Shepherd

I's native born right down here at Gilmer on de old place and Miss Fannie could tell you de same if she could be in your presence, but she went on to Glory many a year ago. She de one what raised me, right in de house with her own chillen. I slep' right in de house, in de chillens' room, in a little trundle bed what jus' pushed back under de big bed when de mornin' come. If her chillen et one side de table I et t'other side, right by Miss Fannie's elbow.

Miss Fannie, she Dr. Steven's wife and dey from Georgia and lived near Gilmer till de doctor goes off to de war and takes a sickness what he ain't never get peart from and died. Died right there on de old place. He was a right livin' man and dey allus good to me and my mammy, what dey done brought from Georgia and she de main cook.

My mammy don't think they ain't nobody like Miss Fannie. My mammy, she a little red-Indian nigger woman not so big as me, and Miss Fanny tell her, 'Don't you cry 'cause dey tryin' make freedom, 'cause de doctor done say we is gwine help you raise your babies.'

Some de niggers don't like de treatment what dey white folks gives 'em and dey run away to de woods. I'd hear de nigger dogs a-runnin' and when dey cotch de niggers dey bites 'em all over and tears dey clothes and gits de skin, too. And de niggers, dey'd holler. I seed 'em whip de niggers, 'cause dey tolt de chillen to look. Dey buckled 'em down on de groun' and laid it on dey backs. Sometimes dey laid on with a mighty heavy hand. But I ain't never git no whippin' 'cause I never went with de cullud gen'ration. I set right in de buggy with de white chillen and went to hear Gospel preachin'.

I danced at de balls in de sixteen figure round sets and everybody in dem parts say I de principal dancer, but I gits 'ligion and left de old way to live in de 'termination to live beyon' dis vale of tears.

I have my trib'lations after my old daddy die, 'cause he good to us little chillen. But my next daddy a man mighty rough on us. Dat after Miss Fannie done gone back to Georgia and my back done hurt me all de time from pullin' fodder and choppin' cotton. It make a big indif'rence after Miss Fannie gone, and de war de cause of it all. I heered de big cannons goin' on over there jus' like de bigges' clap of thunder.

Me and de little chillen playin' in de road makin' frog houses out of sand when we hear de hosses comin'. We looks and see de budallions shinin' in de sun and de sojers have tin cups tied on side dere saddles and throwed dem cups to us chillen as dey passed. Dey say war is over and we is free. Miss Fannie say she a Seay from Georgia and she go back dere, but I jus' stay on where I's native born."