Silvia King, French Negress of Marlin, Texas, does not know her age, but says that she was born in Morocco. She was stolen from her husband and three children, brought to the United States and sold into slavery. Silvia has the appearance of extreme age, and may be close to a hundred years old, as she thinks she is, because of her memories of the children she never saw again and of the slave ship.

"I know I was borned in Morocco, in Africa, and was married and had three chillen befo' I was stoled from my husband. I don't know who it was stole me, but dey took me to France, to a place called Bordeaux, and drugs me with some coffee, and when I knows anything 'bout it, I's in de bottom of a boat with a whole lot of other niggers. It seem like we was in dat boat forever, but we comes to land, and I's put on de block and sold. I finds out afterwards from my white folks it was in New Orleans where dat block was, but I didn't know it den.

"We was all chained and dey strips all our clothes off and de folks what gwine buy us comes round and feels us all over. Iffen any de niggers don't want to take dere clothes off, de man gits a long, black whip and cuts dem up hard. I's sold to a planter what had a big plantation in Fayette County, right here in Texas, don't know no name 'cept Marse Jones.

"Marse Jones, he am awful good, but de overseer was de meanest man I ever knowed, a white man name Smith, what boasts 'bout how many niggers he done kilt. When Marse Jones seed me on de block, he say, 'Dat's a whale of a woman.' I's scairt and can't say nothin', 'cause I can't speak English. He buys some more slaves and dey chains us together and marches us up near La Grange, in Texas. Marse Jones done gone on ahead and de overseer marches us. Dat was a awful time, 'cause us am all chained up and whatever one does us all has to do. If one drinks out of de stream we all drinks, and when one gits tired or sick, de rest has to drag and carry him. When us git to Texas, Marse Jones raise de debbil with dat white man what had us on da march. He git de doctor man and tell de cook to feed us and lets us rest up.

"After 'while, Marse Jones say to me, 'Silvia, am you married?' I tells him I got a man and three chillen back in de old country, but he don't understand my talk and I has a man give to me. I don't bother with dat nigger's name much, he jes' Bob to me. But I fit him good and plenty till de overseer shakes a blacksnake whip over me.

"Marse Jones and Old Miss finds out 'bout my cookin' and takes me to de big house to cook for dem. De dishes and things was awful queer to me, to what I been brung up to use in France. I mostly cooks after dat, but I's de powerful big woman when I's young and when dey gits in a tight [Handwritten Note: 'place?'] I helps out.

"'Fore long Marse Jones 'cides to move. He allus say he gwine git where he can't hear he neighbor's cowhorn, and he do. Dere ain't nothin' but woods and grass land, no houses, no roads, no bridges, no neighbors, nothin' but woods and wild animals. But he builds a mighty fine house with a stone chimney six foot square at de bottom. The sill was a foot square and de house am made of logs, but dey splits out two inch plank and puts it outside de logs, from de ground clean up to de eaves. Dere wasn't no nails, but dey whittles out pegs. Dere was a well out de back and a well on de back porch by de kitchen door. It had a wheel and a rope. Dere was 'nother well by de barns and one or two round de quarters, but dey am fixed with a long pole sweep. In de kitchen was de big fireplace and de big back logs am haul to de house. De oxen pull dem dat far and some men takes poles and rolls dem in de fireplace. Marse Jones never 'low dat fire go out from October till May, and in de fall Marse or one he sons lights de fire with a flint rock and some powder.

"De stores was a long way off and de white folks loans seed and things to each other. If we has de toothache, de blacksmith pulls it. My husband manages de ox teams. I cooks and works in Old Miss's garden and de orchard. It am big and fine and in fruit time all de women works from light to dark dryin' and 'servin' and de like.

"Old Marse gwine feed you and see you quarters am dry and warm or know de reason why. Most ev'ry night he goes round de quarters to see if dere any sickness or trouble. Everybody work hard but have plenty to eat. Sometimes de preacher tell us how to git to hebben and see de ring lights dere.

"De smokehouse am full of bacon sides and cure hams and barrels lard and 'lasses. When a nigger want to eat, he jes' ask and git he passel. Old Miss allus 'pend on me to spice de ham when it cure. I larnt dat back in de old country, in France.

"Dere was spinnin' and weavin' cabins, long with a chimney in each end. Us women spins all de thread and weaves cloth for everybody, de white folks, too. I's de cook, but times I hit de spinnin' loom and wheel fairly good. Us bleach de cloth and dyes it with barks.

"Dere allus de big woodpile in de yard, and de big, caboose kettle for renderin' hawg fat and beef tallow candles and makin' soap. Marse allus have de niggers take some apples and make cider, and he make beer, too. Most all us had cider and beer when we want it, but nobody git drunk. Marse sho' cut up if we do.

"Old Miss have de floors sanded, dat where you sprinkles fine, white sand over da floor and sweeps it round in all kinds purty figgers. Us make a corn shuck broom.

"Marse sho' a fool 'bout he hounds and have a mighty fine pack. De boys hunts wolves and painters (panthers) and wild game like dat. Dere was lots of wild turkey and droves of wild prairie chickens. Dere was rabbits and squirrels and Indian puddin', make of cornmeal. It am real tasty. I cooks goose and pork and mutton and bear meat and beef and deer meat, den makes de fritters and pies and dumplin's. Sho' wish us had dat food now.

"On de cold winter night I's sot many a time spinnin' with two threads, one in each hand and one my feets on de wheel and de baby sleepin' on my lap. De boys and old men was allus whittlin' and it wasn't jes' foolishment. Dey whittles traps and wooden spoons and needles to make seine nets and checkers and sleds. We all sits workin' and singin' and smokin' pipes. I likes my pipe right now, and has two clay pipes and keeps dem under de pillow. I don't aim for dem pipes to git out my sight. I been smokin' clost to a hunerd years now and it takes two cans tobaccy de week to keep me goin'.

"Dere wasn't many doctors dem days, but allus de closet full of simples (home remedies) and most all de old women could git med'cine out de woods. Ev'ry spring, Old Miss line up all de chillen and give dem a dose of garlic and rum.

"De chillen all played together, black and white. De young ones purty handy trappin' quail and partridges and sech. Dey didn't shoot if dey could cotch it some other way, 'cause powder and lead am scarce. Dey cotch de deer by makin' de salt lick, and uses a spring pole to cotch pigeons and birds.

"De black folks gits off down in de bottom and shouts and sings and prays. Dey gits in de ring dance. It am jes' a kind of shuffle, den it git faster and faster and dey gits warmed up and moans and shouts and claps and dances. Some gits 'xhausted and drops out and de ring gits closer. Sometimes dey sings and shouts all night, but come break of day, de nigger got to git to he cabin. Old Marse got to tell dem de tasks of de day.

"Old black Tom have a li'l bottle and have spell roots and water in it and sulphur. He sho' could find out if a nigger gwine git whipped. He have a string tie round it and say, 'By sum Peter, by sum Paul, by de Gawd dat make us all, Jack don't you tell me no lie, if marse gwine whip Mary, tell me.' Sho's you born, if dat jack turn to de laft, de nigger git de whippin', but if marse ain't makeup he mind to whip, dat jack stand and quiver.

"You white folks jes' go through de woods and don't know nothin'. Iffen you digs out splinters from de north side a old pine tree what been struck by lightnin', and gits dem hot in a iron skillet and burns dem to ashes, den you puts dem in a brown paper sack. Iffen de officers gits you and you gwine have it 'fore de jedge, you gits de sack and goes outdoors at midnight and hold de bag of ashes in you hand and look up at de moon—but don't you open you mouth. Nex' mornin' git up early and go to de courthouse and sprinkle dem ashes in de doorway and dat law trouble, it gwine git tore up jes' like de lightnin' done tore up dat tree.

"De shoestring root am powerful strong. Iffen you chews on it and spits a ring round de person what you wants somethin' from, you gwine git it. You can git more money or a job or most anythin' dat way. I had a black cat bone, too, but it got away from me.

"I's got a big frame and used to weigh a hunerd pounds, but day tells me I only weighs a hunerd now. Dis Louis Southern I lives with, he's de youngest son of my grandson, who was de son of my youngest daughter. My marse, he knowed Gen. Houston and I seed him many a time. I lost what teeth I had a long time ago and in 1920 two more new teeth come through. Dem teeth sho' did worry me and I's glad when dey went, too.