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Recollections of the Inhabitants, Localities, Superstitions, and KuKlux Outrages of the Carolinas. By a "Carpet-Bagger" Who Was Born and Lived There:
Electronic Edition.

Green, John Patterson, b. 1845.


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First edition, 2004
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Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
2004.

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(title page) Recollections of the Inhabitants, Localities, Superstitions, and KuKlux Outrages of the Carolinas. By a "Carpet-Bagger" Who Was Born and Lived There
A "Carpet-Bagger"
205 p.
[Cleveland?]
[s. n.]
1880.

Call number C917 G79r (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)


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Illustration

[Title Page Image]


RECOLLECTIONS
OF THE
INHABITANTS, LOCALITIES, SUPERSTITIONS,
AND
KUKLUX OUTRAGES
OF THE CAROLINAS.
BY A
"CARPET-BAGGER"
WHO WAS BORN AND
LIVED THERE.

1880.
Verso

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, in the office of the
Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


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        TO THE
CARPET-BAGGERS OF THE SOUTH:
THOSE UNSWERVING REPUBLICANS
TO WHOSE FIDELITY AND SAGACITY THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED
STATES ARE INDEBTED FOR THE SUCCESSFUL
CONSUMMATION OF THE
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE SOUTH,
THIS UNPRETENTIOUS VOLUME IS RESPECTFULLY
DEDICATED, BY

        THE AUTHOR.


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TO THE PUBLIC.

        The following work possesses the merit of truthfulness, whatever else may be said of it. We make no apology for its appearance or its contents. We believe some things pertaining to the people of the South and its peculiar customs and prejudices, not to be found in any other work, are to be found in this. If it shall add to the general stock of information, our highest hopes and expectations shall have been realized.

THE AUTHOR.


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TABLE OF CONTENTS.


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CHAPTER I.

        General Introduction.--Description of a Southern Village.--Our Beasts of Burden and Vehicles.--"First Mondays."--A Humorous Incident.

        The early days of the Summer of 1872 found three fathers, three mothers and five children residing in the quiet little village of Hudsonville, South Carolina. Driven by fate and the results of the recent great rebellion, the effects of which were still agitating all that section of the Southern country, we had changed our places of abode in other States and pitched our humble tents in this section of the United States, with the avowed intent of commencing life anew, and "making up by sober, industrious effort, so far as the ability lay in us, for lost time." We were all members of that much abused, but exceedingly patient class, known in this country as "colored people," a term which embraces all who have within their veins a single drop of African blood, from the sable brother who traces his lineal ancestors, on both sides, directly from the banks of the Congo and the Nubian plains, and boasts of his unadulterated blood, to the flaxen-haired octoroon, who leads captive the heart of her unwary Anglo-Saxon


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admirer, that never associates her in his mind with any member of the "despised race."

        Jones, the eldest of the three, was a native Southerner, "to the manor born," (a favorite phrase, by the way, in that section,) and had left the home of his nativity, only sixty miles to the northeast of our present place of abode; in fact, having passed the greater part of his manhood as an intinerant carpenter, he was well acquainted not only with every town and hamlet of any note in all that region of country, but he was deeply versed in the avenues of travel leading to them; which was a very important acquisition in a section of country where there were no railroads, and where the tourist was relegated to the usages in vogue before the advent of the Christian era. He knew the names and places of residence of every property-holder of any note as well, and, had the records and maps of the country been lost, I verily believe he could have located more than one half the farms, and given them "metes and bounds" from his retentive memory, for stakes and stones and "blazed" trees were as familiar to him as the ordinary thoroughfares of business are to the metropolitan merchant. He could no more part with the services of his friendly pipe than he could with his "better half," and when comfortably ensconced by the side of a glowing hickory fire on a winter's night, with his pipe well filled, he could "spin yarns" by the hour.


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        Brown was the junior of Jones, and, while he had not the same degree of experience concerning country life, yet he made it his boast that he knew "a thing or two," because he had spent several years as a resident of that great hive of industry, New York--a name, the very mention of which to the average rustic of the South, causes his eyes to dilate like miniature saucers and animates his curiosity. Brown was impulsive; he preferred fighting to eating; he carried his revolver and bowie knife, and bore the reputation in all that section of being "a bad man," of which epithet, as applied to him, he was very proud.

        Of the writer hereof but little need be said, since he is to take a very unimportant part in the events which shall be related--scarcely more than that of a faithful scribe, who will undertake to note down a truthful account of the events in their regular order. Suffice it to say then, that, while he acknowledged the "Old North State" (North Carolina) as the home of his nativity, yet, having escaped thence during his tender childhood, shunning the baleful effects of that social ulcer, slavery, and seeking a healthy atmosphere, where he could grow to the full stuture of manhood, he had found that garden spot of the whole earth, the noble Western Reserve of the great State of Ohio, where, surrounded by kind friends, loving hearts and institutions of learning, he had succeeded in acquiring a


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sufficient store of knowledge to partially appreciate his own infirmities and the necessities of his race, and he had now returned to the Sunny South with a burning zeal to do something in his day for the common good, and build up for himself and family an honorable name among the sons of men.

        We had not tarried long in Hudsonville before we began to think that we had made a mistake in locating: for, while this village was quite noteworthy in some respects, yet, for men without capital, having aspirations socially and financially, it was as barren as a desert. A court-house, jail, post-office, three churches, four large warehouses, five stores and about fifty dwellings, scattered at irregular intervals along half a dozen streets and accommodating from two hundred and fifty to three hundred souls, comprised the village. The inhabitants of this little place were composed almost exclusively of the owners of the large cotton plantations, which lay on three sides of it, and their families and dependents, if we except two or three storekeepers, who supplied the wants of this small community. Socially, they formed a little literary coterie, or mutual admiration society among themselves, at whose doors no "foreigner" (as they significantly termed all persons from the North) need knock. They sent to Charleston for their extra provisions, drew their latest fashions from Charleston, and derived their newspapers and


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general inspiration from the same source. They had heard of Calhoun, Rhett, Hayne, Pinckney, and other states' rights champions, and worshipped their names, but cared little for aught else; and, aside from attending church and rendering an occasional parlor theatrical, they had little amusement. For a colored person, possessing any of those finer qualities of soul or intellect, such as distinguish one from the "ignoble herd," there was no affiliation, no inspiration, no life, save such as could be found among the plantation hands, who, though frequently pure hearted and innocent in their dealings, were, nevertheless, covered by such a dark pall of ignorance and superstition, bequeathed to them by their former taskmasters, as rendered them unfit for the ordinary demands of society. There was no business there for a man without a trade, or capital with which to undertake some speculative enterprise; and as for the learned professions, such as medicine and law, no one thought of embarking in the practice of either, unless his acquaintance was coextensive with the county and his reserve fund considerable.

        There were at least twelve days in the year, however, that would have been considered as exceptions to the rule in Hudsonville; when monotony gave place to variety, and the appearance of the public square was altogether changed. These were the "First Mondays"


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of each and every month; days made famous in the State of South Carolina by reason of the fact that the sheriffs of the different counties were accustomed to offer for sale at the county seats such property as fell to their lot to sell, by virtue of their official capactiy. There were a class of hardy men who made it their business to drive wagons over the territory of that and adjacent states, bartering and selling goods, especially tobacco, horses and mules. They came, generally, from the western section of the State of North Carolina, where there are numerous tobacco manufactories and some live stock worthy of note. As they progressed along their route they were in the habit of selling to persons remote from commercial centers, and when they could not obtain money for their wares they would barter them away for such produce as they could dispose of in the large towns, such as hides, corn, bacon, flour and the like. These "wagoners" kept well posted regarding "First Mondays," and they became in the course of time to be one of the most prominent features of the day. They began to arrive early in the day, with dogs and other animals hitched on behind, and as they ranged themselves in semicircular form on the public square they presented quite a picturesque appearance. They were generally men of much experience, and not unfrequently included among their number persons of desperate character, especially when excited from the


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effect of strong drink. Hence these days became noted far and wide as occasions of strife, and sometimes bloodshed. On such occasions knives were freely used, and the revolver was an indispensable means of protection.

        As these lines are being penned the writer recollects an occasion when about a dozen men, veterans of the Confederate army, were seated on the side of a hill in close proximity to his place of abode. They had numerous bottles of brandy peaches and cherries (the sale of whisky and brandy in any other form being forbidden by law on those days), all of which they greedily devoured, and speedily became intoxicated. They then recounted their deeds of valor upon the field of battle during the great rebellion; told how many "Yanks" they had killed, and exhibited, in one or two instances, trinkets manufactured from the bones of our poor Union soldiers. After that they boasted of the "niggers" they had owned before the war, and told how much they regretted the loss of them. It happened that among these men there was one whose race was not well defined. He was a peculiar looking man--not exactly white, nor yet was he sufficiently dark to be classed with the colored people by one not well acquainted with him. He was familiarly known as "Colonel." In his day Colonel had owned a few slaves, and to a certain extent he had affiliated with the white portion of the


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community. During this maudlin performance on the part of the men referred to, the conversation turned on the pedigree of the various members of the party, and each in turn gave his, so far as he could. Smith said his ancestors came over direct from England and landed at Jamestown; Scott said he could trace his pedigree to the Scottish bard of the same name, and he was not certain but that some of the Burns family were distantly related to some of his ancestors; O'Neil referred the gentleman to his illustrious Irish ancestry, of which he seemed to be very proud; but, when it came to the Colonel's turn to speak, he was as silent as the tomb, and opened not his mouth. "Come, Colonel," said Smith, "none of that now; show up; no dodging." "That's so," they all rhymed in chorus. "Tell us where you came from." "Well, gentlemen," said the Colonel, hesitating," "if I must tell you, I believe I am Portugese." "PORTUGESE NIGGER!" exclaimed Smith with much emphasis, and then there was a general laugh, and all took a drink at the expense of the blushing Colonel. Later in the evening these men mounted their horses and rode violently through the streets of the village, yelling like wild Indians, terrifying the souls of timid women and children, and concluding the performance by cutting one of their own number severely with a knife. During the early part of this same afternoon an incident of a rather humorous nature


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took place, which was characteristic of the men and customs.

        A young man who had imbibed rather freely, and was confident respecting his physical ability, said he was a tinker and "spoiling for a fight;" he had challenged several persons to a fight at fisticuffs, and in one or two instances he had even shaken his fist in the faces of men. He continued to run around the square, daring some one to knock a chip off of his shoulder, without meeting with the slightest success. Brown, one of our party, was at that time keeping a grocery facing the public square. The building occupied by him was built on the side of a hill, and the intervening depression in front had been filled with sawdust; just the place for throwing somersaults. Brown was very busy with his customers, when the young man "Spoiling for a fight" entered his store and said "I'm a tinker;" receiving no attention from any one, he repeated the assertion, "I'm a tinker, I am!" At that instant Brown turned, seized the youth by the collar of his coat and the waistband of his pantaloons, and threw him. Some said the misguided "tinker" turned a triple somersault; that I cannot vouch for, but this much can truly be said: when he came down he struck on his head, and the last that was seen of him he was sitting beneath a tree, mopping his brow and wiping the blood from his nose, while he perchance ruminated in his mind over the uncertainties of life.


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        These days, however, were few and far between, and could not be relied upon. Under these circumstances, the aforesaid trio were not long in concluding to visit a neighboring town of some commercial pretensions, for the purpose of prosecuting an investigation with a view to an ultimate change of our place of residence. In this section of the country, those avenues of thrift and progress, rail roads, were then, as now, little in use, and as a means of conveyance our choice lay between walking and buggy riding; but as the proposed route lay through sands and rough lands, we were not long in selecting the latter. Our stock were not such as to attract the eye of a connoisseur, or even to reflect credit upon the equine species in that vicinity, as a slight description of them will readily prove. Jones had a little bay mare, of nervous temperament, slightly over-fed, and anxious to exhibit her vivacity to the average observer. In short, she would run away whenever opportunity offered. But Jones was very proud of her, called her Fannie, and made a regular pet of her. Brown had a large sorrel horse, of very angular appearance, whose hip bones were so very prominent as to be suggestive of hat pins, while his spinal column and heavy ribs, visible through his losely fitting hide, betokened a frame of uncommon strength and powers of endurance; and notwithstanding the evident fact that he had seen better days, he yet retained a sufficient degree of his pristine vitality and


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fire to paw the earth and neigh for new scenes and fresh exploits; of which, I may add, he was ere long to have an ample allowance. Brown purchased this horse and gave as consideration, five dollars in money, one barrel of flour, and two sides of salt dried bacon. "Gentle reader," you may smile if you choose when I tell you this, but it is a fact, nevertheless; this unpretentious horse, under his master's judicious care, frequently traveled twenty miles, to the nearest rail road station, and returned with fifteen hundred pounds of merchandise, between sunrise and sunset of the same day; and was at times pitted against comparatively fast horses for a race. The writer's horse was a borrowed one. He was jet black, with a piece of his tail cut off; he was not what might be called a fast horse--on the contrary he was quite slow in his movements, and needed constant prodding to keep him in motion; and had such a careworn, discouraged, heart-broken look about his countenance, as would almost melt a heart of stone, and cause an over anxious driver to relent. Such, then, were our horses; and our vehicles were scarcely more pretentious. They were not models of beauty nor yet even fair specimens of art; since they were minus tops, had low backs, and the one in which the writer and his family traveled would not "track" with the others by several inches. However, they were the best that could be obtained in that section for love or money; and, making a virtue of


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necessity, we refrained from grumbling and faultfinding, and began to prepare for our journey. The first thing provided was provender for the horses, an article quite scarce in that village and hence very highly prized. We filled sacks with corn, placed them under the seats, and tied on numerous bundles of fodder behind; filled our baskets with food and our flasks with liquids for the company; the little ones were stowed away in safe places, and our positions taken on the seats. Thus equipped and mounted, we turned our backs for the time upon old Hudsonville, jubilant at the thought that for a short space at least we should be relieved of the fatiguing monotony which seemed to be crushing out all our former vigor,--that we should escape from the scornful glances, the sneers and intolerable oppressions which inevitably go hand in hand with caste proscription; albeit, those who champion the system are self-constituted autocrats, and in any well-regulated community, having merit as its standard of distinction, would not attain to mediocrity. While such thoughts as the foregoing flit through the mind, we cross the corporate limits, descend a slight knoll into a pleasant little valley, lose sight of the spires of the churches, and are well started on our journey.


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CHAPTER II.

        Prosecuting the Journey.--Beauties of Nature Strewn Around Us.--The Guide Post--The Irishman's Mistake.--Brown goes "To See a Man."--The Old Mill Pond.--Just the Place for Dark Deeds.--Legends connected with it.--Union Soldiers.--Murdered Victims.--Story of Henry Woods.--His Guilty Love and its Fatal Determination.--Matrimony among the Plantation Hands of the South.--Wasted Power.--Mistaken Policy of Southern Producers.--What Judge ---- said.

        Once relieved from the restraints imposed upon us by municipal regulations, and stimulated by the cheering surroundings, our little party gave itself up to the pleasures of the hour; the elder ones of us sang and cheered, while the little ones made the welkin ring with shouts of merry laughter, and sustained their reputation of being "little chatterboxes." And well might we rejoice: for a scene was spread out around and before us almost surpassing belief: a scene from the laboratory of nature: such as no pen can depict or pencil sketch. The forests clothed in their newest garments and bedecked with vernal flowers, were more inviting than ever: primroses blushed back at May flowers, while violets drooped their modest heads and each vied with the other in scattering sweet fragrance on the balmy air. The feathered songsters, resplendent in their


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recent plumage, drew inspiration from the scene and piped forth their melodious lays of gratitude and thanksgiving; while the frisky little squirrels, leaping from limb to limb, glanced sidewise at us and ran athwart our track as if to challenge us to a little game of hide-and-go seek, in which they were sure to be the victors. Little Johnnie was desirous of having a bouquet of "boo fowers," as he termed pretty flowers, and his wish was gratified: Alice, Jones' eldest daughter, thought if she had one of those little squirrels, she would have attained to the acme of her ambition: while Lulu was informed that the only practical way to gain possession of one of those little red birds was to drop a little salt on its tail. And thus we held our course onward as rapidly as we could under the circumstances, the male portion of the family walking in the meantime to assist the horses through the accumulating sands, when suddenly we came to where the road forked, and there very demurely stood a guide (?) post, with one solitary hand, pointing in an equivocal direction. "What's that, cousin Henry?" said my better half. "That, cousin, is a guide post," he replied. "A guide post! guide to what? it has only one index, and that is apparently pointing to the woods over there." "Well," said cousin Henry, "for that matter, it would have been just as well if it never had any, for at the time it was put up there were only few in this part of the country


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who could read the inscription on it. The colored people were prohibited by law from learning to read, the poor class of white people had no provision made for them, and the rich ones very seldom needed a guide post." The writer suggested that it was put there to commemorate some important event in the history of the neighborhood; and this suggestion drew forth the well-known story, related by our ancestors, of the Irishman, fresh from the mother country, who, while traveling in the Granite State, approached a guide post which bore the inscription "40 miles to Manchester." It is said that Patrick was greatly perplexed to fathom the meaning of the inscription: he took off his hat and scratched his head, and finally, after intently gazing upon it for a brief space with an expression of countenance indicative of great anxiety, he audibly soliloquized: "Fahrty miles the man chased her! be me sowl I cud av ketched her in tin." Brown, however, who during the relation of the foregoing anecdote had been scrutinizing a little clump of trees in the direction indicated by the index on the guide post, just then surprised us all by exclaiming: "Ladies and gentlemen, please excuse me for a moment while I go to yon shanty and see a man." And without further parley he took leave of us, not even awaiting our answer or interrogatory as to whether he would have company. Another moment exposed to full view a little groggery here in this


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isolated place, to entrap the unwary traveler and contribute toward his fail. The lone index on the post pointing to the grove was explained; all was plain now. We were mistaken in supposing it to be a guide post; it was the dram seller's signal to the road to perdition. Brown shortly overtook the remainder of the party; he was a changed man, for whereas before he left us he was stupidly dull, his eyes now sparkled with merriment, and instead of being demure and solemn he was now garrulous, and had even began to compare the old rail fence on the side of the road to a rustic structure which he had seen in Central Park, New York, when his narrative was fortunately cut short by "Cousin Henry" (as we familiarly called Jones) exclaiming, "Cousin John," (meaning the writer) "do you see that mill-pond over there?" I assured him in most positive terms that I did. "Well, that is Hunt's mill pond, that you have heard me talk so much about. I want you to take a good look at it as we go by, because there are a good many hard stories told about it, and most of them are true, too."

        In truth I scarcely needed the injunction to "take a good look at it," for it was such a place as was well calculated to challenge the attention of any traveler, and even as he spoke we approached the rude bridge over the race, which gave forth deep intonations beneath the horses' hoofs and wagon wheels in perfect keeping


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with the surrounding scenery. Overhanging the margin of one segment of this pond were gloomy cypress trees, and beneath these an almost impenetrable jungle of whortleberry bushes, reeds and rushes, fit abode for beasts of prey and poisonous reptiles. Added to this was the deafening roar of the waters, rushing wildly through the race, and reverberating through the forest; all of which made up a scene well suited for deeds of violence and bloodshed. "During the war, cousin John," spake Jones, "there were more than one poor union soldier killed and thrown into this pond, and if the bottom could be raked, you would find many a human skeleton buried in the mud." "Why do you say that, cousin Henry? did you take any part in the transactions?" I asked. "No, but these things were talked about and generally understood; and the people hereabouts don't hesitate to admit it. I remember hearing old Colonel Hull tell of a union soldier that escaped from his command one night; he was sick and could not go very fast, and so, when the alarm was given that a man had escaped, and they put bloodhounds on his track, he was easily captured. One of the party asked the Colonel what was done with the soldier; but he got for an answer only a smile and a wink as the Colonel pointed over his shoulder in the direction of Hunt's mill-pond.

        "About three years ago," he continued, "a peddler's pack was found in that thicket over there,"--pointing


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to a suggestive looking jungle on the margin of the pond. "It had been rifled of its contents; near it lay an old leathern wallet, containing nothing of value, and only a few feet further off was found a heavy, club-shaped piece of wood, blood-stained, with a few hairs sticking to it. What became of the body no one has ever answered, but if that old mill-pond could talk, I think it could tell something about it.

        "But the strangest transactisn that ever took place in connection with this pond, so far as I have any knowledge, was the murder of a woman by one Henry Woods, who was hung in Hudsonville last summer."

        "What was that?" I asked.

        "Well, to give you a full understanding of the occurrence, I must go back a little.

        "You see," he continued, "during the days of slavery it was not considered a very serious offence for a slave to have more than one wife; and while a few of the more conscientious owners, in some instances seemed to discourage it, by far the greater number not only winked at it, but actually encouraged what might have been mistaken for one phaze of the religion of the 'latter day saints.' The result was a polygamous state of society in existence among the slaves; and on many of the most populous plantations, husbandless wives and fatherless children. In fact, even those who went through the form of a marriage ceremony were told that it was not


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binding on them, and so thoroughly convineed were they of the truth of this statement that after freedom came they were remarried by hundreds and thousands; indeed Rev. Mr. Moore, of Darlington, did nothing else for several weeks than go around and marry these emancipated people. And a strange sight it was too, cousin John, to see parents who had grown-up children, some of them grand-children, old gray haired men and women who had climbed the hill together for more than half a century in some instances, where their owners were kind and would not separate them, come to the matrimonial altar, renew their vows, clasp each other in their free arms, and shout glory hallelujah to the Lord who had delivered them out of bondage and permitted them to see the glorious light of liberty.

        "Owing to the early training that these people had received," he continued, "there were a great many who after they gained their liberty refused to fall in with the new order of things, and continued to follow the old fashion of having more than one wife. Such a man was Henry Woods. He had a very nice woman for a wife, who was intelligent, industrious and kind; she was the mother of a bright-eyed little child which he acknowledged as his own, and Henry really loved them both. But, for some inexplicable cause, he could not make up his mind to forsake another woman with whom he had been more than intimate for several years, notwithstanding


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his seeming desire to do so. His wife chided him; the neighbors upbraided; his own conscience told him it was wrong, but still he persisted in his course. Finally his wife told him she would not live with him any longer unless he quit Lucy, his paramour. Then Henry became desperate; he went to Lucy and tried to persuade her to let him alone, but as she would not consent he let the matter drop and said no more on the subject. And so the matter rested, and had almost escaped the attention of every one, until one day a man ploughing on the other side of this pond, smelled an obnoxious odor, and upon investigation found the partially decomposed remains of a colored woman. The corpse was identified as the body of Lucy, who had previously been missed, but as the process of decomposition was far advanced and the stench was almost intolerable, it was difficult to persuade any one to handle it, and it was finally placed in a rude box and buried without examination.

        "The affair had been nearly forgotten, when, the attention of the coroner being called to it, he caused the body to be disinterred and examined. It was found, upon examination, that the woman was the victim of foul play, and had been inhumanly murdered by some unknown felon, who, for aught that was known, was even then at large in their very midst. Suspicion pointed at once toward Henry Woods, her former


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"friend," as being the guilty party; and, as is generally the case, the discovery of one fact led to others. It was ascertained that about ten days previous to the discovery of the body a loud shriek had startled several persons residing in the vicinity of the pond, but as no adequate cause therefor was discovered the matter was dismissed from their minds and shortly forgotten. One of the neighbors also recalled the fact that at or about the same time, when traveling along the road near the pond, he saw Henry standing in a suspicious manner amongst the under brush, and that he, when accosted, answered evasively. And then every one remembered that Henry had worn a downcast, guilty look upon his countenance for a week or more, and had not borne himself in his usual manner. All these things contributed to produce in the mind of every one the conviction that Henry Woods had indeed murdered Lucy Hall, his mistress. The result was the arrest and incarceration of Henry, who firmly and persistently protested his innocence, and denied all knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the tragedy. The body of Lucy, when examined, presented not only several contused wounds and abrasions of the skin, but, in addition to all these, there were numerous little gashes covering the scalp, wearing the appearance of having been made by the corner of a hatchet, or some tool having a blunt edge, while there was a total absence of one arm, for which no one could


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account. The bruises and cuts were easily accounted for upon general principles, but the absence of the arm was a matter that excited the curiosity of all.

        "The jail in which Henry was confined was a typical Southern jail, contracted in its dimensions, poorly ventilated, and filthy beyond all reason. The atmosphere of this institution was impregnated with foul odors, which emanated from the stagnant fluids contained in slop-pails, that stood around lacking attention, and of vermin there was no limit. The walls of his cell were covered with sheet iron, while a bundle of rags in one corner of the room answered the purpose of a bed. His food was the proverbial corn bread and fat bacon. When occasional deliveries of this jail took place, the prisoners had only to escape to a swamp in the rear of the building and their freedom was secured, for the old sheriff made no effort to pursue them beyond the margin, where he would discharge his fowling-piece and beat a hasty retreat. At length the trial of Henry took place, and his innocent wife, who had in the meantime been arrested also, as particeps criminis, and lodged in jail with him, was compelled to bear a portion of his disgrace and sufferings. Henry was convicted of murder, but his wife was set free without day. After he had received the sentence of death, he dismissed all hope of pardon on this side of the grave, made a complete confession of the crime, and sought the services of


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a minister of the gospel. He never did, however, account for the missing arm, concerning which there were two theories in vogue; one of which was that when the woman was pushed into the water and drowned, as Henry had confessed, the arm was chopped off by her murderer while clinging to the log upon which he stood; but the other theory, which was the favorite one among the colored people, was that after being cast into the pond, an alligator, or some other monstrous reptile, had torn the limb from the body, as the mangled stump seemed to indicate.

        "Hangman's day was a gala day in the South then as now," he continued; "and the day on which Henry Woods was executed was no exception to the rule. Long before the hour appointed for the execution, people of all colors, ages and conditions began to flock to the scene of the sad event, which was the Public Square of Hudsonville. Young and old, large and small, rich and poor, the vigorous and decrepit all came--in wagons and buggies, on horseback and afoot, they crowded the roads leading to the village. It seemed as though all the plantations and hamlets within a radius of twenty miles had poured out their inhabitants and sent them forth on one grand holiday excursion. They filled all the vacant space within the bounds of the Public Square, they crowded the stores and dwelling-houses, and even the neighboring house and tree-tops were made to do


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service on this occasion. Those inseperable attendants of holiday assemblages, circusses and camp meetings in the South--the gingerbread, beer and peanut-venders--were on the scene, ministering to the wants of the hungry; while the effects of corn whisky were plainly discernable in the flushed cheeks, unsteady gait and heated discussions of those who had imbibed it, so slight was the moral effect of the public execution which was within an hour to be consummated in their very presence.

        "At precisely twelve o'clock the gloomy procession appeared, with the doomed man in their midst. The victim wore an ordinary suit of black clothing, kindly donated for the occasion, had his arms firmly bound at the elbows and wrists, a black cap on his head and a halter around his neck. During the mournful march from the jail to the scaffold, his wife, who was in a neighboring house, gave forth a series of most heart-rending shrieks, and the whole combined furnished such a scene as brought tears from the eyes of the strongest man present. The victim mounted the fatal drop with placid composure, in strange contrast with the agitation observable on the part of the rest. He submitted without a murmur to having his knees and ankles bound, and then he addressed the crowd. He acknowledged his guilt; denied that he mutilated the body by cutting off the arm referred to; warned those in his presence


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against the evils of bad company and kindred evils, and concluded by asserting his willingness to die and commending his soul to the Savior. A hymn was then "lined out" by the minister present, in the singing of which the doomed man took the lead. The good sisters present shouted and prayed by turns, and in the midst of all this confusion the trap was sprung which launched the soul of Henry Woods into eternity. The drop was too long, and the result was the feet of the victim rested upon the earth. Several strong men rushed to assist the sheriff, and raised up the body until the rope could be shortened. The body was even then motionless and void of any evidence of animation to the casual observer, although there might have been a perceptible motion of the pulse to the medical expert. After hanging there for the space of an hour, it was lowered into a rough pine box and turned over to the relations of the deceased for burial."

        When Cousin William had concluded this interesting narration it was noticed that the children had succumbed to the influence of the springing motion of the buggies and fallen asleep, while the old pond had been left far in the rear.

        In this connection it may not be considered out of place to remark that the supply of water power by the pond referred to was sufficient to have run spindles and looms enough to spin and weave all the cotton fibre


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produced in that vicinity, yet it was utterly disregarded, subjected to no practical use, and permitted to waste. Perhaps the future will bring forth some Southern political economist who will undertake to explain the reason why the producers of the South continue to persist in their lavish wastefulness: why they ignore all the teachings of the past and the rules and maxims of economy, and cling to their ante bellum habits. At present no adequate excuse presents itself so far as the writer is aware of. They plant their cotton and garner it; they press it into bales and sell it to foreign manufacturers for a small price, and then buy it back again, manufactured into fabrics of various kinds, at a greatly increased figure. They harvest their sugar-cane: press out the juice and reduce it to sugar, syrup and molasses, and in many instances leave the clarifying and renovating process to be done by Northern labor and enterprise. Very poor land, which will scarcely produce the tithe of a crop of cotton, is still subjected to the culture of the fibre, while the same land, if given to the production of corn, sweet potatoes, peas, and other like produce, would repay the laborer's toil and render it possible for one to obtain articles of ordinary diet for the table in some sections where now scarcely the invalid is able to subsist, so completely is the whole territory given to the culture of cotton. The writer has an acquaintance who once walked more than eight miles in


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scouring the country thereabouts in the almost vain effort to procure a tender chicken for an invalid wife. And it is a matter of no very unfrequent occurrence that when at times the boats are delayed by drouth, or otherwise, a whole town or district is deprived of such common articles of food as flour and bacon, coffee and sugar; and, surprising as it may seem, there was a time during the writer's residence in Hudsonville, when corn for the live stock was held at a premium because of its scarcity; and this, too, when the village was literally surrounded with well cultivated plantations.

        This ruinous policy on the part of the South was very aptly illustrated by Judge -- a few weeks ago when, in the course of a public address on the occasion of a reception which had been tendered one of our prominent citizens by the people of Columbia, South Carolina, he said in substance as follows: "We sell our raw hides at eight and ten cents a pound, and ship them to the North; we furnish the red oak bark to tan them with; afterwards we buy back the tanned leather and pay you thirty-five and forty cents per pound for it." Nor are the many inconveniences attending such a policy the least objectionable feature attending this policy; for we must not lose sight of the additional fact that, while the producers fail to realize the increased profit accruing from the manufacturing of the raw materials into their ultimate forms; while their cities and towns languish for


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the want of remunerative employment for the men and the young women who might become to be of assistance in providing the necessaries of life for large and needy families, and the tide of immigration is stayed from its onward tendency in that direction: all of which causes have their force in seriously discouraging and retarding the growth of that whole section of country: while all these facts exist, I say, the additional fact remains to be written that the people of the South are actually paying out of their meagre surplus, representing the profits on their crops, the price of twice handling the goods and conveying them to and from places remote from the sections where they are consumed. The South experienced the folly of this policy to her sorrow during the recent rebellion, when she was a dependent upon her enemies for the sinews of war, and her sons and daughters, in many instances, walked the streets of her commercial centers clothed almost literally in sackcloth; for it is related, on good authority, that in some instances carpeting was utilized as a covering for the person, and boots and shoes were ranked as the greatest luxuries. In those days parched corn husks took the place of coffee, and butternut cotton goods were substituted for broad-cloth.

        But we have digressed from our original topic. We have passed the fifteen-mile post, just five miles from the village of Oriole, the first on our route, and as we are


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desirous of reaching that point before three o'clock we must urge on our horses. Once there, we shall unhitch and feed them, while we partake of a slight repast ourselves.

        But, stay; we are approaching objects of importance. "What are those moss covered buildings just in advance of us, cousin Henry?"

        "They are an old church and school-house, cousin John; and that lonely-looking space just in the rear is a cemetery, or 'grave-yard,' as they are called here," he answered.

        Kind reader, excuse us for a moment while we hold the baby, so that our patient wife can change her position, for she vows that the low brace attached to our buggy, called a back, is torturing her, and a change must be made, and that without delay; afterwards we shall return to the church, the school-house and the deserted cemetery.


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CHAPTER III.

        The Old Church and School House.--Reflections on their Style of Architecture.--The Forgotten Dead.--Superstitious Dread of Ghosts on the part of the Inhabitants.--Witchcraft and Conjuration.--Peculiar Antics of a Pretended Conjurer.--His Legal Complications and Happy Deliverance.--Despondency and Gloom occasioned by a Belief in the same.--Ignorance the Cause of these Superstitious Beliefs.--Its Existence in Germany, England, and New England in the Past.--Day beginning to Dawn in the South.


                         "When I am dead and gone from you darling,
                         When I'm laid low in my grave,
                         And my spirit has gone to Heaven above,
                         To Him who my soul has saved;
                         When you are happy and gay once more,
                         Thinking of days that have been;
                         This one little favor I ask of you,
                         See that my grave is kept green."

        It is not the intention of the writer to refer so particularly to the church and school house in this connection, as to the forlorn cemetery beyond, for aside from the dilapidated appearance of these relics of the past, and the memories of days that have now become historical, which are recalled by their presence, there was nothing connected with them worthy of especial mention. It is true, the old well beneath the spreading oak over there, with


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ancient sweep and detached pole and moss covered bucket, carried us back in imagination to the time when the lads and lassies of that section mounted upon their frisking steeds, who after accomplishing their sabbath days journey to the house of the Lord, dismounted by its side, and quenched their thirst from its refreshing contents; to say nothing of the little ones, (children of the favored few) who found in its crystal draught an ever-ready excuse to escape the vigilant eye of the school master, on the sultry summer's day.

        And who that has read the story of the afflictions and persecutions of the colored race in the south, could even casually glance at the shattered panes, broken doors, dust covered pulpit and uncushioned seats with backs so erect and unyielding as to reflect to some degree the cruel dispositions of those who were wont to occupy them, while beneath the ministrations of some sedate divine they searched the Scriptures in the vain endeavor to discover some maxim or command that would justify or even extenuate the sin of human slavery indulged in by them. But there was nothing connected with these time honored ruins that carried the mind back to an era of thrift and advancement, when the intellect was unclouded and the ambition soared to sublime conceptions: nothing in the architectural design of these, suggestive of the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, Gothic or any other school known to the artist;


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but everything was flat, and unpretentious, in perfect keeping with a generation that courted case and exemption from toil, at the expense of the sweat, the blood and lives of a whole race of people; and who preferred rather to devote their time to forging fetters for their limbs and training blood-hounds for the inhuman chase, than to unfolding the god-like qualities of mind and soul, and contributing toward the amelioration of human woes.

        But let us look at this little cemetery--this last resting place of the forgotton dead. I say forgotten; and I think rightly so; for who could look upon that lonely deserted space all covered with rank weeds and inhabited by serpents, and come to any other conclusion. Here were no marble slab or monument, bearing an inscription of love and kind remembrance; not even a stake, in some instances, remained to mark the grave of one who formerly graced the board: it might have been a fond parent, or perhaps a kind and loving brother or sister.

        Who knows but that beneath those very weeds and rubbish, lay the remains of one who once was the joy and light of the household, such an one as could have led captive the heart of wealth and virtue; one whose merry voice resounded through these very groves, fit company for the little song birds, that acknowledged her coming with songs of delight; whose flaxen tresses floated lightly on the summer breezes, disclosing to view a bust of alabaster


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and form angelic: and it may be that those little feet once capered nimbly o'er the well scrubbed floor to the "lascivious pleasing" of a stringed instrument in the hands of a native musician. But now all is forgotten; no loving soul, fondly cherishing her memory, bends the knee beside her lonely grave, to plant a rose bush or ivy vine; no one drops a tear, silently saying--"Gone but not forgotten."

        Under the circumstances is it to be wondered at that a general feeling of superstitious dread of ghosts pervaded the community in that section of country? and that even persons who would not have hesitated to beard the lion in his den or face the enemy on the field of battle, could not have been hired, coaxed or scared into visiting that cemetery, or any other cemetery indeed, after night fall? To have undertaken to persuade some of the people in that locality that there were no such existences in fact as ghosts, and convince them that what they mistook for these ethereal substances were only results of a distorted imagination, would have been a futile task; for it was a belief not only inculcated from their childhood, until it had become to be a part of their religious belief, but they had even imbibed it from their mother's breast. The writer can recall instances in his childhood days when one of his daily chores was to go to the residence of Judge--, a wealthy old slave holder, and fetch back our daily allowance of milk, and


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since this duty was frequently performed after night fall, no little embarrassment was experienced on his part by reason of the ghost stories with which he was regaled by those with whom he came in contact on the judge's premises. "Aunt Hannah" would tell of the dead groaning in their graves, when certain passages of scripture were read over them, on certain nights of the year at the hour of "low twelve;" "LittleAunty," would tell of a haunted house on the writer's way to his home, where lights were blown out and strange noises heard at all hours of night, in which no one could be induced to reside for love nor money; while Augustus would relate that a real ghost had been seen a few days prior, walking in the village cemetery, and vow that not for his liberty (he was a slave) could he be induced to enter that cemetery after dark. And often on a winter's night after sitting and hearing these ghost stories repeated around the family circle, one's heart would leap within him at the rustling of a garment or the movement of a mouse, and in imagination he was even then in the presence of a veritable "Spirit of health or goblin damned;" and as for sleep, it was a stranger to his eyelids for weary hours, and when at last it came, it brought with it dreams such as were better calculated to disturb than refresh the mind. And while considering this subject, we are tempted to refer also to another superstitious belief which has become firmly seated in the minds of


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many persons of both colors in the South. I refer to the belief in witchcraft and conjuration, the latter of which so far as I am informed is only a modification of the former, according to their teachings and belief. They not only refer to the traditions of their ancestors as the basis of this silly belief, but even go so far as to point with pride to certain passages of the Scriptures, to be found in the Old Testament, in justification of it; and with a look of triumph ask you whether you are wiser than the inspired writers. Gray haired matrons and sires, "with one foot in the grave," who rest their future happiness on a firm belief in the teachings of the meek and lowly Savior, will prate for hours of witches, that enter dwellings through key holes, and can only be killed by being shot with silver balls; while they are as completely enslaved by their superstitious fears, maxims, lucky and unlucky days, and as much subjected by the force of the same, as though they were "I' the stocks." or "fettered to the soil." Diseases that under other circumstances would be attributed to ordinary causes, are laid at the door of witches and conjurers, and the only practical and reasonable treatments are ignored, while enchantments of various kinds, amulets, and charms are resorted to as a means of relief. Cups are turned, roots of various kinds are dug from the earth and treasured up, horse shoes and bones of animals are suspended in the house or nailed over the


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doors, cards are shuffled and their dread portents read with alarm; children are taught to religiously avoid stepping in the "fresh tracks" of those who have preceded them on the road: to enter a house at one door and depart by the same, they consider an ill omen: to turn back is a sign of bad luck, because Lot's wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt: an old shoe is cast after a newly married couple, and the life and death of the contracting parties to every marriage are influenced by the state of the weather at the time of its consummation. All the foregoing signs are regarded with religious scrupulousness, to say nothing of the phazes of the moon and lucky and unlucky stars: a few marks upon the earth or a crooked stick in the way, excites as much curiosity, more indeed, than a venomous reptile would.

        The writer recalls an incident in this connection, which occurred during his sojurn in the South, that goes far toward illustrating the subject under consideration. Not far from the village of Hudsonville there was situated a large cotton plantation, the property of a Mr. Sackett, of Charleston. There were extensive quarters upon this land for the accommodation of the hands, of whom there were a goodly number. The overseer, together with his wife and children, composed the white portion of the inhabitants, while the colored hands constituted the remainder. They were of the average intelligence found in that section of the country. During the spring


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of the year 1872, a peculiar-looking genius, tall of stature, dark of complexion, wearing knee breeches, a red flannel shirt and a very broad-brimmed straw hat, made his appearance upon the plantation aforesaid, carrying in his hand a small satchel, containing numerous vials filled with liquid substances of various colors. He announced himself as being a votary at the shrine of his Satanic majesty, with whom he was in league, and by whose aid and assistance he possessed power not only over all the various diseases and ills to which humanity is heir, but even succeeded in convincing some of the members of the little community that he held in his power the destinies of all who came within reach of his magic arts. He could unfold the secrets of the past and present, and prognosticate the future. His bearing and attire were so very peculiar that he experienced little difficulty in securing free access to the rude cabins, where he gratuitously obtained his dinner and supper. During the interval between these meals he improved the opportunity of telling the fortunes of several of the heads of families and their wives. To some husbands he unfolded the infidelity of their wives, and then he, in turn, revealed to the grief-stricken wives all the mysteries of their husbands' guilty loves. The result of all this treachery was that there were few cabins on that plantation during the following night where peace and quiet prevailed. Mutual accusations were made; mutual


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explanations and protestations followed; then curses and hissing epithets were showered down freely upon the head of the presumptuous wretch--the vice-gerent of "Old Nick"--who was the cause of all the trouble. At last the impostor was ferreted out, bound hand and foot and, after having been ridden on the "ragged edge" of a rail through the quarters, he was turned over to the tender mercies of the minions of the law. The trial justice's office was crowded on the following morning with witnesses and anxious spectators, determined to see that right and justice prevailed.

        The justice's office was situated on an isolated town lot, flanked on either side with small "patches" of corn. The corn was now sufficiently advanced to be about five feet in height, which in that locality was not more than half height. The case was called "The State of South Carolina against John Doe." The now thoroughly frightened victim was led to the bar of justice; the windows and the door were open, and yet the heat was oppressive and the atmosphere stifling.

        When the defendant had patiently listened to the reading of the charge preferred against him, he murmured not, but entered a plea of "guilty." Then, as if to seek relief, he exclaimed, "Sheriff, for goodness sake give me a little water, or I shall faint;" at the same instant reaching forward toward the water bucket, which stood on a shelf near the door. The crowd, now


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partially reconciled, stood apart to give the fainting man a chance, when, with a leap and a bound, the bird escaped, and in another moment, as he sped through the corn, the rows actually parted to receive him, so great was his speed. Talk of pursuing him! one had as well have undertaken to pursue the frightened stag or to chase the bird on the wing, so rapid were his movements. He never smiled on us again, and the last word that was heard of him was brought by a wagoner, who had encountered him in an adjoining county, where by means of a black cord stretched across the road and his vials of liquids, he had frightened some of the ignorant ones, and was actually demanding and receiving from them small sums of money as an indemnity against evil.

        This is a strange recital, but true nevertheless. I do not hesitate to assert that death itself were preferable to a condition of mind such as enslaves those who are the victims of that cruel superstitious belief known as conjuration, when from the very nature of its teachings they are cut off from all hope, and relegated to gloomy forebodings and despair. Let us hope that a brighter day is dawning for the deluded souls in the Sunny South, when intelligence and reason shall prevail, and ignorance shall be dispelled. Then all these superstitious beliefs will be banished. The time was when in some of the most enlightened portions of the earth


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similar beliefs prevailed to an alarming extent; for we are told by Macauley that in the beginning of the sixteenth century death was first pronounced against all who should be convicted of witchcraft; also that about the year 1515, five hundred witches were executed in Genoa in the space of three months: and that about one hundred thousand persons were executed in Germany from the publication of the bull of Innocent VIII., in the beginning of the sixteenth century, up to the suppression of the evil: in some instances children not more than nine years of age being the victims. And, mirabile dictu, we are informed that even in "Old England," in the year 1716, a Mrs. Hix and her little daughter, aged nine years, were hanged at Huntington for selling their souls to the devil and raising a storm by pulling off their stockings and making a lather of soap; and that no less than thirty thousand were executed in England for witchcraft. And when, in addition to the foregoing, we recall the fact that even in our own beloved country bitter persecutions have taken place on this same account, we need not marvel that it exists in the South among those who have not enjoyed the elevating influence of education and modern teachings. But, stay; I have detained the reader so long with my musings and anecdotes that we are now in sight of the village of Oriole.

        The children are awake again and waking the echoes,


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rejoiced at the idea of pressing mother earth once more with their little feet; and even our fatigued horses have quickened their pace, fully cognizant of the fact that they are nearing the end of the first stage. We shall meet again in the village.


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CHAPTER IV.

        Oriole.--Its Appearance, Population, etc.--Edward Hill, our Host.--Some Account of his Early Life and Subsequent Career.--Labor and Perseverance Conquers All.--Sacrifice of Principle Essential to Success in the South Then as Now.--Our Repast.--The Menu.--"Collards."--Moral Status of the Denizens of Oriole.--Brown's Opinion: "It is Worse than New York."--Reminiscence of a Former Visit to This Place.--Reflections on the Treatment of Colored People in all parts of the South.

        The village of Oriole would never have existed unless the W. & R. Rail Road had been constructed; and as it owes its origin to that rail road, to a similar degree it was dependent upon it for its means of support. The "shops" were located here, together with a round house for the accommodation of locomotives, and these supplied employment for the heads of the greater number of families in the place. A ware house, three varieties stores, and four groggeries for the accommodation of the inhabitants and "stranger guests," who flocked in at stated intervals from the surrounding territory, completed the list of business establishments, if we except a dingy looking excuse for an hotel, of which, more further on. As the afternoon was far advanced, and both tourists and beasts of burden were sadly in need of refreshments we did not tarry to make an inspection of the "town," or


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even to gratify the idiotic stare of the lonesome looking inhabitants, but urged our steeds forward to the suburbs where resided an old acquaintance, in the person of Mr. Edward Hill, a gentleman of color, the head and chief support of a large and growing family. Mr. Hill was the personification of a self made man, viewed from one aspect, and furnished a fair illustration of what a man, devoid of intellectual training beyond such as he could acquire under adverse circumstances, proscribed by a wicked and embarrassing caste prejudice, can accomplish, if he only possesses a sober, industrious character, coupled with a will to overcome. Edward Hill was more than the foregoing; he was a fair type of a large class of colored men who were then as now struggling against adverse fate in the South, in the laudable effort to vindicate the good name of the so called freedmen of that section. Edward was born a slave in the state of "Old Virginia;" he had no remembrance of his mother or father, because he was separated from them in his infancy, they having been sold to a "speculator," who carried them to one of the gulf states, as was supposed, and disposed of them to the producers of sugar and cotton. When quite a lad, he was purchased by Colonel Hill, one of the former residents of that county, and given employment as a plantation hand on his land, in which capacity he soon became to be a favorite, by reason of his industrious habits and pleasing disposition.


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When the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, Edward, like the remainder of the hands, became to be a free man, and without a month's delay, set about earning a livelihood for his family; for he had already taken unto himself a wife, after the plantation fashion then prevailing, and was even then the father of several promising little children.

        Colonel Hill, his former master, furnished him a piece of land, containing about twenty-five acres, upon the condition that Edward should give him a portion of the net proceeds, after defraying the expenses of producing the crop; which was supposed to be a very fair transaction on the part of the Colonel for the time and locality in which he resided. In order to procure the necessary implements of agriculture, as well as means of sustenance while the process of cultivating the crop was taking place, our friend was compelled to execute a lien upon the whole crop and his personal effects to a grocer in the town, as was the universal custom in all that region of country. His power consisted of an old horse, which he had purchased for a trifle, and a small steer, hardly tractable, but yet under the vigorous and skillful handling of his master capable of doing good service. In the midst of the season, at a time when his crop most needed attention, Edward had the misfortune to lose his horse, and then there was to be seen an example of


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pluck and energy scarcely equaled, certainly not excelled, by the fabled heroes of ancient mythology; for this determined man did not sit in despondency and gloom and bewail his loss; but, shall I tell it, while his eldest son guided the plow behind the little steer, his loving wife stood in the same capacity to him, for he actually drew the plow which she guided. No member of that family was permitted to be idle, even the little ones assisting in various ways. The result of all this heroic effort was that at the end of the season Edward had a surplus, after paying all his debts, and the next spring found him entering upon his preparations for another crop with a good horse and wagon, which he could call his own. And so he had continued to labor, year after year, until now, after the lapse of nine years, we found him the owner of a large tract of well-improved land, completely stocked, and capable of producing, even in an average season, twenty-five bales of cotton, which was at that time worth in the aggregate about eighteen hundred dollars. This is the class of colored men so often referred to by members of Congress and others from the South in vindication of the "wise and humane" policy adopted by them toward those who were formerly their slaves. They say: "Behold Edward Hill, only nine years a free man, and yet the owner of a large farm and its appurtenances, with a net income of at least a


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thousand dollars per year. Where is your colored citizen in the North that is doing as well." By way of answer to all such we have simply to say that, while Edward throve and accumulated property, he did it at a fabulous cost, namely: the utter sacrifice of his manhood; the subjection of all his civil and political convictions to the dictates of those whom he dared not deny as his superiors. He did it by eschewing all political discussions, and even the ballot-box, except when, for the sake of satisfying his neighbors, he voted the Democratic ticket, against which his soul and convictions rebelled within him. But, hearken! they are calling us to dinner or supper, which ever you please, for it is rather late for dinner and somewhat early for supper; and, while we have been following our friend over his farm, viewing his possessions and listening to a recital of his struggles to obtain it, the ladies, "God bless them," have prepared our frugal repast, and now we must partake of it. Mrs. Hill had very kindly prepared us some hot coffee, while our good wives had pooled the contents of their several baskets for the common repast. The menu was not such an one as would have been apt to stimulate the appetite of a fastidious person, accustomed to an elaborate bill of fare, but the viands were relished nevertheless, as the appearance of the dishes, after we had finished, showed. We had as a


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        The uninitiated may be curious to know what collards are; and since you have the profoundest sympathies of the writer, patient reader, if you have never eaten any of them, he will undertake to enlighten you a little on that subject.

        Collards are a species of the cabbage plant, of a dark green color: they are cultivated like cabbages, and have almost the exact appearance of cabbages until they become advanced in age. The cabbage heads; the collard does not head. But the collard does begin to head, and forms a closed lump in the center about the size of an orange, which turns white after being touched by frost, while the surrounding leaves are only streaked with white. To the inhabitants of the country districts of the South, where there are no markets, and the daily allowance consists of salt meat, rice, potatoes and the


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like, and where fresh beef is scarcely ever tasted by the poor people, the collard is a very great blessing: because when boiled in a pot with a piece of fat meat and balls of corn meal dough, having the size and appearance of ordinary white turnips, called dumplings, it makes palatable a diet which would otherwise be all but intolerable. And they are very dearly liked by nearly every one who has been raised on Southern soil, including even some of her most dignified statesmen.

        After dinner we improved the opportunity of taking a stroll through the principal street of the village, where a fair opportunity was offered of studying the moral and intellectual status of the inhabitants. In front of the stores and groggeries benches were invariably to be seen, upon which lounged numerous inferior specimens of humanity, smoking clay pipes with long reed stems, squirting tobacco juice, whittling pine sticks, and "spinning yarns." It was a scene such as was repeated seventy-five times out of a hundred to the vision of the southern tourists at that period of the South's history. Invariably one could see hitched near by one or more horses, saddled and bridled--a favorite mode of traveling in that country. Of oaths of a most blasphemous nature there was no limit, and to the mind of the average Northener the suggestion forced itself that there was a suitable field for the faithful missionary desirous of doing something in the service of the Master.


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        A year previous to this time, Brown, with his fighting proclivities, had gone to this village and opened a small grocery store, in which he also retailed a little of "the ardent." He had not been there three months before he had received as many challenges to fight at fisticuffs, all of which he had to accept or else wear the brand of coward, which would not only have subjected him to every conceivable annoyance from even his physical inferiors, but also jeopardized his success in business there. On one occasion he was compelled to bar his doors and windows for several hours, until assistance arrived; and, on another, he was shot in the leg, and confined to his bed for several weeks. Brown finally, after a brave struggle, lost courage, sold his place and moved to Hudsonville, vowing that he would not live in Oriole if any one should give him the best place in the town, exclaiming: "Why, upon my word of honor, it is worse than New York," which in his opinion was no compliment, for he was in New York City during the hanging of colored men and burning of the Colored Orphan Asylum by Democrats in 1863.

        The writer now recalls an incident of a trip to this village, a few months prior to the time referred to. His family, consisting of his wife and little boy, not two years of age, together with himself, were suffering from the effects of a protracted spell of fever and ague, as well as the hurtful results of enormous doses of


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quinine and calomel, thathad been administered to them by the physicians employed. We were hardly convalescent, very weak, and it was thought that the life of the little one hung by a thread almost. As a last resort, it was decided to try the effects of a colder climate, and a visit to our kind relatives and friends in Northern Ohio was undertaken. Our first stage lay over the same rough road that we have just described, and in order that we might be at the station in time to take the early morning train it was necessary to travel all night. When we arrived at Oriole on the following morning, cold, weary and almost heart-broken, we keenly felt the need of some nourishing food, and the writer immediately applied at the only hotel in the place for accommodation. We were flatly refused; receiving as an answer from the landlord--"We don't feed niggers here; our boarders will not allow it. If you choose you can go in the kitchen and eat." We looked around. There sat several sickly-looking men, who appeared as if their only mission on earth was to eat clay and spit tobacco juice, and they leered at us as though we had committed the unpardonable sin. Why are we so disgracefully treated? the writer asked himself. We are clean, our deportment is good, and we are fully prepared to liquidate all bills. Ah, alas! I forgot; it is because our complexions are less fair than theirs. The day will come when the rights of men shall be respected in this


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South regardless of color, birth or previous condition. "Eat in the kitchen!" Why, indulgent reader, the kitchen was a filth hole, dark and repelling, the noisome odors of which would have attracted the attention of the health officers in any well-regulated Northern city without delay. And so we were compelled to grope around in a strange place, among strangers, until coming in contact with a large-hearted black man, a Good Samaritan in the full acceptance of the term, our wants were supplied, and we went on our way rejoicing. This is only one instance of the kind from hundreds that might be mentioned, showing that while colored men in the South are acceptable as farm hands; while they are sought after as house servants, and permitted to almost monopolize all classes of menial employment, and the women in some instances serve as wet nurses, yet they are not good enough in the estimation of very ordinary white Southerners to hold places of official trust, or sit at the same table with them.

        In fact, occurrences on a par with the one just referred to, took place in several instances during the remainder of our journey to Ohio. Even in the city of Baltimore we were threatened with ejection from the parlor or waiting room of the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road depot, and it was only by the most persistent effort, and positive threats of a civil action against the company for damages, that we prevented the action from


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being taken. And again, in our passage from Baltimore to another locality, on the Chesapeake Bay, we were refused such reasonable and ordinary accommodation as was accorded to the average white traveler, who was able to pay for it. It is a sore affliction for men in any station in life, however ignorant and humble soever they may be to be debarred of the common courtesies and necessaries of life; but when a class of persons who have spent a portion of their days among civilized and magnanimous people, such as are to be found in many sections of the North, and who have gained such a degree of information, and culture as to know and appreciate the rights and duties of citizens to one another, are denied them in plain violation of all law, it is downright persecution and torture. There is no city in the South at the present time, where a colored gentleman can obtain first class fare at an ordinary hotel; and indeed, it would be almost at the cost of his life that even the attempt would be made in many instances. Nor is this all; in some parts of the South they not only have separate apartments provided for colored people in their rail road cars, but they have gone so far as to put benches in dilapidated box cars for their accommodation, which are at times suffered to become most intolerably filthy for the want of a little attention. And this practice is even carried to street cars in some cities, where the anxious patron is compelled to await the arrival of one bearing


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the legend "Colored People's Car," or else walk to his place of destination. But all the objects of interest are now examined. Let us return to the house and assist the women and children in their preparations for the prosecution of our journey; for there are fifteen miles before us yet to be traveled before we seek repose. The children must be well wrapped too, for we are in the vicinity of the Great Dismal Swamp, and when the sun has set the atmosphere will be impregnated with noisome vapors freighted with miasma whence spring so many of the destructive diseases, of which the South is so prolific. In the meantime, cousin Henry, let me insist that you do slacken your speed in the future for it will not be at all agreeable to be left behind in this lonesome neighborhood. On our way hither you left us so far behind that we came near losing ourselves, but, thanks to a pair of vigorous lungs we were enabled to attract your attention and arrest your speed.

        Once more we are safely mounted, and away. Good bye Mr. Hill and family! Good bye Oriole! May you both prosper and live long.


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CHAPTER V.

        Lowlands of the Carolinas.--Spring Freshets.--Famine Threatened.--Mail Carrier Up a Tree.--Unhealthy Localities.--Rice Culture.--Sufferings of Hands.--The Great Dismal Swamp.--Appearance and Extent.--The Robber's Stronghold.--Henry Berry Lowrie.--He Defies the Militia of a Whole State.--His Audacious Bearing.--A Confrere Hung.--Lowrie is Wounded and finally Killed.--The Fugitive's Retreat.--Uncle Pompey's Experience.

        In some sections of the South, in the vicinity of the Atlantic Ocean and the large rivers tributary thereto, are to be seen many of those dark, gloomy and forbidding places commonly known as swamps. This is especially true of the eastern half of the territory forming the States of North and South Carolina, through which flow the Neuse, Cape Fear, Pedee, and Wateree Rivers; places which are not surpassed for wild scenery and natural ferocity, so to speak, by any of those African jungles with which the writings of Livingstone, Stanley, Cameron, and other explorers, have made us familiar. Nor is it necessary to depart from the ordinary avenues of travel in order to experience the truthfulness of the foregoing statement. Many of the most frequented highways, and even railroads, lead through these districts, affording a most excellent opportunity of


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observation to the tourist and traveler. In many instances the difficulties encountered in constructing railroads are enormous, and to people not possessing genuine pluck, skill and endurance, they would be insurmountable. Passengers who have traveled over the road running from Wilmington North Carolina, to Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina, will readily recall to mind a high trestle work, several miles in extent, over which trains are borne while passing through one of these inhospitable localities. The sudden change from the pines and sands encountered on the eastern coast of North Carolina, and the comforts and luxuries of city life, to the bogs and fens of the swamp districts, must be seen and experienced in order to be properly appreciated. However, to see them in all their prodigality, one should visit these sections in the springtime of the year, during the falling of the March and April showers. Then the rivers and their tributaries occasionally rise to such an extent as to overflow their banks and inundate all the neighboring land. On such occasions ordinary business is almost completely suspended, and the attention of all is turned not only to the protection of their property, but of even human life; and it is not an uncommon occurrence for all the live stock contained on large plantations, such as horses, cows and pigs, to be swept away during the course of a single night. All travel is suspended, means of communication


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with the outer world being cut off until the waters subside; and in one instance, at least, the writer is reminded, there was an actual scarcity of the necessaries of life in the little village of Hudsonville for the reason last stated. One of the amusing incidents of the last freshet that we were witness to (and they are characterized by amusing as well as sad scenes) was connected with the postal service of the village. Hobbs was the mail agent; he had been prior to the war a slave; hence he was poor and had not the most approved facilities for conveying the mail from the nearest rail road station to the post office, a distance of fourteen miles. At the accustomed hour, on the occasion referred to, the greater portion of the male inhabitants of the place went to the post office, as was their custom, to await the arrival and distribution of the mail; but as time wore on and the mail did not arrive, they betook them to their homes in a disappointed frame of mind. On the following morning a courier arrived direct from Hobbs, bearing the information that he had started with his mail bag on the previous evening, but the freshet overtaking him he was obliged to seek safety in a tree, leaving his horse to escape as best he could, and that he was still up in the tree, where he had guarded the mail bag all the live-long night. The courier closed his statement with a most earnest request from Mr. Hobbs that relief be immediately sent to him. However, before


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assistance could be sent, Hobbs was descried in the distance, trudging faithfully along the road, with the precious burden on his shoulder, to the joy and delight of all. He had availed himself of the kind assistance of people in the vicinity, until he reached dry land, when he bid defiance to distance or the weight of his load, and started for home afoot. But he was not always so fortunate, for on another occasion he was shut out from us, and we were deprived of the benefits of the mail for nearly a whole week, without intermission.

        It may seem strange to many persons living at distances remote from these swamps, upon high and well drained land, that an intelligent class of persons could be induced to locate in close proximity to them, when there is so much land better adapted to the wants of man; especially since the atmosphere in this vicinity during certain seasons of the year is so thoroughly impregnated with miasm as to breed diseases of various kinds which bring in their train suffering and death. This action on their part may be attributed to various influences, such as the well known influences of nativity and pecuniary interest, inability to dispose of one's possessions at what he considers a reasonable value of them, the extra fertility of the river lands, and especially the fact that, in many cases, the owners of the swamp lands were originally engaged in the cultivation of rice; a product very profitable as an


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article of commerce and at the same time requiring a low, wet soil for its production. In the now historical days of slavery in this country, these very swamps were the embodiments of hell upon earth, and more than one poor man and woman, who was compelled to labor in them up to their knees in mud and water, if they were alive, could by their broken constitutions, scarred backs and debased intellects, bear witness to the veracity of this statement. Kind reader if your humanity has been spared the shock of beholding the poorly fed bodies of these human chattels clad in filthy rags grubbing in these rice swamps, with their wives and little ones beside them, while the suckling babe at the quarters moaned for its mother that came not to minister its scanty needs, thank God that your lot has been cast in other times and a more genial clime.

        Such a district as we have been describing we were to traverse, and even while these thoughts have been revolving in our mind, we have neared the "Great Dismal Swamp." The writer has never consulted any authoritative record with reference to the dimensions of this swamp, but judging from the statements of the inhabitants in that locality, it covers an area of more than ten square miles. The waters of this swamp are for the greater part covered with a rich green scum, suggestive of fevers and agues; the cypress trees which are indigenous to it are curtained and fringed with a


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heavy drapery of gray moss, which depends like a heavy pall from the limbs that shoot out horizontally from the bodies thereof; and no man has yet fathomed all the mysteries of its dark and forbidding fastnesses, which are said to be the haunts of all that is vile and hurtful either of beasts, birds, reptiles, or even humanity, peculiar to that part of the South. Within its recesses the wild boar and black bear fraternize with each other; the moccasin and the poisonous rattlesnake intertwine in deadly embrace; while the highway robber and libertine, secure within its haunts, hold high carnival together. It makes one shudder to recall the gloomy place to mind and the terrible legends connected with it. But to appreciate this feeling, heightened and intensified in the bosom until it becomes to be a veritable horror, one must pass through this section after night-fall: when the light of the moon and stars is veiled by the thick fogs and mists that overhang it, and almost Egyptian darkness pervades the atmosphere; and the hootings of the night owl and the harsh croakings of the multitudinous amphibious creatures are heard, and a certain damp chill possesses the blood, causing one to involuntarily draw his cloak more tightly around him, and cluteh his bridle and revolver, as he anxiously spurs forward his excited horse to a less dismal locality. It was in this swamp that the Lowrie brothers, championed by the redoubtable Henry Berry Lowrie made their place


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of resort; from whence he issued his commands to the inhabitants of the surrounding country, which were almost implicitly obeyed, and filled all with consternation by reason of his frequent incursions; and it was in the interior of this very swamp where he had his den established when visited by a representative of the New York Herald, in the year 1870, for the purpose of obtaining an interview, an achievement never attempted nor even thought of by any of the provincial papers in "Dixie's Land."

        It appears that during the Southern rebellion various and sundry acts of ill-treatment had been visited upon different members of the Lowrie family, which extended to the murdering of one or more of them by persons connected with the Confederate service. To avenge these wrongs and compensate their injured feelings, the brothers Lowrie took the field, or swamp, where ere long they were joined by other kindred spirits in that locality, to the number of a dozen or more. They were thoroughly armed, and fully resolved on mischief. After night-fall they were in the habit of scouring the neighborhood, plundering hen-roosts, burning barns and dwellings, and in some instances murdering men. They lugged off their booty into the swamp and devoured it, when they were ready to engage in other enterprises. One of their gang was captured, tried, convicted and hung. Dire were the threats thrown out against every man of


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any standing in that community by Lowrie and his confreres, conditioned upon the execution of their brother robber; loud were their curses; but they availed not; he was hung at the appointed time, and the majesty of the law vindicated. The chief and his gang became finally to be so audacious that at times they would actually present themselves at the railroad stations, armed cap-a-pie, to the great embarrassment of every one. On such occasions they would demand, and generally received the latest newspapers, containing in some instances full accounts of their diabolical doings; they cracked jokes and laughed heartily over them, and then departed for parts unknown. So great was the apprehension on the part of the substantial residents in that vicinity that they not only offered a large reward for the body of the ringleader, dead or alive, but also procured a much larger reward to be offered by the State officials; and as a last resort, by command of the Governor, all the available troops of the State of North Carolina, numbering several thousands, under capable officers, were marched to the margin of the swamp and encamped. Here they remained for a lengthy period of time, experiencing all the incidents, save physical wounds, incidental to actual warfare. They stretched a cordon of troops for a long distance on the margin of the swamp, in the vain endeavor to entrap him; and sent out scouts and spies to ferret him out of his hiding


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place. Vain hope! All these efforts were destined to prove abortive; and the uniformed militia, after indulging their vanity and rubbing up their tactics for as long a time as the State would endure the expense, marched their troops back again and disbanded them, to be referred to by future historians and placed by the side of the illustrious individual of whom the poet sings:


                         "The King of the French, with sixty thousand men,
                         Marched up the hill, and then marched down again."

        There is an end to all things terrestrial however, and the career of Henry Berry Lowrie was no exception to the rule. He was finally surprised and shot while seeking shelter and medical care in the house of a relative, and thus ended the career of a man who in a just cause could have earned undying honors, but by the force of circumstances was led to pursue a course which both stamped his name with infamy and brought desolation and grief into many households. After his death the band dispersed and so far as the writer knows ceased their organized depredations.

        There is just one other association connected with this dismal swamp, which the writer will glance at before closing this chapter: We refer to the fact that, in the reign of the slave driver and blood hound in the sunny South, many a poor panting fugitive dragged his lacerated limbs within its dark recesses, where for months, subsisting upon such animal and vegetable food


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as he could gather, with a gnarled root for his pillow, and the broad canopy of Heaven spread out over him, he found that freedom and respite from his woes which the laws of his native land refused him.

        Of these, scores might be mentioned by name; but suffice it to speak of just one, at this place. He was an aged man; he said his name was Pompey; we met him on a "First Monday," on the Public Square, in Hudson ville, where he had wandered in search of a little assistance in the evening of his eventful life.

        "Honey," he said, "whar did you come from? You is from de Norf, ain't you?"

        "Why do you ask me that question, uncle? do I look like a Yankee?"

        "Well no, you looks like our people, but den dare is somefin bout yer way of talkin dat souns like de Norf."

        "Well, to be truthful with you, uncle, I was born in the South, but raised in the North."

        "Jest as I spected. Den you don't know nuffin bout de hard trials of de cullud people in dis part of de country, does yer?"

        "Well no, uncle, except what I have read, and heard from the lips of the old folks. I suppose you know a good deal about them."

        "Well, does you see dat scar ober dat eye? Dat was made by a rawhide in de hans ob de oberseer; an dat


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mark on my neck dar was made by one of Mars George's houns; dey had me buried in de groun up to my arms, and de dog he got loose an bit me, an ef dey hadn't took him offen me as soon as dey did, he would or killed me. But that's nothin; ef you end see my back, honey, yer wouldn't ask me any more ef I no ennything bout ole slave days. Once I run away, an lived in de big swamp fer more'n three months. I staid in dat swamp tell I didn't have nuff close hardly to cover a skeeter. (an de skeeters was mighty big down dar) an I guess I would er died thar ef Mars George hadn't sent one ob de hans an promised me dat ef I wud come back, de oberseer shouldn't whip me enny more; an he kep his word an I neber got anodder whippin after dat. An to tell you de troof, chile, I was glad nuff to git out ob dat swamp an git some more close on agin, fer it was almos' as bad as deth to live in dar wid de snakes an varmints. At fust it made me sick, but arter I hed lived in dar about a monf, I wus as hard as a litewood not, an nuffin cud hurt me."

        Poor old man; he was scarred, and crippled, and bent with age, but he had lived to see the dawn of glorious liberty, and like a good old christian that he was, he thanked God and took courage.

        But where are we now? We have left the Dismal Swamp far behind, we have passed the thirty-five mile post, and already Brown, who has from the beginning


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of the journey taken the lead, has driven up to the gate in front of a rude log house and lowered the bars. It is the house of an acquaintance, we suppose, where we are to seek repose during the remainder of the night; and we are all rejoiced, for we are weary with the excitement and turmoil of the day, and sadly in need of rest.


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CHAPTER VI.

        The Bell Homestead.--Accommodations for the Night.--The Black Cat.--My Wife Alarmed.--An Unfortunate Throw, and Alarm of the Family.--Mine Host Jones, and the Writer Adjourn to the Yard.--Snake Stories.--Snakes in the House; in the Bed; in the Mill.--Snake Bites and Whiskey Treatment.--"Coachwhip Snake."--Snakes for Food.--Medicine and Music.--Reminiscences of the Slaveholding Era, by Jones.--The Men and Women who Cleared and Cultivated these Lands.--The Whip.--The Auction Block.--The Stocks.--Insufficient Food.--Dawn of Day.

        The Bell homestead was a typical one in that portion of the South, and presuming that a majority of our readers have never visited that interesting section, we shall essay a description of it. The lot of land on which the house was built was enclosed by a fence made of slats, which were wattled instead of being nailed on. The house was constructed of logs; the crevices or chinks between which were filled with clay, by which means the inclement elements were kept out. The chimney to this house was constructed of short poles so piled as to lap each other at the corners, until they reached a sufficient height: the whole was then plastered over with clay both within and without. Instead of sash containing panes of glass, the windows, which were merely square apertures, were provided with "shutters," hung with strap


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hinges and having hooks and staples for fastenings; the roof was covered with slats similar to those of which the fence was constructed and the whole presented a very unique appearance; carrying the mind back to the advent of the early settlers in this country. On the outside of this house, between each window and the door in the center, was hung a stretched coon skin in course of bring "cured" for the market. The interior of this primitive house was scarcely less romantic in appearance. The fire place was capacious, sufficiently so to allow of a whole log of wood being put on the large iron andirons at one time, while the sooty trammels suspended in the center, seemed to await the advent of the big pot in the corner, containing its accustomed supply of fat meat, collards and dumplings for the daily dinner. In one corner of the house was a large blue chest, the counter-part, I imagine, of the one that tradition tells us a fair damsel in that locality, "upon a time," hid her greatly embarrassed bean in, upon the sudden coming of her austere sire. This chest served a triple purpose; it contained all the spare bed clothing and wearing apparrel of the family, furnished seating for at least three persons during the day, and answered the purpose of a bedstead upon which one of the younger members of the family was accustomed to sleep at night.

        There was only one bedstead in the house, and this was very considerately placed at the disposal of Mrs.


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Brown, who had the care of an infant not exceeding three months in age. Brown himself had left the remainder of the company, in quest of recreation as well as to try to "see a man" in that neighborhood who had a brother in New York that had been to him a boon companion during his sojurn there, prior to locating in Hudsonville. Mr. and Mrs. Jones and my own dear better half were given pallets on the floor, upon which to fight mosquitoes and seek repose, and, the night being warm and sultry, the absence of ordinary bed clothing was not regretted. Under the influence of the fatigue that was oppressing the writer, not many moments elapsed before he was within the kindly embrace of Morpheus, enjoying the sweets of nature's balmy restorer; in other words, asleep. I had not slept more than thirty seconds, as it seemed to me, though in reality about two hours, when I was awakened from my slumber and again confronted with the realities of this practical life by hearing my wife exclaim "scat!" I sprang to my feet and demanded of her the cause of her alarm, when gasping, she whispered: "See that cat over there! See how his eyeballs flash!"

        "Where?" I asked, rubbing my eyes.

        "Over there; don't you see him?"

        "What is it, my dear?" I said. "I don't see anything; it's too dark to see."

        "Well, I guess you can see that cat's big eyes


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flashing over in the direction of your left hand, can't you? you old sleepy head, you," she fairly shouted. "Anything could carry Johnnie away for aught that you care for him. You have been sleeping here just like a log, while I have been trying to keep that miserable old cat from sucking his breath or eating his nose off."

        "There, there, my love," I said; "don't fret now, and just see how I shall punish that feline. I will let him know that there be powers upon earth competent to pursue, overtake and punish evildoers; and if he don't spot me as his Nemesis from this night onward then I ain't worth a cent for a throw." So saying, I summoned all the powers within me, and hurled one of my boots in the direction of the "flashing eyes." Jones sprang to his feet and, at the top of his voice, inquired whether the lightning had struck any one else. The whole family was now thoroughly aroused; a tallow dip was lit; an explanation followed, and it was definitely ascertained that the injury sustained by Jones was not of a serious nature.

        After this occurrence, the most earnest persuasion failed to induce our injured companion to lie down upon his pallet again; and as the night was already far spent, it was unanimously concluded by the three that we should adjourn to the bench under the tree in the front yard, where we could improve the balance of the night


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while the women and children were sleeping. Once there, I asked Mr. Bell why he kept such a big cat around the house, inasmuch as her practices were of a character most dangerous to little children, of which he had several. "Oh," said Mr. Bell, "I don't know what's the matter with that cat to-night. He never did act so before, and we've raised im from a little kitten. He never dreamed of troubling any of my children. Mebbe it's because your baby is a strange one. Have yer got any 'backer, stranger?" he said, digressing, as he turned to Jones. He was answered in the affirmative. "I wish yer would gimme a chaw; mine's in the house, an I don't like to worry the wimmin enny more tonight. Another thing," he continued, "that cat's one of the best mousers in the world; and as fer ketchin' snakes and lizards, he can't be beat. Why, partner, he handles a snake jest like enny dog, ef yer can call it handlin' when a critter ain't got enny hands; an I wish yer could jest see him once. Last fall, jest afore cold weather, my little Tommy, the red headed one that Brown took sich a shine to this evenin', was playin' behint the shed door, an' the ole ooman went ter see what mischief he was in, cause he kep so still, (an' that's a shore sign of mischief among children) when lo an' behold, rite in a box that sot behint the door, quiled up thar lay a snake! an' the young un he stood thar with a stick in his little han', jest in the act of strikin' uv it. The ole ooman didn't


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say a single word; she jest took the chile by his han' an' led him away, then she got 'Old Sam,' that's the cat, an' put him on that varmint; an' pardner you kin believe what I tell you or not, jest as you please, but its the Lord's truth howsumever, the cat took that snake by the back of the head with his mouth an' give it one jerk, an' made it crack like a whip; he jerked every bone in its body loose; an' when he put it down it had no more life in it than a wooden snake."

        Great surprise was expressed, by us at the wonderful familiarity of the snake, in entering the house so unceremoniously. "Pshaw," said Bell, "that's not a sarcumstance! Why last summer, in August, I think, Jim Cross, who lives on Uncle Sandy Glover's plantation, woke up one mornin' feelin' somethin' crawlin' over him; he did'nt tech it; he jest raised up his head a leetle bit and seed it was a rattle snake about four feet long; then he lay down agin an let it pass over him. Cause yer see, he was afeerd that ef he tried to git away, the snake would take the hint and bite him--see?" We answered that we did see very plainly indeed.

        "Well my friend," I said, "snakes must be no strangers to you people around here, at that rate."

        "No siree," said Mr. Bell, "they aint; an what's more'n that, we uses them: in some cases, we makes them arn ther livin."


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        "Earn their living! why what do you mean, my friend?" I said.

        "I mean what I say," he replied, "Ole Mr. Jenkins, over thar that runs the grist mill, has got two white moccasins, that he has trained to ketch rats an mice, an you can't find a rat or a mouse about his mill fer money; but afore he got them snaix, he could'nt git rid uv sich critters. Them snaix goes into every hole and crack about the mill, whar dogs an' cats can't go; an' wharever they go, the varmints leave."

        "How is it," we inquired, "that some of you don't get bit, seeing that snakes are crawling around so promiscuously?"

        "Lawful sakes, man, we does. It ain't been a month sence a ooman was bit near the big swamp by a rattlesnake, an' she turned as black as that cat they say, (I didn't see her); an' all that the doctors could do for her didn't save her; she died."

        "Do the bites of snakes always prove so fatal?" we asked.

        "Well, no; not ef yer begins in time. Thar was a boy bit around here a year or two ago by a rattlesnake, an' he didn't die. His mother follered the docter's directions to a T, an' he got over it. The docter told her not ter give him enny water for nine days--nothin' but tea; an' she didn't. Some mothers I know would ef given it to him, fer the boy cried an' begged for water


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untel it almost broke the poor mother's heart, but nary a drop did she give 'im. Bimeby the boy got well; an' he's runnin' around now as lively as ennybody. But there's other ways uv treatin' uv 'em. Some docters foller the whiskey treatment; that is ter say they giv' 'em nothin' but whiskey; keep 'em filled up with it tell the danger is over; an' they say it's the shorest an' easiest way uv doctorin' for snake bites uv 'em all. A feller by the name uv Bill Bedford got bit over at Kane's Mill-pond last spring. He had some whiskey in his pocket in a bottle, an' without waitin' fer docter or enny body else he up an' drunk the hull uv it. Then he went home an' sent fer the docter, an' the docter give him more an kep' him under the influence uv it fer more'n nine days, an' he got well."

        During the narration of the last incident, Brown had come upon the scene, and stood apparently deeply absorbed in thought while the mysteries of the whiskey treatment were being unfolded by our host. At its conclusion he desired to know whether that school of medicine was still in vogue there, and, on being answered in the affirmative, exclaimed, "Well, then, fetch along your snakes, gentlemen!"

        "Where on earth have you been, Brown!" exclaimed Jones. "Here the children has been crying, and cousin John has tried to knock my brains out throwing at the cat, and nowhere could you be found."


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        "Oh," said Brown, "I went down the road a little piece to see a man, and met some of the boys, and we have been having a good time talking over old times, and I was I telling them about New York."

        "New York!" said Jones. "Yes, when you come to die your last words will be 'New York;' and I'll be blessed if I don't have it engraved on your tombstone. You had better have been here looking after your wife and child."

        Brown suggested that Jones would not live to see his journey's end unless he kept out of the way of my boots, judging from the big knot on his forehead. This remark brought forth a laugh at Jones' expense, in which all four participated.

        "Well," continued Bell; "let me finish my snake stories; you interrupted me. I have known people here-abouts ter use rattlesnake grease fer rheumatism an' toothache, or nooralgy, as they call it. They ketch the snake, cut off his he'd an' stew out the fat. It's then bottled up an' ready fer use in time of need."

        "Impossible!" I said.

        "It's the Lord's truth, pardner; an', what's more, they do say (now mind, I hain't dun it meself,) that ther meat is good ter eat, purvidin' yer kin git it afore the pizen leaves the he'd and gits in the tail uv the snake." (We all laughed.) "An'," continued he, "the


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fiddlers 'bout here couldn't git along without rattlesnake rattles fer ther fiddles."

        "Is that so?" I said.

        "But," he continued, taking no notice of the interruption, "the snake they call the coach whip is the rascal of a snake. They ketch yer an' whip yer ontel yer is almost ded. Once I was goin' thro' the Peters' woods, an' I heerd sich a hollerin', an' a hollerin', I didn't know what ter think uv it; so I ups and hollers, too. Then I listens, an' I heers somebody say, 'O, Lo'd, de snake is killin' me!' I grabs a stick an' I runs in the direction uv the noise, an' shore enuf thar was one uv Mr. Peters' hans--a big, strappin' feller--standin' holdin' to a tree, an' the coach-whip he had got his collar in his mouth an' was wallopin' the life out uv him with his tail."

        "Call him off!" exclaimed Brown; "my head swims."

        "Buddy," said Jones, "can't you just stop a minute 'till I get my breath."

        The writer said, "Let's change the subject," and that was the last we heard of snakes on that eventful night.

        "Who did you buy this place of, Bell?" asked Jones.

        "I bought it uv ole Huckleby."

        "Is that so? I guess he's gone to get his just desserts at last."


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        "Yes," said Bell, "he died last January: an' thar was'nt enny uv his old slaves at his funeral; in fac', nobody seemed to have a good word to say for him."

        "Indeed!" said Brown, "that reminds me of an old fellow who died in New York, when I was there; and when he was buried, no one of all who stood around his grave had a good word to say for him, because he had lived such a miserly life; finally, as the clods began to fall upon his box, and make a hollow sound, one Mr. Schneider who stood by, sighed deeply and exclaimed--"vell, he vass a goot schmoker any vay!"

        "Oh, Brown, do go along!" exclaimed cousin Henry, "you are always putting in a lot of nonsense. I believe if you were at the funeral of your best friend you would crack a joke at his expense, even if it killed you."

        "Colonel Huckleby," said Jones, "was one of the most cruel slave-owners I ever knew, and I have known some pretty hard cases in my time. It was a common saying all through this country that you could tell one of Huckleby's slaves at sight, from his scared appearance and disheartened look. He was the only man in this part of the South that branded his slaves with a hot iron, to mark them. He had a slave by the name of Mose, whom he had bought of a speculator. Well, Mose had been raised by a different kind of man from what old Huckleby was, and when he began to whip him and brand him, Mose took to the swamp and stayed


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there until he had to come out to keep from starving, when the hounds tracked him and he was captured. Then Huckleby took him and whipped him until he fainted, when he washed the wounds with brine and locked him up until he was able to work again. Then he took him to the blacksmith shop at the quarters and had an iron hoop riveted around him, with an upright piece that reached about ten inches above his head, to which he fastened a bell, so that if Mose ran away again he could track him by the sound of the bell, just as we do cows."

        "Was he successful?" we asked.

        "No indeed! for Mose ran away again the first chance he got, and when he came to the first mud hole he plunged the bell into it and got it so full it wouldn't ring any more, and old Huckleby never did find him again until after the Emancipation Proclamation, when he did n't dare to touch him. Why, cousin," continued Jones, "the very men, women and children who cultivated these lands for him, were not properly fed! I know it was hard for the poor slaves to be bought and sold at auction, and separated from their parents and children and husbands and wives, and it was awfully cruel to whip them so, but do you know, cousin, I always considered it a greater hardship for them to be overworked and poorly fed, than either of the others."

        "Indeed!" I said.


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        "Yes," he continued, "and the extent to which old Huckleby carried that species of ill treatment, was a shame and disgrace to humanity. He had an old man on his rice plantation by the name of 'Billy.' Billy was an older man than Huckleby himself; he was the first slave he ever owned and he had had him for nearly fifty years. He placed so much confidence in him that he would trust him with anything in the world. It happened that, when hog killing time came on, Huckleby took Billy out of the rice swamp to dress and pack the pork; there was a great deal of it, and the longer Billy worked among the meat the more he coveted a little of it to eat; but not one mouthful did he get. His fare was the ordinary fare of the rice hands on that plantation; a double handful of rice each day, and a pint of molases each week. Finally one evening, just before going to his quarters, Billy concealed a small piece of pork within the bosom of his coarse shirt. Old Huckleby. who was at a convenient place, observed the movement; but said nothing until Billy started for his rude hut at the quarters, when he approached him, and in a sneering way said--'Now Billy take that piece out of your bosom and come into the barn, and I will give you all you want.' The result was that poor Old Billy, his faithful trusted slave for nearly fifty years, who had worn out his whole life in his service, assisting in making him a wealthy man, was tied across a barrel and


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whipped until life was almost extinct and then released to drag out the remainder of his days, a hopeless cripple.

        "The foregoing is only one case, cousin, of many others that might be mentioned where not only Old Huckleby, but many others, requited the labors of their poor slaves in a similar way. Nor is this all. They would put them in the stocks and keep them there until they would actually faint; and bury them in the earth, only leaving their heads out, for the most trivial causes. And, as for the free colored men, well, I'll have to take another time for that, for the day is beginning to dawn, and we must feed the horses and wake the people, as we have got a long distance travel to-day and no time to lose." So saying, Jones led the way and we followed. The old yellow dog snarled at us and showed his teeth, but a kick from his positive master sent him howling to his kennel, from which he did not come again during our stay.

        Our wives and little ones were awakened from their tranquil sleep; the horses were given some provender; the breakfast was spread, which was composed of the remnants of the meal on the previous day, and then we mounted again, and amidst many kindly expressions for our future welfare on the part of our host and his kind lady, we once more resumed our journey.


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CHAPTER VII.

        Incidents of the Route.--Post Boxes.--Mineral Springs.--Floral College.--The Duello.--Reminiscences of School Life in the South Before the War.--An Oasis.--A Foraging Expedition.--Difference between Southern and Northern Hospitality.--Winning our Fodder by a Stratagem.--Our Repast and Departure.

        The refreshment afforded to the weaker portion of our families had produced its desired effect, and once again the little ones appeared in all that mirthfulness and vivacity which is wont to characterize and mark the contrast between them and "children of an older growth:" and when we say that it made the heart leap but to witness their joy, I only re-echo the sentiment of every one of our party on that occasion. The female portion of our little party also wore a more cheerful look upon their countenances than they had during the last half of the day previous, and in truth it was not to be wondered at, for the very presence of the great swamp, along the margin of which the greater part of our road lay during that time, was sufficient to chill the blood within us and repress every sentiment of joy and mirth. But we had now arrived at a portion of the journey where our route lay through a more hospitable region; where waters gave place to white sands;


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where dismal cypress trees, with funereal cast, gave place to the healthful pine, with here and there a dogwood tree, in full bloom, and clambering honeysuckle; where the rich green scum of the swamp was supplanted by nourishing vegetation, and the carolings of mocking birds banished from the mind the hootings of owls and harsh croakings of amphibious creatures. It was, in truth, a most pleasing contrast, well calculated to lead one up out of the deep darkness and desolation of despair to the light of God's countenance, and beget reflections on the universal fitness of all things, and their adaptation to the uses for which He hath created them. But in the midst of all these natural beauties the universal absence of artificial attractions was only made more apparent. For miles and miles one could travel without encountering any work of art bearing upon it the stamp of man's genuis. There was to be seen not even the ruins of what had once been a human habitation of pretentious dimensions or design; and when we recalled the fact that we were then traversing a state upon which the foot of the white man trod many long years before a foothold was gained in some of our middle and western states, that are now crowded with hives of industry and even vieing with the old world in the extent and richness of their architectural monuments, we could not forbear contrasting the difference between the results of labor free, untrammeled by ignorance


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and caste prejudice, and labor despised and enslaved. The one leaves the mind free and filled with lofty ambitions; while the other, seeing nothing in the present or future upon which it can build its hopes, grovels, rebels and saps the very foundations of society. Every thing we see carries the mind back to the most ancient of times, when the force of steam and electricity was neither known nor appreciated.

        "Cousin Henry," I said, addressing Jones; "what are those little pigeon-hole boxes placed upon the tops of those posts for. I have noticed several of them at intervals of three or four miles since we left the swamp."

        "Why, cousin," he replied, "those are post boxes."

        "What?"

        "Post boxes, in which the mail along this road is deposited. Whenever any person has a letter or newspaper (if he be so fortunate as to get one) that he wishes to send off by the mail, if he does not feel disposed to travel twenty or thirty miles to the nearest postoffice, he deposits it one of these boxes, from which the mail-boy takes it when he comes along, if it is not stolen out beforehand."

        "Well!" exclaimed Brown; "that beats my time! I have seen in New York letter-boxes fastened to lampposts on almost every corner for the accommodation of such as did not wish to go to the postoffice. They were


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strong iron boxes, with patent lock and key; but these little wooden boxes, open at one end, and nailed to the tops of posts away out here in the woods, are ridiculous in the extreme."

        I am not sure but that Brown was more than half right, once in his life; for these boxes were just such as Rollin, who quotes from the early writers, tells us King Cyrus established in Persia at least six hundred years before the Christian era.

        Among the objects of natural interest also to be seen in various parts of the country through which we were now passing were refreshing little mineral springs. We were no chemists, and, even had we been, we had no appliances by means of which a satisfactory analysis could have been effected, therefore we are denied the pleasure of laying before our readers either a quantitative or qualitative analysis of the constituent elements of the waters flowing from them; but Brown, who was the first to approach and drink from them, pronounced them sulphur springs, from the similarity of the well-defined odor escaping from them to that which always accompanies boiled eggs.

        Yankee capital and enterprise may some day in the not distant future convert this wilderness into a blushing garden, and utilize the medicinal virtues of these flowing mineral fountains for the healing of diseases of various kinds to which human flesh is heir; but for the


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present, at least, like the wild flowers that cluster near their margins, they must "waste their sweetness(?) on the desert air."

        "But see, cousin Henry! what are those deserted buildings in advance of us that stand in the midst of that spacious grove? They are the first visible evidences of civilization we have met since leaving the Bell residence, where we rested during the last night."

        "That, cousin," he answered, "is Floral College."

        "Floral College!" I repeated after him: "a pretty name indeed, and most appropriate too, when we consider the surroundings. When was it established? Where are the professors, the students and other accessories of the college?" I asked, in rapid succession.

        "You ask me so many questions," he replied, "that I hardly know where or how to begin to answer them; but I shall do the best I can. As to the time when it was established, I am not well informed, and I can only say, it was before your time and mine, during the most flourishing period of American slavery; when the young gentlemen of the South had little else to do than attend school, practice the code of honor, study the manual of arms and assist in keeping their parents' human chattels in subjection. Those were the times when 'Mars George' or 'Mars Henry,' was accustomed to while away his days in idleness, at the expense of the blood and toil of others more worthy than himself, while he was being


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taught to decline mensa, or conjugate luo, and con the classic pages of Greek and Roman literature for examples upon which to build a justification of their peculiar institution. In that thicket to the right, tradition has it, two young men, becoming needlessly offended at each other by reason of something that had been said or done, fought in deadly combat, in imitation of their sires, and the result was, that while one was borne to a premature grave, the other was doomed to a life of seclusion and regret. Thanks to an enlightened and christian sentiment, this barbarous practice is now nearly extinct in all civilized communities. As for the professors and students, they left at the first alarm to try their fortunes amidst war's stern conflicts. Some of them fell at Bull Run, others at Petersburgh and Richmond, while a few of the fortunate ones who lived to return to their homes, their wealth being swept away, found neither opportunity nor inclination of attending school or prosecuting their studies. Those little buildings clustered around the larger ones were occupied by families of the professors or else by those who either took their residence there pending the instruction of their children, or sought a livelihood in boarding pupils who were attending the college."

        "But why," I asked, "did they locate this institution away out here in the woods, so remote from the centers of civilization?"


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        "Oh," he answered, "I suppose that was to afford the young gentlemen the advantages accruing from a quiet retreat in which to prosecute their studies, and at the same time relieve them of the fatigue and expense of a trip to the woods in search of logs from which to practice their declamations, in course of preparation for commencement day. And then the romantic surroundings undoubtedly did not escape the notice of its founders, who were desirous of turning every circumstance to the advantage of the future student."

        We had now reached a stage in our journey where the sand was so deep as to almost impede our further progress. The poor horses, which, while answering the purposes of ordinary domestic use, were totally unfit for a journey of this kind, were greatly distressed; and as for the patient brute to whose lot it had fallen to draw the buggy (?) in which the writer and his family were packed, every moment threatened to put an end to his demonstrative efforts. Covered with perspiration, with outstreched neck and dilated nostrils he tugged away with most persistent energy, while the remaining stump of what had formerly been a tail stood out on a level with his back bone. Desirous of consummating our journey before the close of the day, and fearing the worst, the male portion of our party were willing to make great sacrifices, and suffer somewhat in the cause of humanity; we therefore considerately alighted from our perches and


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essayed feats of pedestrianism scarcely equaled in the sawdust arena, even in this day of wonderful pedestrian achievements. For the reader must constantly bear in mind the fact that we were traveling in loose sands which were almost ankle deep and our grade was upward; to say nothing of the sun, which at almost meridian height, raised the temperature to about one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, in the shade. But the toil and monotony of the route even under these conditions were greatly modified by the merry prattle of the little ones, together with the jokes and puns indulged in at the expense of each other.

        It was along here, too, that we encountered the first snake of the season--a small, striped fellow, glittering in his recent coat, as he lay and enjoyed the life-imparting rays of the vernal sun. One blow on the head from a club in the hand of the vivacious Brown was sufficient to end his earthly career; but, for the novelty and excitement of the experience, all three of us felt called upon to assist in the execution, while the ladies turned pale from fear and the children laughed and cried by turn. And so we "devoured space," not a murmur escaping our lips, until we conquered the sands and high grade, and were relegated to what might have been termed an oasis, just beyond the desert, instead of in it--a gentle declivity, laved at its base by a babbling brook, whose sparkling waters were to our parched throats as


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pleasing as any nectar, distilled by fabled gods, and whose mossy banks no lover yet pressed without submitting to the spell of Cupid's magic charm.

        Here we dismounted and unhitched; the horses were released from their galling gearings and thoroughly groomed; and while they were chewing their provender, the children, now permitted to run at random, disported themselves in their innocent ways upon the shaded slope. Some embarrassment was occasioned here on our part in securing an additional supply of fodder. Hay or oats were out of the question altogether; and since the weather was hot, as stated above, corn, the only means of subsistence now at our command for feeding purposes, was too heating in its nature, and endangered the health of the stock. Our only recourse then was to go on a foraging expedition, with the hope of securing a little fodder by money or persuasion. I speak in that doubtful strain because it was a matter of no little difficulty to secure fodder in that isolated vicinity; and the thrice blessed traveler in the eastern or middle states, who has only to halt at the first cross-roads and pay his money and take his choice of all the luxuries known to modern art and skill, little appreciates the almost heart-rending entreaties it often requires on the part of the exhausted traveler to draw forth from the average Southern rustic the coveted boon. And should the petitioner be a colored man, he considers himself


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only too fortunate to be let alone to pursue his journey in peace, to say nothing of being granted any little acts of kindness by the way.

        The magnanimity and hospitality of the South has been lauded to the skies, aye, even sung by inspired poets in the past, while the great souled North has been charged with inhospitality and selfishness, but "truth is great and will prevail," and "though crushed to earth," this year, it will rise again next year and vindicate itself. We grant that, during the period of the South's history when she gloated over her possessions of lands and slaves, and proclaimed cotton king of commerce, there was more than a semblance of truth in her boast that she was the friend and exemplar of hospitality; for it often happened that strangers visiting that section, who would wink at her inconsistencies and attempt to palliate them with sophistical arguments, were caught up, passed around, and entertained in a princely manner, for long periods of time; and when they departed their praises were loud and multiplied concerning the hospitable South; but has the reader ever considered that the South could well afford to be generous at that particular period? because, while they and their guests were junketing around the neighborhood, living upon the "fat of the land," the real bone and sinews of the land were even then delving on the cotton plantation or wading in the rice swamp, without renumeration, to sustain such


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prodigality. With the North the case was altogether different. The people of the North knew where their means came from; they worked for their living, and by the sweat of their brow obtained their daily bread. With less than eight months of pleasant weather during the course of a whole year, they were compelled to utilize every moment of time: nor did the frosts, snows and bleak winds of winter deter them from their labors; but, pressing forward with daring hardihood, they turned what to a less thrifty and hardy race would have seemed a misfortune, into advantage, and plucked success from seeming adversity. Hence, while they were not niggardly in their dealings, they laid no claim to the reputation of being a race of spendthrifts. If rumor may be relied on, the South does not now sustain the same reputation in this respect that she did in ante bellum days, and the reasons are too obvious to be mentioned.

        However, returning to our foraging expedition, we finally succeeded in discovering a man who had a little fodder. Knowing full well the obstacles in the way of our success in obtaining a few bundles of it, we approached the subject very cautiously and with much prudence. A general in the army, in approaching the outworks of the enemy, could not be more cautious in his tactics than was Jones in this instance; for, relying


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upon his great experience and suavity of manners, we had shoved him to the front as our spokesman.

        Walking up to the bars, we saw a lean, lank specimen of the native Southerner in the yard, drawing a bucket of water from a deep, deep well, such as are common in that high country.

        "Howdy!" said Jones.

        "Howdy do," answered the man of the fodder. We knew he had it, because we had espied some of it in the rear of the barn.

        "Buddy, that's an awfully fine horse you've got there," said Jones.

        "Well, yaas it is."

        "Guess she's a fast un, ain't she?"

        "Well, sorter, I reckon. She runs in two minnits."

        "Golly, that's fast!" said Jones. "We've got some poor creeters over there in the grove that are almost worn out. Come forty-five miles since yesterday, and ain't got a mouthful of fodder for them."

        "Do tell! whar are yer gwine?"

        "Well, we are going up home to see the old folks. We haven't seen them for many a day, and it will do their poor old hearts so much good to see us once more before they die." Here Jones' voice became tremulous with emotion, and a tear was visible in one eye.

        "Ole hoss," broke in Brown; "do you ever tetch any of the old bug-juice?"


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        "Well, I reckon I do, partner," said the man of the fodder. "Is yer got enny?"

        "I never goes without it. I don't," said Brown. Here he produced a little flask partly filled with corn whiskey, obtained on the road, which looked for the world like clear water.

        The health of the fodder man and his family was drank, amidst much hilarity, and then Jones suggested: "Buddy, I spose you couldn't let us have about a dozen bundles of your fodder for our creeters, could you?"

        "Well, I would jest as live give you my horse almost as to give you her fodder; but, seein' that you uns are a purty nice set ef fellers, ef you can get along with half a dozen bundles I guess I kin let you have that much."

        "Thankee, buddy, thankee!" said Jones, assuming the manner and speech of the locality as much as possible; "I'll do as much for you some time, when you come along my way."

        "Whar might be your home?" queried our benefactor."

        "Hudsonville, South Carolina," we all answered at once.

        "Oh, I have been thar; it's a purty nice little place, too, but awful dry."

        "Yes," answered Brown; "nothin' but brandy peaches and cherries, and they are fifty and seventy-five cents a bottle. But we often send across the river to


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Goochville and buy a gallon or so, which lasts us for quite a little while."

        During the latter part of the conversation we had reached the stack and secured our coveted prize, and when Brown finished his last observation we politely bid our new formed acquaintance "good-bye," and went in search of our respective families.

        A little blaze, kindled beneath a broad-spreading tree, was crackling under the coffee-pot, and the lunch was spread. The collards by this time were slightly soured; the coffee had neither cream, milk nor sugar in it to make it palatable; but, for all these seeming disadvantages, not a murmur was heard, because we knew that the darkest hour is just before the break of day, and the nearer we approached the goal of our ambition the less we regarded the slight inconveniences of the journey. Once at our destination, surrounded by kind friends and the good things of this life, our present afflictions would but heighten the pleasures attending them.

        Our dinner disposed of, we were not long in preparing to resume our journey. The horses, by means of that strange power possessed by them, which we call instinct, perceiving that they were gradually nearing the end of their journey, quickened their pace, and all was life and animation once more.


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CHAPTER VIII.

        "Fannie" on her metal.--First Mishap of the Road.--"All's Well that End's Well."--The Deserted Cotton Plantation.--Then and Now.--Contributing Causes.--"Carpet-Bag" Rule in the South.--Both Sides of the Question.--What the Writer saw in South Carolina.--How Property-Holders Felt.--Characteristic Letter.--Where did the Blame Lie?--Admission of the Writer of the Letter.--Land Commission.--Rail Road Bonds.--Private Operations.

        Up to this point, nothing had occured to mar the pleasure of our trip, if we except the slight mishap, during the night before, of which the writer was the unfortunate cause; and the ordinary incidents characteristic of every journey through a thinly populated territory, devoid of the commonest conveniences of every day life. But at last we were to have a genuine sensation; a real tragedy, we might say, were it not for the melo-dramatic termination of it. Our readers will remember that mention was made, in the latter part of the previous chapter, of a little brook which laved the base of the declivity on which we camped. This stream, in the course of its tortuous meanderings, crossed our road about one mile further down, and by reason thereof a bridge was necessitated, This bridge being of an unsubstantial character, jarred greatly beneath the trampling


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of the horses, and gave forth sounds that were well calculated to excite animals of a nervous and fiery disposition. Now, as we have stated before, in another portion of this volume, Fannie, cousin Henry's mare, was a nervous little thing and just like some human beings, was exceedingly anxious to display her agility, apparently for the entertainment of the remainder of the party. Nor was our dear cousin ignorant of the fact that she required constant watching in order to repress her ebulitions of spirit and keep her within due bounds; for, on more occasions than one, during the course of our present journey, she had shied at seeing the meerest trifles, and endeavored to break loose from restraint. But despite these timely warnings on her part, Jones persisted in testing her speed, whenever a suitable opportunity presented itself. At such such times he would leave the rest of the party far in the rear, until he was checked by our shoutings and hallooings, when he would kindly condescend to await our arrival, at the same time, in a taunting way, reproaching us for the slothfulness of our movements. It was not surprising to us then, that when we arrived at the summit of the gentle slope leading to the bridge referred to, we saw him lash Fannie and tell her to "go." Nor did she need a second command, for with a snort and a bound, she went. It soon became evident that Jones had lost control of the animal; for had she been borne on the wings of the wind, she would


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scarcely have exceeded her speed. "Turn her into the ditch!" shouted Brown, but his advice was either unheard or unheeded; for she contined to rush straight forward. In another moment she had struck the bridge: and amidst the almost deafening thunderings which it gave forth, passed over in safety; and then!--Oh look!! For mercy's sake!!!--The buggy turns over into the ditch!!! A scream! and Henry's heels are seen to fly upward into the air, as his body disappeared over the dash board, closely followed by his wife, who hugging her little one to her bosom, turned a complete somersault.

        The mare, as if conscious of the fact that she had done all the mischief she could, now stopped and looked complacently upon the wreck. As soon as our feet could carry us, we rushed to the rescue; but by the time we reached them our cousin was upon his feet, extricating his wife and child. A few seconds sufficed to reveal the fact that beyond the scare and a liberal bedaubing of mud, no damage had been done: and as for the buggy, when it was once more placed in its proper position, it was ascertained that with the assistance of a single strap it would answer his purpose during the remainder of the journey. From that time forth until we reached our destination, adopting the maxim--"in medio tutissimus ibis," Jones surrendered


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the lead to the vivacious Brown, while he took a position in the middle.

        This accident furnished the theme of conversation at odd intervals during the remainder of the journey, and poor Henry was made the butt of many rude jokes even after our arrival in Magnolia, our objective point.

        But occasionally, when an object of unusual interest was encountered, we would drop that subject long enough to discuss its characteristics. Such an object was a large mansion house, built of wood with four large Doric columns and friese to correspond, situated in the center of a spacious inclosure, which even then in its deserted condition gave token of having been at a time not far removed, the homestead of some man of exceptional taste and wealth. There stood the proud old mansion, the substantial construction and classic style of which made it a wonder in that forsaken land. What brain conceived the plan of its construction? What hands executed the design? No one of all that dwelt within its walls remained to speak and only tradition could unfold the story of its origin. Once those hollow walls resounded with the stentorian tones of the pater familias, returning from the chase or the sober pursuits of life; the manly voice of the father brought good cheer and joy to the loving wife and dependent; once the soft sweet lullaby was sung by a young mother as she lovingly caressed her darling babe and hushed it to sweet slumbers; and the


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innocent prattle of infancy was audible, while Cupid plied his art among those who were just blooming into man and womanhood; and when music's soft cadences fell upon the ear, then might have been seen the chivalric youth leading forth the idol of his ambition to try the mysteries of the mazy dance or circle around in the dizzy waltz. But now, all is hushed and silent: and naught but the bat, the owl, and creeping vines guard its portals, while the spider silently weaving his web spreads a gloomy pall over all, and conceals in part the ravages of time, which slowly but surely carries on the work of destruction and saps its foundations. The four great sycamore trees in front of the yard sacred to Jove--grim sentinels over all--only add to the romance of the scene and increase our curiosity.

        "Now cousin Henry," I said, "here is the only really noteworthy building I have seen during our ride of fifty miles; who owns it?"

        "This is the Mumford place," he said. "It is deserted now--all run down; but the time was, cousin, when this place was a perfect hive of industry. This plantation comprises more than a thousand acres and before the war produced more cotton than you could shake a stick at. Over there by those woods are what are left of the quarters, but in Mumford's time they were more numerous and the hands were just as thick as black birds."


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        "But," I asked, "what has become of the owner? why aint he here attending to his property?"

        "The owner is dead, cousin--got killed in the war, I believe, and his heirs have never cultivated the land since he died. They wont sell any of it to the freedmen for love nor money, and they offer such small wages to hands that they will not work on it; most of them have gone off to work on the rail road; and some of them followed the army to the north. Besides that, the land has become so completely overrun with weeds that it aint worth much now, and it would take a small fortune to put it in shape again."

        This remark was too true; and what made it sadder still was the additional fact that all through that part of the State and the adjoining State of South Carolina were to be seen extensive tracts of land of which the one just referred to was a fair illustration. Much has been written and more spoken regarding the causes that have contributed toward the decline and ultimate ruin of such valuable property, but nothing so far that the writer has seen has fully met his approval. Some, presumably biased in behalf of the South, have attributed it all to "carpet bag rule" and "negro domination;" while others, with contrary tendencies, find no difficulty in ascribing every evil to the unrepentant South. The trouble, I opine, lies between the two, as the writer will in the sequel undertake to unfold.


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        When the writer first located in the Palmetto State, during the year 1870, he found the following condition of affairs as near as he remembers. The government of the State--legislative, judicial and executive--was in the hands of the Republican party: which, at that time, cast about eighty-five thousand votes. Of these, about sixty thousand were cast by the freedmen, and the remainder by white people. The white voters were composed partly of those whom adventure and the results of the war had thrown into the State, and were all known and designated as "carpet baggers," but who, in fact, furnished at that time three-fourths of the brain employed in the whole party; and partly of such of the lower and middle classes of the native white population as, rejoicing at the opportunity of gaining for themselves a political influence such as they had never before even aspired to covet, and desiring to avail themselves of the opportunity of adding to their wordly possessions, had laid aside their prejudices and joined their cause with that of the Republican party.

        A majority of the members of both branches of the Legislature were persons of African descent. Among these were to be found a number who possessed such a degree of natural sagacity and intellectual culture as would have shown to advantage if placed by the side of some of the most brilliant intellects to be found in the legislative bodies of our Northern States--men, indeed,


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who had enjoyed the advantages of some of our older institutions of learning, and who had even brought with them from European schools ripe experience and scholastic acquirements. Did prudence permit, the writer could mention the names of some of these men, who have since become well known to the community at large by reason of their prominence in national politics.

        It is to be regretted, however, that as much could not be said of the remainder of them, since they, in many instances, were not only lacking in respect of such ordinary and reasonable essentials as common intelligence and moral integrity, but lost no opportunity of impressing this fact upon the minds of the people of the State and the country at large. It will surprise no one, therefore, when we state that the property-holders of the State, who were in general ex-rebels of the State, were highly disgusted when men, who a few years prior (months, in some instances,) had scarcely a lodging place, were seen boasting themselves among their former associates, clothed in the finest raiment, their wives and children wearing rich silks and jewels, and riding in carriages and phætons. A general desire seemed to possess every one to become a member of the Legislature, from the minister in the pulpit to the plantation hand; and in the fall of 1872 there were in -- county no less than twenty-two aspirants to legislative "honors,"


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of whom only two could read and write, notwithstanding the fact that were only two vacancies to be filled.

        To such an extent was the mania for holding office permitted to go, and so completely were the ignorant masses possessed of a desire to participate in the benefits accruing therefrom, that in one instance, at least, a well formed, healthy farm hand who had been so fortunate, or unfortunate, as to be elected to the lower branch of the Legislature, wept over a subsequent defeat, and, by reason of his determination to return to the State capital in some capacity, actually accepted the position of janitor, and was seen upon the curb cleaning spittoons.

        It fell to the lot of the writer, upon a visit to the State capital in the year 1871, to pass a night in the dormitory occupied by a large number of the members of the Legislature. The impressions made on his mind by the events of that eventful occasion will never be fully obliterated by the lapse of time nor change of locality; for, amidst the fumes of strong drink, the clouds of smoke, the shuffling of feet and maudlin jesting of the "grave and reverend seigniors," sleep was an impossibility, and he contented himself with lieing there, a quiet observer of transpiring events, and philosophizing as to their probable issue.

        It would be manifestly unjust however and foreign to the truth, for any one to ascribe to the ignorance of this august body all the moral turpitude which was even


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then drawing forth the severest criticisms from some of the most ardent advocates of the Southern Reconstruction policy: for these poor men were in reality but the dupes of their more wily and sophisticated brethren of both colors, who used them as mere cat's paws with which to pull the nutritious chestnuts out of the fire; and who, while these deluded people were easily purchased with a few hundred dollars, were accumulating bank, rail road and mining stocks, as well as pocketing a liberal proportion of the bonds of the State of South Carolina. Nor did this condition of affairs end at the state capital; but becoming contagious, it spread all over the state, and found a lodging in every county. town and hamlet. In the county of--which was a model one for that state, the sheriff, (who was a white man,) could neither read nor write, and depended altogether upon his clerk and memory for the transaction of his complicated duties; the school commissioner was a man incapable of discharging his duties according to the requirements of his position; the probate judge was ignorant of the rudiments of law; and some of the trial justices were men who dishonored their positions in every respect. And yet when the writer during the delivery of a public harangue, took occasion to suggest the propriety of selecting the more intelligent class of republicans for these positions, rather than such as have been referred to, he was branded with disfavor by all


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who were of that class, (and they comprised the greater portion of the inhabitants) was stigmatized as a college bred man who was in favor of having only educated people hold office, and relegated to the seclusion of his grocery and law office. It is no wonder then, that under the circumstances, there was a feeling of hatred and disgust, deep and bitter, pervading the breasts of the property holding class throughout the State, which was destined to ultimately break forth in such deeds of violence and bloodshed as have brought dishonor upon the fame of the State and stained the reputation of some of her leading men.

        The writer has no recollection of having ever seen any more direct exposition of the sentiment then pervading the latter class of the inhabitants of that State than that furnished by a letter now in his possession, written and addressed to him, subsequent to his return to the State of Ohio, by one of her oldest inhabitants; a man who for twelve consecutive years represented his county in the Legislature: a former slaveholder, and at that time the owner of more than one thousand acres of arable land.

        For the benefit of such readers as may be desirous of obtaining both sides of this important question, we will insert the letter entire, subject to such comments thereon as we may feel constrained to submit.


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The following is the letter verbatim. The italics are our own:

HUDSONVILLE, S. C., May 13th, 1873.

--, Esq.

        I have received your letter, bearing date --, Ohio, and was somewhat surprised to find that you had left the South entirely. You lived here long enough to find out that it was no place for one politically who had honest aims. The gang of thieves who call themselves the State Government, want no spies about them, and therefore -- was not wanted. If you had been a dexterous rogue you might have stolen a good deal, and have been highly promoted; or if you had let the white people take you up and fought -- as well as you could with the colored people, you might have achieved something valuable for yourself as well as for the public interest. I think the whites would have stood by you just as long as you had strength to fight the robbers, and would have been of great service to you. They wanted an advocate from your race; some one the freedmen would believe, and who would tell them boldly what is going on. For rottenness sits in all the high places, and the white people feel that they are made mere fish-bait of, and that they have no civil rights under the domination of corn-field darkies, and army sutlers at the head of the State Government.

        Do you think the white people of South Carolina will ever tolerate this state of things? Prudence may keep all things quiet for a time, but when the dam breaks the rush of water will overwhelm everything in its way. We don't intend to submit to the existing state of things for the benefit of -- and such as he. I say this to you who belong to another race, but who knows enough of a country where he could not live himself without stealing or winking at the stealing of others, and who must understand that


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the respectable people who live here, and can't get away to Ohio, intend to assert their rights when they can, and throw off the millstones that are crushing out their very lives.

        You know all about what I am writing, and well understand me when I tell you that "time" only increases the deep indignation we all feel at what we have to suffer, and can never make it tolerable. We are altogether willing that human rights should be acknowledged, and all races and conditions shall have equal rights under the law. But you know the white man has no political rights here, and that he is at the mercy of mere bummers. All the concessions we make only draw our own chains tighter. I do not just now see the end of these things, but it must come. When such men as Governor Orr and Sawyer are driven from the State because they tried to reform the Republican party, and when -- could see no resting-place for his feet here, well may all others, more sensitive to the violence done to all their preconceived opinions and prejudices, feel restless and disgusted, and look beyond the dead line for the possibility of an escape. It seems hard that after the white people, who pay all the taxes, have been so reduced as to accept with sincerity such terms as shock every fibre in their systems, yet still they are denied the privilege of making their own laws, and have no rights except what cornfield darkies and army sutlers are willing to concede to them, at their own expense. Therefore we complain.

        As to money matters, the people are rich, even with their heavy taxes. The small planters are richer than they ever were. I never saw money so plentiful in South Carolina as last winter (1872). With cotton at seventeen and eighteen cents, even the freedmen are looking up, and buying largely of everything they want. One lives near me who has bought and paid for two tracts of land and five horses since the war. If cotton only keeps up


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we are obliged to be full of money. A one-horse farm is good for ten bales and provisions. Any one can make it who is willing to work, and therefore we make no complaints about money. It is the best place to make money in the civilized world. And there are thousands of opportunities yet to be seized upon by smart men in mechanical and manufacturing employments that would be sure to bring rich harvests to those who will seek them. We want Northern men to come amongst us. The old prejudices are crushed out, and we will hail them as friends if they will come amongst and settle down to live by their industry (and vote the Democratic ticket, he ought to have added). There is any quantity of land to rent. I have a field myself of five hundred acres which I will rent for two dollars an acre, or will sell for twelve dollars an acre the whole tract of nine hundred and fifty acres.

Yours respectfully, --


        The writer of the foregoing remarkable letter said in the presence and hearing of the author and a large concourse of citizens of both colors, upon the occasion of a political demonstration, in substance as follows: "We have made a mistake in the policy adopted and pursued by us toward our colored citizens and the republican party in general, and I fear it is now too late to repair the damage done. We should have fraternized with you, and inspired you with confidence in us. Had we adopted that plan, we could have gained a place in your affections and enjoyed the opportunity of contributing of our superior knowledge and greater experience toward the reconstruction and government of our State. But instead of this, we have held aloof, and treated you with


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studied scorn; instead of voting with you and assisting in the selection of the best men of our own county and State, we have either kept away from the polls altogether or else wasted our strength in futile efforts to elect men to office who differed radically from you, while strangers have come in from abroad and usurped the reins of government and now oppress us beyond endurance." How truthfully and fitly spoken! for in those few words rested the whole truth of the case. It is true that from the force of circumstances some of the largest property holders of the State were disfranchised by law, but this class included no very considerable portion of the voting population, and had any disposition discovered itself on their part to fall in with the new order of things and yield obedience to the laws of the land, no difficulty would have been experienced in adjusting affairs, to meet the requirements of their case. There is also another view to be taken of this question, namely: If it were true that rottenness was sitting in all the high places, it was equally true that many of the "respectable people of the South" winked at it and even encouraged it. For instance the Land Commission of the State of South Carolina was formed by law, and had placed at its disposal more than half a million dollars, for the avowed purpose of purchasing large tracts of land within the State, to be parcelled out to such of the ambitious freedmen as were able and willing to buy land, but who


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owing to the indisposition on the part of the Southern land owners to sell to them, had not the opportunity. It was a laudable design, conceived in justice and magnanimity, but by reason of the connivance of these same landed grumblers, permitted to become abortive of any good results, and disgraceful to the administration. A land owner having a piece of worn out or swamp land unfit for ordinary agricultural purposes and worth in fact not more than from a dollar and fifty cents to three dollars per acre, would palm the same off upon the Land Commissioners, who were State officers, for an exorbitant price; just where the whole of the money paid went to I cannot say. And it was noticed that by some peculiar hocus pocus the choicest parcels of this land, especially if there happened to be improvements on them, were apt to get into the hands of influential members of the legislature. And in almost every instance where private corporations were formed by legislative enactments, (and the volumes containing session laws were full of them) for the purpose of carrying on mining or other operations within the State, or for the purpose of removing rich phosphatic deposits from the beds of rivers, (an article very valuable in the cultivating of cotton and other products) the name of one or more of these same "respectable people of the State," appeared conspicuous as incorporators. But aside from all this, whatever may be said against the honesty or fitness of individuals


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participating in the State and local governments, it must be admitted that they furnished the only element in the State from which the United States Government could select agents for the transaction of her behests. Say of the colored people of the South that they were in some instances ignorant; that in connection with their white brethren and with the connivance of the property holding element there, they sometimes abused their respective trusts; say all this and more if possible, it must still be admitted by everyone who knows them that they were then as now, loyal to the core and would rather die of starvation and the lash in the hands of their white oppressors than cast a ballot for the Democratic party or betray their country into the hands of traitors. There has not been a time since the surrender of Lee at Appomattox, when it was not in the power of the Confederate element of the South to assist in governing themselves, had they felt disposed to accept the proffered concessions of the Central Government; but they would not. And as for the "carpet baggers," so called, I cannot understand how the reconstruction of the Southern States could have taken place in accordance with legal requirements without their assistance; and the South is to this day indebted to these same men for some of her most substantial improvement, and much of the energy and business vitality enjoyed by her.


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CHAPTER IX.

        The Camp-Meeting Ground.--General Appearance of the Place.--Jones Pleased.--Religious Tendencies of the Colored Race. Are they Peculiarities of the Colored Race, or are they Begotten of their Weak and Oppressed Condition?--The Writer's Views on this Subject.--Reminiscences of a Camp-Meeting.--Sudden Prostration and Narrow Escape.--The Philadelphia "Mourner."--Quotations from a Sermon.--First Lines of some of the Hymns.--A Woman on Fire.--Disadvantage of Wearing a Hoop Skirt.--Nearing Civilization.

        For one to undertake a description of the manners and customs of the South without including a camp meeting, would be as futile as for the continental tourist to essay a description of Rome with St. Peter's left out; for as St. Peter's is a fair type of the predominating religious sentiment of the inhabitants of that city, to an equal degree does the camp meeting of the South serve as an exponent of the moral and religious tendencies of the colored people there; and since in many sections of the South the colored people constitute not only the bone and sinew of the land, but also give to it whatever of soul and vitality it may possess, it follows that whatever interests them pertains to all.

        It is not to be wondered at then that when our party, having left the deserted mansion and plantation in the


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rear, approached the site where during the previous fall the residents of the surrounding country had held a great camp meeting, we were inspired with feelings akin to awe and made to audibly soliloquize, as we dismounted and closely scrutinized every object of interest connected with it--like the reverential son of the Emerald Isle on a former occasion--"tread lightly, for its on howly groun' that ye are." There was the vast auditorium just as it was left at the close of the previous season of religious excitement. Its construction was the acme of simplicity and economy. Posts, forked at the top, were planted in the ground; upon these, poles were laid in a longitudinal direction; resting upon them, transversely, other poles were placed to form a roof, and the whole was then covered over with branches and twigs, thus affording an excellent protection against the force of the sun's rays or the dews of the evening. At one end of this pavilion was a rude perch, which served the purpose of a pulpit; split logs, with the flat side up and holes bored in the rounded side for the accommodation of legs, answered the purpose of seats; while without, surrounding all, at irregular intervals, were little arbors or booths, furnished with rustic tables and seats, which answered every purpose of domestic use to the weary pilgrim who had performed his hegira to this Mecca of his ambition.

        Such were the appointments of this rustic fane; and as Jones drank in the scene and descanted on his former


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experiences at similar places, his religious enthusiasm was with difficulty repressed. For be it remembered, like other members of the colored race, especially in the sunny South, his religious tendencies were strong and required but little of exhortation or song to fan them to a glowing flame. On more occasions than one has the writer been awakened from a profound slumber at the dead hour of night by the loud and earnest supplications of cousin Henry. Those occasions generally immediately preceeded or attended a season of physical suffering or business embarrassment, but rarely followed them; and, being blessed with a pair of healthy lungs, they were matters of common notoriety among the neighbors, and frequently cost him much embarrassment when in his more prosperous seasons he became so recreant as to indulge in profanity.

        Much has been attributed to the colored people on the score of religious sentiment, while their prayers and melodious songs, ascending from the cane-brakes and cabins of the South, have found a place in works of fact as well as fiction, and many a tear of genuine sympathy has started to the eyes of humane persons on hearing the mournful wail, as imitated by the now ubiquitous jubilee singer of the stage.

        The questions have often been asked whether this religious enthusiasm, exhibited in so many and vigorous ways, is a peculiar characteristic of the African race, or


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is it begotten by the weak and oppressed condition in which they are placed in this country? Were their condition reversed and if, instead of having been enslaved and persecuted they had been free and favored, instead of being poor and subject to caste proscription they were rich and preferred, would that same religious fervency and zeal be conspicuous?

        Nor is the writer prepared to conscientiously answer these questions in an unequivocal manner. A well-known writer, speaker and agitator in the anti-slavery cause of this country, once said, in substance, from the rostrum that were it not for the vivacity of the African disposition, and the great fund of religious sentiment which characterizes him, he never could have survived his afflictions in this country in his present condition. Instead of multiplying, he would have decreased numerically; instead of maintaining his pristine physical and intellectual force, he would have degenerated, and the imbecile and insane asylums of the land, as well as the infirmaries, would to-day be full to overflowing.

        I raise no issue with the gentleman, for he may be correct in his conclusions, but by no means do I desire to claim for the race with which I am identified any greater degree or different quality of intellect or morality than is possessed by the average races of the human family on the face of the earth. And I think I speak


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the sentiments of a majority of the more thoughtful members of our race when I say, if we have only accorded to us the credit of possessing such ordinary and reasonable qualities of mind and soul as are the mead of men in general, together with a fair opportunity in the race of life of proving them, we shall be satisfied therewith. Other races have been oppressed, and severely, too, and their oppressions followed seasons of prosperity, which made it all the more unendurable; and yet they lived through it and prospered. Such was the case with the Helots of Greece, and such the condition of the Saxons after the advent of William the Conqueror, not to mention instances of less note in other countries at different times.

        I have noticed that afflictions in any form have a tendency to soften the hearts and quicken the consciences of persons of all colors and conditions; and, in the course of the writer's legal experience, he has borne witness to the marvellous conversion of some very hardened criminals--men who to all appearances were incorrigible, and had previously been given up as lost.

        Who that has been present on the occasion of a storm at sea, railroad accident, or other threatened or actual calamity, when hardened sinners, (old men, in some instances, who had not thought of supplicating the Throne of Grace since their mothers taught them around the family altar to lisp their infant prayers,) upon bended


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knees, with their countenances bathed in tears of penitance, were pouring forth their souls in earnest supplications, has not experienced the truth of the observation?

        Is it to be wondered at, in view of the fact of our sufferings and afflictions in this land, that the past and present generations of colored men have betokened, by their prayers and songs, a deep sense of their dependence upon the God of nations, and trust in Him for a happy issue of their cause? I think not. We are led to believe from the accounts of African travelers that when in his native land, surrounded by the incidents pertaining to his barbarous condition, he is brave and daring, and that his actions betray no greater degree of religious enthusiasm than is to be seen among nations of a lighter hue. Witness the struggles of the savage Zulus during their recent war with the English.

        But to return to the camp meeting. The writer recalls in a very vivid manner an evening passed at a place similar to the one now before us, less than a year ago, when it seemed as though the whole region was seized with a religious mania, little short of absolute insanity. For weeks previous, the camp meeting was the only subject worthy of discussion and it overshadowed everything else, except the one practical matter of obtaining daily bread. Small bits of money were treasured up, new gowns and turbans, flashing in their ruddy hues were bought and prepared; chickens,


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ducks and suckling pigs were fattened; all in anticipation of the great event. And when the time came, such a gathering of the neighboring clans as took place beggars description. To say that the preaching, singing or praying was artistic would not be true, and to say it was earnest would be less than truth, for it was something more; it was violent, it was emotional, it was comical. The sermon, as near as we can remember, was a strange mixture of eloquence and humor, and some of the observations made by the preacher were absolutely startling in their nature. In referring to the expulsion of the money-changers and those that sold doves from the Temple by the Savior, he represented the Savior as "going in" with his sleeves rolled up; and, again, in accounting for the ascension of the Savior into heaven after the resurrection, he swept away all theories and speculations with a single motion of the hand, and in his imagination pictured a windlass in heaven with a golden cord attached thereto, to one end of which, being lowered, the Savior was clinging, while beautiful angels, robed in white, labored at cranks to wind him up. The singing was peculiar, defying all attempts on the part of the average novice at imitation; but for the purpose of conveying only a faint idea of its character to the uninitiated we will quote the first lines of a few of them. One which was sung with great earnestness commenced as follows:


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                         "Look out dar, sinner, how you trample on de cross,
                         If your foot should slip you are shoah to get los',
                         I'm gwine ter jine de b-a-n', I'm gwine to jine de ban'."

        Another less solemn but more suggestive ran as fol-follows:


                         "I wish ole Satan would be still,
                         Gwine ter git a home bimeby;
                         An' let me do my marster's will,
                         Gwine ter git a home bimeby."

        Still another expression of the trials and tribulations of this life ran as follows:


                         "Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down,
                         Sometimes I'm almos' on de groun'."

        These are but a drop in the bucket as compared with the oceans of poetry and music indulged in on that occasion, under the inspiration of which the brothers and sisters would not only pat their feet and clap their hands together, but shout, jumping about, pulling at imaginary ropes, as if in the very act of climbing up into heaven, and in some instances actually fainting and being carried out and laid in a cool place. I blush to say it, but it is nevertheless true, it sometimes happened that a sister who possessed a bonnet or dress a little newer in style, or more brilliant in colors, suffered the mortification of having it partly torn from her by some jealous sister while under the influence of the spirit and engaged in one of these demonstrations.


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        For such reasons as the one just related, the writer has often feared that much of the apparent religious enthusiasm on the part of some of these people is feigned; on the other hand, some are sincere.

        It happened upon an occasion similar to the one spoken of, when the writer was a silent observer, that a burly man, who sat next to him, suddenly, and without any warning, fell over and kicked out with his feet, one of them coming in close proximity to our nasal protuberance. Now it happens that if there is one member of the writer's body that he is more jealous of than any other it is his nose, hence he has not, up to the present time, ceased congratulating himself upon his fortunate escape, for there is no room for a reasonable doubt that, had he been struck in the face with the heavy brogan worn by the stricken brother, his countenance would have been spoiled for all time to come. The "mourner" had reason to be offended at the writer, because of the very active part he had taken against him in a law suit a short time previous to this occurrence, and whether he had adopted that mode of repairing his injured feelings, does not plainly appear.

        At another time when we were present, the chandelier, which consisted of a coal oil lamp, lashed to a joist over head, fell with a crash in the middle of the minister's discourse, and the oil, immediately igniting, set fire to the clothes of a lady sitting near by. Vain were the


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frantic efforts of the young gentlemen present to extinguish the flames, for, despite their efforts to smother them, a metallic hoopskirt, worn by the damsel, persisted in expanding her burning clothing and burning their hands. The heat increasing, and the life of the victim being threatened, it became essential that something should be done, and that quickly. In such an emergency, a plain-looking old gentleman, wearing a white fur hat of the style prevalent in the days of our revolutionary sires, came forward, bearing in his hand a hickory cane, with one end crooked:


                         "Not the least obeisance made he;
                         Not a moment stopped or stayed he;"

        but, with a look of placid confidence on his countenance, he raised the cane aloft, with the crooked end thrust forward, and without uttering a word hooked it into the skirt and relieved the embarrassed wearer, but left her in a costume which carried the mind of the observer back to the days of our first parents in the garden of Eden. Notwithstanding the fact that enthusiasm ran high before the accident, it now disappeared; the exhorter was gone, and those who were loudest in their demonstrations were rushing wildly around, like sheep without a shepherd.

        The following anecdote is related upon the authority of a gentleman who was present, and vouches for the truthfulness of it. During the winter of 1870 or 1871, a "protracted" meeting was in progress in one of the


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most notorious of the colored churches of the city of Philadelphia. For more than three weeks excitement ran high, and many were converted--some bona fide, others not. Complaints, numerous and emphatic, had been lodged with the authorities concerning disturbances created by irresponsible persons, who had attended these meetings and who, in passing through the streets at unseemly hours, made disturbance by reason of their cries and groans. On the occasion referred to, a group of eight or ten persons were passing along a thickly populated street, having in charge a pretended mourner of rather demonstrative tendencies. They had labored over her all the evening, and now that the night was far spent, having failed in accomplishing any perceptible result, they were considerately conducting, aye, even carrying her home; for the influence under which she was laboring was so powerful as to deprive her of the use of her limbs, but not of her tongue. Onward they bore the sister as she, erstwhile, gave forth a series of shrieks and groans that were truly heart-rending; while her comforters addressed themselves to her somewhat after the following manner: "Give up yo' hart to de Lo'd, chile, rite now;" "Let go dem flesh-pots ob Egyp', sinner, an' cum eat milk an' honey." At that juncture a minion of the law, wearing a uniform, appeared upon the scene of action. "What have you got there?" he said, addressing the leading comforter. "A m-o-u-r-n-e-r,"


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she answered. "A what!" exclaimed the policeman. "A m-o-u-r-n-e-r, sir," was again answered. "Well!" exclaimed the officer, "that's a pretty row to be raising on the streets at this hour of the night. If you don't get to your houses in a hurry I shall lock you up." At the mention of the lock-up the mourner was dropped and left to shift for herself, and, though the remainder of the party were rapid in their flight, she distanced them all, and led the inglorious retreat.

        I hope no one will gain the impression from what has been written that the writer would cast any reflection of an improper character upon the Christian religion, or ridicule the efforts of the humblest worker in the vineyard of the Lord; for he recognizes the vastness of the responsibility any one must necessarily incur who has the effrontery to do such a thing. If there is one thing, however, that we hate and detest upon earth more than another, that thing is hypocrisy. Hence we have no scruples in mimicing or ridiculing whatever savors of duplicity in religion, believing that he who steals the livery of heaven to serve the devil in is just as much a thief and a robber as he who cracks a safe or robs a bank; and more contemptible, because he cowardly uses the means provided for the accomplishment of noble ends as a blind to the dishonorable aims in view on his part.

        But we linger around this old camping ground too


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long; we must go. Again we are mounted and pursuing our journey. Our distance is growing beautifully less, and expectation runs high, predicated upon our arrival in the town. Only ten miles further, and our journey will have ended.


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CHAPTER X.

        The Ku Klux-Klan.--Its Origin.--Its Name.--Objects and Deeds of Violence.--Recollections of its Early Days.--Proofs of its Existence.--What Hon. Reverdy Johnson thought of its Members.--The Origin of the Exodus, and Probable Result.

        We had only proceeded a short distance further on our way, when we were confronted by the charred remains of what had been a dwelling house.

        "What's that?" I asked for the hundredth time, addressing Jones.

        "That" said he, "is the work of the Ku-Klux-Klan. The man who lived there was nominated for an office of inconsiderable importance; but being a "Yankee" and for that reason displeasing to his Democratic neighbors, he was warned to leave the country; and failing to heed the notice, he was taken from his house one night by a body of masked men, given a coat of tar and feathers, and twenty-four hours in which to make his escape. After that treatment he hesitated no longer, but left for parts unknown, glad enough to be spared his life. On the following night his house, with all its contents, were burned to the ground, and left in the condition you now see it."


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        Further inquiry only tended to strengthen the truth of Jones' statement; not only this but the additional fact that throughout the region we were then traversing, there was a thoroughly organized association of men under the name given above. The Ku-Klux-Klan was an organization conceived in sin, and born in iniquity; based not so much upon any wrongs or oppression that its members were actually suffering at the hands of the members of the newly organized government of the State, as upon an imagined violence done to "all their preconceived opinions and prejudices," in the language of our Southern correspondent, whose letter we have given in a previous chapter. One of those opinions was that the South ought to have been left alone to secede from the Union of these States, and not restrained by the vigorous North; hence a violence had been done the South in restraining her. Another opinion was that, after having been scourged back into the line of States, South Carolina ought to have been given loose reins to reconstruct herself, and make her own laws; even though their tendency were such as to crush out every spark of civil life from the freedmen, deprive them of their newly acquired political privileges, and relegate them to the condition of "corn-field darkies," with overseers to crack their whips over their heads, and not even a master to say them nay. Violence had been done to their "preconceived opinions"


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by denying them this privilege, and to cap the climax, their "preconceived prejudices" had been violated by per mitting "corn-field darkies and army sutlers" to hold offices of emolument and trust, notwithstanding the fact they utterly refused to fraternize with them even politically, and reap a portion of the benefits accruing there-from. There was no reasonable cause of complaint existing on the part of the people of that State that could not have been adjusted by lawful means entirely within their power and under their control; and that, in any one of our more considerate States of the North would have been modified without resort to violence and incendiarism. Not so with these impulsive people, however. "Their preconceived opinions and prejudices" had been violated, and now, just as when the Republican party of the North had violated them by electing Abraham Lincoln to the Presidential chair, nothing short of blood would wipe out the stain.

        They regarded the "carpet-bagger" as the common foe, and, as a consequence, all arguments that could be lavished upon him, having in view his conversion to their doctrines, would be worse than wasted. Hence they let him severely alone, and in his state of ostracism he was left to fraternize with "corn-field darkies" or else live the life of a hermit. He chose the former.

        But to the colored men they poured forth their souls in all the eloquence at their command, in the vain effort


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to lure them back again to all their former felicities (?). In this attempt as well they were doomed to disappointment, for their colored brethren had lived among them long enough to understand the difference between freedom and slavery, and took no heed of their prayers and entreaties. The colored men were then, as now, true to the cause of the Union. They had prayed for it; they had fought for it; and now they would vote for it, and not all the fair promises of their former masters, nor even the reputed wealth of the Indies could swerve them one inch from their recognized path of duty. I have known freedmen to walk twenty miles, in a thinly populated region, to the nearest voting precinct to cast their ballots, even when they knew that such action on their part widened the breach between them and their employers and jeopardized their dearest interests, so true were they to the principles which they had espoused. Being foiled in their efforts to coax or scare their former slaves into a support of their "preconceived opinions and prejudices," and being fully determined to yield no jot or tittle to the policy pursued by the Republican party, as a last resort, and one more in consonance with their tastes, inclinations and early training, thep adopted the policy now known as ku-klux-ism--a policy of cowardice, perjury, rapine and murder; one ill-suited to any people other than such as are found in the South among her half civilized white population.


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        The "klan" was thoroughly organized, having a ritual, signs, grips and passwords. They wore masks to conceal their cowardly faces, and bound each other with a solemn oath not to reveal the name of any member, nor divulge any secret of the order.

        Their name, "Ku-Klux-Klan," is said to have been suggested to them by the sound made in the act of cocking and discharging the rifles and shot-guns carried by them--the first two syllables being repeated in a subdued tone of voice, as Ku Klux, represented the cocking of the piece; while the last syllable, Klan, being repeated with emphasis, betokened its discharge.

        The objects of the Klan, as have been already hinted at, were to banish the so-called "carpet baggers" from the State, restore the freedmen to positions of serfdom under their former masters, and regain control of the government of the State. They carried a knife in one hand and a torch in the other, while in their belt they wore a revolver. The bull-whip and raw-hide were also instruments of their torture, and made to produce arguments which none dared refute. In their expeditions they spared neither age, sex nor color, and the reputation of being a "black republican" was all that was needed to place one under the ban of their condemnation.

        To note the progress of the sentiment which culminated in the organization of this "Klan," was a matter of


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much curiosity; and since the writer was located in one portion of the Sate of South Carolina, from its inception until its discovery and prosecution under the administration of President Grant, he enjoyed many facilities in this connection not within reach of persons at a distance from the scene of their diabolism.

        As early as the gubernatorial contest in 1870, while the writer, with others, were assisting in the canvass of the State in behalf of the Republican party, frequent paroxysms of rage were noted on the part of the "respectable people" of the State, which on more occasions than one, well nigh resulted in blood shed. In one instance this was so manifestly true that ever afterward our party went out "upon the stump" prepared for the worst. On the occasion referred to, while one of us, mounted upon a rustic rostrum, was descanting on the evils of Democratic rule, and lauding to the skies the magnanimous policy of the Republican party, a coarse looking man with his pants tucked into the legs of a pair of cow-hide boots, and wearing a broad-brimmed straw hat, who had been standing under a tree near by with a few others of similar stamp, paring a sweet potato with a dangerous looking knife which he held in his hand, becoming incensed at something which the speaker said, dropped his potato, and brandishing his knife, rushed toward him. In an instant a dozen sable sons of our party stood between the speaker and his


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assailant, and with drawn blades defied the assassin to touch a hair of his head. His violence soon subsided without harm being done.

        On another occasion, when the orator of the day, during the delivery of a Fourth of July oration, was drawing a very striking contrast between the times that had been and those that were, a former nominee of the Democratic party for Congressman who was present, took umbrage at something that was said, and catching the speaker by one leg attempted to pull him from the stand. He came well high being paid for his temerity by a thrust from a sword in the hands of one of the audience, who was a captain of militia. And thus on nearly every occasion that offered these offended people would betoken their active hostility to every thing of a political nature not in full harmony with "all their preconceived opinions and prejudices."

        As time wore on apace their opposition increased in virulence, and assumed a more open form. About six months later direct opposition in the nature of Ku-Klux outrages began to be felt and heard from. In the adjoining county a white Republican was summoned to his door one night by the usual alarm; he went accompanied by his wife and daughter, and instead of welcoming a neighbor or friend who had come to perform a friendly errand, they were confronted by a band of Ku-Klux, who, without any word of warning or even


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opportunity of making his peace with his God, shot him down like a dog.

        In another section of the State a loving husband and kind father was bound and flogged in the presence of his family, because he heeded not their warning to desist from taking an active part in the campaign then inaugurated; houses and well-filled barns were burned and a perfect reign of terror inaugurated. Their deeds of violence being heralded abroad, alarm seized upon all Republicans who inhabited sparsely-settled counties, having their places of abode, in some instances, separated by miles of intervening forest, and their cries for help were such as to attract the attention of the General Government, who sent its ministers of justice to the scene, where a full investigation of the transactions of the infamous "Klan" was had, of which more anon.

        It was at about this time that numerous suspicious looking "dodgers," written in an unknown hand, were scattered promiscuously through the streets and stores of Hudsonville, some of them even having been posted to the trees of the Public Square during the night time. These dodgers and placards bore threats of vengeance swift and dire to all who belonged to the "black Republican party," unless they severed their connection with it, and prophesied that the day of retribution was near at hand. To the State senator representing our own county they said, "Beware, oh, beware! Your doom is


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sealed!" Under the circumstances, we were alarmed. It is true that a matter of a similar nature in the well-regulated North would have excited only derision at the expense of the originators of the scheme; but in that disturbed locality, with many recent murders staring us in the face, and a knowledge of the fact that in other sections of the State much violence had been committed by this same organization. I think our perturbation was excusable. Accordingly, during the following night and several others thereafter, every able-bodied man in the village, of both colors, who had at heart the welfare of the party and its threatened representatives, was summoned to do guard duty at the house of our senator, as well as to patrol the streets, in anticipation of any outburst of violence.

        The first night was dark and dismal; the rain fell in torrents, drenching everything exposed to its action; and the darkness was so intense as to be almost felt, save when an occasional flash of lightning exposed all nature to view, and filled the imagination with weird forms. On such a night as the foregoing the writer was summoned to do guard duty. He had just retired for the night, and his wife and little infant, snugly ensconced, were protected from the fury of the elements. It was a sore affliction to arise and go forth into that pelting storm, but when duty called we had to obey. My wife suggested that, owing to the inclemency of the weather,


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the danger might not be great on that occasion, for surely, she said, the Ku Klux would not venture forth in such weather; however, remembering the old maxim, "The darker the night, the darker the deed," we trusted them as to nothing, and obeyed the summons. Why were we thus deprived of our needed and dearly-bought rest? What had we done contrary to our country's weal? What law had been broken or set at defiance that we, like fugitives from justice, were driven from pillar to post without finding rest for our feet or place to lay our heads? Not one of these trespasses had we been guilty of, and yet we were the objects of their relentless persecutions.

        Whether it was owing to our continued vigilance, or to some stroke of policy on their part, I cannot say; but, nevertheless, the Ku Klux did not visit us on that occasion, and before another season we had changed our place of abode.

        Many persons in both sections of the United States have affected a certain incredulity with reference to recitals of the outrages perpetrated on the Republicans of the South by this infamous band, and have gone so far as to ridicule the very idea as being preposterous, and stamp it as a trick of political demagogues to create sympathy on the part of the people of the North in behalf of a government of "corn-field darkies and army sutlers." We not only hurl the insinuation back at


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them, but challenge all such to a careful perusal of some of the admissions of their most able men and public journals, as well as other convincing proofs that are at our command. It is a well-known fact that, upon the arrest and prosecution of some of the leaders of the "klan" in the State of South Carolina, during the winter of 1871, with a great show of indignation and not a little expense, Hon. Reverdy Johnson was procured to go from his pleasant home in the North to that forsaken country, for the purpose of making a defense of their interests. It was a matter for congratulation on the part of many well-disposed persons in the North, whose minds had become somewhat biased, because of the unfortunate reports of misrule and political corruption which were constantly coming up from the South, as well as the loud protestations of innocence that were constantly being made on the part of the accused, that such a man as Mr: Johnson had been selected to defend these cases; for, knowing his political predilections, but withal having the utmost confidence in his integrity as a lawyer and citizen, they felt assured that the truth, pure and simple, would be disclosed. Imagine their feelings of surprise then, when, after a protracted trial, guarded by all the ingenuity of so distinguished an attorney as he, with full and free access to every means of defense, Mr. Johnson, in the course of his speech in one of these cases, on the 31st day of December, 1871, in the presence of


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the accused and their friends, delivered himself of the following sentiments:

        "I have listened with unmixed horror to some of the testimony which has been brought before you. The outrages proved are shocking to humanity; they admit of neither excuse nor justification; they violate every obligation which law and nature impose upon men: they show that the parties engaged were brutes, insensible to the obligations of humanity and religion. The day will come, however, if it has not already arrived, when they will deeply lament it. Even if justice shall not overtake them, there is one tribunal from which there is no hope. It is their own judgment--that tribunal which sits in the breast of every living man--that small, still voice that thrills through the heart--the soul of the mind, and as it speaks, gives happiness or torture--the voice of conscience, the voice of God. If it has not already spoken to them in tones which have startled them to the enormity of their conduct, I trust in the mercy of heaven, that, that voice will speak before they shall be called above to account for the transactions of this world. That it will so speak as to make them penitent, and that trusting in the dispensation of Heaven, whose justice is dispensed with mercy, when they shall be brought before the bar of their great tribunal, so to speak, that incomprehensible tribunal, there will be found


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in the fact of their penitence, or in their previous lives, some grounds upon which God may say, 'PARDON.' "

        Such sentiments, coming from the lips of their own paid counsel, together with the fact that the accused were convicted by a jury of their peers, ought most assuredly to carry conviction with them to the mind of every fair thinking man. But if anything further were needed, let the following from a Georgia newspaper--the Oglethorpe Echo, a "Conservative" paper of that section--speak: "Anthony Thurster, the negro preacher who was so severely whipped by a party of disguised men near Maxley's lately, asks that we announce to his white friends that from this time forward he will prove himself a better man; will never again make a political speech, deliver a sermon, or vote a Republican ticket: from henceforth he is an unswerving Democrat. We are glad that Anthony's eyes are at last opened to a proper course for him to pursue, but sorry that such stringent measures had to be adopted ere he would, as it were, be 'born again.' "

        Again, we have the statement of H. M. Dixon, who was not long since murdered in Mississippi because he dared to run on an independent ticket, supported by men of all political tendencies, as follows: "Owing to certain reports that Patterson, a member of the Republican Legislature who was hanged in the eventful campaign of 1875, had a considerable sum of money on his person,


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and that said money was used for my own benefit, I feel in honor bound to vindicate myself, although I deplore to refer to the past as it will bring before the public many of our best citizens. I will briefly state that said money, and larger sums, was raised to defray the current expenses of the campaign and to stuff the ballot-boxes if necessary; to purchase certificates of election for two officers now holding offices of trust and emolument in our county. I have in my possession the necessary proof, and if called upon will furnish it. Signed: H. M. Dixon."

        These proofs, together with the voluminous reports of committees appointed by Congress to investigate this subject, ought to leave no candid man in doubt. But in addition to all that has been said and written on this subject, if more were needed, we have a condition of well-established circumstances more patent than all. Witnesses will sometimes falsify; even men who are disposed to deal fairly in their testimony, at times become biased by reason of their interest in the issue at stake, or, perhaps, their peculiar surroundings; but circumstances, when admitted, never lie. What shall we say then of the sudden and precipitate flight of the men of the North who went to the South and invested their capital and labor, intending, in good faith, to become residents of that section? Surely it was no trivial cause that produced


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that result. The Goldsboro, North Carolina, State, commenting on this action on the part of this class of citizens in the South, uses the following suggestive language:

        "It is a sad fact for this worn-out and famished State, that of the thousands of men who came hither, invested their means, and attempted to make homes under Republican rule, to-day but few remain. At the loss of their all they have wandered away to seek a home where they can speak their sentiments and vote as they deem best, without subjection to insult, abuse and villification from such men as Governor Vance. Immigrants from all countries and all states pass us by, the "carpet-baggers" lose their all rather than remain, and many of her own sons seek in states where schools, polls and speech are free--a new home."

        These citations are in part from sources outside of the State of South Carolina, but notwithstanding, they show a common purpose and unity of action on the part of the Democratic party of the South, to usurp by unfair means that power they cannot justly obtain at the ballot box, and trample the rights of others under their feet.

        The question is sometimes asked: "Why don't the freedmen fight?" If our readers will for a moment consider that these men were, from their infancy, taught to fear and obey white men; that they are uneducated and


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unsophisticated, while their former masters are educated and shrewd; that while the white men of the South were educated to the use of the rifle and the shot-gun, the freedmen were kept in ignorance of their use; and further, that in many instances the freedmen are without leaders, they will appreciate the condition of these poor men with their unfortunate surroundings.

        In our humble opinion the solution of the problem of the future of the South is involved in the outcome of the present movement of the colored farm hands of the South to Northern and Western States. If it shall continue until the laboring element of that section is materially weakened, a change of policy on the part of the intolerant faction there will, of necessity, be adopted; and this change will be of such a character as shall admit to equal terms of civil and political fraternity the sable freedmen then remaining among them; or else invite as participants in the profits of their estates, a foreign element who will be willing to cultivate them and preserve them from ruin. Time alone can unfold the result.

        Of one thing there can be no reasonable doubt--the colored men of the South, having been robbed and murdered, their wives and daughters having been subjected to the insults and outrages of a brutalized populace, have long since become disgusted, and now having their


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eyes opened to a proper sense of their degradation and abuse, are rapidly seeking homes in the free Northwest, where they can serve God and their country according to the dictates of their own conscience, and reap a rich reward as the result of honest labor.


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CHAPTER XI.

        The Poor Whites of the South.--Contributing Causes of their Present Condition.--Their Social Status; Habits of Life; Means of Support.--Dislike of them by the Colored People of the South.--Struggles on the Part of Some of Them to Better their Condition.--Remarkable Instances of Success.--Their Future in This Country.

        We were now nearing our journey's end, and as we gradually approached this center of civilization in the "Old North State," an increased degree of animation was plainly perceptible. The roads became more numerous; the antiquated log huts of the route gave place to houses a little more modern and pretentious in appearance, having frames and being covered with clapboards. Nor is this all. The inhabitants of the country became more numerous--to whom our little procession, as we journeyed along, was a source of much curiosity and more speculation. In some instances a woman's head would be thrust out of a window to gain a view of us; in others, the door would be partly opened and the end of a nose could be seen protruding; and, then, again the whole family would come out, and, with countenances full of blank amazement, stare at us as though we were the first living specimens of humanity they had enjoyed the privilege of beholding for many days.


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        It was during our passage through this part of the country that we enjoyed an excellent opportunity of observing the condition and social habits of that large and, I may say, unfortunate class of people who inhabit every portion of the South, known and designated as "poor whites," who must not be confounded with the honest laborers of the North, known in the South by the Southern chivalry as "Northern mud-sills." I say unfortunate because, while I acknowledge the truth of the old maxim--"Every man is the architect of his own fortune,"--I believe it to be equally true that we are all the creatures of circumstances, and, to some extent, "it is better to be born lucky than rich." Many a person has lived his allotted span and gone hence, leaving behind him a reputation, among his fellows, pure and unspotted, who had he been surrounded by a different state of circumstances during his lifetime would have made shipwreck of his most favorable opportunities. The possession of means in abundance, and the absence of penury and want, often prevents a man from exhibiting a thieving disposition. The lack of an occasion prevents, in some instances, a dormant mendacity from asserting itself; while the absence of an emergency, beyond doubt, relieves the world of a murderer in many instances. And, vice versa, men are sometimes reduced to an unfortunate condition of life, and led to commit


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acts at war with their best judgment and natural inclinations, from the sheer force of circumstances.

        For these reasons, I refer to the "poor whites" of the South as an unfortunate class; for, in my opinion, they are the unfortunate victims of a number of contributing causes, such as would sink any people on the face of the earth to a similar depth of physical, intellectual and moral degradation, anything short of a miracle intervening.

        To begin, then! There seems to be little room for doubt that climatic influences have contributed toward the present condition of these people, for their emaciated bodies and sallow complexions are just such as one would naturally expect to encounter under the debilitating influences of a semi-tropical clime, in the absence of such hygienic influences as may be artificially applied toward the preservation of health. It is a well-known fact that climate does exert an influence over men as well as the lower animals, and that in the course of a protracted time, with diet and habits of life changed, men and animals have been known to undergo radical changes of a physical and intellectual character. The hair of horses has become to closely resemble wool after their removal from a temperate to a tropical clime. The wool of sheep, on the contrary, has taken the appearance of hair; colors have changed, and, in short, the course of nature apparently reversed. (See Narrative


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of a Journey Through the Upper Provinces of India; second edition: London, 1828; vol. ii., p. 219; also see Wiseman's Lectures on Science and Revealed Religion; new edition, 1866, lecture third.)

        Cardinal Wiseman, in his lectures on Science and Revealed Religion, Lecture Third, page 135, refers to the statement of a recent traveler who explored the Hauran, or district beyond the Jordan, wherein he speaks of a family residing at Abu-el-Beady, in charge of the sanctuary, as being remarkable for having negro features, a deep black color and crisped hair; the male and female progenitors of whom were of pure Arabian blood, both of the past and present generations. He further says that the Arabs who inhabit the valley of the Jordan have flatter features, darker skins and coarser hair than any other tribes. Our own countryman, Dr. Draper, in a work written by him on physiology, argues at some length and with much earnestness, and not a little show of reasonableness to our mind, that not only may changes be produced in the size and form of the features, and color and feeling of the skin by climatic conditions, but he goes so far as to assert that domestic and social differences, when no change of climate takes place, often produce marked differences of a physical and moral nature.

        We are constrained to admit, then, that the great change from an invigorating, temperate climate on the


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part of these people, to a warm and sluggish one, has had its effect in transforming them from men of energy and ambitious aims to the inanimate specimens of humanity that we find them now. The prevalence of bilious and malarial fevers, accompanied with agues, throughout the greater portion of the South, caused in part by the too rapid generation of the bile in the sys tem, and, to a greater extent, by miasma escaping from the swamp lands referred to in another portion of this volume, has a very enervating effect, and the man who has the moral courage or physical endurance to raise himself up from beneath the weight of inertia which presses so heavily upon all in that climate, is indeed a hero in the true signification of the term.

        But we are asked, "Why is not the force of this inertia perceptible in the cases of the wealthy white and colored people of the South?" To this question we reply, the wealthy whites are enervated, and were it not that they are able, by means of their wealth, to surround themselves with the aids and luxuries of life, and make frequent journeys to higher latitudes and more healthy sections of the country, they would rapidly sink to a level with the class referred to. And as for the colored population, they are differently constituted from the white people and better adapted to that climate. I infer the latter statement from the fact that the colored people are not subject, to an equal degree, to some of the


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malarial diseases prevalent there, which, in times past, have proved fatal to so many thousands of the fair race.

        The unproductiveness of the soil in some of the flat and sandy parts, especially in the Carolinas, is another cause tending to discourage and demoralize the "poor whites" of the South. There are sections where it would require the undivided time and attention of an expert farmer to eke out the most ordinary subsistence, of which -- county, South Carolina, is a fair example. Where swamps do not prevail in that forsaken county, sands predominate; and the wonder is, not that the people residing there are dejected and poor, but that they exist at all.

        The appearance of one of these farmers on his arrival upon the "market" with a load of wood, is unique and amusing in the extreme, and many anecdotes of an interesting nature are related at their expense. Imagine two wheels, about four feet in diameter, with two poles attached longitudinally to the axle, holes bored in the poles from the rear ends to a point even with the circumference of the wheels, in which upright stakes are driven; then glance at the little scrawny steer between these poles, with bits of leather, some rope and more cloth strings for harness, and the arm full of wood constituting the load, together with the little brown jug, and yellow cur attached to the vehicle underneath, and nothing further, save the long, lank, hairy creature, with


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butternut clothes and a cracked voice, exclaiming, "W-h-o-a!" will be required to complete the picture.

        It is said that upon a time, a gentleman traveling through -- county met one of these cadaverous-looking specimens proceeding slowly along the road with a rather suspicious-looking load, when the following colloquy ensued: Gentleman--"Where are you from?" Countryman -- "O-r-i." "Gentleman -- "What's your load?" Countryman--"Timber an' fruit." Gentleman--"What's your timber?" Countryman--"Hoop-poles." Gentleman--"What's your fruit?" Countryman--"Persimmons."

        Another anecdote is related of the people of this county, for the truthfulness of which the writer is not willing to vouch. It is to the effect that, while proceeding on his way after leaving the countryman just referred to, he encountered still another man standing beneath a persimmon tree, holding in his hands a pole raised aloft with a little pig attached to the end, which was feasting upon the persimmons on the tree. The gentleman approached the countryman, when the following conversation took place: Gentleman--"What are you doing there?" Countryman -- "Sister Sal is goin' ter git married an' I'm fattenin' this pig for the weddin'."

        In addition to the foregoing influences which we have mentioned as exerting an influence over these poor people must be remembered that which the institution


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of slavery, and its direct tendency to debase labor, had in this respect; for it is a fact, that cannot be gainsayed, that the baleful effects of that social ulcer made themselves felt upon all colors and classes of society; and, while it reduced the slave to the condition of a mere chattel, it debased all labor and cursed the very people that it was intended to bless. The poor white man shunned labor because it was considered as the province of the slave to toil; and to have condescended to till the soil or wield the sledge hammer would have subjected him to the same imbecile scorn and proscription that the slave was made to feel. The ladies of the slaveholding order reclined at ease, not even exerting themselves, in some instances, to dress themselves; and when they went to promenade, or into the flower garden, they wore sun bonnets and long gauntlets to protect their fair complexions. Hence the ladies of the poor class, who aspired to be like them, refrained as much as possible from coming in contact with anything calculated to soil the hands or bronze the complexion. And in this way the impression gained among these people that no one could be a gentleman or a lady and at the same time "work like a nigger." The result was seen in their lean bodies, impoverished condition and mental imbecility.

        In addition to all that has been written, it remains to be said that to the failure of the wealthy white people of the South to provide educational facilities for these


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poor people, much of their present degradation must be attributed. It was no uncommon thing to find communities in the South where the fact of a man being able to read and write gave him a prominent position among these people, and even surrounded him with such an air of superiority as made him a kind of petty sovereign in their midst, so great was their deficiency in this respect. As a means of obtaining a livelihood they sought positions which gave them a little authority over the enslaved colored people, such as policemen in cities, patrols in the country, and overseers on plantations. In these positions they were noted for their acts of cruelty and oppression toward the colored people, and it frequently became necessary for the outraged slave to seek the intervention of his master to protect him from their fury. The colored people of the South, both free and slave, heartily detested these "poor bucras," as they called them; their hatred going to such an extent that they could not endure anything owned by them, even the slaves who sometimes were so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of one of them who had "made a start" in life, coming in for a share of their contempt. Such as had no definite means of support resorted to such methods of making a living as would hardly answer the purpose in any other section in the United States. In fact the very lavishness of nature in some respects seemed to lend to their dissolute habits. Some of them


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who had succeeded in acquiring possession of an old shot-gun would scour the forests in quest of game, and generally succeeded in obtaining a racoon, a squirrel or rabbit, which would bring good cheer to the family for several days. Others would fish in the ponds and streams abounding there, and find in the finny tribe their surest means of support; while still others would cultivate a little garden spot, well stocked with collards, raise a pig, which had a head as long as the remainder of the body, and also keep a few chickens, that subsisted on the dunghill. Berrying time was a great season among them, when they could be seen in crowds going to the fields and woods to pick berries--black-berries and whortleberries--from the proceeds of which they generally succeeded in realizing a sufficient sum of money to buy a little clothing. The writer, during his stay in the South, was acquainted with a poor fellow, crippled as to one foot, who during the fall and winter seasons had to be assisted by the authorities, but who during the berrying season was so elated and independent over his successes that he would scarcely recognize a colored man upon the streets. It mattered not, however, how poor they were, even though the wolf stuck at their very doors, they each and every one managed to keep by them a cur dog to share with them their joys and sorrows; which sometimes became so greatly reduced by hunger that the hens' nests in the neighborhood


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were robbed of their eggs, and other depredations of even a more serious nature committed.

        Among the peculiar habits of these people may be mentioned those of clay eating, rubbing snuff and chewing tobacco by the women, and of drinking whiskey by both classes. As to clay eating, I cannot account for the origin and prevalence of the habit, unless it be that owing to their peculiar diet an unusual amount of acidity is produced in the stomach, by reason of which a certain craving is caused for something to neutralize its effect, upon the same principle that we eat magnesia for dyspepsia; or it may be that their stomachs need a foreign substance to assist their digestive powers, on the same principle that a chicken takes gravel into its crop; or, perhaps, the cravings of hunger suggest it.

        As to the force of these suggestions I leave the reader to judge for himself, as the writer lays no claim to being an expert in dirt-eating. It is nevertheless true that vast quantities of red, white and blue clay are eaten by the poor whites of the South, of all ages, but principally by the young. The writer has seen children sitting on an old-fashioned hearth before a large fireplace, picking out the clay or mortar between the bricks and eating it.

        The snuff-rubbing propensity is indulged by the women. They purchase the strongest Scotch snuff within their reach, and with a stick chewed at one end,


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dip it out of a tin box and eat it, or rub it, as it is called, the idea being that of rubbing or cleaning the teeth with it, which is only another name for eating it. They prefer a stick about ten inches in length, from a birch or black-jack tree, whose fibres are fine and tough, capable of being chewed into a little brush at one end, and with these sticking out of their mouths, they will gad the streets and gossip by the hour.

        The men will have their whiskey, and rather than be deprived of it, they scour the country in search of it, and part with everything except their dog and gun in exchange for it; the pipe and plug tobacco are necessary accessories, of course.

        No adequate conception can be formed by a stranger to their condition, of the vast gulf that separates this class of people from their wealthy brethren, and to observe the scorn and disdain visited upon them by the rich, one not informed with regard to all the circumstances would mistake them for a species of serfs, rather than American citizens of "pure white blood," clothed in all their constitutional rights. For this reason any effort on the part of one of them to arise from his humiliated station of life and assert his manhood is attended with such embarrassments and obstacles at every step as would dishearten any but the most determined.

        Then the avenues leading to wealth and preferment are difficult of access, especially to a boy or man whose


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education has been neglected from his birth. His first move towards bettering his condition was generally to get a small piece of land, an undertaking attended with peculiar hardships to him, because in that section of the South most of the land that was of any value was owned in large tracts by men of wealth, who often exacted the last farthing before they would part with it; and then, being ignorant, the poor white, like his freedman brother, was at the mercy of the crafty vendor, who frequently defrauded him of his hard-earned means and left him in a worse condition than at first. However, having obtained a small piece of land, his next move was to get a substantial house, which he did by reducing the allowance of food and other essentials at home. It was a hard lot, but necessity, stern and unyielding, demanded the sacrifice and it had to be made, or else an entire life of want and disgrace stared him in the face. Having once obtained a piece of land and a house, his ambition generally led him to aspire to the possession of a slave; if this point could be attained, then indeed would his success in his undertaking be assured. For several years, however, he contented himself with hiring a man to assist him, whom he generally managed to make earn all that was paid for him, until his fund being increased by the sale of a few bales of cotton each year, he reached the goal of his ambition, made the bold venture and purchased him, generally a woman or old man, but a slave


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none the less. He then bore a very close relation to the man of whom it is said:


                         "He had one male attendant, thin and lean,
                         Like Romeo's Mantuan apothecary;
                         Who daily swept his dusty office clean,
                         And summed up his accounts with caution wary;
                         In short, was this factotum every way
                         Burdened with labor and but little pay."

        He then began to put on airs. At times he would say: "Boy, look at me! I'm your master!" At others, meeting some of his former companions on the road, his attention would be absorbed in considering something in another direction. But the greater portion of his time would be spent in aping the manners and style of his wealthy neighbors, and trying to gain from them one smile of recognition. He would hire a pew in church and have his family attend regularly, with the vain hope that those aristocratic grandees would deign to notice them; but, alas, how often were their hearts made to bleed within them by reason of the cold, heartless treatment they received. Nothing daunted, however, if he were composed of the proper material, he persevered, and continued to add to his landed possessions and increase the number of his slaves, until finally success attended his efforts and he found himself a wealthy man in full fellowship with his neighbors, disdaining to associate with the "poor white trash" from whom he sprung.


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        Some very illustrious men, whose names have graced the highest positions within the gift of the people, have sprung from that unfortunate class of people. Abraham Lincoln was a poor white of the South; but his parents had the good sense and moral courage to leave Kentucky and go to the great Northwest; had they not, in all probability a bright intellect and great soul would have been buried in obscurity. Andrew Johnson was one of these poor whites, uneducated up to manhood, but by some fortuitous circumstances he gained political preferment and lived to be President of the United States. Henry Clay was a poor mill boy of the South, but ascended to a senatorial position, where he won undying fame. Besides these, many others could be mentioned who conquered all opposition and fought their way to wealth and honor, thereby proving to every one that is oppressed and degraded by caste and poverty, "Where there is a will there is a way."


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CHAPTER XII.

        Products of the Carolinas.--Cotton.--Turpentine.--Peanuts.--Sweet Potatoes, etc.--Forest Fruits.--"Chincapins."--Hickory-nuts.--Persimmons.--Grape Culture.--Fishes, Oysters, etc.

        As in commercial and social pursuits the South is more than two generations behind the other sections of the United States, so in respect to her agricultural tools and modes of procedure she is, as compared with them, in a state of darkness such as carries the mind far back into the era of the wooden plow, and other instruments of medieval farming.

        The people cultivating the soil throughout the region spoken of by us do not seem to appreciate the value of land, judging from the immense waste that is permitted in this respect, and the lack of interest displayed by them in improving what they have under cultivation, or in appropriating to their use the hidden treasures contained therein; for instead of keeping down the rank weeds that are apt to grow around the margin and in the corners of their fields, and plowing deep into the soil in order to turn up the treasures in the shape of rich loam, they content themselves with skimming upon the surface, merely breaking the crust, and gleaning


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therefrom half a crop instead of a bounteous harvest. Why the husbandmen there persist in this unprofitable mode of agriculture is difficult to be determined, unless it arises from the force of habit, being one of the rich legacies bequeathed to the South by the institution of slavery, which she has not as yet been able to dispose of.

        The foregoing remarks do not apply, however, so much to the production of the cotton plant as to cereals and other species of produce, since, cotton being their staple product, upon which all their hopes, ambitions and means of support are based, they have brought into requisition in the cultivation of it more than ordinary skill and energy; and, besides, the cotton plant does not require the same amount or quality of cultivation that is demanded by other products.

        The cotton yield of the Southern States at the present time is enormous, and it only requires a glance at a few figures for one to appreciate the fact that under any economical and liberal policy on the part of the South it could be made a source of great wealth to that section, and, as king of commerce, caused to demand the homage of the civilized nations of the earth. It is estimated by competent judges that the yield for the past season was not far from the gross amount of five millions of bales, which at a fair valuation of fifty dollars a bale would reach the enormous sum of two


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hundred and fifty millions of dollars--an amount which in ten years time would be sufficient to have paid off the whole national debt, incurred by reason of the Southern Rebellion.

        Cotton was not originally the staple article of the South, for its cultivation and preparation for the spindle and loom was fraught with so much expense as to preclude the idea of making it an article of much profit to the planter. The territory comprised in the original thirteen States suitable for its cultivation was meagre, comparatively speaking, and the modern appliances for separating the seeds from the fibre not having been invented, the operation had to be performed by hand, which was both slow and expensive. Under these circumstances it is not to be wondered at that it occupied a place secondary to other products which have since given place to its culture. But the invention of the cotton-gin by Whitney, and the spinning-jenny by Hargreaves; the application of steam to the operation of machinery by Watt, and the cession to the United States of the Florida territory, together with the acquisition of all that vast extent of land known as the Louisiana purchase, and the Texas territory, the fruit of the Mexican war, made the production of cotton not only easy but profitable, and at once gave it a prominence in the commercial world that time has only tended to increase.


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        The process of its cultivation as followed by the Southern planter is very easy, and entails no considerable expense; any one having a few acres of land and a sufficient amount of money to purchase a small shovel-plow and a few bags of guano for manure, being competent to engage in it, provided he possesses the physical ability to handle a hoe about ten inches in width. Of course it is always better to possess a horse, mule, steer, or beast of some kind to draw the plow and assist in the ordinary routine work, but I have known several instances where determined men of great muscular ability and powers of endurance have succeeded in raising a small crop without anything of the kind mentioned, beyond the hiring of an animal for a few days to do the original breaking of the ground. In several instances the writer has seen freedmen harnessed to the little plow, breaking the soil between the rows after the plants had gained a few weeks' growth. The ground being broken and the shallow drills being formed, the next step towards raising a crop of cotton is to scatter a little guano along them, a thing which none but the very poorest class of planters will fail to do unless their land is phenomenal for richness, in the localities referred to. This is done by the plantation hands, who for that purpose don a suit made of bagging, or some other very cheap material, and cover their heads, since the dust escaping from this greatly esteemed fertilizer possesses


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a most nauseating, pungent odor, and can be smelt at remote distances from where it is stored when the wind is favorable or unfavorable therefor. The guano is carried in a haversack, hung around the neck, and distributed through long trumpet-shaped tin tubes, held in one hand of the planter, who grabs it out of the bag with the other. The greatest economy is practised in the use of guano, for its cost is considerable and its virtues are great, a teaspoonful of it being a liberal allowance for a hill of corn, and a slight sprinkling of the dust along a drill--just enough to be seen--sufficing for cotton. Should too much be used there would be great danger of losing the crop from an excess of heat caused thereby, unless the season were a wet one.

        Cotton seed is also considered a most excellent fertilizer, standing in this respect next to guano; hence they are treasured up and highly prized by those who possess them. Following the act of scattering the fertilizer comes that of sowing the seed (for the seed is literally sowed, not planted in hills as corn and sweet potatoes are), and when they are up and about an inch in height, the process of "chopping out" begins, which consists in chopping out with a broad hoe the growing plants, so as to leave spaces between them of from ten to twelve inches, according to the strength of the soil and the judgment of the planter. When this act is performed nothing more remains to be done except to keep the plants free from


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weeds until they are large and strong enough to overpower them, when they are supported by having earth drawn up to them so as to form a little hill, which is called "laying by."

        The planter then takes a rest, sees that his gin and press are in good condition, attends camp-meetings, picnics and political demonstrations, where he fraternizes with his neighbors over the jovial "watermillion."

        The plant bears beautiful pink blossoms, which give place to the boll containing the cotton. To appreciate the appearance of a cotton field filled with plants, the bursting bolls of which invite the agile pickers, one must be present upon the spot. The scene may be compared, but not fairly described, and even the imagination of the most poetic mind must fail to do it justice.

        After picking, the cotton is ginned, a process by means of which the seeds are separated from the fibre without injury to it. Pressing and baling complete the process, and it is then ready to be sent to the North or the continent of Europe, to be manufactured into fabrics, which the South repurchases at a greatly enhanced value to clothe her people with.

        Another article of commerce produced in the Carolinas is turpentine, and, in fact, in some sections of those states it almost monopolizes the attention of a large portion of the inhabitants, and furnishes the principal means of support.


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        Turpentine is, as our readers are aware, the product of the pine tree, of which there are large forests in both North and South Carolina. In fact, the pine tree is to the states in which it abounds to any considerable extent, indirectly what the palm tree is to some oriental peoples--food, clothing, bedding, dwellings and firewood. It furnishes food and clothing through the revenue derived from the sale of turpentine; bedding from the pine "straw" which it annually casts off; lumber from which the houses are built from the bodies, and firewood from its small limbs and crooked stems.

        The process by which the turpentine is obtained from the tree is unique and of interest. Converging grooves are cut on the surface of each tree by an instrument shaped for that purpose, generally on the side facing in the direction of the sun. At first only a few of these grooves are cut, in order that there may be no waste of the flowing turpentine and that the trees may not suffer materially and lose all their vitality during a single season; by observing this course, a good, healthy tree can be made to do service for many years, until it is skinned and scraped almost to the limbs. Beneath these converging grooves is cut a "box," which is nothing more than a small, pocket-shaped opening cut into the body of the tree for the purpose of receiving the flowing turpentine, something after the principle that is followed in making maple sugar, except, in the latter case, we


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believe, a hole is bored in the tree and a tube inserted, instead of grooving the surface and cutting a box. The action of the sun upon the exposed surface causes the turpentine to flow and fill the box, which is then dipped and put into barrels. The portion dipped from the boxes in an unadulterated state is "virgin pure," and much more desirable in the market than the "scrapings," which are filled with small chips and pine straw, and thereby depreciated in value.

        The turpentine is then placed into a still for distillation, which is done by heating it to a suitable temperature. During this process the vapors arising from the contents of the still are passed through a submerged "worm," and collected in a vessel containing water, from which it is drained; this constitutes the spirits of turpentine. The chips and straw floating upon the molten turpentine is then skimmed off with a strainer and thrown into a pool of water, around which, in the writer's boyhood, a small army of urchins generally stood, with little black trays under their arms or upon their heads, awaiting their "turn" of "dross," as the refuse matter was designated.

        This dross, when ignited, burns with a fierce and ardent glow, and is the means of protecting many a poor family in the South from the rigors of a harsh winter season, such as frequently is known in the Carolinas,


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when ice is formed of sufficient thickness to support the weight of a man.

        Another product of these interesting States is their peanuts. Let Egypt assert her antiquity, as exhibited in her pyramids, obelisks, sphinxes, monster ruins and mummies; Greece may boast of her Parthenons and treasures of art; Rome display her Coliseum, great cathedral and carved pillars--Carolina still rejoices in being the chief source of the "festive peanut." These nuts are known in the parts where they are produced by the various euphonious names of ground-peas, pea-nuts, ground-nuts, pinders and gubers. They grow on the ground (not on trees, as some suppose,) and are attached to a running vine, which bears a small blossom of a deep yellow color, about the size of an ordinary English pea-blossom. When dug they hang in great clusters, closely connected with the roots of the plant, from which they are gathered and spread in the sun to dry; after which they are put in bags, when they are ready for the market. The parching or roasting process is done in various ways, some being done in great ovens, where large quantities are handled at one roasting; while others are roasted by peanut vendors, who stand on the corners and at the intersection of streets, to the great delight of the small boy and the embarrassed lover. What this country would do without the peanut it startles us to imagine, since the advent of a circus, county fair or


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Fourth of July celebration without the presence of the peanut would be a "barren ideality."

        Sweet potatoes also come in for their share of patronage in the Carolinas. Not "Jersey Sweets," nor such as are raised in the North, but real sweet potatoes, as the Spanish, the Bermuda and the yam potatoes--such potatoes as, when subjected to the heat of a hot oven, crack open and permit some of the liquid honey to escape from them, while the hungry little ones, who sit by, scarcely repress the flow of saliva until their anxiety for one can be relieved. And such large potatoes! Why, the writer has seen sweet potatoes in the "Old North State" as large as an ordinary infant's head, weighing several pounds each. They are raised in great abundance, and stand in the same relation to the poor people down there that the Irish potato does to the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle.

        Indian corn is also cultivated, but almost exclusively for domestic use. The white variety is preferred, which is ground into meal and used with a little salt and water for making bread; flour bread among the poorer classes being considered a luxury. At times, especially in "hog-killing time," the character of the corn bread is varied by putting into the dough "cracklings," which are the browned portions of meat out of which the lard has been tried. This "crackling bread" is considered by some of these poor people a great delicacy, of which


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they are very fond. At other times they put apples, chopped fine, into the dough, and treat the boarders to "apple bread," thus in various and sundry simple modes varying their scanty supplies.

        With proper attention and experience the Carolinas could be made the seat of extensive and profitable grape culture, of which there are several very fine varieties. The Scuppernong grows, even in its wild state, to a prodigious size, as large, in some instances, as crab apples, and possesses a flavor which for delicacy is difficult to be surpassed. The people there, however, do not seem to appreciate the value of their rich possession in this vine, and, with a few exceptions, it is neglected and allowed to run to waste; just as many other of their most valuable natural resources of wealth and happiness are.

        It would not be the part of justice to close this chapter without saying a word about the rivers, abounding in their wealth of fishes, oysters, clams and crabs, especially near the coast of the Atlantic.

        About the time that the free colored people of the State of North Carolina were seized with a desire of leaving that portion of the country and casting their lot in the free North, because of the proscriptions and constant menaces that afflicted them in their native State, the writer's father was asked whether he would not accompany some emigrants to the new home in the


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Northwest, He answered them by saying, "When you can transfer the Neuse and Trent rivers, with their contents, to Ohio, I will go with you; not before."

        The fishes to be found in these rivers consist in part of shad (which is the king of fish for the breakfast table), the trout, perch, mullet, drum, pike, herring, sturgeon and many others too numerous to be mentioned in a paper of this size. Hard-shell and soft shell crabs, and lobsters also abound, while just beyond, in the sounds, some of the largest, fattest and most delicately flavored oysters and clams are to be found that the waters upon the face of the earth can afford. We have not attempted in the foregoing to give anything purporting to be a detailed list of all the products of these favored states, for their name is legion, and would require a book exceeding the size of the one now under contemplation to contain even their names.

        In addition to those mentioned, however, as constituting a portion of the staple articles, may be mentioned some of the forest nuts and fruits, such as the chincapin, which is a small nut of the chestnut family, only smaller, sweeter and having the shape of a top. The people of these states gather them and boil or roast them, when, in many instances, they are strung on threads and worn around the necks of children, after the manner of beads; but like the man who covered himself with a large flap-jack


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upon going to bed, the children sometimes dream they are hungry, and eat their beads.

        The hickory nut of North Carolina, especially in eastern and central portions, to which my attention has been principally directed, has a thick, hard shell and small kernel, hence it can bear no comparison to the nutritious nut of the scaly bark variety to be found in the Northwest. The walnut, however, flourishes in great abundance, and is of a fine quality.

        Among the fruits found growing in a state of nature may be mentioned the red plum, the yellow plum, the cranberry and the persimmon. The three former are not strangers to the people of the North, but the latter, the persimmon, is not well known. When the persimmon is green its astringent qualities must be tested in order to be appreciated, since they set at naught alum and other such articles in use among us; but when ripe and mellowed by the frost, they are very sweet and pleasant to the taste. They are of the size of an ordinary plum, perhaps a little larger, and contain a kernel within them of the same size and shape as the plum. The good matron of the South makes from the persimmon a kind of beer, which, when ready for us, laughs to scorn cider, small beer and lager, and is not half so injurious in its effects.

        We are now entering the suburbs of Magnolia, our place of destination; we see little of interest to the general


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reader to be described, hence we will drive directly to the home of our relatives, and after resting and refreshing ourselves, acquaint our readers more minutely with the colored people of the South, and other objects of interest.


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CHAPTER XIII.

        The Colored People of the South.--Different Classes.--The Plantation Hands.--Their Habits and Modes of Life.--Corn-shucking and Log-rolling Bees.--Their Love of " 'Possum and Sweet-en-tater."--Will they Steal?--The Colored People of the Cities and Towns.--General Intelligence among them, and Causes Contributing Thereto.--Churches and Schools among them.--Efforts of Bad Men to Create Prejudice between Different Classes of them.--Education and Wealth will Dispel All.

        Thus far in the course of our narrative we have only spoken of the colored element of the South in a general way, as it was necessary or convenient to do in order to illustrate some of the customs and habits of the whole people of that section; but having at length completed our journey, and the process of hand-shaking and congratulations in general being ended, an opportunity is now afforded of studying the condition and habits of these people in a minuter way, since they are to be seen in every Southern city in all the various phases presented by them--the residents at their homes and places of avocation, and the non-residents as they stroll in from the neighboring plantations for the purposes of trade or recreation.

        Taken as a whole, the colored people of the South


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are a remarkable people, and in some respects, the most versatile of habits and disposition of any people with which it is the good fortune of the writer to be acquainted. They are pervaded with a certain fund of good humor and mirthfulness that follows them from the cradle to the grave, and like the little girl in an Eastern city who was expelled from a school because she incessantly laughed, it seems to be a physical impossibility for them to repress their laughter, songs, dancing and merry-making. Many of them seem to never reach old age, if judged by their innocent ways, and we not infrequently find old "Aunties" and "Uncles" who are just as supple and playful as in their youthful days. Nor did the bitter oppression incidental to the estate of slavery change the fact, for despite it all they managed to snatch from their limited hours of rest and refreshment time sufficient to sing a song, dance a shuffle or crack a joke, to the great merriment and satisfaction of all who beheld them. Add to this fact the disposition on their part to indulge in exercises of a religious character, interspersed with much that was diverting to the mind, and it is not difficult to account for the fact that, notwithstanding their ill-treatment and debasement by their task-masters, they grew from a handful, landed in this country in 1812, to a vast multitude of nearly four millions of souls at the time when the immortal Emancipation Proclamation was issued by the martyr Abraham Lincoln.


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        To travelers along the routes of our great rivers, they furnished a continuous fund of amusement and recreation, and they were not only willing to give liberally of their means for the purpose of eliciting the inimitable song, dance or gesture, but some even essayed to mimic them, as the basis of many an hour of public divertisement in places of amusement in distant lands.

        It must not be inferred from the foregoing, however, that these people carried their innocent traits to such an extent as to deprive them of the sterling qualities of man or womanhood--far from it; on the contrary, their achievements in the mechanics, agriculture, literature and upon the battle field, as recorded by the historian of to-day, set at defiance any such conclusion which may have been formed and entertained in the mind of any one.

        The colored people of the South may be divided into two general classes--the plantation hands and the inhabitants of commercial centers. We mention the plantation hands first because they are the most numerous body by far, and contitute the physical force of that class in the Southern States. These plantation hands are, for the greater part, quite dark of complexion (the proportion of mixed-blooded colored people being infinitely smaller than in the cities); they are strong and healthy as to their bodies, and industrious to a fault. They have been known to work, during the busy


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season, seven days in the week, (though not from choice), and the rising sun seldom finds them in bed. They have been accustomed from infancy to the plainest diet, such as corn bread, fat bacon or pork, cow peas, rice and molasses, together with such fruits as could be gathered from the fields and woods, upon which they have thriven, being strangers to many of the evils that afflict the flesh in our luxurious centers, and sometimes living to ages far beyond the allotted span--a centenarian being no curiosity in their midst. Their diet, however, is sometimes varied by the addition of a chicken or opossum, of which they are passionately fond. This passion on their part for chicken and " 'possum" arises not so much from any constitutional partiality on their part, or difference in their tastes and inclinations respecting articles of food from the rest of the human family, as from the absence of fresh meat of all kinds, the very sight of which is at times sufficient to excite a whole neighborhood.

        The writer recalls an incident in the little village of Hudsonville, during his sojourn there, when, upon the arrival of a countryman on the Public Square with a small carcass of doubtful looking meat, covered over with boughs of trees as a protection against the attacks of the large blue flies, which were numerous, the mania on the part of the villagers to obtain a piece of


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the coveted flesh was so great that one lady, who was unable to get any, actually shed tears of sorrow.

        It is not to be wondered at, then, that these people are elated over the possession of something to vary the monotony of their harsh and unpalatable diet. "'Possum and sweet-en-tater" reach the acme of the plantation hand's gustatory ambition. Chicken is good; squirrel, racoon and rabbit are good; roast pig is very good; but "possum and sweet-en-tater" admit of no comparison in the imagination of the poor hungry hand.

        "Honey," they will say, "jes' take dat 'possum an' strip off de skin; hang him outdoors 'til de fros' strikes him; den bring him in de house, put him in de pot an' parbile him; after dat stuff him, lay him in de oven, put little pieces of fat meat over him, an' lay sweet-en-taters all roun' him; den let him lie dar 'til he gits rite brown; take him out; put him on de table! an' L-o-d, h-o-n-e-y! Don't say dem greasy words no more!"

        It's no wonder that, at intervals of recreation, they will all join in and sing with great enthusiasm that remarkable song, commencing with the suggestive lines,


                         "Dat 'possum meat am good an' sweet,
                         Kearve him to de hart."

        Among the amusements incidental to plantation life the corn-shucking and log-rolling bees stand pre-eminent. On the former occasions the neighbors all turn


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out and assist each other in shucking their corn. In this way large quantities of corn are disposed of at a single gathering, without the monotony attending the private performance of an equal amount of labor. Whiskey, which is the product of corn in that section, is freely passed around on such occasions, and is not unfrequently the cause of illfeeling and disturbance. After the work is completed a general good time is indulged in, concluding, as a rule, with a dance to the notes of a squeaky fiddle, in the hands of one of their number, and the patting of such others as are unable to restrain their flowing spirits. But the log-rolling parties carry off the palm for real vigor and romantic effect. At these meetings were to be found the vigorous youths of all the surrounding region, who assembled, like the athletes of ancient Greece at the Olympian games, to test their physical prowess and win for themselves reputations of which they were no less proud. These contests occurred at a space upon which lay the logs chopped from trees, which had been felled in the process of clearing land. The participants generally separated themselves into two factions, at the head of each was a champion, and the feats of strength and endurance were as a rule exhibited in their attempts to out-vie each other in lifting at the bar placed under one end of a heavy log; when it sometimes happened that the mate of the successful party was unable to raise his end or endure


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to bear it to the pile, which covered him with the disgrace of defeat, while the other was correspondingly elated and considered a wonderful man. It was very amusing to hear the opposite champions challenge each other from the tops of their respective piles, using the most exaggerated and ridiculous expressions imaginable. Such expressions as the following were generally indulged in on such occasions, being shouted at their utmost pitch of voice:

        First champion--"Oh, you can't rule me!".

        Second champion--"You can't knock a chip off my shoulder!"

        First champion--"I'm yer lion tamer!"

        Second champion--"Here's yer alligater eater!"

        First champion--"Woman never had me!"

        Second champion--"Man, he never got me!"

        First champion--"I come in gold molds!"

        And thus they would proceed until, their mission being accomplished they, like the corn-shuckers, would finish the night with music, feasting and dancing.

        At times, however, the utmost good-will did not prevail to the close, and fighting and bloodshed would take the place of music and feasting, owing to the too free use of strong drink.

        Efforts have been made from time to time by those who have been more industrious in exposing the weaknesses of the colored race than in exalting their virtues,


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to impress the belief upon the popular mind that the average plantation hand will engage in little acts of peculation; that is to say, steal.

        The writer has enjoyed unusually favorable facilities of acquainting himself with every phase of character pertaining to this class of people, and after careful observation, extending over a long period of time, he feels authorized in repelling the accusation as a base slander upon the fair fame of one of the most patient, industrious and honorable classes of people that is to be found upon the American continent. It is true the colored people spoken of have within their number men who, like their white brethren, will commit acts of violence against the property of their neighbors, sometimes indulging in peculations the very insignificance of which are well calculated to call down upon them the scorn and ridicule of the community in which they reside, such as the taking of pigs, chickens, seed cotton and the like; but these acts are no more frequent than may be found among some classes of the white people of both sections, with this mitigating feature--that, when the plantation hand of the South relieves a planter of a fat pullet, pig, or even a few pounds of seed cotton, he merely indulges his disposition to obtain a pittance of what they have robbed him and his ancestors of, and generally for the purpose of satisfying the cravings of hunger.

        The colored men of the Southern plantations have


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made the South what it is, have produced four-fifths of the cotton, sugar, rice and tobacco which for many years constituted the chief articles of commerce, and for all this they have received no compensation; they have to this day an equitable claim on every foot of land, every horse, cow, pig or chicken to be found on Southern soil, owned by ex-slaveholders, and for them to occasionally assert their right of redemption is not stealing.

        The colored people of the cities and towns are a heterogeneous mass. They are to be found of all shades of color known among the races of men--black, yellow, cream colored, white, and all the intermediate shades Some of them boast that they are of pure African extraction--not mongrels; while others rejoice in the possession of a very liberal allowance of "pure white blood," and use every means in their power to gain recognition by their white brethren. There are those, indeed, who make it their boast that they have descended, on their father's side, from some of the first white families of the South, and claim recognition on the ground of consanguinity, referring to the well-known family resemblance as a proof of the correctness of their assertion. Nor must it be concluded, as is supposed by some, that the fact of a colored person having his blood mixed is necessarily a proof of illegitimacy, for, on the contrary, the


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greater portion of the mixed-blooded colored people of the South are the fruits of legitimate matrimonial alliances formed among the different shades of the race during the past and present generations. Much refinement of manners and real intellectual culture is also discernable among the colored people who inhabit the cities and towns of the South, since they were in times past not only more favored with respect to opportunities of gaining information than the poor plantation hands, but the relations they bore the wealthy whites--as domestics and servants in other capacities--were to them a source of great profit in increasing their knowledge. Besides this, the free colored people, who were in the State of North Carolina permitted to acquire property and send their children to school, to a limited extent, emulating the example of the intelligent white people, educated their children somewhat, collected libraries and read such newspapers of the day as they could get possession of, thereby becoming, in some instances, the equals and even superiors of many of the white citizens. Being great imitators and thoroughly Americanized in their ideas and ambitions, they vied with the more wealthy portion of society in clothing themselves in the latest styles and furnishing their houses with modern improvements. The barbers of the South were also a prolific source of information to the rest of colored society; since, by virtue of their calling, they were brought into the presence


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of the leading statesmen, lawyers and politicians of that section, who frequently did not hesitate to discuss questions of State and National polity in their presence.

        The mechanics, as well as the domestics of the South, were also composed of this class of people; in fact, the colored people were the intimate attendants and supports of the property-holding element in every department of life. They were indispensable at the birth, depended upon at the wedding, and in the hour of death the prayers and groans of some trusted "Aunty" or "Uncle" furnished a safe escort for them to "that bourne from which no traveler returns."

        In some cities, during the slave-holding era, there were no distinct churches for the colored people, and they were provided for in the galleries of the various white congregations, where the pious eye of the master could note their movements.

        The writer attended one of these churches during the first Sabbath of his sojourn in Hudsonville, to acommodate a friend, but the visit was not repeated. The entrance in this instance was made at the rear end of the structure, and after being seated in the filthy gallery, we were denied even a glance from the preacher's eyes.

        In the large cities, however, the colored people are provided with churches and ministers of their own selection, where they worship God according to the dictates


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of their own consciences; this is especially true of them since the war.

        I regret to say that on various and sundry occasions in the past, short-sighted men of the demagogue stamp, for the satisfaction of their own personal ambition, have endeavored to create a feeling of prejudice on the part of the dark against the light-colored people in some parts of the South, by representing to them that their interests were of a conflicting nature, and endeavoring to lead innocent persons of a darker hue to believe that their light-colored brethren were aspiring to monopolize all the chief places of honor and emolument. Be it said to the honor of the masses of the dark-colored people of the South, that their good judgment has restrained them from falling in with these wicked men in their dangerous designs, and led them to ignore all such propositions made to them.

        Before the abolition of slavery in the South there was an element of society to be found there which has since lost its identity by being absorbed or merged into the one general class recognized as the colored people of the South. I refer to the body known before the war as "free negroes," or in their vernacular, "free niggers." This was the most hopelessly forlorn class, in some respects, of any we have mentioned, if a people hated and despised, slighted and scorned, neglected and abused, may be referred to as being forlorn,


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for the foregoing adjectives but faintly describe their unenviable condition in that inhospitable Southern land. These people were of all colors, sexes and conditions, and their origin was various. It was a maxim of the common law, which was strictly adhered to in nearly all the slaveholding states, that the condition of the offspring followed that of the mother; hence, in all cases where the condition of the mother was that of a free woman the offspring was born free; it mattered not how her freedom was obtained, provided it was in accordance with the provisions of the law. If a woman of "pure white blood" cohabited with a person having a "visible admixture of African blood," the offspring resulting from that union was born and remained free, because the mother, being a white person, was, ipso facto, free in the South, and the condition of her child followed that of herself; and, strange as it may seem, such unions were not unknown, even in the palmiest days of the "peculiar institution," nor, indeed, were they sufficiently rare of occurrence to attract especial interest or occasion unusual remark.

        The writer is conversant with a case where a plantation hand, of the darkest hue and most uncouth appearance begat offspring by each of the two daughters of his master; and these two mulatto children, being children of one father and of sisters, were thereby half sisters and cousins (a very strange relationship), were


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reared under the same roof as the rest of the family--living to be almost centenarians, and to look back upon a numerous progeny of free colored people.

        In other instances, good and faithful maidservants, who had given the better portion of their life in the service of their owners, rendering services of peculiar merit--such, for instance, as rearing a family of children from infancy to years of discretion, and nursing the sick--were manumitted, together with their children, who, with their progeny, thereafter were free. And some who were so fortunate as to be married to free men, who were of industrious, frugal and ambitious dispositions, were purchased by their husbands, which made them and their children, born thereafter, free.

        In the foregoing, and other ways, which we will not now weary the patience of the reader by relating, a very numerous population of free colored people came into existence, and remained up to the era of general emancipation in the South. Having a visible admixture of African blood in their veins, they were of course relegated to the same social status as the slaves, except that of bondage. They were ignored by the whites as associates, however intelligent or refined they might be; and although in a few instances (very rare) slight modifications of this rigid rule took place, still the writer has yet to be informed of a case where it was wholly abolished.

        They inhabited commercial centers chiefly for the


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reason that being, as a rule, not the owners of land for agricultural purposes, they resorted to mechanical pursuits for a livelihood; in which they became expert as time progressed, and furnished the architectural skill of that whole section in the constructing of buildings and bridges of various kinds, and even some of the fleetest ships that ploughed the waters. Another reason that may be assigned for their tendency towards cities and towns is the fact that they were the objects of suspicion and distrust in the rural districts on the part of the slaveholders, who feared that their proximity to and association with their slaves would contaminate them (the slaves), by creating in their minds a feeling of jealousy and restlessness under their oppressed condition.

        Being deprived of the right of sitting on juries and giving their sworn testimony in all litigation where their interests conflicted with those of white men, they were at the mercy of the most unprincipled rogues and libertines; and unless they secured the friendly aid of some white guardian or patron, they were liable not only to be robbed of their hard-earned possessions and deprived of life and liberty by means of the perjured statements of covetous persons of the other race, but in many instances the most outrageous and infamous crimes, which shock every fibre in the body of a real man, were perpetrated upon helpless females, when no redress


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could be had, the only witnesses to them being persons of color.

        In some sections of the South these poor people were compelled to purchase badges at fabulous rates and wear them, in order to distinguish themselves from their slave brethren; and although they, in this way and by paying a direct poll-tax, as well as the usual tax on their meagre possessions, were constantly enriching the public treasury, yet they were not per mitted to vote for their representatives, being in this respect in a worse condition than the Indians, who pay no taxes.

        In times of public alarm these free colored people were objects upon which the lower class of the white element of the South vented their spite, since they were entirely defenseless, being forbidden by law to carry firearms, or even to keep them within their dwellings, and, as we have remarked, had little or no redress at law. This was especially true of them at a time when a real or imaginary revolt of the slaves was threatened. The writer will never forget a reign of terror that was inaugurated and maintained during the Fremont-Buchanan campaign of 1856. The impression had in some mysterious manner become prevalent amongst the slaves that if Fremont was elected President of the United States their freedom would be assured. Where this idea came from or how it gained currency amongst them, nobody knew; but it existed, nevertheless, and created


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in the minds of the more cautious of the slave-holders an apprehension that in the event of a failure on the part of the slaves to realize their expectations, acts of violence might be indulged in by them. Laboring under this mental delusion, and being filled with such a degree of cowardice as their guilty actions naturally begat in them, they organized bodies of midnight marauders, known as patrols, who, during the night season, scoured the suburbs of the ancient town in which we lived, striking terror to the hearts of the defenseless free colored people, who had not even masters to protect them, and in many instances committing depredations that even a savage would blush to acknowledge.

        We almost shudder to recall an eventful night when an ominous knock was heard upon the door of our humble cot. We were all alone. Mother was a poor widow, her fatherless children were all quite young, the eldest not yet having reached puberty. We made no response. Again that harsh knock rang upon the midnight air, causing our hearts to beat almost audibly within our breasts. Not yet did we deign a response. Then there fell upon our ears a harsh, cruel voice: "Open this door, G--d d--n you! or we'll bust it in!"

        "John," said our dear mother, "get up and see what they want. I guess they are the patrols." Then, addressing herself to the marauders, she said: "All right;


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wait a minute until we make a light, and we'll let you in."

        A match was struck; an old-fashioned tallow dip was lit, and then the writer, clothed in his robe de nuit, with fear and trembling, drew the bar. A half dozen uncouth, desperate-looking characters invaded the premises, accompanied by one or two men who laid claim to some degree of respectability, and who, upon discovering that they were only disgracing themselves by trespassing upon the premises of a lonely widow and her little brood, were lavish of their apologies and vacated without delay. The remainder, after passing through the house and glancing curiously at every object that confronted them, failed to find anything that could be construed into a firearm, and left, to return no more.

        Our neighbors, however, were less fortunate, for it happened that an old fowling-piece, a relic of the past, was discovered upon their premises, which was the direct cause of procuring for its unfortunate owner thirty-nine lashes upon his naked back, from a cow-hide in the hands of one of that infernal clan. Nor was that all, for, not being satisfied with flogging the husband, they essayed to insult the wife, and when she resisted and attempted to resent the insult, they assaulted her in a most outrageous manner.

        For a colored man to assault a white man in those days was to commit an unpardonable offense, which


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blood alone could atone for--it mattered not how great soever the provocation might be, or how just the colored man's cause. We distinctly remember an incident that took place in the State of North Carolina in the latter part of the year 1856, when the writer was a boy, that made a lasting impression upon his mind and caused him to remark to his kind mother that if she did not sell her home and leave the South, he would leave just as soon as his age and means would admit of it. The incident was as follows:

        A large, muscular man, having a very slight admixture of African blood in his veins, drove into the town of -- with a load of small casks or kegs which he had made to barter away for a few groceries. He went to one of the leading merchants of the place and offered his kegs for sale, and a trade was readily effected; but during during the course of the conversation that ensued, the capacity of the kegs being called in question, a dispute arose between the merchant and the countryman, when the former stigmatized the latter as a liar; the rustic retorted by hurling the same epithet at the grocer, when the latter struck the customer a violent blow in the face with his fist, who had no sooner received it than he returned it with interest, felling the merchant to the floor. Immediately the cry went around: "A nigger has struck a white man; kill him! kill the d--n nigger!" and a crowd such as were in those days always


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to be found loitering around stores and wharves in that section, without further inquiry fell upon the countryman and attempted to knock him down. He was equal to the emergency, however, and had he enjoyed even the semblance of fair play, would have succeeded in whipping all his assailants; but finally, when it became apparent that he was getting the better of the cowardly crew, a sailor in their midst drew a bar of iron, and striking him a blow on the head with it, felled him to the ground. Once in that position his clothing was torn from his body, his arms and legs pinioned, and his bare back flogged with a "cowhide" until the blood ran from it, and the gashes made in his flesh by the cruel strokes presented a ghastly spectacle as they gaped open. For this colored man there was no redress; indeed, he was only too glad to escape with his life. and drag back again his mangled, bleeding body to the heart-broken wife and grief-stricken children from whom he had parted a few hours previous with hopes beating high.

        The writer labors under the embarrassment derived from the fear that there may be those who will read these recitals of oppression and injury inflicted upon the colored people of the South with incredulity, and imagine them to be the productions of a dishonest imagination. If such should be the case, the reader has only to refer the matter to any one of the thousands of well-informed


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colored citizens who are to be found in all our cities and towns of the North for a verification, not only by their verbal testimony, but by their scarred and crippled bodies that are yet to be seen. The half has not been told.

        What the colored people of the South need at the present time to raise them up to an equal plain with the better class of the white people there is a fair opportunity in the race of life to earn and accumulate money, and good educational facilities for their children.

        Thanks to the large-heartedness of the people of the North, there are in some sections of that benighted land a few educational institutions that will compare favorably with some of the best in the land; where young men and women of color are fast preparing themselves to enter the higher walks of life. Of such are Fisk University and Hampton Institute, to say nothing of many others less pretentious.

        The law of the land can do so much for us as to remove all obstructions from our way that are obnoxious to its provisions; but no more. It can not take us from under the ban of prejudice any more than it can the pauper of another race.

        Our destiny lies to a very great extent in our own hands, and the quicker we recognize that fact the more rapid will be our progress upward. If the


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recognition and preferment of races of other people is governed by their wealth, intelligence and integrity, by these same means, and these alone, must we seek and expect to win success in life; and not by a state of inertia, or a period spent in bewailing our unfortunate lot. "A word to the wise is sufficient."


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CONCLUSION.

        Past and Present of "Magnolia."--Sherman's Boys and Hardee.--"No Law to Compel One Man to 'Mister' Another."--The Results of the Trip.--Returning North.

        We must now hasten to a conclusion of our narrative, since we have already occupied more time and space in relating it than we anticipated at the beginning. Suffice it to say, then, that the town of Magnolia, while possessing a greater population than Hudsonville and wearing somewhat of a metropolitan appearance, did not fully meet our expectations. Even to Jones and Brown, our companions of the route, who had resided there in former times during its prosperity, scarcely recognized in its charred and dilapidated appearance the Magnolia of the past, when business was flourishing and there was abundance of labor with fair remuneration for all, except those who were enslaved. Instead of scores of drays and carts being employed in hauling the large deposits of merchandise to and fro from the steamboat landing; now half a dozen vehicles could scarcely find employment; where formerly a numerous body of mechanics were wont to reside in the midst of a plentiful supply of all the necessaries of life, we at length found only a


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tithe of them, striving to eke out an existence by the performance of such odd jobs as could be found in a place where the erection of substantial buildings gave place to a few repairs to such as were already in existence to keep them in suitable condition for use, and the banks that once flourished there for the accommodation of a healthy trade, were to be found no more, but in their stead one petty institution. In fact, decay and blight seemed to have seized upon all things. The people who inhabited the place appeared to be discouraged and lost to all ambition, even to repair the sad ravages that the events of the war had entailed.

        Formerly this place was the seat of learning, refinement and wealth for all that section of the great State of North Carolina, and the unsophisticated rustic of the interior who had the ambition to make it a visit, opened his eyes in astonishment as he gazed at the exterior of the capacious buildings to be found there, and the riches as displayed in the show-windows and on the streets; in short, it was the commercial center from which all the country around, within a radius of a hundred miles, drew its supplies, and it was no uncommon thing before the war to see her streets in the vicinity of the Court and Market House, crowded with the vehicles of planters and small farmers, who had traveled many miles to visit this emporium for the purpose of purchasing or exchanging wares.


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        But now all this was reversed, and, instead, gloom and despondency seemed to brood over the forsaken place. The inhabitants remaining were not slow in attributing all their losses and misfortunes to the "Yankees," and pointed to the charred remains of their former bank buildings and store-houses, which were destroyed during Sherman's grand march to the sea, as a proof of the correctness of their statements, but they seemed to lose sight of the fact that their own obstinacy in endeavoring to impede his progress, even up to the last moment, occasioned the greater portion of the damage that had accrued.

        It is related that one of the typical Southern ladies of that time, full of reliance on the superior fighting qualities of the Southern chivalry, when told that Sherman was approaching the town, said: "O, never mind, General Har-dee is here, and he won't let them enter." Alas for her confidence and reliance upon the superior skill and chivalric bearing of "Har-dee and his troops!" Instead of emulating the example of the gallant three hundred under Leonidas at Thermopylae, and dying in the "last ditch," they at the last moment ingloriously fled, being in some instances wounded in the back, and not a few of them captured.

        Among the wealthy class of the white people to be found at this place were some who for their general intelligence and magnaminity of character are deserving of


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great praise. This is especially true of a few of the weaker portion of the community, who were veritable ministering angels at the bedside of many a poor unfortunate sufferer in their midst, for which future generations will render them their full mead of praise; but as a rule they were very exclusive in their habits, and disdained to mingle on terms of intercourse with those whom they considered their inferiors--their standards of distinction being color, money and intelligence. Some of the male portion carried their silly prejudice to such an extent that they would even refuse to address a colored man as Mister, calling him Tom, Dick, Harry or boy, as the case might demand, regardless of the merits or demerits of the person addressed, or his station in life. The following anecdote will go far to show the extent to which the business men of the place permitted this silly bias to carry them. A very respectable colored man, of average intelligence, was elected to the honorable position of alderman of the town, and he very reasonably concluded that he was entitled to the ordinary and usual courtesies that ought to be observed on the part of one citizen to another; therefore, when he was addressed by a merchant of the town as Thomas, it is not to be wondered at that he reminded him that he had a "handle" to his name, and that handle was the word Mister. The result of this action on the part of the "city father"


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was an invitation extended to him by the merchant to leave his store, which invitation not being immediately complied with, the porter was ordered to summarily eject the alderman, which he did in a manner more forcible than polite. An action in the nature of assault and battery against the aggressors was the next scene in this strange drama, in which the defendants were acquitted, and the complainant was not only lectured by the partial justice for not leaving the premises of the merchant when ordered by him to do so (albeit he had gone there on business, which had not been transacted), but was also reminded that there was no law in the State of North Carolina, known to the court, by virtue of which one man could be compelled "to mister another."

        We found an extensive, well-regulated society of colored people here, together with churches and schools managed by them, that were a credit alike to them and the State in which they resided, but the increased cost of living in a manner suitable to our requirements, together with the almost total absence of remunerative employment, prevented us from selecting Magnolia as a home. Besides this, we had breathed the pure atmosphere of the free North for so long a time that the prejudices and customs peculiar to that locality could illy be brooked by us; we therefore concluded to return to Hudsonville by the nearest route, pack our carpet-bags,


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and turn our steps Northward, where the invigorating breezes of our mountains and lakes impart new life, and inspire one with hopes and ambitions such as go far towards establishing true manhood; and where the laws and customs in vogue do not necessarily militate against one on account of his race and color, but every man is known and honored for what he is, judged by the standard of morality and qualification.

        

Illustration

THE END.