“Not long ’fore de war ended, my Mamma tuk a ’lapse f’um measles and died. ’Fore she died, she sont for Marse John and told him what she wanted done, and he done jus’ what she axed. She give him my brothers, Richard and Thomas, and told him to take dem two boys and to make men out of ’em by makin’ ’em wuk hard. I jus’ lak to have died when my Mamma died. Dey carried her to de graveyard and put her down in de grave and I jus’ couldn’t help it; I jumped right down in dat grave wid her, and dey had to take me out. My brothers said I was plum crazy dat day.
“Atter de war was over, Marster moved his family to Atlanta on Peachtree Street. His grandson dat was born dat year died not long ago. Dey didn’t have no farm in Atlanta and so dey didn’t need all deir old servants. My sister Hattie was a baby and Auntie tuk her to Atlanta wid de Grants.
“I don’t know what ’come of de others on Marster’s farm. I had to git in a covered wagon and come wid my Uncle Jordan Johnson to Athens. I didn’t want to leave, and I hid down under our things in de wagon when dey made me come. When us crossed de river, I was sho’ us was ’bout to git drownded. One time atter dat us tuk a trip to Madison to see de old breastplates (breastworks) dar.
“My brother Tom got to be captain of a colored troop dat went to de Philippine Islands. Over dar de sojers kilt a big snake and et it all but de head. He had dat thing stuffed and brought it home. Atter he left de army, he got a job in de Atlanta Post Office whar he wukked ’til he was ’tired.
“I was hired out to de Marks family and stayed dar for years and dat was a mighty good place to be hired out. I was married twice. Me and Crit Clayton married at home. I ain’t never seed nothin’ lak dat pretty flowerdy weddin’ dress dat I wore and I had de prettiest hat and things dat I ever seed. My next husband was Andrew Cole—He was Rosa’s Pa. I forgits de name of de white preacher dat married us when us went to his house and axed him to. Four of our seven chillun is still livin’.
“Dey tells me our old big house near Monroe is standin’ yit, and I sho’ do wish I could see it once more ’fore I die, but since I broke my hip a few years ago I jus’ don’t ride in dem automobiles. No Ma’am, I don’t limp. De Lord was good to heal my hip and I ain’t takin’ no chances on breakin’ no more of my bones.”
Martha Colquitt, Age 85 190 Lyndon Avenue Athens, Georgia
Mrs. Sarah H. Hall
Federal Writers’ Project
John N. Booth
Federal Writers’ Project
Residencies 6 & 7