“Now I want you to tell me whether you have run away? Don’t tell me no stories now, like a good fellow, and perhaps I may buy you.”
But as I was not under oath to tell him the whole truth, I only gave him a part of it, by telling him that I had run away once.
He appeared to be pleased at that, but cautioned me to tell him the truth, and asked me how long I stayed away, when I run off?
I told him that I was gone a month.
He assented to this by a bow of his head, and making a long grunt saying, “That’s right, tell me the truth like a good boy.”
The whole truth was that I had been off in the state of Ohio, and other free states, and even to Canada; besides this I was notorious for running away, from my boyhood.
I never told him that I had been a runaway longer than one month—neither did I tell him that I had not run away more than once in my life; for these questions he never asked me.
I afterwards found him to be one of the basest hypocrites that I ever saw. He looked like a saint—talked like the best of slave holding Christians, and acted at home like the devil.
When he saw my wife and child, he concluded to buy us. He paid for me twelve hundred dollars, and one thousand for my wife and child. He also bought several other slaves at the same time, and took home with him. His residence was in the parish of Claiborn, fifty miles up from the mouth of Red River.
When we arrived there, we found his slaves poor, ragged, stupid, and half-starved. The food he allowed them per week, was one peck of corn for each grown person, one pound of pork, and sometimes a quart of molasses. This was all that they were allowed, and if they got more they stole it.
He had one of the most cruel overseers to be found in that section of country. He weighed and measured out to them, their week’s allowance of food every Sabbath morning. The overseer’s horn was sounded two hours before daylight for them in the morning, in order that they should be ready for work before daylight. They were worked from daylight until after dark, without stopping but one half hour to eat or rest, which was at noon. And at the busy season of the year, they were compelled to work just as hard on the Sabbath, as on any other day.
Cruel treatment on Whitfield’s farm—Exposure of the children—Mode of extorting extra labor—Neglect of the sick—Strange medicine used—Death of our second child.
My first impressions when I arrived on the Deacon’s farm, were that he was far more like what the people call the devil, than he was like a deacon. Not many days after my arrival there, I heard the Deacon tell one of the slave girls, that he had bought her for a wife for his boy Stephen, which office he compelled her fully to perform against her will. This he enforced by a threat. At first the poor girl neglected to do this, having no sort of affection for the man—but she was finally forced to it by an application of the driver’s lash, as threatened by the Deacon.