Discovering Your South Carolina Roots

Memories as a South Carolina Slave

An interview with Mary Edwards a former South Carolina slave from Greenwood sharing her memories.

I was born in the section of Greenwood County called the
“promised land”. My parents were Henry and Julis Watkins, I married Prank Edwards when I was young. Our master, Marshall Jordon was not so mean. He had lots of slaves and he give ’em good quarters and plenty to eat. He had big gardens, lots of hogs and cattle and a big farm.
My master had two children. Sometimes they hunted rabbits, squirrels, possums and doves. Our master had two overseers, but we never worked at night.
We made our own clothes which we done sometimes late in evening.

We had no school and didn’t learn to read and write, not
till freedom come when a school started there by a Yankee named
Backiastore. Later, our church and Sunday school was in the yard.
We had cotton pickings, cornshuckings and big suppers.
We didn’t have to work on Christmas.

One of the old-time cures was boiling fever-grass and
drinking de tea. Pokeberry salad was cooked, too. The cure for rheumatism was to carry a raw potato in the pocket until it dried up.

I had 11 children and 8 grandchildren.
I think Abe Lincoln was a great man. Don’t know much
about Jeff Davis. Booker Washington is all right.

I Joined the Methodist church, I was 50 years old. I joined because they had meetings and my daughter had already joined. I think all ought to join a church.

Source: Mary Edwards (79), Greenwood, S.C
Interviewed by: G.L. Summer, Newberry, S.C. (6/10/37)

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