A presentation exploring Al Andalus – 710 AD to 1492 AD. The Iberian Empire of the Moors. This history is essential to the knowledge and understanding of our time since it laid the foundations for the New World.
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Ancestor Narratives: George Washington “Wash” Anderson, Texas
A frail sick man, neatly clad in white pajamas lying patiently in a clean bed awaiting the end which does not seem far away. Although we protested against his talking, because of his weakness, he told a brief story of his life in a whisper, his breath very short and every word was spoken with great effort. His light skin and his features denote no characteristic of his race, has a bald head with a bit of gray hair around the crown and a slight growth of gray whiskers about his face, is medium in height and build. WASH ANDERSON, although born in Charleston, S.C., has spent practically all of his life in Texas [Handwritten Note: (Beaumont, Texas—]
“Mos’ folks call me Wash Anderson, but dey uster call me George. My whole name’ George Washington Anderson. I was bo’n in Charleston, Sou’f Ca’lina in 1855. Bill Anderson was my ol’ marster. Dey was two boy’ and two gal’ in his family. We all lef’ Charleston and come to Orange, Texas, befo’ freedom come. I was fo’ year’ ol’ when dey mek dat trip.”
“I don’ ‘member nuttin’ ’bout Charleston. You see where I was bo’n was ’bout two mile’ from de city. I went back one time in 1917, but I didn’ stay dere long.”
“My pa was Irvin’ Anderson and my mommer was name’ Eliza. Ol’ marster was pretty rough on his niggers. Dey[Pg 18] tell me he had my gran’daddy beat to death. Dey never did beat me.”
“Dey made de trip from Charleston ‘cross de country and settle’ in Duncan’s Wood’ down here in Orange county. Dey had a big plantation dere. I dunno if ol’ marster had money back in Charleston, but I t’ink he must have. He had ’bout 25 or 30 slaves on de place.”
“Ol’ man Anderson he had a big two-story house. It was buil’ out of logs but it was a big fine house. De slaves jis’ had little log huts. Dere warn’t no flo’s to ’em, nuthin’ but de groun’. Dem little huts jis’ had one room in ’em. Dey was one family to de house, ‘cep’n’ sometime dey put two or t’ree family’ to a house. Dey jis’ herd de slaves in dere like a bunch of pigs.”
“Dey uster raise cotton, and co’n, and sugar cane, and sich like, but dey didn’ uster raise no rice. Dey uster sen’ stuff to Terry on a railroad to sen’ it to market. Sometime dey hitch up dey teams and sen’ it to Orange and Beaumont in wagons. De ol’ marster he had a boat, too, and sometime he sen’ a boatload of his stuff to Beaumont.”
“My work was to drive de surrey for de family and look atter de hosses and de harness and sich. I jis’ have de bes’ hosses on de place to see atter.”[Pg 19]
“I saw lots of sojers durin’ de war. I see ’em marchin’ by, goin’ to Sabine Pass ’bout de time of dat battle.”
“Back in slavery time dey uster have a white preacher to come ‘roun’ and preach to de cullud folks. But I don’t ‘member much ’bout de songs what dey uster sing.”
“I play ‘roun’ right smart when I was little. Dey uster have lots of fun playin’ ‘hide and seek,’ and ‘hide de switch.’ We uster ride stick hosses and play ‘roun’ at all dem t’ings what chillun play at.”
“Dey had plenty of hosses and mules and cows on de ol’ plantation. I had to look atter some of de hosses, but dem what I hatter look atter was s’pose to be de bes’ hosses in de bunch. Like I say, I drive de surrey and dey allus have de bes’ hosses to pull dat surrey. Dey had a log stable. Dey kep’ de harness in dere, too. Eb’ryt’ing what de stock eat dey raise on de plantation, all de co’n and fodder and sich like.”
“Atter freedom come I went ‘roun’ doin’ dif’rent kind of work. I uster work on steamboats, and on de railroad and at sawmillin’. I was a sawyer for a long, long time. I work ‘roun’ in Lou’sana and Arkansas, and Oklahoma, as[Pg 20] well as in Texas. When I wasn’t doin’ dem kinds of work, I uster work ‘roun’ at anyt’ing what come to han’. I ‘member one time I was workin’ for de Burr Lumber Company at Fort Townsend up dere in Arkansas.”
“When I was ’bout 36 year’ ol’ I git marry. I been married twice. My fus’ wife was name’ Hannah and Reverend George Childress was de preacher dat marry us. He was a cullud preacher. Atter Hannah been dead some time I marry my secon’ wife. Her name was Tempie Perkins. Later on, us sep’rate. Us sep’rate on ‘count of money matters.”
“I b’longs to de Baptis’ Chu’ch. Sometime’ de preacher come ‘roun’ and see me. He was here a few days ago dis week.”
Ancestor Narratives: Andy Anderson, Texas
ANDY ANDERSON, 94, was born a slave of Jack Haley, who owned a plantation in Williamson Co., Texas. During the Civil War, Andy was sold to W.T. House, of Blanco County, who in less than a year sold Andy to his brother, John House. Andy now lives with his third wife and eight of his children at 301 Armour St., Fort Worth, Texas.
“My name am Andy J. Anderson, and I’s born on Massa Jack Haley’s plantation in Williamson County, Texas, and Massa Haley owned my folks and ’bout twelve other families of niggers. I’s born in 1843 and that makes me 94 year old and 18 year when de war starts. I’s had ‘speriences durin’ dat time.
“Massa Haley am kind to his cullud folks, and him am kind to everybody, and all de folks likes him. De other white folks called we’uns de petted niggers. There am ’bout 30 old and young niggers and ’bout 20 piccaninnies too little to work, and de nuss cares for dem while dey mammies works.
“I’s gwine ‘splain how it am managed on Massa Haley’s plantation. It am sort of like de small town, ’cause everything we uses am made right there. There am de shoemaker and he is de tanner and make de leather from de hides. Den massa has ’bout a thousand sheep and he gits de wool, and de niggers cards and spins and weaves it, and dat makes all de clothes. Den massa have cattle and sich purvide de milk and de butter and beef meat for eatin’. Den massa have de turkeys and chickens and de hawgs and de bees. With all that, us never was hongry.
“De plantation am planted in cotton, mostly, with de corn and de wheat a little, ’cause massa don’t need much of dem. He never sell nothin’ but de cotton.[Pg 15]
“De livin’ for de cullud folks am good. De quarters am built from logs like deys all in dem days. De floor am de dirt but we has de benches and what is made on de place. And we has de big fireplace for to cook and we has plenty to cook in dat fireplace, ’cause massa allus ‘lows plenty good rations, but he watch close for de wastin’ of de food.
“De war breaks and dat make de big change on de massas place. He jines de army and hires a man call’ Delbridge for overseer. After dat, de hell start to pop, ’cause de first thing Delbridge do is cut de rations. He weighs out de meat, three pound for de week, and he measure a peck of meal. And ‘twarn’t enough. He half starve us niggers and he want mo’ work and he start de whippin’s. I guesses he starts to edumacate ’em. I guess dat Delbridge go to hell when he died, but I don’t see how de debbil could stand him.
“We’uns am not use’ to sich and some runs off. When dey am cotched there am a whippin’ at de stake. But dat Delbridge, he sold me to Massa House, in Blanco County. I’s sho’ glad when I’s sold, but it am short gladness, ’cause here am another man what hell am too good for. He gives me de whippin’ and de scars am still on my arms and my back, too. I’ll carry dem to my grave. He sends me for firewood and when I gits it loaded, de wheel hits a stump and de team jerks and dat breaks de whippletree. So he ties me to de stake and every half hour for four hours, dey lays ta lashes on my back. For de first couple hours de pain am awful. I’s never forgot it. Den I’s stood so much pain I not feel so much and when dey takes me loose, I’s jus’ ’bout half dead. I lays in de bunk two days, gittin’ over dat whippin’, gittin’ over it in de body but not de heart. No, suh, I has dat in de heart till dis day.[Pg 16]
“After dat whippin’ I doesn’t have de heart to work for de massa. If I seed de cattle in de cornfield, I turns de back, ‘stead of chasin’ ’em out. I guess dat de reason de massa sold me to his brother, Massa John. And he am good like my first massa, he never whipped me.
“Den surrender am ‘nounced and massa tells us we’s free. When dat takes place, it am ’bout one hour by sun. I says to myself, ‘I won’t be here long.’ But I’s not realise what I’s in for till after I’s started, but I couldn’t turn back. For dat means de whippin’ or danger from de patter rollers. Dere I was and I kep’ on gwine. No nigger am sposed to be off de massa’s place without de pass, so I travels at night and hides durin’ de daylight. I stays in de bresh and gits water from de creeks, but not much to eat. Twice I’s sho’ dem patter rollers am passin’ while I’s hidin’.
“I’s 21 year old den, but it am de first time I’s gone any place, ‘cept to de neighbors, so I’s worried ’bout de right way to Massa Haley’s place. But de mornin’ of de third day I comes to he place and I’s so hongry and tired and scairt for fear Massa Haley not home from de army yit. So I finds my pappy and he hides me in he cabin till a week and den luck comes to me when Massa Haley come home. He come at night and de next mornin’ dat Delbridge am shunt off de place, ’cause Massa Haley seed he niggers was all gaunt and lots am ran off and de fields am not plowed right, and only half de sheep and everything left. So massa say to dat Delbridge, ‘Dere am no words can ‘splain what yous done. Git off my place ‘fore I smashes you.’
“Den I kin come out from my pappy’s cabin and de old massa was glad to see me, and he let me stay till freedom am ordered. Dat’s de happies’ time in my life, when I gits back to Massa Haley.[Pg 17]