Black Slave Owners

Wary Ann Lipscomb

"My husband, Nathan Lipscomb, was over on Mt. Pleasant fighting, and I had been over there to see him. He was a private in the rear ranks. When we were coming back to Charleston on a rice steamer, an open boat, the Yankees were shelling the town. I played with my fingers in the water of the bay as the steamer went along. We landed at a different landing from the one where we had started from. When I got off the steamer I was very much frightened, for they had shot through the hotel where we were staying.

"We immediately left the city by train. I hated to leave my husband so far behind, but I could do nothing about it. In that day the train used only wood for fuel. Only two trains a day came from Columbia to Charleston. They made about 18 miles per hour, but that was good traveling at that time.

"My brother, Thomas Wilkins, went through the war. My father, Russell, and Richard were in training when the surrender came. I stayed with my father at White Plains while my husband was off to war. When we heard that the Yankees were coming, we had the negroes to hide all the horses but two, and to hide the cows and turn the hogs loose to ramble in the woods.

"When the Yankees rode up to the yard and got off their horses, we could easily tell they had been drinking. We told them that our horses were in the stable and that the negroes had fled in terror, which was true. They ate up everything they could find and ransacked the closets and pantry. They them caught the chickens, took the two horses in the stable and went away.

"The darkies came back with the cows and horses, and we got settled for the night. About nine o'clock, the Yankees came unexpectedly and took all the horses and cows. They killed the cows, and made our darkies help them to butcher them and barbecue them. The Yankees soon ate everything up and left with our horses.

"My grandmother, Agnes Wood, gave my mother, Elizabeth Wilkins a beautiful young mare. The Yankee who took that mare, turned over a pot of fresh soap when my mother asked him not to take the mare. Our cook, Matilda, had the soap ready to cut in the pot, so we saved some of it.

"During the second year of the war I was making me a homespun dress, and while my father helped me with the weaving he told me of a dress that one of his friends made during the Nullification days. I carded and spun the filling for my new dress, wove it, made the dress and wore it to Charleston when I went to see my husband. It had broad, black stripes the width of my two fingers, and two green threads between the black stripes. It also had a little yellow stripe. It was really a beautiful dress and looked very much like silk."

Source: Mrs. Wary Ann Lipscomb, Gaffney, S.C. Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union. S.C. 12/22/37

{Jan. 7, 1938}


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