Georgia Plantation Slave Quarters

Georgia Plantation Slave Quarters

Slave Narratives are a collection of accounts taken by government workers assigned to go out in about the year 1937 and record the experiences of former slaves before they had all passed away. This work was done under the Work Projects Administration, an agency of the United States government, brought into being by President Roosevelt during his administration. There are many more states where this work was done and many more slave narratives but my research to date has only included South Carolina and Georgia. For a substantial collection of the slave narratives go to Gutenberg Project under Work Projects Administration for further accounts.

What follows are accounts by former slaves from Georgia describing in their own words their living quarters as slaves. Keep in mind the accounts were based on memory and about 72 years had passed since they had had that experience. Of the broader list of slave narratives accounts (this list only includes interesting accounts from those who shared their stories about their experience) many could not remember the various things that had happened to them and some did not want to give their experience on various subjects.

“Us lived in mud-daubed log cabins what had old stack chimblies made out
of sticks and mud. Our old home-made beds didn’t have no slats or metal
springs neither. Dey used stout cords for springs. De cloth what dey
made the ticks of dem old hay mattresses and pillows out of was so
coarse dat it scratched us little chillun most to death, it seemed lak
to us dem days. I kin still feel dem old hay mattresses under me now.
Evvy time I moved at night it sounded lak de wind blowin’ through dem
peach trees and bamboos ’round de front of de house whar I lives now.”

[Rachael Adams, Part I, Georgia]

“The homes provided for the slaves were two room log cabins which had one
door and one window. These homes were not built in a group together but
were more or less scattered over the plantation. Slave homes were very
simple and only contained a home made table, chair and bed which were
made of the same type of wood and could easily be cleaned by scouring
with sand every Saturday. The beds were bottomed with rope which was run
backward and forward from one rail to the other. On this framework was
placed a mattress of wheat straw. Each spring the mattresses were
emptied and refilled with fresh wheat straw.”

[Celestia Avery, Part I, Georgia]

“De long, log houses what us lived in was called “shotgun” houses ’cause
dey had three rooms, one behind de other in a row lak de barrel of a
shotgun. All de chillun slept in one end room and de grown folkses slept
in de other end room. De kitchen whar us cooked and et was de middle
room. Beds was made out of pine poles put together wid cords. Dem
wheat-straw mattresses was for grown folkses mostly ’cause nigh all de
chillun slept on pallets. How-some-ever, dere was some few slave chillun
what had beds to sleep on. Pillows! Dem days us never knowed what
pillows was. Gals slept on one side of de room and boys on de other in
de chilluns room. Uncle Jim, he was de bed-maker, and he made up a heap
of little beds lak what dey calls cots now.”

[Georgia Baker, Part I, Georgia]

“Slave quarters was log cabins built in long rows. Some had chimblies in
de middle, twixt two rooms, but de most of ’em was jus’ one-room cabins
wid a stick and mud chimbly at de end. Dem chimblies was awful bad ’bout
ketchin’ on fire. Didn’t nobody have no glass windows. Dey jus’ had
plain plank shutters for blinds and de doors was made de same way, out
of rough planks. All de beds was home-made and de best of ’em was
corded. Dey made holes in de sides and foots and haidpieces, and run
heavy home-made cords in dem holes. Dey wove ’em crossways in and out of
dem holes from one side to another ’til dey had ’em ready to lay de
mattress mat on. I’se helped to pull dem cords tight many a time. Our
mattress ticks was made of homespun cloth and was stuffed wid wheat
straw. ‘Fore de mattress tick was put on de bed a stiff mat wove out of
white oak splits was laid on top of de cords to pertect de mattress and
make it lay smooth. Us was ‘lowed to pick up all de old dirty cotton
’round de place to make our pillows out of.”

[Jasper Battle, Part I, Georgia]

“When asked to describe the living quarters of the slaves on his
plantation he looked around his room and muttered: “Dey wuz a lot better
than dis one.” Some of the cabins were made of logs and some of
weatherboards. The chinks in the walls were sealed with mud. In some
instances boards were used on the inside to keep the weather out. There
were usually two windows, shutters being used in the place of window
panes. The chimney and fireplace were made of mud and stones. All
cooking was done at the fireplace as none of them were provided with
stoves. Iron cooking utensils were used. To boil food a pot was hung
over the fire by means of a hook. The remaining furniture was a bench
which served as a chair, and a crude bed. Rope running from side to side
served as bed springs. The mattress was made of straw or hay. For
lighting purposes, pine knots and candles were used. The slaves on the
Coxton plantation were also fortunate in that all cabins had good
floors. All cabins and their furnishings were built by the slaves who
learned the use of hammer and saw from white artisans whom Mr. Coxton
employed from time to time. Mr. Bland remarked that his father was a
blacksmith, having learned the trade in this manner.”

[Henry Bland, Part I, Georgia]

“We stayed in a one room log cabin with a dirt floor. A frame made
outen pine poles was fastened to the wall to hold up the mattresses. Our
mattresses was made outen cotton bagging stuffed with wheat straw. Our
kivers was quilts made outen old clothes. Slave ‘omens too old to work
in the fields made the quilts.”

[James Bolton, Part I, Georgia]

“‘Bout de beds, Nigger boys didn’t pay no ‘tention to sich as dat ’cause
all dey keered ’bout wuz a place to sleep but ‘peers lak to me dey wuz
corded beds, made wid four high posties, put together wid iron pegs, an’
holes what you run de cords thoo’, bored in de sides. De cords wuz made
out of b’ar grass woun’ tight together. Dey put straw an’ old quilts on
’em, an’ called ’em beds.”

[Alec Bostwick, Part I, Georgia

“I don’t know much ’bout slave quarters, or what dey had in ’em, ’cause
I wuz raised in de house wid de white folkses. I does know beds in de
quarters wuz lak shelves. Holes wuz bored in de side of de house, two in
de wall and de floor, and poles runnin’ from de wall and de floor,
fastened together wid pegs; on ’em dey put planks, and cross de foot of
de bed dey put a plank to hold de straw and keep de little ‘uns from
fallin’ out.”

[Easter Brown, Part I, Georgia]

“Houses on the Byrd Plantation were made of logs and the cracks were
daubed with mud. The chimnies were made of mud and supported by sticks.

Each fireplace varied in length from 3 to 4 feet because they serve the
purpose of stoves; and the family meals were prepared in those large
fireplaces often two and three pots were suspended from a rod running
across the fireplace. Most of the log houses consisted of one room;
however if the family was very large two rooms were built. The
furnishings consisted only of a home-made table, benches, and a
home-made bed, the mattress of which was formed by running ropes from
side to side forming a framework. Mattresses were made by filling a tick
with wheatstraw. The straw was changed each season. Laughing Mrs. Byrd
remarked, “Yessirree, them houses wuz warmer than some are ter day.”

[Sarah Byrd, Part I, Georgia]

“Slave homes on the Willis plantation differed in no respect from the
usual type found elsewhere. All homes were simple log cabins grouped
together, forming what is known as slave quarters.”

[Mariah Callaway, Part I, Georgia]

“All de slave quarters wuz log cabins and little famblies had cabins wid
jes’ one room. Old Marster sho’ did want to see lots of chilluns ’round
de cabins and all de big famblies wuz ‘lowed to live in two-room cabins.
Beds for slaves wuz made by nailing frames, built out of oak or walnut
planks to de sides of de cabins. Dey had two or three laigs to make ’em
set right, and de mattresses wuz filled wid wheat straw.”

[Willis Cofer, Part I, Georgia]

“Lord bless your life, Honey! We didn’t live in log cabins, as you call
them. There were two slave houses. The one Aggie lived in was two-story,
the other one had just one story and they were both weatherboarded like
Marse John’s own house. The grown folks slept on beds made with tall oak
posts. There were no metal springs then and the beds were corded
instead. The straw-stuffed mattress ticks were made with plain and
striped material, and pillows were filled with cotton. We children slept
on trundle beds, which were pushed up under the big beds in the daytime,
and pulled out for us to sleep on at night.”

[Mary Colbert, Part I, Georgia]

“Our beds had big home-made posties and frames, and us used ropes for
springs. Grandma brought her feather bed wid her from Virginny, and she
used to piece up a heap of quilts outen our ole clo’es and any kind of
scraps she could get a holt of. I don’t know what de others had in dey
cabins ’cause ma didn’t ‘low her chillun to visit ’round de other
folkses none.”

[Martha Colquitt, Part I, Georgia]

“The slave quarters were located a short distance below the mansion. The
cabins one-roomed weatherboard structures were arranged so as to form a
semi-circle. There was a wide tree-lined road leading from the master’s
home to these cabins.

Furnishings of each cabin consisted of one or two benches, a bed, and a
few cooking utensils. These were very crude, especially the beds. Some
of them had four posts while the ends of others were nailed to the
walls. All lumber used in their construction was very heavy and rough.
Bed springs were unheard of–wooden slats being used for this purpose.
The mattresses were large ausenberg bags stuffed to capacity with hay,
straw, or leaves. Uncle Mose told about one of the slaves, named Ike,
whose entire family slept on bare pine straw. His children were among
the fattest on the plantation and when Colonel Davis tried to make him
put this straw in a bag he refused claiming that the pine needles kept
his children healthy.

The floors and chimneys on the Davis Plantation were made of wood and
brick instead of dirt and mud as was the case on many of the other
surrounding plantations. One window (with shutters instead of window
panes) served the purpose of ventilation and light. At night pine knots
or candles gave light. The little cooking that the slaves did at home
was all done at the open fireplace.

Near the living quarters was a house known as the “chillun house.” All
children too young for field work stayed at this house in the care of
the older slave women. There was no hospital building on the premises.
The sick had to remain in their individual cabins where they too were
cared for by slaves too old for field work.

Only one family lived in a cabin. Mose’s mother and father each had a
separate cabin. He did not explain the reason for this but said that he
was made to live in his father’s cabin. Whenever he could, (usually when
his father was away with the Colonel for a day or two) he stayed in his
mothers cabin. “The only difference between the houses we lived in
during slavery and those that some of us live in now who said is that we
had more room there than we have now.” He says that even the community
cook house was larger than some of the living quarters of today. All
cabins were white washed the same as the other buildings on the
plantation, and the occupants were required to keep the interiors and
the surrounding clean at all times. The overseer’s cabin was located a
short distance away from the slave cabins, so that it would be easier
for him to keep check on his charges.”

[Mose Davis, Part I, Georgia]

“Slaves lived in log cabins what had red mud daubed in de cracks ‘twixt
de logs. De roofs was made out of boards what had so many cracks ‘twixt
’em, atter a few rains made ’em swink (shrink), dat us could lay in bed
and see de stars through dem big holes. Even if us did have leaky
houses, folkses didn’t git sick half as much as dey does now. Our
homemade beds was made out of rough planks nailed to high poles;
leastways de poles was high for de headpieces, and a little lower for de
footpieces. For most of dem beds, planks was nailed to de wall for one
long side and dere was two laigs to make it stand straight on de other
long side. Dey never seed no metal springs dem days but jus’ wove cords
back and forth, up and down and across, to lay de mattress on. I never
seed no sto’-bought bed ’til atter I was married. Bedticks was made out
of homespun cloth stuffed wid wheatstraw, and sometimes dey slept on rye
or oatstraw. Pillows was stuffed wid hay what had a little cotton mixed
in it sometimes. Atter a long day of wuk in de fields, nobody bothered
’bout what was inside dem pillows. Dey slept mighty good lak dey was.
Dey fixed planks to slide across de inside of de holes dey cut out for
windows. De doors swung on pegs what tuk de place of de iron hinges dey
uses dese days. Dem old stack chimblies was made out of sticks and red
mud.”

[Bennie Dillard, Part I, Georgia]

“The cabins that the slaves occupied were located on one section of the
plantation known as the “quarters.” These dwellings were crude
one-roomed structures usually made from logs. In order to keep the
weather out mud was used to close the openings between the logs. In
most instances the furnishing of a cabin was complete after a bed, a
bench (both of which were made by the slave) and a few cooking utensils
had been placed in it. As there were no stoves for slave use all cooking
was done at the fireplace, which, like the chimney, was made of mud and
stones. One or two openings served the purpose of windows, and shutters
were used instead of glass. The mattresses on which they slept were made
from hay, grass or straw. When a light was needed a tallow candle or a
pine knot was lighted.”

[George Eason, Part I, Georgia]

“Our log cabins what us lived in was daubed inside and out wid mud to
keep out bad weather. Our beds was held together by cords what was
twisted evvy which way. You had to be mighty careful tightenin’ dem
cords or de beds was liable to fall down. Us slept on wheat straw
mattresses and had plenty of good warm quilts for kiver.”

[Callie Elder, Part I, Georgia]

“There were two one-roomed cabins located directly behind the four-roomed
house of the “Widow,” the entire lot of them were built out of logs.
These two cabins were for the use of those servants who worked in the
house of their owner. At one end of each cabin there was a wide
fireplace which was made of sticks, stones, and dried mud. Instead of
windows there were only one or two small holes cut in the back wall of
the cabin. The beds were made out of heavy planks and were called
“Georgia Looms,” by the slaves. Wooden slats were used in the place of
bed springs while the mattresses were merely large bags that had been
stuffed to capacity with hay, wheat straw, or leaves. The only other
furnishings in each of these cabins were several benches and a few
cooking utensils. Mr. Favors says: “We didn’t have plank floors like
these on some of the other plantations; the plain bare ground served as
our floor.” As he made this statement he reminded this worker that he
meant his mother and some of the other house servants lived in these
cabins. He himself always lived in the house with the “Widow Favors,”
who had provided a comfortable bed along with a small chair for his use.
These slaves who worked in the fields lived in several cabins that were
somewhat nearer to their fields than the other two cabins mentioned
above.

The remaining buildings on the Favors’ plantation were the smokehouse
and the cook house where in addition to the cooking the younger children
were cared for by another old person. The woman who cared for these
children had to also help with the cooking.”

[Lewis Favor, Part I, Georgia]

“I knows us lived
in log houses what had great big chimblies made out of sticks and mud.
Why, dem fireplaces was ’bout eight feet wide, and you could put a whole
stick of cord wood on de fire. Us slept on high-up old timey beds what
had big posties and instead of springs, dey had stout cords wove ‘cross
to hold de mattress. De last time I slept on one of dem sort of beds was
when I was a little boy, sleepin’ wid my Ma. Pa and Ma was both field
hands. Ma’s mammy was de onliest one of my grandmas I ever seed. Her
name was Ca’line and she lived wid Grandpa Abe on another plantation.
Ma’s sister, my aunt Ca’line was cook up at our Old Marster’s big house.”

[Anderson Furr, Part I, Georgia]

“Us lived in log huts. Evvy hut had a entry in de middle, and a mud
chimbly at each end. Us slep’ in beds what was ‘tached to de side of de
hut, and dey was boxed up lak wagon bodies to hold de corn shucks and de
babies in. Home-made rugs was put on top of de shucks for sheets, and de
kivver was de same thing.”

[Elisha Doc Garey, Part II, Georgia]

“Us lived in a long house dat had a flat top and little rooms made like
mule stalls, just big enough for you to git in and sleep. Dey warn’t no
floors in dese rooms and neither no beds. Us made beds out of dry grass,
but us had cover ’cause de real old people, who couldn’t do nothin’
else, made plenty of it. Nobody warn’t ‘lowed to have fires, and if dey
wuz caught wid any dat meant a beatin’. Some would burn charcoal and
take de coals to deir rooms to help warm ’em. Every pusson had a tin
pan, tin cup, and a spoon. Everybody couldn’t eat at one time, us had
’bout four different sets. Nobody had a stove to cook on, everybody
cooked on fire places and used skillets and pots. To boil us hung pots
on racks over de fire and baked bread and meats in de skillets.”

[Leah Garrett, Part II, Georgia]

“Slaves lived in rough little log huts daubed wid mud and de chimblys
was made out of sticks and red mud. Mammy said dat atter de slaves had
done got through wid deir day’s work and finished eatin’ supper, dey all
had to git busy workin’ wid cotton. Some carded bats, some spinned and
some weaved cloth. I knows you is done seen dis here checkidy cotton
homespun–dat’s what dey weaved for our dresses. Dem dresses was made
tight and long, and dey made ’em right on de body so as not to waste
none of de cloth. All slaves had was homespun clothes and old heavy
brogan shoes.

“Slaves lived in mud-daubed log huts what had chimblies made out of
sticks and mud. Lordy Honey! Dem beds was made wid big high posties and
strung wid cords for springs. Folks never had no wire bedsprings dem
days. Our mattresses was wheat straw put in ticks made out of coarse
cloth what was wove on de loom right dar on de plantation.”

[Alice Green, Part II, Georgia]

“His slave quarters were made up of rows of 2-room log cabins with a
different family occupying each room. The fireplaces were built three
and four feet in length purposely for cooking. The furniture, consisting
of a bed, table, and chair, was made from pine wood and kept clean by
scouring with sand. New mattresses and pillows were made each spring
from wheat straw.”

[Isaiah Green, Part II, Georgia]

“One and two roomed log cabins were found on practically all the
plantations. The number of rooms depended upon the number in the family.
Sometimes one room would contain three and four bed scaffolds, so called
by Mr. Hammond because of their peculiar construction. Some beds were
nailed to the walls and all of them were built with roped bottoms. Home
made tables and benches completed the furnishings of a slave home. There
were no stoves, large fireplaces, five to six feet in length, served the
purpose of stoves for cooking. Cooking utensils including an oven and
very large pots were found in every home. Wooden plates and spoons were
used on some plantations.”

[Milton Hammond, Part II, Georgia]

“All de houses in de slave quarters was log cabins ‘cept two. Dey was
made of boards what was put on straight up and down. All de houses had
chimblies made out of mud and sticks. De beds had high posties and some
of ’em was nailed to de wall of de cabin. Dey didn’t know nothin’ ’bout
no wire springs den, and dey strung de beds wid heavy cords for springs.
Dey made mattress ticks out of coarse home-wove cloth; some was striped
and some was plain unbleached white. Atter de wheat was thrashed evvy
year de ‘omans tuk deir ticks and emptied out de old straw and went and
filled ’em wid new wheat straw. Wisht I had a nice fresh made wheat
straw mattress now. Us had plenty of good quilts for kivver.”

[Dosia Harris, Part II, Georgia]

“Slaves lived in one-room log cabins dat had rock chimblies, and each
cabin had one little window wid a wooden shutter dey fastened at night
and in bad weather. Deir beds was made out of pine poles fastened to de
sides of dem old beds ‘teesters,’ ’cause de posties was so high. Ropes
or cords was criss-crossed to hold ’em together and to take de place of
springs. Nobody hadn’t ever saw no iron springs on beds dem days. Dem
big old ticks was generally filled wid wheat straw, but sometimes slaves
was ‘lowed to pick up waste cotton and wash, dry, and card it to stuff
deir bed-ticks wid. But Missy, dat was jus’ too much trouble when a good
old straw tick slept so fine. Cheers was made out of oak splits, and
cane and rye plaits was used for de cheer-bottoms. Dem old cheers sot
mighty good and lasted a lifetime.”

[Bill Heard, Part II, Georgia]

“The slave’s cabins were constructed of rough-hewn logs, with the cracks
daubed with mud and, as Emmaline recalled it, were very warm; warmer, in
fact, than many of their houses are today. The furniture consisted of a
“corded” bed, wooden tables and benches. This “corded” bed was
constructed by running rope or cord from the head to the foot and then
from side to side. A wooden peg was driven into the holes to hold the
cord in place. Pegs were a household necessity and had to be cared for
just as a key is today. Most homes also included a quilt slab, a sort of
table used to place quilts on, as a necessary part of the furniture.”

[Emmaline Heard, Part II, Georgia]

“The Henderson slave houses were of the one-room log type, with one
window and one door; each cabin was furnished with a bed, chair, and
table. Large fireplaces took the place of stoves for cooking. These were
constructed four or five feet in width so that one or two pots or a side
of meat could be suspended from a hook which was fastened on a rack in
the stick and dirt chimney.”

[Benjamin Henderson, Part II, Georgia]

“Slave quarters was off from the big house a piece, and they was built
in rows lak streets. Most of the log cabins had one room; some had two,
but all of them had plain old stack chimblies made of sticks and red
mud. Our beds was just home-made makeshifts, but us didn’t know no
diffunce ’cause us never had seed no better ones. They sawed pine posts
the right height and bored holes through them and through the slabs they
had cut for the railin’s, or side pieces. They jined the bed together
with cords that they wove back and forth and twisted tight with a stout
stick. Them cords served two purposes; they held the bed together and
was our springs too, but if us warn’t mighty keerful to keep ’em twisted
tight our beds would fall down. Lak them old beds, the mattresses us had
them days warn’t much compared with what we sleeps on now. Them ticks
was made of coarse home-wove cloth, called ‘osnaburg,’ and they was
filled with straw. My! How that straw did squeak and cry out when us
moved, but the Blessed Lord changed all that when he gave us freedom and
let schools be sot up for us. With freedom Negroes soon got more
knowledge of how a home ought to be.”

[Jefferson Henry, Part II, Georgia]

“Us lived in log cabins scattered ’round de plantation. De biggest of
’em had two rooms and evvy cabin had a chimbly made out of sticks and
red mud. Most of de chillun slept on pallets on de floor, but I slept
wid my Pa and Ma ’cause I was so pettish. Most of de beds was made out
of poles, dis a-way: Dey bored two holes in de wall, wide apart as dey
wanted de bed, and in dese holes dey stuck one end of de poles what was
de side pieces. Dey sharpened de ends of two more poles and driv’ ’em in
de floor for de foot pieces and fastened de side pieces to ’em. Planks
was put acrost dis frame to hold a coarse cloth tick filled wid wheat
straw. Ma had a ruffle, what was called a foot bouncer, ’round de foot
of her bed. Beds up at de big house was a sight to see. Dey had high
posties and curtains over de top and ’round de bottom of deir beds. Dem
beds at de big house was so high dey had steps to walk up so dey could
git in ’em. Oh, dey was pretty, all kivvered over wid bob’ net to keep
flies and skeeters off de white folkses whilst dey slept!”

[Carrie Hudson, Part II, Georgia]

“Slave quarters was laid out lak streets. Us lived in log cabins. Beds?
Dey was jus’ makeshift beds, what was made out of pine poles. De side of
de house was de head of de beds. De side rails was sharpened at both
ends and driv’ in holes in de walls and foot posties. Den dey put boards
‘cross de side rails for de mattresses to lay on. De coarse cloth bed
ticks was filled wid ‘Georgy feathers.’ Don’t you know what Georgy
feathers was? Wheat straw was Georgy feathers. Our kivver was sheets and
plenty of good warm quilts. Now dat was at our own quarters on Marse
David Bell’s plantation.”

“Didn’t evvybody have as good places to sleep as us. I ‘members a white
fambly named Sims what lived in Flatwoods. Dey was de porest white folks
I ever seed. Dey had a big drove of chillun and deir Pa never wukked a
lick in his life–He jus’ lived on other folkses’ labors. Deir little
log cabin had a partition in it, and ‘hind dat partition dere warn’t a
stitch of nothin’. Dey didn’t have no floor but de ground, and back
‘hind dat partition was dug out a little deeper dan in de rest of de
house. Dey filled dat place wid leaves and dat’s whar all de chilluns
slept. Evvy day Miss Sallie made ’em take out de leaves what dey had
slep’ on de night before and fill de dugout wid fresh leaves. On de
other side of de partition, Miss Sallie and her old man slept ‘long wid
deir hog, and hoss, and cow, and dat was whar dey cooked and et too. I
ain’t never gwine to forgit dem white folks.”

[Charlie Hudson, Part II, Georgia]

“The quarters consisted of poorly constructed cabins with worse
interiors. There were no beds, only bunks made of two poles balancing
sides nailed to the walls. Rags and old clothing served as a mattress
and the other furniture was equally bad.”

[Bryant Huff, Part II, Georgia]

“Us slep’ on corded beds what had high postes and ruffled curtains
’round de foot. De beds what had curtains all ’round de top of dem high
postes was called teester beds. When all dem curtains was fresh washed
and starched, de beds sho’ did look grand. Chilluns slep’ on pallets on
de flo’.”

[Easter Huff, Part II, Georgia]

“Honey, dat old plantation was sho one big place. Back of de big house,
whar de overseer lived, was just rows and rows of slave cabins. Dey
stacked ’em up out of big logs jus’ lak dey made hog-pen fences. All de
cracks ‘twixt de logs was chinked up tight wid red mud and, let me tell
you, Honey, dey was keerful to lay on so much red mud over dem sticks
dat chimblies on our place never did ketch fire lak dey did on some of
de places whar dey done things sort of shiftless lak. Dem cabins had two
rooms and a shed room ‘crost de back whar day done de cookin’. Two
famblies lived in evvy cabin.”

[Lina Hunter, Part II, Georgia]

“Aunt Emma told of how the slaves had to live on the plantation and an
unpleasant story it was. There were no neat cabins all in a row making
up the “quarters” where the slaves lived. Instead they were made to live
around in any old hut they could find shelter in. Her mother and three
other women stayed in one room of the house the white family lived in.”

[Emma Hurley, Part II, Georgia]

“De place where de slaves lived wuz in de back o’ de white folks house.
Dey called it de “quarters”. Dere wuz lotsa log cabins kinda ‘ranged
‘roun in a sorta circle an’ all of ’em had big dirt chimneys on de
outside. De holes in de walls wuz stopped up wid dried mud to keep de
weather out. Fer furniture dey jes’ nailed up anything–dere wuz a bench
or two an’ a few boards nailed together fer a bed. De mattress wuz a big
tickin’ stuffed wid straw or dried grass. Some of de houses had big iron
pots so dat dey could cook if dey wanted to. De fireplaces wuz big ones
an’ dey had racks in de inside of ’em so dat de pots could hang dere
when dey wuz cookin’. De only light dat dey had wuz de firelight–don’t
care how hot it wuz–if you wanted to see you had to make a fire in de
fireplace. De floors in all de cabins wuz made wid wood.”

[Amanda Jackson, Part II, Georgia]

“Us sho’ did have a pretty place. De big house was painted white, and
dere was big old yards wid lots of flowers. De slave quarters was white
too. Dey was one room cabins built in long rows, way off f’um de big
house. Home-made beds was nailed to de wall and had just two laigs, and
de big ticks stuffed wid straw made dem beds moughty good places to
sleep.

“Most of de slaves et at de two long tables close by de kitchen up nigh
de big house. De kitchen warn’t built on to de big house, but hit sot
out in de yard a little piece. Dat’s de way evvybody had deir kitchens
built dem days.”

[Mahala Jewel, Part II, Georgia]

“Slave quarters was just one room log cabins what was built so de
corners come together to big old chimneys. Yessum, I ‘members dey just
had one big chimney to evvy four cabins. Dey cooked on de fireplace and
had pot racks for to hang de pots on, and ovens to bake in. Us sho’
could do ‘way wid a heap of sweet ‘tatoes what had done been roasted in
de ashes. Cabins was planked up on de inside and de outside was daubed
wid mud in de cracks to keep out de wind and rain. Our home-made beds,
nailed to de side of de cabins, had ticks filled wid wheat straw. White
folks had nice corded beds. Ma said hit was lots of trouble to keep dem
cords tight. Dey had hooks for to draw ’em up tight and den peg ’em down
wid wooden pegs.”

[Georgia Johnson, Part II, Georgia]

“The houses that they lived in were one-roomed structures made of heavy
plank instead of logs, with planer [HW: ?] floors. At one end of this
one-roomed cabin there was a large chimney and fireplace made of rocks,
mud, and dirt. In addition to the one door, there was a window at the
back. Only one family could live in a cabin as the space was so limited.
The furnishings of each cabin consisted of a bed and one or two chairs.
The beds were well constructed, a great deal better than some of the
beds the ex-slave saw during these days. Regarding mattresses she said,
“We took some tick and stuffed it with cotton and corn husks, which had
been torn into small pieces and when we got through sewing it looked
like a mattress that was bought in a store.

Light was furnished by lightwood torches and sometimes by the homemade
tallow candles. The hot tallow was poured into a candle mold, which was
then dipped into a pan of cold water, when the tallow had hardened, the
finished product was removed.”

[Jennie Kendricks, Part III, Georgia]

“Mammy lived in de old kitchen close by de big house ’til dere got to be
too many of us; den Marse Gerald built us a house jus’ a little piece
off from de big house. It was jus’ a log house, but Marster had all dem
cracks chinked tight wid red mud, and he even had one of dem
franklin-back chimblies built to keep our little cabin nice and warm.
Why, Child, ain’t you never seed none of dem old chimblies? Deir backs
sloped out in de middle to throw out de heat into de room and keep too
much of it from gwine straight up de flue. Our beds in our cabin was
corded jus’ lak dem up at de big house, but us slept on straw ticks and,
let me tell you, dey sho slept good atter a hard days’s wuk.”

[Nicey Kinney, Part III, Georgia]

“De log cabins what de slaves lived in was off a piece from de big
house. Dem cabins had rock chimblies, put together wid red mud. Dere
warn’t no glass in de windows and doors of dem cabins–jus’ plain old
home-made wooden shutters and doors.” Julia laughed as she told of their
beds. “Us called ’em four posters, and dat’s what dey was, but dey was
jus’ plain old pine posties what one of de men on de plantation made up.
Two posties at de head and two at de foot wid pine rails betwixt ’em was
de way dey made dem beds. Dere warn’t no sto’-bought steel springs dem
days, not even for de white folks, but dem old cord springs went a long
ways towards makin’ de beds comfortable and dey holped to hold de bed
together. De four poster beds de white folks slept on was corded too,
but deir posties warn’t made out of pine. Dey used oak and walnut and
sometimes real mahogany, and dey carved ’em up pretty. Some of dem big
old posties to de white folkses beds was six inches thick.”

[Julia Larken, Part III, Georgia]

“The slaves living quarters were located in the rear of the “big house”
(this was true of the plantation located in Pensacola as well as the one
in Georgia). All were made of logs and, according to Mr. Lewis, all were
substantially built. Wooden pegs were used in the place of nails and the
cracks left in the walls were sealed with mud and sticks. These cabins
were very comfortable and only one family was allowed to a cabin. All
floors were of wood. The only furnishings were the beds and one or two
benches or bales which served as chairs. In some respects these beds
resembled a scaffold nailed to the side of a house. Others were made of
heavy wood and had four legs to stand upon. For the most part, however,
one end of the bed was nailed to the wall. The mattresses were made out
of any kind of material that a slave could secure, burlap sacks,
ausenberg, etc. After a large bag had been made with this material it
was stuffed with straw. Heavy cord running from side to side was used
for the bed springs. The end of the cord was tied to a handle at the end
of the bed. This pemitted the occupant to tighten the cord when it
became loosened. A few cooking utensils completed the furnishings. All
illumination was secured by means of the door and the open fire place.”

[George Lewis, Part III, Georgia]

“Slave quarters was lots of log cabins wid chimlies of criss-crossed
sticks and mud. Pore white folks lived in houses lak dat too. Our bed
was made wid high posties and had cords, what run evvy which a-way, for
springs. ‘Course dey had to be wound tight to keep dem beds from fallin’
down when you tried to git in ’em. For mattresses, de ‘omans put wheat
straw in ticks made out of coarse cloth wove right dar on de plantation,
and de pillows was made de same way. Ole Miss, she let her special
favorite Niggers, what wuked up at de big house, have feather mattresses
and pillows. Dem other Niggers shined dey eyes over dat, but dere warn’t
nothin’ dey could do ’bout it ‘cept slip ’round and cut dem feather beds
and pillows open jus’ to see de feathers fly. Kivver was ‘lowanced out
evvy year to de ones what needed it most. In dat way dere was allus good
kivver for evvybody.”

[Ed McCree, Part III, Georgia]

“There were two one-room log cabins in the rear of the master’s house.
These cabins were dedicated to slave use. Mrs. McDaniel says: “The
floors were made of heavy wooden planks. At one end of the cabin was the
chimney which was made out of dried mud, sticks, and dirt. On the side
of the cabin opposite the door there was a window where we got a little
air and a little light. Our beds were made out of the same kind of wood
that the floors were and we called them “Bed-Stilts.” Slats were used
for springs while the mattresses were made of large bags stuffed with
straw. At night we used tallow candles for light and sometimes fat pine
that we called light-wood. As Mrs. Hale did all of our cooking we had
very few pots and pans. In the Winter months we used to take mud and
close the cracks left in the wall where the logs did not fit close
together.”

[Amanda McDaniel, Part III, Georgia]

“‘Bout our houses? Mistess, I’se gwine to tell you de trufe, dem houses
slaves had to live in, dey warn’t much, but us didn’t know no better
den. Dey was jus’ one-room log cabins wid stick and dirt chimblies. De
beds for slaves was home-made and was held together wid cords wove evvy
which away. If you didn’t tighten dem cords up pretty offen your bed was
apt to fall down wid you. Suggin sacks was sewed together to make our
mattress ticks and dem ticks was filled wid straw. Now, don’t tell me
you ain’t heared of suggin sacks a-fore! Dem was coarse sacks sort of
lak de guano sacks us uses now. Dey crowded jus’ as many Niggers into
each cabin as could sleep in one room, and marriage never meant a thing
in dem days when dey was ‘rangin’ sleepin’ quarters for slaves. Why, I
knowed a man what had two wives livin’ in de same cabin; one of dem
‘omans had all boys and t’other one didn’t have nothin’ but gals. It’s
nigh de same way now, but dey don’t live in de same house if a man’s got
two famblies.”

[William McWhorter, Part III, Georgia]

“Us had er right hard time in dem days. De beds us used den warn’t like
dese here nice beds us has nowadays. Don’t you laugh, Berry, I knows
dese beds us got now is ’bout to fall down,” Aunt Carrie admonished her
grandson when he guffawed at her statement, “You chilluns run erlong now
an’ git thoo’ wid dat cleanin’.” Aunt Carrie’s spirits seemed dampened
by Berry’s rude laugh and it was several minutes before she started
talking again. “Dese young folks don’t know nuthin’ ’bout hard times. Us
wukked in de ole days frum before sunup ’til black night an’ us knowed
whut wuk wuz. De beds us slep’ on had roun’ postes made outen saplins of
hickory or little pine trees. De bark wuz tuk off an’ dey wuz rubbed
slick an’ shiny. De sprangs wuz rope crossed frum one side uv de bed to
de udder. De mattress wuz straw or cotton in big sacks made outen
osnaberg or big salt sacks pieced tergether. Mammy didn’t have much soap
an’ she uster scrub de flo’ wid sand an’ it wuz jes ez white. Yas mam,
she made all de soap us used, but it tuk a heap. We’uns cooked in de
ashes an’ on hot coals, but de vittals tasted a heap better’n dey does
nowadays. Mammy had to wuk in de fiel’ an’ den cum home an’ cook fer
marster an’ his fambly. I didn’ know nuthin’ ’bout it ’till atter
freedom but I hyearn ’em tell ’bout it.”

[Aunt Carrie Mason, Part III, Georgia]

“In the rear of the master’s house was located the slave’s quarters. Each
house was made of logs and was of the double type so that two families
could be accommodated. The holes and chinks in the walls were daubed
with mud to keep the weather out. At one end of the structure was a
large fireplace about six feet in width. The chimney was made of dirt.

As for furniture Mr. Orford says: “You could make your own furniture if
you wanted to but ol’ marster would give you a rope bed an’ two or three
chairs an’ dat wus all. De mattress wus made out of a big bag or a
tickin’ stuffed wid straw–dat wus all de furniture in any of de
houses.”

[Richard Orford, Part III, Georgia]

“The master’s house, called the “Big House,” was a two-story frame
structure consisting of 10 rooms. Although not a mansion, it was fairly
comfortable. The home provided for Pattillo’s family was a three-room
frame house furnished comfortably with good home-made furniture.”

[G W Pattillo, Part III, Georgia]

“De slave quarters wuz little log houses scattered here and dar. Some of
’em had two rooms on de fust flo’ and a loft up ‘bove whar de boys most
genially slep’ and de gals slep’ downstairs. I don’t ‘member nothin’
t’all ’bout what us done ‘cept scrap lak chilluns will do.

“Oh! I ain’t forgot ’bout dem beds. Dey used cords for springs, and de
cords run f’um head to foot; den dey wove ’em ‘cross de bed ’til dey
looked lak checks. Wheat straw wuz sewed up in ticks for mattresses.
When you rolled ’round on one of dem straw mattresses, de straw crackled
and sounded lak rain. No Ma’am, I don’t know nothin’ t’all ’bout my
gran’pa and gran’ma.”

[Alec Pope, Part III, Georgia]

“All of the houses on the Kennon plantation were made of logs including
that of Mr. Kennon himself. There were only two visible differences in
the dwelling places of the slaves and that of Mr. Kennon and there were
(1) several rooms instead of the one room allowed the slaves and (2)
weatherboard was used on the inside to keep the weather out while the
slaves used mud to serve for this purpose. In these crude one-roomed
houses (called stalls) there was a bed made of some rough wood. Rope
tied from side to side served as the springs for the mattress which was
a bag filled with straw and leaves. There were also one or two boxes
which were used as chairs. The chimney was made of rocks and mud. All
cooking was done here at the fireplace. Mrs. Price says; “Even Old
Marster did’nt have a stove to cook on so you know we did’nt.” The only
available light was that furnished by the fire. Only one family was
allowed to a cabin so as to prevent overcrowding. In addition to a good
shingle roof each one of these dwellings had a board floor. All floors
were of dirt on the plantation belonging to the elder Mr. Kennon.”

[Annie Price, Part III, Georgia]

“Houses on the Ealey plantation were built of pine poles after which the
cracks were filled with red mud. Most of these houses consisted of one
room; however, a few were built with two rooms to accommodate the larger
families. The beds, called “bunks” by Mr. Pye were nailed to the sides
of the room. Roped bottoms covered with a mattress of burlap and hay
served to complete this structure called a bed. Benches and a home made
table completed the furnishings. There were very few if any real chairs
found in the slave homes. The houses and furniture were built by skilled
Negro carpenters who were hired by the mistress from other slave owners.
A kind slave owner would allow a skilled person to hire his own time and
keep most of the pay which he earned.”

[Charlie Pye, Part III, Georgia]

“The slave quarters on the plantation were located behind the colonel’s
cabin[??]. All were made of logs. The chinks in the walls were filled
with mud to keep the weather out. The floors were of wood in order to
protect the occupants from the dampness. The only furnishings were a
crude bed and several benches. All cooking was done at the large
fireplace in the rear of the one room.”

[Julia Rush, Part III, Georgia]

“De quarters whar us lived was log cabins chinked wid mud to
keep out de rain and wind. Chimblies was made out of fiel’ rock and red
clay. I never seed a cabin wid more dan two rooms in it.

“Beds warn’t fancy dem days lak dey is now; leastwise I didn’t see no
fancy ones. All de beds was corded; dey had a headboard, but de pieces
at de foot and sides was jus’ wide enough for holes to run de cords
thoo’, and den de cords was pegged to hold ’em tight. Nigger chillun
slep’ on pallets on de flo’.”

[Will Sheets, Part III, Georgia]

“De slave quarters was long rows of log cabins wid chimblies made out of
sticks and red mud. Dem chimblies was all de time ketchin’ fire. Dey
didn’t have no glass windows. For a window, dey jus’ cut a openin’ in a
log and fixed a piece of plank ‘cross it so it would slide when dey
wanted to open or close it. Doors was made out of rough planks, beds was
rough home-made frames nailed to de side of de cabins, and mattresses
was coarse, home-wove ticks filled wid wheat straw. Dey had good
home-made kivver. Dem beds slept mighty good.”

[Robert Shepherd, Part III, Georgia]

“De slave quarters wuz in rows and had two rooms and a shed. Dey had
beds made out of poles fastened together wid pegs and ‘cross ’em wuz
laid de slats what dey spread de wheat straw on. Us had good kivver
’cause our Marster wuz a rich man and he believed in takin’ keer of his
Niggers. Some put sheets dat wuz white as snow over de straw. Dem sheets
wuz biled wid home-made soap what kept ’em white lak dat. Udder folkses
put quilts over de straw. At de end of de slave quarters wuz de barns
and cow sheds, and a little beyond dem wuz de finest pasture you ever
seed wid clear water a-bubblin’ out of a pretty spring, and runnin’
thoo’ it. Dar’s whar dey turned de stock to graze when dey warn’t
wukkin’ ’em.”

[Tom Singleton, Part III, Georgia]

“He had another slave to do
all the carpenterin’ and to make all the coffins for the folks that died
on the plantation. That same carpenter made ‘most all the beds the white
folks and us slaves slept on. Them old beds–they called ’em
teesters–had cords for springs; nobody never heard of no metal springs
them days. They jus’ wove them cords criss-cross, from one side to the
other and from head to foot. When they stretched and sagged they was
tightened up with keys what was made for that purpose.”

[Nellie Smith, Part III, Georgia]

“De cracks of de log cabins whar de slaves lived was chinked wid red mud
to keep out de cold and rain. Dere warn’t no glass in de windows, dey
jus’ had plank shutters what dey fastened shut at night. Thin slide
blocks kivvered de peepholes in de rough plank doors. Dey had to have
dem peepholes so as dey could see who was at de door ‘fore dey opened
up. Dem old stack chimblies what was made out of sticks and red clay,
was all time gittin’ on fire. Dem old home-made beds had high posties
and us called ’em ‘teesters.’ To take de place of springs, what hadn’t
never been seen ’round dar in dem days, dey wove heavy cords lengthways
and crostways. Over dem cords dey laid a flat mat wove out of white oak
splints and on dat dey put de homespun bed ticks stuffed wid wheat
straw. Dey could have right good pillows if dey was a mind to pick de
scrap cotton and fix it up, but dere warn’t many of ’em keered dat much
’bout no pillows.”

[Cordelia Thomas, Part IV, Georgia]

“Jane told of the log cabins in the Quarters where all the negroes lived.
She said they were all in a row “wid er street in de front, er wide
street all set thick wid white mulberry trees fer ter mak’ shade fer de
chillun ter play in.”

[Jane Toombs, Part IV, Georgia]

“The “big house,” a
large unpainted structure which housed a family of eighteen, was in the
midst of a grove of trees near the highway that formed one of the
divisions of the plantation. It was again divided by a local railway
nearly a mile from the rear of the house. Eighty-eight slaves were
housed in the “quarters” which were on each side of the highway a little
below the planter’s home.

These “quarters” differed from those found in the surrounding territory
as the size of the houses varied with the number in the family. The
interiors were nicely furnished and in most instances the families were
able to secure any furniture they desired. Feather mattresses, trundle
beds and cribs were common and in families where there were many
children, large fireplaces–some as many as eight feet wide–were
provided so that every one might be [TR: ‘able to keep’ crossed out]
comfortable in winter. A variety of cooking utensils were given and
large numbers of waffle irons, etc., then considered luxuries, were
found here.”

[Phil Towns, Part IV, Georgia]

“Dem old cord beds was a sight to look at, but dey slept good. Us
cyarded lint cotton into bats for mattresses and put ’em in a tick what
us tacked so it wouldn’t git lumpy. Us never seed no iron springs dem
days. Dem cords, criss-crossed from one side of de bed to de other, was
our springs and us had keys to tighten ’em wid. If us didn’t tighten ’em
evvy few days dem beds was apt to fall down wid us. De cheers was
homemade too and de easiest-settin’ ones had bottoms made out of rye
splits. Dem oak-split cheers was all right, and sometimes us used cane
to bottom de cheers but evvybody laked to set in dem cheers what had
bottoms wove out of rye splits.”

[Neal Upson, Part IV, Georgia]

“Dat was a be-yootiful place, wid woods, cricks, and fields spread out
most as fur as you could see. De slave quarters would’a reached from
here to Milledge Avenue. Us lived in a one-room log cabin what had a
chimbly made out of sticks and mud. Dem homemade beds what us slep’ on
had big old high posties wid a great big knob on de top of each post.
Our matt’esses was coarse home-wove cloth stuffed wid field straw. You
know I laked dem matt’esses ’cause when de chinches got too bad you
could shake out dat straw and burn it, den scald de tick and fill it wid
fresh straw, and rest in peace again. You can’t never git de chinches
out of dese cotton matt’esses us has to sleep on now days. Pillows? What
you talkin’ ’bout? You know Niggers never had no pillows dem days,
leaseways us never had none. Us did have plenty of kivver dough. Folkses
was all time a-piecin’ quilts and having quiltin’s. All dat sort of wuk
was done at night.”

[Addie Vinson, Part IV, Georgia]

“Approximately one block from the planter’s home, the “quarters” were
clustered. These were numerous loghouses with stick-and-clay chimneys in
which the slave families dwelt. Each house was composed of one room
sparsely furnished. The beds were corded with rope and as large families
were stressed, it was often necessary for several members to sleep on
the floor. There was an open fireplace at which family meals were
prepared. Equipment consisted of an iron pot suspended by a hanger and a
skillet with long legs that enabled the cook to place fire beneath it.
Bread known as “ash cake” was sometimes cooked on the hot coals.”

[Rhodus Walton, Part IV, Georgia]

“Mr. Ward and his fellow slaves lived in one-room houses in the rear of
the master’s home. The furnishings consisted of a bed which was known as
a “Grand Rascal” due to its peculiar construction. The mattress made in
the form of a large bag was stuffed with hat and dried grass.

“De beds dat all o’ de slaves slept in wus called ‘Grand Rascals’. Dey
wus made on de same order as a box. De way dey made ’em wus like dis:
dey took four strips of narrow wood, each one of ’em ’bout a foot wide,
an’ den dey nailed ’em together so dat dey wus in de shape of a square.
Den dey nailed a bottom onto dis square shape. Dis bottom wus called de
slats. When dis wus finished dey set dis box on some legs to keep it
off’n de floor, an’ den dey got busy wid de mattress. Dey took ol’ oat
sacks an’ filled ’em wid straw an’ hay an’ den dey put dis in de box an’
slept on it. Dere wusn’t no springs on dese bunks an’ everybody had a
hard time sleepin’.

“De real name of dese wus ‘Sonova-Bitches’ but de slaves called ’em
‘Grand Rascals’ ’cause dey didn’t want people to hear ’em use a bad
word.”

[William Ward, Part IV, Georgia]

“Our houses? Slaves lived in log cabins built the common way. There was
lots of forest pine in those days. Logs were cut the desired length and
notches put in each end so they would fit closely and have as few cracks
as possible, when they stacked them for a cabin. They sawed pine logs
into blocks and used a frow to split them into planks that were used to
cover the cracks between the logs. Don’t you know what a frow is? That’s
a wooden wedge that you drive into a pine block by hitting it with a
heavy wooden mallet, or maul, as they are more commonly called. They
closed the cracks in some of the cabins by daubing them with red mud.
The old stack chimneys were made of mud and sticks. To make a bed, they
first cut four posts, usually of pine, and bored holes through them with
augers; then they made two short pieces for the head and foot. Two long
pieces for the sides were stuck through the auger holes and the bedstead
was ready to lay on the slats or cross pieces to hold up the mattress.
The best beds had heavy cords, wove crossways and lengthways, instead of
slats. Very few slaves had corded beds. Mattresses were not much; they
were made of suggin sacks filled with straw. They called that straw
‘Georgia feathers.’ Pillows were made of the same things. Suggin cloth
was made of coarse flax wove in a loom. They separated the flax into two
grades; fine for the white folks, and coarse for the Negroes.”

[Green Willbanks, Part IV, Georgia]

“Us lived in log cabins
what had jus’ one room wid a stick and mud chimbly at de end. Our
bedsteads was made out of rough planks and poles and some of ’em was
nailed to de sides of de cabins. Mattress ticks was made out of osnaburg
and us filled ’em wid wheat straw in season. When dat was used up us got
grass from de fields. Most any kind of hay was counted good ‘nough to
put in a slave’s mattress. Dey let us mix some cotton wid de hay our
pillows was stuffed wid.”

[Frances Willingham, Part IV, Georgia]

“De big house was set in a half acre yard. ‘Bout fifty yards on one side
was my house, and fifty yards on de yudder side was de house o’ Granny,
a woman what tended de chillun and had charge o’de yard when we went to
Bath.” Willis gestured behind him. “Back yonder was de quarters, half a
mile long; dey wuz one room ‘crost, and some had shed room. When any of
’em got sick, Marster would go round to see ’em all.”

[Uncle Willis, Part IV, Georgia]

“The housing facilities varied with the work a slave was engaged in on
the Womble plantation according to Mr. Womble. He slept in the house
under the dining-room table all of the time. The cook also slept in the
house of her owner. For those who worked on the fields log cabins (some
distance behind the master’s house.) were provide [sic]. Asked to
describe one of these cabins Mr. Womble replied: “They were two roomed
buildings made out of logs and daubed with mud to keep the weather out.
At one end there was a chimney that was made out of dried mud, sticks
and stones. The fireplace was about five or six feet in length and on
the inside of it there were some hooks to hang the pots from when there
was cooking to be done.

“There was only one door and this was the front one. They would’nt put a
back door in a cabin because it would be easy for a slave to slip out of
the back way if the master or the overseer came to punish an occupant.
There were one or two small openings cut in the back so that they could
get air.”

“The furniture was made by the blacksmith”, continued Mr. Womble. “In
one corner of the room there was a large bed that had been made out of
heavy wood. Rope that ran from side to side served as the springs while
the mattress was a large bag that had been stuffed with wheat straw. The
only other furnishings were a few cooking utensils and one or two
benches.” As many as four families lived in one of these cabins although
the usual number to a cabin was three families. There was one other
house where the young children were kept while their parents worked in
the fields.”

[George Womble, Part IV, Georgia]

The houses or cabins of the slaves were located a short distance in the
rear of “Old Marster’s” house. These houses were usually made from
logs–the chinks being closed with mud. In some cases boards were used
on the inside of the cabin to keep the weather out, but according to Mr.
Wright, mud was always the more effective. The floor was usually covered
with boards and there were two or three windows to each cabin, shutters
being used in place of glass. The chimney and fireplace were made of
mud, sticks and stones. All cooking was done on the fireplace in iron
utensils, which Mr. Wright declares were a lot better than those used
today. For boiling, the pots hung from a long hook directly above the
fire. Such furniture as each cabin contained was all made by the slaves.
This furniture usually consisted of a wooden bench, instead of a chair,
and a crude bed made from heavy wood. Slats were used in the place of
springs. The mattress was made stuffing a large bag with wheat straw.
“This slept as good as any feather bed” says Mr. Wright. Candles were
used to furnish light at night.

On this plantation each family did not have an individual cabin.
Sometimes as many as three families shared a cabin, which of course was
rather a large one. In this case it was partitioned off by the use of
curtains.”

[Henry Wright, Part IV, Georgia]

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