Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/493

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487
NEGROES WHO OWNED SLAVES

Jones; then she repented and tried to repurchase him, but his white owner now turned the tables by refusing to sell him.

A free negro named Charley Cobb, a carpenter by trade, lived in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. S. Q. Hale, of Birmingham, remembers this man when he was himself at home on his father's plantation on the Carter Hill road, now the property of the descendants of Colonel Arrington. Charley owned a negro named George; he was also owner of a horse. How to make George and the horse self-supporting was the problem that confronted Charley. In attempting to solve this question, Charley rented of Mr. Hale, senior, a field containing fifteen or twenty acres; the rent note was for a money consideration. About nine o'clock on the morning when George began to pitch his crop, he, jug in hand, appeared at the well in Mr. Hale's yard. Here he met one of Mr. Hale's servants, Maum Flora, and it seemed to be a case of love at first sight. Each morning and afternoon throughout the cropping season, George would appear at the well, ostensibly to quench his thirst, and on each of these occasions he and Maum would flirt for an hour or so under the big oak by the well. Meantime Charley was plying his trade in Montgomery, and when the note fell due he asked Mr. Hale, "how much money in addition to all of George's crop would satisfy the claim?" Charley the master had worked for the support of George the slave.

There was a negro named Nat Butler who lived near Aberdeen, Harford County, Md., who owned a small farm and bought and sold negroes for the southern trade. This sharp and noted fellow would persuade a slave to run off and hide for a few days at a place prepared by Butler, who would in the meantime see the master of the runaway and learn the price he would take for him. If the owner had little hope of recovering his slave and so placed the price low, Nat would buy him and resell him to slave dealers who knew Butler's rendezvous for hidden negroes. His conduct became so notorious that he lost the confidence of slave owners and respect of negroes, who several times tried to murder him.

Jim Scott, a worthy colored man of the same county, was a local preacher and an industrious servant. He bought himself, wife and children from his master, Mr. George Amos, giving his own note, endorsed by his white neighbors. He hired out his wife and larger children and himself for ten years and paid off his indebtedness. He offered his son Henry to Mr. Henry Webster of "Webster's Forest" for three hundred dollars for five years, or until he was twenty-five years of age. Another negro in the same region sold his children in order to purchase his wife and set her free.

Dick Hunter, of Laurens County, S. C, was the slave of his wife, and he finished paying for himself long after the civil war. He died