Before and After Freedom is a collection of authentic Lowcountry folklore as directly told to the WPA field workers and captured through their written reports. Southern author Nancy Rhyne has assembled a cross section of writing that gives the reader an understanding of the stories and superstitions embraced by generations of former slaves and their families. Along with WPA reports, Rhyne also has added stories from personal interviews and detailed research. From former slaves to Charleston's social elite and the state's first governors, this is a diverse collection of tales, but all of them reveal a character and nature that is true to the South Carolina Lowcountry.
|Publisher:||Arcadia Publishing SC|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Spirits of Hagley
It was in the summer of 1918 that I underwent an experience that was destined to change my life. I didn't have a shadow of a doubt that spirits make an earthly appearance now and then.
I never remember having any fear of supernatural beings and like most people, I thought that spirits were merely products of an over-wrought imagination. The things I saw that summer demonstrated very plainly that I was wrong.
At the time, I was engaged in carrying passengers between Pawleys Island and the ferry landing at Hagley Plantation, on the Waccamaw Neck. I used a large automobile and made the trip several times a day. Often, a party of young people who were working in Georgetown would hire a gasoline launch after the ferry had made its last trip, and I would meet them at Hagley at 11:00 pm.
Reaching the ferry landing about a quarter to eleven, I thought I would stretch out on a piece of old canvas on the wharf and get a little rest before the boat arrived from the city. The moon was shining brightly, flooding the landscape with a soft glow and every object was plainly visible. The scene was a peaceful one, and a few minutes after I had made myself comfortable I fell asleep.
The dream that came to me that night was so vivid that I can remember every detail. I was standing with a crowd of people in front of the little church and it seemed that we were waiting for the bride and groom to emerge from the front door. Everyone was dressed in clothing of the Civil War period. I got the impression that peace had just been declared. Suddenly the bridal party appeared on the porch. The bride was a striking brunette, and the groom handsome blond.
The crowd rushed for theporch. A man dressed in a Confederate uniform dashed up to the clearing astride a horse that evidently had been running for hours. The figure dismounted and ran towards the place where the bride and groom were standing. When he reached the couple, the bride uttered a little cry and said, "It is too late. I have just married another." She said she waited three years and believed he had been killed in battle. The stranger said to the groom, "Well, I will fade out of the picture. It is the best solution." The groom answered, "No, if anyone must fade, I will be that one."
The soldier made for the wharf, followed by the bride and groom. When he reached the end of the pier, he jumped in and disappeared. Without a moment's hesitation, the bride followed him, and then the groom.
I rubbed my eyes and looked about the pier. The church and the people had disappeared. I got up and turned around and noticed a couple standing nearby. They resembled the bride and groom.
I believed someone was playing a trick on me. I said politely, "Who are you? If you are waiting to go to Pawleys I have an automobile nearby."
The couple turned around and walked slowly away. I had scarcely collected my wits when a motorboat arrived. The passengers I was waiting for were on board. "Hello," someone said. I tried to hide my agitation. "You look as though you just saw a ghost," he added. I told him I had seen two of them but we must get on our way to the beach.
Later on in the season, on another moonlight night, I made my customary trip to Hagley to meet a special boat, which was due at midnight. The vessel arrived and my guests comfortably seated in my car. As I sped toward the seashore, two figures stepped into the road. One was a brunette bride and the other a blond groom. I stopped the car so suddenly that my guests were thrown about. I collected myself and drove on.
When we reached the beach, the girl beside me turned to me and said, "Eugene, I know why you stopped so suddenly. A man and a woman were in the road."
I told her I had seen them and barely missed hitting them.
Eugene F. LaBruce,
As told to C.S. Murray, WPA field worker. Edisto Island, South Carolina.
Table of Contents
|Living in Heaven||12|
|An Accident of God||12|
|The Mere-Maid (Mermaid)||13|
|A Hiding Place||13|
|Buh Patridge and Buh Rabbit||14|
|Sheep Heads and Dumpling||14|
|Tricky Rabbit and Buh Gator||15|
|My Father and the Whiskey||16|
|Buh Rabbit and Buh Guinea||16|
|Maussa was a Little Boy||19|
|That Would Be the Difference||20|
|Buh Rabbit Tricks Buh Gator||21|
|Beauregard's Method of Eating Fish||24|
|No One Died on Edingsville Beach||24|
|The Beautiful Lady on the Ship||25|
|The Tar Baby||26|
|Freedom on Sandy Island||28|
|The Spirits of Hagley||29|
|Mr. Allston's Boyhood||32|
|Riding the Sheep||33|
|After We Moved to Summerville||33|
|Buh Cooter and Buh Deer||34|
|A Faithful Servant||34|
|The Last Rice Crop||35|
|What Judge Samuel H. Wilds Said to Samuel Slater on the Murder of His Own Slave||36|
|Judge Wilds's Famous Sentence||37|
|A Woman on Her Feet||39|
|The Bronze Tablet||41|
|The Denmark Vesey Insurrection||41|
|The Stono Insurrection||43|
|Blockade Running During the Civil War||43|
|Vanderbilt Buys the Last Alston Plantation||48|
|De Flagg Storm||50|
|The Horse Racing Aristocracy||51|
|The Criminals Who Were Never Hanged||52|
|Money on the Grave||53|
|Questions and Answers with Aunt Liza||55|
|Living With The Ghost of Aunt Sissy||56|
|The Sea Monkey||58|
|Once Upon A Time When Charleston was the Capital||60|
|The Governor Who Rebuilt Charles Town||61|
|Governor Sails with Another Man's Wife||63|
|All Modern Conveniences||63|
|A Most Romantic Royal Governor||64|
|Mr. Waterson's Legacy||64|
|Daughter of a Sea Captain||65|
|The Secret of Brick House Plantation||67|
|Poinsettia Named for Lowcountryman||69|
|Murder at the Ten Mile House||70|
|The Great Sea Turtle||71|
|The Disappearance of Theodosia Burr||75|
|Bullice Wine and Snakes||80|
|The Governor and the Pirates||80|
|Sandy Claw and Uncle Sam||86|
|The Mail Boat||86|
|Hiding from the Yankees||87|
|The Man Who Could See Ghosts||88|
|The Slave Who Witnessed History||88|
|Never Had Time To Play Games||90|
|Aunt Hetty Was Something Else||90|
|Funerals Were At Night||91|
|I Stopped Shaking Hands and Kissing||92|
|About the Author||96|