From the Eye of Kate Henry: Memoirs of a Negro Slave Woman

From the Eye of Kate Henry: Memoirs of a Negro Slave Woman

by John Y. McClure


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781468543155
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 03/19/2012
Pages: 268
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)

Read an Excerpt

From the Eye of Kate Henry

By John Y. McClure


Copyright © 2012 John Y. McClure
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4685-4315-5

Chapter One

The Henry Plantation

Somewhere down south in the early 17th century the sun beats down upon row after row of tall corn, boll weevils feasting on morsels of cotton and Master Henry's plantation.

This plantation was the biggest and the oldest in the county. Master Henry raised cotton and more cotton, corn and more cotton, summer and winter wheat and more cotton, peanuts and more cotton, cows and more cotton, hogs and more cotton, and loads of horses and more cotton. He owned over two hundred field slaves. His eight white row masters and two foremen helped him run the plantation and such.

Master Henry was a tall white man standing about three hands higher than a horse's bridle with raggedy crow black hair and dark gray horse eyes. He had very bad sun beaten skin with several marks and scars. A noticeable scar was under his left cheekbone where he had been beaten by a married man. His stomach had been stabbed twice because of bar room fights.

His smile was pleasant despite the numerous fights; he still had all of his teeth. He had a slight limp when he walked from being thrown and kicked by different horses and bulls numerous times. Despite all of the stomps, kicks, and bruises he still loved the critters.

Master's wife was a fancy looking gal, but that was all she was; just fancy looking. She didn't know anything much about high society life. She was always gone from home pretending that she was all knowing about how to be and act like a big society lady.

This is also the home of a beautiful Ethiopian or perhaps she was an African housemaid. She was about mid high with big shinny hazel brown eyes. Kate Henry, that's me, was the young maid's name. She had been bought by Mr. Henry and was a favorite house gal. My job was to cook clean and take care of the Master's house.

Another slave arrived at the plantation, Old Joe was his name. Joe was the name his Ma and Pa's Master who let the midwives give him a name about six months after his birth and Henry was his Master's surname. All slaves were allowed to keep their birth names but they later took their Master's last names.

When Joe had first came into the new plantation he was shown all of the new surroundings and he met the other slave folk. He was given a place to sleep and three changes of clothes and an old pair of boots that he was tickled to death about, even though they were about two or three sizes too big. Old Joe only wore shoes after a hard frost or snow fall, when spring and crop time came the shoes had to go.

Master put Old Joe out in the fields working the rows. He was no good at working the rows because he was not your typical slave; he had special furniture making skills. His craft was second to none. He was always fighting and causing trouble with the other slaves.

Master Henry got sick and tired of taking Old Joe out to the woodshed and introducing him again and again to the black snake whip. All he would do was scream, yell and cry only to return back out yonder in the fields and fight again. So Master finally gave up and sent him up to the big house. When Old Joe arrived at the big house and laid eyes on me he began to smile.

Chapter Two

Just Listen To Um

The group was treated to some of the best acting they had seen in those parts as Kate retold the events prior to Master Henry's death.

Master Henry laid near death and was attempting to prepare his son to take over the plantation.

[Master Henry] "Da plantation is doing just fine now, son all yous got ta do tis jus keep things gowing rite."

[Mister Rob] "But pa ya knows I don't no's nothin bout running no dat blamed plantation; all I's no's ta do tis how ta ride and break horses."

[Master Henry] "Yeah son I knows but son your pa is a-dying."

[Mister Rob] "Oh pa now please don't go an says that cause yous' no's I care fo yar and loves ya."

[Master Henry] "I no's son, but somebody got ta carry on here boy when ya pas gone boy."

[Mister Rob] "Pa why don't ya get one of ya other two dat blamed sons?"

[Master Henry] "Son ya knows good and well fo ya dat blamed self that both of dem rascals ain't nothin but drunks and needier one of got sense enough ta do nothin but drink, fight, gamble and chase old nasty whores. Anyhow both of-um all ways spiting in da wind."

[Mister Rob] "Yeah pa and I knows who dem dun gone and got it from to!"

[Master Henry] "Look a here boy don't ya be gone and a sassing me now boy."

[Mister Rob] "Ok pa I's sorry ... but ... Pa whys didn't ya calls and send fur me and have me fetched sooner so I's could be teached and properly learned this here job."

[Master Henry] "Cause ... boy ... yous twas all da dat blame times gone out yonder somewheres trying ta be a dat blamed old Rodeo cow poke or something stupid, of all things ... and me and none of ya folks ever knew where ya twas 'Sambo' and ya never showed no never mind ta let ya folks know where in tar nations ya twas and that's why boy or I meant ta say 'Sambo'."

[Mister Rob] "Now pa my name ain't no 'Sambo' and ya no's I hate ta be called that name."

[Master Henry] "Well ya act like a 'Sambo' ta me 'Sambo' ... boy what else ya gonna ask ya pa?"

[Mister Rob] "Why not my sister?"

[Master Henry] "Why not your sister boy ya must be crazy ain't ya, that there gal ain't got sense enough ta even get out of da rain, little lone how ta runs a fine plantation like this here and any who I's dun gone and told ya befo that ya my one and only whole white son!"

[Mister Rob] "I's no pa, ya dun gone and secretly told me befo dat all ya other younguns twere half and half but me."

[Master Henry] "Oh gone say it 'Sambo'!"

[Mister Rob] "Say what pa?"

[Master Henry] "Ya know what boy."

[Mister Rob] "Ya mean that ya younguns were part white and part colored."

[Master Henry] "Don't call my chillen colored boy, cause dem tis ... black."

[Mister Rob] "That ain't nothin pa cause most of da other slave masters here and bouts got mixed up chillen too ... but pa!"

[Master Henry] "But ... nothin ... boy when I's dun gone and put my head back in da dust ya better take over this here plantation ... or else."

[Mister Rob] "Or else what pa?"

[Master Henry] "Or else I's gonna come out of my grave and hunt ya day and night ... ya hear me boy?"

[Mister Rob] "Yeah pa I's here. Ya know pa at least ya don't call ya other chillens what ya used ta call your other slaves!"

[Master Henry] "Well son befo I had one of dem kind of little old black chillen on my own, I did call dem some pretty bad names ya know, but now I get a big lump in my neck and a tight knot in my gut when I say that word."

[Mister Rob] "What word is that pa?"

[Master Henry] "Oh ya know son da word ni ... ni ... Oh I just can't say it bout my own."

[Mister Rob] "Pa I bet ya didn't get no lump in your neck and a knot in ya gut, when ya twas getting dems mas ..."

[Master Henry] "What boy ... I dun told ya "Sambo" ya better stop sassing ya pa boy."

[Mister Rob] "Pa if-ans I's gotta take over this here plantation when in tar nations do I start?"

[Master Henry] "Yous really needs ta starts rite now boy."

[Mister Rob] "Pa I would rather ya had called me 'Sambo' or that N-word that gives ya that lump and knot, than ya had said that. But why now pa?"

[Master Henry] "Don't ya but pa me boy look-key here son," (cough, cough, cough, hack, hack, hack, cough).

[Mister Rob] "Lay easy now pa ... lay easy pa ... don't get so upset now! Here take some of ya medicine."

[Master Henry] "Huh I don't want none of that dat blamed old nasty, tasting medicine."

[Mister Rob] "Why not pa its good fur ya."

[Master Henry] "Shot boy cause I want me a drink from that there little old brown jug I's got under this here bed."

[Mister Rob] "Now pa ya knows for sure that ya needs ta leave that their stuff alone."

[Master Henry] "Oh shet up boy and mind your poor old sick and dying pa and hand me that their jug under this here bed of mine."

[Mister Rob] "Now pa ya know if Kate your house gal comes inside of here's and sees ya guzzling down that junk her gonna be real mad at you-ons ..."

[Master Henry] "Hand me that jug "Sambo" befo I get out of this here bed and beats yous with a knotted plow line ..." (cough ... cough ... hack ... hack ... cough ...)

[Mister Rob] "Now ... now pa if ya quiet down some and ifs ya promise not ta talk so loud maybe I'll give ya a little drink if ya just pipe down a little bit, just pipe down some pa ... my goodness."

[Master Henry] "Ok! Boy hurry up befo Kate comes in ta check me."

[Mister Rob] "Where's ya glass at pa so I can pour ya a drink?"

[Master Henry] "Boy ya sho ya my son, cause Son ya sho don't know nothin bout drinking whiskey do ya knuckle head ... ya don't waste clean glasses fo drinking good corn liquor, ya just turn da jug up and drink straight from that their little old jug ... And hurry up boy I can hear Kate coming."

[Mister Rob] "Where's da jug at pa?"

[Master Henry] "Under da top of da bed stupid!" (He looks on top of da bed). "Not on top of da bed stupid ... under da bed, under da bed ... ain't no ways ya my son."

[Mister Rob] "Oh! I's sees it pa and I's got it pa ... a he ... he."

[Master Henry] "Hurry up boy and pull da cork I can hear Kate coming closer, she's coming threw da kitchen and she'll be here in a few ... What in tar nations ya doing 'Sambo' I thought I dun gone and told ya ta give me a drink and here ya is drinking befo me ... put that jug down boy and ..."

[Mister Rob] "Oh hush pa here takes ya a swig."

[Master Henry] "Hurry up Rob give me da jug ... she's almost at da doe ... AAAA Man, Lawd that twas good ... (hack, hack, hack, cough, cough, hack .. ) Hurry up Tom hide da jug boy, hide da jug."

The door flies open and Kate stands in the entrance.

[Kate] "Master Tom I's dun heard ya!"

[Mister Rob] "Heard what?"

[Kate] "I's dun heard."

[Mister Rob] "Let me guess Kate, yous dun gone and heard Master coughing?"

[Kate] "No sir, I's dun heard ..."

[Kate] "Little Rob!"

[Mister Rob] "Ok, I give up. I know ya heard me giving pa a drink."

[Kate] "No, I was just tryin ta tell ya pa that I's heard that da doctor was coming ta sees hem and by da smell of this here room, da doctor must'uv beat me here and changed Master's medicine cause da other medicine on hems breath didn't smell that ways befo. I's don't knows what kinds of medicine that there doctor dun gone and gives ta Master but it sho do stink and smells just like old liquor ta me. I don't see what in da world anybody in their rite mind wants ta drink that stinkin stuff fo."

[Mister Rob] "Now Kate a little corn liquor ain't gonna hurt nobody, right pa!"

[Master Henry] "Yeah son, sho ya rite and even da doctors says tits some good medicine at times fo different ailments."

[Kate] "Now Master, ya knows good and well liquor ain't no kind of medicine."

[Master Henry] "Why not Kate?"

[Kate] "Cause Master medicine tis suppose ta makes ya well and not sick; I's member how yous be heaving at one end and running at da other and holding ya old head and guts after guzzling that junk; rats want drink that old puke and if an outhouse fly lights in it dem somehow starts ta fly backwards."

[Master Henry] "Now Kate I think ya just needs ta hush up cause ya being just down rite disrespectful ta ya Master ... rite Rob?"

[Mister Rob] "That's rite pa!"

[Kate] "Yeah sir Master, Im's sorry. Cause I's don't knows if-ans Master knows it but that when I's twas cleaning up da other day their twas a little brown jug with a white fishing cork in it and tit somehow had walked and hid itself under hems bed. I opened da jug and took a smell and almost passed out from da stink; I's dun hurried up child and put da fishing cork back cause of da offal smell ... I's twas gonna toss it out, but I's knows ta fust ask and tells Master. This here room smells just like that jug dun gone and turned over. I's don't knows what in da world causing that here smell in this here room ... so I's gonna open that there window so some fresh air can comes in chere befo Master gets stiffened and starts coughing again. Now what was you's saying Mister Rob?"

[Mister Rob] (Smiling) "Well Kate I was saying Oh, Oh yeah, ya da doctor did beat ya here and changed pas medicine."

[Kate] "Oh yeah."

[Mister Rob] "Kate look under pas bed and see if ya can see that there jug ya twas talking bout."

[Kate] "Yes sir Master!" (Kate takes a good look but says) "No sir Master I's don't sees it."

[Mister Rob] Mister Rob was setting on Kate's blind side, in a chair next ta his pas bed) "Look again gal ya must'uv over looked it ..." (as he was talking he was taking his foot and sliding it under his pas bed.)

[Kate] (She looked again). "Oh there it tis, I wonder how in da world I didn't sees it at fust."

[Master Henry] "I guess ya just twas half looking that's all gal." (winking his eye at his son).

[Kate] "I's guess so."

[Kate] (She held da jug up in her hands and lightly shakes it). "Nothins left."

[Mister Rob]" Is anything left in da jug?"

[Kate] "No sir it ain't, even da corks missing and it twas spilled over just now when I's dun picked it up so's I's guess it must have spilt and dun dried up, but I's swear it twas full yes-ditty when I's twas cleaning under Masters bed ... I's wonder just what dun gone an happened; I's no Master can't climb under hems bed, can ya Master?"

[Master Henry] "No I's sho cant Kate and if-ans I's could I's wouldn't causing I's knows you-ons don't wants me ta do nothin like that."

[Mister Rob] "Well Kate what dose ya thanks dun gone and dun happened to's that thur medicine stuff that twas under yonder in that jug?"

[Kate] "Well Mister Rob I's just don't knows what in tar-nations dun gone and went with it. What in creations do yous dun thinks dun happened ta tit?"

[Master Henry] "I thanks its dem old ghost yawl slaves be telling bout."

[Kate] "What ghost Master?"

[Master Henry] "I's guess dem ghost and haunts that eat and still my food and stuff ... now I guess dem dun gone and starting drinking liquor ta hum!"

[Kate] "Who and what tis ya yacking bout Master?"

[Master Henry] "Oh ya know says Master, dem ghost yowl told me bout that stole my darn chickens ... that totally vanished and somehow disappeared ... and my biggest smoke hams and beef side meat from my locked smoke houses? Oh a he-he, says Kate, maybe it twas dem dun old ghost after all, that dun gone and dranked up that thur medicine stuff in this here jug."

A knock came on Master Rob's bed room door.

[Kate] "Who tis it?"

A known voice is heard on da other side of da door and it says

[Doc Jones] "It's me Doc Jones and I dun come by ta sees how Old man Henry's getting along and I dun gone and over heard yawl outside da doe."

[Kate] "Come right on in Doc Jones sir how's ya been getting along ya self. Well Doc Jones sir, I's can imagine yous dun cames way-ouch-chr ta only zamin "Master" but now I's thinks ya needs ta checks out hems son to; but ya just wasting ya time and effort!"

[Doc Jones] "Why in tar nations would ya go and say such a thing as that there gal?"

[Kate] "Cause Doc Jones sir I's can already tells ya befo ya check dem ... dat dem both filling and dosing just find!"

[Doc Jones] (Doc Jones questions and asks Kate). "How in God's creation ya know that ... gal ya ain't no doctor tis ya?"


Excerpted from From the Eye of Kate Henry by John Y. McClure Copyright © 2012 by John Y. McClure. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


1 The Henry Plantation....................1
2 Just Listen To Um....................4
3 Master Tom Henry's Death....................16
4 Peek-A-Boo....................20
5 Calm Before The Storm....................25
6 Tornado....................31
7 You Must Be Drunk....................37
8 The Road to Amanda....................43
9 Name Him Joeson....................55
10 Coon Hunting....................71
11 Sisters....................84
12 Handsome....................95
13 Runaway....................103
14 Four Loose Marbles....................118
15 Doc Joeson....................151
16 Homemade Moonshine....................177
17 Epidemic....................188
18 Miss Sara Lee Hawkins....................204
19 Home At Last....................218
Image Credits....................249

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