"Miss Alice Cannon give me my age from de foundation of my mother. Dey been bringing my things out to me --- is dat what you'se doing, setting down here by me? I was born on de first Christmas Day, I means de 25th or December, 1855; in Newberry County on de Sam Cannon place. You had to turn off de Ashford Ferry Road about seven and a half miles from de town of Newberry. My mother was Frances Cannon of near Cannon Creek Church.
"I'll try to give you a straight definition. Old man Sim Gallman was my old missus' brother; she was Miss Viny Cannon. My boss was overseer for Mr. Geo. Gallman. We was on Mr. George's place. When Mr. Gallman started overseeing, Mr. Sim Gallman come over dar for dem to take his place and care for him.
"My boss, Sam Cannon, promised me a place. Miss Viny Cannon suckled me and her son Henry at de same time, me on one knee and Henry on t'other. Dey calls me 'Timber'. Miss Sallie said to us atter Freedom, 'You ain't got no marsters'. I cried. My Ma let me stay wid Miss Sallie. Mr. Henry Gallman promised to marry Miss Sally Cannon. my young missus; but he went to de war and never come back home no mo'. Mr. Jeff Gallman went, but he come back wid one arm. Mr. Tom Gallman went and married his first cousin, Miss Addie Cannon; he never got to go to de war.
"My father was a full-blooded Indian from Virginia. He was a refugee. But you know dat dey had a way of selling people back den. Somebody caught him and sold him at one of dem sales. De man what bought him was Mr. Jeff Buzzard. He went back to Virginia atter de surrender. I would not go. He took another woman on de place, and my mother would not let me go. De woman's name dat he took was Sara Danby. She had two brothers and a sister --- Samuel, Coffee, and Jenny.
"My mother was mixed Indian and African blood. My folks got 'stroyed up in a storm. My grandfather was named Isaac Haltiwanger. My grandmother, his wife, was named Annie. Dey had one child who was my mother; her name Frances. My grandmother's name was Molly Stone.
"My parents, talking 'bout de Africans, how funny dey talked. Uncle Sonny and uncle Edmund Ruff was two of de old'uns. Old man Charles Slibe was de preacher. He was a Methodist. My father was a Baptist. His white folks, de Billy Caldwells, prepared de barn for him to preach to dere slaves. In dat day, all de Africans was low chunky fellers and real black. Dey said dat in Africa, little chilluns run 'round de house and de fattest one fall behind; den dey kill him and eat him. Dat's de worst dat I ever heard. O Lawd!
"I hates dat Missus didn't whip me mo' and let me be teached to read and write so dat I wouldn't be so ignant.
"For de neuralgia, take and tie two or three nutmegs around yo' neck. Tie brass buttons around de neck to stop de nose a-bleading.
Greeley's house has four rooms and it is in great need of repair. It is badly kept and so are the other houses in "Fowler's Row". He lives with his wife, Eula, but she was not home during the visit.
"My house 'longs to a widder woman. She white but I does not know her name. Her collector is Mr. Wissnance (Whisenant). He got a office over here on E. Main St., right up in de town. I rents by de month but I pays by de week --- a dollar. De house sho is gwine down. Rest of de houses on de Row is repaired, but mine ain't yet;
so she have Mr. Wissnance drap off twenty-five cents, and now I is paying only seventy-five cents a week. Me and Eula has to go amongst de white folks fer bread and other little things. Ain't got no bread from Uncle Sam since last August. See my tater patch, wid kneehigh vines.
"De case worker want to git my age and whar I's born. I told her jest what I told you. She say she got to have proof; so I told her to write Mr. Cannon Blease who was de sheriff. I means de high Sheriff, fer nigh thirty years in Newberry. And does you know, she never even heard of Mr. Cannon Blease. Never had no money out Mr. Blease knowed it, so he up and sent my kerrect age anyway. It turn't out jest 'zactly like I told you it was. What worried me de mostest, is dat she never knowed Mr. Cannon Blease. Is you ever heard of sech a thing as a lady like dat not knowing Mr. Blease.
"Now Mr. Dr. Snyder is a man dat ain't setting here 'sleep. He's a mill'onaire, Raise he run Willord College and it must take a million dollars to do dat, it sho must. My case worker knowed him.
"De case worker calls me 'Preacher', out I ain't got up to dat yet --- I ain't got dat fer. I been sold out twice in insurance. I give my last grand-baby de name 'Roosevelt', and his daddy give him 'Henry'. His ma never give him none. Some folks loads down babies and kills dem wid names, but his ma never wanted to do dat. So us jest calls him Henry Roosevelt. Us does not drap none and us does not leave none out.
"Went to church one night and left my pocketbook in a box on my mantel. Had $120.00 in it in paper, and 48 in silver. Some niggers dat had been watching me broke down my do' dat I had locked. Dey took de $120 and left de $8. Went home and I seed dat broke do'.
I went straight to my mantel. and see'd what was done. Dey never bothered de books and papers in dat box. Next morning, de nigger what lived next do' to me was gone. I went to a old fortune teller, a man; he say I know dat you lost a lot. De one I thought got de money, he said, was not de right one. He say dat three hobos got it. One had red hair, one sandy hair and de other had curly hair. He say somebody done cited dem and dey was going to be caught dis very day. He say dat dey co e from Asheville. But he was wrong. cause dey ain't never caught no three hobos dat I ever learn't about.
"One day when I was plowing. I stroke de plow 'ginst something. My plow knocked off de handle. I heard money rattle. It ringed three times. I couldn't see nothing, so I called my wife and son and dey looked, but we never found but five cents. Never in my life did I hear of a bank in slavery times. Everybody buried dere money and sometimes dey fergot where dey but it. I thought dat I had run on some of dat money den, but I never found none. Lots of money buried somewhars, and folks died and never remembered whar it was.
"A nigger republican leader got kilt. I nel't de hosses fer de Ku Klux. Great God-a-mighty, Dave and Dick Gist and Mr Caldwell run de sto' at de Rutherford place in dem times. Feeder of dem hosses was Edmund Chalmers. Mr. Dick say, 'Hello, Edmund, how come dem mules so po' when you got good corn everywher --- what, you stealing corn, too?' Mr. Oatzel say, 'Yes, I cotch him wid a basket on his shoulder.' 'Whar was you carrying it?' Edmund say, 'To Mr. Caldwell'. Mr. Caldwell say he ain't see'd no corn. Dey took Edmund to de jail. He had been taking corn and selling it to de carpetbaggers, and dat corn was fer de Ku Klux hosses.
"Dere was a Mr. Brown, a white man, dat come up to live in Newberry. Dey called him a refugee. Us called him Mr. 'Refugee Brown'. He was sorter destituted and not a bit up-to-date. He settled near de Gibson place. I fed de Gibson boys' fox-dogs about dat time fer dem.
"I want to git right wid you, now; so I can meet you lovely. In '73, I thought someone was shaking my house; I come but doors wid my gun; see'd white and colored coming together. Everybody was scared. All got to hollering and some prayed. I thought dat de earth gwine to be shook to pieces by morning. I thought of old Nora (Noah).
"Dem Bible folks see'd a little hand-span cloud. Nora had done built him a house three stories high. Dat little cloud busted. Water riz in de second story of de wicked king's palace. He sont fer de northern lady. When she come a-shaking and a-twisting in de room de king fell back in his chair. He say dat he give her anything she want, all she got to do is ask fer it. She say to cut off John Wesley's head and bring it to her. De king had done got so suluctious dat he done it. Dat king and all of dem got drowned. Nora put a lot of things in de ark dat he could have left out, sech as snakes and other varments; but de ark floated off anyhow. No sir, dat wasn't de Clifton flood, dat was Nora's flood."