Ocklbary, Julia Grimes Jones
Julia Grimes Jones Ocklbary, 82, was born a slave on March 2, 1855, at Bastrop, and belonged to Henry Grimes of Bastrop County. Grimes was a brother of Deputy Sheriff, A. W. Grimes, who was killed by the bandit, Sam Bass, at Round Rock. Julia's mother was Melissa Grimes, her father Arthur Grimes, who was a full-blooded Choctaw Indian, and died at the age of 125. He was captured by the white people and was reared from childhood to manhood by them, and made an overseer on the Henry Grimes' cotton plantation. Grimes' daughter, Abigail, married Nat Morris, who was at one time sheriff of Bastrop County. Julia lived with the Morris' and says "dey jes' spoiled me." When her mother married the second time Julia was given to Liza Ann Hornsby, who was a member of the Hornsbys of Hornsby's Bend, Travis County. Melissa married Ap Moore, who was a slave on another plantation. When, in 1869, Julia married Henry Jones, Liza gave her a gift of $140. Julia was the mother of nine children, of whom only two still are living. Five children were born during her first marriage, and four during her second. Her first husband died in 1901, and in 1903 she was married to William Ocklbary, who finally drifted away from her and never was seen again. Julia has done everything from field work to cooking, and says "de white folks always treated me right." Julia owns a large farm near Bastrop, but can't live on the place because the house burned down. She now lives alone in a shanty at Manor, Travis County, and receives a monthly pension of ten dollars from the State.
"My name is Julia Ocklbary, and I was born on March 2, 1855, at Bastrop, down in Bastrop County. Henry Grimes was my mawster's name. Mawster Grimes had a daughter by de name ob Abigail, and she married Nat Morris. He was de High sheriff ob Bastrop County, and I went to live wid 'em. Mistress Abigail sure was good to me and she was de one dat spoiled me. I was a hard-headed child anyhow. I was de only child dat my ma had.
"Ma's name was Melissa Grimes. She was married twice, the second time to Ap Moore. I called my step-fathaw Pappy; but I called my own fathaw Pa, and his name was Arthur Grimes. Pappy Moore was good to me though. He never hit me. One reason was dat de white folks made him treat me good.
"Pa was a full-blooded Choctaw Injun. Mistress Abbie's grandfathaw captured him f'om de Injun nation, when he was jes' a little boy. He couldn't talk plain, and de white folks had to learn him how to talk dere way. Pa always knowed dat he was a Injun. Mawster Henry Grimes made him a overseer over de niggers on his laghe cotton plantation. Pa was de head boss, but he had a cabin among de niggers in dere quarters, near de big house. De niggers treated him lak a boss and dey loved him.
"On Sunday mawnin's de slaves was given dere rations fo' de week. When dey got dere flour dey would make 'em some biscuits. Dere was one slave named Jim. Jim was a young man. While de other slaves was bakin' buscuits in big black skillets, Jim had a habit ob goin' through de quarters and gittin' a batch of biscuits out ob de other slaves skillets. Pa hated Jim fo' doin dat.
"Now Jim" he'd say, "don't you bother my biscuits."
When Pa's biscuits was done Jim come up and scooped out a biscuit.
"Don't yo' git my biscuit," said Pa.
"I'se goin' to eat dat bread," Jim talked back
"No yo' won't."
"Pa grabbed de skillet, wid all ob de biscuits in it, and hit Jim over de head. Dat skillet was ob iron and it knocked Jim's brains out. It killed him on de spot.
"Pa always said, "Dat's de only nigger dat ever give me any trubble."
"Mawster Grimes threatened to whoop pa but he got out of it. De reason was dat de other niggers liked him and dey knowed how Jim would come around and meddle wid do other folks' biscuits.
"We'd always laugh at him and say, "Why Pa, ain't yo' ashamed dat yo' killed a man fo' one biscuit?"
"No, I ain't ashamed, he made me kill him. He was in de wrong."
"Pa told us about dat a hunnert times and we'd always git a big laugh out ob it, when he told it in his own way.
"Mawster Grimes trusted Pa. Dere was times when Pa took a fouryoked oxen wagon and went all ob de way down to Port Lavaca, down on de Gulf ob Mexico. He'd haul goods f'om dere to de plantation. Mawster Grimes give Pa de money to pay off de goods. He trusted him dat much.
"Pa told us many a time dat he remembahed de big fallin' ob de stars. He said dat when dem stars stahted to fallin' he run lak everything and crawled under de white folks' house. Yo' know dat Pa was married seben times. He'd always talk about it. He had chillun by every wife 'cept two. Pa has been dead now about eighteen years, and he was about a hunnert and twenty-five when he died. Dr. Gray said dat Pa got so old and feeble dat dere was no medicine in de country dat could help him.
"Mawster Grimes had a brothaw, A. W. Grimes. De folks called him "Hodge" Grimes. Hodge was a brothaw ob Mistress Abigail, and he become a Deputy Sheriff over at Round Rock, in Williamson County,
where in 1878 he was killed by de bandit, Sam Bass. Hodge was a very civilized man but dat bandit killed him.
"Mistress Abigail kept me fo' hersef over at de Morris home. I jes' pittled aroun' in de house, and took care ob her two little babies, a boy and a girl. I kain't remembah dere names but I loved dem babies so much dat when I was about six years old I thought dey was mine. I mean dat. I thought dat dey was mine. Dey was little twin babies. Many was de time dat I got into de cradle and begin rockin' and dey'd be quiet. When I was six dey wasn't quite a year old.
"Aw, I know dat I was a spoiled child. De white folks has spoiled me to dis day. I remembah dat de biggest cry dat I ever had was when Ma, who was mad at me 'cause I was so spoiled, told me dat I wasn't nuthin' but a nigger child. Mistress Abigail would act lak she was goin' to tear her to death fo' sayin' dat. Den ma would say to me, "Come here, nigger and bring me dat chair."
"Later when we left de Morris' do yo' know dat I asked Mistress Abigail fo' dem twins.
"'Mistress Abigail, kin I have de twins?" I asked.
"She laughed and said, "Why Julia, which one do yo' want?"
"'Mistress Abbie, I want de bofe ob 'em."
"When we was movin' I went over to Mistress Abbie and said, "Mistress Abbie, we don't have everything, I don't have my chillun wid me."
"Yo' know dat I grieved so much over dem babies, dat ma took me down to see 'em one day. Mistress Abbie and Ma would look at each other and laugh.
"'Poor Julia, she thinks dat dem kids is her own," said Mistress Abbie.
"I cried and said, "Now Mistress Abbie give me dem kids."
"I was about eight when Ma married Ap Moore. Den I was brought to Travis County, and I was given to Aunt Liza Ann Hornsby ob Hornsby's Bend. Aunt Liza was de woman dat raised me fom now on. All ob de folks roundabout called her "old lady Hornsby." She kept me till I was married off. All dat I had to do was to pittle around de house.
"Dere was a nigger on her place by de name ob Henry Jones and he was Aunt Liza's cook in de big house. When I got older aunt Liza would say, "Now Henry --"
"'Yo' come here to dis door. Yo' come and take Julia to a ball but don't yo' keep her out after ten tonight, or I'll whoop yo' when yo' come home."
"Him and her both would laugh. He knowed dat Aunt Liza didn't mean dat.
"I sure did lak to go to dances, too. I was a good dancer and everybody bragged about my dancin'. De dances was called de old-fashioned balls. Dere was also de masquerade balls. Dere was always a prize ob five dollars in money, and I would always win de money wherever I went. Jes' lak a young girl I'd fritter de money away.
I'd treat de other girls and boys and buy 'em candy, apples, and nuts. I'd buy all ob dat in de ball-room. De dances was held in a house down in de nigger quarters.
"When I was fourteen years old in 1869, I was married to Henry Jones. Aunt Liza give me $140 and a cabin to live in on her place. Jim and me had five chillun. Aunt Liza give us a big weddin' supper. De next day, Oscar Hornsby, a nigger, give us a big party. Aunt Liza also give us a young mule team and a wagon, and we finally come up to Austin. Dere we bought a fahm ob 112 acres at Red Rock, Bastrop County. Henry sickened and died wid de dropsy. De doctah said dat he drank hissef to death. Dis was in 1901.
"In 1903 I was married to William Ocklbary. We had four chullun. William done any kind ob work on de fahm but he turned out to be a "chaser". I was still on my fahm when I married Ocklbary. He jes' took up wid other women and left me. He wanted to come back more'n once but I wouldn't let him. I knowed dat he wouldn't do right in de first place.
"I den went to Austin and stahted workin' fo' de Slaughter fambly.
"Den I stahted workin' fo' de George Matthews fambly. He was den de High Sheriff of Travis County. Dey was jes' as good to me as could be. While being wid 'em dere a girl was bawn to 'em. I helped deliver dat child. Dere was another nigger nuss dere but she didn't have a pin of sense. So Mrs. Mathews called on me. Dat's why dey called de child Julia, after me. I stayed wid 'em about three years.
"I got a job doin' cookin' fo' de section hands at Austin. Dis was fo' de Stalnaker fambly. I lived in a shanty on de place. I cooked, washed, and done de cleanin' up and I got seben dollars a week, board and room.
"William come to see Mrs. Stalnaker more'n once and asked her if I wouldn't take him back. She'd tell him, "Now Will, whut made yo' leave Julia? She's a sweet woman."
"Lady I was jes' a fool. I was fooled away f'om her."
"And I never did take him back.
"I cleaned up in de mawnin's den I cooked de dinners and suppers. Dere was four tables and I'd ring de bell and all ob de hands would come in. I had a white bunch, a Mexican bunch, and a negger bunch. One ob de white bunch was Irish, I think, and dey talked in a way dat I couldn't unnerstand 'em. When dat bunch would want something dey'd hold up a spoon fo' soup, a cup fo' coffee, a pitcher fo' milk, a fork fo' meat. Den I'd carry it to 'em. Dey was all hearty eaters and we got along jes' fine.
"Mrs. St Inaker's name was Julia too, and dere was times when we'd send a Mexican to de butcher fo' some meat. We give him a dollar bill one time too much and he never did come back.
"I was a hard-head when I was a girl and I didn't lissen to de folks. I kin jes' read and write a little and I kin sign my name. I did learn my A B C's but yo' know how de old sayin' goes about sendin'
a pusson to college, but yo' kain't make him think. Dey never could learn me anything f'om a book. After slavery I went to school fo' about three months. One teacher was Perry Glasscock, and de other was John Evans. Sheriff Morris' son, I don't know his name, killed dis very same John Evans. Evans was awful overbearin' fo' a nigger. Even de niggers didn't lak him. One day he come on de Morris place while de older folks was gone and got into a argument wid de Morris boy. He was jes' a boy, but he went into de house and got his fathaw's gun and shot Evans' brains out. De other niggers liked young Morris so much and dey knowed dat he was in de right dat dey dressed him up lak a girl and hid him out fo' about three years. Dere was a old slave, Luke Jones, dat was on de place and he seen how it all happened. When young Morris did show up, his own fathaw had to put him in jail, but he got free when old Luke Jones told how it all happened. All ob de niggers den told how Evans had been a overbearin' and mean nigger.
"No Ku Klux Klan ever bothered us down dere. I heard plenty ob talk about 'em but I never heard talk about 'em till I come on up to Austin.
"Has dey ever hurt anybody?" I've heard them say. "Why do dey want to hurt folks?"
"Well some folks won't do whuts right and dey's de one dat dey git."
"Oh, I reckon dats de reason, den."
"I do know dat in dem days when chillun wouldn't mind all dat I had to say was, "All right de Ku Klux will git yo!"
"Dat would be it. It would work. Dey'd come right into de yard and mind."