November 15, 1889
HAS A ROUND WITH SOME OF OUR BUSINESS MEN – MAKES A VISIT TO THE NEW DEPOT- GIVES A SKETCH OF HIS EARLY LIFE – HEARS A CONVERSATION AND TAKES A RIDE WITH HIS WIFE.
Mr. Editor: I called on that popular coach maker, G. R. Bateman, this week, he at first refused to talk to me, he said he had but little opinion of a newspaper man, of course I dropped the subject and struck him for a horse trade. That was a point, and soon he was telling me that he had all the work he could do and about how low he sold riding vehicles. I was glad to hear such good news and did not detain him longer but walked down to the A & R depot.
There I found that the depot was almost ready for business. This is one of the best arranged depots I ever saw. On entering it from the west end you first come to the freight room, which is large and well arranged, next you come to the telegraph and ticket office, then to the waiting room for whites and last to the waiting room for the colored people. The wharf is large and convenient with a freight protector in the center.
Leaving the depot I came up town and on passing Reid & Duke, I remembered that “that wife of mine” had told me to place a tomb at the grave of her deceased mother, so I went in and gave H. H. Brown an order for one of the finest he could get and to have the following epitaph inscribed upon it: “Deo Gratias! This is my last gift to the mother of “that wife of mine. Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum.” Then I came out and went home.
You said in your introductory that I would give sketches of my life and at the time I thought of so doing, but I fear that my life will not be interesting to your readers, though to me it has been quite a comfort.
I was born Oct. 29th, 1867, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, my mother being present on the occasion, and, to the best of my knowledge of that wonderful event it was snowing. This is not my native county. I was born in a more western section of the State, I refrain from giving the exact place as there has been a warrant issued in that section for the arrest of a man that looks like me, and it might cause me some trouble. One thing however, I do say and that is this: I am a native of the Old North State and love her laws with the devotion of an old patriot. My eyes, like those of some of our Ex-Presidents and other smart men, of the present and past generations, first saw the sunshine of heaven through the narrow door of a log cabin. My parents were poor, as most parents were at the close of the war. At the age of three years my father died leaving my mother with three small children to care for. She being a christian woman and possessing as she does great physical ability, went to work with a sad, but noble heart, to raise us three to be a help to her in her old age, an honor to our deceased father and a blessing to our country.
From 1867 until 1875 my life was not so bright, nothing of interest hapened to me. During that year my mother moved east and settled on a farm in this county where we lived one year at the expiration of that time we moved to Plymough and I commenced a town boys life sketches of which will appear later.
Say editor, did you ever listen to a private chat between two colored individuals? Here is part of one I heard today while standing on the wharf talking to Jim Smith.
John – say Jim, dat air way how Bill Mahone got left is a nut to make us nigers quit de publican party.
Jim – no it aint what’s us North Carolina nigers got to do wid de Viginia lection?
John – kaze hits got a mity heap to do wid hit
Jim – dem Virginia darkies had mor sence than to vote fur a man dey nows is not true to dem
John – gues youse rite Jim. I does’nt now Mahone but gess he’s a week man in dat state
Then they change the conversation to our State.
John – Jim I specks I wood vote fur a democrat fore I wood fur a comon man
Jim – yes and me two if al unem is like “Dan” (meaning Gov. Fowle) he is a fine man and is guine to gin us black folks a show
John – den you sed it
Jim – I bleves we wood do better if we wood vote fur the man and let dis air party muleishness die out
John – den you sed it agin, de white folks likes us but we aint had de humility and sence to do it.
Jim – what bout dem ly–
I lost the rest of the sentence as they walked off leaving me to wonder why all colored people could not see, like John, that the whites are their friends. I will close as “that wife of mine” wants me to take her for a drive. — “Flipp”