“Old-Fashioned Corner.”

 
The Courant American Newspaper
Cartersville, Georgia
December 1, 1898 Page 2:
 
Transcribed and submitted by: 
 

“Old-Fashioned Corner.”

“Remove not the ancient landmark which they father’s have set.”

I met a gentleman last week who said as he came up to where I was, “I want to thank you, Miss Lois, for your old-fashioned cornshucking, it carried me back to my happy boyhood days, on the old plantation.

“I enjoyed every word. Now can’t you give us an o’possum hunt?” Well, I will think about it, and maybe at some future time we can enjoy one. I have a very rich experience.

But the “cornshucking” stirred and touched a chord in my own heart that had long been silent. The old familiar scenes and faces came surging up as I wrote, and at times the past had taken the place of the present, and I lived the happy golden days over again. And in every circumstance of importance, and in all the memories of that time one peculiar, faithful devoted character is ever prominent, “Uncle Isaac,” of whom I wish to write at this time. He was a character peculiar to those days.

Although the hope of freedom was held out, and how sweet it must have been only a slave could tell, yet his devotion and loyalty to his master and family never wavered, and until the war was over and peace reigned, he stood serenely and undisturbed at his post. It is ever a pleasure, each of our family feel to recognize and remember the wisdom, courage and superb generalship, with which he conducted all affairs after father left for the war, and mother, with six young children were left in his charge. His greatest characteristics were integrity and courage. A “gentleman of color” he certainly was, courteous, dignified, kind, silent. I never knew him to be reprimanded by his master.

The morning father left, he turned to his faithful servant and said, “Isaac, I leave you in charge of all the place, subject to your mistress’ orders—take care of my little ones.” And the earnest promise, “I will, sir, as long as breath’s in this body,” brought tears to all eyes. And how well he kept that vow, we will ever take pleasure in telling. The over seer was dismissed, and all affairs were placed in his hands, with remarkable discretion and tact, he managed his fellow servants, and for three years, good crops were made, Isaac selling bushels of corn to neighbors and the public. I well remember when all was over, and soldiers were returning to ruined and wrecked homes. Although we had suffered much, mother and Uncle Isaac had stored away 15 or 20 bales of good cotton, which was sold after the surrender for 50 cents a pound. Many cool, crisp mornings have I sat behind mother on father’s saddle animal, Fanny, as she rode horseback over the plantation, assisting Isaac in directing the groups of hands, and how tired my little legs would get hanging so long. I could not always resist digging my little brogan heel into Fanny’s flank to make her move on. This would make her jump and startle mother, for which invariably, I would get her riding switch across my aforesaid limbs. How careful Isaac was, when the rumor was first heard, of the coming of Sherman’s army, to hide the fine horses and best mules, and for weeks they were kept in the swamps and pine thickets by two of our negro men. I laugh now to think of his chagrin at one time, after having had barrels of sorghum syrup rolled out in a field of cane to hide them, and covered with plank to save them. When he looked up, and sitting on the long ginhouse steps looking on with great interest, we children, “white and colored,” were congregated, giving us a sound scolding, he sent us scampering back to the yard.

He would send wagon loads of peaches to the still and have them made into brandy to save them; he would say, and too, it was good for sickness and plantation use. I remember he had all of it taken from a closet in the big house, and placed in his own house, preparing for the Yankees. And a few mornings afterwards, Aunt Critty, took in the negro quarters, gloriously drunk. Isaac was intensely mortified, and I’ve often heard of mother speak of how she had to intercede for her, and plead it as her first (and I reckon her last) offense. The morning the Yankees came, mother seeing them coming up the grove, walked out on the front porch to receive them, her children by her side and Uncle Isaac just behind.

After they dismounted and came in, every nook and corner was searched by them for valuables, mother following them from room to room and Isaac just after her as a faithful watch. This day by day his faithfulness was proved, and when the weary time was over, and the master came back to the old home, Isaac was just the same, and was glad as a child to see “Mars William” again.

Father ever felt under obligation to this tried friend, and gave him a home for life. We children were taught to show him great consideration in his old age, and although father moved to a distant city to educate his children, never did one of them ever return to the old plantation on a visit of pleasure or duty, but a present of some worth was sent to Isaac.

And now he rests by the side of his faithful old wife, in the old plantation graveyard as was his oft expressed wish, which is still owned by one of the children he so nobly stood by. The pines and cedars, as the soft wind moans through them, sing his requiem. His memory is still green in our hearts, and in the great resurrection morn’ may we find he was as faithful to his master in heaven as he was to his master on earth, is the wish of his “little missus” as he used to call me.

Lois Kilpatrick.

 

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