Daphne Williams at 104
Daphne Williams pictured at over 104 (she wasn't sure of her exact age but she said that she witnessed the "falling of the stars in 1833) in 1937. She was living in Texas when the photo was taken. S ... show more
Daphne Williams pictured at over 104 (she wasn't sure of her exact age but she said that she witnessed the "falling of the stars in 1833) in 1937. She was living in Texas when the photo was taken.
She was born in Tallahassee Florida as a slave to Mrs. Hancy Herring. (The "master" died when she was a baby.) The family who "owned" her lived in a 3 story house and she worked in the house as a nurse to the five children. She said: "They give me pretty clothes to wear and make me keep clean and expectable." She didn't see her own family much.
A part of the slave narrative project in her own words:
"My mother was cook and when she like to die one time they starts breakin' me in to do the cookin'. Then when she die I was cook and been doing that two, three year when freedom come. When they tol' us freedom come us thought they was foolin'. My uncle say we's free and to go and look out for number one. They let us stay awhile, but they 'lowanced us. Iffen us spen' the 'lowance us jus' had to go rustle up something to eat or do without. My daddy was a widow man by then and he stay, 'cause he say he want to see further into the subjec'. One time I gwineter see my father and had my baby in my arms, 'cause I done married. I was gwine through the wilderness and I heared something squall like a women cry. I 'gin walk faster. The squall come again. Something say to me. 'You better run.' The hair commence stand on my head and I walk pretty peart. That squall come again and I run fastes' I knows how. I have that poor little baby carried any way. When I get to the fence I jump over and sot down. The chillen come running and say, 'Yonder Daphen .' They help me into the house but I's so scart I couldn' tell 'em till near bedtime and then I say I hear squall like woman cryin'. Mister Goolsbee say, 'Daphne , make soun' like you hear,' and I makes a squall, and he say, 'That a panther and iffen he kotched you that would have been the end of you and that baby or yourn what you was totin'.' So 'bout four o'clock in that mornin' he gits 'bout fourteen neighbors and the dawgs and they hunts that rascal and runs him in 'bout 8 or 10 o'clock. A span or mules couldn' pull that rascal, I don' 'lieve. He have the biggest tushes I ever seed with these two eyes. They put him in a pot and bile him and make soap out of the grease. That panther didn' git me or my baby but they got him and made soap out of him."
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress, WPA