Former Slave-Nat Plummer
In 1936, Nat Plummer (ca 1840-1936+), a former slave at Ocean Springs, was interviewed by a writer compiling a History of Jackson County, Mississippi for the Works Progress Administration. Plummer’s interesting history and colloquial dialogue follows: “Yassum, I was a slave. Dem was de good old days-I had a good master. His name was J.L. Plummer. (sic) We lived in Tennessee and den we moved down heah. Dat was in de days befo’ railroads. Yessum, we came on hoss back and drove ox teams. Dat’s when de steamboats use ta dock heah. Dey’d bring all de mail and provisions. Dey wuz a wharf, and dere was some tracks on it, with a little car to run on it. Dey’s hitch a mule to dat car to bring the cargo from the steamboats to de shore. Den, de ox carts would be loaded to carry it to town.”
“But the most excitin’ times was during the war! It was hard too! All de soljers, dey was camped down on the beach on the W.B. Schmidt place-yassum, right dat place is today. You know dem high bluffs? Wall, dat’s were dey kep’ a look-out for dem Yankees.”
“One day a message come. You see dat house right on de corner? Dat’s de old Godstine house. Wall, dat’s where they got the message dat de Yankees was comin’. Yassum, can’t you see up dere, dat hole where de wires went through? Dere was a telegraph operator dere who couldn’t pay his board, so he swapped information for his vittles.”
“And see dat house over yonder? Dat’s de old W.R. Stewart (sic) house. Well, de Yankees went dere and got a man wuz hidin’ dere. Dey called him a conscript.”
“Yassum, my old master was good to me, and when he died, his wife’s brother came to live wid us, and he was my young master. He was good too. One day I said, “Massa Sam, when wuz I born? My master’s name was Sam Lauderdale. He said, “nat, you wuz born in 1840’. So dat makes me ninety-six years old. I’se gettn’ old.”
“Den, after us niggahs wuz set free, I stayed on with Missus Plummer. I’d burn charcoal and cut wood f’ de steamboats, and when de trains started comin’ through, I cut wood for dem too. Mrs. Pummer, she give me mos’ of de money too.
“Well, I’se getting’ tired now, from settin’ up, but I loves to talk over de good ole’ days-we didn’t need no relief den”.(WPA For Mississippi Historical Data-Jackson County, State Wide Historical Project, (1936-1938), pp. 235-236)