From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.
Stone has little sympathy or respect for former slaves, who she sees as “insolent” and insubordinate.
Sept. 21, 1865
Lamar County, Texas
We reached this haven a week ago. Shall we ever forget that forty-mile jolt in a four-mule wagon, the mules at full trot? We made it in a clay over a broken, sorry prairie with nothing to eat but dried peaches, uncooked, soggy biscuits, and warm, salty-tasting well water. We were bruised black and blue and were too tired to sleep or eat the first night. We did not find out until nearly night that the wagon floor was much easier than the chairs we were perched in, and we all crouched down in the straw, too worn out to hold up our heads.
The people who had sheltered us utterly refused all pay and were hurt at the idea — and they with absolutely nothing. Truly it is not the rich who are the most generous! Mamma will send them lots of things when she sends for the carriage.
We found nearly all the Negroes in a state of insubordination, insolent and refusing to work. Mamma had a good deal of trouble with them for a few days. Now they have quieted down and most of those who left have returned, and they are doing as well as “freedmen” ever will, I suppose. We were really afraid to stay on the place for the first two days. We are looking for the boys up from Tyler and for Jimmy and My Brother next week. Then, Ho, for Louisiana!
We have all the butter, milk, and curd that Mamma promised us with wild plums, maypops, and apples in abundance, and Mrs. Smith is a good housekeeper. But it is undeniably a dull spot. …
Johnny has taken Mr. Smith’s place as overseer. The Negroes mind him better.