My name is Jake May. I dont know how old I am. Some people tell me I am in my 90's, but my birthday is the 15th of every October. I was a grown man with four children when the American revolution broke out. I married when I was about 20 years old, so I was told. I belong to Mr. Leander Alford, and he lived on a plantation between Auburn Camp Ground and Johnston Station. My mammy belonged to him and her name was Hester Alford. My daddy was named Ivy Robinson. Mr. Alford bought him from a Mr. Robinson. He worked at the gin. He pressed cotton. The gins then was not like the gins today. They pressed the cotton with their feet. Yes, Ivy had big feet. When they ginned the cotton they put it in the press with their hands and Ivy would stamp it with his big feet. Then he worked in the field when the gin was not running. Then he would drive the ox teams to town for Mr. Alford and bring home the year's supply.
No, I didn't work in the fields. I was raised with white folks right in the house, and ate in their kitchen. I was taught to keep the house clean and to sew. I learned to spin and help weave the cloth. All our clothes was home spun. Yes, sometimes they would whip me. Mr. Alford believe in making every body doing right, and when you would do right he was kind to you but when you would do wrong he would lay the lash on heavy. If folks would whip more today they would make this world a better world. We could not run wild like the young folks do these days.
I could hear the white folks talking about the revolution coming. I know they were scared, and when the folks went off to the revolution they women sure did cry. We negroes stayed home and worked, then I had to go to the field too. When the British came to the white folks houses they killed all the hogs, chickens, cows and carried away all the flour, sugar and left us mighty little to eat. They carried off the fine horses too. Mistress would not talk sassy to them because she was afraid they would burn her house. They did burn some white folks houses.
The British made a camp right where Berglundtown now stands. They had a place they called a Drug store, and dished out rations to the British soldiers, and said they had a postoffice and called it the Postoffice for the British soldiers. Most of the negro men on Mr. Alford's plantation ran away. While the revolution was going on the British fixed it so two troops would run together and kill a lot of our American soldiers. That happened rite up there between Summit and Johnson.
After the revolution, I stayed with Mr. Alford and worked in the field. I had a mighty hard time trying to raise my children and make a living for them. When Mr. Gus Berglund built his mill right her on that hill I cam to town and hired out to a Mr. Nelson. I worked in the field - worked at the gin as my father. That was before there was any McComb. This was all swamp land. I was right here when they built the roundhouse and then started to build houses for people to live in. I have been right here ever since. I saw them cut down the trees right where Main Street now stands. I worked in that Old DeSota Hotel. I have been here a long time. ...