"Mountain Memories" Page 2
The Indians no doubt were frightened. Thomas told of how the young Indian maidens cried and begged the white men to marry them so they would not have to leave their beloved East Tennessee mountains. Many of the Indians died. What a sad tale.
Could it be that was the reason the Selfs wound up in Georgia? That Thomas was there hunting Indians and saw the beautiful countryside and decided to bring his family and stay?
There's some controversy about the next happening with the Self family. Was it Thomas or was it John? My thoughts are that it was Thomas who, with his family, went to Atlanta one day -- to replenish the family larder, I suppose. (Back then folks only bought what they needed, not what they wanted; and what they could pay for, not what they could get on credit.)
The wife and mother riding beside her husband saw a little Negro boy playing alone and she exclaimed at how cute he was and said she would like to have him. The husband stopped the wagon, picked up the boy, and they took him to their home and made him a part of their family. He ate at their table, slept in their house, and did the chores with the other children. He was probably a little slave boy from some nearby plantation. At any rate, he grew up a free man, for the Selfs did not believe in slavery.
Louisa (my grandmother), who had played with him as a child, said she loved him as she did the other members of the family and she often spoke of "Nigger Jude" as they called him. But the story ends very sadly. "Nigger Jude" grew up with a white community and became interested in the white girls. Trouble brewed. Something had to be done. One day they gathered up "Nigger Jude" and all his belongings and took him back to Atlanta and set him off, never to see him again.
When the Civil War started, the Selfs sided with the north, but
it caused them a lot of trouble. The mountain people owned no plantations, owned no slaves, and had very little money. When they were sick neighbors came in and helped them. They wanted everybody to be as free as they were, and they especially didn't want the" government telling them what to do.
Just the same, this was a time when you had to choose sides. So like thousands of other young men, John Self marched off to join the side he chose, only it didn’t work out that simply for my great-grandfather. For some unknown reason he was turned away and sent home.