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A Curious Family Tree Rooted in the Old South

August 6, 2009 |  4:00 am

 Aug. 6, 1899, Slave

Aug. 6, 1899: "You'se a lady .... You'se fum one er de fust famblys in Ferginy, an' you ain't a gwine to work long as I'se got two han's. Ef you'll des behave yo-seff, an be a lady, I'll be yo servant. I'll pay all you' bills, an' take keer er you, 'cause I ain't a gwinter se any er my old marster's blood er workin' out like no 'count po' white folks."

OK, the dialect is pretty repulsive and I suspect this passage seems cryptic to someone who isn't a native English speaker. But really, don't you sense there's more to the story of Mattie Adams?  I wonder if her loving devotion isn't all that hard to figure out 110 years later.