Last Slave Cargo, article from the Lawrence Daily Journal, December 13, 1888

Contributed by Judy Sweets

Lawrence Daily Journal, Lawrence Kansas
13 December 1888

LAST SLAVE CARGO

A Colony of African Negroes Still Living on a Georgia Plantation

Probably the most interesting character hereabouts, says the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, is a negro man who was one of the cargo of the Wanderer, the last slave ship to bring to this country a load of captives from Africa. Lucius Williams, as he was christened by one of the young ladies of the family into which he was sold, or “Umwalla,” as he was called in Africa, lives in a small hut on the outskirts of Hamburg, across the river from here. Since freedom he has earned a livelihood working gardens, sawing wood and whitewashing. He was a little surprised when asked about his early life, but talks well, once he has begun, requiring to be questioned frequently, however. As Umwalla, he was born in Guinea, according to his story, not far from Liberia. One day, when he was about ten years of age, he was sent to his aunt to carry her some pinders to plant. When he was going through the woods two strange black men seized him and bound his hands. He cried terribly, and they soon gagged him. They sold him to a native, who took him to Liberia. There, for the first time in his life, he saw a white man, and he was terribly frightened at him.

Umwalla was then taken to the Wanderer, where a large number of captives had already been stored away in the hold. The passage over was fraught with untold terrors to the young savage. A storm was encountered, and for days the hold was fastened up, and numbers of the negroes died from sickness caused by the foul air. There were a number of ferocious men among the cargo who had to be kept in chains.

When the Wanderer approached the South Carolina coast she was sighted by a Government boat and given chase. During the night she dropped anchor off Pocataligo, and the cargo of negro men and women was debarked.

Umwalla, or as he was afterwards called, Lucius, was taken to a Carolina plantation near Beech Island, and put to work there.

Lucius is very fond of the “white folks,” as he styles the family of his old master and mistress, and frequently calls to see them – walking several miles to do so. The style of punishment followed among his tribe was to break the culprit’s neck by a sudden wrench from a forked stick.

Lucius tells, in his quaint way, of the interesting features of slavery. No negro woman was permitted, however gorgeous her toilet otherwise, to wear a vail or gloves. Negro men were neither permitted to carry a walking cane or smoke a cigar on the streets. They could not remain away from their quarters after nine o’clock at night without a permit from their master.

He is not lonesome here, for on a neighboring plantation – on Captain Ben Tillman’s place – are many negroes from his old home, and they frequently meet and converse in African. They do not attempt to impart the language to their children, he says, and of course all vestiges of it, save what they have engrafted on the Southern patois, must soon die out. – Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle