field notes ➤ W. O. Tuggle, 1881


John took a few whiffs from his inseparable companion, a merry twinkle was in his eye and he began; “Down among the Seminoles where brother Factor & brother John Jumper preached, there are a good many colored people. I see some here at the camp meeting, the old fellows up there at the arbor today.”

I had seen them. Two were dressed in peculiar style. They wore loose sack coats, made of blue cotton stripes, & had large turbans on their heads. One turban was made of a brown shawl twisted around the head, & the other was made out of a large handkerchief with stripes of yellow, blue, red & white. Both were barefooted. The old fellow with the bright colored turban had Burnside whiskers which were as white as was his hair, for he was indubitably very old, & when he opened his mouth to sing his teeth shone like ivory. These Negroes came from Florida with the Indians & have been the means in many cases of converting the Indians to Christianity as often the Indians would listen to a colored man preach when they would not care to attend religious services conducted by white men.

“Well,” continued John, “during a revival among the Seminoles one old colored preacher was preaching about Heaven & telling them what a good place it was & he told them that one of the best things up there was good eating, & he said, ‘O, Yes, my brudderin, Tank de Lord, when we gits to dat blessed place, we’ll fust hab good things to eat all de time. Bes tings in de world. Glory to de Lord. Up in Heben, we will just eat dem good hog heads, & cabbages all de time.’

“One brother in the congregation got happy and began shouting, ‘Bless de Lord, Glory.’

“The old preacher warmed up to his work & went on, ‘O, Yes, my dear brudderin & sisterin, good eating all de time & plenty ob it. We’ll have hog head & cabbage all de time & we’ll eat dem hog heads till de grease pours down de sides of our moufs.’

“The old brother in the congregation was overcome, he jumped up clapped his hands & shouted out, ‘Go on, my brudder in de Lord, & speak unto us some more of dem blessed greasy words.'”

John enjoyed the story himself & the Indians laughed heartily for they enjoy jokes & tales. ❞

Shem, Ham & Japheth: The Papers of W. O. Tuggle, Comprising His
Indian Diary, Sketches & Observations, Myths & Washington Journal
in the Territory & at the Capital, 1879-1882

edited by Eugene Current-Garcia and Dorothy B. Hatfield
(University of Georgia Press, 1973)

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