Elizabeth Johnson Harris, Life Story
Harris' Writings and Family Stories (pp.63-73)

Image of this page My daughter Fannie Drayton, has spent two summer seasons in the city of Boston and Nantucket crossing the Atlantic four times. Her contentment was so great on the other side or in the east that she is desirous of making her home there. Three of her brothers spent a number of years there and one yet remains. On various pages in this Album will be found several poems of which I am composer and authoress. I have also written


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Image of this page three plays, in drama form - of four, five, and six acts. "The Soldier Lover" in 5, "A Bother's Love" in 6, "The Corrected Error" in 4. "The Solder's Lover." was staged and presented twice in 1918 at Elim Bapt Church (The Hill) and proved to be a success. Several of the Hancock Camping Soldiers were present and acknowledged their approval and enjoyment of same. I have never staged the others. But may some day, or convenient time. I have started to write two others titled "The King's Seven Daughters and the Prince." Then "The Cruel Father and The Rich Aunt." Had hoped to place these in this album, but space will not permit.

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Image of this page [The following is a transcription of the newspaper clipping pasted to the top of this page; it was taken from the Augusta Cronicle, 1907]

Mr. Charles Harris
Charles Harris of Augusta, who for some time past has been studying the pianoforte at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, had a prominent place on the program of a recital by some of the more advanced students Saturday afternoon. Mr. Harris, who has developed the finished technique required for apperance at these recitals of the leading American music school, played Chopin's Polonaise in A major for the pianoforte in a manner to win commendation from a large and representative audience.

[end of newspaper clipping]

"A true and laughable Slave Story, by my mother" - Mother had told me how she always admired and wished for the privelege of wearing the fine silks, etc. which belonged to her mistress in the days of slavery. So on one Sunday morning while the mistress had gone to Church, mother having to clean up her room in the usual way, mother she decided before cleaning up that she would rig up in a full outfit of mistress's just at this splendid opportunity.

So she went on to put one of the handsome silk dresses with the old style silk dress - bonnet to match, including veil, gloves, etc. and while she was standing and turning before the mirror smiling in her madam's finery, one of the mischievous female servants had slipped into the next room and all at once (continued to the left)

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Image of this page something fell very heavily, followed by a terrible groan, which frightened mother dreadfully, knowing that one of her old masters had died in this room. She thought perhaps it was his evil spirit enraged at her being arrayed in her madam's finery. So then she was between two frights She didn't know whether to remain in the room or to leave with the dressing on. And just as she started to disrobe herself, there was another sound of noise followed by a harder groan, so she went out down stairs screaming, and this person right down behind her still groaning. She was afraid to look back, and she was afraid of being caught on the outside in her mistress dress - and as she reached the back door on the lower floor, this mischievous person burst in a loud laugh and laid hands on mother's shoulders. Then they all had a big laugh,

(continued)


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Image of this page but any way, mother said that was a ruling joke on her, and she never tried that trick again, to re-array in her madam's finery for fear that next time of being caught by the real mistress herself, which would have been a dreadful time for mother - Ha Ha.

(Grand Pa's Courtship)

Grand Pa would sometimes tell me about the different girls that he had courted during slavery but somehow I cannot remember very much about these. Anyways for the manner that he would relate or display, he was strikingly winning and complacent.

But oh his girls had such puculiar names, it would tickle me into a big laugh just to hear him call their names, I remember one which was "Tabithy Bird," he said, she was a beautiful girl,

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Image of this page very, very dark, with the most beautiful long black silken tresses and teeth like rows of pure pearl.

Well, I imagined she was an unusual miraculous beauty.

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How GrandPa would sometimes amuse us in singing. He had a pretty good voice, and was mostly fond of sacred songs, yet he would often sing rather peculiar sentimental songs. I can remember one, entitled, "Small Snatched William's Courtship." This was somewhat sad and the words were very deep and interesting. I have started to write a play from this which when finished will be called "The Prince and the Kings Seven Daughters."

Then Grand Pa had some very peculiar and amusing songs that he would sing to my first four children, at

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Image of this page night in rocking them to sleep, and it was a great help I tell you.

And oh those lively and laughable stories about "Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear," which only old-time folks like Grandpa could amuse and entertain in conversation.

Grandpa was not a real shoe-maker, but he understood the job well enough to always mend his own shoes, and it was mostly at his shoe-mending time when he could amuse himself and also his wife, grandma, and their grand-daughter, by singing. "Oh those were the days that I can never forget, and sometimes would like to re-see"


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Image of this page I am yet looking back through the past and on the future in regards to Chas. my second son. He was always fond of the Bible as well as music, even when a very small boy before he learned to read, he would follow and ask questions in regard to the illustrations etc. and when he was twelve years old, I noticed him in the back yard one morning. He was sitting under a large hickory tree, looking rather sad. Just at this time my baby Fannie of two months was very sick and I was anxious over her illness. Then the peculiar actions of Charlie added to my anxieties. I went out to him to find out what the trouble was. He sat still with tears streaming down his cheeks, and I put my arms around him, and again asked


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Image of this page what was the trouble, had anyone harmed him. He suddenly stamped his feet on the ground and said that he wanted to preach God's word, and go home to Heaven to be with his dear old Grandfather. Well I was very much upset then between his actions and my baby's illness, I just thought that both were going to die, I sent for his aunt and his father, and several neighbors gathered quickly to see what was the trouble. Mrs. P.O. Clarke, white neighbor, came over and took her to her home next door, and read the bible to him, and prayed with him. She was a Methodist, and a Methodist minister's daughter. She returned to my home and tried to console me, while I held my sick baby girl in my arms. She advised me not to worry, pray, that Chas was converted and

(continued)


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Image of this page called to preach.

Well of course he had said that he wanted to preach. Well time passed on, he was never rowdy, I would not rush him in the church without a full confession, all of my children were converted and joined the church at an early age. When Chas joined the church at the age of seventeen, he said that he wanted to preach, and even named his first text, I do not remember just here what it was.

Well up to the present time following in twenty one years, Chas is using his God given talent in a broad field of music, and is considered and mentioned by critics as a real artist, and I am exceedingly proud yet I am looking on that he may someday take his Bible into the pulpit and preach the gospel, and after the

(continued)


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Image of this page sermon, he may step across to the choir circle and assist in finishing up the song-service.

Not that I am anxious that he or any of the others to be preachers, but glad to have them answer and abide at their masters calling. And we have seen and took notice that Chas. was surely called to the field of music great. But if there is another worthy calling added lit him take it up, and carry the music on. The Bible in one hand and music book in the other.

(you may yet find more in these pages as it comes to mind.)


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