Library of Congress

Teachers

The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Timeline
Timeline Home Page
home
Civil War and Reconstruction
The Travails of Reconstruction
Judge JH Yaraborough Recalls the End of the Civil War

James Henry Yarborough was a Probate Judge in Chester County, South Carolina, when we was interviewed by a WPA Federal Writer's Project writer. Much of that interview dealt with his experiences as a young man in the period after the Civil War. What were Yarborough's major points about the end of the war and Reconstruction?

View the entire interview with Judge Yarborough from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.


"I was a tousled-head boy when the Yankees reached Jenkinsville and our old home, after crossing at Freshley's Ferry on Broad River. The invading army confiscated everything, such as corn, wheat, oats, peas, fodder, hay, and all smokehouse supplies. My recollection is that they came in February, 1865. I was then a freckled-face boy nine years old, and I fought like fury to retain about a pack of corn-on-the-cob that the Yankee's horses had left in a trough unconsumed.

"I remember, too, how grief stricken I was when a Yankee soldier killed my little pet dog. He had a gun with a bayonet fixed on the muzzle. He began teasing me about the corn. The little dog ran between my legs and growled and barked at the soldiers whereupon with an oath the soldier unfeelingly ran the bayonet through the neck of the faithful little dog and killed him.

"When that cruel war was over, it would have been wiser had the whites and ex-slaves been left to their own resources and inventions, to work out their future welfare. There was no lack of affection or loyalty on the part of the Negro, nor was there a lack of love and an enlightened appreciation of self-interest upon the part of the whites. Things might have been different if suffrage had been granted gradually. But with immediate equal suffrage, or the right to vote, came the carpetbagger with his preachments of social equality and the tantalizing bag of tricks to get for every Negro 40 acres of land and a mule. The Negroes were credulous and believed all the absurdities the knaves told them. The result was an inevitable curse for the Negro and lots of trouble for the white people. It ended only when Hampton was elected in 1876. Hampton is still my hero and a man of greatest worth in the annals of South Carolina."
top of page


View the entire interview with Judge Yarborough from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.