Vinnie Busby, Col. Easterling’s Ex-Slave from Rankin County

Vinnie Busby of Rankin County was an ex-slave of a “Colonel Easterling”. This appears to be the same Col. W. K. Easterling who also represented Rankin County in the Legislature for years (he shows up in the papers as a delegate before and after the war).

I don’t know that 100% for sure, but census records, dates, and places support it.

I found one article about Colonel Easterling in The Greenwood Commonwealth, circa Feb 12, 1929 (approx 30 years after Col. Easterling’s death). He shows up earlier than that in some votes in the Legislature, and also his business burned down in Rankin County after the war at some point. Good riddance, if this is the same person.

Excerpts from her account below. I typed from what I could read easily enough. Read her full account here.

“She was born around the year 1854, was owned during slavery time by Colonel Easterling, who was a wealthy plantation owner….this is what she tells of her life..

..I was raised up til I was right smart-sized girl on (?) plantation. Yes, I recollect way back in slave days and how us lived, worked and was treated. I wasn’t as lucky as some ex-slaves as I happened to belong to a purty tough Master who always wanted work done and wanted to be making more wealth.

He owned a big plantation with a big bunch of slaves that lived in small one-roomed cabins built in rows back of his big fine two-story house.
His purty place was kept spic’ an’ span by slave servants. There was cooks, house maids, and nurses keeping things going, then the men worked in the yards and gardens. Now everything was kept ‘just so’ round there.

…Master Easterling sure was a stern Master. He believed in whippin’ his slaves. I seen him put my ma across a barrel and whip her. She was a field hand and worked powerfully hard.

One of the cruelest things I ever seen done to a slave was done by my Master. He wanted to punish one of the slaved what had done something that he didn’t like, a kind of stubborn one. He took that darkie and hitched him to a plow and plowed him just like a horse. He beat him and jerked him about til he got all bloody and sore, but ol’ Master he kept right on day after day.

Finally, the buzzard went to flyin’ over them (a superstitious idea), them buzzards kept flyin’ and ol’ Master kept on a-plowin him til one day he died. After that, ol’ Master got to being haunted by that slave and buzzards. He could always see them and hear the groans of that darkie and he was haunted that way the rest of his life.

My pa and ma wasn’t owned by the same Masters. My pa was owned by Master Bill Brown who owned a plantation near Master Easterling. …he wouldn’t let pa come to see me and ma and us. At night he would slip over to see us and old Master was most always on the look out for everything. When he would catch him, he would beat him so hard till we could tell which way he went back by the blood. But pa, he would keep comin’ to see us and taking the beatings. [🥺❤️]

I married when I was just a slip of a gal. I didn’t have no courtship to speak of. I just met that boy, loved him and married him. I couldn’t have been more than 14 or 15 years old. I raised 7 of my 13 children…”



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