Tricky Sam

This a local story about a African American Black man that lived during his life within several counties here in Eastern North Carolina. Back in the early 70's I began hearing stories about a man, people called him, Tricky Sam, To Begin with I thought people were exaggerating a little bit, around a place named Belhaven, Beaufort County is where it started, people said Tricky was a town fixture known by many to bet money on anything he thought he could get a few dollars from and a bottle of wine, but something was very strange about Tricky he won't called Tricky for nothing. Young girls would say he'd tell them their underwear was going to fall before they reached a door at where ever they might happen at the time to be, a girl from Belhaven told me this, she said she was scared to death of Tricky Sam, she would go in the store after school and Tricky was in there or close by usually in that vicinity. When she got to the door to go out her pants would be fallen to her ankles ,she told me this that it happened several times and he did that to lot of the young girls in that town. People say he got arrested several times, that he'd go in the grocery store and buy items and at the register he'd pay for things usually beer or wine with what looked like normal paper money but when he left the cashier would open the draw of the register and there would only be something like confetti in it, he done this many times, I have been told. The people say, he got locked up for being public drunkenness a lot. The police would lock him up and when in the mourning they'd go to release him that he'd be gone, they couldn't keep him in jail he'd disappear. He of course got a nice warm place to sleep and good food to eat. And for a long time if you went to that town and said anything to the cops about Tricky that they wouldn't speak of him and turn white as a sheet. A friend of mine told me that him and a lot of other people use to play poker with him at a certain house some where in Belhaven, I asked him about Tricky one time and he got, real upset, he didn't want talk about Tricky, I am so curious about Witch Doctors and things like that , I decided I was going to keep right on asking this guy about Tricky until he told me what he seemed to be so scared of, One day I finally got him talk about Tricky. Gene said that, he Tricky would tell people playing cards with him that he'd bet them ever so much that he could knock them from one room in the house to another right through the wall and that they wouldn't get hurt when he did it, some of them took him up on that bet and these people are little rattled brained now for it. Sure enough he did it many times to people and filled his wallet up. Gene told me that he saw him do this to one person, and that he had to unlock the door to let the person out of the room. Said those people where absolutely hysterical banging on the walls screaming let me out, let me out. I am getting a little shaky myself writing about him, I hope he don't come out of nowhere and get me like the Boogy man for telling this true story. It is said Tricky Sam left Belhaven and started hanging around in Washington, NC, where I was mostly raised up and went to school. My brother David got in a little trouble for something and was in the Beaufort County jail, he said Tricky Sam was in there in his cell. A bunch of guys were playing cards with him, said Tricky, told them" to pick a card from the deck, that he would throw the whole deck up to the ceiling and that card they had chose would stick and not come back down", Tricky Sam cashed in, he did many card tricks with the people in that cell, The next mourning the jailers came in to give everybody breakfast, Tricky Sam, disappeared during the night , nobody knows how he escaped I personally had never met this man, Tricky Sam, I have just heard all these stories.

In 1983, I moved in the Stokes township area close to Greenville, NC, about 23 miles from Washington. There is country store and bar near where I live, JJ's, I went there sometimes to drink a beer, play pool, the man that owned JJ's , cooked for locals on certain days, Dried Butterbeans , hamburgers, chicken and pastry something almost everyday, Now this must be what done it. Tricky Sams reappears, but everybody calls him" Doc". I saw him he in there lots of times but never put 2 and 2 together He lived in a small 2 room shack I call it, right behind this bar. Everybody around here says they saw "Doc" riding a bicycle all over these country roads, my mother-in-law, said she had seen him close to home when going out to shop on several occasions riding in a car with who ever she could get to take her into Greenville, when they got to Greenville, there "Doc would be on that bicycle and he beat them to town, he'd be in more than one place at a time, now Annie she put that 2 and 2 together. Well I got to thinking and decided Tricky Sam and Doc was the same person. So I introduced myself at the bar to him one day, he seemed like a somewhat normal person I guess, I still was always asking people, lots of questions about him but no one really wanted to give up much information, one day, I helped Tricky take some ice over to his home behind the bar. He opened the back door of his home and it looked like he had about 50 or more heavy winter coats hanging on a long rack across a back wall. I didn't go in, I was scared to do that. Tricky said he was from New York, had some grown children, a daughter. Doc-Tricky Sam Died probably about 20 years ago now, but I wonder did he really.

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