Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States
Work Projects Administration
Part 5 out of 6
bring your hat 'round now and we are going to pay you,' and they passed
the hat 'round and give me a hat full of money. I thought it wasn't no
good and I carried it and give it to my old mistress, but it was good.
"They asked me if I had ever seen Jeff Davis. I said 'No.' Then they
said, 'That's him sittin' there.' He had on a black dress and a pair of
boots and a mantilla over his shoulders and a Quaker bonnet and a black
"They got up from the dining table and Sherman ordered them to 'Recover
arms.' He had on a big black hat full of eagles and he had stars and
stripes all over him. That was Sherman's artillery. They had mules with
pots and skillets, and frying pans, and axes, and picks, grubbing hoes,
and spades, and so on, all strapped on those mules. And the mules didn't
have no bridles but they went on just as though they had bridles. One of
the Yanks started a song when he picked up his gun.
'Here's my little gun
His name is number one
Four and five rebels
We'll slay 'em as they come
Join the ban'
The rebels understan'
Give up all the lan'
To my brother Abraham
Old Gen'l Lee
Who is he?
He's not such a man
As our Gen'l Grant
Snap Poo, Snap Peter
Real rebel eater
I left my ply stock
Standin' in the mould
I left my family
And silver and gold
Snap Poo, Snap Peter
Real rebel eater
Snap Poo, Snap Peter.'
"And General Sherman gave the comman', 'Silence', and 'Silence' roared
one man, and it rolled all down the line, 'Silence, silence, silence,
silence.' And they all got silent.
How Freedom Came
"They had a notification for a big speaking and that was in Perry,
Georgia. Everybody that was able throughout the State went to that
convention where that speaking was. And that is where peace was
declared. Every man was his own free agent. 'No more master, no more
mistress. You are your own free moral agent. Think and act for
yourself.' That is how it was declared. I didn't go to the meeting. I
was right there in the town. There was too many people there. You
couldn't stir them with hot fire. But my mother and father went.
What the Slaves Expected
"They didn't expect anything but freedom. Some of them didn't have sense
enough to secure a home for themselves. They didn't have no sense. Some
of them wasn't eligible to speak for themselves. They wanted somebody to
speak for them.
What They Got
"I don't know that they got anything.
Immediately After the War
"Right after the War, I stayed with the people that owned me and worked.
They give me two dollars a month and my food and clothes. I stayed with
them five years and then I quit. I had sense enough to quit and I went
to work for wages. I got five dollars a month. And I thought that was a
big salary. I didn't know no better. I learnt better by experience.
Negroes in Politics
"Just after the War, the Republicans used to have representatives at the
state convention. After the Democrats got in power, they knocked all
that in the head. Colored people used to be on juries. But they won't
let them serve now. (Negroes served on local grand jury last year.)
"I knew one nigger politician in Georgia named I.B. Simons. He was a
school-teacher. He never held any office. I knowed a nigger politician
here by the name of John Bush. He had the United States Land Office.
When the Democrats got in power they put him out. I knowed another
fellow used to be here named Crockett Brown. He lived in Lee County,
Arkansas. He was a Congressman. I don't know whether he ever got to the
White House or not. I ain't never seen no account of it. I can't tell
you all any more now.
Memories of Fred Douglass
"I knowed Fred Douglass. I shook hands with him and talked with him here
in Little Rock. They give him the opera house. We had the first floor.
The white folks had the gallery. That was when the Republicans were in
"He said: 'They all seem to be amazed and dumbfounded over me having a
white woman for a wife.' He said, 'You all don't know that my father was
my mother's master and she was as black as a crow. Don't it seem natural
that history should repeat itself? have often wondered why he liked such
a black woman as my mother. I was jus' a chip off the old block.'
"I voted for U.S. Grant. He was the first President we had after the
Civil War. I shook hands with him twice in Little Rock. He put up at the
Capitol Hotel and I was a-cooking there.
"I voted for McKinley. I saw him too. I had a walking cane with his head
on it. That is about all I remember right now. He was the one that got
up this gold standard. He liked to put this state under bayonet laws
when he was working under that gold standard. The South was bitterly
"I followed cooking all my life. I have had the white peoples' lives in
my hand all my life. I worked on the Government boat, _Wichita_. It went
out of season and they built a boat called the _Arkansas_. I cooked on
it. Captain Griffin was the master of it. When it went out of service,
Captain Newcome from the War Department transferred me over to the
Mississippi River on the _Arthur Hider_ (?). My headquarters were in
Greenville, Mississippi. It was far from home, so after nine months I
quit and came home (Little Rock). Captain Van Frank give me a position
on a dredge boat and the people were so bad on there I wouldn't stay. I
came away. I wouldn't stay 'mongst 'em.
"I want you to know that I am a Christian and I want you to know I ain't
got no compromise with nobody on God's word. I ain't got but one way and
that is the way Jesus said:
Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
He that believeth on me shall be saved.
You all fix anything anyway you want. I ain't bothered 'bout you.
"My people were good Christian people."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: John Patterson, Helena, Arkansas
"I was born near Paducah, Kentucky. Mother was never sold. She belong to
Master Arthur Patterson. Mother was what folks called black folks. I
never seen a father to know. I never heard mother say a thing about my
father if I had one. He never was no use to me nor her neither. Mother
brought me here in time of the Civil War. I was four years old. We come
here to be kept from the Yankee soldiers. We was sent with some of the
Pattersons. At the end of the war mother cooked for Nick Rightor (?) and
his wife here in North Helena. He was a farmer but his son is a ear,
eye, nose specialist.
"I farmed, cleaned house and yards for these Helena people. I was
janitor at the Episcopal church in Helena sixteen years and four months.
They paid me forty-five dollars a month.
"Yes ma'am, I have heard about the Ku Klux. Heard talk but never seen
"I never been in jail. I never been drunk. Folks in Helena will tell you
John Patterson can be trusted.
"I saved up one thousand dollars, just let it slip. The present times
are hard. Times are hard. I get ten dollars and comissary helps. I got
one in family.
"I think mother said she was treated very good in slavery. She didn't
tell me much about it.
"I own a home. It come through a will from my aunt. My uncle was a
drayman here in Helena and a close liver. I want to hold to it if I can.
"If you'd ask me what all ain't took place since I been here I could
come nigh telling you. We had colored officers here. Austin Barrer was
sheriff. Half of the officers was colored at one time. John Jones was
police. No, they wasn't friends of mine. I seen these levies built. One
was here in 1897. It was rebuilt then.
"It seems to me the country is going down. When they put in the Stock
Law people had to sell so much stock. Milch cows sold for six dollars a
head. People that want and need stock have no place to raise it. People
are not as industrious as they was and they accumolate more it seems to
me. We used to make our living at home. I think that is the best way.
"I voted a Republican ticket years ago. I don't believe in women voting.
The Lord don't believe in that. I belong to the Baptist church.
"Young folks don't act on education principles. Folks used to fight with
fist. Now one shoots the other down. Times are not improving morally.
Folks don't even think it is wrong to take things; that is stealing.
They drink up all the money they can get. I don't see no colored folks
ever save a dollar. They did long time ago. Thaes worse in some ways.
"I forgot our plough songs:
'I wonder where my darling is.'
'Nigger makes de cotton and de
White man gets the money.'
"Everybody used to sing. We worked from sun to sun; we courted and was
happy. People not happy now. They are craving now. About four o'clock we
all start up singing. Sing till dark."
Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor
Person interviewed: Sarah Jane Patterson
2611 Orange Street, North Little Rock, Arkansas
"I was born in Bartow County, Georgia, January 17, 1848. You can go
there and look in that Bible over there and you will find it all written
down. My mama kept a record of all our ages. Her old mistress kept the
record and gave it to my mother after freedom.
"My parents were Joe Patterson and Mary Adeline Patterson. My mother's
name before she married was Mary Adeline Huff. My grandfather on my
mother's side was named Huff. My mother's sisters were Mahala, and
Sallie. And them's the onliest two I remember. She had two brothers but
I don't remember their names.
How Freedom Came
"I was living in Bartow County in north Georgia when freedom came. I
don't remember how the slaves found it out. I remember them saying,
'Well, they's all free.' And that is all I remember. And I remember some
one saying--asking a question, 'You got to say master?' And somebody
answered and said, 'Naw.' But they said it all the same. They said it
for a long time. But they learned better though.
"I have brother Willis, Lizzie, Mary, Maud, and myself. There was four
sisters and one brother. I had just one child--a boy. He lived to be a
grown man and raised a family. His wife had three children and all of
them is gone. The father, the mother, and the children. I was a woman. I
wasn't no man. I just had one child, but the Lord blessed me. I have
three sisters and a brother dead.
"My old master's name was John Patterson and my old mistress was named
Lucy Patterson. She had a son named Bill and a son named Tommy and a son
named Charles, and a boy named Bob, and a girl named Marion. We are so
for apart they can't help me none. I know Bob's boys are dead because
they got killed in a fight in Texas.
Crippled in Slave Time
"I been crippled all my life. We was on the lawn playing and the white
boy had been to the pond to water the horses. He came back and said he
was going to run over us. We all ran and climbed up on the top of a ten
rail fence. The fence gave 'way and broke and fell down with us. I
caught the load. They all fell on me. It knocked the knee out of place.
They carried me to Stilesboro to Dr. Jeffrey, a white doctor in slavery
time. I don't know what he did, but he left me with my knee out of joint
after he treated it. I can't work my toes and I have to walk with that
"I was a tot when I seen the soldiers coming dressed in blue, and I run.
They was very nice to the colored people, never beat 'em or nothin'. I
was in Bartow County when they come through. They took a lot of things,
but I can't remember exactly what it was. I 'tended to the children
then--both the white and colored children, but mostly the white.
"My old master, John Patterson, never beat up the women and men he
"I have heard people talk about the pateroles raising sand with the
niggers. Some of the niggers would say they got whipped. I was small. I
would hear 'em say, 'The pateroles is out tonight.'
Ku Klux Klan
"I have seed the old Ku Klux. That was after freedom. They came 'round
to my old master where my mama stayed. They were just after whipping
folks. Some of them they couldn't whip.
"I used to get a little money from Mr. Dent long as he was living. I
would go over there and he would give me a dollar or two. Since he's
been dead, his wife don't have much to give me. She gives me something
to eat sometimes but she doesn't have any money now that her husband is
"I can't get up to the Welfare. Crippled as I am, I can't walk up and
down those stairs, and I can't git there nohow. I been tryin' to git
some one to take me up there.
"Mr. Pratt helps me from time to time, but he ain't sent me nothin' now
in a good while. He's right smart busy, but if I go to him, I spect
he'll stir up somethin' for me.
"I wouldn't never a left Bartow County, but the white people made out
that this was a rich country and you could make so much out here, and we
moved out here. We was young then. We came out on the train. It was a
long time back but it was too far to came on a wagon. I don't remember
just how long ago it was.
"I used to quilt until my fingers got too stiff. I got some patterns in
there now if you want to see them."
The old lady took me in the house and showed me about a dozen quilts,
beautifully patterned and made. She had also some unfinished tops. She
says that she does not have much of a sale for them now because the
"quality of folks" who liked such things well enough to buy them "is
just about gone."
She is crippled and unable to walk with facility. She has a great deal
of difficulty in getting off and on her porch. Still she does not
impress one as feeble so much as just disabled in one or two
particulars. She has a crippled knee, and both of her hands are
peculiarly stiff in the finger joints, one more so than the other. If it
were not for the disabilities, as old as she is, I believe that she
could give a good account of herself.
I didn't have the heart to tell the old lady that her Bible record is
not what she thinks it is. It is not the old original record which her
mistress possessed. Neither is it the copy of the record of her mistress
which her mother kept. From questioning, I gather that the old mistress
dictated the original record to some one connected with her mother,
might have written it out herself on a sheet of paper. From time to
time, as new deaths and births occurred, scraps of paper containing them
were added to the first paper, and as the papers got worn, blurred, and
dog-eared, they were copied--probably not without errors. Time came when
the grandchildren up in the grades and with _semi-modern_[HW:?] ideas
copied the scraps into the family Bible. By that time aging and blurring
of the original lead pencil notes, together with recopying, had
invalidated the record till it is no longer altogether reliable.
The births recorded in the Bible are as follows and in the exact order
Mary Patterson 10-11-1866
Harris Donesson 3-13- 72
Lilley Donesson 7-21- 85
Pearly Donesson 3-29- 92
Silvay Williams 8-29- 84
Beney Williams 11-24- 85
Millia A. Williams 12-30- 88
Joe Patterson 10- 3- 77
H. Patterson 7-29- 79
Maria E. Patterson 11-19- 81
Jennie Patterson 12-24- 84
Alex Patterson 7- 5- 86
James Patterson 6-20- 90
Janie Patterson 1-27- 60
Amanda Patterson 1-28- 63
James Rafield Walker 8-11- 99
Cornelius Walker 7-21-1902
Willie Walker 11-20- 03
Elias Walker 7-21- 11
Emmet Brown 1-23- 22
Leon Harris 12-13- 21
The following marriages were given:
May Lee Brown 2-26-1926
James Walker Brown 2-21- 35
Jennie Walker 6-20- 15
Lillie Jean Walker 12-6- 36
The name of Sarah Jane Patterson is not in the list. The list itself is
not chronological. It is written in ink but in the stiff cramped hand to
be expected of a school child not yet thoroughly familiar with the pen.
The eye fixes on the name of Janie Patterson, 1-27-1860. It does not
seem probable that this is correct if it is meant to be Sarah Jane.
Sarah Jane could give no help except to answer questions about the
manner in which the record was made.
These considerations led me to set the record aside in my own mind so
far as Sarah Jane Patterson's age is concerned and to take her word. She
has a very clear conception of the change from slavery to freedom. Her
memories are blurred and indistinct, but she recollects that this matter
was during slavery times and that during freedom. It seems that she had
the care of the smaller children during slavery time--at the time she
saw the soldiers marching through. This was not during the time of
freedom, because she distinguished clearly the Ku Klux time. She would
have to be at least eighty to have cared for children. Her tenacious
memory of ninety may have some foundation, therefore.
Moreover where writing is done in lead pencil and hurriedly, six is
often made to look like four and a part of eight may become blurred till
it looks like a zero. That would account for 1848 being transcribed as
1860. There would be nothing unusual, however, in a Sarah Jane and a
Jane. I neglected to cover that point in a question.
Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor
Person interviewed: Solomon P. Pattillo
1502 Martin Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
Occupation: Formerly farmer, teacher, and small dealer--now blind
"I was born November 1862. I was three years old at the time of the
surrender. I was born right here in Arkansas--right down here in Tulip,
Dallas County, Arkansas. I have never been out of the state but twice.
"My daddy carried me out once when they took him to Texas during the war
to keep the Yanks from setting him free.
"Then I went out once long after slavery to get a load of sand. On the
way back, my boat nearly sank. Those are the only two times I ever left
"My father's name was Thomas Smith, but the Pattillos bought him and he
took the name of Pattillo. I don't know how much he sold for. That was
the only time he was ever sold. I believe that my father was born in
North Carolina. It seems like to me I recollect that is where he said he
"My mother was born in Virginia. I don't know how she got here unless
she was sold like my father was. I don't know her name before she got
married. Yes, I do; her name was Fannie Smith, I believe.
"We lived in old log cabins. We had bedsteads nailed to the wall. Then
we had them old fashioned cordboard springs. They had ropes made into
springs. That was a high class bed. People who had those cord springs
felt themselves. They made good sleeping. My father had one. Ropes were
woven back and forth across the bed frame.
"We had those old spinning wheels. Three cuts was a day's work. A cut
was so many threads. It was quite a day to make them. They had hanks
too. The threads were all linked together.
"My mother was a spinner. My father was a farmer. Both of them worked
for their master,--old Massa, they called him, or Massa, Mass Tom, Mass
John or Massta.
"I remember during the war when I was in Texas with a family of Moody's
how old Mistiss had me packing rocks out of the yard in a basket and
cleaning the yard. I didn't know it then, but my daddy told me later
that that was when I was in Texas,--during the war. I remember that I
used to work in my shirt tail.
"The soldiers used to come in the house somewhere and take anything they
could get or wanted to take.
"When I was a boy they had a song, 'Run, Nigger, run; The Pateroles will
get you.' They would run you in and I have been told they would whip
you. If you overstayed your time when your master had let you go out, he
would notify the pateroles and they would hunt you up and turn you over
"Way long then, my father and mother used to say that man doesn't serve
the Lord--the true and living God and let it be known. A bunch of them
got together and resolved to serve Him any way. First they sang in a
whisper, 'Come ye that love the Lord.' Finally they got bold and began
to sing in tones that could be heard everywhere, 'Oh for a thousand
tongues to sing my Great Redeemer's praise.'
After the War
"After the war my father fanned--made share crops. I remember once how
some one took his horse and left an old tired horse in the stable. She
looked like a nag. When she got rested up she was better than the one
that was took.
"His first farm was down here in Dallas County. He made a share crop
with his former master, Pattillo. He never had no trouble with him.
"I heard a good deal of talk about the Ku Klux Klan, but I don't know
anything much about it. They never bothered my father and mother. My
father was given the name of being an obedient servant--among the best
help they had.
"My father farmed all his life. He died at the age of seventy-two in
Tulip, near the year 1885, just before Cleveland's inauguration. He died
of typhoid pneumonia. My mother was ninety-six years old when she died
"I came to Little Rock in 1894. I came up here to teach in Fourche Dam.
Then I moved here. I taught my first school in this county at Cato. I
quit teaching because my salary was so poor and then I went into the
butcher's business, and in the wood business. I farmed all the while.
"I taught school for twenty-one years. I always was a successful
teacher. I did my best. If you contract to do a job for ten dollars, do
as much as though you were getting a hundred. That will always help you
to get a better job.
"I have farmed all my life in connection with my teaching. I went into
other businesses like I said a moment ago. I was a caretaker at the
Haven of Rest Cemetery for sometime.
"I was postmaster from 1904 to 1911 at Sweet Home. At one time I was
employed on the United States Census.
"I get a little blind pension now. I have no other means of support.
Loss of Eyes
"The doctor says I lost my eyesight on account of cataracts. I had an
operation and when I came home, I got to stirring around and it caused
me to have a hemorrhage of the eye. You see I couldn't stay at the
hospital because it was costing me $3 a day and I didn't have it. They
had to take one eye clean out. Nothing can be done for them, but somehow
I feel that the lord's going to let me see again. That's the way I feel
"I have lived here in this world this long and never had a fight in my
life. I have never been mistreated by a white man in my life. I always
knew my place. Some fellows get mistreated because they get out of their
"I was told I couldn't stay in Benton because that was a white man's
town. I went there and they treated me white. I tried to stay with a
colored family way out. They were scared to take me. I had gone there to
attend to some business. Then I went to the sheriff and he told me that
if they were scared to have me stay at their home, I could stay at the
hotel and put my horse in the livery stable. I stayed out in the wagon
yard. But I was invited into the hotel. They took care of my horse and
fed it and they brought me my meals. The next morning, they cleaned and
curried and hitched my horse for me.
"I have voted all my life. I never had any trouble about it.
"The Ku Klux never bothered me. Nobody else ever did. If we live so that
everybody will respect us, the better class will always try to help us."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Carry Allen Patton
Forrest City, Arkansas
"I was born in Shelby County, Tennessee. My parents was Tillie Watts and
Pierce Allen. He come from Louisiana reckly (directly) after the
surrender. My mother come from Virginia. She was sold in Virginia and
brought to middle Tennessee close to Murfreesboro and then brought to
Memphis and sold. She was dark and my father was too. They was living
close to Wilmar, Arkansas when the yellow fever was so bad. I don't
remember it. Heard them talk about it.
"I heard my mother say how Mr. Jake Watts saved his money from the
Yankees. They had a great big rock flat on both sides. They put on the
joints of big meat to weight it down when they salted it down in a
barrel. They didn't unjoint the meat and in the joint is where it
started to spoil. Well, he put his silver and gold in a pot. It was a
big round pot and was smaller around the top. He dug a hole after
midnight. He and his two boys James and Dock put the money in this hole
in the back yard. They covered the pot with the big flat rock and put
dirt on that and next morning they planted a good big cedar tree over
the rock, money and all.
"Old Master Jake died during the War and their house was burned but
James lived in one of the cabins in the yard. Dock went to the War. My
mother said when they left, that tree was standing.
"My mother run off. She thought she would go cook for the men in the
camps but before she got to the camps a wagon overtook her and they
stole her. They brought her to Memphis and sold her on a block. They
guarded her. She never did know who they was nor what become of them.
They kept her in the wagon on the outskirts of the city nearly a month.
One man always stayed to watch her. She was scared to death of both of
them. One of the men kept a jug of whiskey in the wagon and drunk it but
he never would get dead drunk so she could slip off.
"Mr. Johnson bought her and when the surrender come on, Master Johnson
took his family and went to Texas. She begged him to take her to nurse
but he said if it wasn't freedom he would send her back to Master James
Watts and he would let her go back then. He give her some money but she
never went back. She was afraid to start walking and before her money
give clear out she met up with my father and he talked her out of going
"She had a baby pretty soon. It was by them men that stole her. He was
light. He died when he got nearly grown. I recollect him good. I was
born close to Memphis, the boy died of dysentery.
"When my mother was sold in Virginia she was carried in a wagon to the
block and thought she was going to market. She never seen her folks no
more. They let them go along to market sometimes and set in the wagon.
She had a little pair of gloves she wore when she was sold her grandma
had knit for her. They was white, had half thumb and no fingers. When
she died I put them in her coffin. She had twins born dead besides me.
They was born close to Wilmar, Arkansas.
"We farmed all my life in Arkansas and Mississippi. I married in
Mississippi and we come back here before Joe died. I live out here and
in Memphis. My son is a janitor at the Sellers Brothers Store in
Memphis. My daughter cooks about here in town and I keep her children. I
rather farm if I was able.
"I think young folks, both colors, shuns work. Times is running away
with itself. Folks is living too fast. They ride too fast and drinks and
do all kinds of meanness.
"My father was a mighty poor hand at talking. He said he was sold in a
gang shipped to Memphis from New Orleans. Master Allen bought him. He
was a boy. I don't know how big. He cleaned fish--scaled them. He
butchered and in a few months Mr. Allen set him free. It was surrender
when he was sold but Mr. Allen didn't know it or else he meant to keep
him on a few years. When he got loose he started farming and farmed till
he died. He farmed in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. He owned a
place but a drouth come along. He got in debt and white folks took it.
"I married in Mississippi. My husband immigrated from South Carolina. He
was Joe Patton. I washed and ironed and farmed. I rather farm now if I
"I never got no gov'ment help. I ain't posing it. It is a fine thing. I
was in Tennessee when it come on. They said I'd have to stay here six
months. I never do stay."
Interviewer: Mrs. Annie L. LaCotts
Person interviewed: Harriett McFarlin Payne
"Aunt Harriett, were you born in slavery time?"
"Yes, mam! I was big enough to remember well, us coming back from Texas
after we refugeed there when the fighting of the war was so bad at St.
Charles. We stayed in Texas till the surrender, then we all come back in
lots of wagons. I was sick but they put me on a little bed and me and
all the little chillun rode in a 'Jersey' that one of the old Negro
mammies drove, along behind the wagons, and our young master, Colonel
Bob Chaney rode a great big black horse. Oh! he nice-looking on dat
horse! Every once and awhile he'd ride back to the last wagon to see if
everything was all right. I remember how scared us chillun was when we
crossed the Red River. Aunt Mandy said, 'We crossin' you old Red River
today, but we not going to cross you any more, cause we are going home
now, back to Arkansas.' That day when we stopped to cook our dinner I
picked up a lot little blackjack acorns and when my mammy saw them she
said, 'Throw them things down, chile. They'll make you wormy.' (I cried
because I thought they were chinquapins.) I begged my daddy to let's go
back to Texas, but he said, 'No! No! We going with our white folks.' My
mama and daddy belonged to Col. Jesse Chaney, much of a gentleman, and
his wife Miss Sallie was the best mistress anybody ever had. She was a
Christian. I can hear her praying yet! She wouldn't let one of her
slaves hit a tap on Sunday. They must rest and go to church. They had
preaching at the cabin of some one of the slaves, and in the Summertime
sometimes they had it out in the shade under the trees. Yes, and the
slaves on each plantation had their own church. They didn't go
galavanting over the neighborhood or country like niggers do now. Col.
Chaney had lots and lots of slaves and all their houses were in a row,
all one-room cabins. Everything happened in that one room,--birth,
sickness, death and everything, but in them days niggers kept their
houses clean and their door yards too. These houses where they lived was
called 'the quarters'. I used to love to walk down by that row of
houses. It looked like a town and late of an evening as you'd go by the
doors you could smell meat a frying, coffee making and good things
cooking. We were fed good and had plenty clothes to keep us dry and
"Along about time for de surrender, Col. Jesse, our master, took sick
and died with some kind of head trouble. Then Col. Bob, our young
master, took care of his mama and the slaves. All the grown folks went
to the field to work and the little chillun would be left at a big room
called the nursing home. All us little ones would be nursed and fed by
an old mammy, Aunt Mandy. She was too old to go to the field, you know.
We wouldn't see our mammy and daddy from early in the morning till night
when their work was done, then they'd go by Aunt Mandy's and get their
chillun and go home till work time in the morning.
"Some of the slaves were house negroes. They didn't go to work in the
fields, they each one had their own job around the house, barn, orchard,
milk house, and things like that.
"When washday come, Lord, the pretty white clothes! It would take three
or four women a washing all day.
"When two of de slaves wanted to get married, they'd dress up nice as
they could and go up to the big house and the master would marry them.
They'd stand up before him and he'd read out of a book called the
'discipline' and say, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, all thy strength, with all thy might and thy neighbor as
thyself.' Then he'd say they were man and wife and tell them to live
right and be honest and kind to each other. All the slaves would be
there too, seeing the 'wedden'.
"Our Miss Sallie was the sweetest best thing in the world! She was so
good and kind to everybody and she loved her slaves, too. I can remember
when Uncle Tony died how she cried! Uncle Tony Wadd was Miss Sallie's
favorite servant. He stayed in a little house in the yard and made fires
for her, brought in wood and water and just waited on the house. He was
a little black man and white-headed as cotton, when he died. Miss Sallie
told the niggers when they come to take him to the grave yard, to let
her know when they got him in his coffin, and when they sent and told
her she come out with all the little white chillun, her little
grandchillun, to see Uncle Tony. She just cried and stood for a long
time looking at him, then she said, 'Tony, you have been a good and
faithful servant.' Then the Negro men walked and carried him to the
graveyard out in a big grove in de field. Every plantation had its own
graveyard and buried its own folks, and slaves right on the place.
"If all slaves had belonged to white folks like ours, there wouldn't
been any freedom wanted."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: John Payne
"I was born in Georgia, close to Bowles Spring, in Franklin County. My
mama's master was Reverend David Payne. He was a Baptist preacher. My
mama said my father was Monroe Glassby. He was a youngster on a
neighboring plantation. He was white. His father was a landowner. I
think she said it was 70 miles east of Atlanta where they went to trade.
They went to town two or three times a year. It took about a week to go
"From what Mama said they didn't know it was freedom for a long time.
They worked on I know till that crop was made and gathered. Somebody
sent word to the master, Rev. David, he better turn them slaves loose.
Some of the hands heard the message. That was the first they knowed it
was freedom. My mama said she seen soldiers and heard fighting. She had
heard that if the Yankees won the war all the slaves be free. She set to
studyin' what she would do. She didn't know what to do. So when she
heard it she asked If she had to be free. She told Rev. David she wanted
to stay like she had been staying. After I was up a good size boy we
went to Banks County. She done house work and field work too and I done
farm work. All kinds and from sun-up till dark every day. Sometimes I
get in so late I have to make a torch light to see how to put the feed
in the troughs. We had plenty litard--pine knots--they was rich to burn.
"I used to vote but I quit since I come to Arkansas. I come in 1902. I
paid my own way and wrote back for my family. I paid their way too. I
got one little grandaughter, 20 years old. She is off trying to make her
way through college. My wife had a stroke and she can't do much no more.
I got a piece of a house. It need repairs. I can't hardly pay my taxes.
I can't work much. I got two cows and six little pigs. I got eighty
acres land. I worked fourteen years for John Gazolla and that is when I
made enough to buy my place. I am in debt but I am still working. Seems
like one old man can't make much."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person Interviewed: Larkin Payne
"I was born in North Carolina. I don't recall my moster's name. My
parents was Sarah Hadyn and John Payne. They had seven children. None of
them was sold. My pa was sold. He had three sons in the Civil War. None
of em was killed. One was in the war four years, the others a good
portion of two years. They was helpers.
"Grandma bought grandpa's, freedom. My great grandma was an Indian
woman. My mother was dark brown. My father was tolerable light. When I
was small child they come in and tell bout people being sold. I heard a
whole lot about it that way. It was great grandma Hadyn that was the
Indian. My folks worked in the field or anywhere as well as I recollect.
"When freedom come on my folks moved to East Tennessee. I don't know
whether they got good treatment or not. They was freedom loving folks.
The Ku Klux never bothered us at home. I heard a lot of em. They was
pretty hot further south. I had two brothers scared pretty bad. They
went wid some white men to South Carolina and drove hogs. The white men
come back in buggies or on the train--left them to walk back. The Ku
Klux got after them. They had a hard time getting home. I heard the Ku
Klux was bad down in Alabama. They had settled down fore I went to
Alabama. I owned a home in Alabama. I took stock for it. Sold the stock
and come to Arkansas. I had seven children. We raised three.
"When my folks was set free they never got nothing. The mountain folks
raised corn and made whiskey. They made red corn cob molasses; it was
good. They put lye in the whiskey; it would kill you. They raised hogs
plenty. My folks raised hogs and corn. They didn't make no whiskey. I
seen em make it and sell it too.
"I heard folks say they rather be under the home men overseers than
Northern overseers. They was kinder to em it seem like. I was jes
beginnin' to go to the field when freedom come on. I helped pile brush
to be burned before freedom. I farmed when I was a boy; pulled fodder
and bundled it. I shucked corn, slopped pigs, milked, plowed a mule over
them rocks, thinned out corn. I worked twenty days in East Tennessee on
the section. I cut and haul wood all winter.
"My parents both died in Arkansas. We come here to get to a fine farmin'
country. We did like it fine. I'm still here.
"I have voted. I vote if I'm needed. The white folks country and they
been runnin' it. I don't want no enemies. They been good to me. I got no
egercation much. I sorter follows bout votin'. We look to the white
folks to look after our welfare.
"I get $8.00 and commodities. I work all I can git to do."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Cella Perkins
Marvell and Palestine, Arkansas
"I was born close to Macon, Georgia. Mama's old mistress, Miss Mari
(Maree) Beth Woods, brung her there from fifteen miles outer Atlanta.
"After emancipation Miss Mari Beth's husband got killed. A horse kicked
him to death. It shyed at something and it run in front of the horse. He
held the horse so it couldn't run. It kicked the foot board clean off,
kicked him in the stomach. His boy crawled out of the buggy. That's the
way we knowed how it happened. She didn't hurt the boy. His name was
"Pa went to war with his master and he never come back to mama. She
never heard from him after freedom. He got captured and got to be a
soldier and went 'way off. She didn't never know if he got killed or
lost his way back home.
"Mama cooked and kept up the house. Miss Mari Beth kept a boarding house
in Macon till way after I was a big girl. I stood on a box and washed
dishes and dried them for mama.
"Mr. Ben was grown when we come to Arkansas. He got his ma to go to
Kentucky with him and I heard about Arkansas. Me and mama come to
Palestine. We come in a crowd. A man give us tickets and we come by our
lone selves till we got to Tennessee. A big crowd come from Dyersburg,
Tennessee. Ma got to talking and found out we was headed fo' the same
place in Arkansas.
"Ma talked a whole heap at tines more 'an others (times) about slavery
times. Her master didn't take on over her much when he found out she was
a barren woman. The old man Crumpton give her to his youngest daughter,
Miss Mari Beth. She always had to do all kinds of work and house turns.
"After mama's slavery husband didn't come back and she was living in
Macon, she fell in love with another man and I was a picked-up baby.
Mama said Miss Mari Beth lost faith in her when I was born but she
needed her and kept her on. Said seem like she thought she was too old
to start up when she never had children when her papa owned her. They
didn't like me. She said she could trust mama but she didn't know my
stock. He was a black man. Mama was black as I is.
"Miss Mari Beth had a round double table. The top table turned with the
victuals on it. I knocked flies three times a day over that table.
"I never had a store-bought dress in my life till mama bought me one at
Madison, Arkansas. I wanted a pure white dress. She said if we made a
good crop she was going to give me a dress. All the dresses I ever had
was made out of Miss Mari Beth's dresses but I never had a pure white
one. I never had one bought for me till I was nearly grown. I was so
proud of it. When I would go and come back, I would pull it off and put
it away. I wore it one summer white and the next summer I blued it and
had a new dress. I had a white dress nearly every year till I got too
old to dress up gay now. I got a white bonnet and apron I wears right
"Mama said Master Crumpton bought up babies to raise. She was taken away
from her folks so soon she never heard of them. Aunt Mat raised her up
in Atlanta and out on his place. He had a place in town but kept them on
a place in the country. He had a drove of them. He hired them out. He
hired mama once to a doctor, Dr. Willbanks. Mama said old master thought
she would learn how to have children from him the reason he sent her
there so much. When they had big to-dos old master sent mama over there.
She never seen no money till about freedom. She loved to get hired out
to be off from him. They all had young babies about but her. He was
cross and her husband was cross. She had pleasure hired out. She said he
didn't whoop much. He stamped his foot. They left right now.
"I hab three girls living; one here (Palestine), one at Marvell, and one
in St. Louis. My youngest girl teaches music at a big colored school.
She sends me my money and I lives with these girls. I been up there and
I sure don't aim to live in no city old as I is. It's too dangerous slow
as I got to be and so much racket I never slept a night I was there. I
was there a month. She brung me home and I didn't go back.
"I cooked and washed and ironed and worked in the field. I do some work
yet. I helps out where I am.
"The times is better I think from accounts I hear. This generation all
living too fast er lives. They don't never be still a minute."
Pine Bluff District
Name of Interviewer: Martin & Barker
Subject: Ex-Slaves--Slavery Times
This Information given by: Maggie Perkins
Place of Residence: W. 6th. St.
[TR: Information moved from bottom of first page.]
My folks lived in S. Carolina and belonged to Col. Bob Baty and his
If I should lay down tonight I could tell when my folks were going to
die, because the Lawd would tell me in a vision.
Just before my grandmother died, I got up one morning and told my aunt
that granma was dead. Aunt said she did not want me telling lies.
Then I saw another aunt laying on the bed, and she had her hand under
her jaw. She was smiling. The house was full of people. After awhile
they heard that her aunt was dead too, and after that they paid
attention to me when I told them somebody was going to die.
I'se a member of the Holiness Church. I believes step up right and keep
I seen my aunt walking up and down on a glass. The Lawd tells me in a
vision to step right up and see the faith.
I am living in Jesus. He is coming to Pine Bluff soon. He is going to
separate the lions from the sheep.
I was born in slavery times. I member folks riding around on horses.
Them days I used to wash my mistis feet and legs, and sometimes I would
fall asleep against my mistis knees. I tells the young fry to give honor
to the white folks, and my preacher tell 'em to obey the white folks,
dat dey are our best friends, dey is our dependence and it would be hard
getting on if we didn't have em to help us.
Spirits--Me and my husband moved into a house that a man, "uncle Bill"
Hearn died in, and we wanted dat house so bad we moved right in as soon
as he was taken out, we ate supper and went to bed.
By the time we got to sleep we heard sounds like someone was emptying
shelled corn, and I hunched up under my husband scared to death and then
moved out the next day. The dead haven't gone to Heaven. When death
comes, he comes to your heart. He has your number and knows where to
find you. He won't let you off, he has the key.
Death comes and unlocks the heart and twists the breath out of that
heart and carries it back to God.
Nobody has gone to Heaven, no one can get pass Jesus until the day of
his redemption, which is judgement day.
We can't pass the door without being judged. On the day of ressurection
the trumpet will sound and us will wake up out of he graveyard, and come
forth to be judged. The sea shall give up its dead. Every nation will
have to appear before God and be judged in a twinklin of an eye. If you
aren't prepared before Jesus comes, it will be too late. God is
everywhere, he is the almight. God is a nice God, he is a clean God, he
is a good God. I would be afraid to tell you a lie for God would strike
Eight years ago I couldn't see, I wore specs 3 years. I forgot my specs
one morning, I prayed for my eyesight and it was restored that morning.
Our marster was a good man. De overseers sometimes wuz bad, but dey did
not let marsters know how dey treated their girl slaves. My grandmother
was whipped by de overseers one time, it made welts on her back. My
sister Mary had a child by a white man.
To get joy in de morning, get up and pray and ask Him to bless you. God
will feed all alike, he is no respector of persons. He shows no extra
favors twixt de rich and de poor.
Interviewer: Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Marguerite Perkins
West Sixth and Catalpa Streets, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"I was born in slavery times, Miss. I was born in South Carolina, Union
County. I was born in May.
"I know I 'member old Missy. I just been washin' her feet and legs when
they said the Yankees was comin. Old Miss' name was Miss Sally. Her
husband was a colonel. What is a colonel?
"I got some white cousins. They tell me they was the boss man's chillun.
"Yes'm, I reckon Miss Sally was good to me. I'm a old nigger. All us
niggers belonged to Colonel Beatty. I went to school a little while but
I didn't learn nothin'.
"I use to be a nurse girl and sleep right upstairs.
"Missus, you know people just walkin along the street droppin dead with
heart trouble and white women killin men. I tell you lady it's awful.
"I been married just once. The Lord took him out o' my house one Sunday
morning 'fore day.
"The thing about it is I got that high blood pressure. Well, Missus, I
had it five years ago and I went to Memphis and the Lord healed me. All
we got to do is believe in the Lord and He will put you on your feet.
"I had four sisters and three brothers and all of 'em dead but me,
"Now let me tell you somethin'. Old as I is, I ain't never been to but
one picture show in my life. Old as I is, I never was on a base ball
ground in my life. The onliest place I go now is to church."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Rachel Perkins, Goodwin, Arkansas
Age: ? Baby during the Civil War
"I was born in Greensboro, Alabama. Sallie Houston and Peter Houston was
my parents. They had two girls and a boy. They died when they was small,
but me. They always told me mother died when I was three days old in the
cradle. I don't fur a fact know much about my own people. Miss Agnes
took me to raise me fur a house girl. She nursed me wid her Mary. My
mother's and father's owners was Alonso Brown and Miss Agnes Brown.
Their two girls was Mary and Lucy and their three boys was Bobby, Jesse,
and Frank. Miss Agnes rocked the babies to sleep in a big chair out on
the gallery. We slept there all night. Company come and say, 'Where the
babies?' Miss Agnes take them back and show us off. They say, 'Where the
little black chile?' They'd try to get me to come go live wid them. They
say they be good to me. I'd tell 'em, 'No, I stay here.' It was good a
home as I wanted. We slept on the front gallery till Lucy come on, then
we had sheep skin pallets. She got the big chair. She put us out there
because it was cool.
"I left Miss Agnes when I got to be my own woman. Didn't nobody toll me
off. I knowed I ought to go to my own race of people. They come after me
once. Then they sent the baby boy after me what I had nursed. I wanted
to go but I never went. Miss Lucy and Miss Mary both in college. It was
lonesome for me. I wanted to go to my color. I jus' picked up and walked
"My girl is half Indian. I'm fifteen years older than my girl. Then I
married Wesley Perkins, my husband. He is black fur a fact. He died last
fall. I married at my husband's brother's by a colored preacher. Tom
Screws was his name. He was a Baptist preacher.
"I never went to school a day in my life. I can't read. I can count
money. Seem lack it jus' come natural. I never learned it at no one
time. It jus' come to me.
"In warm weather I slept on the gallery and in cold weather I slept by
the fire. I made down my own bed. I cleaned the house. I took the cows
off to the pasture. I nursed the babies, washed and dried the dishes. I
made up the beds and cleaned the yards.
"Master Brown owned two farms. He had plenty hands on his farms. I did
never go down to the farms much but I knowed the hands. On Saturday
little later than other days they brought the stock to the house and
fed. Then they went to the smokehouse for their rations. He had a great
big garden, strawberries, and grape arbors.
"One thing I had to do was worm the plants. I put the worms in a bottle
and leave it in the row where the sun would dry the worms up. When a
light frost come I would water the plants that would wilt before the sun
riz and ag'in at night. Then the plants never felt the frost. Certainly
it didn't kill 'em. It didn't hurt 'em.
"Julane was the regular milk woman. She milked and strained the milk. I
churned and 'tended to the chickens. Miss Agnes sot the hens her own
self. She marked the eggs with a piece of charcoal to see if other hens
laid by the setting hen. If they did she'd take the new egg out of the
"We had flower gardens. We had mint, rosemary, tansy, sage, mullen,
catnip, horseradish, artichokes, hoarhound--all good home remedies.
"I never knowed when we moved to that farm. I was so small. I heard Miss
Agnes Brown say I was a baby when they moved to Boldan depot, not fur
from Clinton, Mississippi.
"When I left Miss Agnes I went to some folks my own color on another
farm 'joining to their farm. Of course I took my baby. I took Anna and I
been living with Anna ever since. What I'd do now without her. (Anna is
an Indian and very proud of being half Indian.) My husband done dead.
"I get eight dollars welfare help. And I do get some commodities. Anna
does all right but she got hit on the shoulder and about lost use of her
arm. One of the railroad hands up here got mad and hit her. I had
doctors. They done it a little good. It's been hurt three years or more
"I wisht I knowd where to find a bed of mullen. Boil it down to a syrup
and add some molasses, boil that down. It makes a good syrup for coughs
"I never went to white folks' church none hardly. Miss Agnes sent me
along with her cook to my own color's church.
"My husband sure was good to me. We never had but one fight. Neither one
"This young generation is going backward. They tired of training. They
don't want no advice. They don't want to work out no more. They don't
know what they want. I think folks is trifling than they was when I come
on. The times is all right and some of the people. I'm talking about
mine and yo' color both."
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Dinah Perry
1800 Ohio Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"Yes ma'am, I lived in slavery times. They brought me from Alabama, a
baby, right here to this place where I am at, Mr. Sterling Cockril.
"I don't know zackly when I was born but I member bout the slave times.
Yes ma'am, I do. After I growed up some, I member the overseer--I do. I
can remember Mr. Burns. I member when he took the hands to Texas. Left
the chillun and the old folks here.
"Oh Lord, this was a big plantation. Had bout four or five hundred head
"My mother done the milkin' and the weavin'. After free times, I wove me
a dross. My mother fixed it for me and I wove it. They'd knit stockin's
too. But now they wear silk. Don't keep my legs warm.
"I member when they fit here in Pine Bluff. I member when 'Marmajuke'
sent word he was gain' to take breakfast with Clayton that mornin' and
they just fit. I can remember that was 'Marmajuke.' It certainly was
'Marmajuke.' The Rebels tried to carry me away but the wagon was so full
I didn't get in and I was glad they didn't. My mother was runnin' from
the Rebels and she hid under the cotehouse. After the battle was over
she come back hero to the plantation.
"I had three brothers and three sisters went to Texas and I know I
didn't know em when they come back.
"I member when they fit here a bum shell fell right in the yard. It was
big around as this stovepipe and was all full of chains and things.
"After free time my folks stayed right here and worked on the shares. I
was the baby chile and never done no work till I married when I was
"After the War I went to school to white teachers from the North. I
never went to nothin' but them. I went till I was in the fifth grade.
"My daddy learned me to spell 'lady' and 'baker' and 'shady' fore I went
to school. I learned all my ABC's too. I got out of the first reader the
second day. I could just read it right on through. I could spell and
just stand at the head of the class till the teacher sent me to the foot
all the time.
"My daddy was his old mistress' pet. He used to carry her to school all
the time and I guess that's where he got his learnin'.
"After I was married I worked in the field. Rolled logs, cut brush,
chopped and picked cotton.
"I member when they had that 'Bachelor' (Brooks-Baxter) War up here at
"After my chillun died, I never went to the field no more. I just stayed
round mongst the white folks nussin'. All the chillun I nussed is
married and grown now.
"All this younger generation--white and colored--I don't know what's
gwine come of em. The poet says:
'Each gwine a different way
And all the downward road.'"
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Dinah Perry
1002 Indiana, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
[TR: Appears to be same as last informant despite different address.]
"I'se bawn in Alabama and brought here to Arkansas a baby. I couldn't
tell what year I was bawn 'cause I was a baby. A chile can't tell what
year he was bawn 'less they tells him and they sure didn't tell me.
"When I'd wake up in the mawnin' my mother would be gone to the field.
"Some things I can remember good but you know old folks didn't 'low
chillun to stand around when they was talkin' in dem days. They had to
go play. They had to be mighty particular or they'd get a whippin'.
"Chillun was better in them days 'cause the old folks was strict on 'em.
Chillun is raisin' theirselves today.
"I 'member one song they used to sing
'We'll land over shore
We'll land over shore;
And we'll live forever more.'
"They called it a hymn. They'd sing it in church, then they'd all get to
"Superstitions? Well, I seen a engineer goin' to work the other day and
a black cat run in front of him, and he went back 'cause he said he
would have a wreck with his train if he didn't. So you see, the white
folks believes in things like that too.
"I never was any hand to play any games 'cept 'Chick. Chick.' You'd
ketch 'hold a hands and ring up. Had one outside was the hawk and some
inside was the hen and chickens. The old mother hen would say
'Chick-a-ma, chick-a-ma, craney crow,
Went to the well to wash my toe;
When I come back my chicken was gone,
What time is it, old witch?'
One chicken was s'posed to get out and then the hawk would try to ketch
"We was more 'ligious than the chillun nowadays. We used to play
preachin' and baptisin'. We'd put 'em down in the water and souse 'em
and we'd shout just like the old folk. Yes ma'am."
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Alfred Peters, 1518 Bell Street,
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"I was born seven miles from Camden.
"I was 'leven months old when they carried us to Texas. First thing I
remember I was in Texas.
"Lucius Grimm was old master. He's been dead a long time. His wife died
'bout two years after the Civil War and he died twenty-five years after.
"I 'member durin' of the war he buried his stuff---silverware and
stuff--and he never took it up. And after he died his brother's son
lived in California, and he come back and dug it up.
"The Yankees burned up four hundred bales of cotton and taken the meat
and two cribs of corn.
"I heard 'em talk 'bout the Ku Klux but I never did see 'em.
"My mother said old Mars Lucius was good to his folks. She said he first
bought her and then she worried so 'bout my father, he paid twenty-five
hundred dollars for him.
"Biggest part of my life I farmed, and then I done carpenter work.
"I been blind four years. The doctor says it's cataracts.
"I think the younger generation goin' to cause another war. They ain't
studyin' nothin' but pleasure."
Interviewer: S.S. Taylor
Person interviewed: Mary Estes Peters,
3115 W. 17th Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
Mary Estes Peters was born a slave January 30, 1860 in Missouri
somewhere. Her mother was colored and her father white, the white
parentage being very evident in her color and features and hair. She is
very reticent about the facts of her birth. The subject had to be
approached from many angles and in many ways and by two different
persons before that part of the story could be gotten.
Although she was born in Missouri, she was "refugeed" first to
Mississippi and then here, Arkansas. She is convinced that her mother
was sold at least twice after freedom,--once into Mississippi, one into
Helena, and probably once more after reaching Arkansas, Mary herself
being still a very small child.
I think she is mistaken on this point. I did not debate with her but I
cross-examined her carefully and it appears to me that there was
probably in her mother's mind a confused knowledge of the issuance of
the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. Lincoln's Compensation
Emancipation plan advocated in March 1863, the Abolition in the District
of Columbia in 1862 in April, the announcement of Lincoln's Emancipation
intention in July 1862, the prohibition of slavery in present and future
territories, June 19, 1862, together with the actual issuance of the
Emancipation in September 1862, and the effectiveness of the
proclamation in January 1, 1863, would well give rise to an impression
among many slaves that emancipation had been completed.
As a matter of fact, Missouri did not secede; the Civil War which
nevertheless ensued would find some slaveholders exposed to the full
force of the 1862 proclamation in 1863 at the time of its first
effectiveness. Naturally it did not become effective in many other
places till 1865. It would very naturally happen then that a sale in
Missouri in the latter part of 1862 or any time thereafter might be well
construed by ex-slaves as a sale after emancipation, especially since
they do not as a rule pay as much attention to the dates of occurrences
as to their sequence. This interpretation accords with the story. Only
such an explanation could make probable a narrative which places the
subject as a newborn babe in 1860 and sold after slavery had ceased
while still too young to remember. Her earliest recollections are
recollections of Arkansas.
She has lived in Arkansas ever since the Civil War and in Little Rock
ever since 1879. She made a living as a seamstress for awhile but is now
unable to sew because of fading eyesight. She married in 1879 and led a
long and contented married life until the recent death of her husband.
She lives with her husband's nephew and ekes out a living by fragmentary
jobs. She has a good memory and a clear mind for her age.
Slave After Freedom
"My mother was sold after freedom. It was the young folks did all that
devilment. They found they could get some money out of her and they did
it. She was put on the block in St. Louis and sold down into Vicksburg,
Mississippi. Then they sold her into Helena, Arkansas. After that they
carried her down into Trenton (?), Arkansas. I don't know whether they
sold her that time or not, but I reckon they did. Leastways, they
carried her down there. All this was done after freedom. My mother was
only fifteen years old when she was sold the first time, and I was a
baby in her arms. I don't know nothing about it myself, but I have heard
her tell about it many and many a time. It was after freedom. Of course,
she didn't know she was free.
"It was a good while before my mother realized she was free. She noticed
the other colored people going to and fro and she wondered about it.
They didn't allow you to go round in slave times. She asked them about
it and they told her, 'Don't you know you are free?' Some of the white
people too told her that she was free. After that, from the way she
talked, I guess she stayed around there until she could go some place
and get wages for her work. She was a good cook.
"I have seen many a scar on my mother. She had mean white folks. She had
one big scar on the side of her head. The hair never did grow back on
that place. She used to comb her hair over it so that it wouldn't show.
The way she got it was this:
"One day her mistress went to high mass and left a lot of work for my
mother to do. She was only a girl and it was too much. There was more
work than she could get done. She had too big a task for a child to get
done. When her old mistress came back and her work was not all done, she
beat my mother down to the ground, and then she took one of the skillets
and bust her over the head with it--trying to kill her, I reckon. I have
seen the scar with my own eyes. It was an awful thing.
"My mother was a house servant in Missouri and Mississippi. Never done
no hard work till she came here (Arkansas). When they brought her here
they tried to make a field hand out of her. She hadn't been used to
chopping cotton. When she didn't chop it fast as the others did, they
would beat her. She didn't know nothing about no farmwork. She had all
kinds of trouble. They just didn't treat her good. She used to have good
times in Missouri and Mississippi but not in Arkansas. They just didn't
treat her good. In them days, they'd whip anybody. They'd tie you to the
bed or have somebody hold you down on the floor and whip you till the
"But, Lawd, my mother never had no use for Catholics because it was a
Catholic that hit her over the head with that skillet--right after she
come from mass.
"My mother said that they used to pour the food into troughs and give it
to the slaves. They'd give them an old, wooden spoon or something and
they all eat out of the same dish or trough. They wouldn't let the
slaves eat out of the things they et out of. Fed them just like they
"When I was little, she used to come to feed me about twelve o'clock
every day. She hurry in, give me a little bowl of something, and then
hurry right on out because she had to go right back to her work. She
didn't have time to stay and see how I et. If I had enough, it was all
right. If I didn't have enough, it was all right. It might be pot liquor
or it might be just anything.
"One day she left me alone and I was lying on the floor in front of the
fireplace asleep. I didn't have no bed nor nothing then. The fire must
have popped out and set me on fire. You see they done a whole lot of
weaving in them days. And they put some sort of lint on the children.
"I don't reckon children them days knowed what a biscuit was. They just
raked up whatever was left off the table and brung it to you. Children
have a good time nowadays.
"People goin' to work heard me hollering and came in and put out the
fire. I got scars all round my waist today I could show you.
"Another time my mother had to go off and leave me. I was older then. I
guess I must have gotten hungry and wanted to get somethin' to eat. So I
got up and wandered off into the woods. There weren't many people living
round there then. (This was in Trenton (?), Arkansas, a small place not
far from Helena.) And the place was [HW: not] built up much then and they
had lots of wolves. Wolves make a lot of noise when they get to trailin'
anything. I got about a half mile from the road and the wolves got after
me. I guess they would have eat me up but a man heard them howling, and
he knew there wasn't no house around there but ours, and he came to see
what was up, and he beat off the wolves and carried me back home. There
wasn't nare another house round there but ours and he knew I must have
come from there.
"Mother was working then. It was night though. They brung the news to
her and they wouldn't let her come to me. Mother said she felt like
getting a gun and killin' them. Her child out like that and they
wouldn't let her go home.
"That must have happened after freedom, because it was the last mistress
she had. Almost all her beatings and trouble came from her last
mistress. That woman sure gave her a lot of trouble.
Age, Good Masters
"All I know about my age is what my mother told me.
"The first people that raised my mother had her age in the Bible. She
said she was about fifteen years old when I was born. From what she told
me, I must be about seventy-eight years old. She taught me that I was
born on Sunday, on the thirtieth of January, in the year before the War.
"My mother's name was Myles. I don't know what her first master's name
was. She told me I was born in Phelps County, Missouri; I guess you'd
call it St. Louis now. I am giving you the straight truth just as she
gave it to me.
"From the way she talked, the people what raised her from a child were
good to her. They raised her with their children. Them people fed her
just like they fed their own children.
Color and Birth
"There was a light brownskin boy around there and they give him anything
that he wanted. But they didn't like my mother and me--on account of my
color. They would talk about it. They tell their children that when I
got big enough, I would think I was good as they was. I couldn't help my
color. My mother couldn't either.
"My mother's mistress had three boys, one twenty-one, one nineteen, and
one seventeen. Old mistress had gone away to spend the day one day.
Mother always worked in the house. She didn't work on the farm in
Missouri. While she was alone, the boys came in and threw her down on
the floor and tied her down so she couldn't struggle, and one after the
other used her as long as they wanted for the whole afternoon. Mother
was sick when her mistress came home. When old mistress wanted to know
what was the matter with her, she told her what the boys had done. She
whipped them and that's the way I came to be here.
Sales and Separations
"My mother was separated from her mother when she was three years old.
They sold my mother away from my grandmother. She don't know nothing
about her people. She never did see her mother's folks. She heard from
them. It must have been after freedom. But she never did get no full
understanding about them. Some of them was in Kansas City, Kansas. My
grandmother, I don't know what became of her.
"When my mother was sold into St. Louis, they would have sold me away
from her but she cried and went on so that they bought me too. I don't
know nothing about it myself, but my mother told me. I was just nine
months old then. They would call it refugeeing. These people that had
raised her wanted to get something out of her because they found out
that the colored people was going to be free. Those white people in
Missouri didn't have many slaves. They just had four slaves--my mother,
myself, another woman and an old colored man called Uncle Joe. They
didn't get to sell him because he bought hisself. He made a little money
working on people with rheumatism. They would ran the niggers from state
to state about that time to keep them from getting free and to get
something out of them. My mother was sold into Mississippi after
freedom. Then she was refugeed from one place to another through Helena
to Trenton (?), Arkansas.
"My mother used to laugh at that. The master would do all the marryin'.
I have heard her say that many a time. They would call themselves
jumpin' the broom. I don't know what they did. Whatever the master said
put them together. I don't know just how it was fixed up, but they helt
the broom and master would say, 'I pronounce you man and wife' or
something like that.
"My mother talked about the Ku Klux but I don't know much about them.
She talked about how they would ride and how they would go in and
destroy different people's things. Go in the smoke house and eat the
people's stuff. She said that they didn't give the colored people much
trouble. Sometimes they would give them something to eat.
"When they went to a place where they didn't give the colored people
much to eat, what they didn't destroy they would say, 'Go get it.' I
don't know how it was but the Ku Klux didn't have much use for certain
white people and they would destroy everything they had.
"I have lived in Arkansas about all my life. I have been in Little Rock
ever since January 30, 1879. I don't know how I happened to move on my
birthday. My husband brought me here for my rheumatism.
"I married in 1879 and moved here from Marianna. I had lived in Helena
"The niggers voted in Marianna and in Helena. They voted in Little Rock
too. I didn't know any of them. It seems like some of the people didn't
make so much talk about it. They did, I guess, though. Many of the
farmers would tell their hands who they wanted them to vote for, and
they would do it.
"Them was critical times. A man would kill you if he got beat. They
would say, 'So and so lost the lection,' and then somebody would go to
Judgment. I remember once they had a big barbecue in Helena just after
the 'lection. They had it for the white and for the colored alike. We
didn't know there was any trouble. The shooting started on a hill where
everybody could see. First thing you know, one man fell dead. Another
dropped down on all fours bleeding, but he retch in under him and
dragged out a pistol and shot down the man that shot him. That was a sad
time. Niggers and white folks were all mixed up together and shooting.
It was the first time I had ever been out. My mother never would let me
go out before that.
"I ain't able to do much of anything now. I used to make a good living
as a dressmaker. I can't sew now because of my eyes. I used to make many
a dollar before my eyes got to failing me. Make pants, dresses,
anything. When you get old, you fail in what you been doing. I don't get
anything from the government. They don't give me any kind of help."
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: John Peterson, 1810 Eureka Street,
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"I was small but I can remember some 'bout slavery days. I was born down
here in Louisiana.
"I seed dem Yankees come through. Dey stopped dere and broke up all de
bee gums. Just tore 'em up. And took what dey could eat and went on. Dey
was doin' all dey _could_ do. No tellin' what dey _didn't_ do. People
what owned de place just run off and left. Yankees come dere in de
night. I 'member dat. Had ever'thing excited, so my white folks just
skipped out. Oh, yes, dey come back after the Yankees had gwine on.
"You could hear dem guns shootin' around. I heered my mother and father
say de Yankees was fightin' to free slavery.
"Run off? Oh Lawd, yes ma'am, I heered 'em say dey was plenty of 'em run
"George Swapsy was our owner. I know one thing, dey beat me enough. Had
me watchin' de garden to keep de chickens out. And sometimes I'd git to
playin' and fergit and de chickens would git in de garden, and I'd pay
for it too. I can 'member dat. Yes'm, dat was before freedom. Dey was
whippin' all de colored people--and me too.
"Yes'm, dey give us plenty to eat, but dey didn't give us no clothes. I
was naked half my time. Dat was when I was a little fellow.
"We all belonged to de same man. Dey never did 'part us. But my mother
was sold away from her people--and my father, too. He come from
"No ma'am, dey didn't have a big plantation--just a little place cleared
up in the woods.
"He didn't have no wife--just two grown sons and dey bof went to the
"Mars George died 'fore peace declared. He was a old fellow--and mean as
he could be.
"I never went to school till I was sixteen or seventeen years old. Dere
was a colored fellow had a little learnin' and we hired him two nights
in de week for three dollars a month. Did it for three years. I can read
a little and write my own name and sort of 'tend to my own business.
"Yes'm, I used to vote after I got grown. Yes'm, I did vote Republican.
But de white people stopped us from votin'. Dat was when Seymour and
Blair was runnin', and I ain't voted none since--I just quit. I've known
white people to go to the polls wif der guns and keep de colored folks
"Oh, dey was plenty of Ku Klux. I've known 'em to ketch people and whip
'em and kill 'em. Dey didn't bother me--I didn't give 'em a chance. Ku
Klux--I sure 'member dem.
"Younger generation? Well, Miss, you're a little too hard for me. Hard
to tell what'll become of 'em. I know one thing--dey is wiser. Oh, my
Lawd! A chile a year old know more'n I did when I was ten. We didn't
have no chance. Didn't have nobody to learn us nothin'. People is just
gittin' wuss ever' day. Killin' 'em up ever' day. Wuss now than dey was
ten years ago."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Louise Pettis, Brinkley, Arkansas
"My mama was born at Aiken, South Carolina. She was Frances Rotan. I was
born at Elba, South Carolina, forty miles below Augusta, Georgia. My
papa was born at Macon, Georgia. Both my parents was slaves. He farmed
and was a Baptist preacher. Mama was a cook.
"Mama was owned by some of the Willis. There was three; Mike, Bill, and
Logie Willis, all brothers, and she lived with them all but who owned
her I don't know. She never was sold. Papa wasn't either. Mama lived at
Aiken till papa married her. She belong to some of the Willis. They
married after freedom. She had three husbands and fifteen children.
"Mama had a soldier husband. He took her to James Island. She runned off
from him. Got back across the sea to Charleston to Aunt Anette's. She
was mama's sister. Mama sent back to Aiken and they got her back to her
folks. Aunt Anette had been sold to folks at Charleston.
"Grandma was Rachel Willis. She suckled some of the Willis children.
Mama suckled me and Mike Willis together. His mama got sick and my mama
took him and raised him. She got well but their names have left me. When
we got sick the Willis women would send a hamper basket full of
provisions, some cooked and some to be cooked. I used to sweep their
yards. They was white sand and not a sprig of grass nor a weed in there.
"Mama and papa was both slavery niggers and they spoke mighty well of
"Papa said in slavery times about two nights in a week they would have a
dance. He would slip off and go. Sometimes he would get a pass. He was a
figger caller till he 'fessed religion. One time the pattyrollers come
in. They said, 'All got passes tonight.' When they had about danced down
my daddy got a shovelful of live coals and run about scattering it on
the floor. All the niggers run out and he was gone too. It was a dark
night. A crowd went up the road and here come the pattyrollers. One run
into grapevines across the road and tumbled off his horse. The niggers
took to the woods then. Pa tole us about how he studied up a way to get
himself and several others outer showing their passes that night. Master
never found that out on him.
"During the War they sent a lot of the meat to feed the soldiers on and
kept the skins and sides. They tole them if the Yankees ask them if they
had enough to eat say, 'See how greasy and slick I is.' They greased
their legs and arms to make them shine and look fat. The dust made the
chaps look rusty.
"Papa saved his young mistress' life. His master was gone to war. He had
promised with others to take care of her. The Yankees come and didn't
find meat. It was buried. They couldn't find much. They got mad and
burned the house. Pa was a boy. He run up there and begged folks not to
burn the house; they promised to take care of everything. Papa begged to
let him get his mistress and three-day-old baby. They cursed him but he
run in and got her and the baby. The house fell in before they got out
of the yard. He took her to the quarters. Papa was overstrained carrying
a log and limped as long as he lived.
"Pa was hired out and they was goner whoop him and he run off and got
back to the master. Ma nor pa was never sold.
"We had a reason to come out here to Arkansas. A woman had a white
husband and a black one too. The black husband told the white husband
not come about there no more. He come on. The black man killed the white
man at his door. They lynched six or seven niggers. They sure did kill
him. That dissatisfied all the niggers. That took place in Barnwell
County, South Carolina. Three train loads of us left. There was fifteen
in our family. We was doing well. My pa had cattle and money. They
stopped the train befo' and behind us--the train we was on. Put the
Arkansas white man in Augusta jail. They stopped us all there. We got to
come on. We was headed for Pine Bluff. We got down there 'bout Altheimer
and they was living in tents. Pa said he wasn't goiner tent, he didn't
run away from South Carolina and he'd go straight back. Mr. Aydelott got
eight families on track at Rob Roy to come to Biscoe. We got a house
here. Pa was old and they would listen at what he said. He made a speech
at Rob Roy and told them let's come to Biscoe. Eleven families come. He
had two hundred or three hundred dollars then in his pocket to rattle.
He could get more. He grieved for South Carolina, so he went back and
took us but ma wanted to coma back. They stayed back there a year or
two. We made a crop. Pa was the oldest boss in his crowd. We all come
back. There was more room out here and so many of us.
"The schools was better out there. I went to Miss Scofield's College.
All the teachers but three was colored. There was eight or ten colored
teachers. It was at Aiken, South Carolina. Miss Criley was our sewing
mistress. Miss Criley was white and Miss Scofield was too. I didn't have
to pay. Rich folks in the North run the school. No white children went
there. I think the teachers was sent there.
"I taught school out here at Blackton and Moro and in Prairie County
about. I got tired of it. I married and settled down.
"We owns my home here. My husband was a railroad man. We lives by the
"I don't know what becoming of the young generation. They shuns the
field work. Times is faster than I ever seen them. I liked the way times
was before that last war (World War). Reckon when will they get back
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Henry C. Pettus, Marianna, Arkansas
"I was born in Wilkes County, near Washington, Georgia. My mother's
owners was Dr. Palmer and Sarah Palmer. They had three boys; Steve,
George, and Johnie. They lived in Washington and the farm I lived on was
five miles southeast of town. It was fifty miles from Augusta, Georgia.
He had another farm on the Augusta Road. He had a white man overseer.
His name was Tom Newsom and his nephew, Jimmie Newsom, helped. He was
pretty smooth most of the time. He got rough sometimes. Tom's wife was
named Susie Newsom.
"Dick Gilbert had a place over back of ours. They sent things to the
still at Dick Gilbert's. Sent peaches and apples and surplus corn. The
still was across the hill from Dr. Palmer's farm. He didn't seem to
drink much but the boys did. All three did. Dr. Palmer died in 1861.
People kept brandy and whiskey in a closet and some had fancy bottles
they kept, one brandy, one whiskey, on their mantel. Some owners passed
drinks around like on Sunday morning. Dr. Palmer didn't do that but it
was done on some places before the Civil War. It wasn't against the law
to make spirits for their own use. That is the way it was made. Meal and
flour was made the same way then.
"Mother lived in Dr. Palmer's office in Warren County. It was a very
nice log house and had a fence to make the front on the road and the
back enclosed like. Inside the fence was a tanyard and house at some
distance and a very nice log house where Mr. Hudson lived. Dr. Palmer
and Mr. Hudson had that place together. The shoemaker lived in
Washington in Dr. Palmer's back yard. He had his office and home all in
the same. Mr. Anthony made all the shoes for Dr. Palmer's slaves and for
white folks in town. He made fine nice shoes. He was considered a high
"Mother was a field hand. She wasn't real black. My father never did do
much. He was a sort of a foreman. He rode around. He was lighter than I
am. He was old man Pettus' son. Old man Pettus had a great big
farm--land! land! land! Wiley and Milton Roberts had farms between Dr.
Palmer and old man Pettus' farm. Mother originally belong to old man
Pettus. He give Miss Sarah Palmer her place on the Augusta Road and his
son the place on which his own home was. They was his white children. He
had two. Mother was hired by her young mistress, Dr. Palmer's wife, Miss
Sarah. Father rode around, upheld by the old man Pettus. He never worked
hard. I don't know if old man Pettus raised grandma or not; he never
grandpa. He was a Terral. He died when I was small. Grandpa was a field
hand. He was the only colored man on the place allowed to have a dog. He
was Dr. Palmer's stock man. They raised their own stock; sheep, goats,
cows, hogs, mules, and horses.
"None of us was ever sold that I know of. Mother had three boys and
three girls. One sister died in infancy. One sister was married and
remained in Georgia. Two of my brothers and one sister come to Arkansas.
Mother brought us boys to a new country. Father got shot and died from
the womb. He was a captain in the war. He was shot accidentally. Some of
them was drinking and pranking with the guns. We lived on at Dr.
Palmer's place till 1866. That was our first year in Arkansas. That was
nearly two years. We never was abused. My early life was very favorable.
"The quarters was houses built on each side of the road. Some set off in
the field. They must have had stock law. We had pastures. The houses was
joining the pasture. Mr. Pope had a sawmill on his place. The saw run
perpendicularly up and down. He had a grist mill there too. I like to go
to mill. It was dangerous for young boys. Mr. Pope's farm joined us on
one side. Oxen was used as team for heavy loads. Such a contrast in less
than a century as trucks are in use now. I learned about oxen. They
didn't go fast 'ceptin' when they ran away. They would run at the sight
of water in hot weather. They was dangerous if they saw the river and
had to go down a steep bank, load or no load the way they went. If it
was shallow they would wade but if it was deep they would swim unless
the load was heavy enough to pull them down. Oxen was interesting to me
"Children didn't stay in town like they do now. They was left to think
more for themselves. They hardly ever got to go to town.
"We raised a pet pig. Nearly every year we raised a pet pig. When mother
would be out that pig would get my supper in spite of all I could do.
The pig was nearly as large as I was. I couldn't do anything. We had a
watermelon patch and sometimes sold Dr. Palmer melons. He let us have a
melon patch and a cotton patch our own to work. Mother worked in
moonlight and at odd times. They give that to her extra. We helped her
work it. They give old people potato patches and let the children have
goober rows. Land was plentiful. Dr. Palmer wasn't stingy with his
slaves--very liberal. He was a man willing to live and let live so far
as I can know of him.
"During the Civil War things was quiet like where I was. The soldiers
didn't come through till after the war was over. Then the Union soldiers
took Washington. They come there after the surrender.
"The Union soldiers came in a gang out from Washington all over the
surrounding country, scouting about, and notified all the black folks of
freedom. My folks made arrangements to stay on. Two colored men went
through the country getting folks to move to southwest Georgia but
before mother decided to move anywhere along come two men and they had a
helper, Mr. Allen. It was Mr. William H. Wood and Mr. Peters over here
on Cat Island. They worked from Washington, Georgia. We consented to
leave and come to Arkansas. We started and went to Barnetts station to
Augusta, to Atlanta. There was so many tracks out of order, bridges been
burnt. We crossed the river at Chattanooga, then to Nashville, then to
Johnsonville. We took a boat to Cairo, then to Memphis, then on to some
landing out here. Well, I never heard. We went to the Woods' place and
made a crop here in Arkansas in 1866. I worked with John I. Foreman till
1870 and went back to the Woods' farm till 1880. Then I went to the Bush
place (now McCullough farm). I farmed all along through life till the
last twelve years. I started preaching in 1875. I preach yet
occasionally. I preached here thirty-six years in the Marianna Baptist
church. I quit last year. My health broke down.
"Chills was my worst worry in these swamps. We made fine crops. In 1875
yellow fever come on. Black folks didn't have yellow fever at first but
they later come to have it. Some died of it. White folks had died in
piles. It was hard times for some reason then. It was hard to get
something to eat. We couldn't get nothing from Memphis. Arrangements was
made to get supplies from St. Louis to Little Rock and we could go get
them and send boats out here.
"In 1875 was the tightest, hardest time in all my life, A chew of
tobacco cost ten cents. In 1894-'95 hard times struck me again. Cotton
was four and five cents a pound, flour three dollars a barrel, and meat
four and five cents a pound. We raised so much of our meat that didn't
make much difference. Money was so scarce.
"Ku Klux--I never was in the midst of them. They was pretty bad in
Georgia and in northeast part of this county. They was bad so I heard.
They sent for troops at Helena to settle things up at about Marion,
Arkansas now. I heard more of the Ku Klux in Georgia than I heard after
we come here. And as time went on and law was organized the Ku Klux
"Traveling conditions was bad when we came to Arkansas. We rode in box
cars, shabby passenger coaches. The boats was the best riding. As I told
you we went way around on account of burnt out and torn up bridges. The
South looked shabby.
"I haven't voted since 1927 except I voted in favor of the Cotton
Control Saturday before last.
"Times has come up to a most deplorable condition. Craving exists.
Ungratefulness. People want more than they can make. Some don't work
hard and some won't work at all. I don't know how to improve conditions
except by work except economical living. Some would work if they could.
Some can work but won't. Some do work hard. I believe in bread by the
sweat of the brow, and all work.
"The slaves didn't expect anything. They didn't expect war. It was going
on a while before my parents heard of it. I was a little boy. They
didn't know what it was for except their freedom. They didn't know what
freedom was. They couldn't read. They never seen a newspaper like I take
the Commercial Appeal now. I went to school a little in Arkansas. My
father being old man Pettus' son as he was may have been given something
by Miss Sarah or Dr. Palmer or by his white son, but the old man was
dead and I doubt that. Father was killed and mother left. Mother knew
she had a home on Dr. Palmer's land as long as she needed one but she
left to do better. In some ways we have done better but it was hard to
live in these bottoms. It is a fine country now.
"I own eighty acres of land and this house. (Good house and furnished
well.) We made six bales of cotton last year. My son lives here and his
wife--a Chicago reared mulatto, a cook. He runs my farm. I live very
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Dolly Phillips, Clarendon, Arkansas
"I ain't no ex-slave. I am 67 years old. I was born out here on the
Mullins place. My mother's master was Mr. Ricks and Miss Emma Ricks.
"My mother named Diana and my father Henry Mullins. I never saw my grand
fathers and I seen one grandma I remembers. My mother had ten children.
My father said he never owned nuthin' in his life but six horses. When
they was freed they got off to their selves and started farming. See
they belong to different folks. My father's master was a captain of a
mixed regiment. They was in the war four years. I heard 'em say they
went to Galveston, Texas. The Yankees was after 'em. But I don't know
how it was.
"I heard 'em say they put their heads under big black pot to pray. They
say sing easy, pray easy. I forgot whut all she say.
"I lives wid my daughter. I gets commodities from the Welfare some. The
young folks drinks a heap now. It look lack a waste of money to me."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person Interviewed: Tony Piggy
"I was born near Selma, Alabama, but I was raised in Mississippi. My
grandpa was sold from South Carolina to Moster Alexander Piggy. He
didn't talk plain but my papa didn't nother. Moster Piggy bought a gang
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