Slave Narratives: Arkansas Narratives
Work Projects Administration
Part 6 out of 6
left. They got up the next morning and examined the road and the horse
tracks and went on. They all thought something had been given to them,
but I don't guess there was. They caught my mother and brought her here
and sold her. If they caught a nigger, they would carry him off and sell
him. That's how my mother came to Arkansas.
"I don't know what year I was born in. I know the month and the day. It
was February tenth. I have kinder kept up with my age. As near as I can
figure, I am seventy-three years old. I was 18 in 1884 when I married. I
must have been born about 1864, I was brought up under my step father;
he was a very mean man. When he took a notion to he'd whip me and mother
"My mother was born somewheres in Missouri, but whereabouts I don't
know. One of her masters was John Goodet. His wife was named Eva Goodet.
He was a very mean man and cruel, and his wife was too. My grandmother
belonged to another slaveholder and they would allow her to go to see my
mother. She was allowed to work and do things for which she was given
old clothes and other little things. She would take em and bring em to
my mother. As soon as she had gone, they would take them things away
from my mother, and put em up in the attic and not allow her to wear
them. They would let the clothes rot and mildew before they'd let my
mother wear them. If my mother left a dish dirty--sometimes there would
be butter or flour or something in the dish that would need to be
soaked--they would wait till it was thoroughly soaked and then make her
drink the old dirty dish water. They'd whip her if she didn't drink it.
"Her other master was named Harrison. He was tolerable but nothing to
"After she was Jayhawked and brought down South, they sold her to John
Kelly, a man in Arkansas somewhere. She belonged to John Kelly and his
wife when freedom came. John Kelly and his wife kept her working for
them without pay for two years after she was free. They didn't pay her
anything at all. They hardly gave her anything to eat and wear. They
didn't tell her she was free. She saw colored people going and coming
in a way they wasn't used to, and then she heard her Mistress' youngest
daughter tell her mother, 'You ought to pay Hannah something now because
you know she is free as we are. And you ought to give her something to
eat and wear.' The mother said, 'You know I can't do that hard work;
I'm not used to it.' After hearing this my mother talked to the colored
people that would pass by and she learned for _shor_ enough she was
"There was a colored man there that they were keeping too. One Sunday,
they were taking him to church and leaving my mother behind. She said to
them, 'Well, I will be gone when you come back, so you better leave Bill
here this morning.' Her old mistress said to her, 'Yes; and we'll come
after you and whip you every step of the way back.' But she went while
they were at church and they did not catch her either.
"The Saturday before that she made me a dress out of the tail of an old
bonnet and a big red handkerchief. Made waist, sleeves and all out of
that old bonnet and handkerchief. She left right after they left for
church, and she dressed me up in my new dress. She put the dress on me
and went down the road. She didn't know which way to go. She didn't know
the way nor which direction to take. She walked and she walked and she
walked. Then she would step aside and listen and ask the way.
"It was near night when she found a place to stay. The people out in the
yard saw her pass and called to her. It was the youngest daughter of
Mrs. Kelly, the one she had overheard telling her mother she ought to
set her free and pay her. She stayed with John Kelly's daughter two or
three days. I don't know what her name was, only she was a Kelly. Then
she got out among the colored people and got to working and got some
clothes for herself and me. From then on, she worked and taken care of
"From there she went to Pocahontas and worked and stayed there till I
was about fifteen years old. Meanwhile, she married in Pocahontas. Then
she moved to Newport. When I was fifteen, I married in Newport. My
mother supported herself by cooking and washing. Then she got a chance
to work on a small boat cooking and doing the boat washing, and there
would be weeks that some of the deck hands would have to help her
because they would have such a crowd of raftsmen. Sometimes there would
be twenty or thirty of them raftsmen--men who would cut the logs and
raft them to go and bring them down the river. Then the deck hands would
have to help her. I too would have to wash the dishes and help out.
"I went to school in Pocahontas and met my future husband (Travis). I
brought many a waiter to serve when they had a crowd. I took Travis to
the boat and he was hired to wait on the men. When they had just the
crew--Captain, Clerk, Pilot, Engineer, Mate, and it seems there was
another one--I waited on the table myself. I help peel the potatoes and
turn the meat. When we had that big run, then Mr. Travis and some of the
others would come down and help me. The boat carried freight, cotton,
and nearly anything might neer that was shipped down to town. Pocahontas
was a big shipping place.
"My mother said they used to jump over the broom stick and count that
married. The only amusement my mother had was work. I don't know if she
knowed there was such a thing as Christmas.
"Mother's little house was a log cabin like all the other slaves had.
"They didn't give her anything much to eat. They was farmers. They
raised their own cattle and hogs. The niggers did the same--that is, the
niggers raised everything and got a little to eat. They had one nigger
man that was around the house and others for the field. They didn't
allow the slaves to raise anything for themselves and they didn't give
"The slaves made their own clothes and their own cloth. They would not
let the slaves have anything much. To keep them from being stark naked,
they'd give them a piece to wear.
"Mama got to see her mother in 1885. When I married she left and went to
Missouri and found her sister and half-sister and her mother and brother
or cousin. She found her sister's oldest daughter. She was a baby laying
in the cradle when mama ran through the field to get away from a young
man that wanted to talk to her.
"My grandmother was a full-blooded Indian. Her husband was a French
Negro. Nancy Cheatham was her name.
"The Ku Klux never bothered us. They bothered some people about a mile
from us. They took out the old man and whipped him. They made his wife
get up and dance and she was in a delicate state. They made her get out
of bed and dance, and after that they took her and whipped her and beat
her, and she was in a delicate state too.
"There was a man there in Black Rock though that stopped them from
bothering anybody. He killed one of them. They went to the train. They
was raging around there then. He got off the train and they tried to
take him to jail. The jail was way out through the woods. He hadn't done
anything at all. They just took hold of him to take him to the jail
because he had just come into the town. They had tugged him down the
road and when they got to the woods, he took out his gun and killed one
of them, and the rest left him alone. The man who was killed had a wife
and four or five children. They sent the nigger to the penitentiary. He
stayed there about a year and come out. That broke up the Ku Klux around
Black Rock and Portia. They never seemed to get much enjoyment out of it
"I heard from different ones' talk that a big hogshead full of money was
given to the Negroes by the Queen, but they never did get it. I think
they said the queen sent that money. I reckon it was Queen Victoria, but
I don't know. But the white folks got it and kept it for themselves.
"Didn't nobody have any rights then. They would just put em up on a
block and auction them off. The one that give the most he would take em.
Didn't nobody have no schooling only white folks. The white children
would go to school but they didn't allow her to go.
"Once there was a slave woman. They worked her day and night. She had a
little log cabin of her own. The spirit used to come to her at night and
tell her if she would follow them she wouldn't have to work all the rest
of her life. At first she was scared. But finally, she got used to them
and she listened to them. She got directions from them and followed
them. She went up into the loft and found a whole lot of money hid
there. She took it and built her a new house and used it. I heard my
grandmother tell this. That was my step-grandmother named Dilsey.
"One of my bosses had a lot of money and he hid it in a cave. They tried
to find it and to make my mother tell where it was hid, but she didn't
know and couldn't tell. They came back several times and tried to find
him at home but they couldn't catch him. That was in Missouri before
"I hate my father. He was white. I never did have no use for him. I
never seen him because Mama was jayhawked from the place. I never heard
my mother say much about him either, except that he was red-headed. He
was my mother's master. My mother was just forced. I hate him."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Mark C. Trotter, Edmondson, Arkansas
"My owners was Miss Betty and Mr. Luke Trotter. I was born in Tunica
County, Mississippi. I farmed all my whole life. I did like it. One
thing they said about slavery, you couldn't get away. They had dogs and
you get away and have no place to go, nothing to eat. Travel was hard
through the rough wilderness. One owner would notify another about a
runaway. They would take him back or send him word to come get the
runaway. Some of 'em tried to stay in the woods. They said they never
tried to get away. I wasn't born till after freedom. They said they felt
sorry when somebody got beat but they couldn't help it. They had feeling
for their color.
"I come to Arkansas in 1925. I jus' can make it. I'm sickly. I made my
part, three bales cotton, last year and prices was so low and provisions
so high it is all gone. I don't get no help from the Welfare.
"I heard old folks set around the fire and spit and talk about them very
things but I got here too late to know well enough to tell it.
"I recollect when seed was a scarce thing. We had to save all our seed.
The women would swap around. Folks had to raise their own stock.
"The Ku Klux didn't bother us.
"I voted here in town. I don't bother the polls no more. I don't own
"Times and folks both been changing all my life. Some things is better
and some people as good as they always been."
El Dorado District
Name of Interviewer: Pernella Anderson (Colored)
Subject: NEGRO FOLKLORE--Uncle James Tubbs
"Well ah wuz born second year after surrender. Some say dat makes me
72 years old. Mah maw only had two boys. Ah am de baby. My pa wuz name
Manger Tubbs. I wuz a purty bad boy. When ah wuz one. Ah use ter hunt.
Use ter catch six and eight possums in one night. Ah use ter love ter
fish. Spunt er many a nite campin and fishin. An playin marbles wuz a
wonderful game in mah days yo knows. Fokes wuzen so wile den.
"Ah recollect one night we went coon huntin and de boys wuz wanderin
roun and got lost. Some of de boys wuz wanderin roun tryin to git out
and couldn' so ah said: "Dar de seben star yo all jes wait and let me
fine de way out and dey say all right," "We gwina trus yo to fine out a
way out." Went on bout 200 yards and struck our fiel'. We crawled under
fence and went on, struck our coan (corn) fiel'. Den dey all reconcile
wha dey is and ah had a big laff. When ah wuz a boy ah use to drink a
little whiskey. Finally ah said that would be mah ruin. Aftah ah got
oldah ah jess decided ah'd quit. Ah nevah did do no hahm tho. Parents
didn't raise me ter drink, ah jes taken up the habit mahself. Ah use ter
steal Grandma's aigs, He! He! She use ter go ter church and tell us not
to bother anything and fore she got out er sight we'd done gone in de
hen house. We boys git dem eggs and git on out in our play thicket and
roast em and eat em and you know grandma found out where we roast dem
aigs at, and whooe if she didn' whup us. He! He! You know the wurst race
ah evah had in mah life ah wuz comin on fum Spearsville and two coach
whipper wuz layin side de road and you know dem things run me ooo-eee
till ah got tuh a stream and you know ifn hit had not bee fer dat watah
dem things woulder caught me.
"Coase mah grandma and me had had some putty good races. She tryin' ter
cotch me but ah loves her terday fer dose races we had. Mah ma died when
ah wuz one munt ole. Mah pa married agin and mah step-ma wuz mean to me
so mah grandma come an got me and raised me. Ah hant nevah been in jail.
Haint nevah been rested er nothin. Ah wish the chilluns of terday wuz
like dey wuz when ah wuz a boy. We lived in er two room log house. Our
house had a double chimney and we cooked on dat. You know we'd put a big
back stick uv wood on. Mah pa loved his big back sticks of wood to hold
the fire. Wudden no stoves at that time. We cooked on chimney fires. We
et ash cakes. Hit sho wuz good too. Granma say ash cake wuz healthy. Ah
bleve fokes ought ter eat a few of dem now. We had a putty good school
house made outn logs. Ah stop school when ah wuz in the third grade. Ah
learnt purty fair. We uster have ter take rocks an beat corn ter make
meal. We wud have ter go sometime fifty mile to git ter a griss mill. An
when we couldn't git coan mashed inter meal we wud make hominy and hit
sho wuz good too.
"Ah use ter card fer granma while she wuz spinnin. We made our socks,
gloves, and thread. We didn' have dat ter buy. When ah wuz a boy
everybody farmed and we had a plenty. Didn' have drouth in does days.
"Any kine of lan' would produce. Ah use ter get a many lashin bout
pickin cotton. Ah couldn' pick until ah got dem lashins. Some fokes say
lashin don' help but ah clare dey do.
"Ah use ter pick cotton and sing. Ah can recollect so well de song. Hit
went lak dis:
Me an' mah wife had a fallin out
She wanted me ter work on de railroad track
Etc. (See enclosed song)
"Ah jes love ter talk bout when ah wuz a boy. We had a lop cabin fuh a
church house. In dem days on meetin' Sunday fokes would go ter church
and carry de chillun but now not neither the chillun nor dey ma's go
"Fokes would serve the Lord. Dey would git happy in de fiel' and fall
out choppin, choppin cotton. No sich times as hit wuz now. Aftah all er
mah youth and hardship and goodship the Lord called me ter preach and
when he called me ah answered. Ah wuz comin cross de fiel about 12
er'clock. Ah tole him ah couldn' preach. Den ah heard a voice above
mah haid. Ah stopped and wondahed and pondered wid mahself knowin' de
condition uv mahself. Ah said, "Lord yo knows ah caint preach." Den ah
made a vow and ah stuck to hit but ah heard nother voice say, "Go and
preach" again. And ah heerd ah nother voice say "Yo go in de mawnin and
pray befo sunrise." Ah goes thar and gits on mah knees and tried ter
pray an ah heard dogs a barkin and chains rattlin an cats mewin and
everthing. Ah had heard ole fokes talk bout when yo go ter pray chains
and things would track yer tenshun. The same happen ter me. Ah want on
and ended mah prayer and yo know ah wuz a glad soul. Ah felt lak ah cud
go an then an do whut the Lawd said. Ah gone on an stahted preachin. Hit
seemed the church wuz so crowded wid so many local preachers ah couldn'
do whut de Lawd wanted me ter so ah ask the pastor ifn ah could run
prayer meetin and he said, "Why chile yes," and ah went on wid de prayer
meetin till ever'body quit his church and come to mah prayer meetin so
den he called mah han', got jealous and made me move mah prayer meetin.
So som good white fokes let me come ovah neah them and start a prayer
meetin so de people followed me and we built a church and hit is yet
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Mandy Tucker
1021 E. 11th Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"I was here in slavery times but I don't know what year I was born. War?
I was in it!
"I member old master and old mistis too. I member I didn't know nothin'
bout my mother and father cause it was night when they went to work and
night when they come in and we chilluns would be under the bed asleep.
"I know the white folks had a kitchen full of we chilluns. We went over
to the kitchen to eat.
"My mother belonged to the Cockrills and my father belonged to the
Armstrongs. They were cousins and their plantations joined.
"I was large enough to know when they took my parents to Texas, but I
didn't know how serious it was till they was gone. I member peepin'
through the crack of the fence but I didn't know they was takin' em off.
"They left me with the old doctor woman. She doctored both white and
colored. I stayed there till I was fourteen years old.
"I know we had our meals off a big wooden tray but we had wooden spoons
to eat with.
"I member when they was fightin' here at Pine Bluff. I was standin' at
the overseer's bell house waitin' for a doll dress a girl had promised
me and the guns was goin' just like pop guns. We didn't know what it was
to take off our shoes and clothes for six months. We was ready to run if
they broke in on us.
"The Yankees had their headquarters at the big house near the river. All
this was in woods till I growed up. We used to have our picnic here.
"I was standin' right at the post when they rung the bell in the bell
house when peace declared. I heered the old folks sayin, 'We is free, we
"I know before freedom they wouldn't let us burn a speck of light at
night. Had these little iron lamps. They'd twist wicks and put em in
tallow. I don't know whether it was beef or sheep tallow but they had
plenty of sheeps on the place.
"Colonel Cockrill would have us come up to the big house every Sunday
mornin' and he'd give us a apple or a stick of candy. But them that was
big enough to work wouldn't get any. They worked on Sunday too--did the
washin' every Sunday evenin'.
"Oh lord, they had a big plantation.
"After the War I went to school some. We had white teachers from the
North. I didn't get to go much except on rainy days. Other times I had
to work. I got so I could read print but I can't read writin'. I used to
could but since I been sick seems like my mind just hops off.
"After freedom my parents rented land and farmed. I stayed with the old
doctor woman till I was fourteen then I went to my parents.
"I married when I was eighteen and had five chillun. When I worked for
my father he'd let us quit when we got tired and sit under the shade
bushes. But when I married I had to work harder than ever. My husband
was just a run-around. He'd put in a crop and then go and leave it.
Sometimes he was a constable. Finally he went off and took up with
"I been here in Arkansas all my life except eight months I lived in St.
Louis, but I didn't like it. When I was in St. Louis I know it started
to snow. I thought it was somebody pickin' geese. I said, 'What is
that?' and my granddaughter said, 'Gal, that's snow.'
"I don't know what to think of the younger generation. I think they is
just goin' out to nothin'. They say they are gettin' weaker and wiser
but I think they are weaker and foolish--they are not wise in the right
way. Some are very good to their parents and some are not.
"Honey, I don't know how things is goin'--all I know is they is mighty
tight right now."
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Emma Turner
330 W. Sixth Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"Yes ma'am, I was born in slavery days. They never did tell me when I
was born but I was ten the seventh day of August the same year we was
"No ma'am, I wasn't born in Arkansas. I was born in Georgia. I sent
there and got my license to show my age. I was twenty years old when I
"George Jones was my old master. But, Lawd, them folks is all dead now.
Old master and old missis, yes ma'am, all of 'em dead.
"Fight 'round us? No, they didn't fight there but they come through
there. Yes ma'am, they come through there. Oh, chile, they got horses
"Used to give us the Confederate money. Wasn't no good though. They got
the silver and gold. Confederate money was white on one side and green
on the other. Yes'm, they was Yankees.
"Oh, yes'am, old master was good to us. He didn't never marry. My
grandmother was the cook.
"My mother was born in Virginia. I heerd her talk of the Nat Turner
Rebellion but I never did see him.
"Our folks stayed right on after freedom and hired by the month. And
hired us children for our victuals and clothes.
"I stayed there till I was married. Then I come to Vicksburg,
Mississippi. Had nine children and all dead but two.
"Me? Oh, I done washin' and ironin' mostly, cooked and most anything I
could get to do. I'm all worked down now though.
"We emigrated from Georgia to Mississippi. All my children born there.
"I 'member the soldiers had guns and we was scared of 'em. We looked for
'em to come up the road but they come out of the woods and was around
us right now. They didn't mind creeks or nothin', ridin' horseback or
walkin'. I know they said, 'We ain't gwine hurt you.'
"Old master's mother and father was named Sally and Billy. 'Member 'em?
'Co'se I do--many times as I waited on that table. But they all dead
'fore I even thought about bein' grown.
"Oh, yes ma'am, we had a plenty to eat. That's the reason I misses it
"I went to school one year but I had to work so hard I done forgot
nearly everything I learned. I can read a little but my eyes ain't no
"Dem Ku Klux--you dassent be out after dark. You better not be out on
the street after dark. But Sunday night they didn't bother you when you
went to church.
"I was raised up with two white girls and their mother didn't 'low us to
get out of the yard.
"I used to pick peas and cotton. Yes ma'am, that was when we was with
the same old man, George Jones. I used to huddle (herd) cows for miles
and miles. My mother was the milk woman. I don't know how many she
milked but she milked a heap of 'em.
"Used to climb up in trees and tear our clothes. Then they'd whip us.
Old master say, 'Don't you tell me no lie.' Then old Miss Sally would
get a stick and make out she gwine kill us, but she wouldn't touch us a
"Younger generation? Now you done asked me too soon. I set here and look
at 'em. Sometimes I don't know what gwine come of 'em. When we was young
we didn't do nothin' like they doin' now. Why we dassent raise our
dresses. If we see a man comin' we pull down our skirts. Yes, Lawd."
Name of interviewer: Watt McKinney
Subject: Ex-Slave and Confederate Soldiers
This information given by: "Uncle" Henry Turner (c)
Place of residence: Turner, Phillips County, Arkansas
Occupation: Plantation hand
[TR: Information moved from bottom of first page.]
I'm gettin' old and feeble now and cannot walk no more
And I've laid the rusty-bladed hoe to rest.
Ole marster and ole missus are sleeping side by side
And their spirits are a-roamin' with the blest.
The above lines, had they been composed today, might well have been
written with reference to "Uncle" Henry Turner, ninety-three years of
age, of Turner, Arkansas, in Phillips County, and among the very few
remaining ex-slaves, especially of those who were old enough at the time
of their emancipation to have now a clear recollection of conditions,
customs, events, and life during those days long past immediately
proceeding and following the Civil War. "Uncle" Henry's eyes have now
grown dim and he totters slightly as, supported by his cane, he slowly
shuffles along the path over a short distance between the clean,
white-washed cabin where he lives with a daughter and the small,
combination store and post office, on the porch of which he is
accustomed to sit in an old cane-bottomed chair for a few hours each day
and the white folks in passing stop to speak a few words and to buy for
him candy, cold drinks, and tobacco.
Though "Uncle" Henry is approaching the century mark in age, his mind is
remarkably clear and his recollection is unusually keen. He was born
a slave in northern Mississippi near the small towns of Red Banks and
Byhalia, was the property of his owner. Edmond Turner, and was brought
to Phillips County by "his white folks" some months before the war.
Turner, who owned some fifty other slaves besides Henry, settled with
his family on a large acreage of land that he had purchased about
fifteen miles west of Helena near Trenton. Both Turner and his wife died
soon after taking up residence in Arkansas leaving their estate to their
two sons, Bart and Nat, who were by that time grown young men, and being
very capable and industrious soon developed their property into one of
the most valuable plantations in the County.
As "Uncle" Henry recalls, the Turner place was, it might be said, a
world within itself, in the confines of which was produced practically
everything essential in the life of its inhabitants and the proper and
successful conduct of its operations. Large herds of cattle, hogs,
sheep, and goats provided a bountiful supply of both fresh and salt
meats and fats. Cotton and wool was carded, spun and woven into cloth
for clothes, fast colored dyes were made by boiling different kinds
of roots and barks, various colored berries were also used for this
purpose. Medicine was prepared from roots, herbs, flowers, and leaves.
Stake and rider fences enclosed the fields and pastures and while most
of the houses, barns and cribs were constructed of logs, some lumber was
manufactured in crude sawmills in which was used what was known as a
"slash saw". This was something like the crosscut saws of today and was
operated by a crank that gave the saw an alternating up and down motion.
Wheat was ground into flour and corn into meal in mills with stone burrs
similar to those used in the rural districts today, and power for this
operation was obtained through the use of a treadmill that was given
its motion by horses or mules walking on an inclined, endless belt
constructed of heavy wooden slats.
Candles for lighting purposes were made of animal fats combined with
beeswax. Plows, harrows and cultivating implements were made on the
plantation by those Negroes who had been trained in carpentry and
blacksmithing. Plows for breaking the land were sometimes constructed
with a metal point and a wooden moldboard and harrows made of heavy
timbers with large, sharpened wooden pegs for teeth. Hats of straw and
corn shucks were woven by hand.
Small, crude cotton gins were powered by horses or mules hitched to a
beam fastened to an upright shaft around which they traveled in a circle
and to which was attached large cogwheels that multiplied the animal's
power enormously and transmitted it by means of belt to the separating
machinery where the lint was torn from the seed. No metal ties were
available during this period and ropes of cotton were used to bind
the bales of lint. About three bales was the daily capacity of a
horse-powered plantation gin.
It was often difficult to obtain the services of a competent doctor and
except in cases of serious illness home remedies were administered.
Churches were established in different communities throughout the
County and the Negro slaves were allowed the privilege of attending the
services, certain pews being set apart for them, and the same minister
that attended the spiritual needs of the master and his family rendered
like assistant to his slaves.
No undertaking establishments existed here at this time and on the death
of a person burial was made in crude caskets built of rough cypress
planks unless the deceased was a member of a family financially able to
afford the expensive metal caskets that were available no nearer than
Memphis. "Uncle" Henry Turner recalls the death of Dan Wilborn's little
six-year-old boy, Abby, who was accidentally killed when crushed by a
heavy gate on which he was playing, and his burial in what "Uncle" Henry
described as a casket made of the same material as an old-fashioned door
knob; and while I have no other authority than this on the subject,
it is possible that in that day caskets were made of some vitrified
substance, perhaps clay, and resembling the present day tile.
The planters and slaveowners of this period obtained the greater share
of their recreation in attendance at political rallies, horse races, and
cock fights. Jobe Dean and Gus Abington who came to Trenton from their
home near La Grange, Tennessee were responsible for the popularity of
these sports in Phillips County and it was they who promoted the most
spectacular of these sporting events and in which large sums of money
were wagered on the horses and the game cocks. It is said that Marve
Carruth once owned an Irish Grey Cock on which he bet and won more than
five thousand dollars one afternoon at Trenton.
No Negro slave was allowed to go beyond the confines of his owner's
plantation without written permission. This was described by "Uncle"
Henry Turner as a "pass"; and on this "pass" was written the name of the
Negro, the place he was permitted to visit, and the time beyond which he
must not fail to return. It seems that numbers of men were employed by
the County or perhaps by the slaveowners themselves whose duty it was
to patrol the community and be on constant watch for such Negroes who
attempted to escape their bondage or overstayed the time limit noted on
their "pass". Such men were known then as "Paddy Rolls" by the Negroes
and in the Southern states are still referred to by this name.
Punishment was often administered by them, and the very mention of the
name was sufficient to cause stark terror and fear in the hearts of
At some time during that period when slavery was a legal institution in
this country, the following verse was composed by some unknown author
and set to a tune that some of the older darkies can yet sing:
Run nigger run, the Paddy Roll will get you
Run nigger run, it's almost day.
That nigger run, that nigger flew
That nigger tore his shirt into.
Run nigger run, the Paddy Roll will get you
Run nigger run, it's almost day.
Both Bart Turner and his brother Nat enlisted in the services of the
Confederacy. Nat Turner was a member of the First Arkansas Volunteers,
a regiment organized at Helena and of which Patrick R. Cleburne was
colonel. Dick Berry and Milt Wiseman, friends and neighbors of the
Turners, also volunteered and enlisted in Cleburne's command. These
three stalwart young men from Phillips County followed Cleburne
and fought under his battle flag on those bloody fields at Shiloh,
Murfreesboro, Ringgold gap, and Atlanta; and they were with him that day
in November in front of the old gin house at Franklin as the regiment
formed for another and what was to be their last charge. The dead lay
in heaps in front of them and almost filled the ditch around the
breastworks, but the command though terribly cut to pieces was forming
as cooly as if on dress parade. Above them floated a peculiar flag,
a field of deep blue on which was a crescent moon and stars. It was
Cleburne's battle flag and well the enemy knew it; they had seen it
so often before. "I tip my hat to that flag" said the Federal General
Sherman years after the war. "Whenever my men saw it they knew it meant
fight." As the regiment rushed on the Federal breastworks a gray clad
figure on a chestnut horse rode across the front of the moving column
and toward the enemy's guns. The horse went down within fifty yards of
the breastworks. The rider arose, waved his sword, and led his men on
foot to the very ramparts. Then he staggered and fell, pierced with a
dozen balls. It was Cleburne, the peerless field-marshal of Confederate
brigade commanders. The Southern cause suffered a crushing defeat at
Franklin and the casualty list recorded the names of Nat Turner, Dick
Berry, and Milt Wiseman, who like their beloved commander had given
their life for their country. There is an inscription on the stone base
of the magnificent bronze statue of General N. B. Forrest astride his
war horse in Forrest Park in Memphis that could well be placed above
the graves of Cleburne, Turner, Berry, and Wiseman, those brave, heroic
soldiers from Phillips County. The inscription in verse is as follows:
Those hoof beats die not on fame's crimson sod
But will live on in song and in story.
He fought like a Trojan and struck like a god
His dust is our ashes of glory.
Interviewer: Zillah Cross Peel
Information given by: Seabe Tuttle
Residence: Washington County, seven miles east of Fayetteville.
Seabe Tuttle who was born in slavery in 1859, belonged to James
Middleton Tuttle of Richland, which was about seven miles east of
"I was just a baby when the war was but I do recollect a lot of things
that my ma told me about the War. Our folks all come from Tennessee. My
mother was named Esther, she belonged to Ole Man Tom Smith who gived
her to Miss Evaline, who was Mister Mid Tuttle's wife. The Tuttles and
Smiths lived joining farms."
"You see, Mister Tuttle was a colonel in the Confederate army and when
he went off with the army he left all his slaves and stock in care of
Mr. Lafe Boone. Miss Mollie and Miss Nannie, and Miss Jim and another
daughter I disrecolect her her name, all went in carriages and wagons
down south following the Confederate army. They took my pa, Mark, and
other servants, my mother's sister, Americus and Barbary. They told them
they would bring them back home after the War. Then my mother and me and
the other darkies, men and women and children, followed them with the
cattle and horses and food. But us didn't get no further than Dardanelle
when the Federals captured us and took us back to the Federal garrison
at Ft. Smith, where they kept us six months. Yes'm they were good to us
there. We would get our food at the com'sary. But one day my ma and my
sister, Mandy, found a white man that said he would bring us back to
Fayetteville. No'm, I disremember his name."
"We found us a cabin to live in here. Didn't have to pay rent then likes
they do now. We lived here but after a while my mother died. They had
two battles 'round here, the Battle of Prairie Grave and one was the
Battle of Pea Ridge, after we comed back but no soldiers bothered us. I
remember that back from where the Christian church is now, down to the
Town Branch, there was a whole lot of Federal soldiers staying, they
called it then Cato Branch, cause a man by the name of Cato owned all
"Yes'm, I guess we had a purty good master and missus. We never did get
treated much rough."
"After the War, Miss Evaline brought back all the colored people that
she took with her, but my father. He got married down there and didn't
come back for a long time. Then he did and died here. Two of Miss
Eveline's daughters married down there. They didn't have no boys 'tall,
just four girls."
"When Peace was made the slaves all scattered. We none was givin'
nothin' for as I know. I worked on a farm for $13. a month and my board,
for a man down at Oxford's Bend, then I went down to Van Buren where I
worked as a porter in a hotel then I went to Morrilton and I married. We
come back here and I worked all the time as a carpenter. I worked for
Mister A.M. Byrnes. I helped build a lot of fine houses round here and I
helped put a roof on the Main Building at the University."
"Yes'm, I own my home down by the school, I can't make much money these
days. It kinda worries me. My folks all dead but three of my brothers
children. One of these is blind. He lives on the old home my mother had.
The county gives him a little food and a little money."
"Yes'm, my white folks were all good to us. Purty good to us."
"After Peace was made though, we all jes' scattered, somehow."
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