Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States - Volume II. Arkansas Narratives. Part 7
by Works Projects Administration
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Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Parrish Washington 812 Spruce Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 86

"I was born in 1852—born in Arkansas. Sam Warren was my old master.

"I remember some of the Rebel generals—General Price and General Marmaduke.

"We had started to Texas but the Yankees got in ahead of us in the Saline bottoms and we couldn't go no further.

"My boss had so much faith in his own folks he wouldn't leave here 'til it was too late. He left home on Saturday night and got into the bottoms on Sunday and made camp. Then the Yankees got in ahead of him and he couldn't go no further, so we come back to Jefferson County.

"The Yankees had done took Little Rock and come down to Pine Bluff.

"My father died in 1860 and my mother in 1865.

"I can remember when they whipped the slaves. Never whipped me though—they was just trainin' me up.

"Had an old lady on the place cooked for the children and we just got what we could.

"I remember when peace was declared, the people shouted and rejoiced—a heavy load had fell off.

"All the old hands stayed on the place. I stayed there with my uncle and aunt. We was treated better then. I was about 25 years old when I left there.

"I farmed 'til '87. Then I joined the Conference and preached nearly forty years when I was superannuated.

"I remember when the Rebels was camped up there on my boss's place. I used to love to see the soldiers. Used to see the horses hitched to the artillery.

"Two or three of Sam Warren's hands run off and joined the Yankees. They didn't know what it was goin' to be and two of 'em come back—stayed there too.

"I used to vote the Republican ticket. I was justice of the peace four years—two terms.

"I went to school here in Pine Bluff about two or three terms and I was school director in district number two about six or seven years.

"I have great hope for the young people of the future. 'Course some of 'em are not worth killin' but the better class—I think there is a bright future for 'em.

"But for the world in general, if they don't change they goin' to the devil. But God always goin' to have some good people in reserve 'til the Judgment."

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Caroline Watson 517 E. 21st Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 82

"I was born in '55 in March on the 13th on Sunday morning in time for breakfast. I was born in Mississippi. I never will forget my white folks. Oh, I was raised good. I had good white folks. Wish I could see some of em now.

"Well, I specs I do remember when the war started. I member when twas goin' on. Oh Lord, I member all bout it. Old mistress' name was Miss Ellen Shird.

"Oh the Yankees used to come around. I can see us chillun sittin' on the gallery watchin' em. I disremember what color uniform they had on, but I seen a heap of em.

"My old master, I can see him now—old Joe Shird. Just as good as they could be.

"I should say I do remember when they surrendered. I know everybody was joyous. But they done better fore surrender than they did afterwards—that is them that had to go off to themselves.

"I was always so fast tryin' to work I wasn't studyin' bout no books, but I went to school after surrender. My father and mother was smart old folks and made us work.

"I just been married once. I did pretty well. I like to been married since he's dead but I seen so many didn't do so well. I has four sons and one daughter. My son made me quit workin'. They gets me anything I want. I got a religion that will do to die with. I done give up everything.

"Younger generation? What we goin' do with em? They ought to be sent off some place and put to work. They just gone to the dogs. The Lord have mercy. My heart just aches and moans and groans for em."

Circumstances of Interview STATE—Arkansas NAME OF WORKER—Samuel S. Taylor ADDRESS—Little Rock, Arkansas DATE—December, 1938 SUBJECT—Ex-slave [TR: Repetitive information deleted from subsequent pages.]

1. Name and address of informant—Mary Watson, 1500 Cross Street, Little Rock.

2. Date and time of interview—

3. Place of interview—1500 Cross Street, Little Rock.

4. Name and address of person, if any, who put you in touch with informant—

5. Name and address of person, if any, accompanying you—

6. Description of room, house, surroundings, etc.—

Personal History of Informant

1. Ancestry—father, Abram McCoy; mother, Louise McCoy.

2. Place and date of birth—Mississippi. No date.

3. Family—

4. Places lived in, with dates—Lived in Mississippi until 1891 then moved to Arkansas.

5. Education, with dates—

6. Occupations and accomplishments, with dates—

7. Special skills and interests—

8. Community and religious activities—

9. Description of informant—

10. Other points gained in interview—This person tells very little of life, but tells of her parents.

Text of Interview (Unedited)

"My mother and father were McCoys. His name was Abram and her name was Louise. My mother died right here when Brewer was Pastor of Wesley. You ought to remember her. My mother died in 1928. My father died in 1897 when Joe Sherrill was pastor. Joe Sherrill went to Africa, you know. He was a missionary.

"My mother was owned by Bill Mitchell. He came from Alabama. I can't call the name of the town, just now. Yes, I can; it was Tuscaloosa. My father came from South Carolina. McCoy was his owner. But how come him to leave South Carolina he was sold after his master died and the property was divided. He was sold away from his family. He had a large family—about nine children. My mother was sold away from her mother too. She was little and couldn't help herself. My grandma didn't want to come. And she managed not to; I don't know how she managed it.

"Before freedom my father was a farmer. My mother was a farmer too. My mother wasn't so badly treated. She was a slave but she worked right along with the white children. She had two brothers. The other sister stayed with her mother. She was sold—my mother's mother. But I don't know to whom.

"My father was a preacher. He could word any hymn. How could he do it, I don't know. On his Sunday, when the circuit rider wasn't there, he would have me read the Bible to him and then he could get up and tell it to the people. I don't know how he managed it. He didn't know how to read. But he had a wonderful memory. He always had his exhorting license renewed and he exhorted the people both Methodists and Baptists. After freedom, when I went to school I knew and always helped him.

"My father voted on the election days all the time. Be was a Republican, and he rallied to them all the time. Before the war, my father farmed. He commenced in the early fall hauling the cotton from Abbeville, South Carolina to Augusta, Georgia. That was his business—teamster, hauling cotton. He never did talk like his owners were so mean to him. Of course, they weren't mean. When her master died and the property had to be sold, his master bought her and her babies.

"My father met my mother before the war started. Colored people were scarce in the locality where she lived. These white people saw my father and liked him. And they encouraged her to marry him. She was only seventeen. My father was much older. He remembered the dark day in May and when the stars fell.

"He didn't show his age much though till he came to Little Rock. He had been used to farming and city life didn't agree with him. He left about seven years after coming here.

"My father and mother met and married in Mississippi. He came from South Carolina and she came from Alabama. They had nine children. All of them were born after the war. I am the oldest. Lee McCoy is my youngest brother. You know him, I'm sure. He is the president of Rust College. I was born right after the war. Don't put me down as no ex-slave. I was born right after the war.

"Right after the war, my father farmed in Mississippi. He took a notion to come to Arkansas in 1891. He brought his whole family with him. And I have been out here ever since.

"I never saw any slave houses. I wasn't a slave. I have been to the place where my mother was raised. I was teaching school near there and just wanted to see. After her master died, Sam McCallister, his cousin, took the slave children and was their guardian. Years later it come up in court and they took all his land. Bill Mitchell was her first master. He died during slave time. McCallister was made administrator of the estate. He was made guardian of all the children too. He was made guardian of the white children and of the colored children. He raised them all. There was Ma and her auntie and three or four children of her auntie's. Later on, way after the war, there was a lawsuit. I was grown then. The courts made him pay the white children their share as far as he was able. Of course, the colored children got nothing because they were slaves when he took them.

"I don't know nothing about the Ku Klux Klan bothering my family. I don't remember anything except that I hear them talking about the Ku Klux and the Pateroles. I wasn't here.

"Don't put me down as an ex-slave. I am not an ex-slave. I was born after the war. I don't know nothing about slavery except what I heard others say. I expect I have talked too much anyway."

Extra Comment

The constant reiteration of the phrase, "I'm not an ex-slave" roused my curiosity and drove me to a superficial investigation. Persons who are acquainted with her and her family estimate that Mary Watson is nearer eighty than seventy. She started her story pleasantly enough. But when she got the obsession that she would be put down as an ex-slave, she refused to tell more.

There is one thing not to be overlooked. Mary Watson has a mind that is still keen. She tells what she wants to tell, and she doesn't state a thing that she does not want to state. The hidden facts are to be discerned only by subtle inference. This trait interested me, for her younger brother, mentioned in the story, is a distinguished character, President of Rust College, Holly Springs, Mississippi, and known to be experienced and efficient in his work. Whatever she may have reserved or stated, in reading her story, we are reading at least a sidelight on a family of which some of the members have done some fine work within the race.

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Bart Wayne, Helena, Arkansas Age: 72

"I was born at Holly Springs in 1866. It was in the springtime. Ma said I was born two years after the surrender. Ma was named Mary and pa Dan—Dan Wayne. They never was sold. In 1912 Dr. Leard was living in a big fine house at Sardia, Mississippi. He was our last owner. Mallard Jones owned them too. Pa didn't have no name. He was called for his owners. I don't know if he named hisself Dan Wayne or not. The way I think it was, Mr. Jones give Dr. Leard's wife them. He give her a big plantation. I knowed Dr. Leard my own self all my life. I'd go to see him.

"The present times is hard. I get ten dollars a month. I don't know what to say about folks now—none of them."

Interviewer: Pernella Anderson Person Interviewed: Annie Mae Weathers East Bone Street El Dorado, Ark. Age: ?

"I was born bout the second year after surrender right down here at Caledonia. Now the white folks that ma and pa and me belonged to was named Fords. We farmed all the time. The reason we farmed all the time was because that was all for us to do. You see there wasn't nothin' else for us to do. There wasn't no schools in my young days to do no good, and this time of year we was plowin' to beat the band and us always planted corn in February and in April our corn was.

"We fixed our ground early and planted early and we had good crops of everything. We went to bed early and rose early. We had a little song that went like this:

Early to bed and early to rise Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.


The early bird catches the worm.

Cooked breakfast every morning by a pine torch.

"I member hearin' my pa say that when somebody come and hollowed: 'Yer niggers is free at last' say he just dropped his hoe and said in a queer voice: 'Thank God for that.' It made old miss and old moss so sick till they stopped eating a week. Pa said old moss and old miss looked like their stomach and guts had a law suit and their navel was called in for a witness, they was so sorry we was free.

"After I got a good big girl I was hired out for my clothes and something to eat. My dresses was made out of cotton stripes and my chemise was made out of flannelette and my under pants was made out of homespun.

"Our games was 'Honey, honey Bee,' 'Ball I can't Yall,' and a nother one of our games was 'Old Lady Hypocrit.'"

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: Cora Weathers 818 Chester Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 79

"I have been right on this spot for sixty-three years. I married when I was sixteen and he brought me here and put me down and I have been here ever since. No, I don't mean he deserted me; I mean he put me on this spot of ground. Of course, I have been away on a visit but I haven't been nowheres else to live.

"When I came here, there was only three houses—George Winstead lived on Chester and Eighth Street; Dave Davis lived on Ninth and Ringo; and George Gray lived on Chester and Eighth. Rena Lee lived next to where old man Paterson stays now, 906 Chester. Rena Thompson lived on Chester and Tenth. The old people that used to live here is mostly dead or moved up North.

"On Seventh and Ringo there was a little store. It was the only store this side of Main Street. There was a little old house where Coffin's Drug Store is now. The branch ran across there. Old man John Peyton had a nursery in a little log house. You couldn't see it for the trees. He kept a nursery for flowers. On the next corner, old man Sinclair lived. That is the southeast corner of Ninth and Broadway. Next to him was the Hall of the Sons of Ham.

"That was the first place I went to school. Lottie Stephens, Robert Lacy, and Gus Richmond were the teacher. Hollins was the principal. That was in the Sons of Ham's Hall.

"I was born in Dallas County, Arkansas. It must have been 'long 'bout in eighty-fifty-nine, 'cause I was sixteen years old when I come here and I been here sixty-three years.

"During the War, I was quite small. My mother brought me here after the War and I went to school for a while. Mother had a large family. So I never got to go to school but three months at a time and only got one dollar and twenty-five cents a week wages when I was working. My father drove a wagon and hoed cotton. Mother kept house. She had—lemme see—one, two, three, four—eight of us, but the youngest brother was born here.

"My mother's name was Millie Stokes. My mother's name before she was married was—I don't know what. My father's name was William Stokes. My father said he was born in Maryland. I met Richard Weathers here and married him sixty-three years ago. I had six children, three girls and three boys. Children make you smart and industrious—make you think and make you get about.

"I've heard talk of the pateroles; they used to whip the slaves that was out without passes, but none of them never bothered us. I don't remember anything myself, because I was too small. I heard of the Ku Klux too; they never bothered my people none. They scared the niggers at night. I never saw none of them. I can't remember how freedom came. First I knowed, I was free.

"People in them days didn't know as much as the young people do now. But they thought more. Young people nowadays don't think. Some of them will do pretty well, but some of them ain't goin' to do nothin'. They are gittin' worse and worser. I don't know what is goin' to become of them. They been dependin' on the white folks all along, but the white folks ain't sayin' much now. My people don't seem to want nothin'. The majority of them just want to dress and run up and down the streets and play cards and policy and drink and dance. It is nice to have a good time but there is something else to be thought of. But if one tries to do somethin', the rest tries to pull him down. The more education they get, the worse they are—that is, some of them."

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: Ishe Webb 1610 Cross Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 78, or more

"I was born October 14. That was in slavery time. The record is burnt up. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. My father's master was a Webb. His first name was Huel. My father was named after him. I came here in 1874, and I was a boy eleven or twelve years old then.

"My father was sold to another man for seventeen hundred dollars. My mother was sold for twenty hundred. I have heard them say that so much that I never will forget it. Webb sold my father and bought him back. My mother's folks were Calverts. The Calverts and the Webbs owned adjoining plantations.

"My grandmother on my mother's side was a Calvert too. Her first name was Joanna. I think my father's parents got beat to death in slavery. Grandfather on my mother's side was tied to a stump and whipped to death. He was double jointed and no two men could whip him. They wanted to whip him because he wouldn't work. That was what they would whip any one for. They would run off before they would work. Stay in the woods all night.

"My Grandma Calvert was buried over here in Galloway on the Rock Island road on the John Eynes plantation.

"My folks' masters were all right. But them nigger drivers were bad, just like the county farm. A man sitting in the house and putting you over a lot of men, you gwinter go up high as you want to.

"My father was a blacksmith and my mother was a weaver. There was a lot of those slavery folks 'round the house, and they tell me they didn't work them till they were twenty-one, they put them in the field when they were twenty-two. If you didn't work they would beat you to death. My father killed his overseer and went on off to the War.

"The pateroles used to drive and whip them. They would catch the slaves off without a pass and whip them and then make the boss pay for them when they took them back. I never seen the pateroles but I have seen the Ku Klux and they were the same thing.

"The jayhawkers would catch you when the pateroles didn't. They would carry you to the pateroles and get pay for you, and the pateroles would turn you over to the owners. You had to have a pass. If you didn't the pateroles would catch you and wear you out, keep you till the next morning, and then send you home by the jayhawkers. They didn't call them that though, they called them bushwhackers.

"The Ku Klux came after the War. They was the same thing as the pateroles—they come out from them. I know where the Ku Klux home is over here on Eighteenth and Broadway. That is where they broke up. It ain't never been open since. (Not correct—ed.)

"I saw the Yankees come in the yard on the Webb place. That was in the time of the War. The old man got on his horse and flew. The Yankees went in the smokehouse, broke it open, got all the meat they wanted. They didn't pay you nothing in slavery time. But what meat the Yankees didn't take for themselves, they give to the niggers.

"My folks never got anything for their work that I know of. I heard my mother say that nobody got paid for their work. I don't know whether they had a chance to make anything on the side or not.

"The Yankees, when they come in the yard that morning, told my father he was free. I remember that myself. They come up riding horses and carryin' long old guns with bayonets on them, and told him. They rode all over the country from one place to another telling the niggers they were free. Master didn't get a chance to tell us because he left when he saw them comin'.

"When my mother and father were living on the plantation, they lived in an old frame building. A portion of it was log. My father stayed with the Calverts—his wife's white folks. At first old man Webb sold him to them; then he bought him back and bought my mother too. They were together when freedom came. You know they auctioned you off in slavery time. Every year, they would, they put you up on the auction block and buy and sell. That was down in Georgia. We was in Georgia when we was freed—in Atlanta. My father and mother had fourteen children altogether. My mother died the year after we came out here. That would be about 1875. I never had but three children because my wife died early. Two of them are dead.

"Right after freedom, my father plaited baskets and mats. He shucked mops, put handles on rakes and did things like that in addition to his farming. He was a blacksmith all the time too. He used to plait collars for mules. He farmed and got his harvests in season. The other things would be a help to him between times.

"My father came here because he thought that there was a better situation here than in Georgia. Of course, the living was better there because they had plenty of fruit. Then he worked on a third and fourth. He got one bale of cotton out of every three he made. The slaves left many a plantation and they would grow up in weeds. When a man would clear up the ground like this and plant it down in something, he would get all he planted on it. That was in addition to the ground that he would contract to plant. He used to plant rice, peas, potatoes, corn, and anything else he wanted too. It was all his'n so long as it was on extra ground he cleared up.

"But they said, 'Cotton grows as high as a man in Arkansas.' Then they paid a man two dollars fifty cents for picking cotton here in Arkansas while they just paid about forty cents in Georgia. So my father came here. Times was good when we come here. The old man cleared five bales of cotton for himself his first year, and he raised his own corn. He bought a pony and a cow and a breeding hog out of the first year's money. He died about thirty-five years ago.

"When I was coming along I did public work after I became a grown man. First year I made crops with him and cleared two bales for myself at twelve and a half cents a pound. The second year I hired out by the month at forty-five dollars per month and board. I had to buy my clothes of course. After seven years I went to doing work as a millwright here in Arkansas. I stayed at that eighteen months. Then I steamboated.

"We had a captain on that steamboat that never called any man by his name. We rolled cotton down the hill to the boat and loaded it on, and if you weren't a good man, that cotton got wet. I never wetted my cotton. But jus' the same, I heard what the others heard. One day after we had finished loading, I thought I'd tell him something. The men advised me not to. He was a rough man, and he carried a gun in his pocket and a gun in his shirt. I walked up to him and said, 'Captain, I don't know what your name is, but I know you's a white man. I'm a nigger, but I got a name jus' like you have. My name's Webb. If you call Webb, I'll come jus' as quick as I will for any other name and a lot more willing. If you don't want to say Webb, you can jus' say "Let's go," and you'll find me right there.' He looked at me a moment, and then he said, 'Where you from?' I said, 'I'm from Georgia, but I came on this boat from Little Hock.' He put his arm around my shoulder and said, 'Come on upstairs.' We had two or three drinks upstairs, and he said, 'You and your pardner are the only two men I have that is worth a damn.' Then he said, 'But you are right; you have a name, and you have a right to be called by it.' And from then on, he quit callin' us out of our names.

"But I only stayed on the boat six months. It wasn't because of the captain. Them niggers was bad. They gambled all the time, and I gambled with them. But they wouldn't stop at that. They would argue and fight and cut and shoot. A man would shoot a man down, and then kick him off into the river. Then when there was roll call, nobody would know what became of him. I didn't like that. I knew that I was goin' to kill somebody if I stayed on that boat 'cause I didn't intend for nobody to kill me. So I stopped.

"After that, I went back to the man that I worked for the month for and stayed with him till I married. I took care of the stock. I was only married once. My wife died the fourteenth of October. We had three children, and I have one daughter living.

"I have voted often. I never had no trouble. I am a colored man and I ain't got nothin' but my character, but I take care of that. I let them know I am in Arkansas. I ain't been out of Arkansas but to Memphis and Vicksburg, and I took them trips on the boat I was working on. I was a good man then.

"I can't say nothing about these wild-headed young people. They ain't got no sense. Take God to handle them.

"Some parts of politics are all right and some are all wrong. It is like Grant. He was straddled the fence part of the time. I believe Roosevelt wants eight more years. Of course, he did a great deal for the people but the working man isn't getting enough money. Prices are so high and wages so low that a man keeps up to the grindstone and never gets ahead. They don't mean for a colored man to prosper by money. Senator Robinson said a nigger wasn't worth but fifty cents a day. But the nigger is coming anyhow. He is stinching hisself and doing without. The young folks ain't doing it though. These young folks doing every devilishment on earth they can. Look at that boy they caught the other day who had robbed twenty houses. This young race ain't goin' to stan' what I stood for. They goin' to school every day but they ain't learning nothin'. What will take us through this tedious journey through the world is his manners, his principle, and his behavior. Money ain't goin' to do it. You can't get by without principles, manner, and good behavior. Niggers can't do it. And white folks can't either."

Pine Bluff District FOLKLORE SUBJECTS Name of Interviewer: Martin - Barker Subject: (Negro Lore)—Ex-Slave Story:—information

This information given by: Alfred Wells Place of residence: Occupation: Age 77 [TR: Information moved from bottom of first page.]

I has de eye of an eagle. One in my haid, de other in my chest. Sometimes us slaves would stay out later at night than ole marster seid we could and they send the patrols out for us.

And we started a song; "Run nigger run, the petlo' catch you, run nigger run, its almost day."

My brother run off and hid in the pasture. I wuz a small boy, dey called me nigger cowboy, cause I drive de cows up at night, and took em to de paster in the mornings.

I knowed my brother runned off, but I wouldn't tell on him. He run off to join the Yankees. They never found him, although, they used the nigger dogs, who were taken out by men who were looking for runaway nigger slaves.

Ef I had my choice, I'd ruther be a slave. But we cant always have our ruthers. Them times I had good food, plenty to wear, and no more work than was good for me.

Now I is kinder miliated, when I think of what a high stepper I used to be. Having, to hang around with a sack on my back begging de government to keep me fum starving.

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Douglas Wells 1419 Alabama Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 83

"I'se just a kid 'bout six or seven when the war started and 'bout ten or twelve when it ceasted.

"I'se born in Mississippi on Miss Nancy Davis' plantation. Old Jeff Davis was some relation.

"My brother Jeff jined the Yankees but I never seen none till peace was declared.

"I heered the old folks talkin' and they said they was fightin' to keep the people slaves.

"I 'member old mistress, Miss Nancy. She was old when I was a kid. She had a big, large plantation. She had a lot of hands and big quarter houses. Oh, I 'member you could go three miles this way and three miles that way. Oh, she had a big plantation. I reckon it was mighty near big as this town. I 'member they used to take the cotton and hide it in the woods. I guess it was to keep the Yankees from gettin' it.

"I lived in the quarters with my father and mother and we stayed there after the war—long time after the war. I stayed there till I got to be grown. I continued there. I 'member her house and yard. Had a big yard.

"I can read some. Learned it at Miss Nancy Davis' plantation after the war. They had a little place where they had school. I went to church some a long time ago.

"Abraham Lincoln was a white man. He fought in the time of the war, didn't he? Oh, yes, he issued freedom. The Yankees and the Rebels fought.

"After the war I worked at farm work. I ain't did no real hard work for over a year."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: John Wells, Edmondson, Arkansas Age: 82

"I was born down here at Edmondson, Arkansas. My owner was a captain in the Rebel War (Civil War). He run us off to Texas close to Greenville. He was keeping us from the Yankees. In fact my father had planned to go to the Yankees. My mother died on the way to Texas close to the Arkansas line. She was confined and the child died too. We went in a wagon. Uncle Tom and his wife and Uncle Granville went too. He left his wife. She lived on another white man's farm. My master was Captain R. Campbell Jones. He took us to Texas. He and my father come back in the same wagon we went to Texas in. My father (Joe Jones Wells) told Captain R. Campbell Jones if he didn't let him come back here that he would be here when he got here—beat him back. That's what he told him. Captain brought him on back with him.

"What didn't we do in Texas? Hooeee! I had five hundred head of sheep belonging to J. Gardner, a Texan, to herd every day—twice a day. Carry 'em off in the morning early and watch 'em and fetch 'em back b'fore dark. I was a shepherd boy is right. I liked the job till the snow cracked my feet open. No, I didn't have no shoes. Little round cactuses stuck in my feet.

"I had shoes to wear home. Captain Jones gave leather and everything needed to Uncle Granville. He was a shoemaker. He made us all shoes jus' before we was to start back. Captain Jones sent the wagon back for us. My father come back right here at Edmondson and farmed cotton and corn. Uncle Tom and Uncle Granville raised wheat out in Texas. They didn't have no overseer but they said they worked harder 'an ever they done in their lives, 'fore or since.

"My father went to war with his master. Captain Jones served 'bout three years I judge. My father went as his waiter. He got enough of war, he said.

"Captain R. Campbell Jones had a wife, Miss Anne, and no children. I seen mighty near enough war in Texas. They fit there. Yes ma'am, they did. I seen soldiers in Greenville, Texas. I seen the cavalry there. They looked so fine. Prettiest horses I ever seen.

"Freedom! Master Campbell Jones come to us and said, 'You free this morning. The war is over.' It been over then but travel was slow. 'You all can go back home, I'll take you, or you can go root hog or die.' We all got to gatherin' up our belongings to come back home. Tired of no wood neither, besides that hard work. We all share cropped with Captain R. Campbell Jones two years. I know that. We got plenty wood without going five or six miles like in Texas. After freedom folks got to changing 'bout to do better I reckon. I been farmin' right here all my life. We didn't have a lot to eat out in Texas neither. Mother was a farm woman too.

"I never seen a Ku Klux. Bad Ku Klux sound sorter like good Santa Claus. I heard 'em say it was real. I never seen neither one.

"I did own ten acres of land. I own a home now.

"My father drove a grub wagon from Memphis to Lost Swamp Bottom—near Edmondson—when they built this railroad through here.

"Father never voted. I have voted several times.

"Present times is tougher now than before it come on. Things not going like it ought somehow. We wants more pension. Us old folks needs a good living 'cause we ain't got much more time down here.

"Present generation—they are slack—I means they slack on their parents, don't see after them. They can get farm work to do. They waste their money more than they ought. Some folks purty nigh hungry. That is for a fact the way it is going.

Edmondson, Arkansas

"Master Henry Edmondson owned all the land to the Chatfield place to Lehi, Arkansas. He owned four or five thousand acres of land. It was bottoms and not cleared. They had floods then, rode around in boats sometimes. Colored folks could get land through Andy Flemming (colored man). Mr. Henry Edmondson and whole family died with the yellow fever. He had several children—Miss Emma, Henry, and Will I knowed. It is probably his father buried at far side of this town. A rattlesnake bit him. Lake Rest or Scantlin was a boat landing and that was where the nearest white folks lived to the Edmondsons. I worked for Mr. Henry Edmondson, the one died with yellow fever. He was easy to work for. Land wasn't cleared out much. He was here before the Civil War. Good many people, in fact all over there, died of yellow fever at Indian Mound. Me and my brother waited on white folks all through that yellow fever plague. Very few colored folks had it. None of 'em I heered tell of died with it. White folks died in piles. Now when the smallpox raged the colored folks had it seem like heap more and harder than white folks. Smallpox used to rage every few years. It break out and spread. That is the way so many colored folks come to own land and why it was named Edmondson. Named for Master Henry—Edmondson, Arkansas.

"Mrs. Cynthia Ann Earle wrote a diary during the Civil War. It was partly published in the Crittenden County Times—West Memphis paper—Fridays, November 27 and December 4, 1936. She tells interesting things happening. Mentions two books she is reading. She tells about a flood, etc. She tells about visiting and spending over a thousand dollars. Mrs. L.A. Stewart or Mrs. H.E. Weaver of Edmondson owns copies if they cannot be obtained at the printing office at West Memphis."

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: Sarah Wells 1012 W. Sixteenth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 84 Occupation: Field hand

"I was born in Warren County, Mississippi, on Ben Watkins' plantation. That was my master—Ben Worthington. I don't know nothin' about the year but it was before the war—the Civil War. I was born on Christmas day.

"Isaac Irby was my father. I don't know how you spell it. I can't read and write. I can tell you this. My mother's dead. She's been dead since I was twelve years old. Her name was Jane Irby. My name is Wells because I have been married. Willis was my husband's name. I have just been married once. I was married to him fifty years. He has been dead thirteen years the fifteenth of October. I don't know how old I was when I was married. But I know I am eighty-four years old now. I must have been about twenty or twenty-one when I married.

Slave Houses

"The slaves lived in log houses, dirt chimneys, plank floors. They had beds made out of wood—that's all I know. I don't know where they kept their food. They kept it in the house when they had any. The slaves didn't have to cook much. Mars Ben had a slave to cook for them. They all et breakfast together, and lunch in the fiel'.

Food and Cooking

"There was a great big shed. They'd all go up there and eat—the slaves would all go up and eat. I don't know what the grown folks had. They used to give us children milk and corn bread for breakfast. They'd give us greens, peas, and all like that for dinner. Didn't know nothin' about no lunch.

Work and Runaways; Day's Work

"My mother and father worked in the field hoeing, plowing and all like that—doing whatever they told 'em to do. They raised corn and ground meal. Some of the slaves would pick five hundred pounds of cotton in a day; some of them would pick three hundred pounds; and some of them only picked a hundred. IF YOU DIDN'T PICK TWO HUNDRED FIFTY POUNDS, THEY'D PUNISH YOU, put you in the stocks. If you'd run off, they put the nigger hounds behind you. I never run off, but my mother run off.

"She would go in the woods. I don't know where she'd go after she'd get in the woods. She would go in the woods and hide somewheres. She'd take somethin' to eat with her. I couldn't find her myself. She take somethin' to eat with her. She didn't know what flour bread was. I don't remember what she'd take—somethin' she could carry. Sometimes she would stay in the woods two months, sometimes three months. They'd pay for the nigger hounds and let them chase her back. She'd try to get away. She never took me with her when she ran away.

Buying and Selling

"My mother and her sister were bought in old Virginny. Ben Watkins was the one that bought her. He bought my father too. Then he sold my father to the Leightons. Leighton bought my father from Ben Watkins for a carriage driver. I was never bought nor sold. I was born on Ben Watkins' plantation and freed on it.


"I've heered them say the pateroles is out. I don't know who they was. I know they'd whip you. I was a child then. I would just know what I was told mostly.

How Freedom Came

"The Yankees told my mother she was free. They had on blue clothes. They said them was the Yankees. I don't know what they told her. I know they said she was free. That's all I know.

"Sometimes the soldiers would do right smart damage. They set a lot of houses on fire. They done right smart damage.

Jeff Davis

"I have seen Jeff Davis. I never seen Lincoln. They said it was Jeff Davis I seen. I seen him in Vicksburg. That was after the war was over.

Ku Klux Klan

"I have heered about the Ku Klux, but I don't know what it was I heered. They never bothered me.

Right after the War

"Right after the war, my mother and father hired out to work. They did most any kind of work—whatever they could get to do. Mother cooked. Father would generally do house cleaning. Mother didn't live long after the war.

Blood Poisoning

"I lost my finger because of blood poisoning. I had a scratch on my finger. Pulled a hangnail out of it. I went around a lady who had a high fever and she asked me to sponge her off and I did it. I got the finger in the water that I sponged with and it got blood poisoned. I like to have died.

Father's Death

"I was married and had three children when my father died. I don't know what he died with nor what year.

"My mother had had seven children—all girls. I had seven children. But three of mine were boys and four were girls. Ain't none of them living now.

Little Rock

"My son was living in Little Rock and he kept after me to come here and I come. After I come, he left and went to Kansas City. He died there. I used to do laundry work. I quit that. I commenced to do sellin' for different companies. I sold for Mack Brady, Crawford & Reeves, and a lot of 'em.


"I don't know what I think about the young people. They ain't nothin' like I was when I was a gal. Things have changed since I come along. I better not say what I think."

Interviewer's Comment

The interviewee says she is eighty-four, and her story hangs together. Her husband died thirteen years ago, and they had been married fifty years when he died. She "recollects" being about twenty years old when she married. She says she was about twelve years old when her mother died, one year after the close of the Civil War. This data seems to be rather conclusive on the age of eighty-four.

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Sarah Williams Wells, Biscoe, Arkansas Age: Born 1866

"I jess can't tell much; my memory fails me. My white folks was John and Mary Williams but I was born two years after the surrender. Soon after the surrender they went to Lebanon, Tennessee. My folks stayed on wha I was born round in Murry County. My father was killed after the war but I was little. My mother died same year I married. I heard em say there was John and Frank. They may be living over there now. I heard em talking bout war times. They said my father was a blacksmith in the war. I come here wid four little children on a ticket to Crocketts Bluff. We was sick all that year. Made a fine crop. The man let another man have us to work. He was a colored man. His wife she was mean to us. She never come to see or do one thing when we all had fever. The babies nearly starved. Took all for doctor bills and medicine. Had $12 when all bills settled out of the whole crop. In all I had fifteen children. But two girls and one boy all that livin now. I farmed and washed and ironed all my life. My husband was born a slave. (He recently died.)

"The present generation ain't got no religion. They dances and cuts up a heap. They don't care nothing bout settlin down. When they marry now, that man say he got the law on her. She belongs to him. He thinks he can make her do like he wants her all the time and they don't get along. Now that's what I hear round. I sho got married and we got along good till he died. We treated one another best we knowed how. The times is what the folks making it. Time ain't no different, is like the folks make. This depression is whut the folks is making. Some so scared they won't get it all. They leave mighty little for the rest to get. They ain't nothin matter with nothin but the greedy people want it all to split through wid. I don't know what going to come of it all. Nothin I tell you bout it ain't no good. Young folks done smarter than I is. They don't listen to nobody."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: John Wesley, Helena, Arkansas Age: ?

"I was full grown when the Civil War come on. I was a slave till 'mancipation. I was born close to Lexington, Kentucky. My master in Kentucky was Master Griter. He was 'fraid er freedom. Father belong to Averys in Tennessee. He was a farm hand. They wouldn't sell him. I was sold to Master Boone close to Moscow. I was sold on a scaffold high as that door (twelve feet). I seen a lot of children sold on that scaffold. I fell in the hands of George Coggrith. We come to Helena in wagons. We crossed the river out from Memphis to Hopefield. I lived at Wittsburg, Arkansas during the war. They smuggled us about from the Yankees and took us to Texas. Before the war come on we had to fight the Indians back. They tried to sell us in Texas. George Coggrith's wife died. Mother was the cook for all the hands and the white folks too. She raised two boys and three girls for him. She went on raising his children during the war and after the war. During the war we hid out and raised cotton and corn. We hid in the woods. The Yankees couldn't make much out in the woods and canebrakes. We stayed in Texas about a year. Four years after freedom we didn't know we was free. We was on his farm up at Wittsburg. That is near Madison, Arkansas. Mother wouldn't let the children get far off from our house. She was afraid the Indians would steal the children. They stole children or I heard they did. The wild animals and snakes was one thing we had to look out for. Grown folks and children all kept around home unless you had business and went on a trip.

"My wife died three years ago. I stay with a grandchild. I got a boy but I don't know where he is now.

"I had a acre and a home. I got in debt and they took my place.

"I voted. The last time for President Wilson. We got a good President now. I voted both kinds of tickets some. I think they called me a Democrat. I quit voting. I'm too old.

"I farmed in my young days. I oil milled. I saw milled. I still black smithing (in Helena now). I make one or two dollars a week. Work is hard to git. Times is tight. I don't get help 'ceptin' some friend bring us some work. I stay up here all time nearly.

"I don't know about the young generation.

"Well, we had a gin. During of the war it got burnt and lots of bales of cotton went 'long with it.

"The Ku Klux come about and drink water. They wanted folks to stay at home and work. That what they said. We done that. We didn't know we was free nohow. We wasn't scared."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Robert Wesley, Holly Grove, Arkansas Age: 74

"I was born in Shelby County, Alabama. My parents was Mary and Thomas Wesley. Their master was Mary and John Watts.

"John Watts tried to keep me. I stayed round him all time and rode up behind him on his horse. He was a soldier.

"Both my parents was sold but I don't know how it was done. There was thirteen children in our family. The white folks had a picnic and took colored long to do round. Some heard bout freedom and went home tellin' bout it. We stayed on and worked.

"The Ku Klux sure did run some of em. Seem like they didn't know what freedom meant. Some of em run off and kept goin'. Never did get back. I don't know a thing bout the Ku Klux. I heard em say they got whoopin's for doin' too much visitin'. I was a baby so I don't know.

"I do not vote. I voted for McKinley in Mississippi.

"I been farmin' all my life. I got one hog and a garden, three little grand babies. My daughter died and their papa went off and left em. Course I took em—had to. I pay $1 house rent. I get $12 from the PWA.

"The times is mighty fast. I recken the young folks do fair. There has been big changes since I come on."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Maggie Wesmoland, Brinkley, Arkansas Age: 85

"I was born in Arkansas in slavery time beyond Des Arc. My parents was sold in Mississippi. They was brought to Arkansas. I never seed my father after the closing of the war. He had been refugeed to Texas and come back here, then he went on back to Mississippi. Mama had seventeen children. She had six by my stepfather. When my stepfather was mustered out at De Valls Bluff he come to Miss (Mrs.) Holland's and got mama and took her on wid him. I was give to Miss Holland's daughter. She married a Cargo. The Hollands raised me and my sister. I never seen mama after she left. My mother was Jane Holland and my father was Smith Woodson. They lived on different places here in Arkansas. I had a hard time. I was awfully abused by the old man that married Miss Betty. She was my young mistress. He was poor and hated Negroes. He said they didn't have no feeling. He drunk all the time. He never had been used to Negroes and he didn't like em. He was a middle age man but Miss Betty Holland was in her teens.

"No, mama didn't have as hard a time as I had. She was Miss Holland's cook and wash woman. Miss Betty told her old husband, 'Papa don't beat his Negroes. He is good to his Negroes.' He worked overseers in the field. Nothing Miss Betty ever told him done a bit of good. He didn't have no feeling. I had to go in a trot all the time. I was scared to death of him—he beat me so. I'm scarred up all over now where he lashed me. He would strip me start naked and tie my hands crossed and whoop me till the blood ooze out and drip on the ground when I walked. The flies blowed me time and again. Miss Betty catch him gone, would grease my places and put turpentine on them to kill the places blowed. He kept a bundle of hickory switches at the house all the time. Miss Betty was good to me. She would cry and beg him to be good to me.

"One time the cow kicked over my milk. I was scared not to take some milk to the house, so I went to the spring and put some water in the milk. He was snooping round (spying) somewhere and seen me. He beat me nearly to death. I never did know what suit him and what wouldn't. Didn't nothing please him. He was a poor man, never been used to nothin' and took spite on me everything happened. They didn't have no children while I was there but he did have a boy before he died. He died fore I left Dardanelle. When Miss Betty Holland married Mr. Cargo she lived close to Dardanelle. That is where he was so mean to me. He lived in the deer and bear hunting country.

"He went to town to buy them some things for Christmas good while after freedom—a couple or three years. Two men come there deer hunting every year. One time he had beat me before them and on their way home they went to the Freemens bureau and told how he beat me and what he done it for—biggetness. He was a biggity acting and braggy talking old man. When he got to town they asked him if he wasn't hiding a little Negro girl, ask if he sent me to school. He come home. I slept on a bed made down at the foot of their bed. That night he told his wife what all he said and what all they ask him. He said he would kill whoever come there bothering about me. He been telling that about. He told Miss Betty they would fix me up and let me go stay a week at my sister's Christmas. He went back to town, bought me the first shoes I had had since they took me. They was brogan shoes. They put a pair of his sock on me. Miss Betty made the calico dress for me and made a body out of some of his pants legs and quilted the skirt part, bound it at the bottom with red flannel. She made my things nice—put my underskirt in a little frame and quilted it so it would be warm. Christmas day was a bright warm day. In the morning when Miss Betty dressed me up I was so proud. He started me off and told me how to go.

"I got to the big creek. I got down in the ditch—couldn't get across. I was running up and down it looking for a place to cross. A big old mill was upon the hill. I could see it. I seen three men coming, a white man with a gun and two Negro men on horses or mules. I heard one say, 'Yonder she is.' Another said, 'It don't look like her.' One said, 'Call her.' One said, 'Margaret.' I answered. They come to me and said, 'Go to the mill and cross on a foot log.' I went up there and crossed and got upon a stump behind my brother-in-law on his horse. I didn't know him. The white man was the man he was share croppin' with. They all lived in a big yard like close together. I hadn't seen my sister before in about four years. Mr. Cargo told me if I wasn't back at his house New Years day he would come after me on his horse and run me every step of the way home. It was nearly twenty-five miles. He said he would give me the worst whooping I ever got in my life. I was going back, scared not to be back. Had no other place to live.

"When New Year day come the white man locked me up in a room in his house and I stayed in there two days. They brought me plenty to eat. I slept in there with their children. Mr. Cargo never come after me till March. He didn't see me when he come. It started in raining and cold and the roads was bad. When he come in March I seen him. I knowed him. I lay down and covered up in leaves. They was deep. I had been in the woods getting sweet-gum when I seen him. He scared me. He never seen me. This white man bound me to his wife's friend for a year to keep Mr. Cargo from getting me back. The woman at the house and Mr. Cargo had war nearly about me. I missed my whoopings. I never got none that whole year. It was Mrs. Brown, twenty miles from Dardanelle, they bound me over to. I never got no more than the common run of Negro children but they wasn't mean to me.

"When I was at Cargo's, he wouldn't buy me shoes. Miss Betty would have but in them days the man was head of his house. Miss Betty made me moccasins to wear out in the snow—made them out of old rags and pieces of his pants. I had risings on my feet and my feet frostbite till they was solid sores. He would take his knife and stob my risings to see the matter pop way out. The ice cut my feet. He cut my foot on the side with a cowhide nearly to the bone. Miss Betty catch him outer sight would doctor my feet. Seem like she was scared of him. He wasn't none too good to her.

"He told his wife the Freemens Bureau said turn that Negro girl loose. She didn't want me to leave her. He despised nasty Negroes he said. One of them fellows what come for me had been to Cargo's and seen me. He was the Negro man come to show Patsy's husband and his share cropper where I was at. He whooped me twice before them deer hunters. They visited him every spring and fall hunting deer but they reported him to the Freemens Bureau. They knowed he was showing off. He overtook me on a horse one day four or five years after I left there. I was on my way from school. I was grown. He wanted me to come back live with them. Said Miss Betty wanted to see me so bad. I was so scared I lied to him and said yes to all he said. He wanted to come get me a certain day. I lied about where I lived. He went to the wrong place to get me I heard. I was afraid to meet him on the road. He died at Dardanelle before I come way from there.

"After I got grown I hired out cooking at $1.25 a week and then $1.50 a week. When I was a girl I ploughed some. I worked in the field a mighty little but I have done a mountain of washing and ironing in my life. I can't tell you to save my life what a hard time I had when I was growing up. My daughter is a blessing to me. She is so good to me.

"I never knowed nor seen the Ku Klux. The Bushwhackers was awful after the war. They went about stealing and they wouldn't work.

"Conditions is far better for young folks now than when I come on. They can get chances I couldn't get they could do. My daughter is tied down here with me. She could do washings and ironings if she could get them and do it here at home. I think she got one give over to her for awhile. The regular wash woman is sick. It is hard for me to get a living since I been sick. I get commodities. But the diet I am on it is hard to get it. The money is the trouble. I had two strokes and I been sick with high blood pressure three years. We own our house. Times is all right if I was able to work and enjoy things. I don't get the Old Age Pension. I reckon because my daughter's husband has a job—I reckon that is it. I can't hardly buy milk, that is the main thing. The doctor told me to eat plenty milk.

"I never voted."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Calvin West, Widener, Arkansas Age: 68

"Mother belong to Parson Renfro. He had a son named Jim Renfro. She was a cook and farm hand too. I never heard her speak much of her owners. Pa's owner was Dr. West and Miss Jensie West. He had a son Orz West and his daughter was Miss Lillie West. I never was around their owners. Some was dead before I come on. My pa was a cripple man. His leg was drawn around with rheumatism. During slavery he would load up a small cart wid cider and ginger cakes and go sell it out. He sold ginger cakes two for a nickel and I never heard how he sold the cider. I heard him tell close speriences he had with the patrollers. Some of the landowners didn't want him trespassing on their places. He got a part of the money he sold out for. I judge from what he said his owner got part for the wagon and horse. He sold some at stores before freedom. He farmed too. His name was Phillip West and mother's name was Lear West. He was a crack hand at making ginger cakes. He sold wagon loads in town on Saturday till he died. I was a boy nearly grown. They had ten children in all. I was born in Tate County, Mississippi.

"Mr. Miller had land here. I didn't work for him but he wanted me to come here and work his land. He give us tickets. He said this was new land and we could do better. We work a lot and make big crops and don't hardly get a living out of it. We come on the train here.

"We come in 1920. The way we got down here now it is bad. We make big crops and don't get much for it. We have no place to raise things to help out and pay big prices for everything. I work. But times is hard. That is the very reason it is hard. We got no place to raise nothing. (Hard road and ditch in front and cotton field all around it except a few feet of padded dirt and a wood pile.) Times is good and if a fellow could ever get a little ahead I believe he could stay ahead. Since my wife been sick we jes' can make it.

"We never called for no help. She cooked and I worked. She signed up but it will be a long time, they said, till they could get to her."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Mary Mays West, Widener, Arkansas Age: 65

"My parents' names was Josie Vesey and Henry Mays. They had ten children and five lived to be full grown. I was born in Tate County, Mississippi. Mother died in childbirth when she was twenty-eight years old. I'm the mother of twelve and got five living. I been cooking out for white people since I was nine years old. I am a good cook they all tell me and I tries to be clean with my cooking.

"Mother died before I can remember much about her. My father said he had to work before day and all day and till after night in the spring and fall of the year. They ploughed with oxen and mules and horses all. He said how they would rest the teams and feed and still they would go on doing something else. They tromped cotton at night by torchlight. Tromped it in the wagons to get off to the gin early next morning.

"In the winter they built fences and houses and got up wood and cleared new ground. They made pots of lye hominy and lye soap the same day. They had a ashhopper set all time. In the summer is when they ditched if they had any of that to do. Farming has been pretty much the same since I was a child. I have worked in the field all my life. I cook in the morning and go to the field all evening.

"We just had a hard time this winter. I had a stroke in October and had to quit cooking. (Her eye is closed on her left side—ed.) I love farm life. The flood last year got us behind too. We could do fine if I had my health."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Sylvester Wethington Holly Grove, Arkansas Age: 77

"I recollect seeing the Malish (Malitia) pass up and down the road. I can tell you two things happened at our house. The Yankee soldiers come took all the stock we had all down to young mistress' mule. They come fer it. Young mistress got a gun, went out there, put her side saddle on the mule and climbed up. They let her an' that mule both be. Nother thing they had a wall built in betwix er room and let hams and all kinds provisions swing down in thor. It went unnoticed. I recken it muster been 3 ft. wide and long as the room. Had to go up in the loft from de front porch. The front porch wasn't ceiled but a place sawed out so you could get up in the loft. They used a ladder and went up there bout once a week. They swung hams and meal, flour and beef. They swung sacks er corn down in that place. That all the place where they could keep us a thing in de world to eat. They come an' got bout all we had. Look like starvation ceptin' what we had stored way."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Joe Whitaker, Madison, Arkansas Age: 70 plus

"I'm a blacksmith; my pa was a fine blacksmith. He was a blacksmith in the old war (Civil War). He never got a pension. He said he loss his sheep skin. His owners was George and Bill Whitaker. Mother always said her owners was pretty good. I never heard my pa speak of them in that way. They was both born in Tennessee. She was never sold. I was born in Murray County, Tennessee too. My mother was named Fronie Whitaker and pa Ike Whitaker. Mother had eleven children. My wife is a full-blood Cherokee Indian. We have ten children and twenty-three grandchildren.

"I don't have a word to say against the times; they are close at present. Nor a word to say about the next generation. I think times is progressing and I think the people are advancing some too."

[TR: The following is typed, but scratched out by hand:] Interviewer's Comment

Some say his wife is a small part African.

Interviewer: Beulah Sherwood Hagg Person interviewed: Mrs. Julia A. White, 3003 Cross St., Little Rock, Ark. Age: 79

Idiom and dialect are lacking in this recorded interview. Mrs. White's conversation was entirely free from either. On being questioned about this she explained that she was reared in a home where fairly correct English was used.

My cousin Emanuel Armstead could read and write, and he kept the records of our family. At one time he was a school director. Of course, that was back in the early days, soon after the war closed.

My father was named James Page Jackson because he was born on the old Jackson plantation in Lancaster county, Virginia. He named one of his daughters Lancaster for a middle name in memory of his old home. Clarice Lancaster Jackson was her full name. A man named Galloway bought my father and brought him to Arkansas. Some called him by the name of Galloway, but my father always had all his children keep the name Jackson. There were fourteen of us, but only ten lived to grow up. He belonged to Mr. Galloway at the time of my birth, but even at that, I did not take the name Galloway as it would seem like I should. My father was a good carpenter; he was a fine cook, too; learned that back in Virginia. I'll tell you something interesting. The first cook stove ever brought to this town was one my father had his master to bring. He was cook at the Anthony House. You know about that, don't you? It was the first real fine hotel in Little Rock. When father went there to be head cook, all they had to cook on was big fireplaces and the big old Dutch ovens. Father just kept on telling about the stoves they had in Virginia, and at last they sent and got him one; it had to come by boat and took a long time. My father was proud that he was the one who set the first table ever spread in the Anthony House.

You see, it was different with us, from lots of slave folks. Some masters hired their slaves out. I remember a drug store on the corner of Main and Markham; it was McAlmont's drug store. Once my father worked there; the money he earned, it went to Mr. Galloway, of course. He said it was to pay board for mother and us little children.

My mother came from a fine family,—the Beebe family. Angeline Beebe was her name. You've heard of the Beebe family, of course. Roswell Beebe at one time owned all the land that Little Rock now sets on. I was born in a log cabin where Fifth and Spring streets meet. The Jewish Synagogue is on the exact spot. Once we lived at Third and Cumberland, across from that old hundred-year-old-building where they say the legislature once met. What you call it? Yes, that's it; the Hinterlider building. It was there then, too. My father and mother had the kind of wedding they had for slaves, I guess. Yes, ma'am, they did call them "broom-stick weddings". I've heard tell of them. Yes, ma'am, the master and mistress, when they find a couple of young slave folks want to get married, they call them before themselves and have them confess they want to marry. Then they hold the broom, one at each end, and the young folks told to jump over. Sometimes they have a new cabin fixed all for them to start in. After Peace, a minister came and married my father and mother according to the law of the church and of the land.

The master's family was thoughtful in keeping our records in their own big family Bible. All the births and deaths of the children in my father's family was in their Bible. After Peace, father got a big Bible for our family, and—wait, I'll show you.... Here they are, all copied down just like out of old master's Bible.... Here's where my father and mother died, over on this page. Right here's my own children. This space is for me and my husband.

No ma'am, it don't make me tired to talk. But I need a little time to recall all the things you want to know 'bout. I was so little when freedom came I just can't remember. I'll tell you, directly.

I remember that the first thing my father did was to go down to a plantation where the bigger children was working, and bring them all home, to live together as one family. That was a plantation where my mother had been; a man name Moore—James Moore—owned it. I don't know whether he had bought my mother from Beebe or not. I can remember two things plain what happened there. I was little, but can still see them. One of my mother's babies died and Master went to Little Rock on a horse and carried back a little coffin under his arm. The mistress had brought mother a big washing. She was working under the cover of the wellhouse and tears was running down her face. When master came back, he said: "How come you are working today, Angeline, when your baby is dead?" She showed him the big pile of clothes she had to wash, as mistress said. He said: "There is plenty of help on this place what can wash. You come on in and sit by your little baby, and don't do no more work till after the funeral." He took up the little dead body and laid it in the coffin with his own hands. I'm telling you this for what happened later on.

A long time after peace, one evening mother heard a tapping at the door. When she went, there was her old master, James Moore. "Angeline," he said, "you remember me, don't you?" Course she did. Then he told her he was hungry and homeless. A man hiding out. The Yankees had taken everything he had. Mother took him in and fed him for two or three days till he was rested. The other thing clear to my memory is when my uncle Tom was sold. Another day when mother was washing at the wellhouse and I was playing around, two white men came with a big, broad-shouldered colored man between them. Mother put her arms around him and cried and kissed him goodbye. A long time after, I was watching one of my brothers walk down a path. I told mother that his shoulders and body look like that man she kissed and cried over. "Why honey," she says to me, "can you remember that?" Then she told me about my uncle Tom being sold away.

So you see, Miss, it's a good thing you are more interested in what I know since slave days. I'll go on now.

The first thing after freedom my mother kept boarders and done fine laundry work. She boarded officers of the colored Union soldiers; she washed for the officers' families at the Arsenal. Sometimes they come and ask her to cook them something special good to eat. Both my father and mother were fine cooks. That's when we lived at Third and Cumberland. I stayed home till I was sixteen and helped with the cooking and washing and ironing. I never worked in a cottonfield. The boys did. All us girls were reared about the house. We were trained to be lady's maids and houseworkers. I married when I was sixteen. That husband died four years later, and the next year I married this man, Joel Randolph White. Married him in March, 1879. In those days you could put a house on leased ground. Could lease it for five years at a time. My father put up a house on Tenth and Scott. Old man Haynie owned the land and let us live in the house for $25.00 a year until father's money was all gone; then we had to move out. The first home my father really owned was at 1220 Spring street, what is now. Course then, it was away out in the country. A white lawyer from the north—B.F. Rice was his name—got my brother Jimmie to work in his office. Jimmie had been in school most all his life and was right educated for colored boy then. Mr. Rice finally asked him how would he like to study law. So he did; but all the time he wanted to be a preacher. Mr. Rice tell Jimmie to go on studying law. It is a good education; it would help him to be a preacher. Mr. Rice tell my father he can own his own home by law. So he make out the papers and take care of everything so some persons can't take it away. All that time my family was working for Mr. Rice and finally got the home paid for, all but the last payment, and Mr. Rice said Jimmie's services was worth that. So we had a nice home all paid for at last. We lived there till father died in 1879, and about ten years more. Then sold it.

My father had more money than many ex-slaves because he did what the Union soldiers told him. They used to give him "greenbacks" money and tell him to take good care of it. You see, miss, Union money was not any good here. Everything was Confederate money. You couldn't pay for a dime's worth even with a five dollar bill of Union money then. The soldiers just keep on telling my father to take all the greenbacks he could get and hide away. There wasn't any need to hide it, nobody wanted it. Soldiers said just wait; someday the Confederate money wouldn't be any good and greenbacks would be all the money we had. So that's how my father got his money.

If you have time to listen, miss, I'd like to tell you about a wonderful thing a young doctor done for my folks. It was when the gun powder explosion wrecked my brother and sister. The soldiers at the Arsenal used to get powder in tins called canteens. When there was a little left—a tablespoon full or such like, they would give it to the little boys and show them how to pour it in the palm of their hand, touch a match to it and then blow. The burning powder would fly off their hand without burning. We were living in a double house at Eighth and Main then; another colored family in one side. They had lots of children, just like us. One canteen had a lot more powder in. My brother was afraid to pour it on his hand. He put a paper down on top of the stove and poured it out. It was a big explosion. My little sister was standing beside her brother and her scalp was plum blowed off and her face burnt terribly. His hand was all gone, and his face and neck and head burnt terribly, too. There was a young doctor live close by name Deuell. Father ran for him. He tell my mother if she will do just exactly what he say, their faces will come out fine. He told her to make up bread dough real sort of stiff. He made a mask of it. Cut holes for their eyes, nose holes and mouths, so you could feed them, you see. He told mother to leave that on till it got hard as a rock. Then still leave it on till it crack and come off by itself. Nobody what ever saw their faces would believe how bad they had been burnt. Only 'round the edges where the dough didn't cover was there any scars. Dr. Deuell only charged my father $50.00 apiece for that grand work on my sister and brother.

Yes ma'am, I'll tell you how I come to speak what you call good English. First place, my mother and father was brought up in families where they heard good speech. Slaves what lived in the family didn't talk like cottonfield hands. My parents sure did believe in education.

The first free schools in Little Rock were opened by the Union for colored children. They brought young white ladies for teachers. They had Sunday School in the churches on Sunday. In a few years they had colored teachers come. One is still living here in Little Rock. I wish you would go see her. She is 90 years old now. She founded the Wesley Chapel here. On her fiftieth anniversary my club presented her a gold medal and had "Mother Wesley" engraved on it. Her name is Charlotte E. Stevens. She has the first school report ever put out in Little Rock. It was in the class of 1869. Two of my sisters were graduated from Philander Smith College here in Little Rock and had post graduate work in Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. My brothers and sisters all did well in life. Allene married a minister and did missionary work. Cornelia was a teacher in Dallas, Texas. Mary was a caterer in Hot Springs. Clarice went to Colorado Springs, Colorado and was a nurse in a doctor's office. Jimmie was the preacher, as I told you. Gus learned the drug business and Willie got to be a painter. Our adopted sister, Molly, could do anything, nurse, teach, manage a hotel. Yes, our parents always insisted we had to go to school. It's been a help to me all my life. I'm the only one now living of all my brothers and sisters.

Well ma'am, about how we lived all since freedom; it's been good till these last years. After I married my present husband in 1879, he worked in the Missouri Pacific railroad shops. He was boiler maker's helper. They called it Iron Mountain shops then, though. 52 years, 6 months and 24 days he worked there. In 1922, on big strike, all men got laid off. When they went back, they had to go as new men. Don't you see what that done to my man? He was all ready for his pension. Yes ma'am, had worked his full time to be pensioned by the railroad. But we have never been able to get any retirement pension. He should have it. Urban League is trying to help him get it. He is out on account of disability and old age. He got his eye hurt pretty bad and had to be in the railroad hospital a long time. I have the doctor's papers on that. Then he had a bad fall what put him again in the hospital. That was in 1931. He has never really been discharged, but just can't get any compensation. He has put in his claim to the Railroad Retirement office in Washington. I'm hoping they get to it before he dies. We're both mighty old and feeble. He had a stroke in 1933, since he been off the railroad.

How we living now? It's mighty poorly, please believe that. In his good years we bought this little home, but taxes so high, road assessments and all make it more than we can keep up. My granddaughter lives with us. She teaches, but only has school about half a year. I was trying to educate her in the University of Wisconsin, but poor child had to quit. In summer we try to make a garden. Some of the neighbors take in washing and they give me ironing to do. Friends bring in fresh bread when they bake. It takes all my granddaughter makes to keep up the mortgage and pay all the rest. She don't have clothes decent to go.

I have about sold the last of the antiques. In old days the mistress used to give my mother the dishes left from broken sets, odd vases and such. I had some beautiful things, but one by one have sold them to antique dealers to get something to help out with. My church gives me a donation every fifth Sunday of a collection for benefit. Sometimes it is as much as $2.50 and that sure helps on the groceries. Today I bought four cents worth of beans and one cent worth of onions. I say you have to cut the garment according to the cloth. You ain't even living from hand to mouth, if the hand don't have something in it to put to the mouth.

No ma'am, we couldn't get on relief, account of this child teaching. One relief worker did come to see us. She was a case worker, she said. She took down all I told her about our needs and was about ready to go when she saw my seven hens in the yard. "Whose chickens out there?" she asked. "I keep a few hens," I told her. "Well," she hollered, "anybody that's able to keep chickens don't need to be on relief roll," and she gathered up her gloves and bag and left.

Yes ma'am, I filed for old age pension, too. It was in April, 1935 I filed. When a year passed without hearing, I took my husband down so they could see just how he is not able to work. They told me not to bring him any more. Said I would get $10.00 a month. Two years went, and I never got any. I went by myself then, and they said yes, yes, they have my name on file, but there is no money to pay. There must be millions comes in for sales tax. I don't know where it all goes. Of course the white folks get first consideration. Colored folks always has to bear the brunt. They just do, and that's all there is to it.

What do I think of the younger generation? I wouldn't speak for all. There are many types, just like older people. It has always been like that, though. If all young folks were like my granddaughter—I guess there is many, too. She does all the sewing, and gardening. She paints the house, makes the draperies and bed clothing. She can cook and do all our laundry work. She understands raising chickens for market but just don't have time for that. She is honest and clean in her life.

Yes ma'am, I did vote once, a long time ago. You see, I wasn't old enough at first, after freedom, when all the colored people could vote. Then, for many years, women in Arkansas couldn't vote, anyhow. I can remember when M.W. Gibbs was Police Judge and Asa Richards was a colored alderman. No ma'am! The voting law is not fair. It's most unfair! We colored folks have to pay just the same as the white. We pay our sales tax, street improvement, school tax, property tax, personal property tax, dog license, automobile license—they what have cars—; we pay utility tax. And we should be allowed to vote. I can tell you about three years ago a white lady come down here with her car on election day and ask my old husband would he vote how she told him if she carried him to the polls. He said yes and she carried him. When he got there they told him no colored was allowed to vote in that election. Poor old man, she didn't offer to get him home, but left him to stumble along best he could.

I'm glad if I been able to give you some help. You've been patient with an old woman. I can tell you that every word I have told you is true as the gospel.

Circumstances of Interview STATE—Arkansas NAME OF WORKER—Samuel S. Taylor ADDRESS—Little Rock, Arkansas DATE—December, 1938 SUBJECT—Ex-slave [TR: Repetitive information deleted from subsequent pages.]

1. Name and address of informant—Julia White, 3003 Cross Street, Little Rock.

2. Date and time of interview—

3. Place of interview—3003 Cross Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

4. Name and address of person, if any, who put you in touch with informant—

5. Name and address of person, if any, accompanying you—

6. Description of room, house, surroundings, etc.—

Personal History of informant

1. Ancestry—

2. Place and date of birth—Little Rock, Arkansas, 1858

3. Family—Two children

4. Places lived in, with dates—Little Rock all her life.

5. Education, with dates—

6. Occupations and accomplishments, with dates—

7. Special skills and interests—

8. Community and religious activities—

9. Description of informant—

10. Other points gained in interview—She tells of accomplishments made by the Negro race.

Text of Interview (Unedited)

"I was born right here in Little Rock, Arkansas, eighty years ago on the corner of Fifth and Broadway. It was in a little log house. That used to be out in the woods. At least, that is where they told me I was born. I was there but I don't remember it. The first place I remember was a house on Third and Cumberland, the southwest corner. That was before the war.

"We were living there when peace was declared. You know, my father hired my mother's time from James Moore. He used to belong to Dick Galloway. I don't know how that was. But I know he put my mother in that house on Third and Cumberland while she was still a slave. And we smaller children stayed in the house with mother, and the larger children worked on James Moore's plantation.

"My father was at that time, I guess, you would call it, a porter at McAlmont's drug store. He was a slave at that time but he worked there. He was working there the day this place was taken. I'll never forget that. It was on September 10th. We were going across Third Street, and there was a Union woman told mamma to bring us over there, because the soldiers were about to attack the town and they were going to have a battle.

"I had on a pair of these brogans with brass plates on them, and they were flapping open and I tripped up just as the rebel soldiers were running by. One of them said, "There's a like yeller nigger, les take her." Mrs. Farmer, the Union woman ran out and said, "No you won't; that's my nigger." And she took us in her house. And we stayed there while there was danger. Then my father came back from the drug store, she said she didn't see how he kept from being killed.

"At that time, there were about four houses to the block. On the place where we lived there was the big house, with many rooms, and then there was the barn and a lot of other buildings. My father rented that place and turned the outbuildings into little houses and allowed the freed slaves to live in them till they could find another place.

"My husband was an orphan child, and the people he was living with were George Phelps and Ann Phelps. They were freed slaves. That was after the war. They came here and had this little boy with them, that is how I come to meet that gentlemen over there and get acquainted with him. When they moved away from there Phelps was caretaker of the Oakland Cemetery. We married on the twenty-seventh day of March, 1879. I still have the marriage license. I married twice; my first husband was George W. Glenn and my maiden name was Jackson. I married the first time June 10, 1875. I had two children in my first marriage. Both of than are dead. Glenn died shortly after the birth of the last child, February 15, 1878.

"Mr. White is a mighty good man. He is put up with me all these years. And he took mighty good care of my children, them by my first husband as well as his own. When I was a little girl, he used to tell me that he wouldn't have me for a wife. After we were married, I used to say to him, 'You said you wouldn't have me, but I see you're mighty glad to get me.'

"I have the marriage license for my second marriage.

"There's quite a few of the old ones left. Have you seen Mrs. Gillam, and Mrs. Stephen, and Mrs. Weathers? Cora Weathers? Her name is Cora not Clora. She's about ninety years old. She's at least ninety years old. You say she says that she is seventy-four. That must be her insurance age. I guess she is seventy-four at that; she had to be seventy-four before she was ninety. When I was a girl, she was a grown woman. She was married when my husband went to school. That has been more than sixty years ago, because we've been married nearly sixty years. My sister Mary was ten years older than me, and Cora Weathers was right along with her. She knew my mother. When these people knew my mother they've been here, because she's been dead since '94 and she would have been 110 if she had lived.

"My mother used to feed the white prisoners—the Federal soldiers who were being held. They paid her and told her to keep the money because it was Union Money. You know at that time they were using Confederate money. My father kept it. He had a little box or chest of gold and silver money. Whenever he got any paper money, he would change it into gold or silver.

"Mother used to make these ginger cakes—they call 'em stage planks. My brother Jimmie would sell them. The men used to take pleasure in trying to cheat him. He was so clever they couldn't. They never did catch him napping.

"Somebody burnt our house; it was on a Sunday evening. They tried to say it caught from the chimney. We all like to uv burnt up.

"My father was a carpenter, whitewasher, anything. He was a common laborer. We didn't have contractors then like we do now. Mother worked out in service too. Jimmie was the oldest boy. He taught school too.

"My father set the first table that was ever set in the Anthony Hotel, he was the cause of the first stove being brought here to cook on.

"Some of the children of the people that raised my mother are still living. They are Beebes. Roswell Beebe was a little one. They had a colored man named Peter and he was teaching Roswell to ride and the pony ran away. Peter stepped out to stop him and Roswell said, 'Git out of the way Peter, and let Billie Button come'.

"I get some commodities from the welfare. But I don't get nothing like a pension. My husband worked at the Missouri Pacific shops for fifty-two years, and he don't git nothing neither. It was the Iron Mountain when he first went there on June 8, 1879. He was disabled in 1932 because of injuries received on the job in March, 1931. But they hurried him out of the hospital and never would give him anything. That Monday morning, they had had a loving cup given them for not having had accidents in the plant. And at three p.m., he was sent into the hospital. He had a fall that injured his head. They only kept him there for two days and two hours. He was hurt in the head. Dr. Elkins himself came after him and let him set around in the tool room. He stayed there till he couldn't do nothing at all.

"In 1881, he got his eye hurt on the job in the service of the Missouri Pacific. It was the Iron Mountain then. He was off about three or four months. They didn't pay his wages while he was off. They told him they would give him a lifetime job, but they didn't. His eye gave him trouble for the balance of his life. Sometimes it is worse than others. He had to go to the St. Louis Hospital quite often for about three or four years.

"When the house on Third and Cumberland was burnt, he rebuilded it, and the owners charged him such rent he had to move. He rebuilt it for five hundred dollars and was to get pay in rent. The owners jumped the rent up to twenty-five dollars a month. That way it soon took up the five hundred dollars. Then we moved to Eighth and Main. My brother Jimmie was in an accident there.

"He was pouring powder on a fire from an old powder horn and the flames jumped up in the horn and exploded and crippled his hand and burnt his face. Dr. Duel, a right young doctor, said he could cure them if father would pay him fifty dollars a piece. My sister was burnt at the same time as my brother. He had them make a thin dough, and put it over their faces and he cut pieces out for their eyes, and nose, and mouth. They left that dough on their faces and chest till the dough got hard and peeled off by itself. It left the white skin. Gradually the face got back to itself and took its right color again, so you couldn't tell they had ever been burnt. The only medicine the doctor gave them was Epsom salts. Fifty dollars for each child. I used that remedy on a school boy once and cured him, but I didn't charge him nothing.

"I have a program which was given in 1874. They don't give programs like that now. People wouldn't listen that long. We each of us had two and three, and some of us had six and seven parts to learn. We learnt them and recited them and came back the next night to give a Christmas Eve program. You can make a copy of it if you want.

"A.C. Richmond is Mrs. Childress' brother. Anna George is Bee Daniels' mother (Bee Daniels is Mrs. Anthony, a colored public school teacher here). Corinne Jordan is living on Gaines between Eighth and Ninth streets. She is about seventy-five years old now. She was about Mollie's age and I was about five years older than Molly. Mary Riley is C.C. Riley's sister. C.C. Riley is Haven Riley's father. C.C. is dead now. Haven Riley was a teacher, at Philander Smith, for a while. He's a stenographer now. August Jackson and J.W. Jackson are my brothers. W.O. Emory became one of our pastors at Wesley. John Bush, everybody's heard of him. He had the Mosaic temple and got a big fortune together before he died, but his children lost it all. Annie Richmond is Annie Childress, the wife of Professor E.C. Childress, the State Supervisor. Corinne Winfrey turned out to be John Bush's wife. Willie Lane married W.O. Emery. Scipio Jordan became the big man in the Tabernacle. H.H. Gilkey went to the post office. He married Lizzie Hull. She's living still too."

Extra Comment

The marriage license which Mrs. White showed me, was issued March 27, 1879, by A.W. Worthen, County Clerk, per W.H.W. Booker to Julia Glen and J.R. White. It carries the name of Reverend W.H. Crawford who was the Pastor of Wesley Chapel Church at that time. The license was issued in Pulaski County.

GRAND ENTERTAINMENT AT WESLEY CHAPEL Wednesday Evening, Dec'r. 23, 1874

* * * * *


Part I

Address by the General Manager Mr. A.C. Richmond

Song—We Come Today By the School

Prayer Rev. William Henry Crawford

Declamation—My Mother's Bible Miss Annie George

Dialogue—Three Little Graves Miss M. Upshaw and Miss M.A. Scruggs

Dialogue—About Heaven Miss Julia Jackson and Miss Alice Richardson

Declamation—Mud Pie Miss Amelia Rose

Declamation—Ducklins and Miss Goren Jordan Ducklins

Dialogue—The Beggar Mr. H.H. Gilkey and Mr. W.A.M. Cypers

Declamation—Work While Master Albert Pryor You Work

Dialogue—The Miser Mr. C.C. Riley and Mr. Charles Hurtt, Jr.

Declamation—Pretty Pictures Miss Cally Sanders

Declamation—Into the Sunshine Miss Mollie Jackson

Song—Joy Bells By the School

Dialogue—Sharp Shooting Master Asa Richmond, Scipio Jordan, and Miss Laura A. Morgan

Declamation—What I Know Master Morton Hurtt

Declamation—The Side to Look On Miss Dora Frierson

Dialogue—The Tattler Miss Mary Alexander, Miss M.A. Scrugg, Miss Mary Rose

Declamation—Little Clara Miss Rebecca Ferguson

Dialogue—John Williams' Choice Scipio Jordan, H.H. Gilkey and Julia Jackson

Declamation—A Good Rule Miss Lilly Pryor

Declamation—Complaint of the Poor Miss Riley

Dialogue—The Examination L.H. Haney, Jackson Crawford and John Richmond


Part II.

Dialogue—The Maniac

Miss Willie Lane, A.C. Richmond, Rafe May, and Master A. Pryon

Dialogue—Father, Dear Father; or The Fruits of Drunkenness

John E. Bush, W.A.M. Cypers, Wm. Emery, Miss Coren Winfrey, Miss Maggie Green, and others.

Dialogue—An Awakening

Miss Mollie Pryor and Miss Annie Richmond

Dialogue—Betsy and I are out

Alex. Scruggs and W.A.M. Cypers

Declamation—Lily of the Valley

Miss Mary Foster

Dialogue—Hasty Judgment

C.C. Riley, A.C. Richmond, Cypers and Haney

Declamation—The Little Shooter

Master August Jackson

Dialogue—Practical Lesson

Miss Julia Jackson, and August Jackson

Declamation—Bird and the Baby

Miss Julia Foster

Dialogue—Scenes in the Police Court

Richmond, Bush, and Emery

Ballad—Yankee Doodle Dandy

J.E. Bush

Part III

Dialogue—Colloquy in Church

Alice Richardson and Mollie

Declamation—Lucy Gray

Miss Alice Moore


Miss Willie Lane, M.A. Scruggs, Mary Alexander, Mr. C.C. Riley


Morton Hurtt and Scipio Jordan

Declamation—Truth in Parenthesis

Alice Moore.

Dialogue—Forty Years Ago Ales, Scruggs, and J.P. Winfrey

Declamation—The Last Footfall Lizzie Hull

Declamation—Gone with a John E. Bush, Miss Maggie Green, Handsomer Man than Me and H.G. Clay

Declamation—Golden Side Annie Richmond

Declamation—The Union was Swan Jeffries saved by the Colored Volunteers

Dialogue—Relief Aid Saving Maggie Scruggs, Mary Ross, Society Lizzie Hull, Alice Moore, Mary Alexander, Mollie Pryor, Annie Fairchild, Lizzie Wind, Julia Jackson, J.E. Bush, J.W. Jackson

Song-Dutch Band A.C. Richardson, Wm. Emery, J.H. Haney, W.A.M. Cypers, J.O. Alexander, J.E. Bush, J.W. Jackson

Declamation—Number One Alice Richardson

Declamation—What to Wear, and Miss Coren Winfrey How to Wear It

Dialogue—A Desirable J.E. Bush, J.W. Jackson, A.C. Richmond

Dialogue-The Little Bill Marion Henderson, J.E. Bush, Miss Willie Lane, Miss Laura A. Morgan, Asa Richmond, Jr.

Dialogue—Country Aunt's Visit Henry Jackson, Misses Allice and Julia Crawford, Maggie Howell, Julia Jackson

Dialogue—Beauty and the Beast Marion Henderson, Julia Jackson, (six Scenes) Laura Morgan, Mary Scruggs, Mary Ross, Coren Winfrey, Willie Lane, Lizzie Wind, Alice Crawford, J.E. Bush, J.P. Winfrey

Dialogue—How not to Get M.A. Scruggs and Mary Alexander and Answer

Declamation—The Incidents of John Richmond Travel

* * * * *

Interviewer's Comment

This program was given on one night, and the participants doubled right back the next night on another lengthy program celebrating Christmas Eve.

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: Julia White (Continued) 3003 Cross Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 80

"The Commissary was on the northeast corner of Third and Cumberland. They used to call it the government commissary building. It took up a whole half block. Mrs. Farmer, the white woman, was living in what you call the old Henderliter Place, the building on the northwest corner, during the War. She was a Union woman, and was the one that took us in when the Confederate soldiers were passing and wanted to take us to Texas with them.

"I was so small I didn't know much about things then. When peace was declared a preacher named Hugh Brady, a white man, came here and he had my mother and father to marry over again.

"Mrs. Stephens' father was one of the first school-teachers here for colored people. There were a lot of white people who came here from the North to teach. Peabody School used to be called the Union School. Mrs. Stephens has the first report of the school dated 1869. It gives the names of the directors and all. J.H. Benford was one of the Northern teachers. Anna Ware and Louise Coffman and Miss Henley were teachers too.

"Mrs. Stephens is the oldest colored teacher in Little Rock. The A-B-C children didn't want the old men to teach us. So they would teach 'Lottie'—she was only twelve years old then—and she would hear our lessons. Then at recess time, we would all get out and play together. She was my play mama. Her father, William Wallace Andrews, the first pastor of Wesley Chapel M.E. Church, was the head teacher and Mr. Gray was the other. They were teaching in Wesley Chapel Church. It was then on Eighth and Broadway. This was before Benford's time. It was just after peace had been declared. I don't know where Andrews come from nor how much learning he had. Most of the people then got their learning from white children. But I don't know where he got his.

"Wesley was his first church as far as I know. Before the War all the churches were in with the white people. After freedom, they drew out. Whether Wesley was his first church or not, he was Wesley's first pastor. I got a history of the church."

"They had a real Sunday-school in those days. My sister when she was a child about twelve years old said three hundred Bible verses at one time and received a book as a prize. The book was named 'A Wonderful Deliverance' and other Stories, printed by the American Tract Society, New York, 150 Nassau Street. My sister's name was Mollie Jackson."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Lucy White, Marianna, Arkansas Age: 74

"I was born on Jim Banks' place close to Felton. His wife named Miss Puss. Mama and all of young master's niggers was brought from Mississippi. I reckon it was 'fore I was born. Old master name Mack Banks. I never heard mama say but they was good to my daddy. They had a great big place in Mississippi and a good big place over here.

"I recollect seeing the soldiers prance 'long the road. I thought they looked mighty pretty. Their caps and brass buttons and canteens shining in the sun. They rode the prettiest horses. One of 'em come in our house one day. He told Miss Puss he was goiner steal me. She say, 'Don't take her off.' He give me a bundle er bread and I run in the other room and crawled under the bed 'way back in the corner. It was dark up under there. I didn't eat the bread then but I et it after he left. It sure was good. I didn't recollect much but seeing them pass the road. I like to watch 'em. My parents was field folks. I worked in the field. I was raised to work. I keep my clothes clean. I washed 'em. I cooked and washed and ironed and done field work all. When I first recollect Marianna, Mr. Lon Tau and Mr. Free Landing (?) had stores here. Dr. Steven (Stephen?) and Dr. Nunnaly run a drug store here. There was a big road here. Folks started building houses here and there. They called the town Mary Ann fo' de longest time.

"Well, the white folks told 'am, 'You free.' My folks worked on fer about twenty years. They'd give 'em a little sompin outer dat crap. They worked all sorter ways—that's right—they sure did. They rented and share cropped together I reckon after the War ended.

"The Ku Klux never bothered us. I heard 'bout 'em other places.

"I never voted and I never do 'sepect to now. What I know 'bout votin'?

"Well, I tell you, these young folks is cautions. They don't think so but they is. Lazy, no'count, spends every cent they gits in their hands. Some works, some work hard. They drink and carouse about all night sometimes. No ma'am, I did not do no sich er way. I woulder been ashamed of myself. I would. Times what done run away wid us all now. I don't know what to look fer now but I know times changing all the time.

"I gets ten dollars and some little things to eat along. I say it do help out. I got rheumatism and big stiff j'ints (enlarged wrist and knuckles)."

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