"I 'member they found where the meat was buried and they ripped up my mother's feather bed and filled it full of hams and shoulders, and there wasn't a middlin' in the lot. And kill chickens and geese! They got ever'thing and anything they wanted.
"There was a battle-field about four miles from us where they fit at.
"Honey, I can't tell it like I know it, but I know it.
"Old master was a good man. You had plenty to eat and plenty to wear. And on Monday morning all his colored folks had clean clothes. I wish I could tell it like I know. He was a good man but he had as mean a wife as I ever saw. She used to be Nettie Sherrod and she did not like a black face. Yes ma'am, Jim Whitley was a good man but his father was a devil.
"If Massa Jim had a hand he couldn't control, he sold him. He said he wasn't goin' to beat 'em or have 'em run off and stay in the woods. Yes'm, that was my master, Jim Whitley.
"His overseer was Zack Hill when peace declared.
"How long I been in Arkansas? Me? We landed at Marianna, Arkansas in 1889. They emigranted us here. They sure said they had fritter trees and a molasses pond. They said to just shake the tree and the fritters would fall in the pond. You know anybody that had any sense wouldn't believe that. Yes ma'am, they sure told that lie. 'Course there was times when you could make good money here.
"I know I is a slave time chile. I fared well but I sure did see some that didn't.
"Our white folks had hands that didn't do nothin' but make clothes and sheets and kivers.
"Baby, them Ku Klux was a pain. The paddyrollers was bad enough but them Ku Klux done lots of devilment. Yes ma'am, they done some devilment.
"I worked for a white man once was a Ku Klux, but I didn't know it for a long time. One time he said, 'Now when you're foolin' around in my closet cleanin' up, I want you to be pertickler.' I seed them rubber pants what they filled with water. I reckon he had enough things for a hundred men. His wife say, 'Now, Talitha, don't let on you know what them things is.'
"Now my father belonged to the Adkins. He and my mother was married with a stiffcate 'fore peace declared and after peace declared they got a license and was married just like they marry now.
"My master used to ask us chillun, 'Do your folks pray at night?' We said 'no' 'cause our folks had told us what to say. But the Lawd have mercy, there was plenty of that goin' on. They'd pray, 'Lawd, deliver us from under bondage.'
"Colored folks used to go to the white folks' church. I was raised up under the old Primitive Baptist feet washin' church. Oh, that's a time, baby!
"What I think of the younger generation? I don't know what to think of 'em. I don't think—I know they is goin' too fast.
"I learned how to read the Bible after I 'fessed religion. Yes ma'am, I can read the Bible, praise the Lawd!"
Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: Abbie Lindsay 914 W. Tenth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 84 [HW: cf. Will Glass' story, No. ——?]
"I was born June 1, 1856; the place at that time was called Lynngrove, Louisiana. It was just about a mile from the post office, and was in Morehouse Parish in the first ward—in the tenth ward I mean.
"My father was named Alec Summerville. He named himself after the Civil War. They were going around letting the people choose their names. He had belonged to Alec Watts; but when they allowed him to select his own name after the war, he called himself Summerville after the town Summerville (Somerville), Alabama. His mother was named Charlotte Dantzler. She was born in North Carolina. John Haynes bought her and brought her to Arkansas. My father was an overseer's child. You know they whipped people in those days and forced them. That is why he didn't go by the name of Watts after he got free and could select his own name.
"The name of my mother's mother was Celia Watts. I don't know my grandfather's first name. Old man Alec Watts' father gave my mother to him. I didn't know anything about that except what was told to me. They bought her from South Carolina. They came to Louisiana. My father was bought in South Carolina too. After the Haynes met the Watts, Watts married old man Haynes' daughter. He gave my father to his daughter, Mary Watts. She was Mary Watts after she was married. She was Mary Haynes before. Watts' father gave my mother to Alec Watts. That is just the way it was.
"My mother and father had three children to live. I think there were about thirteen in all. There are just two of us living now. I couldn't tell you where Jeffrey Summerville, my living brother, is living now.
"The slaves lived in hewed-log houses. I have often seen hewed-log houses. Have you ever seen one? You cut big logs and split them open with a maul and a wedge. Then you take a pole ax and hack it on both sides. Then you notch it—cut it into a sort of tongue and groove joint in each end. Before you cut the notches in the end, you take a broad ax and hew it on both sides. The notch holds the corners of the house-ties every corner. You put the rafters up just like you do now. Then you lathe the rafters and then put boards on top of the rafters. Sometimes shingles were used on the rafters instead of boards.
"You would finish off the outside of the walls by making clay cakes out of mud and filling up the cracks with them. When that clay got hard, nothing could go through the walls. Sometimes thin boards were nailed on the inside to finish the interior.
Furniture and Food
"They had planks—homemade wooden beds. They made tables and chairs. They caned the chairs. They made the tables with four legs. You made it just like you would make a box, adding the legs.
"A little house called the smokehouse was built in one of the corners of the yard. They would weigh out to each one so much food for the week's supply—mostly meat and meal, sometimes rice. They'd give you parched meal and rye too.
"Sometimes they had the slaves cook their food in the cabins. Mostly all the time. My people ate in the kitchen because my mother was the cook and my father was the yard man. The others mostly cooked at home—in their cabins.
"My mother and father worked around the house and yard. Slaves in the field had to pick a certain amount of cotton. The man had to pick from two to three hundred pounds of cotton a day if he wasn't sick, and the woman had to pick about one hundred fifty. Of course some of them could pick more. They worked in a way of speaking from can till can't, from the time they could see until the time they couldn't. They do about the same thing now.
"I remember the time the white folks used to make the slaves all come around in the yard and sing every Sunday evening. I can't remember any of the songs straight through. I can just remember them in spots.
'Give me Jesus, you can have all the world In the morning when I arise, Give me Jesus.' (Fragment)
* * * * *
'Lie on him if you sing right Lie on him if you pray right God knows that your heart is not right Come, let us go to heaven anyhow.' (Fragment)
* * * * *
'The ark was seen at rest upon the hill On the hills of Calvary And Great Jehovah spoke Sanctify to God upon the hill.' (First verse)
* * * * *
'Peter spied the promised land On the hill of Calvary And Great Jehovah spoke Sanctify to God upon the hill.' (Second verse)
There was lots more that they sung.
"They could go to parties too, but when they went to them or to anything else, they had to have a pass. When they went to a party the most they did was to play the fiddle and dance. They had corn huskings every Friday night, and they ground the meal every Saturday. The corn husking was the same as fun. They didn't serve anything on the place where I was. I never knew them to serve anything at the corn shuckings or at the parties. Sometimes they would give a picnic, and they would kill a hog for that.
Life Since Freedom
"Right after the war, my father hired me out to nurse. Then I stayed around the house and helped my stepmother, and the white girls taught me a little until I got to be thirteen years old. Then I got three months' schooling in a regular school. I came here in 1915. I had been living in Newport before that. Yes, I been married, and that's all you need to know about that. I got two children: one fifty-three years old, and the other sixty.
"I don't have much thinking to do about the young people. It's a lost race without a change."
"Mother" Lindsay is a Bible-reading, neat and clean-appearing, pleasant-mannered business woman, a little bulky, but carrying herself like a woman thirty years. She runs a cafe on Ninth Street and manages her own business competently. She refers to it as "Hole in the Wall." I had been trying for sometime to catch her away from her home. It was almost impossible for me to get a story from her at her restaurant or at her home.
She doesn't like to sit long at a time and doesn't like to tell too much. When she feels quarters are a little close and that she is telling more than she wants to, she says, "Honey, I ain't got no more time to talk to you; I got to get back to the cafe and get me a cup of coffee."
Will Glass, who has a story of his own, collaborated with her on her story. He has an accurate and detailed memory of many things. He is too young to have any personal memories. But he remembers everything he has been told by his grandparents and parents, and they seem to have talked freely to him unlike the usual parents of that period.
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Rosa Lindsey 302 S. Miller Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 83
"I was born in Georgia and I'm 83.
"My white folks was named Abercrombie.
"I don't remember my mother and I hardly remember my father. My white folks raised me up. I 'member my missis had me bound to her when I was twelve. I know when my grandma come to take me home with her, I run away from her and went back to my white folks.
"My white folks was rich. I belonged to my young missis. She didn't 'low nobody to hit me. When she went to school she had me straddle the horse behind her. The first readin' I ever learned was from the white folks.
"I think the Yankees took Columbus, Georgia on a Sunday morning. I know they just come through there and tore up things and did as they pleased.
"I stayed there a long time after the Yankees went back.
"Old master wasn't too old to go to war but he didn't go. I think he had to dodge around to keep the Yankees from gettin' him. I think he went to Texas but we didn't go.
"I loved my white folks 'cause I knowed more about them than anybody else.
"I come here to Arkansas with a young white lady just married. She 'suaded me to come with her and I just stayed.
"Biggest thing I have did is washin' and ironin'. But now I am doing missionary work in the Sanctified church.
"I don't know 'bout the younger generation. Looks like 'bout near ever'body lost now. There's some few young people is saved now but they ain't many."
Interviewer: Thomas Elmore Lucy Person interviewed: William Little, Atkins, Arkansas Age: 83
"I was born on the plantation of Dr. Andrew Scott, but my old ma'ster was Col. Ben T. Embry. The 14th of March, in the year 1855, was my birthday. Yes suh, I was born right here at old Galla Rock! My old Ma'ster Embry had a good many slaves. He went to Texas and stayed about three years. Took a lot of us along, and de first work I ever done after I was set free was pickin' cotton at $2 a hundred pounds. Dere was seventy-five or a hundred of us freed at once. Yes suh! Den we drove five hundred miles back here from Texas, and drove five hundred head of stock. We was refigees—dat's de reason we had to go to Texas.
"Father and mother both passed away a good many years ago. Oh, yes, dey was mighty well treated while dey was in slavery; never was a kinder mas'r anywhere dan my old mas'r. And he was wealthy, too—had lots of land, and a store, and plenty of other property. Many of the slaves stayed on as servants long after the War, and lived right around here at old Galla Rock.
"No suh, I never belonged to no chu'ch; dey thought I done too much of the devil's work—playin' the fiddle. Used to play the fiddle for dances all around the neighborhood. One white man gave me $10 once for playin' at a dance. Played lots of the old-time pieces like 'Turkey in the Straw', 'Dixie', and so on.
"We owns our home here, and I has another one. Been married twice and raised eighteen chillun. Yes suh, we've lived here eighteen years, and had fine health till last few years, but my health is sorter po'ly now. Got a swellin' in my laigs.
"(Chuckling) I sure remembers lots of happy occasions down here in days before the War. One day the steamboat come up to the landin'. It was named the Maumelle—yes suh, Maumelle, and lots of hosses and cattle was unloaded from the steamer. Sure was busy days then. And our old mas'r was mighty kind to us."
NOTE: "Uncle Bill" did not know how he came about the name "Little." Perhaps it was a nickname bestowed upon him to distinguish him from some other William of larger stature. However, he stands fully six feet in height, and has a strong, vigorous voice. He is the sole surveying ex-slave of the Galla Rock community.
Interviewer: Thomas Elmore Lucy Person interviewed: "Aunt Minerva" Lofton Russellville, Arkansas Age: 69
"Come in! Yes, my name's Minerva Lofton—at least it was yistiddy. Now, whatcha gonna ask me? Hope you ain't saying something that'll git me in bad. Don't want to git in any more trouble. Hard times' bad enough.
"I was born in the country nine miles from Clarendon, Monroe County, December 3, 1869. Father died before I was born. My mother came from Virginia, and her mistress' name was Bettie Clark. They lived close to Richmond, and people used to say 'Blue Ridge,' so I think it was Blue Ridge County, Virginia. Mother was sold to Henry Cargile—C-a-r-g-i-l-e.
"When they were expecting peace to be declared soon a lot of the colored people named Parks took many of the slaves to Texas to escape from the Yankees, but when they got to Corpus Christi they found the Yankee soldiers there just the same, so they came back to Arkansas. I sure used to laugh at my dear old mother when she'd tell about the long trip to Corpus Christi, and things that happened on the way. They stopped over at Camden as they went through, and one of the colored gals who hated her played a prank on her to take out her spite on mother: They had stopped at a dairyman's home near Camden, and she sent my mother in to get a gallon of buttermilk. After drinking all she could hold she grabbed mother by the hair of the head and churned her up and down in the buttermilk till it streamed down her face, and on her clothes—a sight to behold. I laughed and laughed until my sides ached when mother told me about this.
"Old mistis' name (that is, one of the old mistis') was Bettie Young, and my mother was named Bettie for her; she was a namesake—sort of a wedding present, I think.
"I've been a member of the Pentecostal church for nineteen years.
"No sir, I never have voted and never expect to. Why? Because I have a religious opinion about votin'. I think a woman should not vote; her place is in the home raising her family and attending to the household duties. We have raised only two boys (stepchildren)—had no children of our own—but I have decided ideas about women runnin' around among and votin'. When I see em settin' around the ballot box at the polls, sometimes with a cigarette in their mouths, and again slingin' out a 'damn' or two, I want to slap em good and hard.
"Yes, the old time religious songs—I sure remember some of them! Used to be able to sing lots of em, but have forgotten the words of many. Let's see:
'I'm a-goin' to tell my Lord, Daniel in de lion's den; I'm a-goin' to tell my Lord, I'm a-goin' to tell my Lord, Daniel in de lion's den.'
'Big bells a-ringin' in de army of de Lord; Big bells a-ringin' in de army. I'm so glad I'm in de army of de Lord; My soul's a-shoutin' in de army.'
"Modern youth? Humph! I think they are just a fulfilling of what Christ said: 'They shall grow wiser as they grow older, but weaker.' Where is it in the Scripture? Wait a minute and I'll look it up. Now, let's see—where was that passage? It says 'weaker' here and 'weaken'. Never mind—wait—I'll find it. Well, anyway, I don't know jest how to describe this generation. I heard a white woman once say that she had to do a little cussin' to make herself understood. 'Cussin'?' Why, 'cussin'' is jist a polite word for it.
"Good-bye, mister. You oughta thank the Lawd you've got a job!"
Name of Interviewer: S. S. Taylor Subject: Biographical Sketch of Robert Lofton Story—Information (If not enough space on this page add page)
This information given by: Robert Lofton Place of Residence: 1904 Cross Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Occupation: Farmer (no longer able to work) Age: 82 [TR: Personal information moved from bottom of form.]
Robert Lofton was born March 11, 1855 in McDonogh, Georgia. His master lived in town and owned two Negro women and their children. One of these was Lofton's mother.
His father was a Negro who lived back of him and belonged to the local postmaster. He had a wagon and did public hauling for his master, Dr. Tie. He was allowed to visit his wife and children at nights, and was kept plentifully supplied with money by his master.
Lofton's master, Asa Brown, bought, or acquired from time to time in payment of debts, other slaves. These he hired out to farmers, collecting the wages for their labor.
After the war, the Lofton family came to Arkansas and lived in Lee County just outside of Oak Forest. They were share croppers and farmers throughout their lives. He has a son, however, a war veteran and unusually intelligent.
Robert Lofton is a fine looking old man, with silky white hair and an octoroon appearance, although the son of two colored persons.
He remembers scarcely anything because of fading mental powers, but he is able to take long walks and contends that only in that way can he keep free from rheumatic pains. He speaks of having died recently and come back to life, is extremely religious, and is fearful of saying something that he should not.
"I was in McDonogh, Georgia when the surrender came. [HW: That is where I was born on March 11, 1855.] There was plenty of soldiers in that little town—Yankees and Rebels. And they was sending mail out through the whole country. The Rebels had as good chance to know what was in the mail as the Yanks (his mother's husband's master was postmaster) did.
How Freedom Came
"The slaves learned through their masters that they were free. The Yankees never told the niggers anything. They could tell those who were with them that they were free. And they notified the people to notify their niggers that they were free. 'Release him. If he wants to stay with you yet, he may. We don't require him to go away but you must let him know he is free.'
"The masters said, 'You are free now, Johnnie, just as free as I am.' Many of them put their things in a little wagon and moved to some other plantation or town or house. But a heap of them stayed right where they were.
"My father found out before my mother did. He was living across town behind us about one-fourth of a mile. Dr. Tie, his master, had a post office, and that post office was where they got the news. My father got the news before my master did. He got on to it through being on with Dr. Tie. So my father got the news before my master, Asa Brown, did and he come over and told my mother before my master did. But my master came out the next thing and told her she could go or come as she pleased. She said she'd stay right along. And we got along just as we always did—until my father came and told us he was going to Atlanta with a crew of Yankees.
Employment and Post-War Changes in Residence
"He got a wagon and a team and run us off to the railroad. He got a job at Atlanta directly. After he made a year in Atlanta, he got dissatisfied. He had two girls who were big enough to cut cotton. So he decided to go farm. He went to Tennessee and we made a crop there. Then he heard about Arkansas and came here.
"When he came here, somehow or other, he got in a fight with a colored man. He got the advantage of that man and killed him. The officers came after him, but he left and I ain't never seen nor heard of him since. He went and left my poor mother and her five children alone. But I was getting big enough to be some help. And we made crops and got along somehow.
"I don't know what we expected. I never heerd anyone say a word. I was children you know, and it was mighty little that children knew because the old folks did not talk with them much.
What They Got
"I never heerd of anything any of them got. I never heerd of any of them getting anything except work. I don't recollect any pension or anything being given them—nothing but work.
Folks on this place would leave and go over on that place, and folks on that place would come over here. They ate as long as the white folks ate. We stayed with our old master and mistress, (Mr. Asa Brown and Mrs. Sallie Brown).
Good Master and Mistress
"They did not whip us. They didn't whip nobody they had. They were good white folks. My mother never was whipped. She was not whipped after the surrender and she wasn't whipped before. [We lived in the same house as our master] [HW: (in margin) see p. 6] and we ate what he ate.
Wives and Husbands
"There was another woman my master owned. Her husband belonged to another white man. My father also belonged to another white man. Both of them would come and stay with their wives at night and go back to work with their masters during the day. My mother had her kin folks who lived down in the country and my mother used to go out and visit them. I had a grandmother way out in the country. My mother used to take me and go out and stay a day or so. She would arrange with mistress and master and go down Saturday and she would take me along and leave her other children with this other woman. Sunday night she would make it back. Sometimes she wouldn't come back until Monday.
"It didn't look like she was any freer after freedom than she was before. She was free all the time she was a slave. They never whipped her. Asa Brown never whipped his niggers.
Letting Out Slaves
"Asa Brown used to rent out his niggers, sometimes. You know, they used to rent them. But he never rented my mother though. He needed her all the time. She was the cook. He needed her all the time and he kept her all the time. He let her go to see grandmother and he let her go to church.
"Sometimes my mother went to the white church and sometimes she went to the colored folks church. When we went to the white folks church, we took and sat down in the back and behaved ourselves and that was all there was to it. When they'd have these here big meetings—revivals or protracted meetings they call them—she'd go to the white and black. They wouldn't have them all at the same time and everybody would have a chance to go to all of them.
"They wouldn't allow the colored to preach and they wouldn't even call on them to pray but he could sing as good as any of them.
"Generally all colored preachers that I knowed of was slaves. The slaves attended the churches all right enough—Methodists and Baptists both white and black. I never heard of the preachers saying anything the white folks did not like.
"The Methodists' church started in the North. There was fourteen or fifteen members that got dissatisfied with the Baptist church and went over to the Methodist church. The trouble was that they weren't satisfied with our Baptism. The Baptists were here before the Methodists were thought of. These here fourteen or fifteen members came out of the North and started the Methodist church going.
"Share cropping has been ever since I knowed anything. It was the way I started. I was working the white man's land and stock and living in his house and getting half of the cotton and corn. We had a garden and raised potatoes and greens and so on, but cotton and corn was our crop. Of course we had them little patches and raised watermelon and such like.
Food and Quarters
"We ate whatever the white man ate. My mother was the cook. She had a cook-room joined to her room [which reached clear over to the white folks' house.] [HW: see p. 4] Everything she cooked on that stove, we all ate it, white and black—some of the putting, [HW: pudding] some of the cakes, some of the pies, some of the custard, some of the biscuits, some of the corn bread—we all had it, white and black. I don't know no difference at all. Asa Brown was a good old man. There was some mean slave owners, but he wasn't one.
"You could hear of some mean slave owners taking switches and beating their niggers nearly to death. But I never heard of my old master doing that. Slaves would run away and it would be a year or two before they would be caught. Sometimes they would take him and strip him naked and whip him till he wasn't able to stand for running away. But I never heard of nothing like that happening with Asa Brown. But he sometimes would sell a hand or buy one sometimes. He'd take a nigger in exchange for a debt and rent him out.
"There wasn't any voting by the slaves. But ever since freedom they have been voting. None of my friends ever held any office. I don't know anything about the niggers not voting now. Don't they vote?
Patter Rollers, K. K. K., White Carmelias, Etc.
"My mother and father knowed about Patter Rollers, but I don't know nothing about them. But they are dead and gone. I have heard of the Ku Klux but I don't know nothing about it. I don't know what I used to know. No sir, I am out of the question now.
"There is one thing I keep straight. When I wants to drink or when I wants to eat—oh yes, I know how to go to bed.
"You know I have seen the time when they would get in a close place and they would make me preach, but it's all gone from me now. I can't recollect."
Mary D. Hudgins 107 Palm Street, Hot Springs, Ark.
Interviewer: Mary D. Hudgins Person interviewed: John H. Logan Aged: c. 89 Home: 449 Gaines Avenue. [Date Stamp: MAY 11 1938]
Gaines Avenue was once a "Quality Street". It runs on a diagonal from Malvern Avenue, a one-time first class residential thorofare to the Missouri Pacific Tracks. Time was when Gaines led almost to the gates of the fashionable Combes Racetrack.
Built up during the days of bay windows Gaines Avenue has preserved half a dozen land marks of former genteelity. Long stretches between are filled "shot gun" houses, unaquainted for many years with a paintbrush.
Within half a block of the streetcar line on Malvern an early spring had encouraged plowing of a 200 foot square garden. Signs such as "Hand Laundry" appear frequently. But by far the most frequent placard is "FOR SALE" a study in black and white, the insignia of a local real estate firm specializing in foreclosures.
The street number sought proved to be two doors beyond the red brick church. A third knock brought a slight, wrinkled face to the door, its features aquiline, in coloring only the mildest of mocha. Its owner Laura Burton Logan, after satisfying herself that the visitor wasn't just an intruder, opened the door wide and invited her to come inside.
"Logan, oh Logan, come on here, come on in here," she called to an old man in the next room. "Law, I don't know whether he can tell you anything or not. He's getting pretty feeble. Now five or six years ago he could have told you lots of things. But now——I don't know."
Into the "front room" hobbled the old fellow. His back was bent, his eyes dimmed with age. His face was the sort often called "good"—not good in the sense stupid acquiescence—but rather evidence of an intelligent, non-preditory meeting of the problems of life.
A quarter, handed the old fellow at the beginning of the interview remained clutched in his hand throughout the entire conversation. Because of events during the talk the interviewer reached for her change purse to find and offer another quarter. It was not in her purse. Getting up from her chair she looked on the floor about her. It wasn't there. Mrs. Logan, who had gone back to bed, wanted to know what the trouble was, and was worried when she found what was missing. By manner the interviewer put over the idea that she wasn't suspecting either of the two. But Logan, not having heard the entire conversation got to his feet and extended his hand—the one holding the quarter, offering it back to the interviewer.
When he rose, there was the purse as it had slipped down on the seat of the rocker which the interviewer had almost taken and in which she had probably carelessly tossed her purse. A second quarter, added to his first, brought a beaming smile from the old man. But for the rest of the afternoon there was a lump in the interviewer's throat. Here was a man, evidently terribly in need of money, ready, without even a tiny protest, to return a gift of cash which must have meant so much to him—on the barest notion in his mind that the interviewer wanted it back.
"Be patient with me ma'am," Logan began, "I can't remember so good. And I want to get it all right. I don't want to spoil my record now. I been honest all my life, always stood up and told the truth, done what was right. I don't want to spoil things and lie in my mouth now. Give me time to think.
I was born, on——December——December 15. It was in 1848——I think. I was born in the house of Mrs. Cozine. She was living on Third Street in Little Rock. It was near the old Catholic Church. Was only a little ways from the State House. Mrs. Cozine, she was my first mistress. Then she sold me, me and my mother and a couple of brothers.
It was Governor Roane she sold me to. Don't know just how old I was——good sized boy, though. Guess I was five—maybe six years old. He was a fine man, Governor Roane was—a mighty fine man. He always treated me good. Raised me up to be a good man.
I remember when he gives us a free-pass. That was during the war. He said, 'Now boys, you be good. You stand for what is right, and don't you tell any stories. I've raised you up to do right.'
When he wasn't governor any more he went back to Pine Bluff. We lived there a long time. I was with Governor Roane right up until I was grown. I can't right correct things in my mind altogether, but I think I was with him until I was about 20.
When the war come on, Governor Roane helped to gather up troops. He called us in out of the fields and asked us if we wanted to go. I did. Right today I should be getting a pension. I was truly in the army. Ought to be getting a pension. Once a white man, Mr. Williams, I believe his name was, tried to get me to go with him to Little Rock. Getting me a pension would be easy he said. But somehow we never did go.
I worked in the powder factory for a while. Then they set me to hauling things——mostly food from the Brazos river to Tyler, Texas. We had hard times then——we had a time——and don't you let anybody tell you we didn't. Sometimes we didn't have any bread. And even sometimes we didn't have any water. I wasn't so old, but I was a pretty good man——pretty well grown up.
After the war I went back with my pappy. While I'd belonged to Governor Roane, Roane was my name. But when I went back with father, I took his name. We farmed for a while and later I went to Little Rock.
I did lots of things there. Worked in a cabinet maker's shop for one thing. Was classed as a good workman, too. I worked the lathes. Did a good job of it. I never was the sort that had to walk around looking for work. Folks used to come and get me and ask me to work for them.
How'd I happen to come to Hot Springs? They got me to come to work on the water mains. Worked for the water works a long time. Then I worked for a Mr. Smith in the bath house. I fired the furnace for him. Then for about 15 years I kept the yard at the Kingsway——the Eastman it was then. I kept the lawn clean at the Eastman Hotel. That was about the last steady work I did.
Yes and in between I used to haul things. Had me an express wagon. Used to build rock walls too. Built good walls.
Who did you say you was, Miss? Your father was Jack Hudgins—Law, child, law——"
A feeble hand reached for the hand of the white woman and took it. The old eyes filled with tears and the face distorted in weaping. For a few minutes he sat, then he rose, and the young woman rose with him. For a moment she put a comforting arm around him and soon he was quieter.
"Law, so your father was Jack Hudgins. How well I does remember him. Whatever did become of that fine boy? Dead did you say? I remembers now. He was a fine man, a mighty—mighty fine man. Jack Hudgins girl!
Yes, Miss, I guess you has seen me around a lot. Lots of folks know me. They'll come along the street and they'll say, 'Hello Logan!' and sometimes I won't know who they are, but they'll know me.
I remember once, it's been years and years ago, a man come along Central Avenue—a white man. I was going along the street and suddenly he grabbed me and hugged me. It scared me at first. 'Logan,' he says, 'Logan' he says again. 'Logan, I'd know you anywhere. How glad I am to see you.' But I didn't recognize him. 'Wife,' he says 'wife, come on over and speak to Logan, he saved my life once.' Invited me to come and see him too, he did.
Things have been mighty hard for the last few years. Seems like we could get the pension. First they had a rule that we'd have to sign away the home if we got $9.00 a month. Well, my wife's daughter was taking care of us. Even if we got the $9 she'd still have to help. She wasn't making much, but she was dividing everything—going without shoes and everything. So we thought it wasn't fair to her to sign away our home after all she'd done for us——so that they'd just kick her out when we was dead—she'd been too good to us. So we says 'No!' We been told that they done changed that rule, but we can't seem to get help at all. Maybe, Miss, there's somthing you can do. We sure would be thankful, if you could help us get on.
All my folks is dead, my mother and my father and all my brothers, my first and my second wives and both my children. My wife's daughter helps us all she can. She's mighty good to us. Don't know what we'd do without her. Thank you, glad you come to see us. Glad to know you. If you can talk to them over at the Court House, we'd be glad. Good-bye. Come to see us ag in."
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Elvie Lomack Residence: Foot of King Street on river bank, no number; Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 78
"Come right in and I'll tell you what I know. I was born in Tennessee in slavery days. No ma'm I do not know what year, because I can't read or write.
"I know who my mistress was. She was Miss Lucy Ann Dillard. She come from Virginia. She was an old maid and she was very nice. Some very good blooded people come from Virginia. She brought my mother with her from Virginia before I was born.
"My father belonged to the Crowders and mammy belonged to Miss Lucy Ann Dillard. They wouldn't sell pappy to Miss Lucy and she wouldn't sell mammy to the Crowders, so mammy lost sight of him and never married again. She just married that time by the consent of the white folks. In them times they wasn't no such thing as a license for the colored folks.
"I remember my mother milked and tended to the cows and issued out the milk to the colored folks.
"Miss Lucy lived in town and come out once a week to see to us. When the overseer was there she come out oftener. We stayed right on there after the war, till we come to Arkansas. I was betwixt eleven and twelve years old.
"And we was fooled in this place. A man my mother knowed had been here two years. He come back to Tennessee and, oh Lord, you could do this and do that, so we come here.
"First year we come here we all got down sick. When we got well we had to go to work and I didn't have a chance to go to school.
"I've seen my mother wring her hands and cry and say she wished she was back in Tennessee where Lucy Ann Dillard was.
"When I got big enough I went to work for Ben Johnson and stayed there fifteen years. I never knew when my payday was. Mammy come and got my pay and give me just what she wanted me to have. And as for runnin' up and down the streets—why mammy would a died first. She's dead and in her grave but I give her credit—she took the best of care of us. She had three girls and they didn't romp up and down the big road neither.
"I just looks at the young folks now. If they had been comin' along when I was, they'd done been tore all to pieces. They ain't raisin' em now, they're just comin' up like grass and weeds. And as for speakin' to you now—just turn their heads. Now I'm just fogy nuf that if I meet you out, I'll say good mornin' or good evenin'.
"If it hadn't been for the Yankees, we'd have the yoke on our necks right today. The Lord got into their hearts.
"Now I don't feel bitter gainst people. Ain't no use to hold malice gainst nobody—got to have a clean heart. Folks does things cause they's ignorant and don't know no better and they shouldn't be crowned with it.
"But I'll tell you the truth—I've heard my mother say she was happier in slavery times than after cause she said the Dillards certainly took good care of her. Southerners got a heart in em."
Interviewer: Mary D. Hudgins Person interviewed: Henry Long Home 112 East Grand Age: c. 71
"Yes, 'um, I owns my own home—and what's more it's on the same street with the Mayor's house. Yes 'um, I owns a good home, has my own chickens and my flowers and I has a pension of $50 a month.
"Just the other day I got a letter. It wanted me to join the National Association of Retired Federal Workers. I took the letter to the boss and he told me not to bother. Guess I'd better spend my money on myself.
"I got some oil stock too. Been paying pretty good dividends since I had it. Didn't pay any this year. They are digging a new well. That'll maybe mean more money. It's paid pretty good up to now. Yes, me and my wife, we're getting along pretty good. Nothing to worry about.
"Where was I born—it was in Kentucky, Russellville it was, just a few miles from Bowling Green. Yes, 'um, Kentucky was a regular slave state——a genuine slave state. Lots of 'em there.
"The man we belonged to——his name was Gabe Long. I remember hearin' 'em tell how they put him up on one block and sold him. They put his wife up on another and sold her too. Only they both went in different directions. They didn't see each other again for 30 years. By that time he had married again twice. My mother was his third wife. She lived to be 102 and he lived to be 99. Yes, 'um, I comes from a long lived family. There's four of us still living. I got two brothers and one sister. They all live back in Kentucky——pretty close to where we was all born. One time, when I had a vacation——you know they gives you a vacation with pay——30 days vacation it was. Well one time on my vacation I went back to see my sister. She is living with her daughter. She is 78. One brother is living with his son. He's 73. My youngest brother owns his own farm. He is 64. All of 'em back in Kentucky, they've been farmers. I'm the only one who has worked in town. And I never worked in town until I come to Arkansas.
"Been in Hot Springs for over 50 years. Law, when I first come there wasn't any Eastman hotel. There wasn't any Park hotel. I don't mean that Park Hotel up in Happy Hollow. The one I mean was down on Malvern. It burned in the fire of 1913. Law, when I come there wasn't nothing but mule street cars. Hot Springs has seen lots of changes.
"Back in Kentucky I'd been working around where I was born. Worked around the houses mostly. They paid me wages and wanted me to go on working for them. But I decided I wanted to get away. So I went to Little Rock. But didn't find nothing much to do there. Then I went on up Cedar Glades way. Then I come to Hot Springs.
"First I worked for a man who had a big garden——it's out where South Hot Springs is now——oh you know what the man's name was——he was named——he was named—name was Barker, that's it, Barker." (The "Barker Place" has been divided up into lots and blocks and is one of the more popular residential districts.)
"Then I got a job at the Park hotel. No ma'am. I didn't work in the yard. I worked in the refrigerators and the pantry. Then about meal times I served the fruit. You know how a big, fashionable hotel is—there's lots of things that has to be done around 'em.
"Finally I got rheumatism and I had to quit that kind of work. So I got a job firing the furnace at the electric light plant. It was down on Malvern then. That was before the fire of 1913. I was working right there when the fire come. It was pretty awful. It burned just about everything out there on Malvern——and places on lots of other streets too.
"After that I got a job at the Eastman hotel. I fired the furnace and worked on the boilers. Worked there a long time. Then they sent me to the Arlington. You know at that time the same company owned both the Eastman and the Arlington. It wasn't this new Arlington——it was the second one—the red brick one. Built that second one while I was here. The first one was wood.
"Back in the time when I come, there was a creek running through most of the town. There wasn't any Great Northern hotel. There was just a big creek there.
"But how-some-ever, to go on. After I worked at the Arlington on the boilers and the furnace—I got a job at the Army and Navy Hospital. Now that wasn't the new hospital either. It was the old one—it was red brick too.
"Next, I worked at the LaMar Bath house. I was there a long time——for years and years. Then they got to building over the bath houses. One by one they tore down the old ones and put new ones up. I worked on at the LaMar until they tore the old one down to build the new one. Then I went up to the Quapaw to work. Worked there for quite some time.
"Finally they sent for me to come on down and work for the government. I's worked under a lot of the Superintendents. I started working for the government when Dr.——Dr.——Dr. Warring——Warring was his name. He was a nice man. Then there was Dr. Bolton. I worked for him too. Then there was——there was——oh, what was his name——De—De—DeValin—that's it. Then there was Dr. Collins. He was the last of the Doctors. Then there was Mr. Allen and now Mr. Libbey.
"Yes, 'um, I worked for a lot of 'em and made a HOME RUN with all of 'em. Every one of 'em liked me. I always did good work. All of 'em liked the way I worked.
"Yes 'um. I been married 41 years——20 years to the first woman——21 to this one. The first one come from Mississippi. Her name was Ula. This one's name is Charlotte. She come from Magnolia—that's in Arkansas.
"You know ma'am, I come from Kentucky where they raise fine race horses. I worked around 'em a lot. But I ain't seen many races. We lived out in the country. We had good horses, but they didn't race 'em. I worked with the horses around the place, but we didn't go in town to see the races. What did we raise? Well tobacco and wheat and the usual things. All my folks, but me is still working on farms.
"No 'um, I didn't rightly know how old I was. I was working along, not thinking much about what I was doing. Then the men down at the office" (Hot Springs National Park) "started asking me how old I was. I couldn't tell 'em. But I thought I was born the year the slaves was freed. They said I ought to be retired.
"So they wrote back——or somebody stopped over while he was on his vacation—can't quite remember which. Anyhow they found I was old enough to retire——ought to have retired several years ago. So now I got my home, got my pension and got my time to do what I wants to do."
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Annie Love 1116 E. Twelfth Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 85?
"I don't know exactly how old I am. I was here when the war was goin' on. I know I used to see the soldiers come by and come in, but I wasn't big enough to work. I was born in Richmond, Virginia.
"My owners moved from Virginia to Mississippi. My mother and I lived on one place and my father lived on another plantation. I remember one Sunday he come to see me and when he started home I know I tried to go with him. He got a little switch and whipped me. That's the onliest thing I can remember bout him.
"Billy Cole was my master and I didn't have any mistress cause he never was married.
"My mother worked in the field and I was out there with her when the cannons commenced shootin' at Helena. We said they was shootin' at us and we went to the house. Oh Lord, we said we could see em, Lord yes!
"After surrender, our owner, Billy Cole, told us we was free and that we could go or stay so we stayed there for four or five years. I don't know whether we was paid anything or not. After that we just went from place to place and worked by the day.
"I never did see any Ku Klux but they come to my mother's house one night and wanted my stepfather to show'em where a man lived. He went down the road with 'em a piece. They wanted a drink and, oh Lord, they'd drink mighty nigh a bucket full.
"Oh Lord, when I was young goin' to parties and dances, that was my rule. Oh Lord, I went to them dances.
"I went to church, too. That was one thing I did do. I ain't able to go now but I'll tell anybody when I could, I sure went.
"I went to school mighty little—off and on bout two years. I never learned nothin' though.
"I lived right in Memphis mighty nigh twenty years then I come to Arkansas bout thirty-two years ago and I'm mighty near right where I come to Pine Bluff.
"I don't know of anything else but all my days I believe I've worked hard, cookin' and washin' and ironin'."
Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: Needham Love 1014 W. Seventeenth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 80, or older
"Old Joe Love sold us to old Jim McClain, Meridian, Mississippi, and old McClain brought us down on the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi. That was during the War. It was down there on a big old plantation where the cane was high as this house. I was born in Alabama. When the War started, he brought us all down to Meridian and sold us. He sold me in my mother's arms.
"We cut down all that cane and woods and cleared up the place on the Tallahatchie. We did all that before we learned we was free.
"They built log houses for the white and black. They sealed the white folks' houses and chinked the colored folks'. They didn't have but one house for the white folks. There was only one white person down there and that was old Jim McClain. Just come down there in time of harvest. He lived in Lexington the rest of the time. He told his people, 'When I die, bury me in a bale of cotton.' One time he got sick and they thought he would die. They gathered all the hands up and all the people about the place. There was about three hundred. He come to his senses and said, 'What's all these people doing here?'
"His son said, 'Papa, they thought you was goin' to die and they come up to see you.'
"And he said to his son, 'Well, I ain't dead yet. Tell 'em to git back on the job, and chop that cotton.'
"I did not have any work to do in slavery time. When the War ended I was only five years old. But I played the devil after the War though. When the slaves were freed, I shouted, but I ain't got nothin' yet. I learned a lot though. My father used to make a plow or a harrow. They made cotton in those days. Potatoes ain't no 'count now. In them days, they made potatoes so good and sweet that they would gum up your hands. Mothers used to make good old ash cakes. Used to have pot-liquor with grease standin' up on it. People don't know nothin' now. Don't know how to cook.
"My father's name was Joe Love and my mother's name was Sophia. I don't know any of my grandparents. All of them belonged to old Joe Love. I never did know any of them. I know my father and mother—my mammy and pappy—that's what we called 'em in them days.
"Old man Joe would go out sometimes and come in with a hog way in the night. He was a cooper—made water buckets, pans to make bread up in and things like that. Mammy would make us git up in the night and clean our mouths. If they didn't, children would laugh at them the next day and say the spiders had been biting your mouth, 'cause we were sposed to had so much grease on our mouths that the spiders would swing down and bite them.
"I professed religion when I was sixteen years old. It was down in the Free Nigger Bend where my father had bought a little place on the public road between Greenwood and Shellmount.
"I married that fall. My father had died and I had got to be a man. Done better then than I do since I got old. I had one cow and my mother let me have another. I made enough money to buy a pair of mules and a wagon. My wife was willing to work. She would go out and git some poke greens and pepper and things and cook them with a little butter. Night would come, we'd go out and cut a cord of wood. Got 'long better then than people do now.
"I began preaching soon as I joined the church. I began at the prayer-meetings. I preached for forty-seven years before I fell. I've had two strokes. It's been twenty-eight years or more since I was able to work for myself.
"I have heard about the pateroles but I never did know much about them. I have heard my father talk about them. He never would get a new suit and go to town but what they would catch him out and say, 'You got a pass?' He would show it to them, and they would sit down and chew old nasty tobacco and spit the juice out on him all over his clothes.
"The Ku Klux never did bother us any. Not after I got the knowledge to know what was what. They was scared to bother people 'cause the niggers had gone and got them some guns and would do them up.
"Old Jim McClain had one son who was bad. He used to jump on the niggers an' 'buse and beat them up. The niggers got tired of it and he started gittin' beat up every time he started anything and they didn't have no more trouble.
"Jim McClain didn't mistreat his niggers. The boys did after he was dead though. He died way after slavery. If a nigger went off his place and stole a cow or a hog or something, you better not come 'round there and try to do nothin' about it. Jim McClain would be right there to protect him.
"When he died, the horses could hardly pull him up the hill. He wanted to stay back down there in the bottoms where that cotton was.
"When I got to realizing, it was after freedom. But they had slavery rules then. There was one old woman who used to take care of the children while their parents were working in the fields. Sometimes it would be a week before I would see my mother and father. Children didn't set up then and look in old folks' faces like they do now. They would go to bed early. Wake up sometimes way in the middle of the night. Old folks would be holding a meeting and singing and praying.
"They used to feed the children pot-liquor and bread and milk. Sometimes a child would find a piece of meat big as your two fingers and he would holler out, 'Oh look, I got some meat.'
"Fourth of July come, everybody would lay by. Niggers all be gathered together dancing and the white folks standin' 'round lookin' at them.
"Right after the surrender, I went to night school a little, but most of my schooling was got by the plow. After I come to be a minister I got a little schooling.
"I can't get about now. I have had two strokes and the doctor says for me not to go about much. I used to be able to go about and speak and the churches would give me something, but since this new 'issue' come out, theology and dogology and all such as that, nobody cares to pay any 'tention to me. Think you are crazy now if you say 'amen.' Don't nobody carry on the church now but three people—the preacher, he preaches a sermon; the choir, he sings a song; and another man, he lifts a collection. People go to church all the years now and never pray once.
"I get some help from the Welfare. They used to pay me ten dollars pension. They cut me down from ten to eight. And now they cut me down to four. They cut the breath out of me this time.
"I got some mighty good young brothers never pass me up without givin' me a dime or fifteen cents. Then I got some that always pass me up and never give me nothing. I have built churches and helped organize churches from here back to Mississippi.
"I don't know what's goin' to become of our folks. All they study is drinking whiskey and gamblin' and runnin' after women. They don't care for nothin'. What's ruinin' this country is women votin'. When a woman comes up to a man and smiles at him, he'll do what she wants him to do whether it's right or wrong.
"The best part of our preachers is got so they are dishonest. Stealing to keep up automobiles. Some of them have churches that ain't no bigger than this room."
The statements of Needham Love like those of Ella Wilson are not consistent on the subject of age. It is evident, however, that he is eighty years old or older. He thinks so. He has memories of slave times. He has some old friends who think him older.
Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: Louis Lucas 1320 Pulaski Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 83
Masters, Birth, Parents, Grandparents
"I was born in 1855 down on Bayou Bartholomew near Pine Bluff, Jefferson County.
"My mother's name was Louisa. She married a man named Bill Cardrelle after freedom. Her husband in slavery time was Sam Lucas. He belonged to a man by the name of O'Neil. They took him in the War and he never did come back to her. (He didn't much believe he was my father, but I went in his name anyway.)
"My mother's father's name was Jacob Boyd. I was young, but I know that. He was free and didn't belong to nobody. That was right here in Arkansas. He had three other daughters besides my mother, and all of them were slaves because their mother was a slave. His wife was a woman by the name of Barclay. Her master was Antoine Barclay (?). She was a slave woman. She died down there in New Cascogne. That was a good while ago.
"The French were very kind to their slaves. The Americans called all us people that belonged to the Frenchmen free people. They never gave the free Negroes among them any trouble. I mean the Frenchmen didn't give them no trouble.
"The reason we finally left the place after freedom was because of the meanness of a colored woman, Amanda Sanders. I don't know what she had against us. The old mistress raised me right in the house and fed me right at the table. When she died, this woman used to beat the devil out of me. We had had good owners. They never had no overseers until just before the War broke out, and they never beat nobody.
"The first overseer was on a boat named the Quapaw when the mate knocked him in the head and put him in a yawl and took him to the shore. The boss saw it and took four men and went and got him and had the doctor attend to him. It was a year before he could do anything. He didn't stay there long before they had him in the War. He just got to oversee a short time after he got well. He was in the cavalry. The other boys went off later. They took the cavalry first. None of them ever came back. They were lost in the big fight at Vicksburg. My paran, Mark Noble, he was the only one that got back.
"I don't remember my father's father. But I know that his mother went in the name of Rhoda. I don't know her last name. She was my grandma on his side.
"I belonged to a man named Brumbaugh. His first name was Raphael. He was a all right man. He had a colored man for an overseer before this here white man I was tellin' you about came to him. 'Uncle' Jesse was the foreman. He was not my uncle. He was related to my wife though; so I call him uncle now. Of course, I didn't marry till after freedom came. I married in 1875.
"When I was a little child, my duty was to clean up the yard and feed the chickens. I cleaned up the yard every Friday.
House, Furniture, and Food
"My mother lived in a cabin—log, two rooms, one window, that is one window in each room.
"They didn't have anything but homemade furniture. We never had no bed bought from the store—nothin' like that. We just had something sticking against the wall. It was built in a corner with one post out. They made their table and used benches—two-legged and sometimes four-legged. The two-legged benches was a long bench with a wide plank at each end for legs.
"For food we got just what the white folks got. We didn't have no quarters. They didn't have enough hands for that. They raised their own meat. They had about seven or eight. There was Dan, Jess, Bill, Steve. They bought Bill and Steve from Kentucky.
"Old 'Free Jack' Jenkins, a colored man, sold them two men to ol' master. Jenkins was the only Negro slave trader I ever knowed. He brought them down one evening and the old man was a long time trading. He made them run and jump and do everything before he would buy them. He paid one thousand five hundred dollars for each one of them. 'Free Jack' made him pay it part in silver and some in gold. He took some Confederate paper. It was circulating then. But he wouldn't take much of that paper money.
"He stole those boys from their parents in Kentucky. The boys said he fooled them away from their homes with candy. Their parents didn't know where they were.
"Then there were my brothers—two of them, John Alexander and William Hamilton. They were half-brothers. That makes six men altogether on the place. I might have made a miscount. There was old man Wash Pearson and his two boys, Joe and Nathan. That made ten persons with myself.
"Brumbaugh didn't have such a large family. I never did know how large it was.
"The rebel soldiers were often at my place. A bad night the jayhawkers would come and steal stock and the slaves too, if they got a chance. They cleaned the old man's stock out one night. The Yankees captured them and brought them back to the house. They gave him his stallion, a great big fine horse. They offered him five thousand dollars for him but he wouldn't take it. They kept all the other horses and mules for their own use, but they gave the stallion back to the old man. If they hadn't give him back the stallion, the old man would have died. That stallion was his heart. The Yankees didn't do nobody no harm.
"When the soldier wagons came down to get the feed, they would take one crib and leave one. They never bothered the smokehouse. They took all the dry cattle to feed the people that were contrabands. But they left the milk cows. The quartermaster for the contrabands was Captain Mallory. The contrabands were mostly slaves that they kept in camps just below Pine Bluff for their own protection.
How Freedom Came
"It was martial law and twelve men went 'round back and forth through the county. They come down on a Monday, and told the children they were free and told them they had no more master and mistress and told them what to call them. No more master and mistress, but Mr. and Mrs. Brumbaugh. Then they came down and told them that they would have to marry over again. But my ma never had a chance to see the old man any more. She didn't marry him over again because he didn't come back to her. But they advised them to stay with their owners if they wanted to. They didn't say for none of the slaves to leave their old masters and go off. We wouldn't have left but that old colored woman beat me around so all the time, so my mother came after me and took me home since I wanted to go. The Yankees' officer told her it would be good to move me from that place so I wouldn't be so badly treated. The white folks was all right; it was that old colored woman that beat on me all the time.
Right After Freedom
"Right after freedom my mother married Bill Cardrelle. She moved from the O'Neil place and went up to a place called the Dr. Jenkins' place. She kept house for her husband in the new place. I didn't do much there of anything. After they moved away from there when I was twelve years old, they taught me to plow (1867). I went to school in the contraband camp. Mrs. Clay and Mr. Clay, white folks from the North, were my teachers. At that time, the colored people weren't able to teach. I went a while to school with them. I got in the second reader—McGuffy's—that's far as I got.
"I stayed with my mother and stepfather till I was about sixteen years old. She sent me away to come up here to my father, Sam Lucas. My oldest brother brought me here and I worked with him two years. Then I went to a man named Cunningham and stayed with him about six months. He paid me fifteen dollars a month and my board. He was going to raise my wages when his wife decided she wanted women to do the work. The women would slip things away and she wouldn't mention them to her husband till weeks afterwards. Then long after the time, she would accuse me. Those women would have the keys. When they went in to get soap, they would take out a ham and carry it off a little ways and hide. By the time his wife would tell him about it, you wouldn't be able to find it nowhere.
"He owed me for a month's work. She told him not to pay it, but he paid it and told me not to let her know he did it. I didn't either.
"When I left him, I came over the river here down here below Fourche Dam. I stayed there forty or fifty years in that place. When I was between thirty-two and thirty-three years old, I married, and I stayed right on in that same place. I farmed all the time down there. I had to go in a lawsuit about the last crop I made. Then I came here to Little Rock in 1904 and followed ditching with the home water company. Then I did gas ditching with the gas people. Then I worked on the street car line for old man White. I come down then—got broke down, and couldn't do much. The relief folks gave me a labor card; then they took it away from me—said I was too old. I have done a heap of work here in this town. I got old and had to stop.
"I get old age assistance from the Welfare. That is where I get my groceries—through them. I wouldn't be able to live if it wasn't for them.
"There is a big difference between the young people now and what they used to be. The old folks ain't the same neither."
Lucas told his story very fluently but with deliberation and care. The statement about his father on the first page was not a slip. He told what he wanted to tell but he discouraged too much effort to go into detail on those matters. One senses a tragedy in his life and in the life of his mother that is poignant and appealing. Although he states no connection, one will not miss the impression that his stepfather was hostile. Suddenly we find his mother sending him to his father. But after he reached his father, there is little to indicate that his father did anything for him. Then, too, it is evident that his father deliberately neglected to remarry his mother after freedom.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Lizzie Luckado, Hazen, Ark. Age: 71
"I was born at Duck Hill, Mississippi. There was three of us children. All dead now but me. My parents was Molly Louden and Jake Porter. One master my parents talked about was Missis Molly and Dr. McCaskill. I don't think my mother was mixed with Indian. Her father was a white man, but my father said he was Indian and African. My father was in the Civil War.
"When the war was coming on they had the servants dig holes, then put rock on bottom, then planks, then put tin and iron vessels with money and silver, then put plank, then rocks and cover with dirt and plant grass on top. Water it to make it grow. They planted it late in the evening. I don't know what become of it.
"When I was eight or nine years old I went to a tent show with Sam and Hun, my brothers. We was under the tents looking at a little Giraffe; a elephant come up behind me and touched me with its snout. I jumped back and run under it between its legs. That night they found me a mile from the tents asleep under some brush. They woke me up hunting me with pine knot torches. I had cried myself to sleep. The show was "Dan Rice and Coles Circus" at Dednen, Mississippi. They wasn't as much afraid of snakes as wild hogs, wolves and bears.
"My mother was cooking at the Ozan Hotel at Sardis, Mississippi. I was a nurse for a lady in town. I took the children to the square sometimes. The first hanging I ever seen was on Court Square. One big crowd collected. The men was not kin, they called it "Nathaniel and DeBonepart" hanging. They was colored folks hung. One killed his mother and the other his father. I never slept a wink for two or three nights, I dream and jump up crying. I finally wore it off. I was a girl and I don't know how old I was. Besides the square full of people, Mrs. Hunter's and Mrs. Boo's yards was full of people.
"We cooked for Capt. Salter at Sardis, Mississippi.
"The first school I went to was to Mrs. J. P. Settles. He taught the big scholars. She sent me to him and he whooped me for singing:
"Cleveland is elected No more I expected."
I was a grown woman. They didn't want him elected I recken the reason they didn't want to hear it. Nobody liked em teaching but the last I heard of them he was a lawyer in Memphis. If folks learned to read a little that was all they cared about."
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: John Luckett Highway No. 65, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 83
"I was born in Mississippi up above Vicksburg. I 'member the old Civil War but I was just a little boy.
"Oh, I've seen the Yankees in Vicksburg where the battle was.
"I was 'bout ten when freedom come—nothin' but a boy.
"Clara Luckett was my mother. When the War was in Fort Pillow, I was a small boy. I don't know 'bout nothin' else—that's all I know about it.
"I been workin' at these mills ever since surrender. I been firin' for 'em.
"I voted the Republican ticket. I voted for General Grant and Garfield. I was a young man then. I voted for McKinley too. I never did hold no office, I was workin' all the time. I knowed Teddy Roosevelt—I voted for him.
"They wouldn't let me go to school I was so bad. I went one day and whipped the teacher. I didn't try—I whipped him and they 'xpelled me from school.
"Since I been in this country, firin' made me deaf."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: John Lynch, Brinkley, Arkansas Age: 69
"My mother was a slave of Buck Lynch. They lived close to Nashville, Tennessee. My father run away from Buck Lynch before the Civil War. He lived in the woods till he nearly went wild. My mother fed him at night. I was twenty-one years old before I ever seen him. My mother worked several years and didn't know she was free. She come with some traders from close to Nashville out here. I was born at Cotton Plant. I got two living brothers in Memphis now.
"I was raised a farmer. The first work I ever done away from home was here in Brinkley. I worked at the sawmill fur Gun and Black. Then I went to Ft. Smith and worked in er oil mill. I come back here and farmed frum 1911 till 1915. Then I worked in the Brinkley oil mill. I cooked the cotton seed meal. One of my bosses had me catch a small cup full fur him every once in awhile. The oil taste something like peanut butter. It taste very well while it is hot and smells fine too. I quit work when they quit the mill here. It burned up. I do like the work. They got some crazy notion and won't hire old fellows like me no more. Jobs are hard to get. Younger men can get something seems like pretty easy. I make a garden. That is 'bout all I can do or get to do.
"My mother's name was Molly Lynch. She cooked some at Cotton Plant and worked in the field. She talked a right smart bout the way she had to do in slavery times but I don't recollect much.
Shes been dead a long time. I heard folks say times was awful hard right after the war, that times was easier in slavery for de reason when they got sick they got the best of care. She said they had all kinds of herbs along the side of the walks in the garden. I don't guess after they got settled times was near as hard. She talked about how hard it was to get clothes and something to eat. Prices seemed like riz like they are now.
"I don't know 'bout my father's votin' cause I didn't know him till after I was grown and not much then. He was down about Marianna when I knowed him. I did vote. I vote the Republican ticket. I like the way we voted the best in 1886 or '87. It was called Fair Divide. Each side put his man and the one got most votes got elected. I don't think it necessary fur the women to vote. Her place is in the home. Seem like the women all going to work and the men quit. About 40 years ago R. P. Polk was justice of the peace here and Clay Holt was the constable. They made very good officers. I don't recollect nothing 'bout them being elected. Brinkley is always been a very peaceable town. The colored folks have to go clear away from town with any rowdiness." (The Negroes live among the whites and at their back doors in every part of town.)
"I live with my son-in-law. He works up at the Gazzola Grocery Company. He owns this house. He is doing very well but he works hard.
"The young generation so far as I knows is getting along fairly well. I don't know if times is harder; they is jes' different. When folks do right seems there's a way provided for 'em.
"I signed up with the PWA. I signed up two or three times but they ain't give us nothing much yet. They wouldn't let me work. They said I was too old. I works if I can get any work to do."
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Josephine Scott Lynch, Brinkley, Arkansas Age: 69
"Josephine Scott Lynch is my name and I sho don't know a thing to tell you. I don't remember my father at tall. The first thing I can remember about my mama she was fixing to come to Arkansas. She come as a immigrant. They paid her fare but she had to pay it back. We come on the train to Memphis and on the boat to Gregory Point (Augusta). We left her brother with grandma back in Tennessee. There was three children younger than me. The old folks talked about old times more than they do now but I forgot all she said too much to tell it straight.
"We farmed, cleared land and mama and me washed and ironed and sewed all our lives. I cooked for Mr. Gregory at Augusta for a long time. I married then I cooked and washed and ironed till I got so porely I can't do much no more.
"I never voted and I wouldn't know how so ain't no use to go up there.
"Some of the younger generation is better off than they used to be and some of them not. It depends a whole heap on the way they do. The colored folks tries to do like the white folks far as they's able. Everything is changing so fast. The present conditions is harder for po white folks and colored folks than it been in a long time. Nearly everything is to buy and prices out of sight. Work is so scarce."