The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
[HW: Nurses ? ? ?][TR: Illegible]
"I was born February 10, 1831 in Richmond, Virginia. I was a nurse raised by our white folks in the house with the Adamses. Sue Stanley (white and Indian) was my godmother, or 'nursemother' they called em then. She was a sister-in-law to Jay Goold's wife. She married an Adams. I wasn't raised a little nigger child like they is in the South. I was raised like people. I wasn't no bastard. My father was Henry Crittenden, an Indian full blooded Creek. He was named after his father, Henry Crittenden. My mother's name was Louisa Virginia. Her parents were the Gibsons, same nationality as her husband. My 'nursemother' was a white woman, but she had English and Indian blood in her. My mother and father were married to each other just like young people are nowadays. None of my people were slaves and none of them owned any slaves.
"In Richmond, they lived in a little log cabin. Before I had so much trouble I could tell you all about it, but I never forget that little log cabin. That is near Oak Grove where Lincoln and Garfield and Nat Turner met and talked about slavery.
"We had oak furniture. We had a tall bed with a looking glass in the back of it, long bolsters, long pillow cases just like we used to make long infant dresses. There were four rooms in the cabin. It was in the city. The kitchen was a little off from the house. You reached it by going through a little portico.
"We ate bananas, oranges, hazelnuts, apples, fruit for every month in the year for breakfast, batter cakes, egg bread. The mornings we had egg bread we had flesh. For dinner and supper we had milk and butter and some kind of sweetness, and bread, of course. We had a boiled dinner. We raised everything-even peanuts.
"We made everything we wore. Raised and made the cloth and the leather, and the clothes and the shoes.
Contacts with Slaves and Slave Owners
"I don't know nothin' about slavery. I didn't have nothin' to do with them folks. We picked em up on our way in our travels and they had been treated like dogs and hadn't been told they were free. We'd tell em they was free and let em go.
"All I can tell you is that we come on down and never stopped until we got to Memphis, and we tarried there twenty-five years. We came through Louisiana and Georgia on our way out here and picked up many slaves who didn't know they was free. They was using these little boats when we came out here. In Louisiana and Georgia when we came out here, they weren't thinkin' bout telling the niggers they were free. And they weren't in Clarksville either. We landed in Little Rock and made it our headquarters.
"Christian work has been the banner of my life-labor work, giving messages about the Bible, teaching. Mostly they kept me riding—I mean with the doctors. When we were riding, the doctors didn't go in a mother's room; he sent the rider in. They call em nurses now and handle them indifferently. The doctor jus' stopped in the parlor and made his money jus' sitting there and we women did all the work. In 1912, I gave up my riding license. It was too rough for me in Arkansas. And then they wouldn't allow me anything either.
"Now I have a poor way of making a living because they have taken away everything from me. I prays and lives by the Bible. I can't get nothin' from my husband's endowment. He was an old soldier in the Civil War on the Confederate side and I used to get $30 a month from Pine Bluff. He was freed there. Wilson was President at the time I put in for an increase for him in the days of his sickness. He was down sick thirty years and only got $30 a month. The pension was increased to $60 for about one year. He died in 1917, March 10, and was in his ninetieth year or more from what he told me. The picture shows it too.
"Paying my taxes was the votin' I ever done. They never could get me to gee nor haw. There wasn't any use voting when you can see what's on the future before you. I never had many colored friends. None that voted. And very few Indians and just a few others. And them that stood by me all the while, they're sleeping.
Thoughts of Young People
"Don't know nothin' bout these young folks today. Don't nothin' spoil a duck but his bill. I have had a hard time. I am heavy and I'm jus' walkin' bout. A little talk with Jesus is all I have. I'll fall on my knees and I'll walk as Jesus says. My heart's bleeding. I know I'm not no more welcome than a dog.
"I pays for this little shack and when you come to see me, you might as well come to that kitchen door. I ain't going to use no deceit with nobody. I'll show you the hole I have to go in."
I understand that Sister Butler gets a pension of $5 a month. Although her voice is vigorous, her mental powers are somewhat weak. She cannot remember the details of anything at all.
She evidently had heard something about Nat Turner, but it would be hard to tell what. The Nat Turner Rebellion, so called, a fanatical affair which was as much opposed by the Negroes as by the whites, took place in Southampton County, Virginia, in August and September 1831, the same year in which Jennie Butler claims birth. She would naturally hear something about it, but she does not remember what.
She had a newspaper clipping undated and minus the reading matter showing her husband's picture, and another showing herself, February 10, 1938, The Arkansas Democrat.
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives