The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Willie Doyld (male), Brinkley, Arkansas Age: 78 [-- -- 1938]
"I was born in Grenada, Mississippi. My parents belong to the same family of white folks. My moster was Jim Doyld. His wife was Mistress Karoline Doyld. Well as I recollect they had four childen. My parent's name was Hannah and William Doyld. I'm named for em. They was three of us childen. They belong to same family of white folks for a fact. I heard em say Moster Jim bought em offen the block at the same time. He got em at Galveston, Texas. He kept five families of slaves on his place well as I recollect.
"My pa was Moster Jim's ox driver. He drove five or six yokes at a time. He walk long side of em, wagons loaded up. He toted a long cowhide whoop. He toted it over his shoulder. When he'd crack it you could hear his whoop half a mile. Knowed he was comin' on up to the house. Them oxen would step long, peartin up when he crack his whoop over em. He'd be haulin' logs, wood, cotton, corn, taters, sorghum cane and stuff. He nearly always walked long side of em; sometimes he'd crawl upon the front wagon an' ride a piece.
"He was a very good moster I recken far as I knows. They go up there, get sompin' to eat. He give em a midlin' meat. He give us clothes. Folks wore heep of clothes then. They got whoopin's if they not do lack they tole em to do-plenty whoopin's! He kept ten dogs, they call bear dogs. They hunt fox, wolves, deer, bear, birds. Them dogs died wid black tongue. Every one of em died.
"We et at home mostly. We was lounced wid the rations but had a big plenty. We got the rations every Saturday mornin'. One fellow cut and weighed out the meat, sacked out the meal in pans what they take to git it in. Sometimes we et up at the house. Mama bring a big bucket milk and set it down, give us a tin cup. We eat it up lack pigs lappin' up slop. Mama cooked for old mistress. She bring us 'nough cooked up grub to last us two or three days at er time. Papa could cook when he be round the house too. I recollect all four my grandmas and grandpas. They come from Georgia. Moster Jim muster bought them too but I don't know if he got em all at the same time down at Galveston, Texas.
"Moster Jim show did drink liquor-whiskey. I recken he would. When he got drunk old missus have him on the bed an' she set by him till he sober up. Miss Karoline good as ever drawed a breath to colored and white.
"My grandma, mother's ma, was a light sorter woman. The balance of my kin was pure nigger.
"I kin for a fact recollect a right smart about the war. Papa went off to war wid Jack Hoskins. He was goin' to be his waitin' man. He stayed a good while fore he got home. Jack Hoskins got kilt fore he et breakfast one mornin'. That all I heard him say. I recken he helped bury him but I never heard em say.
"The plainest thing I recollect was a big drove of the Yankee soldiers-some ridin', some walkin'-come up to the moster's house. He was sorter old man. He was settin' in the gallery. He lived in a big log house. He was readin' the paper. He throwed back his head and was dead. Jes' scared to death. They said that was what the matter. In spite of that they come down there and ordered us up to the house. All the niggers scared to death not to go. There lay old Moster Jim stretched dead in his chair. They was backed up to the smoke house door and the horses makin' splinters of the door. It was three planks thick, crossed one another and bradded together wid iron nails. They throwed the stuff out an' say, 'Come an' git it. Take it to your houses.' They took it. It was ours and we didn't want it wasted. Soon as they gone they got mighty busy bringing it back. They built nother door an' put it up. Old Miss Karoline bout somewheres, scared purty near to death. They buried Moster Jim at Water Valley, Mississippi. Miss Karoline broke up and went back to Virginia. My grandma got her feather bed and died on it. Bout two years after that the Yankees sot fire to the house and burned it down. We all had good log houses down close together. They didn't bother us.
"I don't recollect the Ku Klux.
"Our folks never knowed when freedom come on. Some didn't believe they was free at all. They went on farmin' wid what left. What they made they got it. My folks purty nigh all died right there.
"I lives alone. I got two childern in Lulu, Mississippi. I had three childern. My wife come here wid me. She dead.
"I had forty acres land, two mules, wagon. It went for debts. White folks got it. I ain't made nuthin' since.
"I ain't no hand at votin' much. I railly never understood nuthin' bout the run of politics.
"I hates to say it but the young generation won't work if they can get by widout it. They take it, if they can, outen the old folks. I used to didn't ask folks no diffrunce. I worked right long.
"I gets commodities wid this old woman. I come here to build her fires and see after er. I don't git no check."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives