The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Zillah Cross Peel Information given by: "Gate-eye" Fisher Residence: Washington County, Arkansas
"I was jes' a baby crawlin' 'round on the floor when War come" said "Gate-eye" Fisher, who lives in a log house covered with scraps of old tin, on what is known as the old Bullington farm near Lincoln. His one room log cabin is "down in the bresh" back of the barn and when new renters come on the place, they just take it for granted that "Gate-eye" just belongs. He bothers no one. No floors, no windows just a door, a bed, stove and a table. Yes and a lantern and a chair.
"Yes mam, my mother, Caroline, belonged to the Mister Dave Moore family. His wife, Miss Pleanie, was a Reagan. Yes mam, they was good folks. When the War come, my pa, Harrison Fisher and my ma stayed on the place, Mister Moore had lots of land and stock-and he and his folks went to Texas, nearly everybody did 'round here, and he took some of his fine stock with him but he called my pa and ma in and told them he wanted them to stay on the place and take care of all the things. Pa was boss over all the slaves. I guess mos' all my white folks is dead. Mos' of them all buried down yan way to Ft. Smith. One of Mister Moore's daughters, Miss Mary, married Dr. Davenport and Miss Sinth (Cynthia) went to live with her."
(The Moores came from Kentucky and Tennessee and settled at Cane Hill, Washington County, about 1829. The Reagans came about the same time. The first schools in the county were at Cane Hill).
"Yes mam, I guess all the colored folks that belonged to Mister Moore, but me, is dead. I guess. My mother, Caroline, stayed in the house nearly all the time and took care of Missy's children, and when they come home from school she'd hear them learn their ABC's. That's how come I can read and write. My ma taught me, out of an old Blue Back Speller. Yes mam, I learned to read and can't write much, jes my own name. Yes mam, I kinda believe in signs that's how come I wear this leather strap 'round my wrist it keeps me from havin' rheumatism, neuralgia. Yes mam, it helps. I used to believe in signs a lot and I used to believe in wishes. I used to wish a lot of bad wishes on folks till one day I read a piece from New York and it said the bad wishes that you made would come back to you wosser than you wished, so I don't wish no more. I got scared and don't wish nothin' to no body."
"After the War Ole Mister and Ole Missey called in my ma and pa and asked them if they wanted to still stay on the place or go somewhere. 'Bout ten of us stayed. Then a while after Mister Moore asked my pa if he wanted to go up on the Tilley place-600 acres and farm it for what he could make. We, my pa and my ma and my sister Mandy, stayed there a long time. Then Mister Moore sold off a little here and a little there and we moved up on the mountain with my sister and her husband, Peter Doss, where my ma died. Then I went down to Mister Oscar Moore's place-he was my Missey' boy."
"Yes mam, I did have a wife. I had a mos' worrysome time. It is a worrysome time when a man comes to takes your wife right away from you. No'm, I don't ever want her to come back."
"Yes'm, I do my own cooking, and I've put up some fruit. I have a little mite of meat, a little mite of taters, a little mite of beans and peas. I get a little pension too."
"These darkies today nearly all get wild. You can't tell What they are going to do tomorrow. They's jes like everybody-some awful good and some awful bad."
And in the tiny one room shack, of logs and tin, no window, a swing door held by a leather strap, "Gate-eye" does his cooking on a small wood stove. A long bench holds a lantern with a shingly clean globe, a lot of canned fruit, dried beans and peas. The bed is a series of old bed springs. But "Gate-eye" just belongs to the neighborhood, and every one feels kindly toward him. He says he is seventy-one years, past.
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives