The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Mrs. Annie L. LaCotts Person interviewed: Matilda Miller Humphrey, Ark. Age: 79
The day of the interview Matilda, a nice clean-looking Negro woman, was in bed, suffering from some kind of a pain in her head. She lives in a little two-room unpainted boxed house beside the highway in Humphrey. Her house is almost in the shadow of the big tank which was put up recently when the town acquired its water system.
When told that the visitor wanted to talk with her about her early life, Matilda said, "Well, honey, I'll tell you all I can, but you see, I was just a little girl when the war was, but I've heard my mother tell lots of things about then.
"I was born a slave; my mother and daddy both were owned by Judge Richard Gamble at Crockett's Bluff. I was born at Boone Hill-about twelve miles north of DeWitt-and how come it named Boone Hill, that farm was my young mistress's. Her papa give it to her, just like he give me to her when I was little, and after she married Mr. Oliver Boone and lived there the farm always went by the name of 'Boone Hill.' The house is right on top of a hill, you know, it shure was a pretty place when Miss Georgia lived there, with great big Magnolia trees in the front yard. I belonged to Miss Georgia, my young mistress, and when the niggers were freed my mamma staid on with her. She was right there when both of his chillun were born, Mr. John Boone and Miss Mary, too. I nursed both of them chillun. You know who Miss Mary is now, don't you? Yes'um, she's Mr. Lester Black's wife and he's good, too.
"I was de oney child my mother had till twelve years after the surrender. You see, my papa went off with Yankees and didn't come back till twelve years after we was free, and then I had some brothers and sisters. Exactly nine months from the day my daddy come home, I had a baby brother born. My mother said she knew my daddy had been married or took up with some other woman, but she hadn't got a divorce and still counted him her husband. They lived for a long time with our white folks, for they were good to us, but you know after the boys and girls got grown and began to marry and live in different places, my parents wanted to be with them and left the white folks.
"No mam, I didn't see any fighting, but we could hear the big guns booming away off in the distance. I was married when I was 21 to Henry Miller and lived with him 51 years and ten months; he died from old age and hard work. We had two chillun, both girls. One of them lives here with me in that other room. Mamma said the Yankees told the Negroes when they got em freed they'd give em a mule and a farm or maybe a part of the plantation they'd been working on for their white folks. She thought they just told em that to make them dissatisfied and to get more of them 'to join up with em' and they were dressed in pretty blue clothes and had nice horses and that made lots of the Negro men go with them. None of em ever got anything but what their white folks give em, and just lots and lots of em never come back after the war cause the Yankees put them in front where the shooting was and they was killed. My husband Henry Miller died four years ago. He followed public work and made plenty of money but he had lots of friends and his money went easy too. I don't spect I'll live long for this hurtin' in my head is awful bad sometime."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives