The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Gip Minton, Des Arc, Arkansas Age: 84
"I was born at Jackson, Alabama on the Tennessee River. It was sho a putty river. I never did know my grandfolks. I think my father was a soldier. My master was a soldier, I think. He was in de war. I do remember the Civil War. I remember the last battle at Scottsboro. There was several but one big battle and they got to Belfontain. That is where it seemed they were trying to go. I don't recollect who won the battle. I heard them fighting and saw the smoke and after they went on saw the bodies dead and all that was left was like a cyclone had swept by. There was a big regiment stationed at Scottsboro. It was just like any war fought with guns and they lived in tents. They took everything they could find. Looked like starvation was upon de land.
"I had two sisters and one brother and my mother died when I was a baby. I come out here to Arkansas with my mothers old master and mistress and never did see nor hear of none of them. No I never did hear from none of them. I come out here when I was ten or twelve years old. It was, it was right after the war. I recken I was freed, but I was raised by white folks and I stayed right on wid em. Dat freedom ain't never bothered me.
"My master and mistress names was Master Alfred Minton. Dey call me Gip for him. Gip Minton is what they always called me. My mistress was Miss Annie Minton. I stayed right wid em. They raised me and I come on here wid em. I don't know nothin about that freedom.
"I recken they was good to me. I et in de kitchen when they got through or on a table out in de back yard sometimes. I slept in an outhouse they fixed up mostly, when I got up big.
"We come on the train to Memphis and they come on thater way to Lonoke whar we settled. Don Shirley was the man I come on horseback with from Memphis to Lonoke. He was a man what dealt in horses. Sure he was a white man. He's where we got some horses. I don't remember if he lived at Lonoke or not.
"I have voted, yes ma'am, a heap of times. I don't remember what kind er ticket I votes. I'm a Democrat, I think so. I ain't voted fur sometime now. I don't know if I'll vote any more times or not. I don't know what is right bout votin and what ain't right.
"When I was a boy I helped farm. We had what we made. I guess it was plenty. I had more to eat and I didn't have as many changes of clothes as folks has to have nowdays bout all de difference. They raised lots more. They bought things to do a year and didn't be allus goin to town. It was hard to come to town. Yes mam it did take a long time, sometimes in a ox wagon. The oxen pulled more over muddy roads. Took three days to come to town and git back. I farmed one-half-for-the-other and on shear crop. Well one bout good as the other. Bout all anybody can make farmin is plenty to eat and a little to wear long time ago and nows the same way. The most I reckon I ever did make was on Surrounded Hill (Biscoe) when I farmed one-half-fur-de-udder for Sheriff Reinhardt. The ground was new and rich and the seasons hit just fine. No maam I never owned no farm, no livestock, no home. The only thing I owned was a horse one time. I worked 16 or 17 years for Mr. Brown and for Mr. Plunkett and Son. I drayed all de time fur em. Hauled freight up from the old depot (wharf) down on the river. Long time fore a railroad was thought of. I helped load cotton and hides on the boats. We loaded all day and all night too heap o'nights. We worked till we got through and let em take the ship on.
"The times is critical for old folks, wages low and everything is so high. The young folks got heap better educations but seems like they can't use it. They don't know how to any avantage. I know they don't have as good chances at farmin as de older folks had. I don't know why it is. My son works up at the lumber yard. Yes he owns this house. That's all he owns. He make nough to get by on, I recken. He works hard, yes maam. He helps me if he can. I get $4 a month janitor at the Farmers and Merchants Bank (Des Arc). I works a little garden and cleans off yards. No maam it hurts my rheumatism to run the yard mower. I works when I sho can't hardly go. Nothin matter cept I'm bout wo out. I plied for the old folks penshun but I ain't got nuthin yet. I signed up at the bank fur it agin not long ago. I has been allus self sportin. Didn't pend on no livin soul but myself."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives