The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: James Morgan 819 Rice Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 65
"During the slave time, the pateroles used to go from one plantation to the other hunting Negroes. They would catch them at the door and throw hot ashes in their faces. You could go to another plantation and steal or do anything you wanted if you could manage to get back to your old master's place. But if you got caught away from your plantation, they would get you. Sometimes a nigger didn't want to get caught and beat, so he would throw a shovel of hot ashes in the pateroles' faces and beat it away.
"My daddy used to tell lots of stories about slavery times. He's been dead forty-three years and my mother has been dead forty-one years-forty-one years this May. I was quite young and lots of the things they told me, I remember, and some of them, I don't.
"I was born in 1873. That was eight years after the War ended. My father's name was Aaron and my mother's name was Rosa. Both of them was in slavery. [TR: sentence lined out.] I got a brother that was a baby in her lap when the Yankee soldiers got after a chicken. The chicken flew up in her lap and they never got that one. The white folks lost it, but the Yankees didn't get it. I have heard my mother tell all sorts of things. But they just come to me at times. The soldiers would take chickens or anything they could get their hands on-those soldiers would.
"My mother married the first time in slavery. Her first husband was sold in slavery. That is the onliest brother I'm got living now out of ten-that one that was settin' in her lap when the soldiers come through. He's in Boydell, Arkansas now. It used to be called Morrell. It is about one hundred twenty-one miles from here, because Dermott is one hundred nine and Boydell is about twelve miles further on. It's in Nashville[HW:?] County. My brother was a great big old baby in slavery times. He was my mother's child by her first husband. All the rest of them is dead and he is the onliest one that is living.
"I was a section foreman for the Missouri Pacific for twenty-two years. I worked there altogether for thirty-five years, but I was section foreman for twenty-two years. There's my card. Lots of men stayed on the job till it wore them out. Lewis Holmes did that. It would take him two hours to walk from here to his home-if he ever managed it at all.
"It's warm today and it will bring a lot of flies. Flies don't die in the winter. Lots of folks think they do. They go up in cracks and little places like that under the weatherboard there-any place where it is warm-and there they huddle up and stay till it gets warm. Then they come out and get something to eat and go back again when it cools off. They live right on through the winter in their hiding places.
"Both of my parents said they always did their work whatever the task might be. And my daddy said he never got no whipping at all. You know they would put a task on you and if you didn't do it, you would get a whipping. My daddy wouldn't stand to be whipped by a paterole, and he didn't have to be whipped by nobody else, because he always did his work.
"He was one of the ones that the pateroles couldn't catch. When the pateroles would be trying to break in some place where he was, and the other niggers would be standing 'round frightened to death and wonderin' what to do, he would be gettin' up a shovelful of ashes. When the door would be opened and they would be rushin' in, he would scatter the ashes in their faces and rush out. If he couldn't find no ashes, he would always have a handful of pepper with him, and he would throw that in their faces and beat it.
"He would fool dogs that my too. My daddy never did run away. He said he didn't have no need to run away. They treated him all right. He did his work. He would get through with everything and sometimes he would be home before six o'clock. My mother said that lots of times she would pick cotton and give it to the others that couldn't keep up so that they wouldn't be punished. She had a brother they used to whip all the time because he didn't keep up.
"My father told me that his old master told him he was free. He stayed with his master till he retired and sold the place. He worked on shares with him. His old master sold the place and went to Monticello and died. He stayed with him about fifteen or sixteen years after he was freed, stayed on that place till the Government donated him one hundred sixty acres and charged him only a dollar and sixty cents for it. He built a house on it and cleared it up. That's what my daddy did. Some folks don't believe me when I tell 'em the Government gave him a hundred and sixty acres of land and charged him only a dollar and sixty cents for it-a penny a acre.
"I am retired now. Been retired since 1938. The Government took over the railroad pension and it pays me now. That is under the Security Act. Each and every man on the railroad pays in to the Government.
"I have been married right around thirty-nine years.
"I was born in Chicot County, Arkansas.[TR: sentence lined out.] My father was born in Georgia and brought here by his master. He come here in a old covered ox wagon. I don't know how they happened to decide to come here. My mother was born in South Carolina. She met my father here in Arkansas. They sold her husband and she was brought here. After peace was declared she met my daddy. Her first husband was sold in South Carolina and she never did know that became of him. They put him up on the block and sold him and she never did know which way he went. He left her with two boys right then. She had a sister that stayed in South Carolina. Somebody bought her there and kept her and somebody bought my mother and brought her here. My father's master was named McDermott. My mother's last master was named Belcher or something like that.
"I don't belong to any church. I have always lived decent and kept out of trouble."
When Morgan said "there is my record", he showed me a pass for the year 1938-39 for himself and his wife between all stations on the Missouri Pacific lines signed by L.W. Baldwin, Chief Executive Officer.
He is a good man even if he is not a Christian as to church membership.
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives