Patten, Carry A.
The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Carry Allen Patton Forrest City, Arkansas Age: 71
"I was born in Shelby County, Tennessee. My parents was Tillie Watts and Pierce Allen. He come from Louisiana reckly (directly) after the surrender. My mother come from Virginia. She was sold in Virginia and brought to middle Tennessee close to Murfreesboro and then brought to Memphis and sold. She was dark and my father was too. They was living close to Wilmar, Arkansas when the yellow fever was so bad. I don't remember it. Heard them talk about it.
"I heard my mother say how Mr. Jake Watts saved his money from the Yankees. They had a great big rock flat on both sides. They put on the joints of big meat to weight it down when they salted it down in a barrel. They didn't unjoint the meat and in the joint is where it started to spoil. Well, he put his silver and gold in a pot. It was a big round pot and was smaller around the top. He dug a hole after midnight. He and his two boys James and Dock put the money in this hole in the back yard. They covered the pot with the big flat rock and put dirt on that and next morning they planted a good big cedar tree over the rock, money and all.
"Old Master Jake died during the War and their house was burned but James lived in one of the cabins in the yard. Dock went to the War. My mother said when they left, that tree was standing.
"My mother run off. She thought she would go cook for the men in the camps but before she got to the camps a wagon overtook her and they stole her. They brought her to Memphis and sold her on a block. They guarded her. She never did know who they was nor what become of them. They kept her in the wagon on the outskirts of the city nearly a month. One man always stayed to watch her. She was scared to death of both of them. One of the men kept a jug of whiskey in the wagon and drunk it but he never would get dead drunk so she could slip off.
"Mr. Johnson bought her and when the surrender come on, Master Johnson took his family and went to Texas. She begged him to take her to nurse but he said if it wasn't freedom he would send her back to Master James Watts and he would let her go back then. He give her some money but she never went back. She was afraid to start walking and before her money give clear out she met up with my father and he talked her out of going back.
"She had a baby pretty soon. It was by them men that stole her. He was light. He died when he got nearly grown. I recollect him good. I was born close to Memphis, the boy died of dysentery.
"When my mother was sold in Virginia she was carried in a wagon to the block and thought she was going to market. She never seen her folks no more. They let them go along to market sometimes and set in the wagon. She had a little pair of gloves she wore when she was sold her grandma had knit for her. They was white, had half thumb and no fingers. When she died I put them in her coffin. She had twins born dead besides me. They was born close to Wilmar, Arkansas.
"We farmed all my life in Arkansas and Mississippi. I married in Mississippi and we come back here before Joe died. I live out here and in Memphis. My son is a janitor at the Sellers Brothers Store in Memphis. My daughter cooks about here in town and I keep her children. I rather farm if I was able.
"I think young folks, both colors, shuns work. Times is running away with itself. Folks is living too fast. They ride too fast and drinks and do all kinds of meanness.
"My father was a mighty poor hand at talking. He said he was sold in a gang shipped to Memphis from New Orleans. Master Allen bought him. He was a boy. I don't know how big. He cleaned fish-scaled them. He butchered and in a few months Mr. Allen set him free. It was surrender when he was sold but Mr. Allen didn't know it or else he meant to keep him on a few years. When he got loose he started farming and farmed till he died. He farmed in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. He owned a place but a drouth come along. He got in debt and white folks took it.
"I married in Mississippi. My husband immigrated from South Carolina. He was Joe Patton. I washed and ironed and farmed. I rather farm now if I was able.
"I never got no gov'ment help. I ain't posing it. It is a fine thing. I was in Tennessee when it come on. They said I'd have to stay here six months. I never do stay."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives