Pittman, Ella (2nd interview)
The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Ella Pittman 2417 W. Eleventh Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 84 [TR: Appears to be same as last informant despite different address.]
"Here's one that lived then. I can remember fore the Civil War started. That was in the State of North Carolina where I was bred and born in March 1853. Mac Williams, he was my first owner and John Strickland was my last owner. That was durin' of the war. My white folks told me I was thirteen when peace was declared. They told me in April if I make no mistake. That was in North Carolina. I grewed up there and found my childun there. That is-seven of them. And then I found two since I been down in here. I been in Arkansas about forty years.
"When the war come I heard em say they was after freein' the people.
"My mother worked in the field and old mistress kep' me in the house. She married a widow-man and he had four childun and then she had one so there was plenty for me to do. Yes ma'm!
"I ain't never been to school a day in my life. They didn't try to send me after freedom. I had a very, very bad, cruel stepfather and he sent all his childun to school but wouldn't send me. I stayed there till I was grown. I sho did. Then I married. Been married just once. Never had but that one man in my life. He was a very good man, too. Cose he was a poor man but he was good to me.
"Yes ma'm, I sho did see the Ku Klux and the paddyrollers, too. They done em bad I tell you.
"I know they was a white man they called Old Man Ford. He dug a pit just like a barbecue pit, and he would burn coals just like you was goin' to barbecue. Then he put sticks across the top and when any of his niggers didn't do right, he laid em across that pit. I member they called it Old Ford's Hell.
"I had a bad time fore freedom and a bad time after freedom till after I married. I'm doin' tollably well now. I lives with my son and his wife and she treats me very well. I can't live alone cause I'se subject to inagestin' and I takes sick right sudden.
"I'm just as thankful as I can be that I'm gettin' along as well as I is.
"I stayed in the North in Detroit one year. I liked it very well. I liked the white people very well. They was so sociable. My son lives there and works for Henry Ford. My oldest son stays in Indiana.
"It was so cold I come back down here. I'se gettin' old and I needs to be warm. Good-bye."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives