The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Thomas Elmore Lucy Person interviewed: Henry Russell, Russellville, Arkansas Age: 72
"My father's name was Ed Russell, and he was owned by Dr. Tom Russell, de first pioneer settler of Russellville-de' man de town got its name from.
"My name is Henry, and some folks call me 'Bud.' I was born at Old Dwight de 28th of October, 1866. Yes suh, dat date is correct.
"I was too young to remember much about happenings soon after de War, but I kin ricollect my father belongin' to de militia for awhile during de Reconstruction days. Both Negroes and whites were members of de militia.
"My folks come here from Alabama, but I don't know much about them except dat my grandmother, Charlotte Edwards, give me an old wash pot dat has been in de family over one hundred years. Yes suh, it's out here in de ya'd now. Also, I owns an old ax handle dat I keep down at de store jist for a relic of old days. It's about a hundred years old, too.
"My wife was Sallie Johnson of Little Rock, and she was a sister of Mrs. Charley Mays, de barber you used to know, who was here sich a long time.
"For a long time I worked at different kinds of odd jobs, sometimes in de coal mines and sometimes on de farms, but for several years I've run a little store for de colored folks here in Russellville. Ain't able to do very much now.
"I remember very well de first train dat was ever run into Russellville. Must have been 68 or 69 years ago. A big crowd of people was here from all over de country. Of course dere was only a few families living in de town, and only one or two families of colored folks. People come in from everywhere, and it was a great sign. Little old train was no bigger dan de Dardanelle & Russellville train. (You remember de little old train dey used to call de 'Dinkey' don't you?) Well, it wasn't no bigger dan de Dinkey, and it didn't run into de depot at all, stopped down where de dump is now. Sure was a sight. Lot of de folks was afraid and wouldn't go near it, started to run when two men got off. I saw only two man working in front of it, but I remember it very plain. Dey was working with wheelbarrows and shovels to clear up de track ahead.
"Another thing I remember as a boy was de 'sassination of President Gyarfield. I can't read or write but very little, but I remember about dat. It was a dull, foggy mornin', and I was crossin' de bayou with Big Bob Smith. (You remember 'Big Bob' dat used to have the merry-go-'round and made all de county fairs.) Well, he told me all about de killing of de President. It was about 1881 wasn't it?
"I think times was better in de old days because people was better. Had a heap more honor in de old days dan dey have now. Not many young folks today have much character.
"All right. Come back again. Whenever I kin help you out any way, I'll be glad to."
NOTE: Henry Russell is quite proud of the fact that his ancestors were the first families of Russellville. He is a polite mulatto, uneducated, and just enough brogue to lend the Southern flavor to his speech, but is a fluent conversationalist.
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives