The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
STATE- Arkansas NAME OF WORKER- Bernice Bowden ADDRESS- 1006 Oak Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas DATE- November 4, 1938 SUBJECT- Ex-slaves [TR: Repetitive information deleted from subsequent pages.]
Circumstances of Interview
1. Name and address of informant-Sarah Sexton, Route 4, Box 685, Pine Bluff
2. Date and time of interview-November 3, 1958, 10:00 a.m.
3. Place of interview-Route 4, Box 685, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
4. Name and address of person, if any, who put you in touch with informant-Georgia Caldwell, Route 6, Box 128, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
5. Name and address of person, if any, accompanying you-None.
6. Description of room, house, surroundings, etc.-Frame house, front porch with two swings. Fence around yard. Chinaberry tree and Tree of Paradise, Coxcomb in yard. Southeast of Norton-Wheeler Stave Mill just off Highway 65.
Text of Interview
"Prewitt Tiller bought my mother and I belonged to young master. In slavery I was a good-sized-young girl, mama said. Big enough to put the table cloths on the best I could. After freedom I did all the cookin' and milkin' and washin'.
"Now listen, this young master was Prewitt's son.
"Grandpa's name was Ned Peeples and grandma was Sally Peeples. My mother was Dorcas. Well, my papa, I ain't never seed him but his name was Josh Allen. You see, they just sold 'em around. That's what I'm talkin' about-they went by the name of their owners.
"I'm seventy-eight or seventy-nine or eighty. That's what the insurance man got me up.
"I been in a car wreck and I had high blood pressure and a stroke all at once. And that wreck, the doctor said it cracked my skull. Till now, I ain't got no remembrance.
"You know how long I went to school? Three days. No ma'm I had to work, darlin'.
"I was born down here on Saline River at Selma. I done forgot what month."
"What kinda work have I done? Oh, honey, I done farmed myself to death, darlin'. You know Buck Couch down here at Noble Lake? Well, I hoped pick out eight bales of cotton for him.
"I wish I had the dollars I had workin' for R.A. Pickens down here at Walnut Lake. Yes, honey, I farmed for him bout fifteen or twenty years steady.
"And he sure was nice and he was mischievous. He called all of us his chillun. He use to say, 'Now you must mind your papa!' And we'd say 'Now Mr. Pickens, you know you ain't got no nigger chillun'. He use to say to me 'Sallie, you is a good woman but you ain't got no sense'. Them was fine white folks.
"Honey, these white folks round here what knows me, knows they ain't a lazy bone in my body.
"I'se cooked and washed and ironed and I'se housecleaned. Yes'm, I certainly was a good cook.
"I belongs to the Palestine Baptist Church. Yes ma'm. I don't know what I'd do if twasn't for the good Master. I talks to Him all the time.
"I goes to this here government school. A man teaches it. I don't know what his name is, we just calls him Professor.
"Well, chile, I'll tell you the truf. These young folks is done gone. And some o' these white headed women goes up here truckin'. It's a sin and a shame. I don't know what's gwine come of 'em."
This woman lives with her daughter Angelina Moore who owns her home.
Mother and daughter both attend government school. Both were neatly dressed. The day was warm so we sat on the front porch during the interview.
Personal History of Informant
1. Ancestry-Grandfather, Ned Peeples; grandmother, Sally Peeples; Mother, Dorcas Peeples; Father, Josh Allen.
2. Place and date of birth-On Saline River, Selma, Arkansas. No date.
3. Family-Two daughters and granddaughter.
4. Places lived in, with dates-Desha County, Walnut Lake, Noble Lake, (Arkansas) Poplar Bluff, Missouri. No dates.
5. Education, with dates-Three days, "after freedom". Attends government school now.
6. Occupations and accomplishments, with dates-Farmwork, cooking, laundry work until 1936.
7. Special skills and interests-Cooking.
8. Community and religious activities-Member of Palestine Baptist Church.
9. Description of informant-Medium height, plump, light complexion and gray hair.
10. Other points gained in interview-Injured in auto wreck seven years ago.
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives