The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Victoria Sims, Helena, Arkansas Age: 76
"I was born in Limestone County, Alabama. It was on a river. Where I was born they called it Elks Mouth. Our owners was Frank Martin and Liza Martin. They raised papa. Their daughter aired (heired) him. Her name was Miss (Mrs.) Betty Hansey. Papa's name was Ed Martin. I stood on a stool and churned for papa's young mistress. The churn was tall as I was. I loved milk so good and they had plenty of it-all kinds. Soon as ever I get through, they take up the butter. I'd set 'round till they got it worked up so I could get a piece of bread and fresh butter and a big cup of that fresh milk. They always fixed it for me.
"Mama was Minthy Martin. She cooked on another place. She was a nurse. Her papa belong to one person and her mother to somebody else. Mama was Minthy Bridgeforth but I don't have her owner's name. I guess she was sold. I heard her say the Bridgeforth's was good to her. Some white man whooped on her once. I never heard her say much about it. Papa's owners was good to him. They was crazy about him. I knowed papa's owners the best and I lived there heap the most. I was born a slave but I don't know who I belong to. I've studied that over myself. I used to go back to see papa's owners. They owned lots of slaves and lots of land. Papa done a lot of different things. He fed and farmed and cleaned off the yards and slopped the pigs. He done what they said do, well as I can recollect. I wasn't with mama till after freedom. Mama said her white folks was treated mighty mean during the War. Once the soldiers come and mama was so scared she took the baby and run got in the cellar. They throwed out everything they had to eat. They took off barrels of things to eat and left them on starvation. One soldier come one time and wanted mama to go to the camps. She was scared not to go, scared he'd shoot her down. She told him she'd go the next day soon as she could get up her things and tell her folks she had gone. He agreed to that. Soon as he left she and some other young women on the place put out to the cane brakes and caves. She said they nearly starved. The white folks sent them baskets of victuals several times. Mama said she had some pretty beads she wore. Somebody had made her a present of them. She loved 'em. I think she said they was red. Mama's mistress told her to hide her beads, the soldiers would take them. She hid them up in the loft of their house on a nail. One day a gang come scouting and they rummaged the whole house and place. When the soldiers left she thought about her beads and went to see and they was gone. She cried and cried about them. That was before she went to the canebrakes.
"When freedom come on, the owners told them they was free. They didn't leave and then they made a way for them to stay on. They stayed on.
"I was grown when we come to this state but we lived in Tennessee a few years. Mama had had nine children by that time. All was dead, but us two girls and my brother. We come to Arkansas with our parents. We heard the land was new and rich. I wasn't married then.
"I've worked hard in the field all my life till last year or so. I still do work.
"Times is tough here I tell you. I get a little help, six dollars.
"Some of the young folks won't work, some not able to work. If anybody saving a thing I don't hear about it."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives