Snow, Charlie & Maggie
The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Persons interviewed: Maggie Snow and Charlie Snow R.F.D., Brinkley, Arkansas Ages: 69 and 75
"My parents' names was Mary and Henderson Kurkendall. They had seven children. Mama died when I was three years old. Papa was a Yankee soldier.
"They belong to the same white folks, Moster Jake and Peggy Kurkendall. They had a big farm.
"My papa told me that one morning they woke up and looked out over the field. The Yankees had pitched their camps far as you could see on Moster Jake's farm. They come up to his house. Moster Jake had a big house and a big family. The Yankees come up there and throwed out all they had and told the slaves to take it. No, they didn't; they was scared to take it and it belong to them. They didn't want it all wasted like they was doing. Papa said they rode their horses up to the house. They took all the soldiers on the place to the camp. They was scared not to go.
"Papa left mama at the old home place and Moster Jake let them work all they could. Papa stayed in the war till after the battle at Vicksburg. Then he come home. They stayed awhile at Moster Jake's and worked. He got his knee hurt and his health ruined. He never was no count after he got back home. Mama could pick six hundred pounds of cotton a day he said. They worked from daybreak till pitch dark in them days.
"Little Jake Kurkendall is living now Enoch or Harrison Station, Mississippi. He is older than I am. He got a family. But he is all the son old Moster Jake had that I know living now.
"Papa said the Yankees made all the slaves fight they could run across. Some kept hid in the woods. Seem like from way he told bout it they wanted freedom but they didn't want to go to war.
"When we heard bout Arkansas being so rich and a new country, we wanted to come. Some white and some colored come. We come to Aubrey, Arkansas. We got six living, five dead children. I been here fourteen years (at Brinkley). I hired out to cook in Mississippi but I wash and iron and work in the field till I bout wore out. My husband in a terrible condition. He picked some cotton. He got rheumatism in his legs.
"We own a little home bout a mile from town and a pig. I wish I could get a cow. I ain't got the money to buy one. Jess can't get one no way. We had a fine garden. Two of us get $10 and commodities. Times so far this year been good. When it gets cold times may be hard. Times better this year than last or it been for a long time.
"I didn't know I could vote. Guess my husband done my part of the voting."
"I am seventy-three years old. There was two boys and two girls of us. My aunts and uncles raised me. My mother died when I was little and fore that my papa went to the army and never come home. They said he got killed or died-they didn't know. My parents belong to Berry Bruce. He had a family I heard em say. He lived at Louisville, Mississippi.
"I recollect the Ku Klux. I heard em talk a whole lot about em. One time they rode round our house and through the hall of our house. Yes ma'am, it scared us so bad it most paralyzed us all. They went on. We didn't know what they wanted. We never did find out.
"I don't vote. I never voted in my life. I don't recken I ever will. I have been a hard worker all my life. I farmed. I loaded and unloaded on a steamboat with my family farmin' in the country. The boat I run on went from Memphis to New Orleans.
"My family farmed at Batesville in the country out from there. For a long time I made staves with the Sweeds. They was good workers. We would make 1,000, then load the barge and send or take them to Vicksburg. I got my board and $1 a day.
"The present conditions for the cotton farmer has been better this year than last. When it gets cold and no work, makes it hard on old men. I got no job in view for the winter.
"I would like to have a cow if I could raise the money to get one. I been tryin' to figure out how to get us a cow to help out. I can't make it.
"I suffer all the time. I can't sit still, I can't sleep I suffer so wid rheumatism. Nobody knows how I do suffer. My general health is fine.
"This President has sure been merciful to the poor and aged. Surely he will be greatly rewarded hereafter."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives