The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor Person interviewed: Omelia Thomas 519 W. Ninth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas Age: About 70 Occupation: Making cotton and corn
"I was born in Louisiana-in Vidalia. My mother's name was Emma Grant. My father's name was George Grant. My mother's name before she married was Emma Woodbridge. I don't know the names of my grand folks. I heard my mother say that my grandmother was named Matilda Woodbridge. I never got to see her. That is what I heard my mother say.
"I don't know the names of my mother's master, and I don't know the names of my father's white folks.
"My father was George Grant. He served in the War. I think they said that he was with them when Vicksburg surrendered. My father has said that he was really named George LaGrande. But after he enlisted in the War, he went by the name of George Grant. There was one of the officers by that name, and he took it too. He was shot in the hip during the War. When he died, he still was having trouble with that wound. He was on the Union side. He was fighting for our freedom. He wasn't no Reb. He'd tell us a many a day, 'I am part of the cause that you are free.' I don't know where he was when he enlisted. He said he was sold out from Louisville-him and his brother.
"I never did hear him say that he was whipped or treated bad when he was a slave. I've heard him tell how he had to stand up on dead people to shoot when he was in the War.
"My brother started twice to get my father's pension, but he never was able to do anything about it. They made away with the papers somehow and we never did get nothin'. My father married a second time before he died. When he died, my stepmother tried to get the pension. They writ back and asked her if he had any kin, and she answered them and said no. She hid the papers and wouldn't let us have 'em-took and locked 'em up somewheres where we couldn't find 'em. She was so mean that if she couldn't get no pension, she didn't want nobody else to get none.
"I don't know just when I was born, nor how old I am. When I come to remember anything, I was free. But I don't know how old I am, nor when it was.
"I heard my father speak of pateroles. Just said that they'd ketch you. He used to scare us by telling us that the pateroles would ketch us. We thought that was something dreadful.
"I never heard nothin' about jayhawkers. I heard something about Ku Klux but I don't know what it was.
"My father married my mother just after the War.
"I been married twice. My first husband got killed on the levee. And the second is down in the country somewheres. We are separated.
"I don't get no help from the Welfare, wish I did. I ain't had no money to get to the doctor with my eyes."
The old lady sat with her eyes nearly closed while I questioned her and listened to her story. Those eyes ran and looked as though they needed attention badly. The interview was conducted entirely on the porch as that of Annie Parks. Traffic interrupted; friends interrupted; and a daughter interrupted from time to time. But this daughter, while a little suspicious, was in no degree hostile. The two of them referred me to J.T. Tims, who, they said, knew a lot about slavery. His story is given along with this one.
I got the impression that the old lady was born before the War, but I accepted her statement and put her down as born since the War and guessed her age as near seventy. She was evidently quite reserved about some details. Her father's marriage to her mother after the War would not necessarily mean that he was not married to her slave fashion before the War. She didn't care so much about giving any story, but she was polite and obliging after she had satisfied herself as to my identity and work.
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives