The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Jake Walker, Wheatley, Arkansas Age: 68
"I was born seven or eight miles from Hernando, Mississippi. My pa was a slave over twenty years. He belong to Master Will Walker, and his white mistress was Ann. They brought him from 'round Athens, Georgia. He was heired through his master. His own mother died at his birth and he was the son of a peddler through the country. He was a furriner but pa never could tell. His young master never told him. His ma was the nurse about the place. The peddler was a white man of some kind. He kept coming about selling goods. The dogs made a bad racket. They never bought nothing much. Old master suspicioned him trying to get away with something about the place. He come right out and accused him to being up to something. He denied it. He told the peddler not to come back. He never. After it was over she told her mistress. He wanted her to go on off with him. That made them mad. But he never was seen about there.
"When Will Walker got married he wanted my pa and he was give to him, a horse and buggy, two mules, a lamb, and five young cows. He had some money and he come to Mississippi. I reckon he did buy some land. He got to be a slave owner before freedom. Pa said he drove the horse to the buggy and his master rode a mule, led a mule and brought his cows, and they kept the lamb in the buggy with them nearly all the way.
"I think they was good to him. His young mistress cried so much they all went back once before freedom. They went on Christmas time. Only time he ever was drunk. He got down and nearly froze to death. The white folks heard he was somewhere down. They went and got him one Sunday morning in a two-horse wagon. He was nearly dead. That was his first and last spree.
"Pa said he nursed three of his young mistress' babies, Alfred, Tom, and Kenneth.
"After freedom pa went to Texas with Alfred Walker. He owned a ranch out on the desert and raised Texas ponies and big horn cows. They sent a carload of young cattle to St. Louis and pa stopped back in Mississippi and married ma. She was a Walker too, Libbie Walker. There was fourteen of us children. They nearly all went to Louisiana to work in the timber. I come to Clarendon. I been married three times. My last wife left me and took my onliest child. Only child I ever had. They was at Hot Springs last account I had of them. She was cooking for a woman over there. My girl is up 'bout grown now. She come to Clarendon to see me three years ago. I sent for her but she wouldn't stay. She writes to me, but I have to get somebody to write for me and somebody to read her letters. I can read print real good. I never went to school a day in my whole life. We had to work early and late when I come up.
"I farmed, sawmilled, worked in the timber. I do public work, haul wood, cut wood, and work in the field by day labor.
"I votes a Republican ticket. I haven't voted since Mr. Taft run. I don't have no way to keep up with elections now. Folks used to talk more, now they keeps quiet.
"I never heard pa say how he come to know about freedom. Ma said she was refugeed to Texas and when they brung them back, Master Will Walker met them at the creek on his place and he said, 'You all are free now. You can go on my place or hunt other places.' They went on his place and they lived there a long time. I don't remember ever living on that place. Pa wasn't there then. I don't know where be could been. Ma and pa was both Walkers but no blood kin. Ma didn't talk much about old times. She was sold once, she said. Bass Kelly bought her. I don't know if Will Walker traded for her. She never did say. Bass Kelly was mean to her. He beat her and one time she hid and kept hid till she nearly starved, she said. She hid in the corn crib. It was a log house. She didn't enjoy slavery. Pa had a very good time, better than us boys had it when we come up. He worked and kept us with him. He and ma died the same week. They had pneumonia in Mississippi.
"I got one sister. She lives close to Shreveport. She keeps up with us all. I go down there every now and then. She's not stove up like I am. She wants me to stay with her all the time. I gets work down there easier but I have the rheumatism bad down there.
"I don't know what will become of young folks. I wish I had their chance. They can't wait for nothing. They in too big a hurry for the crop to grow. Busy living by the day. When the year gone they ain't no better off. Times is good in places. Hard in places. Times better in Louisiana than up here. Work easier to get. Folks got more living.
"I'm chopping cotton on Mr. Hill's place. I gets ninety cents a day. I can't get over the ground fast."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives