White, Julia A. (2nd interview)
The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
STATE-Arkansas NAME OF WORKER-Samuel S. Taylor ADDRESS-Little Rock, Arkansas DATE-December, 1938 SUBJECT-Ex-slave [TR: Another interview with J. White, by a different interviewer.] [TR: Repetitive information deleted from subsequent pages.]
Circumstances of Interview
1. Name and address of informant-Julia White, 3003 Cross Street, Little Rock.
2. Date and time of interview-
3. Place of interview-3003 Cross Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
4. Name and address of person, if any, who put you in touch with informant-
5. Name and address of person, if any, accompanying you-
6. Description of room, house, surroundings, etc.-
Personal History of informant
2. Place and date of birth-Little Rock, Arkansas, 1858
3. Family-Two children
4. Places lived in, with dates-Little Rock all her life.
5. Education, with dates-
6. Occupations and accomplishments, with dates-
7. Special skills and interests-
8. Community and religious activities-
9. Description of informant-
10. Other points gained in interview-She tells of accomplishments made by the Negro race.
Text of Interview (Unedited)
"I was born right here in Little Rock, Arkansas, eighty years ago on the corner of Fifth and Broadway. It was in a little log house. That used to be out in the woods. At least, that is where they told me I was born. I was there but I don't remember it. The first place I remember was a house on Third and Cumberland, the southwest corner. That was before the war.
"We were living there when peace was declared. You know, my father hired my mother's time from James Moore. He used to belong to Dick Galloway. I don't know how that was. But I know he put my mother in that house on Third and Cumberland while she was still a slave. And we smaller children stayed in the house with mother, and the larger children worked on James Moore's plantation.
"My father was at that time, I guess, you would call it, a porter at McAlmont's drug store. He was a slave at that time but he worked there. He was working there the day this place was taken. I'll never forget that. It was on September 10th. We were going across Third Street, and there was a Union woman told mamma to bring us over there, because the soldiers were about to attack the town and they were going to have a battle.
"I had on a pair of these brogans with brass plates on them, and they were flapping open and I tripped up just as the rebel soldiers were running by. One of them said, "There's a like yeller nigger, les take her." Mrs. Farmer, the Union woman ran out and said, "No you won't; that's my nigger." And she took us in her house. And we stayed there while there was danger. Then my father came back from the drug store, she said she didn't see how he kept from being killed.
"At that time, there were about four houses to the block. On the place where we lived there was the big house, with many rooms, and then there was the barn and a lot of other buildings. My father rented that place and turned the outbuildings into little houses and allowed the freed slaves to live in them till they could find another place.
"My husband was an orphan child, and the people he was living with were George Phelps and Ann Phelps. They were freed slaves. That was after the war. They came here and had this little boy with them, that is how I come to meet that gentlemen over there and get acquainted with him. When they moved away from there Phelps was caretaker of the Oakland Cemetery. We married on the twenty-seventh day of March, 1879. I still have the marriage license. I married twice; my first husband was George W. Glenn and my maiden name was Jackson. I married the first time June 10, 1875. I had two children in my first marriage. Both of than are dead. Glenn died shortly after the birth of the last child, February 15, 1878.
"Mr. White is a mighty good man. He is put up with me all these years. And he took mighty good care of my children, them by my first husband as well as his own. When I was a little girl, he used to tell me that he wouldn't have me for a wife. After we were married, I used to say to him, 'You said you wouldn't have me, but I see you're mighty glad to get me.'
"I have the marriage license for my second marriage.
"There's quite a few of the old ones left. Have you seen Mrs. Gillam, and Mrs. Stephen, and Mrs. Weathers? Cora Weathers? Her name is Cora not Clora. She's about ninety years old. She's at least ninety years old. You say she says that she is seventy-four. That must be her insurance age. I guess she is seventy-four at that; she had to be seventy-four before she was ninety. When I was a girl, she was a grown woman. She was married when my husband went to school. That has been more than sixty years ago, because we've been married nearly sixty years. My sister Mary was ten years older than me, and Cora Weathers was right along with her. She knew my mother. When these people knew my mother they've been here, because she's been dead since '94 and she would have been 110 if she had lived.
"My mother used to feed the white prisoners-the Federal soldiers who were being held. They paid her and told her to keep the money because it was Union Money. You know at that time they were using Confederate money. My father kept it. He had a little box or chest of gold and silver money. Whenever he got any paper money, he would change it into gold or silver.
"Mother used to make these ginger cakes-they call 'em stage planks. My brother Jimmie would sell them. The men used to take pleasure in trying to cheat him. He was so clever they couldn't. They never did catch him napping.
"Somebody burnt our house; it was on a Sunday evening. They tried to say it caught from the chimney. We all like to uv burnt up.
"My father was a carpenter, whitewasher, anything. He was a common laborer. We didn't have contractors then like we do now. Mother worked out in service too. Jimmie was the oldest boy. He taught school too.
"My father set the first table that was ever set in the Anthony Hotel, he was the cause of the first stove being brought here to cook on.
"Some of the children of the people that raised my mother are still living. They are Beebes. Roswell Beebe was a little one. They had a colored man named Peter and he was teaching Roswell to ride and the pony ran away. Peter stepped out to stop him and Roswell said, 'Git out of the way Peter, and let Billie Button come'.
"I get some commodities from the welfare. But I don't get nothing like a pension. My husband worked at the Missouri Pacific shops for fifty-two years, and he don't git nothing neither. It was the Iron Mountain when he first went there on June 8, 1879. He was disabled in 1932 because of injuries received on the job in March, 1931. But they hurried him out of the hospital and never would give him anything. That Monday morning, they had had a loving cup given them for not having had accidents in the plant. And at three p.m., he was sent into the hospital. He had a fall that injured his head. They only kept him there for two days and two hours. He was hurt in the head. Dr. Elkins himself came after him and let him set around in the tool room. He stayed there till he couldn't do nothing at all.
"In 1881, he got his eye hurt on the job in the service of the Missouri Pacific. It was the Iron Mountain then. He was off about three or four months. They didn't pay his wages while he was off. They told him they would give him a lifetime job, but they didn't. His eye gave him trouble for the balance of his life. Sometimes it is worse than others. He had to go to the St. Louis Hospital quite often for about three or four years.
"When the house on Third and Cumberland was burnt, he rebuilded it, and the owners charged him such rent he had to move. He rebuilt it for five hundred dollars and was to get pay in rent. The owners jumped the rent up to twenty-five dollars a month. That way it soon took up the five hundred dollars. Then we moved to Eighth and Main. My brother Jimmie was in an accident there.
"He was pouring powder on a fire from an old powder horn and the flames jumped up in the horn and exploded and crippled his hand and burnt his face. Dr. Duel, a right young doctor, said he could cure them if father would pay him fifty dollars a piece. My sister was burnt at the same time as my brother. He had them make a thin dough, and put it over their faces and he cut pieces out for their eyes, and nose, and mouth. They left that dough on their faces and chest till the dough got hard and peeled off by itself. It left the white skin. Gradually the face got back to itself and took its right color again, so you couldn't tell they had ever been burnt. The only medicine the doctor gave them was Epsom salts. Fifty dollars for each child. I used that remedy on a school boy once and cured him, but I didn't charge him nothing.
"I have a program which was given in 1874. They don't give programs like that now. People wouldn't listen that long. We each of us had two and three, and some of us had six and seven parts to learn. We learnt them and recited them and came back the next night to give a Christmas Eve program. You can make a copy of it if you want.
"A.C. Richmond is Mrs. Childress' brother. Anna George is Bee Daniels' mother (Bee Daniels is Mrs. Anthony, a colored public school teacher here). Corinne Jordan is living on Gaines between Eighth and Ninth streets. She is about seventy-five years old now. She was about Mollie's age and I was about five years older than Molly. Mary Riley is C.C. Riley's sister. C.C. Riley is Haven Riley's father. C.C. is dead now. Haven Riley was a teacher, at Philander Smith, for a while. He's a stenographer now. August Jackson and J.W. Jackson are my brothers. W.O. Emory became one of our pastors at Wesley. John Bush, everybody's heard of him. He had the Mosaic temple and got a big fortune together before he died, but his children lost it all. Annie Richmond is Annie Childress, the wife of Professor E.C. Childress, the State Supervisor. Corinne Winfrey turned out to be John Bush's wife. Willie Lane married W.O. Emery. Scipio Jordan became the big man in the Tabernacle. H.H. Gilkey went to the post office. He married Lizzie Hull. She's living still too."
The marriage license which Mrs. White showed me, was issued March 27, 1879, by A.W. Worthen, County Clerk, per W.H.W. Booker to Julia Glen and J.R. White. It carries the name of Reverend W.H. Crawford who was the Pastor of Wesley Chapel Church at that time. The license was issued in Pulaski County.
GRAND ENTERTAINMENT AT WESLEY CHAPEL Wednesday Evening, Dec'r. 23, 1874
Address by the General Manager Mr. A.C. Richmond
Song--We Come Today By the School
Prayer Rev. William Henry Crawford
Declamation--My Mother's Bible Miss Annie George
Dialogue--Three Little Graves Miss M. Upshaw and Miss M.A. Scruggs
Dialogue--About Heaven Miss Julia Jackson and Miss Alice Richardson
Declamation--Mud Pie Miss Amelia Rose
Declamation--Ducklins and Miss Goren Jordan Ducklins
Dialogue--The Beggar Mr. H.H. Gilkey and Mr. W.A.M. Cypers
Declamation--Work While Master Albert Pryor You Work
Dialogue--The Miser Mr. C.C. Riley and Mr. Charles Hurtt, Jr.
Declamation--Pretty Pictures Miss Cally Sanders
Declamation--Into the Sunshine Miss Mollie Jackson
Song--Joy Bells By the School
Dialogue--Sharp Shooting Master Asa Richmond, Scipio Jordan, and Miss Laura A. Morgan
Declamation--What I Know Master Morton Hurtt
Declamation--The Side to Look On Miss Dora Frierson
Dialogue--The Tattler Miss Mary Alexander, Miss M.A. Scrugg, Miss Mary Rose
Declamation--Little Clara Miss Rebecca Ferguson
Dialogue--John Williams' Choice Scipio Jordan, H.H. Gilkey and Julia Jackson
Declamation--A Good Rule Miss Lilly Pryor
Declamation--Complaint of the Poor Miss Riley
Dialogue--The Examination L.H. Haney, Jackson Crawford and John Richmond
Miss Willie Lane, A.C. Richmond, Rafe May, and Master A. Pryon
Dialogue--Father, Dear Father; or The Fruits of Drunkenness
John E. Bush, W.A.M. Cypers, Wm. Emery, Miss Coren Winfrey, Miss Maggie Green, and others.
Miss Mollie Pryor and Miss Annie Richmond
Dialogue--Betsy and I are out
Alex. Scruggs and W.A.M. Cypers
Declamation--Lily of the Valley
Miss Mary Foster
C.C. Riley, A.C. Richmond, Cypers and Haney
Declamation--The Little Shooter
Master August Jackson
Miss Julia Jackson, and August Jackson
Declamation--Bird and the Baby
Miss Julia Foster
Dialogue--Scenes in the Police Court
Richmond, Bush, and Emery
Ballad--Yankee Doodle Dandy
Dialogue--Colloquy in Church
Alice Richardson and Mollie
Miss Alice Moore
Miss Willie Lane, M.A. Scruggs, Mary Alexander, Mr. C.C. Riley
Morton Hurtt and Scipio Jordan
Declamation--Truth in Parenthesis
Dialogue--Forty Years Ago Ales, Scruggs, and J.P. Winfrey
Declamation--The Last Footfall Lizzie Hull
Declamation--Gone with a John E. Bush, Miss Maggie Green, Handsomer Man than Me and H.G. Clay
Declamation--Golden Side Annie Richmond
Declamation--The Union was Swan Jeffries saved by the Colored Volunteers
Dialogue--Relief Aid Saving Maggie Scruggs, Mary Ross, Society Lizzie Hull, Alice Moore, Mary Alexander, Mollie Pryor, Annie Fairchild, Lizzie Wind, Julia Jackson, J.E. Bush, J.W. Jackson
Song-Dutch Band A.C. Richardson, Wm. Emery, J.H. Haney, W.A.M. Cypers, J.O. Alexander, J.E. Bush, J.W. Jackson
Declamation--Number One Alice Richardson
Declamation--What to Wear, and Miss Coren Winfrey How to Wear It
Dialogue--A Desirable J.E. Bush, J.W. Jackson, A.C. Richmond
Dialogue-The Little Bill Marion Henderson, J.E. Bush, Miss Willie Lane, Miss Laura A. Morgan, Asa Richmond, Jr.
Dialogue--Country Aunt's Visit Henry Jackson, Misses Allice and Julia Crawford, Maggie Howell, Julia Jackson
Dialogue--Beauty and the Beast Marion Henderson, Julia Jackson, (six Scenes) Laura Morgan, Mary Scruggs, Mary Ross, Coren Winfrey, Willie Lane, Lizzie Wind, Alice Crawford, J.E. Bush, J.P. Winfrey
Dialogue--How not to Get M.A. Scruggs and Mary Alexander and Answer
Declamation--The Incidents of John Richmond Travel
This program was given on one night, and the participants doubled right back the next night on another lengthy program celebrating Christmas Eve.
"The Commissary was on the northeast corner of Third and Cumberland. They used to call it the government commissary building. It took up a whole half block. Mrs. Farmer, the white woman, was living in what you call the old Henderliter Place, the building on the northwest corner, during the War. She was a Union woman, and was the one that took us in when the Confederate soldiers were passing and wanted to take us to Texas with them.
"I was so small I didn't know much about things then. When peace was declared a preacher named Hugh Brady, a white man, came here and he had my mother and father to marry over again.
"Mrs. Stephens' father was one of the first school-teachers here for colored people. There were a lot of white people who came here from the North to teach. Peabody School used to be called the Union School. Mrs. Stephens has the first report of the school dated 1869. It gives the names of the directors and all. J.H. Benford was one of the Northern teachers. Anna Ware and Louise Coffman and Miss Henley were teachers too.
"Mrs. Stephens is the oldest colored teacher in Little Rock. The A-B-C children didn't want the old men to teach us. So they would teach 'Lottie'-she was only twelve years old then-and she would hear our lessons. Then at recess time, we would all get out and play together. She was my play mama. Her father, William Wallace Andrews, the first pastor of Wesley Chapel M.E. Church, was the head teacher and Mr. Gray was the other. They were teaching in Wesley Chapel Church. It was then on Eighth and Broadway. This was before Benford's time. It was just after peace had been declared. I don't know where Andrews come from nor how much learning he had. Most of the people then got their learning from white children. But I don't know where he got his.
"Wesley was his first church as far as I know. Before the War all the churches were in with the white people. After freedom, they drew out. Whether Wesley was his first church or not, he was Wesley's first pastor. I got a history of the church."
"They had a real Sunday-school in those days. My sister when she was a child about twelve years old said three hundred Bible verses at one time and received a book as a prize. The book was named 'A Wonderful Deliverance' and other Stories, printed by the American Tract Society, New York, 150 Nassau Street. My sister's name was Mollie Jackson."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives