The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Mrs. Mildred Thompson Mrs. Carol Graham El Dorado District Federal Writers Project Union County, Arkansas
Charley Williams, Ex-slave. Mawnin' Missy. Yo say wha Aint Fanny Whoolah live? She live right down de road dar in dat fust house. Yas'm. Dat wha she live. Yo say whut mah name? Mah name is Charley. Yas'm, Charley Williams. Did ah live in slavery time? Yas'm sho' did. Mah marster wuz Dr. Reed Williams and he live at Kew London (SE part of Union County) or ah speck ah bettuh say near New London caise he live on de Mere-Saline Road, de way de soldiers went and come. Marster died befo' de Civil Wah. Does ah membah hit? Yas'm ah say ah does. Ah wuz bo'n in 1856. Mah ole mutha died befo' de wah too. Huh name wuz Charity. Mah young marster went tuh de wah an come back. He fit at Vicksburg an his name wuz Bennie Williams. But he daid now tho. Dere was a hep uv dem white William Chillun. Dere wuz Miss Narcissi an she am a livin now at Stong. Den dere's Mr. Charley. Ah wuz named fuh him. He am a livin now too. Den dere is Mr. Race Williams. He am a livin at Strong too. Dere wuz Miss Annie, Miss Martha Jane and Miss Madie. Dey is all daid. When young marster would come by home or any uv de udder soldiers us little niggers would steal de many balls (bullets or shot) fum dey saddul bags and play wid em. Ah nevah did see so many soldiers in mah life. Hit looked tuh me like dey wuz enough uv em to reach clear cross de United States. An ah nevah saw de like uv cows as they had. Dey wuz nuff uv em to rech clar to Camden.
Is ah evah been mahried and does ah have any chillun? Yes'm. Yas'm. Ah's been mahried three times. Me an mah fust wife had seven chillun. When we had six chillun me and mah wife moved tuh Kansas. We had only been der 23 days when mah wife birthed a chile and her an de chile both died. Dat left me wid Carey Dee, Lizzie, Arthur, Richmond, Ollie and Lillie to bring back home. Ah mahried agin an me an dat wife had one chile name Robert. Me an mah third wife has three: Joe Verna, Lula Mae an Johnnie B.
Is dey hents? Ah've hearn tell uv em but nevah have seed no hants. One uv mah friens whut lived on the Hommonds place at Hillsboro could see em. His name wuz Elliott. One time me an Elliott wuz drivin along an Elliott said: "Charley, somebody got hole uv mah horse!" Sho nuff dat horse led right off inter de woods an comminced to buckin so Elliott and his hoss both saw de haint but ah couldn' see hit. Yo know some people jes caint see em.
Yas'm right up dere is wha Aint Fannie live. Yas'm. Goodday Missy."
We found Fannie Wheeler at home but not an ex-slave. She was making a bedspread of tobacco sacks.
"Yas'm chillun ah'm piecing mahsef a bedspraid from dese heah backy sacks. Yas'm dey sho does make er nice spraid. See dat'n on mah baid. Aint hit purty. Hit wuz made fum backy sacks. Don yo all think dat yaller bodah (border) set hit off purty? Ah'm aimin to bodah dis'n wid pink er blue.
What am dat up dar in dat picture frame? Why dat am plaits of har (hair). Hits uv mah kin and frien's. When we would move way off dey would cut off a plait and give hit tuh us tuh membah dem by. Mos' uv dem is daid now but ah still membahs dem and ah kin name evah plait now."
We were told that Sallie Sims was an old negress and went to see her she was not an ex-slave either but she told us an interesting little story about
HAINTS and BODY MARKS
"No'm, ah'm purty ole but ah wuz bo'n aftuh surrender. Is ah evah seen a hant? Now ah nevah did but once and mah ma said dat wuz a hant. Ah wuz out in de woods waukin (walking) an ah saw sumpin dat looked lak a squirrel start up a tree and de fudder up hit got the bigger hit got an hit wuz big as a bear when hit got to de top and ma said dat hit was a haint. Dat is de only time ah evah seed one.
Now mah granchillun can all see hants and mah little great gran' chile too. An evah one uv dem wuz bo'n wid a veil ovah dey face. Now when a chile is bo'n wid a veil ovah his face-if de veil is lifted up de sho can see hants and see evah thing but if'n de veil is pulled down stid up bein lifted up de won't see em. After de veil is pulled down an taken off, wrap hit up in a tissue paper and put hit in de trunk and let hit stay dar till hit disappear and de chile won't nevah see hants. Mah grandaughter what lives up north in Missouri come down heah to visit mah son's fambly an me ah an brang huh li'l boy wid huh. Dat chile is bout seben years ole an dat chile could see hants all in de house an he wouldn' go tuh baid till his gran'pappy come home an went tuh baid wid him.
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives