The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Lillie Williams, Madison, Arkansas Age: 69
"I was born some place down in Mississippi. My papa's papa come from Georgia. He had a tar kiln; he cut splinters put them on it. It would smoke blackest smoke and drip for a week. He used it to grease the hubs of the wagons. We drunk pine tar tea for coughs. He split rails, made boards and shingles all winter. He had a draw-knife, a mall and wedges to use in his work. He learned that where he come from in Georgia. He sold boards, pailings when I can recollects. Grandma made tallow candles for everybody on our place in the fall when they killed the first yearling. They cooked up beeswax when they robbed bees. When I was a child I picked up pine knots for torches to quilt and knit by. We raised everything we lived on. I pulled sage grass to cure for brooms. Grandpa planted some broom corn and we swept the yards and lots with brooms made out of brush.
"Grandma kept a barrel to make locust and persimmon beer in. We dried apples and peaches all summer and put chinaberry seed 'mongst them to keep out worms.
"If we rode to church, it was in a steer wagon (ox wagon). Our oxen named Buck, Brandy Barley.
"Grandma raised me, two more girls, and a boy. Mama worked out. Our pa died. Mama worked 'mongst the white folks. Grandma was old-timey. She made our dresses to pick cotton in every summer. They was hot and stubby. They looked pretty. We was proud of them. Mama washed and ironed. She kept us clean, too. Grandma made us card and spin. I never could learn to spin but I was a good knitter. I could reel. I did love to hear it crack. That was a cut. We had a winding blade. We would fill the quills for our grandma to weave. Grandma was mighty quiet and particular. She come from Kenturkey. We all ploughed. I've ploughed and ploughed.
"I had three little children to raise and now I have nine grandchildren. I got five here now to look after when their mother is out at work. I have worked. We farmed in 1923 up till 1931 and got this house paid out. (Fairly good square-boxed, unpainted house-ed.)
"My mother-in-law was sold in Aberdeen, Mississippi on a tall stump. She clem up a ladder. Her ma was at the sale and said she was awful uneasy. But she was sold to folks close by. She could go to see her.
"Freedom come on. The colored folks slip about from place to place and whisper, 'We goiner be set free.' I think my mama left at freedom and come to twenty or twenty-two miles from Oxford, Mississippi. I don't know where I was born. But in Mississippi somewheres.
"There is something wrong about the way we are doing somehow. It is from hand to mouth. We buys too many paper sacks. They say work is hard to get. One thing now didn't used to be, you have to show the money before you can buy a thing. Seem like we all gone money crazy. Automobiles and silk stockings done ruined us all. White folks ought to straighten this out."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives