From: More Arkansas
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Katie Dillon
307 Hazel Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
[Dec 31 1937]
"I hope I was here in slavery days--don't I look like it? I was a good
big girl after surrender.
"I was born in Rodney, Mississippi in 1855.
"I had a good old master--Doctor Williams. Didn't have no mistress. He
never married till after surrender.
"We lived right in town--right on the Mississippi River where the gun
boats went by. They shelled the town one day. Remember it just as well
as if 'twas now. I hope it was exciting. Everybody moved out. Some run
and left their stores. They run to Alcorn University, five miles from
there. Some of em come back next day and some never come back till after
"The old Doctor bought my mother when she was twelve years old. When she
got big enough she was the cook. Made a fine one too. I worked around
the house and toted in wood and water.
"After surrender, Dr. Williams wanted my mother to give me and my
brother to him and he would give her a home, but she wouldn't. I wish
she had but you know I wasn't old enough to know what was best. She
hired out and took us with her. I hired out too. I reckon I was paid but
I never did see it. I reckon my mother collected it. I know she clothed
me. I had better clothes than I got now. We stayed there till we come to
Arkansas. I was married then. I married when I was seventeen. I was fast
wasn't I? I got a good husband. Didn't have to work, only do my own
work. Just clean up the house and garden and tend to the chickens. My
husband was a picture man. Yes'm, I've lived in town all my life--born
and raised up in town.
"After surrender I went to the first free school ever was in Rodney,
Mississippi. I went about two sessions. I ought to've learned more'n I
did but I didn't see how it would benefit me.
"In slavery days we used to go right to the table and eat after the
white folks was through. We didn't eat out of no pots and pans. Whatever
was on the table you et it until you got enough.
"When I was comin' up and they was goin' to have a private ball, they
sent out invitations and I went, but when they had that kind where
everybody could go I wouldn't a gone to one of them for nothin'.
"The way things is goin' now I don't think the end can be very far off.
"I remember when peace was declared I saw the soldiers across the street
and they had their guns all stacked. I was lookin' and wonderin' what it
was. You know children didn't ask questions in them days. I heard some
of the older ones talkin' and I heard em say the war was over.
"I never had but two children and only one livin' now. Yes'm, I own my
home and my son helps me what he can. I'm thankful I got as much as I
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