Adeline Burris

Interviewer: Mrs. Annie L. LaCotts

Person interviewed: Adeline Burris, DeWitt, Arkansas

Age; 91

Adeline Burris is a little old white-haired wrinkled-faced mulatto or

yellow Negro woman who says she was old enough to be working in the

fields when the war began. According to her story she must have been

about 14 then, which would make her at least 90 years old now. She looks

as though she might be a hundred. She is stooped and very feeble but can

get around some days by the help of a stout walking stick; at other

times she cannot leave her bed for days at a time. She owns nothing and

is living in the home of her daughter-in-law who is kind to her and

cares for her as best she can. She says she was born in Murry County,

Tennessee. Columbia was the county seat. When asked if she was born

during slavery time she said, "Yes, honey, my mammy was one of de slaves

what belonged to Mr. Billie and Miss Liza Renfroe. Lord bless her heart

she was good to my mammy and her chillun! I had two little brothers,

twins, and when dey come to dis world I can remember how our old

mistress would come every day to see about dem and my mammy. She'd bring

things to eat, clothes for the babies and everything else. Yes sir! My

mother didn't want for anything as long as she stayed with Miss

Liza, not even after de Negroes was freed. When I was a little

girl I was give to my young mistress, and I stayed with her till my

folks was coning to Arkansas and I come too."

"Why did your folks move to Arkansas?"

"Well, you see we heard this was a good country and there was a white

man come there to get a lot of niggers to farm for him down on the river

and we come with him. He brought a lot of families on a big boat called

a flatboat. We were days and nights floating down the river. We landed

at St. Charles. I married in about two years and haven't ever lived

anywhere else but Arkansas County and I've always been around good white

folks. I'd been cold and hungry a lot of times if it wasn't for some of

dese blessed white folkes' chillen; dey comes to see me and brings me

things to eat and clothes too, sometimes."

"How many tines did you marry, Aunt Add.?"

"Just one time; and I just had four chillen, twins, two times. One child

died out of each sit--just left me and Becky and Bob. Bob and Dover, his

wife, couldn't get along but I think most of it's his fault, for Dover's

just as good to me as she can be. My own child couldn't be better to me

den she is.

"I don't know, honey, but looks to me like niggers was better off in dem

days den they are now. I know dey was if dey had good white folks like

we did. Dey didn't have to worry about rent, clothes, nor sumpin to eat.

Dat was there for them. All they had to do was work and do right. Course

I guess our master might not of been so good and kind ef we had been

mean and lazy, but you know none of us ever got a whippin' in our life.

"Honey, come back to see Aunt Add. sometime. I likes to talk to you."

Adele Frost Adeline Crump facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail