Barney A Laird

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Barney A. Laird

Brinkley, (near Moroe) Arkansas

Age: 79

"I was born in Pinola County, Mississippi. I remembers one time

soldiers come by on all black horses and had a bundle on one shoulder

strapped around under the other arm. They wore blue jackets. Their

horses was trained so they marched good as soldiers. They camped not

far from our house. There was a long string of soldiers. It took them

a long time to go by.

"One time they had a dinner in a sorter grove on a neighbor's farm.

All us children went up there to see if they left anything. We et up

the scraps. I say it was good eating. The fust Yankee crackers I ever

et was there that day. They was fine for a fact.

"Our owner was Dr. Laird. When I come to know anything his wife was

dead but his married daughter lived with him. Her husband's name was

John Balentine. My parents worked in the field and I stayed up at the

house with my old grandpa and grandma. Their house was close to the

white folks. Our houses was about on the farm. Some of the houses was

pole houses, some hewed out. The fireplace in our house burned long

wood and the room what had the fireplace was a great big room. We had

shutters at the windows. The houses was open but pretty stout and

good. We had plenty wood.

"My parents both lived on the same farm. They had seven children. My

mother's name was Caroline and my father's name was Ware A. Laird.

Mother never told us if she was ever sold. Father never was sold. He

never talked much.

"One thing I know is: My wife's pa was sold, Squire Lester, so him and

Adeline could be on the same farm. Them my wife's parents. They never

put him on no block, jes' told him to get his belongings and where to

go. I never seen nobody sold.

"Dr. Laird was good to his darkies. My whole family stayed on his

place till he died. I don't know how long. I don't know if I ever

knowed when freedom come on. We had a hard time durin' the Civil War.

That why I hate to hear about war. The soldiers tore down houses,

burnt houses. They burnt up Dr. Laird's gin. I think it burned some

cotton. They tore down fences and hauled em off to make fires at their

camps. That let the stock out what they maybe did leave an old snag.

Fust cussin' I ever heard done was one of them soldiers. I don't know

what about but he was going at it. I stopped to hear what he saying. I

never heard nobody cuss so much over nothing as ever I found out. They

had cleaned us out. We didn't have much to eat nor wear then. We did

have foe then from what they told us. The old folks got took care of.

That don't happen no more.

"I never seen a Ku Klux. I heard tell of them all my life.

"Dr. Laird was old man and John Balentine was a peaceable man. He

wanted his farm run peaceable. He was kind as could be.

"I been farming all my life. I still be doing it. I do all I can. It

is the young boys' place to take the plough handle--the making a man

out of their young strength. They don't want to do it. Some do and

some won't stay on the farm. Go to town is the cry. I got a wife and

two boys. They got families. They are on the farm. I tell them to


"I get help from the Welfare if I'm able to come get what they give


"I used to pay my taxes and vote. Now if I have a dollar I have to buy

something to eat. Us darkies satisfied with the best the white folks

can do. Darkies good workers but poor managers is been the way I seen

it all my life. One thing we don't want no wars."

Barbara Haywood Barney Stone facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail