Ben Johnson

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Ben Johnson

Near Holly Grove and Clarendon, Arkansas

Age: 73

"My master was Wort Garland. My papa's master was Steve Johnson. Papa

went off to Louisiana and I never seen him since. I guess he got

killed. I was born in Madison County, Tennessee. I come to Arkansas

1889. Mother was here. She come on a transient ticket. My papa come

wid her to Holly Grove. They both field hands. I worked on the

section--railroad section. I cut and hauled timber and farms. I never

own no land, no home. I have two boys went off and a grown girl in

Phillips County. I don't get no help. I works bout all I able and can

get to do.

"I have voted. I votes a Republican ticket. I like this President. If

the men don't know how to vote recken the women will show em how.

"The present conditions is very good. The present generation is beyond


"I heard my folks set around the fireplace at night and talk about

olden times but I couldn't tell it straight and I was too little to

know bout it.

"We looked all year for Christmas to get some good things in our

stockings. They was knit at night. Now we has oranges and bananas all

the time, peppermint candy--in sticks--best candy I ever et. Folks

have more now that sort than we had when I was growing up. We was

raised on meat and corn bread, milk, and garden stuff. Had plenty

apples, few peaches, sorghum molasses, and peanuts. Times is better

now than when I come on far as money goes. Wood is scarce and folks

can't have hogs no more. No place to run and feed cost so much. Can't

buy it. Feed cost more 'en the hog. Times change what makes the folks

change so much I recken."

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