Ben Moon

Pine Bluff District


Name of Interviewer: Martin - Barker

Subject: Negro Customs

Information by: Ben Moon

[TR: Information moved from bottom of second page.]

I was born on the Walker place, in 1869. My father was a slave to Mr.

Bob. I used to drive Miss Lelia (Eulalie) to the Catholic church here in

Pine Bluff. She used to let me go barefooted, and bare headed.

Miss Lelia was the daughter of Col. Creed Taylor. All during slavery

time I drove her gins. We had eight mules. Eight at a time hitched to

each lever, they would weave in an out but they was so hitched that they

never got in any body's way. They just walked around and round like they

did in those days. We had herds of sheep, we sheared them and wove yarn

for socks. We raised wheat, when it was ripe we laid a canvas cloth on

the ground and put wheat on it, then men and women on horse back rode

over it, and thrashed it that way. They called it treading it. Then we

took it to the mill and ground it and made it into flour. For breakfast,

(we ate awful soon in the morning), about 4 AM, then we packed lunch in

tin buckets and eat again at daylight. Fat meat, cornbread and molasses.

Some would have turnip greens for breakfast.

Summertime, Miss Lelia would plant plenty of fruit, and we would have

fried apples, stewed peaches and things.

Sunday mornings we would have biscuit, butter, molasses, chicken, etc.

For our work they paid us seventy-five cents a day and when come cotton

picking time old rule, seventy five cents for pickin cotton. Christmas

time, plenty of fireworks, plenty to eat, drink and everything. We would

dance all Christmas.

All kind of game was plentiful, plenty of coon, possum, used up

everything that grew in the woods. Plenty of corn, we took it to the

grist mill every Saturday.

Ark. riv. boats passed the Walker place, and dey was a landing right at

dere place, and one at the Wright place, that is where the airport is


All de white folks had plenty of cattle den and in de winter time dey

was all turned in on the fields and with what us niggers had, that made

a good many, and you know yorself dat was good for de ground.

Mother was a slave on the Merriweather place, her marster was Mick[TR:

name not clear] Merriweather. My granma was Gusta Merriweather, my

mother Lavina and lived on the Merriweather place in what was then

Dorsey county, near Edinburg, now Cleveland Co. My grandfather was Louis

Barnett, owned by Nick Barnett of Cleveland co., then Dorsey co. Fathers

people was owned by Marse Bob Walker. Miss Lelia (Eulalie) was mistis.

Miss Maggie Benton was young mistis.

I dont believe in ghosts or spirits.

Ben Lawson Ben Parr facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail