Betty Hodge

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person Interviewed: Betty Hodge

Hazen, Ark.

Age: 63

"Uncle Billy Hill used to visit us. He was Noah's uncle. He was a slave

and one thing I remembers hearing him tell was this: He was the hostler

for his old master. The colored folks was having a jubilee. He wanted to

go. He stole one of the carriage horses out--rode it. It started

snowing. He said he went out to see bout the horse and it seemed be

doin' all right. After a while here come somebody and told him that

horse he rode was dead. He didn't believe it, but went out there and it

was sho dead. He said he took that horse by the tail and started runnin'

up the road. They drug that horse home and put him in the stable where

he belong at. It was snowing so hard and fast they couldn't see their

hands 'fo em he said. It snowed so much it covered up where they drug

the horse and their tracks. He said the snow saved his life. They found

the horse dead and never thought bout him having him out at the jubilee.

He said none of em ever told a word bout it but for long time he was

scared to death fear the old master find out bout it.

"Grandma Frances was born in West Virginia. She was papa's mama. She

purt nigh raised us. Mama and papa went to the field to work. She cooked

and done the housework. She had a good deal of Indian blood in her. I

heard em say. She had high cheeks and the softest, prettiest hair. She

told about the stars falling. She said they never hit the ground, that

they was like shooting stars 'cepting they all come down like. Everybody

was scared to death. She talked a good deal about Haywood County--I

believe that was in Tennessee--that was where they lived durin' of the

war. Papa made her a livin' long as she lived. When she got old noises

bothered her, so then we growed up and she lived by herself in front of

our house in a house.

"Grandma Frances and our family come to Arkansas 'reckly after the Civil

War. They come with Mr. John and Miss Olivia Cooper. Miss Olivia was his

wife, but Miss Presh was a old maid. Folks used to think it was sort of

bad if a woman didn't marry. Thought she have no chances. It sort of be

something like a disgrace if a woman was a old maid. Don't seem

that-a-way no more. I never heard much about Miss Presh but I heard mama

tell this: Grandma Mary Lea come on a visit to see mama and she brought

her some sweet potatoes in a bag. Had nothing else and wanted to bring

her something. Miss Olivia picked out the biggest ones and took em. Said

she was mean. Said she had a plenty of everything. Just left mama the

smallest ones. She said Miss Olivia was stingy. Mama was the house girl

and nurse and they had a cook. Mama was a girl then she belong to the

Coopers, but mama belong to somebody else. She hadn't married then.

"One day Miss Olivia called her and she didn't get there soon as Miss

Olivia wanted her to. Miss Olivia say, 'You getting mean, Lucy. You like

your ma.' She said, 'I just like you if I'm mean.' But Miss Olivia

didn't understand it. She ask the cook and the cook told her she was

talking to her. She told Mr. John Cooper to whoop em but he didn't. He

kind of laughed and ask the cook what Lucy said to Miss Olivia. Miss

Olivia told him if he didn't whoop em both she was going back home. He

told her he would take her and she wouldn't come back neither when she

left. He didn't whoop neither one of em and she never left him till she

died, cause I been over to Des Arc and seen all of em since I come in

this world.

"Mama was Lucy Lea till she married Will Holloway, my papa. Then she

married Isarel Thomas the preacher here at Hazen. He come from Tennessee

with old Dr. Hazen (white man). Mama's mama was Mary Lea; she lived out

here at Green Grove. I don't know where she was born, but she was owned

by the Lea's round Des Arc. She come and stay a month or two with us on

a visit.

"Old folks was great hands to talk bout olden times. I forgot bout all

they told.

"In old times folks had more principal, now they steal and fight and

loud as they can be. Folks used to be quiet, now they be as loud as they

can all the time. They dance and carouse all night long--fuss and fight!

Some of our young folks got to change. The times have changed so much

and still changing so fast I don't know what goin' to be the end. I

study bout it a lot."

Betty Harris Betty Johnson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail