Bob Samuels

Circumstances of Interview


NAME OF WORKER--Miss Hazel Horn

ADDRESS--Little Rock, Arkansas

DATE--Last of April, 1936


[TR: Repetitive information deleted from subsequent pages.]

1. Name and address of informant--Uncle Bob Samuels, Washington,


2. Date and time of interview--Last of April, 1936

3. Place of interview--Washington, Arkansas

4. Name and address of person, if any, who put you in touch with

informant--J.C.W. Smith.

5. Name and address of person, if any, accompanying you--J.C.W. Smith

6. Description of room, house, surroundings, etc.

Personal History of Informant

1. Ancestry--Grandmother, Spanish; Grandfather, Negro; father, Negro.

2. Place and date of birth--Born about 1846

3. Family--

4. Places lived in, with dates--

5. Education, with dates--

6. Occupations and accomplishments, with dates--

7. Special skills and interests--

8. Community and religious activities--

9. Description of informant--Tall and straight. He is blind. Clean in

appearance, dressed in slightly faded overalls. He has short, clean,

grey beard. Speaks with a clear accent.

10. Other points gained in interview--Ancestors were in De Soto


Text of Interview (Unedited)

"From my mother's mother I learned that on my mother's side my ancestor

came with De Soto from Spain where she was educated at Madrid. From

Spain she came to Havana, Cuba, and from there to Tampa, Florida. From

Florida she came to some point in Alabama. From this place she came to

the Mississippi river and the East Bank and crossed where it is called

Gaines Landing. After they crossed the river they went ten kilometers

from there, traveled north from there to where Arkansas County is close

to the mouth of the Arkansas River. Here they camped awhile. When they

broke camp there they traveled northeast to Boiling Springs. Making

their way from here they crossed the Ouachita River on the other side

of Arkadelphia. They traveled on, crossing Little Missouri River below

Wallaceburg. Here they found some Indian mounds. Then they traveled on a

trail from there to Washington, turned into Washington and took a trail

toward Columbus and turned off to the right (Uncle Bob not sure of the

name of this trail) and crossed what is known as Beard's Lake. They

crossed Little River at Ward's Ferry and crossed the Saline river.

Traveling northwest they reached White Oak shoals where Index is now and

crossed over into what was Mexico and traveled to a place called Kawaki

located where [TR: ?] now is.

"After camping here for a while they came back into Arkansas to some

point near Rando, crossed Red River at Dooley's Ferry, went to Coola

Fabra(?) and back to Boiling Springs. [Here a gold mine was found and

a quarrel ensued, and in a fight De Soto was killed.] They carried

his body overland and buried him in the Mississippi River between

Grensville[HW:sp.] and Vicksburg. [TR: Moved from end of interview: De

Soto was buried at the junction of the Mississippi and [??] Rivers,

about 100 miles south of Vicksburg.] The remaining forces of the

expedition returned to Spain.

"Sometime in 1816 my mother's mother was born. My mother's mother was

Spanish. My mother says she was well educated. Mother and her mother

have Spanish mixed with Negro blood. I had a sister named Mary and a

brother named John.

"Armarilla, my grandmother came here from Cuba through to Gaines

Landing. Her son Edmin and her husband were with her. They crossed the

Mississippi River and she said they stopped at the old De Soto camp. A

short distance west of this place they met two men--Nick Trammel and

John Morrow who profitted (dealt) in Negro slaves. My grandfather and

mother employed these men to guide them to Coola Fabre(?) Camden?. From

Little River to Dooley's Ferry these men carried them to Waco, Texas.

They killed my grandfather and kept my grandmother forcing her to marry

either a half-breed Mexican, an Indian or a Negro. It was near Waco in

Hickman[HW:sp.] Prairie that mother was born. The boy Edmin was returned

to Dooley's Ferry and remained in the vicinity until he was about

seventeen years of age. He then lived in the vicinity of Little Rock

about six months before returning to Mexico. My grandmother said that

Mr. Trammel and Mr. Morrow probably thought he might cause trouble and

killed him as she never saw him after he returned from Little Rock.

Mother was held in Lafayette County at a point where the river crossed

and joined Bowie County (Texas) and where Louisiana bounded the south.

"De Soto traveled by land, not by boat. He had a force of about 550

persons. The women dressed as men. My grandmother was with her husband.

"My mother was a slave. She was held in Bowie County, Hickens[HW:sp.]

Prairie, by Bob Trammel. They kept her locked up and I have heard mother

say that she used whale bone, card bats and a spinning wheel. Finally

they got so hot behind the Trammels in 1847-48, they pulled up stakes

and went down on the Guadalupe River and carried my mother's mother down

there. Before they left Dave Block went on Trammel's bond and got my

mother. He made my mother head housekeeper slave. She had been taught

Spanish. She was tall and fair with straight black hair. She was married

to Dick Samuels, my father.

"After the war my father was elected [HW: Hempstead] County Clerk in

1872 on the Republican ticket. He could neither read nor write, so

was clerk in name only securing one of the white men to attend to the

office. By trade he was a blacksmith."

Interviewer's Comment

Uncle Bob Samuels is the son of Richard Samuels and Mary. He was a slave

of David Block. After freedom he came to Little Rock with a sister and a

brother, John. Uncle Bob said he often heard his mother speak of a gold

mine. She had a trunk of maps and charts which her mother had given to

her. In this was supposed to be the papers regarding De Soto's legendary

gold mine. The trunk had been lost as Uncle Bob has no idea where the

gold mine is. He tells the story the same way, never varying a point. He

does not claim to remember Indian trails or names.

Uncle Bob is tall and straight. He is blind. Was clean in appearance

dressed in slightly faded overalls. He has a short, clean grey beard. He

talks with a clear accent, no Negro accent. During Reconstruction days

he served as County Clerk of Hempstead County under Carpetbaggar rule.

During those days he was a political power to be reckoned with. He was

a national as well as a state figure in the "Lily White Republican"

organization. [His wife was a Negro, good looking, but showed little

trace of much white blood.]

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