Caroline Smith

Circumstances of Interview


NAME OF WORKER--Carol N. Graham

ADDRESS--Rear 456 West Main Street, El Dorado, Arkansas

DATE--November 1, 1938


[TR: Repetitive information deleted from subsequent pages.]

1. Name and address of informant--Caroline Smith, Route 1, El Dorado.

(Lives with Negroes by name of Green about 1 mile from Smith's Crossing)

2. Date and time of interview--November 1, 1938, Tuesday morning,


3. Place of interview--at the home of some Negroes named Green.

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

informant--Had previously talked with Caroline.

5. Name and address of person, if any, accompanying you--Mrs. Ethel

Depriest, 516 East Miles Street, El Dorado.

6. Description of room, house, surroundings, etc.--a typical Negro farm


Personal History of Informant

1. Ancestry--

2. Place and date of birth--Camden, Arkansas? No date.

3. Family--one child.

4. Places lived in, with dates--Camden and El Dorado. No dates.

5. Education, with dates--

6. Occupations and accomplishments, with dates--None

7. Special skills and interests--

8. Community and religious activities--

9. Description of informant--

10. Other points gained in interview--This slave old enough to remember

Civil War.

Text of Interview (Unedited)

"I first remembers living on the plantation of Mr. Jake Dumas near El

Dorado Landing. You know it's Calion now. We lived up towards Camden and

it was there that my ma and pa was married and buried. I was a big girl

durin' the war. My job was to card and spin. And I use to carry the

children to school. When I would get to the school I would put the

children off, git straddle and ride that horse home. When I would get

there old mos would say Ca'line did you run him? I'd say naw sir. Then

he'd say, 'Oh, Carryline put the horse in the lot and come out here. I'd

say, 'Master I didn't run that horse' but didn't do no good. He sure

would whip me. I'd get down and roll. I would stomp and he would do the

same. I wondered how he could tell I'd run that horse. But course he

could cause that horse had the thumps (heart beating rapidly).

"I remember seeing the soldiers come through during the war. They come

by droves stealing horses, setting the cotton on fire and taking sumpin

to eat, too.

"Yes, I does still member the songs we sung durin' the war but I've got

the asthmy and ain't got much wind fur singin'.

"You want to know the reason,

You want to know the reason,

You want to know the reason, I'll tell you why,

We'll whip them Yankees, whole hog or die."

"Hooray, Hooray, Hooray for the Southern Girl.

Hooray for the homespun dress the Southern ladies wear.

My homespun dress is plain I know,

I glory in its name;

Hooray for the homespun dress the Southern ladies wear."

"I've got the asthmy honey and jest caint sing no more.

"You asked 'bout my husband and chillun. I been married fo' times. My

first man's name was Dick Hagler, the next Frank Bibby, the next Henry

Harris and the last one was Tom Smith. That's where I get my name

Ca'line Smith. I never did have but one daughter but she had sixteen

chillun. She's daid now and mah granchillun is scattered.

"I got the asthmy an jes don' feel like talkin' no more. Long time ago

when I was sick master always had a doctor to me now I have to hire one.

And they always fed me good and clothed me but after I was free I would

go round and work around to git a little sumpin to eat."

Caroline Richardson Caroline Smith facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail