Carry Allen Patton

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Carry Allen Patton

Forrest City, Arkansas

Age: 71

"I was born in Shelby County, Tennessee. My parents was Tillie Watts and

Pierce Allen. He come from Louisiana reckly (directly) after the

surrender. My mother come from Virginia. She was sold in Virginia and

brought to middle Tennessee close to Murfreesboro and then brought to

Memphis and sold. She was dark and my father was too. They was living

close to Wilmar, Arkansas when the yellow fever was so bad. I don't

remember it. Heard them talk about it.

"I heard my mother say how Mr. Jake Watts saved his money from the

Yankees. They had a great big rock flat on both sides. They put on the

joints of big meat to weight it down when they salted it down in a

barrel. They didn't unjoint the meat and in the joint is where it

started to spoil. Well, he put his silver and gold in a pot. It was a

big round pot and was smaller around the top. He dug a hole after

midnight. He and his two boys James and Dock put the money in this hole

in the back yard. They covered the pot with the big flat rock and put

dirt on that and next morning they planted a good big cedar tree over

the rock, money and all.

"Old Master Jake died during the War and their house was burned but

James lived in one of the cabins in the yard. Dock went to the War. My

mother said when they left, that tree was standing.

"My mother run off. She thought she would go cook for the men in the

camps but before she got to the camps a wagon overtook her and they

stole her. They brought her to Memphis and sold her on a block. They

guarded her. She never did know who they was nor what become of them.

They kept her in the wagon on the outskirts of the city nearly a month.

One man always stayed to watch her. She was scared to death of both of

them. One of the men kept a jug of whiskey in the wagon and drunk it but

he never would get dead drunk so she could slip off.

"Mr. Johnson bought her and when the surrender come on, Master Johnson

took his family and went to Texas. She begged him to take her to nurse

but he said if it wasn't freedom he would send her back to Master James

Watts and he would let her go back then. He give her some money but she

never went back. She was afraid to start walking and before her money

give clear out she met up with my father and he talked her out of going


"She had a baby pretty soon. It was by them men that stole her. He was

light. He died when he got nearly grown. I recollect him good. I was

born close to Memphis, the boy died of dysentery.

"When my mother was sold in Virginia she was carried in a wagon to the

block and thought she was going to market. She never seen her folks no

more. They let them go along to market sometimes and set in the wagon.

She had a little pair of gloves she wore when she was sold her grandma

had knit for her. They was white, had half thumb and no fingers. When

she died I put them in her coffin. She had twins born dead besides me.

They was born close to Wilmar, Arkansas.

"We farmed all my life in Arkansas and Mississippi. I married in

Mississippi and we come back here before Joe died. I live out here and

in Memphis. My son is a janitor at the Sellers Brothers Store in

Memphis. My daughter cooks about here in town and I keep her children. I

rather farm if I was able.

"I think young folks, both colors, shuns work. Times is running away

with itself. Folks is living too fast. They ride too fast and drinks and

do all kinds of meanness.

"My father was a mighty poor hand at talking. He said he was sold in a

gang shipped to Memphis from New Orleans. Master Allen bought him. He

was a boy. I don't know how big. He cleaned fish--scaled them. He

butchered and in a few months Mr. Allen set him free. It was surrender

when he was sold but Mr. Allen didn't know it or else he meant to keep

him on a few years. When he got loose he started farming and farmed till

he died. He farmed in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. He owned a

place but a drouth come along. He got in debt and white folks took it.

"I married in Mississippi. My husband immigrated from South Carolina. He

was Joe Patton. I washed and ironed and farmed. I rather farm now if I

was able.

"I never got no gov'ment help. I ain't posing it. It is a fine thing. I

was in Tennessee when it come on. They said I'd have to stay here six

months. I never do stay."

Carrie Nancy Fryer Carter J Jackson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail