Clark Hill

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Clark Hill

715 E. 17th Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 82

"Good morning. My name is Clark Hill. My name goes by my white folks. I

was born in Georgia--in Americus, Georgia. My old master was Will G.

Hill and they called my young master Bud. I never did know what his name

was--they just called him Bud.

"It was my job to sweep the yard, keep smoke on the meat and fire under

the kiln. Yes mam! Old master had a big orchard and he dried all the

fruit in the kiln--peaches, apples, and pears. Then he had lots a

watermelons too. When they got ripe they'd get all the childun big

enough to tote a melon and we'd carry 'em to the house. I would like to

be with my white folks now.

"Old master raised pigeons too and it used to be my job to go down to

the pigeon house and ketch the squalls (squabs).

"I used to go to church with my white folks too. I was the gate opener.

They put me on the little seat at the back of the carriage. When we got

there they'd let us childun sit in the back. The preacher would tell us

to obey our master and not take anything that belonged to him.

"Oh, my white folks was good to me. He never hit me but once and that

was one time when my brother went into the kitchen, went into some peas

the cook had and she told on him. Old master come down and told my

brother to eat the whole dish full. He never hit him or nothin' but just

stood there and made him eat 'em. I thought I'd help him out a little

and said to my brother, 'Give me some.' Old master just took his walking

stick and hit me over the head, and that's the onliest time he ever hit


"When you got big enough to marry and was courtin' a woman on another

plantation, you couldn't bring her home with you. Old master would marry

you. He'd say 'I give this man to you' and say 'Clark, I give this woman

to you and now you is man and wife.' They never had no book of

matrimony--if they did I never seen it. Then you could go over to see

her every Saturday and stay all night.

"I used to work in the field. They didn't farm then like they do now.

They planted one row a cotton and one row a corn. That was to keep the

land from gettin' poor.

"I remember when the Yankees was comin' through I got scared because

some of the folks said they had horns. I know old master took all his

meat and carried it to another plantation.

"When freedom come old master give us all our ages. I think when they

say we was free that meant every man was to be his own boss and not be

bossed by a taskmaster. Cose old master was good to us but we wanted to

have our own way 'bout a heap a things.

"I come to Arkansas the second year of surrender. Yes'm, I voted when

Clayton was sheriff and I voted for Governor Baxter. I voted several

tickets. I was here when they had the Brooks-Baxter War. They fit not

far from where I was livin'.

"Well, that's 'bout all I can remember. My mind ain't so good now and I

got the rheumatism in my legs."

Clarice Jackson Clark Hill facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail