Edward Bradley

Interviewer: Bernice Bowden

Person Interviewed: Edward Bradley

115 South Plum Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 70

"I was seventy years old this last past June, the sixth day. Lots of

people say I don't look that old but I'm sure seventy and I've done a

lot of hard work in my day. One thing, I've taken good care of myself. I

never did lose much sleep.

"I farmed forty years of my life. Been in this State thirty-seven years.

I was born in Hardin County, Tennessee. I disremember what age I was

when I left Tennessee.

"My mother was named Mary Bradley and my father was named Hilliard

Bradley. They originated in Alabama and was sold there, and they was

free when they come to Tennessee.

"Bradley was the last man owned 'em. I think Beaumont sold 'em to

Bradley. That's the way I always heered 'em talk. I think they claimed

their owners was pretty good to 'em. I know I heered my father say he

never did get a whippin' from either one of 'em.

"Of course my mother wasn't a Bradley fore she married, she was a


"I had one brother four years older than I was. He was my half-brother

and I had a whole brother was two years older than I.

"First place I lived in Arkansas was near Blytheville. I lived there

four years. I was married and farmin' for myself.

"I went from Hardin County, Tennessee to Blytheville, Arkansas by land.

Drove a team and two cows. I think we was on the road four days. My wife

went by train. You know that was too wearisome for her to go by land.

"I had been runnin a five-horse crop in Tennessee and I carried three

boys that I used to work with me.

"The last year I was there I cleared $1660.44. I never will forget it. I

made a hundred and ten bales of cotton and left 2000 pounds of seed

cotton in the field cause I was goin' to move.

"My folks was sick all the time. Wasn't any canals in that country, and

my wife had malaria every year.

"After I got my crop finished I'd get out and log. I was raised in a

poor county and you take a man like that, he's always a good worker. I

rented the land--365 acres and I had seven families workin for me. I was

responsible for everything. I told 'em that last year that if I cleared

over a $1000, I'd give 'em ten dollars a piece. And I give it to 'em

too. You see they was under my jurisdiction.

"Next place I lived was Forrest City. They all went with me. Had to

charter a car to move 'em. It was loaded too.

"I had 55 hogs, 17 head of cattle, 13 head of mules and horses. And I

had killed 1500 pounds of hogs. You see besides my family I had

two-month-hands--worked by the month.

"I own a home in Forrest City now. I'm goin back right after Christmas.

My children had it fixed up. Had the waterworks and electric lights put


"Two of my daughters married big school teachers. One handles a big

school in Augusta and the other in Forrest City. One of 'em is in the

Smith-Hughes work too.

"I've done something no other man has done. I've educated four of my

brothers and sisters after my father died and four of my wife's brothers

and sisters and one adopted boy and my own six children--fifteen in all.

A man said to me once, "Why any man that's done that much for education

ought to get a pension from the educator people."

"I never went to school six months in my life but I can read and write.

I'm not extra good in spelling--that's my hindrance, but I can figger

very well.

"We always got our children started 'fore they went to school and then I

could help 'em in school till they got to United States money.

"Another thing I always would do, I would buy these block A, B, C's.

Everyone learned their A, B, C's fore they went to school.

"I reckon I'm a self-made man in a lot of things. I learnt my own self

how to blacksmith. I worked for a man for nothin' just so I could learn

and after that for about a year I was the best plow sharpener. And then

I learned how to carpenter.

"My mother was awful good on head countin' and she learnt me when I was

a little fellow. My oldest brother use to help me. We'd sit by the fire,

so you see you might say I got a fireside education.

"When I left Forrest City I moved to England and made one crop and moved

to Baucum and made one crop and then I moved on the Sheridan Pike three

miles the other side of Dew Drop. I got the oil fever. They was sellin'

land under that headin'. Sold it to the colored folks and lots o' these

Bohemians. They sho is fine people to live by--so accommodatin'.

"Then I came here to Pine Bluff in 1921. I hauled wood for two years.

Then I put in my application at the Cotton Belt Shops. That was in 1923

and I worked there fifteen years. I retired from the shops this year and

took a half pension. I think I'll get about fifteen dollars a month.

That's my thoughts.

"I have two daughters in Camden. One teaches school and one operates a

beauty parlor.

"All six of my children finished high school and three graduated from


"I think the younger generation is livin' too fast. I know one thing,

they has done--they 'bout wore out the old folks. Old folks educate 'em

and can't accumulate anything.

"They don't settle much now till they marry. Seems like the young folks

don't have much accommodation.

"I'll tell you another thing, the children aren't carryin' out things

like they use to. I think when us old folks plays out this world is

goin' to be in a bad shape.

"I belong out here to the Catholic Church--the oldest church in the

world. I use to belong to the Methodist Church, but they got along so

bad I got tired, so I went to the Catholic. I like it out

there--everthing so quiet and nice."

Edna Lane Carter Edward Lycurgas facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail