Ella Daniels

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor

Person interviewed: Ella Daniels

1223 W. Eleventh Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

Age: 74, or over

[HW: Food Rationed]

"I was born in North Carolina, in Halifax County, in the country near

Scotland Neck. My mother's name was Nellie Doggett. Her name was Hale

before she married. My father's name was Tom Doggett. I never did see

any of my grand people.

"My mother's master was named Lewis Hale. He was a farmer. He was fairly

good himself but the overseers wasn't. They have mistreated my mother.

All I know is what I heard, of course; I wasn't old enough to see for

myself. My mother was a field hand. She worked on the farm. My father

did the same thing.

"My father and mother belonged to different masters. I forgot now who my

father said he belonged to. My father didn't live on the same plantation

with my mother. He just came and visited her from time to time.


"Sometimes they didn't have any food to eat. The old missis sometimes

saw that my mother's children were fed. My mother's master was pretty

good to her and her children, but my father's master was not. Food was

issued every week. They give molasses, meal, a little flour, a little

rice and along like that.


"My mother and father lived in old weatherboard houses. I don't know

whether all of the slaves lived in weatherboarded houses or not. But I

nursed the children and had to go from one house to the other and I know

several of them lived in weatherboarded houses. Most of the houses had

two rooms. The food that was kept by the slaves, that is the rations

given them, was kept in the kitchen part of the house.


"I don't know of any cases where slaves were compelled to breed but I

have heard of them. I don't know the names of the people. Just remember

hearing talk about them.

Freedom Comes

"My mother and father never found out they were free till April 1865.

Some of them were freed before then. I don't know how they found it out,

but I heard them talking about it.

Right after Freedom

"Right after freedom, my father and mother worked right on in the same

place just like they always did. I reckon they paid them, I don't know.

They did what they wanted to.

Patrollers, Ku Klux, and Reconstruction

"I remember the Ku Klux. They used to come and whip the niggers that

didn't have a pass. I think them was pateroles though. There was some

people too who used to steal slaves if they found them away from home,

and then they would sell them. I don't know what they called them. I

just remember the Ku Klux and the pateroles.

"The Ku Klux were the ones that whipped the niggers that they caught out

without a pass. I don't remember any Ku Klux whipping niggers after the

War because they were in politics.

Voters and Officeholders

"I have heard of Negroes voting and holding office after the War. I

wasn't acquainted with any of them except a man named Kane Gibbs and

another named Cicero Barnes. I heard the old people talking about them.

I don't know what offices they held. They lived in another county


Life Since Emancipation

"I went from North Carolina to Louisiana, and from Louisiana here. They

had it that you could shake trees out in Louisiana and the money would

fall off. They had some good land out there too. One acre would make all

you wanted--corn or anything else. That was a rich land. But I don't

know--I don't care what you had or what you owned when you left there,

you had to leave it there. Never would give you no direct settlement or

pay you anything; that is, pay you anything definite. Just gave you

something from time to time. Whatever you had you had to leave it there.

Occupational Experiences

"I used to work in the field when I was able. That was when I was in the

country. When I came to the city I usually did washing and ironing. Now

I can't do anything. All the people I used to work for is dead. There

was one woman in particular. She was a good woman, too. I don't have any

help at all now, except my son. He has a family of his own--wife and

seven children. Right now, he is cut off and ain't making nothing for

himself nor nobody else. But I thank God for what I have because things

could be much worse."

Interviewer's Comment

Here again, there is a confusion of patrollers with Ku Klux. It seems to

point to a use of the word Ku Klux before the War. Of course, it is

clear that the Ku Klux Klan operated after the War.

Ella Daniels' age is given as seventy-four on her insurance policy, and

I have placed that age on the first page of this story in the heading.

But three children were born after her and before the close of the War.

She says they were born two years apart. Allowing that the youngest was

born, in 1864, the one next to her would have been born in 1860, and she

would have been born in 1858. This seems likely too because she speaks

of nursing the children and going from house to house (page two) and

must have been quite a child to have been able to do that. Born in 1858,

she would have been seven years old in 1865 and would have been able to

have been doing such nursing as would have been required of her for two

years probably. So it appears to me that her age is eighty, but I have

recorded in the heading the same age decided upon for insurance.

Elizabeth Watson Ella Glespie facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail