Ellie Hamilton

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Ellie Hamilton (male)

Clarendon, Arkansas


"I was born about near Holly Springs, Mississippi. My parents' masters'

name William and Mary Ellen Jefferies. I don't know much 'bout them. My

parents' name Neely and Amos Hamilton. I judge that was pa's master's

name. They had eight children. Three of us living yet.

"I been farmin' and workin' 'round Clarendon ever since I was a chap. I

work 'round hotels and stores and farm too.

"I votes when we have a leader for our party. It don't do no good. I

never seed no good come outen the colored race votin' yet.

"Some ways times is much better, much better! Some ways they is worser.

The people is educated better'n I had a chance at.

"Work wages is a heap better. I has worked for $7 a month. Now some can

get $18 to $20 a week. But the young generation throwin' it away. They

ain't going to save a bit of it. The present condition is worse morally.

They used to could depend on a man. You can't hardly depend on the

younger generation. They is so tricky. Folks going too much. I recollect

when I was a child I went to town one or two times a year. I didn't want

all I seen there then neither. Seems lack folks spends so much money


"I own a home, no cow, no hog, no land. Get $10 a month from the PWA.

[HW: [WPA?]]

"I come to Arkansas to farm. It is a fine farmin' country, Miss. My

father died and left my mother wid seven children to raise. She come on

out here to make a livin'.

"I remember when Tilden and Hendrick lost and Hayes and Wheeler was

elected. They sung songs 'bout 'em and said 'Carve that possum nigger to

the heart.' It done been so long since we sung them rally songs I forgot

every line of all of them. People used to sing more religious songs

seems like than they do now. They done gone wild over dancin' 'stead of


"I farmed for J. P. Cherry at Holly Springs from time I was eight year

old till I was twenty-one year old. That's a long time to stay by one

man ain't it?"

Ellen Trell Ellis Jefferson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail