Emaline Neland

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Emaline Neland, Marianna, Arkansas

Age: Born 1859

"I was born two years before the War. I was born in Murray County,

Tennessee. It was middle Tennessee. When I come to remembrance I was in

Grant County, Arkansas. When I remember they raised wheat and corn and

tobacco. Mother's master was Dr. Harrison. His son was married and me

and my brother Anderson was give to him. He come to Arkansas 'fore ever

I could remember. He was a farmer but I never seen him hit a lick of

work in my life. He was good to me and my brother. She was good too. I

was the nurse. They had two children. Brother was a house boy. Me and

her girl was about the same size but I was the oldest. Being with the

other children I called her mother too. I didn't know no other mother

till freedom.

"Freedom! Well, here is the very way it all was: Old master told her

(mother) she was free. He say, 'Go get your children, you free as I is

now.' Ain't I heard her say it many a time? Well, mother come in a ox

wagon what belong to him and got us. They run me down, caught me and got

me in the wagon. They drove twenty-five miles. Old Dr. Harrison had

moved to Arkansas. Being with the other children I soon learnt to call

her ma. She had in all ten or eleven children. She was real dark.

"Pa was a slave too. He was a low man. He was a real bright man. He was

brighter than I is. He belong to a widow woman named Tedford. He renamed

his self after freedom. He took the name Brown 'stead of Tedford. I

never heard him say why he wasn't satisfied with his own name. He was a

soldier. He worked for the Yankees.

"After the War pa and ma got back together and lived together till she

died. There was five days' difference in their deaths. They died of

pneumonia. He was 64 years old and she was 54 years old. I was at home

when pa come from the War. All my sisters was light, one sister had

sandy hair like pa. She was real light. Ma was a good all 'round woman.

She cooked more than anything else. She nursed. Dr. Harrison told her to

stay till her husband come back or all the time if he didn't ever come

back. Ma never worked in the field. When pa come he moved us on a place

to share crop. Ma never worked in the field. He was buying a home in

Grant County. He started to Mississippi and stopped close to Helena and

ten or twelve miles from Marianna. He had a soldier friend wouldn't let

him go. He told him this was a better country. He decided to stay down

in here.

"I heard a whole heap about the Ku Klux. One time when a crowd was going

to church, we heard horse's feet coming; sound like they would run over

us. We all got clear out of reach so they wouldn't run over us. They had

on funny caps was all I could see, they went so fast. We give them the

clear road and they went on. That is all I ever seen of the Ku Klux.

"I seen Dr. Harrison's wife. She was a little old lady but we left after

I went there.

"I used to sew for the public. Yes, white and colored folks. I learnt my

own self to sew. I never had but one boy in my life. He died at seven

weeks old. I raised a stepson. I married twice. I married at home both

times. Just a quiet marriage and a colored preacher married me both


"The present conditions is hard. I want things and can't get 'em. If I

had the strength to hold out to work I could get along.

"The present generation--young white and black--blinds me. They turns

corners too fast. They going so fast they don't have time to take

advice. They promise to do better but they don't. They do like they want

to do and don't tell nobody till they done it. I say they just running

way with their selves.

"I get $8 and a little help along. I'm thankful for it. It is a blessing

I tell you."

Elvira Boles Emanuel Caldwell facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail