Emma Barr

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Emma Barr, Madison, Arkansas

Age: 65

"My parents belong to two people. Mama was born in Mississippi I think

and papa come from North Carolina. Papa's master was Lark Hickerson.

Mama was sold from Dr. Ware to Dr. Pope. She was grown when she was

sold. She was the mother of twenty-seven children. She had twins three


"During the Civil War she was run from the Yankees and had twins on the

road. They died or was born dead and she nearly died. They was buried

between twin trees close to Hernando, Mississippi. Her last owner was

Dr. Pope, ten miles south of Augusta, Arkansas. I was born there and

raised up three miles south of Augusta, Arkansas.

"When mama was sold she left her people in Mississippi but after freedom

her sisters, Aunt Mariah and Aunt Mary, come here to mama. Aunt Mariah

had no children. Aunt Mary had four boys, two girls. She brought her

children. Mama said her husband when Dr. Ware owned her was Maxwell but

she married my papa after Dr. Pope bought her.

"Dr. Ware had a fine man he bred his colored house women to. They didn't

plough and do heavy work. He was hostler, looked after the stock and got

in wood. The women hated him, and the men on the place done as well.

They hated him too. My papa was a Hickerson. He was a shoemaker and

waited on Dr. Pope. Dr. Pope and Miss Marie was good to my parents and

to my auntees when they come out here.

"I am the onliest one of mama's children living. Mama was sold on the

block and cried off I heard them say when they lived at Wares in

Mississippi. Mama was a house girl, Aunt Mary cooked and my oldest

sister put fire on the skillet and oven lids. That was her job.

"Mama was lighter than I am. She had Indian blood in her. One auntee was

half white. She was lighter than I am, had straight hair; the other

auntee was real dark. She spun and wove and knit socks. Mama said they

had plenty to eat at both homes. Dr. Pope was good to her. Mama went to

the white folks church to look after the babies. They took the babies

and all the little children to church in them days.

"Mama said the preachers told the slaves to be good and bedient. The

colored folks would meet up wid one another at preaching same as the

white folks. I heard my auntees say when the Yankees come to the house

the mistress would run give the house women their money and jewelry and

soon as the Yankees leave they would come get it. That was at Wares in


"I heard them talk about slipping off and going to some house on the

place and other places too and pray for freedom during the War. They

turned an iron pot upside down in the room. When some mens' slaves was

caught on another man's place he was allowed to whoop them and send them

home and they would git another whooping. Some men wouldn't allow that;

they said they would tend to their own slaves. So many men had to leave

home to go to war times got slack.

"It was Judge Martin that owned my papa before he was freed. He lived

close to Augusta, Arkansas. When he was freed he lived at Dr. Pope's. He

was sold in North Carolina. Dr. Pope and Judge Martin told them they was

free. Mama stayed on with Dr. Pope and he paid her. He never did whoop

her. Mama told me all this. She died a few years ago. She was old. I

never heard much about the Ku Klux. Mama was a good speller. I was a

good speller at school and she learned with us. I spelled in Webster's

Blue Back Speller.

"We children stayed around home till we married off. I nursed nearly all

my life. Me and my husband farmed ten years. He died. I don't have a

child. I wish I did have a girl. My cousin married us in the church. His

name was Andrew Baccus.

"After my husband died I went to Coffeeville, Kansas and nursed an old

invalid white woman three years, till she died. I come back here where I

was knowed. I'm keeping this house for some people gone off. Part of the

house is rented out and I get $8 and commodities. I been sick with the


Emily Mays Emma Blalock facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail