Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Emma Barr, Madison, Arkansas
"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