Ex-slave History Old Sayings





Name of Interviewer: Irene Robertson

Subject: EX-SLAVE--HISTORY--OLD SAYINGS





This information given by: George Braddox

Place of Residence: Hazen, Arkansas

Occupation: Farmer AGE: 80

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George Braddox was born a slave but his mother being freed when he was

eipht years old they went to themselves--George had one sister and one

brother. He doesn't know anything about them but thinks they are dead as

he is the youngest of the three. His father's name was Peter Calloway He

went with Gus Taylor to the war and never came back to his family.

George said he had been to Chicago several times to see his father where

he was living. But his mother let her children go by that name. She gave

them a name Braddox when they were freed. Calloways lived on a joining

plantation to John and Dave Gemes. John Gemes was the old master and

Dave the young. George said they were mean to him. He can remember that

Gus Taylor wes overseer for the Gemes till he went to war. The Gemes

lived in a brick house and the slaves lived in log houses. They had a

big farm and raised cotton and corn. The cotton was six feet tall and

had big leaves. They had to pull the leaves to let the bowls get the sun

to open. They topped the cotton too. They made lots of cotton and corn

to an acre. Dave Gemes had several children when George moved away,

their names were Ruben, John, Margaret, Susie and Betty. They went to

school at Marshall, Texas.



John Gemes had fine carriages, horses and mules. He had one old slave

who just milked and churned. She didn't do anything else. When young

calves had to be attended to somebody else had to help her and one man

did all the feeding. They had lots of peafowles, ducks, geese and

chickens.



They had mixed stock of chickens and guineas--always had a drove of

turkeys. Sometimes the turkeys would go off with wild turkeys. There

were wild hogs and turkeys in the woods. George never learned to read or

write. He remembers they built a school for white children on the

Calloway place joining the Gemes place but he thought it was tuition

school. George said he thought the Gemes and all his "kin" folks came

from Alabama to Texas, but he is not sure but he does know this. Dr.

Hazen came from Tennessee to Texas and back to Hazen, Arkansas and

settled. His cousin Jane Hodge (colored) was working out near here and

he came here to deer hunt and just stayed with them. He said deer was

plentiful here. It was not cleared and so close to White Cache, St.

Francis and Mississippi rivers.



George said his mother cooked for the Gemes the first he could remember

of her. That was all she had time to do. It was five miles to Marshall.

They lived in Harrison County and they could buy somethings to eat there

if they didn't raise enough. They bought cheese by the cases in round

boxes and flour in barrels and sugar in barrels. They had fine clothes

for Sunday. After his mother left the Gemes they worked in the field or

did anything she could for a living.



George married after he came to Arkansas and bought a farm 140 acres of

land 4 miles north of Hazen and a white man, -- --- closed a mortgage

out on him and took it. He paid $300.00 for a house in town in which he

now lives. His son was killed in the World War and he gets his son's

insurance every month.



George said when he came to Arkansas it was easy to live if you liked to

hunt. Ship the skins and get some money when you couldn't be farming.

Could get all the wood you would cut and then clear out land and farm.

He hunted 7 or 8 years with Colonel A.F. Yopp and fed Colonel's dogs. He

hunted with Mr. Yopp but he didn't think Colonel was a very good man. I

gathered from George that he didn't approve of wickedness.



It is bad luck to dig a grave the day before a person is buried, or any

time before the day of the burying. Uncle George has dug or helped to

dig lots of graves. It is bad luck to the family of the dead person. The

grave ought not to be "left open" it is called. He has always heard this

and believes it, yet he can't remember when he first heard it.



He thinks there are spirits that direct your life and if you do wrong

the evil fates let you be punished. He believes in good and evil

spirits. Spirits right here among us. He says there is "bound to be

spirits" or "something like 'em."





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