Ex-slave Jeff Bailey Interviewed By Samuel S Taylor





Circumstances of Interview



STATE--Arkansas



NAME OF WORKER--Samuel S. Taylor



ADDRESS--Little Rock, Arkansas



DATE--December, 1938



SUBJECT--Ex-slave



1. Name and address of informant--Jeff Bailey, 713 W. Ninth Street,

Little Rock.



2. Date and time of interview--



3. Place of interview--713 W. Ninth Street, Little Rock.



4. Name and address of person, if any, who put you in touch with

informant--



5. Name and address of person, if any, accompanying you--



6. Description of room, house, surroundings, etc.





Personal History of Informant



STATE--Arkansas



NAME OF WORKER--Samuel S. Taylor



ADDRESS--Little Rock, Arkansas



DATE--December, 1938



SUBJECT--Ex-slave



NAME AND ADDRESS OF INFORMANT--Jeff Bailey, 713 W. Ninth Street, Little

Rock.





1. Ancestry--father, Jeff Wells; mother, Tilda Bailey.



2. Place and date of birth--born in 1861 in Monticello, Arkansas.



3. Family--



4. Places lived in, with dates--reared in Monticello. Lived in Pine

Bluff thirty-two years, then moved to Little Rock and has lived here

thirty-two years.



5. Education, with dates--



6. Occupations and accomplishments, with dates--Hostler



7. Special skills and interests--



8. Community and religious activities--



9. Description of informant--



10. Other points gained in interview--







Text of Interview (Unedited)



STATE--Arkansas



NAME OF WORKER--Samuel S. Taylor



ADDRESS--Little Rock, Arkansas



DATE--December, 1938



SUBJECT-Ex-slave



NAME AND ADDRESS OF INFORMANT--Jeff Bailey, 713 W. Ninth Street, Little

Rock.





[HW: A Hostler's Story]



"I was born in Monticello. I was raised there. Then I came up to Pine

Bluff and stayed there thirty-two years. Then I came up here and been

here thirty-two years. That is the reason the white folks so good to me

now. I been here so long, I been a hostler all my life. I am the best

hostler in this State. I go down to the post office they give me money.

These white folks here is good to me.



"What you writing down? Yes, that's what I said. These white folks like

me and they good to me. They give me anything I want. You want a drink?

That's the best bonded whiskey money can buy. They gives it to me. Well,

if you don't want it now, come in when you do.



"I lost my wife right there in that corner. I was married just once.

Lived with her forty-three years. She died here five months ago. Josie

Bailey! The white folks thought the world and all of her. That is

another reason they give me so much. She was one of the best women I

ever seen.





"I gits ten dollars a month. The check comes right up to the house. I

used to work with all them money men. Used to handle all them horses at

the post office. They ought to give me sixty-five dollars but they

don't. But I gits along. God is likely to lemme live ten years longer. I

worked at the post office twenty-two years and don't git but ten dollars

a month. They ought to gimme more.



"My father's name was Jeff Wells. My mother's name was Tilda Bailey. She

was married twice. I took her master's name. Jeff Wells was my father's

name. Governor Bailey ought to give me somethin'. I got the same name he

has. I know him.



"My father's master was Stanley--Jeff Stanley. That was in slavery time.

That was my slave time people. I was just a little bit of a boy. I am

glad you are gittin' that to help the colored people out. Are they goin'

to give the old slaves a pension? What they want to ask all these

questions for then? Well, I guess there's somethin' else besides money

that's worth while.



"My father's master was a good man. He was good to him. Yes Baby! Jeff

Wells, that my father's name. I was a little baby settin' in the basket

'round in the yard and they would put the cotton all 'round me. They

carried me out where they worked and put me in the basket. I couldn't

pick no cotton because I was too young. When they got through they would

put me in that big old wagon and carry me home. There wasn't no trucks

then. Jeff Wells (that was my father), when they got through pickin' the

cotton, he would say, 'Put them children in the wagon; pick 'em up and

put 'em in the wagon.' I was a little bitty old boy. I couldn't pick no

cotton then. But I used to pick it after the surrender.



"I remember what they said when they freed my father. They said, 'You're

free. You children are free. Go on back there and work and let your

children work. Don't work them children too long. You'll git pay for

your work.' That was in the Monticello courthouse yard. They said,

'You're free! Free!'



"My mistress said to me when I got back home, 'You're free. Go on out in

the orchard and git yoself some peaches.' They had a yard full of

peaches. Baby did I git me some peaches. I pulled a bushel of 'em.





Ku Klux Klan



"The Ku Klux run my father out of the fields once. And the white people

went and got them 'bout it. They said, 'Times is hard, and we can't have

these people losin' time out of the fields. You let these people work.'

A week after that, they didn't do no mo. The Ku Klux didn't. Somebody

laid them out. I used to go out to the fields and they would ask me,

'Jeff Bailey, what you do in' out here?' I was a little boy and you jus'

ought to seen me gittin' 'way frum there. Whooo-eeee!



"I used to pick cotton back yonder in Monticello. I can't pick no cotton

now. Naw Lawd! I'm too old. I can't do that kind of work now. I need

help. Carl Bailey knows me. He'll help me. I'm a hostler. I handle

horses. I used to pick cotton forty years ago. My mother washed clothes

right after the War to git us children some thin' to eat. Sometimes

somebody would give us somethin' to help us out.



"Tilda Bailey, that was my mother. She and my father belonged to

different masters. Bailey was her master's name. She always called

herself Bailey and I call myself Bailey. If I die, I'll be Bailey. My

insurance is in the name of Bailey. My father and mother had about eight

children. They raised all their children in Monticello. You ever been to

Monticello? I had a good time in Monticello. I was a baby when peace was

declared. Just toddling 'round.



"My father drank too much. I used to tell him about it. I used to say to

him, 'I wouldn't drink so much whiskey.' But he drank it right on. He

drank hisself to death.



"I believe Roosevelt's goin' to be President again. I believe he's goin'

to run for a third term. He's goin' to be dictator. He's goin' to be

king. He's goin' to be a good dictator. We don't want no more Republic.

The people are too hard on the poor people. President Roosevelt lets

everybody git somethin'. I hope he'll git it. I hope he'll be dictator.

I hope he'll be king. Yuh git hold uh some money with him.



"You couldn't ever have a chance if Cook got to be governor. I believe

Carl Bailey's goin' to be a good governor. I believe he'll do better.

They put Miz Carraway back; I believe she'll do good too."







Extra Comment



STATE--Arkansas



NAME OF WORKER--Samuel S. Taylor



ADDRESS--Little Rock, Arkansas



DATE--December, 1938



SUBJECT--Ex-slave



NAME AND ADDRESS OF INFORMANT--Jeff Bailey, 713 W. Ninth Street, Little

Rock.





Jeff Bailey talked like a man of ninety instead of a man of seventy-six

or seven. It was hard to get him to stick to any kind of a story. He had

two or three things on his mind and he repeated those things over and

over again--Governor Bailey, Hostler, Post Office. He had to be pried

loose from them. And he always returned the next sentence.





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