Fannie Tatum

Interviewer: Pernella M. Anderson

Person interviewed: Fannie Tatum, Junction City, Arkansas

Age: Born 1862

"I was born on Wilmington landing in 1862 on the Ouachita River and was

carried away when I was two years old. My mother ran away and left my

sister and me when we was three and five years old. I never saw her any

more till I was eight and after I was eight years old I never saw her

again in forty years. After my mama left me old Master Neal come here to

El Dorado and had me bound to him until I was twenty-one. I stayed there

till I was twenty-one. I slept by the jamb of the fireplace on a sack of

straw and covered with saddle blankets. That was in the winter when snow

was waist high. In summer I slept on naked floor and anywhere I laid

down was my bed just like a dog.

"I wasn't allowed to eat at the table. I et on the edge of the porch

with the dogs with my fingers. I worked around the house and washed

until I was nine and then I started to plowing. At ten I started

splitting rails. My task was two hundred rails a day. If I didn't cut

them I got a beating. I did not know what a coat was. I wore two pieces,

a lowel[HW:?] underskirt and a lowel[HW:?] dress, bachelor brogans and

sacks and rags wrapped around my legs for stockings. That was in winter.

Summer I went barefooted and wore one piece. My sun hat was a rag tied

on my head.

"I did not know anything about Sunday School nor church. The children

would try to teach me my ABC's but master would not let them. Never

visited any colored people. If I see a colored person coming I run from

them. They said they might steal me. After I got grown they let me go

to a colored party and they whipped me for going. Tried to make me tell

whether or not a boy come home with me but I did not tell it; one come

with me though. That was the first time I got out. Of course they sent

one of the boys along with me but he would not tell on me.

"I never slept in a bed until I was twenty-two years old. Never was with

any colored people until I was grown. My play was with white children.

My father was a white man. He was my ma's old master and they was Neals.

They kept my hair cut off like a boy's all the time. I never wore a

stocking until I was twenty-two and my hair did not grow out and get

combed until I was twenty-two. My old master and mistress would have

been mean to me but I was so smart they did not get a chance. The only

thing I was treated like a dog.

"I live in Junction City but am here visiting my daughter."

Fannie Parker Fanny Cannady facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail