Frances Fluker





Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Frances Fluker, Edmondson, Arkansas

Age: 77

[May 11 1938]





"I was born the 25th day of December 1860 in Marshall County,

Mississippi. Our owners was Dr. George Wilson and Mistress Mary. They

had one son I knowed, Dr. Wilson at Coldwater, Mississippi. My parents

was Viney Perry and Dock Bradley.



"I never seen my pa. I heard about him since I been grown. He left when

the War was going on and never went back. Mama had ten children and I am

all that's living now. Old mistress set my name and age down in her

Bible. I sent back and my niece just cut it out and sent it to me so I

could get my pension. I pasted it in the front of my Bible. I was never

sold. It was freedom when I first recollect.



"Ma was the cook for the white folks. Grandma Perry come from North

Carolina I heard 'em say. She was a widow woman. When company come they

would send us out to play. They never talked to us children, no ma'am,

not 'fore us neither. I come a woman 'fore I knowed what it was. My

sisters knowed better than tell me. They didn't tell me nothin'.



"When it wasn't company at ma's they was at work and singing. At night

we was all tired and went to bed 'cause we had to be up by

daybreak--children and all. They said it caused children's j'ints to be

stiff sleeping up in the day. All old folks could tell you that.



"This young set ain't got no strength neither. Ma cooked and washed and

raised five children up grown. The slaves didn't get nary thing give 'em

in the way of land nor stock. They got what clothes they had and some

provisions.



"Ma was ginger cake. They said pa was black. I don't know. Grandma was

reddish and lighter still than ma. They said she was part Cherokee

Indian. Her hair was smooth and pretty. She combed her hair with the

fine comb to bring the oil out on it and make it slick. I recollect her

combing her hair. It was long about on her shoulders.



"I heard about the Ku Klux but I never seed none of 'em. Ma said her

owners was good to her. Ma never had but one husband.



"I come to Arkansas 1921. Mr. Passler in Coldwater, Mississippi had

bought a farm at Onida. We had worked for him at Lula, Mississippi. Me

and my husband come here. My husband died the first year. I cooked some

in my younger days but field work and washing was my work mostly. I

like' field work long as I was able to go.



"My first husband cleared up eighty acres of land. He and myself done

it, we had help. We got in debt and lost it. He bought the place. That

was in Pinola County close to Sardis. I had four children. One daughter

living.



"What I think it was give me rheumatism was I picked cotton, broke it

off frozen two weeks on the sleet. I picked two hundred pounds a day. I

got numb and fell and they come by and got a doctor. He said it was from

overwork. I got over that but I had rheumatism ever since.



"I learned to read. I went to Shiloah School--and church too--several

terms. Mr. Will Dunlap was my first teacher. He was a white man. He run

the school a good while but I don't know how long. My name is Frances

Christiana Fluker. I been farming all my life, nothin' but farmin'.

Never thought 'bout gettin' sick 'cause I knowed I couldn't.



"I jus' get $6 and that is all. It cost more to send get the commodities

than it do to buy them. We don't get much of them. I needs

clothes--union suits. 'Course I wears 'em all summer. If they would give

me yarn and needles I could knit my socks. 'Course I can see and ain't

doing nothing else. I needs a dress. I ain't got but this one dress."





NOTE: The two old beds were filthy with slick dirt. They had two chairs

and a short bench around the stove and a trunk in which she kept the

little yellow torn to pieces Bible tied around the back with a string.

The large board door was kept wide open for light I suppose. There were

no windows to the room.



I heard the reason she gets only $6 was because her daughter lives there

and keeps two of her son's children and they try to get the young

grandson work and help out and support his children and mother at least.





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