George Braddox

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: George Braddox, Hazen, Arkansas

Age: 81

Most of the old songs were religious. I don't remember none much. When

the war broke out my papa jess left and went on off with some people and

joined the Yankee army. I went to see him since I been at Hazen. He

lived in Chicago. Yes mam he's been dead a long time ago. Gus Taylor and

Peter Calloway (white) took my papa with them for their helper. He left

them and went with the Yankee army soon as he heard what they was

fighting about. Peter Calloway lived on a big track of land joining Dave

Genes land. It show was a big farm. Peter Calloway owned my papa and

Dave Genes my mama. Gus Taylor was Dave Genes overseer. Peter Calloway

never come back from the war. My folks come from Alabama with Dave Genes

and his son John Genes. I was born in Harrison county, Texas. Gus Taylor

was a great big man. He was mean to us all. The Yankees camped there. It

was near Marshall. I had some good friends among the Yankees. They kept

me posted all time the war went on. Nobody never learnt me nothing. I

can cipher a little and count money. I took that up. I learned after I

was grown a few things. Just learned it myself. I never went to school a

day in my life. The Genes had a brick, big red brick house. They sent

their children to schools. They had stock, peafowls, cows, guineas,

geese, ducks and chickens, hogs and everything. Old woman on the place

just milked and churned. That is all she done.

I never heard of no plantations being divided. They never give us

nothing, not nothing. Right after the war was the worse times we ever

have had. We ain't had no sich hard times since then. The white folks

got all was made. It was best we could do. The Yankees what camped down

there told us about the surrender. If the colored folks had started an

uprisin the white folks would have set the hounds on us and killed us.

I never heard of the Ku Klux Klan ever being in Texas. Gus Taylor was

the ridin boss and he was Ku Klux enough. Everybody was scared not to

mind him. He rode over three or four hundred acres of ground. He could

beat any fellow under him. I never did see anybody sold. I never was

sold. We was glad to be set free. I didn't know what it would be like.

It was just like opening the door and lettin the bird fly out. He might

starve, or freeze, or be killed pretty soon but he just felt good

because he was free. We show did have a hard time getting along right

after we was set free. The white folks what had money wouldn't pay

nothing much for work. All the slaves was in confusion.

A cousin of mine saw Dr. Hazen down in Texas and they all come back to

work his land. They wrote to us about it being so fine for hunting. I

always liked to hunt so I rode a pony and come to them. The white folks

in Texas told the Yankees what to do after the surrender; get off the

land. We didn't never vote there but I voted in Arkansas. Mr. Abel

Rinehardt always hope me. I could trust him. I don't vote now. No

colored people held office in Texas or here that I heard of.

I got nothing to say bout the way the young generation is doing.

I farmed around Hazen nearly ever since the Civil War. I saved $300 and

bought this here house. My son was killed in the World War and I get his

insurance every month. I hunted with Colonel Yapp and fed his dogs. He

never paid me a cent for taking care of the dogs. His widow never as

much as give me a dog. She never give me nothing!

I'm too old to worry bout the present conditions. They ain't gettin no

better. I sees dot.

George Benson George Briggs facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail