Hettie Mitchell

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Hettie Mitchell (mulatto)

Brinkley, Arkansas

Age: 69

"I am sixty-nine years old. I was raised in Dyersburg, Tennessee. I can

tell you a few things mother told us. My own grandma on mother's side

was in South Carolina. She was stole when a child and brought to

Tennessee in a covered wagon. Her mother died from the grief of it. She

was hired out to nurse for these people. The people that stole her was

named Spence. She was a house woman for them till freedom. She was never

sold. Spences was not cruel people. Mother was never sold. She was the

mother of twelve and raised nine to a good age--more than grown. The

Spences seemed to always care for her children. When I go to Dyersburg

they always want us to come to see them and they treat us mighty well.

"Mother was light. She said she had Indian strain (blood) but father was

very light and it was white blood but he never discussed it before his

children. So I can't tell you excepting he said he was owned by the

Brittians in South Carolina. He said his mother died soon after he was

sold. He was sold to a nigger trader and come in the gang to Memphis,

Tennessee and was put on the block and auctioned off to the highest

bidder. He was a farm hand.

"Mother married father when she was nineteen years old. She was a house

girl. She lived close to her old mistress. She was very, very old before

she died she nearly stayed at my mother's house. Her mind wasn't right

and mother understood how to take care of her and was kind to her. The

Spences heard about grandma. They wrote and visited years after when

mother was a girl.

"The way that father found out about his kin folks was this: One day a

creek was named and he told the white man, 'I was born close to that

creek and played there in the white sand and water when I was a little

boy.' The white man asked his name, said he knew the creek well too.

Father told him he never was named till he was sold and they named him

Sam--Sam Barnett. He was sold to Barnett in Memphis. But his dear own

mother called him 'Candy.' The white man found out about his people for

him and they found out his own dear mother died that same year he was

taken from South Carolina from grief. He heard from some of his people

from that time on till he died.

"I worked on the farm in Tennessee till I married. I ironed, washed, and

have kept my own house and done the work that goes along with raising a

small family. We own our home. We have saved all we could along. I have

never had a real hard time like some I know. I guess my time is at hand

now. I don't know which way to turn since my husband got down sick.

"I don't vote. Seem like it used to not be a nice place for women to go

where voting was taking place. Now they go mix up and vote. That is one

big change. Time is changing and changing the people. Maybe it is the

people is changing up the world as time goes by. We colored folks look

to the white folks to know the way to do. We have always done it."

Hester Hunter Hh Edmunds facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail