Irene Robertson

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: S.O. Mullins, Clarendon, Arkansas

Janitor for Masonic Hall

He wears a Masonic ring

Age: 80

"My master was B.F. Wallace--Benjamin Franklin Wallace and Katie

Wallace. They had no children to my recollection.

"I was born at Brittville, Alabama. My parents' names was George W.

Mullins and Millie. They had, to my recollection, one girl and three

boys. Mr. Wallace moved to Arkansas before the Civil War. They moved to

Phillips County. My mother and father both farm hands and when my

grandmother was no longer able to do the cookin' my mother took her

place. I was rally too little to recollect but they always praised

Wallace. They said he never whipped one of his slaves in his life. His

slaves was about free before freedom was declared. They said he was a

good man. Well when freedom was declared all the white folks knowed it

first. He come down to the cabins and told us. He said you can stay and

finish the crops. I will feed and clothe you and give you men $10 and

you women $5 apiece Christmas. That was more money then than it is now.

We all stayed on and worked on shares the next year. We stayed around

Poplar Grove till he died. When I was nineteen I got a job, porter on

the railroad. I brought my mother to Clarendon to live with me. I was in

the railroad service at least fifteen years. I was on the passenger

train. Then I went to a sawmill here and then I farmed, I been doing

every little thing I find to do since I been old. All I owns is a little

house and six lots in the new addition. I live with my wife. She is my

second wife. Cause I am old they wouldn't let me work on the levy. If I

been young I could have got work. My age knocks me out of 'bout all the

jobs. Some of it I could do. I sure don't get no old age pension. I gets

$4 every two months janitor of the Masonic Hall.

"I have a garden. No place for hog nor cow.

"My boys in Chicago. They need 'bout all they can get. They don't help.

"The present conditions seem good. They can get cotton to pick and two

sawmills run in the winter (100 men each) where folks can get work if

they hire them. The stay (stave) mill is shut down and so is the button

factory. That cuts out a lot of work here. The present generation is

beyond me. Seems like they are gone hog wild."

Interviewer's Note

The next afternoon he met me and told me the following story:----

"One night the servants quarters was overflowin' wid Yankee soldiers. I

was scared nearly to death. My mother left me and my little brother

cause she didn't wanter sleep in the house where the soldiers was. We

slept on the floor and they used our beds. They left next mornin'. They

camped in our yard under the trees. Next morning they was ridin' out

when old mistress saw 'em. She said they'd get it pretty soon. When they

crossed the creek--Big Creek--half mile from our cabins I heard the guns

turn in on 'em. The neighbors all fell out wid my master. They say he

orter go fight too. He was sick all time. Course he wasn't sick. They

come and took off 25 mules and all the chickens and he never got up.

They took two fine carriage horses weighed 2,000 pounds apiece I speck.

One named Lee and one Stone Wall. He never went out there. He claimed he

was sick all time. One of the carriage horses was a fine big white horse

and had a bay match. Folks didn't like him--said he was a coward. When I

went over cross the creek after the fightin' was over, men just lay like

to show me how the soldiers were crossed.]

Irene Coates Isaac Adams facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail