Jake Goodridge

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Jake Goodridge

Clarendon, Arkansas

Age: 97? 87 is about correct

Born August 4, 1857

"I was born close to Jackson, Tennessee in Madison County. My master was

Hatford Weathers. His wife's name was Susan Weathers. They had a big

family--John, Lidy, Mattie, Polly, Betty, and Jimmy, that I recollect

and there might er been some more.

"My parents' names was Narcissus and Jacob Goodridge. I had one brother

that was a Yankee soldier, and five sisters. One sister did live in

Texas. They all dead fur as I know. We got scattered. Some of us got

inherited fore freedom. Jake Goodridge took me along when he went to the

army to wait on him. Right there it was me an' my brother fightin' agin

one 'nother.

"When we come to St. Charles we come to Memphis on freight boxes--no

tops--flat cars like. There a heap more soldiers was waiting. We got on

a boat--a great big boat. There was one regiment--Indiana Cavalry, one

Kansas, one Missouri, one Illinois. All on deck was the horses. There

was 1,200 men in a regiment and four regiments, 4,800 horses and four

cannons. There was not settin' down room on the boat. They captured my

master and sent him to prison. First they put him in a callaboose and

then they sent him on to prison and they took me to help them. They made

a waitin' boy of me. I didn't lack none of 'em. They cussed all the

time. I heard they paroled my master long time after the war.

"They would shoot a cannon, had a sponge on a long rod. They wipe it out

and put in another big ball, get way back and pull a rope. The cannon

fire agin. Course I was scared. I was scared to death bout two years,

that 'bout how long I was in the war. I was twelve or fourteen years

old. I recollect it as well as if it was yesterday. They never had a

battle at St. Charles while I was there. They loaded up the boat and

took us to Little Rock. They mustered out there. The Yankee soldiers

give out news of freedom. They was shouting 'round. I jes' stood around

to see whut they goiner do next. Didn't nobody give me nuthin'. I didn't

know what to do. Everything going. Tents all gone, no place to go stay

and nothin' to eat. That was the big freedom to us colored folks. That

the way white folks fightin' do the colored folks. I got hungry and

naked and cold many a time. I had a good master and I thought he always

treated me heap better than that. I wanted to go back but I had no way.

I made it down to St. Charles in 'bout a year after the surrender. I

started farmin'. I been farmin' ever since. In Little Rock I found a job

in a tin pin alley, pickin' up balls. The man paid me $12 a month, next

to starvation. I think his name was Warren Rogers.

"I went to Indian Bay 'bout 1868 and farmed for Mr. Hathway, then Mr.

Duncan. Then I come up to Clarendon and been here ever since.

"One time I owned 40 acres at Holly Grove, sold it, spent the money.

"I too old, I don't fool wid no votin'. I never did take a big stock in

sich foolishness.

"I live wid my daughter and white folks. The Welfare give me $8 a month.

We got a garden. No cow. No hog. No chickens.

"The present conditions seem pretty bad. Some do work and some don't

work. Nobody savin' that I sees. Takes it all to live on. I haben't give

the present generation a thought."

Jacob Thomas James Baker Interviewed By Mary D Hudgins facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail