Jeff Burgess

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Parson interviewed: Jeff Burgess, Clarendon, Arkansas

Age: Born in 1664 or 1865, forgot which

"I was born in Granville, Texas. My master was Strathers Burgess and

mistress Polly Burgess. My master died 'fore I was born. He died on the

way to Texas, trying to save his slaves. Keep them from leaving him and

from going into the war. They didn't want to fight. His son was killed

in the war. My folks didn't know they was free till three years after

the war was over. They come back to Caloche Bay, the old home place.

There was a bureau at De Valls Bluff. They had to let the slaves go and

they was citizens then. My folks wasn't very anxious to leave the white

owners because times was so funny and they didn't have nowhere to go.

The courts was torn up powerful here in Arkansas.

"Heap of meanness going on right after the war. One man tell you do this

and another man say you better not do that you sho get in trouble. It

was hard to go straight. They said our master was a good man but awful

rough wid his slaves and the hands overseeing too. Guess he was rough

wid his family too.

"Times is hard with me, I gits $10 pension every month. I got no home

now. I got me three hogs. I lives three miles from here (Clarendon).

"If I wasn't so old and no account I'd think the times the best ever.

It's bad when you get old. I jess sees the young folks. I don't know

much about them. Seems lack they talk a lot of foolish chat to me. I got

a lot and a half in town. They tore down my house and toted it off for

fire wood. It was rented. Then they moved out and wouldn't pay no rent.

They kept doing that way. I never had a farm of my own.

"I was good with a saw and axe. I cleared land and farmed. Once I worked

on the railroad they was building. I drove pile mostly. Farming is the

best job and the best place to make a living. I found out that myself."

Je Filer Jeff Calhoun facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail