Joe Haywood


Interviewer: Bernice Bowden

Person Interviewed: Joe Haywood

2207 West Eleventh Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 76

"I was born the first day of January, 1862 Born in Mississippi,

Yazoo County. My mother said I was a New Year's present. A. M. Payne was

our owner.

"I just do 'member seein' the soldiers and that's all. I 'member the

brim of slavery and that's all.

"I member Henry Dixon. He was a Klu Klux. He was Klu Klukin round

breakin' up the benevolent societies. He was a real bad man. He just

went round with his crowd and broke 'em up. My owner was a good

man--good man. They all give him a good name.

"Our folks stayed there till I was plumb grown.

"I've farmed, carpentered, and all kinds of work on the plantation. I've

been a engineer in a gin and gettin' out crops every year.

"After I left Mississippi I just roved around. Went through Louisiana to

Texas. I lived in Texas. I reckon, from 1893 to '96. Then I started to

rove again. I roved from Texas back home to Mississippi in 1902. Stayed

there till 1932, then I roved over here to Arkansas. I done got too old

to rove now.

"School? Oh Lord, I went to school all my days till I was grown. They

kep' me in school. My mother kep' me in till she died and then my

stepmother kep' me in. I got very near through the fifth grade. In my

day the fifth grade was pretty good. Wilson's Fifth Reader was a pretty

good book. They took me out of Wilson's Fifth Reader and put me in

McGuffy's and there's where I quit. Studied the Blue Back Speller.

"I've had some narrow escapes in my life. I had a shot right through

here in the breast bone--right over my heart. That was in ninety-six. Me

and another fellow was projectin with a gun.

"Then I had a bad accident on the ninth of March, 1914. A 800-foot log

came down on me. It near 'bout killed me. I was under a doctor 'bout six

or eight months. That's how come I'm crippled now. It broke my leg and

it's two inches shorter than the other one. I walked on crutches 'bout

five years. Got my jawbone broke too. Couldn't eat? I ain't never

stopped eatin'. Ain't no way to stop me from eatin' 'cept to not give it

to me.

"I compressed after I got my leg broke. And I was a noble good


"I never have voted. Nobody ever pushed me up to it and I ain't never

been bothered 'bout anything like that. Everythin was a satisfaction to

me. Just whatever way they went was a satisfaction to me.

"I have never heard my folks give my white folks no 'down the hill'. My

daddy was brought from Charleston, South Carolina. He was a ship

carpenter. He did all of Payne's carpenter work from my baby days up.

"The last of the Paynes died since I came here to Arkansas. He was a

A. M. Payne, too.

"I can 'member the soldiers marchin' by. They wore yellow shirts and

navy blue coats. I know the coats had two little knobs right behind,

just the color of the coat.

"I don't know what to think of the younger generation. I don't know why

and what to think of 'em. Just don't know how to take 'em. Ain't comin'

like I did. Lay it to the parents. They have plenty of leaders outside

the family.

"I'm lookin' for a better time. God's got His time set for 'em on that.

"I belong to St. James Methodist Episcopal Church."

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