Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person Interviewed: John Bowdry, Clarendon, Arkansas
"I was born at Baldwyn, Mississippi not for from Corinth. When my mother
was last seen she was going away with a bunch of Yankees. I don't know
what it was. She was a dark woman. Pa was light. I was born in 1865. I
was left when I was two or three months old. I never seen no pa. They
left me with my uncle what raised me. He was a slave but too young to go
to war. His master was named Porter. Master Stevenson had sold him. He
liked Porter the best. He took the name of Stanfield Porter at freedom.
Porters had a ordinary farm. He wasn't rich. He had a few slaves.
Stevenson had a lot of slaves. Grandfather was in Charleston, South
Carolina. Him and my uncle corresponded. My uncle learnet to read and
write but I guess somebody done his writing for him at the other end.
"My Uncle Stanfield seen a heap of the War. He seen them fight, come by
in droves a mile long. They wasted their feed and living too.
"At freedom Master Porter told them about it and he lived on there a few
years till I come into recollection. I found out about my pa and mother.
They had three sets of children in the house. They was better to them.
All of them got better treatment 'en I did. One day I left. I'd been
making up my mind to leave. I was thirteen years old. Scared of
everything. I walked twenty miles to Middleton, Tennessee. I slept at
the state line at some stranger's but at black folks' house. I walked
all day two days. I got a job at some white folks good as my parents.
His name wae J.D. Palmer. He was a big farmer. I slept in a servant's
house and et in his own kitchen. He sont me to school two two-month
terms. Four months all I got. I got my board then four months. I got my
board and eight dollars a month the other months in the year. He died.
"I come to Forrest City when I was twenty years old.
"I been married. I got a girl lives wid me here. My girl, she married.
"I ain't got no complaint again' the times. My life has been fair. I
worked mighty hard."
John Beckwith John Boyd