John Goodson

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: John Goodson (Goodrum)

Des Arc, Arkansas

Age: Born in 1865

"My master was Bill Goodrum. I was born at Des Arc out in the country

close by here. My mother was a house woman and my father was overseer. I

was so little I don't remember the war. I do remember Doc Rayburn. I

seed him and remember him all right. He was a bushwacker and a Ku Klux

they said. I don't remember the Ku Klux. Never seed them.

"I heard my parents say they expected the government to divide up the

land and give them a start--a home and some land. They got just turned

out like you turn a hog out the pen and say go on I'm through wid you.

"I heard them set till midnight talking 'bout whut all took place during

the Civil War. The country was wild and it was a long ways between the

houses. There wasn't many colored folks in this country till closin' of

the war. They started bringing 'em here. Men whut needed help on the


"All my life I been cooking. I cooked at hotels and on boats. I cooked

some in restaurants. They say it was the heat caused me to go blind. I

cooked up till 1927. The last folks I cooked for was on a boat for

Heckles and Wade Sales up at Augusta, Arkansas. I done carpentry work

some when I was off of a cooking job. I never liked farmin' much. I have

done a little of that along between times too. My main job is cooking.

"I voted along when I could see. I ain't voted lately. I sho lacks this


"I had a house and lot--this one, but I couldn't pay taxes. We still

living in it. We got a garden. No hog, no cow. We made our home when I

cooked and my wife washed and ironed.

"I think this new generation of colored folks is awful. They can get

work if they would do it. Times is gettin' worse. They work some if the

price suit 'em, if it don't, they steal. They spend 'bout all they make

for shows, whiskey and I don't know whut all.

"The Social Welfare gives me $8 a month. My wife does all the washing

and ironin' she can get. We are doing very well.

"I don't understand much 'bout votin' and picking out canidates. It

don't hurt if the women want to vote.

"Only songs I ever heard was corn songs. I don't remember none. They

make 'em up out in the fields. Some folks good at making up songs. One I

used to hear a whole heap was 'It goiner be a hot time in the old time

tonite.' Another one 'If you liker me liker I liker you. We both liker

the same.' I don't remember no more them songs. I used to hear 'em a

whole lots. Yes out in the fields."

John Glover John Graves facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail