John H Logan

Mary D. Hudgins

107 Palm Street,

Hot Springs, Ark.

Interviewer: Mary D. Hudgins

Person interviewed: John H. Logan

Aged: c. 89

Home: 449 Gaines Avenue.

[Date Stamp: MAY 11 1938]

Gaines Avenue was once a "Quality Street". It runs on a diagonal from

Malvern Avenue, a one-time first class residential thorofare to the

Missouri Pacific Tracks. Time was when Gaines led almost to the gates

of the fashionable Combes Racetrack.

Built up during the days of bay windows Gaines Avenue has preserved

half a dozen land marks of former genteelity. Long stretches between

are filled "shot gun" houses, unaquainted for many years with a


Within half a block of the streetcar line on Malvern an early spring

had encouraged plowing of a 200 foot square garden. Signs such as

"Hand Laundry" appear frequently. But by far the most frequent placard

is "FOR SALE" a study in black and white, the insignia of a local real

estate firm specializing in foreclosures.

The street number sought proved to be two doors beyond the red brick

church. A third knock brought a slight, wrinkled face to the door, its

features aquiline, in coloring only the mildest of mocha. Its owner

Laura Burton Logan, after satisfying herself that the visitor wasn't

just an intruder, opened the door wide and invited her to come inside.

"Logan, oh Logan, come on here, come on in here," she called to an old

man in the next room. "Law, I don't know whether he can tell you

anything or not. He's getting pretty feeble. Now five or six years ago

he could have told you lots of things. But now----I don't know."

Into the "front room" hobbled the old fellow. His back was bent, his

eyes dimmed with age. His face was the sort often called "good"--not

good in the sense stupid acquiescence--but rather evidence of an

intelligent, non-preditory meeting of the problems of life.

A quarter, handed the old fellow at the beginning of the interview

remained clutched in his hand throughout the entire conversation.

Because of events during the talk the interviewer reached for her

change purse to find and offer another quarter. It was not in her

purse. Getting up from her chair she looked on the floor about her. It

wasn't there. Mrs. Logan, who had gone back to bed, wanted to know

what the trouble was, and was worried when she found what was missing.

By manner the interviewer put over the idea that she wasn't suspecting

either of the two. But Logan, not having heard the entire conversation

got to his feet and extended his hand--the one holding the quarter,

offering it back to the interviewer.

When he rose, there was the purse as it had slipped down on the seat

of the rocker which the interviewer had almost taken and in which she

had probably carelessly tossed her purse. A second quarter, added to

his first, brought a beaming smile from the old man. But for the rest

of the afternoon there was a lump in the interviewer's throat. Here

was a man, evidently terribly in need of money, ready, without even a

tiny protest, to return a gift of cash which must have meant so much

to him--on the barest notion in his mind that the interviewer wanted

it back.

"Be patient with me ma'am," Logan began, "I can't remember so good.

And I want to get it all right. I don't want to spoil my record now. I

been honest all my life, always stood up and told the truth, done what

was right. I don't want to spoil things and lie in my mouth now. Give

me time to think.

I was born, on----December----December 15. It was in 1848----I think.

I was born in the house of Mrs. Cozine. She was living on Third Street

in Little Rock. It was near the old Catholic Church. Was only a little

ways from the State House. Mrs. Cozine, she was my first mistress.

Then she sold me, me and my mother and a couple of brothers.

It was Governor Roane she sold me to. Don't know just how old I

was----good sized boy, though. Guess I was five--maybe six years old.

He was a fine man, Governor Roane was--a mighty fine man. He always

treated me good. Raised me up to be a good man.

I remember when he gives us a free-pass. That was during the war. He

said, 'Now boys, you be good. You stand for what is right, and don't

you tell any stories. I've raised you up to do right.'

When he wasn't governor any more he went back to Pine Bluff. We lived

there a long time. I was with Governor Roane right up until I was

grown. I can't right correct things in my mind altogether, but I think

I was with him until I was about 20.

When the war come on, Governor Roane helped to gather up troops. He

called us in out of the fields and asked us if we wanted to go. I did.

Right today I should be getting a pension. I was truly in the army.

Ought to be getting a pension. Once a white man, Mr. Williams, I

believe his name was, tried to get me to go with him to Little Rock.

Getting me a pension would be easy he said. But somehow we never did


I worked in the powder factory for a while. Then they set me to

hauling things----mostly food from the Brazos river to Tyler, Texas.

We had hard times then----we had a time----and don't you let anybody

tell you we didn't. Sometimes we didn't have any bread. And even

sometimes we didn't have any water. I wasn't so old, but I was a

pretty good man----pretty well grown up.

After the war I went back with my pappy. While I'd belonged to

Governor Roane, Roane was my name. But when I went back with father, I

took his name. We farmed for a while and later I went to Little Rock.

I did lots of things there. Worked in a cabinet maker's shop for one

thing. Was classed as a good workman, too. I worked the lathes. Did a

good job of it. I never was the sort that had to walk around looking

for work. Folks used to come and get me and ask me to work for them.

How'd I happen to come to Hot Springs? They got me to come to work on

the water mains. Worked for the water works a long time. Then I worked

for a Mr. Smith in the bath house. I fired the furnace for him. Then

for about 15 years I kept the yard at the Kingsway----the Eastman it

was then. I kept the lawn clean at the Eastman Hotel. That was about

the last steady work I did.

Yes and in between I used to haul things. Had me an express wagon.

Used to build rock walls too. Built good walls.

Who did you say you was, Miss? Your father was Jack Hudgins--Law,

child, law----"

A feeble hand reached for the hand of the white woman and took it. The

old eyes filled with tears and the face distorted in weaping. For a

few minutes he sat, then he rose, and the young woman rose with him.

For a moment she put a comforting arm around him and soon he was


"Law, so your father was Jack Hudgins. How well I does remember him.

Whatever did become of that fine boy? Dead did you say? I remembers

now. He was a fine man, a mighty--mighty fine man. Jack Hudgins girl!

Yes, Miss, I guess you has seen me around a lot. Lots of folks know

me. They'll come along the street and they'll say, 'Hello Logan!' and

sometimes I won't know who they are, but they'll know me.

I remember once, it's been years and years ago, a man come along

Central Avenue--a white man. I was going along the street and suddenly

he grabbed me and hugged me. It scared me at first. 'Logan,' he says,

'Logan' he says again. 'Logan, I'd know you anywhere. How glad I am to

see you.' But I didn't recognize him. 'Wife,' he says 'wife, come on

over and speak to Logan, he saved my life once.' Invited me to come

and see him too, he did.

Things have been mighty hard for the last few years. Seems like we

could get the pension. First they had a rule that we'd have to sign

away the home if we got $9.00 a month. Well, my wife's daughter was

taking care of us. Even if we got the $9 she'd still have to help. She

wasn't making much, but she was dividing everything--going without

shoes and everything. So we thought it wasn't fair to her to sign away

our home after all she'd done for us----so that they'd just kick her

out when we was dead--she'd been too good to us. So we says 'No!' We

been told that they done changed that rule, but we can't seem to get

help at all. Maybe, Miss, there's somthing you can do. We sure would

be thankful, if you could help us get on.

All my folks is dead, my mother and my father and all my brothers, my

first and my second wives and both my children. My wife's daughter

helps us all she can. She's mighty good to us. Don't know what we'd do

without her. Thank you, glad you come to see us. Glad to know you. If

you can talk to them over at the Court House, we'd be glad. Good-bye.

Come to see us ag in."

John H Jackson John H Smith facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail