John Lynch

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: John Lynch,

Brinkley, Arkansas

Age: 69

"My mother was a slave of Buck Lynch. They lived close to Nashville,

Tennessee. My father run away from Buck Lynch before the Civil War. He

lived in the woods till he nearly went wild. My mother fed him at

night. I was twenty-one years old before I ever seen him. My mother

worked several years and didn't know she was free. She come with some

traders from close to Nashville out here. I was born at Cotton Plant.

I got two living brothers in Memphis now.

"I was raised a farmer. The first work I ever done away from home was

here in Brinkley. I worked at the sawmill fur Gun and Black. Then I

went to Ft. Smith and worked in er oil mill. I come back here and

farmed frum 1911 till 1915. Then I worked in the Brinkley oil mill. I

cooked the cotton seed meal. One of my bosses had me catch a small cup

full fur him every once in awhile. The oil taste something like peanut

butter. It taste very well while it is hot and smells fine too. I quit

work when they quit the mill here. It burned up. I do like the work.

They got some crazy notion and won't hire old fellows like me no more.

Jobs are hard to get. Younger men can get something seems like pretty

easy. I make a garden. That is 'bout all I can do or get to do.

"My mother's name was Molly Lynch. She cooked some at Cotton Plant and

worked in the field. She talked a right smart bout the way she had to

do in slavery times but I don't recollect much.

Shes been dead a long time. I heard folks say times was awful hard

right after the war, that times was easier in slavery for de reason

when they got sick they got the best of care. She said they had all

kinds of herbs along the side of the walks in the garden. I don't

guess after they got settled times was near as hard. She talked about

how hard it was to get clothes and something to eat. Prices seemed

like riz like they are now.

"I don't know 'bout my father's votin' cause I didn't know him till

after I was grown and not much then. He was down about Marianna when I

knowed him. I did vote. I vote the Republican ticket. I like the way

we voted the best in 1886 or '87. It was called Fair Divide. Each side

put his man and the one got most votes got elected. I don't think it

necessary fur the women to vote. Her place is in the home. Seem like

the women all going to work and the men quit. About 40 years ago R. P.

Polk was justice of the peace here and Clay Holt was the constable.

They made very good officers. I don't recollect nothing 'bout them

being elected. Brinkley is always been a very peaceable town. The

colored folks have to go clear away from town with any rowdiness."

(The Negroes live among the whites and at their back doors in every

part of town.)

"I live with my son-in-law. He works up at the Gazzola Grocery

Company. He owns this house. He is doing very well but he works


"The young generation so far as I knows is getting along fairly well.

I don't know if times is harder; they is jes' different. When folks do

right seems there's a way provided for 'em.

"I signed up with the PWA. I signed up two or three times but they

ain't give us nothing much yet. They wouldn't let me work. They said I

was too old. I works if I can get any work to do."

John Luckett John N Booth facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail