John Payne

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: John Payne

Brinkley, Ark.

Age: 74

"I was born in Georgia, close to Bowles Spring, in Franklin County. My

mama's master was Reverend David Payne. He was a Baptist preacher. My

mama said my father was Monroe Glassby. He was a youngster on a

neighboring plantation. He was white. His father was a landowner. I

think she said it was 70 miles east of Atlanta where they went to trade.

They went to town two or three times a year. It took about a week to go

and come.

"From what Mama said they didn't know it was freedom for a long time.

They worked on I know till that crop was made and gathered. Somebody

sent word to the master, Rev. David, he better turn them slaves loose.

Some of the hands heard the message. That was the first they knowed it

was freedom. My mama said she seen soldiers and heard fighting. She had

heard that if the Yankees won the war all the slaves be free. She set to

studyin' what she would do. She didn't know what to do. So when she

heard it she asked If she had to be free. She told Rev. David she wanted

to stay like she had been staying. After I was up a good size boy we

went to Banks County. She done house work and field work too and I done

farm work. All kinds and from sun-up till dark every day. Sometimes I

get in so late I have to make a torch light to see how to put the feed

in the troughs. We had plenty litard--pine knots--they was rich to burn.

"I used to vote but I quit since I come to Arkansas. I come in 1902. I

paid my own way and wrote back for my family. I paid their way too. I

got one little grandaughter, 20 years old. She is off trying to make her

way through college. My wife had a stroke and she can't do much no more.

I got a piece of a house. It need repairs. I can't hardly pay my taxes.

I can't work much. I got two cows and six little pigs. I got eighty

acres land. I worked fourteen years for John Gazolla and that is when I

made enough to buy my place. I am in debt but I am still working. Seems

like one old man can't make much."

John Nelson John Peterson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail