John W H Barnett Interviewed By Irene Robertson

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: John W. H. Barnett, Marianna, Arkansas

Age: 81

"I was born at Clinton Parish, Louisiana. I'm eighty-one years old. My

parents and four children was sold and left six children behind. They

kept the oldest children. In that way I was sold but never alone. Our

family was divided and that brought grief to my parents. We was sold on

a block at New Orleans. J.J. Gambol (Gamble?) in north Louisiana bought

us. After freedom I seen all but one of our family. I don't recollect

why that was.

"For three weeks steady after the surrender people was passing from the

War and for two years off and on somebody come along going home. Some

rode and some had a cane or stick walking. Mother was cooking a pot of

shoulder meat. Them blue soldiers come by and et it up. I didn't get any

I know that. They cleaned us out. Father was born at Eastern Shore,

Maryland. He was about half Indian. Mother's mother was a squaw. I'm

more Indian than Negro. Father said it was a white man's war. He didn't

go to war. Mother was very dark. He spoke a broken tongue.

"We worked on after freedom for the man we was owned by. We worked crops

and patches. I didn't see much difference then. I see a big change come

out of it. We had to work. The work didn't slacken a bit. I never owned

land but my father owned eighty acres in Drew County. I don't know what

become of it. I worked on the railroad section, laid crossties, worked

in stave mills. I farmed a whole lot all along. I hauled and cut wood.

"I get ten dollars and I sells sassafras and little things along to help

out. My wife died. My two sons left just before the World War. I never

hear from them. I married since then.

"Present times--I can't figure it out. Seems like a stampede. Not much

work to do. If I was young I reckon I could find something to do.

"Present generation--Seem like they are more united. The old ones have

to teach the young ones what to do. They don't listen all the time. The

times is strange. People's children don't do them much good now seems

like. They waste most all they make some way. They don't make it regular

like we did farming. The work wasn't regular farming but Saturday was

ration day and we got that."

John W Fields John White facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail