Jonas Boone

Interviewer: Mrs. Annie L. LaCotts

Person interviewed: Jonas Boone, St, Charles. Arkansas

Age: 86

Most any day in St. Charles you can see an old Negro man coming down the

street with a small sack made of bed ticking hanging shot-pouch fashion

from his shoulder. This is old Uncle Jonas Boone who by the aid of his

heavy cane walks to town and makes the round of his white folks homes to

be given some old shoes, clothes, or possibly a mess of greens or some

sweet potatoes--in fact whatever he may find.

"Jonas, can you remember anything about the war or slavery time?"

"Yes mam I was a great big boy when the slaves were sot free."

"Do you know how old you are?"

"Yes mam I will be 87 years old on March 15th. I was born in Mississippi

at Cornerville. My mother belonged to Mr. L.D. Hewitt's wife. She didn't

have many slaves--just my parents and my two uncles and their families.

My daddy and two uncles went to the war but our mistress' husband Mr.

Hewitt was too old to go. I guess my daddy was killed in de war, for he

never come home when my uncles did. We lived here in Arkansas close to

St. Charles. Our mistress was good to her slaves but when they were free

her husband had got himself drowned in big LaGrue when de water was high

all over the bottoms and low ground; he was trying to cross in a boat,

what you call a dug out. You know it's a big log scooped out till it

floats like a boat. Then after that our mistress wanted to go back to

her old home in Mississippi and couldn't take us with her cause she

didn't have any money, so we stayed here. My mammy cried days and nights

when she knew her mistress was going to leave her here in Arkansas. We

moved down on de Schute and worked for Mr. Mack Price. You know he was

Mr. Arthur's and Miss Joe's father."

"Jonas, if your owners were Hewitts why is your name Boone?"

"Well you see, miss, my daddy's daddy belonged to Mr. Daniel Boone, Mr.

John Boone's and Miss Mary Black's grandpa, and I was named Boone for

him, my granddaddy. I been married twice. My last wife owns her home out

close to de church west of St. Charles. I haven't been able to work any

for over two years but my wife makes us a living. She's 42 or 43 years

old and a good worker and a good woman. I've been all de time wanting

some of this help other folks been getting but dey won't give me

nothing. The woman what goes to your house to see if you needs relief

told me I was better off den most folks an' of course I know I'd rather

have my wife and home than have to be like lots of dese niggers who's

old and can't work and got nothing but what de Government give 'em."

John Williams Matheus Jordan Davis facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail