Interviewer: Mrs. Annie L. LaCotts
Person interviewed: Jonas Boone, St, Charles. Arkansas
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