Jordan Davis

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Jordan Davis

306 Cypress Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 86

"I was a boy in the house when the war started and I heard the mistress

say the abolitionists was about to take the South. Yes ma'm. That was in

Natchez, Mississippi. I was about nine or ten.

"Mistress' name was Eliza A. Hart and master's name was Dave A. Hart.

"I guess they was good to me. I lived right there in the house with

then. Mistress used to send me to Sunday School and she'd say 'Now,

Jordan, you come right on back to the house, don't you go playin' with

them nigger chillun on the streets.'

"My daddy belonged to a man named Davis way down the river in the

country and after the war he came and got me. Sure did. Carried me to

Davis Bend. I was a good-sized boy about twelve or fifteen. He took me

to Mrs. Leas Hamer and you know I was a good-sized boy when she put me

in the kitchen and taught me how to cook. Yes'm, I sure can cook. She

kept me right in the house with her children. I did her cooking and

cleaned up the house. I never got any money for it, or if I did I done

forgot all about it. She kept me in clothes, she sure did. I didn't need

any money. I stayed five or six years with her, sure did. I thought a

lot of her and her children--she was so kind to me.

"Yes ma'm, I went to school one or two years in Mississippi.

"When I come here to Arkansas on the steamboat and got off right here in

Pine Bluff, there was a white man standin' there named Burks. He kept

lookin' at me and directly he said 'Can you cook?' I was married then

and had all my household goods with me, so he got a dray and carried me

out to his house. His wife kept a first-class boarding house. Just

first-class white folks stayed there. After the madam found out I had a

good idea 'bout cookin' she put me in the dining room and turned things

over to me.

"Miss, it's been so long, I don't study 'bout that votin' business. I

have never bothered 'bout no Republican or votin' business--I never

cared about it. I know one thing, the white people are the only ones

ever did me any good.

"Mrs. J.B. Talbot has been very good to me. My wife used to work for her

and so did I. She sure has been a friend to me. Mrs. J.B. Talbot has

certainly stuck to me.

"Oh I think the colored folks ought to be free but I know some of 'em

had a mighty tight time of it after the war and now too.

"Ain't nothin' to this here younger generation. I see 'em goin' down the

street singin' and dancin' and half naked--ain't nothin' to 'em.

"My wife's been dead five or six years and I live here alone. Yes ma'm!

I don't want nobody here with me."

Jonas Boone Joseph Anderson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail