Lawrence Hampton

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Lawrence Hampton

R.F.D., Forrest City, Arkansas

Age: 78

"I was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina. My parents' names was

Drucilla and Peter Hampton. She was the mother of twelve children. They

both b'long to John D. Kidd and Texas Kidd. To my knowing they had no

children. They was old to me being a child but I don't reckon they be

old folks. They had a plantation, some hilly and some bottom land. He

had two or three hundred slaves. He was a good, good man. He was a good

master. He had some white overseers and some black overseers. Grandpa

Peter was one of his overseers. He was proud of his slaves. He was a

proud man.

"We all had preaching clothes to wear. He had his slaves be somebody

when they got out of the field. They went in washing at the fish pond,

duck pond too. It was clear and sandy bottom. Wouldn't be muddy when a

lot of them got through washing (bathing). They was black but they

didn't stink sweaty. They wore starched clean ironed clothes. They

cooked wheat flour and made clothes. When the War come on their clothes

was ironed and clean but the wheat was scarce and the clothes got

flimsy. John D. Kidd was loved by black and white. He was a good man.

Grandpa George had a son sold over close to Memphis. They had twelve

children last letter mama had from them. I've never seen any one of


"Grandpa Peter was a overseer. After he was made overseer he was paid.

That was a honor for being good all his life. When freedom come on he

had ten thousand dollars. He was pure African, black as ace of spades.

He give papa and the other four boys five hundred dollars a piece to

start them farms. Papa died when he was sixty-five and grandma was about

a hundred. Mama was seventy-five when she died. Grandpa was eighty-five

when he died. They didn't know exactly but that was about their ages. It

was a pretty big honor to be a carriage man. They had young men hostlers

and blacksmiths.

"Freedom--The boys all stayed around and girls too. They bought places

about. They never would charge John D. Kidd for work. They let the girls

cook, milk, and set the fowls, long as the old couple lived. They never

took no pay. They go in gangs and chop out his crop and big picnic

dinners all they ever took from him. We all loved that old man.

"They done some whooping on the place but it was a shame. They got over

it and went on dressed up soon as the task was done. Never heard much

said about it. I never seen nobody whooped.

"My own folks whooped me. We was free then.

"I heard how easy to farm out in Arkansas. I come to Forrest City in

1884. I was 'bout twenty-five years old then. It was a mud hole is

right. I farmed all my life. We made money.

"My color folks don't know how to take care of their money. They can

make money but don't handle it long.

"I owns a home and twenty acres of land. I want to keep it. Me and my

wife live out there. I had ten children and four of them still living.

They all good children and I'm proud to own they mine.

"John D. Kidd had a lot of his wife's brothers that come visiting. I'd

find out they be up there. Here I'd go. We'd swim, fish, ride, and I'd

love to be around them and hear them talk. That was the kind of good

times we had when I was a boy. I missed all that when I come here. It

was sich fine farming land. I couldn't go back to stay. I been back

numbers of times visiting.

"I heard of the Ku Klux but I never seen none of them. They was hot over

there in South Carolina in some spots.

"I'm able by the grace of God to make my own humble living. Sometime I

may like a little help but I ain't asked foe none yet.

"I heard this here about the Ku Klux in Forrest City. I heard different

ones say. They was having a revival out here at Lane Chapel and the

captain of the Ku Klux come in and they followed in their white clothes

and he give the colored minister a letter. He opened it and it had some

money for him. They went on off on their horses. I don't know when that

was. I didn't see it, I heard about it."

Lavinia Heyward Lawson Jamar facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail