Lewis Brown

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Lewis Brown

708 Oak Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 83

"Yes'm my name is Brown--Lewis Brown. Yes'm I lived durin' slavery

times. I was born in 1854.

"I been workin' this mornin'. I been diggin' up the ground to bed up

some onions. No I don't work every day. Sometimes I feel ailin'--don't

feel like doin' nothin'.

"I wasn't big enough to 'member 'bout the war. All I 'member is seein'

the soldiers retirin' from the war. They come by my old master's

plantation. The Yankees was in front--they was the horsebackers. Then

come the wagons and then the southern soldiers comin' along in droves.

"I was born in Arkansas. My mother and father belonged to Dr. Jordan. He

was the biggest slaveholder in Arkansas. He was called the 'Nigger

Ruler'. If the overseer couldn't make a slave behave, the old doctor

went out with a gun and shot him. When the slaves on other plantations

couldn't be ruled, they was sold to Dr. Jordan and he ruled 'em or

killed 'em.

"I don't 'member much else 'bout my old master but I 'member my old

mistress. The last crop she made before freedom, she had two plantations

with overseers on 'em and on one plantation they didn't 'low no kind a

slave 'cept South Carlinans. But on the other plantation the slaves come

from different places.

"After the war we went to Texas and I 'member my old mistress come down

there to get her old colored folks to come back to Arkansas. Lots of 'em

went back with her. She called herself givin' 'em a home. I don't know

what she paid--I never heard a breath of that but she hoped 'em to get

back. I didn't go--I stayed in Texas and growed up and married there and

then come back to Arkansas in 1882.

"Oh yes'm--the Ku Klux was plentiful after peace. They went about

robbin' people.

"Some of the colored folks thought they was better off when they was

slaves. They was the ones that had good masters. Some of the masters

didn't 'low the overseers to 'buke the slaves and some wouldn't have


"I never did vote for no President, just for home officers. I don't know

what to say 'bout not letting the colored folks vote now. They have to

pay taxes and 'spenses and I think they ought to have something to say

'bout things.

"'How did you lose your arm?' It was shot off. I got into a argument

with a fellow what owed me twenty-four dollars. He decided to pay me off

that way. That was when I was 'bout seventy. He's dead now.

"I think the people is more wickeder now. The devil got more chances

than he used to have and the people can't do right if they want to."

Lewis Bonner Lewis Brown facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail