Lewis Chase

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Lewis Chase; Des Arc, Arkansas

Age: 90?

[TR: Some word pronunciation was marked in this interview. Letters

surrounded by [] represent long vowels.]

"I answer all your questions I knows lady.

"When de Civil War goin on I heard lots folks talking. I don't know what

all they did say. It was a war mong de white folks. Niggers had no say

in it. Heap ob them went to wait on their masters what went to fight.

Niggers didn't know what the fight war bout. Yankey troops come take

everything we had made, take it to the Bluff (DeValls Bluff), waste it

and eat it. He claim to be friend to the black man an do him jes dater

way. De niggers what had any sense tall stuck to the white folks.

Niggers what I knowed didn't spec nothin an they sho didn't get nothin

but freedom.

"I was sold. Yes mam I sho was. Jes put up on a platform and auctioned

off. Sold right here in Des Arc. Nom taint right. My old mistress [Mrs.

Snibley] whoop me till I run off and they took me back when they found

out where I lef from. I stayed way bout two weeks.

"One man I sho was glad didn't get me cause he whoop me. N[o]'[o]m he

didn't get me. I heard him puttin up the prices and I sho hope he didn't

get me.

"I don't know whar I come from. Old Missus Snibley kept my hat pulled

down over my face so I couldn't see de way to go back. I didn't want to

come and I say I go right back. Whar I set, right between old missus and

master on de front seat ob de wagon and my ma set between missus

Snibley's two girls right behind us. I recken it was a covered wagon.

The girls name was Florence and Emma. Old master Snibley never whip me

but old Missus sho did pile it on me. Noom I didn't lack her. I run

away. He died f[o] the war was over. I did leave her when de war was


"I saw a heap ob bushwhackers and carpet bagger but I nebber seed no Ku

Klux. I heard battles of the bushwhackers out at the Wattensaw bridge

[Iron bridge]. I was scared might near all de time for four years. Noom

I didn't want no soldiers to get me.

"I recken I wo long britches when de war started cause when I pulled off

dresses I woe long britches. Never wo no short ones. Nigger boys and

white boys too wore loose dresses till they was four, five or six years

old in them times. They put on britches when they big nough to help at

the field.

"I worked at the house and de field. I'se farmed all my life.

"I vote [HW: many] a time. I don't know what I vote. Noom I don't! I

recken I votes Democrat, I don't know. It don't do no good. Noom I ain't

voted in a long time. I don't know nothin bout votin. I never did.

"Noom I never owned no land, noom no home neither. I didn't need no

home. The man I worked for give me a house on his place. I work for

another man and he give me a house on his land. I owned a horse one

time. I rode her.

"I don't know nuthin bout the young generation. I takes care bout

myself. Dats all I'm able to do now. Some ob dem work. Nom they don't

work hard as I did. I works now hard as they do. They ought to work. I

don't know what going to become ob them. I can't help what they do.

"The times is hard fo old folks cause they ain't able to work and heap

ob time they ain't no work fo em to do.

"Noom I lived at Bells, Arkansas for I come to Hickory Plains and Des

Arc. I don't know no kin but my mother. She died durin the war. Noom not

all de white folks good to the niggers. Some mean. They whoop em. Some

white folks good. Jes lak de niggers, deres some ob em mighty good and

some ob em mean.

"I works when I can get a little to do and de relief gives me a little.

"I am er hundred years old! Cause I knows I is. White folks all tell

you I am."

Lewis Brown Lewis Evans facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail