Linley Hadley

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Linley Hadley

Madison, Arkansas

Age: 77

"I was born the very day the Civil War started, April 12, 1861. I was

born in Monroe County close to Aberdeen, Mississippi. My papa was named

Dave Collins. He was born far back as 1832. He was a carriage driver.

"Mama was born same year as papa. She was a field hand and a cook. She

could plough good as any man. She was a guinea woman. She weighed

ninety-five pounds. She had fourteen children. She did that. Had six or

seven after freedom. She had one slave husband. Her owners was old

Master Wylie Collins and Mistress Jane. We come 'way from their place in


"I can recollect old Master Collins calling up all the niggers to his

house. He told them they was free. There was a crowd of them, all mixes.

Why all this took place now I don't know. Most of the niggers took what

all they have on their heads and walked off. He told mama to move up in

the loom house, if she go off he would kill her. We moved to the loom

house till in 1866.

"One night some of the niggers what had been Collins' slaves come and

stole all mama's children, toted us off on their backs at night. Where

we come to cross the river, Uncle George Tunnel was the ferryman. He had

raised mama at his cabin at slavery. He took us to his white folks. We

lived with them a year and then mama moved on Bill Cropton's place and

we lived there forty years. All the Croptons dead now.

"We come to Arkansas in 1891 close to Cotton Plant. 1898, I come to

Madison. Been here ever since.

"Grandma belong to Master Rogers where we knowed George Tunnel. Mama,

named Harriett, and Aunt Miller was sold. A man in Texas bought Aunt

Miller. We never could hear a word from her. After freedom we tried and

tried. Master Collins was mean. You couldn't lay your hand on mama's

back without laying it on marks where she had been beat. All his niggers

was glad to leave him. They stripped mama's clothes down to her waist

and whooped her, beat the blood out with cowhides. Master Collins 'lowed

his niggers to steal, then his girls come take some of it to their house

to eat. Master Collins didn't have no boys.

"Papa was a little chunky man. He'd steal flour and hogs. He could tote

a hog on his back. My papa went on off when freedom come. They was so

happy they had no sense. Mama never seen him no more. I didn't neither.

Mama didn't care so much about him. He was her mate give to her. I

didn't worry 'bout him nor nobody then.

"Master Collins did give us plenty to wear and eat too. When I left

there we all worked. Mama married ag'in. We kept on farming. I farmed

all my life.

"I got a boy what works. We own our house and all this place (one-half

acre). I don't get no help from nowhere. Seem like them what works and

tries ought to be the ones to get help and not them what don't never pay

no taxes. Fast generation it is now. But they don't bother me. I got a

good boy. Times is hard. Everything you have to buy is high."

Liney Henderson Liza Jones facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail