Lizzie Hawkens


Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Lizzie Hawkens

Biscoe, Arkansas

Age: 65

"I was born close to Magnolia, Arkansas.

"My mother was Harriett Marshal. Her old mistress was a Marshal. She was

a widow woman and had let all her slaves go out to her children but

mama. Mama was her husband's chile, what she tole mama. They come here

from Atlanta, Georgia visiting her married daughter. They was the

Joiners at Magnolia, Arkansas. She brought mama and on her way back home

to Atlanta she died. Her daughter brought her back and buried her in

Arkansas and kept mama.

"Mama said they was nice to her. They wouldn't let her keep company with

no black folks. She was about as white as white folks. She was white as

my husband. Her mother was light or half white. My own papa was a black


"The Joiners and Scotts visited down at Magnolia among themselves but

they didn't want mama to marry in the Scott family (of Negroes). But the

white folks was mighty good friends. Mama took care of the children.

They was in the orchard one day. Papa spied mama. He picked up a plum

and threw at her. She say, 'Where that come from?' He stooped down and

seen her under the limbs. They was under another plum tree. Papa got to

talk to her that day. The old mistress wouldn't let her out of sight.

Papa never could have got her if Mistress Marshal had lived.

"Mama had three or four sisters and brothers in Atlanta, and her mother

was in Atlanta. Her parents were Bob and Lucindy Marshal. Bob was

Lucindy's master. Mama told old mistress to bring Harriett back and she

promised she would. That was one thing made her watch after her so

close. She never had been made a slave. She was to look after old


"After she died mama's young mistress let papa have her. He mustered up

courage to ax for her and she said, 'Yes, L (for Elbert), you can have

her.' That was all the marrying they ever done. They never jumped over

no broom she said. They was living together when she died. But in

slavery times mama lived on at Judge Joiner's and papa at Scott's place.

One family lived six miles east of Magnolia and the other six miles

north of Magnolia. Papa went to see mama twelve miles. They cut through

sometimes. It was dense woods. Mama had one boy before freedom. In all

she had three boys and four girls.

"The Scott and Joiner white folks told the slaves about freedom. Papa

homesteaded a place one mile of the courthouse square. The old home is

standing there now.

"Papa said during the Civil War he hauled corn in an ox wagon. The

cavalry met him more than once and took every ear and grain he had. He'd

have to turn and go back.

"He said when freedom come, some of the people tole the slaves, 'You

have to root pig or die poor.'

"My great-grandpa was sold in South Carolina. He said he rather die than

be sold. He went up in the mountains and found a den of rattlesnakes to

bite him. They was under a stone. Said when he seen them he said,

'Uhher! You can't bite me.' They commenced to rattle like dry

butter-beans. He went on and dressed to be sold. Master Scott bought him

and brought him on to Arkansas. He had to leave his wife. He never got

back to see her.

"Grandpa had to come leave his wife. He married ag'in and had five sons

and a girl. They was Glasco, Alex, Hilliard, Elbert, Bill, and

Katherine. They belong to Spencers till the Scotts bought them but all

these children was his Scott children.

"My uncle's wife belong to white folks not Scotts. Scotts wouldn't sell

and her folks wouldn't part from her. They moved down in Louisiana and

took her and one chile. Uncle run away to see her. The Scotts put the

hounds after him and run him two days and two nights. He was so tired he

stopped to rest. The dogs come up around him. He took a pine knot and

killed the lead dog, hit him in the head and put him in a rotten knot

hole of a hollow tree been burned out and just flew. The dogs scattered

and he heard the horns. He heard the dogs howl and the hoofs of the

man's horses. The old master was dead. He didn't allow the boys to slash

in among his niggers. After he died they was bossy. Uncle said he made

his visit and come back. He didn't ever tell them he killed the lead dog

nor how close they come up on him. He said they was glad to see him when

he come back. His wife was named Georgana.

"After freedom grandpa named himself Spencer Scott. He buried his money.

He made a truck garden and had patches in slavery both in South Carolina

and at Magnolia. He told me he had rusty dollars never been turned over

since they made him came here. He left some money buried back there. We

found his money on his place at Magnolia when he died. He tole us where

it was.

"One night he was going across a bridge and taking a sack of melons to

Magnolia to sell in slavery times. A bear met him. He jumped at the bear

and said 'boo'. The bear growled and run on its way. He said he was so

scared he was stiff. They let them work some patches at night and sell

some things to make a little money. The ole master give them some money

if they went to the city. That was about twice a year papa said. He

never seen a city till years after freedom. His pa and grandpa got to go

every now and then. Magnolia was no city in them days.

"It is hard to raise children in this day and time. When I went on the

Betzner place (near Biscoe, Arkansas) my son was eight years old. He

growed up along side Brooks (Betzner). I purt nigh talked my tongue out

of my head and Brooks' (white boy) mother did the same thing. Every year

when we would lay by, me and my husband (white Negro) would go on a

camp. Brooks would ask me if he could go. We took the two of them. (The

Hawkens boy is said to be a dark mulatto--ed.) He's a smart boy, a good

farmer down in Lee County now. He married when he was nineteen years

old. It is hard to raise a boy now. There is boxing and prize fighting

and pool halls and that's not right! Times are not improving as I can

see in that way. Worse than I have ever seen them."

Lizzie Farmer Lizzie Hughes facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail