Lizzie Johnson





Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Lizzie Johnson,

Biscoe, Arkansas

Age: 65





"I was born at Holly Springs, Mississippi. My mother was fifteen years

old when the surrender come on. Her name was Alice Airs. Mama said she

and grandma was sold in the neighborhood and never seen none of her

folks after they was sold. The surrender come on. They quit and went

on with some other folks that come by. Mama got away from them and

married the second year of the surrender. She said she really got

married; she didn't jump the broom. Mama was a cook in war times.

Grandma churned and worked in the field. Grandma lived in to herself

but mama slept on the kitchen floor. They had a big pantry built

inside the kitchen and in both doors was a sawed-out place so the cats

could come and go.



"My father was sold during of the War too but he never said much about

it. He said some of the slaves would go in the woods and the masters

would be afraid to go hunt them out without dogs. They made bows and

arrows in the woods.



"I heard my parents tell about the Ku Klux come and made them cook

them something to eat. They drunk water while she was cooking. I heard

them say they would get whooped if they sot around with a book in

their hand. When company would come they would turn the pot down and

close the shutters and doors. They had preaching and prayed that way.

The pot was to drown out the sound.



"They said one man would sell off his scrawny niggers. He wanted fine

looking stock on his place. He couldn't sell real old folks. They kept

them taking care of the children and raising chickens, turkeys, ducks,

geese, and made some of them churn and milk.



"My stepfather said he knowed a man married a woman after freedom and

found out she was his mother. He had been sold from her when he was a

baby. They quit and he married ag'in. He had a scar on his thigh she

recollected. The scar was right there when he was grown. That brought

up more talk and they traced him up to be her own boy.



"Hester Swafford died here in Biscoe about seven years ago. Said she

run away from her owners and walked to Memphis. They took her up over

there. Her master sent one of the overseers for her. She rode

astraddle behind him back. They got back about daylight. They whooped

her awful and rubbed salt and pepper in the gashes, and another man

stood by handed her a hoe. She had to chop cotton all day long. The

women on the place would doctor her sores.



"Grandma said she remembered the stars falling. She said it turned

dark and seem like two hours sparkles fell. They said stars fell. She

said it was bad times. People was scared half to death. Mules and

horses just raced. She said it took place up in the day. They didn't

have time-pieces to know the time it come on.



"Young folks will be young the way I see it. They ain't much

different. Times is sure 'nough hard for old no 'count folks. Young

folks makes their money and spends it. We old folks sets back needing.

Times is lots different now. It didn't used to be that way."





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