Molly Horn

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Molly Horn

Holly Grove, Arkansas

Age: 77

"My ma and pa belong to the same white folks. I was born in North

Carolina. Ma and pa had six children. I don't know how many owners they

ever had in North Carolina. Ma and pa was named Sarah and Jad Nelson.

"When I was a baby Rubin Harriett bought me and mama. His wife was Becky

Harriett. Ma was too old to sell without me. They didn't want to sell me

but they couldn't sell her widout me. I am the baby of our family. Papa

didn't get to come to Arkansas. That parted them. After freedom her

other children came. I heard ma say how they kept papa dodged round from

the Yankees. The white folks kept him dodged round. He was a field hand.

Ma was a cook and house girl. She never did work in the field till she

come out here. She said white folks didn't whoop him; he wouldn't take

it. I don't know why they thought he wouldn't be whooped.

"I could walk when I first seed the Yankees. I run out to see em good.

Then I run back and told Miss Becky. I said, 'What is they?' She told ma

to put all us under the bed to hide us from the soldiers. One big Yankee

stepped inside and says to Miss Becky, 'You own any niggers?' She say,

'No.' Here I come outen under the bed and ask her fer bread. Then the

Yankee lieutenant cursed her. He made the other four come outen under

the bed. They all commenced to cryin' and I commenced to cry. We never

seed nobody lack him fore. We was scared to deaf of him. He talked so

loud and bad. He loaded us in a wagon. Mama too went wid him straight

to Helena. He put us in a camp and kept us. Mama cooked fer the Yankees

six or seven months. She heard em--the white soldiers--whisperin' round

bout freedom. She told em, 'You ain't goiner keep me here no longer.'

She took us walkin' back to her old master and ax him for us a home.

Then she married man on the place. He was real old. I had five half

brothers and sisters then. I was a good size girl then.

"They had run him and some more men to Texas. They went in a wagon and

walked. They made one crop there. He said fifteen or sixteen families

what belong to different owners went out there. They heard some people

talking--overheard it was free times. They picked up and left there at

night. They dodged round in the woods and traveled at night. When he got

back he made terms to work as a share cropper.

"Master, he didn't give us nuthin'. I didn't hear they would give em

anything. Truth of it was they didn't have much to keep less givin' the

niggers something. We all had little to eat and wear and a plenty wood

to burn and a house to shelter us. The work didn't slack up none. The

fences down, the outhouses had to have more boards tack on. No stock

cept a scrub or so. We had no garden seed cept what be borrowed round

and raised. Times was hard. We had biscuits bout once a week, lucky if

we got that.

"The Ku Klux got after our papa. They fixin' to kill him. He hid in the

gullies. They come to our house once or twice but I never seed em. Papa

come once or twice and took us all and hid us fore sundown. They quit

huntin' him.

"We farmed wid Mr. Hess. Mr. Herrin wouldn't let nobody bother his


"We had good times. I danced. We had candy pullings bout at the houses.

We had something every week. I used to dance in the courthouse at

Clarendon--upstairs. Paul Wiley was head music man. All colored

folks--colored fiddlers.

"I was married over fifty years. Bunt Sutton's mother helped bout my

weddin' supper. (Bunt Sutton's mother was a white woman.) She and her

family all was there. She had then two boys and two girls. Mama bought

me a pure white veil. I was dressed all in white. We had a colored

preacher to marry us. We married at night, borrowed lamps and had em

settin' about. There was a large crowd. Ann Branch was the regular

cake-cooker over the country. She cooked all my cakes. They had roast

pork and goose and all sorter pies. Then I went on to my new home on

another man's place bout one-fourth mile from mama's house. Bunt

Sutton's mama was a widow woman.

"My husband voted some but I don't pay no tention to votin'.

"I own a place but it don't do no good. My son is cripple and I can't

work. I done passed hard work now. My husband bought this place before

he died. I don't get help from nowhere.

"This is hardest times in my life. Well, education doin' a heap of good.

The papers tell you how to do more things. It makes folks happier if

they can read.

"Now I don't be bothered much wid young folks. You heard em say flies

don't bother boilin' pots ain't you? I does nough to keep me going all

the time and the young folks shuns work all they can cept jes' what it

takes for em to live on right now. Their new ways ain't no good to me."

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