Mose King

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Mose King,

Lexa, Arkansas

Age: 81

"I was born in Richmond, Virginia. My master was Ephriam Hester. He

had a wife and little boy. We called her mistress. I forgot their

names. It's been so long ago.

"My parents named Lizzie Johnson and Andrew Kent. I had seven sisters

and there was two of us boys. When mistress died they sold mother and

my eldest sister and divided the money. I don't know her master's name

in Virginia. Mother was a cook at Ephriam Hester's. Sister died soon

as they come 'way from Virginia. I heard her talk like she belong to

Nathan Singleterry in Virginia. They put mother and Andrew Kent

together. After the surrender she married Johnson. I heard her say my

own father was 'cross the river in a free state.

"There was two row of houses on the side of a road a quarter mile long

and that is the place all the slaves lived. Ephriam Hester had one

hundred acres of wheat. Mother was the head loom. He wasn't cruel but

he let the overseers be hard. He said he let the overseers whoop 'em,

that what he hired 'em for. They had a whooping stock. It was a table

out in the open. They moved it about where they was working. They put

the heads and hands and feet in it. I seen a heap of 'em get mighty

bad whoopings. I was glad freedom come on fer that one reason. Long as

he lived we had plenty to eat, plenty to wear. We had meal, hogs,

goat, sheep and cows, molasses, corn hominy, garden stuff. We did have

potatoes. I said garden stuff.

"Ephriam Hester come to a hard fate. A crowd of cavalrymen from

Vicksburg rode up. He was on his porch. He went in the house to his

wife. One of the soldiers retched in his pocket and got something and

throwed it up on top of the house. The house burned up and him and her

burned up in it. The house was surrounded. That took place three miles

this side of Natchez, Mississippi. They took all his fine stock, all

the corn. They hauled it off. They took all the wagons. They sot all

they didn't take on fire and let it burn up. They burnt the gin and

some cotton. They burnt the loom house, the wheat house; they robbed

the smokehouse and burned it. We never got nothing. We come purt nigh

starving after then. After that round we had no use fer the Yankees. I

was learned young two wrongs don't make a right. That was wrong. They

done more wrong than that. I heard about it. We stayed till after

freedom. It was about a year. It was hard times. Seemed longer. We

went to another place after freedom. We never got a chance to get

nothing. Nothing to get there.

"In slavery times they had clog dances from one farm to another.

Paddyrollers run 'em in, give them whoopings. They had big nigger

hounds. They was no more of them after the War. The Ku Klux got to

having trouble. They would put vines across the narrow roads. The

horses run in and fell flat. The Ku Klux had to quit on that account.

"We didn't know exactly when freedom was. I went to school at

Shaffridge, two miles from Clarks store. That was what is Clarksdale,

Mississippi now. He had a store, only store in town. Old man Clark run

it. He was old bachelor and a all right fellow, I reckon. I thought

so. I went to colored teachers five or six months. I learned in the

Blue Back books. I stopped at about 'Baker (?)'.

"I farmed all my life. I got my wife and married her in 1883. We got a

colored preacher, Parson Ward. I had four children. They all dead but

one. I got two lots and a house gone back to the state. I come to see

'bout 'em today. I going to redeem 'em if I can. I made the money to

buy it at the round house. I worked there ten or twelve years. I got

two dollars ninety-eight cents a day. I hates to loose it. I have a

hard time now to live, Miss.

"I votes Republican mostly. I have voted on both sides. I tries to

live like this. When in Rome, do as Romans. I want to be peaceable wid


"The present times is hard. I can't get a bit of work. I tries. Work

is hard fer some young folks to get yet.

"I love to be around young folks. Fer as I know they do all right. The

world looks nicer 'an it used to look. All I see wrong, times is


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