Nathan Miller

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Nathan Miller, Madison, Arkansas

Age: Born in 1868

"Lady, I'll tell you what I know but it won't nigh fill your book.

"I was born in 1862 south of Lockesburg, Arkansas. My parents was

Marther and Burl Miller.

"They told me their owners come here from North Carolina in 1820. They

owned lots of slaves and lots of land. Mother was medium light--about my

color. See, I'm mixed. My hair is white. I heard mother say she never

worked in the field. Father was a blacksmith on the place. He wasn't a

slave. His grandfather willed him free at ten years of age. It was tried

in the Supreme Court. They set him free. Said they couldn't break the

dead man's will.

"My father was a real bright colored man. It caused some disturbance.

Father went back and forth to Kansas. They tried to make him leave if he

was a free man. They said I would have to be a slave several years or

leave the State. Freedom settled that for me.

"My great grandmother on my mother's side belong to Thomas Jefferson. He

was good to her. She used to tell me stories on her lap. She come from

Virginia to Tennessee. They all cried to go back to Virginia and their

master got mad and sold them. He was a meaner man. Her name was Sarah

Jefferson. Mariah was her daughter and Marther was my mother. They was

real dark folks but mother was my color, or a shade darker.

"Grandmother said she picked cotton from the seed all day till her

fingers nearly bled. That was fore gin day. They said the more hills of

tobacco you could cultivate was how much you was worth.

"I don't remember the Ku Klux. They was in my little boy days but they

never bothered me.

"All my life I been working hard--steamboat, railroad, farming. Wore

clean out now.

"Times is awful hard. I am worn clean out. I am not sick. I'm ashamed to

say I can't do a good day's work but I couldn't. I am proud to own I get

commodities and $8 from the Relief."

Nathan Jones Ned Walker facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail