Negro Customs Peter Hamilton


Pine Bluff District

Name of Interviewer: Martin--Pettigrew

Subject: Negro Customs

Story--Information (If not enough space on this page add page)

"My mother made three crops after she wuz freed, and I wuz born when she

made her third crop, so I thinks I wuz born 'round 1868. I wuz born in

Bolivar County, Mississippi. My mother and father were slaves and

belonged to the Harris family. Only one I 'members is my sister, she

died. My brothers went off and worked on ships, and I never saw them no


"After freedom, my mother kept working for her marster and misstis, and

they paid them for their work. They stayed on the same plantation until

I wuz almost grown.

"At Christmas time, we had heaps to eat, cakes, homemade molasses candy

that you pulled, popcorn, horse apples which wuz good, mo' better'n any

apples we get these days.

"The white folks give gifts in the big house and mammy went to the house

and the white folks give her the things to put in we nigger chilluns'


"We hung up our stockings in our house and up at the white house too.

'Fore Christmas, the white folks would tell us if we stole chickens,

eggs, ducks and things, or go in the apple orchard, and wuz bad, Santa

Claus would not come to us. But if we were good, he would bring gifts to

us. 'Fore Christmas, the white folks would make a Santa Claus out of

clothes and stuff it, put a pack on his back, and stand him up in the

road. Colored chillun feared to go near him.

"I have never been arrested, never been in the jail house or calaboose.

Went to school when I could.

"Traveled all over, worked on canal in South America.

"Name of boat I wuz on was the 'Clamshell, No. 4', with Captain Nelson,

fum New York."

This Information given by: Peter Hamilton

Place of Residence: Near airport--Pine Bluff, Ark.


Age: 68

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