Oscar Felix Junell

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor

Person interviewed: Oscar Felix Junell

1720 Brown Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

Age: 60

"My father's name was Peter Junell, Peter W. Junell. I don't know what

the W. was for. He was born in Ouachita County near Bearden, Arkansas.

Bearden is an old town. It is fourteen miles from Camden. My dad was

seventy-five years old when he died. He died in 1924. He was very

young in the time of slavery. He never did do very much work.

"His master was named John Junell. That was his old master. He had a

young master too, Warren Junell. His old master given him to his young

master, Warren. My father's mother and father both belonged to the

Junells. His mother's name was Dinah, and his father's name was

Anthony. All the slaves took their last names after their owners. They

never was sold, not in any time that my father could remember.

"As soon as my father was large enough to go to walkin' about, his old

master given him to his son, Master Warren Junell. Warren would carry

him about and make him rassle (wrestle). He was a good rassler. As far

as work was concerned, he didn't do nothing much of that. He just

followed his young master all around rasslin.

"His masters was good to him. They whipped slaves sometimes, but they

were considered good. My father always said they was good folks. He

never told me how he learnt that he was free.

"Pretty well all the slaves lived in log cabins. Even in my time,

there was hardly a board house in that county. The food the slaves ate

was mostly bread and milk--corn bread. Old man Junell was rich and

had lots of slaves. When he went to feed his slaves, he would feed

them jus like hogs. He had a great long trough and he would have bread

crumbled up in it and gallons of milk poured over the bread, and the

slaves would get round it and eat. Sometimes they would get to

fighting over it. You know, jus like hogs! They would be eatin and

sometimes one person would find somethin and get holt of it and

another one would want to take it, and they would get to fightin over

it. Sometimes blood would get in the trough, but they would eat right

on and pay no 'tention to it.

"I don't know whether they fed the old ones that way or not. I jus

heered my father tell how he et out of the trough hisself.

"I have heered my father talk about the pateroles too. He talked about

how they used to chase him. But he didn't have much experience with

them, because they never did catch him. That was after the war when

the slaves had been freed, but the pateroles still got after them. My

father remember how they would catch other slaves. One night they went

to an old man's house. It was dark and the old man told them to come

on in. He didn't have no gun, but he took his ax and stood behind the

door on the hinge side. It was after slavery. When he said for them to

come in, they rushed right on in and the old man killed three or four

of them with his ax. He was a old African, and they never had been

able to do nothin' with him, not even in slavery time. I never heard

that they did nothin' to the old man about it. The pateroles was

outlaws anyway.

"I heard my father say that in slavery time, they took the finest and

portlies' looking Negroes--the males--for breeding purposes. They

wouldn't let them strain themselves up nor nothin like that. They

wouldn't make them do much hard work."

Orleans Finger Oscar James Rogers facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail