Pete Newton

Interviewer: Miss Sallie C. Miller

Person interviewed: Pete Newton, Clarksville, Arkansas

Age: 83 [TR: 85?]

Occupation: Farmer and day laborer

"My white folks was as good to me as they could be. I ain't got no kick

to make about my white people. The boys was all brave. I was raised on

the farm. I staid with my boss till I was nearly grown. When the war got

so hot my boss was afraid the 'Feds' would get us. He sent my mammy to

Texas and sent me in the army with Col. Bashom, to take care of his

horses. I was about eleven or twelve years old. Col. Bashom was always

good to me. He always found a place for me to sleep and eat. Sometimes

after the colonel left the folks would run as off and not let me stay

but I never told the colonel. I went to Boston, Texas with the colonel

and his men and when he went on the big raid into Missouri he left me in

Sevier County, Arkansas with his horses 'Little Baldy' and 'Orphan Boy'.

They was race horses. The colonel always had race horses. He was killed

at Pilot Knob, Missouri. After the colonel was killed his son George (I

shore did think a lot of George) come after me and the horses and

brough' us home.

"While I was in Arkadelphia with Col. Bashom's horses, I went down to

the spring to water the horses. The artillery was there cleaning a big

cannon they called 'Old Tom'. Of course I went up to watch them. One of

the men saw me and hollered, 'Stick his head in the cannon.' It liked to

scared me to death. I jumped on that race horse and run. I reconed I

would have been killed but my uncle was there and saw me and stopped the


"Another time we went to a place and me and another colored boy was

taking care of the horses while our masters eat dinner. I saw some

watermelons in the garden with a paling fence around it. I said if the

other boy would pull a paling off I would crawl through and get us a

watermelon. He did but the man who owned the place saw me just as I got

the melon and whipped us and told us if we hollered he would kill us. We

didn't holler and we never told Col. Bashom either.

"After the war my mammie come back from Texas and took me over to Dover

to live but my old boss told her if she would let him have me he would

raise and educate me like his own children. When I got back the old boss

already had a boy so I went to live with one of his sons. He told me it

was time for me to learn how to work. My boss was rough but he was good

to me and taught me how to work. The old boss had five sons in the army

and all was wounded except one. One of them was shot through and through

in the battle of Oak Hill. He got a furlough and come back and died. I

left my white folks in 1869 and went to farming for myself up in Hartman

bottom. I married when I was about seventeen years old.

"They though' a house near us was hainted. Nobody wanted to live in it

so they went to see what the noise was. They found a pet coon with a

piece of chain around his neck. The coon would run across the floor and

drag the chain.

"The children now are bad. No telling that will be in the next twenty or

thirty years everything is so changed now.

"I learnt to sing the hymns but never sang in the choir. We sang

'Dixie', 'John Brown's Body Lies, etc.', 'Juanita', 'Just Before the

Battle, Mother', 'Old Black Joe'."

Perry Sid Jemison Peter Brown facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail