Railroad Dockery

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Railroad Dockery

1103 Short 13th, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 81

"Railroad Dockery, that's my name. I belonged to John Dockery and we

lived at Lamertine, Arkansas where I was born. My mother's name was

Martha and I am one of quadruplets, three girls and one boy, that's me.

Red River, Ouachita, Mississippi and Railroad were our names. (Mrs. Mary

Browning, who is now ninety-eight years of age, told me that her father,

John Dockery, was the president of the Mississippi, Red River, Ouachita

Railroad, the first one to be surveyed in Arkansas, and that when the

directors heard of the quadruplets' birth, they wanted to name them

after the railroad, which was done--ed.)

"Yes ma'm, Red River and Ouachita died when they were tots and

Mississippi and Railroad were raised. Now that's what my mother said.

Mississippi died five or six years ago and I'm the onliest one left.

"I remember mighty little about the war. I never thought anything about

the war. All I did then was a crowd of us little chaps would go to the

woods and tote in the wood every day for the cook woman. That's what I

followed. Never did nothing else but play till after the war.

"After surrender I went with my father and mother to work for General

Tom Dockery. He was John Dockery's brother. I was big enough to plow

then. I followed the plow all the time. My father and mother were paid

for their work. We stayed there about five years and then moved to

Falcon, Arkansas. Father died there.

"In the time of the war I heard the folks talkin' about freedom, and I

heard my father talk about the Ku Klux but that was all I knowed, just

what he said about it.

"I remember the presidents and I voted for some of them but oh Lord, I

haven't voted in several years.

"I got along after freedom just as well as I ever did. I never had no

trouble--never been in no trouble.

"About the world now--it looks like to me these days things are pretty

tight. I could hardly tell you what I think of the younger generation. I

think one thing--if the old heads would die all at once they would be

out, because it's all you can do to keep em straight now.

"I went to school only three months in my life. I learned to read and

write very well. I don't need glasses and I read principally the Bible.

To my mind it is the best book in the world. Biggest part of the

preachers now won't preach unless they are paid three-fourths more than

they are worth.

"The biggest part of my work was farming. I never did delight in

cooking. Now I can do any kind of housework, but don't put me to


"I just can't sing to do no good. Never could sing. Seems like when I

try to sing something gets tangled in my throat.

"Oh Lord, I remember one old song they used to sing

'A charge to keep I have

A God to glorify.'

"I don't remember anything else but now if Mississippi was here, she

could tell you lots of things."

Rachel Sullivan Randall Lee facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail