Rosa Simmons

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Rosa Simmons

823 West 13th Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 85?

"Yes mam, I was here during that Civil War. I was fifteen years old

then. I was born In Tennessee.

"My boss man carried all the best hands to Texas and carried the scrub

hands across Cypress Creek here in Arkansas, and that's where I come. I

was fifteen when the Yankees come in on my boss man's place, so you know

now I ain't no baby. I thank God that He left me here to get old.

"Before the war. I nussed two babies--my mistress' baby and her sister's

baby. Yes'm we had a good master and mistress. We didn't suffer for

nothin' and we didn't have no overseer over us. Colonel Maples was my

master. No'm he wasn't no soldier--that was the name his mother give


"When my folks first come to Arkansas we lived in a cabin that just had

a balin' sack hangin' in the door and one night a bear come in and my

brother and I broke a board off the side and fell right out in the cane.

We all hollered so some folks come down and shot the bear. I ain't never

seed a bear before and I didn't know what it was.

"I 'member when the Yankees come to my boss man's place. They wanted to

shake hands but he was scared to death and wouldn't do it. Another time

the Yankees captured him and kept him three months. They took his horse

and he finally come home on a mule that didn't have but three legs. I

guess the Yankees give him the mule. He turned the old mule loose and

said he never wanted to see another Yankee. If he saw any kind of a

white man comin' down the road he run in the house and hid between the

feather bed and the mattress.

"One time the Yankees come and drunk the sweet milk and took all the

butter, turkeys and hogs and then broke the powder horn against the

maple tree.

"The cook say 'I'm gwine tell Marse Joe you drink all this milk.' The

Yankees say, 'Let the damn fool alone--here we are tryin' to free her

and she ain't got no sense.' They said there wouldn't be any more hard

times after the war.

"But I sure have seen some hard times. I have washed and cooked and done

'bout everything.

"When I get up in the morning I got the limburger (lumbago) in my back

so I ain't able to do much. Sometimes I have something to eat and

sometimes I don't."

Rosa Lindsey Rosa Starke facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail