Sally Nealy

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Sally Nealy

105 Mulberry Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 91

"Yes mam, I was a slave! I was sixteen years old when the war begun. I

was born in Texas.

"My old master was John Hall and my young master was Marse Dick. Marse

John went to war the 5th day of May in 1861 and he was killed in June.

They wasn't nothin' left to bring home but his right leg and his left

arm. They knowed it was him cause his name was tattooed on his leg.

"He was a mean rascal. He brought us up from the plantation and pat us

on the head and give us a little whisky and say 'Your name is Sally or

Mary or Mose' just like we was dogs.

"My old mistress, Miss Caroline, was a mean one too. She was the mother

of eight children--five girls and three boys. When she combed her hair

down low on her neck she was all right but when she come down with it

done up on the top of her head--look out.

"It was my job to scrub the big cedar churns with brick dust and Irish

potato and polish the knives and forks the same way. Then every other

day I had to mold twelve dozen candles and sweep the yard with a dogwood

bresh broom.

"She didn't give us no biscuits or sugar 'cept on Christmas. Jest shorts

and molasses for our coffee. When the Yankee soldiers come through old

mistress run and hide in the cellar but the Yankees went down in the

collar too and took all the hams and honey and brandied peaches she had.

"They didn't have no doctors for the niggers then. Old mistress just

give us some blue mass and castor oil and they didn't give you nothin'

to take the taste out your mouth either.

"Oh lord, I know 'bout them Ku Klux. They wore false faces and went

around whippin' people.

"After the surrender I went to stay with Miss Fulton. She was good to me

and I stayed with her eleven years. She wanted to know how old I was so

my father went to Miss Caroline and she say I 'bout twenty now.

"Some white folks was good to their slaves. I know one man, Alec Yates,

when he killed hogs he give the niggers five of 'em. Course he took the

best but that was all right.

"After freedom the Yankees come and took the colored folks away to the

marshal's yard and kept them till they got jobs for 'em. They went to

the white folks houses and took things to feed the niggers.

"I ain't been married but once. I thought I was in love but I wasn't.

Love is a itchin' 'round the heart you can't get at to scratch.

"I 'member one song they sung durin' the war

'The Yankees are comin' through

By fall sez I

We'll all drink stone blind

Johnny fill up the bowl.'"

Sally Banks Chambers Sally Neeley facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail