Slavery Days With Interviewer Velma Sample

Name of Interviewer: Velma Sample

Subject: Slavery Days



Aunt Elcie Brown (a negro girl age nine years old) was living in the

clay hills of Arkansas close to Centerville, and Clinton in Amid County

on Johnnie Reeves Place. Johnnie Reeves was old and had a son named

Henry L. Reeves who was married. Young Reeves got the news that they

were to be attacked by the Yankees at a certain time and he took his

family and all the best stock such as horses, cattle, and sheep to a

cave in a bluff which was hid from the spy-glasses of the Yankees, by

woods all around it. Johnnie Reeves was left to be attacked by the

soldiers. He was blind and almost paralyzed. He had to eat dried beef

shaved real fine and the negro children fed him. They ate as much of it

as he did. Aunt Elcie and her brother fed him most of the time. They

would get on each side of him and lead him for a walk most every day.

The natives thought they would bluff the soldiers and cut the bridge

into and thought that the soldiers would be unable to cross Beavers

Creek, but the Yankees was prepared. They had made a long bridge for the

soldiers to come marching right over. This bridge was just a mile from

Reeves farm. Then the soldiers came they were so many that they could

not all come up the big road but part of them came over the hill by the

sheeps spring and through the pasture.

All the negroes came out of their shacks and watched them march toward

their houses. Elcie and her brother got scared and ran in the house,

crawled in bed and thought they were hid, as they had scrutched down in

the middle of the bed with the door locked. But the soldiers bursted in

and moved the bed from the corner. One stood over the bed and laughed,

then asked the other man to look, then threw the covers off of them. He

first took her brother by one arm and one leg and stood him on his feet,

patted his head and told him not to be afraid, that they would not hurt

them. Then took Elcie and stood her up. He reached in a bag lined with

fur which was strapped on them and gave them both a stick of candy.

Elcie says she thinks that is why she has always liked stick candy. She

also says that that day has stood out to her and she can see everything

just like it was yesterday. All the negro homes were close together and

the soldiers raided them in small bunches. They were kind to the negro

children. Wnen they started to the big house where Johnnie Reeves lived

all the negro children followed them. When they entered the house Mr.

Reeves was sitting by the side of the fire-place and every one that

passed him kicked him brutely. They ransacked the place all over and

when they got up stairs they kicked out all the window pains and tore

off all the window-shutters. They took all the things they wanted out of

the house, such as silver-ware, and jewelry. The smoke-house, milk-house

and store-house was three separate buildings in a row. The first one

they entered was the milk-house. It had seven shelves of milk, cream and

butter in it. There was eleven crocks of sweet milk larger than a

waterbucket. They had forty gallons of butter milk, and over three

gallons of butter in a large flat crock. They also had over five gallons

of cream. The Yankee soldiers ate all the butter and cream and set the

milk in the yard and ask the negro kids to finish the milk.

They drank it like pigs without a cup, just stuck their heads down and

drank like pigs. When they were full the balance of the milk was so

dirty it looked like pigs had been in it.

The soldiers entered the next building which was the store-room where

they stored rice, flour, sugar, coffee, and such like, and they took

what they wanted, then destroyed the rest. Mr. Reeves had just been to

town and bought a hogshead of sugar and they took it out and burst it

and invited the negro children to help themselves. Elcie says that when

the kids all got full there was not a half bushel left. The last raid

was the smoke-house where stuffed sausage was hanging by the hundred and

hams by the dozens. They didn't leave a thing, took lard and everything.

It took over two wagons to hold everything. Then they crossed over to

the next place owned by Bill Gunley.

* * * * *

Dr. Levy tells me of his father being partial to the southerners

although he lived in Evansville, Indiana, and fought as a Yankee. He was

accused of being partial and they would turn over his wagons and cause

him trouble. He had fine wagons and sometimes when he would be turning

his wagons back up after them being turned over to contrary him, he

would curse Gen. Grant and call him that G.D. Old Tobacco spitter.

Although Henry Levy seldom did swear as he was French, sometimes they

would make him mad and he would do so.

Simuel Riddick Sneed Teague facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail