Susie King

Interviewer: Zillah Cross Peel

Information given by: Aunt Susie King, Ex-slave.

Residence: Cane Hill, Arkansas. Washington County.

Age: about 93.

Across the Town Branch, in what is dubbed "Tin-cup" lives one of the

oldest ex-slaves in Washington county, "Aunt Susie" King, who was born

at Cane Hill, Arkansas about 1844.

"Aunt Susie" doesn't know just how old she is, but she thinks she is

over ninety, just how much she doesn't know. Perhaps the most accurate

way to get near her age would be go to the county records where one

can find the following bill of sale:

"State of Arkansas, County of Washington, for and in

consideration of natural affection that I have for my

daughter, Rebecca Rich, living in the county aforesaid above

mentioned, and I do hereby give and bequath unto her one negro

woman named Sally and her children namely Sam, and Fill, her

lifetime thence to her children her lawful heirs forever and I

do warrant and forever defend said negro girl and her children

against all lawful claims whatsoever.

July, 1840. Tom Hinchea Barker,

Witness, J. Funkhouser.

Filed for record,

Feb. 16, 1841.

When this bill of sale was read to "Aunt Susie" she said with great


"Yes'm, yes'm that sure was my Ma and my two brothers, Sam and Fill,

then come a 'nother brother, Allan, and then Jack and then I'm next

then my baby sister Milly Jane. Yes'm we's come 'bout every two


"Yes'm, ole Missy was rich; she had lots of money, lots of lan'. Her

girl, she jes' had one, married John Nunley, Mister Ab, he married

Miss Ann Darnell, Mister Jack he married Miss Milly Holt, and Mister

Calvin he married Miss Lacky Foster. Yes'm they lived all 'round 'bout

us. Some at Rhea's Hill and some at Cane Hill," and to prove the

keenness of this old slave's mind, as well as her accuracy, one need

only to go to the county deed records where in 1849, Rebecca Rich

deeded several 40 acres tracts of land to her sons, James, Calvin,

William Jackson and Absaolum. This same deed record gives the names of

the wives of these sons just as "Aunt Susie" named them. However, Miss

Lacky Foster was "Kelika Foster."

Then Aunt Susie started remembering:

"Yes'm, my mother's name was Sally. She'd belonged to Mister Tom H.

Barker and he gived her to Miss Becky, his daughter. I think of them

all lots of days. I know a heap of folks that some times I forgot.

When the War came, we lived in a big log house. We had a loom room

back of the kitchen. I had a good mother. She wove some. We all wove

mos' all of the blankets and carpets and counterpans and Old Missey

she loved to sit down at the loom and weave some", with a gay chuckle

Aunty Susie said, "then she'd let me weave an' Old Missey she'd say I

takes her work and the loom away from her. I did love to weave, all

them bright colores, blue and red and green and yellow. They made all

the colors in the back yard in a big kettle, my mother, Sally did the


"We had a heap of company. The preacher came a lot of times and when

the War come Ole Missey she say if we all go with her, she'd take us

all to Texas. We's 'fraid of the Yankees; 'fraid they get us.

"We went in wagons. Ole Missey in the carriage. We never took nothin'

but a bed stead for Ole Missey. They was a great drove of we darkies.

Part time we walked, part time we rode. We was on the road a long

time. First place we stopped was Collins County, and stayed awhile I

recollect. We had lots of horses too. Some white folks drove 'long and

offered to take us away from Ole Missey but we wouldn't go. We didn't

want to leave Ole Missey, she's good to us. Oh Lord, it would a nearly

kilt her effen any body'd hit one of her darkies; I'd always stay in

the house and took care of Ole Miss. She was pretty woman, had light

hair. She was kinda punny tho, somethin' matter with her mos' all the

time, headache or toothache or something'."

"Mister Rich went down to the river swimmin' one time I heard, and got


"Yes'm, they was good days fo' the War."

"Yes'm we stayed in Texas until Peace was made. We was then at

Sherman, Texas. Peace didn't make no difference with us. We was glad

to be free, and we com'd back to Arkansas with Ole Missey. We didn't

want to live down there. Me and my man, Charlie King, was married

after the War, and we went to live on Mister Jim Moores place. Ole

Miss giv'd my ma a cow. I made my first money in Texas, workin' for a

woman and she giv'd me five dollars."

"Yes'm after Peace the slaves all scattered 'bout."

"The colored folks today lak a whole heap bein' like they was fo' the

War. They's good darkies, and some aint so good." Me and my man had

seven children all dead but two, Bob lives with me. I don't worry

'bout food. We ain't come no ways starvin'. I have all I want to eat.

Bob he works for Missus Wade every mornin' tendin' to her flowers and

afternoons works for him self. She owns this house, lets us live in

it. She's good all right, good woman."

"I like flowers too, but ain't got no water, no more. Water's scarce.

Someone turned off the hydrant."

"I belong to the Baptist church a long while."

"Do you know Gate-eye Fisher?" When I said "yes, I went down to talk

to him last week," she said, "well, law me, Gate-eye ain't no fool.

He's the best cook as ever struck a stove. He married my baby sister,

Milly Jane's child. Harriet Lee Ann, she's my niece. She left him,

said she'd never go back no more to him. She's somewhere over in


"And did you see Doc Flowers? Yes'm, I was mos' a mother to him.

"One time my man and me heard a peckin' at the do'. We's eatin'

supper. I went to the do' and there was Doc. He and his step-pa, Ole

Uncle Ike, had a fight and Doc come to us and stayed 'bout three

years. He started cryin'."

"Yes'm my Pa and Ma had belonged to Mister John Barker, before he

giv'd my Ma to Miss Becky, my Pa was a leather worker. He could make

shoes, and boots and slippers."

"Yes'm, Good bye. Come back again honey. Yes'm I'd like a little

snuff--not the sweet kind. It makes my teeth feel better to have

snuff. I ain't got much but snags, and snuff, a little mite helps


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