William Hunter

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: William Hunter, Brinkley, Arkansas

Age: 70

"John McBride was my mother's last owner. His wife died in slavery. I

never heard her name called. My mother come from Abbeville, South

Carolina, a Negro trading point. When she was put on the block my father

went to McBride and asked him to buy that woman for him a wife. He said

she was a mighty pretty young woman. McBride bought her. I don't know

how they got to Carroll County, Mississippi but that is where I was

born. My mother raised Walter and Johnny McBride (white). She nursed one

of them along with my brother May--May McBride was his name. That was at

Asme, Alabama before I was born. I heard my mother say she never worked

in the field but two years in her whole life. It must have been just

after the war, for I have seen a ditch she and another woman cut. When

they cut it, it was 4 ft. x 4 ft. I don't know the length. When I seed

it, it was a creek 100 ft. wide. I don't know how deep. I recollect

hearing my father talk about clearing land before freedom but I don't

know if he was in Alabama or Mississippi then.

"My mother was mixed with the white race. She was a bright woman. My

father was a real dark man. He was a South Carolina gutchen--soft water

folks, get mad and can't talk. He was crazy about yellow folks.

"McBride died fifty-one years ago. When I was a boy he carried me with

him--right in the buggy or oxcart with him till I was up nineteen years

old. He went to the saloon to get a dram. I got one too. When he went

to a big hotel to eat something he sent out the kitchen door to me out

to our buggy or wagon. We camped sometimes when we went to town. It took

so long to go over the roads.

"When freedom was declared McBride called up all his slaves and told em

they was free; they could go or stay on. My father moved off two years

after freedom and then he moved back and we stayed till the old man

died. Then my father went to Varden, Mississippi and worked peoples

gardens. He was old then too.

"I never seen a 'white cap' (Ku Klux). I heard a heap of talk about em.

The people in Mississippi had respect for colored worship.

"I farmed till we went to Varden, Mississippi. I started working on the

section. I was brakeman on the train out from Water Valley. Then I come

to Wheatley, Arkansas. I worked on the section. All told, I worked forty

years on the section. I worked on a log wagon, with a tire company, at

the oil mill and in the cotton mill. I had a home till it went in the

Home Loan. I have to pay $2.70 a month payments. I get commodities, no

money, from the Welfare. My wife is dead now."

William Henry Rooks William Hutson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail