Willie Doyld

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Willie Doyld (male), Brinkley, Arkansas

Age: 78

[-- -- 1938]

"I was born in Grenada, Mississippi. My parents belong to the same

family of white folks. My moster was Jim Doyld. His wife was Mistress

Karoline Doyld. Well as I recollect they had four childen. My parent's

name was Hannah and William Doyld. I'm named for em. They was three of

us childen. They belong to same family of white folks for a fact. I

heard em say Moster Jim bought em offen the block at the same time. He

got em at Galveston, Texas. He kept five families of slaves on his place

well as I recollect.

"My pa was Moster Jim's ox driver. He drove five or six yokes at a time.

He walk long side of em, wagons loaded up. He toted a long cowhide

whoop. He toted it over his shoulder. When he'd crack it you could hear

his whoop half a mile. Knowed he was comin' on up to the house. Them

oxen would step long, peartin up when he crack his whoop over em. He'd

be haulin' logs, wood, cotton, corn, taters, sorghum cane and stuff. He

nearly always walked long side of em; sometimes he'd crawl upon the

front wagon an' ride a piece.

"He was a very good moster I recken far as I knows. They go up there,

get sompin' to eat. He give em a midlin' meat. He give us clothes. Folks

wore heep of clothes then. They got whoopin's if they not do lack they

tole em to do--plenty whoopin's! He kept ten dogs, they call bear dogs.

They hunt fox, wolves, deer, bear, birds. Them dogs died wid black

tongue. Every one of em died.

"We et at home mostly. We was lounced wid the rations but had a big

plenty. We got the rations every Saturday mornin'. One fellow cut and

weighed out the meat, sacked out the meal in pans what they take to git

it in. Sometimes we et up at the house. Mama bring a big bucket milk and

set it down, give us a tin cup. We eat it up lack pigs lappin' up slop.

Mama cooked for old mistress. She bring us 'nough cooked up grub to last

us two or three days at er time. Papa could cook when he be round the

house too. I recollect all four my grandmas and grandpas. They come from

Georgia. Moster Jim muster bought them too but I don't know if he got em

all at the same time down at Galveston, Texas.

"Moster Jim show did drink liquor--whiskey. I recken he would. When he

got drunk old missus have him on the bed an' she set by him till he

sober up. Miss Karoline good as ever drawed a breath to colored and


"My grandma, mother's ma, was a light sorter woman. The balance of my

kin was pure nigger.

"I kin for a fact recollect a right smart about the war. Papa went off

to war wid Jack Hoskins. He was goin' to be his waitin' man. He stayed a

good while fore he got home. Jack Hoskins got kilt fore he et breakfast

one mornin'. That all I heard him say. I recken he helped bury him but I

never heard em say.

"The plainest thing I recollect was a big drove of the Yankee

soldiers--some ridin', some walkin'--come up to the moster's house. He

was sorter old man. He was settin' in the gallery. He lived in a big log

house. He was readin' the paper. He throwed back his head and was dead.

Jes' scared to death. They said that was what the matter. In spite of

that they come down there and ordered us up to the house. All the

niggers scared to death not to go. There lay old Moster Jim stretched

dead in his chair. They was backed up to the smoke house door and the

horses makin' splinters of the door. It was three planks thick, crossed

one another and bradded together wid iron nails. They throwed the stuff

out an' say, 'Come an' git it. Take it to your houses.' They took it. It

was ours and we didn't want it wasted. Soon as they gone they got mighty

busy bringing it back. They built nother door an' put it up. Old Miss

Karoline bout somewheres, scared purty near to death. They buried Moster

Jim at Water Valley, Mississippi. Miss Karoline broke up and went back

to Virginia. My grandma got her feather bed and died on it. Bout two

years after that the Yankees sot fire to the house and burned it down.

We all had good log houses down close together. They didn't bother us.

"I don't recollect the Ku Klux.

"Our folks never knowed when freedom come on. Some didn't believe they

was free at all. They went on farmin' wid what left. What they made they

got it. My folks purty nigh all died right there.

"I lives alone. I got two childern in Lulu, Mississippi. I had three

childern. My wife come here wid me. She dead.

"I had forty acres land, two mules, wagon. It went for debts. White

folks got it. I ain't made nuthin' since.

"I ain't no hand at votin' much. I railly never understood nuthin' bout

the run of politics.

"I hates to say it but the young generation won't work if they can get

by widout it. They take it, if they can, outen the old folks. I used to

didn't ask folks no diffrunce. I worked right long.

"I gets commodities wid this old woman. I come here to build her fires

and see after er. I don't git no check."

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