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O C Hardy

From: More Arkansas

Interviewer: Pernella Anderson
Person Interviewed: O. C. Hardy
El Dorado, Ark.
Age: 69

"O. C. Hardy is my name and I is 69 years old. I like [HW: lack? KWF]
a lot of being a real old time slave, but I tell you I am a slave now,
and ain't no 1800 slave. I was born way down in Louisiana. We lived on a
plantation with some white people by the name of Chick Johnson. That is
the first place I remember we ever stayin' on. My ma and pa slave for
them folks. All of the children worked like slaves. What I mean by
working like slaves--we didn't stop to get our breath until night. I was
slavin' for just the white folks then and since I got grown and married
I've been slavin' for my wife and children and the white folks. My mama
and papa went in the name of their mistress and master's name and so did
I, so we was all Hardys.

"Sixty-nine years ago the time wasn't like it is now. Everything was
different. There was no cars, no airplanes, a few buggies, no trains.
The go was ox teams and stage coaches. People used ox teams in place of
mule and horse teams. Sometimes you would see ox teams with twelve and
fourteen oxen. The ox wore yokes that sometime weigh a hundred or more
pounds. The reason of that, they were so mean they had to wear them
yokes to hold em down. One yoke would go across two oxen's heads. They
could pull--oh my!--as much as some big trucks. We made much better
crops back in the 1800s than we do now. The winters was much harder and
you know the harder the winter the better the crop year you have. We
always plowed and turned our ground over in the hard of winter--that was
in order for the cold to kill all insect and germs in the ground. You
see, worms eats up your seed and plant, and germs do your seed and plant
just like they would do your body. So we got rid of them little
hinderings. In January we was ready to get our corn ground ready for
planting, and man! we raised some crops. I recollect one year way back
yonder we had what they called a centennial snow--that was the biggest
snow that's ever been and the best crop year I ever knowed. I started
plowing when I was about eight. Before then all I can remember doin' was
bushing. After gathering crops we split rails and built fences. We
played on Sunday evening. Our sport was huntin', fishin', and bird
thrashin' and trap settin'. To catch fish easy we baited snuff and
tobacco on the hook. We used to be bad about stealin' watermelons, eggs,
chickens and sweet potatoes and slippin' way down in the woods and

"Wasn't no such things as screen windows and doors. That is some of this
1900 stuff to my knowing. Flies and mosquitos was plentiful. Our cooking
was plain boiled or fried cause we cooked on fireplaces. Wasn't no
stoves. We used all brown sugar from syrup that turned to sugar. White
sugar is about forty years old to my knowings. My ma used to cook the
best old syrup cake and syrup potatoes pudding. She knitted all our
socks and sweaters for you couldn't buy things like that because stores
was few and she spun and wove for the white folks and knitted too."

Next: Rosa Hardy

Previous: Mary Jane Hardrige

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