1117 W. Fourteenth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
"I was born January 10, 1868, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I came here. I can't read or write. My brother-in-law told me that I was born three years after the War on January tenth.
"My mother's name was Sara Cloady. My father's name was Square Cloady. I don't remember the names of any of my grand people. Yes I do; my father's mother was named Bertha because I called my daughter after her. She must have been in the Square family because that was his name.
"I had four brothers and sisters. Three of them I don't know anything about. I have never seen them. My sister, Rachael Fortune, suckled me on her breast. That is her married name. Before she was married her name was Rachael Bennett. Her father and mine was not the same. We was just half-sisters. We have the same mother though. My father was half Indian and hers was pure-blooded Indian. They are all mean folks. People say I am mean too, but I am not mean--unless they lie on me or something. My mother died when I was three years old. Children three years old didn't have as much sense then as they do now. I didn't know my mother was laid out until I got to be a woman. I didn't have sense enough to know she was dead. My sister was crying and we asked her what she was crying about.
"I don't know the name of my mother's old master. Yes I do, my mother's old master was named Laycock. He had a great big farm.
He was building a gas house so that he could have a light all night and work niggers day and night, but peace came before he could get it finished and use it. God took a hand in that thing. I have seen the gas house myself. I used to tote water home from there in a bucket. It was cool as ice-water. The gas house was as big 'round as that market there (about a half block).
"My father served in the army three years and died at the age of one hundred ten years about twenty years ago as near as I can remember. That is the reason I left home because he died. He served in the War three years. He was with the Yankees. Plenty of these old white folks will know him by the name of Square Cloady. The name of his company was Company K. I don't know the name of his regiment. He got his pension as long as he lived. His last pension came just before he died. I turned it back to the courthouse because it is bad to fool with Uncle Sam. They wrote for my name but when I told them I was married they wouldn't send me anything. I didn't know to tell them that my husband was dead.
"I was married when I was about twenty-seven and my husband died more than three years before my father did. My father lived to see me the mother of my last child; my husband didn't. When my husband was dying, I couldn't see my toes. I was pregnant. My husband died in the year of the great tornado. The time all the churches were blown down. I think it was about 1915. (Storm time in Louisiana.)
"I don't know what my mother did in slavery. I don't think she did anything but cook. She was fine in children and they buys women like that you know. My sister was a water toter. My father raised cotton and corn and hogs and turkeys. His trade was farming before the War. I don't know how he happened to get in the army but he was in it three years.
"Laycock's farm was out in the country about four miles from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Some of the slaves lived in log houses and some in big old boxed houses. Most of them had two rooms. They had nothing but four post beds and chairs like this I am settin' down in (a little cane chair). I reckon it is cane--looks like it is. They had homemade chairs before the war, boxes, and benches. The boards were often bought. But nothing else.
"They et greens and pickled pork. My father got tired of that and he would raise hogs. Pickled pork and corn bread!
"My father never told me what his master was to him, whether he was good or mean. He got free early because he was in the army. He didn't run away. The soldiers came and got him and carried him off and trained him. I just know what my father told me because I wasn't born. He served his full time and then he was discharged. He got an honorable discharge. He had a wound in the leg where he was shot.
"I got along all right supporting myself by planting cotton until last year when the doctor stopped me.
"I took care of my father and the Lord is taking care of me. I am weak and still have that giddy head but not as bad as I used to have it.
"Some of the young people do very well but some of them ain't got no manners and don't care what they do. I am scared for them. The Man above ain't scared and he is going to cut them down."
(Pine Bluff District, FOLXLORE SUBJECTS)
Name of interviewer Martin - Barker