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Howell, Josephine

Brinkley, Arkansas

Age 72

"My mother was Rebecca Jones. She was born in Nashville, Tennessee. Grandma was a cook and a breeding woman. The Jones thought she was very valuable. They prized her high. She was the mother of twenty-one children. Mother was more than half Indian. She was bright color. The Jones wanted to keep her, thought she would be a fine cook and house woman and a fine breeder. She had such a terrible temper they sold her to McAlways, some of their relations close to Augusta, Arkansas.

"Mama said she was eight years old when Gabe McAlway come to Nashville, Tennessee and got her. He bought her. He was a young man and a saloon-keeper at Augusta, Arkansas. He put her out on the farm at his father's. She was a field hand. She was part African and a whole lot Indian. She was fractious and high tempered. The old man McAlway and the overseers would drop her clothes down in the field before all the hands and whoop her. Gabe never even slapped her. His aunt Mrs. Jones didn't want them to put her in the field. She wanted to keep her but couldn't she was so fractions, and she didn't know how bad old man treated her.

"When mother was sold she was brought from twenty brothers and her mother and never saw none of them no more. She left them at Wolf River. They took the boat. Wolf River is close to Memphis. They must have brought them that far but I don't know. This is what all she told me minua and minua time. Her own papa bought her when she was eight years old, Gabe McAlway. When she got to be a young maid he forced motherhood up on her. I was born before freedom. How old I am I don't know. Gabe McAlway was sort of a young bachelor. He got killed in the Civil War. He was a Scotch-Irishman. I never seen my father.

"Mother married then and had five children. She lived in the back yard of Mrs. Will Thompson. Dr. Goodridge stopped her from having children, she raved wild. She had such a bad fractious temper. She suckled both Mrs. Will Thompson's children, old man Nathan McGreggor's grandchildren. She lived in Mrs. Thompson's back yard but she slept in their house to help with the babies.

"Judge Milwee's wife and auntie, Mrs. Baxter, raised me from a baby (infant). Judge Milwee was in Brinkley but he moved to Little Rock. Them is my own dear white folks. Honey, I can't help but love them, they part of me. They raised me. They learned me how to do everything.

"My son live with me and I raising my little great-grandson. We can't throw him away. My baby's mother is way off in St. Louis. He is three years old.

"Mother never talked mich about slavery other than I have told you. She said during of the War women split and sawed rails and laid fences all winter like men. Food got scarce. They sent milk to the soldiers. Meat was scarce. After she was free she went on like she had been living at John McAlway's. She said she didn't know how to start doing for herself.

"Some of our young generation is all right and some of them is too thoughtless. Times is too fast. Folks is shortening their days by fast living. Hurting their own bodies. Forty years ago folks lived like we ought to be living now."

Interviewer Miss Irene Robertson"

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