Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

Felix L. Lindsey resides at 804 Jalonic Street in the Colored Addition. Over ninety years old and afflicted with dropsy, he is unable to work, though he owns his own place which comprises a neat little six-room house with built in features and modern conveniences and a yard full of fine chickens in which he takes great pride. Felix is a tall Negro with white wool and a neat white beard. He is famed as a soldier of fortune, a balloon jumper, an Indian fighter, and a master house cleaner. He worked in the Post Office, delivering special delivery packages in 1911-13.

"Why I don't tell dese 'ventures at one time is case I can't think of it all at same time. Didn't all happen same time did it? Well den dah you is. I'se mo' Injun mix dan I is nigger, but makes no diffence. I'se a nigger. You all knows how dat is. I's proud of it.

"I was borned in Rocky Branch, Kentucky on October 10, 1847. My mother was half breed Creek Injun---half negro, half Injun. Her name was Charity. She died 'long 'bout 1853. My father's name was Faithful. He was a full blood Creek. He was killed in the wah 'tween Mexico an' 'Nited States.

"I'se got one sistah named Betsey, livin' some whah in Injanny, las' I heah from her. Near as I can 'member she's 'bout one hundred.

"Af'er I was sebben yeahs ole I go live wiv family by name of Jefferson an' Emeline Peak. Did dey buy me? I don't know--- de Peaks, dey don' believe in slavery. Mebbe so dey buy me an' set me free, an' sort o' 'dopted me. Anyhow, I'se tooked in as one of family an' raised as de same.

"Of co'se I'se bown in slave state in time of slavery, I know all 'bout it. But de Peaks wouldn't keep slaves. Dat's de way dey felt so dey wouldn't go 'gainst conscience.

"From my earliest recollections I can 'member diffe'nt ones what was slave ownahs.

"Mr. Epps, he cruel man to his slaves, so much so till people of community fo'ce him move away. People say warn't nuffin' too cruel for Mr. Epps to do to his slaves. He would 'sign a slave or lots of slaves a task---hard tasks, take long time to do an' should dey fall short of what dey s'pose to do, dey was brought in at night and received so many lashes wiv a bull whip at hands of overseer, or whoever he should designate.

"It was custom to buy slaves at auction to one what makes highest bid. Nachelly, young ones, bein' mo' physically stronger and mo' able to do tasks set dem, bring high price. Ole feeble slaves come cheaper.

"Time to time ownahs go round diff'ent plantations seekin' to buy or trade slaves or make an exchange of something of value for some slave what dey desire.

"Education of slaves was scant till about year 1864. Prior to 1864, what education slaves get was by hidin' out and larnin' on sly. Some time dey was cotched and punished for they reward.

"Purpose an' 'tention of slave ownahs was keep slaves ign'ant. Some po' slaves can't stand pressure no mo'---dey tries to 'scape. Dey is fotched back an' severly beaten. As added punishment dey was traded or sold to anudder slave ownah what was crueller dan fust one.

"Time I'se seventeen Mr. Peak done sent me to Cincinnati to learn business. I's to go up an' down Ohio River an' buy up tobacco an' cattle. Got my market quotations by mail boat "United States." Time I catch on a little Mr. Peak employed me to buy tobacco and be a trader for him. I got to be expert. Tell tobacco by smell. I trade with bofe armies (No'th an' Souf).

"One time traveling show come to Oakland Ridge---all kinds of 'traction. De mostes' one was a b'loon 'scenchion. Show people want some one to go up an' make jump with the parachute. People's pretty 'cited, but dey didn't nobody want to go up. Ev'body want somebody else to go, ju' like those things go.

"Show people dey say 'We give fifty dollars to anybody what will make de jump.' It seem dat fifty dollars look pretty good to me. I got thinkin' mo' and mo' 'bout dat fifty dollars an' less and less 'bout dat ride an' ah say, 'All right, hyah I is ---I'se ready to go.' So I goes.

"I goes up an' up---fly so high, folks on ground dey look 'bout two inches high. Look lak dolls walkin' 'roun'. Den de b'loon begin go down. I was right over de Ohio River, just couldn't make up my min' to jump, but it look lak I's boun' to jump or have the b'loon fall on top of me. I'se swingin' de basket back an' fo'th, back an' fo'th, till I'se 'bout 200 foot 'bove de watah. Den ah pick out part of river what was 'bout fifty foot deep an' ah dive.

"My foot hit bottom, but ah come up for air an' swim to New Port side and clim' out and got my fifty. You'd ought to hear 'em yell.

"Atter dat I didn't want settle down no mo'. I jine army in 1882. Want to see de worl'. Come out to Texas in 1882, an' fit all 'round 'de border. Stationed at Fo't Davis sev'l yeahs, den went Fo't Sill. Join de army case I lake blue uniforms, brass buttons, lak de brass ban' too.

"I see ole' Geronimo jus' befo' he s'render to Gen'l Miles. I wasn't as dark as ah is now, mo' red like. Geronimo see me, he say 'You ain't no nigger. You's an Injun.' Ah say, 'My fathah may been Injun, but my mother's a nigger an' 'at's the race I chose.'

"He got mad. He say 'Ef me catch you out alone, me kill you.' I say, 'Hush you mouf ole debbil. Ah's a sharp shooter. Catch you out alone, ah sho' lible kill you.' 'Geronimo,' I say, 'lessen you s'render ah isn't goin' to be happy 'till you is daid.'

"In 1885, ah was sent to Arizona to he'p hunt fo' Geronimo. One time we's ma'chin' single file over narrow mountain pass--- knowed Injuns was shootin' from ambush---nebber was so near scared to death. Bullets went 'tween my laigs---hit mountain side---pow! Like dat! Bullets long as yo' little finger saying, 'too close! too close.' Sound lake dey say, 'Get you dis time!'---Thought sho' my time had come. Dah we was, couldn't go back, couldn't go fo'th.

"Man doubled up in front of me. Ah pass him---never stop. Pack mule fall off ledge---drop several hundred feet into river. Lef' trail---crawl up---up on mountain. Den we look down an' could see Injuns. Dat stop Injun's fun fo' long time.

"Nudder time on de plains a bullet crease my stomach. Ah trying to get nerve 'nuff look down see how bad I's hurt. Nudder bullet came long. My haid was in way of progress of bullet. Nex' ah know, ah was't knowin' nuffin' 'tall. Bullet clip furrow right top my haid---see? After dat, ah got injured in de laigs---couldn't do mo'long marchin'. So ah was put in hospital corps but my laigs gettin' worser' so ah could get dismissed---so dey bring me to Wichita Falls. Den ah goes into business. Ah starts house cleanin' business. Couldn't do no wo'k myself but ah hires othah niggers. Ah builds up big business.

"Ah weds a Tennessee girl when I's forty six, an' we gets 'long fine till dey has what dey calls 'pression---hard times---so I quits my business an' goes to wo'k foh gov'ment. Ah was special 'livery agent foh pos' office in Wichita Falls. Otis T. Bacon was pos'mastah 'bout 1900. Ah got de job case ah was sojer so long an' has a good record.

"Bout ten yeahs ago my health failed me. Was sick in haid long, long time. I's some bettah now an ah supervises my family.

FOOTNOTE: My last interview with the old romancer. I wanted to see if he would tell the same things twice. I got practically the same story as that comprised in the three Felix Lindsey stories. He has told them so much he believes them himself.

Miss Effie Cowan, P. W. McLennan County, Texas District No. 8 (11-6-37 (Yes))

Top Of Page