Slave Narrative of Enoch Beel

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person Interviewed: Enoch Beel
Age: 79
Location: Green Grove, Hazen, Arkansas

“Yes maam I was born a slave, born in slavery times. I wer born in Hardman County, Tennessee. My own daddy was a Union soldier and my mama was a cook fer the mistress. We belonged to Miss Viney and Dr. Jim Mass. My daddy drawed a pension fer bein a soldier till he die. He went off to wait on some men he know. Then he met some men wanted him to join the army. They said then he get paid and get a bounty. No maam he never got a red cent. He come back broke as he went off. He say he turned loose soon as he could and mustered out and lef them right now. He had no time to ax em no questions. That what he said! We stayed on that place till I was big nuf to do a days work. We had no other place to go. There was plenty land and no stock. Houses to stay in got scarce. If a family had a place to stay at when that war ended he counted hisself lucky I tell you. Heap of black an white jes ramlin round through the woods an over the roads huntin a little to eat or a little sumpin to do. If you stay in the field workin about puttin back the fences an round yo own house you wouldn’t be hurt.

“The Ku Kluxes war not huntin work theirselves. They was keepin order at the gatherins and down the public roads. Folks had came toted off all the folks made in the crops till they don’t call nuthin stealin’. They whooped em and made em ride on rails. I don’t know all the carrings on did take place. I sho would been scared if I seed em comin to me. We left Dr. Mass and went to Grain, Tennessee. I had three sisters and half-brothers. I don’t remember how many, some dead. I farmed all my life. Everybody said the land was so much better and newer out in Arkansas. When I married I come to Tomberlin and worked fer Sam Dardnne bout twelve years. Then I rented from Jim Hicks at England. I rented from one of the Carlley boys and Jim Neelam. When I very fust come here I worked at Helena on a farm one year. When I got my leg taken off it cost bout all I ever had cumlated. I lives on my sister’s place. Henry Bratcher’s wife out at Green Grove. The Wellfare give me $8 cause I caint get bout.

“I don’t know bout the times. It is so unsettled. Folks want work caint get it and some won’t work that could. You cain’t get help so you can make a crop of your own no more, fer sometimes is close.”

Beel, Mass,

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007-2024. The WPA Slave Narratives must be used with care. There is, of course, the problem of confusion in memory resulting from (73+ years) of the participants. In addition, inexperienced interviewers sometimes pursued question lines related to their own interests and perspectives and attempted to capture the colloquialism of the informant's speech. The interviews provide fascinating insight and surprisingly candid information, however.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Access Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top