Weathers, Cora


Weathers, Cora

818 Chester Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

Age 79

Interviewer Samuel S. Taylor

"I have been right on this spot for sixty-three years. I married when I was sixteen and he brought me here and put me down and I have been here ever since. No, I don't mean he deserted me; I mean he put me on this spot of ground. Of course, I have been away on a visit but I haven't been nowheres else to live.

"When I came here, there was only three houses--George Winstead lived on Chester and Eighth Street; Dave Davis lived on Ninth and Ringo; and George Cray lived on Chester and Eighth. Rena Lee lived next to where old man Paterson stays now, 906 Chester. Rena Thompson lived on Chester and Tenth. The old people that used to live here is mostly dead or moved up North.

"On Seventh and Ringo there was a little store. It was the only store this side of Main Street. There was a little old house where Coffin's Drug Store is now. The branch ran across there. Old man John Peyton had a nursery in a little log house. You couldn't see it for the trees. He kept a nursery for flowers. On the next corner, old man Sinclair lived. That is the southeast corner of Ninth and Broadway. Next to him was the Hall of the Sons of Ham.

"That was the first place I went to school. Lottie Stephens, Robert Lacy, and Gus Richmond were the teacher. Hollins was the principal. That was in the Sons of Ham's Hall.

"I was born in Dallas County, Arkansas. It must have been 'long 'bout in eighty-fifty-nine, 'cause I was sixteen years old when I come here and I been here sixty-three years.

"During the War, I was quite small. My mother brought me here after the War and I went to school for a while. Mother had a large family. So I never got to go to school but three months at a time and only got one dollar and twenty-five cents a week wages when I was working. My father drove a wagon and hoed cotton. Mother kept house. She had--lerme see--one, two, three, four--eight of us, but the youngest brother was born here.

"My mother's name was Millie Stokes. My mother's name before she was married was--I don't know what. My father's name was Williem Stokes. My father said he was born in Maryland. I met Richard Weethers here and married him sixty-three years ago. I had six children, three girls and three boys. Children make you smart and industrious--make you think and make you get about.

"I've heard talk of the pateroles; they used to whip the slaves that was out without passes, but none of them never bothered us. I don't remember anything myself, because I was too small. I heard of the Ku Klux too; they never bothered my people none. They scared the niggers at night. I never saw none of them. I can't remember how freedom came. First I knowed, I was free.

"People in them days didn't know as much as the young people do now. But they thought more. Young people nowadays don't think. Some of them will do pretty well, but some of them ain't goin' to do nothin'. They are gittin' worse and worser. I don't know what is goin' to become of them. They been dependin' on the white folks all along, but the white folks ain't sayin' much now. My people don't seem to want nothin'.

The majority of them just want to dress and run up play cards and policy and drink and dance. It is but there is something else to be thought of. But thin', the rest tries to pull him down. The more worse they are--that is, some of them."

Source Information:
Works Project Administration. Federal Writers Project. Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. Washington, D.C.: n.p.

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