Texas Slave Narratives





Texas Slave Narrative

  Owen W. Green

Owen W. Green , son of Frank and of Mary Ann Marks , was born in slavery at Bradly Co., Arkansas, June 26, 1859. His owners, the Hobley family, owned a large plantation and two or three thousand slaves. Jack Mobley, Green's young master, was killed in the Civil War, and Green became one of the "orphan chillen," When the Ku Klux Klan became active, the "orphan chillen" were taken to Little Rock, Ark. later on, Green moved to Dal Rio, Texas, where he now lives. I was bo'ned in Arkansas. Frank Marks was my father and Mary Ann Marks my mother. She was bo'n on the plantation. I had two brothers. I don' 'member de quarters, but day mus' of had plenty, 'cause day was two, three thousand slaves on de plantation. All my kin people belonged to Massa Mobley . My grandfather was a millman and day had one de bigges' grist mills in de country. Our Massa was good and we had plenty for to eat. Dere was no jail for slaves on our place but not far from dare was a jail. De Ku Klux Klan made everything pretty squally, as day taken de orphan chillen to Little Rock and kep' 'em two, three years. Dere was lets of slaves in dat country 'round Rob Roy and Free Wigger Bend. Old Churchill , who used to be governor, had a plantation in dere. When I was nine years el' day had de Bruce and Baxter revelation. 'Twas mere runnin' dan fightin'. Bruce was 'lected for governor but Baxter said he'd be governor if he had to run Breeks into de sea. My young Massa, Jack Mobley , was killed in de war, is how I come to be one of de orphan chillen. While us orphan chillen was at Little Rock dere come a terrible soreness of de eyes. I heard tell 'twas caused from de cholera. Every little child had to take turns about sittin' by de babies or totin' them. I was so blind, my eyes was so sore, I couldn't see. The doctor's wife was working with us. She was tryin' to figure up a cure for our sore eyes, first using one remedy and den another. An old herb doctor told her about a herb he had used on de plantations to cure de slaves' sore eyes. Dey boiled de herb and put hit on our eyes, on a white cloth. De doctor's wife had a little boy about my age. He would play with me, and thought I was about hit. He would lead me around, then he would run off and leave me and see if I could see. One day between 'leven and twelve o'clock  I never will fergit hit  he taken me down to de mess room. De lady was not quite ready to dress my eyes. She told me to go on and come back in a little while. When I got outside I tore dat old rag off of my eyes and throwed hit down. I told the little boy, 'O, I can see you!' He grabbed me by de arm and ran yellin' to his mammy, 'Mama, he can see! Mama, Owen can see!' I neva will fo'git dat word. Dey were all in so a rejoicin', exsitable way. I was de first one had his eyes cured. Dey sent de lady to New York and she made plenty of money from her remedy. Things sure was turrible durin' de war. Dey just driv us in front of de soldiers. Dere was lots of cholera. We was just bedded together lak hogs. The Ku Klux Klan come behind de soldiers, killin' and robbin'. After two or three years in de camp with de orphans, my kin found me and took me home. My grandfather and uncle was in de fightin'. My grandfather was a wagon man. De las' trip he made, he come home bringin' a load of dead soldiers to be buried. My grandfather told de people all about de war. He said hit sure was terrible. When de war was over de people jus' shouted for joy. De men and women jus' shouted for joy.  Twas only because of de prayers of de cullud people, dey was freed, and de Lawd worked through Lincoln . My old masta was a doctor and a surgeon. He trained my grandmother; she worked under him thirty-seven years as a nurse. When old masta wanted grandmother to go on a special case he would whip her so she wouldn't tell none of his secrets. Grandmother used herbs fo' medicine  black snake root, sasparilla, blackberry briar roots  and nearly all de young'uns she fooled with she save from diarrhea. My old masta was good, but when he found you shoutin' he burnt your hand. My grandmother said he burnt her hand several times. Masta wouldn't let de cullud folks have meetin', but dey would go out in de woods in secret to pray and preach and shout. I jist picked up enough readin' to read my bible and scratch my name. I went to school one mo'ning and didn't git along wid de teacher so I didn't go no mo'. I 'member my folks had big times come Christmas. Dey never did work on Sundays, jist set around and rest. Dey never worked in bad weather. Dey never did go to de field till seven o'clock. I married in 1919. I have two step-daughters and one stepson. My step-son lives in San Antonio. I have six step-grand-chillen. I was a member of de Baptist church before you was bo'n lady.