Nellie Johnson - Creek Freedwoman
At approximately 90 years of age, Mrs. Nellie Johnson was interviewed in the summer of 1937. She lived with a grandson Tom Armstrong, but was interviewed at the home of Thomas and Clara Watson.
I don't know how old I is, but I is a great big half grown gal when the time of the War come, and I can remember how everything look at that time, and what all the people do, too.
I'm pretty nigh to blind right now, and all I can do is set on the little old front porch and maybe try to keep the things picked up behind my grandchild and his wife , because she has to work and he is out selling wood most of the time.
But I didn't have to live in any such a house during the time I was young like they is, because I belonged to Old Chief Rolley MicIntosh and my pappy and mammy have a big, nice clean log house to live in, and everything round it look better than most renters these days.
We never did call old Master anything but the Chief or the General for that's what everybody called him in them days, and he never did act towards us like we was slaves, much anyways. He was the Mikko of the Kawita tow long before the War and long before I was borned, and he was the chief of the Lower Creeks, even before he got to be the chief of all the Creeks.
But just at the time of the War, the Lower Creeks stayed with him and the Upper Creeks, at least them that lived along to the south of where we live all go aff after the old man Gouge, and he take most of the Seminole, too. I hear of old Tuskenugge, the big man of the Seminoles, but I never did see him, nor mighty few of the Seminoles.
My mother tells me old Genera ain't been living in that Kawita Town very many years when I was borned. He com up there from down on the fork of the river where the Arkansas and the Verdigris run together a little while after all the last of the Creeks come out to the Territory. His brother, old Chili McIntosh live down in that fork of the rivers too, but I don't think he ever move up into that Kawita town. It was in the narrow stretch where the Verdigris come close to the Arkansas. They got a pretty good sized white folks town they call Coweta, but the old Creek town was different from that. The folks lived all around in that stretch between the rivers, and my old Master was the boss all of them.
For a long time after the Civil War, the had a court at the new town, called Coweta court and a school house too, but before I was born they had a mission school down the Kawita Creek from where the town now is.
Earliest I can remember about my master was when he come to the slave settlement where we live and get out of the buggy and show a preacher all round the place. That preacher named Mr. Loughridge, and he was the man had the mission down on Kawita Creek before I was born, but at that time he had a school off at some others place. He got down out of the buggy and talk to all us children, and ask us how we getting along.
I didn't even know at the time that told Chief was my master, until my pappy tell me after he was gone. I think all the time he was another preacher.
My pappy's name was Jackson McIntosh, and my mammy was Hagar. I think old chief bring them out to the Territory when he come out with his brother Chili and the rest of the Creek people. My pappy tell me that old Master's pappy was killed by the Creeks because he signed up a treaty to bring his folks out here, and old Master always hated that bunch of Creeks that done that.
I think old man Gouge was one of the big men in that bunch, and he fit in the War on the Government side, after he done holler and go on so about the Government making him come out here.
Old Master have lots of land took up all around that Kawita place, and I don't know how much, but a lot more than anybody else. He have it all fenced in with good rail fence and all the Negreos have all the horses and mules to work it with. They all live in good log housese they built themselves, and have everything they need.
Old master's land wasn't all in one big filed, but a lot of little fields scattered all over the place. he just take up land what already was kind of prairie and the negroes don't have to clear up much woods.
We all lived around on them little farms and we didn't have to be under any overseer like the Cherokee Negroes had lots of times. We didn't have to work if they wasn't no work to do that day.