The interviewer was preparing to leave when one of Jasper’s old friends approached the sheltering tree in the yard, where the interview was drawing to a close. “Brudder Paul,” said Jasper, “I wisht you had come sooner ‘cause Missy, here, and me is done had de bestes’ time a-goin’ back over dem old times when folks loved one another better dan dey does now. Good-bye Missy, you done been mighty kind and patient wid old Jasper. Come back again some time.”
[HW: Dist. — Ex-Slv. #10]
ARRIE BINNS OF WASHINGTON-WILKES
Minnie Branham Stonestreet
[may 8 1937]
Arrie Binns lives in Baltimore, a negro suburb of Washington-Wilkes, in a little old tumbled down kind of a cottage that used to be one of the neatest and best houses of the settlement and where she has lived for the past sixty-odd years. In the yard of her home is one of the most beautiful holly trees to be found anywhere. She set it there herself over fifty years ago. She recalled how her friends predicted bad luck would befall her because she “sot out er holly”, but not being in the least bit superstitious she paid them “no mind” and has enjoyed her beautiful tree all these years. Many lovely oaks are around her house; she set them there long ago when she was young and with her husband moved into their new home and wanted to make it as attractive as possible. She is all alone now. Her husband died some years ago and three of her four children have passed on. Her “preacher son” who was her delight, died not very long ago. All this sorrow has left Aunt Arrie old and sad; her face is no longer lighted by the smile it used to know. She is a tiny little scrap of a woman with the softest voice and is as neat as can be. She wears an oldfashioned apron all the time and in cool weather there is always a little black cape around her frail shoulders and held together with a plain old gold “breastpin”.
She was born in Lincoln County (Georgia), her mother was Emeline Sybert and her father Jordan Sybert. They belonged to Mr. Jones Sybert and his wife “Miss Peggy”. After freedom they changed their surname to Gullatt as they liked that better. Arrie was among the oldest of nine children. The night she was born the stork brought a little baby girl to the home of a white family just across the creek from the Syberts. The little white girl was named Arine so “Miss Peggy” named the little new black baby girl Arrie, and that is how it happened she was given such an odd name.