Liza Moore Tanner

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Liza Moore Tanner, Helena, Arkansas

Age: 79

"I was born in north Georgia. It was not fer from Rome. We belong to

Master Belton Moore and Miss Jane Moore. They had a big family, some

grandchildren old as their own. That was my job playing wid the

children. My parents' name Rob Moore and Pilfy Calley. She lived five

miles from Belton Moore's house. She was hired out over at Moore's the

way she and papa met up. I know now I was hired out too. I run after

them children a long time it seemed like to me. I loved them and they

cried after me. I get so tired I'd slip off and go up in the loft and

soon be asleep. I learned to climb a ladder that very way. It was nailed

up straight against the side of the wall. They'd ask me where I been.

They never did whoop me fer that. I tell 'em I been asleep. I drapped

off 'sleep. I was so tired. Papa helped with the young calves and the

feeding and in the field too. Mama was a fast hand in the field. They

called her a little guinea woman. She could outdo me when I was grown

and she was getting old. She washed fer the Calley's. All I remember

they was a old man and woman. Mama lived in the office at their house.

He let her ride a horse to Moore's to work. I rode home wid her many a

time. She rode a side saddle. I rode sideways too. She used a battling

stick long as she lived when she washed.

"Papa died two years after the surrender in Atlanta, Georgia. The

Moore's moved there and he went along. He left mama at Master Calley's

and I was still kept at the old home place. Aunt Jilly kept me and my

two oldest sisters. Her name was Jilly Calley. I seen mama right often.

They fetched papa back to see us a few times and then he died. We all

went to Atlanta where he was buried. Mama lived to be purty nigh a

hundred years old. She had fourteen children. I had two sisters and

eight half-brothers and three half-sisters. Some died so young they

never was named. My stepfather was mean to her and beat her, caused some

of their deaths. She was a midwife in her later years. She made us a

living till I married. She was gone with Dr. Harrison a lot. He'd come

take her off and bring her home in the buggy. I married and immigrated

to Dell, Arkansas. We lived there a year and went to Memphis. Mama come

there and died at my house. She got blind. Had to lead her about. My

steppapa went off and never come back. He got drunk whenever he could

get to it. We hunted him and asked about him. I think he went off with

other women. We heard he did.

"Freedom--I heard Miss Jane say when she was packing up to go to

Atlanta, 'I will get a nurse there. They will make her go to school.' I

thought she was talking about me. I wanted to go. I loved the children.

I got to go to school in the country a right smart. I can read and

write. Me and my two sisters all was in the same class. It seemed

strange then. We had a colored man teacher, Mr. Jacobin. It was easier

for me to learn than my sisters. They are both dead now.

"I got three living children--one here and two in Memphis. After I got

my hip broke I live about with them so they can wait on me.

"I don't know about this new way of living. My daughter in Memphis

raising her little girl by a book. She don't learn her as much manners

as children used to know. She got it from the white lady she works for.

It tells how to do your child. Times done changed too much to suit my

way of knowing. 'The Old Time Religion' is the only good pattern fer

raising a family. Mighty little of that now."

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